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US Announces Plans To Withdraw From 144-Year-Old Postal Treaty

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-10-18 15:00
JoeyRox writes: The Trump Administration announced today that it's intending to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, an international postage rate system overseen by the United Nations. "The decision was borne out of frustration with discounts imposed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) that allow China and some other nations to ship products into the U.S. at cheaper rates than American companies receive to ship domestically," reports The Hill. "The administration argues the system undercuts U.S. manufacturers and allows China to flood the market with cheap goods." The U.S. is hoping to renegotiate the rates, known as terminal dues, but was frustrated with opposition from other nations in the UPU. According to the report, "The withdrawal would not take effect for one year, allowing the U.S. some time to broker a new deal." "The 144-year-old UPU sets fees that postal services charge to deliver mail and packages from foreign carriers," reports The Hill. "For decades, developing nations have been allowed to pay lower rates than wealthier nations. China has fallen under the developing nation category, a designation the U.S. says it no longer deserves because of its booming economy." The Trump administration wants to move to a system of "self-declared rates" that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to set its own prices for shipping international packages of all sizes. As it stands, the P.O. is only allowed to use self-declared rates on packages exceeding 4.4 pounds.

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The Future of the Cloud Depends On Magnetic Tape

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-10-18 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Although the century-old technology has disappeared from most people's daily view, magnetic tape lives on as the preferred medium for safely archiving critical cloud data in case, say, a software bug deletes thousands of Gmail messages, or a natural disaster wipes out some hard drives. The world's electronic financial, health, and scientific records, collected on state-of-the-art cloud servers belonging to Amazon.com, Microsoft, Google, and others, are also typically recorded on tape around the same time they are created. Usually the companies keep one copy of each tape on-site, in a massive vault, and send a second copy to somebody like Iron Mountain. Unfortunately for the big tech companies, the number of tape manufacturers has shrunk over the past three years from six to just two -- Sony and Fujifilm -- and each seems to think that's still one too many. The Japanese companies have said the tape business is a mere rounding error as far as they're concerned, but each has spent millions of dollars arguing before the U.S. International Trade Commission to try to ban the other from importing tapes to America. [...] The tech industry worries that if Sony or Fujifilm knocks the other out of the U.S., the winner will hike prices, meaning higher costs for the big cloud providers; for old-line storage makers, including IBM, HPE, and Quantum; and, ultimately, for all those companies' customers. [...] Although Sony and Fujifilm have each assured the trade commission that they could fill the gap if their rival's products were shut out of the U.S., the need for storage continues to grow well beyond old conceptions. Construction is slated to begin as soon as next year on the Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope with thousands of antennas in South Africa and Australia meant to detect signals emitted more than 13 billion years ago. It's been estimated the project could generate an exabyte (1 billion gigabytes) of raw data every day, the equivalent of 300 times the material in the U.S. Library of Congress and a huge storage headache all by itself.

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Facebook Lured Advertisers By Inflating Ad-watch Times Up To 900 Percent

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-10-18 00:50
Zorro shares a report from The Mercury News: Not only did Facebook inflate ad-watching metrics by up to 900 percent (Warning: source may be paywalled, alternative source), it knew for more than a year that its average-viewership estimates were wrong and kept quiet about it, a new legal filing claims. A group of small advertisers suing the Menlo Park social media titan alleged in the filing that Facebook "induced" advertisers to buy video ads on its platform because advertisers believed Facebook users were watching video ads for longer than they actually were. That "unethical, unscrupulous" behavior by Facebook constituted fraud because it was "likely to deceive" advertisers, the filing alleged. The latest allegations arose out of a lawsuit that the advertisers filed against Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook in federal court in 2016 over alleged inflation of ad-watching metrics. "Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false," the company told The Wall Street Journal. "We told our customers about the error when we discovered it -- and updated our help center to explain the issue." "The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status to bring other advertisers into the legal action, plus unspecified damages," reports The Mercury News. "They also want the court to order a third-party audit of Facebook's video-ad metrics."

