New story in Technology from Time: After Anonymous Promises Retribution for George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Website Shows Signs It Was Hacked

The Minneapolis Police Department’s website has shown signs of a hack since late Saturday, days after a video purported to be from the hacktivist group Anonymous promised retribution for the death of George Floyd during an arrest.

Websites for the police department and the city of Minneapolis were temporarily inaccessible on Saturday as protesters in cities around the U.S. marched against police violence aimed at black Americans.

By Sunday morning, the pages sometimes required visitors to submit “captchas” to verify they weren’t bots, a tool used to mitigate hacks that attempt to overwhelm pages with automated requests until they stop responding.

Officials with the police department and the city didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Anonymous posted a video on their unconfirmed Facebook page on May 28 directed at the Minneapolis police. The post accused them of having a “horrific track record of violence and corruption.”

The speaker, wearing a hoodie and the Guy Fawkes mask that’s a well-known symbol of the group, concludes the video with, “we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are a legion. Expect us.”

The video was viewed almost 2.3 million times on Facebook over the weekend, during which violence swept the U.S. as protesters clashed with law enforcement and National Guard troops.

While many demonstrations have been peaceful, others have devolved into rioting. Several cities issued curfews and police have at times turned their rubber bullets and mace on the activists and on journalists covering the protests.

President Donald Trump on Sunday cast blame on the media for stoking the violence that’s followed the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minnesota police custody.

New story in Technology from Time: Twitter Flags President Trump’s Tweet About Shooting Minneapolis Looters for ‘Glorifying Violence’

Twitter, which this week earned U.S. President Donald Trump’s ire by posting fact-check notices next to some of his tweets, has put up a rule-violation notice on one of his most recent missives.

Saying that the president’s comments about protests in Minneapolis glorified violence and were thus against its rules, the social media company has obscured the offending message on his profile with the following warning:

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

A spokesman for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone call for comment.

A “View” option to open and read the tweet is made available alongside the warning. The president’s comments, concluding with the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” incited a strong response from other Twitter users, but those replies have since been hidden or removed by the company. The options to reply and like the tweet have also been disabled, while the retweet and quote-tweet functions have been left active.

New story in Technology from Time: Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Protections for Social Media Companies Amid Escalating War With Twitter

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump escalated his war on social media companies, signing an executive order Thursday challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.

Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.

Trump said the fact checks were “editorial decisions” by Twitter and amounted to political activism. He said it should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts.

“We’re fed up with it,” Trump said, claiming the order would uphold freedom of speech.

It directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

Companies like Twitter and Facebook are granted liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content.

A similar executive order was previously considered by the administration but shelved over concerns it couldn’t pass legal muster and that it violated conservative principles on deregulation and free speech.

Two administration officials outlined the draft order on the condition of anonymity because it was still being finalized Thursday morning. But a draft was circulating on Twitter — where else?

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the Twitter fact checks reflected “bias in action” and Trump aimed to sign the order by the end of the day.

Trump and his campaign reacted after Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted “mail boxes will be robbed.” Under the tweets, there’s now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.

Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and declared “as president, I will not allow this to happen.” His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago.” In fact, Twitter has banned political advertising since last November.

Late Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

Dorsey added: “This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News his platform has “a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this.”

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said.

The president’s critics, meanwhile, scolded the platforms for allowing him to put forth false or misleading information that could confuse voters.

“Donald Trump’s order is plainly illegal,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat and advocate for internet freedoms. He is “desperately trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress… All for the ability to spread unfiltered lies.”

Trump’s proposal has multiple, serious legal problems and is unlikely to survive a challenge, according to Matt Schruers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a Washington-based organization that represents computer and internet companies.

It would also seem to be an assault on the same online freedom that enabled social media platforms to flourish in the first place — and made them such an effective microphone for Trump and other politicians.

“The irony that is lost here is that if these protections were to go away social media services would be far more aggressive in moderating content and terminating accounts,” Schruers said. “Our vibrant public sphere of discussion would devolve into nothing more than preapproved soundbites.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “outrageous” that while Twitter had put a fact-check tag on Trump’s tweets asserting massive mail-in election fraud, it had not removed his tweets suggesting without evidence that a TV news host had murdered an aide years ago.

“Their business model is to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts that they know,” she said of social media giants, also mentioning Facebook. She said their goal is to avoid taxes “and they don’t want to be regulated, so they pander to the White House.”

The order was also expected to try to hold back federal advertising dollars from Twitter and other social media companies that “violate free speech principles.”

The president and fellow conservatives have been claiming, for years, that Silicon Valley tech companies are biased against them. But there is no evidence for this — and while the executives and many employees of Twitter, Facebook and Google may lean liberal, the companies have stressed they have no business interest in favoring on political party over the other.

