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Consumers' Privacy Concerns Not Backed By Their Actions

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-05-31 18:50
Ian Barker, writing for BetaNews: A large majority of people say they are concerned about their online privacy, but this is not reflected in their actions according to a new study. The survey from Blue Fountain Media reveals that 90 percent of respondents are very concerned about their internet privacy and 48 percent wish 'more was being done about it.' Yet despite this 60 percent of those polled happily download apps without reading terms and conditions, and close to 20 percent still download apps even when they have read the terms and don't like them. A third of those polled say they would delete an app that tracks their whereabouts, but 50 percent say whether they would do so depends how much they like the app. Interestingly less than 10 percent believe an app that tracks their location is actually useful to them.

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Alibaba Co-founder Says Many Americans 'Want To Stop China' From Upgrading Its Tech

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-05-31 17:21
With the threat of Trump's ever-looming trade war with China and his administration's sanctions on Chinese companies like ZTE, it's hard to remember a more contentious period between the two countries in recent times. Adding fuel to the conversation, an Alibaba co-founder alleged that many Americans want to stop China from upgrading its technology and from becoming more innovative. From a report: Chinese media outlets have repeatedly asserted that American complaints about the tech sector are really just efforts to slow the country's rise as a global power. "There's nothing wrong with a country wanting to upgrade its own manufacturing sector, go higher tech, be more innovative," Tsai said. "But then, from the Chinese perspective, what we're seeing is there are a lot of people in America that want to stop China from doing that." After three decades of producing low-end manufacturing goods, Tsai said, China recognizes the need to develop better technology, upgrade its manufacturing sector and focus more on value-added areas like robotics, aeronautics and high-tech medical equipment.

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ProtonMail Launches Free ProtonVPN Service For Macs

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-05-31 16:00
The creators of popular encrypted email service ProtonMail have released a free version of their ProtonVPN software for macOS. From a report: Even though the free version does not contain the full features that you would come to expect from a paid VPN service it is more than capable of obfuscating IP addresses and your location. While ProtonVPN has already released Windows and Android versions, according to Dr. Andy Yen, CEO of ProtonMail, their reason for releasing the free macOS version "is to make the world a safer place by ensuring that citizens around the world have access to an Internet free of spying and censorship. Releasing a free VPN service for macOS is another important step in that direction."

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Google Promises Ethical Principles To Guide Development of Military AI

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-05-31 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google is drawing up a set of guidelines that will steer its involvement in developing AI tools for the military, according to a report from The New York Times. What exactly these guidelines will stipulate isn't clear, but Google says they will include a ban on the use of artificial intelligence in weaponry. The principles are expected to be announced in full in the coming weeks. They are a response to the controversy over the company's decision to develop AI tools for the Pentagon that analyze drone surveillance footage. Internal emails obtained by the Times show that Google was aware of the upset this news might cause. Chief scientist at Google Cloud, Fei-Fei Li, told colleagues that they should "avoid at ALL COSTS any mention or implication of AI" when announcing the Pentagon contract. "Weaponized AI is probably one of the most sensitized topics of AI -- if not THE most. This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google," said Li. But Google never ended up making the announcement, and it has since been on the back foot defending its decision. The company says the technology it's helping to build for the Pentagon simply "flags images for human review" and is for "non-offensive uses only." The contract is also small by industry standards -- worth just $9 million to Google, according to the Times.

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Face Recognition Is Now Being Used In Schools

