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EnigmaticWorld

Biometrics, AI, and the Surveillance State

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I guess I should try to keep my posts about intrusive tech to one thread as most of my posts regarding biometrics are related and I don't want to spam this section of the forum.

 

A few recent articles to start it off:

 

The Military Is Building Long-Range Facial Recognition That Works in the Dark

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The U.S. military is spending more than $4.5 million to develop facial recognition technology that reads the pattern of heat being emitted by faces in order to identify specific people. The technology would work in the dark and across long distances, according to contracts posted on a federal spending database.

https://onezero.medium.com/the-military-is-building-long-range-facial-recognition-that-works-in-the-dark-4f752fa713e6

 

Time for this:

 

 

South Korean job applicants are learning to trick AI hiring bots that use facial recognition tech

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“I think I will feel hopeless if all companies go AI for hiring,” Kim said. “The AI interview is too new, so job applicants don’t know what to prepare for and any preparations seem meaningless since the AI will read our faces if we make something up.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/3045795/south-korean-job-applicants-are-learning-trick-ai-hiring-bots

 

Face biometrics deployed for train station security in Asia, Germans pushback on public surveillance

https://www.biometricupdate.com/202001/face-biometrics-deployed-for-train-station-security-in-asia-germans-pushback-on-public-surveillance

 

The Evil List

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Which tech companies are really doing the most harm? Here are the 30 most dangerous, ranked by the people who know.

 

Some interesting info here if you ignore the political bias.

https://slate.com/technology/2020/01/evil-list-tech-companies-dangerous-amazon-facebook-google-palantir.html

 

Anyway that's enough for now. Here, have a creepy newborn robot.

 

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Twitter CEO reveals the guy who issues coveted blue checkmarks, and the guy is not happy about it

https://boingboing.net/2020/01/16/twitter-ceo-reveals-the-guy-wh.html

 

A police department collected 65,000 face scans — but the system hasn’t been connected to a single arrest

https://www.businessinsider.sg/san-diego-police-facial-recognition-no-arrests-2020-1/

 

2020 Forecast: Smartphones Out, Smart Wearables In

https://www.wypr.org/post/2020-forecast-smartphones-out-smart-wearables

 

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This Developer Wants to Pack Renters Into Tiny Underground Pods

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The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,600 per month, almost a full $1,000 higher than the next most expensive city in the United States.

Now, a Kansas-based housing developer has come up with a plan to bring affordable housing to San Francisco — and it involves packing people into underground sleeping pods barely larger than a king-size mattress.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/developer-pack-renters-tiny-underground-pods

 

Underground pods barely larger than a king-size mattress? Sounds like a grave to me.

 

Chinese property firm Country Garden plans mass production of construction robots

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-country-garden-robots/chinese-property-firm-country-garden-plans-mass-production-of-construction-robots-idUSKBN1ZG0XG

 

France looks to establish legal framework to deploy biometric video surveillance

https://www.biometricupdate.com/202001/france-looks-to-establish-legal-framework-to-deploy-biometric-video-surveillance

 

Sarcos Robotics Begins Delivery of Guardian XO Exoskeletons

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Sarcos Robotics, an RBR50 2019 honoree, said it is now accepting orders for commercial production units of the Guardian XO, with shipping scheduled for late 2020. The system has been in development for 20 years, with the initial vision and funding for the effort coming from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and additional funding through the years coming from the U.S. Department of Defense, Fortune 500 industrial companies, and private investors.

 

https://www.roboticsbusinessreview.com/news/sarcos-robotics-begins-delivery-of-guardian-xo-exoskeletons/

 

Israeli Water-From-Air Technology Named ‘Energy Efficiency Product of Year’

https://www.algemeiner.com/2020/01/10/israeli-water-from-air-technology-named-energy-efficiency-product-of-year/

 

Foxconn teams up with Nanox to make futuristic X-ray machines

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Foxconn announced it has invested in Israel-based startup Nanox, to produce futurist and affordable X-ray machines. Apart from leading a round of $26 million investment, the Taiwanese company will also help with manufacturing these machines.