The trouble began in 2016, two years after Facebook launched a section called “trending,” using human editors to curate popular news stories. Facebook was accused of bias against conservatives based on the words of an anonymous former contractor who said the company downplayed conservative issues in that feature and promoted liberal causes.

Zuckerberg met with prominent right-wing leaders at the time in an attempt at damage control, and in 2018, Facebook shut down the “trending” section,.

In August 2018, Trump accused Google of biased searches and warned the company to “be careful.” Google pushed back sharply, saying Trump’s claim simply wasn’t so: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Experts, meanwhile, suggested that Trump’s comments showed a misunderstanding of how search engines work.

Last year, Trump again blasted social media companies after Facebook banned a slew of extremist figures including conspiracy peddler Alex Jones from its site and from Instagram.

Meanwhile, the companies are gearing up to combat misinformation around the November elections. Twitter and Facebook have begun rolling out dozens of new rules to avoid a repeat of the false postings about the candidates and the voting process that marred the 2016 election.

The coronavirus pandemic has further escalated the platforms’ response, leading them to take actions against politicians — a move they’ve long resisted — who make misleading claims about the virus.

Last month, Twitter began a “Get the Facts” label to direct social media users to news articles from trusted outlets next to tweets containing misleading or disputed information about the virus. Company leaders said the new labels could be applied to anyone on Twitter and they were considering using them on other topics.

The Democratic National Committee said Trump’s vote-by-mail tweets should have been removed, not just flagged, for violating the company’s rules on posting false voting information.

“After taking too long to act, Twitter once again came up short out of fear of upsetting Trump,” the party said in a statement.

___

AP writers Amanda Seitz, Barbara Ortutay and David Klepper contributed.

New story in Technology from Time: Yes, Your iPad Can Replace Your Desktop or Laptop. Here Are 5 Things to Know First

Apple’s latest souped-up iPads, along with accessories like the Magic Keyboard and software enhancements in iPadOS, have turned the company’s tablets into bona-fide desktop and laptop replacements.

But if you really want to use your iPad as your primary computing device, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are five tips for replacing your PC or Mac with one of Apple’s tablets, whether for work, school, or just day-to-day usage.

Get a real keyboard (and a mouse)

Lack of mouse support was long the main hurdle preventing the iPad from operating as a PC replacement. But Apple’s latest iPadOS update gives the iPad external mouse and trackpad support, giving you a desktop- or laptop-like cursor for the first time.

But before you get a mouse to go clicking away, you should probably get a keyboard, too. You can pair your own Bluetooth keyboard to your iPad and get your typing done that way, but you can also get yourself a keyboard cover that doubles as a case, and makes your iPad look more laptop-like than usual. Apple makes its own keyboard covers with different features depending on the iPad you’re using: iPad Pro users can grab the trackpad-free Smart Keyboard Folio, or the trackpad-equipped Magic Keyboard Cover. iPads lacking the Pro moniker have an Apple-provided option when it comes to keyboards: the Smart Keyboard uses the tablet’s embedded Smart Connector, and doubles as a cover when not in use, but doesn’t feature any flexibility in terms of viewing angles.

You can also look to third-party keyboards for added functionality. Keyboards like Logitech’s backlit Combo Touch turn your iPad into the closest thing to an iPad Pro without the added cost. It adds a detachable keyboard and trackpad cover to the iPad, along with an adjustable kickstand akin to the Microsoft Surface — arguably more useful than Apple’s own Magic Keyboard and its inflexible posture. There’s also the series of wireless keyboards from Brydge, which affix to your iPad to turn it into a facsimile of a laptop. The new Brydge Pro+ works with the iPad Pro and includes an integrated trackpad, while the Brydge Pro fits on the lower-end iPad, but lacks a trackpad.

Find substitutes for your go-to apps

Some things are just easier to do on a PC—but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to do on an iPad.

Need to send specific files or open certain links in particular apps and web browsers? Check out Opener, an app that lets you take advantage of the iOS share sheet (indicated by the box with an arrow sticking out of it). Use an app like 1Password to access your protected online accounts on any device, on iOS, Mac, or PC. TextExpander can save you time typing repeated email responses, names, addresses, or forms by creating shortcuts corresponding to their longer stored sentences and paragraphs.

Need a more powerful to-do list? Apple’s integrated Reminders app is free and suitable for day-to-day tasks, but apps like Todoist or Omnifocus offer multiple ways to restructure your priorities and projects you want to accomplish whether on the job or around the house. What about a word processor? Google Docs, the minimalist iA Writer, and the organization-friendly Scrivener all offer different takes when it comes to writing, drafting, and organizing text. For a more powerful text editor, check out Drafts, which can send the text you write to other apps, boosting your productivity and saving you time in the process.

