Satirical Tweet Causes Epic #SAchat Reaction | Student Affairs and Technology

“Getting to know the true people of Higher Education and their stories. Satirically.” – Humans of Higher Ed

This is definitely not the blog post I thought I would be writing this week. However, when I checked Twitter on Wednesday morning I noticed that the #SAchat hashtag was trending. Curious, I clicked in to what was a multi-threaded debate (storm?) about satirical memes, perceived shaming, bullying, self-care, nuance and an 80-hour work week.

Things started off with a tweet from Humans of Higher Ed (a mostly anonymous satirical social media account):

When you realize that when you get to work tomorrow no students will be there pic.twitter.com/4dWc1qI2nF

— HumansofHigherEd (@HumanOfHigherEd)

Initially, at least from what I was able to dig up after what felt like miles of scrolling through a cascade of Twitter activity, the ‘celebratory’ tweet was criticized by two prominent leaders in education who took umbrage with the framing of happiness by way of student absence:

<— that feeling when folks who work in higher ed don’t realize many institutions continue to educate and engage students all 12 months. It might be a bit quieter, but I am so glad that our students still show up, get involved, and make progress toward their goals! https://t.co/OaqECF9f8p

— Will Simpkins, Ed.D. (@willsimpkins)

This original tweet by @HumanOfHigherEd is pretty gross.
I don’t know what kinds of humans they claim to speak for, but the humans I meet in this sector truly care about students and don’t see them as a nuisance.

— Bridget Burns (@BBurnsEDU)

The original tweet from HoHE was obviously not meant to serve as an all-encompassing view on the student experience (especially for year-round students) nor was it meant to showcase that students are a “nuisance.” If anything, it was an inside joke about the change of pace when campuses get just a bit quieter.

Oftentimes, that change of pace comes as a relief to student affairs practitioners who need that time to regroup, rebuild, and recharge as stated in this tweet from Kimberly Newton:

We can miss our students but still appreciate and welcome a change of pace. I was pumped for my students to leave for the summer and that doesn’t make me care about them less. They are amazing! I encourage you to not shame people for needing a break.

— Kimberly Newton (@knewt14)

Then things escalated when Sara Goldrick-Rab, a Temple University professor and scholar-activist, joined the digital debate.

Goldrick-Rab is well known for her academic research and public policy work fighting against college student food insecurity, homelessness, and precarity. With a verified Twitter account and more than 32,000 followers, Goldrick-Rab is an influential voice in higher education. She posted several responses to Newton, a self-described new professional:

Celebrating the departure of students in summer is a trope. The idea that staff wellbeing requires distance from students, dependent on “summer break,” is privilege itself and ignores the hard work of staff and faculty educating year round. #RealCollege https://t.co/IphxV4jHai

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

Virtually all of us do all the things. I pull 80 hours a week every week and you’d never catch me saying I’m glad the students are gone. I’m an educator because the students are everything.

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

What followed after that was a fast-paced flurry of tweets from a variety of higher education professionals and Goldrick-Rab:

I am not looking to compete with a “I work more hours” and “I like students around all the time” narrative. It doesn’t make you better than me. It just means we value different things and that’s cool. Have a great night. @HumanOfHigherEd really stirred some things up.

— Kimberly Newton (@knewt14)

Also, how is “work” being defined here? The idea of “working” 80 hrs as a self-righteous badge of honor is capitalist elitism born out of White Savior complex, doused in an Ideal Worker norm…misogynistic and oppressive display of White privilege &classism shrouded in “care”.

— Rachel Edens (@RachelSEdens)

I think we just found a big chunk of the college retention problem. Goodness.

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

this is a really gross assessment on the tweets based on a meme. as multiple people have said already, entry level professionals are overworked and underpaid, so yes a break from the massive amounts of students on campus is nice. @HumanOfHigherEd is not defunding higher ed

— Francis Buggey (@FrancisBuggey)

When faculty (tt or contingent) celebrate being finished with grading for the semester, it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate students. I don’t see faculty shaming faculty for being done with the term. This whole mess-unequal structural power/position, gaslighting. Wow. #SAChat

— OiYan Poon (@spamfriedrice)

Hot take on this #sachat drama: a meme is a meme but an internationally recognized scholar (on freaking equity) shaming an entire field for breathing a sigh of relief when we switch from constant vigilance tonfrantic planning…well that’s a special brand of condescension.

