Social media giants must tackle trolls or face charges – poll | Technology- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

More than three-quarters of adults believe social media companies are not doing enough to curb online abuse, according to a new poll for an anti-bullying campaign group.
The poll, by YouGov for Clean Up The Internet, also found four in five adults think these firms should face fines if they do not act against abuse.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others have faced criticism for years for failing to tackle trolling, harassment and bullying.
Many “trolls” are now taken to court. Crown Prosecution Service figures show prosecutions for offences have risen by 78% in the past five years. There were 5,952 in 2018-19.
Last month, the government announced plans for an online harms bill, that would give Ofcom powers to regulate and prosecute internet companies.
Clean Up The Internet believes the legislation should also restrict online anonymity and its founder, Stephen Kinsella, said: “ Social media companies could do far more to tackle anonymous abuse. If they won’t act voluntarily, the government needs to step in.”
However, free speech campaigners believe regulating the internet poses a threat to civil liberties. Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Online anonymity is vital to protect privacy and freedom of expression.”

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‘Zoom is malware’: why experts worry about the video conferencing platform | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

As coronavirus lockdowns have moved many in-person activities online, the use of the video-conferencing platform Zoom has quickly escalated. So, too, have concerns about its security.
In the last month, there was a 535% rise in daily traffic to the Zoom.us download page, according to an analysis from the analytics firm SimilarWeb. Its app for iPhone has been the most downloaded app in the country for weeks, according to the mobile app market research firm Sensor Tower. Even politicians and other high-profile figures, including the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the former US federal reserve chair Alan Greenspan, use it for conferencing as they work from home.

But security researchers have called Zoom “a privacy disaster” and “fundamentally corrupt” as allegations of the company mishandling user data snowball.
On Monday, New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, sent a letter to the company asking it to outline the measures it had taken to address security concerns and accommodate the rise in users.
In the letter, James said Zoom had been slow to address security vulnerabilities “that could enable malicious third parties to, among other things, gain surreptitious access to consumer webcams”.
A spokesman from Zoom told the Guardian on Wednesday it was planning to send James the requested information and comply with the request. “Zoom takes its users’ privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously,” the spokesman said. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are working around the clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools and other businesses across the world can stay connected and operational.”
And on Thursday, the company announced it would freeze all new feature development and shift all engineering resources on to security and safety issues that have been called to attention in recent weeks.
Here’s what you need to know about the challenges with Zoom:
‘Zoom bombing’ on the rise
On 30 March, the FBI announced it was investigating increased cases of video hijacking, also known as “Zoom-bombing”, in which hackers infiltrate video meetings, often shouting racial slurs or threats.
Zoom meetings can be accessed by a short number-based URL, which can easily be generated and guessed by hackers, a January report from the security firm Checkpoint found. Zoom has released guidelines in recent days about how to prevent unwanted guests from crashing video meetings and a spokesman told the Guardian it had also been working to educate its users on protections through blogposts and webinars.
No end-to-end encryption
Zoom has falsely advertised itself as using end-to-end encryption, a system that secures communication so that it can only be read by the users involved, a report from the Intercept found. Zoom confirmed in a blogpost on Wednesday that end-to-end encryption was not currently possible on the platform and apologized for the “confusion” it caused by “incorrectly” suggesting the opposite.
Security flaws
A number of security flaws affecting Zoom have been reported in the past and as recently as this week. In 2019, it was revealed Zoom had quietly installed a hidden web server on user devices that could allow the user to be added to a call without their permission. And a bug discovered this week would enable hackers to take over a Zoom user’s Mac, including tapping into the webcam and hacking the microphone.
The company said on Thursday it had issued a release to fix the Mac issue, but the number of security issues with Zoom in the past make it as bad as malicious software, said Arvind Narayanan, an associate computer science professor at Princeton University.
“Let’s make this simple,” he said. “Zoom is malware.”
In-app surveillance measures
Zoom has been criticized for its “attention tracking” feature, which allows a host to see if a user clicks away from a Zoom window for 30 seconds or more.
This feature would allow employers to check if employees are really tuned into a work meeting or if students are really watching a classroom presentation remotely.
Selling user data
A report from Motherboard found Zoom sends data from users of its iOS app to Facebook for advertising purposes, even if the user does not have a Facebook account.
Zoom changed some of its policies in response and said on Thursday that the company “has never sold user data in the past and has no intention of selling users’ data going forward”. But the Motherboard story was cited in a lawsuit filed in a federal court in California this week, accusing Zoom of failing to “properly safeguard the personal information of the increasing millions of users” on its platform.
This privacy flaw was also mentioned in the letter from James, which noted such privacy violations could be of particular concern as schools migrate to Zoom for class.
“While Zoom has remediated specific reported security vulnerabilities, we would like to understand whether Zoom has undertaken a broader review of its security practices,” the letter said.

