Missouri Governor Wants to Prosecute Journalist for Warning That State Left Teachers’ Data Exposed

Missouri Governor Accuses Journalist of Hacking

Granted, state and local government employees are not known for their advanced technological prowess. But, unless there’s a whole lot we’re missing about this episode, Parson seems to have really stepped in it. Even if the governor isn’t super well-versed in computer science, state governments also have IT departments with staff that should be able to explain to leaders how websites work and why a person like Renaud would probably be considered a helpful good samaritan—not a “hacker.”

Advertisement

We reached out to both the Missouri Information Technology Services Division and the Governor’s Office to inquire about the incident and will update this story if they respond.

It Looks Like Apple Is Hoping to Postpone Opening Up the App Store to Third-Party Payment Portals

Apple Asks Court to Halt Order Requiring It to Open App Store

Advertisement

“Apple filed a peel,” Sweeney wrote.

Sweeney then lambasted Apple’s claim that “links and buttons to alternate payment mechanisms are fraught with risk,” because the company can’t guarantee that the third-party platform is safe.

Advertisement

“But seriously guys buttons are really dangerous, as Apple explains. Some buttons are big and red. Some buttons launch nuclear missiles. If software is allowed to include buttons, they could maybe cause iPhones to explode and kill you or, worse, void your warranty,” he added.

Samsung Teases Support for Ray Tracing on Its Next Exynos Chip

Samsung Teases Support for Ray Tracing on Its Next Exynos Chip

Unfortunately, while Samsung did not name a specific chip that will be getting ray tracing or a timetable for its release, many are predicting that this chip could be the upcoming Exynos 2200, which is expected to be featured in some versions of the Galaxy S22. North American Galaxy S phones have typically featured Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, while international variants get Exynos processors.

It’s also somewhat unclear from the post if the image is an actual screenshot from a game or if the image was simply created to better illustrate the power of ray tracing, which renders more realistic scenes by calculating and tracing the path of light as it bounces around a given environment, hence its name.

Advertisement

To add even more fuel to the rumors, leaked benchmarks that appear to be from the Exynos 2200 started making the rounds this summer showing GPU performance similar to Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which is quite promising given that Samsung still had months to tune and optimize the performance of its upcoming SoC.

That said, it’s important to keep expectations in check, because back in July, Ice Universe posted a diagram of the Exynos 2200’s chip design showing what appeared to be 384 Stream processors, which is significantly less than what you get in one of AMD’s modern desktop GPUs. Those typically have around 2,000 to 4000 Stream processors.

Advertisement

With Google having created its own custom-designed chip for the Pixel 6, called Google Tensor, and Samsung partnering with AMD to build GPUs for its mobile chips, the battle for mobile silicon supremacy is clearly heating up as smartphone makers try to keep pace with and possibly outdo Apple’s powerful A-series chips.

And with Samsung and AMD poised to bring ray tracing to mobile chips for the first time, things are about to get even more interesting.

Advertisement

‘The Buck Stops With Mark’: Facebook Whistleblower Says Zuckerberg Responsible for System Harming Kids

Echoing her interview Sunday on 60 Minutes, Haugen said she joined Facebook in 2019 after someone close to her was “radicalized” online. She pursued a job at the company, she said, in an effort to improve internal policies long criticized for amplifying the most politically divisive content in order to generate engagement among its users. Facebook’s acute fixation with driving engagement—which translates into ad dollars, the company’s singular source of income—resulted in system that only serves to amplify “division, extremism, and polarization,” she said, “undermining societies around the world.”

Advertisement

“This is not simply a matter of some social media users being angry or unstable,” said Haugen. “Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children. And that is unacceptable.”

Haugen, who holds an MBA from Harvard and previously worked on algorithms at Google, Pinterest, and Yelp, was recruited by Facebook in 2019 as a lead product manager for “civic misinformation,” later working on “counter-espionage” as a member of Facebook’s threat intelligence team. At Facebook, she witnessed the company consistently placing profits above all else—decisions which generated “self-harm” and “self-hate,” she said, among the platform’s youngest users.

