Can Tech Firms Prevent Violent Videos Circulating on the Internet?

This week New York's attorney general announced they're officially "launching investigations into the social media companies that the Buffalo shooter used to plan, promote, and stream his terror attack." Slashdot reader echo123 points out that Discord confirmed that roughly 30 minutes before the attack a "small group" was invited to join the shooter's server. "None of the people he invited to review his writings appeared to have alerted law enforcement," reports the New York Times., "and the massacre played out much as envisioned." But meanwhile, another Times article tells a tangentially-related story from 2019 about what ultimately happened to "a partial recording of a livestream by a gunman while he murdered 51 people that day at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand." For more than three years, the video has remained undisturbed on Facebook, cropped to a square and slowed down in parts. About three-quarters of the way through the video, text pops up urging the audience to "Share THIS...." Online writings apparently connected to the 18-year-old man accused of killing 10 people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store Saturday said that he drew inspiration for a livestreamed attack from the Christchurch shooting. The clip on Facebook — one of dozens that are online, even after years of work to remove them — may have been part of the reason that the Christchurch gunman's tactics were so easy to emulate. In a search spanning 24 hours this week, The New York Times identified more than 50 clips and online links with the Christchurch gunman's 2019 footage. They were on at least nine platforms and websites, including Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, 4chan and the video site Rumble, according to the Times' review. Three of the videos had been uploaded to Facebook as far back as the day of the killings, according to the Tech Transparency Project, an industry watchdog group, while others were posted as recently as this week. The clips and links were not difficult to find, even though Facebook, Twitter and other platforms pledged in 2019 to eradicate the footage, pushed partly by public outrage over the incident and by world governments. In the aftermath, tech companies and governments banded together, forming coalitions to crack down on terrorist and violent extremist content online. Yet even as Facebook expunged 4.5 million pieces of content related to the Christchurch attack within six months of the killings, what the Times found this week shows that a mass killer's video has an enduring — and potentially everlasting — afterlife on the internet. "It is clear some progress has been made since Christchurch, but we also live in a kind of world where these videos will never be scrubbed completely from the internet," said Brian Fishman, a former director of counterterrorism at Facebook who helped lead the effort to identify and remove the Christchurch videos from the site in 2019.... Facebook, which is owned by Meta, said that for every 10,000 views of content on the platform, only an estimated five were of terrorism-related material. Rumble and Reddit said the Christchurch videos violated their rules and they were continuing to remove them. Twitter, 4chan and Telegram did not respond to requests for comment For what it's worth, this week CNN also republished an email they'd received in 2016 from 4chan's current owner, Hiroyuki Nishimura. The gist of the email? "If I liked censorship, I would have already done that." But Slashdot reader Bruce66423 also shares an interesting observation from The Guardian's senior tech reporter about the major tech platforms. "According to Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley, there is a tech solution to this uniquely tech problem. Tech companies just aren't financially motivated to invest resources into developing it." Farid's work includes research into robust hashing, a tool that creates a fingerprint for videos that allows platforms to find them and their copies as soon as they are uploaded... Farid: It's not as hard a problem as the technology sector will have you believe... The core technology to stop redistribution is called "hashing" or "robust hashing" or "perceptual hashing". The basic idea is quite simple: you have a piece of content that is not allowed on your service either because it violated terms of service, it's illegal or for whatever reason, you reach into that content, and extract a digital signature, or a hash as it's called.... That's actually pretty easy to do. We've been able to do this for a long time. The second part is that the signature should be stable even if the content is being modified, when somebody changes say the size or the color or adds text. The last thing is you should be able to extract and compare signatures very quickly. So if we had a technology that satisfied all of those criteria, Twitch would say, we've identified a terror attack that's being live-streamed. We're going to grab that video. We're going to extract the hash and we are going to share it with the industry. And then every time a video is uploaded with the hash, the signature is compared against this database, which is being updated almost instantaneously. And then you stop the redistribution. It's a problem of collaboration across the industry and it's a problem of the underlying technology. And if this was the first time it happened, I'd understand. But this is not, this is not the 10th time. It's not the 20th time. I want to emphasize: no technology's going to be perfect. It's battling an inherently adversarial system. But this is not a few things slipping through the cracks.... This is a complete catastrophic failure to contain this material. And in my opinion, as it was with New Zealand and as it was the one before then, it is inexcusable from a technological standpoint. "These are now trillion-dollar companies we are talking about collectively," Farid points out later. "How is it that their hashing technology is so bad? Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-22 03:45:01 preview's
Biggest Targets at Pwn2Own Event: Microsoft's Windows, Teams, and Ubuntu Desktop

