COVID-19: Italian Contact Tracing App poses security concerns

Ordinance 10/2020 of the Extraordinary Commissioner for the implementation and coordination of measures to contain and combat the epidemiological emergency COVID-19 writes the final word in the chapter “Tracking yes, tracking no”. Italy wasted months idling on the decision to enforce a people’s tracking system. However, now the Government made up its mind and decided to us an “app” licensed free of charge by the developer. At the same time, however, the Commissioner’s Ordinance leaves untold some things related, in particular, to the security of the software, which, given the criticality of the moment, should have been a central element in the selection of the product.

Let’s start from strictly legal aspects: the company that developed the contact tracing software, as the Ordinance verbatim says,

solely out of a spirit of solidarity and, therefore, for the sole purpose of providing its contribution, both voluntary and personal, useful to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, has expressed its willingness to grant an open, free and perpetual licence to the Extraordinary Commissioner for the implementation and coordination of measures to contain and combat the COVID-19 epidemiological emergency and to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the source code and all the application components of the contact tracing system already developed, as well as, for the same reasons and always free of charge, has expressed its willingness to complete the IT developments that will be necessary to allow the national digital contact tracing system to start working. Continue reading “COVID-19: Italian Contact Tracing App poses security concerns”

Getty Images to move toward a royalty-free business model, dropping the current “rights-managed” licensing

The reason for the choice is obvious: why people should pay for something that is available for free (on either Unsplash or other online resources)?

The answer is: people won’t because “stock photos” are meant to be “burners”, a quick way to illustrate a presentation, a blog post or a column with no actual intrinsic value.

I just need a picture of a man in powersuit doing business. If the image is good enough, why should I pay for something “more”?

True, photography is now an ubiquitous activity and what previously was a niche job, now is practiced by almost everybody on Earth. But that’s not a bad thing, as it raises the stake for photographers compelling them to produce better and better images.

Getty Images business model’s change is a way to get photography and photographer back to their original place: only great photography deserve to be “respected” and “paid”.

The rest, is just for stock services…

Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?

The news is not exactly fresh, but has been recently bounced again: Adobe’s Project About Face should make Photoshop able to detect human face editing and revert the image to its pristine condition.

As Adobe states on its website,

This new research is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations. Past Adobe research focused on image manipulation detection from splicing, cloning, and removal, whereas this effort focuses on the Face Aware Liquify feature in Photoshop because it’s popular for adjusting facial features, including making adjustments to facial expressions. The feature’s effects can be delicate which made it an intriguing test case for detecting both drastic and subtle alterations to faces.

The first reaction would be something along “who cares? There are plenty of tools to create my deep fakes, so… screw Adobe!” But that would be a rather dull conclusion, as by developing these technologies (assumed that they work properly) Adobe is creating a (big and wide) market niche. Continue reading “Adobe’s About Face: useless feature or stroke of genius?”

Danny Monzeroll, Youtube and Copyright

Every now and then – thank to Youtube – I discover some mind-blowing musician I didn’t know about as it just happened with Canadian, Montreal based artist Danny Monzeroll.

His Pink Floyd songs arrangement for solo classical guitar is nothing but brilliant in terms of composition, execution and recording and – yes – it is freely available on Youtube. While, then, it would have been easy to “forget” about author’s right to be compensated for his work I decided to buy the album as a way to thank Mr. Monzeroll for his masterpiece. Continue reading “Danny Monzeroll, Youtube and Copyright”

The Netflix-NeonGenesis Evangelion case – Moral Right of Author and limits to dialogues adaptation

The apparently marginal case of the removal from Netflix Italia of the poor adaptation of NeonGenesis Evangelion’s dialogue,s poses, in reality, a serious problem of moral Right of Author: that of the mutilation of the creative work.

Fact: Netflix commissions the rewriting of the dialogues of the Italian version of a very famous Japanese animation series: NeonGenesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン). The dialogist – this is the professional figure who carries out this task – delivered such a poor result – in the audience’s perception – that Netflix decided to suspend the publication of the series waiting to repair the damage. Continue reading “The Netflix-NeonGenesis Evangelion case – Moral Right of Author and limits to dialogues adaptation”