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Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They're Not Keeping It Secret

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-12-10 16:00
Dozens of companies use smartphone locations to help advertisers and even hedge funds. They say it's anonymous, but the data shows how personal it is. From a report: The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails -- each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark to a nearby Planned Parenthood, remaining there for more than an hour. Another represents a person who travels with the mayor of New York during the day and returns to Long Island at night. [...] An app on the device gathered her location information, which was then sold without her knowledge. It recorded her whereabouts as often as every two seconds, according to a database of more than a million phones in the New York area that was reviewed by The New York Times. At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States -- about half those in use last year. The database reviewed by The Times -- a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company -- reveals people's travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day.

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Can Democrats In Congress Restore America's Net Neutrality Rules?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-12-09 04:34
"Democrats are expected to use their upcoming control of the House to push for strong net neutrality rules," reports NBC News: "The FCC's repeal sparked an unprecedented political backlash, and we've channeled that internet outrage into real political power," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights-focused non-profit organization. "As we head into 2019, net neutrality supporters in the House of Representatives will be in a much stronger position to engage in FCC oversight...." Gigi Sohn, a former lawyer at the FCC who is now a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology, Law and Policy, said she expects Democrats to use their new power to push for the restoration of strong net neutrality rules -- and for the topic to be on the lips of presidential hopefuls. "I have no doubt that bills to restore the 2015 rules will be introduced in both the Senate and the House relatively early on," Sohn said.... Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner who has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality, noted that it has become a national issue -- and one that has broad approval from Americans. She pointed to a University of Maryland study that found 83 percent of people surveyed were against the FCC's move to undo the rules around net neutrality... Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation...said he is "extraordinarily confident" that proponents of net neutrality will win. "It really just boils down to how one side of the polling is in this space," Falcon said.

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US Senator Attacks Failure To Crack Down On Google's Ad Fraud Problems

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-12-09 01:36
Democrat Senator Mark Warner "says Google is profiting off advertising fraud and has no interest in addressing it," reports ZDNet -- and he's laying part of the blame on America's trade commissioners. Warner is just as mad about the FTC as he is about Google, claiming the FTC has failed to take action against the Mountain View-based company for more than two years since he and New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer first wrote the agency about Google's ad fraud problem. "The FTC's failure to act has had the effect of allowing Google to structure its own market," said Sen. Warner in a letter sent to the FTC... "While the company controls each link in the supply chain and therefore maintains the power to monitor activity in the digital advertising market from start to finish, it has continued to be caught flat-footed in identifying and addressing digital ad fraud." Sen. Warner also called out Google for proving unwilling to address misuse of its advertising platform for the "rampant proliferation of online disinformation" -- referring to how various foreign entities have used Google ads to push political agendas, both in the US and other countries of the world. "As long as Google stands to profit from the sale of additional advertisements, the financial incentive for it to voluntarily root out and address fraud remains minimal," Sen. Warner added.

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12,000 Uber Drivers Claim Uber Is Now Failing To Pay Arbitration Fees

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-12-08 18:34
Uber's terms of service prohibit its drivers from joining class action lawsuits, Gizmodo writes, adding that over 12,000 drivers have now "found a way to weaponize the ridesharing platform's restrictive contract in what's possibly the funniest labor strategy of the year." An anonymous reader summarizes their report: Uber's contract requires that all driver lawsuits be arbitrated (instead of argued in open court), but "While arbitrating parties are responsible for paying for their own attorneys, the terms state that 'in all cases where required by law, [Uber] will pay the Arbitrator's and arbitration fees'... A group of 12,501 drivers opted to take Uber at its word, individually bringing their cases up for arbitration, overwhelming the infrastructure...." (Gizmodo calls it Uber's arbitration policy "coming back to bite it in the ass.") A petition in California's Northern District Court points out that Uber now is apparently overwhelmed. "Of those 12,501 demands, in only 296 has Uber paid the initiating filing fees necessary for an arbitration to commence [...] only 47 have appointed arbitrators, and [...] in only six instances has Uber paid the retainer fee of the arbitrator to allow the arbitration to move forward." The drivers' lawyers are now complaining that Uber's delinquincies "make clear it does not actually support arbitration; rather, it supports avoiding any method of dispute resolution, no matter the venue... At this point, it is fair to ask whether Uber's previous statements to the 9th Circuit about its desire to facilitate arbitration with its drivers were nothing more than empty promises to avoid litigating a class action."