— Erin Simpson (@ErinSimp)

This whole thing is such an important reminder that folks can devote their entire career to understanding and attempting to ameliorate injustice as an academic endeavor while still holding really excruciatingly unjust personal politics and lack of self-awareness. #SAchat

— cj venable, ma (@chrisjvenable)

A person with all your power and privilege in the Academy does not get to pit ppl against each other – esp when there are so many SApros who are on low fixed incomes and who come from poverty. Did you even grow up poor? There’s no sense of community uplift in this tweet #Sachat https://t.co/DRGXBFAcco

— Niki Messmore (@NikiMessmore)

Sara, I would just like to say that I did feel shamed by your statement. Whether that was your intention or not, you accused me of being ineffective in my job because I feel burn out even though you have no idea what my job or day-to-day looks like. #sachat https://t.co/4nwgOVO3mF

— Kimberly Newton (@knewt14)

Hey Sachet (I hope that’s your name!) thanks for reaching out directly. I absolutely support breaks, & celebrating when they come. We all need them. My point, which seems to have been lost in the fray, is that not all get them, especially at IHEs that essentially run year-round.

— Will Simpkins, Ed.D. (@willsimpkins)

Woke up & caught up on the #SAChat thread. I wholeheartedly support & encourage my @StuAffUC #SAPro colleagues to enjoy breaks. I need my folks to be well rested, personally & professionally, physically & mentally in order to give our students their best selves.

— Juan R Guardia, PhD (@JRGuardiaUCDOS)

I feel there’s important considerations being unraveled in this #sachat conversation. #HoHEchat

1. You can value your students/work
2. You can value a calmer workload whenever that is for your role
3. You can celebrate students leaving (re: graduation, ofc and breaks)

— Ali Raza, M.S. (@aliraza312)

There really is an entire thread to be written about how different elements of the university see and interact with one another and with students differently, and how that separation came to be.

— Doing all the things (@DrDLStewart)

I love my kids with all my being. Do I do a little two step when they go with their grandparents, or on an unexpected play date which means I get a breather. Absolutely. Does that mean I love them less, I or don’t value them? Absolutely not. #sachat #HoHE #HoHEchat

— Marcus Langford (@MarcusRLangford)

Ok, may as well chime in now that all of #highered Twitter is involved. I enjoy @HumanOfHigherEd. It’s a funny account. It makes me laugh. It says a lot of things we say to ourselves or our colleagues, but won’t really say out loud or publically. #sachat 1/

— Seann Kalagher (@SeannSA)

Please google me. Then come back and tell me how I spend my time. In other words: do your homework.

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

If all #SAPro feels better from subjecting me to abusive smears and false claims, have at it and pls, feel better. I’ll be over here taking to policymakers about the great work you do and why you deserve more funding. And yes, I spend 80 hours a week on that bc you deserve it.

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

I think it’s a classic move when someone doubles down and then makes themselves both victim and savior in a situation where an apology or retraction would have likely sufficed.

— Eric Stoller (@EricStoller)

Getting notes from colleagues from all over the country who are saying “well, now we know who NOT to hire.” Which makes me so sad, because people just tanked themselves by spreading lies about a literal tweet. That’s all it took. All that patting on the back, undoing hard work.

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

I acknowledge that I’m coming from a place of privilege to be able to say this, but if anybody is not going to hire me because I tried to engage you in a conversation regarding the way you treat me and other entry level colleagues, I’m good. #sachat #hohechat @HumanOfHigherEd https://t.co/sTKug3r4NS

— Zachary Michael (@zach_m_s)

Had I attacked anyone, I would have immediately apologized. Did so just last week on twitter. If you look at what happened today, it’s quite clear that a few people literally misread me, told others, and then have decided to gang up, surround, and beat me down.

— Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab)

Perhaps consider intent vs impact – I’m sure you know the concept. Your intention wasn’t to hurt anyone but obviously the impact of your comments was a bit different. #SAchat

— Erin Hensley (@ErinEHensley)

Who says the rest of us are not “proven student advocates” that stand up for students? This just seems like you feeling your opinion is only right, and the rest of the student affairs community that enjoys a breather without students is wrong.

