Barbara Larson

Barbara Larson

Being able to make money online is an easy task in itself, however, the difficulty usually lies in finding places where you can make money. Luckily for those who use Bing, the place to make money online is staring right at you – Bing. What was once seen as a mediocre search engine, is now something quite powerful. Constant improvements by Microsoft have continually improved Bing’s results, while still providing a pleasing experience. Now, it’s possible to make money using Bing.

We already know about Bing Rewards – Microsoft’s program for rewarding users who use Bing – but we’re not here to talk about that. This is something different.

A company based in the United Kingdom, called Qmee, offers browser extensions which once installed, will show related ads to the left-side of your browser whenever you search for something. Don’t be scared away by the ads, though. They’re actually quite helpful.

Let’s say you’re a little hungry and want to order some pizza. You’ll type in your search term, for example “dominos pizza” and look at the results. Now, normally you’d click right through to Dominos Pizza (or your choice of pizzeria), however, what Qmee will do is show offers from other pizzeria’s, as shown below.

Qmee Bing Pizza

Each ad will either be an offer/voucher code for relevant stores, or it will show a monetary symbol, which when clicked will add that money straight to your Qmee account, instantly. This amount can then be withdrawn to PayPal instantly or donated to a charity.

While this definitely isn’t a way of becoming rich, it does allow you to make money (and save money!) by just searching on Bing. Ads can be worth anywhere from $0.05 to $1 per click.

If you’re ready to start making money by searching Bing, you can sign-up to Qmee by clicking here. You’ll need a PayPal account (US or UK only), then install the browser extension and off you go – searching.

What’s more – if you use Qmee and Bing Rewards together, you’re not only earning cash for seeing those ads, you’re earning extra rewards from Microsoft.


Source : https://www.onmsft.com/news/how-to-make-money-online-by-searching-with-bing-and-qmee

SASKATOON—Hours after Cheyenne Antoine, 20, made her first court appearance for second-degree murder in the death of Brittney Gargol, a photo was discovered of the two posing together just hours before Gargol’s death.

The social media post by Gargol to her Facebook page was her last – the 18-year-old would later be discovered at 6 a.m. on March 25, 2015 dying on a quiet country road on the outskirts of Saskatoon.

At the time police were unsure of Gargol’s identity – today it’s hard to say how much this photo played into Antoine’s arrest, but what is clear is how social media is increasingly being used by police during investigations.

“You can go into social media and find out almost anything about anybody.” said Superintendent Dave Haye of the Saskatoon Police Service.

According to Haye, an officer is assigned to scour social media for clues in any major investigation.

“It could range from a serious assault, to a homicide, even to commercial crime.”

Depending on your privacy settings, anyone can track your movements or access your photos and posts – which could even be presented in court.

“They can provide both an alibi for themselves at times; they can provide some great assistance to your defence,” said criminal defense lawyer Brian Pfefferle.

“But it can also provide corroboration to a Crown theory that could cause difficulty [in] defending yourself.”

Pfefferle has even refrained from calling on his client to testify if he knows police have already obtained prejudicial information on them.

“Lawyers have to be very careful that they’re not advising clients to delete or destroy evidence that is already existing online – however, changing the privacy settings are a different story.”

Pfefferle says it would be naive to think members of a jury don’t search for information on an accused even if they’re instructed not to. He’s even used social media to dig up information for his own cross-examinations.

“We regularly are able to access intimate details about complainants and witnesses in cases,” Pfefferle said.

“When we get jury lists, we’ll regularly go through the list and attempt to see information that’s available to the world through social media.”

Is someone racist or sexist? Have they ever said anything highly prejudicial on social media? Those are all important questions when preparing for a case to go to trial.

“Your reputation in the community is something that can definitely affect your right to a fair trial,” Pfefferle said. “We have a system that is one of the best in the world, but it is still subject to human bias.”

The court of public opinion is another a significant hurdle for defence counsel to overcome once an accused has been charged and there is media coverage of the case.

According to Pfefferle, “live tweeting” – or play-by-play reporting – by reporters during a trial can help the public fully understand why someone is found guilty or not guilty by a judge or jury.

Author : Meaghan Craig

Source : http://globalnews.ca/news/3300102/brittney-gargol-fb-post-law-court/

Qreoo, an Internet startup is the new entrant in the list of search engines. The company launches a new website Qreoo.com to inspire curiosity through its crowdsourced search engine.

The website is powered by crowdsourcing links from the user community of Qreoo, and will enable users to keep a daily focus on their curiosity by helping them find answers to their search and by sharing links for others to read and explore.

The founder of Qreoo, Dheerthan Gajapathy says the infinite need for him to question and read new things daily has made him to launch a new website for others like him. The search engine acts as an information and news aggregator on all the topics through its users, who share links on their curiosity to others like them to also read.

Qreoo is a product of Swinaly Commerce Company which is its parent company. Swinaly Commerce Company being in New Media Business has invested its resources in creating the brand Qreoo that would fullfills its mission staterment.