 

startrek.jpg.ff9cddaa487a04b1d6f2b9fd422bb195.jpg

https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2020/01/16/foxconn-teams-up-with-nanox-to-make-futuristic-x-ray-machines/

 

Star Trek is now.

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4000 “smart” streetlights in San Diego contain always recording cameras and microphones

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The total amount of money that GE has earned from selling information garnered from their street light cameras is currently unknown, though California Globe claims it to be over 1 billion USD. What is known, is that GE earned 30 million USD from San Diego’s city council to install these cameras and microphones in street lights under the guise of looking at traffic flows and environmental data and has the legal, government granted rights to sell whatever “source data” is gleaned from the surveillance equipment.

 

https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/blog/2020/01/4000-smart-streetlights-in-san-diego-contain-always-recording-cameras-and-microphones/

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EU no longer considering facial recognition ban in public spaces

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According to the latest draft of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence strategy seen by Reuters and EURACTIV, the European Union is no longer interested in introducing a ban on facial recognition in public spaces however there should be ‘clear criteria’ in future mass-scale deployment of biometric identification systems in the EU.

 

https://www.biometricupdate.com/202001/eu-no-longer-considering-facial-recognition-ban-in-public-spaces

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Rolls-Royce plans to build up to 15 mini nuclear reactors in Britain

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Rolls-Royce has announced that it plans to build, install, and operate up to 15 mini nuclear reactors in Britain, with the first set to go online in nine years. In a BBC Radio 4 interview with business journalist Katie Prescott on January 24, 2020's Today program, Paul Stein, chief technology officer for Rolls-Royce, said that the company is leading a consortium to produce factory-built modular nuclear reactors that can be delivered for assembly by ordinary lorries.

 

https://newatlas.com/energy/rolls-royce-plans-mini-nuclear-reactors-in-britain/

 

40 groups have called for a US moratorium on facial recognition technology

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US government use of facial recognition technology should be banned “pending further review,” according to 40 organizations that signed a letter calling for a recommendation to be made to the president.

 

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615098/facial-recognition-clearview-ai-epic-privacy-moratorium-surveillance/

 

First AI developed drug heads to clinical trials after being discovered only 12 months ago

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A drug candidate for obsessive-compulsive disorder will enter clinical trials, after being discovered and readied in under 12 months.

 

https://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Article/2020/01/30/AI-developed-drug-goes-to-trial

 

Robotic finger can sweat like a human to cool down

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Robots can already do lots of things people can including gymnastics, but a new type of soft robot has one of the most human traits of all. Researchers have a developed a finger-like appendage that can break into sweat to prevent overheating, much like we do during hot days or physical exertion. Soft robots are already useful because they can resist damage and grasp slippery things, but sweating might one day let them work in warm environments or handle hot objects.

 

The scientists developed hollow robotic fingers that could bend and flex to grasp objects. The back of each finger was made from a resin that expanded when heated above 30 degrees Celcius (86 F), while the body shrank when heated above 40 degrees Celcius (104 F).

 

The back of the finger was also drilled with microscopic "pore" holes that wouldn't let water through below 30 Celcius. At temperatures warmer than that, however, the expanding resin opened the pores up to let water in each finger sweat out, aided at even higher temperatures by the contracting resin.

 

"The best part of this synthetic strategy is that the thermoregulatory performance is baked into the material itself," said T.J. Walllin from Facebook's Reality Labs. "We did not need to add sensors or other components to control the sweating rate."

 

https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/30/robotic-finger-sweats-to-cool-down/

 

World First: Genetically Engineered Moth Is Released Into an Open Field

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The diamondback moth, also known as Plutella xylostella, is one of the most destructive insect pests of brassica crops such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and canola.

Resistance of the moth to synthetic insecticides has been reported in numerous parts of the world, and in extreme situations crops have been ploughed and declared unmarketable. The threat of the pest is considered particularly significant particularly in China, as the Chinese cabbage is one of the country's significant vegetable crops.1

"The diamondback moth is a global pest that costs $4-5 billion annually and has developed resistance to most insecticides, making it very difficult to manage," says Dr Neil Morrison of the biotechnology company Oxitec.

