Meta Pauses AI Models Launch In Europe Due To Irish Request



Meta Platforms will not launch its Meta AI models in Europe for now after the Irish privacy regulator told it to delay its plan to harness data from Facebook and Instagram users, the U.S. social media company said on Friday, Reuters reported.

The move by Meta came after complaints and a call by advocacy group NYOB to data protection authorities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Spain to act against the company.

At issue is Meta’s plan to use personal data to train its artificial intelligence (AI) models without seeking consent, although the company has said it would use publicly available and licensed online information.

Meta on Friday said the Irish privacy watchdog had asked it to delay training its large language models (LLM’s) using public content shared by Facebook and Instagram adult users.

“We’re disappointed by the request from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), our lead regulator, on behalf of the European DPAs … particularly since we incorporated regulatory feedback and the European DPAs have been informed since March,” the company said in an updated blogpost.

The Irish Data Protection Commission wrote:

The DPC’s Engagement with Meta On AI

The DPC welcomes the decision by Meta to pause its plans to train its large language model using public content shared by adults on Facebook and Instagram across the EU/EEA. This decision followed intensive engagement between the DPC and Meta. The DPC, in co-operation with its fellow EU data protection authorities, will continue to engage with Meta on the issue.

The Verge reported Meta is putting plans for its AI assistant on hold in Europe after receiving objections from Ireland’s privacy regulator, the company announced on Friday.

In a blog post, Meta said the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) asked the company to delay training its large language models on content that had been publicly posted to Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Meta said it is “disappointed” by the request, “particularly since we incorporated regulatory feedback and the European [Data Protection Authorities] have been informed since March,” Per the Irish Independent. Meta had recently begun notifying European users that it would collect their data and offered an opt-out option in an attempt to comply with European privacy laws.

According to The Verge, Meta said it will “continue to work collaboratively with the DCP.” But its blog post says that Google and OpenAI have “already used data from Europeans to train AI” and claims that if regulators don’t let it use users’ information to train its models, Meta can only deliver an inferior product.

“Put simply, without including local information we’d only be able to offer people a second-rate experience. This means we aren’t able to launch Meta AI in Europe at the moment.”

In my opinion, I don’t think it should be legal for companies (like Meta and others) to scrape data off of social media platforms and feed it to their AI. It will never be ok to scrape other people’s posts – unless Meta pays a significant amount of money to the users they are stealing from.


GDPR vs Google: Privacy Sandbox Under Fire #1747



Privacy campaigner noyb has filed a GDPR complaint against Google’s Privacy Sandbox, alleging it results in unwanted tracking. Despite being introduced to eliminate third-party cookies, the Privacy Sandbox tracks users within the browser. Noyb claims Google’s implementation lacks informed consent and misleads users into enabling first-party tracking under the guise of privacy protection. Google’s stance is that their Privacy Sandbox APIs offer significant privacy improvements, but the issue has drawn regulatory attention and criticism.

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WhatsApp Adds New Features To The Calling Experience



WhatsApp updated the video calling experience across devices on Thursday by introducing screen sharing with audio support and a new speaker spotlight feature.  It’s also increasing the limit for video call participants to up to 32 people, TechCrunch reported.

In August last year, WhatsApp introduced screen sharing for video calls. The instant messaging app has now enhanced that experience by enabling support to share audio alongside your screen. This will let you watch videos with your contacts on a WhatsApp call.

The other significant update that WhatsApp has made to its video calling is the expanded limit, which allows users to have up to 32 people on a single video call across devices. Before this update, WhatsApp had a 32-participant limit on mobile devices, while users on Windows and macOS could add up to 16 and 8 participants, respectively.

WhatsApp posted the following on its blog:

Since we brought Calling to WhatsApp back in 2015, we’ve continued to improve it with the introduction of group calls, video calls, and multi-platform support.

Today, we have several updates that will make calls across your devices even bigger and better, rolling out over the next few weeks:

Screen sharing with audio: Ideal for watching videos together, now when you share your screen, you can share your audio too.

More participants: Now you can have up to 32 people on a video call across all your devices.

Speaker spotlight: Easily see who’s talking with the speaker automatically highlighted and appearing first on the screen.

We also remain relentlessly focused on audio and video quality, for clearer calls no matter where you are. We recently launched Low codec which improves call reliability. Calls made on mobile devices benefit from improved noise and echo cancellation, making it easier to have calls in noisy environments, and video calls have higher resolution for those with faster connections. 

