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Study: Many Popular Medical Apps Send User Info To 3rd Or 4th Parties

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-10-13 21:51
dryriver writes: A study in the British Medical Journal that looked at 24 of the 100s of Medical apps available on Google Play found that 79% pass all sorts of user info -- including sensitive medical info like what your reported symptoms are and what medications you are taking in some cases -- on to third and fourth parties. A German-made and apparently very popular medical app named Ada was found to share user data with trackers like Facebook, Adjust and Amplitude for example. [Click here for the article in German.] The New York Times also warned recently about apps that want to retrieve/store your medical records. From the conclusion of the study: "19/24 (79%) of sampled apps shared user data. 55 unique entities, owned by 46 parent companies, received or processed app user data, including developers and parent companies (first parties) and service providers (third parties). 18 (33%) provided infrastructure related services such as cloud services. 37 (67%) provided services related to the collection and analysis of user data, including analytics or advertising, suggesting heightened privacy risks. Network analysis revealed that first and third parties received a median of 3 (interquartile range 1-6, range 1-24) unique transmissions of user data. Third parties advertised the ability to share user data with 216 "fourth parties"; within this network (n=237), entities had access to a median of 3 (interquartile range 1-11, range 1-140) unique transmissions of user data. Several companies occupied central positions within the network with the ability to aggregate and re-identify user data."

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IRS Programmer Stole Identities, Funded A Two-Year Shopping Spree

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-10-13 17:34
A computer programmer at America's tax-collecting agency "stole multiple people's identities, and used them to open illicit credit cards to fund vacations and shop for shoes and other goods," write Quartz, citing a complaint unsealed last week in federal court. An anonymous reader quotes their report: The complaint accuses the 35-year-old federal worker of racking up almost $70,000 in charges over the course of two years, illegally using "the true names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers" of at least three people. The US Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration, which oversees internal wrongdoing at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is investigating the crime, although the complaint doesn't specify how the employee obtained the information. The arrest, however, comes just months after the Government Accountability Office -- the federal government's auditor, essentially -- issued a report raising concerns about the security of taxpayer information held at the IRS. The report said that unaddressed shortcomings left taxpayer data "unnecessarily vulnerable to inappropriate and undetected use, modification, or disclosure," which could allow employees or outsiders to illegally access millions of people's personal information. An IRS call center employee in Atlanta pleaded guilty last year to illegally using taxpayer data to file fraudulent tax returns, ultimately collecting almost $6,000. In 2016, another IRS worker in Atlanta admitted to improperly accessing the personal information of two taxpayers, amassing close to half a million dollars from illicit tax refunds.... The IRS employee's alleged scheme took place between January 2016 and February 2018, according to court filings. Investigators say he used a fraudulently obtained American Express card to fly to Sacramento and Miami Beach. He also used the card for some 37 Uber rides, nine payments on his father's Amazon account totaling $1,200, various purchases at Lowe's, the Designer Shoe Warehouse, BJ's Wholesale Club, and a flooring outlet, as well as a $7,400 payment to a business he owned. The complaint says the employee, who works for the tax agency as a software developer, obtained a second fraudulent credit card, which he used to fly to Montego Bay, Jamaica. A third fraudulent card was used to travel to Iceland. In a particularly brazen move, investigators say the suspect linked this card to a phony PayPal account he opened using his official IRS email address. Two of the credit cards were delivered to his home address, while a third was sent to his parents' address, according to the article. "The phone numbers listed on the accounts also belonged to the suspect, and he accessed emails associated with the accounts from his home IP address."

