BBC video: App that detects naked pictures on your smartphone

It may be a meme nowadays but “Send nudes” or “sexting” has been a phenomenon that’s giving parents nightmares specially that younger children are getting online much earlier than before. I’m a parent and whenever my 6-year-old daughter grabs hold of my phone and I don’t anything from it, I quickly go over and have a look at what she’s doing, watching or looking at.

The good folks over at YIPO Technologies has come up with an app that aims to help parents stop their kids from sending or receiving naked photos: Gallery Guardian. The BBC was able to take it for a spin and came up with some interesting results, check out their video below:

Gallery Guardian is still in development but clearly it has great potential. Can’t wait to have it installed on my daughter’s tablet device. If it will be made available in the Philippines that is.

Facebook users in the Philippines can now report links as fake news

Finally! With the rise of social media and the dominance of Facebook came the rise of hoax stories or fake news stories/articles which in turn was used as propaganda for hate, discrimination, abuses and manipulation of public opinion. In response, Facebook introduced a feature back in January 20, 2016 which allowed users to flag or report a news story as a hoax or fake. This feature back then was only available to users in the United States. Erich Owens, Software Engineer, and Udi Weinsberg, Research Scientist for Facebook explained in a post:

We’re always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We’ve heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today’s update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook.

Now it’s available for users in the Philippines where the proliferation of fake news stories have become the weapon of choice for political operatives in influencing public opinion and the national discussion whether they are supportive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his much criticized and controversial war on illegal drugs and recently, his ordering of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a national shrine for its fallen heroes, or critical of his policies.

Various personalities and groups have taken to Facebook to drum up support for Duterte or voice their criticisms which is important in a democracy. However, things have become out of hand as both supporters and critics have directly or indirectly used and produced fake news stories for their cause. In the end though, the level and quality of public discourse has suffered. As manipulation of information, statistics, photos even blatant fabrication of fake stories and lies has led to abuse and widening of divisions and disagreements, hatred and mass psychosis. It has become harder to tell what is true from what is a lie.

To report a link on Facebook as fake news:

1) Click on the “v” menu in the upper-right corner of the post. A menu pops up, choose “Report post”
Fake news on Facebook

2) Choose “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook.”

3) Now select “It’s a false news story.”

4) Next options for unfriending, unfollowing or completely blocking your friend or page that posted the hoax or fake news. There’s even an option of messaging your friend to let him or her know that you think the link is hoax or fake.

Good job! You just helped Facebook identify which content is a hoax or fake news. The links you report won’t be deleted but will be marked with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it. Hopefully, this will help in cleaning up our news feeds and taking back the Internet.

Looking for a new social bookmarking tool

In my effort to get back my blogging mojo, I re-opened my Del.icoi.us account to see if the service is still alive so that I can start using it again to save the links that I find interesting and useful for later on. Seeing that the service has become a shell of its former glory back when social media primarily meant blogs and blogging and Facebook was just a rising star, it dawned on me that I need a new or a different bookmarking service. Googling for it reminded me of Google Bookmarks (duh!) being a Google fan, it would be easy to dump Del.icio.us and fall back to this one. But this list of social bookmarking sites drew my attention to Pinterest. Knowing it’s the most popular service in this niche and how it has replaced Del.icio.us in the “social bookmarks” plugins nowadays, it’s a better option than Google Bookmarks. I’ll give it a spin for a couple of weeks and see if it will grow on me or how it will fit in with my blogging routine.

Oh and Del.icio.us is so like a zombie it can’t even export your bookmarks anymore.

The SCE still has jurisdiction over electronic form of election propaganda

One of the most novel and equally controversial provisions of the Revised Student Election Code of DLSU-D is the provision concerning electronic forms of election propaganda.

Background

Yours truly was part of the body that assembled to revise the old Student Election Code of DLSU-D back in 2008. Considering my background in social media publishing, aka I’m a blogger, and my previous experience in being Chair of the 2007 Students’ Constitutional Convention that drafted the 2008 USC Constitution, the body appointed me to draft the provisions concerning electronic forms of propaganda.

When we say electronic form of election propaganda we mean campaigning done through SMS, the Internet – in particular social media, video, audio and any other means of electronic communication.

As early as the 2007 elections, political parties were already using SMS, aka group messages to campaign for their candidates during elections. Back then, there were no provisions in the old E-Code about this method or other electronic campaign propaganda, however, the SCE still allowed it given that the campaign messages did not contain defamatory/libelous content against any political party and/or candidate.

As time went on, social media like Multiply.com which was still famous back then, were also used as election propaganda. Other political parties started putting up websites of their own. Again, up until the 2008 Revised E-Code, there were no provisions about the electronic election propaganda, yet they were still allowed and that the contents conformed to the relevant provisions of the E-Code. In addition to content, such electronic campaign propaganda were only used, published and utilized during the campaign period. Outside of the campaign period, they were strictly prohibited.

