Android introduces new privacy-friendly sandbox for machine learning data

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

At the I/O developer conference on Tuesday, Google announced a range of new privacy measures, including a new partition within Android to manage machine learning data more securely.

Android’s new Private Compute Core will be a privileged space within the operating system, similar to the partitions used for passwords or sensitive biometric data. But instead of holding credentials, the computing core will hold data for use in machine learning, like the data used for the Smart Reply text message feature or the Now Playing feature for identifying songs.

While neither feature is sensitive in itself, they both draw on sensitive data like personal texts and real-time audio. The partition will make it easier for the operating system to protect…

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Amazon retaliated against climate organizers, labor board finds

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined that Amazon retaliated against two activist employees when it fired them in April of last year, as first reported by The New York Times.

The determination is part of the board’s ongoing response to a labor complaint against Amazon, although it’s not a legal ruling in itself. Still, the determination indicates the NLRB is prepared to accuse Amazon of unfair labor practices in connection with the case, and that puts the company under significant pressure to settle the case with the fired employees.

The two employees at the heart of the case, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, organized the Amazon Employees for…

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Chromebook bug could reveal location history from Guest mode

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The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 seen from above and to the right. A mug sits to its left on the desk, a notebook to its right.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

A little-known behavior in Chrome OS could reveal a user’s movements through Wi-Fi logs. Leveraging Chrome OS’s Guest mode feature, the attack would require physical access to the device, but it can be executed without knowing the user’s password or having login access.

The bug was flagged to The Verge by the Committee on Liberatory Information Technology, a tech collective that includes several former Googlers.

“We are looking into this issue,” said a Google spokesperson. “In the meantime, device owners can turn off guest mode and disable the creation of new users.” Instructions for turning off Guest browsing are available here.

The bug stems from the…

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