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The 404 Media Podcast

Author: 404 Media

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Welcome to the podcast from 404 Media where Joseph, Sam, Emanuel, and Jason catch you up on the stories we published this week. 404 Media is a journalist-owned digital media company exploring the way technology is shaping–and is shaped by–our world. We bring you unparalleled access to hidden worlds both online and IRL through investigative reporting, smart blogging, and breaking news. At 404 Media you’ll read, and hear, stories you can’t find anywhere else written by journalists who are leading experts on their beats. Subscribe to 404 Media at 404media.co to gain access to an ad-free version of this podcast, as well as a bonus podcast episodes. Subscribers are the bedrock of building a sustainable business for our journalism.

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44 Episodes
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It feels way longer than a week since our last episode, weird. Anyway this week we start with a wild story with Emanuel, about how people in the US are paying a company, which in turn hires people in the Philippines to then call around U.S. pharmacies to check whether certain drugs are in stock. It shows just how bad the Adderall shortage in the U.S. has gotten. After the break, Sam tells us about a particularly alarming AirTags stalking case, and how the FBI flipped the script on the suspect. In the subscribers-only section, Jason breaks down a bunch of new information regarding the (alleged?) bankruptcy of media organization the Gateway Pundit. Americans Are Hiring People in the Philippines to Help Them Find Adderall A Suspected Human Smuggler Used AirTags to Track and Control The Woman He Brought Into the U.S. Gateway Pundit Bankruptcy Is a 'Delay Tactic,' Election Workers Suing the Company Say Subscribe for bonus content at 404media.co. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A something extra for our listeners this week. Joseph went on an episode of Whale Hunting to talk about his new book DARK WIRE, in which the FBI secretly ran its own encrypted messaging app to wiretap the world. Whale Hunting is a great podcast that has journalists go behind-the-scenes on their own stories. It is absolutely worth listening to if you don't already! Whale Hunting Podcast DARK WIRE Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A Massive Google Leak

A Massive Google Leak

2024-06-0539:53

We start this week with a massive leak from inside Google. We obtained a copy of an internal Google database the company uses to track potential privacy and security issues. It's incredibly rare to get this sort of insight into a big tech company, and we explain what's inside the data itself. After the break, Sam tells us who deepfake legislation may leave behind. In the subscribers-only section, Jason explains how he tracked down the earliest known source of the All Eyes on Rafah image: a Facebook group dedicated to the AI industry. Inside the Biggest FBI Sting Operation in History Google Leak Reveals Thousands of Privacy Incidents Google Contractor Used Admin Access to Leak Info From Private Nintendo YouTube Video Laws About Deepfakes Can’t Leave Sex Workers Behind Viral ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ Image Came From Facebook Group to Make ‘AI Industry Prosper’ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We revisit our Why Google Is Shit Now episode with something of an update: Google got worse! Of course we're talking about the embarrassing rollout of Google's AI-powered answers. Jason explains the supply chain of data, and especially how it comes from Reddit posts. After the break, Emanuel continues the Google theme with a Google researcher written study which shows that AI is now a leading disinformation vector. In the subscribers-only section, we talk about Sam's and Emaunel's piece on AI-generated CSAM not being a victimless crime. Google Is Paying Reddit $60 Million for Fucksmith to Tell Its Users to Eat Glue Google Researchers Say AI Now Leading Disinformation Vector (and Are Severely Undercounting the Problem) AI-Generated Child Sexual Abuse Material Is Not a ‘Victimless Crime’ Subscribe at 404media.co for bonus content. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Really excited about this one. We spend the entire episode talking about SS7, the fundamental network and protocol which is both at the heart of the world's telecommunications infrastructure, and crucial for governments, spy firms, and criminals to monitor people or intercept texts. In the first half we break ton what SS7 is, why it's an issue, and our nearly 10 years of experience covering it. Then, we talk about the news we revealed about a U.S. cybersecurity official breaking rank with his agency to expose SS7 attacks in the U.S. In the subscribers-only section, we talk about Axon's new ChatGPT-like tool which automatically creates narratives from police bodycam audio, and all the implications that might have. Cyber Official Speaks Out, Reveals Mobile Network Attacks in U.S. Here Is What Axon’s Bodycam Report Writing AI Looks Like Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We've got something of a John Deere special episode this week. We start with Jason's piece on how the recent solar storm knocked out GPS for John Deere tractors, having a direct impact on farming across the country. After the break, Jason breaks down his deep dive into the various walls closing around John Deere's right to repair monopoly. In the subscribers-only section, we've got two wild Amazon stories: one on the bots used by Amazon workers to book time off, and another on "Swag Bucks," Amazon's internal employee cash system. Solar Storm Knocks Out Farmers' Tractor GPS Systems During Peak Planting Season The Walls Are Closing in on John Deere’s Tractor Repair Monopoly Amazon Workers Use Bots to Claim Limited Supply of Time Off Amazon’s Swag Store Sells Neck Fans to Prevent Workers from Overheating Subscribe at 404media.co for bonus content. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apologies for some audio issues this week, they'll be fixed next time, but for now we have a super packed episode! We start with Jason's months-long deep dive into what Facebook has become with all of that AI-generated garbage on the site. It's not the dead internet, it's something much worse. After the break, Emanuel explains how Pokemon Go players are manipulating mapping technology to cheat at the game. Then in the subscribers-only section, Jason breaks down the latest cat and mouse game between ticket sellers and brokers. Facebook’s AI Spam Isn’t the ‘Dead Internet’: It’s the Zombie Internet Pokémon Go Players Invent Fake Beaches on Real Maps to Catch Rare Wigletts How Resellers Are Transferring Billie Eilish's 'Untransferable' Tickets Subscribe at 404media.co for bonus content. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A Lost Media Mystery