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Twitter deletes 20,000 fake accounts linked to Saudi, Serbian and Egyptian governments | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Twitter has deleted 20,000 fake accounts linked to the governments of Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Honduras and Indonesia, saying they violated company policy and were a “targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation”.
Yoel Roth, the head of site integrity, said the removal of the accounts was part of the company’s ongoing “work to detect and investigate state-backed information operations”.

Of the accounts removed on Thursday, 8,558 were linked to the Serbian Progressive party (SNS) of Aleksandar Vučić, the president. The accounts had posted more than 43m tweets amplifying positive news coverage of Vučić’s government and attacking his political opponents.
Twitter also removed a network of 5,350 accounts linked to the Saudi monarchy operating out of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Together they had tweeted 36.5m times praising the Saudi leadership or criticising Qatar and Turkish activity in Yemen.
The takedown of the accounts followed a tip from the Stanford Internet Observatory, which said that network had also generated tweets supportive of the Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar.
“Prominent narratives included discrediting recent Libyan peace talks, criticizing the Syrian government, criticizing Iranian influence in Iraq, praising the Mauritanian government, and criticism of Houthi rebels in Yemen,” the observatory said in a blogpost.
A separate Egyptian network of 2,541 accounts linked to the pro-government El Fagr newspaper, was also removed. Twitter said that the fake accounts had been used to “amplify messaging critical of Iran, Qatar and Turkey”.
The social media company deleted more than 3,000 accounts which it said had been traced to a staffer working for the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández.
“Much of the tweet behavior seems targeted at drowning out negative news about the Honduran president by promoting presidential initiatives and heavily retweeting the president and news outlets favorable to his administration,” the Stanford Internet Observatory said.
Following up reporting by investigative journalists at Bellingcat, the company said it had removed 795 fake accounts promoting the Indonesian government and targeting the West Papuan independence movement.
Twitter has purged networks of state-backed fake accounts since coming under criticism for being used as a vehicle for disinformation. Last month Twitter took joint action with Facebook and to disable a Moscow-linked operation aimed at inflaming racial tensions in the US, as the social media companies sought to respond to pressure to block attempted Russian interference in the 2020 presidential elections.
“Transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter,” a company statement said. “These behaviors are in violation of our policies and are a targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation.”
Niam Yaraghi, a fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, said that the removal of the accounts would have a largely symbolic importance, arguing that it was very easy for well-resourced state actors to replace them.
“When you look at these numbers of accounts, in terms of their quantity, they’re just a drop in the ocean,” Yaraghi said. “They’ll have some psychological impact, probably, but I’m very doubtful they will have any real tangible impact on anything important.”

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YouTube profits from videos promoting unproven Covid-19 treatments | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

YouTube is profiting from videos promoting unproven coronavirus treatments, a new report has found, as the company struggles to crack down on misinformation.

The Google-owned tech company is running advertisements with videos pushing herbs, meditative music, and potentially unsafe over-the-counter supplements as cures for Covid-19, according to a report published on Friday by the Tech Transparency Project, a not-for-profit watchdog organization.
The report found at least seven videos hawking such dubious treatments with advertisements from sponsors including Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, Facebook, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the streaming startup Quibi, and Masterclass.com.
After being contacted by the Guardian, YouTube removed four of the videos in question for violating its policies against Covid-19 misinformation. Three of the videos remain as they are not promoting misinformation directly but offering wellness tips, according to a spokesman.
“We’re committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time, including raising authoritative content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation and showing information panels, using WHO data, to help combat misinformation,” the spokesman said.
He said YouTube had removed thousands of videos related to misleading and dangerous coronavirus content in recent weeks.
Many social media platforms have struggled to quell coronavirus misinformation, as the number of people infected tops 1 million.
Companies including YouTube may be forced to rely more heavily on artificial intelligence tools to moderate content while employees are forced to work from home, said Megan Lamberth, a researcher at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington DC-based thinktank.

