Showing posts with label Tech News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tech News. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Florida House Approves Bill Restricting Social Media Access for Individuals Under 16 

The Florida House of Representatives has approved a bill that aims to prevent individuals under the age of 16 from holding accounts on certain social media platforms. The legislation, known as House Bill 1 or Online Protections for Minors, received a vote of 108-7 and will now be sent to Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, for potential approval.

If signed into law, HB1 will mandate certain social media platforms to verify the age of account holders. Additionally, it will prohibit individuals under 16 from creating new accounts and require the termination of accounts suspected to belong to underage users. The Senate had already passed the bill with a vote of 23-14 earlier on the same day.

Governor DeSantis, known for his stance on parental involvement, expressed his views on the matter during a press conference. He acknowledged the potential harm of excessive social media use but emphasized the importance of parental supervision. DeSantis is actively working to incorporate a role for parents in deciding whether their children should have access to social media, suggesting that parents should have the option to opt in if they want their kids on these platforms.

The bill broadly defines the social media platforms subject to its provisions. It encompasses companies where at least 10% of daily active users under 16 spend a minimum of two hours per day on the platform, and those utilizing algorithms, push alerts, continuous scrolling, or auto-play videos.

The legislation, introduced on January 5, faces an uncertain future, echoing the challenges seen in other states. A federal judge recently temporarily blocked a similar Ohio law, deeming it likely unconstitutional. The Ohio law aimed to regulate children's access to social media platforms, requiring parental consent for accounts created for those under 16. This legal setback underscores the complex landscape surrounding attempts to regulate social media for young individuals amid concerns about its impact on mental health.

Florida House Approves Bill Restricting Social Media Access for Individuals Under 16

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Friday, December 15, 2023

"Amazon's Alexa Records and Sends Private Conversation to Random Contact"

Despite Amazon's assurances that its Echo devices only record conversations when triggered by the wake word "Alexa," a Portland resident, Danielle, discovered otherwise. She requested an investigation after an Alexa device recorded a private conversation between her and her husband, sending it to a random contact in their address book without permission. Danielle received a call from her husband's colleague, warning them that they were being hacked and to unplug their Alexa devices immediately.

Amazon's Alexa recorded private conversations and sent them to random contact

Initially skeptical, Danielle realized the severity of the situation when the colleague mentioned details from their conversation about hardwood floors. Feeling invaded and questioning her trust in the device, Danielle decided never to use it again. Amazon confirmed the incident, apologized and termed it an "extremely rare occurrence."

In an updated statement, Amazon explained that the Echo device mistakenly woke up due to a word resembling "Alexa" in the background conversation. The subsequent conversation was misconstrued as a "send message" request, leading Alexa to ask aloud, "To whom?" The background conversation was then interpreted as a name in the user's contact list, and Alexa asked, "[contact name], right?" Amazon acknowledged the improbability of this sequence of events and stated they were exploring options to minimize such incidents.

Despite Amazon's insistence that this was a malfunction rather than evidence of constant listening, the company has filed patent applications for features involving continuous listening, such as an algorithm to analyze when users say they "love" or "bought" something. The patent included a scenario where individuals having a phone conversation received separate targeted advertisements afterward.

"Amazon's Alexa Records and Sends Private Conversation to Random Contact"

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

 As we marvel at the beauty of the Northern Lights, the same solar storm energy that creates this spectacle could potentially lead to what a researcher terms an "internet apocalypse."

Professor Peter Becker of George Mason University highlights the unique challenge humanity faces as the sun becomes more active just when our dependence on the internet and the global economy linked to it is at its peak. This intersection prompted Becker and his team, in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory, to embark on a project to develop an early warning system.

Scientist Claims Solar Superstorm Could Create An Internet Apocalypse

Solar superstorms, characterized by solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME), pose a significant threat to Earth. Becker explains that while flares provide a visible warning with their brightening of the sun, the real concern lies in the unpredictable directions CMEs can take. Fortunately, scientists can predict when these charged particles are heading toward Earth, providing approximately 18 to 24 hours of warning before they impact the planet and interfere with its magnetic field.

CMEs involve large blobs of plasma hurtling through space, some of which collide with Earth, distorting its magnetic field. This distortion can turn the Earth's surface into an unintended conductor, potentially leading to the flow of inductive currents. Contrary to the assumption of safety through grounding, this scenario could result in damaging electronic systems that were previously deemed secure.

Various critical systems, including the power grid, satellites, underground fiber optic cables, navigation and GPS systems, radio transmitters, and communication equipment, are susceptible to the effects of a solar superstorm.

Drawing parallels to the Carrington Event of 1859, the last time a CME reached Earth, Becker emphasizes the vulnerability of modern electronics compared to the sturdier telegraph wires of that era. The potential consequences of a solar superstorm could cripple essential infrastructure, leading to weeks or months of downtime for repairs, causing not only communication disruptions but also significant economic losses.

Becker estimates a staggering economic disruption of $10-$20 billion per day for the U.S. alone if such an event were to occur. Evidence from tree rings and ice cores suggests that superstorms in the past have been much larger, with a solar flare about 14,000 years ago potentially hundreds of times stronger than the Carrington Event.

As the current solar cycle peaks, with an expected peak in 2024 according to NOAA forecasts, Becker emphasizes the difficulty of predicting solar storms, likening it to predicting earthquakes. He suggests that while it's challenging to control the situation, preparations can be made to mitigate the impact. His team monitors the sun and models flares, aiming to provide as much advance notice as possible.

Becker emphasizes the importance of quick action in the event of a warning, allowing for measures such as putting satellites in safe mode and taking transformers offline to prevent damage. However, he acknowledges the economic challenge of long-term solutions, such as hardening the internet infrastructure. With a lack of economic incentives for large corporations to invest in such measures, the potential for an "internet apocalypse" remains a looming concern, with the odds standing at approximately 10% over the next decade.

As we marvel at the beauty of the Northern Lights, the same solar storm energy that creates this spectacle could potentially lead to what a researcher terms an "internet apocalypse."

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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Buying and Selling NFT Slaves in the Meta Verse

Buying and Selling NFT Slaves in the Meta Verse

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