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posted by cmn32480 on Sunday December 18 2016, @06:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the physical-assault-in-a-virtual-world dept.

Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald, who is known to be suffering from epilepsy, reported on twitter that someone tweeted him a seizure-inducing image. This is not the first time it happened, but this attempt was (apparently) successful in triggering a seizure.

This might be the first physical attack on a person perpetrated via the internet. A sad point in history, in my view.

Links: coverage from Ars Technica, Eichenwald's Twitter feed. I'm not linking to the offending image - you're big enough to find it on your own and apparently it is quite horrible even for people who do not suffer from epilepsy.

Eichenwald has tweeted that he is involving law enforcement.

Any ideas on how hard it would be to filter out seizure-inducing media (make it click-to-view/play)?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Alleged Epilepsy-Triggering Troll Arrested by the FBI 35 comments

Three months after a journalist reported being attacked by a troll who posted a seizure-inducing image on Twitter, a suspect has been arrested:

A man accused of triggering an epileptic seizure of senior Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald through a tweet was arrested by the FBI on Friday morning. An FBI spokesman said the name of the suspect has not been released but confirmed that an arrest was made, Dallas News reported.

The arrest comes three months after Eichenwald said he suffered a seizure after someone sent him a video clip of a flashing strobe light in an intentional effort to trigger his epilepsy. A Twitter account called @jew_goldstein — which has since been suspended — responded to Eichenwald with a gif of flashing strobe lights and a message: "You deserve a seizure for that post." Shortly after, Eichenwald's account tweeted: "This is his wife, you caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault."

From the Dallas News article:

The agency announced that John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Md., was arrested Friday morning in Maryland on a cyberstalking charge.

[...] Eichenwald's attorney, Steven Liberman, told Newsweek that "What Mr. Rivello did with his Twitter message was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail or sending an envelope filled with anthrax spores."

[...] According to a criminal complaint, messages sent from Rivello's Twitter account mentioned Eichenwald, saying "I know he has epilepsy," "I hope this sends him into a seizure" and "let's see if he dies."

Authorities also found an screenshot of Eichenwald's Wikipedia page on Rivello's iCloud account, the criminal complaint said, altered to list his date of death as Dec. 16, 2016. Other files on the iCloud account include a list of things that trigger epileptic seizures and a screenshot of a Dallas Observer article about Eichenwald's attempts to find the person who tweeted at him.

[...] On Friday, Eichenwald said that more than 40 people sent him strobes once they found out that they could trigger seizures.


Original Submission

Stripes Hypothesised as Cause of Headaches and Seizures 28 comments

The Telegraph reports on work published in Current Biology (DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.076) in which researchers

[...] propose that a risk factor for seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy is engagement of the circuitry that produces gamma oscillations.

Gamma oscillations are brain waves that oscillate at frequencies in the 30 to 80 Hz range. One researcher told the Telegraph:

Our findings imply that in designing buildings, it may be important to avoid the types of visual patterns that can activate this circuit and cause discomfort, migraines, or seizures [...] Even perfectly healthy people may feel modest discomfort from the images that are most likely to trigger seizures in photosensitive epilepsy.

Related stories:
Migraine, Epilepsy Drug Caused Serious Birth Defects in Thousands of French Children
Epilepsy-Triggering Suspect Charged, More Details on the Arrest
Alleged Epilepsy-Triggering Troll Arrested by the FBI
Epilepsy Patient Assaulted Via Twitter
Easing Epilepsy With Battery Power


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:10PM (#442755)

    Any ideas on how hard it would be to filter out seizure-inducing media (make it click-to-view/play)?

    Trivial [mozilla.org].

    • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:16PM

      by FakeBeldin (3360) on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:16PM (#442759) Journal

      Yup, that'd work... but what I was wondering is can we make a plugin that loads all sorts of non-seizure-inducing contents but has "click-to-play" over seizure inducing contents?

      So something a little more tailored to the problem than just blocking all images and videos.
      Also because it's hard to tell by the first frame if it'll be seizure-inducing - an attacker could easily craft a GIF or video to have the first few frames benign.