This was the experience and practice that became the norm up until the 2008 Revised E-Code was drafted, ratified and took effect beginning the 2009 USC and CSC elections.

So when we considered the provisions about the electronic form of election propaganda, we realized that it was impractical and impossible for the SCE to fully regulate it in the manner it can regulate non-electronic forms like tarpaulins, fliers, leaflets, posters, pins, shirts, etc. Simply because electronic election propaganda were intangible and resided only the vast expanse of the Internet and electronic gadgets while the non-electronic election propaganda were physically tangible and were only used inside the campus well within the literal jurisdiction of the SCE.

However, the body also understood that we cannot stop the march of progress and the creativity of the political parties – electronic forms of election propaganda is the way to go.

Compromise: Continue from historical experience and practice

So the compromise was that the SCE gave up jurisdiction over electronic forms of election propaganda in terms of the quantity, dimensions and the locations where they can be posted. However, the contents or substance and timeliness of its usage remained under the jurisdiction of the SCE as was the practice back in 2007.

Political parties and candidates were free to use any forms of electronic election propaganda be it SMS, social media, dedicated websites, videos, cover photos, profile photos, infographics etc. as long as the contents conformed to the applicable provisions of the E-code that regulated content:

Section 50. Prohibited Forms of Campaign Paraphernalia/Propaganda. Any
campaign paraphernalia/propaganda shall be unlawful if it:
Xxx xxx xxx
b. Contains the Course of the candidate.
c. Contains defamatory/libellous content against any political
party and/or candidate.
d. Involves the use of logo/name of any outside organization/
individual that has not been a donor of the political party and/
or candidate.

Aside from the content, the timeliness of using electronic election propaganda is also regulated by the E-code, that such campaigning is prohibited outside the campaign period.

A perfect sample case or precedent was the case of SENTRO vs SINAG, 2007-2008 elections wherein a campaign manager of SINAG political party was caught campaigning on election day itself using group SMS. SINAG was disqualified not for using SMS, but for campaigning during election days.

Provisions of the E-Code must be interpreted in harmony, not in conflict

Now, there is a serious misconception that since there is Section 47, f. that says:

The SCE shall have no jurisdiction over electronic form of election propaganda

It means that political parties and candidates have absolute freedom with electronic election propaganda. This is wrong. This is the wrong way of interpreting the E-Code because if this was correct, there would be a conflict with Section 50, c. of the E-Code which prohibits campaign propaganda that is defamatory/libelous. In legal practice, the Supreme Court explains why provisions of a law or code must not be taken against the other provisions, instead it should be interpreted and implemented in harmony with other provisions that express the intention of the authors of the law or its spirit.

The rule is that a a code is enacted as a single, comprehensive statute, and is to be considered as such and not as a series of disconnected articles or provisions. (Baking v. Director of Prisons)

Thus Section 47, f and Section 50 can stand side by side and not in opposition to one another. That parties and candidates can use any form of electronic election propaganda and regardless of its quantities as long as the contents do not contain defamatory or libelous content nor the courses of the candidates it bears and that such electronic campaign propaganda be used only during the campaign period.

A parallel case would be SWAFO’s past investigation in the blind-item pages in Facebook where students are sharing/posting their “secret stories” about life as a student in DLSU-D. The student handbook does not prohibit students about creating social media accounts, but if such accounts are being used to post content that are malicious or libelous against any member of the academic community, school administrators are authorized to investigate and if proven, discipline erring students.

It should be now clear to all students, specially the political parties, their candidates and the Student Commission on Elections that the use of electronic election propaganda are still subject to the provisions of the Student Election Code.

Challenge accepted #https2015

This blog may not have the massive traffic it once had, I’m still perpetually working on it, the few visitors who happen to drop by and spend some time do so over an insecure HTTP channel.

With the rise of online attacks, where small websites are being used to attack bigger and more valuable online properties, there is a growing consensus that every website owner, publisher or operator join hands in making the internet a more secure place. We can do that by using secure HTTP connections or serving their websites over HTTPS.

Here’s a list of 9 good reasons why we should embrace HTTPS on the New York Times. And there’s a bonus of other good references listed at the end of the article.

The juiciest part of it, if I may say, is the challenge to have this blog fully on HTTPS by 2015. It’s going to be a challenge, but a good one at that. I get to tick off one of the items on my to-do-list cum New Year’s resolution since many years back and I can give my online visitors some peace of mind whenever they drop by for a visit. So let the fortification begin!

