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Social media and technology mean that dead celebrities can't rest in peace

<p>“To be dead,” wrote the 20th century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, “is to be a prey for the living.” Even Sartre, though, would have struggled to imagine casting James Dean in a movie 64 years after the actor’s death.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/afm-james-dean-reborn-cgi-vietnam-war-action-drama-1252703">curious announcement</a> that Dean, who died in a car crash in 1955 having made just three films, will star in a movie adaptation of Gareth Crocker’s Vietnam War novel Finding Jack, has been met with <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/james-dean-finding-jack-digital-actor-backlash-controversy-172502291.html">outrage</a>.</p> <p>It would be a remarkable CGI achievement for any studio to resurrect an actor who has been dead since the Eisenhower administration.</p> <p>True, the Star Wars movie Rogue One featured the late Peter Cushing “reprising” his role as Grand Moff Tarkin. But the new role given to Dean would reportedly be far larger and more complex. Cushing, at least, had already played Tarkin while he was alive.</p> <p>In Finding Jack, “James Dean” will supposedly be starring in a film based on a novel written 80 years after he was born, set near the end of a war that started after he died. He will reportedly be reanimated via “full body” CGI using actual footage and photos; another actor will voice him.</p> <p>The reaction to this goes beyond mere scepticism, however. Nor is it simply the now-familiar post-truth anxiety about no longer being able to tell what’s real and what isn’t. The rise of “<a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=12&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=2ahUKEwi_392QhdjlAhVLdCsKHQ_zC5gQFjALegQIAhAB&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2019%2F06%2F10%2Fopinion%2Fdeepfake-pelosi-video.html&amp;usg=AOvVaw2qK3CZZjtPtJJcix9JXZ4X">deepfakes</a>” presents a much greater threat on that front than bringing dead actors back to life.</p> <p>What’s at work here is another pervasive challenge of the online era: how we should live with the digital dead.</p> <p>People die online every day. Social media is increasingly full of <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13347-011-0050-7">electric corpses</a>; at some point <a href="http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2019-04-29-digital-graveyards-are-dead-taking-over-facebook">the dead will outnumber the living</a> on platforms like Facebook. This already poses a range of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10676-015-9379-4">ethical and practical problems</a>. Some of these are the subject of a <a href="https://www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/lrc/lrc_current_projects/Digital%20assets/Project-update.aspx">NSW Law Reform Commission inquiry</a> into how we should deal with the digital assets of the dead and incapacitated.</p> <p><strong>Reanimation</strong></p> <p>These issues only get thornier once you add in the prospect of reanimation.</p> <p>For most of this decade, digital immortality was confined to press releases and fiction. A string of start-ups promised breathlessly to let you cheat death via AI-driven avatars, only to disappear when it became clear their taglines were better than their products. (The <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/shortcuts/2013/feb/18/death-social-media-liveson-deadsocial">Twitter app LivesOn’s</a> “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting” was undeniably clever).</p> <p>“Be Right Back,” a 2013 episode of the TV series Black Mirror, imagined a young woman who signs up for a service that brings her dead partner back to life using his social media footprint: first as a chat bot, then as a phone-based voice simulator, and finally as a lifelike automaton. It was brilliant, bleak television, but thankfully, it wasn’t real.</p> <p>Then in late 2015, 34-year-old Roman Mazurenko died in an accident in Moscow. As a tribute, his best friend, fellow tech entrepreneur Eugenia Kuyda, <a href="https://www.theverge.com/a/luka-artificial-intelligence-memorial-roman-mazurenko-bot">built the texts</a> Mazurenko had sent her into a chat bot.</p> <p>You can download Roman Mazurenko right now, wherever you get your apps, and talk to a dead man. Internet immortality might not be here yet, not quite, but it’s unsettlingly close.</p> <p><strong>Between remembrance and exploitation</strong></p> <p>Sadly, it’s not an immortality we could look forward to. When we fear death, one thing we particularly dread is the end of first-person experience.</p> <p>Think of the experience you’re having reading this article. Someone else could be reading exactly the same words at the same time. But their experience will lack whatever it is that makes this your experience. That’s what scares us: if you die, that quality, what it’s like to be you, won’t exist anymore. And there is, to mangle <a href="https://ethics.org.au/ethics-explainer-what-is-it-like-to-be-a-bat/">a famous line from Thomas Nagel</a>, nothing it is like to be a bot.</p> <p>But what about living on for other people? The Mazurenko bot is clearly a work of mourning, and a work of love. Remembering the dead, <a href="http://sorenkierkegaard.org/works-of-love.html">wrote Kierkegaard</a>, is the freest and most unselfish work of love, for the dead can neither force us to remember them nor reward us for doing so. But memory is fragile and attention is fickle.</p> <p>It seems reasonable that we might use our new toys to help the dead linger in the lifeworld, to escape oblivion a little longer. The danger, as the philosopher <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/05568641.2015.1014538">Adam Buben has put it</a>, is that memorialisation could slip into replacement.</p> <p>An interactive avatar of the dead might simply become a stopgap, something you use to fill part of the hole the dead leave in our lives. That risks turning the dead into yet another resource for the living. The line between remembrance and exploitation is surprisingly porous.</p> <p>That is what’s ultimately troubling about resurrecting James Dean. To watch a James Dean movie is to encounter, in some palpable way, the concrete person. Something of the face-to-face encounter survives the mediation of lens, celluloid and screen.</p> <p>To make a new James Dean movie is something else. It’s to use the visual remains of Dean as a workable resource instead of letting him be who he is. Worse, it suggests that James Dean can be replaced, just as algorithm-driven avatars might come to replace, rather than simply commemorate, the dead.</p> <p>We’ll know in time whether Finding Jack can live up to its likely premature hype. Even if it doesn’t, the need to think about how we protect the dead from our digital predations isn’t going away.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127211/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/patrick-stokes-10346">Patrick Stokes</a>, Associate Professor of Philosophy, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/chat-bots-james-dean-can-the-digital-dead-rest-in-peace-127211">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Those at risk during bushfires might lose signal when they need it

