Federal Gov Pays University $750k to Create Tool That Warns Journalists Against Publishing “Polarizing” Content

The NSF project titled “A System for Mapping the (Local) Journalism Life Cycle to Rebuild the Nation’s News Trust” will warn journalists when content may be “triggering” of unfavorable discourse.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided a $750,000 grant to Temple University researchers for developing a product that tracks local journalism cycles, which is part of their new “Trust & Authenticity in Communication Systems” initiative.

The “America’s Fourth Estate at Risk: A System for Mapping the (Local) Journalism Life Cycle to Rebuild the Nation’s News Trust” project aims to create a data-based tool that informs journalists when publishing content might result in “negative unintended outcomes” like “the triggering of uncivil, polarizing discourse, audience misinterpretation, the production of misinformation, and the perpetuation of false narratives.”

The researchers hope to help journalists measure the long-term communication impact of stories, extending beyond existing metrics such as initial reactions, likes, and shares.

In an interview with Campus Reform, grant principal investigator and Temple University professor Eduard Dragut said the team will “use natural language processing algorithms along with social networking tools to mine the communities where [misinformation] may happen.”

“You can imagine that each news article is usually, or actually almost all the time, accompanied by user comments and reactions on Twitter. One goal of the project is to retrieve those and then use natural language processing tools or algorithms to mine and recommend to some users [that] this space of talking, this set of tweets, which may lead to a set of people, like a sub-community, where this article is used for wrong reasons,” he said.

Keep reading

New A.I. Device Will Activate Cameras and Alert Police When It Detects Crime-Related Noises (Gunshots, Glass Breaking, Tires Screeching)

Experts have warned for years about using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technology (see 123).  Embarrassing as well as tragic examples of A.I. inaccuracies continue to be reported (see 1234).

People have been accused and convicted of crimes based on inaccuracies (see 12) including from the use of A.I. based ShotSpotter technology.  Nevertheless, a new A.I. device is being marketed to American communities and police departments.

Keep reading

Ex-SpaceX Engineers Are Building a Cheap, Portable Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear power is going portable in the form of relatively lightweight, cost-effective microreactors. A team of former SpaceX engineers is developing the “world’s first portable, zero-emissions power source” that can bring power to remote areas and also allows for quick installation of new units in populated areas, a press statement revealed.

Last year, the team secured $1.2 million in funding from angel investors for their startup Radiant to help develop its portable nuclear microreactors, which are aimed at both commercial and military applications.  

Keep reading

US Army to Stage Largest Robot Tank Experiment Ever

The U.S. Army intends to test an entire company of unmanned combat vehicles in simulated battle next year, a wargame that leaders called unprecedented and a big step toward refining the hardware and software that will one day enable wheeled robots to take the battlefield.

Gen. Ross Coffman, the director of Army Futures Command’s Next Generation Combat Cross-Functional Team, told reporters at AUSA this week that the closest thing to the Army’s upcoming robot exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, was last year’s platoon-sized effort at Fort Carson, Colorado.

For that exercise, the Army turned some old M113 armored personnel carriers into robots. “You can imagine that if you can turn a 113, you can turn anything into a robot,” Coffman said. “We learned a ton. There were some clear winners in the technology base. There were some that weren’t as great.” Among the winners was the human-machine interface, he said.

“Now we’re moving it up to company level.” he said. “The lessons learned here, we can now then apply to a brigade and to a division and see how we want to fight with these things in the future. But I know of no country that has done above singular vehicle experiments. So, no antecedent.” 

Keep reading

The inventor of taser and the body cam wants to put them on drones

Rick Smith, whose inventions changed the way millions of people understand modern policing, now wants to send them to war.

Smith invented the Taser, the stun gun that is often the first thing police officers reach for when things get tense. As public concern mounted that cops were maybe a bit too eager to tase people, Smith invented the police-worn body camera, which has become a staple of U.S. police departments and plays a starring role in our national conversation about police reform.

So what’s next? Smith says AI and robotics will dramatically change how police departments do what they do. They could also reshape the American way of war.

Smith’s company, Axon, is already using machine learning on body camera footage. The company has access to huge amounts of body-camera video because police departments pay Axon to host it on Microsoft Azure. “Basically every big department you can think of, NYPD, LA, Chicago, D.C., we host all their data in the cloud for them,” Smith said during the recent AUSA conference in Washington, D.C.

Keep reading

The VPN Empire Built By Intelligence Agents

For many people, a VPN is accepted as being their best bet for protecting their data and online privacy. While cyber security is certainly a concern for them, most VPN users aren’t exactly adept when it comes to information technology. Like any consumer, they typically err on the side of using a trusted name within the industry. In many ways, ExpressVPN is that standard-bearer. Since it began in 2009, ExpressVPN has signed up millions of users for its service under the promise that it does everything from encrypting data on their internet browser to masking their IP address in order to protect users against hackers and government surveillance.

