aggregator

Deep Learning 'Godfather' Yoshua Bengio Worries About China's Use of AI

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 01:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Yoshua Bengio, a Canadian computer scientist who helped pioneer the techniques underpinning much of the current excitement around artificial intelligence, is worried about China's use of AI for surveillance and political control. Bengio, who is also a co-founder of Montreal-based AI software company Element AI, said he was concerned about the technology he helped create being used for controlling people's behavior and influencing their minds. Bengio, a professor at the University of Montreal, is considered one of the three "godfathers" of deep learning, along with Yann LeCun and Geoff Hinton. It's a technology that uses neural networks -- a kind of software loosely based on aspects of the human brain -- to make predictions based on data. It's responsible for recent advances in facial recognition, natural language processing, translation, and recommendation algorithms. "This is the 1984 Big Brother scenario," he said in an interview. "I think it's becoming more and more scary." "The use of your face to track you should be highly regulated," Bengio said. The amount of data large tech companies control is also a concern. He said the creation of data trusts -- non-profit entities or legal frameworks under which people own their data and allow it be used only for certain purposes -- might be one solution. If a trust held enough data, it could negotiate better terms with big tech companies that needed it, he said Thursday during a talk at Amnesty International U.K.'s office in London. Bengio said there were many ways deep learning software could be used for good. In Thursday's talk, he unveiled a project he's working on that uses AI to create augmented reality images depicting what people's individual homes or neighborhoods might look like as the result of natural disasters spawned by climate change. But he said there was also a risk that the implementation of AI would cause job losses on a scale, and at a speed, that's different from what's happened with other technological innovations. He said governments needed to be proactive in thinking about these risks, including considering new ways to redistribute wealth within society.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Digital Exchange Loses $137 Million As Founder Takes Passwords To the Grave

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 01:10
A cryptocurrency exchange in Canada has lost control of at least $137 million of its customers' assets following the sudden death of its founder, who was the only person known to have access to the offline wallet that stored the digital coins. British Columbia-based QuadrigaCX is unable to access most or all of another $53 million because it's tied up in disputes with third parties. Ars Technica reports: The dramatic misstep was reported in a sworn affidavit that was obtained by CoinDesk. The affidavit was filed Thursday by Jennifer Robertson, widow of QuadrigaCX's sole director and officer Gerry Cotten. Robertson testified that Cotten died of Crohn's disease in India in December at the age of 30. Following standard security practices by many holders of cryptocurrency, QuadrigaCX stored the vast majority of its cryptocurrency holdings in a "cold wallet," meaning a digital wallet that wasn't connected to the Internet. The measure is designed to prevent hacks that regularly drain hot wallets of millions of dollars. Thursday's court filing, however, demonstrates that cold wallets are by no means a surefire way to secure digital coins. Robertson testified that Cotten stored the cold wallet on an encrypted laptop that only he could decrypt. Based on company records, she said the cold wallet stored $180 million in Canadian dollars ($137 million in US dollars), all of which is currently inaccessible to QuadrigaCX and more than 100,000 customers. "The laptop computer from which Gerry carried out the Companies' business is encrypted, and I do not know the password or recovery key," Robertson wrote. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere." The mismanaged cold wallet is only one of the problems besieging QuadrigaCX. Differences with at least three third-party partners has tied up most or all of an additional $53 million in assets. Making matters worse, many QuadrigaCX customers continued to make automatic transfers into the service following Cotten's death. On Monday, the site became inaccessible with little explanation, except for this status update, which was later taken down. On Thursday, QuadrigaCX said it would file for creditor protection as it worked to regain control of its assets. As of Thursday, the site had 115,000 customers with outstanding balances.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Slack Says It's Filed To Go Public

