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Links for 2023-06-29

  • Expert explainer: Allocating accountability in AI supply chains

    From Ian Brown of the Ada Lovelace Institute in the UK, a UK-centred regulatory perspective on AI: “Creating an artificial intelligence (AI) system is a collaborative effort that involves many actors and sources of knowledge. Whether simple or complex, built in-house or by an external developer, AI systems often rely on complex supply chains, each involving a network of actors responsible for various aspects of the system’s training and development. As policymakers seek to develop a regulatory framework for AI technologies, it will be crucial for them to understand how these different supply chains work, and how to assign relevant, distinct responsibilities to the appropriate actor in each supply chain. Policymakers must also recognise that not all actors in supply chains will be equally resourced, and regulation will need to take account of these realities. Depending on the supply chain, some companies (perhaps UK small businesses) supplying services directly to customers will not have the power, access or capability to address or mitigate all risks or harms that may arise. This paper aims to help policymakers and regulators explore the challenges and nuances of different AI supply chains, and provides a conceptual framework for how they might apply different responsibilities in the regulation of AI systems.”

    (tags: regulation ai ada-lovelace-institute ian-brown supply-chains data-protection uk law copyright)

  • Massive Alexa hole used to stalk Richard Morrell

    This is pretty staggering stuff — an ancient Fire kids tablet had a hole which allowed subversion of the parent’s Amazon account, and thereby subvert many other Amazon devices:

    In Morrell’s case, he says an Amazon Fire 7 Kids tablet was been used to turn his Echo gadgets in his house into listening devices. … When he found himself the target of a sophisticated stalking attack via an Amazon Fire 7 Kids tablet that he didn’t know was still connected to his account, he was shocked. Someone was listening in to him and looked into his activities and records for approximately two years.  This came even after he changed his Amazon account, refactored his two-factor authentication, and used a secure password generator to create a complex password. He assumed he was safe. He wasn’t. Because the adult account on the Amazon Fire 7 Kids tablet was his, this gave the person who had the tablet full access to his Amazon accounts and data.  Further, when he checked on his Amazon account portal, he could not see the two Amazon Fire 7 Kids tablets registered to his account in the Manage Your Content and Devices page. Here, you’re supposed to find your Fire tablets, Echo devices, and other Alexa API-enabled devices. But the two tablets were not listed. Had they appeared, he would have deregistered them. Morrell felt safe from unauthorized snooping.  He wasn’t. The Amazon Fire 7 Kids tablet acted as a trusted software token — a skeleton key to his Amazon records and devices. With it, this person could obtain access not just to his Alexa devices, but to his Alexa Auto and the Alexa instance on his Android and Apple phones as well.  Amazon replied that the company has been unable to discern how this could have happened, but it is looking into the issue. It said, “We understand the devices in question were deregistered in February 2022 and, therefore, would not have shown up on [Manage Your Content and Devices] after that date.”

    (tags: amazon privacy security fail alexa infosec dick-morrell fire-tablets)

  • InfluxDB 3.0 System Architecture

    “InfluxDB 3.0 (previously known as InfluxDB IOx) is a (cloud) scalable database that offers high performance for both data loading and querying, and focuses on time series use cases. This article describes the system architecture of the database.” Very familiar design — quite similar to one we built recently in Swrve! Arrow used for internal data traffic; Parquet for storage.

    (tags: storage time-series querying architecture parquet arrow influxdb)