YouTube is running advertisements with videos pushing herbs, meditative music and potentially unsafe over-the-counter supplements as cures to Covid-19. Photograph: Hakan Nural/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen an enormous rise of misinformation on online platforms,” she said. “Social media companies have tried to respond to the deluge of misinformation, but in many cases, their moderation efforts have not been sufficient.”
TikTok has partnered with the World Health Organization to provide accurate information to users and has put a disclaimer on all videos using the #coronavirus hashtag with accurate information about the pandemic. Other sites, including Facebook, have pushed back against dangerous false cures including cleaning products and cocaine.
The global pandemic has created a situation ripe for the spread of false cures, said Lisa Fazio, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University who studies misinformation and how it spreads.

“If the most profitable videos are those that feel good and provide easy answers, then it’s highly likely that they will contain misinformation,” she said. “In reality, the current situation is complicated and has few easy answers.”
YouTube initially prohibited the monetization of videos about Covid-19 under its “sensitive events” policy, which bars advertisements on videos regarding armed conflicts, terrorist acts, and “global health crises”.
However, it reversed that policy on 11 March, saying it wanted to “make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way”. It then enabled coronavirus video ads for “a limited number of channels”, and on 2 April it expanded monetization of content mentioning or featuring Covid-19 to all creators and news organizations.
Doing so may be encouraging misinformation as a means of making profit, said the Tech Transparency Project report.
“In lifting restrictions on advertising in videos about the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube has made disinformation lucrative for some unscrupulous content creators and a liability for the brands that unwittingly support them,” the report said.

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How the Covid-19 crisis locked Airbnb out of its own homes | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

“You would not have an empire without us,” an Airbnb host shouts down the lens in a video addressing the company’s billionaire co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky. “It’s our homes on your platform. It’s our face on millions of listings. It’s our soul that brings the magic … It’s our place that makes you money.”

internet refuse sifter (@weeaboo)
lol airbnb landlords are losing their minds because people canceled their trips due to the uh. global pandemic pic.twitter.com/2DeNluRuie
March 22, 2020

The man in the video is pulsating with anger at Airbnb’s decision to allow guests to cancel bookings for trips starting before 31 May with a full refund due to the coronavirus outbreak. The anger is so raw many commentators have dismissed it as a parody, and the Guardian was unable to confirm it’s authenticity.
But Airbnb’s army of 700,000 hosts are distraught at the income they are losing as a result of the company’s generosity to guests. Chesky this week apologised and said the company would spend $250m (£200m) covering 25% of what hosts would have been paid for reservations between 14 March and 31 May.
An additional $10m relief fund is being made available to “super hosts” offering grants of up to $5,000 for “hosts who hurt the most”. Airbnb founders will also take no salary for six months, and top executives will have their salaries halved.
“Although it may not have felt like it, we are partners,” Chesky said in email to hosts. “When your business suffers, our business suffers. We know that right now many of you are struggling, and what you need are actions from us to help, not just words.”
Airbnb has built up reported cash reserves of $3bn from booking fees charged to both guests and hosts. It collected revenues from the fees in excess of $4.8bn last year, according to Reuters. Hosts are charged 3% of every booking, while guests are charged up to 14.2%.
The hangover from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to last far longer than 31 May or whenever governments lift movement restrictions. Hosts report empty booking calendars stretching throughout the summer, and research by analysis website AirDNA shows bookings in some cities has fallen by as much as 96%.
For hosts who occasionally rent out their spare room in the style of a real bed & breakfast the lost Airbnb income due the coronavirus is a frustration.
But, for those who have built up mini (or in some cases not-so-mini) property portfolios that rely on a constant stream of guests churning through Airbnb apartments in Bath, Barcelona or Berlin, the prospect of weeks or months without guests spells financial disaster.

Rob Cross (@RobCross247)
64% rise in rental properties across #Dublin in midst of #Covid_19 crisis according to property website @daftmedia as landlords start withdrawing their rentals from short-term listing sites like #Airbnb and are offering them into the market instead.#HousingCrisis #CoronaCrisis pic.twitter.com/Wfj56HaNLC
March 21, 2020

It is also a disaster for Chesky, 38, and the large number of Airbnb’s employees who hold stock options. The company was lining up for a stock market flotation this year, which some investors hoped would value the 11-year-old tech giant at up to $42bn – even though the Wall Street Journal reported the business lost nearly $320m in just the first nine months of last year.
In a video presentation on Thursday, Chesky told staff the company had lowered its valuation to $26bn, down from $31bn when it last raised money from investors in September 2017, according to the Financial Times.
Airbnb employees have long been pushing executives to press ahead with an initial pubic offering (IPO) because stock options granted to seasoned staff start to expire in November 2020. Those shares could be worthless if the platform is not trading on the public market.