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Huawei's CFO Is Being Accused of Fraud, and Her Main Defense Is a PowerPoint

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-12-08 02:45
"Today, a bail hearing was held for Huawei's chief financial officer, who was arrested in Canada on Saturday at the request of U.S. law enforcement," reports The Verge. "The CFO, Meng Wanzhou, is facing extradition to the U.S. for conspiring to defraud banking institutions, according to the Star Vancouver." The Verge reports that her main defense is "a PowerPoint presentation that Meng had once given to explain to a bank in Hong Kong that Huawei had not violated any U.S. sanctions." From the report: Many lined up to see Meng's bail hearing today, after the extremely high-profile arrest that signified the first major break in a U.S. probe that has mostly been kept from the public. The U.S. has an arrest warrant out for Meng that was issued by a New York court on August 22nd. It has 60 days from the time of Meng's arrest on Saturday to provide Canadian courts with evidence and intent. Meng served on the board for a Hong Kong-based company called Skycom, which allegedly did business with Iran between 2009 and 2014. U.S. banks worked with Huawei at this time, so Iran sanctions were violated indirectly, and Meng therefore committed fraud against these banks. Skycom reportedly had connections to Huawei and at the bail hearing today, Gibb-Carsley argued that Skycom was an unofficial subsidiary of Huawei's, using the same company logo. "Huawei is SkyCom," he said, "This is the crux, I say, of the alleged fraud." The hearing also examined whether Meng would be a flight risk if she was granted the $1 million bail, part of the argument Gibb-Carsley was pushing. "Defense lawyer Martin responded by explaining the Chinese emphasis on saving face, and how Meng wouldn't want her father and Huawei to look bad. Even more than that, 'she would not embarrass China itself,' Martin said."

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California Gives Final OK To Require Solar Panels On New Houses

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-12-07 21:00
Solar panels will be a required feature on new houses in California, after the state's Building Standards Commission gave final approval to a housing rule that's the first of its kind in the United States. From a report: Set to take effect in 2020, the new standard includes an exemption for houses that are often shaded from the sun. It also includes incentives for people to add a high-capacity battery to their home's electrical system, to store the sun's energy. "These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country," said commissioner Kent Sasaki, according to The Mercury News. "[It's] the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels." The rule marks a new phase in California's environmental policies, which have often set trends and established standards nationwide. The state has set the goal of drawing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources and sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The solar panels rule was initially endorsed as part of the state's Green Building Standards Code by the California Energy Commission back in May.

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Chinese Mobile App Companies Are a National Security Risk, Says a Top Democrat

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-12-07 20:20
Chinese mobile app companies pose the same national security risk to the US as telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE, Sen. Mark Warner said in an interview. From a report: Recent US legislation largely banned Huawei and ZTE from use by the government and its contractors, due to concerns about surveillance and other national security risks. Now Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is signaling that Chinese app developers may face similar scrutiny from lawmakers, corporate America, and the intelligence community. Warner's comments follow a recent BuzzFeed News report that popular apps from China's Cheetah Mobile and Kika Tech were exploiting user permissions to engage in a form of ad fraud. Eight Android apps with more than 2 billion total downloads were said to be engaging in a form of app-install ad fraud. Google subsequently removed two of the apps from the Play store and said it continues to investigate. Cheetah and Kika deny engaging in app-install fraud. "Under Chinese law, all Chinese companies are ultimately beholden to the Communist Party, not their board or shareholders, so any Chinese technology company -- whether in telecom or mobile apps -- should be seen as extensions of the state and a national security risk," Warner said in an interview this week with BuzzFeed News. Further reading: Sen. Warner calls for US cyber doctrine, new standards for security.

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EU Governments Agree To Tougher Stance On E-evidence

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-12-07 19:00
EU governments agreed on Friday to toughen up draft rules allowing law enforcement authorities to get electronic evidence directly from tech companies such as Facebook and Google stored in the cloud in another European country. From a report: The move underlines the growing trend in Europe to rein in tech giants whether on the regulatory front or the antitrust front. The e-evidence proposal also came in the wake of recent deadly terrorist attacks in Europe, pressure on tech companies to do more to cooperate with police investigations and people's growing tendency to store and share information on WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber, Skype, Instagram and Telegram. The European Commission, the EU executive, came up with the draft legislation in April, which includes a 10-day deadline for companies to respond to police requests or 6 hours in emergency cases, and fines up to 2 percent of a company's global turnover for not complying with such orders. The proposal covers telecoms services providers, online marketplaces and internet infrastructure services providers and applies to subscriber data and other data on access, transactional and content.