Engadget reported WhatsApp is upgrading its video-calling chops. The Meta-owned platform is enhancing its calls with a new screen-sharing feature, a higher participant count and a speaker spotlight to try and make the platform a more viable competitor to Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet.

Screen sharing could be handy for watching videos together, sharing content that isn’t easily sharable or troubleshooting your parents’ devices. It also allows for audio sharing, so you can easily chat with others while looking at their screen.

WhatsApp also expanded its participant count to 32 people on video calls. The new cap applies to all platforms. It’s a significant boost from the previous limit of eight people, first rolled out in 2020 as pandemic lockdowns kicked into full gear.

In my opinion, the WhatsApp update that can include 32 people might be good for those who want to speak with family members or close friends. That said, having 32 people to talk with at the same time might be chaotic for some.

 


X Is Making Likes Private For Everyone



Thanks to X showing what its users “like” on its platform, politicians and public personalities have been caught looking at salacious and unsavory tweets in the past. Now, the platform formerly known as Twitter is making likes mostly private, and according to company chief Elon Musk, it’s an important change so that people can “like posts without getting attacked for doing so.” Engadget reported.

The company originally launched the ability to hide the likes tab as a perk for X Premium subscribers last year. “[K]eep spicy likes private,” X said when it announced the feature.

In a new tweet, X’s Engineering account has revealed that the social network is making likes private for everyone this week. Users will no longer be able to see who liked someone else’s post, which means likes on the platform will no longer cause PR crises for public figures who like sexual, hateful, and other unpalatable posts in general.

They can still see who liked their tweets, however, along with their like count and other metrics for their own posts.

NBC News reported X is now hiding what posts users like from other users. The news rolled out in a post Wednesday morning from Elon Musk as the site update was being rolled out.

“Important change: your likes are now private,” Musk said, quoting an explanation posted by the company’s engineering account on Tuesday.

According to the post, users will still be able to see which posts they have liked themselves, and who liked their own posts, but not who liked someone else’s posts.

On Wednesday, the tab on most users’ profiles showing what posts they had liked had disappeared.

According to NBC News, Haofei Wang, X’s director of engineering, had teased the update in a post on May 21.
“Public likes are incentivizing the wrong behavior,” Wang wrote. “For example, many people feel discouraged from liking content that might be ‘edgy’ in fear of retaliation from trolls, or to protect their public image. Soon, you’ll be able to like without worrying who might see it.”

He added that if users now more freely like posts they’re interested in, X’s algorithm will become more tailored to them.

The Verge reported X is rolling out private likes as soon as today, according to a source at the company. That means what users like on the platform will be hidden by default, which is already an option for X’s Premium subscribers. Following the publication of this story, X owner Elon Musk reshared a screenshot of it, saying it’s “important to allow people to like posts without getting attacked for doing so!”

According to The Verge, late last year, Musk told the platform’s engineers that he wanted to get rid of the tweet action buttons altogether and instead place a stronger emphasis on post views (also called “impressions”). Musk’s goal was to remove the section that contained the like and repost buttons entirely because Musk believed likes weren’t important.

In my opinion, it is possible that by removing the ability to publicly “like” someone else’s post on X might make the platform easier to navigate. That said, the platform itself is going to still know what you chose to “like”.


Apple Unveils macOS 15 Sequoia with AI Features #1746



Apple announced the macOS 15 Sequoia at WWDC 2024, featuring the Apple Intelligence AI suite, iPhone mirroring, and Continuity updates. The new OS introduces automatic window tiling, a cross-platform Passwords app, and enhanced Safari features. macOS Sequoia is compatible with Apple Silicon and select Intel-based Macs

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Apple Intelligence Is The Company’s New Generative AI Offering



On Monday, at WWDC 2024, Apple unveiled Apple Intelligence, its long-awaited, ecosystem-wide push into generative AI. As earlier rumors suggested, the new feature is called Apple Intelligence (AI, get it?). The company promised the feature will be built with safety at its core, along with highly personalized experiences, TechCrunch reported.

According to TechCrunch, the company has been pushing the feature as integral to all of its various operating system offerings, including iOS, macOS, and the latest, visionOS.

The system is built on large language and intelligence models. Much of that processing is done locally according to the company, utilizes the latest version of Apple silicon. “Many of these models run entirely on device,” SVP Craig Federighi claimed during the event.

