These Are the Real Problems Revealed by the Leak of Google Assistant Voice Recordings

'Climate Change' Is Being Scrubbed From USGS Press Releases ; Fake News Is Not a Tech Problem ; and More Picks

Google, voice, data, privacy
The author writes, “Late last week, a story broke about Google using the Assistant in devices like the Nest Hub and Google Home to ‘eavesdrop’ on users. VRT NWS, a Belgian news organization, reported listening to ‘more than a thousand’ leaked Assistant voice recordings that included ‘conversations that should never have been recorded, some of which contain sensitive information.’” Photo credit: John Tekeridis / Pexels
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Military Budget Showdown Set as Democrats Advance Authorization Bill Over GOP Objections (Celia)

From Military Times: “House Democrats on Friday advanced a contentious $733 billion defense policy bill packed with progressive priorities that sets up a showdown with Senate Republicans and the White House in coming months over the future direction of the Defense Department.”

Trump Abandoned Citizenship Question, Yet Thousands Still Must Answer It (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Even after a string of legal defeats led President Donald Trump to abandon his pursuit of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, nearly a quarter of a million households continued receiving questionnaires that posed the controversial query: ‘Is this person a citizen of the United States?’ The form, part of the 2019 census test, was designed to measure the effect a citizenship question would have on the survey’s respondents. The bureau announced the test in mid-June and began mailing questionnaires shortly afterward, just two weeks before the Supreme Court halted the administration’s effort.”

Trump Officials Deleting Mentions of ‘Climate Change’ From US Geological Survey Press Releases (Mili)

The author writes, “A March news release from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) touted a new study that could be useful for infrastructure planning along the California coastline. At least that’s how President Donald Trump’s administration conveyed it. The news release hardly stood out. It focused on the methodology of the study rather than its major findings, which showed that climate change could have a withering effect on California’s economy by inundating real estate over the next few decades.”

A Reminder That Fake News Is an Information Literacy Problem, Not a Technology Problem (Chris)

From Forbes: “Society has prioritized speed over accuracy, sharing over reading, commenting over understanding. Children are taught to regurgitate what others tell them and to rely on digital assistants to curate the world rather than learn to navigate the informational landscape on their own. Schools no longer teach source triangulation, conflict arbitration, separating fact from opinion, citation chaining, conducting research or even the basic concept of verification and validation.” 

A Weird Skull Shakes Up the History of Humans and Neanderthals in Europe (Chris)

The author writes, “According to [the standard] narrative, Neanderthals slowly evolved in Europe, largely isolated from other kinds of hominins. When modern humans expanded out of Africa, their movements into Europe might have been stalled by the presence of the already successful Neanderthals. That explains why Homo sapiens stuck to a more southerly route into Asia, and why they left no European fossils until about 40,000 years ago. ‘The idea of Europe as “fortress Neanderthal” has been gaining ground,’ says Rebecca Wragg Sykes, an archaeologist from the University of Bordeaux, but identifying a 210,000-year-old Homo sapiens skull from Europe ‘really undermines that.’”

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