New York City Deploys 420-Pound RoboCop to Patrol Subway Station

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2023-09-24 02:06
"New York City is now turning to robots to help patrol the Times Square subway station," quipped one local newscast. The non-profit New York City blog Gothamist describes the robot as "almost as tall as the mayor mdash; but at least three-times as wide around the waist," with a maximum speed of 3 miles per hour-- but a 360-degree field of vision, equipped with four cameras to send live video (without audio) to the police. A 420-pound, 5-foot-2-inch robocop with a giant camera for a face will begin patrolling the Times Square subway station overnight, the New York Police Department announced Friday morning. At a press conference held underground in the 42nd Street subway station, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the city is launching a two-month pilot program to test the Knightscope K5 Autonomous Security Robot. During the press conference, the K5 robot mdash; which is shaped like a small, white rocketship mdash; stood silently along with uniformed officers and city officials in suits. Stripes of glowing blue lights indicated it was "on." The K5 will act as a crime deterrent and provide real-time information on how to best deploy human officers to a safety incident, the mayor said. It features multiple cameras, a button that can connect the public with a real person, and a speaker for live audio communication... During the pilot program, the K5 will patrol the Times Squares subway station from midnight to 6 a.m. with a human NYPD handler that will help introduce it to the public. After two months, the mayor said the handler will no longer be necessary, and the robot will go on solo patrol... Knightscope, which manufactures the robot, reports that it has been deployed to 30 clients in 10 states, including at malls and hospitals. The K5 has been in some sticky situations in other cities. One was toppled and slathered in barbecue sauce in San Francisco, while another was beaten by an intoxicated man in Mountain View, California, according to news reports. Another robot fell into a pool of water outside an office building in Washington, D.C. When asked whether the robot was at risk of vandalism in New York City, the mayor strode over to it and gave it a few firm shoves. "Let's be clear, this is not a pushover. 420 pounds. This is New York tested," he said. The city is leasing the robot for $9 an hour mdash; And yes, local newscasts couldn't resist calling it a robocop. One shows the mayor announcing "We will continue to stay ahead of those who want to harm everyday New Yorkers." Though the robot is equipped with facial recognition capability, it will not be activated.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Did Teens Ally with Ransomware Gangs for MGM Breach?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2023-09-23 17:34
Recent breaches of MGM's casino systems "were probably carried out by teens and young adults who have allied themselves with one of the world's most notorious ransomware gangs," writes the Washington Post's technology reporter. Their alliance with the "Scattered Spider" group is described as "part of a trend that has alarmed security experts and defenders of corporate computer networks." The group is said to be "very active in the past two years, targeting large companies via stolen employee credentials and tricks such as convincing tech support employees that they have been accidentally locked out of their computers and need a new password." They moved from cryptocurrency thefts to targeting businesses that provide third-party business functions such as help desks and call center staffing, allowing them to infiltrate networks of many customers. And they extorted Western Digital and other technology firms after stealing internal data before heading for the jackpots in Las Vegas. But their willingness to deploy crippling ransomware while demanding money is a major escalation, as is their choice of a business partner: ALPHV, a hacking group whose affiliates include members of the former Russian powerhouses BlackMatter and DarkSide, the groups responsible for the Colonial Pipeline hack that awoke Washington to the national security risk of ransomware. ALPHV provided the BlackCat ransomware that the young hackers installed in the casinos' systems... [According to new research presented Friday at the LABScon security conference] they came together through crimes enabled by SIM-swapping, which usually involves convincing phone company employees to hand over control of someone else's phone number. Because of poor security controls around those numbers, such gambits have allowed criminals to amass millions of dollars by beating SMS text-based two-factor authentication on cryptocurrency accounts. The extra money has made alliances possible with criminals who have different skills to bring to the table, including some who had hacked police servers and could send emails from purported officers demanding emergency disclosures of information on phone and internet customers. Worse, the researchers said, they have now attracted recruiters for the Russian gangs who want to combine their business savvy with the techniques and local knowledge of the native English speakers.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

