Facebook’s AI categorizes everything you write — sells the info to someone

If Facebook knows what your status update is about, it can show it to people who care about that topic. If it understands the difference between “I just got out of the taxi” and “I need a ride” messages, it can ask if you want an Uber. If it detects that you’re trying to sell something in a status update, it can automatically format post with the price and item details. And if Facebook can determine what kinds of comments on celebrities’ posts are interesting and not just “OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOU”, it can surface ones you’ll actually want to read.

These are the big applications for Facebook’s newest artificial intelligence system called “DeepText”. 400,000 new stories and 125,000 comments on public posts are shared every minute on Facebook. DeepText will help Facebook analyze several thousand per second across 20 languages with near-human accuracy.

One of the first obvious applications for DeepText will start rolling on Messenger. When DeepText identifies a sentence it thinks means you need a ride, it will suggest you use Messenger transportation integrations with services like Uber and Lyft. Recognizing “I need a ride” is easy, but it should also be able to pick up on things like “Should I call a car?”, “I can pick you up in 20”, or “I’ll get an Uber”.

Yes, there are beaucoup positive potential applications of the tech. Like any other. Privacy vs serviceable suggestions are immediate questions that you have to decide. Whether or not you have any control over the questions and answers is between you and Facebook, though.

EU court advances privacy rights vs social networks, NSA and all


Max SchremsGetty Images

A privacy campaigner has scored a legal victory that could bolster his attempts to prevent Facebook from being able to pass EU citizens’ data to the US authorities.

An opinion issued by the European Court of Justice says that current data-sharing rules between the 28-nation bloc and the US are “invalid”.

The decision could affect other tech firms’ abilities to send Europeans’ information to US data centres.

However, it is not a final judgement.

Although the EU’s highest court tends to follow the opinions of its legal adviser, the 15 judges involved have yet to issue a conclusive ruling of their own on the matter.

Even so, Max Schrems – the activist who prompted the case – suggests there could be far-reaching consequences.

“Companies that participate in US mass surveillance and provide, for example, cloud services within the EU and rely on data centres in the US may now have to invest in secure data centres within the European Union,” he said…”

The origins of Mr Schrems’ dispute with Facebook can be traced back to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks about US cyberspies’ activities.

In 2013, Snowden released details about a surveillance scheme operated by the NSA called Prism, which provided officials with ways to scrutinise data held by US tech firms about Europeans and other foreign citizens.

Mr Schrems alleged that, in light of the revelations, EU citizens had no protection against US surveillance efforts once their data had been transferred.

He targeted Facebook in particular because of the wide range of data it gathered and the number of people using it.

However, when he took the case to Ireland – where Facebook’s European headquarters are based – it was initially rejected.

The Irish data watchdog said the Safe Harbour agreement between the US and EU prevented it from intervening…

The EU forbids the transfer of personal data to other parts of the world that do not provide “adequate” privacy protections.

RTFA for lots more detail. Living in the belly of a lying beast has to make me smile – or rant – every time our government accuses anyone else on the planet of cyber spying. No other nation has invested so much in the cause of technology designed for the sole purpose of spying on every individual on this wee blue marble in the Milky Way galaxy.

Supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan to be renamed USS Barack Obama

Yes, thousands of ignoranus rightwing fools believe that is true!

The U.S.Navy announced it’s flagship and most advanced supercarrier warship will get a much needed refit and name change after it’s next mission.

Last week the Nimitz-class carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) departed San Diego, Calif. for its new home in Yokosuka, Japan.Reagan has operated extensively in the Pacific, including responding to the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami in Japan.

After it’s deployment the Reagan will return to Newport News, Va. for a mid-life overhaul.The Navy announced it will also be re-christening the ship to celebrate our nation’s first African American president.

…Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces, said…“When she comes home it will be time to update. Both the technology and name will be updated to reflect America’s progressive vision for the world an our allies.”

Shoemaker went on to explain the Navy had planned to build a new carrier to name after the 44th President but due to budget cuts those plans were scrapped.