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 00:30
Slack, the cloud-based messaging platform, has confidentially filed with regulators to go public in the U.S. "[Slack], previously reported to be pursuing a direct listing of its stock, said in a statement Monday that it had submitted a confidential filing with the [SEC]," reports Bloomberg. "Slack is working with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Allen & Co. on the share sale." From the report: Slack plans to forgo a traditional initial public offering and instead intends to sell its shares to bidders in a direct listing, a person familiar with the matter said last month. While that would preclude the company from raising money by issuing new shares for sale, it would avoid some typical underwriting fees and allow current investors to sell shares without a lock-up period. The company is choosing the unusual method for going public because it doesn't need the cash or publicity of an IPO, the person said at the time. The share sale, which might take place toward mid-year, could value Slack at more than $7 billion, according to the person, who added that the San Francisco-based company's plans could still change.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nest Secure Has an Unlisted, Disabled Microphone

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-02-04 23:55
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Android Authority: Owners of the Nest Secure alarm system have been able to use voice commands to control their home security through Google Assistant for a while now. However, to issue those commands, they needed a separate Google Assistant-powered device, like a smartphone or a Google Home smart speaker. The reason for this limitation has always seemed straightforward: according to the official tech specs, there's no onboard microphone in the Nest Secure system. However, Google just informed us that it is right now rolling out Assistant functionality to all Nest Secure devices via a software update. That's right: if you currently own a Nest Secure, you will be able to use it as a Google Home very soon. That means somewhere in the Nest Guard -- the keypad base station of the Nest Secure -- there might be a microphone we didn't know existed. Either that or your voice commands are going to be heard by another product (like your phone, maybe) but Assistant's output will now come from the Nest Guard, if you happen to be in the range of that device. UPDATE: Google has issued a statement to Android Authority confirming the built-in microphone in the Nest Guard base system that's not listed on the official spec sheet at Nest's site. The microphone has been in an inactive state since the release of the Nest Secure, Google says. This unlisted mic is how the Nest Guard will be able to operate as a pseudo-Google Home with just a software update.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ajit Pai Loses in Court -- Judges Overturn Gutting of Tribal Broadband Program

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-02-04 20:01
A federal appeals court has overturned Ajit Pai's attempt to take broadband subsidies away from tribal residents. From a report: The Pai-led Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in November 2017 to make it much harder for tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service. The change didn't take effect because in August 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed the FCC decision pending appeal. The same court followed that up on Friday last week with a ruling that reversed the FCC decision and remanded the matter back to the commission for a new rule-making proceeding. [...] The Pai FCC's 2017 decision would have limited the $25 subsidy to "facilities-based" carriers -- those that build their own networks -- making it impossible for tribal residents to use the $25 subsidy to buy telecom service from resellers. The move would have dramatically limited tribal residents' options for purchasing subsidized service, but the FCC claimed it was necessary in order to encourage carriers to build their own networks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Attorneys General in Six States Are Now Investigating Facebook's Data Practices, Report Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-02-04 16:00
At least six state attorneys general have launched investigations into Facebook, Bloomberg is reporting. From a report: Two distinct groups have formed, according to Bloomberg's report: Pennsylvania and Illinois have joined Connecticut in an investigation of "existing allegations," though the report does not mention what those are. Officials in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, "which were already known to be probing Facebook, are seeking to uncover any potential unknown violations," a source told the news agency. Bloomberg reported that a Facebook vice president of public policy, Will Castleberry, spun the news as the attorneys general just wanting to help Facebook out by suggesting new privacy initiatives or something. "We're having productive conversations with attorneys general on this important topic," Castleberry wrote in an email to Bloomberg. "Many officials have approached us in a constructive manner, focused on solutions that ensure all companies are protecting people's information, and we look forward to continuing to work with them."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

College Student Who Stole More Than $5 Million in Cryptocurrency By SIM Swapping Gets 10 Years in Prison -- First Person To Be Sentenced For the Crime

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-02-04 06:15
A 20-year-old college student who was accused of stealing more than $5 million in cryptocurrency in a slew of SIM hijacking attacks is the first person to be sentenced for the crime. From a report: A college student who stole more than $5 million in cryptocurrency by hijacking the phone numbers of around 40 victims pleaded guilty and accepted a plea deal of 10 years in prison, Motherboard has learned. Joel Ortiz accepted the plea deal last week, Erin West, the Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County, California, told Motherboard during a meeting on Thursday. The authorities believe Ortiz is the first person to be convicted of a crime for SIM swapping, an increasingly popular and damaging hack. The prosecutors and agents who have been investigating these hacks celebrated the conviction, and said they hope that this will serve as an example for the other alleged criminals who have already been arrested, as well as the ones who have yet to be caught. "We think justice has been served. And hopefully this is a strong message to that community," Samy Tarazi, one of the agents who investigated the Ortiz case, told me. Ortiz is one af a handful of SIM swappers who have been arrested in the last year for hijacking phone numbers and using them to then hack into emails, social media accounts, and online Bitcoin wallets.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Pirate Bay 'Promotion' Increases Post-Release Box Office Revenue, Study Shows

