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Category Archives: Internet

Alexa, are you listening?

Information Technology and Libraries – An exploration of smart voice assistant use and privacy in libraries: “Smart voice assistants have expanded from personal use in the home to applications in public services and educational spaces. The library and information science (LIS) trade literature suggests that libraries are part of this trend, however there is a dearth of empirical studies that explore how libraries are implementing smart voice assistants in their services, and how these libraries are mitigating the potential patron data privacy issues posed by these technologies. This study contributes to this gap by reporting on the results of a national survey that documents how libraries are integrating voice assistant technologies (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google home) into their services, programming, and check-out programs. The survey also surfaces some of the key privacy concerns of library workers in regard to implementing voice assistants in library services. We find that although voice assistant use might not be mainstreamed in library services in high numbers (yet), libraries are clearly experimenting with (and having internal conversations with their staff about) using these technologies. The responses to our survey indicate that library workers have many savvy privacy concerns about the use of voice assistants in library services that are critical to address in advance of library institutions riding the wave of emerging technology adoption. This research has important implications for developing library practices, policies, and education opportunities that place patron privacy as a central part of digital literacy in an information landscape characterized by ubiquitous smart surveillant technologies.”

There are so many coronavirus myths that even Snopes can’t keep up

Washington Post – “…Snopes, which delves into everything from bizarre urban legends to intricate government policies, has been overwhelmed with so many covid-19-related questions that the website can’t keep up. The company has done something that seems counterintuitive: It has scaled back operations by publishing fewer stories. There have been no furloughs or layoffs; but… Continue Reading

Quit Chrome. Safari and Edge Are Just Better Browsers for You and Your Computer

WSJ via DowJones/Fidelity: “…while Chrome has gobbled up 69% of the desktop-laptop browser market share, according to NetMarketShare, its competitors, all with single-digit percentages, have been laser-focused on kicking Chrome square in the blue dot. Microsoft’s new Edge browser, rolling out to Windows 10 machines this summer and available now for download on a Mac,… Continue Reading

China’s Great Firewall descends on Hong Kong internet users

The Guardian: “At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of a contentious new national security law, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech and force internet service providers to hand… Continue Reading

The COVID Racial Data Tracker

“The COVID Racial Data Tracker advocates for, collects, publishes, and analyzes racial data on the pandemic across the United States. It’s a collaboration between the COVID Tracking Project and the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. This project began when Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research, wrote a series… Continue Reading

Audit Finds Facebook’s Decisions Were ‘Setbacks for Civil Rights

The New York Times – “An independent audit faulted the social network for allowing hate speech and disinformation to thrive — potentially posing a threat to the November elections. Auditors handpicked by Facebook to examine its policies said that the company had not done enough to protect people on the platform from discriminatory posts and… Continue Reading

Study – Google, Amazon funnel at least $25 million to coronavirus conspiracy sites

Why is ad tech paying US$25 million to COVID-19 disinfo sites? – Household brands are inadvertently funding disinformation sites to spread COVID-19 conspiracies, thanks to ad tech companies that do not effectively screen the sites to which they provide ads services.  New research from the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) shows that Google, Amazon and other… Continue Reading

NIST Kick-Starts ‘Threshold Cryptography’ Development Effort

Establishing the emerging technique’s building blocks is a near-term focus – “A new publication by cryptography experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposes the direction the technical agency will take to develop a more secure approach to encryption. This approach, called threshold cryptography, could overcome some of the limitations of conventional… Continue Reading

Teachers face threats, books are banned as China pushes party line in Hong Kong schools

Washington Post: “As China’s Communist Party dismantles Hong Kong’s freedoms, teachers are facing pressure to toe Beijing’s line. Schools are emerging as ideological battlegrounds as officials seek to transform freethinking students into patriots loyal to the motherland through punishment, coercion, surveillance and propaganda-style education. “I feel like we have suddenly been put on the front… Continue Reading

How Google Docs became the social media of the resistance

MIT Technology Review – “Facebook and Twitter might have the bells and whistles, but the word processing software’s simplicity and accessibility have made it a winning tool… In just the last week, Google Docs has emerged as a way to share everything from lists of books on racism to templates for letters to family members… Continue Reading

Covid-19 Shows That Scientific Journals Need to Open Up

Bloomberg Opinion via MSN: “One big change brought on by Covid-19 is that virtually all the scientific research being produced about it is free to read. Anyone can access the many preliminary findings that scholars are posting on “preprint servers.” Data are shared openly via a multitude of different channels. Scientific journals that normally keep their articles behind… Continue Reading