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Details from 500 million Facebook users found on website for hackers | Facebook

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Details from more than 500 million Facebook users have been found available on a website for hackers.

The information appears to be several years old but it is another example of the vast amount of information collected by Facebook and other social media sites and the limits to how secure that information is.

The availability of the data set was first reported by Business Insider. According to that publication, it contains information from 106 countries including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates and email addresses.

Facebook has been grappling with data security issues for years. In 2018, the social media giant disabled a feature that allowed users to search for one another via phone numbers, following revelations that the political firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed information on up to 87 million users without their knowledge or consent.

In December 2019, a Ukrainian security researcher reported finding a database with the names, phone numbers and unique user IDs of more than 267 million Facebook users – nearly all US-based – on the open internet. It is unclear if the current data dump is related to this database.

The Menlo Park, California-based company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement provided to other publications, Facebook said the leak was old and stemmed from a problem that had been fixed in 2019.

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EU proposes new liability rules around AI tech to protect consumers

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The current EU rules around product liability are more than 40 years old, meaning they do not cover harm caused by drones and other AI tech.

The European Commission has outlined a set of new proposals to enable people who are harmed by AI tech products to seek and receive compensation.

The proposals were published today (28 September). They are designed to comply with the EU’s 2021 AI Act proposal, which set out a framework for trust in AI-related technology.

Today’s AI Liability Directive aims to provide a clear and comprehensive structure for all Europeans to claim compensation in the event they are harmed by AI tech products, such as drones and robots.

The EU’s directive includes rules for businesses and consumers alike to abide by. Those who are harmed by AI products or tech can seek compensation just as they would if they were in harmed any other way.

The rules will make it easier for people who have been discriminated against by AI technology as part of the recruitment process, for example, to pursue legal action.

An example of harm that may be caused by tech products is data loss. Robots, drones, smart-home systems and other similar digital products must also comply with cybersecurity regulations around addressing vulnerabilities.

The directive builds on existing rules that manufacturers must follow around unsafe products ­– no matter how high or low-tech they are.

It is proposing a number of different strategies to modernise and adapt liability rules specifically for digital products. The existing rules around product liability in the EU are almost 40 years old, and do not cover advanced technologies such as AI.

European commissioner for internal market, Thierry Breton, said that the existing rules have “been a cornerstone of the internal market for four decades”.

“Today’s proposal will make it fit to respond to the challenges of the decades to come. The new rules will reflect global value chains, foster innovation and consumer trust, and provide stronger legal certainty for businesses involved in the green and digital transition.”

Vice-president for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, said that for AI tech to thrive in the EU, it is important for people to trust digital innovation.

She added that the new proposals would give customers “tools for remedies in case of damage caused by AI so that they have the same level of protection as with traditional technologies”. The rules will also “ensure legal certainty” for the EU’s internal market.

As well as consumer protection, the proposals are designed to foster innovation. They have laid down guarantees for the AI sector through the introduction of measures such as the right to fight a liability claim based on a presumption of causality.

The AI Liability Directive will need to be agreed with EU countries and lawmakers before it can become law.

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Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo review – uncomfortable for all the wrong reasons | Games

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Pendulo Studios’ Vertigo begins, just like the 1958 film, with a visual and musical motif of spirals. Round and round they go until you meet author Ed Miller in the worst moment of his life. Ed narrowly survives a car crash, but he loses his wife, Faye and their daughter. Staring down at the wreck of his car in a ravine, Ed suffers a debilitating bout of vertigo, only to relive the suicide of his father shortly after. A little later, you step into the shoes of Dr Julia Lomas, a therapist called in to deal with Ed’s vertigo and why he keeps talking about a wife and child whom no one but him seems to recall.

While it’s called Vertigo, complete with the licence of Hitchcock’s name and likeness, the game makes hamfisted references to the director’s work. Yes, there are birds, yes, someone will be ripping a shower curtain to the side. But when it comes to embodying the spirit of Vertigo itself, Sight and Sound’s greatest film of all time, it falls almost comically flat.

The mystery that Vertigo the game initially presents is intriguing, if quickly soured by how unbearable its protagonist is. Ed is childish and rude to the point of hostility without any obvious reason why. His behaviour is explained away by a traumatic childhood, bluntly presented as the root of all his issues and teased out by his therapist in a series of non-consensual hypnoses. The gameplay mimics Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human, from awkwardly moving the controller to open a fridge and using timed button-presses to run, to rewinding memories, an idea that actually fits the concept of a therapist analysing her patient’s recollections quite well.

Screenshot from Alfred Hitchcock: Vertigo.
Awkward animation and mediocre voice acting … Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo. Photograph: Microids

Due to its big licence and popular influences, it comes as a particularly sharp disappointment that the writing in the game version of Vertigo is the worst thing about it. Awkward animation and mediocre voice acting certainly don’t help. Dialogue, presumably recorded separately by actors alone in sound booths, sounds like two people having two different conversations (“What am I going to do without my husband?” “Well, you could start by making dinner”).

You might reasonably expect that a game named after the film Vertigo would, you know, follow the plot of Vertigo, but no. Everything happens in service of an increasingly ridiculous story, which reduces a film that featured male obsession, the male gaze and the ways in which victims unknowingly facilitate their own abuse, to the vendetta of a psychopath with a seemingly unlimited supply of drugs. If you thought the film was convoluted, try getting your head around this nonsense. It is almost worth playing for the part where an elderly man is, apparently convincingly, impersonated by a 24-year-old woman in a trenchcoat and sunglasses.

This version of Vertigo portrays women in a way that is seriously difficult to stomach in a post-#MeToo era. Here, women prey on an unsuspecting man using, for instance, sex and hypnosis to lure him in and do him harm. Male trauma is of course absolutely real, but this game doesn’t have the tools to examine it with the required care, and ends up essentially saying #MenToo – and doing a significant disservice to the body of cinematic work that inspires it.

Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo is out now, £34.99.

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Apple removes apps from Russia’s major social media company • The Register

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Russian social media provider VK Company Ltd has confirmed its apps were removed from Apple’s App Store.

“Some VK applications are now blocked by Apple, so they are not available for download or update in the App Store,” said (translated from Russian) the company formerly known as VKontakte.

VK reassured users that installed apps will continue to work but said notifications and payments could get tricky, though recently issued core updates would keep the company afloat.

It suggested users of its most popular product, Facebook analog VKontakte, could use the mobile or desktop version of the site.

“VK will continue to develop and support iOS apps,” said the company. The apps remain available on Google’s Play Store.

According to state-owned news agency TASS, Russia’s Ministry of Digital Affairs contacted Apple to find the reasons behind its deletion and said the company would receive a subsequent “plan of action.”

TASS also reported that the company sold its gaming division to businessman Alexander Chachava for $642 million on Tuesday. The division will continue to be run by its current management. Many other gaming systems are currently blocked in Russia thanks to sanctions.

VK’s share price wobbled this week on the Russian stock market, according to state-sponsored media RT, dropping over 20 percent on Monday and recovering 7.5 percent on Tuesday.

VKontakte’s founders, brothers Pavel and Nikolai Durov, are also the founders of messaging app Telegram.

Pavel Durov left VK as CEO after refusing to hand over Ukrainian protester data or block Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s VK page. He subsequently placed himself in exile and eventually obtained Saint Kitts and Nevis, French, and United Arab Emirates citizenship.

The billionaire’s hobbies include posting shirtless pictures on Instagram and trolling Russian president Vladimir Putin. ®



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