<p>Yesterday, New South Wales and Queensland issued fire warnings classified as either “catastrophic”, “severe” or “extreme” - and these conditions will <a href="https://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au/Pages/FDR.aspx">remain</a> in the coming days.</p> <p>Areas under threat include the greater Sydney area, northern New South Wales, the Northern Goldfields, and the Central Highlands. The declared state of emergency means human life is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-12/nsw-bushfires-burn-amid-catastrophic-conditions-as-it-happened/11694646">at great risk</a>.</p> <p>Those at risk should evacuate ahead of <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/general-news/dangerous-fire-conditions">time</a>, as mobile phone services may not be <a href="https://www.optus.com.au/about/media-centre/media-releases/2019/11/optus-update-tuesday-12-november-bushfires-network-update-plus-disaster-assistance-support-activated-mid-north-coast1">reliable</a> when needed the most.</p> <p><strong>Service outages</strong></p> <p>People in dangerous bushfire situations often have the added burden of service outages. This can happen following fire damage to infrastructure (such as signal towers) that connects base stations that relay communications within the <a href="https://www.worldcat.org/title/understanding-telecommunications-networks/oclc/1004191902">network</a>. A break in this connection means no signal, or weak signal, for those on the ground.</p> <p>Generally, radio waves used for mobile communication behave differently as <a href="https://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1276321">they travel</a>, based on various factors that affect signal strength. One factor is land geography, such as the height of hills. The signal may not be able to penetrate sand hills. Gum trees may also reflect, obstruct and absorb radio signals.</p> <p>The scenarios described above can be made worse by fire environments, based on the <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/8967/5.1.3-Communication-Systems.pdf">frequencies</a> used. Flames can produce “plasma”, which reacts with the surrounding magnetic field, and this degrades signal strength.</p> <p>Rural fire service operations may use frequencies in the 400-450MHz range to communicate, but these signals are weakened during fire, in which case they may use frequencies in the 100-180MHz range. At this wavelength, signal strength doesn’t degrade as badly and can sustain better <a href="https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/58684/8/02whole.pdf">communication</a>.</p> <p>Being <a href="https://mobilenetworkguide.com.au/pdf/Mobile-Network-Guide-Improving-Mobile-Signal.pdf">far away from a mobile phone tower</a>, often in rural areas, also results in degraded communication. Rural areas don’t receive as much coverage because installing cell towers in these areas is not particularly profitable, and towers are built based on revenue estimates. There is little incentive to build networks with additional capacity in rural areas.</p> <p><strong>Get out while you can</strong></p> <p>In bushfire situations, it’s crucial to leave affected areas early to avoid becoming stuck in <a href="https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/phone/mobile-services-and-coverage/mobile-black-spot-program">mobile black spots</a>. These are regional and remote areas that have been identified as not having mobile phone <a href="https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/phone/mobile-services-and-coverage/mobile-black-spot-program">coverage</a>.</p> <p>Some mobile black spots where fire danger warnings have been issued include Mount Seaview and Yarras, not far from the Oxley Highway in NSW. The status of the fires there was reported “out of control” <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me">on Tuesday morning</a>.</p> <p>Optus is planning to <a href="https://www.optus.com.au/shop/mobile/network/mobile-black-spot-program">roll out macrocells</a> at these locations to expand coverage between the end of this year and the middle of next year. These are base stations that cover a wide area and are typically deployed in rural regions or along highways.</p> <p>Until the macrocells are deployed, people living in mobile black spots, or who may be forced to pass through these areas due to fire, continue to be at risk. When passing through a fire-affected black spot, you are virtually <a href="https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/phone/mobile-services-and-coverage/mobile-phone-towers">unreachable</a>.</p> <p>Also, although the mobile black spot program will help to increase 4G coverage in rural areas, most rural areas, including many at high risk of bushfires, rely largely on 3G. When people need extra data capacity during emergencies, the network is incapable of handling the increased traffic load, as every device is trying to connect and download data at the minimum 3G capacity of 550Kbps.</p> <p><strong>Network overload</strong></p> <p>The network gets congested at times of catastrophe due to the high volume of mobile phone traffic experienced, which exceeds the available network capacity. The mobile network in Billy’s Creek in NSW, and the areas connected to it, experienced an outage <a href="https://www.optus.com.au/about/media-centre/media-releases/2019/11/optus-update-tuesday-12-november-bushfires-network-update-plus-disaster-assistance-support-activated-mid-north-coast1">yesterday</a>.</p> <p>Telstra’s services have also been <a href="https://exchange.telstra.com.au/providing-bushfire-relief-to-our-customers-affected-in-new-south-wales/">affected</a>. As of Monday, people in Billy’s Creek, Yarras and Nimbin (among other locations) were unable to send or receive messages, make calls or access the internet, and may not have been up to date with the latest fire information, unless through radio or television.</p> <p>During bushfires last year, for every three calls attempted under Telstra’s network, one was eventually <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-20/mobile-phone-blackspots-put-lives-at-risk-during-fires/9566338">answered</a>. Everyone trying to call at once is referred to as a “mass call event”. This creates “congestive collapse” in parts of the internet-based network, blocking new connections from being made.</p> <p>During congestion, the performance of the network decreases because the internet packets that carry the calls or messages are dropped, or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1550147719829960">delayed</a>, before they reach their destination. One solution is for operators to have signal boosters installed for the affected part of the network.</p> <p><strong>There’s an app for that, if you have good connection</strong></p> <p>In the same way, the “Fires Near Me Australia” <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.gov.nsw.rfs.firesnearme.national&amp;hl=en">web application</a> is likely to suffer from internet packet deliveries being delayed.</p> <p>The app may be overwhelmed if too many people try to access it at once, and may crash. In such scenarios, people should reboot their phones and keep trying to connect.</p> <p>Some people have made complaints of not being able to download the app, and others of the app crashing, because their phone’s model was not new enough to support it.</p> <p>If the fires spread to densely populated areas, available 4G capacities may be exhausted by the sheer volume of the traffic. And congestion is made worse by more incoming traffic from across the country, from concerned family and friends.</p> <p>Preventative measures may no longer be an option for many. But in the future, people in fire-prone areas may benefit from buying a personal 4G or 3G mobile signal booster ahead of time.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stanley-shanapinda-610761">Stanley Shanapinda</a>, Research Fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-flames-encroach-those-at-risk-may-lose-phone-signal-when-they-need-it-most-126827">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Doctor Google makes people anxious

<p>It’s a busy day at the office and your left eye has been twitching uncontrollably. So, out of curiosity and irritation you Google it.</p> <p>Various benign causes — stress, exhaustion, too much caffeine — put your mind at ease initially. But you don’t stop there. Soon, you find out eye twitches could be a symptom of something more sinister, causing you to panic.</p> <p>You ruin the rest of the day trawling through web pages and forums, reading frightening stories convincing you you’re seriously ill.</p> <p>For many of us, this cycle has become common. It can cause anxiety, unnecessary contact with health services, and at the extreme, impact our day-to-day functioning.</p> <p>But our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S088761851930218X">recently published research</a>, the first to evaluate online therapy for this type of excessive and distressing health-related Googling, shows what can help.</p> <p><strong>I’ve heard of ‘cyberchondria’. Do I have it?</strong></p> <p>The term “cyberchondria” describes the anxiety we experience as a result of excessive web searches about symptoms or diseases.</p> <p>It’s not an official diagnosis, but is an obvious play on the word “hypochondria”, now known as health anxiety. It’s obsessional worrying about health, online.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs11920-008-0050-1.pdf">Some argue</a> cyberchondria is simply a modern form of health anxiety. But <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27497667">studies show</a> even people who don’t normally worry about their health can see their concerns spiral after conducting an initial web search.</p> <p>Cyberchondria <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1586/ern.12.162">is when searching is</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>excessive:</strong> searching for too long, or too often</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>difficult to control:</strong> you have difficulty controlling, stopping or preventing searching</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>distressing:</strong> it causes a lot of distress, anxiety or fear</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>impairing:</strong> it has an impact on your day-to-day life.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If this sounds like you, there’s help.</p> <p><strong>We tested an online therapy and here’s what we found</strong></p> <p>We tested whether <a href="https://thiswayup.org.au/how-we-can-help/courses/health-anxiety-course/">an online treatment program</a> helped reduce cyberchondria in 41 people with severe health anxiety. We compared how well it worked compared with a control group of 41 people who learned about general (not health-related) anxiety and stress management online.</p> <p>The online treatment is based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), which involves learning more helpful ways of thinking and behaving.</p> <p>Participants completed six online CBT modules over 12 weeks, and had phone support from a psychologist.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214782916300379">treatment</a> explained how excessive web searching can become a problem, how to search about health effectively, and practical tools to prevent and stop it (see a summary of those tips below).</p> <p>We found the online treatment was more effective at reducing cyberchondria than the control group. It helped reduce the frequency of online searches, how upsetting the searching was, and improved participants’ ability to control their searching. Importantly, these behavioural changes were linked to improvements in health anxiety.</p> <p>Although we don’t know whether the program simply reduced or completely eliminated cyberchondria, these findings show if you’re feeling anxious about your health, you can use our practical strategies to reduce anxiety-provoking and excessive online searching about health.</p> <p><strong>So, what can I do?</strong></p> <p>Here are our top tips from the treatment program:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>be aware of your searching</strong>: don’t just search on auto-pilot. Take note of when, where, how often, and what you are searching about. Keep track of this for several days so you can spot the warning signs and high-risk times for when you’re more likely to get stuck in excessive searching. Then you can make a plan to do other things at those times</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>understand how web searches work</strong>: web search algorithms are mysterious beasts. But top search results are not necessarily the most likely explanation for your symptoms. Top search results are often click-bait – the rare, but fascinating and horrific stories about illness we can’t help clicking on (not the boring stuff)</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>be smart about how you search:</strong> limit yourself to websites with reliable, high quality, balanced information such as government-run websites and/or those written by medical professionals. Stay away from blogs, forums, testimonials or social media</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>challenge your thoughts by thinking of alternative explanations for your symptoms:</strong> for example, even though you think your eye twitch might be motor neuron disease, what about a much more likely explanation, such as staring at the computer screen too much</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>use other strategies to cut down, and prevent you from searching:</strong> focus on scheduling these activities at your high-risk times. These can be absorbing activities that take your focus and can distract you; or you can use relaxation strategies to calm your mind and body</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>surf the urge:</strong> rather than searching straight away when you feel the urge to search about your symptoms, put it off for a bit, and see how the urge to search reduces over time.</p> </li> </ul> <p>And if those don’t help, consult a doctor or psychologist.</p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, check out resources about anxiety from <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety">Beyond Blue</a>, the Centre for Clinical Interventions <a href="https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Health-Anxiety">Helping Health Anxiety</a> workbook or <a href="https://thiswayup.org.au/">THIS WAY UP</a> online courses.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125070/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jill-newby-193454">Jill Newby</a>, Associate Professor and MRFF/NHMRC Career Development Fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/eoin-mcelroy-858386">Eoin McElroy</a>, Lecturer in Psychology, Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-leicester-1053">University of Leicester</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-dr-googles-making-you-sick-with-worry-theres-help-125070">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Hackers are getting smarter by targeting councils and governments

