Encryption Hasn't Stopped the FBI From Fighting Child Porn

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Despite arguments from governments that encryption would hinder their ability to fight criminals, this clearly isn’t the case. In a recent example one of the biggest child porn sites on the dark web was recently taken down.

No backdoors were needed to track down the owner of the server or hundreds of the site’s visitors. For that matter, the FBI didn’t even need a warrant. The FBI did not deploy its infamous NIT (Network Investigative Technique) to track down site users. The flaw was the payment system linked to the site. Users may have thought their Bitcoin transactions couldn’t be traced back to them, but they were wrong.

The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse: Terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, organized crime.

Your Kids' Photos Power Surveillance Technology

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Kids lining up against the wall with smartphones

The New York Times has a nice feature out today about how a mother found photos of her kids in a machine learning database.

None of them could have foreseen that 14 years later, those images would reside in an unprecedentedly huge facial-recognition database called MegaFace. Containing the likenesses of nearly 700,000 individuals, it has been downloaded by dozens of companies to train a new generation of face-identification algorithms, used to track protesters, surveil terrorists, spot problem gamblers and spy on the public at large. The average age of the people in the database, its creators have said, is 16.

I can’t imagine the gross feeling you get when you see your kids in a database like this.

Disney and Kano Partner for Star Wars Motion Sensor Kit

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Disney has partnered with Kano, a company that makes coding kits for kids, on a new Star Wars motion sensor kit.

The Bluetooth-enabled motion sensor includes a circular case, printed circuit board with nine LEDs, and two tops that contain Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire iconography. Once assembled, it can be used to control lightsabers, Porgs and other Star Wars paraphernalia in a companion app that’s compatible with Windows 10 PCs, Macs, iPads and Amazon Fire HD 10 tablets.

Don't Let Your Kids Download These Apps

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Kids lining up against the wall with smartphones

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s office compiled a list of 15 apps that they believe pose a danger to young children. Here are the apps on the list:

MeetMe, Grindr, Skout, WhatsApp, TikTok, Badoo, Bumble, Snapchat, Kik, LiveMe, Holla, Whisper, Ask.fm, Calculator%, Hot or Not.

New Game Hot Wheels Infinite Loop is Out

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Mattel has released its newest game, Hot Wheels Infinite Loop. Experience the insane challenges of real-time 8-player PVP racing while you smash, crash, and stunt your way to victory. Collect legendary Hot Wheels® cars like Bone Shaker™, Twin Mill™, Shark Bite™, Rodger Dodger™ and more while upgrading your fleet to compete in the ultimate racing league. The year is 2068. Hot Wheels® has unveiled the most amazing car racing experience: The Infinite Loop – an all-new racing sport where extreme stunting, crashing, smashing, loops, and tricks make legends and dreams come true. You can watch the YouTube trailer here. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

New Game Hot Wheels Infinite Loop is Out

Apple's Privacy Rule for Kids Apps Delayed

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Kids lining up against the wall with smartphones

At WWDC 2019, Apple announced stricter rules for kids apps. Developers of these apps aren’t allowed to use analytics within them. Ads would also be limited. Apple is now delaying the rule to give developers more time.

Apple says it is making the move in part to better protect users’ privacy by shielding children from data trackers, a move that has been lauded by some privacy advocates. But some developers say they fear that the new rules won’t protect kids — possibly exposing them to more adult apps — and could pointlessly reduce their businesses.

Maybe don’t make preying on kids your business model?

That Study Showing Kids Sprouting Horns is Probably Bogus

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Beth Mole reminds us that scientific studies are more nuanced than a sensationalized news story. The Washington Post wrote about a study showing kids sprouting horns because of bad posture, and phones were to blame. But it’s probably bogus.

Perhaps the most striking problems are that the study makes no mention of horns and does not include any data whatsoever on mobile devices usage by its participants who, according to the Post, are growing alleged horns. Also troubling is that the study authors don’t report much of the data, and some of the results blatantly conflict with each other.

YouTube Under Federal Investigation Over Children’s Privacy

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The U.S. government is investigating YouTube for allegedly violating children’s privacy.

The complaints contended that YouTube, which is owned by Google, failed to protect kids who used the streaming-video service and improperly collected their data in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a 1998 law known as COPPA that forbids the tracking and targeting of users younger than age 13.

Mattel’s New Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit in Apple Stores

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Mattel’s new Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit is available exclusively in Apple Stores. Vehicles cost US$6.99, the Race Portal is US$39.99, and the Smart Track Kit is US$179.99.

With the Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit, Hot Wheels id vehicles can be raced on a track that incorporates digital tracking elements through an app on the iPhone or iPad. The system allows users to keep track of speed, count laps, build a digital garage, and more, providing a mix of physical and digital play.

YouTube Bans Minors From Streaming Unless an Adult is Present

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In a blog post today, YouTube announced new policies when it comes to minors. YouTube bans minors from live streaming without an adult present, and comments on videos featuring minors have been disabled.

The vast majority of videos featuring minors on YouTube, including those referenced in recent news reports, do not violate our policies and are innocently posted — a family creator providing educational tips, or a parent sharing a proud moment. But when it comes to kids, we take an extra cautious approach towards our enforcement and we’re always making improvements to our protections.

Google Assistant Can Read Your Kids a Bedtime Story

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If you have Google Assistant and the latest version of Google Play Books on your iOS device, it can now read your kids a bedtime story.

Ahead of National Tell a Story Day taking place on Saturday, youngsters now have more ways to hear a bedtime tale. As of today, the feature will be available on iOS and Android phones in English in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.

Sounds like a great feature. When I asked Siri to read me a bedtime story, she said: “Next you’ll be asking me for a glass of milk. And a dark matter cookie.” Damnit Siri, that doesn’t even make sense.