ReHacked vol. 220: Reddit vs the Internet: saga continues, EU suggests breaking up Google’s ad business, Edge sends images you view online to Microsoft and more

"Human rights, for example, aren’t inscribed in our DNA. Rather, they are cultural artifacts we created by telling stories and writing laws." --Y.N.Harari

ReHacked vol. 220: Reddit vs the Internet: saga continues, EU suggests breaking up Google’s ad business, Edge sends images you view online to Microsoft and more
Iwao Takamoto and characters drawn by him. (C) Tokyo Weekender

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Reddit vs the Internet: the saga continues

BlackCat claims they hacked Reddit and will leak the data

Operators broke into Reddit on February 5, 2023, and took 80 gigabytes (zipped) of data. Reddit was emailed twice by operators, once on April 13 and one again on June 16.

There was no attempt to find out what we took.

Linus (of Linus Tech Tips) continues to cover the Reddit API controversy -

Apollo’s developer on Reddit’s new API changes, and why users revolted - The Verge

‘Reddit has plugged its ears and refuses to listen to anybody but themselves. And I think there’s some very minor concessions that they can make to make people a lot happier.’

Reddit communities with millions of followers plan to extend the blackout indefinitely - The Verge

Moderators of many Reddit communities are pledging to keep their subreddits private or restricted indefinitely. For the vast majority of subreddits, the blackout to protest Reddit’s expensive API pricing changes was expected to last from Monday until Wednesday. But in response to a Tuesday post on the r/ModCoord subreddit, users are chiming in to say that their subreddits will remain dark past that 48-hour window.

Reddit CEO tells employees that subreddit blackout ‘will pass’ - The Verge

“I am sorry to say this, but please be mindful of wearing Reddit gear in public,” CEO Steve Huffman says in an internal memo. “Some folks are really upset, and we don’t want you to be the object of their frustrations.”

What Reddit Got Wrong | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Every approach comes to the same conclusion—a platform needs workers: Lots of them, around the clock. Sites are then stuck trying to minimize this labor cost somehow. The worst version of this is a system of poorly paid workers, typically outsourced, merely reviewing user reports and automated moderation decisions. These mods invisibly compare out-of-context posts to a set of ever-changing and arbitrary rules. It’s grueling work, where one only views the worst the internet has to offer while remaining totally alienated from the community.

Updated: Reddit is quietly restoring deleted AND overwritten posts and comments - RedditMigration to the "Threadiverse" -

The Tokyo Weekender corner

Iwao Takamoto – The Japanese Artist Who Designed Your Childhood | Tokyo Weekender

When it came to animated movies and cartoons, it seemed like there was nothing Takamoto couldn’t do. In 1945, he started working for Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he finished the rough animation for Cinderella, did quality control for Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and oversaw the first full-scale use of xerography (where animators’ drawings were copied to a transparent cel sheet) in One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The technique was extremely cost-effective and, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, actually ended up saving Disney from insolvency.

Takamoto was not done yet, though. In 1961, he joined Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he designed classic cartoon characters like Penelope Pitstop, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel, Grape Ape, the animated Harlem Globetrotters and Josie and the Pussy Cats. He also supervised shows like The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey and Jabberjaw, and even found success as a director with Charlotte’s Web (1973), based on E.B. White’s 1952 book. He later wrote that he initially struggled with making the character of Charlotte the spider appealing, but in the end he “concentrated on finding a way to take advantage of her large eyes to make her sweet and feminine-looking.” But spiders weren’t Takamoto’s specialty. Dogs were.

Photographer Lieko Shiga's Creative Responses to Disaster | Tokyo Weekender

Lieko Shiga, born in central Japan in the 1980s, has long felt discomfort with “the coziness and automation” of the modern world. Fifteen years ago, the Kimura Ihei Award-winner moved to Japan’s Tohoku region in the northeast of the country to document life in a Miyagi Prefecture village. Tragically, this community was devastated by the Great East Japan earthquake of March 2011 and Shiga, who lost her studio and much of her work, temporarily relocated to emergency housing. As one of the few leading artists to have directly experienced the tsunami, she centers her practice on engaging with locals and illuminating the complexities and hypocrisies of post-3.11 Japan. Her photography explores relationships between people and nature, themes of multigenerational memory and imagination’s role in considerations of life and death. Curator Mariko Takeuchi aptly described her as “a canary that sings in the darkness, but towards life.”

