Library of Congress ends its Twitter archiving project
Sheer volume of material is too much to handle
The Library of Congress has abandoned a project to archive every post made on Twitter. It blames the sheer number of “tweets” now being made, along with an increasing reliance on images and videos.
The library is the world’s largest and collects all manner of documents from newspapers to government forms. As a general rule it, doesn’t aim to collect all possible data from a source but made an exception for Twitter in 2010.
At that point it reached an agreement with Twitter to get a copy of its complete archive of posts, then dating back to 2006. The idea was to “document the emergence of online social media for future generations.” As well as maintaining a complete collection by continuing to add new posts to the archive, the library also aimed to find a better way to organize the archive, particularly to make it easier to see all the content from a specific day.
A paper from the library explaining the change of heart says it continuously reviews the documents and data it archives. It says it’s decided to stop archiving the data at the end of the year, giving it a complete record of the first 12 years of the site.
Apple admits older iPhone models purposely slowed
Apple has admitted it deliberately slowed down older iPhones, saying the move improved performance. This ends years of speculation, but sparked a flurry of lawsuits.
However, a more recent study found that what appeared to be a clear deterioration in iPhone 6 handsets when they moved from iOS 10.2.0 to 10.2.1. However, handsets which got a new battery regained much of their former performance. (Source: techcrunch.com)
Apple has now confirmed this, saying the update will “smooth out the instantaneous peaks” in processor use that could trigger the shutdown. It says it’s also done the same with the iPhone 7 and will likely do so with other models if and when needed.
More charitable critics have said that even if Apple was acting to help users, it blundered by not telling them about the change and therefore fueling the conspiracy theories that suggested ulterior motives.
The lawsuits claim the update and slowdown was a breach of “implied contract” because Apple didn’t warn users about the possibility of such a move when they originally bought the phones. The claimants also say the slowdown has caused them economic damages. (Source: statesman.com)
Windows 7 security updates
to end January 2020
Infopackets Reader Jerry K. writes: I’ve read that the Windows 10 free upgrade ends at the end of this year. I have Windows 7 on my main PC and my wife has Windows 8 on her laptop. In all, I find Windows 7 easier to use.
Google tracked user location
even when GPS turned off
Google has admitted it tracked the location of cellphone users even when they had location services switched off. It says it’s now stopped an 11-month program designed to improve “message delivery.”
Having l ocation s ervices switched on allows an Android phone to collect information about a user’s location, commonly combining GPS data, details of nearby WiFi networks, and the location of nearby cellphone towers - all of which can be detected by a phone.
Google - and third party app makers - use this data for tools such as mapping, navigation and finding nearby outlets of a particular chain of stores or restaurants. Some users disable the GPS location setting either for privacy reasons or to reduce battery drain.
However, tech site “Quartz” has now revealed that Google has been collecting cellphone tower addresses since the start of this year, even when location services is switched off.
Google didn’t keep
Google says it collected the data because it was “using Cell ID codes as an additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery.” It didn’t elaborate on how this would work. According to Google, it never used the location data and instead immediately discarded it.
As Google didn’t store the data, the effects may be limited. For example, it means there’s no legal risks of police demanding Google hand over details of a person’s movements as an alternative to getting that information from phone service providers. There was the security risk that the data might have been intercepted whilst being transmitted to Google, though Google says it was done in encrypted form. (Source: theverge.com)
Perhaps the biggest problem is the potential lack of trust from people who reasonably expected their location was not being tracked, particularly those who had safety or privacy reasons to switch location tracking off.
Innocent man dies in Swatting incident triggered
by Call of Duty players
An innocent man was shot dead last week on December 28, in a swatting incident that appears to have taken place after two Call of Duty players got into an argument online.
The two got into a fight after their team lost a game against an opposing clan. The reason things heated up was because the team also lost a $1.50 bet.
The gaming community claims that M1ruhcle acted tough and contacted the swatter, giving him a false home address and daring the swatter to send police to his home.
Police sent a SWAT unit ready for a hostage situation to the caller’s address.
“A male came to the front door,” Livingston told The Wichita Eagle. “As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.”
Family members told KWCH12 that police told the man to come out with his hands up and then shot him.
The man, later identified as Andrew Thomas Finch, 28, died at a local hospital. The family said he did not play online games and did not own a gun. Finch was the father of two children, ages seven and almost two.