As Pwn2Own Vancouver comes to a close, a whopping $1,115,000 has been awarded by Trend Micro and Zero Day Initiative. The 15th anniversary edition saw 17 "contestants" attacking 21 targets, reports Hot Hardware — though "the biggest payouts were for serious exploits against Microsoft's Teams utility." While Teams isn't technically a part of Windows, it does come bundled with all new installs of Windows 11, which means that these exploits are practically Windows exploits. Hector "p3rr0" Peralta, Masato Kinugawa, and STAR Labs each earned $150,000 for major exploits of the utility. Windows 11 itself wasn't spared, though. Marcin Wiazowski and STAR Labs each earned $40,000 for privilege escalation exploits on Microsoft's operating system on day one, and on day two, TO found a similar bug for a $40,000 payout of his own. Day three saw no less than three more fresh exploits against Windows 11, all in the serious privilege escalation category; all three winners pocketed another $40,000.... Other targets attacked at Pwn2Own 2022 included Mozilla Firefox (hacked), Apple Safari (hacked), and Ubuntu Desktop (hacked)... Of course, details of the hacks aren't made public, because they're zero-days, after all. That means that they haven't been patched yet, so releasing details of the exploits could allow malicious actors to make use of the bugs. Details will be revealed 3 months from now, during which time Microsoft, Tesla, Apple, and others should have their software all sewn up. With all the points totalled, the winner was Singapore-based cybersecurity company Star Labs, which was officially crowned "Master of Pwn" on Saturday. "They won $270,000 and 27 points during the contest," explains the official Twitter feed for Zero Day Initiative (the judges for the event). A blog post from Zero Day Initiative describes all 21 attacks, including six successful attacks against Windows, three successful attacks against Teams — and four against Ubuntu Desktop. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-22 00:45:03 preview's
Wells Fargo Now Accused of Also Conducting Fake Job Interviews

2016: "Wells Fargo Fires 5,300 Employees For Creating Millions of Phony Accounts" 2017: "Up To 1.4M More Fake Wells Fargo Accounts Possible" The headlines kept coming.... ("Wells Fargo Hit With 'Unprecedented' Punishment Over Fake Accounts..." "Wells Fargo Employee Informed the Bank of Fake Customer Accounts in 2006") But this week the New York Times reported a new allegation — involving fake job interviews: Joe Bruno, a former executive in the wealth management division of Wells Fargo, had long been troubled by the way his unit handled certain job interviews. For many open positions, employees would interview a "diverse" candidate — the bank's term for a woman or person of color — in keeping with the bank's yearslong informal policy. But Mr. Bruno noticed that often, the so-called diverse candidate would be interviewed for a job that had already been promised to someone else. He complained to his bosses. They dismissed his claims. Last August, Mr. Bruno, 58, was fired. In an interview, he said Wells Fargo retaliated against him for telling his superiors that the "fake interviews" were "inappropriate, morally wrong, ethically wrong." Wells Fargo said Mr. Bruno was dismissed for retaliating against a fellow employee. Mr. Bruno is one of seven current and former Wells Fargo employees who said that they were instructed by their direct bosses or human resources managers in the bank's wealth management unit to interview "diverse" candidates — even though the decision had already been made to give the job to another candidate. Five others said they were aware of the practice, or helped to arrange it... Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-21 21:45:02 preview's
China Is 3D Printing a Massive 590-Foot-Tall Dam, And Constructing It Without Humans

Chinese engineers will take the ideas of a research paper and turn it into the world's largest 3D-printed project. Popular Mechanics: Within two years, officials behind this project want to fully automate the unmanned construction of a 590-foot-tall dam on the Tibetan Plateau to build the Yangqu hydropower plant -- completely with robots. The paper, published last month in the Journal of Tsinghua University (Science and Technology), laid out the plans for the dam, as first reported in the South China Morning Post. Researchers from the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing explain the backbone of automation for the planned Yellow River dam that will eventually offer nearly five billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. (It's worth noting that China's Three Gorges Dam -- a hydroelectric gravity dam spanning the Yangtze River -- is the world's largest power station in terms of energy output.) But it's hard to tell what's more ambitious: the fact that the researchers plan to turn a dam site into effectively a massive 3D-printing project, or that through every step of the process the project eliminates human workers as they go fully robotic. In the dam-"printing" process, machinery will deliver construction materials to the worksite -- the exact location needed, eliminating human error, they say -- and then unmanned bulldozers, pavers, and rollers will form the dam layer by layer. Sensors on the rollers will keep the artificial intelligence (AI) system informed about the firmness and stability of each of the 3D-printed layers until it reaches 590 feet in height, about the same height as the Shasta Dam in California and shorter than the Hoover Dam's 726 feet. With the largest existing 3D-printed structures rising about 20 feet tall -- from houses in China to an office building in Dubai -- the exploration of 3D-printed projects continues to expand. Already we've seen a 1,640-foot-long retention wall in China, housing and office buildings across the globe, and now the U.S. Army has plans for barracks at Fort Bliss in Texas. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-21 20:00:02 preview's
Is Social Media Training Us to Please a Machine?

