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Exclusive-Google deal with French publishers on hold pending antitrust decision – sources – Euronews



By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS -Google has put on hold a preliminary deal with some French publishers to pay for news content as it awaits an antitrust decision that could set the tone for copyright talks on online news in Europe, two sources close to the matter said.

Under the three-year framework agreement signed by Google and the Alliance de la presse d’information generale (APIG), a lobby group representing most major French publishers, the U.S. company agreed in January to pay a total of $76 million to 121 publications, according to documents seen by Reuters.

It is one of the highest-profile deals under Google’s “News Showcase” programme to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results, and the first of its kind in Europe.

However, no individual licensing agreement has been signed by Google with an APIG member since then and talks are de facto frozen pending the antitrust decision, the sources said.

Only a few publications, such as daily newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation, had reached individual deals prior to the framework agreement.

“We’re still working with publishers, the APIG and the French competition authority on our agreements in order to finalise and sign more deals,” Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, said in a statement.

APIG had no immediate comment.

It is not clear whether the framework agreement might be scrapped as a result of the antitrust ruling in France, which is expected in the coming weeks, the sources said.

The French competition authority hasn’t said when it will publish its decision.

The deal freeze was triggered by a report presented by French antitrust investigators in February, the sources said.

In the report, which was not made public, antitrust investigators accused Google of failing to comply with the French competition authority’s orders on how to conduct negotiations with news publishers over copyright, sources who read it told Reuters at the time.

It is up to the watchdog’s board to decide whether to issue a penalty.

One of the key demands issued by the watchdog was for Google to hold “transparent, objective and non-discriminatory” talks in good faith over three months with any news publisher that asked for them.

Google has repeatedly said it held talks with French news publishers in good faith. Many French news outlets disagree.

“The APIG-Google deal is the perfect example of what shouldn’t be done,” said Laurent Mauriac, the co-president of Spiil, an union for independent online news publishers.

The APIG-Google deal includes the commitment for any signing news publisher to supply Google’s News Showcase product, a provision decried by news publishers outside APIG.

Google is ready to hold talks with news publishers beyond APIG, Sebastien Missoffe, head of the firm’s French division, told Europe 1 radio last month.

He added he was open to giving access to some of Google’s online traffic data – a key element to determine the value of news content – to an independent third party.

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Apple says it will begin scanning iCloud Photos for child abuse images – TechCrunch



Later this year, Apple will roll out a technology that will allow the company to detect and report known child sexual abuse material to law enforcement in a way it says will preserve user privacy.

Apple told TechCrunch that the detection of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is one of several new features aimed at better protecting the children who use its services from online harm, including filters to block potentially sexually explicit photos sent and received through a child’s iMessage account. Another feature will intervene when a user tries to search for CSAM-related terms through Siri and Search.

Most cloud services — Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft to name a few — already scan user files for content that might violate their terms of service or be potentially illegal, like CSAM. But Apple has long resisted scanning users’ files in the cloud by giving users the option to encrypt their data before it ever reaches Apple’s iCloud servers.

Apple said its new CSAM detection technology — NeuralHash — instead works on a user’s device, and can identify if a user uploads known child abuse imagery to iCloud without decrypting the images until a threshold is met and a sequence of checks to verify the content are cleared.

News of Apple’s effort leaked Wednesday when Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins University, revealed the existence of the new technology in a series of tweets. The news was met with some resistance from some security experts and privacy advocates, but also users who are accustomed to Apple’s approach to security and privacy that most other companies don’t have.

Apple is trying to calm fears by baking in privacy through multiple layers of encryption, fashioned in a way that requires multiple steps before it ever makes it into the hands of Apple’s final manual review.

NeuralHash will land in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, slated to be released in the next month or two, and works by converting the photos on a user’s iPhone or Mac into a unique string of letters and numbers, known as a hash. Any time you modify an image slightly, it changes the hash and can prevent matching. Apple says NeuralHash tries to ensure that identical and visually similar images — such as cropped or edited images — result in the same hash.

Before an image is uploaded to iCloud Photos, those hashes are matched on the device against a database of known hashes of child abuse imagery, provided by child protection organizations like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and others. NeuralHash uses a cryptographic technique called private set intersection to detect a hash match without revealing what the image is or alerting the user.

The results are uploaded to Apple but cannot be read on their own. Apple uses another cryptographic principle called threshold secret sharing that allows it only to decrypt the contents if a user crosses a threshold of known child abuse imagery in their iCloud Photos. Apple would not say what that threshold was, but said — for example — that if a secret is split into a thousand pieces and the threshold is ten images of child abuse content, the secret can be reconstructed from any of those ten images.

Read more on TechCrunch

It’s at that point Apple can decrypt the matching images, manually verify the contents, disable a user’s account and report the imagery to NCMEC, which is then passed to law enforcement. Apple says this process is more privacy mindful than scanning files in the cloud as NeuralHash only searches for known and not new child abuse imagery. Apple said that there is a one in one trillion chance of a false positive, but there is an appeals process in place in the event an account is mistakenly flagged.

Apple has published technical details on its website about how NeuralHash works, which was reviewed by cryptography experts.

But despite the wide support of efforts to combat child sexual abuse, there is still a component of surveillance that many would feel uncomfortable handing over to an algorithm, and some security experts are calling for more public discussion before Apple rolls the technology out to users.

