Big Tech &
Facebook says the FTC privacy inquiry could cost as much as $5 billion (2 minute read)
Facebook’s first quarter 2019 earnings report revealed that the company paid a $3 billion dollar fine to the Federal Trade Commission. Investigations into Facebook’s role in breaching privacy agreements is still ongoing, and the company estimated the final fine will be up to $5 billion dollars. The FTC plans to issue a record-breaking fine to Facebook, far exceeding the $22.5 million fine it imposed on Google in 2012. Facebook stocks rose by more than 3% after the earnings report was released.
Huawei will help build Britain’s 5G network, despite security concerns (3 minute read)
The UK National Security Council has approved Huawei’s bid to help build non-core parts of Britain’s 5G network. Critics are concerned with Huawei’s alleged ties to the Chinese government and claim that the deal would leave British citizens vulnerable to cyber attacks and espionage. Huawei denies any connection with the Chinese government. The company has been accused of helping China steal trade secrets and intellectual property as a state-directed telecom company. Security experts acknowledge the possibility that Huawei may be a threat. However, the threat is minimal as the agreement only involves the manufacturing of non-core parts of the network.
First “Marsquake” Detected on Red Planet (3 minute read)
NASA’s InSight lander detected a faint trembling on Mars’ surface earlier this month. The marsquake was relatively weak, about the strength of the moonquakes that were measured in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Apollo astronauts. If the quake had occurred on Earth it would not have been detected. Scientists are still unsure whether the marsquake originated from the planet or as a result of a meteor impact. InSight is currently located in Elysium Planitia, near Mars’ equator. Its heat probe has become stuck on what is likely a buried rock, and mission controllers are currently trying to figure out how to free the robotic lander.
Scientists have found a way to decode brain signals into speech (4 minute read)
Scientists in California have successfully decoded brain signals into decipherable speech. Brain activity was recorded from patients who were undergoing brain surgery as they spoke from a list of phrases. The recorded activity was then analyzed by a computer model. In a testing phase, humans were able to understand 50-70% of the synthesized words. This method analyzes the brain signals that control the movement of vocal muscles rather than the thoughts of the subjects. External methods of recording brain activity are unable to reproduce the same results as the signals become mixed and difficult to read.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Termshark (GitHub Repo)
Termshark is a terminal UI for tshark. Users can remotely debug machines with large pcaps without copying the information back to their desktops. It is written in Golang, and binaries are available for download.
Your CS Degree Won’t Prepare You For Angry Users, Legacy Code, or the Whims of Other Engineers (5 minute read)
Many people start their first jobs thinking that they have no idea what they are doing. While a computer science degree may cover many essential technical skills, there will always be real-world knowledge and skills that graduates will need to learn on the job. Dealing with angry customers, other engineers, and old code are usually unexpected challenges for new graduates. The field is also ever evolving, so engineers must continue learning throughout their careers.
I Used to Work for Google. I Am a Conscientious Objector (6 minute read)
A former research scientist at Google speaks out against the company’s practices as it complies with China’s demands for increased powers to monitor its citizens’ data. Executives argued that government requests were common for the company and that complying with their legal requirements was the right thing to do. However, compliance with these demands raised questions of whether it was right to use their technology to aid China in infringing on human rights.