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Fired EPA Scientists To Release Air Pollution Report They Say Agency Unqualified To Issue

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-10-12 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: Nearly one year ago, the Trump administration fired a panel of more than two dozen scientific experts who assisted the Environmental Protection Agency in its review of air quality standards for particulate matter. Now, as the EPA prepares its report on those standards later this month, 20 of those scientists are meeting independently to release their own assessment of current air pollution levels, with a focus on the particles from fossil fuels that can make people sick. These scientists and researchers, former members of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) on particulate matter, said the EPA has stripped the panel down to its core seven members, who are ill-equipped to set air quality standards and don't have the time to do it. "They fired the particulate matter review panel and they said the chartered CASAC would do the review," Chris Zarba, who served as the staff director of the Scientific Advisory Board at the EPA until 2018, said. "In the history of the agency this has never happened. The new panel is unqualified and the new panel has said they were unqualified." The new panel feels their work is necessary for the very reasons that particle pollution is regulated by the EPA: because extended exposure can cause premature death, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function and respiratory issues, according to the agency. EPA said it is confident in its own panel and experts and said it "is committed to scientific integrity and transparency." "EPA has the utmost confidence in its career scientist and the members on its science advisory boards and panels," an agency spokesperson said. "EPA routinely takes comments from the public and outside organizations, including those not employed or associated with EPA, and will continue to take into consideration those comments that meet our scientific standards."

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Her iPhone Died. It Led To Her Being Charged As a Criminal

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-10-12 02:03
Chris Matyszczyk from ZDNet retells the draconian story of a Financial Times writer who wasn't able to prove she purchased a ticket for the London buses because her phone died (she used Apple Pay), which led to her being charged a criminal. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: Today's witness is Jemima Kelly. She's a writer for The Financial Times. Please don't let any personal thoughts about that get in the way of her story. You see, she just experienced a little technological nightmare. A cheery digital convert, she admits she often leaves the house without her wallet. But surely not without her iPhone. Apple Pay is, after all, a contemporary joy. It's right up there with Tinder in its ability to make your life easier. Kelly, indeed, hops on London buses and uses Apple Pay to tap her payment instead of buying a ticket the old-fashioned way. Which, as she cheerily described, is easy unless a ticket inspector wanders by. Just after your iPhone's battery has died. She couldn't prove that she'd paid, but gave her personal details and assumed there'd be a record of her probity on the transportation company's computers. But then she was charged with, well, not providing proof of payment. Charged as in would be forced to go to court and to plead guilty or not guilty within 21 days. Here's where things got (more) awkward. Kelly produced a bank statement that proved she'd paid. The transportation company -- Transport For London -- insisted this wasn't enough. It seems she'd failed another digital task -- registering her Apple Pay with Transport For London. She was edging ever closer to criminal status. But did her Apple Pay details need to be registered? Kelly revealed: "They told me, 'there is no requirement for cards to be registered, the same as paying for any goods and services in a shop'. But it's not the same, actually; in a shop, you are given a breakdown in the form of a receipt." So, here she was, contactless and receiptless. Next, she heard that her court case had happened and she'd been found guilty. Oh, and she also owed a fine of around $592. In the end, Kelly managed to get back to court and persuade the judge to void her conviction, but the process took months. "Her story, however, aptly describes how the digital world demands our complete and unyielding participation," writes Matyszczyk. "Digital systems are designed by those who strive for complete perfection and consistency. Which doesn't describe the human condition at all." Do you think digitizing everything is a good thing?

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Smart TVs Are Data-Collecting Machines, New Study Shows

