In This Issue


US, UK & Australia ask Facebook to delay end-to-end encryption

US Attorney General Bill Barr, along with the attorney generals of the UK and Australia, have put together an open letter asking Facebook to delay the introduction of end to end encryption for its various chat services like Messenger. Why are they asking Facebook to make things less secure for its users? Because according to them, giving the public end-to-end encryption "puts our citizens and societies at risk by severely eroding a company's ability to detect and respond to illegal content and activity, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, terrorism, and foreign adversaries' attempts to undermine democratic values and institutions, preventing the prosecution of offenders and safeguarding of victims". This is the same rhetoric they've been spinning for years yet the tech industry just isn’t buying into it. I can’t see how this is a sustainable state of affairs for anyone.

European courts say Facebook needs to delete stuff across entire EU, not just the country that complained

Over in Europe, their highest court has determined that Facebook has an obligation to remove "hateful content deemed illegal by a national court" in all the EU countries, not just the one that asked for the content to be removed, even if the content in question isn't illegal in other countries. While this might sound good in theory (less bullshit on Facebook!), UK rights group Article 19 reckons in practice it'll "set a dangerous precedent where the courts of one country can control what internet users in another country can see. This could be open to abuse, particularly by regimes with weak human rights records". Facebook are really fucked politically aren't they? But they seem to still be making money hand over fist. What the hell is going on?

Google tries to be woke but fails, tricking homeless black people to participate in facial recognition project

Google has been getting college kids and temporary workers to go around the USA and trick black people into getting their faces scanned with a prototype smartphone in order to improve its facial recognition features. The workers were told to give out $5 gift cards in return for “taking a selfie” or “playing a mini-game on a new smartphone”, but “walk away if people started to get suspicious” and ask for details on what’s going on. They specifically targeted Atlanta as it has a high population of homeless black people and they’re “the least likely to say anything to the media”. On one hand it’s good Google realises they’re such a pack of in-bred whiteys that they need to go outside their bubble to improve the quality of their features, but on the other hand they did it in probably the shiftiest way possible.

Not News

Learn how the subtitle sausage is made with this ACMA video

ACMA uploaded an interesting video about how TV show captions are made. I kinda had a hunch it was complicated, but not as detailed and varied as it is explained in this video. There's people who's job it is just to repeat with their voice what is being said on TV, so a speech recognition algorithm can turn it into text. For a pre-recorded program, it can take up to 8 hours to do 1 hour of video. Live captions are done by a stenographer, who uses a shorthand keyboard to get the subtitles up. Oh and overseas captions often can't be used in Australia as the captions are copyrighted, so a local team has to re-create the subtitles! Stupid copyright laws getting in the way once again.


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😁 The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Join us on Slack and chat with other Sizzle subscribers.

The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.​