<p>In recent weeks, <a href="https://www.zdnet.com/article/city-of-johannesburg-held-for-ransom-by-hacker-gang/">Johannesburg’s computer network was held for ransom</a> by a hacker group called Shadow Kill Hackers. This was the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49125853">second time</a> in three months a ransomware attack has hit South Africa’s largest city. This time, however, hackers didn’t pose the usual threat.</p> <p>Rather than denying the city <a href="https://www.hkcert.org/ransomware.hk/ransomware-basic.html">access to its data</a>, the standard blackmail in a ransomware attack, they threatened to publish it online. This style of attack, known as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ransomware#Leakware_(also_called_Doxware)">leakware</a>, allows hackers to target more victims in a single attack – in this case the city’s citizens.</p> <p>The latest Johannesburg attack was the second leakware attack of this type ever recorded, and a similar attack could hit Australia soon. And although our current cyberattack defences are more advanced than many countries, we could be taken by surprise because of the unique way leakware operates.</p> <p><strong>A new plan of attack</strong></p> <p>During the Johannesburg attack, city employees received a computer message saying hackers had “compromised all passwords and sensitive data such as finance and personal population information”. In exchange for not uploading the stolen data online, destroying it and revealing how they executed the breach, the hackers demanded four bitcoins (worth about A$52,663) - “a small amount of money” for a vast city council, they said.</p> <p><em><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299645/original/file-20191031-187903-1ykyg4q.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299645/original/file-20191031-187903-1ykyg4q.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The hacker group operated a Twitter account, on which they posted a photo showing the directories they had access to.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ShadowKillGroup/twitter</span></span></em></p> <p>In this case, access to data was not denied. But the threat of releasing data online can put enormous pressure on authorities to comply, or they risk releasing citizens’ sensitive information, and in doing so, betraying their trust.</p> <p>The city of Johannesburg decided <a href="https://coingeek.com/we-shall-not-pay-the-ransom-johannesburg-tells-hackers/">not to pay the ransom</a> and to restore systems on its own. Yet we don’t know whether the data has been released online or not. The attack suggests cybercriminals will continue to experiment and innovate in a bid to defeat current prevention and defence measures against leakware attacks.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299644/original/file-20191031-187898-hhld2p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299644/original/file-20191031-187898-hhld2p.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">This login screen message was displayed on computers in Johannesburg following the attack.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">pule_madumo/twitter</span></span></p> <p>Another notable leakware attack happened a decade ago against the US state of Virginia. <a href="https://www.govtech.com/security/Cyber-Criminal-Demands-10-Million.html">Hackers stole</a> prescription drug information from the state and tried obtaining a ransom by threatening to either release it online, or sell it to the highest bidder.</p> <p><strong>When to trust the word of a cybercriminal?</strong></p> <p>Ransomware attack victims face two options: <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1361372316300367">pay, or don’t pay</a>. If they choose the latter, they need to try other methods to recover the data being kept from them.</p> <p>If a ransom is paid, criminals will often decrypt the data as promised. They do this to encourage compliance in future victims. That said, paying a ransom <a href="https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/paying-the-coverton-ransomware-may-not-get-your-data-back/">doesn’t guarantee the release or decryption of data</a>.</p> <p>The type of attack experienced in Johannesburg poses a new incentive for criminals. Once the attackers have stolen the data, and have been paid the ransom, the data still has extractive value to them. This gives them <a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/1707.06247.pdf">duelling incentives</a> about whether to publish the data or not, as publishing it would mean they could continue to extort value from the city by targeting citizens directly.</p> <p>In cases where victims decide not to pay, the solution so far has been to have strong, separate and updated <a href="https://www.csoonline.com/article/3331981/how-to-protect-backups-from-ransomware.html">data backups</a>, or use one of <a href="https://www.nomoreransom.org/en/index.html">the passkeys available online</a>. Passkeys are decryption tools that help regain access to files once they’ve been held at ransom, by applying a repository of keys to unlock the most common types of ransomware.</p> <p>But these solutions don’t address the negative outcomes of leakware attacks, because the “<a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/bm/Documents/risk/cayman-islands/2017%20Deloitte%20-%20Taking%20data%20hostage%20-%20The%20rise%20of%20ransomware.PDF">hostage</a>” data is not meant to be released to the victim, but to the public. In this way, criminals manage to innovate their way out of being defeated by backups and decryption keys.</p> <p><strong>The traditional ransomware attack</strong></p> <p>Historically, <a href="https://www.techopedia.com/definition/4337/ransomware">ransomware attacks denied users access to their data, systems or services</a> by locking them out of their computers, files or servers. This is done through obtaining passwords and login details and changing them fraudulently through the process of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing">phishing</a>.</p> <p>It can also be done by encrypting the data and converting it to a format that makes it inaccessible to the original user. In such cases, criminals contact the victim and pressure them into paying a ransom in exchange for their data. The criminal’s success depends on both the value the data holds for the victim, and the victim’s inability to retrieve the data from elsewhere.</p> <p>Some cybercriminal groups have even developed complex online “<a href="https://www.computerworld.com/article/3173698/ransomware-customer-support-chat-reveals-criminals-ruthlessness.html">customer support</a>” assistance channels, to help victims buy cryptocurrency or otherwise assist in the process of paying ransoms.</p> <p><strong>Trouble close to home</strong></p> <p>Facing the risk of losing sensitive information, companies and governments often pay ransoms. This is <a href="https://www.synergetic.net.au/ransomware-attacks-on-the-rise-in-australia/">especially true</a> in Australia. Last year, 81% of Australian <a href="https://www.synergetic.net.au/ransomware-attacks-on-the-rise-in-australia/">companies</a> that experienced a cyberattack were held at ransom, and 51% of these paid.</p> <p>Generally, paying tends to <a href="http://www.rmmagazine.com/2016/05/02/ransomware-attacks-pose-growing-threat/">increase the likelihood</a> of future attacks, extending vulnerability to more targets. This is why ransomware is a rising global threat.</p> <p>In the first quarter of 2019, <a href="https://www.mcafee.com/enterprise/en-us/assets/reports/rp-quarterly-threats-aug-2019.pdf">ransomware attacks went up by 118%</a>. They also became more targeted towards governments, and the healthcare and legal sectors. Attacks on these sectors are now more lucrative than ever.</p> <p>The threat of leakware attacks is increasing. And as they become more advanced, Australian city councils and organisations should adapt their defences to brace for a new wave of sophisticated onslaught.</p> <p>As history has taught us, it’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/01/systems-shut-down-in-victorian-hospitals-after-suspected-cyber-attack">better to be safe</a> than sorry.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126190/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/roberto-musotto-872263">Roberto Musotto</a>, Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre Postdoctoral Fellow, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-nussbaum-874786">Brian Nussbaum</a>, Assistant Professor at College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-at-albany-state-university-of-new-york-1978">University at Albany, State University of New York</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/hackers-are-now-targeting-councils-and-governments-threatening-to-leak-citizen-data-126190">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to deal with smartphone stress

