Scandal, Fake News, Covert Surveillance, Passkeys

A collection of four short items.


Here are four short items, none of which is long enough for a separate article. The first is an update to the Sports Illustrated article I wrote last month. The second is a preview of a new AI-generated news network service. The third shows how Microsoft’s new Outlook application is actually a data surveillance tool. Finally, the fourth explains a new login option for the Bitwarden password vault.

Sports Illustrated Update

Last month, I wrote about the scandal at Sports IllustratedAI Generated-Content On The Rise. How Sports Illustrated, a magazine with a long history of journalistic excellence, had devolved. Their Swimsuit Issue declined from featuring beautiful women wearing swimwear in various locales around the world to featuring men dressed as women. Their main publication descended from publishing articles from famed writers (Jack Kerouac, James Michener, William Faulkner, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, and John Updike) to using AI-generated content.

Apparently, the public was not interested in fake women and fake writers and Sports Illustrated may be finished. On January 19, the union representing the magazine’s reporters announced that the Arena Group, the company that owns Sports Illustrated’s publishing license, will be laying off “a significant number, possibly all” of its employees.

100% Fake News Network

While Sports Illustrated was hiding the fake, new upstart Channel 1 is hiding nothing. They are planning to launch a 100% AI-generated news network. The computers will create fake news anchors, and fake news sets, write the content (hopefully not fake), and present it to viewers who do not want to see real human beings. They have a preview of what their planned fake newscast will look like.

New Outlook Is Microsoft’s Data Surveillance Tool

In a recent post in the Proton blog, Proton accuses Microsoft of transforming its new email application into a surveillance tool for targeted advertising. Proton states that Outlook is no longer just an email service but a data collection mechanism for Microsoft and its 772 external partners.

Microsoft and the 772 third parties will use your data to…

  • Store and/or access information on the user’s device
  • Develop and improve products
  • Personalize ads and content
  • Measure ads and content
  • Derive audience insights
  • Obtain precise geolocation data
  • Identify users through device scanning

According to the German IT blog, Heise Online, the new Outlook also steals data from your other email services including passwords, contacts, credentials, and events. When you sync third-party email accounts from services like Yahoo or Gmail with the new Outlook, you are apparently giving Microsoft access to everything. “Although Microsoft explains that it is possible to switch back to the previous apps at any time, the data will already be stored by the company,” Heise reported. The new Outlook cannot be used without synchronizing all this information with Microsoft Cloud – there is only the option to cancel.

Bitwarden Passkey Login

Many DCT readers use the open-source Bitwarden to manage their passwords. I have been using the premium version of Bitwarden for years, while Jim Hillier recommends the free version of Bitwarden if you do not need the premium features. 

Bitwarden has recently added the ability to create a passkey and use it to log into the Bitwarden vault. This feature is still in the beta stage but anyone can join. Passkeys are a new method of authentication without entering a username or password. A passkey is generated on the user’s device. Because part of the security remains on the device, standard password attacks will not work against passkeys.

Passkeys are the future of logins to both password vaults and websites. However, my passwords are too important to risk being locked out of my vault (and all my logins), therefore, I recommend waiting until this feature is out of beta. But, it is there for those who wish to try it.

Bottom Line

Four small items for the new year 2024. Let me know in the comments if you have thoughts about any of these items.

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