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Apple Launches Portal For US Users To Download Their Data

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-10-17 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple on Wednesday began allowing users in the U.S. to download a copy of all of the data that they have stored with the company from a single online portal. U.S. users will be able to download data such as all of their address book contacts, calendar appointments, music streaming preferences and details about past Apple product repairs. Previously, customers could get their data by contacting Apple directly. In May, when Apple first launched the online privacy portal, it only allowed U.S. users to either correct their data or delete their Apple accounts.

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Seattle Startup Vets Takes on Google with Helm, a New $499 Personal Email Server

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-10-17 18:53
A Seattle-area startup is aiming to take on giants such as Google and change the way we do email with a new physical personal email server. From a report: Helm today unveiled its $499 device that lets consumers send and receive email from their own domain, in addition to saving contacts and calendar events. It's a bold bet that aims to provide comfort at a time when privacy and security issues related to personal data hosted by big tech companies in the cloud are top of mind. The idea comes from Giri Sreenivas and Dirk Sigurdson, two entrepreneurs who already sold a security startup and raised a $4 million seed round from top venture capital firms last year. The device is about the size of a router and looks like an upside-down book placed on a table. It connects to a home network and pairs with a mobile app that lets users create their own domain name, passwords, and recovery keys. Helm support standard protocols and works with regular email clients such as Outlook or the Mail app, with encryption protecting connection between the device and the apps.

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Australian Federal Court Grants Publisher of GTA V Game Right To Search Homes of Five People Accused of Making Cheat Software

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-10-17 16:05
The publisher of video game Grand Theft Auto V has been granted the right to search the homes of five people accused of making cheat software. From a report: The court order allowed Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, to search two properties in Melbourne, Australia, for evidence related to a cheat known as Infamous. The Australian federal court has also frozen the assets of the five, who have not yet filed a defence. The cheat went offline six months ago. It allowed players who paid about $40 to manipulate the gaming environment, generate virtual currency and use a "god mode" feature that makes players invincible.

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'Do Not Track,' the Privacy Tool Used By Millions of People, Doesn't Do Anything

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-10-17 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: When you go into the privacy settings on your browser, there's a little option there to turn on the "Do Not Track" function, which will send an invisible request on your behalf to all the websites you visit telling them not to track you. A reasonable person might think that enabling it will stop a porn site from keeping track of what she watches, or keep Facebook from collecting the addresses of all the places she visits on the internet, or prevent third-party trackers she's never heard of from following her from site to site. According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults use "Do Not Track" to protect their privacy. (Our own stats at Gizmodo Media Group show that 9% of visitors have it turned on.) We've got bad news for those millions of privacy-minded people, though: "Do Not Track" is like spray-on sunscreen, a product that makes you feel safe while doing little to actually protect you. Yahoo and Twitter initially said they would respect it, only to later abandon it. The most popular sites on the internet, from Google and Facebook to Pornhub and xHamster, never honored it in the first place. Facebook says that while it doesn't respect DNT, it does "provide multiple ways for people to control how we use their data for advertising." (That is of course only true so far as it goes, as there's some data about themselves users can't access.) From the department of irony, Google's Chrome browser offers users the ability to turn off tracking, but Google itself doesn't honor the request, a fact Google added to its support page some time in the last year. [...] "It is, in many respects, a failed experiment," said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant computer science professor at Princeton University. "There's a question of whether it's time to declare failure, move on, and withdraw the feature from web browsers." That's a big deal coming from Mayer: He spent four years of his life helping to bring Do Not Track into existence in the first place. Only a handful of sites actually respect the request -- the most prominent of which are Pinterest and Medium (Pinterest won't use offsite data to target ads to a visitor who's elected not to be tracked, while Medium won't send their data to third parties.)

