Nine great industry news stories from this week you may have missed.
Biden, Obama, tech moguls' Twitter accounts hacked in apparent bitcoin scam
As it happened on Wednesday, CBC reported that a series of high-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked, with some of the platform's top voices — including U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, reality television show star Kim Kardashian, former U.S. president Barack Obama, billionaire Elon Musk, and rapper Kanye West, among many others — used to solicit digital currency. The attackers sent out tweets from the accounts of the public figures, offering to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous bitcoin address. While little was known about the hack that day, it was confirmed the affected accounts had tens of millions of followers and an estimated $100,000 of cryptocurrency was received.
The next day, the news outlet revealed the FBI was probing the high-profile Twitter hack.
Privacy and civil rights advocates urge federal government to ban facial recognition surveillance
An open letter to Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is urging Canada to immediately prohibit the use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The letter, which was written by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and Open Media, calls on the federal government to develop clear and transparent legislation and policies governing facial recognition surveillance, to reform the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Privacy Act accordingly, and to conduct a public consultation on the issue. According to a press release that accompanied the release of the letter, research indicates that using facial recognition technology may result in racial biases because it falsely identifies the faces of Indigenous, Black and Asian individuals ten to 100 times more than white faces. Read the full story on Canadian Lawyer.
EU-US Privacy Shield for data struck down by court
Until recently, the EU-US Privacy Shield let companies sign up to higher privacy standards before transferring data to the US. One privacy advocate challenged the agreement, arguing that US national security laws did not protect EU citizens from government snooping. Max Schrems, the Austrian behind the case (pictured above), called it a win for privacy. "It is clear that the US will have to seriously change their surveillance laws, if US companies want to continue to play a role in the EU market," he said. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said his department was "deeply disappointed" by the decision. He said he hoped to "limit the negative consequences" to the transatlantic trade worth $7.1 trillion (£5.6tn). See BBC's recent article for the full story.
MIT researchers warn that deep learning is approaching computational limits
According to researchers, we're approaching the computational limits of deep learning. It’s their assertion that continued progress will require “dramatically” more computationally efficient deep learning methods, either through changes to existing techniques or via new as-yet-undiscovered methods. Read Venture Beat's recent article to learn more about their findings, plus a comprehensive break down on how deep learning works.
How to Advance Your Career During the Pandemic
Under the best conditions, it can be stressful applying for articling and first-year-associate jobs. That stress can double when looking for a job during a pandemic. Precedent JD recently shared five cost-effective and simple actions you can take to build your profile and set yourself up for success in the hiring game.
AI wants to make your writing more polite
According to CNET, AI can now take care of "polite-speak" for you. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a technique that's designed to automatically make written communication more polite. Rather than merely scanning text for politeness, as past computational linguistics methods have, this one actually changes directives or requests that use either impolite or neutral language by restructuring them or adding words to make them more well-mannered.
Hacker breaches security firm in act of revenge
A hacker claims to have breached the back-end servers of a US cyber-security firm and has stolen information from the company's "data leak detection" service. ZDNet reports the hack allegedly includes more than 8,200 databases containing the information of billions of users that leaked from other companies during past security breaches.
I hired an infamous hacker — and it was the best decision I ever made
Kevin Mitnick was arguably the most wanted hacker in the world when he was arrested by FBI agents in the winter of 1995 and charged with a litany of cybercrimes. He'd discovered the joys of computer systems at an early age. At 12, Mitnick figured out how to bypass the Los Angeles paid punch system to ride the bus for free. By 16, he had graduated to breaking into computer networks and copying software— a crime for which he was later sentenced to a year in prison.
While many firms would view hiring a hacker with this history to be an HR nightmare, for one startup he was a "dream partner and PR triumph." Read the full story on Fast Company.
Building a Successful Law Firm — Without an Office
According to The National Law Review, the majority of today’s clients are more interested in efficiency and reasonable prices than how glamorous their lawyer’s office is. As a result, firms are choosing another way to work: virtual offices. Marcia Watson Wasserman, Founder and President of Comprehensive Management Solutions, Inc., serves as a consulting COO for boutique and mid-sized law firms, helping numerous lawyers develop and sustain virtual offices. When it comes to making law offices fully virtual, she recommends considering the following points:
- Know who you're working with
- Understand your tech tools
- Cultivate communication
- Take advantage of time to network
- If you can't go fully virtual, start small
Read all of her recommendations in full, here.