Monday, February 20, 2017

Atlanta will be testing for self-driving vehicles...

A bustling city street filled with cars, buses, bicyclists and college students in the heart of Atlanta is being eyed as a real-world proving ground for self-driving vehicles

By JEFF MARTIN Associated Press Feb 20, 3:15 AM EST

ATLANTA (AP) -- Self-driving vehicles could begin tooling down a bustling Atlanta street full of cars, buses, bicyclists and college students, as the city vies with other communities nationwide to test the emerging technology.

Atlanta would become one of the largest urban areas for testing self-driving vehicles if plans come together for a demonstration as early as September.

Nationwide, 10 sites were designated last month as "proving grounds" for automated vehicles by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

They include North Carolina turnpikes, the eastern Iowa prairie and a Michigan site where World War II bombing aircraft were produced in a factory built by automobile pioneer Henry Ford. Atlanta isn't on the list, but city officials nevertheless hope to make an impact.

Backers of driverless cars say they could be part of a broader effort to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, something President Donald Trump has pledged to do. As roads and highways are rebuilt, "we think it would be very, very wise to build modern infrastructure with 21st-century capability in mind," said Paul Brubaker, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Transportation Innovation.

Self-driving vehicles, he said, "should be a national priority."

The Trump administration hasn't revealed its approach to the technology, but two U.S. senators this month announced a bipartisan effort to help speed deployment of the vehicles on the nation's roads. Republican John Thune of South Dakota and Democrat Gary Peters of Michigan said they're considering legislation that "clears hurdles and advances innovation in self-driving vehicle technology."

Atlanta has sought proposals from companies for a demonstration of an autonomous vehicle on North Avenue later this year, city documents show.

The street, which connects the Georgia Institute of Technology campus to some of the South's tallest skyscrapers, would be among the busiest urban environments yet for such testing.

In Atlanta, city officials say a key goal is to create optimal conditions on North Avenue for such vehicles to operate.

The goal of September's demonstration is to show how such a vehicle would navigate in real-world traffic, though a driver will be inside and can take the controls if needed, said Faye DiMassimo, an Atlanta official involved in the North Avenue project.

"We still think that autonomous vehicles are sort of 'The Jetsons,' right?"
DiMassimo said. "When you looked at all the information, you realize not only is this here and now, this has been in development for quite some time."

North Avenue would first be equipped with devices and sensors, enabling vehicles to communicate with traffic signals and warning self-driving cars of red lights or treacherous conditions such as snow or ice, the city documents show.

Cameras would provide live video of traffic, and computers would analyze data on road conditions, concerts or other events likely to clog streets.

Security is a key concern, however.

"Imagine if these vehicles were hacked. Imagine if the system that controls them were hacked," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.

"I don't think our society is going to want a robot glitch or a software hack to be responsible for mass deaths," he said. "If we sanction robots controlling these vehicles without really knowing the risks, I think the technology will go under when the first major catastrophe befalls us."

Court's group worked with California transportation officials as they developed rules for testing vehicles developed by Google and other companies. Now, Court and others are watching to see how often human drivers must take over to prevent accidents as vehicles are tested in California.

Tying together massive amounts of data from so many sources "will pose myriad security challenges," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed acknowledged in a report last year on a related initiative to transform Atlanta into a "smart city." Researchers at Georgia Tech, Reed said, will be key to that effort.

Public acceptance of the vehicles is among the main challenges to their widespread use on city streets and highways, Brubaker said.

He and others see Atlanta as a logical base for the emerging industry.

Atlanta's notorious traffic congestion could lead residents to welcome such vehicles, Brubaker said.

"In any city that has that level of congestion, people have a relatively open mind to embracing technology solutions that will improve the traffic flow," Brubaker said.

However, critics say the cars are not yet able to safely navigate clogged streets with traditional cars and pedestrians.

"The technology really is not ready to be used on urban streets, unless they are going to be cleared of human drivers and dedicated strictly to autonomous vehicles," Court said.