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-10-12 01:20
A new study from Princeton University shows internet-connected TVs, which allow people to stream Netflix and Hulu, are loaded with data-hungry trackers. "If you use a device such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, there are numerous companies that can build up a fairly comprehensive picture of what you're watching," Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science at Princeton, wrote in an email to The Verge. "There's very little oversight or awareness of their practices, including where that data is being sold." From the report: To understand how much surveillance is taking place on smart TVs, Narayanan and his co-author Hooman Mohajeri Moghaddam built a bot that automatically installed thousands of channels on their Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. It then mimicked human behavior by browsing and watching videos. As soon as it ran into an ad, it would track what data was being collected behind the scenes. Some of the information, like device type, city, and state, is hardly unique to one user. But other data, like the device serial number, Wi-Fi network, and advertising ID, could be used to pinpoint an individual. "This gives them a more complete picture of who you are," said Moghaddam. He noted that some channels even sent unencrypted email addresses and video titles to the trackers. In total, the study found trackers on 69 percent of Roku channels and 89 percent of Amazon Fire channels. "Some of these are well known, such as Google, while many others are relatively obscure companies that most of us have never heard of," Narayanan said. Google's ad service DoubleClick was found on 97 percent of Roku channels. "Like other publishers, smart TV app developers can use Google's ad services to show ads against their content, and we've helped design industry guidelines for this that enable a privacy-safe experience for users," a Google spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge. "Depending on the user's preferences, the developer may share data with Google that's similar to data used for ads in mobile apps or on the web." "Better privacy controls would certainly help, but they are ultimately band-aids," Narayanan said. "The business model of targeted advertising on TVs is incompatible with privacy, and we need to confront that reality. To maximize revenue, platforms based on ad targeting will likely turn to data mining and algorithmic personalization/persuasion to keep people glued to the screen as long as possible." Another study from Northeastern University and the Imperial College of London found that other smart-home devices are also collecting reams of data that is being sent to third parties like advertisers and major tech companies.

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'Ignorance is Not an Excuse': California Draft Rules on Data Privacy Released

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-10-11 22:15
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a series of draft regulations this week aimed at getting businesses to comply with the state's landmark data privacy law, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. From a report: Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, signed into law in June 2018, businesses must disclose to consumers the various kinds of data they collect about them. Companies must stop selling consumer data to third parties if customers ask them to, delete personal data on request, and explicitly seek consent from consumers aged 16 or younger to sell personal information. The bill also states that consumers who exercise their rights under the law cannot be discriminated against. The newly announced rules for businesses require notifying people before or when their data is collected. If notice is not given, data cannot be collected. The attorney general also provided guidelines for how to respond to consumers wanting to opt out, delete and know the data that's collected on them, as well as how to verify the identity of people making such requests and how to maintain relevant records for two years. "Help us get this right," Becerra said. Privacy is a right in California, he said, even as he acknowledged that some businesses may struggle to find the resources to comply. But, he added, "We want companies to understand that ignorance is not an excuse."

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Ask Slashdot: Should People Be Able To Shop Anonymously On the Internet?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-10-11 20:55
dryriver writes: Picture this: You want to buy 3 small items from some online retailer totalling about 50 bucks. A programming book, a USB thumbdrive and an HDMI cable. But you don't want to give this online retailer your full name, credit card number, email address, home postal address, phone number or other data for this insignificant little 50 Dollar online transaction, nor do you want to bother with 'registering an account' at the online retailer's webpage with password hassles and such. You want to buy quickly and anonymously, just like you can from a bricks and mortar shop with cash. You now instruct your bank -- or another online shopping intermediary you DO trust with your data -- to pay for those 3 items, receive them, and send them on to your home address. The online retailer gets 50 bucks as usual, but does NOT get identifying private data about you. You just shopped online, without having to bend over and ID yourself in X different ways to some online retailer, and your private info didn't go into yet another who-knows-where forever-database that may some day be hacked or compromised. Why is this simple, simple service not really a thing in the real world? Why can you walk into a bricks and mortar shop in most countries, pick out some products, pay in cash and walk out, and when you want to buy the exact same (non-dangerous) items online, you have to tell some profit-oriented retailer all sorts of stuff about yourself? Why is real world store shopping pretty much anonymous -- as it has been for centuries -- and online shopping almost like being ID'd before boarding a flight at an airport?

