Russia Cracks Down On Rap

Grind for December 24th, 2018
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.”

– Stephen Hawking

Big Brother

The Headline

Russian President announces crackdown on rap music

The Grind

For the first time years, rap artists in Russia are using their music to openly criticize President Vladimir Putin.

During a government meeting earlier this month, Putin said he would “guide” the content of future rap and hip-hop songs to cut down on the criticism.

Putin’s announcement mirrors efforts in China and Cuba, which have both taken action against rap music.

The Details

Putin attended a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art last weekend, where he expressed serious concerns about the content of rap and hip-hop music. He suggested Moscow would take a stronger position against lyrics of which it disapproved, but admitted that banning the genre entirely was impossible.

Putin has accepted the opinion that rap music is based on “sex, drugs, and protest,” and that “drug propaganda” represents “a path to the degradation of the nation.”

Last January, Beijing banned all rap music from TV following an unsuccessful attempt to promote patriotic hip-hop.

Cuba this month implemented Decree 349, which requires all artists to obtain approval from the government before producing visual or performance art. Several Cuban rappers are in prison after protesting the decree by organization illegal concerts.

Its About Time

The Headline

Facebook still hasn’t launched its promised privacy feature

The Grind

It’s been more than eight months since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, and Facebook still hasn’t launched its big privacy feature.

In addition to the Cambridge Analytica scandal (in which digital consultants working for then-candidate Donald Trump misused the personal data of millions of Facebook users), the company is also struggling with:

— A shareholder revolt

— Accusations of mismanagement

— Questions about inappropriate content

— A massive security breach

— Software bugs that may have exposed users’ photos to app developers

In the meantime, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has dropped by $19 billion.

The Details

In April, lawmakers asked Zuckerberg nearly 600 questions about Facebook, its privacy policies, and how the company plans to safeguard users’ information in the future.

In May, Zuckerberg announced a new feature called “Clear History.” As the name implies, the feature gives users to ability to clear their browsing history.

This is a big deal for Facebook, because the site has always used that history for targeted ads.

The new feature is “taking longer than we initially had thought,” admits Facebook executive David Baser, who says development has been stalled by challenges related to the way Facebook stores data.

“We can’t actually stop data collection,” explains Baser. “But what we can do is strip away the identifier that would let us know whose it was.”

Facebook saves a person’s browsing data in several pieces, and those pieces are not always stored in the same place. On top of that, data is saved by timestamp, not by user.

This means there is no easy way to see all the browsing data associated with an individual account.

As reported in mid-December, “Clear History” won’t be ready for several more months.

Did you know… Studies show that the colder the room you sleep in, the more likely you are to have a bad dream.