Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules

Contrite Facebook executives seek to ward off more European rules
By Eric Auchard and Douglas Busvine January 21, 2018
MUNICH (Reuters) - Facebook executives are fanning out across Europe this week to address the social media giant’s slow response to abuses on its platform, seeking to avoid further legislation along the lines of a new hate speech law in Germany it says goes too far.
Facebook's communications and public policy chief used an annual meeting in Munich of some of Europe and Silicon Valley's tech elite to apologize for failing to do more, earlier, to fight hate speech and foreign influence campaigns on Facebook.
"We have to demonstrate we can bring people together and build stronger communities," the executive, Elliot Schrage, said of the world's biggest information-sharing platform, which has more than 2 billion monthly users.
"We have over-invested in building new experiences and under-invested in preventing abuses," he said in a keynote s…

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials
U.S. scientists helped devise the Crispr biotechnology tool. First to test it in humans are Chinese doctors
By Preetika Rana, Amy Dockser Marcus and Wenxin Fan Jan. 21, 2018 2:19 p.m. ET
HANGZHOU, China—In a hospital west of Shanghai, Wu Shixiu since March has been trying to treat cancer patients using a promising new gene-editing tool.
U.S. scientists helped devise the tool, known as Crispr-Cas9, which has captured global attention since a 2012 report said it can be used to edit DNA. Doctors haven’t been allowed to use it in human trials in America. That isn’t the case for Dr. Wu and others in China.
In a quirk of the globalized technology arena, Dr. Wu can forge ahead with the tool because he faces few regulatory hurdles to testing it on humans. His hospital’s review board took just an afternoon to sign off on his trial. He didn’t need national regulators’ approval and has few reporting requirements.
Dr. Wu’s team at Ha…

Google Has An Actual Secret Speech Police

Google Has An Actual Secret Speech Police
By Peter Hasson Associate Editor 10:45 PM 01/19/2018
More than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies around the world help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos.
All of them have confidentiality agreements barring Google, YouTube’s parent company, from revealing their participation to the public, a Google representative told The Daily Caller on Thursday.
A handful of groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech, a European organization focused on combatting intolerance, have chosen to go public with their participation in the program, but the vast majority have stayed hidden behind the confidentiality agreements. Most groups in the program don’t want to be publicly associated with it, according to the Google spokesperson, who spoke only on background.
YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program goes back to 2012, but the program has exploded…

Nations Seek the Elusive Cure for Cyberattacks

Nations Seek the Elusive Cure for Cyberattacks
By DAVID E. SANGER JAN. 21, 2018
WASHINGTON — When the “Wannacry” ransomware attack spread across Britain, Japan Russia, Taiwan and places in between last May, it took only a few days for private firms that looked at the code to come to some pretty quick conclusions. The attack almost certainly came from North Korea. The North Koreans almost certainly used computer code that had leaked from the inner sanctum of the National Security Agency. And the ransomware part was a scam: If you paid off the hackers, your data still wasn’t restored.
Yet it took until October for the British government to identify North Korea as the culprit in an attack that paralyzed its health care system for a few days, and until mid-December for the Trump administration, in a presentation at the White House, to reach that same conclusion.
So what was the penalty for the government in Pyongyang for unleashing a devastating cyberattack? There was none. Nothing. Not …

Why Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t want his nephew to use social networks

Why Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t want his nephew to use social networks
Apple CEO warns that when it comes to kids, tech needs to have limits
By MIKE MURPHY Published: Jan 21, 2018 7:57 p.m. ET
Although he runs the biggest tech company on the planet, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook is concerned by the risk that technology poses to kids.
Speaking at Harlow College in Essex, England, last week, Cook said there should be limits on the use of technology in schools, and said he doesn’t want his young nephew using social media.
“I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won’t allow; I don’t want them on a social network.” Tim Cook
“I don’t believe in overuse [of technology]. I’m not a person that says we’ve achieved success if you’re using it all the time,” Cook said, according to a report by The Guardian. “I don’t subscribe to that at all.”
Cook was speaking at the school as it adopted Apple’s Everyone Can Code program, in which ever…

NSA deleted data on Bush-era snooping it had been under court orders to preserve

NSA deleted surveillance data it pledged to preserve
Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about some of its surveillance efforts.
The agency tells a federal judge that it is investigating and 'sincerely regrets its failure.'
By JOSH GERSTEIN 01/19/2018 07:39 PM EST
The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.
Word of the NSA’s foul-up is emerging just as Congress has extended for six years the legal authority the agency uses for much of its surveillance work conducted through U.S. internet providers and tech firms. President Donald Trump signed that measure into law Friday.
Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following d…

Facebook to Rank News Sources by Quality to Battle Misinformation

Facebook to Rank News Sources by Quality to Battle Misinformation
Tech giant will rely on user surveys of trustworthiness to try to preserve objectivity
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the change is necessary to address the role of social media in amplifying sensationalism, misinformation and polarization.
By Deepa Seetharaman Updated Jan. 19, 2018 5:07 p.m. ET
Facebook Inc. plans to start ranking news sources in its feed based on user evaluations of credibility, a major step in its effort to fight false and sensationalist information that will also push the company further into a role it has long sought to avoid—content referee.
The social-media giant will begin testing the effort next week by prioritizing news reports in its news feed from publications that users have rated in Facebook surveys as trustworthy, executives said Friday. The most “broadly trusted” publications—those trusted and recognized by a large cross-section of Facebook users—would get a boost in the news feed, w…