A big question is why now and not sooner. Apple said its privacy-preserving CSAM detection did not exist until now. But companies like Apple have also faced considerable pressure from the U.S. government and its allies to weaken or backdoor the encryption used to protect their users’ data to allow law enforcement to investigate serious crime.

Tech giants have refused efforts to backdoor their systems, but have faced resistance against efforts to further shut out government access. Although data stored in iCloud is encrypted in a way that even Apple cannot access it, Reuters reported last year that Apple dropped a plan for encrypting users’ full phone backups to iCloud after the FBI complained that it would harm investigations.

The news about Apple’s new CSAM detection tool, without public discussion, also sparked concerns that the technology could be abused to flood victims with child abuse imagery that could result in their account getting flagged and shuttered, but Apple downplayed the concerns and said a manual review would review the evidence for possible misuse.

Apple said NeuralHash will roll out in the U.S. at first, but would not say if, or when, it would be rolled out internationally. Until recently, companies like Facebook were forced to switch off its child abuse detection tools across the bloc after the practice was inadvertently banned. Apple said the feature is technically optional in that you don’t have to use iCloud Photos, but will be a requirement if users do. After all, your device belongs to you but Apple’s cloud does not.

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Fullbright Co-Founder Steps Down Following Toxic Workplace Allegations – TechRaptor



Steve Gaynor, Fullbright’s co-founder, has stepped down as the studio’s manager and creative lead following a series of allegations surrounding a toxic culture within the studio. Gaynor transitioned from his creative lead to a role as a writer as of March of this year according to a Fullbright representative, who spoke to Polygon

Open Roads‘ official Twitter account raised alarm bells when it posted a statement regarding the workplace culture and how the company was going to move forward, citing the importance of a “healthy and collaborative environment”. According to the statement, the decision was made for the health of the entire company, relinquishing daily responsibilities to the remaining staff. 

Open Roads, the studio’s current in-development project has sustained major setbacks as 15 former employees have left the company since development on the game began in 2019, leaving only six staff members. Of the 15 that have left, 12 did so directly because of Gaynor’s behavior toward women. At least 10 of those that left because of his behavior were women, which lines up with multiple anonymous reports concerning what it’s like to work underneath Gaynor. 

The anonymous reports haven’t cited issues such as sexual misconduct or outright sexism. The toxic work environment is reportedly “controlling”, with female employees bearing the brunt of Gaynor’s dismissive and condescending attitude. Gaynor was beyond difficult to work with, cited as making jokes at the expense of his employees in front of others. He’d repeatedly laugh at and embarrass women in front of coworkers while micromanaging women in leadership roles to the point that they felt their creativity, as well as their ability to work, was stifled. 

The studio had attempted a mediator between Gaynor and his team as a means of de-escalating the situation, but it only served as a temporary solution. The team didn’t feel respected enough under Gaynor’s leadership, leading to him stepping down to a remote writing role, relinquishing his prior duties to others in leadership. 

Under the current state of affairs, Gaynor is working on his writing role separately from the core staff. Instead of continuing to work within the same offices, Open Roads’ publisher, Annapurna Interactive, is communicating between the two parties to avoid further friction. Under this set of circumstances, Gaynor no longer has daily collaboration with Fullbright. 

After the story broke out from Polygon, Gaynor released his own statement through a Twitter thread on his own account. According to him, these working conditions have given him the “space and perspective” to reconsider how he approaches leadership. 

“Hi all. I have a statement to share about my role at Fullbright.

Earlier this year, I stepped back from my role as creative lead on Open Roads. My leadership style was hurtful to people that worked at Fullbright, and for that I truly apologize.

Stepping back has given me space and perspective to see how my role needs to change and how I need to learn and improve as part of a team, including working with an expert management consultant, and rethinking my relationship to the work at Fullbright.

I care deeply about Open Roads and the Fullbright team. I’m sad to have stepped back from day-to-day development of Open Roads, but it’s been the right thing to do. The Open Roads team has my full fiath and support as they bring the game to completion.”

Given how many people have left because of Gaynor, some might be wondering why he hasn’t been fired. As the studio’s co-founder, being fired isn’t such a simple thing to do. He wasn’t a person that stepped into a leadership role divorced from the studio’s creation. His own personal Twitter account served as the official Fullbright handle for over a decade. The team created @FullbrightGames,  created May 2021, around when Gaynor stepped down, as the studio’s Twitter handle moving forward. 

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Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro official wallpapers revealed; display resolutions deciphered –



9to5Google has also deduced the resolutions of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, based on the size of the punch holes in their respective backgrounds. Supposedly, the Pixel 6 has a 2,400 x 1,080-pixel display, 60 pixels taller than the 1080p panel of the Pixel 5. If this is the case, then the Pixel 6’s 6.4-inch display has a 20:9 aspect ratio and a 411 DPI.

Meanwhile, 9to5Google claims that the Pixel 6 Pro will operate natively at 3,120 x 1,440 pixels, making it 80 pixels taller than the Pixel 4 XL, Google’s last 1440p smartphone. The Pixel 4 XL may have a more pixel-dense display though, albeit only marginally. Based on 9to5Google’s findings, the Pixel 6 Pro has a 513 DPI display, compared to the 537 PPI that the Pixel 4 XL offers. Nonetheless, the Pixel 6 Pro supports 120 Hz, which is beyond the Pixel 4 XL’s capabilities.

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