      • (Score: 5, Touché) by BK on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:29PM

        by BK (4868) on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:29PM (#442766)

        While we're at it, could we make a plugin that filters out things on the internet made by dumb people? And by any incarnation of Ethanol-Fueled? And by people who are wrong [xkcd.com]? And SPAM - can all of that be filtered? And also anything that might harm my precious little snowflake psyche or make me feel bad?

        Good grief.

        --
        4 out of 5 dentists choose Brand X. The other is just a denier.
        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:40PM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:40PM (#442824) Homepage Journal

          Filtering SN user comments should be trivial, in fact, I'm pretty sure somebody's already developed a greasemonkey extension or something to do it.

          Also, a joke: What do you do when an epileptic falls into a swimming pool?

          Throw in some detergent and your dirty laundry!

          Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:41AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:41AM (#442917)

          "While we're at it, could we make a plugin that filters out things on the internet made by dumb people? "

          Easily. If the byte received is greater than the value 0, move it to device null.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:39PM (#442771)

        All embedded animated GIFs are seizure-inducing.

        • (Score: 1) by Francis on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:21PM

          by Francis (5544) on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:21PM (#442839)

          Not true, sometimes they give you a stroke.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:51PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:51PM (#442781) Journal

        Yup, that'd work... but what I was wondering is can we make a plugin that loads all sorts of non-seizure-inducing contents but has "click-to-play" over seizure inducing contents?

        While googling around, I see that there are already proprietary tests out there for detecting seizure-inducing video (for example, the Harding test [wikipedia.org]). It wouldn't be hard for a plug in to run all video through such a test before playing it, particularly on system/pipelines with adequate buffering. I don't know if anyone is already doing it, but if they're pretty far along, if it's not currently happening.

        • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Monday December 19 2016, @01:03AM

          by Pino P (4721) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 19 2016, @01:03AM (#442885)

          there are already proprietary tests out there [...] It wouldn't be hard for a plug in to run all video through such a test before playing it

          Of course it would, because the test is proprietary and paywalled: 25 GBP for a video under 2 minutes (source [hardingtest.com]). A plug-in targeted at people with photosensitive epilepsy would run up a bill that I doubt health insurers would be willing to pay.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday December 19 2016, @09:59AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 19 2016, @09:59AM (#443042) Journal
            Eh, I gather the test requirements that the Harding Test implements are open source. So open source tests could be possible.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @08:21PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @08:21PM (#443304)

              Requirements are here [slyip.com].

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:11PM (#442756)

    Maybe he shouldn't allow the downloading of images or running of gifs (and scripts), given that this isn't the first time he's been a victim of this.
    "Fool me once... shame on me... fool me twice... errr... err.... you can't fool me twice"

    • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:20PM

      by FakeBeldin (3360) on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:20PM (#442762) Journal

      Well... on the one hand yes, on the other: it'd kind of break his normal usage of the web.
      So that's specifically what I was wondering about: can we design a plugin that would block seizure-inducing media, but not other media?
      Then you could make the "click-to-play" image a big fat warning "seizure hazard".

      Of course, you'd get false positives (non-seizure media being labelled as such) and false negatives (seizure-inducing media not being blocked). So I am rather curious how far this could be pushed to minimize false negatives while keeping false positives reasonable - and thereby the web experience mostly normal.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:27PM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:27PM (#442764) Journal

        I suppose something that checks contrast between frames would catch some.

        Short videos could be much harder to check than GIFs.

        --
        [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:37PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:37PM (#442768)

          > Short videos could be much harder to check than GIFs.

          Its just cpu time. And with hardware assisted decode probably not very expensive.

          I think the hardest part, from a usuability perspective, would be having to wait for the media to completely download because you can't say if its clean or not until you've checked every last frame. Even animated gifs can be multiple megabytes in size nowadays.

          • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:01PM

            by TheLink (332) on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:01PM (#442787) Journal
            There's no need to download everything. Could just check the buffer and stop playing or turn on a filter (e.g a "deflicker"/average filter- like the deinterlace stuff) if something seems like it might cause a problem. Most video streams get buffered anyway.

            Maybe someone could create such a plugin. Problem is it won't catch everything for everyone. Maybe some tuning depending on the person. Is it common for fits to also be triggered if it's alternating blue/red of the same brightness, and not just dark/bright?
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:41PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:41PM (#442826)

              That's a pretty good idea. "Just in time" detection seems a lot more do-able.