After being in the beta phase for about a year, the website has now been launched for the public. The number of links to read on the website is growing and an active update of new links can be found on its search pages for the public to read on various subjects and topics that the user is curious about.

Qreoo inspires curiosity with the power of crowd, to search, read and share links with others on its crowdsourced search engine. The site supports natural language tags submitted by users and uses proprietary algorithms to index the submitted web links to show results for the users search.

The ultimate goal of the new search engine is to inspire curiosity by enabling the users to search and share links to read and update their curiosity with their new website. The website is live at Qreoo.com.

Source : http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwgeeks/article/The-Crowdsourced-Search-Engine-Qreoo-Launches-a-New-Website-to-Inspire-Curiosity-20170307

FEW INDUSTRIES have been as affected by technology as much as journalism. More than just a seismic shift from print to web to mobile devices, news now is gathered with the help of all types of tools, and smart newsrooms are making sure there’s as much room for social teams or podcast studios as for national desks.

To keep up, CJR asked journalists what new tools and technology they use to help them do their jobs. Social media editors, curators, and reporters chimed in to tell us about tools that help them face some familiar challenges.

THE PROBLEM: You have interviews in the can but dread the old approach to transcribing. Ask any journalist how they transcribe, and be prepared to hear a different answer every time. From paying someone else to do it, to using playback devices that slow down the speed, transcription methods are as varied as writing styles. One of the reasons is the annoyance of keeping up with a recording while having to stop every several seconds. Figuring out how to seamlessly stop and play a recording without having to take your hands off the keyboard would do a lot to smooth out the process.

THE SOLUTIONOTranscribe. This web app is a transcriber’s dream; it centralizes everything you need to get interviews into text form. Just upload the audio file (or if you’re taking an interview from YouTube, paste the link) onto the page, and start transcribing into the document underneath. You can then import your transcription to Google Drive or plain text. It saves your progress in your browser every few seconds and, perhaps most importantly, allows you to control the recording from your keyboard.

THE PROBLEM: You want to crowdsource a story, but you’re wary you’ll get inundated with crappy responses. Google Forms may be the best-known way to disseminate questionnaires or forms for a crowdsourcing project, but there’s a better tool for collecting, organizing, and gauging the quality of submissions.

THE SOLUTIONScreendoor. Terry Parris Jr, engagement editor at ProPublica, prefers Screendoor, an online form-building platform with built-in messaging and analytic tools. For Parris, it’s all about the robust suite of organizing tools: “[Screendoor] allows me to quickly visualize (even in small ways) what we have collected,” says Parris. “This is important because when you deal in the volume of submissions we do when crowdsourcing, we don’t want to lose anything.”

THE PROBLEM: You fear the social media photo you found might be too good to be true.

Sometimes a picture we see on social is not what it seems. Take for example photos of sharks swimming in the waters of flooded cities. It has become a popular hoax that people either fall for or use to prank others for retweets and likes. When news is breaking, the ability to weed out altered or fake images becomes especially critical. There also can be times where we want to use an image but can’t find the original source to give credit.

THE SOLUTION: TinEye. This image-driven search company is the smarter version of Google Images. Upload or paste the URL of an image on the website, and TinEye will search through its vast database of images (17.7 billion, according to the site), with results that can verify everything you need to know about an image, including whether it has been altered.

THE PROBLEM: Your sources want to ensure their privacy while staying in touch. Imagine if Bob Woodward had a cellphone and instead of meeting Deep Throat in a parking lot, they texted each other. They would probably still need to take extra precautions to ensure nobody was intercepting messages about the Nixon administration.

THE SOLUTION: Signal. “Face-to-face communication is always the best way to ensure things remain private,” says Kerry Flynn, a business reporter at Mashable who focuses on the tech industry. But she says the next best thing is Signal. “You feel safe there.”

THE PROBLEM: You want to connect with sources who are particularly concerned about anonymity but don’t want to download an app that might suggest they are leaking. Apps such as Signal or Confide might attract suspicion from supervisors trying to find out the source of leaks.

THE SOLUTION: Snapchat. Flynn from Mashable says some sources who want to talk off the record to her will suggest Snapchat. “It’s an extra layer of assurance they have knowing whatever they say to me will go away,” she says. “If they want to send me a picture through Snapchat, they will know if I screenshotted it.”

THE PROBLEM: You only get 140 characters on Twitter, and threads can get tricky. Veteran Twitter users know how to tie a series of tweets together by replying to their own tweets. This self-engineered hack allows people to share their thoughts at length about particular topics. But now there’s an easier way.

THE SOLUTION: Twitter Moments. Initially available only for Twitter and a limited number of publishers, Twitter opened up its Moments tools to all users in September 2016. Since then, journalists and publishers like The New York Times have used the Moments tool to consolidate Tweets around particular subjects. (Disclosure: I was a curator on the Twitter Moments team).