“They are stuffed, the IPO just can’t happen,” Richard Holway, chairman of analyst firm TechMarketView, said. “Airbnb is in the worst of the worst situations. Unlike other tech firms, like Uber which can do deliveries instead of driving people, it can’t diversify. There’s nothing Airbnb can do to make money.
“Everything indicates that Airbnb income around the world has just stopped,” he said. “It [coronavirus and lockdown] has exposed the Airbnb business model, and it’s going to pull thousands and thousands of people down with it. People [hosts] have gone into it as an absolute business and they’re in a very, very difficult situation.”
To try and make some income from their empty properties landlords have flooded the rental market with their Airbnb flats. On Edinburgh’s Princes Street, for example, there are 209 Airbnb listings on a road of just 494 homes. Property portal Rightmove said the number of new rentals coming on to the market in the week the UK lockdown started increased by 45% in London, up 55% in Brighton, 62% in Edinburgh and 78% in Bath. It’s a similar story the world over with a 61% increase in Dublin and 41% in Prague.

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Holway said many hosts are reliant on Airbnb income to pay mortgages on not one but several properties, while others “rent flats off commercial landlords and then seek to make a profit renting it out on short lets on Airbnb – that’s not going to happen now”.
Sheffield based entrepreneur Alex Milburn claims to have made “£1,000,000 in Airbnb sales in 12 months” and now markets his “rent to rent” strategy in one-day seminars costing £997 (plus VAT). He promises, in YouTube videos, he can teach others how to make six figure sums “with very little or none of your own money”.
One Airbnb host rented out 881 properties in London in a single year making revenue of £11.9m, according to AirDNA. The unnamed person was said to be highest-earning Airbnb landlord in the world in 2017.

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review: top-quality sound with ANC | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Sennheiser’s second-generation high-end true wireless earbuds gain noise cancelling and longer battery life to do battle with Sony and Apple.
The German firm’s first earbuds were some of the best-sounding available. Now Sennheiser hopes its £280 Momentum True Wireless 2 can steal the show once again.
The first thing you notice is just how big the earbuds are. Despite being slightly smaller than the previous versions they are still large, shaped like a fez with the eartip projecting out of one corner. They protrude noticeably from your ear when worn.

The Sennheisers look like a silver-topped Rolo sweet or a fez with a silicone eartip sticking out of one corner. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
They are more comfortable than the previous versions, but still put pressure on some parts of my ears because of their size. People with larger ears will probably find them easier to position more comfortably, but there are no wings or similar to keep them secure. I didn’t need them, but some might, particularly for running.
The fabric-covered case is larger than I’d like, too. It is pocketable, but only just, because it’s a bit thick, sticking out as a lump in your jeans. It is smaller than the case of Sony’s WF-1000XM3 but much larger than that of the AirPods Pro or Libratone’s Track Air+.
Specifications

Water resistance: IPX4 (splash resistant)

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1, SBC, AAC, aptX, active noise cancelling (ANC)

Battery life: seven hours listening, up to 28 hours with case

Earbud weight: 6g

Charging case dimensions: 76.8 x 43.8 x 34.7mm

Charging case weight: 58g

Case charging: USB-C

Case and battery

The case charges via USB-C with the earbuds and lid kept in place by magnets. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The earbuds lasted over six hours with noise cancelling on, and longer with it turned off. The case fully charges the earbuds three times for a total of up to 28 hours of playback.
The earbuds magnetically snap into place in the case to charge and store them, with a flip-top lid also held in place by a magnet. A USB-C socket on the back takes care of charging, which takes about 90 minutes via cable. A 10-minute charge provides enough for about 90 minutes of playback from empty.
As with most true wireless earbuds, the Momentum True Wireless 2 are not repairable and the batteries are not replaceable. The batteries are rated for 500 full charge cycles, dropping to 80% capacity afterwards. Each earbud and the case are available separately for replacement, but Sennheiser does not operate a trade-in or recycling scheme, nor are the earbuds made using any recycled materials.
Connectivity and controls