What most of the 3 million users who currently use ExpressVPN probably weren’t aware of when they signed up is that the service proves the point that hackers and government surveillance aren’t mutually exclusive. On September 13th, ExpressVPN was sold to the Israeli-based company Kape Technologies in a $936 million cash and stock purchase. This acquisition added ExpressVPN to a catalog including several other VPN providers acquired by Kape Technologies since 2017. The acquiring company touted its purchase as being integral to defining the next generation in its fight for online privacy. However, the centralization the VPN services Kape Technologies owns and an examination of its history reveals the company’s efforts to undermine that very cause as a distributor of malware with ties to US and Israeli intelligence operations.

Kape Technologies was founded in 2011 by partners Koby Menachemi and Shmueli Ahdut under the name CrossRider. Early in its origins, CrossRider did not bill itself as a cyber security company. Instead, the focus of the company was on web browsing and advertising technologies. Just 20 months after its founding, the tech start-up with $2 million in working capital was purchased by Israeli tech billionaire Teddy Sagi for $37 million. Menachemi and Ahdut would stay on at the company as its CEO and CTO following the purchase. With the injection of capital that Sagi’s purchase put into the company, CrossRider pivoted its operations to change the scope of its outlook toward cyber security. In 2017, CrossRider cemented that change of direction when it purchased CyberGhost VPN for $10.4 million. Upon its acquisition of the Romanian-based VPN, CrossRider rebranded itself as Kape Technologies.

While CrossRider’s rebrand appeared to be a common tactic by a company marking a shift in its outlook as it made its first foray into cyber security, the basis of the change was rooted in a much different motive. By the time CrossRider had acquired CyberGhost VPN, the adware programs the company designed had been exposed as hacking tools. By attaching its adware to third party downloads, CrossRider was able to install potentially unwanted programs which attached to web browsers as spyware. Microsoft, Symantec MalwareBytes, and other cyber security websites categorized CrossRider’s malware program Crossid as a browser hijacker which collected user information such as browser information to IP addresses in order to monetize data for its value in targeted ad campaigns. With the CrossRider name being attached to this malicious spyware, the company was putting its newest VPN asset in jeopardy. In order to avoid losing users of CyberGhostVPN, rebranding to Kape Technologies was a measure designed to obfuscate the companies history as an entity producing malware programs which were antithetical to the interest of data security. The rebrand proved to effectuate the new image the company sought as it would go on to acquire additional VPN services years before its 2021 purchase of ExpressVPN. In 2018, Kape Technologies acquired Zenmate for $5.5 million and then Private Internet Access for $95 million in 2019.

With its growing portfolio, Kape Technologies had become increasingly more visible. Its umbrella of ownership centralizing multiple VPNs was a red flag for many who placed value in cyber security. Under growing scrutiny, the concerning origins of the company’s founders came to light. It was revealed that Koby Menachemi, Kape Technologies co-founder and former CEO, began his career in information technologies while serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Menachemi worked as a developer in the Israeli Intelligence Corps under Unit 8200. That division of the IDF was responsible for collecting signal intelligence and data decryption. Its alumni are estimated to have founded over 1,000 tech startups. Companies founded by former operatives of Unit 8200 include Waze, Elbit Systems, and slews of other startups who have since been acquired by the likes of Kodak, PayPal, Facebook, and Microsoft.

Keep reading

This Dystopian Riot Control Truck Is the Vehicle of the Future

We all want to believe that the future is filled with amazing technology, the end of disease, interplanetary travel, and a thriving environment. But the good folks at Bozena Security Systems know that the future is made of armored plating and riot gear.

The new and improved Bozena Riot can handle any and all duties when one needs to put down an uprising. At full functionality, it has three components: a carrier, a 3000 kg adjustable shield, and a water trailer. Two water cannons can send protesters flying from the front or the rear and if that doesn’t do the trick, you can always fire up the high-pressure tear gas gun.

But how would a driver handle all of these features and be able to see what the hell they are doing, you might ask. Well, CCTV cameras make sure that eyes are everywhere and this very nifty interior control panel puts all the options at one’s fingertips.

Keep reading

Military Is Developing ‘Cognitive Warfare’ Weapons

Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.”

NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it.

The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare.

Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.”

Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.”

Keep reading

Government Eyes In the Sky

In August 2016, Bloomberg Businessweek revealed the existence of a pilot program being operated by the Baltimore Police Department in which small manned aircraft circled over the city all day, using cameras to continuously photograph a 32-square-mile area and giving police the ability to retroactively track any vehicle or pedestrian within that area. It was the ultimate Big Brother “eye in the sky”—and yet the Baltimore police had not notified the public or even the mayor or city council about the program. Revelation of the secret program generated a storm of controversy, and eventually it was put on hold—though in December 2019, the city’s police commissioner announced that the program would be revived.

The technology behind the Baltimore program involves pointing multiple cameras toward the ground and stitching those images together into a single, larger photograph. It also uses computers to automatically correct for the changing camera angles of the circling planes as well as factors such as topographic variances and lens distortion.

The result is a surveillance system of enormous power, able to reconstruct the movements of all visible vehicles and pedestrians across a city—where they start and finish each journey and the paths they take in between. It can allow tracking of a great proportion of people’s movements throughout a city.

Keep reading