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-05-31 05:00
Presto Vivace shares a report from The Intercept: Officials at the Lockport, New York, school district have purchased face recognition technology as part of a purported effort to prevent school shootings. Starting in September, all 10 of Lockport District's school buildings, just north of Buffalo, will be outfitted with a surveillance system that can identify faces and objects. The software, known as Aegis, was developed by SN Technologies Corp., a Canadian biometrics firm that specifically advertises to schools. It can be used to alert officials to whenever sex offenders, suspended students, fired employees, suspected gang members, or anyone else placed on a school's "blacklist" enters the premises. Aegis also sends alerts any time one of the "top 10" most popular guns used in school shootings appears in view of a camera. The district is spending most of its recent $4 million state "Smart School" grant on these and other enhancements to its security systems, including bullet-proof greeter windows and a mass notification system, according to the Niagra Gazette. Slashdot reader Presto Vivace adds: "This is why municipal elections are so important. Just because this stuff is on the market, does not mean your local school system has to buy it." The report notes that "all the major school shootings in the last five years in the U.S. have been carried out by current students or alumnae of the school in question." These students wouldn't have their face entered into the face recognition system's blacklist. Furthermore, "Most shooters don't brandish their guns before opening fire; and by the time they do, an object-detection algorithm that could specify the exact type of weapon they're firing would not be of much use," reports The Intercept. "... the technology would give a school, at best, only a few extra seconds in response time to a shooting."

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California Begins Trial Rollout of Digital License Plates

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-05-31 03:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Car and Driver: California is taking its first steps toward America's first digital license plate. Using display technology akin to the e-ink used in the Amazon Kindle, a Foster City, California, outfit called Reviver Auto has come up with a digital plate that is now available on a limited basis in California, with the first fleet trial taking place on a fleet of 24 City of Sacramento -- owned Chevrolet Volt cars wearing plates supplied at no cost by Reviver. The new monochrome units -- which were also just rolled out in Dubai -- comply with reflectivity standards and are GPS enabled, allowing owners to track a stolen vehicle or at least its plate. Owners accustomed to an otherwise-paperless lifestyle will appreciate that, thanks to the Reviver's Rplate Pro, registration can be paid via the internet, assuring that one never has to make a last-minute trip to the DMV's no-appointment Hell Line. It should also be a boon to companies with large fleets. What's more, it's easy to upgrade to a special-interest plate if one chooses to do so.

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California Senate Votes To Restore Net Neutrality

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 22:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The California Senate voted on Wednesday to approve a bill that would reinstate the net neutrality regulations repealed by the Federal Communications Commission in December. The bill, S.B. 822, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), was introduced in March and passed through three committees, all along party-lines. The bill was approved 23-12 and will now head to the state Assembly. The bill would reinstate rules similar to those in the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order. It forbids ISPs from throttling or blocking online content and requires them to treat all internet traffic equally. But the bill also takes the original rules further by specifically banning providers from participating in some types of "zero-rating" programs, in which certain favored content doesn't contribute to monthly data caps. If the bill goes on to pass in the Assembly, providers will no longer be able to obtain government contracts in the state of California without obeying the regulations.

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Kaspersky Suits Tossed, Fed Bans Will Continue

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 20:51
A Washington D.C. court has dismissed Kaspersky Lab's lawsuits against the U.S. government over two different rules banning Kaspersky products from federal systems. From a report: Both a federal law passed as part of last years National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA,) and a binding operational directive (BOD) issued by the Department of Homeland Security, prohibit federal agencies from using Kaspersky products. Both portrayed Kaspersky, a Moscow based company, as a national security risk. Kaspersky sued to prevent the two rules from coming into place, claiming the NDAA was a form of unlawful punishment against a specific company known as a bill of attainder. The judge reasoned that "The NDAA does not inflict 'punishment' on Kaspersky Lab. It eliminates a perceived risk to the Nation's cybersecurity and, in so doing, has the secondary effect of foreclosing one small source of revenue for a large multinational corporation." Because the NDAA ruling remains in effect, the judge ruled the BOD case was more or less a moot point. Further reading: Who's Afraid of Kaspersky?, and US Government Can't Get Controversial Kaspersky Lab Software Off Its Networks.

