A judge has ruled that a Facebook post has equalled an illegal campaign contribution. “A state judge has ruled that a Facebook post by Liberty Common School amounts to an illegal campaign contribution to a Thompson School District board candidate.” While I’m a big fan of the First Amendment, my concern here has, once again, to do with Facebook algorithms. It may be that early likes and shares will increase the reach of a page post. And that might be something that should be taken into account when you think about who should and should not be able to share/spread posts according to campaign finance laws. But you can’t, because Facebook algorithms are not transparent, and when considering what makes a post reach more people organically you have to pretty much guess.
The FCC has announced (in a DOCX file for some reason, sorry) that it will be releasing phone numbers and telemarketer numbers on a weekly basis. “The Federal Communications Commission announced today the Commission will release robocall and telemarketing consumer complaint data weekly to help developers build and improve ‘do-not-disturb’ technologies that allow consumers to block or filter unwanted calls and texts. The data, including originating phone numbers of telemarketers and automated robocalls, will be released and available on the FCC’s Consumer Help Center’s website.” I look forward to lots of lovely call-blocking solutions being built out of this.
The UK’s National Archives have released a number of MI5 files from the Cold War era. “Today we are releasing over 400 files from the Security Service (MI5), Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Cabinet Office which focus on Cold War investigations that revealed Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to be part of the Cambridge Spy Ring, one of the most famous spy cases in history.” Only a certain number of these are online. The rest you’ll have to read at the National Archives reading rooms in London.
It looks like the British access provider TalkTalk has been hacked. “TalkTalk, which provides mobile phone, broadband Internet and pay television services, has said private data from its 4 million British customers may have been compromised in a ‘significant and sustained’ cyberattack on its website.” Apparently it’s the third attack on TalkTalk in the last year and it’s not clear if customer information was encrypted or not. If TalkTalk has been attacked three times in a year, and it turns out customer information wasn’t encrypted… well good grief.
Amazon’s Echo now offers information about local businesses, though how it pronounces names is a bit of a crap shoot. “Alexa taps into Yelp’s massive database of recommendations to provide information about businesses located near you, Echo users can tap into Local Search results for nearby businesses and easily see what options are available closeby.”
The Hoover Archives has put its poster collection back online after some system upgrades. “More than thirty-three thousand posters from the Hoover Archives Poster Collection are back online after a series of system upgrades. The posters represent more than eighty countries and range in date from the late 1800s to the late 1980s. The posters can now be accessed using our ONLINE POSTER DATABASE.”
Hey! Creating easy-to-remember, complex passwords — using poetry forms. That makes sense. Now let’s turn them into advertising jingles and we’ll never forget them EVER. (I heard a Red Man Chewing Tobacco jingle on the radio at least 40 years ago, and every now and again it pops up in my brain and makes me miserable for ten minutes.)
The US National Archives has put up on YouTube the sessions for its Virtual Genealogy Fair which happened earlier this month. Day 1 is here (about 4.5 hours) and day 2 (A little over 5 hours.) You can get copies of the slides and the presentation handouts here.