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Last Week Online #61 – We all worry about getting hacked

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Since you already know that Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard, here are three other things from this week ...

Athletes encouraged to use burner phones for the 2022 Olympics

Multiple countries Olympic and Paralympic Committees tell athletes to leave their personal phones and computers at home for next month's Winter Olympics in China. Instead, they are encouraged to use burner phones.

The US Olympic Committee has sent out two warnings to athletes about the possibility of digital surveillance while in China. "Every device, communication, transaction and online activity may be monitored," the communication states. "Your device(s) may also be compromised with malicious software, which could negatively impact future use." And similar recommendations are made by Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

The fear is not unfounded. In 2019, China secretly installed spyware on tourists' phones when they entered from the Xinjiang region. And already know – two weeks before leaving for China – athletes must report their health status to the Chinese government through the app My2022 Olympic. However, the research group Citizen Lab found that this app, which all attendees must install, is full of security holes that could lead to privacy breaches, surveillance, and hacking.

Our trust for tech depend on how you ask the question

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer (pdf) surveyed 36,000 people across 28 countries about their trust. For example, people trust search engines more than traditional media, but the confidence in both decreased compared to last year, with -3 and -5 percentage points respectively. However, the worry for false information and fake news being used as a weapon had 76% of respondents agreeing, a 4 point increase since last year and an all-time high in many countries.

While many people worry about job loss (85%) and climate change (75%), the share of respondents that worry about hackers and cyber-attacks are almost as high, at 71%. This worry increased three points during the last year, as did the concern for climate change.

However, when asked how much they trusted businesses in an industry "to do what is right." The tech sector earned the highest trust score, 74 percent, and an increase of four points since last year. Most other industries registered a rise in trust as well. However, Social media was the lowest-ranked in the survey, earning a score of just 44%, a decrease of two points.

Tesla driver at fault in fatal crash involving Autopilot

In 2019, two people were killed in a crash when a Tesla Model S abruptly exited a freeway and ran a red light. The situation involved Tesla's Autopilot system, and now the driver faces dual vehicle manslaughter charges. According to reports, this is the first time a driver faces felony charges in a fatal crash with driver-assistance software activated.

This is not the first crash of its severity involving automation. For example, in a fatal self-driving crash involving an Uber autonomous vehicle, the backup driver was charged with negligent homicide in 2018. That time the car killed a pedestrian pushing a bike across a dark thoroughfare. However, this time, the charges are related to a system available directly to consumers.

Tesla Autopilot is not an autonomous system. Tesla writes on their website that it is intended to be used with a fully attentive driver behind the wheel. However, Tesla has previously argued that Autopilot is safer than a typical car operation if you compare crash statistics between different driving modes. However, federal regulators have recently homed in on Autopilot over multiple reports of crashes while it was activated.

Best long read of the week:

How A.I. Conquered Poker

The New York Times – Good poker players have always known that they need to maintain a balance between bluffing and playing it straight. Now they can do so perfectly.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.


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