Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
We’ve all been there: you’re on live TV, commentating for the Olympics and then you say your computer password out loud for millions to hear. Just kidding, you can’t relate to that because, aside from you probably not working as an announcer, it basically never happens. Until now. Fans of the Olympic games over in Italy saw exactly this play out, suddenly making all those times you left your password on a sticky note at work seem not so bad. (Even though it is.)
May The DeepFake Be With You
Often when we talk about deepfakes, issues like misinformation and revenge porn regretfully come to mind. This time, though, we’re talking Star Wars. One artist’s rendition of deepfake Luke Skywalker was so good that they were ultimately poached by Industrial Light and Magic, the CG artists that work on actual Star Wars. Talk about a viral job interview.
Privacy Nutrition Labels
For all those who install flashlight apps on Android and wonder why they request so many doggone device permissions, you’re about to learn why. Google is following Apple’s lead and adding privacy labels to its app store. The labels will tell users just how great or terrible an app is for their privacy, with info on how an app collects location data, contact book data, personal information and more.
Facebook Facing Scrutiny
Last month a U.S. federal judge threw two antitrust lawsuits made against Facebook right in the (proverbial) trash. The judge failed to see how Facebook was a monopoly. Forty state attorney generals disagree and plan on appealing the decision. According to New York attorney general Letitia James: “We can no longer allow Facebook to profit off of exploiting consumer data.”
A Digital Master Key
Are...we okay with this? Amazon has a key to thousands of apartment buildings across the U.S. and counting. Like Amazon’s service that grants couriers entry into your garage or even house, the “Key for Business” service lets Amazon workers unlock an apartment building’s front door via an app. Fans say the system cuts down on package theft. Experts worry that bad actors can hack the cloud-based system. Regardless, Amazon wants this everywhere. AP News says the company offers the system free to landlords and sometimes even throws $100 their way to install it.
Facing The Facts
When you think of facial recognition IRL, you probably think of things like the airport security line — certainly not grocery stores. Well, time to rethink those assumptions. According to Recode, a new campaign from Fight for the Future notes how some of the most popular stores in the U.S. like Albertsons, Macy’s and even Apple Stores are using facial recognition on its customers. Check out Fight for the Future’s petition here.
A new report out of the BBC offers a rare look into the shadowy groups that help disinformation spread on social media. A German journalist recounts his experience being approached by a sponsor offering him money to spread false information and pretend like he genuinely believed it. Check out the story, if only to find out if influencers you follow are involved.
The News Beat
Anil Kanji, Xavier Harding
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