Saturday Social: Tumblr censorship, Tech Firms Join Forces, Twerking
Tumblr explains ‘censorship’, Tech firms join forces, new measures for mobile thefts, data spying cops get it wrong, are you Twerking?
Following a fair amount of “public outcry”, Tumblr admitted yesterday their mistake in hiding blogs with an adult theme in search, saying that a bug in Safe Mode caused the content to disappear.
Around 10% of Tumblr’s users apparently access adult material and they were none too happy to have the ‘Erotica’ category terminated. Add to this the fact that Tumblr had already released changes to its policy (and robots.txt) so that adult blogs don’t show up in the major search engines and tempers frayed.
“As some of you have pointed out, disabling Safe Mode still wasn’t allowing search results from all blogs to appear. This has been fixed,” Tumblr said in a blog post.
The post went on to explain that whilst Safe Mode works properly and prevents blogs from being found by tag searches, ordinary searches were preventing all but a handful of adult blogs from being found.
Search on mobile different?
The post went on to say that search on various platforms works differently too, with iOS being the most restricted. This is because Apple doesn’t allow apps that contain adult material, so many of the tags that may ordinarily be used have to be censored.
This has led to apparently innocent tags, such as # gay blocked, which Tumblr say will be addressed with “more intelligent filtering”. Earlier in the year, Tumblr had begun removing blogs that it considered spammy commercial porn; now it seems that this has been carried over with any blog that has been flagged as adult.
According to a report on TechCrunch by Sarah Perez, all of this sounds pretty shady and she puts forward the idea that Tumblr attempted to make changes to the way that adult is indexed, hoping no one would notice.
“Tumblr’s explanations today are confusing at worst, and misleading at best. Tumblr claimed nothing had changed recently, but the company’s NSFW/Adult policies have been in a constant state of flux, and the service is clearly struggling with how it needs to handle the problem of commercial porn spam,” she said.
Tech firms join forces
The world’s biggest technology companies have joined forces to apply the pressure on the US authorities to allow them to divulge more details about security arrests. Firms such as Apple and Google, along with “dozens” of others want to be allowed to report statistics on what kind of data is being asked for.
The news comes following an outcry by social media users over the fact that technology firms regularly give out user data when asked to do so by government agencies.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also signed the letter that was sent to Gen Alexander, President Obama and Congress.
“They don’t have a choice. Court order, they have to do this,” Mr Alexander director of the NSA said.
“What they want is the rest of the world to know that we’re not reading all of that email, so they want to give out the numbers.
“I think there’s some logic in doing that.”
The US authorities are reported to be considering the request.
Fighting global mobile theft
Politicians around the world are calling for mobile phone manufacturers to help solve the problem of phone theft by fitting a “kill switch”.
Various solutions have since been put forward by phone companies, such as Apple’s Activation Lock, which comes out in the next version of iOS and will come under a lot of scrutiny from security officials.
In New York and San Francisco, prosecutors will test phones such as the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 to see how effective security measures are against some of the more common thieving tactics.
In the UK, London Mayor Boris Johnson has written to a number of manufacturers urging them to demonstrate that they are taking their “corporate responsibility” seriously.
“If we are to deter theft and help prevent crimes that victimise your customers and the residents and visitors to our city, we need meaningful engagement from business,” he wrote.
It’s thought that Samsung and other manufacturers will be testing theft recovery system Lojack with the help of “security professionals”.
Lojack uses a combination of hardware and software that can’t be wiped by performing a hard reset. In the effect of a phone being lost, users can wipe all of their personal files remotely and lock the handset.
If a phone is stolen, then only the Absolute Theft Recovery Team is able to locate and return it.
Data spying cops get it wrong
Police agencies in the UK wrongly accused five people of being criminals, following the seizure of their personal data on their communications, reports The Register.
A new report from the Inception of Communications Commissioner set out how data was used to seize illegal substances and guns, as well as other crimes such as fraud and illegal waste dumping.
The report also gave details of mistakes which were made, with many being dropped when officers learned of their blunder and no further action being taken. However, for five unlucky innocents, they were wrongly detained after police requested data on their internet activity.
According to the 2012 annual report, 3372 requests were made to listen in on calls or read private messages, a 16% rise since 2011. Whilst the majority of these were made by police or government agencies, 160 local councils around the country made over 2500 requests to ID people suspected of council tax dodging, or selling counterfeit goods.
Are you Twerking?
You may or may not have heard the term Twerking, the latest dance craze to hit the imagination of internet users, especially those using Vine and Instagram.
People are Twerking all over the place, they’ve even got their pets doing it, so we’ve brought you a special treat this week, that’s right … a Twerking video!