THE PROBLEM: You want to share documents that support your story, but there’s no good way to embed them. Let’s say you have are working on a story that involves a massive amount of documents, and instead of rehashing what was found in them, you want to share the actual pages.

THE SOLUTION: Scribd. This is how Scribd came in handy for freelance writer Quibián Salazar-Moreno. “I remember reporting on a court case, and I wanted to embed some of the court papers on our site but also make them accessible for everyone else,” Salazar-Moreno says. “Scribd was the perfect tool to do that.”

THE PROBLEM: You want your Instagram posts both to attract attention and seamlessly integrate a headline, video, and images.

THE SOLUTION: PicPlayPost. As an editor for news curation at BuzzFeed News, Darian Harvin has to meet BuzzFeed readers where they’re at. This means when she’s creating a post on Instagram, it is more than just a photo. “I’m often looking to use both headlines and images to tell stories on a platform like IG,” she says.

THE PROBLEM: You wanna cut a podcast but don’t have a fancy recording studio. As podcasts grow in popularity, more journalists are realizing you don’t need an expensive setup to churn out quality work.

THE SOLUTION: Voice Memo App for iPhone. James Ramsay, a producer for Morning Edition, says many of his colleagues rely on Apple’s Voice Memo app that is included on all iPhones. “If it’s a 10-second cut, and you know how to hold a phone so it doesn’t sound like a hurricane is hitting it, that works!” Ramsay says. BuzzFeed’s Harvin, who records her own podcast, “Am I Allowed To Like Anything,” is also a fan of the Voice Memo app. “It allows me to quickly record my podcast in a small room or closet, and quickly send it to my email for editing later,” she says.

THE PROBLEM: Too many social media posts to track. Social media editors use a variety of tools, but one in particular has risen above the rest in terms of versatility and reach.

THE SOLUTION: CrowdTangle. CrowdTangle originally was helpful for boosting the signal on Facebook’s viral content, but it has since expanded to include Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit. With these added platforms, social media editors can easily see how their content is performing, and also look out for what content is going viral online.

Source : http://www.cjr.org/innovations/crowdtangle_screendoor_tineye_signal_scribd.php

IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT is deploying a new intelligence system called Investigative Case Management (ICM), created by Palantir Technologies, that will assist in President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport millions of immigrants from the United States.In 2014, ICE awarded Palantir, the $20 billion data-mining firm founded by billionaire Trump advisor Peter Thiel, a $41 million contract to build and maintain ICM, according to government funding records. The system is scheduled to arrive at “final operating capacity” by September of this year.
The documents identify Palantir’s ICM as “mission critical” to ICE, meaning that the agency will not be able to properly function without the program.ICM funding documents analyzed by The Intercept make clear that the system is far from a passive administrator of ICE’s case flow. ICM allows ICE agents to access a vast “ecosystem” of data to facilitate immigration officials in both discovering targets and then creating and administering cases against them. The system provides its users access to intelligence platforms maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and an array of other federal and private law enforcement entities.
It can provide ICE agents access to information on a subject’s schooling, family relationships, employment information, phone records, immigration history, foreign exchange program status, personal connections, biometric traits, criminal records, and home and work addresses.“What we have here is a growing network of interconnected databases that together are drawing in more and more information,” said Jay Stanley, a privacy expert at the American Civil Liberties Union. “If President Trump’s rhetoric on mass deportations is going to be turned into reality, then we’re going to see these tools turned in that direction, and these documents show that there are very powerful and intrusive tools that can be used toward that end.”Although ICM appears to have been originally conceived for use by ICE’s office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the system appears to be widely available to agents within ICE.
Officers of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office (ERO) — the U.S. government’s primary deportation force — access the system to gather information for both criminal and civil cases against immigrants, according to a June 2016 disclosure by the Department of Homeland Security, although ERO will use a separate system to manage its civil cases. “HSI and ERO personnel use the information in ICM to document and inform their criminal investigative activities and to support the criminal prosecutions arising from those investigations,” states the DHS filing.
“ERO also uses ICM data to inform its civil cases.”ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor also uses ICM to represent the office in “exclusion, deportation, and removal proceedings,” among other matters, according to the DHS disclosure.The DHS disclosure states that Homeland Security Investigations is ICM’s primary user. Although mainly tasked with investigating serious cross-border crimes like drug smuggling, human trafficking, and child pornography, HSI had also been behind some of the most controversial workplace immigration raids of the Obama administration, which immigrant advocates fear could expand massively under President Trump.
HSI provided support to the Enforcement and Removal Office during last month’s high-profile enforcement surge, and just last week it was reported that HSI agents spearheaded a controversial sweep of several Asian restaurants in Mississippi that led to the agency apprehending more than 50 immigrants.The ICM documents offer a detailed reminder of the Obama-era push to upgrade and expand the federal government’s tools to track and deport immigrants. Obama not only presided over an unprecedented number of deportations; his administration also oversaw the pronounced expansion of intelligence systems aimed at the country’s immigrants. Now the sprawling immigrant surveillance apparatus that Obama enhanced is squarely in the hands of Donald Trump to assist in carrying out his promise to rapidly deport millions of immigrants.
Core-HSI-Investigative-Case-Management-ICM-Processes-1488424396A slide from a 2014 Immigration and Customs Enforcement document outlining capabilities required by the agency’s proposed Investigative Case Management system. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The ICM documents also underscore the prominent role Palantir will likely play in assisting ICE in this mission.Notably, two of the primary intelligence systems that ICM relies upon have also been also built or supported by Peter Thiel’s firm, according to the funding documents. One of these is ICE’s FALCON system, a database and analytical platform built by Palantir that HSI agents can use to track immigrants and crunch data on forms of cross-border criminal activity. According to the documents, ICM also provides its users access to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “Analytical Framework for Intelligence,” or AFI, a vast yet little-understood data system that Palantir played a largely secret-role in supporting. Some privacy advocates believe that AFI could be used to fuel Trump’s “extreme vetting” of those seeking to enter the country.
The-ICE-data-ecosystem-1488425574A slide from a 2014 ICE funding document outlining required data flows for the agency’s modernized Investigative Case Management system. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
“When Trump uses the term ‘extreme vetting’, AFI is the black-box system of profiling algorithms that he’s talking about,” Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project, a civil liberties initiative, told me last year. “This is what extreme vetting means.”ICM also provides its users with access to an internal system called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which “includes biographic and immigration status data related to individuals who are temporarily admitted to the United States as students or exchange visitors,” according to the DHS.
Agents using ICM can also query ACRIMe, an extensive database operated by ERO that compiles data on immigrants in the United States. In addition, the funding documents state that ICM provides agents — through AFI — access to data gathered under the controversial National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, the now-defunct Bush-era system requiring visa-holders from two-dozen predominately Muslim countries and North Korea to register with the federal government.One funding document states that ICM provides agents with the ability to simultaneously search information on a given person across a diverse range of government databases, permitting, for an example, an address search to query “multiple documents throughout the system, such as the person subject record, financial data (interface), CBP crossing data (interface), and other HSI and CBP subject record types. The user shall be able to conduct a consolidated address search that will match on all addresses regardless of the record type.”