China's Quest for Human Genetic Data Spurs Fears of a DNA Arms Race

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2023-09-23 16:34
In 2020 Serbian scientists were gifted China's "Fire-Eye" labs, remembers the Washington Post. The sophisticated portable labs "excelled not only at cracking the genetic code for viruses, but also for humans, with machines that can decipher genetic instructions contained within the cells of every person on Earth, according to its Chinese inventors." Although some of them were temporary, "scores" of the portable labs "were donated or sold to foreign countries during the pandemic," reports the Washington Post. But it adds that now those same labs "are attracting the attention of Western intelligence agencies amid growing unease about China's intentions." Some analysts perceive China's largesse as part of a global attempt to tap into new sources of highly valuable human DNA data in countries around the world. That collection effort, underway for more than a decade, has included the acquisition of U.S. genetics companies as well as sophisticated hacking operations, U.S. and Western intelligence officials say. But more recently, it received an unexpected boost from the coronavirus pandemic, which created opportunities for Chinese companies and institutes to distribute gene-sequencing machines and build partnerships for genetic research in places where Beijing previously had little or no access, the officials said. Amid the pandemic, Fire-Eye labs would proliferate quickly, spreading to four continents and more than 20 countries, from Canada and Latvia to Saudi Arabia, and from Ethiopia and South Africa to Australia. Several, like the one in Belgrade, now function as permanent genetic-testing centers... BGI Group, the Shenzhen-based company that makes Fire-Eye labs, said it has no access to genetic information collected by the lab it helped create in Serbia. But U.S. officials note that BGI was picked by Beijing to build and operate the China National GeneBank, a vast and growing government-owned repository that now includes genetic data drawn from millions of people around the world. The Pentagon last year officially listed BGI as one of several "Chinese military companies" operating in the United States, and a 2021 U.S. intelligence assessment linked the company to the Beijing-directed global effort to obtain even more human DNA, including from the United States. The U.S. government also has blacklisted Chinese subsidiaries of BGI for allegedly helping analyze genetic material gathered inside China to assist government crackdowns on the country's ethnic and religious minorities... Beijing's drive to sweep up DNA from across the planet has occasionally stirred controversy, particularly after a 2021 Reuters series about aspects of the project. Chinese academics and military scientists have also attracted attention by debating the feasibility of creating biological weapons that might someday target populations based on their genes. Genetic-based weapons are regarded by experts as a distant prospect, at best, and some of the discussion appears to have been prompted by official paranoia about whether the United States and other countries are exploring such weapons. U.S. intelligence officials believe China's global effort is mostly about beating the West economically, not militarily. There is no public evidence that Chinese companies have used foreign DNA for reasons other than scientific research. China has announced plans to become the world's leader in biotechnology by 2035, and it regards genetic information mdash; sometimes called "the new gold" mdash; as a crucial ingredient in a scientific revolution that could produce thousands of new drugs and cures... U.S. intelligence officials said in interviews that they have limited insight into how BGI handles DNA information acquired overseas, including whether genetic data from the Fire-Eye labs ultimately end up in the computers of China's military or intelligence services... Chinese law makes clear that any information collected using BGI's machines can be accessed by the Chinese government. A national intelligence law enacted in 2017 stipulates that Chinese firms and citizens are legally bound to share proprietary information acquired in foreign countries whenever requested. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the articlepdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