The silver discs are touch-sensitive gesture panels for controlling your music, including the often missed volume adjustment. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The Momentum True Wireless 2 support Bluetooth 5 and had a rock-solid connection to an iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, even in congested areas.
The earbuds support the standard SBC Bluetooth audio format, as well as the improved AAC and aptX, but not Qualcomm’s aptX Low Latency, which their predecessors did. Not many devices support aptX LL, so while gamers might be put out, the majority of users won’t care. Lipsync wasn’t an issue with any video apps.
Only the right earbud can be used independently, which is disappointing.
The metal cap of each earbud is a touch panel for controls, supporting single, double and triple gestures, plus a tap and hold that adjusts volume by default. Each gesture can be configured to different actions on each earbud using the Smart Control app, including pause/play, skip track, activating your phone’s voice assistant, turning on ANC or the ambient listening mode.
Generally the touch panels work great, although they are further up your ear than you might expect at first because of the size of the earbuds.
Music is paused when an earbud is removed, resuming when reinserted.
Sound and ANC

Sennheiser’s detail-rich sound comes through well in these earbuds. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Expensive, high-end earbuds like these need to deliver on sound quality. The Momentum True Wireless 2 are some of the best-sounding true wireless earbuds you can buy.
They have a very clean and detailed sound, with excellent separation of instruments and tones. Mids and treble are rich and detailed and there’s plenty of punch in the low end without it being overbearing, with well-controlled highs.
They sound great with practically every genre. Feed them something like Dr Dre’s The Next Episode and you’re treated to a track full of attack and aggression, while Darude’s classic Sandstorm is full of high energy and precision. They kept up with The Who’s cluttered Baba O’Riley, while orchestral pieces were delivered with the authority and depth required.
If I was to nitpick, I’d say they were a bit too clean for a raw and full-blooded rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and lacked a bit of warmth in Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Summertime.
Overall they sound great, delivering sparkling audio and revealing new things in well-worn tracks, second only to Sony’s WF-1000XM3.
The earbuds also have active noise cancelling, which on top of the good noise isolation of the silicone eartips helps to reduce background drone significantly. They dealt with engine noise and the drones of fans in an office well, which means they should help on a plane, but struggled with more complex disruptions such as typing, chatting, road noise and similar.
They were not as effective as Sony’s WF-1000XM3 or Apple’s AirPods Pro, being similar in level to Libratone Track Air+ but with better passive isolation.
Observations

Metal contacts on each earbud take care of charging in the case, while a presence sensor can detect when they’re worn. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The ambient sound mode is good, pausing the music by default and allowing you to have a quick conversation without taking them out or listen out for announcements or road noise while commuting.

Call quality was good with optional sidetone: callers said I sounded loud and clear, even while a little background noise was let through in noisy environments.

Price
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 cost £279 and will begin shipping in April.
For comparison, Amazon’s Echo Buds cost £119.99, Libratone Track Air+ cost £179, Sony WF-1000XM3 cost £169, Apple’s AirPods Pro cost £249, while non-ANC earbuds such as Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ cost £159 and Jabra’s Elite 75t cost £169.99.
Verdict
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are a great set of high-end true wireless earbuds that tick most boxes.
They sound fantastic, particularly if you are a fan of clean, controlled and highly detailed sound. They last a long time between charges, have a solid set of gesture controls including volume adjustment, and have rock-solid Bluetooth connectivity with support for SBC, AAC and aptX.
The earbuds also have excellent passive noise isolation and good but not class-leading noise cancelling. The case is good, but a little too big to comfortably pocket.
The two biggest issues are their larger size, which makes them difficult to position comfortably for smaller ears, and their high cost, which is greater than their chief rivals from Sony and Apple.
But if great sound is the most important thing to you, then the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 should come very close to topping your list.

Pros: great sound, long battery life, ANC, AAC and aptX, strong and stable Bluetooth connection, medium-sized case has USB-C.
Cons: earbuds are fairly large and can be uncomfortable for those with smaller ears, case a bit thick, expensive, left earbud cannot be used on its own.

The case is attractive, but a bit thick to comfortably pocket in a pair of jeans. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Other reviews
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Drone-Based Surveilllance Technology Provided By Cyient- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Cyient, a global engineering and technology solutions company, today announced that it has been providing Cyberabad Police with drone-based surveillance technology to help implement the COVID-19 related lockdown in Hyderabad. The technology is enabling the Police make lockdown-related announcements and organize their ground forces to monitor the situation in congested areas of the city.
Equipped with surveillance cameras, thermal imaging payloads and sky speaker for public announcements, Cyient’s drone-based aerial inspection capability is positively augmenting the police’s ability to combat the spread of the pandemic. By providing situational awareness on a real-time basis, the technology gives Police the means to understand and deploy resources very quickly to manage evolving situations.
Recognizing the partnership with Cyient, Cyberabad Police tweeted: “Great collaboration with Cyient to stop the spread of COVID-19. Their drone-based surveillance is assisting our ground forces to monitor sensitive areas in the city. Visuals from the drones are enabling correct decisions on moving forces to sensitive areas.”

