Mozilla News Beat, May 28, 2021
Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
Dog Dad, Cat Kids
A dog stumbled upon a litter of kittens and then went on to become their acting foster dad. There’s nothing cuter than this video of a pupper getting along famously with these baby kittens. Click the link below and be prepared for cuteness overload.
A Sound Idea
Could your Alexa or Google Assistant device understand you if you spoke Rwanda’s official language, Kinyarwanda? Probably not — despite being a language used by millions every day. Check out this interview with Mozilla fellow Chenai Chair, who chats with the BBC about Common Voice, a project that seeks to offer a more equitable voice assistant experience for underserved populations.
Facial Recognition Laws
Could the U.S. see federal legislation that addresses the use of facial recognition technology on its residents? MIT Technology Review spoke with the experts to talk about various ways the U.S. could see nationwide facial recognition regulation. Give it a read.
Without A Trace
WhatsApp vs India continues, this time with WhatsApp owner Facebook suing India’s central government. Though get ready to do a double take — it’s Facebook seeking to protect the privacy of residents of India. According to a new law, online platforms above a certain size are now required to ensure private messages can be traced back to the original sender. Facebook (and civil society) argue that it can’t do so without compromising WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption. Experts say pushback from tech companies against such laws is normal, but legal retaliation is rare.
Fake News Update
Facebook double take part two: the social network says it will not only begin to bury false information but also place accounts that regularly share misinformation lower down in the news feed. When navigating to an account known for sharing false information, Facebook says it will flag it, with a dialog box mentioning that its fact-checkers are wary of the page. Facebook says the effort is aimed to disincentivize the spread of viral misinformation.
Amazon Goes To The Movies
In the past we’ve seen Amazon gobble up companies that make camera-equipped doorbells, WiFi routers and even self-driving cars. Now they own a movie studio. On Wednesday, Amazon spent $8.45 billion to buy MGM Studios, furthering its entertainment industry ambitions. This is likely the first time a movie studio has been acquired by a bookstore turned web retailer turned advertiser turned web services provider turned surveillance giant turned — well, you get it.
We all know metadata — that is, data about a file — and how it can be used to identify information about that file’s owner. Well, metadata is in the news this week because Peloton left location data attached to users’ profile pictures that live on its servers. A major facepalm moment but rest assured: Peloton has since addressed the bug and your photo that resides on its server now has location data stripped.
A recently released dermatology app by Google can impressively detect 288 different types of skin conditions. Less impressive is the sample data Google used to train the brain behind its skin condition app. Only 3.5% of Google’s training data included people with Fitzpatrick skin types V (brown) and VI (dark brown). Experts say this could lead to the app misdiagnosing nonwhite users.
The News Beat
Ashley Boyd, Audrey Hingle, Udbhav Tiwari, Will Easton, Xavier Harding
Natalie Worth, Nancy Tran
Alexander Zimmerman, Will Easton
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