Melanie Ehrenkranz, Gizmodo

Melanie Ehrenkranz


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Past articles by Melanie:

Online Depression Tests Are Collecting and Sharing Your Data

Casually browsing the web comes with the expectation that you’re probably going to be tracked by data brokers who are thirsty for your internet habits, but one might also expect that on certain corners of the web, your information is treated with more sensitivity. But a new report found that even on mental health websites, your privacy is second to generating those sweet personalized ads. → Read More

A Crackdown on the Use of Face Recognition Tech Is Brewing in the EU: Report

European citizens may soon have protections most Americans lack: control over the use of their face recognition data. → Read More

Second Teen Arrested for Threats Posted on Meme-Sharing Site iFunny

On Monday, a 19-year-old man from Chicago was arrested after allegedly threatening to “slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor” in the area of an abortion clinic. The threats were reportedly made on iFunny, and he is the second young man this month to be charged over violent comments on the meme-sharing site. → Read More

Google Will Now Let Visually Impaired Users Experience Live Edits In Google Docs

There are a lot of improvements to be made on the web to make it more accessible, and a lot of that is contingent on thorny legal issues, so it’s nice to see tech companies take the initiative to inject accessibility improvements directly into their own products. Especially basic but frequently used features like editing in Google Docs. → Read More

Shit Show at the Fuck Factory

Security breaches on widely used anonymous communities online threaten to out some of our most personal past-times, especially when those data leaks occur on platforms dedicated to user-created porn. → Read More

The White House Readies Draft of Executive Order That Could Break the Internet

It appears the Trump administration is drafting an executive order that has the potential to radically change how the content posted on social networks are governed, stripping crucial protections from tech companies and inserting much more government oversight. This is being done under the guise of a popular political talking point claiming that social media networks are censoring conservatives. → Read More

Google Fixed Its Algorithm So That Lesbian-Related Searches Are Less Pornographic

Google is one of the most powerful and popular search engines, but that oftentimes doesn’t conflate to being free from flawed results. And when a French news site and Twitter account campaigned against the sexualized search results for the word “lesbienne,” Google claimed that it fixed its algorithm. → Read More

U.S. Senators Urge Google to End Its Shitty Treatment of Contract Workers

Google depends deeply on its contractors, but a series of damning reports indicate that while these workers make up around half of the company and are tasked with essential work, they are largely treated as second-class citizens. In response, a group of U.S. senators wrote a letter to the tech giant in late July calling it out for this shitty labor practice. The letter follows hundreds of Google… → Read More

Facial Recognition System for Getting Drunk More Efficiently Is Coming

Facial recognition systems have, to date, proven to be biased, unjust, flawed, and deeply powerful. They’ve been deployed as tools of surveillance, oppression, and authoritarianism. And now one is going to track your drunk ass at the bar. → Read More

Fourth U.S. City Bans Facial Recognition, Citing Threats to Free Speech and Civil Rights

On Tuesday, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts unanimously voted to prohibit local government from using facial recognition, becoming the fourth city in the country to institute such a ban over concerns that the technology is biased and violates basic human rights. → Read More

Senator Moves to Make Autoplay Videos and Infinite Scroll Illegal

That technology might be bad for our health, that it’s manipulating us, isn’t a revelatory take, but it’s one that lawmakers are increasingly becoming intimately entwined with. And a new bill wants to prevent social networks from exploiting us. → Read More

How Hong Kong’s Protestors Are Hindering (and Hijacking) the Tools of Surveillance

Simply moving through the physical world in regions with massive, powerful surveillance systems threatens to strip one of their anonymity, and in places with anti-government demonstrations, that threat is disturbingly amplified. But protestors in Hong Kong are countering these gross invasions of privacy. → Read More

YouTube Says It's Not for Kids, but New Study Suggests That's Bullshit

Going down a YouTube rabbit hole is a dangerous game—even if you successfully avoid its cesspool of hateful and illegal content, you’re bound to stumble into another cesspool altogether. And worryingly, according to new Pew Research Center analysis, a large chunk of the most popular content revolves around children. → Read More

The Gates Foundation Is Filling Its Coffers With Profits From Private Prisons

For soulless ghouls who view the bottom line as superior to basic human rights, for-profit prisons are an apt investment, one that the investment arm of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation just increased its stake in. → Read More

Researchers Reveal That Anonymized Data Is Easy To Reverse Engineer

Merely existing in the modern world means giving up a wealth of your information to countless institutions and services. While many of the places make promises to keep your identifiable data as secure and private as possible, they can still—and oftentimes do—share anonymized versions of your data to third parties, whether that’s for research or for profit. But new research indicates that even… → Read More

Doctors Warn That Inaccurate At-Home Cancer Screenings Are Causing Misguided Panic

Medical tests can be scary and expensive, so providing someone the option to non-invasively and more affordably find out if they are at risk for cancer from the comfort of their home is an enticing offer. But doctors are pointing out that these at-home kits aren’t always accurate, and patients are coming in for major surgeries that they don’t need. → Read More

Test of Amazon's Face Recognition by Orlando Cops Ends as a Devastating Flop

Orlando has ended its pilot trial of Rekognition, Amazon’s face recognition system, with no current plans for future tests. But the city hasn’t suddenly had a change of heart due to ethical concerns about the technology—they reportedly just couldn’t get it to work. → Read More

So, About Your Internet Porn Habits

You might want some privacy when consuming porn online, whether that’s going in incognito mode, locking the door, putting in headphones, or all of the above. And while this certainly conceals your activity from a roommate or someone who might look at your search history, researchers have demonstrated that your intimate browsing time is an open book to companies like Facebook and Google. → Read More

Oakland Becomes Third U.S. City to Ban Government Use of Face Recognition Tech

On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of facial recognition technology by the city, including its police force. It’s the third ban of the tech by a U.S. city since May. → Read More

FaceApp Probably Won't Destroy Society, But the Privacy Trade-Off Is Still Shady as Hell

As our lives are increasingly lived online, what seems like an innocuous (or even silly) digital act can end up having serious privacy consequences. It’s a bleak reality that many are confronting once again thanks to a face-morphing app that ages the photos of users—who probably don’t know they have signed away the rights to their faces. → Read More