The latest local news

Deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg presents a new challenge for Facebook

WQAD News -

Facebook refused to remove a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, but this week the company faces a new quandary: Will it remove a fake video of its own CEO, Mark Zuckerberg?

The video, posted to Facebook-owned Instagram over the weekend, falsely portrays Zuckerberg as saying, “Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures.”

View this post on Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg reveals the truth about Facebook and who really owns the future… see more @sheffdocfest VDR technology by @cannyai #spectreknows #privacy #democracy #surveillancecapitalism #dataism #deepfake

A post shared by Bill Posters (@bill_posters_uk) on Jun 7, 2019 at 7:15am PDT

The video was made by taking 2017 footage of Zuckerberg and using artificial intelligence technology, known as deepfake technology, to manipulate Zuckerberg’s face to make it appear he said something he didn’t. Zuckerberg’s voice is replaced by an actor’s.

The video was created by an Israeli startup called Canny AI, cofounder Omer Ben-Ami confirmed to CNN Business on Tuesday. The video and several others — depicting celebrities like Kim Kardashian and US President Donald Trump — are part of a commissioned art installation called Spectre that was on display at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK from June 6-11. The videos, which Canny and a couple other companies worked with artists to make, are meant to show how technology can be used to manipulate data.

Last month Facebook declined to remove a manipulated video that made it appear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slurring her words. The company said it downranked the false video, meaning it would be seen in fewer people’s Facebook News Feeds. Pelosi later blasted the company, “I think they have proven — by not taking down something they know is false — that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election,” she told California’s KQED.

Asked whether a doctored video of Zuckerberg would get the same treatment as the manipulated Pelosi video, Neil Potts, Facebook’s director of public policy, told a parliamentary hearing in Canada last month, “If it was the same video, inserting Mr. Zuckerberg for Speaker Pelosi, it would get the same treatment.”

An Instagram spokesperson told CNN Business on Tuesday that the site will treat the video “the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram.” If it’s marked as false by third-party fact checkers, the spokesperson said, the site’s algorithms won’t recommend people view it.

Perhaps complicating the situation for Facebook and Instagram a call late Tuesday from CBS for the company to remove the video. The clip of Zuckberg used to make the deepfake was taken from an online CBS News broadcast. “CBS has requested that Facebook take down this fake, unauthorized use of the CBSN trademark,” a CBS spokesperson told CNN Business.

The Pelosi video was not a deepfake like the new Zuckerberg clip, but was manipulated using traditional video editing techniques. CNN Business has asked Facebook if it has any specific rules for deepfakes.

The Zuckerberg video, which was first reported by Vice, comes as the US Congress prepares to hold its first hearing on the potential threats posed by deepfake videos. Earlier this year, the US Director of National Intelligence warned that America’s adversaries may use deepfake technology in future disinformation campaigns targeting the country.

The video had less than 5,000 views before first being reported by news media, but how Facebook treats it could set a precedent for its handling of future deepfake videos.

Until recently, video hoaxes were relatively rare since they are harder to pull off than fakes of still images, but this is changing rapidly thanks to the rise of GANs, or generative adversarial networks. GANs can use data to produce new things. The technique is also used for making deepfakes.

In this case, Ben-Ami said, Canny AI chose a scene of less than a minute in length of Zuckerberg speaking, and used a computer to meld it with an actor’s voice and appropriate facial movements. It took about a day to make an initial version of the video with one of the artists’ voices standing in for a voice actor’s Zuckerberg impression and facial movements, he said. It took another two to three hours to make the final version.

CNN Business reached out to the artists behind Spectre but did not immediately receive a response.

Ben-Ami, whose company focuses on dubbing speech in videos from one language to another, is concerned about the video and others Canny AI made spreading without the context that they were created as art. But he said he also wants to raise questions about the creation of such media.

“People need to know it’s possible to do it,” he said.

Last month, Facebook announced it would spend millions to fund academic institutions studying image and video analysis. Some of that work involves tackling deepfakes, the company said. <

U.S. defends itself after humiliating Thailand at Women’s World Cup

WQAD News -

The USWNT defended itself against criticism that it humiliated Thailand in its record 13-0 Women’s World Cup victory in France Tuesday.

Thailand’s players were in tears at the full-time whistle after suffering the heaviest defeat in World Cup history at the hands of the U.S.