That said, these consumer systems still have limitations. As such, some of the heavy lifting needs to be done off device in the cloud. Apple is adding Private Cloud Compute to the offering. The back end uses services that run Apple chips, in a bid to increase privacy for this highly personal data.

Apple introduced Apple Intelligence. Here is part of the press release:

Apple today introduced Apple Intelligence, the personal intelligence system for iPhone, iPad, and Mac that combines the power of generative models with personal context to deliver intelligence that’s incredibly useful and relevant. 

Apple Intelligence is deeply integrated into iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia. It harnesses the power of Apple silicon to understand and create language and images, take action across apps, and draw from personal context to simplify and accelerate everyday tasks. With Private Cloud Compute, Apple sets a new standard of privacy in AI, with the ability to flex and scale computational capacity between on-device processing and larger, server-based models that run on dedicated Apple silicon servers.

“We’re thrilled to introduce a new chapter in Apple innovation. Apple Intelligence will transform what users can do with our products — and what our products can do for our users,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Our unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence. And it can access that information in a completely private and secure way to help users do the things that matter most to them. This is AI as only Apple can deliver it, and we can’t wait for users to experience what it can do.”

Engadget reported Apple Intelligence will be powered by both Apple’s homegrown tech as well as a partnership with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, Apple announced.

One of Apple’s biggest AI upgrades is coming to Siri. The company’s built-in voice assistant will now be powered by large language models, the tech that underlies all modern-day generative AI. Siri, which has languished over the years, may become more useful now that it can interact more closely with Apple’s operation systems and apps. 

Apple Intelligence will also use AI to record, transcribe, and summarize your phone calls, rivaling third-party transcription services like Otter. All participants are automatically notified when you start recording, and a transcript if the conversation’s main points is automatically generated at the end.

In my opinion, I’m not thrilled about any of the AI-Generated additions that have suddenly popped up. I’m hoping that Apple will allow me to turn off the AI-Generated stuff.


New York Times Source Code Stolen From Exposed GitHub Token



Internal source code and data belonging to The New York Times was leaked on the 4chan message board after being stolen from the company’s GitHub repositories in January 2024, The Times confirmed to BleepingComputer.

As first seen by VX-Underground, the internal data was leaked on Thursday by an anonymous user who posted a torrent to a 273GB archive containing the stolen data.

“Basically all source code belonging to The New York Times Company, 270GB,” reads the 4chan forum post. “There are around 5 thousand repos (out of them less than 30 are additionally encrypted I think), 3.6 million files total, uncompressed tar.”

In a statement to BleepingComputer, The Times said the breach occurred in January 2024 after credentials for a cloud-based third-party code platform were exposed. A subsequent email confirmed this code platform was GitHub.

“The underlying event related to yesterday’s posting occurred in January 2024 when a credential to a cloud-based third-party code platform was inadvertently made available. The issue was quickly identified and we took appropriate measures in response at there time. There is no indication of unauthorized access to Times-owned systems nor impact to our operations related to this event. Our security measures include continuous monitoring for anomalous activity” – The New York Times

Mashable reported reported the controversial image board 4Chan is back in the news this week after two big data dumps were posted on the site.

Now, it appears that the New York Times Company is the largest establishment to have its data leaked on 4Chan over the past week. The data allegedly includes source code to its viral World game.

Mashable reported X user @vxunderground appears to be the first to notice that 270GB of internal data connected to the New York Times was posted online. The data contains the company’s internal source code and consists of more than 5,000+ source code repositories. The leak is made up of a total of roughly 3,600,000 files.

According to a text file shared by the hacker, 6,223 folders were stolen from the New York Times’ GitHub repository. This includes internal company IT documents and source code, which includes the popular word game that the Times acquired in 2022, Wordle.

The Register reported a 4chan user claims to have leaked 270GB of internal New York Times data, including source code and other web assets, via the notorious image board.

According to the unnamed netizen, the information includes, “basically all source code belonging to The New York Times Company,” amounting to roughly 5,000 repositories and 3.6 million files now available for download from peer-to-peer networks. Details on how to get the files where shared by the poster on 4chan.

Of the files listed – whose names indicate everything from blueprints to Wordle to email marketing campaigns and ad reports — “less than 30” repositories are “encrypted,” the 4channer claimed. Again, take this with a healthy does of salt considering the source — an unnamed 4chan user.

In my opinion, stealing files and data from a large company’s GitHub is not a good idea. It is entirely possible that the New York Times may have already hired someone to find the hacker who did this.