 

A genetically engineered, self-limiting moth

To circumvent the issue this pest poses, Oxitec have developed a genetically engineered diamondback moth that is self-limiting.

Morrison told Technology Networks, "Two genes – a self-limiting gene and a marker gene – are introduced into the insect, such that it can pass them onto offspring just like any other gene. The resulting self-limiting moths are non-toxic and non-allergenic."

The idea behind the genetically engineered moth is that when males of this strain are introduced into the environment, they find and mate with pest females. The self-limiting gene is passed onto the offspring, which then prevents the female caterpillars from surviving.

 

https://www.technologynetworks.com/genomics/news/world-first-genetically-engineered-moth-is-released-into-an-open-field-329960

 

AI could trick us into thinking we have found aliens, scientists warn

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Artificial intelligence could trick us into thinking we have found potential aliens, researchers have warned.

 

Even computers could be prone to identifying shapes as evidence of extraterrestrial civilisations, a new study has found – and humans could then be deceived into believing they are real.

 

Artificial intelligence is one of the breakthrough technologies in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, being used to sort through huge amounts of image in the hopes of spotting "technosignatures", or indications of alien life.

 

But the new discovery suggests that people could be get excited about potential discoveries spotted by AI, only to find that they are actually meaningless, accidental formations on alien planets.

 

The study used a particular formation on the dwarf planet Ceres, which excited alien-hunters when it was first discovered. The small world, which sits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, was the subject of frenzied speculation when astronomers spotted bright lights glowing on its surface.

 

They were eventually let down when Nasa's Dawn mission got close enough to the dwarf planet to find that the lights were actually the result of volcanic ice and salt emissions.

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/aliens-nasa-found-ai-mars-jupiter-planet-artificial-intelligence-a9307511.html

 

Color-changing bandages sense and treat bacterial infections

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According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health. Sensing and treating bacterial infections earlier could help improve patients' recovery, as well curb the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed color-changing bandages that can sense drug-resistant and drug-sensitive bacteria in wounds and treat them accordingly.

Xiaogang Qu and colleagues developed a material that changes color from green to yellow when it contacts the acidic microenvironment of a bacterial infection. In response, the material, which is incorporated into a bandage, releases an antibiotic that kills drug-sensitive bacteria. If drug-resistant bacteria are present, the bandage turns red in color through the action of an enzyme produced by the resistant microbes. When this happens, the researchers can shine light on the bandage, causing the material to release reactive oxygen species that kill or weaken the bacteria, making them more susceptible to the antibiotic. The team showed that the bandage could speed the healing of wounds in mice that were infected with drug-sensitive or drug-resistant bacteria.

 

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-01/acs-cbs012420.php

 

 

 

Edited by EnigmaticWorld

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Creepy video of drones in china scolding those who aren't wearing masks

*Headphone warning*

 

https://boingboing.net/2020/01/31/creepy-video-of-drones-in-chin.html

 

Robot dog to replace human at Montreal construction site

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There will be a new type of worker on a Pomerleau construction site in Quebec as of Friday, a most unusual addition to the company’s staff. It’s a robot named Spot. Montreal-based Pomerleau says it is the first company in the world to use this robot on a daily basis on an active work site.

 

The robot, which is just under three feet high and weighs 70 pounds, will patrol the construction sites taking up to 500 photos per day via a 360-degree camera mounted on its back and other cameras on its body. The photos will then be automatically downloaded and sent to Pomerleau managers at the end of the robot’s shift.

 

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/spot-the-robot-makes-debut-on-quebec-construction-site

 

‘Albatross cops’ fitted with radar detectors to spot illegal fishing

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The birds were “perfect candidates” for the experiment because they “fly great distances and are particularly attracted by fishing boats”, according to the France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), who were involved in the study published in the US journal PNAS.