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Mary Meeker's 2018 Internet Trends Report

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 19:30
Mary Meeker has published her anticipated internet trends report of 2018. This year, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner released 284 slides in rapid succession, covering everything from smartphone behavior in the U.S. to tech company competition in China. Some takeaways: 1. 2017 was the first year in which smartphone unit shipments didn't grow at all. As more of the world become smartphone owners, growth has been harder and harder to come by. The same goes for internet user growth, which rose 7 percent in 2017, down from 12 percent the year before. With more than half the world online, there are fewer people left to connect. 2. People, however, are still increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours per day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption. 3. Despite the high-profile releases of $1,000 iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Notes, the global average selling price of smartphones is continuing to decline. 4. Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017. 5. Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo's installed base in the U.S. grew from 20 million in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter. 6. Tech companies are facing a "privacy paradox." They're caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumer privacy. The most popular courses on learning platform Coursera last year were (in descending order): Machine Learning (Stanford), Neural Networks & Deeper Learning (Deeplearning.ai), Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects (UC San Diego), Introduction to Mathematical Thinking (Stanford), Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Technologies (Princeton), Programming for Everybody (University of Michigan), Algorithms, Part I (Princeton), English for Career Development (University of Pennsylvania), Neural Networks / Machine Learning (University of Toronto), and Financial Markets (Yale).

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More Firms Used Facebook To Block Older Job Seekers, Lawsuit Alleges

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 15:00
A proposed class-action lawsuit alleging Facebook's ad placement tools facilitate discrimination against older job-seekers has been expanded to identify additional companies. "When Facebook's own algorithm disproportionately directs ads to younger workers at the exclusion of older workers, Facebook and the advertisers who are using Facebook as an agent to send their advertisements are engaging in disparate treatment," a communications union alleged in the amended complaint, citing a legal test for employment discrimination, filed Tuesday in San Francisco federal court. The union added claims under California's fair employment and unfair competition statutes to the lawsuit, which was initially filed in December. Chicago Tribune reports: The Communications Workers of America is suing on behalf of union members and other job seekers who allegedly missed out on employment opportunities because companies used Facebook's ad tools to target people of other ages. The original filing named defendants are Amazon.com Inc., Cox Media Group, Cox Communications Inc. and T-Mobile, as well as what the union estimates to be hundreds of employers and employment agencies who used Facebook's tools to filter out older job hunters when seeking to fill positions. The amended filing adds Ikea, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the University of Maryland Medical System to its list of companies who allegedly used Facebook's tools to filter by age. Those three entities, as well as Facebook, aren't named defendants in the lawsuit. The union alleged in its amended lawsuit that Facebook also uses age-filtering in ads intended to find its own new employees. In January, the union filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint about the alleged practice, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg News. The CWA says it has filed similar claims against dozens of companies, and that the agency has asked those employers, and Facebook, to respond to the allegations. An EEOC spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the existence of any complaints.

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Russia Demands Apple Remove Telegram From Russian App Store

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 02:20
The Russian government is asking Apple to help it block Telegram by removing it from the country's App Store. Mac Rumors reports: A Russian court in April ordered carriers and internet providers in the country to block Telegram back in April, after Telegram refused to provide Russia with backdoor access to user messages. Despite issuing the block order back in April, Russia has only been able to disrupt Telegram's operations in the country by 15 to 30 percent. Given the government's inability to block the app, Roskomnadzor, the division of the government that controls media and telecommunications, has demanded that Apple remove the Telegram app from the Russian App Store. The group first asked Apple to remove the app in April, but is appealing to Apple again. "In order to avoid possible action by Roskomnadzor for violations of the functioning of the above-mentioned Apple Inc. service, we ask you to inform us as soon as possible about your company's further actions to resolve the problematic issue," the regulator wrote. Roskomnadzor has given Apple one month to remove the Telegram app from the App Store. Roskomnadzor's director Alexander Zharov said he did not want to "forecast further actions" should Apple not comply with the request following the 30 day period.

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Canadian Hacker Sentenced To 5 Years For Yahoo Security Breach