"The real problem is these technologies tend to fail when they're around pedestrians, cyclists, human drivers," Court said. The key obstacle, he
said: "human behavior is really unpredictable."

At one North Avenue intersection near Georgia Tech's football stadium, "students tend to jaywalk, so it can get a little bit messy over there,"
said Georgia Tech student Maura Currie, 19. She called it "a hectic stretch of road."

C 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SELF_DRIVING_CARS_MIOL-?SITE=WSAW&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT




Saturday, February 18, 2017

Google’s future depends on Trump’s FTC pick

Google’s future depends on Trump’s FTC pick

By Josh Kosman February 17, 2017 | 10:19pm

Alphabet believes it has a lot riding on who President Trump picks to lead the Federal Trade Commission, several sources close to the situation told The Post.

The federal regulator has the power to investigate antitrust issues and could be a thorn in the side of the tech giant.

For example, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes — on Trump’s short list of possible FTC leaders — likely would open a probe into whether Alphabet improperly pressured mobile phone makers to install Google apps on their phones, sources said.

The FTC, when conducting an investigation into Google that closed in January 2013, never looked deeply into that issue, two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation said.

A year ago, Reyes, citing new information and developments that became available since the FTC closed its probe, wrote a letter to the FTC encouraging it to open a new Alphabet probe.

Meanwhile, interim FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhaussen — the other possible Trump pick to lead the agency — was an FTC commissioner when the regulator voted to close the Google investigation, public records show.

“It is pretty hard for her to be seen as anti-Google at this point,” said a source who happens to support Reyes.

Reyes does have his supporters. They include AT&T, Comcast, Oracle and Yelp, sources familiar with the situation said.

Not surprisingly, Alphabet would like to see Ohlhausen get the FTC job, according to a source close to the search giant.

It would also be happy if longer-shot candidate Josh Wright was named, sources said.

Ohlhausen in recent weeks has shown she wants the position. On Thursday, she named Tad Lipsky — a member of President Trump’s FTC transition team — to be the acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.

The move would please the administration, a source said.

Reyes is very interested in the job, a spokesperson offered on Friday.

He has already been vetted for the position, a person familiar with the matter said.

If the FTC investigated Alphabet over Android the worst likely outcome for Alphabet would be the FTC requiring it to change its conduct, a source close to the FTC said.

The European Commission is presently investigating Alphabet over Android, and if it finds Alphabet guilty will impose fines, the source said.

Close White House adviser and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, in his 2014 book, “Zero to One,” calls Google a monopoly.

Thiel was interviewing candidates for anti-trust positions.

Alphabet declined comment.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Jeff Bezos Is Doing Huge Business with the CIA, While Keeping His Washington Post Readers in the Dark

Jeff Bezos Is Doing Huge Business with the CIA, While Keeping His Washington Post Readers in the Dark

Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s “national security” establishment.

By Norman Solomon / AlterNet December 18, 2013

News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.

The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon -- which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.

Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago.

And there’s likely to be plenty more where that CIA largesse came from. Amazon’s offer wasn’t the low bid, but it won the CIA contract anyway by offering advanced high-tech “cloud” infrastructure.

Bezos personally and publicly touts Amazon Web Services, and it’s evident that Amazon will be seeking more CIA contracts. Last month, Amazon issued a statement saying, “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

As Amazon’s majority owner and the Post’s only owner, Bezos stands to gain a lot more if his newspaper does less ruffling and more soothing of CIA feathers.

Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s “national security” establishment. The media watch group FAIR pointed out what happened after WikiLeaks published State Department cables: “WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service AWS. So at the height of public interest in what WikiLeaks was publishing, readers were unable to access the WikiLeaks website.”

How’s that for a commitment to the public’s right to know?

Days ago, my colleagues at RootsAction.org launched a petition that says: “The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon -- and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.” More than 15,000 people have signed the petition so far this week, with many posting comments that underscore widespread belief in journalistic principles.

