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Canada Civil Liberties Group Argues Toronto Shouldn't Be 'Google's Lab Rat'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 20:34
"A civil liberties group in Canada is suing three tiers of government over potential privacy issues posed by Sidewalk Labs's plan to develop a 12-acre smart city in Toronto, which will be approved or denied later this summer," reports Fast Company. The fight centers around a taxpayer-funded organization jointly created by the federal, provincial, and municipal governments: The Canadian Civil Liberties Association claims that Waterfront Toronto, let alone Sidewalk Labs, doesn't have the jurisdiction to make rules about people's privacy. The government "sold out our constitutional rights to freedom from surveillance and sold it to the global surveillance mammoth of behavioral data collection: Google," said Michael Bryant, the executive director and general counsel of the CCLA, in a press conference.... "Our job at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is to say to all three levels of government that Canadians should not be Google's lab rat. This lab needs to be shut down and reset...." Ann Cavoukian, the former Information and Privacy Commissioner for the Canadian province of Ontario who joined the project early, quit in October 2018. The reason? Sidewalk Labs had decided not to require that all data collected by third parties in the development be instantly de-identified at the source, which would mean that sensitive data like people's faces or license plates could still potentially be used for corporate profit. "I knew the smart city of privacy wasn't going to happen," she says. "That's why I resigned: I said, I can't go along with it...." "If I was still involved, I'd want more decentralized models of data where the individual could truly retain control of the data," she says, citing a new, privacy-centric model from the web's father, Tim Berners-Lee, to decentralize the web and take back control from the corporations that run it. In a statement Sidewalk Labs said they favor a data trust run by an independent third party partnering with the government to benefit the community and "spur innovation and investment" while protecting privacy. "Sidewalk Labs fully supports a robust and healthy discussion regarding privacy, data ownership, and governance. But this debate must be rooted in fact, not fiction and fear-mongering." But the CCLA's web site argues that unlawful surveillance "is wrong whether done by data profiteers or the state." The article also quotes their general counsel's complaint that the government has "outsourced our privacy rights and the supervision of our privacy rights and our surveillance to the very company that's doing the surveillance."

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Corporate Surveillance: When Employers Collect Data on Their Workers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 19:34
An anonymous reader quotes CNBC: The emergence of sensor and other technologies that let businesses track, listen to and even watch employees while on company time is raising concern about corporate levels of surveillance... Earlier this year, Amazon received a patent for an ultrasonic bracelet that can detect a warehouse worker's location and monitor their interaction with inventory bins by using ultrasonic sound pulses. The system can track when and where workers put in or remove items from the bins. An Amazon spokesperson said the company has "no plans to introduce this technology" but that, if implemented in the future, could free up associates' hands, which now hold scanners to check and fulfill orders. Walmart last year patented a system that lets the retail giant listen in on workers and customers. The system can track employee "performance metrics" and ensure that employees are performing their jobs efficiently and correctly by listening for sounds such as rustling of bags or beeps of scanners at the checkout line and can determine the number of items placed in bags and number of bags. Sensors can also capture sounds from guests talking while in line and determine whether employees are greeting guests. Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the company doesn't have any immediate plans to implement the system. Logistics company UPS has been using sensors in their delivery trucks to track usage to make sure drivers are wearing seat belts and maintenance is up to date. Companies are also starting to analyze digital data, such as emails and calendar info, in the hopes of squeezing more productivity out of their workers. Microsoft's Workplace Analytics lets employers monitor data such as time spent on email, meeting time or time spent working after hours. Several enterprises, including Freddie Mac and CBRE, have tested the system. A senior staff attorney for the EFF argues that new consumer privacy laws may not apply to employees. The article also cites a recent survey by Accenture in which 62% of executives "said their companies are using new technologies to collect data on people -- from the quality of work to safety and well-being" -- even though "fewer than a third said they feel confident they are using the data responsibly." Yet the leader of Accenture's talent and organization practice argues that workforce data "could boost revenue by 6.4%. This has encouraged workers to be open to responsible use of data, but they want to know that they will get benefits and return on their time."

