Nov 152012
 

(Nieman Journalism Lab) We just went through a highly fact-checked election, but it’s unclear what the final score was between truth and fiction. One reason why myths persist is that fact-checking is often out-of-reach at the moment it would be most useful — like the moment where you open your inbox. Forwarding an email is a lot easier than hunting for evidence. So Matt Stempeck, a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, is tackling the problem closer to its source.

Stempeck and developers Justin Nowell, Evan Moore, and David Kim have written a Gmail plugin called LazyTruth that quietly scans your email for chain letters, urban legends, and phishing scams. When you open a forwarded email, an “Ask LazyTruth” button invites you to investigate. The software checks the email against data pulled from PolitiFact and FactCheck.org, and, if needed, offers a correction and a link to find out more.

via FW: FW: Fw: FW: Fwd: fwd: fw: LazyTruth tackles false claims in email chain letters » Nieman Journalism Lab.

 November 15, 2012  Posted by at 5:39 am Comments Off
Nov 032012
 


By Jed Lewison (DailyKos) I knew that despite actively supporting the Vietnam War, Mitt Romney had taken several deferments to avoid serving in it—including spending time in France as a missionary—but until watching the above video, I’d never seen this quote:

Mr. Romney, though, said that he sometimes had wished he were in Vietnam instead of France. “There were surely times on my mission when I was having a particularly difficult time accomplishing very little when I would have longed for the chance to be serving in the military,” he said in an interview, “but that was not to be.”

What an amazing quote. I mean, he had ample opportunity to serve if he wanted to. He took four deferments—that’s four chances that he passed up—yet he said with a straight face that he “would have longed for the chance to be serving in the military.” That’s just pathological B.S. right there. What a fraud.

Note: The video has a typo in it, saying that Romney offered the quote in November 2012. It was actually November 2007.

via Daily Kos :: News Community Action.

 November 3, 2012  Posted by at 2:32 pm Comments Off
Sep 262012
 

By David Kravets (Wired) Seven rent-to-own companies and a software maker are settling charges with the Federal Trade Commission that rental computers illegally used spyware that took “pictures of children, individuals not fully clothed, and couples engaged in sexual activities.”

As per the course, the FTC slapped the hand of DesignerWare of North East Pennsylvania and the rent-to-own companies. The settlement, announced Tuesday, only requires them to halt using their spy tools, which have been employed on as many as 420,000 rentals.

The software, known as Detective Mode, didn’t just secretly turn on webcams. It “can log the keystrokes of the computer user, take screen shots of the computer user’s activities on the computer, and photograph anyone within view of the computer’s webcam. Detective Mode secretly gathers this information and transmits it to DesignerWare, who then transmits it to the rent-to-own store from which the computer was rented, unbeknownst to the individual using the computer,” according to the complaint.

Under the settlement, the companies can still use tracking software on their rental computers, so long as they advise renters, the FTC said.

via Rent-to-Own Laptops Secretly Photographed Users Having Sex, FTC Says | Threat Level | Wired.com.

 September 26, 2012  Posted by at 11:29 am Comments Off
Sep 212012
 

(Spiegel) Encouraging free sharing of files on the Internet, including copyrighted material, is an official platform of Germany’s Pirate Party. This week, however, a senior member of the party has been policing illegal downloads of a book she published through a subsidiary of Random House. Will the party continue to promote its “information must be free” line?

via Information Mustn’t Be Free: Pirate Party Member Insists on Copyright for Book – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

 September 21, 2012  Posted by at 8:48 am Comments Off
Sep 042012
 

By Annalee Newitz (io9) Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fiction’s most prestigious award ceremonies. No, you’re not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service Ustream, the feed cut off — just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctor’s Wife.” Where Gaiman’s face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.”

via How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards [UPDATED].

 September 4, 2012  Posted by at 7:59 am Comments Off