Smartwatches for Kids Are a Total Privacy Nightmare

Kids’ smartwatches are usually intended to help parents feel at ease that their children are safe when they’re not around. But as it turns out, a number of these devices may do more harm than good. A 49-page report on smartwatches for children (with the unfortunate title of #WatchOut) details all the ways in which they are a security nightmare. Read More >>

This App for Automatically Hiding Your Nude Pics Could Use An Anatomy Lesson

There’s a new app that uses machine learning to mine your camera roll for explicit images. The purpose of the app, Nude, is to file these sensitive photos into a for-your-eyes-only folder, and then help you wipe the pics from your camera roll and iCloud. But algorithms are still not very good at picking up on the nuances of human behaviour—and after letting Nude troll through my camera roll, I’m not convinced this algorithm has ever seen a naked body. Read More >>

Facebook Reportedly Used Anti-Muslim Advert as Test Case in Video Formats

“It’s important that Facebook is a place where people with different views can share their ideas,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg following the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. “But when someone tries to silence others or attacks them based on who they are or what they believe, that hurts us all and is unacceptable.” That tender sentiment, however, apparently didn’t stop the tech giant from using an anti-Muslim advert as a guinea pig for its new video formats during the final weeks of last year’s election. Read More >>

Essential Is Getting Sued For Allegedly Stealing Wireless Connector Technology

This summer, people got really frothy about the super-hyped Essential Phone from Android co-creator Andy Rubin. Then, Essential screwed up one thing after another, tainting the phone’s reputation as the company seemingly couldn’t get its shit together. And now, Essential is being sued. Read More >>

Australia Launches First Nation-Wide Reporting System for Revenge Porn

Victims of revenge porn—the nonconsensual distribution of explicit images—have a difficult path to navigate to regain their privacy and seek justice. The laws have yet to catch up to the crime, and the average person doesn’t have the means to quickly take down intimate images from the web—they’re often at the mercy of tech giants. But the Australian government is trying to address the issue with a national portal dedicated to offering support and reporting tools for revenge porn victims. Read More >>

Women Explain Why They Are Boycotting Twitter

On Wednesday night, Rose McGowan’s Twitter account was suspended. McGowan had used the platform as a soapbox to call out sexual harassment in Hollywood, posting a series of tweets about Harvey Weinstein as well as telling Ben Affleck to “fuck off.” Twitter belatedly offered an explanation for the suspension, noting that “[McGowan’s] account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number.” But in response, a former Tumblr trust and safety employee has called Twitter’s excuse “a load of horseshit,” and a flood of users have decided to boycott the service on Friday. Read More >>

Oculus Is Trying To Get Ahead of Harassment In Virtual Reality

Facebook wants one billion people to experience virtual reality—about one-seventh of the entire human population. That’s an audacious goal even without a time frame, which Mark Zuckerberg did not provide. But to lure that many people into the void, users don’t just need their minds blown. They also need to feel safe. Read More >>

A Damning Hollywood Film Probably Wouldn’t Help Uber Hire Women

When it comes to hiring women and underrepresented minorities into engineering positions at Uber, the company’s head of HR Liane Hornsey thinks “it’s going to be bloody hard.” Read More >>

YouTube Bans Some Gun Modification Tutorials, But Plenty Remain

Fifty-eight people were killed in the Las Vegas massacre last week, the deadliest mass shooting in modern history. Seventeen guns were found in gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel room, including a dozen that had been modified with a “bump stock,” an added part that allowed the guns to fire more rapidly. And up until today, anyone with access to YouTube could watch a tutorial on how to modify their guns in the exact same way. Now those videos are not allowed. Read More >>

I Wore Google’s ‘Smart’ Jacket of the Mediocre Future 

I sat on the subway, gently petting my denim jacket to skip songs on Spotify, wondering—is this the future? To which I say, I really hope a dongle in my jacket isn’t the future. It’s certainly not the one we were promised. Read More >>

Russian Soldiers’ Selfie Days May Be Numbered After Accidental Leaks

Russia’s Ministry of Defense has drafted a law to ban soldiers from posting something as seemingly trivial as a selfie. The law would restrict contractors from posting photos, videos, and geolocation information online as well as anything related to the activities of their military department and other service members. The ban will reportedly be implemented in January 2018, according to Russian news agency Interfax. Read More >>

Creepiness Won’t Kill the Google Clips Camera

Google introduced a tiny lifelogging camera on Wednesday at its Pixel 2 event. Called Clips, the little device can be held, clipped, or set down while it uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to “capture beautiful, spontaneous images” of your life. As with most cameras intended to constantly record you, a lot of people’s first instinct was: Holy shit this is creepy. Read More >>

augmented reality
Artist Protests Augmented Reality Sculpture By Digitally ‘Vandalising’ Snapchat Balloon Dog

Augmented reality promised us a world of whimsy not confined by the rules of science. This week, we instead got a tech behemoth promoting their struggling app by plopping virtual sculptures into already magnificent places. And the art world is already firing back. Read More >>

Google Just Invented… Lifelogging?

Lifelogging—the act of recording your every waking moment—has been declared dead numerous times. But now it looks like Google is trying to resuscitate the movement with a new camera it introduced at its Pixel 2 event on Wednesday. Read More >>

Tinder Thinks ‘Sassy’ Emoji Are the Answer to Shitty Men Online

On Wednesday, Tinder introduced a new “Reactions” feature which lets users send each other a range of animated emoji. And in support of this feature, the dating app has launched a bizarre new campaign to explain how these cutesy animations are the solution to skeezy behaviour online. Read More >>