Sex toy company admits to recording users’ remote sex sessions, calls it a ‘minor bug’

I have some news: the Internet of Things is a mess. A hacked refrigerator sounds slightly scary, but a vibrator-controlling app that records all your sex sounds and stores them on your phone without your knowledge? That’s way worse.

Today, a Reddit user pointed out that Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense’s remote control vibrator app (Lovense Remote) recorded a use session without their knowledge. An audio file lasting six minutes was stored in the app’s local folder. The users says he or she gave the app access to the mic and camera but only to use with the in-app chat function and to send voice clips on command — not constant recording when in use. Other users confirmed this app behavior, too.

A user claiming to represent Lovense…

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Twitter says it’s fixed a ‘bug’ that allowed ad campaigns to target users with derogatory terms

In a statement, the company says it will “continue to strongly enforce our policies.”

Twitter said today it had fixed a “bug” in its platform that could have allowed advertisers to target users with racial epithets and terms like “Nazi.”

The change follows a report by The Daily Beast — which found potential ad campaigns using those derogatory terms could have reached millions on the site — and a broader controversy this week about inappropriate algorithmic ad targeting on big internet platforms.

“We determined these few campaigns were able to go through because of a bug that we have now fixed,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “Twitter prohibits and prevents ad campaigns involving offensive or inappropriate content, and we will continue to strongly enforce our policies.”

Earlier this week, Facebook faced its own barrage of criticism after ProPublica discovered the social giant allowed advertisers to target users based on categories like “Ku-Klux-Klan” and “Jew hater.” It similarly implemented changes to its targeting platform.

And Google for a time also appeared to allow ad campaigns based on racist or otherwise hate-inspired terms, Buzzfeed found, prompting the search giant to do its own fine-tuning last week.

This has spurred a new round of debate as to whether these giant internet companies — which many feel already have too much control — should add more proactive human oversight to their algorithms, especially to filter inappropriate and hateful speech.

On one hand, more human involvement, earlier, could prevent embarrassing discoveries like these, and potentially worse outcomes. On the other, trying to form — and police — a line of what’s appropriate is highly imperfect, and puts even more control in the hands of the platform companies, which tend to prefer to hide behind their algorithms.

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HBO reportedly offered hackers a $250,000 ‘bug bounty payment’

HBO appears to have tried to pay off the hackers who stole scripts, shows, and employee information sometime last month. Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter report receiving an email from the hackers containing a transcript of a message sent by HBO offering payment.

In that message, an HBO executive reportedly writes, “As a show of good faith on our side, we are willing to commit to making a bug bounty payment of $ 250,000 to you as soon as we can establish the necessary account and acquire bitcoin.” HBO declined to comment to both publications, but Variety says it was able to confirm that the email was real.

Variety says the email may have been a stalling tactic, as the email was sent in late July before HBO…

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‘Bug’ Exposed Facebook Employee Identities to Terrorists

Facebook has inadvertently exposed the identities of over 1,000 of its content moderators to suspected terror groups, putting their safety at risk, according to a new report.

Those employees worked across 22 departments at the Menlo Park company, reviewing and removing inappropriate content from the social media site — including hate speech and terrorist propaganda, according to The Guardian. The apparent bug caused the personal profiles of Facebook content moderators to appear as notifications in the activity logs of groups and individuals who they had removed from the site. The bug was apparently discovered late last year.

Out of the 1,000 employees who the bug affected, about 40 worked in Facebook’s counter-terrorism department in Dublin, Ireland — six of whom have been flagged as “high priority” victims of the bug after Facebook concluded that terrorist groups likely viewed their profile. The Facebook moderators reportedly noticed something was wrong when they began receiving friend requests from people affiliated with the terrorist groups they were reviewing.

One of those six, an Iraqi-born Irish citizen who wished to remain anonymous, quit his job and fled Dublin in the wake of the incident, only returning from Eastern Europe when he ran out of money. He told The Guardian that he is currently unemployed, suffers from anxiety and is on antidepressants. The unnamed man is also seeking compensation both from Facebook and the contractor who he worked for. Facebook, for its part, offered to install home security systems, provide security escorts and pay for counseling for those six exposed workers — though there’s currently no word on whether the company is offering any financial restitution. In order to prevent any additional harm, Facebook is apparently experimenting with anonymous profiles for moderators, rather than forcing them to use their personal accounts.

The incident comes in the wake of increasing criticism of the platform’s inability to root out terrorism, particularly by European leaders. Both the UK and France have been considering levying fines on tech companies that “fail to take action” against terrorist groups, The Verge reported. Facebook, in turn, announced this week that it wanted to be a “hostile place for terrorists,” outlining some of its counter-terrorism operations in a blog post published Thursday.

“We are currently focusing our most cutting edge techniques to combat terrorist content about ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliations, and we expect to expand to other terrorist organizations in due course,” the company wrote.

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