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Luxembourg To Become First Country To Make All Public Transport Free

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-12-07 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday. Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016. While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg. Luxembourg has increasingly shown a progressive attitude to transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay about $2.27 for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers almost all journeys. Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. The policy is yet to be fully thought through, however. A decision has yet to be taken on what to do about first- and second-class compartments on trains.

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Facial Recognition Has To Be Regulated To Protect the Public, Says AI Report

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-12-07 03:00
A new report (PDF) from the AINow Institute calls for the U.S. government to take general steps to improve the regulation of facial recognition technology amid much debate over the privacy implications. "The implementation of AI systems is expanding rapidly, without adequate governance, oversight, or accountability regimes," it says. The report suggests, for instance, extending the power of existing government bodies in order to regulate AI issues, including use of facial recognition: "Domains like health, education, criminal justice, and welfare all have their own histories, regulatory frameworks, and hazards." MIT Technology Review reports: It also calls for stronger consumer protections against misleading claims regarding AI; urges companies to waive trade-secret claims when the accountability of AI systems is at stake (when algorithms are being used to make critical decisions, for example); and asks that they govern themselves more responsibly when it comes to the use of AI. And the document suggests that the public should be warned when facial-recognition systems are being used to track them, and that they should have the right to reject the use of such technology. The report also warns about the use of emotion tracking in face-scanning and voice detection systems. Tracking emotion this way is relatively unproven, yet it is being used in potentially discriminatory ways -- for example, to track the attention of students. "It's time to regulate facial recognition and affect recognition," says Kate Crawford, cofounder of AINow and one of the lead authors of the report. "Claiming to 'see' into people's interior states is neither scientific nor ethical."

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China Calls For Release of Arrested Huawei CFO Detained In Canada

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-12-06 23:40
China is demanding the release of a senior executive at Huawei after she was detained in Canada on extradition charges to the U.S. Wanzhou Meng, who is also the deputy chair of Huawei's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, is suspected of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. NBC News reports: The arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder Ren Zhengfei, spooked investors with U.S. stocks tumbling on fears of a flare-up in Chinese-U.S. tensions. She was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Dec. 1. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said officials have been contacted both in the U.S. and Canada to demand Meng's release. Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the ministry, said her detention needed to be explained, and both countries had to "effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of the person concerned." A spokesperson for Huawei said in a statement that it "complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations."

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Australia Passes Anti-Encryption Laws [Update]

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-12-06 10:43
Earlier today, Australia's House of Representatives passed the Assistance and Access Bill. The Anti-Encryption Bill, as it is known as, would allow the nation's police and anti-corruption forces to ask, before forcing, internet companies, telcos, messaging providers, or anyone deemed necessary, to break into whatever content agencies they want access to. "While the Bill can still be blocked by the Senate -- Australian Twitter has been quite vocal over today's proceedings, especially in regards to the [Australian Labor Party's] involvement," reports Gizmodo. ZDNet highlights the key findings from a report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS): The threshold for industry assistance is recommended to be lifted to offenses with maximum penalties in excess of three years; Technical Assistance Notices (TANs) and Technical Capability Notices (TCNs) will be subjected to statutory time limits, as well as any extension, renewal, or variation to the notices; the systemic weakness clause to apply to all listing acts and things; and the double-lock mechanism of approval from Attorney-General and Minister of Communications will be needed, with the report saying the Communications Minister will provide "a direct avenue for the concerns of the relevant industry to be considered as part of the approval process." The report's recommendations also call for a review after 18 months of the Bill coming into effect by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor; TANs issued by state and territory police forces to be approved by the Australian Federal Police commissioner; companies issued with notices are able to appeal to the Attorney-General to disclose publicly the fact they are issued a TCN; and the committee will review the passed legislation in the new year and report by April 3, 2019, right around when the next election is expected to be called. In short: "Testimony from experts has been ignored; actual scrutiny of the Bill is kicked down the road for the next Parliament; Labor has made sure it is not skewered by the Coalition and seen to be voting against national security legislation on the floor of Parliament; and any technical expert must have security clearance equal to the Australia's spies, i.e. someone who has been in the spy sector." Further reading: Australia Set To Spy on WhatsApp Messages With Encryption Law. UPDATE: The encryption bill has passed the Senate with a final vote of 44-12, with Labor and the Coalition voting for it. "Australia's security and intelligence agencies now have legal authority to force encryption services to break the encryptions, reports The Guardian. Story is developing...