ICE ICM Statement of Objectives32 pages
Although ICE’s enforcement focuses overwhelmingly on immigrants, the ICM funding documents make clear the intelligence tool can also be aimed at U.S. citizens. “Citizenship can be established a variety of ways to include biographical and biometric system checks,” one document states. “U.S. Citizens are still subject to criminal prosecution and thus are a part of ICM.”The scope of ICM’s use appears to have expanded during the system’s development. The hundreds of pages of funding documents from 2014 make no mention whatsoever of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Office (ERO).
On the contrary, the 2014 records state that ICM was launched as primarily an HSI initiative and meant for use by HSI agents. Yet by June of last year, this appears to have changed: The recent DHS privacy disclosure repeatedly states that ERO uses ICM to support aspects of its mission.This is not the only case in which it has remained unclear what kind of limits ICE has on the sorts of missions for which its intelligence systems can be used.A spokesperson for Palantir declined to provide comment for this story. ICE did not respond to a list of questions, including whether FALCON — ICE’s advanced intelligence and analytics system for Homeland Security Investigations — is also made available to ERO agents.In February, ICE responded to a Freedom of Information Act Request asking for internal rules or restrictions on FALCON’s use by stating that no such documents existed, although ICE’s response also indicated the agency may have conducted an incomplete search for the records. The 2014 funding records indicate that ERO’s use of ICM — which provides its users access to Palantir’s FALCON — might also grant the deportation force access to FALCON.Data sharing between federal agencies is often not governed by concrete legal regulations, according to Anil Kalhan, a professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law.“Legislation after 9/11 authorized and encouraged information sharing within the executive branch,” Kalhan told the Intercept in December. “There is general authorization, and the scope and limits and constraints upon that authorization have not really been spelled out.”The ICM documents appear to contain information about FALCON that is not otherwise publicly available. One funding document states that FALCON — and thus ICM — can link to a controversial law enforcement database called Black Asphalt, which is maintained by a private firm called Desert Snow and provides information to help police engage in civil and criminal asset forfeiture. Iowa and Kansas have prohibited the use of Black Asphalt by law enforcement agencies because of concerns that it “might not be a legal law enforcement tool,” according to the Washington Post.
The funding documents also state that FALCON includes access to services provided by Cellebrite, an Israeli company that specializes in software used to breach cellphones.With its full deployment arriving just in time for the Trump transition, ICM appears well positioned to respond to a new set of demands being placed on ICE by a president elected on promises of deporting immigrants en masse. The agency stipulated that Palantir must build a tool that can handle “no less than 10,000 users accessing the system at the same time” to search tens of millions of subject records.
HSI-Day-in-the-Life-1488425611A slide from a 2014 ICE funding document illustrating a day in the life of a Homeland Security Investigations special agent. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
On May 8, 2014, in a meeting with representatives of firms vying to win the ICM contract, ICE screened a slide presentation to show just how ICM’s many users will be able to utilize the ICM system. The slides lay out a hypothetical scenario in which an ICE agent uses ICM to both interrogate a suspect at the border and then to shepherd the suspect’s case through court proceedings.The first slide tells of a man named Jim Doe who attempted to enter the country by car but was stopped by CBP at the border and was discovered to be carrying contraband. So CBP calls in a square-jawed ICE HSI investigator, who immediately opens ICM and queries its data.
This produces records on Doe’s vehicle, business dealings, prior arrests, and records detailing his prior crossings of the border.Armed with this intelligence, the HSI agent then interrogates Doe and learns that he had brought the contraband across the border at the behest of a man Doe knows only by the nickname “Caliber,” who also has detailed discoverable information in ICM, which is able to reveal his true name of Calvin Clark by making connections based on a tattoo of Clark’s that is included in the system’s data.Once the ICE agent has completed his ICM-backed investigation, he then uses ICM to create a case file. A subsequent chart shows the apparent final stage of ICM’s cradle-to-grave services represented in a graphic of a person clutching to prison bars with a caption reading: “justice is served.”But the following slide points out that a conviction is not in fact the final step in ICM’s intelligence life cycle.“Even once the case is closed,” the document states of the ICM record, “it is available for other agents to discover and link to future investigations, continuing the investigative cycle.”Documents published with this article:

POST FALLS, Idaho, Feb. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- PIPL announced today the launch of a new version of its popular search engine which enables users to look up the contact, work and social information of over 3 billion people. The launch introduces PIPL Pro, an advanced search engine for business users that provides:

  • Unlimited searches using name, email address, username or phone number.
  • Over a billion phone numbers – mostly mobile – in search results.
  • The most information about a person based on an email address search.
  • Improved hit rates due to an additional 4.5 billion premium records.

"PIPL connects an actual person to their online presence," said PIPL CEO Matthew Hertz. "This allows individuals and businesses to see who they are interacting with on and off-line and how best to reach them."

Over nearly a decade, PIPL's search engine has become the go-to tool to find the people behind email addresses and social media usernames with millions of unique monthly visitors. Current users of the search engine include:

  • 10 out of the top 10 U.S. e-commerce companies by revenue.
  • Nine out of the top 10 U.S. banks by assets.
  • Eight out of the top 10 U.S. insurance companies by assets.

"Over nine years, PIPL has seen consistent demand from individuals and businesses for an information directory for the Internet Age," said PIPL's technology evangelist Ronen Shnidman. "The white pages provide users a way to find and reach people by landline telephone. PIPL helps individuals and businesses by taking this concept to the next level with email, social media and mobile phones."

To get more information about PIPL Pro's features, please visit https://pipl.com/search/.

About PIPL

PIPL organizes billions of people's online and real-life information into a world where everyone has a reputation and a way to reach them. PIPL's suite of products is used to match real people to email addresses, phone numbers and social media usernames. Vetted business clients from around the globe use PIPL for identity verification, compliance and sales intelligence. For additional information about the company, please visit https://pipl.com/corp/ or follow us on Twitter @pipl_com.

SOURCE Pipl, Inc.


Source : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pipl-launches-search-engine-for-3-billion-people-300407799.html

University of Washington researchers have shown that Google’s new machine learning-based system to identify toxic comments in online discussion forums can be bypassed by simply misspelling or adding unnecessary punctuation to abusive words, such as “idiot” or “moron.”

Perspective is a project by Google’s technology incubator Jigsaw, which uses artificial intelligence to combat internet trolls and promote more civil online discussion by automatically detecting online insults, harassment and abusive speech.  The company launched a demonstration website on Feb. 23 that allows anyone to type in a phrase and see its “toxicity score” — a measure of how rude, disrespectful or unreasonable a particular comment is.

In a paper posted Feb. 27 on the e-print repository arXiv, the UW electrical engineers and security experts demonstrated that the early stage technology system can be deceived by using common adversarial tactics. They showed one can subtly modify a phrase that receives a high toxicity score so that it contains the same abusive language but receives a low toxicity score.

Given that news platforms such as The New York Times and other media companies are exploring how the system could help curb harassment and abuse in online comment areas or social media, the UW researchers evaluated Perspective in adversarial settings. They showed that the system is vulnerable to both missing incendiary language and falsely blocking non-abusive phrases.

“Machine learning systems are generally designed to yield the best performance in benign settings. But in real-world applications, these systems are susceptible to intelligent subversion or attacks,” said senior author Radha Poovendran, chair of the UW electrical engineering department and director of the Network Security Lab. “We wanted to demonstrate the importance of designing these machine learning tools in adversarial environments. Designing a system with a benign operating environment in mind and deploying it in adversarial environments can have devastating consequences.”