— Brett (@wellmabk)

No she did not. No where in their tweet did they use the term snow flake. You have spent all day, telling folks they misinterpreted your point. Yet, here you are doing the exact same thing. Why?

— (((Annie Greaney))) (@AnnieGreaney)

There are literally hundreds of tweets that make up this exchange. In many ways, Humans of Higher Ed has unlocked an important debate that doesn’t necessarily have a sense of closure at the moment. However, it’s vital that conversations keep happening. But in the meantime:

Friends, leave it be. Save your energy. Love on each other. Look out for each other. Know your own and each other’s value and worth. It’s not worth it.

— Doing all the things (@DrDLStewart)

This content was originally published here.

Mahathir: We try to use Huawei technology ‘as much as possible’

As many countries grapple with how seriously to take U.S. warnings that Huawei’s technology can’t be trusted, Malaysia’s leader says the answer is unambiguous for his country.

The United States has pressed allied countries to ban technology made by the Shenzhen, China-based company, saying its devices and telecommunications systems could potentially pose a threat to a nation’s security. That warning is premised primarily on perceptions that Chinese companies are not able to refuse Beijing’s directives to support its intelligence gathering efforts. Huawei, for its part, has repeatedly denied that it would ever allow its products to be used for spying.

Despite the back and forth about potential risks, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad shrugged off such worries during an appearance Thursday in Tokyo when asked if his country has any plans to follow Washington’s lead.

“We are too small to have any effect on a huge company like Huawei, whose research is far bigger than the whole of Malaysia’s research capability,” Mahathir said during a question and answer session at a conference sponsored by Japan’s Nikkei media group.

“So we try to make use of their technology as much as possible,” he said, dismissing concerns it poses a security threat to his country, at least.

Mahathir acknowledged there may indeed be some intelligence threat from Huawei. “But what is there to spy in Malaysia?” he asked.

Now 93, Mahathir served as Malaysia’s prime minister from 1981 to 2003, and returned to the position last year after a shock election result that saw the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition swept from power. He has long been a critic of the West, particularly during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis when Malaysia, unlike Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea, avoided an international bailout, imposing capital controls instead.

Mahathir said that the U.S. pressure on Huawei, along with the dispatching of warships to the South China Sea, demonstrate a weakening of the country and those actions show it needs to compete with China rather than confront it.

“We have to accept that the U.S. cannot forever be the supreme nation in the world that can have the best technology in the world,” he said.

This content was originally published here.

SpaceX satellites could blight the night sky, warn astronomers | Technology | The Guardian

Mega constellations of human-made satellites could soon blight the view of the night sky, astronomers warned following the launch of Elon Musk’s Starlink probes last week.

The first 60 of an intended 12,000 satellites were successfully blasted into orbit on Thursday by Musk’s company, SpaceX, which plans to use them to beam internet communication from space down to Earth.

Sightings of the procession of satellites trailing across the heavens, such as that posted online by the amateur astronomer Marco Langbroek, initially prompted excitement and astonishment.

The spectacle was so bizarre that a Dutch UFO website was inundated with more than 150 reports from people suspecting an alien encounter was close at hand.

But for astronomers the initial excitement quickly gave way to dismay as they began to calculate the potentially drastic impact on people’s views of the cosmos.

“I saw that train and it was certainly very spectacular,” said Cees Bassa, an astronomer at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. “With that comes the realisation that if several thousands of these are launched it will change what the night sky looks like.”

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The Starlink satellites, which were at an altitude of 280 miles (450km) on Tuesday, were still visible with the naked eye and taking about five minutes to cross from one horizon to the other, meaning they appear at predictable times in a given location.

It is not clear what their eventual brightness will be when they reach their operating orbit of 340 miles in the coming month.

“Everyone’s quite surprised by how bright they are,” said Darren Baskill, an astronomer at the University of Sussex. “I live on the outskirts of Brighton in light-polluted skies and I could easily see this line of satellites going across the sky.”

Responding to concerns on Twitter, Musk initially suggested that the satellites would be in darkness when the stars were visible. However, others disputed this, including Bassa who has done some preliminary calculations of the number of Starlink satellites likely to be visible to observers. Since the satellites are higher than the Earth’s surface, they remain illuminated by sunlight after sunset here.

