UK government funds development of methods to snoop on photos on your device
|16th November 2021 |
See press release from gov.uk
The UK government has announced that it is funding five projects to snoop on your device content supposedly in a quest to seek out child porn. But surely these technologies will have wider usage.
The five projects are the winners of the Safety Tech
Challenge Fund, which aims to encourage the tech industry to find practical solutions to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online, without impacting people's rights to privacy and data protection in their communications.
The winners will
each receive an initial £85,000 from the Fund, which is administered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Home Office, to help them bring their technical proposals for new digital tools and applications to combat online
child abuse to the market.
Based across the UK and Europe, and in partnership with leading UK universities, the winners of the Safety Tech Challenge Fund are:
- Edinburgh-based Cyan Forensics and Crisp Thinking, in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Internet Watch Foundation, will develop a plug-in to be integrated within encrypted social platforms. It will detect child sexual abuse material
(CSAM) - by matching content against known illegal material.
- SafeToNet and Anglia Ruskin University will develop a suite of live video-moderation AI technologies that can run on any smart device to prevent the filming of nudity, violence,
pornography and CSAM in real-time, as it is being produced.
- GalaxKey, based in St Albans, will work with Poole-based Image Analyser and Yoti, an age-assurance company, to develop software focusing on user privacy, detection and prevention of
CSAM and predatory behavior, and age verification to detect child sexual abuse before it reaches an E2EE environment, preventing it from being uploaded and shared.
- DragonflAI, based in Edinburgh, will also work with Yoti to combine their
on-device nudity AI detection technology with age assurance technologies to spot new indecent images within E2EE environments.
- T3K-Forensics are based in Austria and will work to implement their AI-based child sexual abuse detection technology
on smartphones to detect newly created material, providing a toolkit that social platforms can integrate with their E2EE services.
Opera introduces major updates to its blockchain-browser on Android
|2nd April 2020 |
See article from press.opera.com
See also Chinese Netizens Use Ethereum To Avoid China's COVID-19
Web 3 is about rethinking the way we access data online. One of the important new Web 3 protocols which make this possible is IPFS.
IPFS is a protocol which allows you to store data on the web without having to rely on a single server or specific
cloud service. How does it work? Instead of asking the network for a file using it's location, the browser can ask the network for a file using its cryptographic hash (unique to the file). IPFS then takes care of delivering the file to the browser,
wherever it is stored. Each network node stores only the content it is interested in, plus some indexing information which helps figure out which node is storing what.
When looking up a file to view or download, one asks the network to find the
nodes that are storing the content behind a given file's hash. One doesn't, however, need to remember the hash as every file can be found by human-readable names using a decentralized naming system like Unstoppable Domains or the Ethereum Name System
(ENS). This means that files, as well as websites, can be stored in a decentralized and secure way and accessed without relying on a single server 203 a truly cloudless form of storage similar to BitTorrent. Opera has worked directly with Protocol
Labs, the main actor behind the development of the IPFS protocol, to integrate this experience into Opera for Android.
Charles Hamel, Head of Crypto at Opera, commented:
Browsers have a critical role to play
in Web 3 and we believe that integrating these new protocols into our popular browser will accelerate their adoption, said
29th January 2020 |
If Chrome fixes privacy too fast it could break the web, Google exec debates advertising revenue vs privacy
article from cnet.com
Google's Chrome browser will ban 3rd party tracking cookies albeit over the course of two years
See article from bbc.com See
review from bbc.com
Google is to restrict web pages from loading 3rd party profiling cookies when accessed via its Chrome browser. Many large websites, eg major newspapers make a call to hundreds of 3rd part profilers to allow them to build up a profile of people's browsing
history, which then facilitates personalised advertising.
Now Google has said that it will block these third-party cookies within the next two years.
Tracking cookies are very much in the sights of the EU who are trying to put an end to the
exploitative practise. However the EU is not willing to actually ban such practises, but instead has invented a silly game about websites obtaining consent for tracking cookies.
The issue is of course that a lot of 'free' access websites are
funded by advertising and rely on the revenue from the targeted advertising. I have read estimates that if websites were to drop personalised ads, and fall back on contextual advertising (eg advertising cars on motoring pages), then they would lose about
a third of their income. Surely a fall that magnitude would lead to many bankrupt or unviable websites.
Now the final position of the EU's cookie consent game is that a website would have to present two easy options before allowing access to a
- Do you want to allow tracking cookies to build up a database of your browsing history
- Do you NOT want to allow tracking cookies to build up a database of your browsing history
The simple outcome will be that virtually no one will opt for tracking, so the website will lose a third of its income. So it is rather unsurprising that websites would rather avoid offering such an easy option that would deprive them of so much of
In reality the notion of consent it not practical. It would be more honest to think of the use of tracking cookies as a price for 'free' access to a website.
Perhaps when the dust has settled, a more honest and practical
endgame would bea choice more like:
- Do you want to allow tracking cookies to build up a database of your browsing history in return for 'free' access
- Do you want to pay a fee to enable access to the website without tracking cookies
- Sorry you may not access this
The EU has been complaining about companies trying to avoid the revenue destroying official consent options. A study just published observes that nearly all cookie consent pop-ups are flouting EU privacy laws. Researchers at the Massachusetts
Despite EU privacy laws stating that consent for cookies must be informed, specific and freely given, the research suggests that only 12% of the sites met the minimal requirements of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law. Instead
they were found to blanket data consent options in complicated site design, such as:
The researchers estimate it would take, on average, more than half an hour to read through what the third-party companies are doing with your data, and even longer to read all their privacy policies. It's a joke and there's no actual way you could do
this realistically, said Dr Veale.
- pre-ticked boxes burying decline buttons on later pages multiple clicks tracking users before consent and after pressing reject
- Just over half the sites studied did not have rejecting all tracking as an option.
- Of the sites which
did, only 13% made it accessible through the same or fewer clicks as the option to accept all.