Where You Should Visit in Tokyo Based on Your Zodiac Sign | Tokyo Weekender

It’s no secret that Tokyo has a never-ending list of fun activities to do and fascinating destinations to visit. Whether it’s your first time in Japan’s capital or you’re just looking for something exciting to do this weekend, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the options offered in this metropolis. So we asked the stars, and here’s the locations you shouldn’t miss in Tokyo based on your Zodiac sign.

The Other News

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened – Association for Psychological Science – APS #psychology #crime

The research, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicates that the participants came to internalize the stories they were told, providing rich and detailed descriptions of events that never actually took place.

“Our findings show that false memories of committing crime with police contact can be surprisingly easy to generate, and can have all the same kinds of complex details as real memories,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Julia Shaw of the University of Bedfordshire in the UK.

“All participants need to generate a richly detailed false memory is 3 hours in a friendly interview environment, where the interviewer introduces a few wrong details and uses poor memory-retrieval techniques.”

European Union votes to bring back replaceable phone batteries | TechSpot #technology

Why it matters: What's old is new again, at least in the European Union. The European Parliament recently voted in favor of new legislation that would overhaul the entire battery life cycle, from design to end-of-life, which includes important caveats for smartphone users.

Among the many changes, the new rules would require batteries in consumer devices like smartphones to be easily removable and replaceable. That's far from the case today with most phones, but that wasn't always the case.

In the earlier days of mobile phones (think Nokia 5190, Nokia 3310, Motorola Razr V3, Palm Treo 700p), swapping out the battery took mere seconds. Charging technology wasn't all that fast, and it wasn't uncommon to carry around a spare battery pack to switch out when your primary battery got low.

The Online Books Page #resources

Listing over 3 million free books on the Web

Robot can rip the data out of RAM chips with chilling tech • The Register #hardware #security

Cold boot attacks, in which memory chips can be chilled and data including encryption keys plundered, were demonstrated way back in 2008 – but they just got automated.

That original type of attack has been improved and automated in the form of a memory-pilfering machine that can be yours for around $2,000, with a bit of self-guided electrical fiddling.

Turkish Citizens' Personal Data Offered Online After Govt Site Hacked | Balkan Insight #privacy #security

In a major digital security breach, a website is offering personal data about Turkish citizens including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that appears to have been stolen by hackers from a government services website.

Google Domains shutting down, assets sold to Squarespace #internet

In an unexpected announcement today, Google Domains is “winding down following a transition period,” with Squarespace taking over the business and assets.

2 men who helped run popular pirating website Megaupload sentenced to prison in New Zealand - ABC News #internet #copyrights

Two men who helped run the once wildly popular pirating website Megaupload were each sentenced by a New Zealand court on Thursday to more than two years in prison.

The sentencing of Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk ended an 11-year legal battle by the men to avoid extradition to the United States on more serious charges that included racketeering.

The men last year struck a deal with prosecutors from New Zealand and the U.S. in which they pleaded guilty to being part of a criminal group and causing artists to lose money by deception.

Meanwhile Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, is continuing to fight the U.S. charges and threat of extradition. He has said he expects his former colleagues to testify against him as part of the deal they struck.

Arzneimittel-Reform: Karl Lauterbach will Drug-Checking bundesweit einführen - DER SPIEGEL (in German) #society #health

Germany wants to legalize quality control of illegal drugs.

The Guardian bans all gambling advertising | Gambling | The Guardian #media #society

The Guardian has announced a global ban on gambling advertising, arguing it is unethical to take money from services that can lead to “addiction and financial ruin”.

Anna Bateson, the chief executive of Guardian Media Group, said advertising – particularly online – could trap gamblers in an “addictive cycle” that caused financial distress, mental health issues and wider social problems.

She said: “Guardian journalists have reported on the devastating impact of the gambling industry in the UK and Australia, helping to shift the dial and ensure the issue remains high on the public agenda. Studies highlight a clear correlation between exposure to gambling advertising and increased intentions to engage in regular gambling.”

My 24 year old HP Jornada can do things your modern iPhone still can't do! - #hardware #history #interesting

Kenya tea pickers destroy machines replacing them | Semafor #economy #society

Kenyan tea pickers are destroying machines brought in to replace them during violent protests that highlight the challenge faced by low-skilled workers as more agribusiness companies rely on automation to cut costs.

At least 10 tea-plucking machines have been torched in multiple flashpoints in the past year, according to local media reports. Recent demonstrations have left one protester dead and several injured, including 23 police officers and farm workers. The Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA) estimated the cost of damaged machinery at $1.2 million (170 million Kenyan shillings) after nine machines belonging to Ekaterra, makers of the top-selling tea brand Lipton, were destroyed in May.

