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      YouTube puts third-party clients on notice: Show ads or get blocked

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 17:14 · 1 minute

    YouTube app icon on a TV screen.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Chris McGrath )

    YouTube is putting third-party ad-blocking apps on notice. An ominous post on the official YouTube Community Help forum titled "Enforcement on Third Party Apps" says the company is "strengthening our enforcement on third-party apps that violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, specifically ad-blocking apps." Google would really like it if you all paid for YouTube Premium.

    YouTube has been coming down on third-party apps, which often enable YouTube ad blocking. The company shut down one of the most popular third-party apps, "YouTube Vanced," in 2022. Vanced was open source, though, so new alternatives sprung up almost immediately. Vanced takes the official YouTube Android client and installs a duplicate, alternative version with a bunch of patches. It turns on all the YouTube Premium features like ad-blocking, background playback, and downloading without paying for the Premium sub. It also adds features the official app doesn't have, like additional themes and accessibility features, "repeat" and "dislike" buttons, and the ability to turn off addictive "suggestions" that appear all over the app.

    Another popular option is "NewPipe," a from-scratch YouTube player that follows the open source ethos and is available on the FOSS-only store F-Droid. NewPipe wants a lightweight client without the proprietary code and million permissions that YouTube needs, but it also blocks ads.

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      Meta’s oversight board to probe subjective policy on AI sex image removals

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 17:10

    Meta’s oversight board to probe subjective policy on AI sex image removals

    Enlarge (credit: IAN HOOTON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY | Science Photo Library )

    Meta continues to slowly adapt Facebook and Instagram policies to account for increasing AI harms, this week confronting how it handles explicit deepfakes spreading on its platforms.

    On Tuesday, the Meta Oversight Board announced it will be reviewing two cases involving AI-generated sexualized images of female celebrities that Meta initially handled unevenly to "assess whether Meta’s policies and its enforcement practices are effective at addressing explicit AI-generated imagery."

    The board is not naming the famous women whose deepfakes are being reviewed in hopes of mitigating "risks of furthering harassment," the board said.

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      UK targets “despicable individuals” who create AI sex deepfakes with new law

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 14:51 · 1 minute

    An illustrator's concept of a deepfake.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images )

    On Tuesday, the UK government announced a new law targeting the creation of AI-generated sexually explicit deepfake images. Under the legislation, which has not yet been passed, offenders would face prosecution and an unlimited fine, even if they do not widely share the images but create them with the intent to distress the victim. The government positions the law as part of a broader effort to enhance legal protections for women.

    Over the past decade, the rise of deep learning image synthesis technology has made it increasingly easy for people with a consumer PC to create misleading pornography by swapping out the faces of the performers with someone else who has not consented to the act. That practice spawned the term "deepfake" around 2017, named after a Reddit user named "deepfakes" that shared AI-faked porn on the service. Since then, the term has grown to encompass completely new images and video synthesized entirely from scratch, created from neural networks that have been trained on images of the victim.

    The problem isn't unique to the UK. In March, deepfake nudes of female middle school classmates in Florida led to charges against two boys ages 13 and 14. The rise of open source image synthesis models like Stable Diffusion since 2022 has increased the urgency among regulators in the US to attempt to contain (or at least punish) the act of creating non-consensual deepfakes. The UK government is on a similar mission.

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      Russian space chief says new rocket will put Falcon 9 reuse to shame

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 13:57

    Vladimir Putin meets with Roscosmos Director General Yuri Borisov on June 30, 2023.

    Enlarge / Vladimir Putin meets with Roscosmos Director General Yuri Borisov on June 30, 2023. (credit: The Kremlin)

    Russia's once-vaunted launch industry has been much in decline due to a combination of factors, including an aging fleet of rockets, a reduction in government investment, and the country's war in Ukraine driving away Western customers.

    However, it is has been difficult for the country's leaders to explain these difficult facts to the Russian people. Russians are justifiably proud of their country's heritage of space firsts and dominant position in spaceflight. So typically, officials bluster.

    This is what Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov did recently during a lecture at the Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics. Located south of Moscow, this is the world's first museum devoted solely to spaceflight. Borisov heads the country's main space corporation, and thus is the leader of the country's space activities.

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      Why the US government’s overreliance on Microsoft is a big problem

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 13:55

    Windows logo

    Enlarge (credit: Joan Cros via Getty )

    When Microsoft revealed in January that foreign government hackers had once again breached its systems , the news prompted another round of recriminations about the security posture of the world’s largest tech company.

    Despite the angst among policymakers, security experts, and competitors, Microsoft faced no consequences for its latest embarrassing failure. The United States government kept buying and using Microsoft products, and senior officials refused to publicly rebuke the tech giant. It was another reminder of how insulated Microsoft has become from virtually any government accountability, even as the Biden administration vows to make powerful tech firms take more responsibility for America’s cyber defense.

