Deepfakes and the Microsoft Video Authenticator

With the 2020 presidential election coming up, deepfakes are becoming more and more common, mostly appearing in smear or disinformation campaigns. For those of you who don’t know, a deepfake is media that has been manipulated using artificial intelligence. Recently, Microsoft has introduced a new software, called Microsoft Video Authenticator, to help spot these deepfakes. This new software analyzes each piece of media and can spot some of the tiniest discrepancies, such as grayscale elements and subtle fading that go mostly unnoticed by the human eye. Then, based on these discrepancies, the software assigns a confidence score, or a percentage chance, that the media has been manipulated in some way. And while this confidence score may not always be correct, in an age where misinformation is shared everywhere, it is good to see that someone is finally taking a stand against it.

Facebook to add new Feature to Protect Creators Images

According to Carrie Mihalcik of, Facebook is in the early stages of creating a tool to “help creators and publishers protect their intellectual property” (Mihalcik). Facebook plans to use its Rights Manager for Images to accomplish this. The tool uses “‘image matching technology to help creators and publishers protect and manage their image content'” (Mihalcik). Facebook is launching the tool to “select partners” as of today; however, the firm is hopeful that eventually, all users will receive access. Likewise, the tool will also enable users to “issue image takedown requests and use territorial blocks to restrict images in locations where they hold a copyright” (Mihalcik). Eventually, Facebook plans to roll out the Rights Manager for Images tool for Instagram as well.

Overall, I believe this feature is a step in the right direction for creator rights on social media platforms. Creator image rights are currently a large problem on Instagram. Often large Instagram accounts take entertaining photos or video clips from other smaller accounts and repost them without crediting the original account. The Rights Manager for Images tool could help these smaller accounts, as creators could file a takedown request because they are the original owner of the content. Likewise, sometimes people like to keep a more private profile on social media. This tool would allow users to enhance their privacy by being able to report other accounts who have reposted previously uploaded content. Another circumstance where I see this being useful deals with advertising spaces. Often when on Instagram I come across many ads that repost another user’s post without permission. This tool would prevent other organizations from profiting off of someone’s content without seeking permission first, as the user could report the account to Instagram or Facebook.

Overall, I think the Rights Manager for Images tool will be very helpful in terms of further establishing creator and privacy rights for Facebook and Instagram users. I am interested to see how this affects some of the accounts I follow, as a majority of the content is reposted.


Apple’s iOS 14 Update Brings Unique Changes

Apple recently released iOS 14 on September 16th. However, this was not the typical yearly software update that the majority of iPhone users have grown accustomed to over the years. Instead of implementing smaller changes and keeping things simple, Apple went against its own reputation. One of the new features is the ability for users to become more organized by using the App Library. This feature “autoarranges all the apps on your phone in folders based on app category” (Cipriani). Likewise, widgets were another feature that the new software brought to the iPhone. Essentially, widgets allow the user to customize their home screen to their liking and style. This was a big step for Apple, as originally all iPhone home screens tended to look identical. Also, Picture in Picture was included in the update as well. Picture in Picture enables the user to leave an application that is running a video and continue watching the video while on their home screen or other applications. Once exiting an application, if you are watching a video, the video will continue to play in a smaller window. This allows the user to multitask and is especially useful on applications such as FaceTime.

Overall, I think this was one of the greatest iOS updates to date as many long-awaited changes were finally implemented into the iPhone’s software. However, I think it is interesting how powerful software can be, especially in iPhones. Apple over the past four to five years has integrated some incredible physical features into their devices. A facial recognition system, a gesture-based experience with no home buttons, and top of the line cameras are just a few of Apple’s new improvements on their devices. However, what I think is most interesting about Apple devices deals with the software. I think it is incredible how an iPhone user can have essentially the same user experience on a phone that is 5 years old, such as the iPhone 6s, as they can on a newer device like the iPhone 11. For example, my father has two iPhones, one for work and one as a personal phone. One phone is an iPhone 6s and the other is an iPhone 11. Other than the camera and Apple’s facial recognition system on the iPhone 11, my father believes it is relatively the same experience. Although some may call this a lack of innovation on Apple’s part, I believe this displays the power of iOS and how great the software actually is. Apple has managed to use software to make up for a lack of newer hardware in their older devices.

Overall, although often criticized, I believe Apple’s iOS software is one of the best available on mobile devices. Although other companies may have more innovative hardware, the software is ultimately what drives the user’s experience.


How Would Insurance Work with Self-Driving Cars?