While the Post functions as a powerhouse media outlet in the Nation’s Capital, it’s also a national and global entity -- read every day by millions of people who never hold its newsprint edition in their hands. Hundreds of daily papers reprint the Post’s news articles and opinion pieces, while online readership spans the world.

Propaganda largely depends on patterns of omission and repetition. If, in its coverage of the CIA, the Washington Post were willing to fully disclose the financial ties that bind its owner to the CIA, such candor would shed some light on how top-down power actually works in our society.

“The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media,” journalism scholar Robert W. McChesney points out. “Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.”

In a statement just released by the Institute for Public Accuracy, McChesney added: “If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation -- say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government -- the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”

From the Institute, we also contacted other media and intelligence analysts to ask for assessments; their comments are unlikely to ever appear in the Washington Post.

“What emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post -- with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA,” said former CIA official Ray McGovern. “In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”

A former reporter for the Washington Post and many other news organizations, John Hanrahan, said: “It's all so basic. Readers of the Washington Post, which reports frequently on the CIA, are entitled to know -- and to be reminded on a regular basis in stories and editorials in the newspaper and online -- that the Post's new owner Jeff Bezos stands to benefit substantially from Amazon's $600 million contract with the CIA. Even with such disclosure, the public should not feel assured they are getting tough-minded reporting on the CIA. One thing is certain: Post reporters and editors are aware that Bezos, as majority owner of Amazon, has a financial stake in maintaining good relations with the CIA -- and this sends a clear message to even the hardest-nosed journalist that making the CIA look bad might not be a good career move.”

The rich and powerful blow hard against the flame of truly independent journalism. If we want the lantern carried high, we’re going to have to do it ourselves.


AI-Powered Body Cams Give Cops The Power To Google Everything They See

AI-Powered Body Cams Give Cops The Power To Google Everything They See

Taser has started its own in-house AI unit, laying the groundwork for police body cameras that record fully-searchable video evidence

By Joshua Kopstein Feb 16, 2017 at 10:32 AM ET

The police body camera industry is the latest to jump on the artificial intelligence bandwagon, bringing new powers and privacy concerns to a controversial technology bolstered by the need to hold police accountable after numerous high-profile killings of unarmed black citizens. Now, that tech is about to get smarter.

Last week, Taser, the stun gun company that has recently become an industry leader in body-mounted cameras, announced the creation of its own in-house artificial intelligence division. The new unit will utilize the company’s acquisition of two AI-focused firms: Dextro, a New York-based computer vision startup, and Misfit, another computer vision company previously owned by the watch manufacturer Fossil. Taser says the newly formed division will develop AI-powered tech specifically aimed at law enforcement, using automation and machine learning algorithms to let cops search for people and objects in video footage captured by on-body camera systems.

Moreover, the move suggests that body-worn cameras, which are already being used by police departments in many major cities, could soon become powerful surveillance tools capable of identifying different objects, events, and people encountered by officers on the street — both retroactively and in real time.

The idea is to use machine learning algorithms to streamline the process of combing through and redacting hours of video footage captured by police body cameras. Dextro has trained algorithms to scan video footage for different types of objects, like guns or toilets, as well as recognize events, like a foot chase or traffic stop. The result of all this tagging and classifying is that police will be able use keywords to search through video footage just like they’d search for news articles on Google, allowing them to quickly redact footage and zoom in on the relevant elements. Taser predicts that in a year’s time, their automation technology will reduce the total amount of time needed to redact faces from one hour of video footage from eight to 1.5 hours.

Searchable video will also have major implications for civilian privacy, especially since there are no federal laws preventing police from trawling through databases to track people en masse.

Taser has previously expressed interest in adding face recognition capabilities to its body camera systems. A Department of Justice study published last year also found that at least nine different body camera manufacturers either currently support face recognition in their products or have the ability to add it later. And according to a recent Georgetown University Law report, roughly half of all American adults have been entered into a law enforcement face recognition database, meaning there’s decent chance that any random person walking down the street can be identified and tracked in secret by a camera-equipped cop.

A Taser representative told Vocativ that while Dextro’s computer vision technology will allow Taser’s law enforcement customers to detect faces for the purpose of redacting them from videos, it does not currently support face recognition.