White House Could Force Cloud Companies To Disclose AI Customers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2023-09-22 23:00
The White House is considering requiring cloud computing firms to report some information about their customers to the U.S. government, Semafor reported Friday, citing people familiar with an upcoming executive order on AI. From the report: The provision would direct the Commerce Department to write rules forcing cloud companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon to disclose when a customer purchases computing resources beyond a certain threshold. The order hasn't been finalized and specifics of it could still change. Similar "know-your-customer" policies already exist in the banking sector to prevent money laundering and other illegal activities, such as the law mandating firms to report cash transactions exceeding $10,000. In this case, the rules are intended to create a system that would allow the U.S. government to identify potential AI threats ahead of time, particularly those coming from entities in foreign countries. If a company in the Middle East began building a powerful large language model using Amazon Web Services, for example, the reporting requirement would theoretically give American authorities an early warning about it. The policy proposal represents a potential step toward treating computing power -- or the technical capacity AI systems need to perform tasks -- like a national resource. Mining Bitcoin, developing video games, and running AI models like ChatGPT all require large amounts of compute.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Google Sued Over Fatal Google Maps Error After Man Drove Off Broken Bridge

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2023-09-22 05:00
FrankOVD writes: Google is being sued by a widow who says her husband drowned in September 2022 after Google Maps directed him over a collapsed bridge in Hickory, North Carolina. Google failed to correct its map service despite warnings about the broken bridge two years before the accident, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Alicia Paxson in Wake County Superior Court. Philip Paxson "died tragically while driving home from his daughter's ninth birthday party, when he drove off of an unmarked, unbarricaded collapsed bridge in Hickory, North Carolina while following GPS directions," the complaint said. The Snow Creek Bridge reportedly collapsed in 2013 and wasn't repaired. Barricades were typically in place but "were removed after being vandalized and were missing at the time of Paxson's wreck," according to The Charlotte Observer. The lawsuit has five defendants, including Google and its owner Alphabet. The other defendants are James Tarlton and two local business entities called Tarde, LLC and Hinckley Gauvain, LLC. Tarlton and the two businesses "owned, controlled, and/or were otherwise responsible for the land" containing the bridge, the lawsuit said.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

New Revelations From the Snowden Archive Surface

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2023-09-21 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Computer Weekly: A doctoral thesis by American investigative journalist and post-doctoral researcher Jacob Appelbaum has now revealed unpublished information from the Snowden archive. These revelations go back a decade, but remain of indisputable public interest: - The NSA listed Cavium, an American semiconductor company marketing Central Processing Units (CPUs) ndash; the main processor in a computer which runs the operating system and applications -- as a successful example of a "SIGINT-enabled" CPU supplier. Cavium, now owned by Marvell, said it does not implement back doors for any government. - The NSA compromised lawful Russian interception infrastructure, SORM. The NSA archive contains slides showing two Russian officers wearing jackets with a slogan written in Cyrillic: "You talk, we listen." The NSA and/or GCHQ has also compromised Key European LI [lawful interception] systems. - Among example targets of its mass surveillance program, PRISM, the NSA listed the Tibetan government in exile. These revelations have surfaced for the first time thanks to a doctoral thesis authored by Appelbaum towards earning a degree in applied cryptography from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Communication in a world of pervasive surveillance is a public document and has been downloaded over 18,000 times since March 2022 when it was first published. [...] We asked Jacob Appelbaum, currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, why he chose to publish those revelations in a technically written thesis rather than a mass-circulation newspaper. He replied: "As an academic, I see that the details included are in the public interest, and highly relevant for the topic covered in my thesis, as it covers the topic of large-scale adversaries engaging in targeted and mass surveillance." According to The Register, "Marvell (the owner of Cavium since 2018) denies the allegations that it or Cavium placed backdoors in products at the behest of the U.S. government. Appelbaum's thesis wasn't given much attention until it was mentioned in's security blog last week.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