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'Incognito Mode' Isn't Really Private. Try Browser Compartmentalization

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 16:34
tedlistens writes: One of the most common techniques people think can help hide their activity is the use of an "incognito" mode in a browser," writes Michael Grothaus at Fast Company. But "despite what most people assume, incognito modes are primarily built to block traces of your online activity being left on your computer -- not the web. Just because you are using incognito mode, that doesn't mean your ISP and sites like Google, Facebook, and Amazon can't track your activity." However, there's still a way to brew your own, safer "incognito mode." It's called browser compartmentalization. Grothaus writes: "The technique sees users using two or even three browsers on the same computer. However, instead of switching between browsers at random, users of browser compartmentalization dedicate one browser to one type of internet activity, and another browser to another type of internet activity. Specifically, the article recommends one browser for sites you need to log into, and another for random web surfing and any web searches. "By splitting up your web activity between two browsers, you'll obtain the utmost privacy and anonymity possible without sacrificing convenience or the ease of use of the websites you need to log in to." It recommends choosing a privacy-focused browser like Brave, Firefox, Apple's Safari, or Microsoft's Edge. "As for Chrome: It's made by Google, whose sole aim is to know everything you do online, so it's probably best to stay away from Chrome if you value your privacy." The article is part of a series titled "The Privacy Divide," which explores "misconceptions, disparities, and paradoxes that have developed around our privacy and its broader impacts on society."

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26 States Now Ban Or Restrict Community Broadband, Report Finds

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: A new report has found that 26 states now either restrict or outright prohibit towns and cities from building their own broadband networks. Quite often the laws are directly written by the telecom sector, and in some instances ban towns and cities from building their own broadband networks -- even if the local ISP refuses to provide service. The full report by BroadbandNow, a consumer-focused company that tracks US broadband availability, indicates the total number of state restrictions on community broadband has jumped from 20 such restrictions since the group's last report in 2018. BroadbandNow's report looks at each state's restrictions individually, and found that while some states simply banned community broadband outright (a notable assault on voters' democratic rights), others impose clever but onerous restrictions on precisely how a local network can be funded, who they can partner with, or how quickly (and where) they're allowed to grow. In Tennessee, for example, state laws allow publicly-owned electric utilities to provide broadband, "but limits that service provision to within their electric service areas." Such restrictions have made it hard for EPB -- the highest rated ISP in America last year according to Consumer Reports -- to expand service into new areas.

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Hacker Dumps Thousands of Sensitive Mexican Embassy Documents Online

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A hacker stole thousands of documents from Mexico's embassy in Guatemala and posted them online. The hacker, who goes by the online handle @0x55Taylor, tweeted a link to the data earlier this week. The data is no longer available for download after the cloud host pulled the data offline, but the hacker shared the document dump with TechCrunch to verify its contents. The hacker told TechCrunch in a message: "A vulnerable server in Guatemala related to the Mexican embassy was compromised and I downloaded all the documents and databases." He said he contacted Mexican officials but he was ignored. More than 4,800 documents were stolen, most of which related to the inner workings of the Mexican embassy in the Guatemalan capital, including its consular activities, such as recognizing births and deaths, dealing with Mexican citizens who have been incarcerated or jailed and the issuing of travel documents. We found more than a thousand highly sensitive identity documents of primarily Mexican citizens and diplomats -- including scans of passports, visas, birth certificates and more -- but also some Guatemalan citizens. Several documents contained scans of the front and back of payment cards. The stolen data also included dozens of letters granting diplomatic rights, privileges and immunities to embassy staff.

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West Virginia Will Allow 'Blockchain Voting' In the 2020 Election

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 04:00
Military voters stationed overseas will be able to cast their votes for the 2020 presidential election via a mobile app that uses a private blockchain. MIT Technology Review reports: Donald Kersey, West Virginia's elections director, tells the cryto news website LongHash that he believes the app, created by a startup called Voatz, can enhance participation by overseas voters. Turnout among this group is very low, in part because the process of receiving a ballot and securely returning it on time is often not straightforward. This is the rationale behind the decision by a number of states to allow overseas military voters to return their ballots via e-mail. West Virginia apparently is of the mind that Voatz's private blockchain will make this kind of online voting more secure. The state first piloted the program during the 2018 midterms. Though Kersey admits there's no telling for certain whether the app can be compromised, West Virginia is undeterred, especially given the "really good response rate" officials saw during the midterms last year. "We are not saying mobile voting is the best solution to the problem, we are not saying that blockchain technology is the best solution to storage of security data," Kersey tells LongHash. "What we are saying though is that it's better than what we have."

