Violence, hate and revenge porn is bad, Twitter realises

Twitter

A mere few years since the problem came to wide public attention, Twitter has decided to do something about some of the desperate horrors that are committed on its network on a second-by-second basis.

The social media giant has announced the introduction of new rules that will apparently combat things like violent organisations, hate symbols, revenge porn and unwanted sexual advances.

A spokesperson earnestly intoned: ‘We hope our approach and upcoming changes, as well as our collaboration with the Trust and Safety Council, show how seriously we are rethinking our rules and how quickly we’re moving to update our policies and how we enforce them.’

I love the ‘how quickly’ bit. It’s been a cesspit of diabolical slime for years!

Anyhow, the changes have followed last week’s #womanboycotttwitter protest, which itself followed the suspension of actress Rose McGowan’s Twitter account after she tweeted tweets concerning the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Following this? I’m not sure how tweeting ‘#womenboycotttwitter’ could be effective, because you have to use Twitter to tweet it, don’t you?

But it did seem to work, because in response Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, tweeted: ‘We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years. We prioritized this in 2016. We updated our policies and increased the size of our teams. It wasn’t enough.’

The new rules will see the responses to revenge porn and unwanted sexual advances beefed-up, while hateful imagery and symbols while be classified as ‘sensitive media’.

Meanwhile ‘organisations that use violence as a means to advance their cause’ will have ‘enforcement action’ taken against them, so I assume the US government’s account is going to be blocked pretty swiftly.

Not everyone’s happy about the move. Tweeting to CEO Dorsey, anti-harassment campaigner Brianna Wu said: ‘Unless you are investing more in personnel and training staff in subjects they may not understand, this isn’t going to solve it.’

So, undoubtedly plenty more twists and turns and tweets to come, then.

Violence, hate and revenge porn is bad, Twitter realises

Spanning the gap: Dutch build world’s first 3D-printed bridge

Bridge.jpg

The bike-loving Dutch have constructed the earth’s first 3D-printed bridge, with cyclists set to be the chief beneficiaries.

The 8m ditch crossing joins two roads in the town of Gamert, south east Holland, and is made from around 800 layers of pre-stressed concrete.

The bridge, which I’m assuming was produced on something a little more significant than the HP Deskjet I have at home, took three months to print and can take a load of up to two tonnes.

In a statement on its website, the Eindhoven University of Technology, which printed the thing, claims that a key advantage of printing concrete is that much less of the stuff is needed than ‘in the conventional technique, in which a mold (formwork) is filled with concrete’.

Handily, the ‘printer deposits only the concrete where it is needed, which decreases the use of cement. This reduces CO2 emissions, as cement production has a very high carbon footprint’.

You can read more about the marvel here.

(N.B. The picture above isn’t the bridge in question. I wasn’t sure of the legality of using the pics available so didn’t use any of them)

Spanning the gap: Dutch build world’s first 3D-printed bridge

Sleep crisis: Tech heads can drop off

Sleep

The UK’s tech directors are struggling to get to sleep at night, research has revealed.

Digital agency Manifesto’s survey found that 41% of the country’s tech directors are suffering when they hit the pillows: 20% because their working days are too jampacked with jobs, and 21% because of complications in their work/life balance.

Meanwhile, 17% said that ‘unrealistic deadlines’ kept them wired at night; 20% reported that unsolved work problems were making them stare wistfully at the moon till 5am; and 13% said that concerns about running their teams are forcing them downstairs to watch ITV3 into the small hours.

Manifesto’s CEO, Jim Bowes, who I hope has a grand sleeplife, said: ‘Our latest research suggests that technology directors often struggle to get the support they need in the workplace. With such a demanding role to fulfil, many technologists seem to be getting caught up in the day-to-day running of the business, rather than focussing on how technology can add real value to the company.

‘Given the vital role that technology plays in modern business, senior management needs to readdress this balance and ensure they are empowering their technology directors to drive innovation and keep the company one step ahead of the competition.’

As for myself, I struggled with insomnia for years. One day I went to the doctor, and she said that I didn’t have insomnia, but amnesia: I’d simply been forgetting that I’d been asleep. Sorry.

Sleep crisis: Tech heads can drop off

Now even good old WiFi is extremely vulnerable to hacks

Ethernet

You know that helpful WiFi thing you’ve been connecting your phone and computer to in your home and at work for the last 14 years without incident? Well, your carefree, happy browsing days may be coming to an end.

Belgian researchers have discovered a major flaw in the authentication system WPA2 (wi-fi protected access II) – which they have dubbed ‘Krack’.

What does this mean? It means that people could possibly hack their way into the wireless network you’re connected to and see what you’re up to on the internet (which I’m sure is going to make a lot of people gulp and go a little pale).

According to the research team, ‘the majority’ of WiFi connections are vulnerable unless they get patched.

Apparently, the flaw is ‘exceptionally devastating’ for networks connected to Android 6.0.

