In the Ukraine Conflict, Fake Fact-Checks Are Being Used To Spread Disinformation

Social media posts debunking purported Ukrainian disinformation are themselves fake. That doesn't stop them from being featured on Russian state TV. ProPublica: Researchers at Clemson University's Media Forensics Hub and ProPublica identified more than a dozen videos that purport to debunk apparently nonexistent Ukrainian fakes. The videos have racked up more than 1 million views across pro-Russian channels on the messaging app Telegram, and have garnered thousands of likes and retweets on Twitter. A screenshot from one of the fake debunking videos was broadcast on Russian state TV, while another was spread by an official Russian government Twitter account. The goal of the videos is to inject a sense of doubt among Russian-language audiences as they encounter real images of wrecked Russian military vehicles and the destruction caused by missile and artillery strikes in Ukraine, according to Patrick Warren, an associate professor at Clemson who co-leads the Media Forensics Hub. "The reason that it's so effective is because you don't actually have to convince someone that it's true. It's sufficient to make people uncertain as to what they should trust," said Warren, who has conducted extensive research into Russian internet trolling and disinformation campaigns. "In a sense they are convincing the viewer that it would be possible for a Ukrainian propaganda bureau to do this sort of thing."

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As Inflation Heats Up, 64% of Americans Are Now Living Paycheck To Paycheck

As daily life gets more expensive, workers are having a harder time making ends meet. From a report: While wage growth is high by historical standards, it isn't keeping up with the increased cost of living, which is growing at the fastest annual pace in about four decades. "Wages are up 5.1% over the past year, which is trailing the pace of inflation," said Bankrate.com senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick. "Indeed, surging prices are stealing the show on the minds of consumers." When wages rise at a slower pace than inflation, those paychecks won't go as far at the grocery store and at the gas pump -- two areas of the budget that are getting particularly squeezed. At the start of 2022, 64% of the U.S. population was living paycheck to paycheck, up from 61% in December and just shy of the high of 65% in 2020, according to a LendingClub report.

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Russia Creates Its Own TLS Certificate Authority To Bypass Sanctions

Russia has created its own trusted TLS certificate authority (CA) to solve website access problems that have been piling up after sanctions prevent certificate renewals. From a report: The sanctions imposed by western companies and governments are preventing Russian sites from renewing existing TLS certificates, causing browsers to block access to sites with expired certificates. [...] The Russian state has envisioned a solution in a domestic certificate authority for the independent issuing and renewal of TLS certificates. "It will replace the foreign security certificate if it is revoked or expires. The Ministry of Digital Development will provide a free domestic analogue. The service is provided to legal entities -- site owners upon request within 5 working days," explains the Russian public services portal, Gosuslugi (translated). However, for new Certificate Authorities (CA) to be trusted by web browsers, they first needed to be vetted by various companies, which can take a long time. Currently, the only web browsers that recognize Russia's new CA as trustworthy are the Russia-based Yandex browser and Atom products, so Russian users are told to use these instead of Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.

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Are Colleges Going To Be On the Hook For Covid Tuition Refunds?

schwit1 writes: Two separate lawsuits against American University and George Washington University have new life after an appeals court revived cases that allege both institutions violated contractual obligations to students when they shifted to online instruction in early 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic [Qureshi v. American University, No. 21-7064 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 8, 2022); Shaffer v. George Washington University, No. 21-7040 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 8, 2022)]. At the core of the issue is the refusal of both universities to refund students' tuition and fees. The plaintiffs allege that both universities had a contractual commitment to provide in-person education and should have offered at least partial tuition and fee refunds for students forced into online classes. Plaintiffs in both cases are seeking class action status for their lawsuits. The lawsuits against American University and GWU are just two among dozens of similar suits filed by students and families since 2020, which have had various outcomes in courts across the United States.

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The Steam Deck Now Runs Windows

Valve shipped its $400 handheld gaming console, the Steam Deck, before all its promised features were ready -- but one of the biggest is now here. From a report: You can now install Windows 10 on a Steam Deck and actually expect it to work because Valve has just released the all-important GPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth drivers you'll need to download and play games. Importantly, you'll need to wipe a Steam Deck to do this, there's no dual-boot yet, and Valve says you can only install Windows 10 since the Steam Deck's current BIOS apparently doesn't include firmware TPM support (which Microsoft infamously requires for Windows 11). Speakers and headphone jack don't work yet as there are no audio drivers.

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