Vending machine error reveals secret face image database of college students

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

Canada-based University of Waterloo is racing to remove M&M-branded smart vending machines from campus after outraged students discovered the machines were covertly collecting facial-recognition data without their consent. The scandal started when a student using the alias SquidKid47 posted an image on Reddit showing a campus vending machine error message, "Invenda.Vending.FacialRecognitionApp.exe," displayed after the machine failed to launch a facial recognition application that nobody expected to be part of the process of using a vending machine.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/02/vending-machine-error-reveals-secret-face-image-database-of-college-students/

Google gets its way, bakes a user-tracking ad platform directly into Chrome

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

Don't let Chrome's big redesign distract you from the fact that Chrome's invasive new ad platform, ridiculously branded the "Privacy Sandbox," is also getting a widespread rollout in Chrome today. If you haven't been following this, this feature will track the web pages you visit and generate a list of advertising topics that it will share with web pages whenever they ask, and it's built directly into the Chrome browser.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/09/googles-widely-opposed-ad-platform-the-privacy-sandbox-launches-in-chrome/

Viral news story of botnet with 3 million toothbrushes was too good to be true

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

Alas, fiction is sometimes stranger than truth. There weren't really 3 million Internet-connected toothbrushes accessing the website of a Swiss company in a DDoS attack that did millions of dollars of damage. The toothbrush botnet was just a hypothetical example that some journalists wrongly interpreted as having actually happened.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/02/viral-news-story-of-botnet-with-3-million-toothbrushes-was-too-good-to-be-true/

Meta’s new AI image generator was trained on 1.1 billion Instagram and Facebook photos

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

If you're on Facebook or Instagram, it's quite possible a picture of you (or that you took) helped train Emu. In a way, the old saying, "If you're not paying for it, you are the product" has taken on a whole new meaning.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/12/metas-new-ai-image-generator-was-trained-on-1-1-billion-instagram-and-facebook-photos/

University of Chicago researchers seek to “poison” AI art generators with Nightshade

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

The open source "poison pill" tool (as the University of Chicago's press department calls it) alters images in ways invisible to the human eye that can corrupt an AI model's training process. Many image synthesis models, with notable exceptions of those from Adobe and Getty Images, largely use data sets of images scraped from the web without artist permission, which includes copyrighted material. (OpenAI licenses some of its DALL-E training images from Shutterstock.)

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/10/university-of-chicago-researchers-seek-to-poison-ai-art-generators-with-nightshade/

Hell freezes over, MS Paint adds support for layers and PNG transparency

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

But today Microsoft announced that it is finally adding two features that could make the app a bit more useful for power users: support for Photoshop-esque image layers and the ability to open and save transparent PNGs. The redesigned Paint is rolling out to Windows Insider testers in both the Dev and Canary channels, the two bleeding-edge and less-stable versions of Windows 11. Like other recent app updates, this appears to require Windows 11 and won't be backported to Windows 10.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/09/hell-freezes-over-ms-paint-adds-support-for-layers-and-png-transparency/

Hell freezes over as Apple supports right-to-repair bill

image via arstechnica.com
image via arstechnica.com

In a letter dated August 22, Apple showed its support for California's right-to-repair bill, SB 244, after spending years combatting DIY repair efforts. The bill requires vendors of consumer electronics and appliances to make sufficient documentation, parts, and tools for repairs available to customers and independent repair shops. The big exceptions are video game consoles and alarm systems.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/08/hell-freezes-over-as-apple-supports-right-to-repair-bill/