To solicit feedback and invite other researchers to explore the strengths and weaknesses of using machine learning as a tool to improve online discussions, Perspective developers made their experiments, models and data publicly available along with the tool itself.

In the examples below on hot-button topics of climate change, Brexit and the recent U.S. election — which were taken directly from the Perspective API website — the UW team simply misspelled or added extraneous punctuation or spaces to the offending words, which yielded much lower toxicity scores. For example, simply changing “idiot” to “idiiot” reduced the toxicity rate of an otherwise identical comment from 84% to 20%.

graphic showing examples

In the examples below, the researchers also showed that the system does not assign a low toxicity score to a negated version of an abusive phrase.

Examples of negated text

The researchers also observed that the duplicitous changes often transfer among different phrases — once an intentionally misspelled word was given a low toxicity score in one phrase, it was also given a low score in another phrase. That means an adversary could create a “dictionary” of changes for every word and significantly simplify the attack process.

“There are two metrics for evaluating the performance of a filtering system like a spam blocker or toxic speech detector; one is the missed detection rate and the other is the false alarm rate,” said lead author and UW electrical engineering doctoral student Hossein Hosseini. “Of course scoring the semantic toxicity of a phrase is challenging, but deploying defensive mechanisms both in algorithmic and system levels can help the usability of the system in real-world settings.”

The research team suggests several techniques to improve the robustness of toxic speech detectors, including applying a spellchecking filter prior to the detection system, training the machine learning algorithm with adversarial examples and blocking suspicious users for a period of time.

“Our Network Security Lab research is typically focused on the foundations and science of cybersecurity,” said Poovendran, the lead principal investigator of a recently awarded MURI grant, of which adversarial machine learning is a significant component. “But our expanded focus includes developing robust and resilient systems for machine learning and reasoning systems that need to operate in adversarial environments for a wide range of applications.”

Co-authors include UW electrical engineering assistant professors Sreeram Kannan and Baosen Zhang.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Office.

Author : Jennifer Langston

Source : http://www.washington.edu/news/2017/02/28/uw-security-researchers-show-that-googles-ai-platform-for-defeating-internet-trolls-can-be-easily-deceived/

Mae Anderson, The Associated Press 
Published Tuesday, February 28, 2017 4:19PM EST 
Last Updated Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:55PM EST

NEW YORK -- Usually people don't notice the "cloud" -- unless, that is, it turns into a massive storm. Which was the case Tuesday when Amazon's huge cloud-computing service suffered a major outage.

Amazon Web Services, by far the world's largest provider of internet-based computing services, suffered an unspecified breakdown in its eastern U.S. region starting about midday Tuesday. The result: unprecedented and widespread performance problems for thousands of websites and apps.

While few services went down completely, thousands, if not tens of thousands of companies had trouble with functions ranging from file sharing to webfeeds to loading any type of data stored on Amazon's "simple storage service," known as S3. Amazon services began returning around 4 p.m. EST, and an hour later the company noted on its service site that S3 was fully recovered and "operating normally."


The breakdown shows the risks of depending heavily on a few big companies for cloud computing. Amazon's service is significantly larger by revenue than any of its nearest rivals -- Microsoft's Azure, Google's Cloud Platform and IBM, according to Forrester Research.

With so few large providers, any outage can have a disproportionate effect. But some analysts argue that the Amazon outage doesn't prove there's a problem with cloud computing -- it just highlights how reliable the cloud normally is.

The outage, said Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti, shouldn't cause companies to assume "the cloud is dangerous."

Amazon's problems began when one S3 region based in Virginia began to experience what the company called "increased error rates." In a statement, Amazon said as of 4 p.m. EST it was still experiencing errors that were "impacting various AWS services."

"We are working hard at repairing S3, believe we understand root cause, and are working on implementing what we believe will remediate the issue," the company said.


Amazon S3 stores files and data for companies on remote servers. Amazon started offering it in 2006, and it's used for everything from building websites and apps to storing images, customer data and customer transactions.

"Anything you can think about storing in the most cost-effective way possible," is how Rich Mogull, CEO of data security firm Securosis, puts it.

Since Amazon hasn't said exactly what is happening yet, it's hard to know just how serious the outage is. "We do know it's bad," Mogull said. "We just don't know how bad."

At S3 customers, the problem affected both "front-end" operations -- meaning the websites and apps that users see -- and back-end data processing that takes place out of sight. Some smaller online services, such as Trello, Scribd and IFTTT, appeared to be down for a while, although all have since recovered.

The corporate message service Slack, by contrast, stayed up, although it reported "degraded service " for some features. Users reported that file sharing in particular appeared to freeze up.

The Associated Press' own photos, webfeeds and other online services were also affected.


Major cloud-computing outages don't occur very often -- perhaps every year or two -- but they do happen. In 2015, Amazon's DynamoDB service, a cloud-based database, had problems that affected companies like Netflix and Medium. But usually providers have workarounds that can get things working again quickly.

