Twenty years ago, Microsoft tried to eliminate its competition in the race for the future of the internet. The government had other ideas.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
Something for my Computer Security students.
I'm at Carnegie Mellon University, at the eleventh Workshop on Security and Human Behavior.
SHB is a small invitational gathering of people studying various aspects of the human side of security, organized each year by Alessandro Acquisti, Ross Anderson, and myself. The 50 or so people in the room include psychologists, economists, computer security researchers, sociologists, political scientists, neuroscientists, designers, lawyers, philosophers, anthropologists, business school professors, and a smattering of others. It's not just an interdisciplinary event; most of the people here are individually interdisciplinary.
The goal is to maximize discussion and interaction. We do that by putting everyone on panels, and limiting talks to 7-10 minutes. The rest of the time is left to open discussion. Four hour-and-a-half panels per day over two days equals eight panels; six people per panel means that 48 people get to speak. We also have lunches, dinners, and receptions – all designed so people from different disciplines talk to each other.
I invariably find this to be the most intellectually stimulating conference of my year. It influences my thinking in many different, and sometimes surprising, ways.
This year's program is here. This page lists the participants and includes links to some of their work. As he does every year, Ross Anderson is liveblogging the talks. (Ross also maintains a good webpage of psychology and security resources.)
Here are my posts on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth SHB workshops. Follow those links to find summaries, papers, and occasionally audio recordings of the various workshops.
Next year, I'll be hosting the event at Harvard.
Is this a Facebook issue or a Darwinian elimination of candidates who can’t read and follow simple instructions?
Facebook’s new political ad rules could upend June 5th primaries
Facebook introduced new disclosure rules for political advertisements this week designed to block bad actors from meddling in elections. But in the meantime, the rules are blocking legitimate candidates from buying Facebook ads — and at least one congressional candidate in Mississippi says it could tip the election toward his opponent.
The rules that Facebook implemented in the United States this week require anyone wishing to buy a political ad to verify their identity. To do so, Facebook mails a card to their physical location containing an authorization code. Only after the candidate or advocacy group enters that authorization code on Facebook can they purchase political ads.
Facebook began allowing political advertisers to start the verification process on April 23rd. The company promoted the new process with a blog post and messages inside Facebook directed at administrators of political pages. In May, it also sent emails to page administrators advising them of the changes.
But not everyone got the message — and now some are scrambling to come up with a Plan B ahead of June 5th primary elections.
… Yesterday, Rose’s campaign planned to buy 500 different Facebook ads. The first batch were approved shortly before the new rules took effect. But when Rose went to buy the remainder, he received a message from Facebook saying his ads had not been authorized. Rose filled out the required online forms attesting to his identity. At the end, Facebook said it would send Rose an authorization code in the mail. He was told it would arrive in 12 to 15 days — by which point the election would be over.
… Richard Boyanton, who is mounting a primary challenge to Republican Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), also found himself stymied by the new rules. … Then yesterday, Facebook informed him he would need to verify his identity before he could buy more ads. He had received a message from the company two or three weeks ago, he said, but he did not realize that he would be prevented from running ads if he did not follow the steps laid out in the message.
Deciding what to block is hard. Maybe.
Leaked Documents Show Facebook’s Post-Charlottesville Reckoning with American Nazis
… In January, 5 months after Charlottesville, Facebook added slides discussing the company’s position on white nationalism, supremacy, and separatism. While it says Facebook does not allow praise, support, or representation of white supremacy, it does allow the same sort of positions for white nationalism and separatism, according to one of the slides obtained by Motherboard.
Explaining its motivation, another section of the document reads that nationalism is an “extreme right movement and ideology, but it doesn't seem to be always associated with racism (at least not explicitly).” Facebook then acknowledges that “In fact, some white nationalists carefully avoid the term supremacy because it has negative connotations.”
… Facebook classifies hate groups, individuals, and high profile figures based on “strong, medium, and weak signals,” according to one of the documents focused on hate speech in America. A strong signal would be if the individual is a founder or prominent member of a hate organization (or, “h8 org”, in Facebook parlance); medium would include the name or symbol of a banned hate group, or using dehumanizing language against certain groups of people. Partnership or some form of alliance with a banned hate organization—including participating in rallies together, of particular relevance to events like Charlottesville—Facebook sees as a weak signal, as well as an individual receiving a guilty verdict for distributing forbidden propaganda material.
‘Crush Them’: An Oral History of the Lawsuit That Upended Silicon Valley
Could be amusing in my Statistics class.
Turn CSV Files Into Heat Maps
Heat Map Tool is a tool for easily creating heat maps or incident maps from a CSV file. To create a heat map all you need to do is upload a CSV file then specify your desired display attributes like scale, colors, and opacity. You can edit the display attributes of your map whenever you like. If you're wondering how to create a CSV file you can do so by exporting from a spreadsheet in Google Documents or exporting from an Excel file. Click here for directions on exporting from Excel. The free version of Heat Map Tool allows you to have up to 100 data points on your map and up to 500 hits per day on your map.