Learn how to manage your “windows”

Understanding how to manage your app windows is perhaps the most frustrating part of using an iPad as a replacement for your PC.

Whereas window management is a snap on a PC, on an iPad, you’ll be dragging apps, holding them in place, and swiping them to certain parts of the screen to keep your multitasking habits alive. The iPad’s Split View feature puts two apps side-by-side, while its Slide Over feature will overlay an iPhone-shaped version of your app on a section of either your home screen or atop the app you’re already using. You can operate up to three apps at a time, and drag and drop items like photos and email attachments between them.

To start using the iPad’s multitasking feature, open an app or place it in your iPad dock. From there, you can select another app in the dock, long press it, and drag it up either on top of the current app, or next to it, enabling its Split View mode. You can adjust the real estate each app takes up by sliding the central divider left or right. By repeating the process with a third app, you can layer it on top of either of the two apps, letting you have a word processor on one side, a calendar on the other, and your messaging app of choice on top of that.

While slick, it’s still not perfect. Using the keyboard in Split View gets a bit frustrating if you keep switching between apps, and not every app supports every multitasking mode.

Get a stand, too

If you’re using your iPad as your primary machine these days, you’re probably suffering from some pretty poor posture—you’re more hunched over with your neck tilted downward, perhaps. Working that way for a few days might be well and good, but for longer periods of time, you’re just asking for a strained neck, uncomfortable back, and generally unpleasant feeling.

But an iPad on a stand? That’s a game-changer. Not only will a stand help correct your bad posture, but with the right model—either one attached to an articulated arm or with a swiveling head—you can use your iPad in either portrait or landscape mode, and pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) to gain even more control.

For more versatility, you need a hub

If you need to connect lots of devices to your iPad, you’ve probably already encountered a problem: it only has one port. The solution? A USB-C hub, which allows you not only to connect devices like flash drives or digital cameras to your iPad, it also supercharges your tablet when paired with the right external accessories.

Streaming video for a conference call? Connecting your iPad to a hub with an Ethernet port gives you a wired connection for lag-free calls. Need to offload some photos from your digital camera? A hub with an SD card slot, combined with Apple’s Files app, makes short work of getting your pictures off the card and into your app of choice (or the cloud). You can even connect your favorite wired keyboard rather than spend money on a wireless model.

A hub can also give you some much-needed screen space by connecting your iPad to a second display. Depending on the app you’re using, your iPad will either mirror your screen or offer you a secondary monitor to display images, keynote presentations and more unencumbered by your user interface or editing tools. Apps like Photos, Keynote, and Procreate can use a second display to show off larger versions of whatever you’re viewing on your iPad, too—it’s great for displaying presentations or photo slideshows.

Still, iPad second screens aren’t perfect. When viewing a photo in an app like Photos, the image itself will be showcased in an awkward 4:3 aspect ratio, with the image taking up the entirety of the monitor only after you do a little zooming in with your fingers.

Even better is the ability to send video to your second, larger display when connected. The iPad retains its 4:3 aspect ratio when plugged into an external display, even if it’s a widescreen monitor. But when watching video from, for example, your favorite streaming app, the iPad will take advantage of the entire monitor, providing you with a proper 16:9 aspect ratio and viewing experience.

New story in Technology from Time: ‘We Will Strongly Regulate, or Close Them Down.’ Trump Threatens to Shutter Social Media Platforms After Twitter Fact-Checks Him

(Washington D.C.) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened social media companies with new regulations or even shuttering a day after Twitter added fact checks to two of his tweets.

The president can’t unilaterally regulate or close the companies, which would require action by Congress or the Federal Communications Commission. But that didn’t stop Trump from angrily issuing a strong warning.

Claiming tech giants “silence conservative voices,” Trump tweeted, “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

And he repeated his unsubstantiated claim — which sparked his latest showdown with Silicon Valley — that expanding mail-in voting “would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots.”

Trump and his campaign angrily lashed out Tuesday after Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed,” among other things. Under the tweets, there is now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a Twitter “moments” page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.

Trump replied on Twitter, accusing the platform of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” and insisting that “as president, I will not allow this to happen.” His 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago.” Twitter has banned all political advertising since last November.

Trump did not explain his threat Wednesday, and the call to expand regulation appeared to fly in the face of long-held conservative principles on deregulation.

But some Trump allies, who have alleged bias on the part of tech companies, have questioned whether platforms like Twitter and Facebook should continue to enjoy liability protections as “platforms” under federal law — or be treated more like publishers, which could face lawsuits over content.

The protections have been credited with allowing the unfettered growth of the internet for more than two decades, but now some Trump allies are advocating that social media companies face more scrutiny.

