Issue 1423 - Thursday 5th August, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

Facebook closes down accounts of Ad Observatory research project

Facebook has suspended the personal accounts of NYU researchers, along with the research group's access to APIs and blocked their scraper, Ad Observatory. It was a project that Facebook uses could opt-in to by downloading a browser extension that would send the researchers info about the ads Facebook served up to that user, by scraping the content of the "why am I seeing this ad?" link on each ad. Facebook claims it has to do this because they're worried about a Cambridge Analytica type situation coming to bite them in the arse, but I'm also pretty sure they didn't have to think too long and hard about it considering this research was digging in to their advertising secret sauce.

NSW to expand digital photo ID card app trial to more parts of the state

The NSW government is expanding its digital photo card app trial to more of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. It's kinda like the digital driver's licence, but general ID for people who do not have a licence for whatever reason. It lives in the Service NSW app. Only about 6500 people are using it at the moment compared to 3.3m people (about 59% of drivers) using a digital drivers licence, but I guess you don't need one of these if you already have a licence. As much as I'm not a fan of governments doing technology stuff, this digital ID sounds pretty handy. Every day there's fewer and fewer things I need to carry with me when I leave the house except a smartphone (and a mask, don't forget the damn mask).

Microsoft removes negative comments on Windows 11 video & pauses Windows 365 free trials

Microsoft released a video answering people's questions regarding to the final hardware requirements for Windows 11, trying to ease worry around the enforcement of TPM 2.0 - a decision which would render many PCs unable to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Windows. The answers given in the video were pretty much "stiff shit, this is a security move, buy a new PC and enjoy the protection TPM 2.0 enables", which did not go over well in the comments section on YouTube. Microsoft had enough of the whinging masses and disabled the comments! Microsoft also disabled free trials of Windows 365 cloud PCs due to "significant demand". Probably everyone firing up cryptocurrency mining software and burning through the free trial to earn a few tokens.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Apple denied Safari extension as they're only for "reputable companies"

Safari extensions are very different to the wild west that are extensions for Chrome or Firefox. Unlike those two browsers, Apple has to approve extensions for its browser on the Mac and they're distributed via the Mac App Store. Unfortunately for developer Thomas Reed, his extension Browser Guard was denied because security software is only allowed from "reputable companies" - with no definition of what is a reputable company given. He went public decrying how fucked this is and a few hours later Apple changed their mind. The moral of the story here? Have a whinge and if you have enough of an audience, Apple will give in to the mob (but not actually fix the problem that caused the miss in the first place).


The End

📻 Million Young - The American Analog Set

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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.‚Äč