Mozilla steps up the move to protect privacy: Hashtag Trending, Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

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Mozilla is now stepping into the privacy protection game, Meta is insisting that AI images be labelled on Facebook and other platforms, IBM introduces a Linux mainframe and a new cancer treatment that is “out of this world.” Literally.

All this and more on the “you do know those pictures aren’t real, don’t you” edition of Hashtag Trending. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and TechNewsDay in the US.

Mozilla is stepping up its privacy game with a new subscription service aimed at tackling the pervasive issue of personal data being sold on the web. Through its Mozilla Monitor platform, the tech giant now offers a way for users to not only detect but also remove their sensitive information from data broker sites automatically. This service, an extension of the previously free Firefox Monitor, is designed to simplify the complex and often opaque process of reclaiming one’s digital footprint.

For a monthly fee, Mozilla Monitor Plus will scour over 190 data broker sites for your personal details—like your phone number, email, and home address—and initiate removal requests on your behalf. This proactive approach is a game-changer in the fight against data brokers, who profit from selling personal information without the explicit consent of individuals.

The significance of this service cannot be overstated. In an era where data breaches are all too common, affecting millions annually, having the ability to automatically remove personal information from potentially harmful sites is a substantial step towards enhancing online privacy and security. Mozilla’s commitment to privacy is further underscored by their encryption and privacy policy adherence, ensuring users’ data is handled with the utmost care.

In conclusion, Mozilla Monitor Plus represents a critical advancement in personal data protection, offering users peace of mind and control over their online presence. As we navigate the digital age, such tools are indispensable in safeguarding our personal information against unauthorized use and sale.

Sources include: TechCrunch, [https://techcrunch.com/2024/02/06/mozilla-monitors-new-service-removes-your-personal-info-from-data-broker-sites-automatically/](https://techcrunch.com/2024/02/06/mozilla-monitors-new-service-removes-your-personal-info-from-data-broker-sites-automatically/).

Meta is taking a significant step forward in the realm of digital authenticity by announcing its plan to label AI-generated images across its platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. This move comes as a response to the growing concern over the proliferation of “deepfakes” and other realistically altered media, which pose a challenge to discerning truth in the digital age.

The initiative is particularly timely, given the anticipation of numerous global elections in 2024, where the integrity of information is paramount. Meta’s approach involves using metadata to identify AI-generated content from major tech entities like Google, OpenAI, and Adobe, among others. This is a stopgap measure until Meta’s technical solution for automatic labeling is operational in the coming months.

Meta’s decision aligns with recommendations from its own Oversight Board, which recently critiqued the company’s manipulated media policy for lacking coherence and justification. The board’s feedback underscores the necessity of policies that address content manipulation transparently, regardless of the technology used to create it.

By requiring users to disclose when they share photorealistic AI-generated or digitally altered content, Meta is setting a new standard for content authenticity online. This policy not only aims to enhance transparency but also holds users accountable for the content they share, marking a pivotal moment in the fight against digital misinformation.

Sources include: Axios

IBM is democratizing enterprise-grade Linux capabilities with its latest LinuxONE 4 Express, targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with everything but price.

These little beauties are priced at a steep $135,000 for the base hardware configuration, but for that amount you do get the robustness of IBM’s mainframe technology, specifically the Telum processor used in the z16 family, to a more compact and accessible format.

Despite the high entry cost, which does not include maintenance, operating system, or additional software, the LinuxONE 4 Express boasts an impressive promise of 99.999999 (eight nines) percent availability. This level of reliability translates to less than a second of downtime per year, catering to businesses with critical workloads that demand unparalleld resiliency.

IBM’s pitch emphasizes the system’s AI and hybrid cloud capabilities, leveraging on-chip acceleration for AI inferencing to support growing AI use cases within SMBs. The LinuxONE 4 Express is designed to scale with businesses, offering up to 16 configurable cores and 1 TB of memory, making it potentially the smallest LinuxONE system yet.

