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Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps Following Data Investigation  

Facebook revealed Friday that it had suspended "tens of thousands" of apps that may have mishandled users' personal data, [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source] part of an investigation sparked by the social giant's entanglement with Cambridge Analytica. From a report: The suspensions -- far more than the hundreds against which Facebook has taken action against in the past -- occurred for a "variety of reasons," the company said in a blog post, without elaborating. They w

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2019-09-20 18:01:00

Why Prescription Drugs Cost So Much More in America  

The US spends more per capita on medication than anywhere else in the world. It's a key electoral issue. From a report on Financial Times (paywalled): All over the world, drugmakers are granted time-limited monopolies -- in the form of patents -- to encourage innovation. But America is one of the only countries that does not combine this carrot with the stick of price controls. The US government's refusal to negotiate prices has contributed to spiralling healthcare costs which, said billionaire

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2019-09-20 17:21:00

Traders Who Can't Code May Become Extinct, Goldman's Tech Pioneer Warns  

Just how important will the ability to write computer code be to a successful career on Wall Street? From a report: According to R. Martin Chavez, an architect of Goldman Sachs Group's effort to transform itself with technology, "It's like writing an English sentence." As Chavez prepares to leave the company, the onetime commodities staffer who rose to posts overseeing technology and ultimately trading is reflecting on his "26-year adventure" in the industry. "The short, short description of it

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2019-09-20 16:41:00

They Want To Believe: People Gather Near Area 51 To 'See Them Aliens'  

Hundreds of people arrived early Friday at a gate at the once secret Area 51 military base in Nevada at the time appointed by an internet hoaxster to "storm" the facility to see space aliens and at least two were detained by sheriff's deputies. From a report: The Storm Area 51 invitation spawned festivals in the tiny Nevada towns of Rachel and Hiko nearest the military site, and a more than two-hour drive from Las Vegas. The Lincoln county sheriff, Kerry Lee, estimated late Thursday that about 1

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2019-09-20 16:01:00

Secret FBI Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies  

The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed, The New York Times reported Friday, citing newly released documents. From the report: The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show how far beyond Silicon Valley the practice extends -- encompassing scores of banks, credit agencies, cellphone

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2019-09-20 15:21:00

47% of Organizations Have Cyber Insurance, Up From 34% in 2017: Study  

Cyberattacks are now considered by most execs to be the top business concern, far outranking economic uncertainty, brand damage, and regulation, according to a survey by insurance consultancy Marsh and tech giant Microsoft. From a report: The global survey of over 1,500 business leaders illustrates the rapid change in business leaders' perceived risks to their organizations and shows that having a cyber insurance policy is now more common than two years ago. In 2017, Marsh and Microsoft found th

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2019-09-20 14:40:00

French Court Rules that Steam's Ban on Reselling Used Games is Contrary To European Law  

A French high court this week delivered a blow to Valve, ruling that European consumers are legally free to resell digital games bought on Steam, just as they're able to resell packaged, physical games. From a report: The ruling was delivered by the High Court of Paris (Tribunal de grande instance de Paris) two days ago, according to a report on French games site Numerama. In a statement released today, Valve pledged to appeal the decision. The court's ruling is a victory for French consumer gro

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2019-09-20 14:00:00

Silicon Valley Is Terrified of California's Privacy Law  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Silicon Valley is terrified. In a little over three months, California will see the widest-sweeping state-wide changes to its privacy law in years. California's Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) kicks in on January 1 and rolls out sweeping new privacy benefits to the state's 40 million residents -- and every tech company in Silicon Valley. California's law is similar to Europe's GDPR. It grants state consumers a right to know what information compan

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2019-09-20 13:00:00

Experts Warn World 'Grossly Unprepared' For Future Pandemics  

Prominent international experts are warning that a virulent flu pandemic capable of spreading across the world in 36 hours, killing up to 80 million people, is entirely plausible and efforts by governments to prepare for it are "grossly insufficient." The Guardian reports: The first annual report by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent group of 15 experts convened by the World Bank and WHO after the first Ebola crisis, describes the threat of a pandemic spreading around the w

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2019-09-20 10:00:00

Japan's Hayabusa 2 Targets Final Asteroid Landing  

The team overseeing the Hayabusa2 mission for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is putting the vehicle through its paces one more time as it prepares to release the last rover it has on board. "That rehearsal, which took place Sept. 16 (Sept. 17 local time at mission control), sent two target markers toward the asteroid," reports From the report: Each target marker is a reflective ball that's about 4 inches (10 centimeters) across and filled with smaller balls -- like a hi

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2019-09-20 07:00:00

World's Most Destructive Botnet Returns With Stolen Passwords and Email In Tow  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: If you've noticed an uptick of spam that addresses you by name or quotes real emails you've sent or received in the past, you can probably blame Emotet. It's one of the world's most costly and destructive botnets -- and it just returned from a four-month hiatus. A post published on Tuesday by researchers from Cisco's Talos security team helps explain how Emotet continues to threaten so many of its targets. Spam sent by Emotet often appea

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2019-09-20 03:30:00

Bill Gates: Don't Break Up Tech Giants, It Won't Stop Anticompetitive Behavior  

dryriver shares a report from ZDNet: Speaking with Bloomberg, Microsoft co-founder Gates said it is better to regulate big tech companies. Breaking them up will simply result in two companies indulging in bad behavior. "I don't know the last time a company was broken up but you have to really think, 'Is that the best thing if there's a way that a company's behaving that you want to get rid of?' Then you should just say, 'Hey, OK, that's a banned behavior,'" said Gates. "Splitting a company in tw

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2019-09-20 02:03:00

Authorities Consider Taking Legal Action Against Facebook Over Storm Area 51 Event  

Local authorities in Rachel, Nevada -- the location of a planned Aliengate festival that evolved out of a viral Facebook event -- are considering taking legal action to cover $250,000 the county plans to spend to prepare for the potential onslaught of visitors. Gizmodo reports: Matty Roberts created the "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" Facebook event on June 27 as a joke, but the event went viral and evolved into an actual festival -- Alienstock -- which was planned for September 19-22

