OnePlus 12 Design Revealed

OnePlus LogoOnePlus has revealed the design of the upcoming OnePlus 12 smartphone and it’s definitely an evolution of the 11 rather than a radical redesign, retaining the large circular camera array on the rear. The alert slider remains, although it’s moved to the right-hand side to accommodate a new integrated antenna which will improving gaming latency. Although not mentioned in the current press release, wireless charging is expected to make a return: this is great news as this feature is missing from the OnePlus 11 and its absence puts many people off upgrading, including myself.

The picture is a little gloomy (expect a short film to be released soon), but if you zoom in, there’s an interesting pattern on the rear of the phone. “Flowy Emerald” is a representation of the Dart River in New Zealand based on a photo taken with the OnePlus 12 camera and than transformed into the design for the back of the device. It’s a novel change from the norm.

More info was revealed on Weibo and (translated to English) the OnePlus 12 will launch in China on 5th December with a worldwide launch expected in January. The phone will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and the partnership with Hasselblad continues, supporting the Sony Lytia sensor seen in the Open. As mentioned earlier, wireless charging makes a return as does an IR blaster. It seems like OnePlus is returning to its flagship-killing ways, but we’ll need to see the price to be sure.

Google Closing Inactive Accounts Starting on December 1st #1708

Starting December 1, 2023, Google is set to close dormant accounts and everything they hold, including photos, emails, calendar entries, and more.

The episode also delves into various cybersecurity concerns. It discusses a hacking incident at a US water utility, where an Iranian-linked group hijacked an industrial control system but didn’t compromise the water supply. There’s also coverage of a cyber-attack in the UK, disrupting home sales by targeting a firm responsible for handling property transactions.

Digital advancements are a key theme, with discussions on the emergence of digital car keys and their potential to replace traditional physical keys. The podcast touches on the debate over the best technology (NFC or ultra-wideband) for this purpose and user preferences regarding digital vs. physical keys.

Todd also shares insights from an ex-NASA astronaut on dealing with failure, emphasizing quick recovery, cautious action, and team empathy. The episode further explores a claim by hackers to have stolen data from General Electric, the EU’s scrutiny of Amazon’s iRobot deal for potential antitrust issues, and the widespread use of generative AI in workplaces without formal employer approval.

In other news, Gulf Air suffered a data breach, potentially compromising customer data, and a study on video conferencing fatigue highlights its impacts on well-being compared to in-person interactions.

Space-related updates include the biggest planet ever found and Canada’s preparation for medical emergencies in deep space. The episode concludes with discussions on Australia’s call for new competition laws for digital platforms, the potential for medical tech in space, and a feature on iPhones for easily sharing contact information.

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Continue reading Google Closing Inactive Accounts Starting on December 1st #1708

US, Britain, And Other Countries Ink Agreement To Make AI “Secure By Design”

The United States, Britain and more than a dozen other countries on Sunday unveiled what a senior U.S. official described as the first detailed international agreement on how to keep artificial intelligence safe from rogue actors, pushing for companies to create AI systems that are “secure by design,” Reuters reported.

In a 20-page document unveiled Sunday, the 18 countries agreed that companies designing and using AI need to develop and deploy it in a way that keeps customers and the wider public safe from misuse.

According to Reuters, the agreement is non-binding and carries mostly general recommendations such as monitoring AI systems for abuse, protecting data from tampering and vetting software suppliers.

Still, the director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly, said it was important that so many countries put their names to the idea that AI systems needed to put safety first.

The Hill reported that the United States, along with 17 other countries, unveiled an international agreement that aims to keep artificial intelligence (AI) systems safe from rogue actors and urges providers to follow “secure by design principles.”

According to The Hill, the 20-page document, jointly published Sunday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the United Kingdom’s National Security Centre, provides a set of guidelines to ensure AI systems are built to “function as intended” without leaking sensitive data to unauthorized users.

Other countries features in the agreement include Australia, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Poland, and Singapore.

Last month, the Biden administration issued a sweeping executive order on AI focused on managing the risks of AI. The order includes new standards of safety, worker protection principles, along with directing federal agencies to accelerate the development of techniques so AI systems can be trained while preserving the privacy of training data.

iPhoneInCanada reported about the guidelines for artificial intelligence systems. The guidelines are divided into four key areas reflecting the stages of the AI system development life cycle. It’s pretty broad without anything specific:

Secure Design: This section focuses on the design stage, covering risk understanding, threat modeling and considerations for system and model design.

Secure Development: Guidelines for the development state include supply chain security, documentation, and management of assets and technical debt.

Secure Deployment: This stage involves protecting infrastructure and models, developing incident management processes, and ensuring responsible release.

Secure Operation and Maintenance: Post-deployment, this section provides guidance on logging and monitoring, update management, and information sharing.

In my opinion, it makes sense for there to be specific guidelines on how AI is used. The guidelines could be used by various countries, and should include protections for users – without leaking sensitive data to other users.