"What's really surprising to me is that there's no fallback -- usually there is some sort of backup plan to move data over, and it will be made available within a few minutes," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.


Forrester's Bartoletti said the problems on Tuesday could lead to some Amazon customers storing their data on Amazon's servers in more than one location, or even shifting to other providers.

"A lot more large companies could look at their application architecture and ask 'how could we have insulated ourselves a little bit more,"' he said. But he added, "I don't think it fundamentally changes how incredibly reliable the S3 service has been."

Author : Mae Anderson

Source : http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/when-amazon-s-cloud-storage-fails-lots-of-people-get-wet-1.3305252

Monday, 27 February 2017 12:37

CloudFare Bug Could Be Leaking Personal Info

Thanks to Google and Tavis Ormandy, your personal information is secure. If you are a frequent user of Uber, Ok Cupid or FitBit, then know that your passwords, messages or the content of your emails might not be personal anymore. Someone out there might be going through your emails or reading your messages as you read this.

Tavis Ormandy is a security researcher who works with Google’s Project Zero. He discovered a bug on cloudFare’s software that has been persistently sending personal information since September 2016. It proliferated this month beginning February 13-18 before discovery. The bad part is that personal information and other details are part of search engine results. This confirms fears of personal data indexing.


CloudFare is a security company that provides content distribution services to millions of sites. Amongst these sites are the riding sharing service Uber and the dating site Ok Cupid.

CloudFare is invisible to most users. It plays a crucial role and acts as a funnel where retailers, bankers and insurance companies can route their services securely. Once CloudFare was notified, they took steps to rectify the problem quickly, according to their Co-Founder Mathew Prince. Even though there are no solid indications of data exploitation, it is nevertheless worrisome. Shockwaves can be felt all across the software security world. In a blog post, they said that this data leak was because they were somehow upgrading their code. Running their new and old codes concurrently might have caused the leak. Only a small subset of their websites were compromised.


Once CloudFare was notified, they took steps to rectify the problem quickly, according to their Co-Founder Mathew Prince. Even though there are no solid indications of data exploitation, it is nevertheless worrisome. Shockwaves can be felt all across the software security world. In a blog post, they said that this data leak was because they were somehow upgrading their code. Running their new and old codes concurrently might have caused the leak. Only a small subset of their websites were compromised.


It is good that this bug was discovered early. CloudFare is a back end and security service provider for most websites. It’s technically invisible for simple internet users, but plays a critical role. Their codes usually crawl through websites picking out HTML errors. With this flaw, it means that when CloudFare code discovers errors, it doesn’t ping back CloudFare monitoring. It instead allows other website utilizing CloudFare services to access these websites and possibly retrieve personal data. This data is readable.


CloudFare CTO reassured customers that the problem is being fixed with mitigation above industry standards in use. According to a post on their website, their technical teams were working hard to fix and clean up the bug. They have since reached out to major search engines and requested them to dispose off any cached data that might include leaked personal information.

So, if you are a subscriber of any of their services take a cautious approach and change your password.

Author : Dalmas Ngetich

Source : https://easterndaily.com/cloudfare-bug-leaking-personal-info/





Many business owners see SEO and content marketing as separate, but columnist Trond Lyngbø argues that solid keyword research can and should be used to inform content marketing strategy.

Imagine that you are in an auditorium, facing a large audience of your best customers. You’re getting ready to speak to them.

You can say whatever you want, but there’s just one condition: As soon as you complete your first sentence, people can decide whether to stay inside and listen to the rest of your speech — or get up and leave.

What will you tell them in those crucial first moments?

This is a dilemma every business owner, blogger and content producer agonizes over every day. A visitor to your website decides within a few seconds if she is going to stick around and explore it or leave for another destination.

Unless your content is carefully planned and masterfully crafted based on a deep and intimate understanding of your target audience’s needs, your SEO initiatives will likely fail or underperform. Keyword research and analysis is one of the most critical elements of your content preparation, planning and production.

Key questions to consider here are:

  • How do you link SEO and keyword analysis to content marketing?
  • How do you produce content that your prospects will find irresistible?
  • How can you expand, grow and consolidate your profitability with an intelligent content strategy?

These are questions we’ll address in this column.

How to tell your story

In one of my most popular posts on content marketing and SEO, I highlight the important element of effective content marketing:

Tell stories that people find interesting.

But how can you know what they will respond to?

You can keep your eyes and ears open and observe what’s happening in your niche — but that takes time, and you’ll only scan a tiny segment of your market.

You can conduct formal surveys of customers and prospects — though there’s always a risk they might mislead you, for various reasons.

Or you can use a very reliable tool: search engines!

People type queries into the search box that are of interest to them. If you can leverage tools like Google Trends, Google Predictive Search, Google Keyword Planner and KeywordTool.io to mine this rich treasure trove of keyword data and identify patterns, you’ll soon have a pretty good idea of what your audience wants.