Bloggers, netizens file ‘motion for partial reconsideration’ on SC’s Cybercrime ruling

‘Don’t criminalize Filipinos’ modern, changing way of life’

Bloggers and Netizens for Democracy, the group composed of petitioners in GR 203469 (Cruz et al vs. Aquino et al), is set to file today its motion for partial reconsideration seeking to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In its 41-page motion for partial reconsideration, BAND said that “the Honorable Court should not allow itself to be a party to the criminalization of the Filipino people’s modern, changing way of life.”

“If unchallenged and unchanged, the remnants of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, together with the Questioned Decision will make the Constitution and the people’s way of life collateral damage in the fight against new forms of crimes involving technology and the economy,” said BAND.

Blogger Tonyo Cruz, BAND convenor and one of the petitioners, said “the court should join Filipinos in making sure the Philippine portion of the Internet remains free. We wish to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Philippines’ first live internet connection which happened on March 29, 1994, in complete freedom and sans the chilling effects of this badly-crafted and unconstitutional law.”

BAND is asking the court to strike down the following provisions as unconstitutional for blatantly violating multiple clauses of the Constitution including those on Free Speech, Due Process, Against Double Jeopardy, and Equal Protection: Section 4(c)4 on libel and the libel provisions of the Revised Penal Code; Sec. 5 on aiding and abetting in the commission of cybercrime, and attempt in the commission of cybercrime; Section 6 on the application of the Cybercrime Law on the whole Revised Penal Code and the application of a heavier penalties; and Section 7 on liability under other laws.

In asking the court to void cyberlibel, BAND says the country’s criminal libel law is “a throwback to the Spanish and American colonial era when authorities criminalized all forms of dissent.”

BAND meanwhile also asks the court to uphold the Cybercrime Law’s Section 4(c)3 which seeks to regulate spam commercial messages, citing concerns that those who use and spread spam messages do so by violating the right of citizens to privacy of communication.

BAND is composed of Philippine Blog Award winners Tonyo Cruz (tonyocruz.com), Marcelo Landicho (The Professional Heckler), Benjamin Noel Espina (Atheista.net), and Marck Ronald Rimorin (The Marocharim Experiment); bloggers Julius Rocas (Four-eyed Journal), Oliver Richard Robillo (Ang Dabawenyo), Aaron Erick Lozada (Pinoy Gossip Boy), Gerald Adrian Magnaye (Noisy Noisy Man), Jose Reginald Ramos (dronthego.net) and Maureen Hermitanio (Philippine Online Chronicles); social media strategist Rosario Juan; digital marketing professionals Brendalyn Ramirez and Kristine Joy Rementilla; developer Maricel O. Gray; digital creative director Julius Ivan Cabigon; and representatives of Cebu Bloggers Society president Ruben Licera Jr.; and Philippine Expat/OFW Blog Awards coordinator Pedro Rahon.

Standing as BAND counsel is Kristoffer James Purisima, also a netizen.

Gov’t spying & Edward Snowden – a preview of the Anti-Cybercrime law in the Philippines

While we’re still waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision over the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, those who are still trying to fully understand the bad effects of this law gain help by reading up on the Edward Snowden controversy in which he has revealed how the US government is using laws similar to our own Anti-Cybercrime law to conduct cyber-espionage on its own citizens.

Just how are these laws used by governments in conducting their surveillance operations? Here’s a quick rundown of it all by Declan McCullagh on CNET.com:

By wielding a potent legal threat, the U.S. government is often able to force Internet companies to aid its surveillance demands. The threat? Comply or we’ll implant our own eavesdropping devices on your network.

Under federal law, the National Security Agency can serve real-time “electronic surveillance” orders on Internet companies for investigations related to terrorism or national security.

These orders, authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, are used to feed data into the NSA’s PRISM software program that was revealed last month by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. PRISM documents indicate that the NSA can receive “real-time notifications” of user log-ins.

Some Internet companies have reluctantly agreed to work with the government to conduct legally authorized surveillance on the theory that negotiations are less objectionable than the alternative — federal agents showing up unannounced with a court order to install their own surveillance device on a sensitive internal network. Those devices, the companies fear, could disrupt operations, introduce security vulnerabilities, or intercept more than is legally permitted.

“Nobody wants it on-premises,” said a representative of a large Internet company who has negotiated surveillance requests with government officials. “Nobody wants a box in their network…[Companies often] find ways to give tools to minimize disclosures, to protect users, to keep the government off the premises, and to come to some reasonable compromise on the capabilities.”

Recalling the provisions of the Anti-Cybercrime law here in the Philippines, there would be not much difference between how the US government is doing it and how our own Philippine government would go about doing it once the Anti-cybercrime law is upheld by the Supreme Court.