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-02-04 04:29
New research suggests that post-release movie piracy through The Pirate Bay is linked to increased box revenue. The counter-intuitive finding is driven by word-of-mouth promotion. The effect, which does not apply to pre-release piracy, results in rather interesting policy implications. From a report: Hollywood's general logic is that piracy hurts box office revenues. However, there is also some evidence of positive effects through word-of-mouth promotion. Using the Pirate Bay downtime as a natural experiment, the researchers tried to find out if thatâ(TM)s indeed the case. "It is natural to focus on the downsides of piracy for movie makers -- and these can be significant -- but many will be interested to note that piracy can have an upside," Professor Shijie Lu informs TF. Through their research, Lu and his co-authors Xin Wang and Neil Bendle, investigated the effect of this "buzz" in detail. They published their findings in a paper titled "Does Piracy Create Online Word-of-Mouth? An Empirical Analysis in Movie Industry." Movies shared on The Pirate Bay are the main focus. The researchers use the Pirate Bay downtime following the 2014 raid to measure its impact on word-of-mouth promotion and box office revenues. Based on a sample of hundreds of movie torrents and data from most popular movie review sites, Lu and his colleagues estimated this effect. Their results are rather intriguing. First off, the findings clearly show a negative effect of pre-release piracy on box office sales. This result is consistent with previous studies and an increase in "buzz" doesn't do enough to offset the negative effect. [...] This changes when the researchers look at post-release piracy. That is, piracy which occurs after a film has premiered at the box office. In this case, there's a positive effect on box office revenue through an increase in word-of-mouth promotion (WOM).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FCC Struggles To Convince Judge That Broadband Isn't 'Telecommunications'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-02-03 16:18
A Federal Communications Commission lawyer faced a skeptical panel of judges on Friday as the FCC defended its repeal of net neutrality rules and deregulation of the broadband industry. From a report: FCC General Counsel Thomas Johnson struggled to explain why broadband shouldn't be considered a telecommunications service, and struggled to explain the FCC's failure to protect public safety agencies from Internet providers blocking or slowing down content. Oral arguments were held on Friday in the case, which is being decided by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Throttling of firefighters' data plans played a major role in today's oral arguments. Of the three judges, Circuit Judge Patricia Millett expressed the most skepticism of Johnson's arguments, repeatedly challenging the FCC's definition of broadband and its disregard for arguments made by public safety agencies. She also questioned the FCC's claim that the net neutrality rules harmed broadband investment. Circuit Judge Robert Wilkins also expressed some skepticism of FCC arguments, while Senior Circuit Judge Stephen Williams seemed more amenable to FCC arguments.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Is It Time To Ditch Google Analytics?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-02-03 14:34
"In the last year, a swell of privacy-focused website analytics platforms have started to provide an alternative to Google's tracking behemoth," reports Fast Company. An anonymous reader shares their article about startups providing "privacy-centric analytics, claiming not to collect any personal data and only display simple metrics like page views, referral websites, and screen sizes in clean, pared-down interfaces." While Simple Analytics and Fathom are both recent additions to the world of privacy-focused data analytics, 1.5% of the internet already uses an open-source, decentralized platform called Matomo, according to the company... "When [Google] released Google Analytics, [it] was obvious to me that a certain percent of the world would want the same technology, but decentralized, where it's not provided by a centralized corporation and you're not dependent on them," says Matthieu Aubry, Matomo's founder. "If you use it on your own server, it's impossible for us to get any data from it." Aubry says that 99% of Matomo users use the analytics code, which is open for anyone to use, and host their analytics on their own servers -- which means that the company has no access to it whatsoever. For Aubry, that's his way of ensuring privacy by design. United Nations, Amnesty International, NASA, and the European Commission and about 1.5 million other websites use Matomo. But Matomo also offers significantly more robust tracking than Fathom or Simple Analytics -- Aubry says it can do about 95% of what Google Analytics does. Still, there are a few key differences. Like Simple Analytics, Matomo honors Do Not Track.... The rise of these analytics startups speaks to a growing desire for alternatives to the corporate ecosystems controlled by giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple, a swell that has helped privacy-focused search engine Duck Duck Go reach 36 million searches in a day. There's even an entire website dedicated to alternates to all of Google's services. For Aubry of Matomo, this concentration of power in the hands (or servers) of billion-dollar companies is the reason to support smaller, decentralized networks like his own that share code. "We want to control our future technology -- be able to understand it, study it, see what it does beneath the hood," he says. "And when it doesn't work we can fix it ourselves."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FBI Confiscates Six Drones Near Super Bowl Stadium