              As for the question of what specific sequences, I think it probably depends on the patient. It wouldn't be hard to optionally detect a variety of patterns.

          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:05PM

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:05PM (#442837) Journal

            I was thinking there could be a problem with DRM. We have those on non-Flash web vids, right?

            --
            [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:44PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:44PM (#442849)

              I think the intersection of video with DRM and video that induces epilepsy is near zero because if the video is valuable enough to put DRM on it, chances are the owner's got deep enough pockets to sue for causing a seizure.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:51PM (#442783)

        Simple enough.

        1. Induce photosensitive epilepsy in AI
        2. Monitor AI's reaction to images
        3. Wonder why Skynet wants to kill us all
        4. ???
        5. PROFIT!
    • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Monday December 19 2016, @12:00PM

      by mojo chan (266) on Monday December 19 2016, @12:00PM (#443079)

      Direct from Google for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/animation-policy/ncigbofjfbodhkaffojakplpmnleeoee?hl=en [google.com]

      Makes GIFs click-to-play. I'm sure Firefox has something similar.

      This is a life-and-death reason to block ads, flash, and all animation in general.

      --
      const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Serial_Priest on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:33PM

    by Serial_Priest (2493) <reversethis-{gro ... {legnagnisucca}> on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:33PM (#442767)

    We must make the Internet a safe space for all. This process begins with banning all animated GIFs.

    Hateful images that have colors and motion must not be allowed in our schools and homes. Once the GIFs are removed, we must also shut down YouTube and Google Images. Stop the hate! SHUT IT DOWN!

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:41PM (#442774)

      > We must make the Internet a safe space for all. This process begins with banning all animated GIFs.

      No. None of that over-reaction is required. Instead charge the guy who sent it with assault or whatever the equivalent charge would be for deliberately shining a strobe-light in the face of someone you know has epilepsy in meatspace.

      • (Score: 2, Troll) by BK on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:46PM

        by BK (4868) on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:46PM (#442779)

        That's a great idea. Let's start by arresting and charging everyone who has blinkin' lights on the their cars. They KNOW that someone with epilepsy might be around.

        --
        4 out of 5 dentists choose Brand X. The other is just a denier.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:02PM (#442788)

          > Let's start by arresting and charging everyone who has blinkin' lights on the their cars.

          Hhm. That's an idea. Which lights are you referring to?
          You do know that photosensitive epileptics are only sensitive to a specific frequency range of blinking, right? I don't think strobe lights are legal on non-emergency vehicles. But you seem to be the expert, so fill us in!

        • (Score: 1) by RS3 on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:40PM

          by RS3 (6367) on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:40PM (#442799)

          That's a great idea. Let's start by arresting and charging everyone who has blinkin' lights on the their cars. They KNOW that someone with epilepsy might be around.

          Every now and then someone crashes into police/emergency vehicles. I've wondered if, besides being completely blinded, maybe they seized from the blinking?

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday December 19 2016, @03:27PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday December 19 2016, @03:27PM (#443152)

          everyone who has blinkin' lights on the their cars.

          Nicht mit der fingerpoken und der Blinkenlights! [wikipedia.org] :)

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:47PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:47PM (#442780)

        whatever the equivalent charge would be for deliberately shining a strobe-light in the face of someone you know has epilepsy in meatspace.

        epic lulz?

    • (Score: 1) by kurenai.tsubasa on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:12PM

      by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:12PM (#442794) Journal

      You sound triggered.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:15PM (#442838)

      Is this ban going to be based on looks? Will the assault GIF manufacturers be able to make trivial cosmetic changes to avoid the ban?

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by tisI on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:39PM

    by tisI (5866) on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:39PM (#442772)

    America is once again learning how to hate. Thank you Donald.
    With our new government and it's backing by our hate groups, the KKK and neo-nazis, this will continue and escalate.
    The Orange One seems reluctant to tone down his hateful following.
    This transition is going to be something else.

    --
    "Suppose you were an idiot...and suppose you were a member of Congress...but I repeat myself."
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:53PM (#442784)

      With our new government and it's backing by our hate groups, the KKK and neo-nazis, this will continue and escalate.

