Issue 837

Monday, 18th March 2019
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In This Issue


Social media, the internet, Christchurch massacre

Lots of words floating around today about social media and the internet's role in cultivating the hate that lead an arsehole to murder 50 people in two Christchurch mosques on Friday and live stream the atrocity on Facebook. Facebook said they removed 1.5m videos featuring the horrors within 24 hours. Reddit removed a community dedicated to gore that was sharing the video. Valve had to delete user profiles that paid tribute to the terrorist. Our PM & NZ's PM both want Facebook to do something about the fact you could live stream a massacre to the globe with no intervention. I liked these two pieces in The Atlantic explaining how the terrorist is a product of the internet's cycle of hate and perfectly designed the attack to exploit social media.

Apple responds to Spotify's complaint that the App Store is anti-competitive

Apple has responded to the complaints Spotify made to the EU over what they say are anti-competitive practices on the App Store. The statement ignores many of the issues Spotify raises about how Apple has an unfair advantage (doesn't have to pay someone 30%/15% of its own revenue, doesn't have to wait months/years for access to APIs) and straight up lies saying that all developers on the App Store play by the same rules (they don't mention the vast exemptions and blind-eye turning Apple does to large developers it doesn't compete with). Michael Tsai has a good post with lots of developer opinions on this topic and most of them side with Spotify in this battle. When the Apple fanboys stop defending Apple, you know something's wrong.

Apple & Stanford publish results of their 400,000 participant Apple Watch Heart Study

When Apple released the Series 3 Apple Watch in November 2017, they also made available an app called Heart Study, with Stanford University. This app collected the heart rate information of over 400,000 people for a year, looking for info on how to identify irregular heart rhythms using "cheap" consumer devices. The results of the year long study are out and I think it's good news - when those identified via the app as having had an irregular heartbeat were given an ECG patch to wear to investigate further, 84% were confirmed has having had atrial fibrillation episodes. I'm no doctor or statistician, but it sounds good to me.

Mt. Gox CEO given 2.5 year suspended sentence for his role in the Bitcoin exchange collapse

Who remembers Mt. Gox? It was one of the first Bitcoin exchanges and one of the first to shit the bed in 2014, "losing" (a mix of stolen by hackers, embezzled by management and actually lost by incompetence) over 850,000 Bitcoin, which at their peak were worth billions. The reason I'm bringing Mt. Gox up now in 2019, is that Mark Karpeles the CEO of said ponzi scheme/cryptocurrency exchange, has been found guilty in a Japanese court of electronic record tampering to cover up Mt. Gox's losses before and after police investigation, but not embezzlement of the exchange's funds. He received a suspended 2.5yr sentence, so old mate is walking free.

Malware apps downloaded over 150m times on Google Play & Android antivirus apps are scams

Probably not news to most of us, but Checkpoint Software found that over 200 apps filled with ad-tech fueled malware that bombarded users with ads, steal passwords and install other apps, were downloaded over 150 million times. Most of them just look like bullshit games like "Snow Heavy Excavator Simulator" and "Ambulance Rescue Driving". In a separate report, Austrian antivirus testing outfit AV-Comparatives looked at 250 Android antivirus apps and found that "only 80 detected more than 30% of the malware they threw at each app during individual tests". These apps are really more interested in showing ads than making a user's device safe and secure. Unfortunately, it looks like smartphones are suffering the same bullshit user hostile app environment as desktop computers did.

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Not News, But Still Cool

US Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke was a member of Cult of the Dead Cow hacking group

If you aren't into US politics, the name Beto O'Rourke might not mean much to you, but Beto (yeah that's his real name) is running for President in 2020 and seen as a serious contender for the woke/lefty vote. He is known for being hip cool and down with the kids, but Reuters has found he is also down with the hackers and info sec crowd, being a member "America's oldest hacking group" — the Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC). He wasn't some big shot busting in to NASA or the FBI, but was writing up how-tos and FAQs and stuff like that. He also ran his own BBS called TacoLand (mostly about punk music) and used it under the name "PsychedelicWarlord". Kinda weird to be old enough where there's politicians having exposes about same things I did as a kid, but here we are.

Volkswagen chose Azure over AWS because it doesn't trust Amazon not to steal its ideas

CNBC has an interesting story about how Volkswagen decided to use Microsoft's Azure platform for their cloud needs instead of Amazon's, because they're afraid that if they get any sort of popularity or success, Amazon will steal their idea and turn into a competitor. Amazon's got a whole bunch of robocar stuff on the go and Volkswagen seems to trust Microsoft more than Amazon when it comes to not using their computing platform for corporate espionage. I'm surprised more software startups don't take this into consideration when choosing a platform - like if I use Google Cloud to build a search or ad product, is that giving Google an unfair competitive advantage?

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That's it, see ya tomorrow!

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