While we were in our breakout rooms during class last Thursday we were weighing the pros and cons having having self driven cars connected to the internet. While I personally think there are so many more cons then pros when it comes to this I think it absolutely needs to be talked about that what would happen if one of these cars got into an accident? I just think it is very troubling if a car that is driving itself hits someone else then who pays the insurance bill?

It can be argued that whoever owned the self-driving car should then be responsible for paying it, but, you also can say that it wasn’t their fault so why should they pay? These are both very great points and things that we need to talk about before we move into this part of the future. So, I looked into it a little bit and unfortunately found there is no clear answer.

People say it can be partially the company that created the companies fault partially. But, in the article I linked below they said that you can not put the sole responsibility of the accident on the manufacture of that car because all self-driving car manufactures are sharing software(Kreindler).

The article also goes on to say how there are currently no “laws” in insurance about these types of accidents. But, if they were to guess they would say that it would have to be the “backup” drivers fault(Kreindler). This is because all self-driving cars now a days require that someone be in the passengers seat just in case something were to go wrong or get in an accident. I just personally can’t imagine the amount of distracted I would get if my car was driving itself.

I’m curious if anybody has any better solutions because I think outside of the cars being hacked this is the only really problem left with self driving cars. And it must be solved if we are going to transition into this.



Tesla Driver Caught Speeding While Asleep

Not too long ago, a Tesla driver and passenger in Canada were caught sleeping while the car was self-driving with a speed of over 90 mph on a highway. The occupied front seats were fully reclined, meaning neither the driver or the passenger would be in the ready position to take over control of the car if something went wrong. An article by The Verge states that “officers began to pursue the vehicle with their emergency lights flashing, at which point the vehicle ‘automatically began to accelerate’” (Hawkins). This seems extremely dangerous and if I were in the car, I know I would be terrified. According to an article by BBC News, “Tesla cars currently operate at a level-two Autopilot, which requires the driver to remain alert and ready to act, with hands on the wheel” (BBC). If the system doesn’t sense any hands on the steering wheel, it is supposed to disable itself. Therefore, either the system had issues or the owner must have found a trick to keep Autopilot working. An example from the past was towedge an orange against the wheel to simulate the pressure of a human hand” (Hawkins). It’s so strange to me how both the driver and passenger in this case were willing to trust the car with their lives when its system can be so easily fooled or have problems with functioning properly. 

This brings up questions about how safe Tesla cars really are. I believe that in any self-driving car, there should always be an experienced driver that’s ready to take the wheel if something goes wrong. The idea of being able to do whatever you want, like sleeping, while a car does all the driving for you would definitely be cool, but as of right now, it is clearly not safe to put all your trust into a self-driving car. 




  1. (Terms of Service) – What is the minimum age to use WeChat? In other words, how old must a user be to use WeChat?  If under 18, who must agree to the Terms of Service?

The minimum age is 13 and if they are under 18 their parent or legal guardian must agree to the terms of service

2) (Terms of Service) – Is WeChat required to notify you of changes to the Terms of Service? If not required, are users bound by the revised Terms?

No, they are only going to notify if they find it “reasonably material” and yes users are bound to the revised changes.

3) (Terms of Service) – Can WeChat and their affiliates use your content to promote WeChat services worldwide?  If so, are you entitled to any financial compensation for use of your content?

Yes, they can and no you’re not entitled to any financial compensation.

4) (Terms of Service) – As a user, are you guaranteed that WeChat will delete Your Content upon request?  Can anyone continue to store your content?

If you seek to delete content, it will take a little while to process the request. And they also cannot control third parties or anyone else who stores your content.

5) (Terms of Service) – Is WeChat responsible for or liable for any third-party software or services made available to you through WeChat?

No, they are not because they do not endorse or support third parties.

6) (Terms of Service) – What is the maximum financial liability for WeChat (in $USD)?

You will be returned the amount of money that you have paid to use iChat in the last 6 months and also an extra $100.

7) (Privacy Policy) – List the two locations where WeChat servers are located.

Canada and Hong Kong both have WeChat servers.

8) (Privacy Policy) – What is the minimum age to use WeChat?  Is this age the same as the age listed in the Terms of Service?

Yes, the minimum age is still 13.

9) (Privacy Policy) – How does WeChat define “Log Data”?  In other words, what does “Log Data” include?

Log data is defined as information that they automatically collect when using WeChat This can include cookies, web beacons, log files, eTAGS etc.

10) (Privacy Policy) – How long is Metadata / Log Data retained?