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Chrome 70 Arrives With Option To Disable Linked Sign-Ins, PWAs On Windows, and AV1 Decoder

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-10-17 02:30
Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Chrome 70 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The release includes an option to disable linking Google site and Chrome sign-ins, Progressive Web Apps on Windows, the ability for users to restrict extensions' access to a custom list of sites, an AV1 decoder, and plenty more. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome's built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome. An anonymous Slashdot reader adds: "The most anticipated addition to today's release is a new Chrome setting panel option that allows users to control how the browser behaves when they log into a Google account," reports ZDNet. "Google added this new setting after the company was accused last month of secretly logging users into their Chrome browser accounts whenever they logged into a Google website." Chrome 70 also comes with support for the AV1 video format, TLS 1.3 final, per-site Chrome extension permissions, TouchID and fingerprint sensor authentication, the Shape Detection API (gives Chrome the ability to detect and identify faces, barcodes, and text inside images or webcam feeds), and, last but not least, 23 security fixes.

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Amazon Worker Pushes Bezos To Stop Selling Facial Recognition Tech To Police

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-10-17 00:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: An Amazon employee is seeking to put new pressure on the company to stop selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement. An anonymous worker, whose employment at Amazon was verified by Medium, published an op-ed on that platform on Tuesday criticizing the company's facial recognition work and urging the company to respond to an open letter delivered by a group of employees. The employee wrote that the government has used surveillance tools in a way that disproportionately hurts "communities of color, immigrants, and people exercising their First Amendment rights." "Ignoring these urgent concerns while deploying powerful technologies to government and law enforcement agencies is dangerous and irresponsible," the person wrote. "That's why we were disappointed when Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector of Amazon Web Services, recently said that Amazon 'unwaveringly supports' law enforcement, defense, and intelligence customers, even if we don't 'know everything they're actually utilizing the tool for.'" The op-ed comes one day after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defended technology companies working with the federal government on matters of defense during Wired's ongoing summit in San Francisco. "If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble," Bezos said on Monday.

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New York Attorney General Expands Inquiry Into Net Neutrality Comments

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-10-16 21:46
The New York attorney general subpoenaed more than a dozen telecommunications trade groups, lobbying contractors and Washington advocacy organizations on Tuesday, seeking to determine whether the groups sought to sway a critical federal decision on internet regulation last year by submitting millions of fraudulent public comments, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. From a report: Some of the groups played a highly public role in last year's battle, when the Republican-appointed majority on the Federal Communications Commission voted to revoke a regulation issued under President Barack Obama that classified internet service providers as public utilities. The telecommunications industry bitterly opposed the rules -- which imposed what supporters call "net neutrality" on internet providers -- and enthusiastically backed their repeal under President Trump. The attorney general, Barbara D. Underwood, last year began investigating the source of more than 22 million public comments submitted to the F.C.C. during the battle. Millions of comments were provided using temporary or duplicate email addresses, others recycled identical phrases, and seven popular comments, repeated verbatim, accounted for millions more.

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Facebook Plans Camera-Equipped TV Device, Report Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-10-16 20:05
Facebook is developing hardware for the TV, news outlet Cheddar reported Tuesday. From the report: The world's largest social network is building a camera-equipped device that sits atop a TV and allows video calling along with entertainment services like Facebook's YouTube competitor, according to people familiar with the matter. The project, internally codenamed "Ripley," uses the same core technology as Facebook's recently announced Portal video chat device for the home. Portal begins shipping next month and uses A.I. to automatically detect and follow people as they move throughout the frame during a video call. Facebook currently plans to announce project Ripley in the spring of 2019, according to a person with direct knowledge of the project. But the device is still in development and the date could be changed.

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99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality, Independent Analysis Finds

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-10-15 22:40
When a Stanford researcher removed all the duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, he found that 99.7 percent of public comments -- about 800,000 in all -- were pro-net neutrality. From a report: "With the fog of fraud and spam lifted from the comment corpus, lawmakers and their staff, journalists, interested citizens and policymakers can use these reports to better understand what Americans actually said about the repeal of net neutrality protections and why 800,000 Americans went further than just signing a petition for a redress of grievances by actually putting their concerns in their own words," Ryan Singel, a media and strategy fellow at Stanford University, wrote in a blog post Monday. Singel released a report [PDF] Monday that analyzed the unique comments -- as in, they weren't a copypasta of one or dozens of other letters -- filed last year ahead of the FCC's decision to repeal federal net neutrality protections. That's from the 22 million total comments filed, meaning that more than 21 million comments were fake, bots, or organized campaigns.