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2019-09-20 01:25:00

Two Years Later, Hackers Are Still Breaching Local Government Payment Portals  

Two years after hackers first started targeting local government payment portals, attacks are still going on, with eight cities having had their Click2Gov payment portals compromised in the last month alone, security researchers from Gemini Advisory have revealed in a report shared with ZDNet today. From the news report: These new hacks have allowed hackers to get their hands on over 20,000 payment card details belonging to US citizens, which are now being traded on the dark web, the cyber-secur

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2019-09-20 00:45:00

Instagram's Opioid Recovery Hashtags Are Full of Drug Dealers  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: Dozens of top posts under the #opioidcrisis and #opioidaddiction hashtags contained comments touting Oxycontin, Percocet, Codeine, and other prescription opioids -- along with phone numbers and usernames for encrypted messaging accounts. A typical entry, under a video describing tens of thousands of deaths by drug overdose, offered "fast deals" on "Oxys, Roxy, Xans, Addy, codeine, perc...Available 24.7 for delivery." Social media's role in

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2019-09-20 00:03:00

Vaping Criminal Probe Announced By FDA As Illnesses Rise To 530  

The FDA has revealed a criminal investigation into the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses, which have risen to 530 across 38 states, according to the CDC. The Washington Post says there have been seven confirmed deaths from these illnesses so far. CNET reports: The FDA reportedly said it isn't seeking prosecution for ill people who've vaped cannabis and come forward with information. "The focus is on the supply chain," Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, told

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2019-09-19 23:20:00

YouTube Creators May Lose Verified Badges As Verification Process Becomes Stricter  

YouTube is rolling out changes to its verification program for creators, making it tougher for growing channels to earn a checkmark beside their name and removing verification badges from people who don't meet the heightened criteria. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares a report from The Verge: YouTube's current system allows anyone with more than 100,000 subscribers to be verified. Now, YouTube is emphasizing verifying prominent channels that have a "clear need for proof of authenticity," accor

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2019-09-19 22:40:00

Alphabet Partners With FedEx, Walgreens To Bring Drone Delivery To the US  

Google's Wing drone-delivery company announced today that it would be partnering with FedEx and Walgreens to bring autonomous drone deliveries to the U.S. in October. "The pilot program will be launched in Christiansburg, Virginia, one of the two areas in the state that Wing has been testing its drone technology for years," reports Quartz. From the report: People expecting packages from FedEx will be able to choose to get their deliveries made via drone, assuming that they live in certain areas

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2019-09-19 22:03:00

Google Makes the Largest Ever Corporate Purchase of Renewable Energy  

Two years ago, Google became the first company of its size to buy as much renewable electricity as the electricity it used. But as the company grows, so does its demand for power. To stay ahead of that demand, Google just made the largest corporate renewable energy purchase in history, with 18 new energy deals around the world that will help build infrastructure worth more than $2 billion. From a report: The projects include massive new solar farms in places like Texas and North Carolina where t

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2019-09-19 21:25:00

AT&T Says Customers Can't Sue the Company For Selling Location Data To Bounty Hunters  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: AT&T is arguing that its customers can't sue the company for selling location data to bounty hunters, according to recently filed court records. AT&T says the customers signed contracts that force them into arbitration, meaning consumers have to settle complaints privately with the company rather than in court. The filing is in response to a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The issue circles around mandatory

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2019-09-19 20:45:00

North America Has Lost 3 Billion Birds in 50 Years  

Slowly, steadily and almost imperceptibly, North America's bird population is dwindling. From a report: The sparrows and finches that visit backyard feeders number fewer each year. The flutelike song of the western meadowlark -- the official bird of six U.S. states -- is growing more rare. The continent has lost nearly 3 billion birds representing hundreds of species over the past five decades, in an enormous loss that signals an "overlooked biodiversity crisis," according to a study from top or

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2019-09-19 20:06:00

Apple's iOS 13 Just Launched But iOS 13.1, iPadOS Arrive Next Week  

Apple's latest iPhone software, iOS 13, is now available -- but on Tuesday, you'll already be able to download the first update, iOS 13.1. And you'll be able to revitalize your iPad with Apple's software created for its tablets. From a report: Apple may be best known for its hardware, but it's really the seamless integration of its devices with its software that's set it apart from rivals. The company's ability to control every aspect of its products -- something that began when Steve Jobs and S

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2019-09-19 19:30:00

How the Internet Archive is Waging War on Misinformation  

San Francisco-based non-profit is archiving billions of web pages in a bid to preserve web history. From a report: Since the 2016 US election, as fears about the power of fake news have intensified, the archive has stepped up its efforts to combat misinformation. At a time when false and ultra-partisan content is rapidly created and spread, and social media pages are constantly updated, the importance of having an unalterable record of who said what, when has been magnified. "We're trying to put

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2019-09-19 18:50:00

Downloading Stays Legal, No Site Blocking, Swiss Copyright Law Says  

From a report: Switzerland's National Council has passed amendments aimed at modernizing the country's copyright law to make it more fit for the digital age. While services that host pirate sites or distribute content can expect a tougher ride moving forward, users will still be able to download pirate content for personal use. Furthermore, Swiss Internet service providers will not be required to prevent their customers accessing pirate sites. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2019-09-19 18:10:00

Amazon's 'Climate Pledge' Commits To Net Zero Carbon Emissions By 2040 and 100% Renewables by 2030  

In Washington today, Amazon announced a series of initiatives and issued call for companies to reduce their carbon emissions ten years ahead of the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement as part of sweeping effort to reduce its own environmental footprint. From a report: "We're done being in the middle of the herd on this issue -- we've decided to use our size and scale to make a difference," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and chief executive, in a statement. "If a company with as much physical