<p>In the past decade, smartphones have gone from being a status item to an indispensable part of our everyday lives. And we spend <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/au/mobile-consumer-survey">a lot of time</a> on them, around <a href="https://www.emarketer.com/corporate/coverage/be-prepared-mobile">four hours a day on average</a>.</p> <p>There’s an increasing body of research that shows smartphones can interfere with our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597814000089">sleep</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352853217300159">productivity</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032716303196">mental health</a> and <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13423-016-1011-z">impulse control</a>. Even having a <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/691462">smartphone within reach</a> can reduce available cognitive capacity.</p> <p>But it’s recently been suggested we should be more concerned with the potential for smartphones to shorten our lives by chronically <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/well/mind/putting-down-your-phone-may-help-you-live-longer.html">raising our levels of cortisol</a>, one of the body’s main stress hormones.</p> <p><strong>The stress hormone</strong></p> <p>Cortisol is often mislabelled as the primary fight-or-flight hormone that springs us into action when we are facing a threat (it is actually adrenaline that does this). Cortisol is produced when we are under stress, but its role is to keep the body on high alert, by increasing blood sugar levels and <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2004-15935-004">suppressing the immune system</a>.</p> <p>This serves us well when dealing with an immediate physical threat that resolves quickly. But when we’re faced with ongoing emotional stressors (like 24/7 work emails) chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10732263">all sorts of health problems</a> including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and depression. The long term risks for disease, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2010-0192">heart attack, stroke</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2019.00043">dementia</a> are also increased, all of which can lead to premature death.</p> <p>While many people say they feel more stressed now than <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-10-13/smartphone-survey-results-show-fascinating-differences-in-usage/9042184">before they had a smartphone</a>, research has yet to determine the role our smartphones play in actually elevating our levels of cortisol throughout the day.</p> <p>A recent study found greater smartphone use was associated with a greater rise in the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563217306908">cortisol awakening response</a> – the natural spike in cortisol that occurs around 30 minutes after waking to prepare us for the demands of the day.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/300024/original/file-20191104-88378-14tmhxu.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/300024/original/file-20191104-88378-14tmhxu.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> <span class="caption">In the past, we couldn’t receive angry emails from our bosses 24/7.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">from www.shutterstock.com</span></span></em></p> <p>Awakening responses that are too high or too low are associated with <a href="https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0167876008007940">poor physical and mental health</a>. But smartphone use did not affect participants’ natural pattern of cortisol rises and falls throughout the rest of the day. And no other studies have pointed to a link between smartphone use and chronically elevated cortisol levels.</p> <p>However people still do report feelings of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15213269.2015.1121832">digital stress</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215300893">information</a> and <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ct/article/27/3/269/4651866">communication overload</a>.</p> <p>Checking work emails in the evening or first thing upon waking can lead to the kind of stress that could potentially interfere with natural cortisol rhythms (not to mention <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597814000089">sleep</a>). <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214007018">Social media can also be stressful</a>, making us feel tethered to our social networks, exposing us to conflict and cyberbullying, and fostering social comparison and <a href="https://clutejournals.com/index.php/JBER/article/view/9554">FoMO</a> (fear of missing out).</p> <p>Despite being aware of these stressors, the dopamine hit we get thanks to social media’s <a href="http://sheu.org.uk/sheux/EH/eh363mdg.pdf">addictive design</a> means there is still a compulsion to check our feeds and notifications whenever we find ourselves with idle time. More than half of under 35s regularly check their smartphone <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-10-13/smartphone-survey-results-show-fascinating-differences-in-usage/9042184">when on the toilet</a>.</p> <p><strong>Some tips</strong></p> <p>Dealing with smartphone-induced stress is not as simple as having periods of going cold turkey. The withdrawals associated with the unofficial condition known as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4036142/">nomophobia</a> (an abbreviation of “no-mobile-phone phobia”) have also been shown to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143708/">increase cortisol levels</a>.</p> <p>Rather than going on a digital detox, which has been likened to the fad of the <a href="https://qz.com/1229311/digital-detoxing-is-the-tech-equivalent-of-a-juice-cleanse-and-neither-of-them-work/">juice cleanse diet</a>, we should be aiming for <a href="https://www.digitalnutrition.com.au/">digital nutrition</a>. That is, maintaining a healthier relationship with our smartphones where we are more mindful and intentional about what we consume digitally, so we can maximise the benefits and minimise the stress they bring to our lives.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/300027/original/file-20191104-88368-9qo4rf.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/300027/original/file-20191104-88368-9qo4rf.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> <span class="caption">Making the bed and kitchen table phone-free zones can help to reduce their effect on our lives.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">from www.shutterstock.com</span></span></em></p> <p>Here are some tips for healthier smartphone use:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Use Apple’s “<a href="https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT208982">Screen Time</a>”, Android’s <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.actiondash.playstore&amp;hl=en_AU">ActionDash</a> or the <a href="https://inthemoment.io/">Moment app</a> to take an audit of how often you use your phone and which apps take up most of your time</p> </li> <li> <p>Turn off all but the most important app notifications (such as private messages) so you can take back control of when you look at your phone. You can also allocate certain times of the day to be notification free</p> </li> <li> <p>Turn off the “push” or “fetch new data” option on your smartphone’s email. This way emails will only appear when you open the mail app and refresh it. As an added bonus this will help extend your phone’s battery life</p> </li> <li> <p>Take some time to complete a digital declutter, which includes unfollowing people/pages (there’s an <a href="https://blogs.systweak.com/how-to-mass-unfollow-on-instagram/">app</a> for that!) and unsubscribing from email lists (<a href="https://www.cleanfox.io/en/">that too</a>!) that cause you stress or don’t benefit you. Remember you can unfollow friends on Facebook without defriending them</p> </li> <li> <p>Create tech-free zones in your house, such as the kitchen table or bedrooms. An “out of sight out of mind” approach will help keep smartphone-delivered stress from creeping into your downtime</p> </li> <li> <p>Set a digital curfew to support better restorative sleep and don’t keep your phone next to your bed. Instead of reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, start your day with a brief meditation, some exercise, or a slow breakfast</p> </li> <li> <p>Be mindful and curious about how often you pick up your phone during the day simply out of boredom. Instead of bombarding your mind with information, use these opportunities to clear your mind with a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Bs0qUB3BHQ">short breathing exercise</a>. There’s even a mindfulness exercise that challenges you to hold your phone while you <a href="https://www.mindful.org/addicted-to-your-phone-try-this-practice-phone-in-hand/">meditate on your relationship with it</a>, so you can reclaim your phone as a cue to check-in with yourself, rather than your emails or social media feed.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/116426/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> </li> </ol> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brad-ridout-730902">Brad Ridout</a>, Research Fellow; Registered Psychologist; Deputy Chair, Cyberpsychology Research Group, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-deal-with-smartphone-stress-116426">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Facebook unveils “empathetic” new logo that’s designed to promote “clarity”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook has taken the need to rehabilitate its image quite literally and unveiled a new corporate logo.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company, which also owns other platforms such as Instagram and encrypted messaging site WhatsApp has released a new logo that it can use to differentiate itself from the social media site that shares the same name.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832331/body-facebook.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7728c133ea8f44fc92f9f8fd49f36b30" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company is planning to introduce clearer Facebook branding on the other two popular social media channels it owns and use the new block lettering logo to show the difference. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook’s chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio announced the reasoning behind the change. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The new branding was designed for clarity, and uses custom typography and capitalisation to create visual distinction between the company and app,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“People should know which companies make the products they use … this brand change is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect, share, build community and grow their audiences,” Mr Lucio said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a separate statement to </span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-04/facebook-adds-more-corporate-branding-to-instagram-whatsapp"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bloomberg</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, he said that it was due to “emphatic” millennials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All the research that we’ve had from Generation Z and millennials was all very emphatic as to they need to know where their brands come from,” Mr Lucio said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We needed to be more transparent with our users in showcasing that everything is coming from the same company.”</span></p>

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Recycling plastic bottles is good but reusing them is better