FCC Plays Whack-a-Mole With Telcos Accused of Profiting From Robocalls

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2023-09-21 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A suspicious phone company is on the verge of having all its calls blocked by US-based telcos after being accused of ignoring orders to investigate and block robocalls. One Owl Telecom is a US-based gateway provider that routes phone calls from outside the U.S. to consumer phone companies such as Verizon. "Robocalls on One Owl's network apparently bombarded consumers without their consent with prerecorded messages about fictitious orders," the Federal Communications Commission said yesterday. On August 1, the FCC sent One Owl a Notification of Suspected Illegal Robocall Traffic (PDF) ordering it to investigate robocall traffic identified by USTelecom's Industry Traceback Group, block all of the identified traffic within 14 days, and "continue to block the identified gateway traffic as well as substantially similar traffic on an ongoing basis." One Owl apparently hasn't taken any of the required steps, the FCC said yesterday. "One Owl never responded, and the [FCC Enforcement] Bureau is not aware of any measures One Owl has taken to comply with the Notice," an FCC order said. Blocking robocall traffic from companies like One Owl is a bit like playing whack-a-mole. The FCC said it previously took enforcement actions "against two other entities to whom One Owl is closely related: Illum Telecommunication Limited and One Eye LLC. While operating under different corporate names, these entities have shared personnel, IP addresses, customers, and a penchant for disregarding FCC rules." If One Owl doesn't provide an adequate response within 14 days, all phone companies receiving calls from it "will then be required to block and cease accepting all traffic received from One Owl beginning 30 days after release of the Final Determination Order," the FCC said. "One Owl faces a simple choice -- comply or lose access to U.S. communications networks," FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan Egal said in a press release.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Sysadmin, Spouse Admit To Part in 'Massive' Pirated Avaya Licenses Scam

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2023-09-20 19:20
A sysadmin and his partner pleaded guilty this week to being part of a "massive" international ring that sold software licenses worth $88 million for "significantly below the wholesale price." From a report: Brad and Dusti Pearce admitted one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. After agreeing to a plea deal, the Pearces must also forfeit at least $4 million as well as gold, silver, collectible coins, cryptocurrency, and a vehicle, and "make full restitution to their victims," the US Department of Justice said. The pair from Tuttle, Oklahoma -- a city better known for its cattle ranchers and alfafa hay than pirated software -- were alleged to have sold pirated Avaya business telephone system software licenses. The licenses were then used to unlock features of the popular telephone system, which is used by thousands of companies around the globe. Dusti Pearce was said by prosecutors to have looked after the accounting side of the business, although only the wire fraud charge remains under the plea deal. Brad Pearce had previously worked as a customer service employee at Avaya, and was said to have used his admin privileges to "generate tens of thousands of ADI software license keys" that he sold to his main customer, Jason Hines, as well as "other customers, who in turn sold them to resellers and end users around the globe," said the DoJ.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'Massive'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

John Grisham, George RR Martin, Other Top US Authors Sue OpenAI Over Copyrights

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2023-09-20 18:00
A trade group for U.S. authors has sued OpenAI in Manhattan federal court on behalf of prominent writers including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Jodi Picault and "Game of Thrones" novelist George R.R. Martin, accusing the company of unlawfully training its popular artificial-intelligence based chatbot ChatGPT on their work. From a report: The proposed class-action lawsuit filed late on Tuesday by the Authors Guild joins several others from writers, source-code owners and visual artists against generative AI providers. In addition to Microsoft-backed OpenAI, similar lawsuits are pending against Meta Platforms and Stability AI over the data used to train their AI systems. Other authors involved in the latest lawsuit include "The Lincoln Lawyer" writer Michael Connelly and lawyer-novelists David Baldacci and Scott Turow.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

The International Criminal Court In The Hague Says It Has Been Hacked

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2023-09-20 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Associated Press: The International Criminal Court said Tuesday that it detected "anomalous activity affecting its information systems" last week and took urgent measures to respond. It didn't elaborate on what it called a "cybersecurity incident." Court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said in a written statement that extra "response and security measures are now ongoing" with the assistance of authorities in the Netherlands, where the court is based. "Looking forward, the Court will be building on existing work presently underway to strengthen its cyber security framework, including accelerating its use of cloud technology," his statement added. The court declined to go into any more detail about the incident, but said that as it "continues to analyze and mitigate the impact of this incident, priority is also being given to ensuring that the core work of the Court continues."pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