There were those on social media who criticized the defending champions for celebrating each goal, but Alex Morgan – who became only the second American to score five in a World Cup match – told reporters “every goal counts.”

Morgan, who comforted Thailand player Miranda Nild after the match, said it was important for the team to “continue to go” and score as many as they could in case goal difference would ever prove to be a factor in the group stages.

“We knew that every goal could matter in this group stage game and when it comes to celebrations this was a really good team performance and I think it was important for us to celebrate together,” the striker said.

‘I respect Thailand’

The 29-year-old, who played a limited role in the U.S.’ World Cup triumph four years ago because of injury, said she felt she was at the “peak of her powers.”

“In the preparation days before this, the team in general was just feeling great,” she added.

Jill Ellis, who could become the first coach to win the Women’s World Cup twice, said her team had showed Thailand respect.

“I think to be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents,” she told reporters.

“As a coach, I don’t find it my job to harness my players and rein them in because this is what they’ve dreamed about. This is it for them, this is a world championship.

“I respect Thailand. I celebrate that they’re here. For us, the players are excited and I said afterward when you go into a World Cup you can talk tactics, but it’s about mentality, it is also about confidence, and so getting off on the right foot is important.

“But the reality is we also believe we have more to do no doubt. We’re going to stay humble and we go back to work.

“Games are games, and you’ve got to go out and play and compete, and a lot of this is about building momentum.”

‘We have to improve’

With the US 3-0 up by halftime, the match was effectively over. With the title holders then proceeding to score four goals in the space of six minutes early after the break, it was a rout by the 56th minute.

But Ellis proceeded to make attacking substitutions, bringing on forwards Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press, decisions she defended after the match.

“If this is 10-0 in a men’s World Cup are we getting the same questions?” she asked.

“A World Cup is about competing. It is about peaking. It is about priming your players ready for the next game.”

“You can tell by my substitutions, you play players who can get hot. And if you can play as many hot as you possibly can, feeling good, feeling the back of the net, that’s so important for a forward and for a midfielder.

“Those feelings are what can help you through the tournament. We have to come out and we have to play as hard as we possibly can in every game. This will be an incredibly hard World Cup. This is only game one.”

Thailand’s manager Nuengrutai Srathongvian did not believe the team’s opponents were morally wrong to continue to press for goals until the end.

Indeed, Srathongvian vowed that the team would improve from such an experience.

“In football, everybody is following the rules, so our opponent is trying their best. The US team was very good. We don’t have any excuse and we accept that they are better,” the coach told reporters.

“We know where we are. Playing the US is not easy, and we know we have to improve in every aspect and improve in our mentality, and the players’ experience cannot be compared to them.

“We have limited resources in terms of the players. We have a limited number of players available, and we are small in build. We have to improve on this aspect.”

‘It’s a great opportunity for women’

The thread which entwined female footballers around the world was that the battle for recognition and equality is ongoing.

Yet, not only is there inequality between men’s and women’s teams, there is also a gulf between the countries competing at France 2019, as this match proved.

The Thai team is supported by a wealthy patron, the general manager Nualphan Lamsam, who is the chief executive of one of the country’s largest insurance companies.

Her family’s company sponsors Thailand’s fledgling women’s league, and players on the national team are also employed by her company.

Morgan acknowledged not every football federation supported its women’s teams as they should.

“For these 24 teams it’s a great opportunity for women to showcase what they’ve worked their entire life towards,” she said.

“Not every federation gives the same financial effort to their women’s side, and that’s unfortunate, but I hope that this World Cup, with it being the largest audience of a World Cup thus far, it’s great to see quality games and obviously quality teams.

“My hope is that eventually we have 32 teams moving forward. But also that it encourages FIFA to put a bit of pressure on those respective federations to put more efforts into their women’s sides.”

The Build-A-Bear pay your age promotion is back — with a plan to manage the crowds

WQAD News -

Build-A-Bear is bringing back its popular “pay your age” promotion. But after the chaos it created last time, they’ve got a plan to help control crowd size.

Last year, thousands of shoppers stood in long lines outside stores to get their hands on a new furry friend. This prompted some stores to stop accepting customers due to safety concerns.

