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Worldcoin Promised Free Crypto If They Scanned Their Eyeballs With “The Orb.” Now They Feel Robbed.

Mason Peterson

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Blania described a futuristic world awash in Orbs of varying shapes and sizes, where each person would be assigned a unique and anonymized code linked to their iris that they could use to log in to a host of web and blockchain-based applications.

Blania did not rule out the possibility that Worldcoin would charge a fee for providing this service, but the startup primarily plans to make money through the appreciation of its currency. “You distribute a token to as many people as you can,” Blania said. Because of that, the “utility of the token increases dramatically” and the “price of the token increases.”

Key to all of this technology is the Orb itself, and the contract that Orb operators sign underlines the company’s focus on stress-testing it. “Your role is to help us evaluate the Orbs and how people interact with them,” the contract says. “You should think of yourself as a product tester.”

Blania told BuzzFeed News that the company was primarily using its field tests to see how the Orbs performed in different environments — from Kenya’s heat to Norway’s freezing cold. “In Kenya where there was like, 40-degree heat, and just the reflection on the Orb is something we have never seen here in Germany in the office,” Blania said.

Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the ambiguity about Worldcoin’s goals is troublesome. “The question is, is this a digital currency company, or is this a data broker?” he said. “Either way, the practice at hand, which is paying people for their biometrics, is very problematic to privacy and to equity.”

“Worldcoin is not a data company and our business model does not involve exploiting or selling personal user data. Worldcoin is only interested in a user’s uniqueness — i.e., that they have not signed up for Worldcoin before — not their identity,” Worldcoin said in a statement.

The company’s efforts to build its database could also run afoul of data privacy and processing laws in Kenya, where the company has extensive operations. Kenya recently passed a data protection law that forbids companies from transferring biometric data abroad without approval from the newly constituted Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Worldcoin currently processes user data in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and India, according to its data consent form.

Immaculate Kassait, Kenya’s data commissioner, told BuzzFeed News that her office “was not aware” that Worldcoin was collecting the biometric data of Kenyans and transferring it abroad.

The company has until July 14 to register itself with the commission and submit a detailed Data Protection Impact Assessment under Kenya’s newly implemented data privacy laws, Kassait said over email. Worldcoin told BuzzFeed News that the company would soon engage with Kenya’s Data Commission and had already conducted a “rigorous” privacy impact assessment.

Bryan Ford, who heads the Decentralized/Distributed Systems (DEDIS) lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and wrote one of the pioneering papers on proof of personhood in 2008, said solving the authentication problem in a way that preserves user privacy would be a significant advance. Ford, however, isn’t convinced by Worldcoin’s solution. The company’s decision to build and store a giant, centralized database of irises and iris-hashes, he said, is a massive invasion of user privacy.

“We dispute the characterization that collecting images of Worldcoin users is an invasion of privacy: If collecting images of people with their consent was an invasion of privacy, CLEAR” — the biometrics identification company — “the UN and Aadhaar would all be examples of invasions of privacy too,” Worldcoin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

Privacy advocates and security experts in India have long characterized Aadhaar, India’s massive biometric identification system, as a privacy nightmare. Experts also dispute whether Worldcoin has done enough to ensure that it has obtained informed consent from people, given that the company’s extensive terms and conditions, privacy policy, and data consent forms are in English.

“Informed consent means that you are in a position to fully understand what is going on,” said Elias Okwara, Africa policy manager for the advocacy group Access Now, noting that a majority of Kenya’s population speaks Kiswahili. “So right off the bat, it becomes difficult to be able to explain to an individual what the data processing means.”

Worldcoin said it would soon roll out its privacy form in six languages and suggested that the Orb operators were live-translating and explaining the company’s voluminous policies to people who do not speak English. “In all these local countries, we have Orb operators, and their whole purpose and role is to explain to people what they consent to in their local languages,” the company said.

Any large biometric database is also susceptible to hacking, Ford said, explaining that the database could be compromised if someone hacks into the thousands of Orbs that the company plans on distributing. “Basically no hardware is reliably unhackable,” Ford said.