“To clarify, Dextro’s system offers computer vision techniques to identify faces and other objects for improving the efficiency of the redaction workflow. AI enables you to become more targeted when needed,” Steve Tuttle, Taser’s vice president of communications, he said.

That means, he explained, that “you can show where a face starts in a video” to speed up a search, but that the technology “doesn’t identify individual faces or people.”

The company claims that its use of AI will be focused on “efficient categorization, semantic understanding, and faster redaction” of video footage as a method of “reducing paper work and enabling officers to focus on what matters.”

Using AI to optimize footage in this way is a logical next step for Taser, which has been positioning itself to become a one-stop shop for the capture, storage, and processing of video evidence by law enforcement agencies. The company’s Axon body camera platform currently handles more than 5 petabytes of footage, captured by officers and stored in a proprietary cloud locker called Evidence.com.

Taser has claimed that its platform prevents tampering with video evidence by logging every time a piece of footage is accessed. But critics have warned that such privately-owned systems are ripe for abuse because police and prosecutors still have exclusive control over the footage, as well as the system that processes it.

In the future, Taser CEO Rick Smith said in a live webcast Wednesday, the company wants to expand these capabilities into a kind of AI “personal secretary” for police officers. Such a system would fully automate the collection of data during police encounters, using live voice transcription and image analysis to feed relevant information back to the officer.

“Police officers are spending most of their time entering information into computers” about their interactions in the field, Smith said during the webcast. “We want to automate all of that.”

But privacy and police accountability advocates are wary of letting a for-profit company like Taser dictate so much about how high-tech policing works, especially when no restrictions are in place limiting when or how often video archives and face recognition databases can be searched.

“We’re talking about a company making very far-reaching decisions about the use of emerging technologies in policing,” Clare Garvie, an associate at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, told Vocativ. “It’s really an open question right now what controls will be put in place at the public agency level.”


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tired of screen addicts, Vienna cafe says phone juice costs extra

Tired of screen addicts, Vienna cafe says phone juice costs extra

February 15, 2017

VIENNA (Reuters) - Grumpy waiter service is as traditional as apple strudel in Vienna, but a cafe in one of the city's most recognizable landmarks has caused disquiet with what seems to be an Austrian first: charging customers for charging their phones.

Tired of tourists powering up batteries for hours, cafe owner Galina Pokorny has introduced a 1 euro ($1.06) fee for those who plug in their mobiles for too long.

"Tourists - always electricity, electricity, electricity. Sorry but who is going to pay me for it?" said Pokorny, owner of the Terrassencafe im Hundertwasserhaus - located inside a colorful patchwork of apartments designed by artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Customers who charge up during a 15-minute coffee can still do so for free, she said. An hour, however, is beyond the pale.

"I run a cafe, not an internet cafe," she said, adding that she knew of no other cafes that levy a similar charge.

"It's getting more and more extreme. People come and think everything is accessible and free... You don't even open your eyes in the morning for free."

Pokorny introduced the charge last year, she said, but it gained attention on Wednesday when tabloid Oesterreich published the "bizarre bill" one of its reporters was presented with, featuring the 1 euro charge for "electricity".

The fee also applies to laptops and tablets, and for those using more than one outlet is multiplied by the number of devices plugged in. Disgruntled customers can take some comfort from the fact that wireless internet access is still free.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by John Stonestreet)


A Guide to Getting Past Customs With Your Digital Privacy Intact

A Guide to Getting Past Customs With Your Digital Privacy Intact

By ANDY GREENBERG 02.12.17 7:00 AM.

WHEN RYAN LACKEY travels to a country like Russia or China, he takes certain precautions: Instead of his usual gear, the Seattle-based security researcher and founder of a stealth security startup brings a locked-down Chromebook and an iPhone SE that’s set up to sync with a separate, non-sensitive Apple account. He wipes both before every trip, and loads only the minimum data he’ll need. Lackey goes so far as to keep separate travel sets for each country, so that he can forensically analyze the devices when he gets home to check for signs of each country’s tampering.