<p>Last week <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/woolworths-to-be-first-in-australia-with-zerowaste-food-delivery-system/news-story/8fb2f4018a2b0d25a63c58ba8b12a19b#.mo33b">Woolworths announced</a> a new food delivery system, in collaboration with US company TerraCycle, that delivers grocery essentials in reusable packaging.</p> <p>The system, called Loop, lets shoppers buy products from common supermarket brands in reusable packaging.</p> <p>As Australia works out how to meet the national packaging target for 100% of Australian packaging to be <a href="http://www.joshfrydenberg.com.au/guest/mediaReleasesDetails.aspx?id=562">recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025</a>, programs like this offer an opportunity to overhaul how plastic packaging is produced, used and recycled.</p> <p><strong>Recycling alone is not the silver bullet</strong></p> <p>Plastic packaging, most of which is for <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/3f275bb3-218f-4a3d-ae1d-424ff4cc52cd/files/australian-plastics-recycling-survey-report-2017-18.pdf">food and beverages</a>, is the fastest growing category of plastic use.</p> <p>In Australia <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/3f275bb3-218f-4a3d-ae1d-424ff4cc52cd/files/australian-plastics-recycling-survey-report-2017-18.pdf">less than 10%</a> of this plastic packaging is recycled, compared with 70% for paper and cardboard packaging.</p> <p>Of the <a href="http://www.sita.com.au/media/publications/02342_Plastics_Identification_Code.pdf">seven categories of plastic</a>, recycling of water bottles (PET) and milk bottles (HDPA) is most effective, yet recycling rates remain relatively low, around 30%.</p> <p>Other hard plastics (PVC, PS) and soft or flexible plastics, such as clingfilm and plastic bags, present significant challenges for recyclers. In the case of soft plastics, although recycling options are available, the use of additives known as plasticisers – used to make the hard plastic soft and malleable – often make products <a href="https://www.packagingcovenant.org.au/documents/item/2179">recycled out of soft plastics</a> weak, non-durable, and unable to be recycled further.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-recycle-our-way-to-zero-waste-78598">Some researchers</a> argue recycling actually represents a <a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/features/2936/disposable-drink-bottles-plastic-vs-glass-vs-aluminium">downgrading process</a>, as plastic packaging is not always recycled into new packaging, owing to contamination or diminished quality.</p> <p>Even where single-use plastic packaging can be effectively recycled, it often isn’t. The more single-use plastics that are produced, the higher the chance they will enter the ocean and other environments where their <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-02-27/plastic-and-plastic-waste-explained/8301316">plasticiser chemicals leach out</a>, harming wildlife populations and the humans who depend on them.</p> <p>Zero Waste Europe recently updated its <a href="https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/warr-strategy/the-waste-hierarchy">Waste Hierarchy</a> to emphasise avoiding packaging in the first instance, and to encourage reuse over recycling.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299986/original/file-20191103-88399-1hlgzdg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299986/original/file-20191103-88399-1hlgzdg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The zero waste hierarchy for a circular economy.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://zerowasteeurope.eu/2019/05/a-zero-waste-hierarchy-for-europe/" class="source">Zero Waste Europe</a></span></p> <p><strong>Getting reuse right</strong></p> <p>For a reusable product to be more environmentally sustainable than a single-use product, it must promote the use of less energy and resources in our daily routines.</p> <p>Although the uptake of products such as reusable cups and shopping bags have increased, these types of reusable items have attracted criticism. If used correctly, these products represent a positive change. However, <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-how-many-times-you-actually-need-to-reuse-your-shopping-bags-101097">some research suggests</a> these products can be less sustainable than the single-use items they are replacing if people treat them like disposable items and do not reuse them enough.</p> <p>For example, if you regularly buy new reusable bags at the supermarket, that potentially has a greater environmental impact than using “single-use” plastic bags.</p> <p>To really reduce plastic packaging, we need to find ways to alter the routines that involve plastic packaging, rather than directly substituting individual products (such as reusable bags for single-use ones).</p> <p><strong>Developing new reusable packaging systems</strong></p> <p>Redesigning ubiquitous plastic packaging means understanding why it is so useful. For food packaging, its functions might include:</p> <ol> <li> <p>allowing food to travel from producer to consumer while maintaining its freshness and form</p> </li> <li> <p>enabling the food to be kept on a shelf for an extended period of time without becoming inedible</p> </li> <li> <p>allowing the brand to display various nutritional information, branding and other product claims.</p> </li> </ol> <p>So how might these functions be met without disposable plastic packaging?</p> <p><a href="https://loopstore.com/how-it-works">TerraCycle Loop</a>, the business model that Woolworths has announced it will partner with, is currently also trialling services in the United States and France. They have partnered with postal services and large food and personal care brands including Unilever, Procter &amp; Gamble, Clorox, Nestlé, Mars, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo.</p> <p>Customers order products online, from ice-cream to juice and shampoo, with a small container deposit. These items are delivered to their house, and collected again with the next delivery. The containers are washed and taken back to the manufacturers for refill. The major participating brands have all redesigned their packaging to participate in the program.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299987/original/file-20191103-88403-1n63f5v.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299987/original/file-20191103-88403-1n63f5v.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">TerraCycle Loop reusable packaging.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://loopstore.com/how-it-works" class="source">TerraCycle Loop</a></span></p> <p>This model works because it is not replacing products one-for-one, but creating a new product <em>system</em> to allow people to easily integrate reuse into their daily routines.</p> <p>We can examine the function of single use plastic packaging in takeaway food in a similar way. The purpose of takeaway food packaging is to let us enjoy a meal at home or on the move without having to cook it ourselves or sit in a restaurant. So how might these functions be achieved without disposable packaging?</p> <p>Australian company <a href="https://returnr.org/">RETURNR</a> has addressed this with a system in which cafes partner with food delivery services. Customers buy food in a RETURNR container, pay a deposit with the cost of their meal, and then return the container to any cafe in the network.</p> <p>The Kickstarter campaign <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zeroco/zero-co-win-the-war-on-waste-at-your-place">Zero Co</a>, is offering a similar model for a resuse service that covers kitchen, laundry and bathroom products.</p> <p>Making reuse <a href="https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/institute-sustainable-futures/news/developing-alternatives">easy and convenient</a> is crucial to the success of these systems.</p> <p>If Australia is to meet our national packaging targets, we need to prioritise the elimination of unnecessary packaging. Although recycling is likely to remain crucial to keeping plastic waste out of landfill in the near future, it should only be pursued when options higher up the waste hierarchy – such as reuse – have been ruled out.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126339/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-wakefield-rann-321286">Rachael Wakefield-Rann</a>, Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jenni-downes-12549">Jenni Downes</a>, Research Fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia (Monash Sustainable Development Institute), <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-florin-160370">Nick Florin</a>, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/recycling-plastic-bottles-is-good-but-reusing-them-is-better-126339">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Experts claim passengers should not worry about cracks found in Boeing 737s