At the top of the hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on consumer protection, raised the question of whether Facebook has known all along that children were becoming addicted to Instagram, the photo-sharing platform Facebook purchased in 2012. “Many of Facebook’s internal research reports indicates that Facebook has a serious negative harm on a significant portion of teenagers and younger children,” she said.

“Facebook knows that it’s amplification algorithms, things like engagement based rankings on Instagram, can lead children from very innocuous topics… all the way from something innocent like health recipes to anorexia-promoting content, over a very short period of time,” Haugen said, adding that Facebook’s internal definition of “addiction” requires that users be self-identify as having a problem.

“In the end,” she said, CEO Mark Zuckerberg bears the ultimate responsibility. “There’s no one currently holding Mark accountable.”

Blumenthal last week said his office had written to Zuckerberg in August, asking whether Facebook had ever heard of his platforms having negative effects, such as suicidal thoughts, on children’s and teen’s mental health. The company effectively ducked the question, saying only that it knew of no consensus among experts as to how much “screen time” was unhealthy for kids.

Advertisement

Internal documents amassed by Haugen before departing Facebook in May laid bare the effects of Instagram’s engagement algorithms on teens—young girls, in particular. Leaked to the Wall Street Journal, the documents noted Instagram was responsible for worsening anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts linked to body-image issues among young girls.

Separate materials shared with the Journal revealed that Facebook views children 10-years-old and younger as a “valuable” and “untapped” resource crucial to the company’s “growth.”

Advertisement

As of yet, Facebook has not indicated whether it plans to take legal action against Haugen for leaking company documents to the press, but has said it won’t pursue her for sharing with Senate lawmakers, whom she initially approached this summer.

Facebook, in response, attacked its own research, calling it “exploratory,” and saying its researchers did not rely on any “clinical criterion.” The company, meanwhile, has refused to release the raw data underlying its findings, preferring to annotate documents referenced in the press in an effort to downplay their significance.

Advertisement

“I came forward because I recognized a frightening truth: almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook,” Haugen said in opening remarks. “The company’s leadership keeps vital information from the public, the U.S. government, its shareholders, and governments around the world. The documents I have provided prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled us about what its own research reveals about the safety of children, its role in spreading hateful and polarizing messages, and so much more.”

Haugen went on to say it was typical at Facebook for problems to be understaffed. The threat intelligence team, for example, “could only handle a third of the cases—that we knew about.” The lack of adequate staffing disincentivized the team from improving systems designed to detect issues, which would only create more work the team was not equipped to handle.

Advertisement

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Crypto Company Accidentally Gives Users $90 Million, Politely Asks for It Back

Crypto Company Accidentally Gives Users $90 Million, Asks for It Back

Compound is a crypto lending platform, allowing both investors and borrowers to exchange assets without the traditional services of a bank. Such platforms have been characterized as risky—given the lack of regulatory safeguards that pad traditional banking services—and this recent episode seems to show why.

The money was apparently unleashed via a mistake in what was supposed to be a standard upgrade to Compound’s smart contract (such contracts are used to facilitate crypto transactions). Instead, the alleged flaw caused certain users to be flooded with “far too much” COMP—the platform’s native crypto token. One person, for instance, claims they were gifted approximately $20 million in COMP in one go.

Platforms like Compound have been through this sort of thing before. In May, crypto lender BlockFi accidentally sent out approximately $20 million in Bitcoin to its users and subsequently begged for it back. Not long afterward, another lender, Alechemix, suffered a similar problem.

Advertisement

Leshner subsequently backtracked on his threat to dox users who wouldn’t return funds—calling the idea “bone-headed.” That was probably a smart move, since doxxing is largely considered a huge betrayal in the crypto community, given the industry’s ethos of privacy, anonymity, and security.

As financial experts who talked to CNBC seem to imply, there is no legal requirement for the recipients of the payout to give it back.

Advertisement

Interestingly, a decent amount of users seem to be going along with the CEO’s request to return funds, as Leshner can be seen thanking various individuals on Twitter:

Advertisement

Yes, 0x2e4a, good sir, I too salute you. If some person sent me $20 million, my first order of business would be to skip all the way to the nearest ATM—or the nearest crypto exchange, as it were. We reached out to Compound for comment on this whole situation and will update our story if they respond.