Now, Lackey says, the countries that warrant that paranoid approach to travel might include not just Russia and China, but the United States, too—if not for Americans like him, than for anyone with a foreign passport who might come under the increasingly draconian and unpredictable scrutiny of the US Customs and Border Protection agency. “All of this applies to America more than it has in the past,” says Lackey. “If I thought I were likely to be a targeted person, I would go through this same level of protection.”

In the weeks since President Trump’s executive order ratcheted up the vetting of travelers from majority Muslim countries, or even people with Muslim-sounding names, passengers have experienced what appears from limited data to be a “spike” in cases of their devices being seized by customs officials. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Nathan Wessler says the group has heard scattered reports of customs agents demanding passwords to those devices, and even social media accounts. And newly sworn-in Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress earlier this week that the agency is considering requiring foreign travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries to hand over their social media passwords or be refused entry.

“Requesting passwords is just beyond the pale,” says Wessler. He points out that the practice doesn’t just affect individual travelers, but everyone they’ve communicated with, potentially reducing the overall trust and security of social media in general. “If this were to go forward, it would risk really wreaking havoc with tourism and business travel to the US. What traveler is going to want to lay bare every intimate detail of their social media history, exposing years of their lives?”

In fact, US Customs and Border Protection has long considered US borders and airports a kind of loophole in the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections, one that allows them wide latitude to detain travelers and search their devices. For years, they’ve used that opportunity to hold border-crossers on the slightest suspicion, and demand access to their computers and phones with little formal cause or oversight.

Even citizens are far from immune. CBP detainees from journalists to filmmakers to security researchers have all had their devices taken out of their hands by agents.

As those intrusions become more common and aggressive in the Trump era, WIRED has assembled the following advice from legal and security experts to preserve your digital privacy while crossing American borders. But take all of these strategies with caution: Given CBP’s unpredictable and in many areas undocumented practices, none of the experts WIRED spoke to claimed to have a privacy panacea for the American border.

Lock Down Devices

If customs officials do take your devices, don’t make their intrusion easy. Encrypt your hard drive with tools like BitLocker, TrueCrypt, or Apple’s Filevault, and choose a strong passphrase. On your phone—preferably an iPhone, given Apple’s track record of foiling federal cracking—set a strong PIN and disable Siri from the lockscreen by switching off “Access When Locked” under the Siri menu in Settings.

Remember also to turn your devices off before entering customs: Hard drive encryption tools only offer full protection when a computer is fully powered down. If you use TouchID, your iPhone is safest when it’s turned off, too, since it requires a PIN rather than a fingerprint when first booted, resolving any ambiguity about whether border officials can compel you to unlock the device with a finger instead of a PIN—a real concern given that green card holders are required to offer their fingerprints with every border crossing.

Keep Passwords Secret

This is the tricky part. American citizens can’t be deported for refusing to give up an encryption or social media password, says the ACLU’s Wessler. That means if you stand your ground and don’t reveal passwords or PINs, you may be detained and your devices confiscated—even sent off to a forensic facility—but you’ll eventually get through with your privacy far more intact than if you divulge secrets. “They can seize your device, even for months while they try to break into it,” says Wessler. “But you’re going to get home.”

Be warned, however, that denying customs officials access can at the very least lead to hours of uncertain detention in a bleak, windowless CBP office. And for visa and even green card holders, the right to enter the US is far less clear. “If they truly want to come into America, then they’ll cooperate,” DHS secretary Kelly told Congress last Tuesday. “If not, you know, next in line.” If the DHS does adopt that hardline policy of privacy invasion, it could leave non-citizens without easy answers.

Phone Home

Before going into customs, alert a lawyer or a loved one who can contact a lawyer, and contact them again when you get out. If you are detained, you may not be able to access your devices or otherwise have the opportunity to reach the outside world. And in the worst case scenario of a lengthy detention, you’ll want someone advocating for your release and legal representation.

