Five Minute Blockchain – No. 50
Estimated reading time: 6 min 23 seconds
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Everybody says, ‘We don’t want to talk with the banks, we don’t want to know what they’re doing, etc.’ But they’ve actually been around for 300 or 400 years. They have a lot of experience on how to do things actually, or how not to do things.”
Cointelegraph reporting from European Blockchain Convention in Barcelona
Top search results could lead to online scammers; FBI recommends ad blockers when using search
Cory Doctorow, a well-known journalist, author and activist, recently published a screenshot of a search via Twitter where the top search result for a restaurant led to a fake website designed to scam users. The actual restaurant was also showing up in the search but ranked lower.
This new approach by scams is hard to detect by Google. As one result, the FBI recommends using an ad blocker to shelter against such falsified and malicious links.
“…cyber criminals are using search engine advertisement services to impersonate brands and direct users to malicious sites that host ransomware and steal login credentials and other financial information.”
AI-generated voice used to break into a bank account
Many banks offer the option to enter an account using a voice command. A reporter for VICE managed to trick a bank system using a free choice to cheat the system. Experts suggest that banks re-consider and switch to different methods of identity verification.
Signal warns it might stop services for the UK should “Online Safety Bil” undermine message encrypt.ion
The Online Safety Bill is currently passing through the UK parliament. Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, introduced it. The government and child protection have argued that encrypted messages make it difficult to fight child abuse.
The UK Home Office said in a statement: “It is important that technology companies make every effort to ensure that their platforms do not become a breeding ground for paedophiles. The Online Safety Bill does not represent a ban on end-to-end encryption but makes clear that technological changes should not be implemented in a way that diminishes public safety – especially the safety of children online”.
Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, told the BBC it was “magical thinking” if government agencies in the UK want to provide privacy, but “only for the good guys. Encryption is either protecting everyone or it is broken for every. one.”
Apple had previously suggested a system where content where photos on phones or tablets could scan for child abuse but had abandoned the plans after much criticism.
Mozilla study: Developer privacy claims on Google Play can not be trusted
A study by Mozilla calls the labels used in the Google Play Store “a joke” and “useless”:
“The study looked at the privacy information that app developers are supposed to fill out in the Google’s Play Store and compared those details to the apps’ privacy policies. The privacy labels are supposed to give you information about an app’s data practices so you can make informed choices, but the study found the labels are close to useless. Just six apps of the 40 apps in the study got a passing grade.”
Using new AI platforms, the next generation of “deepfakes” could leada to a whole new level of damage
The people in the videos look r, and they speak compellingly. But they are not real, and their words might be a believable lie. This is the scenario experts say could be the next level of “deepfakes”.
The combination of several AI platforms “…can also be used to more quickly and cheaply build an army of people who don’t exist, fake actors capable of fluently delivering messages in multiple languages. That makes them useful, says Gregory, for the “firehose” strategy of disinformation preferred by Russia, along with everything from “deceptive commercial personalization to the ‘lolz’ strategies of shitposting at scale.”
It is tempting to use generative AI for legal documents. What could go wrong?
Without the help of technology, lawyers spent hours over hours in legal research and the gradual writing of contracts and other legal documents. Now, generative AI has arrived. And it is quite tempting to use the technology to generate legal texts. On one side, experts consider legal documents to be a good use case for generative AI.
There is already a dedicated an AI platform for this use case called Harvey. Law experts created the company behind Harvey using ChatGPT and received $5 million in funding from OpenAI in November 2022 (TechCrunch). The platform describes itself as a “copilot for lawyers”.
Wired has a story with statements from several prominent law firms. Most are optimistic about the use cases for generative AI, for example, for standard documents or early-stage research. But at the same time, there are worries about current platforms making things up and tending to “hallucinate” about topics poorly defined in the learning material. The significant risk is that some law providers signed not to be more cautious and deploy AI to mass-produce certain legal documents – only to find out later that it was a big mistake.
European Union starts consultation on whether some companies should pay more for using internet traffic
The EU considers demanding a contribution from the largest tech companies. The money would then be deployed for upgrades for phone lines both at home and mobile. Currently, a document aims to collect opinions in a survey as public consultation. The EU internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, will discuss the plans at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC). The critical argument that big traffic generators should pay more has been part of lobbying by larger telecommunication companies for some years. Now the EU seems to agree with this view. Opponents are highly critical of such different pricing. They say that the move might open a box of pandora because telcos will be free to draw the line for heavy traffic and enable them to charge all kinds of companies.
EU Commission: Exploratory Consultation – The future of the electronic communications sector and its infrastructure
NFT platform Dapper labs to loff off 20% of its staff
Dapper Labs laid off 134 people, or 22% of its staff, in November 2022. Now the company has announced a second round of layoffs. The reduction comes despite a strong financial position. Dapper Labs had received $600 million from venture capital. The company had an early success with NBA Top Shot, where fans could purchase short professional basketball clips.
YouTube rolls out multi-language audio tracks
“The multi-language audio feature lets creators add dubbing to new and existing videos, helping them expand their global reach and reach new audiences for their channels, according to YouTube.”
International Monetary Fund: Blockchain can speed up payments and settlements, but crypto still is a “disappointment.”
The IMF sees three areas of application: Tokenization, Encryption and programmability. But the advisers argue that private issuers of (crypto) money can not be trusted to protect investors and users.
Research: State of Blockchain Report 2022
Global venture funding provided $26.8B for blockchain companies in crypto finance, web3 and blockchain infrastructure. While prospects looked positive in early 2022, the entire industry came under macroeconomic pressures, specifically in the 4th quarter of the year. CB Insights has a free (after registration) market overview with 162 pages of charts and data to make sense of it all.
- Why the 15-minute city is fueling a ludicrous conspiracy theory (Fast Company)
- Pakistan’s three-day Wikipedia ban sends a “dangerous” message (Rest of World)
- ConsenSys Acquires Easy-to-Use Blockchain Notification Tool ‘Hal’ to Strengthen Web3 Development (Coindesk)
- Tencent to offer “metaverse-in-a-box” development services in Asian markets (Bitcoin.com)
- Google Cloud becomes a validator for Tezos blockchain (Ledger Insights)
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