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 01:00
The computer hacker who worked with Russian spies was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for his role in a massive security breach at Yahoo. "U.S. Judge Vince Chhabria also fined Karim Baratov $250,000 during a sentencing hearing in San Francisco," The Associated Press reports. From the report: Baratov, 23, pleaded guilty in November to nine felony hacking charges. He acknowledged in his plea agreement that he began hacking as a teen seven years ago and charged customers $100 per hack to access web-based emails. Prosecutors allege he was "an international hacker for hire" who indiscriminately hacked for clients he did not know or vet, including dozens of jobs paid for by Russia's Federal Security Service. Baratov, who was born in Kazakhstan but lived in Toronto, Canada, where he was arrested last year, charged customers to obtain another person's webmail passwords by tricking them to enter their credentials into a fake password reset page. Prosecutors said Russian security service hired Baratov to target dozens of email accounts using information obtained from the Yahoo hack. "Deterrence is particularly important in a case like this," the judge said during the hearing. He rejected prosecutors call for a prison sentence of nearly 10 years, noting Baratov's age and clean criminal record prior to his arrest. Baratov has been in custody since his arrest last year. He told the judge Tuesday that his time behind bars has been "a very humbling and eye-opening experience." He apologized to those he hacked and promised "to be a better man" and obey the law upon his release. The judge said it is likely Baratov will be deported once he is released from prison.

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People Are Using Venmo To Spy On Cheating Spouses

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-05-30 00:20
According to MarketWatch's Leslie Albrecht, people are using the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo to find out if their spouse is cheating. Some are even saying the app is more effective than Facebook at this sort of investigation. "What you're seeing on Instagram or Facebook is what they want you to see," said Abby Faber, a 19-year-old freshman at Indiana University. "They're edited pictures that they put up. But with Venmo, it's very normal casual interactions. It's what they were doing and spending money on." From the report: Some users seem to forget that their transactions are public by default, and their payment activity provides an unfiltered paper trail of what's really happening in their lives. In [Faber's] case, she checked up on her ex-boyfriend and saw he was spending money on pizza and the popular video game Fortnite -- and making regular payments to one girl, who Faber guessed is his new hook-up. Venmo has had a social component since it launched in 2009. Users see a feed of both their own friends' payments and total strangers' activity every time they open the app, and it's easy to look up users. Exact amounts aren't listed, but you can see who's paying who and which words or emoji they use to describe the payment. The social feed is Venmo's "secret sauce," said Erin Mackey, a spokeswoman for Venmo and its parent company PayPal. In fact, it's usually the reason people are logging on. "Our most active users check Venmo daily and the average user checks Venmo two to three times per week -- and it's not for payments, but to see what their friends and family are doing." The report mentions a settlement Venmo reached with the FTC last year over its public-by-default social component. The FTC accused (PDF) Venmo of "misleading" users about the fact that they needed to change two separate privacy settings to make their transactions completely private. "Venmo reached a settlement with the FTC, and a company spokesperson noted that users now have three options for controlling who can see their payments," reports MarketWatch.

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FCC Asks Amazon and eBay To Stop Selling Fake Pay TV Boxes

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-05-29 21:47
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and eBay CEO Devin Wenig asking their companies to help remove the listings for fake pay TV boxes from their respective websites. From a report: These boxes often falsely bear the FCC logo, the letter informed, and are used to perpetuate "intellectual property theft and consumer fraud." With the rise in cord cutting, a number of consumers have found it's just as easy to use an app like Kodi on a cheap streaming media device to gain access to content â" like TV shows and movies -- that they would otherwise miss out on by dropping their pay TV subscription. As an added perk, various software add-ons enable consumers to stream movies still in the theaters, too. It's an easier way to access pirated content than visiting The Pirate Bay and downloading torrent files.

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Intel Faces Age Discrimination Allegations Following Layoffs

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-05-29 20:55
Intel is under investigation for potential age discrimination in its approach to layoffs initiated in 2016, according to a report. Engadget: The Wall Street Journal has learned that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating claims that Intel's large-scale layoffs discriminated against older employees. In a May 2016 round that cut 2,300 workers, for instance, the median age of those let go was 49 -- seven years older than those who remained. The EEOC hasn't decided whether or not it will file a class-action lawsuit against Intel, but the affected people will be free to pursue civil lawsuits if the regulator doesn't find enough evidence to pursue its own case. The EEOC isn't allowed to confirm or deny investigations. However, an Intel spokesperson categorically denied that age played a role.

