All posts by Devin Coldewey

Accessibility and communication apps take FCC honors

 It may seem strange to see a headline with “FCC” in it that doesn’t concern net neutrality. But the Commission has a wide variety of responsibilities, among which is promoting and enabling tech that empowers people with disabilities to take advantage of the internet and its many services. Several companies creating such tech just got accolades from the FCC today. Read More

Actiview aims to streamline movie accessibility for millions of hearing and vision impaired

 Most people don’t have to think very hard about going to see the latest movie in the theater, but for millions, things aren’t that simple. If you’re hearing or vision impaired, getting the apparatus to provide you with amplified sound or scene descriptions can be a pain, if they’re even available. Actiview is a startup aiming to make accessibility in movie-going as… Read More

Facebook will share anonymized location data with disaster relief organizations

 A new initiative from Facebook will provide aid organizations with location data for users in affected areas, such as where people are marking themselves safe and where they are fleeing from. It shows the immense potential of this kind of fine-grained tracking, but inescapably resurfaces questions of just what else the company could do with the data. Read More

Deep analysis of police body cam footage shows pattern of microaggressions towards black people

 Police body cameras don’t just record shootouts and other crises — they’re on all day every day, providing unprecedented detail of officers’ interactions with the public. If you can handle that volume of data, that is. Researchers at Stanford created a method to do just that, and soon found that officers in Oakland consistently used less respectful language when… Read More

Leaked NSA report names Russia in pre-election hacks, contradicting Putin’s claims of innocence

 Attribution is not an easy thing to do in the case of cyberattacks, especially if the actors have been careful. But the NSA seemed confident enough regarding certain pre-election hacks that it has directly named Russian intelligence as the perpetrators — an accusation rather at odds with President Putin’s claims that the country “never engaged” in that type of activity. Read More

HoloKit is like Google Cardboard for augmented reality

 The revelation behind Google Cardboard was that if you put your phone close enough to your eyes, it’s basically a VR headset — but it’s not quite that simple for mixed reality setups like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Or is it? HoloKit is an extremely clever DIY solution for a quick and dirty augmented reality experience with a bare minimum of equipment. Read More

Who catches the IMSI catchers? Researchers demonstrate Stingray detection kit

 IMSI catchers, devices used to spoof cell towers and intercept communications, are one of the most resented open secrets of law enforcement. Strict non-disclosure agreements prevent them from being acknowledged as existing, let alone being used — but researchers think they’ve found a way to spot the shady signal-snatchers. Read More