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2019-09-19 17:30:00

Philippines Declares New Polio Outbreak After 19 Years  

twocows writes: Philippine health officials declared a polio outbreak in the country on Thursday, nearly two decades after the World Health Organization declared it to be free of the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said at a news conference that authorities have confirmed at least one case of polio in a 3-year-old girl in southern Lanao del Sur province and detected the polio virus in sewage in Manila and in waterways in the southern Davao r

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2019-09-19 16:50:00

India Tells Tech Firms To Protect User Privacy, Prevent Abuse  

Technology firms must protect user privacy and prevent abuse of their platforms, India's IT minister said on Thursday, speaking as the government draws up a data privacy law and seeks to push companies to store more data locally. From a report: Federal Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he wanted Indians to have access to more technology platforms but said this should not undermine user privacy. "I have only one caveat -- it must be safe and secure, it must safeguard th

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2019-09-19 16:10:00

Huawei's Flagship Mate 30 Pro Has Impressive Specs But No Google  

The Mate 30 series of smartphones from Huawei is now official, starting with the Mate 30 Pro and the Mate 30. From a report: The announcement of Mate 30 series comes at a difficult time for Huawei, whose presence on the USA's entity list prevents US companies from doing business with the Chinese firm. Google said last month that these phones won't ship with Google's apps and services, nor will they come with the Play Store pre-installed, which is how most Android users outside of China download

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2019-09-19 15:30:00

Solar and Wind Power So Cheap They're Outgrowing Subsidies  

For years, wind and solar power were derided as boondoggles. They were too expensive, the argument went, to build without government handouts. Today, renewable energy is so cheap that the handouts they once needed are disappearing. From a report: On sun-drenched fields across Spain and Italy, developers are building solar farms without subsidies or tax-breaks, betting they can profit without them. In China, the government plans to stop financially supporting new wind farms. And in the U.S., deve

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2019-09-19 14:50:00

Google is Bringing Its AI Assistant Service To People Without Internet Access  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Google Assistant, the digital assistant from the global search giant, is available to users through their smartphones, laptops, and smart speakers. Earlier this year, the company partnered with KaiOS to bring Assistant to some feature phones with internet access. Now Google is going a step further: Bringing its virtual assistant to people who have the most basic cellphone with no internet access. It's starting this program in India. At an event in New Delhi o

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2019-09-19 14:01:00

'Personal Carbon Sequestration' Device Uses Algae To Remove CO2 From the Air  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fast Company: In the future, your office might have an extra appliance next to the copy machine and the refrigerator: an algae bioreactor. Designed to fit inside offices and eventually sit on the rooftops throughout cities, it can capture as much carbon from the atmosphere as an acre of trees. And there's an initial prototype already at work. Inside the bioreactor, algae does the work. "What's amazing about algae is it's really cheap and it's easy to grow

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2019-09-19 13:00:00

AT&T Explores Parting Ways With DirecTV  

According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T is exploring parting with its DirecTV unit as customers are leaving the service in droves. From the report: The telecom giant has considered various options, including a spinoff of DirecTV into a separate public company and a combination of DirecTV's assets with Dish Network, its satellite-TV rival, the people said. AT&T may ultimately decide to keep DirecTV in the fold. Despite the satellite service's struggles, as consumers drop their TV conne

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2019-09-19 10:00:00

Navy Confirms Existence of UFOs Seen In Leaked Footage  

A Navy official has confirmed that recently released videos of unidentified flying objects are real, but that the footage was not authorized to be released to the public in the first place. From a report: Joseph Gradisher, the spokesman for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, confirmed to TIME that three widely-shared videos captured "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." Gradisher initially confirmed this in a statement to "The Black Vault" a website dedicated to declassifie

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2019-09-19 07:00:00

Research Finds Black Carbon Breathed By Mothers Can Cross Into Unborn Children  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Air pollution particles have been found on the fetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning. The research is the first study to show the placental barrier can be penetrated by particles breathed in by the mother. It found thousands of the tiny particles per cubic millimeter of tissue in every placenta analyzed. The link between exposure to dirty air

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2019-09-19 03:30:00

C-Section Babies Have More Potentially Infectious Gut Bacteria  

Scientists from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UCL, the University of Birmingham and their collaborators discovered that whereas vaginally born babies got most of their gut bacteria from their mother, babies born via caesarean did not, and instead had more bacteria associated with hospital environments in their guts. Science Daily reports: The exact role of the baby's gut bacteria is unclear and it isn't known if these differences at birth will have any effect on later health. The researchers fo

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2019-09-19 02:03:00

AI Can't Protect Us From Deepfakes, Argues New Report  

A new report from Data and Society raises doubts about automated solutions to deceptively altered videos, including machine learning-altered videos called deepfakes. Authors Britt Paris and Joan Donovan argue that deepfakes, while new, are part of a long history of media manipulation -- one that requires both a social and a technical fix. Relying on AI could actually make things worse by concentrating more data and power in the hands of private corporations. The Verge reports: As Paris and Donov

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2019-09-19 01:45:00

Workers Accuse Kickstarter of Union-Busting In Federal Complaint  

On Monday night, unionizing employees at Kickstarter filed a complaint with the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) for allegedly wrongfully terminating two employees. Both of the employees were on the Kickstarter United organizing campaign. Motherboard reports: Kickstarter told Motherboard that the workers, Clarissa Redwine and Taylor Moore, were fired over performance issues within the past two weeks. But employees at Kickstarter are accusing the company of "discharging employees" because "they

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2019-09-19 01:25:00

New Eco-Friendly Game Packaging Could Save Tons of Plastic Each Year  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Sega and Sports Interactive have announced that Football Manager 2020 will be sold in new eco-friendly package that uses much less plastic, and they're pushing for the rest of the entertainment industry to follow suit. The new packaging replaces the now-standard plastic DVD case used for most game discs with a folded, reinforced cardboard sleeve made of 100% recycled fiber. The shrinkwrap surrounding that package has also been replaced with