A Lost Media Mystery

2024-05-0143:18

We start this week's episode with a mystery: where did a 17-second music snippet that has puzzled online sleuths for years really come from? Sam breaks it down. After the break, Joseph explains how an online service was scraping and selling Discord server messages for as little as $5. Then in the subscribers-only section, Jason takes us into the world of influencers who are using AI livestream apps, complete with fake audiences, and how they're being used to target women. Long Lost Song Hunted By Thousands Found in 80s Porno Discord Shuts Down ‘Spy Pet’ Bots That Scraped, Sold User Messages Men Use Fake Livestream Apps With AI Audiences to Hit on Women Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This is a long one! First Joseph previews his upcoming book, DARK WIRE. Go to the link below and enter "DW20" for 20% off! Also make sure to redeem your preorder behind-the-scenes bonus content. As for this week's stories, we start off with Jason explaining why we can, we must, dunk on the Humane Ai Pin, a piece of hardware that is AI's Juicero moment. After the break, Emanuel shows that Instagram is advertising deepfake nudify apps, the sort that are being abused right now in schools. In the subscribers-only section, we talk a bunch about Reddit, and especially how a tool has been made to sprinkle AI-generated product placements into popular Reddit threads. Preorder DARK WIRE for bonus content and 20% off with code "DW20" We Can, and We Must, Clown on the Humane AI Pin Forever Instagram Advertises Nonconsensual AI Nude Apps AI Is Poisoning Reddit to Promote Products and Game Google With 'Parasite SEO' Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The 'Com World War'

The 'Com World War'

2024-04-1736:56

We start this episode with Joseph's latest fly-on-the-wall investigation into the Com, the nebulous online entity and culture that is linked to some of the most high profile and brazen data breaches in recent history. Joseph sat in their chatrooms while rival hackers and criminals doxed and physically robbed one another. A true melding of digital and physical crime. After the break, Jason breaks down why some researchers are calling out Google on some of its AI science research. In the subscribers-only section, Sam explains why a guy made an AI-powered (kinda) sex box. Inside the ‘Com World War’: Robberies, Brickings, and ‘Drama’ Is Google's AI Actually Discovering 'Millions of New Materials?' This Man Wants to ‘Save the World’ By Letting You Jerk Off Into a Computer Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We start the episode with an announcement: we've brought on our first 404 Media fellow Jules Roscoe! They did amazing work at Motherboard, and we're stoked to have them on board to cover labor for us and getting our work to audiences wherever they are. As for this week's stories, we start with Jason's wild one about grifters who are taking influencer's videos, deepfaking an AI face onto them, and then driving people to OnlyFans-style accounts. After the break, Sam talks about the couple who have finally got porn onto the Apple Vision Pro. In the subscribers-only section, Jules tells us what they saw when visiting a particular, Zoom-powered chicken shop in NYC. ‘AI Instagram Influencers’ Are Deepfaking Their Faces Onto Real Women’s Bodies How Amateur Performers Are Making Porn in the Apple Vision Pro NYC Chicken Shop Replaces Cashier With Woman in Philippines On Zoom Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This is a super fun episode with a lot of labor themes throughout. Jason starts off by describing the totally wild Xz backdoor which, in a way, was an open source labor issue. Then Emanuel takes us through how AI might be sneaking into the peer-review process. Then in the subscribers-only section, Sam explains why a major journal has decided to stop the use of an infamous image in its papers. The Xz Backdoor Highlights the Vulnerability of Open Source Software—and Its Strengths ChatGPT Looms Over the Peer-Review Crisis Scientific Journal Bans Images of ‘Lena,’ Researchers’ Favorite Centerfold Subscribe at 404media.co for access to the bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A jam packed episode this week. First, Jason explains how a 'study' that says surveillance company Flock is “instrumental in solving 10 percent of reported crime in the US” is heavily flawed. He got a bunch of internal emails and spoke to those involved. After the break, Sam and Emanuel tell us how people are being pushed to far sketchier parts of the web after Pornhub pulled out of Texas. Then in the subscribers-only section, Jason and Joseph detail how they dug into the new owners of Deadspin, and what that all means for the wider media industry. Let’s Talk About the Flock Study That Says It Solves Crime Age Verification Laws Drag Us Back to the Dark Ages of the Internet Deadspin Is Becoming a Gambling Referral Site Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Shrimp Jesus

