Mozilla News Beat, May 21, 2021
Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
Pro wrestling is a lot more cuddly than we remember. One pet owner noticed their pets’ penchant for playing with each other in a way that resembled wrestling. They took things to the next level with a proper arena for it. Take a paws and watch this video.
Writing a sentence on a computer using just your mind sounds impossible, but researchers are working to make sentences written via thought an actuality. Experts have combined machine learning with a brain-computer interface that detects one’s thoughts as they picture writing out letters. It then translates those letters into on-screen text. If the tech gets good it could be game-changing for people with physical disabilities.
Great Tech, Great Responsibility
It seems like tech continues to affect more facets of our lives with each passing day. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure those creating new technology are doing so with ethics in mind. Mozilla teamed up with schools to create a playbook, offering ways to integrate ethics into computer science education.
It’s no secret that, traditionally, cameras were calibrated with light-skinned subjects in mind. New efforts by Google seek to flip that practice on its head. At the company’s I/O 2021 announcement this week, Google noted that it’s working with a diverse team of photographers, artists and designers to properly accommodate dark skin and curly and/or wavy hair textures.
Privacy Meets Policy
So, here’s a thing: BuzzFeed found President Biden’s Venmo account. For years, Mozilla has urged Venmo to rethink what is set to “public” by default. Many have talked about this in relation to transactions, but a recent report notes that this should apply to friends lists too. But because friends lists can’t be hidden, the publication was able to determine which Venmo account belonged to the U.S. president.
As schools begin to reopen, companies like Motorola and Verkada are doing their best to convince schools to implement their surveillance tech into classrooms and hallways. School surveillance may have more dire consequences than many realize. Studies show that students at high surveillance schools were more likely to be suspended, have lower math scores and less likely to go to college.
As Israel-Palestinian unrest rages on, a report from Reuters reveals how Palestinians based in the neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah are seeing their social media protest posts removed from places like Instagram and Twitter. Both sites admitted that automated systems were at fault for many of the posts’ removal. Advocacy groups like Access Now, 7amleh and more have pushed back, demanding that Instagram and Twitter be transparent about the moderation policies being used on the content on their sites.
The News Beat
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