Twitter is being evicted from its Boulder office over unpaid rent | TechCrunch #economy

Twitter owes three months’ rent to its Boulder landlord, and a judge has signed off on evicting the tech giant from its office there, court documents show.

Since its takeover by Elon Musk, Twitter’s business has more or less fallen into disarray, and there have been numerous reports of unpaid bills. While a contractor going unpaid during a rocky transition is unfortunate but not uncommon, ceasing to pay rent altogether for months suggests Twitter’s operations may be farther gone than anyone expected.

Nelson's Weblog: culture / apis-for-content-sites-must-be-free #software #internet #copyrights

The short sighted thing about these API fees is they will harm the company in the long term. If it becomes difficult to use a proper API to get at content folks will simply screen scrape it instead. That’s bad for everyone.

EU suggests breaking up Google’s ad business in preliminary antitrust ruling - The Verge #internet #bigcorp

The European Commission has made a formal antitrust complaint against Google and its ad business. In a preliminary opinion, the regulator says Google has abused its dominant position in the digital advertising market. It says that forcing Google to sell off parts of its business may be the only remedy, if the company is found guilty of the charges.

This would be a significant move targeting the main source of the search giant’s revenue, and a rare example of the EU recommending divestiture at this stage in an investigation. The Commission has already fined Google over three prior antitrust cases, but has only previously imposed “behavioral” remedies — changes to its business practices.

Six Real-life Cyborgs
The term "cyborg" was coined in 1960 by scientists Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline. Short for "cybernetic organism," this word describes an entity that combines biological and artificial components to enhance its abilities or functionality. It can refer to a living being augmented with technological enhancements or a machine integrated with organi…

Yuval Noah Harari paints a grim picture of the AI age, roots for safety checks | Technology News,The Indian Express #technology #ai #futurism #longread #anthropology

Celebrated author Yuval Noah Harari believes that AI has "hacked" the operating system of human civilization.

Harari also shed light on how AI could form intimate relationships with people and influence their decisions. “Through its mastery of language, AI could even form intimate relationships with people and use the power of intimacy to change our opinions and worldviews,” he wrote. To demonstrate this, he cited the example of Blake Lemoine, a Google engineer who lost his job after publicly claiming that the AI chatbot LaMDA had become sentient. According to the historian, the controversial claim cost Lemoine his job. He asked if AI can influence people to risk their jobs, what else could it induce them to do?

Harari also said that intimacy was an effective weapon in the political battle of minds and hearts. He said that in the past few years, social media has become a battleground for controlling human attention, and the new generation of AI can convince people to vote for a particular politician or buy a certain product.

SR-71 Blackbird Speed Check Story #history #fun

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

Edge sends images you view online to Microsoft, here is how to disable that - Neowin #privacy

Edge has a built-in image enhancement tool that, according to Microsoft, can use "super-resolution to improve clarity, sharpness, lighting, and contrast in images on the web." Although the feature sounds exciting, recent Microsoft Edge Canary updates have provided more information on how image enhancement works.

The browser now warns that it sends image links to Microsoft instead of performing on-device enhancements.

The US Is Openly Stockpiling Dirt on All Its Citizens | WIRED #privacy

The United States government has been secretly amassing a “large amount” of “sensitive and intimate information” on its own citizens, a group of senior advisers informed Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, more than a year ago.

The size and scope of the government effort to accumulate data revealing the minute details of Americans' lives are described soberly and at length by the director's own panel of experts in a newly declassified report. Haines had first tasked her advisers in late 2021 with untangling a web of secretive business arrangements between commercial data brokers and US intelligence community members.

US Patent Office Proposes Rule To Make It Much Harder To Kill Bad Patents | Techdirt #copyrights

So, this is bad. Over the last few years, we’ve written plenty about the so-called “inter partes review” or “IPR” that came into being about a decade ago as part of the “America Invents Act,” which was the first major change to the patent system in decades. For much of the first decade of the 2000s, patent trolls were running wild and creating a massive tax on innovation. There were so many stories of people (mostly lawyers) getting vague and broad patents that they never had any intention of commercializing, then waiting for someone to come along and build something actually useful and innovative… and then shaking them down with the threat of patent litigation.

The IPR process, while not perfect, was at least an important tool in pushing back on some of the worst of the worst patents. In its most basic form, the IPR process allows nearly anyone to challenge a bad patent and have the special Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) review the patent to determine if it should have been granted in the first place. Given that a bad patent can completely stifle innovation for decades this seems like the very least that the Patent Office should offer to try to get rid of innovation-killing bad patents.

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