AI-enhanced Furby toys are scheming to dominate the world. Twitter keeps sending journalists a poop emoji. A bot is blamed for a man’s suicide. Tesla workers regularly review embarrassing videos taken by your electric car.
Here's this week's recap – a brief summary of technology and cybersecurity news that made headlines between April 3 and 7.
ChatGPT – friend or foe?
Italy has banned OpenAI’s chatbot citing privacy concerns, inspiring Germany, France, and other European counterparts to start studying whether harsher measures are needed to rein in the wildly popular chatbots.
And there are plenty of reasons for concern.
Just 20 days after Samsung lifted a ban on ChatGPT, initially put in place to avoid leaking confidential data, employees shared sensitive data of the South Korean conglomerate, opening up that information to other OpenAI users.
While OpenAI explicitly asks users not to share confidential information with ChatGPT, little do people listen.
In another unsettling turn of events, a Belgian man confided his secrets to a chatbot Eliza, which is now blamed by both his widow and psychiatrist for his suicide.
More unsettling news
It seems that reviewing embarrasing customer videos taken by their own cars was a common practice in some Tesla offices. Hundreds, if not thousands, of private video clips were regularly reviewed by staff from 2019 through the middle of 2022, and maybe longer.
Thanks, Elon Musk, I want to believe it has nothing to do with you, but demonstrating low morals and belittling others seems to be something your companies have in common.
Just this week, America’s National Public Radio (NPR) was branded by Twitter as being state-controlled media, even though less than 1% of its budget comes from the government. When NPR tried to get more details about the decision, it got a poop emoji as a reply.
I know there’s a huge trust issue with journalism overall, especially in the US, but treating journalists like shit won’t get us anywhere.
Another piece of news I took personally this week was Amazon closing the Book Depository. An online book store that had no minimum purchase and delivered books for free to 170 countries was shuttered – to cut costs.
Thing(s) to be cheerful about
The invite-only dark web forum had been in the picture since March 2018, and estimated to have offered up over 1.5 million compromised computers from around the world containing over 80 million sets of account access credentials.
Law enforcement has also arrested approximately 120 suspects, and conducted over 200 searches.
Now, while the dark world is more like a hydra – if you cut off its head, two more emerge from the fresh wound – the takedown of the Genesis Market is definitely something to be cheerful about.
“The Genesis Market was a large, well-known marketplace, and takedowns such as this may scare others operating in this space, encouraging them to slow down or cease their operations, especially if arrests are made," Matthew Gracey-McMinn, Head of Threat Research at Netacea, a UK-based bot software management firm, told Cybernews.
Cybernews exclusives you won’t regret reading
We are painfully aware of how big the competition for your attention is. Therefore, I carefully selected just a couple of articles this week that, I believe, are worth reading from the beginning to the very end.
My top choices:
- There’s so much buzz around TikTok and China’s tech at the moment that reading all the little updates might be overwhelming. So Gintaras Radauskas, our senior journalist who has vast experience as foreign news reporter, prepared a comprehensive explainer about the US-China tech war.
- The Kremlin has been waging war in Ukraine for over a year now, and we closely monitor the cyber front. Justinas Vainilavičius, also a senior journalist with a solid background in foreign news coverage, has an indepth story of how Ukrainian hacktivists faked a ‘patriotic photoshoot’ to extract sensitive personal information about Russian air force pilots accused of war crimes in Ukraine.
- And finally, Stefanie Schappert, our New York-based journalist with a solid background in news reporting and education in cybersecurity, offers our (fe)male readers a comprehensive read about the online dangers that have become much more prevalent in the post Roe vs Wade era where even travelling to get an abortion is becoming illegal.
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