Make a Travel Kit

For the most vulnerable travelers, the best way to keep customs away from your data is simply not to carry it. Instead, like Lackey, set up travel devices that store the minimum of sensitive data. Don’t link those “dirty” devices to your personal accounts, and when you do have to create a linked account—as with iTunes for iOS devices—create fresh ones with unique usernames and passwords. “If they ask for access and you can’t refuse, you want to be able to give them access without losing any sensitive information,” says Lackey.

Social media accounts, admittedly, can’t be so easily ditched. Some security experts recommend creating secondary personas that can be offered up to customs officials while keeping a more sensitive account secret. But if CBP agents do link your identity with an account you tried to hide, the result could be longer detention and, for non-citizens, even denial of entry.

Deny Yourself Access

Better than telling customs officials that you won’t offer access to your accounts, says security researcher and forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski, is to tell them you can’t. One somewhat extreme method he suggests is to set up two-factor authentication for your sensitive accounts, so that accessing them requires entering not only a password but a code sent to your phone via text message. Then, before you cross the border, make sure you don’t have the SIM card that allows you—or customs officials—to receive that text message, essentially denying yourself the ability to cooperate with agents even if you wanted to. Zdziarski suggests mailing yourself the SIM card, or destroying it and then recovering the accounts with backup codes you leave at home (for American residents) or keep in an encrypted account online. “If you ditch your SIM before you approach the border, you can give them any password you want and they won’t be able to get access,” Zdziarski says. He cautions, however, that he’s never tested that know-nothing strategy in the face of angry CBP agents.

Those more involved subversion techniques, warns University of California at Davis law professor Elizabeth Joh, also create the risk that you’ll also arouse more suspicion, making CBP agents all the more likely to detain you or deny entrance to the country. But she has no better answer. “There’s not that much you can do when you cross the border in terms of the government’s power,” she admits.

In fact, the issue of privacy rights for digital devices at the border remains troublingly unsettled, Joh says. While the Supreme Court decision in Riley vs. California in 2014 declared warrantless searches of devices at the time of arrest unconstitutional, no case has set such a precedent for the American border—much less for non-Americans seeking those same privacy rights.

Until such a precedent is set, that border zone will remain in a kind of legal limbo. The government has the power to open bags crossing into its territory or even dismantle cars to search for contraband, she points out. “What does that mean in an age when people bring their digital devices across borders? The Supreme Court hasn’t spoken to that issue,” Joh says. “The real problem here is there’s still no good set of protections for a portal into your private life.”


Twitter’s New Tool to Crack Down on Politically Incorrect Language

Twitter’s New Tool to Crack Down on Politically Incorrect Language

By William Hicks | 2:57 pm, February 15, 2017
 
Twitter has launched a new way to punish users for bad behavior, temporarily “limiting” their account.

Some users are receiving notices their accounts are limited for 12 hours, meaning only people who follow them can see their tweets or receive notifications. When they are retweeted, people outside their network can’t see those retweets.

Some speculate these limitations are automatic based on keywords, but there is no hard evidence.

This would be fine if this was used uniformly to clamp down on harassment, but it appears to be used on people, simply for using politically incorrect language.

Take for example the Twitter user @Drybones5 who got his account limited after using the word “retarded.”

He claims he got his account limited directly after saying retarded twice. The first time he called a Nintendo policy adding paid extra content to their new Zelda game retarded.

The next time he called someone a retard who called him a retard first.

Another user @faggotfriday (kind of surprising he hasn’t gotten banned yet) got his account limited after using fag in the British sense, meaning cigarette.

Another user claims his account was limited after calling Senator John McCain a traitor.

It’s not surprising or unreasonable, the limiting feature would be applied to the n-word, but it can go into effect even when the word is used in a context which was not targeting anyone.

In this case the n-word was used in reference to a statement Chris Cuomo made. It seems that using the n-word in reference to a quote could cause an account to get limited.

Twitter appears to be using this feature to police problematic language that is not necessarily targeted harassment. So much for being the “free speech wing of the free speech party.”