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-02-03 04:35
The FBI confiscated six drones in Atlanta for flying too close to the football stadium where the Super Bowl will be played Sunday, Reuters reports: Drone flight was prohibited on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. EST on Sunday for one nautical mile (2 km) around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and up to an altitude of 1,000 feet (305 meters), the Federal Aviation Administration said. The FAA will establish temporary flight restriction that prohibits drones within a 30-nautical-mile radius of the stadium and up to 17,999 feet in altitude from 5:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, the agency said. .. Drones "are a big concern," said Nick Annan, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge. "There are a few other things that are in place to mitigate drones," he added without elaborating. Operators who send drones into restricted areas around the Mercedes-Benz Stadium could face more than $20,000 in civil penalties and criminal prosecution, according to the FAA. Drone pilots are advised to check the FAA's B4UFly app to check when and where they can fly -- and the aviation agency has also produced a slick 20-second video "encouraging Super Bowl fans to bring their lucky jerseys, face paint and team spirit to the game -- but leave their drones at home -- because the stadium and the area around it is a No Drone Zone."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Teenagers Charged With 'Intimidation' After Sharing Siri's Helpful Response For A School Shooting

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-02-03 01:35
A 13-year-old boy visiting family in Indiana has been charged with "intimidation", according to the Northwest Indiana Times: The boy allegedly said to Siri, iPhone's voice assistant, "I am going to shoot up a school," according to a news release from the Valparaiso Police Department. Siri then replied with a list of multiple Valparaiso schools near his location. The boy, identified as a Chesterton Middle School student, posted a screenshot of the inquiry and response on social media, which was reported to Chesterton police by the boy's social media contacts. Chesterton police then contacted the Valparaiso Police Department, which launched an investigation into the possible threat. Valparaiso officers determined the boy made no direct threat to a specific person, school or school system and that he had no access to weapons -- ultimately stating the picture was posted on social media as a joke. "The threat is not believed to be credible at this time; however, these types of communications are taken very seriously by the Valparaiso Police Department and our community," police stated in a news release. A 14-year-old was also taken into custody, and is also being held in a juvenille detention center, facing charges of intimidation and "criminal recklessness with a handgun" over related photographs with weapons. "Come on kids. It isn't funny..." reads one comment on the police department's Facebook page. "How many of you are going to be detained before you realize it?" "Thank you for taking it seriously, and prosecuting it accordingly," added another commenter. "'I was joking' is not a defense. Hopefully juvie knocks some sense into this kid." "I hope he's prosecuted for this! Totally not funny and as a parent I'm taking any threats against schools serious!" reads another comment -- though at least one person directed their scorn somewhere else. "Sounds like Siri needs to be re-programmed."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Have Terabytes of Enron Data Quietly Gone Missing?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-02 22:34
Long-time Slashdot reader v3rgEz quotes MuckRock: Government investigations into California's electricity shortage, ultimately determined to be caused by intentional market manipulations and capped retail electricity prices by the now infamous Enron Corporation, resulted in terabytes of information being collected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This included several extremely large databases, some of which had nearly 200 million rows of data, including Enron's bidding and price processes, their trading and risk management systems, emails, audio recordings, and nearly 100,000 additional documents. That information has quietly disappeared, and not even its custodians seem to know why. The web page where a defense contractor hosts the data has been down since 2013, and after a one-month wait they replied to a request by stating the data was "under review" and "currently not accessible," adding that it might never be available again. And while a U.S. government site also claims they offer a trio of datasets on CD, that agency "has not responded to repeated requests for these datasets sent over the past two months." The site also instructs visitors to email Lockheed Martin, who maintains some of the data -- but the provided email address bounces.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Kremlin's Remote-Access Credentials Left Thousands Of Businesses Exposed For Years