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2019-09-19 00:45:00

Apple Is Trying To Trademark 'Slofie'  

On Friday, Apple applied for a U.S. Trademark on "Slofie," a made-up name for slow-motion selfies, a feature that's new to the iPhone 11 models. "The phones' front camera can now record video at 120 frames per second, which when slowed down, results in a crisp slow-motion effect," writes Jacob Kastrenakes for The Verge. "The results are neat, though I'm not convinced they'll turn into the Animoji-like phenomenon Apple may be hoping for." From the report: Apple is applying for a trademark on slof

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2019-09-19 00:03:00

Exposed RDP Servers See 150K Brute-Force Attempts Per Week  

Slashdot reader Cameyo shares a report from TechRepublic: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is -- to the frustration of security professionals -- both remarkably insecure and indispensable in enterprise computing. The September 2019 Patch Tuesday round closed two remote code execution bugs in RDP, while the high-profile BlueKeep and DejaBlue vulnerabilities from earlier this year have sent IT professionals in a patching frenzy. With botnets brute-forcing over 1.5 million RDP servers worldwide, a ded

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2019-09-18 23:25:00

Facebook Plans Launch of Its Own 'Supreme Court' For Handling Takedown Appeals  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Facebook, which has managed to transcend geographic borders to draw in a population equal to roughly a third of all human life on Earth, has made its final charter for a "Supreme Court" of Facebook public. The company pledges to launch this initiative by November of next year. The new Oversight Board will have five key powers, according to a charter (PDF) Facebook released yesterday. It can "request that Facebook provide information" it need

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2019-09-18 22:45:00

Programmers Complain that Huawei's Ark Compiler is 'Not Even Half-Finished'  

A scam. A publicity stunt. Premature. These are just a few of the things Chinese developers are saying about the release of Huawei's supposed secret weapon: The Ark Compiler. From a report: Developers are even claiming the program feels incomplete. The reception has been so bad that one programmer told Abacus that he wondered whether it was released just for publicity. "Maybe they're doing it to help in the PR and trade war, adding leverage against the US," said Max Zhou, co-founder of app-enhan

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2019-09-18 22:05:00

India Bans E-cigarettes as Global Vaping Backlash Grows  

India has announced a ban on electronic cigarettes, as a backlash gathers pace worldwide about a technology promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco. From a report: The announcement by India on Wednesday came a day after New York became the second US state to ban flavored e-cigarettes following a string of vaping-linked deaths. "The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today," India's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, told reporters in the

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2019-09-18 21:25:00

The FBI Tried To Plant a Backdoor in an Encrypted Phone Network  

The FBI tried to force the owner of an encrypted phone company to put a backdoor in his devices, Motherboard has learned. From the report: The company involved is Phantom Secure, a firm that sold privacy-focused BlackBerry phones and which ended up catering heavily to the criminal market, including members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, formerly run by JoaquÃn "El Chapo" Guzman. The news signals some of the tactics law enforcement may use as criminals continue to leverage encrypted communicati

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2019-09-18 20:45:00

California Governor Signs Labor Law, Setting Up Bitter Gig Economy Fight  

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping new law that could force gig companies like Uber and Lyft to reclassify their workers as employees. From a report: The hotly contested legislation, Assembly Bill 5, dictates that workers can generally only be considered contractors if they are doing work that is outside the usual course of a company's business. The law codifies a 2018 state supreme court ruling, and applies it to a wide range of state laws. It could upend the business models of

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2019-09-18 20:05:00

A Lunar Space Elevator Is Actually Feasible and Inexpensive, Scientists Find  

An anonymous reader shares a report: In a paper [PDF] published on the online research archive arXiv, Columbia astronomy students Zephyr Penoyre and Emily Sandford proposed the idea of a "lunar space elevator," which is exactly what it sounds like -- a very long elevator connecting the moon and our planet. The concept of a moon elevator isn't new. In the 1970s, similar ideas were floated in science fiction (Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise, for example) and by academics like Jerome P

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2019-09-18 19:25:00

Amazon Will Soon Let You Make Campaign Contributions Through Your Alexa Device  

On Thursday, you'll be able to make campaign donations to 2020 presidential candidates through your Amazon Alexa devices -- or at least to those candidates whom Amazon deems eligible to set up an account. From a report: If a campaign chooses to sign up for Alexa donations, you'll be able to donate to it by merely saying, "Alexa, I want to make a political contribution," or "Alexa, donate [amount] to [candidate name]." All donations will be processed through Amazon Pay, and users will receive ema

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2019-09-18 18:45:00

Have Flagship Smartphone Prices Peaked?  

Analyst Ben Wood, writing for research firm CCS Insight: Smartphone makers have been testing the economic rule of supply and demand for the past decade, seemingly defying conventional wisdom in consumer electronics products by raising prices. Greater utility and the constant of use smartphones combined to grow the value of devices to customers. But it seems that top phone-makers are learning that no tree grows to heaven, as prices beyond the psychological threshold of $1,000 have created sticker

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2019-09-18 18:05:00

IBM's New 53-qubit Quantum Computer is Its Biggest Yet  

IBM's 14th quantum computer is its most powerful so far, a model with 53 of the qubits that form the fundamental data-processing element at the heart of the system. From a report: The system, available online to quantum computing customers in October, is a big step up from the last IBM Q machine with 20 qubits and should help advance the marriage of classical computers with the crazy realm of quantum physics. Quantum computing remains a highly experimental field, limited by the difficult physics

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2019-09-18 17:25:00

How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? 'Maybe 20 Years'  

An anonymous reader shares a report: The Middle Fork of the Salmon River, one of the wildest rivers in the contiguous United States, is prime fish habitat. Cold, clear waters from melting snow tumble out of the Salmon River Mountains and into the boulder-strewn river, which is federally protected. The last of the spawning spring-summer Chinook salmon arrived here in June after a herculean 800-mile upstream swim. Now the big fish -- which can weigh up to 30 pounds -- are finishing their courtship