Flying Foam Case Promises to Protect Your Smartphone While Capturing Aerial Footage

Here’s a Flying Foam Case for Filming Aerial Footage on a Phone

The AER’s creators are back, and this time they’ve brought an updated version with a redesigned nosecone that’s designed to securely hold a smartphone at the perfect angle for its rear camera to capture compelling aerial footage. The phone gets sandwiched between two large pieces of foam which are held together with a velcro strap wrapped around them. A foam tail is then attached, making the AER TYP ready for flight.

Sending your smartphone hurdling through the air requires even more faith in the energy-absorbing properties of foam than with an action camera, but the AER TYP’s creators promise they’ve spent years perfecting its design, finding the most resilient foam materials, and testing it, even to the point of dropping it off a building onto a concrete surface. The promotional videos created for the AER TYP do appear to protect smartphones from several cringe-worthy crashes, but with Apple officially cautioning users against strapping iPhones to bikes and motorcycles, you do have to wonder what repeated crashes are doing to the internals of a smartphone, even if the outside remains in pristine condition.

As with the original AER, the creators of the AER TYP have opted for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help put their creation into production. The cheapest way to pre-order one is with a pledge of about $69 (full retail pricing is expected to be closer to $100) with delivery expected as early as May next year. However, during an ongoing pandemic where manufacturing and supply chains have been thrown into chaos, it’s especially important to take delivery dates and estimated timelines of crowdfunded products with a grain of salt, given even large multinational companies are struggling to get products out the door on time. But this isn’t the first product the AER team has successfully crowdfunded, and if you’re willing to trust your $1,000+ smartphone to a foam football, punctual delivery dates don’t seem like something you’d worry about.

Leaked Android Update Promises Huge Upgrades for Foldable Phones

Android 12.1 Promises Huge Upgrades for Foldable Phones

Another big change for Android 12.1 is the addition of a taskbar, similar to what you might get laptop or desktop. Now technically, there’s already code to support a taskbar hidden inside Android 12, but in Android 12.1, Google has expanded upon the taskbar by adding support for quickly switching between apps, dragging and dropping apps to launch a split-screen view, and the ability for the taskbar to seamlessly transform into Android 12’s app drawer depending on the situation.

The Android 12.1 taskbar is similar to the taskbar Samsung added to One UI for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, except that instead of being displayed vertically on the left or right side of the phone’s screen, Android 12.1 positions its taskbar horizontally across the bottom. I would actually prefer that as it more closely mimics desktop taskbars in macOS, Windows, and others. Unfortunately, it seems the Android 12.1 taskbar can currently only display five apps at a time, which seems unusually limited, so here’s hoping Google bumps up that number before Android 12.1’s official release.

Advertisement

When it comes to multitasking, it seems Google is borrowing another page from Samsung’s playbook by adding support for App Pairs, allowing you to launch two apps in split-screen with a single tap. But Google is differentiating from Samsung with its split-screen UI, which in Android 12.1 now features a more pronounced divider pane and potentially the ability to launch an app into split-screen view directly from your notification panel, though XDA says that last feature is still “being considered” and may not make the final release.

It seems Google is also looking to building upon new features in Android 12 in Android 12.1 with the addition of new boot animations, wider support for dynamic colors and theming, and a press and hold option that lets you customize how long you need to hold your phone’s power button before it summons the Google Assistant.

Advertisement

With Android 12.1, Google may be aiming to provide better support for foldable phones, particularly large-screen foldables that aren’t made by Samsung. And while foldable phones are still a somewhat niche category of devices, without proper software support, fancy new hardware can only go so far, so it’s really encouraging to see Google add these new features in Android 12.1 instead of waiting until Android 13’s official release next year.

1Password Will Now Let You Hide Your Email for Logins

1Password Will Now Let You Hide Your Email for Logins

From a security standpoint, automated burner emails are a good way to protect against phishing scams. It sucks, but we all know that most services you sign up for will share or sell your data for advertising. Data breaches and leaks are no longer rare, and bad actors use leaked emails and passwords to do their nasty business. What’s worse is once an email is leaked, it’s more likely to show up in another breach. Even if the burner email is part of a leak, you’re less at risk as your emails and passwords will all be unique from each other.