FTX Sues Sam Bankman-Fried's Parents

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2023-09-20 02:45
Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX is looking to claw back luxury property and "millions of dollars in fraudulently transferred and misappropriated funds" from the parents of Sam Bankman-Fried, the exchange's disgraced ex-CEO and founder. CNBC reports: In a Monday court filing, lawyers representing the bankruptcy estate of the failed exchange alleged that Allan Joseph Bankman and his wife, Barbara Fried, "exploited their access and influence within the FTX enterprise to enrich themselves, directly and indirectly, by millions of dollars." The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, goes on to claim that "despite knowing or blatantly ignoring that the FTX Group was insolvent or on the brink of insolvency," Bankman and Fried discussed with their son the transfer of a $10 million cash gift and a $16.4 million luxury property in The Bahamas. The suit alleges that as early as 2019, Sam's father also directly participated in efforts to cover up a whistleblower complaint which threatened to "expose the FTX Group as a house of cards." The filing also details emails written by Bankman in which he complained to the FTX US Head of Administration that his annual salary was $200,000, when he was "supposed to be getting $1M/yr." That grievance was ultimately elevated to his son in an email, according to the lawsuit: "Gee, Sam I don't know what to say here. This is the first [I] have heard of the 200K a year salary! Putting Barbara on this." The filing characterizes the correspondence as Bankman lobbying his son to "massively increase his own salary." Within two weeks, the suit claims that Bankman-Fried had collectively gifted his parents $10 million in funds coming from Alameda, and within three months, the couple was deeded the $16.4 million property in The Bahamas. According to the partially-redacted filing, Bankman-Fried's parents also "pushed for tens of millions of dollars in political and charitable contributions, including to Stanford University, which were seemingly designed to boost Bankman's and Fried's professional and social status." Fried is also accused of encouraging her son and others within the company to avoid, if not violate, federal campaign finance disclosure rules by "engaging in straw donations or otherwise concealing the FTX Group as the source of the contributions."pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

UK Parliament Passes Online Safety Bill

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2023-09-19 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Controversial UK legislation that brings in a new regime of content moderation rules for online platforms and services -- establishing the comms watchdog Ofcom as the main Internet regulator -- has been passed by parliament today, paving the way for Royal Assent and the Online Safety Bill becoming law in the coming days. Speaking during the bill's final stages in the House of Lords, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay reiterated that the government's intention for the legislation is "to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, particularly for children." Following affirmative votes as peers considered some last stage amendments he added that attention now moves "very swiftly to Ofcom who stand ready to implement this -- and do so swiftly." The legislation empowers Ofcom to levy fines of up to 10% (or up to 18 million pounds whichever is higher) of annual turnover for violations of the regime. The Online Safety (nee Harms) Bill has been years in the making as UK policymakers have grappled with how to response to a range of online safety concerns. In 2019 these efforts manifested as a white paper with a focus on rules for tackling illegal content (such as terrorism and CSAM) but also an ambition to address a broad sweep of online activity that might be considered harmful, such as violent content and the incitement of violence; encouraging suicide; disinformation; cyber bullying; and adult material being accessed by children. The effort then morphed into a bill that was finally published in May 2021. [...] In a brief statement the UK's new web content sheriff gave no hint of the complex challenges that lie ahead -- merely welcoming the bill's passage through parliament and stating that it stands ready to implement the new rulebook. "Today is a major milestone in the mission to create a safer life online for children and adults in the UK. Everyone at Ofcom feels privileged to be entrusted with this important role, and we're ready to start implementing these new laws," said Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom's CEO. "Very soon after the Bill receives Royal Assent, we'll consult on the first set of standards that we'll expect tech firms to meet in tackling illegal online harms, including child sexual exploitation, fraud and terrorism." Beyond specific issues of concern, there is over-arching general worry over the scale of the regulatory burden the legislation will apply to the UK's digital economy -- since the rules apply not only to major social media platforms; scores of far smaller and less well resourced online services must also comply or risk big penalties.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