A remarkably literary critique of the internet appeared recently in Damage magazine — a project of the nonprofit Society for Psychoanalytic Inquiry funded by the American Psychoanalytic Foundation. "There are ways in which the internet really does seem to work like a possessing demon..." argues writer Sam Kriss. "We tend to think that the internet is a communications network we use to speak to one another — but in a sense, we're not doing anything of the sort. Instead, we are the ones being spoken through." Teens on TikTok all talk in the exact same tone, identical singsong smugness. Millennials on Twitter use the same shrinking vocabulary. My guy! Having a normal one! Even when you actually meet them in the sunlit world, they'll say valid or based, or say y'all despite being British.... Everything you say online is subject to an instant system of rewards. Every platform comes with metrics; you can precisely quantify how well-received your thoughts are by how many likes or shares or retweets they receive. For almost everyone, the game is difficult to resist: they end up trying to say the things that the machine will like. For all the panic over online censorship, this stuff is far more destructive. You have no free speech — not because someone might ban your account, but because there's a vast incentive structure in place that constantly channels your speech in certain directions. And unlike overt censorship, it's not a policy that could ever be changed, but a pure function of the connectivity of the internet itself. This might be why so much writing that comes out of the internet is so unbearably dull, cycling between outrage and mockery, begging for clicks, speaking the machine back into its own bowels.... The internet is not a communications system. Instead of delivering messages between people, it simulates the experience of being among people, in a way that books or shopping lists or even the telephone do not. And there are things that a simulation will always fail to capture. In the philosophy of Emmanuel Lévinas, your ethical responsibility to other people emerges out of their face, the experience of looking directly into the face of another living subject. "The face is what prohibits us from killing...." But Facebook is a world without faces. Only images of faces; selfies, avatars: dead things. Or the moving image in a FaceTime chat: a haunted puppet. There is always something in the way. You are not talking to a person: the machine is talking, through you, to itself. As more and more of your social life takes place online, you're training yourself to believe that other people are not really people, and you have no duty towards them whatsoever. These effects don't vanish once you look away from the screen.... many of the big conflicts within institutions in the last few years seem to be rooted in the expectation that the world should work like the internet. If you don't like a person, you should be able to block them: simply push a button, and have them disappear forever. The article revisits a 2011 meta-analysis that found massive declines in young people's capacity for empathy, which the authors directly associated with the spread of social media. But then Kriss argues that "We are becoming less and less capable of actual intersubjective communication; more unhappy; more alone. Every year, surveys find that people have fewer and fewer friends; among millennials, 22% say they have none at all. "For the first time in history, we can simply do without each other entirely. The machine supplies an approximation of everything you need for a bare biological existence: strangers come to deliver your food; AI chatbots deliver cognitive-behavioral therapy; social media simulates people to love and people to hate; and hidden inside the microcircuitry, the demons swarm..." So while recent books look for historical antecedents, "I still think that the internet is a serious break from what we had before," Kriss argues. "And as nice as Wikipedia is, as nice as it is to be able to walk around foreign cities on Google Maps or read early modern grimoires without a library card, I still think the internet is a poison." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2022-05-21 18:45:01 preview's
The weekend’s best deals: Epic PC games sale, 1Password subscriptions, and more

Dealmaster also has discounts on Hulu memberships, AirPods, and LG OLED TVs.
2022-05-21 17:30:02 preview's
The Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES) Could Detect Exoplanets Within a few Dozen Light-Years of Earth Using Astrometry

A team of Chinese researchers has proposed a new mission to find Earth-like planets in neighboring star systems - the Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES)! The post The Closeby Habitable Exoplanet Survey (CHES) Could Detect Exoplanets Within a few Dozen Light-Years of Earth Using Astrometry appeared first on Universe Today.
2022-05-21 16:15:03 preview's
Radeon RX 6300M Cross Swords With GeForce MX450 In Geekbench 5

New Radeon RX 6300M benchmark results have appeared in Geekbench 5, showcasing performance equivalent to Nvidia's Turing-based MX450 GPU.
2022-05-21 14:45:01 preview's
Steam Deck Replacement Parts Won't Come Cheap

iFixit has all internal and external Steam Deck components: from the motherboard to adhesives.
2022-05-21 13:30:02 preview's
Imec Presents Sub-1nm Process and Transistor Roadmap Until 2036: From Nanometers to the Angstrom Era

Imec, the most advanced semiconductor research firm in the world, recently shared its sub-'1nm' silicon and transistor roadmap at its Future Summit event in Antwerp, Belgium.
2022-05-21 11:15:01