Your ISPs and telcos would soon become tools of the state in conducting their own intelligence gathering operations. Now Google and Facebook have spoken out against such accusations that they have become conspirators with the government in spying on the American people as they, not just the government, would suffer from public outrage. Will our local ISPs and telcos be brave enough or be complicit pawns of the state in the biggest edition of ‘Big Brother’ in history?

You still think government spying as portrayed in Hollywood films like Enemy of the State, Eagle Eye, the Jason Bourne films are still fiction? As the Edward Snowden controversy continues to unfold, you really have to think twice before going online or even opening your smartphone.

Bloggers Petition against RA No 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

Some of you may have thought that I’ve stopped blogging about what’s going on in society, that I’ve become a silent observer now in the background, a former shell of a once activist-blogger from years ago. Entirely not true. Today I break the silence by publishing here, a copy of our petition for Certiorari & Prohibition [With Application for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction] against Republic Act No 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 which has been recently enacted into law by the Aquino government. It was docketed as G.R. No 203469.

The reasons why I oppose the anti-Cybercrime law are all enumerated in detail within the petition I filed along with other bloggers and netizens who will not sit by silently while a government led by the son of the supposed “icons of Philippine democracy” implement a law that throws us back to dark ages of repression and tyranny in this modern, connected age.

Bloggers Petition Certiorari & Prohibition [With Application for the Issuance of a Temporary Restra…

For those who have difficulty understanding the language of the pleading, we’ve made available a summary written for a much lighter reading.

Petition Summary

I urge every concerned citizen, active online or not, to join us in fighting for our rights and freedom, for progress and development, to stand together in opposing this draconian law that is the anti-Cybercrime law.

Assess Social Media Performance with Wildfire Monitor

The increase in social media usage has gone along with a rise in the number of tools to monitor and track that usage. Web users have plenty of choice here, but one tool that’s worth watching is WildFire Monitor. This is one of a range of useful tools from Wildfire Interactive, a technology company that aims to help organizations engage their social media communities. The key question that Wildfire Monitor asks is ‘who’s winning in social?’

Check Facebook and Twitter

The main WildFire Monitor page allows you to type in three Facebook page URLs and three Twitter usernames. Then you hit the compare button to compare how those pages and profiles have performed over time. One of the nicest things about WildFire Monitor is the easy stats view via a color coded chart. You can track weekly, monthly, quarterly or all stats, checking the number of fans or followers. This could be particularly useful for organizations who are trying to see how their social media efforts match up against those of their competitors, measured in simple numbers. If you want to know whether your fan base is increasing or whether your competitors are gaining the edge, then this is the perfect tool.

Get Social Media Alerts

What’s more the daily trend tracking can be combined with weekly alerts which allow you to receive these key metrics in your inbox and WildFire soon plans to add another feature, providing customized social media guidance based on your key metrics. This will be a great feature for those just starting out in social media, and even for those who want to refine the techniques they are using to gain fans and followers.

Build Social Media Campaigns

Signup for this tool is free at the moment, but you’ll have to pay to use WildFire’s other award winning tool, the campaign builder. This is how you can attract and engage your customers. This tool allows you to create branded campaigns such as contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, surveys and so on and publish them both on your website and on your chosen social networks. Interactivity will draw your customers in and keep them loyal – and you’ll be able to track the growth in your fanbase with WildFire Monitor.

Other Users

Who else could use the monitoring tool? Well, it’s not just corporations who can benefit from this type of campaign and monitoring. All kinds of organizations can improve their social media performance this way – non-profits, small businesses, agencies – and even individual bloggers looking to gain some social media traction. Only you can decide whether to use WildFire Monitor as a stand alone tool – and peek on what your fellow bloggers are doing – or to go for the full suite of tools and launch an interactive campaign. Pricing for the campaigns starts at $5 apiece plus $0.99 per day and goes all the way up to customized white label solutions.

WildFire Monitor is a nice addition to the range of social media monitoring tools already available – check it out!

This post is written by Lior Levine, a marketing consultant for a web hosting company that lists the top 10 website hosting companies. Lior also advises for a company that specializes in personalized oncology services.

My favorite/top tech brands

There’s an on-going poll over at Yugatech.com asking for which brands are the faves of us consumers.

Over the years of craving and owning gadgets and using services, here’s a short list of the brands I consider my preferred, not actually favorites though, choice.

Cellphones: Sony Ericsson and LG

Personal Computing: Intel, NVidia, HP/Compaq

Telecoms: Globe (both mobile and landline)

Companies & Websites: Google & Amazon

Most frequently used but in no particular order: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Automattic (WordPress), Tumblr and Springpadit

What’s your preferred/trusted/favorite brands? Blog/Tweet/Comment about them below or at Yugatech