Shrimp Jesus

2024-03-2043:17

Shrimp Jesus. Shrimp Jesus. Shrimp Jesus. That is what the first story is about! We now have robust academic research into the mass of AI-generated garbage flooding Facebook. Jason takes us through what this era of Facebook means. After the break, Sam explains why Pornhub pulled out of Texas. In the subscribers-only section, Joseph shows how two of the biggest safe lock manufacturers in the world have put backdoors into their products. Facebook’s Algorithm Is Boosting AI Spam That Links to AI-Generated, Ad-Laden Click Farms Pornhub Pulls Out of Texas Massively Popular Safe Locks Have Secret Backdoor Codes Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content and an ad-free version of the podcast. Get 20% off your DeleteMe plan here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Somehow we filled a whole hour and it felt like five minutes! First Joseph explains his deep story on how hackers and fraudsters are injecting themselves into the electronic prescription system to order mountains of drugs. Then Emanuel breaks down how 404 Media, bizarrely, is included in a fake Netflix trailer that was probably made for the benefit of the Russian state. Then in the subscribers-only section, the group chats about ElevenLabs, and how Emanuel bypassed the company's "no-go voice" policy. How Hackers Dox Doctors to Order Mountains of Oxy and Adderall Why Is 404 Media Included in a Fake Netflix Trailer Made by Russia? ElevenLabs Block on Cloning Biden's Voice Easily Bypassed Subscribe at 404media.co for access to bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We go long (and play some bonus audio) for Jason's story inside the wild world of TikTok and Instagram hustlers who are using AI to swarm platforms with automatically generated garbage content. Some of them are making a killing in the process. After the break, we talk about Sam's story on Etsy sellers stealing fan fiction writers' work. Then in the subscriber-only section, Jason breaks down why a right to repair victory in Oregon is a massive deal for Apple globally. Inside the World of TikTok Spammers and the AI Tools That Enable Them Fanfiction Community Rocked By Etsy Sellers Turning Their Work Into Bound Books Oregon Passes Bill That Would Make iPhones More Repairable Everywhere Subscribe at 404media.co for bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Tumblr and WordPress are set to sell posts to OpenAI and Midjourney. And cops are wearing body cameras in libraries. In this episode, Jason, Sam, and Emanuel try to explain what it means for OpenAI and Midjourney to scrape Tumblr's posts, broader chaos at the company, and whether AI is going to run out of things to ingest. Then we talk about the war on libraries, which is taking place all over the country. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
New format alert! We are experimenting with publishing additional interview episodes! These will not replace the normal weekly show. Rather, we'll upload an interview with people we find interesting whenever we feel a good opportunity comes up. Subscribers as usual get early and ad-free access. This episode is with Byron Tau, an investigative journalist and author of the new book Means of Control: How the Hidden Alliance of Tech and Government is Creating a New American Surveillance State. Joseph's and Byron's work on location data has bounced off each others' for years. Finally, the pair sit down and talk all about the adtech surveillance industry. Means of Control: How the Hidden Alliance of Tech and Government is Creating a New American Surveillance State Subscribe at 404media.co for bonus content. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A ton of stuff to talk about this week. We start with Jason and Emanuel's dive into how a deepfake nudify app rocked a high school. We got a copy of the police report, and more than anything else it shows we're simply not ready for what deepfakes will mean for ordinary people. Then Joseph talks about uncovering a network of fake funeral livestream scams on Facebook. In the subscribers-only section, we talk about Jason and Sam's very serious investigation into whether a certain brand of vibrator is actually delivering malware or not. ‘What Was She Supposed to Report?:’ Police Report Shows How a High School Deepfake Nightmare Unfolded Fake Funeral Live Stream Scams Are All Over Facebook Do Spencer’s Vibrators Have Malware on Them? An Investigation Subscribe for bonus content at 404media.co. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We've got a real variety this week. First, Emanuel talks about Paradox.ai, a tool that massive brands like McDonald's, CVS, and FedEx are using to screen job applicants. It uses a bit of AI, but really this is more of a labor story. Then Jason breaks down Stract, an open source search engine that is trying to do search better than the increasingly bad experience of Google. In the subscribers-only section, the group goes long on how a viral story about a botnet of toothbrushes turned out to not be true, and how we've dealt with similar stories before. Service Jobs Now Require Bizarre Personality Test From AI Company This Guy Has Built an Open Source Search Engine as an Alternative to Google in His Spare Time The Viral Smart Toothbrush Botnet Story Is Not Real Get that bonus content by subscribing at 404media.co Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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