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Zoom says engineers will focus on security and safety issues | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Zoom, the hit video conferencing platform, will freeze new feature development and shift all engineering resources on to security and safety issues, its founder has said..
The move comes as the company battles the damage caused by a string of minor scandals ultimately related to the same scrappy approach that enabled it to capitalise on the wave of global lockdowns in the first place.
“We have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations,” said Zoom’s founder and CEO, Eric Yuan, in a blogpost on Thursday. “For that, I am deeply sorry.”
Since it began gaining hundreds of thousands of users a day, Zoom has come under increasing scrutiny from privacy campaigners, security researchers, and members of the public, who have found faults in the platform’s programming, policies, and practices.
Some stem from the fact that a tool originally designed for enabling corporate communications has been repurposed for a wide range of consumer uses, from strangers meeting up for virtual “happy hours” to children’s book groups and remote sessions of Dungeons and Dragons.
But others relate to the company’s approach, modelled on the notorious Facebook maxim “move fast and break things”, of finding unorthodox solutions to problems, which may not always hold up under closer inspection.
“There’s a difference between being able to pivot on top of a solid foundation,” says Vincent Roffers, Executive Strategy Director at branding strategists Superunion, “and the path where they have at some level cut corners a bit”, in terms of the way they’ve created their product.
The most public problem facing the company has been the rise of “Zoombombings”, when trolls join public video chats to wreak havoc amongst their members by broadcasting pornography, hurling abuse, or undressing in front of their webcam. Zoombombings are possible because the company’s product is built for use in cases where every caller is part of the same company, or already known to each other, security experts say – an assumption that no longer fits after weeks in lockdown.
“We now have a much broader set of users who are utilising our product in a myriad of unexpected ways,” Yuan said, “presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.” Zoombombings can be prevented by changing the app’s settings, Zoom said in late March as the problem was growing. And other tools, such as YouTube or Twitch livestreams, may be more appropriate for some uses, such as a broadcast of an author reading their book.
Other problems were more baked into the product, however. In July 2019, before it exploded in popularity, Zoom faced an embarrassing security scandal.A researcher discovered that the company installed some code on Macs alongside its app that meant that even if the app was later uninstalled, a single click on a web link was all it took to reinstall the app and join a new conference call with mic and camera enabled. Zoom initially defended the flaw for more than 90 days, saying it was a feature intended to make it easy for users to join calls. Only when the researcher went public did the company act. Apple later pushed a software update to all Macs that automatically prevented the feature from working.
That episode left security researchers suspicious of the company, and when it burst into the public’s consciousness in March, the suspicion returned. In just a couple of weeks, researchers found many more flaws, major and minor, which piled up faster than Zoom could fix them, from a broken promise to provide “end to end encryption” for video calls to bugs that would allow a hacker to gain access to a user’s webcam and microphone.
“So many of Zoom’s poor decisions were about prioritising growth over security,” said analyst Ben Thompson. “This crisis, though, more than takes care of growth: it’s up to Zoom to seize the opportunity to prioritise security in a transparent and verifiable way at a time when all of their customers want them to succeed.”
That’s what the company is promising now, founder Yuan says. Over the next 90 days, it will conduct a “comprehensive review with third-party experts”, publish a transparency report, and run penetration tests to find and fix further flaws.
Superunion’s Vincent Roffers says that’s the right approach. “They need to make it right in a way that’s transparent that’s visible. The worst thing they could do is retreat and disappear.
“They’re going to be fine. The thing about branding is, you always have a lot of chances: It’s not about what you do now, it’s about what you do next.”

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Sony WF-1000XM3 review: updated noise-cancelling earbuds sound great | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Sony’s latest true wireless WF-1000XM3 earbuds offer both noise cancelling and top-end sound quality while undercutting premium rivals on price.
The replacement for the WF-1000X, which were some of the first noise cancelling true wireless earbuds available, the new “M3” portion of the model number denotes the company’s third generation of active noise cancelling technology and the QN1e chip, which is rivalled only by Bose.
Let’s be clear, this is the top end of the market; at £220 they will be out of the range of many buyers, although there are rivals costing more than £300.
The WF-1000XM3 pack more technology in them than your standard true wireless earbuds, and are pretty big as a result. They’re attractive and more balanced in the ear than some sets, but have a resemblance to the old-school Bluetooth headsets made popular by taxi drivers everywhere; if you were looking for a set of discreet earbuds, these are not for you.

