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Posts Tagged ‘#China’

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Chinese deepfake app Zao sparks privacy row after going viral

September 3, 2019

Critics say face-swap app could spread misinformation on a massive scale

A Chinese app that lets users convincingly swap their faces with film or TV characters has rapidly become one of the country’s most downloaded apps, triggering a privacy row.

The rise of the deepfake and the threat to democracy
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Released on Friday, the Zao app went viral as Chinese users seized on the chance to see themselves act out scenes from well-known movies using deepfake technology, which has already prompted concerns elsewhere over potential misuse.

Users provide a series of selfies in which they blink, move their mouths and make facial expressions, which the app uses to realistically morph the person’s animated likeness on to movies, TV shows or other content.
The company was forced to issue a statement on Sunday pledging changes after critics attacked the app’s privacy policy, which it had “free, irrevocable, permanent, transferable, and relicenseable” rights to all user-generated content.

There has been growing concern over deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence to appear genuine. Critics say the technology can be used to create bogus videos to manipulate elections, defame someone, or potentially cause unrest by spreading misinformation on a massive scale.

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“We understand the concerns about privacy. We’ve received the feedback, and will fix the issues that we didn’t take into consideration, which will take some time,” a statement released by Zao said.

Zao is owned by Momo Inc, a Tinder-like dating service that is listed on the US Nasdaq.

It has since changed its terms to say it will not use headshots or videos uploaded by users, other than to improve the app. It also pledged to remove from its servers any content that was uploaded but subsequently deleted by users.

The backlash has not dented the app’s popularity. As of Monday afternoon it remained the top free download in China, according to the app market data provider App Annie.

Concerns over deepfakes have grown since the 2016 US election campaign, which saw wide use of online misinformation, according to US investigations.

In June, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the social network was struggling to find ways to deal with deepfake videos, saying they may constitute “a completely different category” of misinformation than anything faced before.

Article by Agence France-Presse in Shanghai
Mon 2 Sep 2019 09.05 EDT

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China electronics firm to recall some U.S. products after hacking attack

October 24, 2016

Chinese firm Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co Ltd said it will recall some of its products sold in the United States after it was identified by security researchers as having made parts for devices that were targeted in a major hacking attack on Friday.

Hackers unleashed a complex attack on the Internet through common devices like webcams and digital recorders, and cut access to some of the world’s best known websites in a stunning breach of global internet stability.

The electronics components firm, which makes parts for surveillance cameras, said in a statement on its official microblog that it would recall some of its earlier products sold in the United States, strengthen password functions and send users a patch for products made before April last year.

It said the biggest issue was users not changing default passwords, adding that, overall, its products were well protected from cyber security breaches. It said reports that its products made up the bulk of those targeted in the attack were false.

“Security issues are a problem facing all mankind. Since industry giants have experienced them, Xiongmai is not afraid to experience them once, too,” the company statement said.

Friday’s cyber attack alarmed security experts because it represented a new type of threat rooted in the proliferation of simple digital devices such as webcams. These often lack proper security, and hackers found a way to harness millions of them to flood a target with so much traffic that it couldn’t cope.

The main products Xiongmai is to recall are all webcam models, it said.

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