Ex-Googler Claims Company’s Software Infrastructure is Outdated, Facebook’s OptOut Facial Recognition Launches, Stallman Warns about Danger of eBooks, and More

  • Ex-Googler says the company’s software infrastructure is obsolete
    Klint Finley at ReadWriteWeb digs out some curious remarks by a departing Google engineer claiming that the software stack employed by the search giant is aging and focused on its older business lines, namely search, which by implication I suppose is in contrast to newer projects focusing on other things like communication. I am inclined to take this with a large grain of salt having heard similar complaints from developers dissatisfied to the point of leaving a company. There is also something to be said for striking more of a balance between what is known to work and the new, shiny tech.
  • Facebook introduces facial recognition, default is opt-out
    Facial recognition is no more inherently good or bad than any other technology. I recently came across an excellent counter example in the form of activist tech that protects subjects in one the ground recording partly by its use of facial recognition. Dan Rowinski at ReadWriteWeb correctly identifies that it is Facebook’s assumption that the default should be on for everyone that presents problems. Sadly it is consistent with the majority of their privacy decisions and reveals the recent settlement over a similar bad decision with the launch of Google Buzz is acting as very little deterrent.
  • Stallman warns of the danger of ebooks
    Stephen Shankland at CNet’s DeepTech was one of the folks to write up a new paper from Free Software evangelist Richard Stallman. The paper is surprising not for its points which are consistent with Stallman’s and the FSF’s stance against DRM in digital media. Rather it is only a single page long and surprisingly even in tone. What Shankland finds over the top is I think entirely reasonable and certainly not the most zealous argument Stallman has made. Maybe it is the deeply obvious breakage resulting from DRM in ebooks that informs my take on the paper, its content and tone.
  • Terms of service expose lack of anonymity in practice on whistleblower sites offered by WSJ, Al-Jazeera, EFF
  • New research reveals bubble forms are not so anonymous, Freedom to Tinker
  • In case you were wonder what Bitcoin is, Ars Technica
  • Novel 3D printed “fabric” used to print a bikini, Make

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