This year, shoppers will need to need to sign up on the company’s website for a chance to get a limited ticket. If you are one of the 200,000 lucky shoppers, you’ll be able to cash in your ticket and pay your age on select days from June 24-28.

This program was so successful last year, one parent told CNN she stood in line for over seven hours to get new stuffed animals for her daughters, ages 1 and 3.

If you want a chance to win, you’d better hurry, because you only have until June 16. Winners will be notified by June 21, according to the website. Among those who sign up for tickets, ten will be chosen to win a Build-A-Bear birthday party experience.

A few more showers to go… Drying out until the upcoming weekend

WQAD News -

The small axis of steady light showers this morning has been replaced with a scattering of heavier showers and even some rumbles of thunder this afternoon.  We’ll see this persist through the early evening hours before ending well before midnight.

We’ll drop to 50 overnight with clouds giving way to clear skies by dawn, Thursday.

Thursday may be a bit breezy at times but that should be trumped with plenty of sun and highs forecast in the lower 70s.  We’ll blow in a warmer wind on Friday climbing temperatures in the upper 70s under mostly to partly sunny skies.

Clouds will thicken and lower Friday night as the next system is still on track to bring our next round of showers and a few embedded thunderstorms.  This will be more common on Saturday with an isolated chance on Sunday morning.  We’ll experience upper 70s again on Saturday before we boost temperatures in the lower 80s on Sunday.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Most rabies infections in the United States come from bats, CDC says

WQAD News -

(CNN) — In the United States, the culprit behind most rabies cases has shifted from dogs to bats. The flying mammals now cause 7 out of 10 US rabies cases, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers looked at rabies trends in the United States over the span of 80 years, from 1938 to 2018. They found that most infections came from dog bites until 1960, when wildlife species — specifically bats — became the primary source for human infection. This followed nationwide efforts in the 1950s to mandate pet vaccines and implement leash control laws, the report stated.

“Reducing rabies in dogs is a remarkable achievement of the U.S. public health system, but with this deadly disease still present in thousands of wild animals, it’s important that Americans are aware of the risk,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a news release.

From 1960 to 2018, 125 human rabies were cases reported in the United States. Of these, 28% came from contact with dogs outside the United States, where rabies vaccines may not be required or readily available. The cases acquired in the United States came from wildlife species, with 70% resulting from bat bites or scratches and the rest due to human contact with raccoons, skunks or foxes.

Once a person becomes infected, rabies is nearly always fatal without treatment. The number of deaths in the United States ranged from 30 to 50 per year in the 1940s but has since dropped to one to three deaths per year. That’s the result of routine pet vaccination and availability of post-exposure treatment with vaccine and immune globulins, proteins that trigger the body’s defense system to fight off infection.

“We wanted to write a report to raise people’s awareness that rabies is still an issue. … It’s still one of the most deadly diseases on the planet,” said Dr. Emily Pieracci, a CDC veterinarian and lead author of the report. “If you get post-exposure prophylaxis and you get that before the onset of signs or symptoms of rabies, you can prevent the disease.”

How to prevent rabies

The CDC recommends three things to prevent rabies: Avoid wildlife, vaccinate pets and seek medical attention quickly after animal contact.

Rabies is a virus that infects mammals. When an infected animal bites a human, rabies is transmitted from saliva, through the open wound and into the nerves, where the virus goes to the brain and spinal cord. This process can take between three and 12 weeks. Before the virus gets to the brain, a person may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms like fever, weakness or discomfort. At this stage, a person can get post-exposure treatment and still survive.

But once the virus gets into the brain, it multiplies and passes through glands that make saliva, becoming over 99% fatal. At that point, a person can show symptoms like confusion, abnormal behavior, hallucinations, insomnia, drooling, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia, fear of water. Most people die within one to two weeks of these late symptoms. That’s why CDC experts recommend seeing a doctor for post-exposure treatment soon after contact with an animal, before the virus has the chance to turn fatal.

In the United States, most human deaths from rabies occur because people don’t seek medical treatment, probably because they are unaware of the animal contact. For example, bat bites can be smaller than the top of a pencil eraser, the CDC said.

“We’ve been seeing cases in people in the United States who seem to not really be aware that rabies can be transmitted by wildlife, especially bats,” Pieracci said. “A lot of times, bat bites and scratches are very tiny. So a lot of people will try to hold a bat and they don’t realize that bat has bitten.”