<p>The <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-01/qantas-says-three-boeing-737-found-with-cracks/11661320">cracks found in three Qantas-owned Boeing 737s last week</a> led to calls that it should ground its 33 aircraft with a similar service record.</p> <p>Although the three planes have been grounded and will require complex repairs, the cracks – in a component called the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/pickle-fork-graphic/11660462">pickle fork</a>, which helps strengthen the join between the aircraft’s body and wing – do not threaten the plane’s airworthiness.</p> <p>This makes it more of a threat to consumers’ confidence in Boeing and the airlines that fly its planes, rather than a direct risk to passenger safety, especially after the tragedies over a <a href="https://theconversation.com/flights-suspended-and-vital-questions-remain-after-second-boeing-737-max-8-crash-within-five-months-113272">poorly thought out automatic control system</a> installed on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.</p> <p>More broadly, however, the pickle fork defects highlight a problem that aviation engineers have been contending with for decades: component fatigue.</p> <p>The world’s first commercial jet airliner, the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170404-the-british-airliner-that-changed-the-world">de Havilland Comet</a>, launched in 1952 but suffered two near-identical crashes in 1953 in which the planes broke up shortly after takeoff, killing all on board. A <a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20140414-crashes-that-changed-plane-design">third fatal breakup in 1954</a> triggered an investigation and threatened to end the era of mass air travel almost as soon as it had begun.</p> <p>The crashes were all ultimately blamed on “fatigue failure”, caused by a concentration of stress in one of the passenger windows which resulted in a rapidly growing crack.</p> <p>Almost any metal structure can potentially suffer fatigue failure, but the problem is that it is very hard to predict before it happens.</p> <p>It begins at an “initiation area”, often at a random point in the component, from which a crack gradually grows each time the part is loaded. In the case of aircraft, the initiation area may be random, but from there the crack generally grows at a predictable rate each flight cycle.</p> <p>One solution instituted after the Comet investigation was to subject all aircraft to regular inspections that can detect cracks early, and monitor their growth. When the damage becomes critical – that is, if a component shows an increased risk of failure before the next inspection – that part is repaired or replaced.</p> <p>The current damage to the Qantas aircraft is a long way short of critical, as highlighted by the fact that Qantas has pointed out the next routine inspection was not due for <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/qantas-southwest-airlines-checking-boeing-737-planes-for-structural-cracks/news-story/565826954fd9151b51896ae905642421">at least seven months</a> – or about 1,000 flights. This is normal practice under the official <a href="https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/airworthiness_directives/search/?q=737">airworthiness directives</a> for Boeing 737s.</p> <p>Obviously, given the public relations considerations also involved, Qantas has nevertheless taken the three planes out of service immediately.</p> <p><strong>Why aren’t the pickle forks a threat?</strong></p> <p>It might sound strange to say the cracks in the pickle forks aren’t a threat to the aircraft’s safety. Does that mean aircraft can just fly around with cracks in them?</p> <p>Well, yes. Virtually all aircraft have cracks, and a monitored crack is much safer than a part that fails without warning. Bear in mind that all aircraft safety is reinforced by multiple layers of protection, and in the case of the pickle fork there are at least two such layers.</p> <p>First, the pickle fork is secured with multiple bolts, so if one bolt should fail as a result of cracking, depending on the location there will be another five or six bolts still holding it in place.</p> <p>Second, should the unthinkable occur and a pickle fork totally fail, there is still another “structural load path” that would maintain the strength of connection between the wing and body, so this would not affect the operation of the aircraft.</p> <p>On this basis, it seems strange that the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/cracks-discovered-on-second-qantas-boeing-737/11657146">called for the entire fleet to be grounded</a>, especially given that this union has no official role in the grounding of aircraft. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the only agency in Australia with a legal obligation to make such a ruling, and has <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/31/business/qantas-australia-union-737-scli-intl/index.html">assured passengers it is unnecessary</a>.</p> <p>Aircraft maintenance procedures are drawn up by the manufacturer’s design engineering team. Before the aircraft obtains a permit to fly, the designer has to demonstrate to a regulator – in Boeing’s case, the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/">US Federal Aviation Administration</a> – that is has fully accounted for all airworthiness issues. This has to be proved by both engineering calculations and physical models. The result is an extensive maintenance manual for each aircraft model.</p> <p>Before each flight the aircraft must be demonstrated to conform to the maintenance manual, which is the role of the maintenance engineers who work directly for airlines. While the maintenance engineers’ union is right to bring any safety concerns or maintenance issues to the attention of the airline and possibly the regulator, only the regulator is in a position to rule on whether a fleet, or part of it, should be grounded.</p> <p>Boeing and Qantas, and the many other airlines that fly 737s, are right to be concerned by this latest development because of the potential for it to harm them commercially. But while the cracked pickle forks will be giving executives headaches, passengers should rest easy in their seats.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126268/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-page-378413">John Page</a>, Senior Lecturer with the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/should-you-worry-about-boeing-737s-only-if-you-run-an-airline-126268">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What you need to know about YouTube's algorithm system

<p>People watch <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2017/02/you-know-whats-cool-billion-hours.html">more than a billion hours</a> of video on YouTube every day. Over the past few years, the video sharing platform has <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-youtube-pulled-these-men-down-a-vortex-of-far-right-hate">come under fire</a> for its role in <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/10/opinion/sunday/youtube-politics-radical.html">spreading</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/18/report-youtubes-alternative-influence-network-breeds-rightwing-radicalisation">amplifying</a> extreme views.</p> <p>YouTube’s video recommendation system, in particular, has been criticised for radicalising young people and steering viewers down <a href="https://policyreview.info/articles/news/implications-venturing-down-rabbit-hole/1406">rabbit holes</a> of disturbing content.</p> <p>The company <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2019/01/continuing-our-work-to-improve.html">claims</a> it is trying to avoid amplifying problematic content. But <a href="https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3298689.3346997">research</a> from YouTube’s parent company, Google, indicates this is far from straightforward, given the commercial pressure to keep users engaged via ever more stimulating content.</p> <p>But how do YouTube’s recommendation algorithms actually work? And how much are they really to blame for the problems of radicalisation?</p> <p><strong>The fetishisation of algorithms</strong></p> <p>Almost everything we see online is heavily curated. Algorithms decide what to show us in Google’s search results, Apple News, Twitter trends, Netflix recommendations, Facebook’s newsfeed, and even pre-sorted or spam-filtered emails. And that’s before you get to advertising.</p> <p>More often than not, these systems decide what to show us based on their idea of what we are like. They also use information such as what our friends are doing and what content is newest, as well as built-in randomness. All this makes it hard to reverse-engineer algorithmic outcomes to see how they came about.</p> <p>Algorithms take all the relevant data they have and process it to achieve a goal - often one that involves influencing users’ behaviour, such as selling us products or keeping us engaged with an app or website.</p> <p>At YouTube, the “up next” feature is the one that receives most attention, but other algorithms are just as important, including search result rankings, <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2008/02/new-experimental-personalized-homepage.html">homepage video recommendations</a>, and trending video lists.</p> <p><strong>How YouTube recommends content</strong></p> <p>The main goal of the YouTube recommendation system is to keep us watching. And the system works: it is responsible for more than <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/youtube-ces-2018-neal-mohan/">70% of the time users spend</a> watching videos.</p> <p>When a user watches a video on YouTube, the “up next” sidebar shows videos that are related but usually <a href="https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/11/07/many-turn-to-youtube-for-childrens-content-news-how-to-lessons/">longer and more popular</a>. These videos are ranked according to the user’s history and context, and newer videos are <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/pub-tools-public-publication-data/pdf/45530.pdf">generally preferenced</a>.</p> <p>This is where we run into trouble. If more watching time is the central objective, the recommendation algorithm will tend to favour videos that are new, engaging and provocative.</p> <p>Yet algorithms are just pieces of the vast and complex sociotechnical system that is YouTube, and there is so far little empirical evidence on their <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.08313">role</a> in processes of radicalisation.</p> <p>In fact, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1354856517736982">recent research</a> suggests that instead of thinking about algorithms alone, we should look at how they interact with community behaviour to determine what users see.</p> <p><strong>The importance of communities on YouTube</strong></p> <p>YouTube is a quasi-public space containing all kinds of videos: from musical clips, TV shows and films, to vernacular genres such as “how to” tutorials, parodies, and compilations. User communities that create their own videos and use the site as a social network have played an <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=0NsWtPHNl88C&amp;source=gbs_book_similarbooks">important role</a> on YouTube since its beginning.</p> <p>Today, these communities exist alongside <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1329878X17709098">commercial creators</a> who use the platform to build personal brands. Some of these are far-right figures who have found in YouTube a home to <a href="https://datasociety.net/output/alternative-influence/">push their agendas</a>.</p> <p>It is unlikely that algorithms alone are to blame for the radicalisation of a previously “<a href="https://www.wired.com/story/not-youtubes-algorithm-radicalizes-people/">moderate audience</a>” on YouTube. Instead, <a href="https://osf.io/73jys/">research</a> suggests these radicalised audiences existed all along.</p> <p>Content creators are not passive participants in the algorithmic systems. They <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1461444819854731">understand how the algorithms work</a> and are constantly improving their <a href="https://datasociety.net/output/data-voids/">tactics</a> to get their videos recommended.</p> <p>Right-wing content creators also know YouTube’s policies well. Their videos are often “borderline” content: they can be interpreted in different ways by different viewers.</p> <p>YouTube’s community guidelines restrict blatantly harmful content such as hate speech and violence. But it’s much harder to police content in the grey areas between jokes and bullying, religious doctrine and hate speech, or sarcasm and a call to arms.</p> <p><strong>Moving forward: a cultural shift</strong></p> <p>There is no magical technical solution to political radicalisation. YouTube is working to minimise the spread of borderline problematic content (for example, conspiracy theories) by <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2019/01/continuing-our-work-to-improve.html">reducing their recommendations</a> of videos that can potentially misinform users.</p> <p>However, YouTube is a company and it’s out to make a profit. It will always prioritise its commercial interests. We should be wary of relying on technological fixes by private companies to solve society’s problems. Plus, quick responses to “fix” these issues might also introduce harms to politically edgy (activists) and minority (such as sexuality-related or LGBTQ) communities.</p> <p>When we try to understand YouTube, we should take into account the different factors involved in algorithmic outcomes. This includes systematic, long-term analysis of what algorithms do, but also how they combine with <a href="https://policyreview.info/articles/news/implications-venturing-down-rabbit-hole/1406">YouTube’s prominent subcultures</a>, their <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.08313">role</a> in political polarisation, and their <a href="https://datasociety.net/pubs/oh/DataAndSociety_MediaManipulationAndDisinformationOnline.pdf">tactics</a> for managing visibility on the platform.</p> <p>Before YouTube can implement adequate measures to minimise the spread of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0894439314555329">harmful content</a>, it must first understand what cultural norms are thriving on their site – and being amplified by their algorithms.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The authors would like to acknowledge that the ideas presented in this article are the result of ongoing collaborative research on YouTube with researchers Jean Burgess, Nicolas Suzor, Bernhard Rieder, and Oscar Coromina.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125494/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ariadna-matamoros-fernandez-577257">Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández</a>, Lecturer in Digital Media at the School of Communication, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joanne-gray-873764">Joanne Gray</a>, Lecturer in Creative Industries, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-just-blame-youtubes-algorithms-for-radicalisation-humans-also-play-a-part-125494">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Netflix promises to crack down on users who share passwords