Unsealed Complaint Says Meta “Coveted” Under-13s

An unsealed complaint in a lawsuit filed against Meta by 33 states alleges the company is not only aware that children under the age of 13 use its platforms, but has also “coveted and pursued” this demographic for years on Instagram, Engadget reported.

The document, which was first spotted by The New York Times, claims that Meta has long been dishonest about how it handles underage users’ accounts when they’re discovered, often failing to disable them when reported and continuing to harvest their data.

According to Engadget, the newly unsealed complaint, filed on Wednesday, reveals arguments that were previously redacted when attorneys generals from across the US first hit Meta with the lawsuit last month in the California federal court. It alleges that the presence of under-13s is an “open secret” at Meta.

Meta’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis, proposed a requirement for parents to have approval power for downloads for kids under the age of 16.

Mashable reported Meta loves to decry that it does its best to protect children on its platform. After all, kids under 13 can’t even sign up for Instagram or Facebook because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 – but that doesn’t actually stop most kids from signing up because lying online is a classic American pastime.

And we know that Meta knows this, Mashable reported. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a congressional hearing in March 2021 that “there is clearly a large number of people under the age of 13 who would want to use a service like Instagram.” This is part of the reason the platform has considered creating Instagram Youth.

Meta told Mashable in an emailed statement that Instagram doesn’t allow users under the age of 13 to use the app and that it has “measures in place to remove these accounts when we identify them.”

PCMag reported that Meta has received 1.1 million reports of users under the age of 13 using Instagram since 2019; however, the company has opted to disable only a small fraction of those accounts, according to The New York Times.

A newly unsealed legal complaint brought against the company by the attorneys of 33 states shows that not only did Meta not delete the accounts, but the company, “routinely continued to collect” the children’s personal information, including their email addresses and phone numbers, without their parent’s permission, a violation of federal children’s privacy laws.

The complaint was filed last month in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by California, Colorado, and 31 other states.

In a statement Saturday to the New York Times, Meta says the complaint “mischaracterizes our work using selective quotes and cherry-picked documents.”

In my opinion, this is really bad news for Meta. It seems to me that allowing children to use Meta’s platforms – without the knowledge of the children’s parents – is not a good look for a company that should have known better.

X May Lose Up To $75 Million In Revenue As More Advertisers Pull Out

Engadget reported that X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, typically earns the most money in the last months of the year, as brands ramp up their advertising campaigns. According to The New York Times, though, the company’s earnings report for this quarter might look different than usual.

Based on internal documents The Times has seen, over 100 brands and even other types of advertisers, such as political candidates, have fully paused their ads on the website, while dozens more are considering pulling their campaigns. If advertisers don’t come back, X could lose up to $75 million in ad revenue earnings this year.

According to Engadget, IBM, Apple and Disney were among the brands that quickly pulled their ads from X after the incidents. Lionsgate specifically cited Musk’s tweet as its reason for suspending its advertising campaigns, while Ubisoft was one of the first video game companies to withdraw its ads from X.

According to The Times’ report, Airbnb has halted over $1 million worth of advertising on X, and Netflix has pulled $3 million in ads. X could also lose $4 million in ad revenue due to Microsoft’s subsidiaries pausing their campaigns. Uber and Coca-Cola are two other well-known brands that have chosen to put their advertising on X on hold.

Reuters reported that Musk backing an antisemitic post on the platform last week has led several companies including Walt Disney and Warner Bros Discovery to pass their advertisements on the site formerly called Twitter.

According to Reuters, X has struck back and sued media watchdog group Media Matters, alleging the organization defamed the platform with a report that said ads for major brands including Apple and Oracle had appeared next to posts touting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

Advertisers have fled X since Musk bought it in October 2022 and reduced content moderation, resulting in a sharp rise in hate speech on the site, according to civil rights groups.

Mashable reported that the ad exodus followed X owner Elon Musk’s public support of an antisemitic conspiracy theory, in a tweet that is amazingly still up. That, combined with a general influx of hateful content that has the tendency to appear next to ads, has created a hostile environment for advertisers.

According to Mashable, X even confirmed a report from watchdog group Media Matters that ads on the platform are being shown alongside hateful content – but X is suing Media Matters for it anyway, claiming that it was a deliberate, malicious attack to “drive advertisers from the platform.”

The Hill reported that the New York Times said it viewed “internal documents” revealing that the social media company is in a tough position. The documents reportedly list over 200 ad units from companies like Amazon and Coca-Cola that have stopped or are considering pausing their advertising on X.

According to The Hill, The Times, said the documents are from the sales team at X, and that they are used to track the impact from advertising pullbacks in November.

In my opinion, there were many steps that Elon Musk could have taken to stop the exodus of brands pulling away their advertising from X, formerly known as Twitter. Suing Media Matters, who pointed out the antisemitic content on Mr. Musk’s platform, will not bring advertising money back.

