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Soccer team apologizes for filling out stadium stands with sex dolls

In South Korea, the soccer team FC Seoul filled out its empty arena with sex dolls posed as fans. The game was closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions. After real fans watching the match online spotted the curious figures, FC Seoul issued an apology and claimed it was an honest mistake and that they hadn't noticed the figures holding up signs with the name of a sex toy company. From CNN:

"The female mannequin dressed in a white short sleeve t-shirt, the breast excessively stood out, and the nipples were protruding, but you didn't know they were an adult product?" wrote another fan on Instagram. "You are kidding me."

FC Seoul explained that although the dolls were made to look like real people, rather than conventional mannequins, it had checked they were "not at all related to adult products" before agreeing to install them, and had been told they would be mannequins of the kind commonly used to model clothes.

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Biden says Section 230 tech liability shield should end for Facebook, Zuckerberg should be subject to civil liability

Former Vice President and current 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden says U.S. Section 230 should be immediately revoked for Facebook and other social media platforms, and that Mark Zuckerberg should be submitted to civil liability. Read the rest

Scientists develop eye-on-a-chip to improve treatment of diseases

Approximately 14 percent of the world's population suffer from dry eye disease (DED) but treatments are limited because it's difficult to model the complex human eye for drug development. Now though, University of Pennsylvania bioengineers developed an "eye-on-a-chip" complete with a motorized blinking eyelid. The hope is that the artificial eye will lead to a deeper understanding of dry eye disease, enable drug screening, and even become a testbed for contact lens technology and eye surgery. Their technology also received the 2018 Lush Prize awarded for innovations that could help eliminate animal testing for shampoos and other beauty product. From Eurekalert:

In this study, (Dan) Huh and (Jeongyun) Seo focused on engineering an eye model that could imitate a healthy eye and an eye with DED, allowing them to test an experimental drug without risk of human harm.

To construct their eye-on-a-chip, Huh's team starts with a porous scaffold engineered with 3D printing, about the size of a dime and the shape of a contact lens, on which they grow human eye cells. The cells of the cornea grow on the inner circle of scaffolding, dyed yellow, and the cells of the conjunctiva, the specialized tissue covering the white part of human eyes, grow on the surrounding red circle. A slab of gelatin acts as the eyelid, mechanically sliding over the eye at the same rate as human blinking. Fed by a tear duct, dyed blue, the eyelid spreads artificial tear secretions over the eye to form what is called a tear film.

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Thangrycat: a deadly Cisco vulnerability named after an emoji ???

Thangrycat is a newly disclosed vulnerability in Cisco routers that allows attackers to subvert the router's trusted computing module, which allows malicious software to run undetectably and makes it virtually impossible to eliminate malware once it has been installed. Read the rest

Two arrested for hiding cameras in motel rooms and charging for access to livestreams

Some 1,600 people were secretly livestreamed while staying in South Korean motel rooms where cameras had been hidden by criminals who operated a 4,000-user service for voyeurs, where a $45/month upcharge bought subscribers the right to access replays and other extra services. Read the rest

Ken Jeong answers medical questions posed on Twitter

TIL: Actor and comedian Ken Jeong is also a licensed physician. He put his career in medicine on hold to become an actor. Mind you, this isn't new news, I just hadn't gotten the memo until today.

In 2017 a video he made with Wired went viral with over 24M views. It was called "Doc Support" and in it he answers medical questions people asked on Twitter. This video is part two, which he jokingly calls "Doc Support 2: Electric Boogaloo." It's already at nearly 10M views and it was only just published on Monday.

Dr. Jeong's first Netflix comedy special, "You Complete Me, Ho," is now available to watch. Read the rest

Jeff Bezos’ investigator suspects 'a government agency' intercepted Amazon CEO's text messages

A Washington Post reporter said Thursday night that an investigator working for Jeff Bezos believes 'a government agency' accessed the Amazon CEO's texts and intimate photos.

Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT

We are watching Facebook unravel in real time. I hope. Read the rest

A new, free edition Sarah Jeong's "The Internet of Garbage"

Journalist Sarah Jeong (previously) was just appointed to the New York Times's editorial board, prompting garbage people to dig through her twitter for old posts that could be made to seem offensive out of context in the hopes of getting her fired. Read the rest

Copyright law a poor shield against online harassment

Sarah Jeong's book The Internet of Garbage was first published in 2015. Then a timely primer about online harassment, the structure of the internet, and why corporate policies can't and won't deal with it, things have since changed: everything is now worse. The Verge is publishing a new edition, The Internet of Garbage 1.5 [Amazon], which they're also giving away as a free-of-charge eBook. This excerpt about copyright law and harassment—especially the complex dangers of using the former to counteract the latter—is an excellent taster.