      Did you happen to vote for the candidate who was financially backed by Saudi Arabia by any chance?

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:05PM (#442789)

        > Did you happen to vote for the candidate who was financially backed by Saudi Arabia by any chance?

        I'm pretty sure he didn't vote for trump:
        Trump registered eight companies in Saudi Arabia during campaign [thehill.com]

      • (Score: 2) by tisI on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:47PM

        by tisI (5866) on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:47PM (#442802)

        No

        --
        "Suppose you were an idiot...and suppose you were a member of Congress...but I repeat myself."
    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:30PM (#442817)

      You act like America didn't before?
      There has been racism among minority groups since forever. And the sad part of the focus on 'white privilege' is that it has often resulted in the ignoring of just as serious of racism among non-white groups. Whether it is Indian on black, Asian on Asian, Mexican on Arab, or Black on White, it *DOES* happen, and the current ignorance of this fact and lack of push-back against ALL racism has lead to the situation we have today.

      The pendulum is swinging back the other direction. The question is if the disparate groups who call America home can stop fighting and band together long enough to repel the 'single race' advances of countries such as Russia or China while also fighting off the Globalization sickness seeking to profit off the backs of all while racing to the bottom on wages and available work globally.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:43PM (#442828)

        > just as serious of racism among non-white groups.

        Define "serious."

        Because racism without power is, by definition, powerless.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:28PM (#442840)

          What is "power"? If someone is being beaten to death by a bunch of racist people who belong to another race, does it make any difference to that individual whether their racism is institutional or not? In such a situation, the racist group has "power". When you look at everything in terms of groups and identity politics, it's easy to miss the plights of individuals.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:40PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:40PM (#442848)

            > When you look at everything in terms of groups and identity politics, it's easy to miss the plights of individuals.

            Did you just try to argue that racism is only a problem for individuals?
            Really?
            Lol.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:34AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:34AM (#442952)

              Really?
              Lol.

              That's not an argument.

              I am an individual. I do not have some sort of communal psychic connection only to other people of similar genetic composition. Any determination I make of another person, or from another person against me, is done on the individual level even if it draws from experience from people of similar physical appearances. Therefore, yes, racism is a problem at the individual level.

              State your own assertions or continue your epic fail.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Entropy on Monday December 19 2016, @02:11AM

          by Entropy (4228) on Monday December 19 2016, @02:11AM (#442904)

          They have plenty of power to punch someone in the face, or rape them, or both. This whole doesn't have power so can't be racist nonsense is just an obscene excuse for people to be racist, as long as they are not white.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @03:58AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @03:58AM (#442942)

            Oh please.

            What is the problem with being racist?
            Really. Its like the n-word for white people.
            But so what if someone is racist? Do you think we are going to magically eliminate individuals' prejudices? You might as well believe that one day we can eliminate being a jerk.

            The only thing that makes racism different from simply being a jerk is when it is practiced systematically. There will always be jerks, its human nature. But when society is organized in a way to cater to a certain kind of jerk, its not the jerk that's the problem its the organizing that is the problem.

          • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday December 19 2016, @10:42AM

            by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Monday December 19 2016, @10:42AM (#443057) Homepage
            Indeed, "doesn't have power" can often be the seed behind racism, a victim mentality.
            --
            I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @11:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @11:08PM (#442856)

        Why does this pendulum always swing from one form of idiocy to another?

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:53PM (#442831)

      Donald? Try The O.. HE is the one that split this country in 2 and brought back hate.

      Idiot.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @01:10AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @01:10AM (#442887)

        Donald? Try The O.. HE is the one that split this country in 2 and brought back hate.

        How so? By being President while black? That's not a crime, dumbass!

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:53AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:53AM (#442955)

          Stoking of 'identity politics' by Barack H. Obama:

          "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." [youtube.com]
          White police officer arresting black burglary suspect cum noncooperative professor "acted stupidly" [telegraph.co.uk]
          Forced cessation of prosecution of voter intimidation by members of New Black Panther Party. [wikipedia.org]

          ... just to name a few off the top of my head.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @07:01AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @07:01AM (#442982)

            Both of which are 100% true. If he had a son, he would look a lot like Trayvon and that cop who arrested a harvard professor inside his own house because he spent too long fiddling with his own front door not only acted stupidly but was a god damn racist.

