Tech Today – Feb 5, 2021

Tech Today – Feb 5, 2021

It’s probably insiders Zoombombing your meetings
Ars Technica summarizes a new paper about Zoombombing and its causes. Zoombombing is when hostile actors invade a meeting, often displaying racist or explicit materials to other participants or otherwise interrupting it. According to the researchers, the biggest targets are online lectures, and people who have legitimate access to your meeting are most likely to be the ones who initiate the attacks.

The Privacy Tax: How tracking and hacking affect disabled people, and what we can do about it
Dawn E. Collett gave a fantastic talk at Linux Conference Australia yesterday. It’s 47 minutes long and focuses on “how data-driven systems view disability, and look at how accessible technology can be exploited to reveal information about its users” as well as breaking down “ways that disabled people can – and do – avoid tracking and hacking, and find out why paying a ‘privacy tax’ isn’t always feasible for everyone.” It’s not extremely technical and very eye-opening. Dawn also provides a list of sources & resources mentioned in the talk.

Two Google engineers resign over firing of Timnit Gebru
From Reuters, we learn that David Baker and Vinesh Kannan have both left Google after the company fired two Black employees: renowned AI researcher Dr. Timnit Gebru, and recruiter April Christina Curley. Dr. Gebru was fired for raising questions about the use of AI; Curley was told that her Baltimore accent “was a disability” that should be disclosed. Racist firings and incidents like these are why it’s so important that Alphabet employees are unionizing.

Apps tracked Jan 6 insurrectionists
The New York Times has a detailed article on how they were able to track individuals from their homes to the steps of the Capitol – and maybe even inside. Three important points about this discussion:
1) How the apps get your information via Mobile Ad IDs and how that can make you identifiable; 2) That there is not a need for new surveillance (as TFTP has written about); 3) The limitations of the precision of geolocation when you’re at a specific location.