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2019-09-18 16:47:00

Smart TVs, Smart-Home Devices Found To Be Leaking Sensitive User Data, Researchers Find  

Smart-home devices, such as televisions and streaming boxes, are collecting reams of data -- including sensitive information such as device locations -- that is then being sent to third parties like advertisers and major tech companies, researchers said Tuesday. From a report: As the findings show, even as privacy concerns have become a part of the discussion around consumer technology, new devices are adding to the hidden and often convoluted industry around data collection and monetization. A

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2019-09-18 16:04:00

Crypto-mining Malware Saw New Life Over the Summer as Monero Value Tripled  

Malware that mines cryptocurrency made a comeback over the summer, with an increased number of campaigns being discovered and documented by cyber-security firms. From a report: The primary reason for this sudden resurgence is the general revival of the cryptocurrency market, which saw trading prices recover after a spectacular crash in late 2018. Monero, the cryptocurrency of choice of most crypto-mining malware operations, was one of the many cryptocurrencies that were impacted by this market s

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2019-09-18 15:24:00

AI Learned To Use Tools After Nearly 500 Million Games of Hide and Seek  

In the early days of life on Earth, biological organisms were exceedingly simple. They were microscopic unicellular creatures with little to no ability to coordinate. Yet billions of years of evolution through competition and natural selection led to the complex life forms we have today -- as well as complex human intelligence. Researchers at OpenAI, the San-Francisco-based for-profit AI research lab, are now testing a hypothesis: if you could mimic that kind of competition in a virtual world, w

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2019-09-18 14:43:00

Facebook Contractors Have Been Listening To 'Hey Portal' Clips  

Facebook, which last month said it stopped using humans to review and transcribe users' voice messages, will resume that practice for some audio collected from its Portal video-calling device. From a report: Facebook "paused human review of audio" around August. Bloomberg reported at the time the company hired contractors to transcribe private voice messages sent via its Messenger app. In that case, users had not been alerted to the possibility that their communications might be subject to human

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2019-09-18 14:02:00

Massive, Blimplike Experiment Lowers Weight Limit On Neutrino  

sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine: Physicists have set a new limit on the mass of nature's lightest particle of matter. The neutrino can weigh no more than 1.1 electron volts (eV) -- less than one-500,000th the mass of an electron -- say experimenters with the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino (KATRIN) experiment at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Reported on September 13 at a meeting in Toyama, Japan, the new result halves the previous limit of 2 eV. Physicists h

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2019-09-18 13:00:00

Amazon Confirms 'Lord of the Rings' TV Series Will Be Filmed In New Zealand  

New submitter mikaere writes: The New Zealand Herald reports that Amazon will base their upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series in West Auckland (home to fantasy series such as Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess,Legend of the Seeker and The Chronicles of Shannara. The article mentions that Sir Peter Jackson may have some involvement, and it is likely that iconic locales, such as Queenstown, could be used for location shoots as they were in the original screen trilogy. As for how much the Amazon LOTR

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2019-09-18 10:00:00

Egypt's Massive 1.8-Gigawatt Benban Solar Park Nears Completion  

Wave723 shares a report from IEEE Spectrum: Amid the sand dunes of the western Sahara, workers are putting the finishing touches on one of the world's largest solar installations. There, as many as 7.2 million photovoltaic panels will make up Benban Solar Park -- a renewable energy project so massive, it will be visible from space. The 1.8-gigawatt installation is the first utility-scale PV plant in Egypt, a nation blessed with some of the best solar resources on the planet. The ambitious projec

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2019-09-18 07:00:00

Earth Warming More Quickly Than Thought, New Climate Models Show  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Greenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere mainly by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth's surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday. By 2100, average temperatures could rise 7.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue unabated, separate models from two leading research centers in France showed.

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2019-09-18 03:30:00

Facebook Expands Definition of Terrorist Organizations To Limit Extremism  

Facebook on Tuesday announced a series of changes to limit hate speech and extremism on the social network, expanding its definition of terrorist organizations and planning to deploy artificial intelligence to better spot and block live videos of shooters. The company is also expanding a program that redirects users searching for extremism to resources intended to help them leave hate groups behind. The New York Times reports: The announcement came the day before a hearing on Capitol Hill on how

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2019-09-18 02:10:00

Fossil Fuel Divestment Has 'Zero' Climate Impact, Says Bill Gates  

dryriver shares a report from The Financial Times: Climate activists are wasting their time lobbying investors to ditch fossil fuel stocks, according to Bill Gates, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder who is one of the world's most prominent philanthropists. Those who want to change the world would do better to put their money and energy behind the disruptive technologies that slow carbon emissions and help people adapt to a warming world, Mr Gates told the Financial Times. "Divestment, to date

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2019-09-18 01:30:00

Researchers Uncover 125 Vulnerabilities Across 13 Routers and NAS Devices  

Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) discovered a total of 125 different security vulnerabilities across 13 IoT devices, likely affecting millions of consumers. Help Net Security reports: In nearly all the devices (12 of the 13), ISE achieved its goal of obtaining remote root-level access. The table below shows the types of vulnerabilities that ISE identified in the targets. All 13 of the devices evaluated by ISE had at least one web application vulnerability such as cross-site scripting (XSS),

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2019-09-18 00:50:00

AT&T Sued For Allegedly Inflating DirecTV Now Subscriber Numbers  

A lawsuit seeking class action status says AT&T is inflating AT&T TV Now -- previously known as DirecTV Now -- subscriber numbers by creating fake users. From a report: It's accusing the company's management of carrying out the scheme in an effort to make the service look good in the eyes of investors even though it was struggling with serious technical and financial problems. The management did so, according to the lawsuit, by encouraging employees to add DirecTV Now subscription fees t

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2019-09-18 00:10:00

Millions of Americans' Medical Images and Data Are Available On the Internet  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ProPublica: Medical images and health data belonging to millions of Americans, including X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, are sitting unprotected on the Internet and available to anyone with basic computer expertise. The records cover more than 5 million patients in the United States and millions more around the world. In some cases, a snoop could use free software programs -- or just a typical Web browser -- to view the images and private data, an investigati

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2019-09-17 23:30:00

AI Surveillance is Expanding Worldwide  

A growing number of countries are following China's lead in deploying artificial intelligence to track citizens, according to a research group's report published Tuesday. From a report: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says at least 75 countries are actively using AI tools such as facial recognition for surveillance. The index of countries where some form of AI surveillance is used includes liberal democracies such as the United States and France as well as more autocratic regimes.

