Judge: Facebook Post = Illegal Campaign Contribution

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.

Vice: LinkedIn Is Filled With Fake Degrees

Vice: LinkedIn is filled with fake degrees. Eeesh. “We found thousands of profiles listing the names of known degree mills on their résumés. A woman claiming to work in Ebay’s compliance department. A specialist in wireless technology, who according to his profile works for the US government. A supposed airplane engineer in Belgium. An Egyptian reporter who used to work for Al Jazeera. A security consultant who claims to work for Hewlett-Packard in Germany. They all ‘studied’ at sham universities.”

FCC To Release Phone Numbers of Telemarketers, Robocallers

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.

UK National Archives Releases New Set of Files

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.

TalkTalk Gets Hacked

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.

Port of Los Angeles Archives Apparently in Serious Trouble

The Port of Los Angeles Archives are apparently in serious trouble. “In early 2015, the Port of Los Angeles clandestinely closed its archival facilities and ended its program to preserve and protect its historic records. The historic resources were removed from the appropriate archival storage facility and placed in storage conditions that are inhospitable to any kind of records. The current facilities suffer from vermin infestation and are located directly adjacent to the water; the humidity is on any given day approximately 15-20 percent higher inside than it is outside the facility. The historic records are in immediate danger of being lost forever.”

Amazon Provides Information About Local Businesses

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.”

Hoover Archives Poster Collection Back Online

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.”

Google, General Assembly Teaming Up for Developer Boot Camp

Google and General Assembly are teaming up to launch a developer boot camp. “Google and General Assembly are luring students to the course with the promise of job placement opportunities. VICE Media will hire an apprentice right out of the course, said Ben Jackson, director of mobile applications at VICE Media. General Assembly has said in a statement that it will connect developers who finish the course with jobs in its hiring network, including data company Karma.”

All About Blockbots

The MIT Center for Civic Media has an interesting article on blockbots. “What are block bots? They are information infrastructures that support community curated collective blocklists. People who were having to block the same kinds of people were doing much of the same work. Using a block bot, when one account is added to this community blocklist, everyone who is already subscribed will get all of those blocks as well.” I knew about blockbots in the context of Twitter but I had no idea that the concept as a whole was as well developed as it is.

Remembering Passwords as Poetry

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.)