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Twitch Gaming channel mutes Metallica during BlizzConline due to DMCA – Dot Esports

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If you thought you were safe from DMCA takedowns, Twitch doesn’t even think it is safe apparently.

During BlizzConline, rock band Metallica played a set near the beginning of the event. Unfortunately for literally everybody that likes Metallica, though, Twitch muted the band’s music and instead played generic 8-bit music. The most baffling aspect of the ordeal is that the event was being broadcasted on the official Twitch Gaming channel.

Of course, this was seemingly done to avoid a DMCA takedown, which has been an issue on the platform for several months. The likelihood that Metallica, which has its own record label, would issue a takedown notice against Twitch’s official channel when they agreed to play at BlizzConline seems rather low, however.

Metallica’s involvement in this is also interesting because the band was one of the first to bring lawsuits against a third-party company for allowing copyrighted music to be shared without the consent of the artist.

While Twitch had been rather lax on playing copyrighted material on stream for years, record labels took aim at users in late 2020, which prompted a wave of suspensions, bans, and warnings by the platform. Twitch said in November 2020 it used to receive “fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year,” but had suddenly begun receiving “thousands each week.”

Many streamers began deleting all of their VODs and clips from their channel to avoid DMCA takedowns, which could put their entire channel at risk.

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Twitter invites researchers and hackers to industry's first algorithmic bias competition – Republic World

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On Friday, July 30, 2021, Twitter announced a competition for hackers and computer researchers to detect and identify biases in the platform’s image-cropping algorithm. The winners of the competition will receive cash prizes from $500 to $3,500 and will get a chance to present their work at a workshop at DEF CON in August. The aim of the competition is to find potential harms of the image-cropping algorithm and rectify them. 

Twitter launches the industry’s first algorithmic bias bounty competition 

Back in May 2021, Twitter shared their approach to identify bias in its saliency algorithm, which is also known as the image-cropping algorithm. With the recent competition announcement, Twitter wants to invite and incentivise users, researchers and professionals from the community to discover and identify the harms of the algorithm. Twitter also hosted a conversation on their audio-based feature called Spaces on July 30, 2021, to discuss the challenge. The challenge comes after a group of researchers found Twitter’s algorithm to exclude Black people and men.

Twitter also mentions in an official blog post that “We’re inspired by how the research and hacker communities helped the security field establish best practices for identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities in order to protect the public.” Adding to it, Twitter mentions that it aims to set a precedent in the industry for proactive and collective identification of algorithmic harms. To apply, one can go to the application portal on HackerOne. To take part in the challenge, applicants must go through all the terms and conditions and legal disclaimer given on the application page. One must have a HackerOne account in order to participate in the Twitter algorithmic bias bounty competition. 

Twitter Algorithmic Bias Event Notes 

  • Entry period 7/30/21 9:01 am PT through 8/6/21 11:59 pm PT
  • Winners will be announced at the DEF CON AI Village workshop hosted by Twitter on August 9th, 2021.
  • Optionally, we invite the winners to present their work during the workshop at DEF CON although conference attendance is not a requirement to compete.

 Twitter Algorithmic Bias Event prize

  • $3,500 1st Place
  • $1,000 2nd Place
  • $500 3rd Place
  • $1,000 for Most Innovative
  • $1,000 for Most Generalizable (i.e., applies to the most types of algorithms).

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AWS Announces the General Availability of Amazon EBS io2 Block Express Volumes – InfoQ.com

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Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes are a key Elastic Compute (EC2) component with several HDD and SSD volumes, each designed for a particular use case. And recently, AWS announced the general availability of its cloud-based storage area network (SAN) offering, Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes – providing 4x higher throughput, IOPS, and capacity than io2 volumes.

Last year at re:Invent 2020, the company previewed Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes as a SAN offering. It is designed according to AWS to meet the requirements of the largest, most I/O-intensive, mission-critical deployments of Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, SAP HANA, and SAS Analytics on AWS. The volumes are now generally available first with Amazon EC2 R5b instances powered by the AWS Nitro System, which delivers the highest EBS-optimized performance. Support for other instances besides R5b is coming soon. In addition, with the GA release, the io2 Block Express volumes now also support io2 features such as Multi-Attach and Elastic Volumes.

Channy Yun, a principal developer advocate for AWS, explains in an AWS News blog post on the GA release:

The new Block Express architecture delivers the highest levels of performance with sub-millisecond latency by communicating with an AWS Nitro System-based instance using the Scalable Reliable Datagrams (SRD) protocol, which is implemented in the Nitro Card dedicated for EBS I/O function on the host hardware of the instance. Block Express also offers modular software and hardware building blocks that can be assembled in many ways, giving you the flexibility to design and deliver improved performance and new features at a faster rate.

Users can create io2 Block Express volumes in the Amazon EC2 console, AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI), or an SDK with the Amazon EC2 API when creating R5b instances. Next, after selecting the EC2 R5b instance type, on the Add Storage page, under Volume Type, users can choose Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2) – and the new volumes will be created in the Block Express format.


Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-ebs-io2-block-express-volumes-with-amazon-ec2-r5b-instances-are-now-generally-available/

Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes can be an alternative to enterprises for their on-premise solution. In an AWS press release on the GA release, the company states:

io2 Block Express volumes reinvent block storage and give customers the performance they expect from a SAN, but with the elasticity of AWS, unlimited scale, and flexibility of pay-as-you-go pricing—at as low as half the cost of a typical SAN. io2 Block Express volumes are designed for applications that benefit from high-volume IOPS, high throughput, high durability, high storage capacity, and low latency.

tweet by Igor Nemy, technologist at labSpaceSys, says:

Public clouds are getting closer and closer to be identified as large mainframes. SAN volume with 256k IOps, 4GB/s throughput, and 99.999% of durability. I won’t be surprised if this is powered by bespoke ARM-based Nitro (!side-) project.

Currently, io2 Block Express volumes are available in all regions where R5b is available – which include US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Europe (Frankfurt). In addition, the company announced that support for more regions is coming soon. 

Note that AWS bills the io2- and io2 Express volumes the same way and recommends using tags to identify costs associated with io2 Block Express volumes. Pricing details of io2 volumes are available on the Amazon EBS pricing page.

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Popular Game Company Activision Blizzard Sued For Sexual Inequality And Harassment – KCCU

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The maker of popular video games “World Of Warcraft,” “Call Of Duty” and “Candy Crush” is in a crisis. Hundreds of workers at the company known as Activision Blizzard walked off their jobs this week. This followed a lawsuit from California regulators that allege the company’s male employees had mistreated their female colleagues for years, and leadership looked the other way. NPR’s Bobby Allyn joins us. Bobby, thanks so much for being with us.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: You got it, Scott.

SIMON: Tell us more about this lawsuit, if you could, please.

ALLYN: Yeah. So California regulators say inside this Southern California company is just a really toxic work environment. The suit describes so-called frat-boy workplace culture where men would regularly make sexual comments about women. They held these so-called cube crawls where men would drink copious amounts of alcohol and grope female employees. And on top of all of these unsettling allegations, Scott, you know, California officials say women were just paid less. And they were denied promotions over their male colleagues. I spoke to an engineer at Blizzard, Valentine Powell, about this.

VALENTINE POWELL: At least at this point, 10 women that I valued and respected and saw as mentors and loved and cherished at this company have left because they don’t believe it would get better. And I don’t blame them.

ALLYN: And that’s why Powell is one of the hundreds who walked off the job this week.

SIMON: What are they demanding?

ALLYN: Yeah. They’re demanding changes to the culture and pay inequities. You know, this company is 80% male. And workers have said when sexual harassment claims were brought to HR, they weren’t taken seriously. And California regulators found this, too, in their investigation that high-ranking executives even engaged in their own blatant sexual harassment and that HR officials were close to the alleged harassers. Now, Powell told me women at the company felt like they were being penalized for their gender.

POWELL: Women who take time off from work for pregnancy are not supported when they get back. And when they do get back, they find that their careers have been set back by years.

ALLYN: Powell there is talking about women getting demoted and pushed into less technical roles and just watching harassers in the office go unpunished.

SIMON: These are certainly some very damning accusations. And I wonder how the company’s responded.

ALLYN: Yeah. So Bobby Kotick, Blizzard’s CEO, has apologized to employees and says the company’s initial response to the lawsuit where they were fighting back was, quote, “tone deaf.” The company has brought in an outside law firm to investigate the company’s policies. There’s a manager who was named in the lawsuit as being a harasser. That person has been fired. You know, Kotick says he’s committed to long-lasting change and wants to make sure that Blizzard is a more safe and inclusive place to work.

SIMON: And Blizzard has an avid base of fans around the world who certainly love the video games that it produces and presents. How have they reacted?

ALLYN: Yeah, they sure do. So, you know – but there’s been a problem with sexual harassment in the video game world for a very long time, Scott, I mean, going back at least to the Gamergate scandal. These days, gamers are increasingly speaking out against abuse, though. And some now are boycotting Blizzard games and turning to social media and video game streaming site Twitch to say, you know what? We’ve had it with this company.

Liz Tippett, a University of Oregon law professor who studies the #MeToo movement, told me this could be a watershed moment for the video game industry.

LIZ TIPPETT: Customers saying they don’t want to play the games, workers walking out, Twitch streamers saying they don’t want to stream Activision Blizzard games – those things actually could really affect their bottom line. Those are the things that gets executives’ attention.

ALLYN: You know, Tippett says the troubling accusations have created a PR nightmare for the company, to say the least. And executives are definitely in damage-control mode and now vowing to address some of these issues. And workers right now feel like they have some power to actually hold this company accountable and make some changes to the system.

SIMON: NPR’s Bobby Allyn, thanks so much for being with us.

ALLYN: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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