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/albatross-technology-illegal-fishing-antarctic-ocean-a9311111.html

Edited by EnigmaticWorld
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Moscow launches live facial biometrics surveillance network NtechLab CEO calls world’s largest

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The system is currently up to 175,000 cameras, with 3.3 billion rubles ($53.3 million) allocated to hardware, according to a state purchase database.

 

https://www.biometricupdate.com/202001/moscow-launches-live-facial-biometrics-surveillance-network-ntechlab-ceo-calls-worlds-largest

Gawker’s nemesis is working on a social network offering access to the rich

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The plan is for these luminaries to buy in to the service: the document suggests that Column could raise $50 million from “500 equity holders that are public intellectuals,” each paying $100,000 to invest in the site and lead their own private community (or “column”). The network itself, however, although it's subscriber-only, is not intended to be exclusive. Anyone can join; the goal is to scale, and the hope is that a paid service will nurture high-quality content instead of the toxic morass most social networks give rise to. 

 

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How it works

While details are limited, Column appears to be conceived of as a service that would allow users to share posts and media with each other either in public or private spaces. In this way it would be much like a smaller, paid version of Facebook, with its public feeds and private groups. For each group, or column, a “head”—a prominent person, like Thiel or Hayes, or an organization—would invite followers to pay and join. The deck suggests Nobel Prize winners would be handed $50,000 each to create a column; significant experts in their field—the materials suggest the likes of chef Heston Blumenthal or computer scientist Scott Aaronson—would get $10,000.

Users would see posts, communicate with other community members, and post their own content. Instead of “likes,” as on Facebook, there would be a “truth” button, which would let users rate a statement as true or false, and an internal “points economy.” Leaders of a community would set their subscription price, and free memberships would be available. 

 

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615108/column-aron-dsouza-gawker-jake-lodwick-sarah-cone-social-network-peter-thiel/

 

Germany eyes hydrogen to replace nuclear and coal energy

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The country is looking to boost the production of the universe’s lightest and most abundant element using electrolysis. It is targeting an output of up to 5 gigawatts from the current production of below 1 gigawatt. The paper envisions a fifth of hydrogen consumption via renewable resources by 2030.

 

https://www.energy-reporters.com/storage/germany-eyes-hydrogen-to-replace-nuclear-and-coal-energy/

 

Microsoft's plan to store data for 10,000 years

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What if I told you that Superman was in this piece of glass? That is a breakthrough proof of concept from Microsoft's project Silica, which aims to show that glass is the future of long term data storage. In this media, basically it doesn't decay. So, once you've written the data in there, it's going to be there for 50, 100, 1,000, 10,000 years. To understand how it all works, we visited the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, England to get a demo of the whole process with our very own piece of glass.

 

https://www.cnet.com/videos/microsofts-plan-to-store-data-for-10000-years/

 

Building in China says 'Wear a Mask' due to Virus Outbreak

Serious cyberpunk vibes.

 

 

 

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Amazon Engineer: ‘Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back’

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The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.

 

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One of the biggest concerns with Ring cameras is that people who choose not to install one or participate in the local surveillance network (a connected community software system called “Neighborhoods” that gives police backdoor access to users’ footage) can’t choose to opt out.

 

If your neighbor has a Ring camera you can’t make them, Amazon, or the police exclude footage of you, your family, and your guests from their recordings. Any bad actor wishing to misuse or abuse the system – whether it’s an Amazon employee, police officer subverting your legal right to privacy, or a hacker seeking to cause you harm – only needs access to a camera nearby, even if you don’t own one.

 

These concerns, coupled with other red flags (Ring footage ends up on contractors’ servers in countries such as Ukraine, the Ring app is loaded with trackers, etc.), seem to indicate that Ring cameras are a threat to privacy at best and a danger to society and democracy at worst.