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix have promised to crack down on users that share their passwords with friends or family members.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means that if you borrow someone’s login, you might have to start paying for your own account in full.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix offers account-sharing features, but they’re designed to let people in a single-household use one login.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The streaming giant is worried that users are sharing their logins among different households.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix product chief Greg Peters spoke at Netflix’s Q3 2019 earnings and said that the company wants to address the issue of password sharing without “alienating a certain portion of the user base”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We continue to monitor it so we’re looking at the situation,” he said, according to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/tv/netflix-vows-crackdown-on-users-who-share-logins-with-pals-or-family-and-could-make-you-pay-extra/news-story/09630a28861854c2aa32201a4dae3e25"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’ll see those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Experts have said that users are already seeing signs of a crackdown.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They are policing this (already) by blocking the third concurrent screen if two screens are in use at the same time,” said Michael Pachter, a top analyst at Wedbush Securities, speaking to </span><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/10180393/netflix-account-sharing-price-family-pay-extra/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That doesn’t help if the users are in different time zones, as many households with kids in college are.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“However, it definitely cracks down on widespread password sharing.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He added: “They also have a way to track device usage and can require two-factor authentication, although they’ve haven’t rolled that out yet.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The news follows an announcement by tech firm Synamedia about a new AI system that cracks down on account sharing by using machine learning technology to track shared passwords on streaming services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore,” said product chief Jean Marc Racine, speaking at the CES event in Las Vegas this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many casual users will be happy to pay an additional fee for a premium, shared service.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a great way to keep honest people honest while benefiting from an incremental revenue stream.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The technology, once it has located shared passwords across streaming services, could be used to force users to upgrade to a premium service or even shut down their account.</span></p>

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Russian man sues Apple for “turning him gay”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Russian man has filed a lawsuit against tech giant Apple for moral harm claiming that an iPhone app has made him gay, according to a copy of the complaint seen by </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/russian-man-sues-apple-for-turning-him-gay/news-story/4761700ec65dde1f603acdb8781c2cda"><span style="font-weight: 400;">AFP</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The man has filed a suit in a Moscow court, asking for one million rubles (AUD$ 22,800) after an incident this summer delivered him a cryptocurrency called “GayCoin” instead of the Bitcoin he had ordered.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His lawyer Sapizhat Gusnieva insisted the case was “serious,” telling AFP that her client was “scared, he suffered”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The GayCoin cryptocurrency arrived with a note saying, “Don’t judge until you try,” according to the complaint.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought, in truth, how can I judge something without trying? I decided to try same-sex relationships,” the complainant wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Now I have a boyfriend and I do not know how to explain this to my parents … my life has been changed for the worse and will never become normal again,” he added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Apple pushed me towards homosexuality through manipulation. The changes have caused me moral and mental harm.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His lawyer says that Apple “has a responsibility for their programs”, despite the exchange taking place on a third-party app.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Homophobia is rampant in Russia, where reports of rights violations and attacks on LGBT people are common.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moscow has also introduced a law in 2013 against “gay propaganda”, which bans the “promotions of non-traditional lifestyles to minors”, but effectively outlaws LGBT activism.</span></p>

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Protect your online digital privacy by learning about “fingerprinting”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ad tech industry is always trying to find ways to monitor your digital activities as the more they know, the more money ends up in their pockets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This has led to the rise of “fingerprinting”, which has security researchers worried.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although it sounds harmless, “fingerprinting” involves looking at the many characteristics of your mobile device or computer, such as the screen resolution or operating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><em><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/03/technology/personaltech/fingerprinting-track-devices-what-to-do.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Times</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as soon as they have enough details, they can use this information to pinpoint and follow your online habits, such as how you browse the web and use applications.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once enough device characteristics are known, the theory goes that the data can be assembled into a profile that helps identify you the way a fingerprint would.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Get enough of those attributes together and it creates essentially a bar code,” said Peter Dolanjski, a product lead for Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, who is studying fingerprinting. “That bar code is absolutely uniquely identifiable.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bad news? The technique happens invisibly in the background in apps and websites, which makes it harder to combat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it’s a new way of discovering your web habits, the ways to protect yourself are limited as proper solutions are still in development.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Apple users have protections in Safari for computers and mobile devices, which makes your device look the same to a website by sharing the bare minimum of information that the site needs to load properly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For Android and Windows users, the safety recommendation is to use the Firefox web browser, as Mozilla introduced fingerprint blocking in its browser this year. However, the feature can prevent some content from loading on certain websites.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, if you’re a Google Chrome user, Google hasn't announced any defence system as of yet, but it has plans to release protections in the future. </span></p>

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“Nerd” or “wrongdoer”: How artificial intelligence will label you in the future

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tabong Kima logged onto Twitter one morning and saw a hashtag that said #ImageNetRoulette.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The site allows users to upload photos and artificial intelligence would analyse each face and describe what it saw.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One photo pegged a man as an “orphan” where another photo, where the person was wearing glasses, was labelled a “grind, nerd, wonk and dweeb”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kima, an African American, didn’t like what he saw when he uploaded his photo.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The site tagged him as a “wrongdoer” and an “offender”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I might have a bad sense of humour,” he </span><a href="https://twitter.com/TabKim2/status/1174330442385907712?s=19">tweeted</a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, “but I don’t think this is particularly funny”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">ImageNet Roulette is a digital art project that’s intended to shine a light on the unsound and offensive behaviour that can creep into artificial intelligence technologies.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Artificial intelligence technology is rapidly infiltrating its way into our everyday lives, including the facial-recognition services used by internet companies and police departments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">ImageNet Roulette, designed by American artist Trevor Paglen and Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford, aims to show the depth of this problem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We want to show how layers of bias and racism and misogyny move from one system to the next,” Paglen said in a phone interview from Paris.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The point is to let people see the work that is being done behind the scenes, to see how we are being processed and categorised all the time.”</span></p> <p> </p>

Technology

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New research shows baby boomers are less threatened by technology in the workplace