It was not announced how long the ship’s current deployment would be but that Obama should be out of office by the time the name change takes place.

According to estimates from the Navy, the name swap will cost the service about $41 billion in moving expenses as per executive order.

After you read to the bottom of the article, take the time to read all the comments from teabaggers and loyal little Republicans going absolutely batshit crazy. It is hilarious.

The Fox News Facebook Page is a satire site – Duh.

Social networks scan for predators — sort of

On March 9 of this year, a piece of Facebook software spotted something suspicious.

A man in his early thirties was chatting about sex with a 13-year-old South Florida girl and planned to meet her after middle-school classes the next day.

Facebook’s extensive but little-discussed technology for scanning postings and chats for criminal activity automatically flagged the conversation for employees, who read it and quickly called police.

Officers took control of the teenager’s computer and arrested the man the next day, said Special Agent Supervisor Jeffrey Duncan of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The alleged predator has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of soliciting a minor…

Facebook is among the many companies that are embracing a combination of new technologies and human monitoring to thwart sex predators. Such efforts generally start with automated screening for inappropriate language and exchanges of personal information, and extend to using the records of convicted pedophiles’ online chats to teach the software what to seek out…

Like most of its peers, Facebook generally avoids discussing its safety practices to discourage scare stories, because it doesn’t catch many wrongdoers, and to sidestep privacy concerns. Users could be unnerved about the extent to which their conversations are reviewed, at least by computer programs…

NSS.

Barring a wave of costly litigation or new laws, it is hard to see the protections getting much tougher, experts said. Instead, the app and location booms will only add to the market pressure for more freedom on youth sites and greater challenges for parents.

…Said the FBI’s Brooke Donahue. “The free market pushes towards permissiveness.”

A free nation tends to push towards permissiveness, as well. The presumption being that as education becomes pervasive, probably more sophisticated – young individuals feel themselves more capable of making sophisticated decisions. Without someone looking over their shoulder. The only folks easily fitting the definition of OK to guide, overlook, regulate, of course are parents.

With more and more single parents that ain’t getting easier anytime soon. With a crap economy improving to just crappy, time for family life ain’t getting any easier.

Might be nice if there really was sufficient education, access to information beyond superstition and cultural foibles. You might think it a copout to only take the time to point young people in the direction of answers. But, I’m not confident even that much is easily available.

I think we need a Socrates or Mr. Chips-level Google.

Oh, the FBI? I trust ’em about as far as I can throw them uphill into a heavy wind.

Macho idjit bounty hunters pull the OOPS of the day


Brent Farley

It was a case of mistaken identity worthy of reality television. And it could have had deadly consequences.

Eleven bounty hunters looking for a fugitive Tuesday night mistakenly targeted the home of Phoenix police Chief Joseph Yahner while following a tip they received via social media…

Two fugitive-recovery companies working in tandem kept watch for two hours before swarming the darkened house at about 10 p.m. NorthStar Fugitive Recovery owner Brent Farley, 43, is facing charges of criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct…

When police officers arrived, they found Farley’s employees and those of Delta One Tactical Recovery surrounding the home. One man banged on the door with an unholstered weapon and engaged in a verbal confrontation with the chief inside, police said. The bounty hunters’ vehicles were parked on the property, the headlights glaring as the man at the door shined his flashlight inside, Phoenix police said.

Several outside the chief’s home were armed, and police said Wednesday that they were serving a search warrant for the weapons. Riding alongside the armed bounty hunters was an 11-year-old and an adult relative of one of the employees, police said.

The tip that sent the bounty hunters to Yahner’s home, according to a NorthStar employee, was from an Oklahoma number. The fugitive at the heart of their search remains wanted out of Oklahoma on drug charges…

“After awakening him (Yahner) from a dead sleep, he comes out in protection mode,” Crump said. “And when he does come out and he challenges them, I think they quickly come to realize (the mistake), with the exception of one of them.”