The case top flips open to reveal the earbuds held in by magnets, each with a canal bud-style tip to insert into your ear. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The trunk of the earbuds sticks quite far out of your ear, with the oval-shaped body projected forwards towards your mouth. There’s a circular touchpad on each bud for controls – single, double and triple taps can take care of playback, change the noise reduction mode or activate Google Assistant. Which side does what can be configured in an Android or iOS app.
Tapping and holding the left bud activates ambient listening mode, reducing the volume and noise reduction, which is useful for catching public transport announcements. Talking to people using ambient mode is possible too, but I wouldn’t recommend it because people will think you’re being incredibly rude.
Taking out one of the buds pauses the music. Popping it back in starts it again. All the controls work very well, but they’re missing the big one: volume. You’ve got to dig out your phone to change the volume, which is a real shame.
Case and fit

The top of the charging case is coloured rose gold or copper. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The attractive flip-top charging case is too big to really pocket, which means it’ll have to go in a bag. It charges in 3.5 hours via USB-C and will charge the earbuds three times. A 10-minute stay in the case charges the earbuds for about 90 minutes of playback time, while a full charge takes 90 minutes.
You’ll get between five and six hours of constant playback with noise cancelling on, or eight with it off, for a total of 22 to 32 hours, using the case.
Sony ditched the ear hook from its previous true wireless earbuds in favour of a new “high-friction rubber surface” on the outer part that enters your ear.
With the correct earbud tip, chosen from the seven pairs included, the fit is pretty secure, despite the size and 8.5g weight, which is on the heavy side for wireless earbuds. I would not recommend them for running, though – they are not water resistant. Generally, they are fairly comfortable in the ear, but I found if I didn’t quite get the right orientation the outer rubber surface caused pain in the fleshy bits of my ear after about 45 minutes.
Noise cancelling and sound

The outer surface has a microphone hole next to a circular touchpad for controlling music or switching noise cancelling modes. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are the most effective in-ear noise cancelling earphones I have tried, including those with wires and large batteries. Noise across the board is effectively reduced, including train noise, road noise and engine rumble, meaning you can listen to your music, and hear it clearly, at lower volumes.
The earbuds are heavily affected by wind noise, however, which appears to be a function of their size and how much they stick out of your ears. The wind noise reduction setting appears to do very little.
An ambient sound mode pipes noise in from the outside world, which is good for awareness. There’s an adaptive sound mode too that adjusts the noise cancelling depending on what you’re doing. I found simply leaving the noise cancelling set to maximum to be best.
The best thing about the WF-1000XM3 is how they sound. We’re not short of great-sounding, expensive, true wireless earbuds. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless were the best, but no longer. Sony’s finally cracked it on sound.
The WF-1000XM3 produce the sort of sparkling audio that allows you to hear new things in longtime favourite tracks. With great energy and clarity, crisp highs, balanced treble and punchy bass, the earbuds sound brilliant out of the box. Sony’s DSEE HX system also works well at bringing life back to highly compressed tracks, but you can also tweak the equaliser manually or use one of the many presets, such as the classic Bass Boost.
Connectivity

A sensor in the earbuds detects the proximity of your ear to tell when you’re wearing them. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The new earbuds only support SBC and AAC Bluetooth audio formats, not the higher-quality aptX or Sony’s own LDAC. But they do support Bluetooth 5.0, with each bud making a connection directly to the phone rather than piggybacking off one another. The result is a rock-solid connection, even in challenging conditions, and reduced latency. Even with the oft-problematic YouTube app, I couldn’t spot any lip-sync issues where the sound and the video appear out of time, and only mild lag with games.
You can only have one device connected at a time, and switching between them requires manually disconnecting from one device before connecting to the other, which is a bit of a pain.
Observations

The voice announcements (telling you what you’ve just changed) delay any mode changes until the full announcement has finished, which can be tediously slow. Turning off voice announcements solved the problem.

Google Assistant is built in, for reading notifications and more advanced functions, or you can simply use the standard Google Assistant or Siri functions on your phone.

An NFC spot on the case provides one-tap pairing.

It’s difficult to tell how much charge is left in the case.

Call quality was great, with minimal background noise, but became muffled and distant in louder environments.