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-02 17:34
A Dutch security researcher says he found credentials for the Russian government's backdoor account for accessing servers of businesses operating in Russia, ZDNet reports: The researcher says that after his initial finding, he later found the same "admin@kremlin.ru" account on over 2,000 other MongoDB databases that had been left exposed online, all belonging to local and foreign businesses operating in Russia. Examples include databases belonging to local banks, financial institutions, big telcos, and even Disney Russia.... "The first time I saw these credentials was in the user table of a Russian Lotto website," Victor Gevers told ZDNet in an interview Monday. "I had to do some digging to understand that the Kremlin requires remote access to systems that handle financial transactions.... "All the systems this password was on were already fully accessible to anyone," Gevers said. "The MongoDB databases were deployed with default settings. So anyone without authentication had CRUD [Create, Read, Update and Delete] access." "It took a lot of time and also many attempts to contact and warn the Kremlin about this issue," the researcher added -- specifically, three years, five months and 15 days. The Kremlin reused the same credentials "everywhere," reports IT News, "leaving a large number of businesses open to access from the internet." Long-time Slashdot reader Bismillah calls it "an illustration of the dangers of giving governments backdoors into systems and networks."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Right To Repair Advocates Are Hosting YouTube Town Halls To Show You How To Get Involved In the Movement

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-02 04:10
iFixit, a company that advocates for the right for users to repair their own devices, is hosting live town halls on YouTube to help get new people involved in the movement. "We're going to do them every two weeks while the legislative season is in full swing," Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, told Motherboard in an email. Motherboard reports: The first town hall aired on Thursday, and featured prominent right to repair leaders like Repair.org's Gay Gordon-Byrne and US PIRG's Nathan Proctor. The broadcast covered topics such as the benefits of right to repair to consumers and the environment, and gave out information on how to talk to legislators about right to repair laws. Thanks to the right to repair movement's efforts, 15 states have introduced right to repair legislation in 2019 so far. Repair.org and iFixit's livestream gives people in those states information to help push their legislators to vote for bills protecting the people's right to repair. People living in states where legislation isn't yet being considered can learn all about how to kickstart their own local movements. Getting involved in the push for right to repair legislation is as simple as watching a recording of the first town hall broadcast. From there, you can then head over to Repair.org's advocacy page, where, you can navigate to a direct link for each state that will tell you where right to repair legislation stands in your community, who your legislators are, and how to get in contact with them. If folks across America agitate for change, we can enjoy a future where people can freely repair their own devices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

One of the Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Working With the FBI

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-02 02:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: Family Tree DNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies whose home-testing kits enable people to trace their ancestry and locate relatives, is working with the FBI and allowing agents to search its vast genealogy database in an effort to solve violent crime cases, BuzzFeed News has learned. Federal and local law enforcement have used public genealogy databases for more than two years to solve cold cases, including the landmark capture of the suspected Golden State Killer, but the cooperation with Family Tree DNA and the FBI marks the first time a private firm has agreed to voluntarily allow law enforcement access to its database. While the FBI does not have the ability to freely browse genetic profiles in the library, the move is sure to raise privacy concerns about law enforcement gaining the ability to look for DNA matches, or more likely, relatives linked by uploaded user data. The Houston-based company, which touts itself as a pioneer in the genetic testing industry and the first to offer a direct-to-consumer test kit, disclosed its relationship with the FBI to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, saying in a statement that allowing access "would help law enforcement agencies solve violent crimes faster than ever." While Family Tree does not have a contract with the FBI, the firm has agreed to test DNA samples and upload the profiles to its database on a case-by-case basis since last fall, a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. Its work with the FBI is "a very new development, which started with one case last year and morphed," she said. To date, the company has cooperated with the FBI on fewer than 10 cases. The Family Tree database is free to access and can be used by anyone with a DNA profile to upload, not just paying customers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Foxconn Says It Will Build Wisconsin Factory After All