            Funny how simply being black is considered pouring gasoline on the fire.
            Says way more about how fragile certain white people are than it does about Obama.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:35PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:35PM (#443134)

              Both of which are 100% true.

              You can pour gasoline on a fire using 100% truth. Examples could include average IQs of blacks vs whites vs asians, etc., and how fat yo momma is.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @07:46PM (#442777)

    I'm not linking to the offending image

    Well I am, pansy.

    you're big enough to find it on your own and apparently it is quite horrible even for people who do not suffer from epilepsy.

    Horrible [burned.org] my ass. [encyclopediadramatica.se]

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:00PM (#442786)

      Had to click the first link again to unsee the second one.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:13PM (#442795)

        Yes, so did I.

        Wow, to imagine I was able to avoid it all these years, to the point where it became more legend than anything else, only to be done in now, long after the meme ceased to be mainstream.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:35PM (#442821)

      From the tweetstorm it sounded like someone sent a custom message, but now we see that it is a lazy copy and paste job. Maybe that will prove useful to the defense.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Dunbal on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:16PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:16PM (#442796)

    #1 cause of seizure in epileptics is: NOT TAKING YOUR MEDS.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:38PM (#442823)

      > #1 cause of seizure in epileptics is: NOT TAKING YOUR MEDS.

      So? You aren't saying the #1 cause is the only cause, right?
      So what are you saying?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by pe1rxq on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:28PM

      by pe1rxq (844) on Sunday December 18 2016, @10:28PM (#442841) Homepage

      Not all forms of epilepsy respond to drugs, some don't respond at all.

      I don't know who is the bigger idiot: you or whoever modded you insightful.

      --
      Secure messaging: http://quickmsg.vreeken.net/
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Monday December 19 2016, @12:32AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 19 2016, @12:32AM (#442874) Journal

      I think the number one cause of seizures is being epileptic. I've met a number of epileptics, and no two of them seem to have the same symptoms, signs of problems, or whatever. Met one woman who knew when a seizure was coming, she would sit down, and focus her mind on getting through it. I guess it worked for her almost all the time. Other people didn't have a clue that they were about to have a seizure. Just BANG, out of nowhere.

      I'm not epileptic, but some of those flashing images on the web make me wonder sometimes. The image loads, and I have an instant headache, and feel nauseous.

      It takes a sorry human being to intentionally subject an epileptic to one of these things. I really don't know about assault charges, but something should happen to the jerk.

      --
      This broadcast is intended for mature audiences.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:46PM

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Sunday December 18 2016, @08:46PM (#442801)

    It would be interesting to hear if the sender actually gets in to any kind of trouble. Quite unlikely though.

    It seems like visual products and the media in general are increasingly becoming inconsiderate to epileptics. Most advertisements on TV or even the internet (if you are dumb enough to browse with no ad blocker) are made up of bright flashing, loud sounds, hypnotic scrolling or movement, and so on. Turn on the TV news and you are almost guaranteed to spend the first few minutes staring at looping images of police cars with their flashers running.

    At the rate they are going, eventually we will see real blipverts and actual exploding heads!

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:16PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:16PM (#442812)

      I've seen some fairly extreme bright flashing digital billboards that made it hard to focus on my driving even though I'm not epileptic.

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:05PM (#442806)

    Nobody mentioned WHY Eichenwald is getting harrassed online. He's a standard Liberal journalist who has thrown away even the slightest pretense of objectivity this election. He shows up on Fox claiming he has documents that prove President Trump is a drug abuser. He has proof, but even though he hates Trump, he isn't going to publish the proof. You just have to take his word for it. Real scumbag move. While this doesn't mean he should be sent life-threatening flashing images, he isn't some poor innocent marytr that was minding his own business before being assaulted.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by FakeBeldin on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:26PM

      by FakeBeldin (3360) on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:26PM (#442815) Journal

      Nobody mentioned WHY Eichenwald is getting harrassed online.

      That was actually quite deliberate on my part.

