Meta Expands Bug Bounties; Googlers Not Vaxxed-Borrowed Time; More Harassment Suits vs Tesla; Apple Pulls CSAM Mentions From Child Safety Page

Meta is beefing up its bug bounty program to reward researchers who report data scraping. Techcrunch.com reports that researchers will be able to report scraping activity as well as previously scraped data that has already appeared online. Meta believes its the first bug bounty program particularly targeted to scraping. Under the new bug bounty program, researchers will be rewarded for finding “unprotected or openly public databases containing at least 100,000 unique Facebook user records with PII [personally identifiable information] or sensitive data (e.g. email, phone number, physical address, religious or political affiliation).” Instead of its usual payouts though, Meta says it will donate to a charity chosen by the researcher in order not to incentivize the publishing of scraped data.For reports of bugs that can lead to data scraping, researchers can choose between a donation or a direct payout. Meta says each bug or dataset is eligible for at least a $500 award.

Google had previously given employees until December third to upload vaccination documentation or apply for a medical or religious exemption. Now, according to CNBC, employees who haven’t complied by January 18th will be placed on ‘paid administrative leave’ for 30 days, followed by ‘unpaid personal leave’ for up to 6 months. After that, they will be fired. Since the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Google has tabled its January 10th return to work 3 days a week plan. Now, the return-to-office plan is on hold indefinitely. 

Tesla has been hit with more lawsuits that allege sexual harassment at the Fremont plant. CNET.com says 6 women are accusing the carmaker of creating an environment where it is normal for women to deal with sexual comments and inappropriate touching. Some of the things the women have complained about in the 6 separate suits include ongoing catcalling, inappropriate touching, sexual comments and other harassment by colleagues and supervisors. “Tesla has failed to take sexual harassment seriously, from the top of the company down,” said attorney David Lowe, a partner at Rudy Exelrod Zieff & Lowe who represents the women, in a release. “Elon Musk tweeting a lewd comment about women’s bodies or a taunt toward employees who report misconduct reflects an attitude at the top that enables the pattern of pervasive sexual harassment and retaliation at the heart of these cases.” Tesla foolishly still has not re-established a public relations department…so there is no comment from the car maker.

Apple got a considerable blowback from a number of individuals and organizations when they announced a suite of new child safety features last summer. According to macrumors.com, most revolved about Apple’s planned on-device CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material) detection…which a number of researchers objected to as relying on dangerous tech that bordered on surveillance, and which at any rate, was ineffective at identifying images of child sex abuse. The Communication Safety features for Messages was launched this week, but Apple has delayed the CSAM rollout. Now, all mentions of it have been dropped, with just a statement on the company’s Child Safety page saying “based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others… we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”  Reading between the lines, it looks like it has been either dropped entirely or pushed way out into the future…when better software or methods are available. 



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