 

https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2020/01/28/amazon-engineer-ring-should-be-shut-down-immediately-and-not-brought-back/

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6G could be 8,000 times faster than 5G with speeds up to 1TB per second

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In theory, at least, 6G networks could offer speeds of 1TB/ second or 1,000 gigabytes or 8,000 gigabits per second. Speeds like these would facilitate new types of uses and revolutionise technology. According to a professor from the University of Sydney, Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, the 6G era could, for example, “offer new perspectives in terms of brain-computer interfaces” and make it possible to “use devices via our brain”.

 

https://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/6g-could-be-8-000-times-faster-than-5g-with-speeds-up-to-1tb-per-second/story-RWOHcNBSwmX8A1twSABBjJ.html

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Self-driving buses to appear on public roads for the first time

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The buses fit twelve people and were designed by the European autonomous vehicle company EasyMile. Two buses are currently being tested in Gainesville, and the tests will continue into the summer. Once they're in operation, they'll each be covering four-mile areas of the town and will operate 24 hours a day.

 

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"It is free during the pilot phase, during the three years we are testing it, it's free," Hoffman said. "For the first phase, there will be a safety operator on board just making sure it runs properly, doing testing, answering questions for people who ride it. But it is a fully autonomous shuttle which will operate in mixed traffic in downtown Gainesville between the downtown and the University of Florida."

 

https://www.inverse.com/innovation/americas-first-self-driving-buses-are-coming-to-a-town-in-florida

 

Cell Based Tech Weekly – MeaTech Goes Public, Agronomics £5.5M Raise, Responsible Investing

 

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Another pure play cell based meat investment is now available, accessible on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. 

 

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Background: MeaTech is developing a 3D stem cell printing technology for cell based meat production. The company’s founder and CEO Sharon Fima is an expert in complex 3D printing processes and is also the founder of Nano Dimension (Nasdaq: NNDM), a leading company in the printing sector. 

 

https://cellbasedtech.com/2020/02/cell-based-tech-weekly-meatech-goes-public-agronomics-5-5m-raise-responsible-investing

 

Alphabet Has a Second, Secretive Quantum Computing Team

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X’s quantum team is trying to create more quantum experts. At Carnegie Mellon, Hidary described an internal three-day quantum computing training program that he said about 600 Alphabet employees had taken. His group also runs a residency program for grad students experienced in quantum algorithms, paying relocation and housing costs so they can work at X’s spacious labs in a converted mall near Google’s main campus. The job ad says those who join “the X Quantum team” will get to run algorithms on “real quantum hardware,” presumably Google’s.

 

https://www.wired.com/story/alphabet-second-secretive-quantum-computing-team/

 

 

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Ring doorbell 'gives Facebook and Google user data'

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The five companies identified as receiving information were:

  • Facebook, via its Graph API - each user's time zone, device model and screen resolution and a unique identifier
  • Branch, which describes itself as a deep-linking platform - a number of unique identifiers, as well as each user's IP address, device model and screen resolution
  • AppsFlyer, a big data company - a range of information, including sensor data related to the magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer on users' phones
  • MixPanel - the most information, including users' full names, email addresses, device information and app settings
  • Google-owned Crashalytics - an amount of customer data "yet to be determined"

Out of these, only MixPanel is mentioned in Ring's privacy notice, along with Google Analytics, HotJar and Optimizely.

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51281476

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Twitter API Abused to Uncover User Identities

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Twitter said that malicious actors, with potential ties to state-sponsored groups, were abusing a legitimate function on its platform to unmask the identity of users.

 

The social media giant said that on Dec. 24, 2019, it discovered a large network of fake accounts abusing a legitimate API (application programming interface) function on its platform that, when used as intended, allows accounts to find Twitter users that they may already know by matching phone numbers to their Twitter account names.

 

The bad actors were using this legitimate feature to uncover Twitter users – opening concerns that they could have potentially obtained the true identities of human rights activists or dissidents who go under pseudonyms on Twitter.

 

Twitter, which has a user base of more than 68 million, said that the fake accounts were detected in a wide range of countries. However, a particularly high volume of requests were coming from individual IP addresses located within Iran, Israel, and Malaysia.

 

https://threatpost.com/twitter-api-abused-to-uncover-identities/152521/

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