      What is known is that someone actively tried to induce a seizure against someone else via the internet (the offending tweet said so).
      Around here, we know the internet. We understand the possibilities for filtering, and I'm convinced there will turn out to be several SN'ers who know a thing or two about the limitations of visual processing. That's an interesting discussion for a tech site.

      The fingerpointing part? That's focussing on the non-tech aspects of this story - there's plenty of other sites where those discussions are raging. Moreover, that ignores a most interesting tech aspect of this story: that people with a certain condition can be attacked via the internet - irrespective of their political stance, their moral qualities, or anything else. Just based on that condition.

      To me, that's exactly the type of thing where techies gather round and figure out if we can make the internet a better place. We've done so with respect to spam, we're currently doing something with respect to ransomware, and this is another issue we could perhaps figure out (see the comment above on the Harding test).

      • (Score: 1) by RS3 on Monday December 19 2016, @12:09AM

        by RS3 (6367) on Monday December 19 2016, @12:09AM (#442868)

        Thank you for the article and starting this discussion.

        We understand the possibilities for filtering, and I'm convinced there will turn out to be several SN'ers who know a thing or two about the limitations of visual processing.

        I don't quite understand, by "visual processing", do you mean human processing, as in, what happens to the epileptic?

        • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Monday December 19 2016, @12:58AM

          by FakeBeldin (3360) on Monday December 19 2016, @12:58AM (#442883) Journal

          That's not what I meant, but that is indeed also interesting!

          I just figured there would be some SN'ers who are into computer vision or video processing (someone who worked on Youtube's content-id system? you never know... ;-). I don't know a lot about video encodings, so I don't know if you (basically) need to render the video for a detection algorithm, or if it's possible to do some far more lightweight processing based on the various frames.

          E.g. perhaps it's sufficient to just compute the average brightness of each frame to detect outrageous flickering. That sounds like something that could be done quicker than processing each frame to determine what changes where.

          • (Score: 1) by RS3 on Monday December 19 2016, @02:30AM

            by RS3 (6367) on Monday December 19 2016, @02:30AM (#442910)

            Thank you again. I've done some programming here and there, and in college (BSEE) did some interesting image processing.

            One could create a video in which the frames alternate light and dark areas- flickering- but that each frame has the same average brightness, so you could not detect the flickering that way.

            I did a quick search for "seizure inducing image" and some of them just had very subtle "jiggling". IE: a simple image that moves side-to-side by 1 pixel or so, but at a problematic rate.

            It should be fairly easy to algorithmically analyse an image/video to determine flickering. Frame-by-frame comparisons, blocks of frames compared to other blocks, etc., then compute the variance, and check the result against flickering rates which are known to cause epileptic problems.

            Regardless of what the variation is, it's more the repetition rate that causes the seizure, so you'd look for that.

            Seems like a browser plugin is in order.

            For pop email clients (ThunderBird, Outlook, etc.) you'd need something else- maybe a TCP/IP filter.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:09AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @04:09AM (#442948)

              Thunderbird has tons of plugins. Even adblockers.

              https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/ [mozilla.org]

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by jasassin on Monday December 19 2016, @09:20AM

                by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday December 19 2016, @09:20AM (#443033) Journal

                Thunderbird, by default, blocks remote images (for privacy). Seems that setting would be good to prevent this.

                --
                jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:31PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:31PM (#442818)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Eichenwald [wikipedia.org]

      In 2005, Eichenwald wrote a group of articles about online child pornography. One of those articles was about Justin Berry, a then-18-year-old who was selling pornographic images and videos of himself both as a minor and as an adult, creating and selling pornography involving other minors and adults. Eichenwald stated in testimony before Congress that his contact with Berry began as an effort by him, his wife, and his minister to rescue someone who seemed like a child in danger. He stated that it was only a month later, when Berry contacted him saying he wanted to expose the child pornography business, that he began reporting on the story. This led to criticism because, during the time Eichenwald was working to rescue Berry, he—along with his wife and minister—decided to pretend they were Berry's customers and use money to convince him to identify himself. Once Eichenwald began reporting, he demanded repayment because of the potential conflict of interest. However, Eichenwald only asked for $2,000 that was paid by check to be returned; he later stated he did not remember another $1,100 was paid through PayPal. Berry did not return that money. In an October 19, 2007 interview with NPR's David Folkenflik, Eichenwald stated that, due to the severe backlash from the Justin Berry story, he felt compelled to disclose that his epilepsy had caused "severe memory disruptions" and that he had a "deeply unreliable memory for names, facts and events" which he compensated for by his "meticulous reporting methods."