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2019-09-17 22:50:00

Modified Tesla Model S Reportedly Outguns Porsche Taycan at Nurburgring  

Tesla is being a busy bee at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, and after multiple videos and rumors, we have our first idea of how capable its modified Model S electric sedan is. From a report: Road & Track reported Tuesday that the stripped-down Model S clocked a lap time of 7:23. Do note, that is not an official time and comes from well-placed sources hand-timing the electric car with a clear view of the track. It also happens to be 20 seconds quicker than the Porsche Taycan's lap time at the

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2019-09-17 22:10:00

Amazon Music Rolls Out Lossless Streaming Tier  

Amazon Music HD is a new tier of Amazon's music service that offers lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading at a price that aggressively undercuts Tidal, the main competition for this kind of audio. "Amazon will charge $14.99 a month for the HD tier, or $12.99 if you're an Amazon Prime customer," reports The Verge. "Tidal's Hi-Fi plan costs $19.99 monthly." From the report: Amazon says it has a catalog of over 50 million songs that it calls "High Definition," which is the t

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2019-09-17 21:30:00

Facebook Enlists Ray-Ban Maker To Help Develop Secret 'Orion' Smart Glasses  

Facebook is partnering with Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica to help speed up development of its top-secret augmented reality glasses that are being developed out of its Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington. The social media company is hoping the new partnership will help them complete the glasses between 2023 and 2025. CNBC reports: The glasses are internally codenamed Orion, and they are designed to replace smartphones, the people said. The glasses would allow users to take calls, show

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2019-09-17 20:50:00

Comet Visitor From Outside Our Solar System Will Wow Scientists For Months  

Astronomers have almost certainly detected a second interstellar comet zooming through our Solar System, but there's still quite a lot of work to be done to find out more about this alien space rock. In the weeks and months to come, astronomers will continue to observe this visitor with as many ground and space-based telescopes as possible to determine if it is, indeed, interstellar and figure out where it came from. From a report: An amateur astronomer, Gennady Borisov, first spotted this objec

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2019-09-17 20:10:00

Trump Will End California's Authority To Set Stricter Auto Emissions Rules  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The Trump administration is expected on Wednesday to formally revoke California's legal authority to set tailpipe pollution rules that are stricter than federal rules, in a move designed by the White House to strike twin blows against both the liberal-leaning state that President Trump has long antagonized and the environmental legacy of President Barack Obama. The announcement that the White House will revoke one of California's signa

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2019-09-17 19:32:00

Fedora Linux 31 Beta is Here  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Fedora 31 is due later this year, but first, there needs to be some beta testing. And so, today, Fedora 31 Beta is made available for download. Unfortunately, details surrounding version 31 are a bit sparse. With that said, one big change involves Fedora users with ARM 64-based single board computers, such as a Raspberry Pi. Those folks will get access to an additional desktop spin -- the lightweight Xfce. Workstation users will be treated to GNOME 3.34, but

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2019-09-17 18:50:00

Firefox Moving To a Faster 4-Week Release Cycle  

Mozilla announces in a blog post: We typically ship a major Firefox browser (Desktop and Android) release every 6 to 8 weeks. Building and releasing a browser is complicated and involves many players. To optimize the process, and make it more reliable for all users, over the years we've developed a phased release strategy that includes 'pre-release' channels: Firefox Nightly, Beta, and Developer Edition. With this approach, we can test and stabilize new features before delivering them to the maj

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2019-09-17 18:10:00

United States Files Civil Lawsuit Against Edward Snowden  

The United States today filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden, a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), who published a book entitled Permanent Record in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA. From a report: The lawsuit alleges that Snowden published his book without submitting it to the agencies for pre-publication review, in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he

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2019-09-17 17:33:00

'Big Bang Theory' Sets Staggering Multi-Billion-Dollar HBO Max Streaming Deal  

'The Big Bang Theory,' an insanely hit comedy show that ended its broadcasting run earlier this year, is now setting more records. From a report: In what is easily a record-setting five-year deal, HBO Max has secured the exclusive domestic streaming rights to The Big Bang Theory. As part of the deal with Warner Bros. Television, the multicamera comedy, created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, has also extended its syndication deal with TBS and will air on the WarnerMedia-owned basic cable network

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2019-09-17 16:50:00

NBCUniversal's Streaming Service Is Called Peacock and It's Launching Next April  

NBCUniversal's upcoming streaming service finally has a name -- Peacock -- and a whole bunch of newly announced programming. From a report: The long-in-the-works service will launch next April, anchored by more than 15,000 hours of content from the entertainment conglomerate's TV and movie vaults. In addition to a previously announced deal to take back The Office from Netflix in 2021, NBCU Tuesday said that starting next fall, Peacock will also be the exclusive streaming home for the Universal T

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2019-09-17 16:20:00

Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Workers Have Pledged To Strike on September 20  

In a historic first, more than 1,200 Amazon employees announced last week that they will walk out of their offices on September 20 over the company's carbon footprint. In the following days, tech workers at Microsoft, Facebook, and Google have announced they will also go on strike. From a report: Of the big five tech companies, this leaves Apple employees, who have yet to make any statement on the climate strikes, which will take place in 120 countries. On the day its competitors are striking, A