Healthy bats try to avoid contact with people. But those infected with rabies will act differently, being active in the day or stumbling along the ground. In these cases, people can contact their local animal control office or wildlife rehabilitation center. Pieracci said people should avoid touching all bats, regardless of how they appear.

If you happen to wake up with a bat in your immediate surroundings, you should assume rabies exposure and seek medical care right away, the CDC recommends.

Although wildlife exposure is the most common cause of rabies death in the United States, globally, infected dogs cause 98% of the 59,000 human deaths each year. Americans who travel internationally should research rabies risk at their destination and avoid contact with dogs, have travel insurance to pay for treatment, if needed, and consider pre-exposure vaccination, the CDC report advised.

Of the more than 1 million dogs imported to the United States every year, 10% come from countries with a high risk of rabies. There have been three US rabies cases reported from imported dogs since 2015.

How rabies is treated

In 2018, about 55,000 people in the United States received post-exposure treatment for possible rabies, though some may not have had contact with an infected animal. Even if the animal couldn’t be captured to confirm rabies, people who were bitten by a suspicious animal got post-exposure treatment because the disease is so deadly, Pieracci said.

Post-exposure treatment is available in almost every emergency department across the country. For people who haven’t received the rabies vaccine, treatment includes a one-time dose of immune globulins and four doses of the vaccine over the course of two weeks. People who’ve had the vaccine don’t need immune globulins, only the vaccine doses. Immune globulin costs about $312 per dose, while the rabies vaccine is $290 per dose, although hospital bills for rabies treatment can vary, according to the CDC report.

Oral rabies vaccines for wild animals have been used to control the spread of the disease from raccoons and coyotes. The program, run by the US Department of Agriculture, started in the 1990s and was successful in preventing the spread of raccoon rabies westward.

The vaccine is put into a packet and covered in flavored bait such as egg or fish to attract animals. The packets are dropped by airplane or by hand, along roads. Once the animal bites into the packet, they consume the vaccine inside and are protected against rabies.

There are no vaccines or management programs to control rabies in the bat population.

Nevada bans employers from refusing to hire those who fail marijuana tests

WQAD News -

Starting in 2020, Nevada employers cannot refuse to hire a job applicant for failing a marijuana screening test, making it the first state to pass such a law.

“It is unlawful for any employer in this State to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana,” states the law, signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak on June 5.

There are some exceptions. The law does not apply to firefighters, EMTs, employees who operate a motor vehicle, or those who, in the determination of the employer, could adversely affect others’ safety.

If an employer requires a new hire to take a screening test, then the new employee has the right to submit to an additional screening test to rebut the results, the law states. The employer must accept that follow-up test, the law says.

The law takes effect at the start of 2020.

Nevada is the first state to approve such a law regarding drug screening tests. In 2016, voters in the state approved the legal sale of recreational marijuana to adults 21 and older, and recreational marijuana sales began a year later.

The New York City Council passed a similar bill in April that banned employers from requiring a prospective employee to pass a marijuana screening test as a condition of employment. In Maine, which legalized recreational marijuana, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on marijuana usage, but there are no laws about drug testing.

Illinois governor signs abortion protections into law

WQAD News -

 

The law establishes abortion as a “fundamental right” for women. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed the bill Wednesday, surrounded by advocates. He says Illinois is taking a “giant step forward” while other states are taking a “giant step backwards.”The measure rescinds decades-old regulations on abortion that had been suspended by judges. It also requires insurance coverage for abortions, contraception and related medical care.

Supporters say the legislation would put existing practice into law. Republicans strongly objected.

At least six states have adopted steep restrictions or bans on abortion.

2 men die while competing in Madison, Wisconsin, Ironman

WQAD News -

(CNN) — Two men died following an Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin, over the weekend, the Madison Fire Department said.

Todd Mahoney, 38, an apparatus engineer with the fire department, and Michael McCulloch, 61, of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, both died during the swimming portion of the lengthy race.

The Ironman 70.3 is a three-part race, with a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.

Competitors began swimming in heats, starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the Ironman website.

McCulloch was rescued from Lake Monona by the Madison Fire Department, taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead, a fire department statement said.

According to an obituary, McCulloch was a native of the area, and survived by his wife and daughter.

