1. Articles from Engadget


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    1. Satellite imagery can be used to predict regions of poverty

      A new study in the journal Science shows how a combination of satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms can be used to predict poverty in regions of the world where data is otherwise unavailable. This new method uses nighttime images as well as publicly available daytime imagery and survey data to teach a computer system to estimate just how rich or poor an area is.

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    2. The NSA's mass US phone surveillance ends tonight

      The National Security Agency's long-running mass phone surveillance program is coming to an end. As promised, the USA Freedom Act will forbid the NSA from indiscriminately collecting Americans' call metadata at midnight on November 29th. Agents will have to get court orders to collect data from telecoms regarding specific people or groups, and then only for six months at a time -- they can't just scoop up everything in case something useful turns up. The NSA will still have access to five years' worth of legacy data through February 29th, but that's as far as its access will ...

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    3. SwiftKey's latest keyboard is powered by a neural network

      A new SwiftKey keyboard hopes to serve you better typing suggestions by utilizing a miniaturized neural network. SwiftKey Neural does away with the company's tried-and-tested prediction engine in favor of a method that mimics the way the brain processes information. It's a model that's typically deployed on a grand scale for things like spam and phishing prevention in Gmail or image recognition, but very recent advancements have seen neural networks creep into phones through Google Translate, which uses one for offline text recognition. According to SwiftKey, this is the first time it's been used on a ...

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    4. AT&T helped the NSA spy on the UN's internet traffic

      It's no secret that telecoms have cooperated with the US' surveillance efforts, but at least one was unusually eager to help out. Thanks to Edward Snowden leaks, both the New York Times and ProPublica have discovered that AT&T not only agreed to aid the National Security Agency's spying campaigns for decades, but has shown an "extreme willingness" to participate. It was the first to start forwarding internet metadata (like email participants) to the NSA in 2003, and was quick to offer call metadata in 2011. 

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