“My aim was to show people these satellites were going to be more visible than people said they would – amongst them Elon Musk,” Bassa said.

His estimates suggest that once the first 1,584 satellites are launched, for which the trajectories have already been made public, there will be about 15 satellites clearly visible above the horizon for three to four hours after sunset and before sunrise.

This means that in winter there would be several hours of the night during which no satellites would be visible. But in summer the satellites would be visible all night.

Once all the 12,000 satellites are launched (assuming they are placed in similar orbits) 70 to 100 would be visible at night during the summer months, Bassa calculates. “These mega constellations are going to add drastically to the number of satellites that are visible at any time,” he said.

Néstor Espinoza, an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Heidelberg, said: “It’s basically a private company staining our sky for everyone. It’s interesting that there’s no consensus about it. No one asked us.”

SpaceX is just one of nine companies known to be working on global space internet, meaning the eventual number of satellites could be far in excess of this.

The satellites, in addition to changing the face of the night sky, could be problematic for professional astronomers, said Espinoza. “We deal with satellites all the time. Whenever they come into your image you have to find ways to fix that. If you put 12,000 in the sky that will be a problem.”

Baskill said that the satellites, when in their final orbits, would probably appear fainter than the brightest 500 stars in the sky – although this is still uncertain. If that were the case, the real impact would be felt by astronomers and star gazers in remote areas, where between 1,000 and 2,000 stars can be seen.

“Even in the most remote dark places, you won’t be able to hide from this constellation of satellites,” he said.

Musk later added that SpaceX was investigating ways to reduce the amount of light bouncing off the Starlink satellites.

“Sent a note to Starlink team last week specifically regarding albedo reduction. We’ll get a better sense of the value of this when satellites have raised orbits and arrays are tracking to sun.”

This content was originally published here.

Robocrop: world’s first raspberry-picking robot set to work | Technology | The Guardian

Quivering and hesitant, like a spoon-wielding toddler trying to eat soup without spilling it, the world’s first raspberry-picking robot is attempting to harvest one of the fruits.

After sizing it up for an age, the robot plucks the fruit with its gripping arm and gingerly deposits it into a waiting punnet. The whole process takes about a minute for a single berry.

It seems like heavy going for a robot that cost £700,000 to develop but, if all goes to plan, this is the future of fruit-picking.

Each robot will be able to pick more than 25,000 raspberries a day, outpacing human workers who manage about 15,000 in an eight-hour shift, according to Fieldwork Robotics, a spinout from the University of Plymouth.

The robot has gone on trial in the UK, as the farming industry battles rising labour costs and Brexit-related shortages of seasonal workers.

Numbers of seasonal workers from eastern Europe have diminished, partly due to Brexit fears but also because Romania and Poland’s surging economies have persuaded their own workers to remain in their home countries .

The robot has been developed in partnership with Hall Hunter, one of Britain’s main berry growers which supplies Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Standing at 1.8 metres tall, the wheeled machine with its robotic arm has begun field trials in a greenhouse at a Hall Hunter farm near Chichester in West Sussex.

Guided by sensors and 3D cameras, its gripper zooms in on ripe fruit using machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence. When operating at full tilt, its developers say the robot’s gripper picks a raspberry in 10 seconds or less and drops it in a tray where the fruit gets sorted by maturity, before being moved into punnets, ready to be transported to supermarkets.

The final robot version, expected to go into production next year, will have four grippers, all picking simultaneously.

Separate field trials in China have shown the robot can pick tomatoes, and it has also been let loose on cauliflower.

As robots don’t get tired, they can pick for 20 hours a day, but the biggest challenge has been getting them to adapt to different light conditions, says Rui Andres, portfolio manager at Frontier IP, one of the main backers of Fieldwork.

Andres says UK farmers typically pay £1 to £2 for a kilogram of raspberries picked by human workers. Fieldwork intends to lease its robots to farmers for less.

The robot is the brainchild of Dr Martin Stoelen, a lecturer in robotics at Plymouth University, who moved from aerospace engineering into robots and took inspiration from his grandparents’ farm in Norway. By tackling one of the most difficult soft fruits first, he hopes to be able to tweak the technology so the robot can be used to pick other berries, fruit and vegetables.