And so serious is the threat that America’s important-sounding Computer Readiness Team (Cert) has stepped in with its own warning, saying: ‘US-Cert has become aware of several key management vulnerabilities in the four-way handshake of wi-fi protected access II (WPA2) security protocol. Most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected.’

Is this the cue for Ceefax’s return? Watch this space.

Now even good old WiFi is extremely vulnerable to hacks

It’s here, it’s new, and it’s all for you: Socitm’s new corporate membership!

New membership_blogSelf-driving cars. Drones delivering pies. Artificial intelligence-run homes. Um, Ikea furniture for pets. The world is full of exciting fresh wonders. But forget all of that – Socitm’s brand new corporate membership is here!

Over the summer (and its two hot days) we met loads of our members, and grilled them on our support and services.

Armed with bountiful and extensive feedback, we have built a new membership package that’ll blow your mind!

What have we added? There’s too much to list here, specially as I sliced one of my key typing fingers on a door hinge earlier, but here’s a little peak: monthly webinars; an online corporate member area; a concierge service; a free hotel room; and more!

In January, as the cold east winds blow and the blizzards swirl, we’ll be launching the new corporate member area I alluded to in the previous paragraph. It’s going to be online, so you should be fine if you have a computer. Through it, a rich, unrivalled stream of material is going to fill your world with joy.

You know Socitm Insight? Well, henceforth, it’s going to be called Socitm Inform ­– and it’s going to deliver you around 150 pieces of fresh, unique content every year: monthly reports, videos, graphics, messages from the president (the Socitm one, not the mad US one – though, who knows, we might be able to get him to write something).

Our membership structure has been revitalised, retooled and jolly well polished to offer you the level of service you need. Our new packages are: Essential, Enhanced and Executive – now click here to find out all about them.

Remember that concierge service I briefly mentioned three paragraphs ago? Well, those who plump for our Executive membership are going to become very familiar with this little gem (it basically takes our service levels into the stratosphere).

There’s lots more I haven’t mentioned, due to time, injury and forgetfulness, so, once again, click here to get the full picture.

 

It’s here, it’s new, and it’s all for you: Socitm’s new corporate membership!

Book encourages girls to code

sasha_blog

A teenager has written a children’s book about coding – because she wants to encourage young girls into the field and she loves coding, so she does.

Sasha Ariel Alston took two years to write ‘Sasha Savvy Loves to Code’, which follows the story of 10-year-old Sasha Savvy who goes to ‘coding camp’ and learns how to programme games.

It dawned on the author, who is studying information systems at Pace University in the United States of them Americas, that hardly any girls take up coding – so she decided to try and tackle the issue.

Sasha said: ‘The purpose of the book is just to get girls interested in coding and to provide basic coding terms.’

Earlier this year, it was revealed that less than 10% of students that studied A-level computing this year were female – so perhaps Sasha’s book can help to address the pitiful imbalance.

The writer raised $17,000 through Kickstarter to create the book, which is how everyone seems to raise money these days – yet my scheme, a manned mission to the sun, hasn’t received a single penny.

I’d provide you with a link to the book, but there doesn’t seem to be one. Sorry.

No, wait! There is: https://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780997135428

Book encourages girls to code

Friday round-up: A week in tech

Plan

The naughty North Koreans have allegedly nicked South Korea and America’s war plans. Tsk.

According to Rhee Cheol-hee, a member of the south’s National Assembly, battle documents were hacked from a military database.

Apparently, a gobsmacking 235gbs of data were stolen – how much detail do you need to say ‘bomb, shell, rocket, pound and burn relentlessly’?

Anyhow, America’s centre for blowing things up, the Pentagon, won’t comment on the incident, no doubt happy to leave important correspondence like that to the Commander in Chief, who famously uses the diplomatic channel ‘Twitter’ to clearheadedly inform and calm all.

Full story here.

***

The Equifax debacle took yet a deeper tumble into the depths of Shamblesville this week.

The bungling company admitted a few weeks ago that 400,000 UK customers had their details stolen during a big hack in May. However, that number has turned out to be slightly off the mark: it’s actually 15.2 million customers. A small adjustment, then. The victims will now be written to, assuming Equifax don’t somehow screw that up too.

But why have one embarrassing fiasco in a week when you can have two? The firm was also forced to take down its customer website after hackers took control and redirected those accessing it to pages that installed adware on their devices!

Why is anyone STILL trying to access Equifax’s webpage as if it’s a viable enterprise to do business with?

Full story here.

***

Modern, cool tech firm Twitter sort of waded into the grotesque Harvey Weinstein affair this week – by banning an actress who claims she was a victim of the vast creep.

The social media network locked Rose McGowan’s account for 12 hours after she got into a spat with the abysmal Ben Affleck, who she accused of lying about his knowledge of Weinstein’s predilections.

Or so it appeared! Turns out, Twitter actually suspended her account for publishing a private phone number (whose I don’t know), and said they would activate it again when she deleted the offending tweet.

So, you can get suspended for tweeting a phone number but not for threatening to destroy a country, as Mr Trump did last month on the network. The plot thickens…

More here.

 

Friday round-up: A week in tech