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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Toolkit for digital abuse could help victims protect themselves

Domestic abuse comes in digital forms as well as physical and emotional, but a lack of tools to address this kind of behavior leaves many victims unprotected and desperate for help. This Cornell project aims to define and detect digital abuse in a systematic way.

Digital abuse may be many things: hacking the victim’s computer, using knowledge of passwords or personal date to impersonate them or interfere with their presence online, accessing photos to track their location, and so on. As with other forms of abuse, there are as many patterns as there are people who suffer from it.

But with something like emotional abuse, there are decades of studies and clinical approaches to address how to categorize and cope with it. Not so with newer phenomena like being hacked or stalked via social media. That means there’s little standard playbook for them, and both abused and those helping them are left scrambling for answers.

“Prior to this work, people were reporting that the abusers were very sophisticated hackers, and clients were receiving inconsistent advice. Some people were saying, ‘Throw your device out.’ Other people were saying, ‘Delete the app.’ But there wasn’t a clear understanding of how this abuse was happening and why it was happening,” explained Diana Freed, a doctoral student at Cornell Tech and co-author of a new paper about digital abuse.

“They were making their best efforts, but there was no uniform way to address this,” said co-author Sam Havron. “They were using Google to try to help clients with their abuse situations.”

Investigating this problem with the help of a National Science Foundation grant to examine the role of tech in domestic abuse, they and some professor collaborators at Cornell and NYU came up with a new approach.

There’s a standardized questionnaire to characterize the type of tech-based being experienced. It may not occur to someone who isn’t tech-savvy that their partner may know their passwords, or that there are social media settings they can use to prevent that partner from seeing their posts. This information and other data are added to a sort of digital presence diagram the team calls the “technograph” and which helps the victim visualize their technological assets and exposure.

technograph filled

The team also created a device they call the IPV Spyware Discovery, or ISDi. It’s basically spyware scanning software loaded on a device that can check the victim’s device without having to install anything. This is important because an abuser may have installed tracking software that would alert them if the victim is trying to remove it. Sound extreme? Not to people fighting a custody battle who can’t seem to escape the all-seeing eye of an abusive ex. And these spying tools are readily available for purchase.

“It’s consistent, it’s data-driven and it takes into account at each phase what the abuser will know if the client makes changes. This is giving people a more accurate way to make decisions and providing them with a comprehensive understanding of how things are happening,” explained Freed.

Even if the abuse can’t be instantly counteracted, it can be helpful simply to understand it and know that there are some steps that can be taken to help.

The authors have been piloting their work at New York’s Family Justice Centers, and following some testing have released the complete set of documents and tools for anyone to use.

This isn’t the team’s first piece of work on the topic — you can read their other papers and learn more about their ongoing research at the Intimate Partner Violence Tech Research program site.


Source: TechCrunch

Cloudflare has a third cofounder, Lee Holloway, who’s credited with making the company what is today

Not every cofounder is acknowledged at the companies that they help to launch. Sometimes, they quit or they’re elbowed out. Often, they’re conveniently written out the company’s history.

In the case of Cloudflare, a third cofounder who began the company with CEO Matthew Prince and COO Michelle Zatlyn is little known outside the company for a very different reason. As Cloudflare states in an S-1 filing IPO filing that it made public today, “Tragically, Lee stepped down from Cloudflare in 2015, suffering the debilitating effects of Frontotemporal Dementia, a rare neurological disease.�

Frontotemporal dementia impacts between 50,000 and 60,000 Americans, according to a rough estimate cited by the Alzheimer’s Association, and it tends to impact younger people, beginning at age 45.

Though the cause isn’t known, a person’s risk for developing frontotemporal dementia — wherein the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain shrink — is higher if there’s a family history of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Cloudflare did not respond today to questions about Holloway, but Prince and Zatlyn, in a section of the filing addressed to potential shareholders, credit Holloway as the “genius who architected our platform and recruited and led our early technical team.” In fact, they write, when picking a code name for the company’s IPO, they chose “Project Hollowayâ€� to honor his contribution because the “technical decisions Lee made, and the engineering team he built, are fundamental to the business we have become.”

Holloway’s beneficiaries will be rewarded for that work. According to the S-1, trusts affiliated with him own 18% of the company’s Series A shares (or common shares) and 3.2% of the company’s total outstanding shares. Prince meanwhile owns 20.2% of the company’s class B shares and 16.6% of all outstanding shares, and Zatlyn has 6.8% of the company’s class B shares and 5.6% of the overall shares outstanding.

If Cloudflare goes public at the $3.2 billion valuation it was last assigned by its private investors, Holloway’s family and other trust recipients could see upwards of $100 million.

That’s none too shabby for a computer geek who attended Monte Vista High School in Danville, Calif., before working as an engineer at the bubble-era home improvement site HomeWarehouse.com, whose assets were sold in 2000 to Wal-mart.com. Though an apparent fire sale, then-CEO Jeanne Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle that Wal-mart was “very impressed with the commerce platform developed by the Homewarehouse.com team.”

Either way, in the aftermath of the sale, Holloway headed to UC Santa Cruz, where he studied computer science and, in a meeting that would change his life, was introduced through a professor to Prince, with whom he began building an anti-spam startup called Unspam Technologies. Holloway was its chief software architect; Prince continues to serve as chairman. They two also co-created Project Honey Pot, an open source community that still tracks online fraud and abuse.

Zatlyn would enter the picture soon after. According to Cloudflare itself, in 2009, Prince had taken a sabbatical from work to get his MBA from Harvard Business School. It was when he began telling Zatlyn, a classmate, about Project Honey Pot and its community of users that she helped him recognize a related opportunity in not just tracking internet threats but also stopping them. While they worked on the business plan as part of their studies, Holloway built the first working prototype.

It worked well enough that by 2010, they were pitching investors at a TechCrunch Disrupt as one of the event’s “battlefield” participants.

Holloway wasn’t on stage for that demonstration. He might have preferred to operate in the background given the nature of his work.

Indeed, in the first of just three tweets he has ever published, he wrote simply, “Pondering the nature of web exploits.”

Pictured above: Cloudflare cofounders Zatlyn, Holloway, and Prince.


Source: TechCrunch

Fitbit Versa 2 could be coming next month – CNET

Rumors say it’ll include Alexa and more than four days of battery life.
Source: CNET

A Rocket-Catchin' Copter, a Radioactive Russian Cloud, and More News

Catch up on the most important news from today in two minutes or less.
Source: Wired

Huawei Mate X foldable phone probably won't come out before November – CNET

The foldable phone reportedly won’t arrive in September after all.
Source: CNET

Toyota recalls 2019 Prius, RAV4 Hybrid for faulty brake assist – Roadshow

A handful of Lexus hybrids are also part of the recall.
Source: CNET

Netflix's To All The Boys sequel gets its release date – CNET

A third film is already in production.
Source: CNET

La primera ley anti-CRISPR le prohíbe editar su propio genoma en casa

Un nuevo proyecto de ley de California exige que los kits de edición genética para el consumidor incluyan una advertencia que indique que no están diseñados para el autoconsumo. Sin embargo, todavía no existe ningún producto así
Source: MIT

Google publica un vídeojuego para que la IA aprenda a jugar al fútbol

El equipo de inteligencia artificial del gigante ha lanzado ‘Google Research Football Environment’, un entorno con varios niveles de complejidad que cualquier investigador puede usar para entrenar a sus algoritmos a lidiar con lo imprevisible
Source: MIT

Judge bars Georgia from using current voting technology in 2020 – CNET

The state is in the midst of getting new voting machines and other tech.
Source: CNET

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