The “catch” here is that you need to have both a 1Password and Fastmail account to get the Masked Email feature. If you already have both, you can just link the accounts. If not, you’ll have to sign up for the one you don’t have. A Fastmail account starts at $30 per year, while 1Password subscriptions start at $2.99 per month (billed annually). Meanwhile, Apple’s version of email masking requires you to pay for iCloud storage. These are all relatively affordable, but it doesn’t negate the fact you have to sign up for yet another subscription. It’d be nice if these sorts of features were open to everyone and not kept behind a paywall, but that’s capitalism for you.

Facebook Paid the FTC Billions to Personally Protect Zuckerberg, Lawsuit Claims

I said it before to much acclaim, and I’ll say it again…  How many times must facebook be allowed to absolutely RUIN the fucking country before people just wake the fuck up already and get rid of this nonsense.  No one’s lives have been improved by social media.  In fact, we are all far worse off.

Here’s How to Watch Apple’s iPhone 13 Event—and What to Expect

As always, you’ve got a few options. You can head over to Apple’s dedicated event page, or if you’ve got the Apple TV you can watch it on there too. Actually, you can watch it on any TV so long as you have the Apple TV app. Apple also streams its events live on YouTube, and you can either watch the embedded video above or go directly to the source. And if for whatever reason you can’t watch it live, Apple makes the recording available after the event. We’ll also be liveblogging everything as it happens.

Will We See the iPhone 13?

Yep, there are no delays for the iPhone this year. We fully expect to see four iPhone 13 models showcased next week. As with the iPhone 12 lineup, expect to see an iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and iPhone 13 Mini. We’re also not expecting a lot of changes in terms of display size, materials, or the overall look of the phone itself. Design-wise, the biggest change we’re anticipating is a smaller notch, with some speculating that Apple will adopt the hole-punch design you see on some Android phones. Other previously leaked renders showed the notch shrinking by almost half. (Sorry, but the notchless phone we saw in that one Ted Lasso episode was likely a post-production VFX error.)

The iPhone 13 is also expected to have four models in the same sizes as the iPhone 12.

The iPhone 13 is also expected to have four models in the same sizes as the iPhone 12.
Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

Besides the notch, we’ve also consistently heard that the Pro models may get 120Hz displays that utilize LTPO tech. (We’ve seen LTPO displays on the Apple Watch, but it essentially is a more battery-efficient display that enables a variable refresh rate.) The iPhone 13 lineup will also get a new, faster A15 chip, as well as bigger batteries. It’s also probably no surprise that Apple’s beefing up the iPhone 13’s cameras as well. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted earlier this year that the iPhone 13 will feature an upgraded ultra-wide camera and improved low-light performance. We’re also expecting to see more video features, including a video portrait mode, new filters, and ProRes format for editing. Also possible is a stronger magnet array (and a new MagSafe charger), plus support for Wi-Fi 6E.

Advertisement

Another recent rumor we’ve heard is that the iPhone 13 will support satellite connectivity, which would enable users to text and call if they’re in an area without 4G or 5G. However, this is one rumor you should be skeptical of. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman—one of the most reliable Apple prognosticators—says this is a big bag of phooey. According to Gurman, the iPhone 13 might have the hardware to support this in the future, but it’s not something that’ll be announced this year.

The one rumor we’re not too thrilled with is the iPhone 13 lineup may be more expensive than initially expected. It’s unclear whether that’ll be true across all four models, or just the two Pro models. In any case, if the iPhone 13 is pricier, you have the global chip shortage to thank for that.

Advertisement

What About New AirPods?

It feels like it’s been 86 years since we first caught wind of the AirPods 3, but it looks like we might finally get to see them next week.

Advertisement

The AirPods 3 are expected to borrow some design features from the AirPods Pro—think shorter stem and a smaller case. Initial predictions also mentioned silicone ear tips, but those were nowhere to be seen in several leaked photos and renders in recent months. However, it seems that’s about as far as Apple’s going. Don’t expect to see premium features like active noise cancellation or Spatial Audio—you’ll have to splurge on the AirPods Pro for those.

Think these, but with smaller stems.