When people are harassed on the internet, the instinctive feeling of those targeted is that the internet is out of control and must be reined in. The most prominent and broad regulation of the internet is through copyright, as publicized in the thousands of lawsuits that the Recording Industry Association of America launched against individual downloaders, the subpoenas the RIAA issued to the ISPs to unmask downloaders, and the RIAA and MPAA’s massive lawsuits against the Napsters, Groksters, and even YouTubes of the world.

In our mass cultural consciousness, we have absorbed the overall success of the RIAA and the MPAA in these suits, and have come to believe that copyright law is how one successfully manages to reach through a computer screen and punch someone else in the face.

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Pounded in the butt by my own dark SEO: the weird, true story of #Cockygate

Back in May, indy romance author Faleena Hopkins embarked on a second career as a trademark troll, threatening to sue peers who use the word "cocky" in the titles of their romance novels, forcing people to take down books they'd written. Read the rest

In less than 24 HOURS, an EU committee votes on whether to mass-censor the global internet

We've got less than a day until the key vote on the wording of the new EU Copyright Directive, when members of the EU's legislative committee will vote on whether to include controversial mass censorship language in the proposal that the parliament will vote on. Read the rest

Why you couldn't quit Facebook

I tried to quit Facebook, but couldn't, not really, not yet. We know that in some respects we can't quit, because it keeps profiles on everyone anyway, but there's more to it than that. It's got its hooks deep into our relationships with friends and families. As Sarah Jeong writes, it performs work for us.

Facebook had replaced much of the emotional labor of social networking that consumed previous generations. We have forgotten (or perhaps never noticed) how many hours our parents spent keeping their address books up to date, knocking on doors to make sure everyone in the neighborhood was invited to the weekend BBQ, doing the rounds of phone calls with relatives, clipping out interesting newspaper articles and mailing them to a friend, putting together the cards for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and more. We don’t think about what it’s like to carefully file business cards alphabetically in a Rolodex. People spent a lot of time on these sorts of things, once, because the less of that work you did, the less of a social network you had. ...

It’s hard to pin down what Facebook is because the platform replaces labor that was previously invisible. We have a hard time figuring out what Facebook actually is because we have a hard time admitting that at least part of what it supplanted is emotional labor — hard and valuable work that no one wants to admit was work to begin with.

To leave Facebook is to create work for friends and family. Read the rest

The oil industry just told a judge that climate change is undeniably real, but they still found a way to weasel

Judge William Alsup in San Francisco is presiding over a case in which California cities are suing the big oil companies over the climate-related disasters they're experiencing; Judge Alsup asked for a "tutorial" session in which experts for both sides would be asked to explain the underlying science, something he's done in earlier cases that turned on technical questions, including a DACA case and a case on lidar and self-driving cars. Read the rest

Progressive Democrats in rural red districts are getting funded by lefty Silicon Valley techies

Maciej Ceglowski (previously) is one of Silicon Valley's sharpest critics, admonishing technologists for failing to consider ethics as they build and deploy products; one of his post-Trump initiatives is the Great Slate, a fundraising effort that urges techies to contribute to the campaigns of Democratic hopefuls in "less-affluent, often rural Republican-leaning districts," where the DCCC won't direct resources because candidates can't raise money of their own. Read the rest

Infosec vs. its predators

Pundits suggest the "Weinstein moment" — a broader, deeper awareness of abusive conduct, sexual harassment and criminal sexuality — is already fading without significant change. Few of the offenders face consequences worse than losing a gig, and yesterday we learned The New York Times isn't even up to that, letting its celebrity groper keep his job and trotting out Executive Editor Dean Baquet to dismiss his admitted behavior as merely "offensive." Sarah Jeong looks at another example: the hacker community, which did a surprisingly good job of outing its "missing stairs" but has trouble banishing them for good.

In information security, as in many other industries where the accused is a prominent figure, accusations can turn into a competition of social capital, and the accused almost always wins out over their accusers. But in this community, giving an accused rapist a pass has often been framed as a moral imperative with four words: “He does good work.” The assumption is that talent is scarce and sexual misconduct must be tolerated for the good of society. Little to no consideration is given to what we lose from disbelieving victims — their technical and social contributions, any future contributions by people who quite reasonably decide to avoid a toxic culture, and even beyond that, the quiet erosion of trust among bystanders. Complicity leaves a stain on us all.

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Rogue One is a movie about internet freedom

Sarah Jeong is right (as usual): Rogue One is about internet freedom, a movie about the struggle to upload a large file under time-constraint in a post-Net-Neutrality dystopia where Dropbox is a distant memory and you can't just email a file to yourself for later reference. Read the rest

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