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White House Announces Tech Tariffs, Investment Restrictions on China

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-05-29 17:35
The White House announced this morning a plan to levy a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese tech goods -- with the exact list to be announced next month -- as well as tech investment limits for Chinese nationals and entities. From a report: It also plans to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organization relating to Chinese intellectual property abuses. The big picture: It's a show of force that has surprised some sources close to the White House who believed Trump would defer any aggression towards China until after the North Korea summit. A source close to the White House who has a keen understanding of the internal dynamics on China told me that this is an "initial move in a long negotiation that shows the Chinese Trump is very serious -- and a move to balance the criticism that he was soft on ZTE."

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PUBG and Epic Games, Makers of Two of the World's Most Popular Video Games, Set To Battle in Court

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-05-29 14:30
PUBG, an affiliate of South Korean studio Bluehole, is suing the Korean unit of North Carolina-based Epic Games, arguing that its smash hit Fortnite copies many of the characteristics of its own PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The suit, alleging copyright infringement, was filed in South Korea. From a report: PUBG introduced its game last year and it became a huge hit as players embraced the Hunger Games-style concept in which 100 players race to kill each other until there's a sole survivor. But the game's features have been embraced by rivals, prompting earlier legal action. Fortnite has a similar concept of 100 people competing with each other, but differs by letting players build fortifications similar to Minecraft and using more cartoon-like graphics aimed at younger players "This is a measure to protect our copyrights," PUBG said, declining to provide further details. Epic Games didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The two companies have a complicated relationship. Epic Games provides PUBG with its Unreal Engine technology, which was used to create PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The software is instrumental in building games and is the industry-standard for professional games developers. Both companies are also partly owned by Tencent Holdings, China's internet giant.

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PUBG and Epic Games, Maker of Two of the World's Most Popular Video Games, Set To Battle in Court

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-05-29 14:30
PUBG, an affiliate of South Korean studio Bluehole, is suing the Korean unit of North Carolina-based Epic Games, arguing that its smash hit Fortnite copies many of the characteristics of its own PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The suit, alleging copyright infringement, was filed in South Korea. From a report: PUBG introduced its game last year and it became a huge hit as players embraced the Hunger Games-style concept in which 100 players race to kill each other until there's a sole survivor. But the game's features have been embraced by rivals, prompting earlier legal action. Fortnite has a similar concept of 100 people competing with each other, but differs by letting players build fortifications similar to Minecraft and using more cartoon-like graphics aimed at younger players "This is a measure to protect our copyrights," PUBG said, declining to provide further details. Epic Games didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The two companies have a complicated relationship. Epic Games provides PUBG with its Unreal Engine technology, which was used to create PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The software is instrumental in building games and is the industry-standard for professional games developers. Both companies are also partly owned by Tencent Holdings, China's internet giant.

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Papua New Guinea Bans Facebook For a Month To Root Out 'Fake Users'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-05-29 10:30
The Papua New Guinean government will ban Facebook for a month in a bid to crack down on "fake users" and study the effects the website is having on the population. From a report: The communication minister, Sam Basil, said the shutdown would allow his department's analysts to carry out research and analysis on who was using the platform, and how they were using it, admits rising concerns about social well-being, security and productivity. "The time will allow information to be collected to identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed," Basil told the Post Courier newspaper. "This will allow genuine people with real identities to use the social network responsibly." Basil has repeatedly raised concerns about protecting the privacy of PNG's Facebook users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, which found Facebook had leaked the personal data of tens of millions of users to a private company. The minister has closely followed the US Senate inquiry into Facebook.

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Google's Chrome Web Store Spammed With Dodgy 'Pirate' Movie Links

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-05-28 20:34
Unknown third parties appear to be exploiting the Chrome Store's 'theme' section to offer visitors access to a wide range of pirate movies including "Black Panther", "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Rampage." From a report: When clicking through to the page offering Ready Player One, for example, users are presented with a theme that apparently allows them to watch the movie online in "Full HD Online 4k." Of course, the whole scheme is a dubious scam which eventually leads users to Vioos dot co, a platform that tries very hard to give the impression of being a pirate streaming portal but actually provides nothing of use. In fact, as soon as one clicks the play button on movies appearing on Vioos dot co, visitors are re-directed to another site called Zumastar which asks people to "create a free account" to "access unlimited downloads and streaming." Google services have a history of being exploited.

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