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FCC Chairman Admits Russia Meddled In Net Neutrality Debate

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-12-06 04:45
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has admitted that around 500,000 comments submitted during the net neutrality public comment period were linked to Russia email addresses. "Pai noted in a court filing that most of the comments were in favor of net neutrality, which the FCC repealed last December," reports Engadget. From the report: The New York Times and BuzzFeed News have filed freedom of information requests in the hopes of uncovering the extent of fraudulent comments and Russian influence in the net neutrality process. Pai's filing was part of an FCC memorandum that addressed the requests, and the agency has argued that releasing the data could expose the U.S. to cyberattacks. Pai's concession underscores how Russia's influence on U.S. democracy extends beyond headline-grabbing election interference and fake news peddling, and it also reflects the litany of issues the FCC faced during the net neutrality comment period. Over half of the almost 22 million comments came from phony, temporary or duplicate email addresses, according to a study, and reportedly only 17.4 percent of the comments were unique.

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Canada Arrests Top Huawei Executive For Allegedly Violating Iran Sanctions

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-12-06 03:25
Canada has arrested Huawei's chief financial officer on suspicion of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. "Wanzhou Meng, who is also the deputy chair of Huawei's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities," reports The Globe and Mail. From the report: "Wanzhou Meng was arrested in Vancouver on December 1. She is sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday," Justice department spokesperson Ian McLeod said in a statement to The Globe and Mail. "As there is a publication ban in effect, we cannot provide any further detail at this time. The ban was sought by Ms. Meng. A Canadian source with knowledge of the arrest said U.S. law enforcement authorities are alleging that Ms. Meng tried to evade the U.S. trade embargo against Iran but provided no further details. Since at least 2016, U.S. authorities have been reviewing Huawei's alleged shipping of U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws.

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Thieves Are Boosting the Signal From Key Fobs Inside Homes To Steal Vehicles

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-12-06 00:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBC.ca: According to Markham automotive security specialist Jeff Bates, owner of Lockdown Security, wireless key fobs have a role to play in many recent car thefts, with thieves intercepting and rerouting their signals -- even from inside homes -- to open and steal cars. According to Bates, many of these thieves are using a method called "relay theft." Key fobs are constantly broadcasting a signal that communicates with a specific vehicle, he said, and when it comes into a close enough range, the vehicle will open and start. The thief will bring a device close to the home's door, close to where most keys are sitting, to boost the fob's signal. They leave another device near the vehicle, which receives the signal and opens the car. Many people don't realize it, Bates said, but the thieves don't need the fob in the car to drive it away. Bates says, if you have a key fob that can wirelessly unlock/start your car, you should not keep it by the front door. "If you do live in a house, try to leave your keys either upstairs or ... as far away from the vehicle as possible," he said. "The other thing that you can do is there are products out there that you can put your key fob into," such as a faraday cage -- a box used to block radio signals -- a key pouch, which works similarly, or even a steel box.

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Facebook Used Its VPN App To Track Competitors, Documents Reveal

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-12-05 23:18
Newly public documents reveal just how paranoid Facebook was of its potential competitors and shines new light on some of the company's most important acquisitions. From a report: The internal documents, made public as part of a cache of documents released by UK lawmakers, show just how close an eye the social network was keeping on competitors like WhatsApp and Snapchat, both of which became acquisition targets. The documents, which are labeled "highly confidential," show slides from an internal presentation in 2013 that compares Facebook's reach to competing apps, including WhatsApp and Snapchat. While Facebook and Instagram lead in marketshare, it's clear why Facebook may have viewed Snapchat and WhatsApp as potential threats. [...] Facebook's presentation relied on data from Onavo, the virtual private network (VPN) service which Facebook also acquired several months later. Facebook's use of Onavo, which has been likened to "corporate spyware," has itself been controversial.

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Internal Emails Show Facebook Weighing the Privacy Risks of Quietly Collecting Call and Text Records From Its Android Users -- Then Going Ahead Anyway

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-12-05 21:00
Earlier this year, many Android users were shocked to discover that Facebook had been collecting a record of their call and SMS history, as revealed by the company's data download tool. Now, internal emails released by the UK Parliament show how the decision was made internally. From a report: According to the emails, developers knew the data was sensitive, but they still pushed to collect it as a way of expanding Facebook's reach. The emails show Facebook's growth team looking to call log data as a way to improve Facebook's algorithms as well as to locate new contacts through the "People You May Know" feature. Notably, the project manager recognized it as "a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective," but that risk seems to have been overwhelmed by the potential user growth. Initially, the feature was intended to require users to opt in, typically through an in-app pop-up dialog box. But as developers looked for ways to get users signed up, it became clear that Android's data permissions could be manipulated to automatically enroll users if the new feature was deployed in a certain way.

