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Instagram Begins Blurring Nudity In Messages To Protect Teens And Fight Sexual Extortion

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LONDON — Instagram claims it’s launching new tools to safeguard young people and against sexual extortion, including one that automatically blurs nudity in direct messages.

The social media platform stated in a blog post on Thursday that it is testing the features as part of its campaign to combat sexual fraud and other forms of “image abuse,” as well as to make it more difficult for criminals to contact teenagers.

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Instagram Begins Blurring Nudity In Messages To Protect Teens And Fight Sexual Extortion

Sexual extortion, often known as sextortion, is the practice of enticing someone to transmit graphic photos online and then threatening to make the images public unless the victim pays money or does sexual favors. Recent high-profile incidents include two Nigerian brothers who pleaded guilty to sexually extorting teenage boys and young men in Michigan, one of whom committed suicide, and a Virginia sheriff’s officer who sexually extorted and kidnapped a 15-year-old girl.

Instagram and other social media platforms have come under fire for failing to adequately protect young people. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Instagram’s parent company Meta Platforms, apologized to the parents of victims of such abuse during a Senate hearing earlier this year.

Meta, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, but the nudity blur feature will not be introduced to communications sent through those services.

Instagram claimed scammers frequently use direct messages to request “intimate images.” To address this, it will soon begin testing a nudity-protection function for direct messages that blurs any photographs containing nudity “and encourages people to think twice before sending nude images.”

“The feature is designed not only to protect people from seeing unwanted nudity in their DMs, but also to protect them from scammers who may send nude images to trick people into sending their own images in return,” Instagram stated in a statement.

For all teenagers under the age of 18, the option will be by default enabled. Adults will receive a notification inviting them to activate it.

Images containing nudity will be obscured with a warning, allowing users to choose to view them. They will also be able to block the sender and report the communication.

instagram

Instagram Begins Blurring Nudity In Messages To Protect Teens And Fight Sexual Extortion

People who send direct messages with nudity will receive a notice asking them to exercise caution while sending “sensitive photos.” They’ll also be told that they can unsend the photographs if they change their minds, but there’s a risk others have already seen them.

Instagram claimed it is developing technologies to help detect accounts that may be involved in sexual extortion scams “based on a range of signals that could indicate sextortion behavior.”

To prevent criminals from engaging with young people, it is also implementing safeguards such as not presenting the “message” button on a teen’s profile to potential sextortion accounts, even if they already follow one other, and developing novel techniques to hide teenagers from these accounts.

instagram

Instagram Begins Blurring Nudity In Messages To Protect Teens And Fight Sexual Extortion

In January, the FBI warned of a “huge increase” in sextortion instances involving children, particularly financial sextortion, in which someone threatens to expose compromising photographs unless the victim pays. The intended victims are often guys aged 14 to 17, although the FBI says any child can become a victim. In the six months from October 2022 to March 2023, the FBI reported more than 20% more financially motivated sextortion instances involving child victims than in the same time the previous year.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

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Sony | Pixa Bay Image

TOKYO — Sony, a Japanese electronics and entertainment company, says it will focus on innovation in movies, animation, and video games rather than traditional gadgetry.

Its CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, described the company’s plan Thursday, saying Sony was assisting creative workers in delivering what he called “kando,” a moving experience.

Yoshida would not comment on claims that Tokyo-based Sony and Apollo Global Management are interested in acquiring Paramount Global.

Sony

Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Yoshida stated that the business now focuses on the creative process rather than valuing prior items such as the Walkman portable music player and Trinitron color televisions. He stated that “synergies” are no longer defined by entertainment and electronics but by intellectual property encompassing animation, music, gaming, and films.

In an online briefing, he stated, “We will continue to support people’s creativity through our technology.”

Sony is adapting to harsher circumstances, as competitors produce cheaper but competitive gadgets. According to critics, pursuing careers in film, music, and other forms of entertainment can be financially difficult.