Price
The Sony WF-1000XM3 cost £220 and are available in black or silver.
For comparison, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless cost £280, the B&O E8 2.0 cost £300 and the Master & Dynamic MW07 cost £279.
Verdict
Sony’s hit a home run with the WF-1000XM3. Terrible name, excellent set of earbuds. Packing genuinely impressive noise cancelling technology, brilliant sound, rock-solid connectivity and even long battery life into wireless earbuds is something of an achievement.
All that technology makes the earbuds massive, which causes people to stare at you occasionally – if you want something discreet, these are not it. It can be difficult to get the right fit too, and the case, while attractive, is too large to comfortably fit in a pocket. They also lack a volume control on the earbuds, which is mildly annoying.
While a price of £220 doesn’t sound cheap, the WF-1000XM3 actually undercut the best-sounding competition by £60-80.
They’re not for everyone, but the Sony WF-1000XM3 are the best-sounding, most feature-packed true wireless earbuds you can buy right now.

Pros: Brilliant sound, effective noise cancelling, long battery life, solid connectivity, good customisation options, full EQ, attractive design, Google Assistant
Cons: Big earbuds, expensive, big case, problem with wind noise, no onboard volume control

The earbuds aren’t small, but hide their size by being more visually balanced in the ear. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
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Experts warn of privacy risk as US uses GPS to fight coronavirus spread | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Experts warn of privacy risk as US uses GPS to fight coronavirus spread | Technology – Blog – Tempemail.co

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A transatlantic divide on how to use location data to fight coronavirus risks highlights the lack of safeguards for Americans’ personal data, academics and data scientists have warned.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has turned to data provided by the mobile advertising industry to analyse population movements in the midst of the pandemic.
Owing to a lack of systematic privacy protections in the US, data collected by advertising companies is often extremely detailed: companies with access to GPS location data, such as weather apps or some e-commerce sites, have been known to sell that data on for ad targeting purposes. That data provides much more granular information on the location and movement of individuals than the mobile network data received by the UK government from carriers including O2 and BT.
While both datasets track individuals at the collection level, GPS data is accurate to within five metres, according to Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, a data scientist at Imperial College, while mobile network data is accurate to 0.1km² in city centres and much less in less dense areas – the difference between locating an individual to their street and to a specific room in their home.

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“>Additionally, legal safeguards on location data in the UK mean that the government only receives information from mobile carriers in aggregated form, which prevents individuals from being identified. “Most of the time, you don’t need to know who’s behind the phone,” said de Montjoye. “If you’re not doing contract tracing, you’re interested in aggregates: who’s been moving between London and Edinburgh, say, or between London boroughs.”
According to the ICO deputy commissioner for policy, Steve Wood, the aggregation is crucial to the legal basis on which the government has access to the data. “Generalised location data trend analysis is helping to tackle the coronavirus crisis. Where this data is properly anonymised and aggregated, it does not fall under data protection law because no individual is identified.
“In these circumstances, privacy laws are not breached as long as the appropriate safeguards are in place,” Wood added.
In contrast, the location data the CDC has acquired is pseudonmyised, but not aggregated, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. That means that identifying data such as names have been removed from the dataset, but the data has been left in a format that allows for an individual to be followed over a period of time.
The power of such an approach is made clear in one demonstration by the data visualisation company Tectonix GEO, using location data collected by the ad industry data provider X-Mode Social. By tracking the movements of all the spring break holidayers on one beach in Florida in mid-March, Tectonix showed how a temporary failure of social distancing could theoretically spread an infection across a huge swathe of the eastern and central US.

Tectonix GEO (@TectonixGEO)
Want to see the true potential impact of ignoring social distancing? Through a partnership with @xmodesocial, we analyzed secondary locations of anonymized mobile devices that were active at a single Ft. Lauderdale beach during spring break. This is where they went across the US: pic.twitter.com/3A3ePn9Vin
March 25, 2020

But, warns de Montjoye, such data is never truly anonymous. “The original data is pseudonymised, yet it is quite easy to reidentify someone. Knowing where someone was is enough to reidentify them 95% of the time, using mobile phone data. So there’s the privacy concern: you need to process the pseudonymised data, but the pseudonymised data can be reidentified. Most of the time, if done properly, the aggregates are aggregated, and cannot be de-anonymised.”
The data scientist points to successful attempts to use location data in tracking outbreaks of malaria in Kenya or dengue in Pakistan as proof that location data has use in these situations, but warns that trust will be hurt if data collected for modelling purposes is then “surreptitiously used to crack down on individuals not respecting quarantines or kept and used for unrelated purposes”.

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