One of the FBI's Most Wanted Hackers Is Trolling the US Government

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2023-09-19 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Earlier this year, the U.S. government indicted Russian hacker Mikhail Matveev, also known by his online monikers "Wazawaka" and "Boriselcin," accusing him of being "a prolific ransomware affiliate" who carried out "significant attacks" against companies and critical infrastructure in the U.S. and elsewhere. The feds also accused him of being a "central figure" in the development and deployment of the notorious ransomware variants like Hive, LockBit, and Babuk. Matveev is such a prominent cybercriminal that the FBI designated him as one of its most wanted hackers. Matveev, who the FBI believes he remains in Russia, is unlikely to face extradition to the United States. For Matveev, however, life seems to go on so well that he is now taunting the feds by making a T-shirt with his own most wanted poster, and asking his Twitter followers if they want merch. When reached by TechCrunch on X, formerly Twitter, Matveev verified it was really him by showing a picture of his left hand, which has only four fingers, per Matveev's FBI's most wanted page. Matveev also sent a selfie holding a piece of paper with this reporter's name on it. After he agreed to do an interview, we asked Matveev a dozen questions about his life as a most wanted hacker, but he didn't answer any of them. Instead, he complained that we used the word "hacker." "I don't like this designation -- hacker, we are a separate type of specialist, practical and using our knowledge and resources without water and writing articles," he wrote in an X direct message. "I was interested only in terms of financial motivation, roughly speaking, I was thinking about what to do, sell people or become. it, [sic] let me tell you how I lost my finger?" At that point, Matveev stopped answering messages.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

US Argues Google Wants Too Much Information Kept Secret In Antitrust Trial

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2023-09-19 00:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. Justice Department on Monday objected to removing the public from the court during some discussions of how Google prices online advertising, one of the issues at the heart of the antitrust trial under way in Washington. The government is seeking to show that Alphabet's Google broke antitrust law to maintain its dominance in online search. The search dominance led to fast-increasing advertising revenues that made Google a $1 trillion company. [Throughout the trial, Google's defense is that its high market share reflects the quality of its product rather than any illegal actions to build monopolies in some aspects of its business.] David Dahlquist, speaking for the government, pointed to a document that was redacted that had a short back and forth about Google's pricing for search advertising. Dahlquist then argued to Judge Amit Mehta, who will decide the case, that information like the tidbit in the document should not be redacted. "This satisfies public interest because it's at the core of the DOJ case against Google," he said. Speaking for Google, John Schmidtlein urged that all discussions of pricing be in a closed session, which means the public and reporters must leave the courtroom. [...] Case in point was testimony given early Monday by a Verizon executive, Brian Higgins, about the company's decision to always pre-install Google's Chrome browser with Google search on its mobile phones. After about 30 minutes of testimony, Higgins' testimony was closed for the next two hours. It's possible that he was asked about Google's payments to Verizon but the public will never know. Those payments -- which the government said are $10 billion annually to mobile carriers and others -- helped the California-based tech giant win powerful default positions on smartphones and elsewhere.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Court Blocks California's Online Child Safety Law

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2023-09-19 00:00
A federal judge has granted a request to block the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CAADCA), a law that requires special data safeguards for underage users online. The Verge reports: In a ruling (PDF) issued today, Judge Beth Freeman granted a preliminary injunction for tech industry group NetChoice, saying the law likely violates the First Amendment. It's the latest of several state-level internet regulations to be blocked while a lawsuit against them proceeds, including some that are likely bound for the Supreme Court. The CAADCA is meant to expand on existing laws -- like the federal COPPA framework -- that govern how sites can collect data from children. But Judge Freeman objected to several of its provisions, saying they would unlawfully target legal speech. "Although the stated purpose of the Act -- protecting children when they are online -- clearly is important, NetChoice has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the provisions of the CAADCA intended to achieve that purpose do not pass constitutional muster," wrote Freeman. Freeman cites arguments made by legal writer Eric Goldman, who argued that the law would force sites to erect barriers for children and adults alike. Among other things, the ruling takes issue with the requirement that sites estimate visitors' ages to detect underage users. The provision is ostensibly meant to cut down on the amount of data collected about young users, but Freeman notes that it could involve invasive technology like face scans or analyzing biometric information -- ironically requiring users to provide more personal information. The law offers sites an alternative of making data collection for all users follow the standards for minors, but Freeman found that this would also chill legal speech since part of the law's goal is to avoid targeted advertising that would show objectionable content to children. "Data and privacy protections intended to shield children from harmful content, if applied to adults, will also shield adults from that same content," Freeman concluded.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Textbook Publishers Sue Shadow Library LibGen For Copyright Infringement

