Weekly Mozilla News Beat, August 7, 2020


By Mozilla | Aug. 7, 2020 | Moz News Beat

Mozilla News Beat

Silly Penguin

Gary is one metal penguin. Or he’s reached the end of his pandemic quarantine rope. Either way, you need to go check out this crazy, hoppy penguin! Via Twitter


Australia has more than a few venomous spiders and snakes. Good thing there is now an app to tell you with a pic if that spider can kill you — kinda like a Shazam for creepy critters. You just have to get close enough to take that photo. 😳 Via Vice

Women, Making Change

Joy Buolamwini is someone you should know. She’s taken on Big Tech and the biased algorithms they create and gotten them to back down. And she’s just getting started. (FYI: Mozilla’s own Katharina Borchert is also one of Fast Company’s most creative people!) Via Fast Company & Fast Company

Fawkes Your Photos

Scientists have created a new tool—dubbed “Fawkes”—to cloak photos from facial recognition. Pics put through the tool will be altered subtly to fool facial recognition algorithms, protecting users’ privacy. Via The Verge

No More Cookies

The website of Dutch broadcaster NPO did away with cookies and third-party targeted ads used to track users across the web. Experts warned this would result in lost ad revenue. Instead the broadcaster saw its digital ad revenue rise dramatically. Via Wired

Virtual House Hunting

Shopping for a new house during pandemic lockdown has gone from challenging to easy thanks to virtual reality. Pop on a headset and stroll through the kitchen, the neighborhood, even the back garden before making an offer from afar. Via BBC

Hotline for Good

There is no shortage of abuse within the gaming community. To help address this problem, a non-profit has created a free, text-based hotline to help gamers talk through any emotional issues they need help with.
Via Ars Technica

Decolonizing AI

Artificial intelligence is powerful. That power can be harmful when bias is built-in. One AI researcher looked at how AI is rooted in problems that go back centuries and can be made better by breaking those roots down. Via MIT Technology Review

TikTok Trouble

Much has been in the news lately about TikTok being potentially banned in the US. Now Microsoft wants to buy it. The NY Times explains why that might be a dicey proposition. Via NY Times

Bad Twitter

Twitter is looking at a possible $250 million fine in the US for violating users’ privacy. They may have taken emails and phone numbers users gave to set up two-factor authentication and misused that contact info for ad targeting. Via Consumer Reports

Hackers & DNA

DNA is pretty sensitive personal information. With the rise of consumer DNA testing, those results live in databases both hackers and law enforcement want access to. Experts say welcome to the era of DNA database hacks. Via OneZero on Medium

Facebook Right or Wrong

One of the leaders of the #StopHateForProfit campaign pressuring Facebook to deal with racism and hate on the platform says it can’t be up to civil rights groups to police Facebook alone (and Facebook can’t be trusted to police themselves). Via Wired

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