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2019-09-17 15:30:00

HP Printers Try To Send Data Back To HP About Your Devices and What You Print  

Robert Heaton: Last week my in-laws politely but firmly asked me to set up their new HP printer. I protested that I'm completely clueless about that sort of thing, despite my tax-return-job-title of "software engineer." Still remonstrating, I was gently bundled into their study with an instruction pamphlet, a cup of tea, a promise to unlock the door once I'd printed everyone's passport forms, and a warning not to try the window because the roof tiles are very loose. At first the setup process wa

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2019-09-17 14:56:00

The Internet Relies on People Working for Free  

Who should be responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting open-source projects? From a report: When you buy a product like Philips Hue's smart lights or an iPhone, you probably assume the people who wrote their code are being paid. While that's true for those who directly author a product's software, virtually every tech company also relies on thousands of bits of free code, made available through "open-source" projects on sites like GitHub and GitLab. Often these developers are happy to wor

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2019-09-17 14:06:00

Square Wants To Be a Bank But Doesn't Want To Be Taxed Like One  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Square has lent $5 billion to small businesses and consumers and applied for a banking license. It operates a nationwide mobile money-transfer business that serves 15 million Americans. But Square says it isn't a financial company. The San Francisco-based payments processor filed a lawsuit last week against its home city to recover $1.3 million in taxes, plus interest and attorneys' fees. Square argued that San Francisco was wrong

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2019-09-17 13:00:00

Google Preps 'Smart Screenshots' Feature To Let You Search With a Screenshot  

According to Abner Li from 9to5Google, Google is working on a new "Smart Screenshots" feature that integrates Google Lens abilities into the Google app's screenshot function. From the report: The Google app has long had an "Edit & share screenshots" ability where captures made within Search would reveal cropping and annotation tools. Meanwhile, Assistant has long maintained a "What's on my screen" capability that analyzes what you're currently viewing for search suggestions. Google app 10.61

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2019-09-17 09:00:00

Richard Stallman Resigns From MIT  

Multiple Slashdotters are reporting the unfortunate news that famed free software advocate and computer scientist Richard Stallman has resigned from MIT. Slashdot reader iamacat writes: Following outrage over his remarks about Jefferey Epstein's victims, Richard Stallman has resigned from his position in MIT, effective immediately. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him -- even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an Amer

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2019-09-17 05:00:00

Spouse of Ring Exec Among Lawmakers Trying To Weaken California Privacy Law  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The California legislature worked through the summer to finalize the text of the state's landmark data privacy law before time to make amendments ran out on Friday. In the Assembly (California's lower house), Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin has been a key voice and vote backing motions that would weaken the law, and a new report says her reasoning may be very, very close to home. A review of state ethics documents conducted by Politico found that

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2019-09-17 03:30:00

Milton's Notes On Shakespeare Appear To Have Been Found  

Almost 400 years after the first folio of Shakespeare was published in 1623, scholars believe they have identified the early owner of one copy of the text, who made hundreds of insightful annotations throughout: John Milton. The Guardian reports: The astonishing find, which academics say could be one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times, was made by Cambridge University fellow Jason Scott-Warren when he was reading an article about the anonymous annotator by Pennsylvania St

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2019-09-17 01:30:00

Drivers May Choose Electric Car Alert Sounds, US Proposal Says  

The NHTSA is now proposing drivers be able to select an electric-car alert sound at speeds under 18.6 mph. "NHTSA wants the public's opinion 'on whether there should be a limit to the number of compliant sounds that a manufacturer can install in a vehicle and what that limit should be,'" adds CNET. From the report: As of this month, automakers are required to equip 50% of their "quiet cars," which applies to silent electric vehicles, with an alert noise at low speeds. The rules, first brought ab

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2019-09-17 00:50:00

CentOS 8 To Be Released Next Week  

New submitter JDShewey writes: The CentOS Project has announced that CentOS 8.0 will be available for download beginning Tuesday, September 24. This release was deferred so that work to release CentOS 7.7 could be completed, which means that CentOS 7.7 will be out shortly as well (and 7.7 it is already beginning to appear in mirrors and repos). This comes 20 weeks to the day from the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2019-09-17 00:30:00

Apple Takes On EU's Vestager In Record $14 Billion Tax Fight  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple fights the world's biggest tax case in a quiet courtroom this week, trying to rein in the European Union's powerful antitrust chief ahead of a potential new crackdown on internet giants. The iPhone maker can tell the EU General Court in Luxembourg that it's the world's biggest taxpayer. But that's not enough for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who said in a 2016 ruling that Apple's tax deals with Ireland allowed the company

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2019-09-17 00:10:00

Faster Wi-Fi Officially Launches Today  

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that oversees implementation of the Wi-Fi standard, is launching its official Wi-Fi 6 certification program. "That might sound boring, but it means the Wi-Fi 6 standard is truly ready to go, and tech companies will soon be able to advertise their products -- mostly brand new ones -- as certified to properly support Wi-Fi 6," reports The Verge. From the report: So the point of Wi-Fi 6 is to boost speeds within a crowded network. The theoretical maximum speed f

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2019-09-16 23:30:00

MIT Unveils New 'Blackest Black' Material and Makes a Diamond Disappear  

An anonymous reader shares a report: What do you do with a $2 million natural yellow diamond? If you're at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you coat it in a wild high-tech material that makes any object look like it fell into a black hole. The coated diamond is now a piece of art called The Redemption of Vanity, a collaboration between Diemut Strebe, artist-in-residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology, and Brian Wardle an MIT aeronautics and astronautics professor. Th

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2019-09-16 22:50:00

Password-Leaking Bug Purged From LastPass Extensions  

Developers of the LastPass password manager have patched a vulnerability that made it possible for websites to steal credentials for the last account the user logged into using the Chrome or Opera extension. Ars Technica reports: The vulnerability was discovered late last month by Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy, who privately reported it to LastPass. In a write-up that became public on Sunday, Ormandy said the flaw stemmed from the way the extension generated popup windows. In cert

