Our picksDark Web & terrorists; Android antivirus useless; Cambridge Analytica & privacy, and more

Published 19 March 2019

·  The Dark Web enabled the Christchurch killer

·  The New Zealand shooting and the challenges of governing live-streamed video

·  The Mosque shooter exploited the power of the internet

·  Most Android antivirus apps are garbage

·  What is ISIS without land?

·  Who are the private contractors fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan?

·  HHS uses AI tools to help battle diseases

·  Why tech companies failed to keep the New Zealand shooter’s extremism from going viral

·  How Cambridge Analytica sparked the great privacy awakening

The Dark Web enabled the Christchurch killer (Jacob Aasland Ravndal, Foreign Policy)
The attack in New Zealand was inspired in part by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, but the real threat is lone wolves lurking in the far corners of the Internet.

The New Zealand shooting and the challenges of governing live-streamed video (Neima Jahromi, New Yorker)
n Friday afternoon, in Christchurch, New Zealand, a man parked his car in an alleyway outside Al Noor Mosque. Six minutes later, dozens of people were dead or wounded. We know far too much about what happened in between, because the shooter streamed it all to Facebook Live. A post on a far-right Internet forum hosted by the Web site 8chan directed users to the stream; quickly, video of the shooting spread across YouTube and Instagram. A manifesto was shared on Twitter, filled with references to Donald Trump, right-wing American punditry, and white-supremacist memes.
I spoke with Sarah T. Roberts, a professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, who, over the past eight years, has become an authority on the content-moderation strategies employed by tech companies. (Her book
Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media will be published by Yale University Press, in June.) In recent years, Roberts has watched with incredulity as companies such as Twitter and Facebook encouraged users to begin streaming live video. “There are not enough moderators in the world to monitor every live stream,” she said. Social-media platforms were already struggling to moderate content posted in the usual way; live-streamed video, which can attract large audiences almost instantly, is even more challenging.

The Mosque shooter exploited the power of the internet (Paris Martineau, Wired)
After each new horrific mass shooting, an all-too-familiar cycle often plays out: Reporters (myself included) race to attempt to unpack an alleged shooter’s possible motivations by piecing together clues from their social media accounts and online postings before it all gets scrubbed from the internet. We do this in the hopes that it will somehow provide a window into their mindset in the months leading up to the attack, or at least bring us somewhat closer to answering that ultimately unanswerable question: Why?

Most Android antivirus apps are garbage (Brian Barrett, Wired)
The world of antivirus is already fraught. You’re basically inviting all-seeing, all-knowing software onto your device, trusting that it’ll keep the bad guys out and not abuse its own access in the process. On Android, that problem is compounded by dozens of apps that aren’t just ineffective—they’re outright phony.

What is ISIS without land? (Kathy Gilsinan, The Atlantic)
The terror group’s about to lose its “state.” That doesn’t mean it’s defeated.

Who are the private contractors fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? (Ori Swed, Defense One)
An inside look at this invisible military force.

HHS uses AI tools to help battle diseases (Phil Goldstein, FedTech)
The Department of Health and Human Services recently completed a technology sprint designed to take advantage of public data and artificial intelligence.

Why tech companies failed to keep the New Zealand shooter’s extremism from going viral (Amanda Sakuma, Vox)
Friday’s massacre exemplified the problem of expecting tech companies to self-police content.

How Cambridge Analytica sparked the great privacy awakening (Issie Lapowsky, Wired)
On October 27, 2012, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an email to his then-director of product development. For years, Facebook had allowed third-party apps to access data on their users’ unwitting friends, and Zuckerberg was considering whether giving away all that information was risky. In his email, he suggested it was not: “I’m generally skeptical that there is as much data leak strategic risk as you think,” he wrote at the time. “I just can’t think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused a real issue for us.”
If Zuckerberg had a time machine, he might have used it to go back to that moment. Who knows what would have happened if, back in 2012, the young CEO could envision how it might all go wrong? At the very least, he might have saved Facebook from the
devastating year it just had.