Some growers have already expressed interest, under pressure from the rising minimum wage, with labour accounting for half of their costs. They have also been spurred into action by a decline in seasonal pickers coming from Bulgaria, Romania and Poland since the UK’s vote to leave the EU in June 2016. Berry and apple growers have been the hardest hit by the labour shortages, and farms have started poaching pickers from each other.

Many EU workers are staying away because their earnings have been eroded by the sharp drop in the value of the pound since the referendum.

Nicholas Marston, chairman of the British Summer Fruits (BSF) trade body, says fruit growers were 15%-30% short of seasonal pickers last summer. “It’s a struggle. There were definitely crop losses last year and the year before.”

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence has various definitions, but in general it means a program that uses data to build a model of some aspect of the world. This model is then used to make informed decisions and predictions about future events. The technology is used widely, to provide speech and face recognition, language translation, and personal recommendations on music, film and shopping sites. In the future, it could deliver driverless cars, smart personal assistants, and intelligent energy grids. AI has the potential to make organisations more effective and efficient, but the technology raises serious issues of ethics, governance, privacy and law.

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Under a new UK government-sponsored two-year pilot scheme, 2,500 berry pickers will be coming from Ukraine and Moldova, but this will not be enough to plug gaps, Marston says.

UK farms growing apples, berries and field crops need 70,000 seasonal workers a year. The berry industry alone employs 29,000, but BSF estimates it will need an extra 2,000 pickers by 2020, as people eat more berries. The National Farmers’ Union has recorded more than 6,000 unfilled vacancies on farms so far this year.

The UK is not alone – with a population shift from rural areas to cities, other European countries, the US and China are all struggling to attract enough seasonal workers to harvest their crops, so robots could be the answer in the long run.

Robots are also starting to be used for weeding and planting crops, and milking cows, as part of the long-term trend of automation in agriculture. The Small Robot Company, based near Salisbury, is trialling robots that look like spiders on wheels, called Tom, Dick and Harry. They seed, feed, weed and monitor field crops such as wheat in a gentler way than heavy farm machinery, reducing the need for water and pesticides.

Robots promise to raise productivity, at a time when UK productivity growth is lagging behind other countries. Analysts attribute this lack of economic efficiency to a shift towards more low-skilled jobs since the financial crisis, a lack of business investment and a decade of austerity.

If the rise of the robots materialises, it is expected to mainly affect low-skilled jobs. A new cohort of highly-skilled workers will be needed to maintain and debug the machines.

But Marston cautions: “It will be 10 years before robots will work as effectively as people.”

This content was originally published here.

U.S. Postal Service mail, packages are headed to Dallas by self-driving truck | Technology | Dallas News

The public’s habits are driving the need for the trucks, too, Brown said.

The USPS pilot is TuSimple’s first test in Texas and its longest trip so far. The more than 200-person company has done most of its testing in Arizona, another state with a regulatory environment that’s friendly to autonomous vehicles. Most of those routes have been 2 to 4 hours long, he said.

Brown said it has worked with 15 customers, including Fortune 500s companies and household names. It currently has its own fleet, but eventually plans to sell its software to truck manufacturers.

He said one of TuSimple’s biggest challenges has been designing sensors and hardware so they can weather millions of miles on a fast-moving, heavy-duty truck.

With the USPS pilot, he said TuSimple hopes to learn more about how the trucks perform and how much money they could save. The trucks don’t brake or accelerate frequently, like people do, so that adds up to fuel savings, he said.

In the future, the trucks could cut back on congestion, he said. Without a person in the cab, they could drive during off-peak times when there are fewer cars on the road. 

This content was originally published here.

Chinese hackers stealing digital info from PH gov’t agencies | Inquirer Technology

Countries hit by Naikon cyberespionage group. INFOGRAPHICS BY KASPERSKY LABS

Has China been hacking into computers of Philippine government and military organizations and stealing sensitive information for the past years?

Computer security firm Kaspersky Labs said in their latest cybersecurity bulletin that a Chinese-speaking hacker group called “Naikon” had successfully infiltrated governments around the South China Sea region including the Philippines.

Naikon had been conducting “at least five years of high volume, high profile, geopolitical attack activity” and had a “high success rate in infiltrating national organizations in Asean countries,” Kaspersky said.