Ubisoft Blames “Technical Error” For Showing Pop-Up Ads In Assassin’s Creed

Ubisoft is blaming a “technical error” for a fullscreen pop-up ad that appeared in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this week. Reddit users say they spotted the pop-up on Xbox and PlayStation versions of the game, with an ad appearing just when you navigate to the map screen, The Verge reported.

“This is disgusting to experience while playing,” remarked one Reddit user, summarizing the general feeling against such pop-ups in the middle of gameplay.

“We have been made aware that some players encountered pop-up ads while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday,” says Ubisoft spokesperson Fabien Darrigues, in a statement to The Verge. “This was the result of a technical error that we addressed as soon as we learned about the issue.”

While it was unclear at first why the game suddenly started showing Black Friday pop-up ads to promote Ubisoft’s latest version of Assassins Creed, the publisher later explained what went wrong in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

The Assassin’s Creed account on X (formerly Twitter) wrote: “We have been made aware that some players encountered a pop-up message in-game while playing certain Assassin’s Creed titles yesterday. This was the result of a technical error that has now been fixed.

Our intention was to display a promotion for Assassin’s Creed Mirage as part of the franchise news in the main menu of other Assassin’s Creed games.

Unfortunately, this technical error caused the promotion to appear in one of our in-game menus instead. We want to ensure the best player experience possible, and these disruptive pop-ups were promptly removed once we learned of the issue.

– The AC Team

RockPaperShotgun reported that earlier this week reports of players encountering in-game pop-up adverts for this year’s Assassin’s Creed: Mirage, while innocently trying to visit the map screen in Ubisoft’s older open world stabathon Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

According to RockPaperShotgun, big publishers such as Ubisoft have experimented with adding in-game ads to their games in the past, not always for the worst. 2K Games tried it with unskippable loading screen videos in NBA 2019. Sega and Sports Interactive’s Football Manager offered free match side billboard space to mental health charities in 2020.

In the latter case, the ads are both for a good cause and consistent with the game’s representation of virtual soccer. Pop-up Black Friday discounts during the heyday of the Peloponnesian War? Less convincing.

Personally, if I were playing an Assassin’s Creed game, and a pop-up ad appeared that I could not instantly remove, I’d be angry about that. It would break the immersion of the game. I’m not at all surprised that some players strongly disliked the pop-up ad.

Elon Musk Says X Will Show Headlines On The Platform Again

Elon Musk said that X, formerly Twitter, will start showing headlines in preview cards with URL’s on the platform again after removing titles last month, TechCrunch reported.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Musk said in an upcoming update, the company will overlay the title in the upper portion of the image of a URL Card. He didn’t mention any specific timeline for the rollout or give an example of what the card might look like.

According to TechCrunch, in August, the Tesla CEO said that X planned to stop showing titles with URL’s in “improved aesthetics.” The company stopped showing headlines in October after the announcement.

Because of this change, users had to tap on the URL card to actually know the title or read the headline. To get around this change, publishers started to write their own headlines on image and post the link separately or include the headline in the image of the generated preview card.

This change might make it easier for publications and not work on custom formats, but that completely depends on the layout of the new card.

Mashable reported that Twitter/X owner Elon Musk has announced the platform will reinstate headlines to link previews for articles. Musk removed automatic article headlines and their subhead text last month because he didn’t like how they looked.

The announcement came less than two hours after Musk himself inadvertently demonstrated how the removal of Twitter/X’s headline previews had severely reduced the platform’s functionality. Sharing a Reuters article about OpenAI, the beleaguered billionaire simply stated that it was “Extremely concerning!” – a statement rendered nonsensical without the link’s context.

According to Mashable, Twitter/X users immediately began roasting Musk for returning a feature many felt he never should have arbitrarily removed in the first place.

9to5Google reported that for years, Twitter/X has been a great source to not only witness breaking news (ie.the recent OpenAI drama), but also to get news from various outlets.

But when Elon Musk opted to remove headlines from link previews, it really took away the usefulness of sharing links on the platform. That is, on iOS and the web. Headlines were never removed from Twitter’s Android app.

Now, things are changing back. Elon Musk announced this week that Twitter/X will, “in an upcoming release,” put an “overlay title” on URL cards. In other words, tweets will start showing headlines again.

iPhoneInCanada  reported that the original change to the headlines on X posed a number of issues for the user base. As one can imagine, cutting headlines caused a lot of context to be lost when sharing articles. Thus, many began having to clarify and write out the headlines as part of the post’s text.

It also became a cause for concern when the legitimacy of some articles and the spread of misinformation became apparent thanks to the change.

In my opinion, Mr. Musk tends to try out new things on X, formerly Twitter, without really thinking through how those changes will affect users. The removal of headlines from news articles is a vivid example of why he shouldn’t be messing around with things.