On Instagram, Seeing Between the (Gender) Lines

Excerpt from this article:

Her research found that social media is a gathering place for discussing the logistics of gender — providing advice, reassurance and emotional support, as well as soliciting feedback about everything from voice modulation to hairstyles. The internet is a place where nonbinary people can learn about mixing masculine and feminine elements to the point of obscuring concrete identification as either. As one person she interviewed put it, “Every day someone can’t tell what I am is a good day.”

Nearly everyone Darwin interviewed remarked about the power of acquiring language that spoke to their identity, and they tended to find that language on the internet. But Harry Barbee, a nonbinary sociologist at Florida State University who studies sex, gender and sexuality, cautioned against treating social media as a curative. “When the world assumes you don’t exist, you’re forced to define yourself into existence if you want some semblance of recognition and social viability, and so the internet and social media helps achieve this,” Barbee said. “But it’s not a dream world where we are free to be you and me, because it can also be a mechanism for social control.” Barbee has been researching what it means to live as nonbinary in a binary world. Social media, Barbee said, is “one realm where they do feel free to share who they are, but they’re realistic about the limitations of the space. Even online, they are confronted by hostility…

 

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ReplyAll #130 The Snapchat Thief

Excerpt from this podcast:

ALEX: Yeah. So take everything he says with a grain of salt. But he told me that he and his fellow hackers actually have a pretty reliable method for how they usually get accounts. It’s called SIM Swapping.
PJ: OK.
ALEX: So here’s how SIM Swapping works: You, PJ, have a phone number. I’m not going to say it on the radio even though that would be such a good troll.

ALEX: Um. So, so, what they do is they find out that you have a valuable account and they find out your number. And they call the phone company and pretend to be you and say, “I’ve got a new phone that you need to transfer my phone number to.” So the phone company transfers your phone number to the hacker’s phone.
PJ: And then they have logins on all your apps?
ALEX: They don’t have logins on all your apps. But since everybody uses two factor authentication on their phones–
PJ: Ahhhh! Then they go to instagram and they’re like “I forgot my password!”
ALEX: Exactly. And then Instagram sends a password reset text to the phone number, which they’re now in control of, and just like that, they have your account.
WORTHY: You know what OGUsers is right? 
ALEX: Oh, do I ever.
WORTHY: Yeah, so basically, OGs like that–OG handles, those are easy because it’s normal people like me and you. As long as I got the number, done. All I got to do is call T-Mobile, Verizon–any phone companies and you’ll have it for about 24 hours before they notice, you know, it was obviously a fraud. But by the time you know that happens you’ve already swapped that OG handle, you’ve got it. It’s yours. It’s done.
PJ: I mean, I don’t know if this is true, but there’s probably a lot of people at T-Mobile who are trusted to port a number.
ALEX: Yeah like my experience at every phone store I’ve ever been to is that the people there are moving phone numbers from one phone to another all day every day. Like, anytime you buy a new phone, that’s what they’re doing.

Google Thinks I’m Dead (I know otherwise.)

Excerpt from this article:

For much of the last week, I have been trying to persuade the world’s most powerful search engine to remove my photo from biographical details that belong to someone else. A search for “Rachel Abrams” revealed that Google had mashed my picture from The New York Times’s website with the Wikipedia entry for a better-known writer with the same name, who died in 2013.

My father pointed this out in a quizzical text message, but the error seemed like an inconsequential annoyance best ignored indefinitely. To anyone who knows me, it is clearly not me — I am not married, my mother’s name is not Midge, and I was not born in 1951.

But when an acquaintance said she was alarmed to read that I had passed away, it seemed like an error worth correcting.

And so began the quest to convince someone at Google that I am alive.

This App Helps Refugees Get Bank Accounts By Giving Them A Digital Identity

Excerpt from this article:

If you move to Berlin, you need a bank account to rent an apartment, sign a contract for a mobile phone, or deposit a paycheck. But for refugees and asylum seekers–who typically don’t have the ID cards that most banks require–it can be nearly impossible to get an account.

A new startup called Taqanu is designing an alternative. Instead of asking for standard identification, it uses something that almost all refugees do have: a smartphone. An app installed on a phone can track someone’s digital data, including social networking, to prove their identity. Users will also create a “reputation network,” asking friends and family to vouch that someone is who they say they are. The app also asks refugees to upload photos of any documents they have, such as papers from a refugee camp in Greece. As the app is used, it continues to collect more evidence of someone’s identity.

‘Sim or human?’ Model with cartoon-like features sends Instagram into a frenzy as fans debate whether she’s real or not

The latest Insta-famous model Lil Miquela has sent her fanbase of more than 65,000 into a frenzy as they debate whether she's a real person or not

Excerpt from this article:

With her plump lips, huge eyes and doll-like demeanour, she looks as if she could have stepped straight out of a video game

So perhaps it’s no wonder the latest Insta-famous model Lil Miquela has sent her fanbase of more than 65,000 into a frenzy as they debate whether she’s a real person or not.

Miquela regularly treats her Instagram followers to pictures of her posing in off-duty model worthy athleisure, visiting nightclubs and art galleries.

Face recognition app taking Russia by storm may bring end to public anonymity

Findface has amassed 500,000 users in the short time since the launch

Excerpt from this article:

If the founders of a new face recognition app get their way, anonymity in public could soon be a thing of the past. FindFace, launched two months ago and currently taking Russia by storm, allows users to photograph people in a crowd and work out their identities, with 70% reliability.

It works by comparing photographs to profile pictures on Vkontakte, a social network popular in Russia and the former Soviet Union, with more than 200 million accounts. In future, the designers imagine a world where people walking past you on the street could find your social network profile by sneaking a photograph of you, and shops, advertisers and the police could pick your face out of crowds and track you down via social networks.

… Kabakov says the app could revolutionise dating: “If you see someone you like, you can photograph them, find their identity, and then send them a friend request.” The interaction doesn’t always have to involve the rather creepy opening gambit of clandestine street photography, he added: “It also looks for similar people. So you could just upload a photo of a movie star you like, or your ex, and then find 10 girls who look similar to her and send them messages.”

Some have sounded the alarm about the potentially disturbing implications. Already the app has been used by a St Petersburg photographer to snap and identify people on the city’s metro, as well as by online vigilantes to uncover the social media profiles of female porn actors and harass them.