“In the spring of 2014, we noticed an increase in the volume of attack activity by the Naikon [group]. The attackers appeared to be Chinese-speaking and targeted mainly top-level government agencies and civil and military organizations in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal, Thailand, Laos and China,” Kaspersky said in their security bulletin posted on securelist.com

“An attack typically starts with an email carrying an attachment that contains information of interest to the potential victim. The document may be based on information from open sources or on proprietary information stolen from other compromised systems,” Kaspersky principal security researcher Kurt Baumgartner said in the bulletin.

Once the victim opens the attachment, a spyware program is installed on the computer without the victim’s knowledge. A decoy document will open to make the victim think nothing suspicious happened.

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“There are 48 commands in the module’s repertoire, which a remote operator can use to effectively control the victim computer,” Baumgartner said.

“This includes taking a complete inventory, downloading and uploading data, installing add-on modules, or working with the command line.” he said.

Gov’t agencies hit in ‘Country X’

Kaspersky Labs provided an example of the how deep Naikon can infiltrate a government’s computer systems using “Country X.”

“Analysis revealed that the cyberespionage campaign against Country X had been going on for many years. Computers infected with the remote control modules provided attackers with access to employees’ corporate email and internal resources and access to personal and corporate email content hosted on external services,” Baumgartner said.

“A few of these organizations were key targets and under continuous, real-time monitoring,” Baumgartner said.

• Office of the President
• Military Forces
• Office of the Cabinet Secretary
• National Security Council
• Office of the Solicitor General
• Intelligence Services
• Civil Aviation Authority
• Department of Justice
• Federal Police
• Executive/Presidential Administration and Management Staff

Kaspersky did not explicitly state which country in Southeast Asia is Country X.

State-sponsored cyberespionage

Kaspersky believes Naikon is among the many state-sponsored cyberespionage groups looking to steal information from other governments.

Their highly sophisticated hacking methods and well-organized attacks against government agencies are not something that a single hacker would be able to do, Vicente Diaz, principal security researcher of the global research and analysis team of Kaspersky Labs, said in a previous interview.

“We were initially suspicious of that [idea] because of the type of targets that they are targeting. Who could be interested in information from one ministry, or from one military organization? Obviously this kind of information could be very useful for some governments,” Diaz said.

“In the last years, this has become more or less public. A lot of governments are saying they are investing in cyberespionage, they have [hacking] tools [and] they have [hacking] teams and they are doing this all the time,” Diaz said.

West Philippine Sea maritime dispute

China is involved in a maritime dispute with neighboring countries, namely Philippines and Vietnam, over its nine-dash claim that covers nearly the entire South China Sea including parts of the Spratly Group of Islands.

Philippines has already filed an arbitration case against China in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. China has refused to participate in the proceedings insisting it has undisputed sovereignty in the region.

China has started reclamation projects in several reefs in the Spratly Islands off the coast of Palawan despite strong protests from the Philippine government.

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This content was originally published here.

Facebook refuses to delete fake Pelosi video spread by Trump supporters | Technology | The Guardian

Facebook says it will continue to host a video of Nancy Pelosi that has been edited to give the impression that the Democratic House Speaker is drunk or unwell, in the latest incident highlighting its struggle to deal with disinformation.

The viral clip shows Pelosi – who has publicly angered Donald Trump in recent days – speaking at an event, but it has been slowed down to give the impression she is slurring her words.

The president’s personal lawyer, the former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, was among the Trump supporters who promoted the story. He tweeted – then deleted – a link to a copy of the video on Facebook with the caption: “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.”

Despite the apparently malicious intent of the video’s creator, Facebook has said it will only downgrade its visibility in users’ newsfeeds and attach a link to a third-party fact checking site pointing out that the clip is misleading. As a result, although it is less likely to be seen by accident, the doctored video will continue to rack up views. Facebook only took the action following inquiries from the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

Concerns have been raised in recent years about the impact of “deep fake” videos, where artificial intelligence technology is used to create disturbingly realistic videos. However, the Pelosi video shows that a low-tech approach can be successful. The clip, edited by an unknown producer, appears to have been created by simply slowing down raw footage – something that can be done in a matter of seconds on most smartphones.