The fire department said it also rescued Mahoney when he was found unresponsive in the lake. He was transported to a hospital, where he died Tuesday.

Mahoney was a nine-year veteran of the fire department and occasionally was an aide to the chief. He is survived by his wife and three young sons, the department said.

The Dane County medical examiner’s office told CNN affiliate WKOW that McCulloch’s death “was consistent with an accidental drowning due in part to a medical event.” The office continues to investigate Mahoney’s cause of death, the fire department said.

“The well-being of our competitors is paramount and we are grateful for the effort and quick support of medical personnel,” Ironman said in a statement Sunday to WKOW. “We will continue to work with the local authorities to gather all the details on these incidents and will continue to do everything possible to provide a safe environment for our athletes. In respect of the families and athletes’ privacy, we will have no further comment at this time.”

Ironman didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway issued a statement Tuesday on the men’s deaths.

“My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the two athletes who died while competing in the Half Iron Man on Sunday,” Rhodes-Conway said. “It is a tragic coincidence that two men died competing in the same event.”

Texas mom says she was kicked out of a city pool for breastfeeding her baby

WQAD News -

A group of moms held a “nurse-in” at a Texas swimming pool to support a woman who says she was kicked out for breastfeeding her baby.

Misty Daugereaux was at the Nessler Park Family Aquatic Center in Texas City on Sunday when her 10-month-old needed to eat.

She said she was discreetly nursing her son when a lifeguard and a manager approached and told her it was against the pool’s rules.

“She [the manager] said you need to cover up or leave,” Daugereaux told CNN affiliate KTRK. “She gave me the ultimatum. And I said, ‘Well, you show me in your policy where I need to cover up and I’ll leave.’ And, she was telling me that it was not right, that I needed to cover up. It was their policy. And I said, ‘Well, you can go call whoever you need to call, but I’m not leaving for breastfeeding my son.'”

Police were called and Daugereaux, who was there with her nephew and two sons, was asked to leave the pool. Texas City is in southeast Texas, near Galveston.

“I walked out feeling defeated because I couldn’t … stand my ground,” she said.

The Texas City police department posted footage from the responding officer’s body camera on its Facebook page.

Texas law says that “a mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.”

City officials promised to review their policies and procedures in a statement issued Monday.

“We, the City of Texas City are reviewing the nursing concerns raised at the Nessler Pool and how it was addressed by our staff. We apologize to Misty Daugereaux as it is clear she was offended by how she was treated at our City Facility. City policies and procedures will be reviewed and revised as deemed necessary. Any deficiencies regarding our employee’s actions will be addressed with further training,” the statement said.

About a half-dozen women and their young children participated in a protest Monday to express their right to breastfeed wherever they need to. Daugereaux told KTRK that most of the moms were from a Galveston County breastfeeding support group.

She also said she would continue to nurse her son in public when he gets hungry.

A similar incident happened last July in Mora, Minnesota, where two mothers were asked to leave a public pool for breastfeeding their children. More than a dozen moms staged a “nurse-in” protest at the pool a few days later.

Ford recalling 1.2 million Explorers over suspension issue

WQAD News -

Ford is recalling 1.2 million Explorers over a problem with their suspensions.

The recalled SUVs are from model years 2011 through 2017. Ford said that cars that frequently ride over rough terrain may experience a fractured toe link on their rear suspension, which can affect steering and increase the risk of an accident. Ford said one customer reported hitting a curb when the toe link broke, but it is not aware of any related injuries.

Ford said it will spend about $180 million to fix the problem, which will be done at no cost to the cars’ owners.

Ford also announced three other smaller recalls. One is a recall of 12,000 Ford Taurus and Flex cars as well as Lincoln MKS and MKT vehicles sold in Canada. They have a similar problem with their toe links. Ford said it is aware of one crash involving minor injuries associated with the problem. The affected vehicles range from model year 2009 through 2017.

Ford is also recalling 123,000 Ford F-150 pickups from 2013 with 6-speed automatic transmissions that could potentially downshift into first gear unintentionally. And it is recalling 4,300 Ford Econoline vehicles from model years 2009 to 2016 which are used as ambulances or school buses. Those vehicles have a weld in the clutch that could fail, preventing them from moving.

Pages

Subscribe to I Connect You aggregator - The latest local news