You can use search engines to find out what worries people, what interests them, which problems they want solved and which desires they dream of having fulfilled.

Know what your people want

Unless you involve keyword research and analysis as a part of your SEO content preparation and planning, you’re spinning your wheels. With strong keyword data, you can communicate better, prioritize your SEO content in accordance with your market’s requirements and engage visitors more deeply to convert them into buyers with less time, effort and expense.

Knowing your customers is the key here. Your keyword research should help illuminate what they want and why they want and need it. From there, you can determine how your product helps them solve their problems and achieve their goals.

This knowledge helps you strategically plan your content marketing and brings several benefits to your business.

1. Better understand your customers

When your content seems to magically answer their unvoiced questions, visitors arriving at your website via search engines will be highly impressed.

Keyword research and analysis helps you to understand your prospective customers. By knowing what search terms they use to find your product or service offerings, you gain insight into their needs and desires — what problems they want solved, what they expect to find on a destination website and so on.

By reviewing the keywords searchers are using — and closely analyzing the search results that surface for those keywords — you can tell, with reasonable accuracy, where a searcher is on the decision-making continuum that ends in closing a sale.

For example, if you run a hotel website, then a visitor arriving at your site from a search on generic or broad terms (like “Norway holiday”) is less likely to book a room than one who is running more specific queries (like “budget hotel in Oslo” or “Oslo hotel vacancy 15th March”).

Thus, if you’re receiving significant traffic from visitors searching on these generic terms, you might want to consider creating and optimizing content that better speaks to their needs and is designed to move them further down the sales funnel.

When your content is designed to match user intent, you will grab attention instantly — and retain it for as long as you meet your visitor’s unspoken needs.

2. Communicate more effectively

Another advantage of keyword research and analysis is that your communication will be more effective, targeted and specific. Your content can be crafted in a manner such that a reader intuitively feels that you are “speaking their language.”

You develop empathy more easily. You connect more deeply. Engage with more sincerity. Convince, educate, inform and guide more meaningfully. And all of this happens because you meet the user where they are at the moment and lead them toward a destination that you know they want to reach.

With keyword research, you can construct content that perfectly targets your message while appealing to visitors who use specific search terms to find you. Each piece of content can be individually designed to speak to a specific, clearly defined segment of your overall market.

When your message is so finely targeted at a particular interest group or niche audience, it becomes very effective at getting prospects to do what you want. Conversion rates are higher. Marketing expenses go down.

3. Plan content more easily

Strong keyword research allows you to correctly prioritize content. It can inform your editorial calendar, as you’ll have a reasonable idea of what content is most in demand and when it is likely to deliver the greatest impact on your business goals.

If you focus on the right keywords and plan accordingly, your content will reach prospective customers right at the moment they are starting to look for it.

4. Go beyond relevant — be memorable

Many SEO and content experts recommend creating “relevant content” for your target keywords. But relevant content is no longer adequate; it isn’t ambitious enough. As search engine algorithms grow more sophisticated and are better able to surface accurate results for a given query, your “relevant” content will just drown in an ocean of other “relevant” pieces.

Instead, you should aim to create amazing content — the kind that makes your website the ultimate destination for your audience. To win at SEO, your content should go above and beyond that of your competitors, anticipating any and all questions a visitor might have (based on the keywords they’re using) and answering those questions fully.

An excellent content strategy will force people to remember you. It is good for branding. Others may even link to your content; if you’re lucky, you’ll receive high-quality backlinks from authority websites in your niche, including newspapers, industry leading sites and thought leaders who will share it on social media. All this improves your SEO and drives more free traffic your way.

5. Combine creativity with data

Many people think working with keyword data cramps creativity in content. It doesn’t have to be an either-or choice. You can be creative while using search data effectively.

The truth is, without data, you run the risk of wasting time and money on content that won’t move you closer to your business goals. Without granular and detailed keyword data, you’re just another person with an opinion, wasting your (or your client’s) money on a risky gamble.

Stop taking chances and secure your business’s future by basing your content marketing on solid search data and knowledge.

Implementing keyword research in your business

Are you beginning to see how great an impact keyword-focused content can have on sales, revenue and profit? If you’ve been ignoring this aspect of SEO for a long time, you are probably damaging your business, limiting its potential and holding yourself back from maximizing revenue.

With the right guidance on keywords and a smart content strategy, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with customers. When you know your readers’ innermost thoughts and can intuit their intent, it is easy to reverse-engineer this insight so that it is mirrored in your content.

Doing this dramatically improves the level of engagement with your audience. People no longer merely like your content… they love it. They’ll share it with others. And come back for more of it. They’re influenced and informed by it. And this, in turn, improves conversion rates, generating more sales and higher profits.

While content is just a small part of the overall SEO landscape, it’s an important part. Make sure that you get it right!

Author : Trond Lyngbø

Source : http://searchengineland.com/keyword-research-key-element-seo-content-marketing-246418

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