Category Archives: Uncategorized

Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos

Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images.”

via news.cnet.com

Incredibly creepy policy shift from the recently-acquired Facebook subsidiary, Instagram.

Four years later, Facebook votes disappear for good | Ars Technica

Facebook’s last user vote has closed, once again with a minuscule turnout compared to the size of the social network in general according to its site governance page. Only 668,872 votes were cast out of the billion active users for a turnout of 0.067 percent. Facebook is now free to enact its new privacy policies without concern for the vote results. The new policy will, among other things, remove the user vote as a necessary step in policy changes.

Why Rupert Murdoch’s bold bet on The Daily

The Daily was both a bold experiment and doomed from the start. It was bold from the point of view of a major media empire with little or no understanding of the web or mobile, and a lot of other media companies without Rupert Murdoch’s deep pockets were watching it closely to see whether they should jump, and if so how to proceed. But then many of the lessons that could be learned should have been obvious even before The Daily launched: don’t ignore the web, don’t make your content platform-specific (unless it is unique), and don’t put a paywall around something no one has ever seen before.

via gigaom.com

BotClouds: How Botnets Now Offer Crime-As-A-Service

Botnets, networks of compromised end-user computers and servers, are hugely sophisticated engines of computation and messaging these days – just like cloud computing. Botnet creators can now sell their criminal and fraudster clientele capabilities to do a variety of tasks, from trying to crack into banks to creating fake grassroots political campaigns.

The use of botnets for straightforward criminal activity is nothing new, of course. By marshaling the resources of hundreds of thousands of infected computers at any given time, botnet controllers can use sheer brute force to bring down relatively unprotected websites just be directing thousands of traffic requests per second. Or they can use such an event to mask a more surreptitious attack into a bank’s online data.

via readwrite.com

When armies become media: Israel live-blogs and tweets an attack on Hamas — Tech News and Analysis

For decades — perhaps even centuries — journalists have been the primary witnesses to and chroniclers of war, piecing together news reports from eyewitnesses and military briefings. But what if the armies or military forces who were engaged in a conflict took on the role of publishers themselves, distributing their own live reports while the battle was being fought? That idea is no longer science fiction: it became reality when the Israeli Defense Forces started live-blogging and live-tweeting an attack on Hamas guerillas in the Gaza strip and uploading video of their rocket blasts to YouTube.

Social media, once thought of as a tool for bored nerds and marketing gurus, has taken on a whole new role it seems — one that could stand to change the face of modern warfare forever. As BuzzFeed notes in its round-up of Twitter posts from the Israeli army (a sentence I never would have imagined typing even a few years ago), the IDF actually warned Hamas guerillas not to show themselves on the Gaza strip or risk being killed in the attacks that began Wednesday morning, and the official Hamas account responded:

In the hours that followed, videos of rocket attacks on Hamas strongholds were uploaded to YouTube, and the IDF blog carried a minute-by-minute breakdown of what was happening — how many Hamas rockets it intercepted, a strike by the Israeli Navy, and so on. It looked very much like the New York Times live-blog The Lede, except that it was being published by a military force: the front of the website even looks like a traditional news blog or breaking news site, complete with the usual social-media buttons for sharing content on Twitter, Facebook and other networks.

via gigaom.com

Built to win: Deep inside Obama’s campaign tech | Ars Technica

The reelection of Barack Obama was won by people, not by software. But in a contest as close as last week’s election, software may have given the Obama for America organization’s people a tiny edge—making them by some measures more efficient, better connected, and more engaged than the competition.

That edge was provided by the work of a group of people unique in the history of presidential politics: Team Tech, a dedicated internal team of technology professionals who operated like an Internet startup, leveraging a combination of open source software, Web services, and cloud computing power.

A truly impressive story of systems engineering, from the macro to the micro level. I really commend the Obama tech team on their impressive re-imagining of how big data and scalability could change the way political parties interact with voters. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that their system gets re-packaged and licensed out to future political orgs. Heck, I can think of a few corporations that could use this kind of model, too. Like mine.

Boeing’s New Missile Remotely Disables Computers as It Flies By

Boeing’s new missile otherwise known as the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. It automatically disables PCs and other electronic devices as it soars through the skies, using a burst of powerful radio waves—and it was successfully tested last week.

The CHAMP tests took place in the Western Utah Desert on October 16th. As it flew by a two-story building, its on-board microwave system shut down every piece of electronic equipment running inside the place. In fact, the test went so well that it disabled all the cameras recording the event, too. Oops.

via gizmodo.com

Journalism and the truth: More complicated than it has ever been — Tech News and Analysis

Clay Shirky said that the whole notion of “objectivity” was something the media came up with in the 1950s and ’60s in order to appeal to a mass audience (and thereby appeal to advertisers), and that it serves no useful purpose any more.

One obvious outcome of what the Poynter panel was discussing is that defining the truth is no longer something that is done by professional journalists in isolation, but something that only emerges over time, through a process that involves both journalists and what Jay Rosen has called “the people formerly known as the audience.” Which is why I’ve argued that fact-checking of all kinds — both specific facts and larger questions of truth — is something that is best done in public. In a sense it has always been that way, it’s just easier to see now while it’s actually happening.

Arriving at the truth may be a lot more complicated than it used to be, because there are more moving parts and more sources than ever, but in the end it is probably closer to the real thing than what our traditional media gatekeepers have gotten used to providing in the past.

via gigaom.com

Actually, file-sharers buy more legal music than everyone else | VentureBeat

A study has found that music fans who use peer-to-peer file sharing services actually purchase more music, on average, than those who stay completely legit.

The study by the American Assembly, a nonpartisan public policy think tank housed at Columbia University, found that file sharers purchase around 30 percent more music than non-file sharers. File sharers also have much larger music collections, naturally, with a big boost to their libraries provided by files they’ve downloaded without buying.

The study is merely the latest to confirm what proponents of P2P file sharing have been claiming all along: People who use P2P technologies are actually the music industry’s biggest fans.

Music sources by age

Via Torrentfreak, venturebeat.com

Customers =/= criminals.

FBI’s New Facial Recognition Program Leaves No Place to Hide

The FBI has announced a plan to spend $1 billion to build a new type of facial recognition database that will allow the agency to identify suspects and people of interest using security footage from public cameras.

Technically, the Next-Generation Identification program (NGI) is an update to the FBI’s national fingerprint database. Government agencies will now start using a person’s face, along with other biometric data like DNA analysis, iris scans, and voice identification, to determine a person’s identity. In other words, if you have a criminal record, the police will no longer simply take your fingerprints and snap a mugshot; they’ll keep a record accurate enough to let them pick you out of crowd anywhere you go.

via mashable.com