It is retained for 3 months.

11) (CCPA) – For California residents who request that WeChat delete personal information, how long will it take WeChat to fulfill the verified request?

They aim to fulfill all requests in 45 days, but they can add an extra 45 days with reasonable explanation

12) (CCPA) – Based on your review, provide a summary indicating whether you believe WeChat complies with the CCPA.

No, I do not think it does. The age requirements vary for both documents and also the CCPA explicitly states how we have a right to delete or opt out of sharing personal information and WeChat stores that data and it could be potentially in the hands of third parties because they would not be held liable for that.

Sony Announces Playstation 5 Release Date and Price

On Wednesday afternoon, Playstation held an event where they showcased some of the new games coming to their new console, the PS5, as well as the release date and price. The new console will release on November 12 in select countries (US and Canada included), and November 19 to the rest of the world. There are two different editions of the PS5, the regular PS5 (disc compatible), which will cost $499.99, and the PS5 digital edition, $399.99. Most players, such as myself, will likely opt for the digital edition, as we already download all of our games from the Playstation Store and it is $100 cheaper than the disc version. It will be interesting to see how the PS5 and the Xbox Series X do against each other, when it comes to sales, but I guess we will find out in November.

Apple Releases Plans for New Products

Apple introduced new apple watches, iPads, and subscription services in their annual September product launch. This year is quite different than others though, because there was no announcement of a new version of their best selling product, the iPhones. It was mentioned that the new device is delayed until October.

The introduction of their iOS 14 was made on Tuesday as well. This is their software for the mobile operating system. iOS 14 will be available for all products on Wednesday. The iOS updates routinely include new features, bug fixes, and advancements in the operating system.

The Series 6 Apple Watch has new features including two different versions of the physical watch. they are launching an “SE” version of the watch which is a slower but is also over $100 cheaper than the standard version. There are new features added to the Series 6, such as a brighter display, a faster processing chip, and even new blood oxygen level  tracking technology.  The new watches will be available on Friday.

The iPad is another Apple product that is getting a few upgrades in 2020. The major adjustments including the FaceID feature. Additionally, the iPad is converting from the current Lighting Cable charging cord, which most all other apple products are using, to the universal USB-C Cable.

Apple is one of the top tech companies nationwide and their continued technological advancements are always admired by the tech industry. It is always very interesting to tune into their launch in mid-september and see how they have out done themselves from the year prior.



TikTok Reaches Agreement with Oracle

Back in July, President Trump announced his intentions to ban the popular app, TikTok, in the United States, giving the company an ultimatum to sell by September 15th. It had long been rumored that tech giant, Microsoft, would buy the app, but TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance decided to go with another offer. On Sunday, with just two days to go before President Trump’s deadline, ByteDance reached an agreement (in principle) with Oracle to take over the app’s U.S. operations. What this means for the app’s future still remains to be seen, but to me, this seems like this could be a step in the right direction.

Microsoft’s data center resurfaces from the sea

Two years ago Microsoft placed a cylinder-shaped data container into the ocean. Interestingly enough, after being extracted from the sea only “eight out of the 855 servers on board had failed” (Cellan-Jones). Ben Cutler, who is leading the project compares the situation with the typical data center on land. Cutler states, “‘Our failure rate in the water is one-eighth of what we see on land.'” Analysts at Microsoft believe this “greater reliability” may be related to the lack of humans on board the data center and that nitrogen was being pumped into the capsule as opposed to oxygen. Likewise, the experiment is projected to make storing data more sustainable as “All of Orkney’s electricity comes from wind and solar power” (Cellan-Jones). Orkney, an archipelago off the coast of Scotland, was the location chosen for the experiment due to its energy practices.

Ultimately, I believe Microsoft is heading in the right direction with this project. With data optimization and data storage being increasingly important moving forward, Microsoft is getting ahead of the curve. I thought it was extremely interesting how the project, even though underwater, was actually more efficient and had fewer failures than a conventional data center. If these underwater centers turn out to have long term success, it could change the way data is stored forever. Likewise, with climate change becoming a larger problem, more sustainable centers will help with the increasing need for storage and cloud optimization. However, I do have one obvious concern for underwater data centers. If water manages to get into the base, that could ruin the storage servers inside. For this reason, I believe space could be a good place for data centers moving forward by utilizing satellites to serve as capsules for servers.

Overall, I am curious to see if Microsoft continues to create more underwater databases in the future. However, I could also see companies placing data centers into space for further optimization if problems arise.