“Big tech gets a huge handout from the federal government,” Republican Sen. Josh Hawley told Fox News. “They get this special immunity, this special immunity from suits and from liability that’s worth billions of dollars to them every year. Why are they getting subsidized by federal taxpayers to censor conservatives, to censor people critical of China.”

New story in Technology from Time: In a First, Twitter Adds ‘Unsubstantiated’ Warning to 2 of President Trump’s Tweets

President Trump started off his Tuesday as he does most days, with a series of tweets, the content of which many often find counterfactual. And for the first time, the social media company responded in a new way.

On Tuesday morning, the President declared in a pair of tweets that supplying voters with mail-in ballots, a move rising in popularity amid the coronavirus outbreak and one several states already employ, would be “substantially fraudulent.” Later on Tuesday evening, Twitter added a label to the posts with a blue exclamation point symbol and a warning that Trump was making an “unsubstantiated claim.”

“Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud,” a statement from the company read once users clicked on the alert.

The platform noted that only registered voters will receive ballots, and that mail-in ballots are already in use in several states. Twitter confirmed to TIME that it was the first time the company had put the warning on one of the President’s tweets.

The warning appears to be a significant change for the social media company, which has previously deflected calls to address several of the President’s tweets that critics said violate the company’s policies. After the President apparently made a violent threat against North Korea on the platform in 2017, the company implied that Trump’s tweet had not been deleted because it is newsworthy.

The new warnings on Trump’s tweets are aligned with the company’s updated policy on misinformation. On May 11, the company announced that it would add “new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19.”

On Tuesday evening, President Trump returned to Twitter to criticize the platform, accusing the company of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.”

“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” Trump said.

The President’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, also released a statement criticizing Twitter’s policy.

“We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters,“ the statement said. “Partnering with the biased fake news media ‘fact checkers’ is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility. There are many reasons the Trump campaign pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and their clear political bias is one of them.”

The warnings materialized the same day a letter criticizing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey went viral over conspiratorial tweets Trump sent, suggesting former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough was responsible for a young woman’s death. In the widely-circulated letter, widower Timothy Klausutis asked Dorsey to remove tweets by the President and Donald Trump Jr. that he said promoted a conspiracy theory that his deceased wife, was murdered. Klausutis cited that the statements are a violation of the company’s community rules and terms of service.

A Twitter spokesperson said to TIME that the company is “not taking action on the tweets at this time,” although the company is “working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.”

As of this writing, Twitter did had not yet removed the three tweets cited by Klausutis.

New story in Technology from Time: Apple and Google Release Smartphone Technology to Notify People of Possible Coronavirus Exposure

Apple and Google on Wednesday released long-awaited smartphone technology to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The companies said 22 countries and several U.S. states are already planning to build voluntary phone apps using their software. It relies on Bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus.

Many governments have already tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to roll out their own phone apps to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those apps have encountered technical problems on Apple and Android phones and haven’t been widely adopted. They often use GPS to track people’s location, which Apple and Google are banning from their new tool because of privacy and accuracy concerns.

Public health agencies from Germany to the states of Alabama and South Carolina have been waiting to use the Apple-Google model, while other governments have said the tech giants’ privacy restrictions will be a hindrance because public health workers will have no access to the data.

The companies said they’re not trying to replace contact tracing, a pillar of infection control that involves trained public health workers reaching out to people who may have been exposed to an infected person. But they said their automatic “exposure notification” system can augment that process and slow the spread of COVID-19 by virus carriers who are interacting with strangers and aren’t yet showing symptoms.

The identity of app users will be protected by encryption and anonymous identifier beacons that change frequently.

“User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps,” the companies said in a joint statement Wednesday.

The companies said the new technology — the product of a rare partnership between the rival tech giants — solves some of the main technical challenges that governments have had in building Bluetooth-based apps. It will make it easier for iPhones and Android phones to detect each other, work across national and regional borders and fix some of the problems that led previous apps to quickly drain a phone’s battery.

The statement Wednesday also included remarks from state officials in North Dakota, Alabama and South Carolina signaling that they plan to use it.

“We invite other states to join us in leveraging smartphone technologies to strengthen existing contact tracing efforts, which are critical to getting communities and economies back up and running,” said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican.

North Dakota had already launched a location-tracking app that about 4% of state residents are using, higher than other U.S. states with similar apps but falling far short of the participation rate that experts say is needed to make such technology useful.

Tim Brookins, the CEO of ProudCrowd, a startup that developed North Dakota’s app, said Wednesday that North Dakotans will now be asked to download two complementary apps — his model, to help public health workers track where COVID-19 patients have been, and the Apple-Google model, to privately notify people who might have been exposed to the virus.