One version of the video, which remains live on a Facebook page entitled “Politics WatchDog”, has been viewed millions of times, attracting comments speculating on Pelosi’s health, supposed use of drugs, and other apparent ailments.

The viral success of the crudely produced video highlights the challenges in fighting online disinformation when individuals are willing to share material that backs their own political views, even when it is accompanied by warnings.

The administrator of the Politics WatchDog page polled readers on whether to remove the video, with most voting for it stay online. They defended the decision to keep the video live, insisting “it’s a free country”.

“Independent fact checkers that Facebook uses are pro-liberal and funded by the left,” Politics WatchDog added, insisting that the decision to upload the video was simply to allow the public to come to their own conclusion: “Just for the record, we never claimed that Speaker Pelosi was drunk. We can’t control what the people in the comments think.”

A Facebook spokesperson said: “There’s a tension here: we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance. But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.”

This content was originally published here.

Trump Administration Could Blacklist Chinese Surveillance Technology Firm – The New York Times

The Commerce Department and the White House declined to comment. Hikvision did not respond to a request for comment.

Hikvision is little known in the United States, but the company supplies large parts of China’s extensive surveillance system. The company’s products include traffic cameras, thermal cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, and they now allow Chinese security agencies to monitor railway stations, roads and other sites.

It is not immediately clear what effect a United States ban would have on Hikvision’s business. The company appears to source just a small portion of its components from the United States, and any such ban could speed its efforts to switch to Chinese suppliers.

But Hikvision does have a growing international presence, and its executives have warned in the past about the potential for growing anti-China sentiment in the United States to affect its operations. The company says it has more than 34,000 global employees and dozens of divisions worldwide, and it has supplied products to the Beijing Olympics, the Brazilian World Cup and the Linate Airport in Milan. It has tried to expand into North America in recent years, employing hundreds of workers in the United States and Canada, setting up offices in California and building a North American research and development team headquartered in Montreal.

Members of Congress from both parties have called on the administration to impose sanctions on companies involved in aiding China’s persecution of Muslims, including Hikvision. In an August 2018 letter, legislators also urged the Commerce Department to strengthen its controls over technology exported to these companies, and called on the government to increase disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies that might be complicit in human rights abuses.

Hikvision and Dahua, another company cited by lawmakers, are both listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. MSCI, one of the largest index providers in the United States, added Hikvision to its benchmark emerging markets index last year. UBS and J. P. Morgan are among the company’s top 10 shareholders, according to Hikvision.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, said in an interview that the House Intelligence Committee, which he leads, could scrutinize more closely American companies that are investing in or partnering with Chinese firms that are building up the Chinese surveillance state.

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Google and Android system start to cut ties with Huawei | Inquirer Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones, said May 20, Sunday, it was beginning to cut ties with China’s Huawei, which Washington considers a national security threat.

Guests and journalists attend the Huawei database and storage product launch during a press conference at the Huawei Beijing Executive Briefing Centre in Beijing on May 15, 2019. Image: AFP/Fred Dufour

In the midst of a trade war with Beijing, President Donald Trump has barred United States companies from engaging in telecommunications trade with foreign companies said to threaten American national security.

The measure targets Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant in Washington’s sights that is listed by the Commerce Department among firms with which American companies can only engage in trade after obtaining the green light from the authorities.

The ban includes technology sharing.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson told AFP.

The move could have dramatic implications since Google, like all tech companies, must collaborate with smartphone makers to ensure its systems are compatible with their devices.

Google will have to halt business activities with Huawei that involve transfer of hardware, software and technical services that are not publicly available — meaning Huawei will only be able to use the open source version of Android, a source close to the matter told AFP.

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Huawei will no longer have access to Google’s proprietary apps and services, such as the Gmail email service.

Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Huawei is a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology but remains dependent on foreign suppliers.

It buys about $67 billion worth of components each year, including about $11 billion from U.S. suppliers, according to The Nikkei business daily.

Huawei is the target of an intense campaign by Washington, which has been trying to persuade allies not to allow China a role in building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

U.S. government agencies are already banned from buying equipment from Huawei.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said Saturday that “We have not done anything which violates the law,” adding the U.S. measures would have a limited impact. RGA/JB

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