Crump said Farley refused to leave the property and continued to give commands to Yahner until another bounty hunter pulled him aside…

John Burns, former president of the Arizona Bail Bondsmen Association, said Arizona is one of the few states that don’t require bail bondsmen or fugitive recovery agents to be trained or educated. Burns has been working to push a bill that would require both, he said.

Weak laws, he said, allow virtually anyone to be “John Wayne all day long, without any education or training.”

Idjits like this should stick to their kindergarten militia camping trips in the woods. Raiding a house on the basis of a tip on Facebook is like continuing to be a Republican post-Reagan.

BTW, after Farley was busted for his gullibility and ignorance – turns out he’s also a convicted felon and therefore not allowed to play with firearms. One more charge added to the list.

The Autoplay Arms Race


Click to enlarge

I find autoplay video or audio commercials so offensive my automatic response is to click away from the page. It is the advertising dross-du-jour. Not only Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are devouring their young with the tech, WordPress has leaped with both feet into this disaster.

I have complained to the powers-that-be, here at WordPress, and my eventual choice appears to be a request for no advertising at all on my personal blog.

Thanks to re/code

NSA makes up for loss of surveillance powers — returns to Facebook


Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty

The National Security Agency is compensating for the expiration of its power to collect the American people’s personal information by logging on to Facebook, the agency confirmed on Monday.

The director of the N.S.A., Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said that when parts of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Sunday, intelligence analysts immediately stopped collecting mountains of phone metadata and started reading billions of Facebook updates instead.

“From a surveillance point of view, the transition has been seamless,” Rogers said.

While the N.S.A. has monitored Facebook in the past, it is now spending twenty-four hours a day sifting through billions of baby pictures, pet videos, and photographs of recently enjoyed food to detect possible threats to the United States…

Citing one possible downside of the new surveillance regime, Rogers said that some N.S.A. analysts who now do nothing but monitor Facebook all day report feelings of worthlessness and despair. “I remind them that they’re doing this for America,” he said.

I think this is satire. Harder to tell, nowadays.

Dumb crook of the day

Joey Patterson

An Idaho fugitive was caught Saturday after he made a post on Facebook inviting friends to join him at batting practice in Boise.

KTVB TV station in Boise says…that Caldwell police officers showed up at the softball field after seeing the post on social media and arrested 22-year-old Joey Patterson.

He was wanted on a felony warrant for violating his probation on a fraud case out of Twin Falls. Patterson was booked into Canyon County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

Caldwell Police Sgt. Joey Hoadley says police often use social media to track down a fugitive. Hoadley says “even fugitives can’t keep from updating their Facebook status, and it leads to some great arrests.”

Har!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. You don’t become a petty crook because you’re extra smart.

Who can sort out your online world after you shuffle off this mortal coil?

image

Facebook…has finally decided how to handle the photos and friend requests of its deceased users. In Facebook’s settings, people can now appoint a friend or family member to be in charge of their legacy. The person gets to make one last public post, download all their loved one’s Facebook photos, and respond to friend requests.

The decision was applauded by estate planners—especially because it gets around the issue of needing a password to get into people’s accounts. Yet it doesn’t solve all the problems around online information after death.

For example, what happens if a user dies, and family members want to see private messages to get clues about whether it was a suicide? Using their password to get into the account, which is banned by Facebook’s terms of service, would violate federal privacy laws, says James Lamm, a principal at a Minnesota firm in charge of estate planning. Appointing a legacy account handler on Facebook also isn’t legally binding and doesn’t transfer any of the intellectual property on videos or poetry the person may have posted, he said.

For attorneys such as Lamm…the infrastructure of the digital world has created countless barriers for clients seeking to access bank accounts, find answers surrounding a death, or simply collect all the memories they can about the person they lost. Passwords, terms of service, encryption, and cloud storage all complicate the search for information required after a death.

Inconsistency – therefore uncertaincy – remains through the breadth of online providers. The article goes on to note a few and makes suggestions. My own unqualified advice is to sort out reponsibility, administrative rights, by assigning someone the rights to your intellectual property just as you would with real property.

It’s a new world; so, a new set of questions has to be answered. As usual in our society, the questions become pointed when dealing with something of value.