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-02-02 00:50
Citing a phone conversation with President Trump, Foxconn said it will proceed with plans to build a government-subsidized plant in Wisconsin to make liquid crystal display screens. The news capped a week of reversals about the Taiwanese company's plans in the state. CBS News reports: Foxconn drew headlines in 2017 when it said the company would invest $10 billion in Wisconsin and hire 13,000 people to build a factory to make screens for televisions and other devices. State leaders offered nearly $4 billion in tax incentives to help seal the deal. Last year Foxconn said it would reduce the scale of the factory from what is known as a "Gen 10" factory to "Gen 6". But this week, Foxconn executive Louis Woo seemed to move away from a factory altogether, saying the company couldn't compete in the TV screen market and would not be making LCD panels in Wisconsin. On Friday, in yet another twist, Foxconn said that, after discussions with the White House and a personal conversation between Mr. Trump and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, it will proceed with the smaller manufacturing facility. Woo told Reuters earlier this week that about three-quarters of workers in Wisconsin would be in research and development, not manufacturing, and that the facility would be more of a research hub. Foxconn, the world's largest electronics company, said Friday the campus would house both an advanced manufacturing facility and a center of "technology innovation for the region."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Will Store Russian User Data Locally, Possibly Decrypt on Request: Report

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 22:05
After resisting local government's mandates for years, Apple appears to have agreed to store Russian citizens' data within the country, a report says. From a report: According to a Foreign Policy report, Russia's telecommunications and media agency Roskomnadzor has confirmed that Apple will comply with the local data storage law, which appears to have major implications for the company's privacy initiatives. Apple's obligations in Russia would at least parallel ones in China, which required it turn over Chinese citizens' iCloud data to a partially government-operated data center last year. In addition to processing and storing Russian citizens' data on servers physically within Russia, Apple will apparently need to decrypt and produce user data for the country's security services as requested.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Net Neutrality Bill Headed To Congress

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 21:25
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said today he would "soon" introduce a bill to permanently reinstate the net neutrality rules that were repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, led by chairman Ajit Pai, in 2017. From a report: Markey's announcement comes as a federal court is set to hear oral arguments over the FCC's repeal of net neutrality regulations in 2017. Markey, who is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, has previously introduced a bill that would permanently reinstate net neutrality as a member of the House of Representatives, although the measure ultimately failed. It's unclear when the bill would be formally introduced, but Markey said it was imminent. "We will soon lay down a legislative marker in the Senate in support of net neutrality to show the American people that we are on their side in overwhelming supporting a free and open internet." Further reading: Net Neutrality Repeal at Stake as Key Court Case Starts: Oral arguments are set to begin Friday in the most prominent lawsuit challenging the federal government's repeal of broadband access rules known as net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission approved the rules in 2015 to ensure internet users equal and open access to all websites and services. The commission, under new leadership, rolled the rules back in 2017. The plaintiffs in the suit to be argued Friday, led by the internet company Mozilla and supported by 22 state attorneys general, say the commission lacked a sound legal reason for scrapping the regulations. The government is expected to argue that the rules were repealed because of the burden they imposed on broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Site Exposes How Apple Censors Apps in China

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-01 18:45
A new website exposes the extent to which Apple cooperates with Chinese government internet censorship, blocking access to Western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms, and privacy-enhancing apps that would circumvent the country's pervasive online surveillance regime. The Intercept: The new site, AppleCensorship.com , allows users to check which apps are not accessible to people in China through Apple's app store, indicating those that have been banned. It was created by researchers at GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors Chinese government internet censorship. In late 2017, Apple admitted to U.S. senators that it had removed from its app store in China more than 600 "virtual private network" apps that allow users to evade censorship and online spying. But the company never disclosed which specific apps it removed -- nor did it reveal other services it had pulled from its app store at the behest of China's authoritarian government.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.