A new HTTP spec proposes elimination of obnoxious “cookie banners”

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), passed in 2018, requires websites to ask visitors for consent prior to placing cookies. As any Internet user is now aware, this means an extra step required when visiting nearly any website for the first time—or potentially every time, if you choose not to accept cookies. A new proposed HTTP standard from None of Your Business and the Sustainable Computing Lab would allow the user to set their privacy preferences once, inside the browser itself, and have the browser communicate those preferences invisibly with any website the user visits.

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Congressman Introduces Federal ‘Right to Repair’ Bill

As individual US states review passing “Right to Repair” laws, one congressman is introducing a federal bill to do the same, but nationwide.

On Thursday, US Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY) announced the Fair Repair Act, which seeks to make it easier for consumers to fix their broken electronics, without having to pay a costly sum to the original manufacturers.

The bill proposes doing this by requiring tech companies to make product repair information, replacement parts, and tools readily available to consumers and third-party repair shops.

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Google’s first retail store opens this week

After years of pop-up experiments, Google is finally dipping its toes in the physical retail waters with its first store, located underneath its offices in the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City. It will primarily feature Google’s own hardware products, including Pixel phones, Nest smarthome gadgets, Fitbits, and assorted other devices. There will also be a selection of third party accessories and Google-branded swag like hats or T-shirts.

Google characterizes this as its “first” store, but in a call with press yesterday declined to say when, where, or even whether other stores could open. Presumably one might, but it’s no sure thing. The retail space here is a relatively small way for Google to get into physical stores, not a big splashy entrance into competing with Apple Stores. Microsoft closed all of its retail stores last July amid the pandemic.

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Facebook develops new method to reverse-engineer deepfakes and track their source

Deepfakes aren’t a big problem on Facebook right now, but the company continues to fund research into the technology to guard against future threats. Its latest work is a collaboration with academics from Michigan State University (MSU), with the combined team creating a method to reverse-engineer deepfakes: analyzing AI-generated imagery to reveal identifying characteristics of the machine learning model that created it.

The work is useful as it could help Facebook track down bad actors spreading deepfakes on its various social networks. This content might include misinformation but also non-consensual pornography — a depressingly common application of deepfake technology. Right now, the work is still in the research stage and isn’t ready to be deployed.

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Podcasts start coming to Facebook next week

Facebook is planning to start rolling out its podcast product next week, on June 22nd, and, eventually, add a feature that’ll allow listeners to create clips from their favorite shows.

According to an email sent to podcast page owners and viewed by The Verge, hosts can link their show’s RSS feed up to Facebook, which will then automatically generate News Feed posts for all episodes published moving forward. These episodes will show up on a “podcasts” tab that doesn’t appear to be live yet, but that the company teased in a wider announcement about audio initiatives in April. (You can see it below.) Podnews first reported the date earlier this month, and at the time, Facebook confirmed with The Verge that a limited number of page owners would have access. However, emails are still being sent to additional page owners, suggesting the rollout might be wider than initially anticipated.

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Chip shortages lead to more counterfeit chips and devices

Pandemic lockdowns in industrial cities have pinched supply of both finished goods and raw materials, while demand for electronic products has skyrocketed due to both the need for remote work/school gear and simple boredom from people unable to travel, dine out, and party in the ways they’re accustomed to.

The immediate impact of this shortage is obvious and already well-reported—for example, it’s so difficult to buy a graphics card right now that manufacturer MSI is bringing back the 2014-era Nvidia GT 730. The GT 730 is, frankly, garbage—it offers a bit more than half the performance of Intel’s UHD integrated graphics and less than a fifth the performance of 2015’s GTX 950. But it works—and for the moment, that’s the most important thing to be said about it.

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