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2023-09-18 23:20
A group of publishers in the U.S. have filed a lawsuit against the "notorious" online database Library Genesis (Libgen), a website known for providing free access to scientific papers and books. The lawsuit accuses Libgen of facilitating the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted academic materials. The Register reports: The suit, filed in a New York federal court [PDF], asks for a legal order "requiring the transfer of the Libgen domain names to plaintiffs or, at plaintiffs' election, canceling or deleting the Libgen domain names," with the idea of frustrating visitors -- mostly students -- believed to number in their millions. The filing said that according to, the sites collectively were visited by 9 million people from the U.S. each month from March to May 2023. The suit alleges that several of the Libgen websites solicit "donations" from users. "These solicitations are in English and seek payments only in Bitcoin or [Monero]." It adds: "one Libgen Site reports that it has raised $182,540 from donations since January 1, 2023." The publishers also claim the people who run LibGen -- named in the suit as Does 1-50 and whom it says "are believed to reside outside of the United States at unknown foreign locations" -- derive "revenue from interstate or international commerce, including through advertisements." It goes on to add: "Defendants compete directly with Plaintiffs by distributing infringing copies of their works for free, displacing legitimate sales. When a consumer obtains Plaintiffs' works from the Libgen Sites instead of through legitimate channels, no remuneration is provided to Plaintiffs or their authors for the substantial investments they have made to create and publish the works." The textbook publishers claim that "through social media and from their peers, students are bombarded with messages to use the Libgen Sites instead of paying for legal copies of textbooks" -- thus depriving the publishers and the authors they represent of their income. The suit also asks for damages without detailing an amount, although it asks for "an accounting and disgorgement of Defendants' profits, gains, and advantages realized from their unlawful conduct." The complaint claims the ads are in English and for various "U.S. products, such as browser extensions and online games". The suit adds that some "also appear to be phishing attempts, which can result in users downloading a virus or other malicious program onto their computers." The lawsuit also calls out Google and "other intermediaries," U.S. companies it claims help LibGen "conduct their unlawful operations" -- "NameCheap for domain registration services, Cloudflare for proxy services, and Google for search engine services." It goes on to include a screenshot of Google's "knowledge panel," which it says "describes Libgen as a site [that] enables free access to content that is otherwise paywalled or not digitized elsewhere."pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Microsoft AI Researchers Accidentally Exposed Terabytes of Internal Sensitive Data