Beginning with the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018, Sony has invested over 1.5 trillion yen ($10 billion) in the last six years to boost its content creation.

Sony

Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

In 2021, it bought Crunchyroll, which has over 13 million paid customers and distributes Japanese cartoons worldwide. Another was Yoasobi, a Japanese music duet that uses Vocaloid technology, or singing voice synthesizer software, and has gained a global following.

Sony’s real-time computer technology, which records “this moment,” as Yoshida called it, is employed in sports cameras because it can catch fast-moving subjects without distortion

According to Yoshida, it is also utilized for news coverage and editing, 3D video and computer graphics, including successful movies like “Godzilla Minus One” and games based on human athlete movements

Sony

Sony | AP News Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Sony recently recorded a quarterly profit of 189 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 141 billion yen the year before. The PlayStation gaming machine manufacturer’s quarterly revenue increased 14% to 3.48 trillion yen ($22 billion).

However, for the fiscal year ending March 31, Sony’s profit fell 3% to 970 billion yen ($6.2 billion) due to poor performance in its financial services sector, which will be largely split off next year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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Harvard | Harvard.com Image

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

Harvard

Harvard | The Forward Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

Harvard

Harvard | Harvard Crimson Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

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Mastercard | AP news Image

NEW YORK  — Mastercard said Wednesday that it hopes to detect that your credit or debit card number has been compromised long before it falls into the hands of a cybercriminal.

Mastercard’s most recent software upgrade incorporates artificial intelligence into its fraud-prediction system, which it hopes will allow banks to replace stolen cards before criminals use them.

“Generative AI is going to allow us to figure out where you possibly got your credentials compromised, how we can identify how it happened, and how we can very quickly remedy that situation not only for you, but also for other customers who don’t know they are compromised yet,” said Johan Gerber, executive vice president of security and cyber innovation at Mastercard, in an interview.

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Mastercard | Investopedia Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard, based in Purchase, New York, says that with this new update, it can use other patterns or contextual information, such as geography, time, and addresses, and combine it with incomplete but compromised credit card numbers that appear in databases, allowing it to reach cardholders sooner and replace the bad card.

The patterns can now be applied in reverse, potentially employing batches of faulty cards to identify potentially hacked businesses or payment processors. According to Gerber, pattern identification goes beyond what humans can perform with database queries or other typical approaches.

Billions of stolen credit and debit card numbers are floating on the dark web, ready for purchase by any thief. Most were stolen from merchants in data breaches over the years, but a substantial number were stolen from unwary customers who used their credit or debit cards at the incorrect gas station, ATM, or online shop.

These compromised cards may go undiscovered for weeks, months, or even years. Only when the payment networks themselves dig into the dark web to look for stolen numbers, a merchant discovers a breach, or a criminal uses a card do the payment networks, and banks realize a batch of cards may be compromised.

mastercard

Mastercard | Youtube Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

“We can now actually proactively reach out to the banks to make sure that we service that consumer and get them a new card in her or his hands so they can go about their lives with as little disruption as possible,” Gerber stated.

The payment networks are primarily attempting to transition away from “static” credit card or debit card numbers — card numbers and expiration dates that are used consistently across all businesses — and toward unique numbers for specific transactions. However, that transformation could take years, especially in the United States, where payment technology uptake is typically slow.

While chip cards are currently used in more than 90% of all in-person transactions worldwide, EMVCo, the technological body behind the chip in credit and debit cards, estimates that the proportion in the United States is closer to 70%.

Mastercard

Mastercard | Mastercard Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard’s announcement comes as its main competitor, Visa Inc., looks for ways to force users to discard their 16-digit credit and debit card numbers. Visa revealed big changes to how credit and debit cards will work in the United States last week, implying that Americans will carry fewer physical cards in their wallets and that the 16-digit credit or debit card number inscribed on each card will become less relevant.

SOURCE – (AP)

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