Controversial Reads 021921

The main purpose of algorithms, like digital programs and datacenters more broadly, is not to make money or influence thoughts, but to control people—in a direct and alien way hostile to our core beliefs and principles.

But as I testified to the Senate last week, you can basically reidentify anything. “Anonymity” is an abstraction.

Many people think that NoSQL databases are the “next big thing” in technology, and that we should write all of our core applications using them. However, NoSQL databases actually predate relational databases, and common relational databases were established to solve the problems that NoSQL brings.

One reason is that the most widely used methods of recycling more traditional batteries, like lead-acid batteries, don’t work well with Li batteries. The latter are typically larger, heavier, much more complex and even dangerous if taken apart wrong.

Apple has a rather complicated relationship with privacy, which it always points to as a differentiator with Google. But delivering on it is a different tale.

The problem is Web3 is not all that distributed, nor is it particularly equitable or transparent. It is highly centralized, despite being touted as a decentralized alternative to the web.

But rampant misinformation and days-long internet blackouts carry different questions on a personal level. Did our friends who went to Almaty’s central Republic Square make it home safely? Have police shown up at their doors? Did my colleague’s friend manage to find a ride to the hospital when she went into labor during curfew?

Most likely, you’re familiar with Watson from the IBM computer system’s appearance on Jeopardy! in 2011, when it beat former champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rudder. Watson’s time on Jeopardy! was fun viewing, but it was also a very savvy public debut of a product that IBM wanted to sell: Watson Health.

The fact that Web3 is hard to define — I’ll try to do that in a bit — isn’t necessarily a bug. It’s a nascent idea floated by a mix of buzz, optimism, confusion, theological battles, and pure unadulterated speculation, which means it’s incredibly malleable.

Last week, Microsoft described its $68.7 billion takeover of gaming studio Activision Blizzard—a move that would have usually been interpreted as the Xbox maker simply expanding in the gaming sector—as a way to create the “building blocks for the metaverse.”

Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit text message service for people experiencing serious mental health crises, has been using “anonymized” conversation data to power a for-profit machine learning tool for customer support teams. (After backlash, CTL announced it would stop.)

As many as 23 new high severity security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in different implementations of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware used by numerous vendors, including Bull Atos, Fujitsu, HP, Juniper Networks, Lenovo, among others.

Such loose controls over the DNS not only benefit legitimate users but also provide malicious actors with a stealthy way to communicate with and control their distributed malware for cybercrimes.

While this ever-growing adoption of DoH has prompted both academia and industry to conduct various measurements regarding the performance of DoH.

Arguing that the cybersquatting claim had been insufficiently pled, NameFind moved to dismiss. The court denied the motion.

Most people have heard of latency, which is a measure of the average delay of data packets on a network. There is another important measure of network quality that is rarely talked about.

But don’t be mistaken, there are still huge performance penalties when it comes to server virtualization, and any vulnerability in the kernel code needed by the hypervisor means that it could be exploited to take control of the host kernel, access data in VMs, or be hijacked for a denial of service attack.

The start of the year can be a good time for security professionals to review the previous 12-month news cycle to help forecast and plan for what attacks and vulnerabilities need to be mitigated for and patched in the new year.

Black said cancellations are still occurring, and more than one-fourth of flights at the three major airports in the New York City areas are operated by smaller planes that can’t land there during bad weather because of restrictions related to 5G.

Here, in his first interview since the deal was announced, Nadella tells the FT’s West Coast editor, Richard Waters, how gaming will shape the next computing platform.

I concede private blockchains might actually be useful and entirely appropriate in some cases—it’s a big world and there are a lot of problems to solve. However, to paraphrase Carl Sagan (who was in turn paraphrasing LaPlace), extraordinary industrial claims require extraordinary reference implementations with documentation to review if those claims are to be taken seriously and made actionable.

Twitter has begun allowing its users to showcase NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, as profile pictures on their accounts. It’s the latest public victory for this form of … and, you know, there’s the problem. What the hell is an NFT anyway?

Sonos is a clear American success story. It has grown into a multi-billion-dollar audio business, with a well-recognized brand, and products loved by millions of consumers.

Google Analytics, the world’s most widely used web analytics service developed by Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O), risks giving U.S. intelligence services access to French website users’ data, France’s watchdog CNIL said on Thursday.

To cut through the hype, CBS MoneyWatch spoke with tech luminary Tim O’Reilly, who among other things in his long career is known for publishing the world’s first website and coining the term Web 2.0. Although he thinks the technology behind Web3 is promising, “It’s a long way from prime time,” he said.

That said, I do not think there is much evidence that misinformation has become more widespread, that this increase in misinformation is due to technological change, or that it is at the root of the political trends liberals are most angry about.