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China's Global Reach: Surveillance and Censorship Beyond the Great Firewall

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-10-11 16:11
An anonymous reader shares a report: Those outside the People's Republic of China (PRC) are accustomed to thinking of the Internet censorship practices of the Chinese state as primarily domestic, enacted through the so-called "Great Firewall" -- a system of surveillance and blocking technology that prevents Chinese citizens from viewing websites outside the country. The Chinese government's justification for that firewall is based on the concept of "Internet sovereignty." The PRC has long declared that "within Chinese territory, the internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty." Hong Kong, as part of the "one country, two systems" agreement, has largely lived outside that firewall: foreign services like Twitter, Google, and Facebook are available there, and local ISPs have made clear that they will oppose direct state censorship of its open Internet. But the ongoing Hong Kong protests, and mainland China's pervasive attempts to disrupt and discredit the movement globally, have highlighted that China is not above trying to extend its reach beyond the Great Firewall, and beyond its own borders. In attempting to silence protests that lie outside the Firewall, in full view of the rest of the world, China is showing its hand, and revealing the tools it can use to silence dissent or criticism worldwide. Some of those tools -- such as pressure on private entities, including American corporations NBA and Blizzard -- have caught U.S. headlines and outraged customers and employees of those companies. Others have been more technical, and less obvious to the Western observers.

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Computer Historians Crack Passwords of Unix's Early Pioneers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-10-10 23:00
JustAnotherOldGuy shares a report from Boing Boing: Early versions of the free/open Unix variant BSD came with password files that included hashed passwords for such Unix luminaries as Dennis Ritchie, Stephen R. Bourne, Eric Schmidt, Brian W. Kernighan and Stuart Feldman. Leah Neukirchen recovered an BSD version 3 source tree and revealed that she was able to crack many of the weak passwords used by the equally weak hashing algorithm from those bygone days. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie's was "dmac," Bourne's was "bourne," Schmidt's was "wendy!!!" (his wife's name), Feldman's was "axlotl," and Kernighan's was "/.,/.,." Four more passwords were cracked by Arthur Krewat: Ozalp Babaolu's was "12ucdort," Howard Katseff's was "graduat;," Tom London's was "..pnn521," Bob Fabry's was "561cml.." and Ken Thompson's was "p/q2-q4!" (chess notation for a common opening move). BSD 3 used Descrypt for password hashing, which limited passwords to eight characters, salted with 12 bits of entropy.

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Amazon Workers May Be Watching Your Cloud Cam Home Footage

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-10-10 16:41
An anonymous reader shares a report: In a promotional video, Amazon says its Cloud Cam home security camera provides "everything you need to monitor your home, day or night." In fact, the artificially intelligent device requires help from a squad of invisible employees. Dozens of Amazon workers based in India and Romania review select clips captured by Cloud Cam, according to five people who have worked on the program or have direct knowledge of it. Those video snippets are then used to train the AI algorithms to do a better job distinguishing between a real threat (a home invader) and a false alarm (the cat jumping on the sofa). An Amazon team also transcribes and annotates commands recorded in customers' homes by the company's Alexa digital assistant, Bloomberg reported in April. AI has made it possible to talk to your phone. It's helping investors predict shifts in market sentiment. But the technology is far from infallible. Cloud Cam sends out alerts when it's just paper rustling in a breeze. Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa still occasionally mishear commands. One day, engineers may overcome these shortfalls, but for now AI needs human assistance. Lots of it. At one point, on a typical day, some Amazon auditors were each annotating about 150 video recordings, which were typically 20 to 30 seconds long, according to the people, who requested anonymity to talk about an internal program.