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      NASA says it needs better ideas on how to return samples from Mars

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 13:53 · 1 minute

    NASA's existing plan for Mars Sample Return involves a large lander the size of a two-car garage, two helicopters, a two-stage bespoke rocket, a European-built Earth return vehicle, and the Perseverance rover already operating on the red planet.

    Enlarge / NASA's existing plan for Mars Sample Return involves a large lander the size of a two-car garage, two helicopters, a two-stage bespoke rocket, a European-built Earth return vehicle, and the Perseverance rover already operating on the red planet. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    NASA's $11 billion plan to robotically bring rock samples from Mars back to Earth is too expensive and will take too long, the agency's administrator said Monday, so officials are tasking government and private sector engineers to come up with a better plan.

    The agency's decision on how to move forward with the Mars Sample Return (MSR) program follows an independent review last year that found ballooning costs and delays threatened the mission's viability. The effort would likely cost NASA between $8 billion and $11 billion, and the launch would be delayed at least two years until 2030, with samples getting back to Earth a few years later, the review board concluded .

    But that's not the whole story. Like all federal agencies, NASA faces new spending restrictions imposed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, a bipartisan budget deal struck last year between the White House and congressional Republicans. With these new budget headwinds, NASA officials determined the agency's plan for Mars Sample Return would not get specimens from the red planet back to Earth until 2040.

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      How to keep Earth from being cooked by the ever-hotter Sun

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 11:30 · 1 minute

    I’d wager a guess that we are, as a species, rather fond of our home planet (our wanton carbon emissions notwithstanding). But the ugly truth is that the Earth is doomed. Someday, the Sun will enter a stage that will make life impossible on the Earth’s surface and eventually reduce the planet to nothing more than a sad, lonely chunk of iron and nickel.

    The good news is that if we really put our minds to it—and don’t worry, we’ll have hundreds of millions of years to plan—we can keep our home world hospitable, even long after our Sun goes haywire.

    A waking nightmare

    The Sun is slowly but inexorably getting brighter, hotter, and larger with time. Billions of years ago, when collections of molecules first began to dance together and call themselves alive, the Sun was roughly 20 percent dimmer than it is today. Even the dinosaurs knew a weaker, smaller star. And while the Sun is only halfway through the main hydrogen-burning phase of its life, with 4-billion-and-change years before it begins its death throes, the peculiar combination of temperature and brightness that make life possible on this little world of ours will erode in only a few hundred million years. A blink of an eye, astronomically speaking.

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      Review: Pitch-perfect Renegade Nell is a gem of a series you won’t want to miss

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 20:34 · 1 minute

    A young prodigal tomboy returns home from war and finds herself framed for murder in <em>Renegade Nell</em>.

    Enlarge / A young prodigal tomboy returns home from war and finds herself framed for murder in Renegade Nell . (credit: Disney+)

    Award-winning British TV writer Sally Wainwright is best known for the dramatic series Happy Valley (2014–2023) and Gentleman Jack (2019–2022), the latter produced jointly by BBC and HBO. Wainwright partnered with Disney+ for her latest series, the resolutely PG-13 Renegade Nell , which is a different beast altogether: a good old-fashioned, swashbuckling comic adventure with a supernatural twist, featuring a sassy cross-dressing heroine forced to turn to highway robbery to survive.

    (Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

    Set in 1705 during the reign of Queen Anne (Jodi May, Gentleman Jack ), the series stars Louisa Harland ( Derry Girls ) as Nell Jackson. Nell is a headstrong young woman with tomboy flair and a taste for adventure who returns home to her village of Tottenham after running off five years before to marry one Captain Jackson against her father's wishes. She's now widowed and possessed of occasional supernatural skills whenever someone threatens her, courtesy of a fairy sprite named Billy Blind (Nick Mohammed, aka Nathan from Ted Lasso ), who has been tasked to protect Nell. Nell's family thought she'd been killed on the battlefield alongside her husband, so her homecoming is a bit of a shock.

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      US woman arrested, accused of targeting young boys in $1.7M sextortion scheme

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 20:24

    US woman arrested, accused of targeting young boys in $1.7M sextortion scheme

    Enlarge (credit: vitapix | E+ )

    A 28-year-old Delaware woman, Hadja Kone, was arrested after cops linked her to an international sextortion scheme targeting thousands of victims—mostly young men and including some minors, the US Department of Justice announced Friday.

    Citing a recently unsealed indictment, the DOJ alleged that Kone and co-conspirators "operated an international, financially motivated sextortion and money laundering scheme in which the conspirators engaged in cyberstalking, interstate threats, money laundering, and wire fraud."

    Through the scheme, conspirators allegedly sought to extort about $6 million from "thousands of potential victims," the DOJ said, and ultimately successfully extorted approximately $1.7 million.

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