The support from major Linux distributions such as Canonical, Red Hat, and SUSE, coupled with endorsements from entities like University College London, underscores the system’s suitability for high-performance and scalable research computing environments.

IBM also highlights the cost-saving potential of the LinuxONE 4 Express, suggesting that customers transitioning Linux workloads from an x86 server setup could see over 52 percent savings in total cost of ownership over five years. Set to be available from February 20, the LinuxONE 4 Express represents IBM’s commitment to extending enterprise-grade performance and reliability to a broader market.

Sources include: The Register

 

Meta’s decision to discontinue third-party access to Facebook Groups has sent shockwaves through the developer and business communities.

On January 23, alongside the release of Facebook Graph API v19.0, Meta announced the deprecation of the Facebook Groups API, a tool crucial for scheduling posts to Facebook Groups. This change, set to take effect within 90 days, has left many developers and businesses scrambling to adapt.

The Groups API has been instrumental for businesses in automating and scheduling social media posts, particularly for small businesses and social media marketers who rely on these capabilities to engage with their communities and manage their online presence efficiently. The closure of this API threatens to disrupt the operations of companies like VipeCloud, which serves around 5,000 Facebook accounts, many of which belong to female entrepreneurs. For these businesses, the API’s shutdown not only impacts their ability to communicate within private groups but also poses a significant threat to their revenue and operational model.

The ripple effects extend beyond individual businesses to the broader ecosystem of developers and service providers who have built their offerings around Facebook’s APIs. Companies like PostMyParty, which facilitates the scheduling and automation of online parties, face existential threats, with the potential loss of years of work and thousands of customers.

As businesses and developers voice their concerns and seek clarity, the situation underscores the inherent risks of building services dependent on third-party platforms. The decision by Meta to cut off access to the Facebook Groups API serves as a stark reminder of the volatile nature of digital platforms and the need for businesses to remain adaptable in the face of changing technological landscapes.

Sources include: TechCrunch

California scientists have partnered with Axiom 3 astronauts to pioneer cancer research in the microgravity environment of space. This collaboration has led to the discovery of a potential “kill switch” for cancer, leveraging the unique conditions of space to accelerate the aging of cells and, consequently, the progression of cancer.

The mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on January 18, carried not only four crew members but also miniature tumor organoids. These organoids, derived from the cells of cancer patients and cultivated by researchers at the University of California San Diego, were subjected to the stress of microgravity. This stress causes cells to age more rapidly, offering scientists a faster track to observe cancer growth and the efficacy of treatments.

Dr. Catriona H.M. Jamieson, the lead researcher and a figurehead in the field of hematology and stem cell research, has previously observed pre-leukemic changes in stem cells sent to space. This prompted the question: would cancer worsen under the same conditions? The answer was a resounding yes, with the ADAR1 gene playing a pivotal role in the cancer’s accelerated growth.

The latest mission tested an experimental drug, rebecsinib, designed to block the activation of ADAR1, thereby inhibiting the cancer’s ability to clone itself. Preliminary results from space have shown that rebecsinib significantly curtails cancer growth, outperforming other treatments and hinting at its potential as a cancer “kill switch.”

This research not only opens new avenues for cancer treatment but also exemplifies the innovative use of space for medical advancements. With plans to bring rebecsinib to clinical trials on Earth by the year’s end, the team is not slowing down, driven by the responsibility to translate their groundbreaking findings into real-world solutions.

Sources include: Fortune

A cancer kill switch from research in space. Out of this world.

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with daily news and a weekend interview show that we creatively called – the weekend edition.

We love to hear from you. Send us a note at jlove@itwc.ca or drop us a comment under the show notes at itworldcanada.com/podcasts – look for Hashtag Trending.

Thanks for listening and have a Wonderful Wednesday

The post Mozilla steps up the move to protect privacy: Hashtag Trending, Wednesday, February 7th, 2024 first appeared on IT World Canada.

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