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Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower: US Heading In 'Same Direction As China' With Online Privacy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-10-10 12:00
"The United States is walking in the same direction as China, we're just allowing private companies to monetize left, right and center," Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told CNBC on Wednesday. "Just because it's not the state doesn't mean that there isn't harmful impacts that could come if you have one or two large companies monitoring or tracking everything you do," he said. CNBC reports: Wylie, whose memoir came out this week, has become outspoken about the influence of social media companies due to the large amounts of data they collect. In March 2018, he exposed the Cambridge Analytica scandal that brought down his former employer and resulted in the Federal Trade Commission fining Facebook, 15 months later, $5 billion for mishandling. While Cambridge Analytica has since shut down, Wylie said the tactics it used could be deployed elsewhere, and that is why data privacy regulation needs to be dramatically enhanced. "Even if the company has dissolved, the capabilities of the company haven't," he said. "My real concern is what happens if China becomes the next Cambridge Analytica, what happens if North Korea becomes the next Cambridge Analytica?" Wylie also said he believes that social media companies should, at a minimum, face regulation similar to water utilities or electrical companies -- "certain industries that have become so important because of their vital importance to business and people's lives and the nature of their scale." In those cases, "we put in place rules that put consumers first," he added. "You can still make a profit. You can still make money. But you have to consider the rights and safety of people."

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Opera's Desktop Browser Gets Built-In Tracking Protection

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-10-10 03:25
Yesterday, Opera announced the launch of version 68 of its flagship desktop browser, bringing a tracker blocker that will make it harder for advertisers and others to track you while you browse the web. The company says it also has the additional benefit of speeding up page loads by up to 23%. TechCrunch reports: The new tracking protection feature is off by default (as is the existing ad blocker). The tracking feature uses the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List, which has been around for quite a few years now. In addition to the new tracking protection, which is increasingly becoming standard among browser vendors (and which is surely putting some additional pressure on Google and its Chrome browser), Opera is also introducing a new screenshotting feature with this update. That's not an unusual feature, but it's a pretty full-featured implementation, with the ability to blur parts of a page and draw on the screenshots.

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Blizzard In Hot Water With Lawmakers For Hearthstone Player's Ban

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-10-10 01:20
jimminy_cricket writes: Due to the ban placed on a Hearthstone player for supporting Hong Kong protestors, Blizzard is now receiving criticism from U.S. senators. "Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party," Sen. Ron Wyden said, according to The Verge. "No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck." "Recognize what's happening here. People who don't live in China must either self censor or face dismissal & suspensions," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a tweet on Tuesday. "China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in U.S. politics today is gone."

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California Bans Political Deepfakes During Election Season

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-10-09 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: California has passed a law meant to prevent altered "deepfake" videos from influencing elections, in a plan that has raised free speech concerns. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 730, which makes it a crime to distribute audio or video that gives a false, damaging impression of a politician's words or actions. The law applies to any candidate within 60 days of an election, but includes some exceptions. News media will be exempt from the requirement, as will videos made for satire or parody. Potentially deceptive video or audio will also be allowed if it includes a disclaimer noting that it's fake. The law will sunset in 2023. The report notes that Newsom also signed a law that would ban pornographic deepfakes made without consent.

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FBI's Use of Surveillance Database Violated Americans' Privacy Rights: Court

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-10-09 00:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's electronic surveillance activities violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), a secretive surveillance court has ruled. The ruling deals a rare rebuke to U.S. spying activities that have generally withstood legal challenge or review. The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI's pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans -- raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near total secrecy. The court ruling identifies tens of thousands of improper searches of raw intelligence databases by the bureau in 2017 and 2018 that it deemed improper in part because they involved data related to tens of thousands of emails or telephone numbers -- in one case, suggesting that the FBI was using the intelligence information to vet its personnel and cooperating sources. Federal law requires that the database only be searched by the FBI as part of seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information. In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database -- searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that the Trump administration failed to persuasively argue that the bureau would not be able to properly tackle national security threats if the program was altered to better protect citizen privacy.

