Pluralistic: Ireland's privacy regulator is a gamekeeper-turned-poacher (15 May 2023)

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Pluralistic: Podcasting "How To Make a Child-Safe TikTok"; Serializing the first chapter of Red Team Blues (17 Apr 2023)

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How To Make a Child-Safe TikTok

Have you tried not spying on kids?

The exterior of a corporate office building, with the TikTok logo and wordmark over its revolving doors. From behind the revolving doors glares the hostile red eye of HAL9000 from Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.” In front of the doors is a ‘you must be this tall to ride’ amusement-park cutout of a boy with a bow-tie, holding out his arm to indicate the minimum required height.
Cryteria/CC BY 3.0; Vxla/CC BY 2.0 (modified)

Rep. Buddy Carter, Republican of Georgia: I wanna talk about biometric matrix, and I wanna talk specifically. Can you tell me right now, can you say, with one hundred percent certainty, that TikTok does not use the phone’s camera to determine whether the content that elicits a pupil dilation should be amplified by the algorithm? Can you tell me that?

TikTok CEO Shou Chew: We do not collect body, face or voice data to identify our users. We do not.

Carter: You don’t —

Chew: No. The only face data that you’ll get, that we collect is when you use the filters that put, say, sunglasses on your face, we need to know where your eyes are —

Carter: Why do you need to know where the eyes are if you’re not seeing if they’re dilated?

Chew: —and the data is stored locally on your local device and deleted after the use, if you use it for facial. Again, we do not collect body, face, or voice data to identify our users.

Carter: I find that hard to believe. It is our understanding that they’re looking at the eyes. How do you determine what age they are then?

Chew: We rely on age-gating as our key age assurance —

Carter: Age?

Chew: — gating. It’s when you ask the user what age they are. We’ve also developed some tools, where we look at their public profile, then go through the videos that they post to see whether —

Carter: Well, that’s creepy. Tell me more about that.

Chew: It’s public. So, if you post a video, you choose whether to go public, that’s how you get people to see your video. We look at those to see if it matches the age that you talked about. Now, this is a real challenge for our industry because privacy versus age assurance is a really big problem —

Carter: Look, look, you keep talking about the industry, we’re talking about TikTok here —

House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on TikTok, March 23, 2023.
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Pluralistic: We should ban TikTok('s surveillance) (30 Mar 2023)

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Pluralistic: Tiktok's enshittification (21 Jan 2023)

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Pluralistic: 07 Dec 2021

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Pluralistic: 01 Apr 2020

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  1. Wood-metal worry beads: Chris Bathgate's latest, "The Woody."
  2. Overly descriptive color palettes: Handpicked from the Colorschemez bot.
  3. American Prospect high-school essay contest: An antidote to the Ayn Rand Institute contest.
  4. Snowden's Box: The logistics of leaking are a mix of tradecraft and philosophy.
  5. Alteon cuts covid-fighters' pay: $20k paycuts for docs fighting covid-19.
  6. Tiktok Kremlinology: Systematically exploring Tiktok's algorithm.
  7. American employment exceptionalism: Why the US is losing jobs much faster than other countries.
  8. Solar as a beneficial fad: How good ideas spread.
  9. This day in history: 2015, 2010, 2019
  10. Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing projects, current reading

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Pluralistic: 16 Mar 2020

Today's links

  1. Covid At Home: A guide for isolation, illness and recovery
  2. Trump wants a US-only vaccine: Reality has a well-known globalist/collectivist bias.
  3. Folding@Home to beat covid: 23 distcomp projects to give your CPU to.
  4. Italian hospitals fix their ventilators with 3D printed parts: Fablabs to the rescue.
  5. How to prepare for coming layoffs: A guide for techies junior, senior and prickly.
  6. Leaked Tiktok moderation guidelines are a censoring mess: No poors or ugly people welcome.
  7. Canceled Bar Mitzvah is still a mitzvah: Today I am a mensch.
  8. Shmoocon 2020 videos online: Hours of entertainment and infosec funnies.
  9. This day in history: 2005, 2010
  10. Colophon: Recent publications, current writing projects, upcoming appearances, current reading

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