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2023-09-18 18:04
Microsoft AI researchers accidentally exposed tens of terabytes of sensitive data, including private keys and passwords, while publishing a storage bucket of open source training data on GitHub. From a report: In research shared with TechCrunch, cloud security startup Wiz said it discovered a GitHub repository belonging to Microsoft's AI research division as part of its ongoing work into the accidental exposure of cloud-hosted data. Readers of the GitHub repository, which provided open source code and AI models for image recognition, were instructed to download the models from an Azure Storage URL. However, Wiz found that this URL was configured to grant permissions on the entire storage account, exposing additional private data by mistake. This data included 38 terabytes of sensitive information, including the personal backups of two Microsoft employees' personal computers. The data also contained other sensitive personal data, including passwords to Microsoft services, secret keys and more than 30,000 internal Microsoft Teams messages from hundreds of Microsoft employees.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Was China's 'Spy Balloon' Just Blown Off Course?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2023-09-18 13:34
China appears to have suspended its global surveillance balloon program after a balloon was spotted drifting over the United States in February. But now an anonymous reader shares this report from CBS News: Seven months later, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells "CBS News Sunday Morning" the balloon wasn't spying. "The intelligence community, their assessment mdash; and it's a high-confidence assessment mdash; [is] that there was no intelligence collection by that balloon," he said. So, why was it over the United States? There are various theories, with at least one leading theory that it was blown off-track. The balloon had been headed toward Hawaii, but the winds at 60,000 feet apparently took over. "Those winds are very high," Milley said. "The particular motor on that aircraft can't go against those winds at that altitude..." After the Navy raised the wreckage from the bottom of the Atlantic, technical experts discovered the balloon's sensors had never been activated while over the Continental United States. But by then, the damage to U.S.-China relations had been done. On the CBS News show Sunday Morning, the host had this exchange with America's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. CBS: "Bottom line, it was a spy balloon, but it wasn't spying?" Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "I would say it was a spy balloon that we know with high degree of certainty got no intelligence, and didn't transmit any intelligence back to China."pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'s+'Spy+Balloon'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

Las Vegas Still Struggling to Recover from Last Sunday's Cyberattack

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2023-09-17 23:18
"Chaos and Concern in Sin City," read this morning's headline on a video report from ABC News about "the massive cyberattack in Las Vegas crippling several hotels and casinos, and putting a damper on getaways for thousands of tourists there." "Today marks a week since that cyberattack hit Las Vegas, and MGM hotels and casinos are still working on getting systems back up and running.. The online reservation site for MGM is still down, ATMs not working, and those playing the slot machines or even video poker having to wait for attendants to pay them out in cash. All of this fiasco leading to long lines at check-in, and now a cyber investigation with the FBI... Other gaming resorts also having issues. Caesar's entertainment says they too were a victim of a cyberattack, but their online operations were not impacted. Then this weekend at the Venetian, an outage shutting down some slots, but the resort says they're back up, and that at least thankfully was not due to a cyber attack. They report MGM properties were affected as far away as Atlantic City, New Jersey.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p

'Public Resource' Wins 2012 Case. Judge Rules Posting Regulations Online is Fair Use

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2023-09-17 19:34
From an EFF announcement this week: Technical standards like fire and electrical codes developed by private organizations but incorporated into public law can be freely disseminated without any liability for copyright infringement, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The judge ruled that posting the materials constituted fair use mdash; so the nonprofit group doing the posting won't be liable for copyright infringement. The American Bar Association Journal reports: The decision is a victory for public-domain advocate Carl Malamud and the group that he founded, The group posts legal materials on its websites, including the standards developed by the three organizations that sued... "It has been over 10 years since plaintiffs filed suit in this case," said Malamud in a press release by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The U.S. Court of Appeals has found decisively in favor of the proposition that citizens must not be relegated to economy-class access to the law." In 2012 Carl Malamud answered questions from Slashdot readers. And now, finally, from the EFF's announcement: Tuesday's ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholds the idea that our laws belong to all of us, and we should be able to find, read, and share them free of registration requirements, fees, and other roadblocks... "In a nation governed by the rule of law, private parties have no business controlling who can read, share, and speak the rules to which we are all subject," EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry said. "We are pleased that the Court of Appeals upheld what other U.S. courts, including the Supreme Court, have said for almost 200 years: No one should control access to the law." Or, as the EFF puts it on another page, "Copyright cannot trump the essential public interest..." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the news.pdiv class="share_submission" style="position:relative;" a class="slashpop" href="'Public+Resource'"img src=""/a a class="slashpop" href=""img src=""/a /div/ppa href=";utm_medium=feed"Read more of this story/a at Slashdot./p