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Should Vendors Start Adding Physical On/Off Switches To Devices That Can Spy On Us?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 03:20
Larry Sanger, American internet project developer and co-founder of Wikipedia, argues in a blog post that vendors must start adding physical on/off switches to webcams, smartphone cameras/mics, and other devices that spy on us. He writes: Have you ever noticed that your webcam doesn't have an "off" switch? I looked on Amazon, and I couldn't find any webcams for sale that had a simple on/off switch. When I thought I found one, but it turned out just to have a light that turns on when the camera is in use, and off when not -- not a physical switch you can press or slide. The "clever" solution is supposed to be webcam covers (something Mark Zuckerberg had a hand in popularizing); you can even get a webcam (or a laptop) with such a cover built in. How convenient! I've used tape, which works fine. But a cover doesn't cover up the microphone, which could be turned on without your knowledge. [...] It's almost as if the vendors of common, must-have devices want to make it possible to spy on us. An enterprising journalist should ask why they don't make such switches. They certainly have deliberately made it hard for us to stop being spied upon -- even though we're their customers. Think about that. We're their bread and butter, and we're increasingly and rightly concerned about our security. Yet they keep selling us these insecure devices. That's just weird, isn't it? What the hell is going on? [...] If your webcam, or your phone, or any other device with an Internet-connected camera or microphone (think about how many you own) has ever been hacked, these [hardware vendors like Logitech and Apple and large software vendors like Skype and Snapchat] are partly to blame if it was always-on by design. They have a duty to worry about how their products make their users less secure. They haven't been doing this duty. Sanger goes on to urge consumers to care more about our privacy and security, and demand that vendors give us an off switch. "I think we consumers should demand that webcams, smart phones, smart speakers, and laptop cameras and microphones -- and any other devices with cameras and microphones that are connected to the Internet -- be built with hardware 'off' switches that make it impossible for the camera and microphone to be operated," writes Sanger. Do you agree?

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NYC Subway Denies Using 'Real-Time Face Recognition Screens' in Times Square

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 02:01
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has denied suggestions that it's putting facial recognition cameras in the subway, saying that a trick designed to scare fare-dodgers was misinterpreted. From a report: "There is no capability to recognize or identify individuals and absolutely no plan" to do so with NYC subway cameras, says MTA spokesperson Maxwell Young. Young was responding to a photo taken in the Times Square subway station by New York Times analyst Alice Fung, which shows a prominently placed monitor with the words "RECORDING IN PROGRESS" and "Please Pay Your Fare" superimposed on a video feed. "Hey @MTA, who are you sharing the recordings with?" Fung asked. The monitor featured the name Wisenet, a security company that prominently advertises facial recognition capabilities, and the video feed traced squares around subjects' faces. [...] Young says that the recordings aren't being monitored to identify individuals in the footage, though. "There is absolutely no facial recognition component to these cameras, no facial recognition software, or anything else that could be used to automatically identify people in any way, and we have no plans to add facial recognition software to these cameras in the future," he tells The Verge. "These cameras are purely for the purpose of deterring fare evasion -- if you see yourself on a monitor, you're less likely to evade the fare."

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FTC May Hold Zuckerberg Personally Responsible For Facebook Privacy Failures

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-04-20 00:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Federal Trade Commission officials are discussing whether to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for Facebook's privacy failures, according to reports by The Washington Post and NBC News. Facebook has been trying to protect Zuckerberg from that possibility in negotiations with the FTC, the Post wrote. Federal regulators investigating Facebook are "exploring his past statements on privacy and weighing whether to seek new, heightened oversight of his leadership," the Post reported, citing anonymous sources who are familiar with the FTC discussions. "The discussions about how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook's data lapses have come in the context of wide-ranging talks between the Federal Trade Commission and Facebook that could settle the government's more than year-old probe," the Post wrote. According to NBC, FTC officials are "discussing whether and how to hold Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for the company's history of mismanaging users' private data." However, NBC said its sources "wouldn't elaborate on what measures are specifically under consideration." According to the Post, one idea raised during the probe "could require [Zuckerberg] or other executives to certify the company's privacy practices periodically to the board of directors." But it's not clear how likely the FTC is to target Zuckerberg in a final settlement, and "Facebook has fought fiercely to shield Zuckerberg as part of the negotiations, one of the sources familiar with the probe said," the Post wrote.