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Senator Proposes Mandatory Labeling For Products With Mics, Cameras

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-10-09 00:10
Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced a bill, dubbed the Protecting Privacy in our Homes Act, that would require tech companies to include a label on products disclosing the presence of internet-connected microphones or cameras. "The proposed law does not define what kind of labels would need to be appended but rather would order the Federal Trade Commission to put in place specific regulations 'under which each covered manufacturer shall be required to include on the packaging of each covered device manufactured by the covered manufacturer a notice that a camera or microphone is a component of the covered device,'" reports Ars Technica. From the report: "Consumers face a number of challenges when it comes to their privacy, but they shouldn't have a challenge figuring out if a device they buy has a camera or microphone embedded into it," Gardner said. "This legislation is about consumer information, consumer empowerment, and making sure we're doing everything we can to protect consumer privacy." Most products that ship with cameras or microphones included tout the inclusion of such recording devices as a selling point, which could make this kind of regulation feel redundant at best. That said, there's quite a difference between "most" and "all." A rule such as the regulation Gardner proposes would close the gap that, for example, led owners of Nest Secure devices to the unpleasant discovery earlier this year that the products had shipped with undisclosed microphones.

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US Expands Blacklist To Include China's Top AI Startups Ahead of Trade Talks

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-08 22:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. government widened its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. The decision, which drew a sharp rebuke from Beijing, targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd. The action bars the firms from buying components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval -- a potentially crippling move for some of them. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei for what it says are national security reasons. The Commerce Department said in a filing the "entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups." "The U.S. Government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. In response, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the U.S. should stop interfering in its affairs and that it will continue to take firm and resolute measures to protect its sovereign security.

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Adobe Is Deactivating All Venezuelan Accounts To Comply With US Sanctions

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-08 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Adobe is shutting down service for users in Venezuela in order to comply with a U.S. executive order issued in August that prohibits trade with the country. The company sent out an email to customers in Venezuela today to let them know their accounts would be deactivated, and posted a support document further explaining the decision. In the document, Adobe explains: "The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela." Users will have until October 28th to download any content stored in their accounts, and will lose access the next day. To make matters worse, customers won't be able to receive refunds for any purchases or outstanding subscriptions, as Adobe says that the executive order calls for "the cessation of all activity with the entities including no sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc."

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Supreme Court Allows Blind People To Sue Retailers If Their Websites Are Not Accessible

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-08 03:30
The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way Monday for blind people to sue retailers if their websites are not accessible to these people. "In a potentially far-reaching move, the justices turned down an appeal from Domino's and let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling holding that the Americans With Disabilities Act protects access not just to restaurants and stores, but also to the websites and apps of those businesses," reports Los Angeles Times. From the report: Guillermo Robles, who is blind, filed suit in Los Angeles three years ago and complained he had been unable to order a pizza online because the Domino's website lacked the software that would allow him to communicate. He cited the ADA, which guarantees to persons with a disability "full and equal enjoyment the goods and services ... of any place of public accommodations." Lawyers for Domino's agreed this provision applied to its pizza stores, but not its website. Last year, however, the 9th Circuit ruled for Robles and said the law applied to its online services as well as the store. "The ADA mandates that places of public accommodation, like Domino's, provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind," the appeals court said in January. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business groups who said they represented 500,000 restaurants and 300,000 businesses joined in an appeal urging the high court to review the 9th Circuit's decision. They said they feared a "tsunami of litigation," and worried that judges nationwide would see the appeals court's decision as "imposing a nationwide website-accessibility mandate." But without comment or dissent on Monday, the high court said it would not hear the case of Domino's Pizza vs. Robles.

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Getting a New Mobile Number in China Will Soon Involve a Facial-Recognition Test

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-08 01:30
China is taking every measure it can to verify the identities of its over 850 million mobile internet users. From a report: From Dec. 1, people applying for new mobile and data services will have to have their faces scanned by telecom providers, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a Sept. 27 statement. MIIT said the step was part of its efforts to "safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of citizens in the cyberspace" and to control phone and internet fraud. In addition to the facial-recognition test, phone users are also banned from passing their mobile phone numbers to others, and encouraged to check if numbers are registered under their name without their consent.

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