Think these, but with smaller stems.
Photo: Adam Clark Estes/Gizmodo

Advertisement

It’s also possible Apple will add the U1 ultra-wideband chip to the AirPods 3. iOS 15 will add Precision Finding in the Find My app for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, and to use it, people will have to link the AirPods to their Apple ID. Apple’s added the U1 chip to many of its more recent products, so it’s not unreasonable to think that might extend to the AirPods 3. (Whom amongst us hasn’t gotten down on their hands and knees searching for a lost AirPod?) Then again, the U1 chip was absent from the ludicrously expensive AirPods Max, so we’ll just have to see.

Will the iPad Mini Finally Get a Redesign?

Pandemic lockdowns translated to stellar tablet sales in 2020, so it’s not surprising that Apple is keen on revamping its iPad lineup. This time around, it looks like it’s the iPad Mini’s turn.

Advertisement

The iPad Mini might be taking design cues from the iPad Air (pictured above).

The iPad Mini might be taking design cues from the iPad Air (pictured above).
Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

Supposedly, the new iPad Mini will feature the most significant redesign for the product since it first launched. That means slimmer bezels and no home button. We could also see a miniLED display, as we did with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro this past spring. The iPad Mini is also expected to be slightly larger, somewhere in the range of 8.5 to 9 inches.

Advertisement

Spec-wise, the Mini is rumored to getting an A15 processor—the same as the iPhone 13 lineup. It’s also thought the Mini will be getting USB-C and a Smart Connector, which hints Apple’s perhaps cooking up some accessories and peripherals for the device.

What’s All This About the Apple Watch Getting Bigger?

Compared to the Series 6 and the Watch SE, there haven’t been as many rumors surrounding the Apple Watch Series 7. What we do know, however, is that like the iPad Mini, the Series 7 will get the most significant visual redesign since the Apple Watch first launched in 2015.

Advertisement

Leaked photos and renders show a flat-edged design that calls back to the iPhone 12 (and the early iPhones before that). It’s also rumored that the displays will also be slightly larger at 41mm and 45mm. However, it’s also a toss-up as to whether the Series 7 will truly launch next week. Due to the redesign, Apple reportedly had to reconfigure the internal components as well. That’s caused some production issues, and it depends on whether Apple can smooth those problems over in time. We might end up hearing the announcement, but having to wait a while before we actually get to see the product. Or, like last year, Apple might end up holding a separate Apple Watch event.

A peep of the mindfulness sessions coming to watchOS 8.

A peep of the mindfulness sessions coming to watchOS 8.
Photo: Victoria Song/Gizmodo

Advertisement

As for features, don’t expect anything too mind-blowing in terms of health-tracking. While the Series 6 introduced an SpO2 sensor and blood oxygen readings, this generation of Apple Watch—and watchOS 8—is expected to focus more on mindfulness. We do know that Apple is tinkering with a lot of advanced health features down the line, but those are unlikely to debut with the Series 7. For example, we’d heard a few murmurs of blood glucose monitoring for the Series 7, but it increasingly looks like that won’t pan out.

Will Apple Announce New Apple TV+ Shows?

We’re absolutely not expecting a new Apple TV so soon after Apple introduced a new model earlier this year with a refreshed Apple TV 4K. However, it’s really hard to ignore the streaming bit of the ‘California Streaming’ tagline on the event invite. While that could just be a reference to the fact the event is being live-streamed, it wouldn’t take us by complete surprise if Apple decided to announce some new titles for its premium TV service.

Advertisement

When Will We See M1X MacBooks?

We’ve been expecting new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBooks that use Apple’s next-gen M1 chip for a while now. They’re definitely coming sometime this year. It’s just not that likely that Apple will tack them onto its iPhone event. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman contends that it’s likely we’ll see the computers sometime before the end of November. As we mentioned earlier, it’s increasingly likely that Apple will hold multiple launch events this fall and we expect the two new MacBooks (and possibly a high-end Mac Mini) will debut then. But then again, this is Apple and they always love to surprise you with One More Thing—so who can say?

Advertisement

The wait is almost over, and as always, Gizmodo’s entire consumer tech team will be live-blogging the whole shebang next Tuesday. We’ll be ready with hot takes and analysis, along with a generous helping of chaos, so stay tuned.