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Utah Bans Police From Searching Digital Data Without a Warrant

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-04-19 21:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: In a major win for digital privacy, Utah became the first state in the nation to ban warrantless searches of electronic data. Under the Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act (HB 57), state law enforcement can only access someone's transmitted or stored digital data (including writing, images, and audio) if a court issues a search warrant based on probable cause. Simply put, the act ensures that search engines, email providers, social media, cloud storage, and any other third-party "electronic communications service" or "remote computing service" are fully protected under the Fourth Amendment (and its equivalent in the Utah Constitution). HB 57 also contains provisions that promote government transparency and accountability. In most cases, once agencies execute a warrant, they must then notify owners within 14 days that their data has been searched. Even more critically, HB 57 will prevent the government from using illegally obtained digital data as evidence in court. In a concession to law enforcement, the act will let police obtain location-tracking information or subscriber data without a warrant if there's an "imminent risk" of death, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, livestreamed sexual exploitation, kidnapping, or human trafficking. Backed by the ACLU of Utah and the Libertas Institute, the act went through five different substitute versions before it was finally approved -- without a single vote against it -- last month. HB 57 is slated to take effect in mid-May.

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Millions of Rehab Records Exposed on Unsecured Database

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-04-19 18:44
Records for potentially tens of thousands of patients seeking treatment at several addiction rehabilitation centers were exposed in an unsecured online database, an independent researcher revealed Friday. From a report: The 4.91 million documents included patients' names, as well as details of the treatments they received, according to Justin Paine, the researcher. Each patient had multiple records in the database, and Paine estimates that the records may cover about 145,000 patients. Paine notified the main treatment center, as well as the website hosting company, when he discovered the database. The data has since been made unavailable to the public. Paine found the data by typing keywords into the Shodan search engine that indexes servers and other devices that connect to the internet. "Given the stigma that surrounds addiction this is almost certainly not information the patients want easily accessible," Paine said in a blog post that he shared with CNET ahead of publication. Paine hunts for unsecured databases in his free time. His day job is head of trust and safety at web security company Cloudflare. The find is the latest example of a widespread problem: Any organization can easily store customer data on cloud-based services now, but few have the expertise to set them up securely. As a result, countless unsecured databases sit online and can be found by anyone with a few search skills. Many of those databases are full of sensitive personal data.

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Why Juul and Republican Lawmakers Want To Raise the Minimum Vaping Age To 21

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-04-19 02:10
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a new bill today that would block all tobacco and vape purchases for Americans under 21 years old, citing widespread public health risks. Surprisingly, vaping companies don't appear to be too concerned, as Juul's CEO Kevin Burns issued this statement supporting the measure: "JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world and to accomplish that goal, we must restrict youth usage of vapor products. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem -- sharing by legal-age peers -- and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth usage rates." The Verge says it all has to do with Big Vape's image: Over the past year, Juul has come under the FDA's fire for its massive popularity among young people. So supporting a higher minimum age could help its image and take some of the regulatory pressure off. From an industry perspective, the move is fairly low risk since the product is already embedded in the population, and people under age 21 may already be addicted, says Kathleen Hoke, a law professor at the University of Maryland. "We can change this age to 21 but we're going to have to work extraordinarily hard at the state and local level to actually get cigarettes or vape products or chew out of the hands of the 18 to 20 year olds," she says. [T]he bill's success will depend on how it's crafted. Rob Crane, professor of family medicine at The Ohio State University and president of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, is skeptical that it will really hold tobacco retailers responsible for selling to people who are underage. From the more than 450 cities and counties that have passed Tobacco 21 laws, "what we have found that does work is when you make local health departments under civil law do the enforcement," he says. "For a rogue retailer that keeps on selling, there's a risk of license suspension." But if the law winds up penalizing convenience store clerks who sell vapes and tobacco products to kids, the retailer who's profiting gets off scot-free, he says. In the end, Crane is skeptical of the motivations behind the bill, no matter what form it takes. "This is all a PR move to keep Juul out of the hot seat from the FDA."