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New research commissioned by technology leader </span><a href="http://links.erelease.com.au/wf/click?upn=5eYQ-2B9hvLjY4F2EakWBi1ZLO7jaULuWnZBmbjF1-2FN2Awx-2F-2FA9sj0-2BQL-2BinGrP-2BrI_hfIqhjxrH5PXl2rHT1sLDTWyF1R6hGp8veDS2OqJRfJ2gqdnaHEljBkVvra9aGlx4VjSVUbKFpLRdZf3fB2LscCpfNHBZj472Ly9XaNbOKGSrO9w0nJWn8lTtojc5Iz41jlOpJCekIRYEVTulwB977Q2DlfgspDP1rDMixltb-2FDHmXx8SrNCmjiIToeB0EoXDNalY9E7KRn64YmdzVzUef-2B6t6bZP3-2FzMJbnfRI54eK0ZKR120HaEiYqQz5nWbnR"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Genesys</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has shown that older generations are significantly more positive towards artificial technology in Australia and New Zealand.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new research also suggested that older generations are more comfortable with the implementation of modern workforce tools as opposed to younger respondents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">70 per cent of respondents aged 18-38 years believe there should be a minimum requirement of human employees over AI/bots compared to 59 per cent of respondents aged 55-73 years. The younger respondents appear to be more cautious of the implementation of this technology compared to more senior respondents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All age demographics have reported seeing the benefit of advanced technology in the workplace, with an average of 87 per cent stating that it has a positive impact.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, 23 per cent of respondents aged 18 – 38 reported feeling threatened by new technology in the workplace. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gwilym Funnell, Vice President of Sales and Managing Director for Genesys in Australia and New Zealand said, “Older generations are valuable members of our workplace, and these results dispel the myth that they are averse to technology. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The evolution of business is calling for greater adaptability; this is when experience can be leveraged for greater success.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The survey also uncovered another key difference between the generations, which was the perception of the impact of technology on social interactions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">44% of respondents aged 55-73 years report technology does not inhibit social interactions at all, while those aged 18-38 years report it does – 7% more than their older peers.</span></p>

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New designs have been revealed for an incredible hotel in space

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Californian company known as </span><a href="https://gatewayspaceport.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Gateway Foundation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has released plans for the </span><a href="https://gatewayspaceport.com/von-braun-station/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Von Braun Station</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which is a cruise ship-style hotel that floats among the stars.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The aim is to get the hotel off the ground by 2025 and fully operational for travel in 2027.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tim Alatorre, senior design architect at the Gateway Foundation, says that the rotation wheels would create a simulated gravity, which would likely be the first commercial space construction project in history.</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vTNP01Sg-Ss"></iframe></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"The station rotates, pushing the contents of the station out to the perimeter of the station, much in the way that you can spin a bucket of water -- the water pushes out into the bucket and stays in place," he tells </span><a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/space-hotel-designs-von-braun-station-scn/index.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CNN Travel</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, getting to space is an expensive journey. The Von Braun hotel is hoping to make the journey into space and a stay at the hotel the equivalent of “a trip on a cruise or a trip to Disneyland”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The station is aiming to sleep 352 people and has a maximum capacity of 450, with plenty of recreational activities on board.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We're going to have a number of different recreation activities and games that'll highlight the fact that you're able to do things that you can't do on Earth," says Alatorre. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Because of the weightlessness and the reduced gravity, you'll be able to jump higher, be able to lift things, be able to run in ways that you can't on Earth."</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2uwMJPDU1d/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2uwMJPDU1d/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Soon, you could vacation in space 🌌 The Gateway Foundation released plans for the Von Braun Station, a cruise-ship-style hotel floating among the stars. The aim is to get the hotel off the ground by 2025 and make it fully operational for travel by 2027. The hotel will initially cater to those with money to blow, but the foundation is hoping to eventually make the cost equivalent to a trip to Disneyland. (📸: Courtesy Gateway Foundation)</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/cnn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> CNN</a> (@cnn) on Sep 22, 2019 at 3:37pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The goal of the Gateway Foundation is to create a “starship culture” where people eventually want to live and work in space.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"People will want to go and experience this just because it's a cool new thing and they've never done it before," he admits.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"But our goal -- the overall goal of the Gateway Foundation -- is to create a starship culture where people are going to space, and living in space, and working in space and they want to be in space. And we believe that there's a demand for that."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And if you’re more environmentally conscious, you can relax on a trip in space as everything will be recycled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"On the station itself, it's going to be about the most environmentally friendly vacation you'll ever have. Because we're recycling everything," says Alatorre.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"There's no amount of water or trash or waste that is going to be discarded, everything will be recycled, reused, stored, converted to some other form.”</span></p>

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“World will be changed forever” as Amazon Music is launched in US

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon have launched their better-than-CD quality audio streaming plan called </span><a href="https://music.amazon.com/home"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon Music HD</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The streaming service starts at $12.99 a month and offers over 50 million tracks in either CD or 24-bit quality.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The way that this service differs from other streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play music is that those services only offer compressed files.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon is one of a handful of companies that are able to offer high-quality FLAC streams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Musician Neil Young, who launched the Pono player several years ago is excited that Amazon is embracing lossless audio.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses," Young said in a statement. "This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The service costs $USD 12.99 a month for Prime members and $USD 14.99 a month for regular Amazon customers, or an additional $5 a month for current subscribers. Current memberships start at $7.99 a month. It's not yet offered in Australia or New Zealand.</span></p>

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Skype users warned after Microsoft could be “listening” to calls

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A new investigation done by tech website </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Motherboard</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has revealed that Microsoft workers could be “listening in” on your Skype conversations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It has been revealed that some employees occasionally have to review real video chat that has been processed by translation software in order to check the quality of translations, according to </span><em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/9680295/microsoft-caught-secretly-listening-to-skype-calls/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Microsoft spokesperson told Motherboard that Microsoft collects voice data to improve features on Skype.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They said: “We also put in place several procedures designed to prioritise users’ privacy before sharing this data with our vendors, including de-identifying data, requiring non-disclosure agreements with vendors and their employees, and requiring that vendors meet the high privacy standards set out in European law.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate from Comparitech.com, told </span><em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/microsoft-could-be-listening-to-some-skype-calls/news-story/d92ee2c5f713af3a7252be645004a365"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">: “Microsoft clearly states that recordings and transcriptions are analysed to verify accuracy and make corrections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The fact that humans are performing that analysis might make users uneasy, but I don’t think there’s much risk to end users.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That is, unless a contractor steals recordings and gives them to a Vice reporter. Microsoft ought to take steps to ensure this can’t happen in the future.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I recommend users refrain from revealing any identifying information while using Skype Translation and Cortana. Unless you identify yourself in the recording, there’s almost no way for a human analyst to figure out who you are.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Skype is an online video chat and voice call service that also provides an instant messaging platform.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Javvad Malik, a security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, said: “This latest revelation goes to show more needs to be done to ensure consumer data is being protected when customers use such services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In this instance, there needs to be a clear level of transparency and honesty about the entire call-recording process to give people a true understanding of what they are signing up for.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There is a fine line between invading someone’s privacy and collecting data for business purposes; a line that if crossed, can lead to serious breaches of data privacy.”</span></p>

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Facebook announces new “dating services” for its 2 billion users

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook has launched a new dating service for singles.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company announced that Dating, its new matchmaking service, has launched in the US. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook users are able to link their Facebook and Instagram posts and create a separate profile using the Dating feature. This new profile allows them to connect with Facebook’s 2 billion users around the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Facebook Dating allows you to match with friends of friends and/or people not in your friend circle,” said a blog post from Nathan Sharp, head of the project.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Facebook Dating won’t match you with friends, unless you choose to use Secret Crush and you both add each other to your list,” Mr Sharp said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Secret Crush, which is one of the features, allows people who are friends to connect if they both secretly express an interest in each other.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’ve been really slow, actually, with this rollout,” Charmaine Hung, a product manager at Dating, told </span><a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/05/tech/facebook-dating-launches-in-us/index.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>CNN Business</em></span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “We really wanted to make sure we got it right because dating is so personal.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Any Facebook mobile user over the age of 18 is able to take advantage of the service, and Facebook has slowly been rolling it out over the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The release in the US marks the 20</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> country to be given access to the service.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The other 19 countries that it has been released in include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is no word yet as to when the service will be launched in Australia and New Zealand.</span></p>

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