Blania conceded that “there has never been an uncracked hardware device” but said that Worldcoin was building fraud-detection mechanisms to identify compromised Orbs.

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Article: buzzfeednews.com

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Soccer Legend Pel? Has Died at Age 82

Mason Peterson

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By age 15, he was already playing professionally for Brazilian team Santos, and at 16, he joined the country’s national team. At 17, he became the youngest player to make it to the World Cup final, where he scored two goals — securing Brazil’s first title and his place as an international sports icon.

In the almost two decades of his career that followed, he averaged more than one goal per game and holds the Guinness World Record for most career goals. He’d go on to win two more World Cups and rack up other accolades, and fans relished not just the victories, but how he played. He popularized soccer’s nickname, “the Beautiful Game,” a phrase which became synonymous with his style. In 1961, he was legally named a national treasure in Brazil — a political move aimed at keeping the popular player from being transferred outside of the country. He later revealed that European football clubs did come calling, but he continued to play for Santos and Brazil.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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Pope Benedict XVI Has Died at 95

Mason Peterson

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Arguably the most incendiary issue Benedict faced upon becoming pope was the ongoing fallout from the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, as well as accusations of a cover-up effort on the part of church administration.

When Benedict became pope in 2005, the Catholic Church was in the midst of a very public reckoning with its history of sex abuse — a crisis about which he was very well informed. In 2001, John Paul II empowered the CDF to centralize all investigations into abuse allegations, removing that power from local dioceses after it became clear that they often failed to take action against predator priests. As the head of the CDF, then-cardinal Ratzinger worked to establish new procedures for reporting and punishing clergy accused of sexual abuse.

As pope, Benedict repeatedly spoke out against the church’s legacy of child sex abuse, apologized to victims, and defrocked hundreds of priests who had been found guilty. However, for many, his actions fell short, in part because he failed to make public the Vatican’s investigations into abuse accusations — a lack of transparency that enabled dioceses to keep these accusations secret from parishioners and law enforcement authorities.

“In the Church’s entire history, no one knew more but did less to protect kids than Benedict,” the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement in 2013, in response to the pope emeritus’s public claim that he did not engage in a ‘cover-up’ of clerical abuse. “As head of CDF, thousands of cases of predator priests crossed his desk. Did he choose to warn families or call police about even one of those dangerous clerics? No. That, by definition, is a cover up.”

Rumors of corruption and secret cabals in the Holy See also plagued Benedict’s tenure as pope, culminating in the “Vatileaks” scandal in 2012.

On Feb. 10, 2013, Benedict shocked the world by announcing his resignation from the papacy. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he said in his official statement.

His decision to retire was later dramatized in the 2019 film The Two Popes, in which Benedict was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

As pope emeritus, Benedict made a conscious effort to stay out of the public eye. He apparently disliked being known by such a lofty title following his resignation and asked others to call him simply “Father Benedict.” He did, however, make public appearances at events of theological significance, such as the Canonization Mass of Pope John XIII and Pope John Paul II on April 27, 2014.

On Sept. 4, 2020, at the age of 93 years, four months, and 19 days, Benedict became the longest-living pope in history.

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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People in China Are Demanding the End of Strict COVID Restrictions After 10 People Died in a Fire

Mason Peterson

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Protests are continuing in China against strict COVID lockdown restrictions after a deadly apartment fire brought some people closer to a breaking point.

Across the country, demonstrators took to the streets — a mass movement that is rare in China — and defied laws designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Some appeared with sheets of blank white paper, in place of traditional protest signs, as a criticism of the censorship limiting citizens from speaking freely.

After the fire in Xinjiang that left at least 10 people dead, which critics say was due to the stay-at-home measures that resulted in the building’s doors being locked, protests intensified Sunday. In major cities like Shanghai, protestors gathered to demand the end of the country’s ruling party and the resignation of the president. In clips circulating social media, some demonstrators can be heard repeatedly chanting, “Communist Party step down, Xi Jinping step down.”

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Original Source: buzzfeednews.com

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