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Netflix Will Invest Up To $100 Million In a NYC Production Hub

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-04-19 00:10
Netflix is establishing an NYC production hub that will include six sound stages in Brooklyn and an expanded office in Manhattan's Flatiron District. "It should create 'hundreds of jobs' (including 127 executive, marketing and production development roles) over the next five years, and should foster up to $100 million in investments, according to Governor Cuomo," reports Engadget. From the report: The sound stages will also have the capacity for "thousands" of jobs, Cuomo said, although that's likely to vary widely based on what's in production at any given time. Not surprisingly, there are financial incentives attached to the move. The state is offering up to $4 million in tax credits over 10 years, although those are contingent on Netflix's ability to both create the 127 promised office jobs and keep the 32 existing positions.

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Ajit Pai Proposes Blocking China-Owned Telecom From US Phone Market

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-04-18 22:52
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed denying China Mobile USA's application to offer telecom services in the U.S., saying the Chinese government-owned company poses a security risk. The FCC is scheduled to vote on an order to deny the application at its open meeting on May 9, and Pai yesterday announced his opposition to China Mobile entering the U.S. market. "After reviewing the evidence in this proceeding, including the input provided by other federal agencies, it is clear that China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks," Pai said. "Therefore, I do not believe that approving it would be in the public interest. I hope that my colleagues will join me in voting to reject China Mobile's application." China Mobile filed its application in 2011, and has repeatedly complained about the government's lengthy review process. According to Pai's announcement, China Mobile's application sought authority "to provide international facilities-based and resale telecommunications services between the U.S. and foreign destinations." In simpler terms, the company was seeking "a license to connect calls between the United States and other nations" and "was not seeking to provide domestic cell service and compete in the country with businesses like AT&T and Verizon," The New York Times wrote yesterday. An FCC official told reporters that such calls "could be intercepted for surveillance and make the domestic network vulnerable to hacking and other risks," the Times wrote.

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Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Says Tech Companies Can Regulate Themselves

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-04-18 18:00
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a new interview rejected the notion that Capitol Hill has a role to play in regulating big tech companies, breaking with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent willingness to work with lawmakers. From a report: "The problem is if you write a rule, inevitably, you fix the solution on a specific solution, but the technology moves so quickly," Schmidt says. "It's generally better to let the tech companies do these things," he adds. Schmidt, who ran Google from 2001 to 2011, acknowledged that over his tenure the company did not understand the scale or severity of problems originating from its products. But since then, the company has addressed the issues, he said. "Our response has, in my view, been very strong," he said. "Today, we have all sorts of software that enforces policies of one kind or another. And people complain about the rules, but the fact of the matter is the rules are published." [...] Schmidt suggested that even if Congress does pass new regulations on tech companies, issues will continue to originate on tech platforms because the sites display unpredictable human conduct. Content moderators and other employees need to ensure that users abide by the rules of a given platform, he said. "All of these platforms that are human centric will have to have a component of them, which is...watching what the users are doing and making sure they're consistent with their terms of service and the law," he says. "These issues are ongoing, because these are human-based systems," he says. "And so humans will continue to use them. They will continue to do unexpected things. There will continue to be surprises." Further reading: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Predicts the Internet Will Split in Two By 2028 -- and One Part Will Be Led By China.

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Facebook 'Unintentionally Uploaded' Email Contacts From 1.5M Users

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-04-18 03:41
Facebook "unintentionally" harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million of its users during the past three years. From a report: The activity came to light when a security researcher noticed that Facebook was asking users to enter their email passwords to verify their identities when signing up for an account, according to Business Insider, which previously reported on the practice. Those who did enter their passwords then saw a pop-up message that said it was "importing" their contacts -- without first asking permission, BI reported. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that 1.5 million people's contacts were collected in this manner since May 2016 to help build Facebook's web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.