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2019-09-16 22:10:00

Facebook Advertisers Can Write Their Own Headlines For Shared News Stories  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Advertisers on Facebook are able to completely rewrite the displayed headline for news stories, CBC News has learned, opening the door for potential disinformation to spread on the platform while using news media branding as cover. When placing an ad on the platform, one option is to include a link to a website, including links to news stories. The news story's real headline is auto-filled into the ad copy, but advertisers have the option to rewri

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2019-09-16 21:30:00

CBS and MIT's 1960 Documentary On AI Is a Gem  

FastCompany magazine editor and Slashdot reader harrymcc writes: On the night of October 26, 1960, CBS aired a special -- coproduced with MIT -- about an emerging field of technology called 'artificial intelligence.' It featured demos -- like a checkers-playing computer and one that wrote scripts for TV westerns -- along with sound bits from leading scientists on the question of whether machines would ever think. It was well reviewed at the time and then mostly forgotten. But it's available on Y

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2019-09-16 20:50:00

Netflix Lands 'Seinfeld' Rights in $500M-Plus Deal After Losing 'Friends' and 'The Office'  

Seinfeld will be master of a new domain starting in 2021. From a report: Netflix has landed worldwide rights to the iconic sitcom in a five-year deal with distributor Sony. The show will move from current rightsholder Hulu when its deal is up in 2021. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the new Seinfeld streaming deal is worth more than $500 million and covers global rights. By comparison, The Office and Friends moved to NBC's streaming platform and HBO Max, respectively, for similar valuat

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2019-09-16 20:10:00

Australia Concludes China Was Behind Hack on Parliament, Political Parties  

Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, Reuters reports. From the report: Australia's cyber intelligence agency -- the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) -- concluded in March that China's Ministry of State Security was responsible for the attack, the five people with direct knowledge of the findings of the investigation told Reuters. The report, which also inc

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2019-09-16 19:30:00

The World Has a Third Pole -- and It's Melting Quickly  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Many moons ago in Tibet, the Second Buddha transformed a fierce nyen (a malevolent mountain demon) into a neri (the holiest protective warrior god) called Khawa Karpo, who took up residence in the sacred mountain bearing his name. Khawa Karpo is the tallest of the Meili mountain range, piercing the sky at 6,740 metres (22,112ft) above sea level. Local Tibetan communities believe that conquering Khawa Karpo is an act of sacrilege and would cause the deity to a

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2019-09-16 18:50:00

There's a Lost Continent 1,000 Miles Under Europe  

Scientists have reconstructed the tumultuous history of a lost continent hidden underneath Southern Europe, which has been formally named "Greater Adria" in a new study. From a report: This ancient landmass broke free from the supercontinent Gondwana more than 200 million years ago and roamed for another 100 million years before it gradually plunged underneath the Northern Mediterranean basin. Researchers led by Douwe van Hinsbergen, a professor of global tectonics and paleogeography at Utrecht

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2019-09-16 18:05:00

SoftBank Backers Rethink Role in Next Vision Fund on WeWork  

The biggest backers of SoftBank's gargantuan Vision Fund are reconsidering how much to commit to its next investment vehicle as an oversized bet on flexible workspace provider WeWork sours. From a report: Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which contributed $45 billion to the $100 billion Vision Fund, is now only planning to reinvest profits from that vehicle into its successor, according to people familiar with the talks. Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment, which invested $15 billion, is consi

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2019-09-16 17:23:00

Amazon Changed Search Algorithm in Ways That Boost Its Own Products has adjusted its product-search system to more prominently feature listings that are more profitable for the company, WSJ reported Monday citing people who worked on the project, a move, contested internally, that could favor Amazon's own brands. From the report: Late last year, these people said, Amazon optimized the secret algorithm that ranks listings so that instead of showing customers mainly the most-relevant and best-selling listings when they search -- as it had for more than

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2019-09-16 16:40:00

Database Leaks Data on Most of Ecuador's Citizens, Including 6.7 Million Children  

The personal records of most of Ecuador's population, including children, has been left exposed online due to a misconfigured database, ZDNet reported Monday. From the report: The database, an Elasticsearch searver, was discovered two weeks ago by vpnMentor security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, who shared their findings exclusively with ZDNet. Together, we worked to analyze the leaking data, verify its authenticity, and contact the server owner. The leaky server is one of the, if not th

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2019-09-16 16:00:00

LastPass Bug Leaks Credentials From Previous Site  

Password manager LastPass has released an update last week to fix a security bug that exposes credentials entered on a previously visited site. From a report: The bug was discovered last month by Tavis Ormandy, a security researcher with Project Zero, Google's elite security and bug-hunting team. LastPass, believed to be the most popular password manager app today, fixed the reported issue in version 4.33.0, released last week, on September 12. If users have not enabled an auto-update mechanism

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2019-09-16 15:20:00

Mozilla and Creative Commons Want To Reimagine the Internet Without Ads, and They Have $100M To Do It  

An anonymous reader shares a report: Funding online content with small consumer payments rather than intrusive and privacy-compromising ads has for years been a goal for many internet theorists and publishers. "We're at a point where it's clear there's kinds of negative side effects for people and even for democracy of the data-driven ad economy that funds the internet," says Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation. Now, Mozilla, Creative Commons, and a new micropayment startup

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2019-09-16 14:40:00

Russia Carried Out a 'Stunning' Breach of FBI Communications System, Escalating the Spy Game on US Soil  

Zach Dorfman, Jenna McLaughlin, and Sean D. Naylor, reporting for Yahoo News: On Dec. 29, 2016, the Obama administration announced that it was giving nearly three dozen Russian diplomats just 72 hours to leave the United States and was seizing two rural East Coast estates owned by the Russian government. As the Russians burned papers and scrambled to pack their bags, the Kremlin protested the treatment of its diplomats, and denied that those compounds -- sometimes known as the "dachas" -- were a

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2019-09-16 14:00:00

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