    • (Score: 2) by Bogsnoticus on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:34PM

      by Bogsnoticus (3982) on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:34PM (#442820)

      So in other words, he's playing the exact same game as Trump. Makes wild accusations with no proof, and demands people take his word for it.
      However, Trump actively promoted violence by rallying the "second amendment people" to do something about Hillary should he lose the election.

      Which was the biggest scumbag move?

      --
      Genius by birth. Evil by choice.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by KilroySmith on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:47PM

      by KilroySmith (2113) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 18 2016, @09:47PM (#442829)

      So I understand why some people are upset. That isn't an excuse for someone to attempt to cause him personal injury.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by krishnoid on Sunday December 18 2016, @11:33PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Sunday December 18 2016, @11:33PM (#442862)

    Would it be possible at the the video/animated gif rendering level to identify *any* animation matching an epileptogenic profile based on analysis of a short sequence of frames in the buffer, and 'defang' it? Maybe slow it down, black it out, gray it out, block it? This way it could degrade the content and still let people see enough of it to identify its rough purpose or content.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Guppy on Monday December 19 2016, @01:35AM

    by Guppy (3213) on Monday December 19 2016, @01:35AM (#442890)

    This might be the first physical attack on a person perpetrated via the internet. A sad point in history, in my view.

    Back in 2008, some trolls raided an epilepsy forum, succeeding in triggering some seizures:
    http://archive.wired.com/politics/security/news/2008/03/epilepsy [wired.com]

    • (Score: 1) by i286NiNJA on Monday December 19 2016, @04:13PM

      by i286NiNJA (2768) on Monday December 19 2016, @04:13PM (#443182)

      Look this is a journalist, they decide what is noteworthy. It's funny that even after being possibly killed over the internet he can't resist the temptation to self promote.
      The same amount of time it would have taken for him to type "Oh I'm possibly noteworthy. please people in the future talk about me" is about the same amount of time it would have taken for him to discover that this is a common problem on the internet.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by darkfeline on Monday December 19 2016, @08:45AM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday December 19 2016, @08:45AM (#443022) Homepage

    My intent is not to blame the victim, but:

    1. You suffer from epilepsy.
    2. Seizures are not enjoyable.
    3. You have a vested personal interest in avoiding seizures.
    4. Yet you allow anyone to send you any images to view over the Internet.

    You're just asking for it, buddy. Even if the other guy sending you the image is a jerk, you're still the one experiencing the seizure.

    Websites (note, not web apps) don't need images. Disable all the images. Allow single images where necessary, and maybe pre-filter them if you have epilepsy. It's not difficult, and and claiming ignorance doesn't protect you after the fact, because the funny thing about reality is that what you don't know CAN hurt you, so stay informed and educated.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @09:35AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @09:35AM (#443038)

      It's just another arms race, you might reduce your risk but if someone's out to get you they're likely to succeed.
      It could be JavaScript that replaces some text with other text with the right timing (for example, UTF-8 black box and space), and completely disabling JavaScript isn't much of an option.
      I would guess what would be most likely to work is if the desktop compositor ran detection and filtering for anything that might be problematic (slowing it down, throwing away frames and/or averaging them), I would think GPUs should be fast enough for that.
      Still, I fully support browsers disabling animated GIFs/PNGs/etc. by default, like autoplay videos they are almost exclusively used maliciously or at least undesirable, so why on earth do we still allow them by default?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19 2016, @02:42PM (#443136)

        Simple - backwards compatability and standards. However, all those can be changed client-side using a decent browser, of which I only currently know of one for Windows: Pale Moon [palemoon.org]. Throw on NoScript, the anti-animated-image addon (I don't use one myself), and change two entries in about:config to "false"- media.autoplay.enabled and media.autoplay.allowscripted. No more autoplaying animated imaged nor video.