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Student Used 'USB Killer' Device To Destroy $58,000 Worth of College Computers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-04-18 02:10
A former student of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, has pled guilty to charges that he destroyed tens of thousands of dollars worth of campus computers using a USB device designed to instantly overwhelm and fry their circuitry. The plea was announced today by the Department of Justice, FBI, and Albany Police Department. The Verge reports: Vishwanath Akuthota, the former student, now faces up to 10 years in prison (with up to three years of supervision after release) and a fine totaling up to $250,000. He was arrested and taken into custody in North Carolina on February 22nd, just over a week after he went on a spree of inserting the "USB Killer" device into 66 of Saint Rose's computers around various locations on campus. Such devices can be easily and freely purchased online and can overload the surge protection in many PCs. Akuthota, 27, apparently made video recordings of himself inserting the malicious USB device into the computers and said "I'm going to kill this guy" as the PCs were overloaded and permanently ruined. So it's fair to say the FBI and APD had all the evidence they needed. In total, Akuthota caused $58,471 worth of damage. As part of his guilty plea, he has agreed to pay back that amount to the college, a small private school in New York's capital city. The Verge reached out to The College of Saint Rose for a statement on today's news, but a spokesperson said the college had been asked by law enforcement to refrain from commenting.

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Microsoft Turned Down Facial-Recognition Sales On Human Rights Concerns

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-04-18 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Microsoft recently rejected a California law enforcement agency's request to install facial recognition technology in officers' cars and body cameras due to human rights concerns, company President Brad Smith said on Tuesday. Microsoft concluded it would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning because the artificial intelligence has been trained on mostly white and male pictures. AI has more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, multiple research projects have found. On the other hand, Microsoft did agree to provide the technology to an American prison, after the company concluded that the environment would be limited and that it would improve safety inside the unnamed institution. Smith explained the decisions as part of a commitment to human rights that he said was increasingly critical as rapid technological advances empower governments to conduct blanket surveillance, deploy autonomous weapons and take other steps that might prove impossible to reverse. Smith also said at a Stanford University conference that Microsoft had declined a deal to install facial recognition on cameras blanketing the capital city of an unnamed country that the nonprofit Freedom House had deemed not free. Smith said it would have suppressed freedom of assembly there.

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Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou To Run For President of Taiwan

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-04-17 22:50
hackingbear writes: Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of electronics giant Foxconn, is stepping down from his role as chairman to run for president of Taiwan. Taiwan broke off from mainland China in 1949 after a civil war and is officially known as Republic of China; its legal territory still covers all of China. He will stand in the primaries of the opposition party Kuomintang (KMT), promoting a more China-friendly policy during what is currently a period of heightened tension with Beijing. Gou says he wants to improve relations with mainland China -- something which is quite feasible given his plentiful resources and experience. Foxconn already operates numerous factories in China, employing hundreds of thousands of workers, plus Gou has an alliance with U.S. President Donald Trump, thanks to Foxconn's plans to build a $10 billion facility in Wisconsin. This is certainly a relationship that could give Gou a lot of clout if necessary. Unification with China versus going independent is a political issue defining the politics of Taiwan, serving a role similar to that of abortion and immigration issues in U.S. politics.

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T-Mobile/Sprint Merger Is In Danger of Being Rejected By DOJ

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-04-17 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint are facing potential rejection of their proposed merger at the U.S. Department of Justice. DOJ staffers "have told T-Mobile US and Sprint that their planned merger is unlikely to be approved as currently structured," The Wall Street Journal reported today, citing people familiar with the matter. "In a meeting earlier this month, Justice Department staff members laid out their concerns with the all-stock deal and questioned the companies' arguments that the combination would produce important efficiencies for the merged firm," the Journal wrote. DOJ staffers' recommendations aren't the final word at the agency. The department's antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, would decide whether to challenge or allow the merger. The Justice Department's antitrust division is reviewing the merger and could file a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to block the deal. Success isn't guaranteed, a fact the DOJ was reminded of when a U.S. District Court judge allowed AT&T to buy Time Warner despite DOJ opposition. The DOJ could also approve the merger with conditions, but that would require agreement with T-Mobile and Sprint on what those conditions would be. "T-Mobile and Sprint could offer concessions, such as assets sales, to address the government's concerns," the Journal wrote. Sprint shares "are trading at a roughly 20 percent discount to the price implied by the all-stock deal, signaling Wall Street doubts about the combination's chances," the report also said. T-Mobile CEO John Legere denied the report in a tweet, saying that "[t]he premise of this story... is simply untrue. Out of respect for the process, we have no further comment." Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure also claimed that the "article is not accurate," adding that Sprint "continue[s] to have discussions with regulators about our proposed merger."

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