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Apple Hit With Class Action Suit Over Lack of Dust Filters In Macbook, iMac

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-12-05 04:05
AmiMoJo shares a report from 9to5Mac: Apple is facing a new class action lawsuit claiming that it sells select iMac and MacBook models without needed dust filters. In turn, this causes issues such as display imprecations, slowing performance, and more, the lawsuit alleges. The iMac and MacBook lawsuit is being brought forward by law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which is a class action litigation firm that has gone after Apple before. Most notably, the firm won the infamous $450 million ebooks pricing case against Apple. Since then, Hagens Berman has levied other suits at Apple, including one regarding the performance throttling of iPhones. Hagens Berman's latest lawsuit reads in part: "iMac and MacBook owners have reported dark smudges and spots on the interior of the screens of their desktop computers as well as excessive slowness and break downs of their computers related to the lack of filter on Apple computers. The computer intakes air to cool its components, but with no filter, dust gets trapped inside. This affects the screen and logic board of the computer, leading to dust stuck behind the screen and gummed up motherboards, causing the computer to run slow and/or overheat." Hagens Berman says "Apple refuses to remedy the defect," instead forcing affected customers to pay "more than $500 to fix this screen defect, and even more if they wish to replace parts integral to the computer's sped and performance." "We believe Apple owes it to the purchasers of these premium, high-end computers to pay for the widespread defect, and we seek to represent iMac owners to recover their losses in costs to repair this defect, or for their loss of use of their computer."

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The Secret Service Wants To Test Facial Recognition Around the White House

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-12-05 03:25
The Secret Service is planning to test facial recognition surveillance around the White House, "with the goal of identifying 'subjects of interest' who might pose a threat to the president," reports The Verge. The document with the plans was published by the American Civil Liberties Union, describing "a test that would compare closed circuit video footage of public White House spaces against a database of images -- in this case, featuring employees who volunteered to be tracked." From the report: The test was scheduled to begin on November 19th and to end on August 30th, 2019. While it's running, film footage with a facial match will be saved, then confirmed by human evaluators and eventually deleted. The document acknowledges that running facial recognition technology on unaware visitors could be invasive, but it notes that the White House complex is already a "highly monitored area" and people can choose to avoid visiting. We don't know whether the test is actually in operation, however. "For operational security purposes we do not comment on the means and methods of how we conduct our protective operations," a spokesperson told The Verge. The ACLU says that the current test seems appropriately narrow, but that it "crosses an important line by opening the door to the mass, suspicionless scrutiny of Americans on public sidewalks" -- like the road outside the White House. (The program's technology is supposed to analyze faces up to 20 yards from the camera.) "Face recognition is one of the most dangerous biometrics from a privacy standpoint because it can so easily be expanded and abused -- including by being deployed on a mass scale without people's knowledge or permission."

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China Announces Punishments For Intellectual-Property Theft

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-12-05 02:03
China has announced an array of punishments that could restrict companies' access to borrowing and state-funding support over intellectual-property theft. The news comes after the G20 Summit in Argentina, where the Trump Administration agreed to hold off on tariff action for at least 90 days as they negotiate to resolve specific U.S. complaints. Bloomberg reports: China set out a total of 38 different punishments to be applied to IP violations, starting this month. The document, dated Nov. 21, was released Tuesday by the National Development and Reform Commission and signed by various government bodies, including the central bank and supreme court. China says violators would be banned from issuing bonds or other financing tools, and participating in government procurement. They would also be restricted from accessing government financial support, foreign trade, registering companies, auctioning land or trading properties. In addition, violators will be recorded on a list, and financial institutions will refer to that when lending or granting access to foreign exchange. Names will be posted on a government website. "This is an unprecedented regulation on IP violation in terms of the scope of the ministries and severity of the punishment," said Xu Xinming, a researcher at the Center for Intellectual Property Studies at China University of Political Science and Law. The newly announced punishments are "a security net of IP protection" targeting repeat offenders and other individuals who aren't in compliance with the law, he said.

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