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US Voter Records From 19 States Is Being Sold on a Hacking Forum, Threat Intelligence Firms Say

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-10-15 22:00
Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for ZDNet: The voter information for approximately 35 million US citizens is being peddled on a popular hacking forum, two threat intelligence firms have discovered. "To our knowledge this represents the first reference on the criminal underground of actors selling or distributing lists of 2018 voter registration data," said researchers from Anomali Labs and Intel471, the two companies who spotted the forum ad. The two companies said they've reviewed a sample of the database records and determined the data to be valid with a "high degree of confidence." Researchers say the data contains details such as full name, phone numbers, physical addresses, voting history, and other voting-related information. It is worth noting that some states consider this data public and offer it for download for free, but not all states have this policy.

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Twitter is Being Investigated Over Data Collection In Its Link-Shortening System

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-10-15 05:02
New submitter DavidDoherty writes: The Ireland Data Protection Commission is investigating Twitter because the company refused to provide their t.co (URL shortening service owned and used by Twitter) web link tracking data to UK professor, Michael Veale. "Their refusal to comply with the request is potentially a violation of the EU's allowance for requests under GDPR. The privacy expert said that Twitter refused to cite an exception to GDPR for requests that required 'disproportionate effort.'" By contrast, Veale believed that twitter was distorting the law in order to limit the information they handed over to the authorities. A new GDPR regulation, which was first enforced in May, requires that tech companies aim towards a more transparent relationship with user data and provide their customers with data privacy rights.

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Software Freedom Conservancy Shares Thoughts on Microsoft Joining Open Invention Network's Patent Non-Aggression Pact

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-10-15 00:10
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it was joining the open-source patent consortium Open Invention Network (OIN). The press release the two shared this week was short on details on how the two organizations intend to work together and what does the move mean to, for instance, the billions of dollars Microsoft earns each year from its Android patents (since Google is a member of OIN, too.) Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a non-profit organization that promotes open-source software, has weighed in on the subject: While [this week's] announcement is a step forward, we call on Microsoft to make this just the beginning of their efforts to stop their patent aggression efforts against the software freedom community. The OIN patent non-aggression pact is governed by something called the Linux System Definition. This is the most important component of the OIN non-aggression pact, because it's often surprising what is not included in that Definition especially when compared with Microsoft's patent aggression activities. Most importantly, the non-aggression pact only applies to the upstream versions of software, including Linux itself. We know that Microsoft has done patent troll shakedowns in the past on Linux products related to the exfat filesystem. While we at Conservancy were successful in getting the code that implements exfat for Linux released under GPL (by Samsung), that code has not been upstreamed into Linux. So, Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact. We now ask Microsoft, as a sign of good faith and to confirm its intention to end all patent aggression against Linux and its users, to now submit to upstream the exfat code themselves under GPLv2-or-later. This would provide two important protections to Linux users regarding exfat: (a) it would include any patents that read on exfat as part of OIN's non-aggression pact while Microsoft participates in OIN, and (b) it would provide the various benefits that GPLv2-or-later provides regarding patents, including an implied patent license and those protections provided by GPLv2 (and possibly other GPL protections and assurances as well).

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In an Open Letter, Microsoft Employees Urge the Company To Not Bid on the US Military's Project JEDI

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-10-14 16:00
On Tuesday, Microsoft expressed its intent to bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract -- a contract that represents a $10 billion project to build cloud services for the Department of Defense. The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what technologies Microsoft would be building for the Department of Defense. At an industry day for JEDI, DoD Chief Management Officer John H. Gibson II explained the program's impact, saying, "We need to be very clear. This program is truly about increasing the lethality of our department." This has ruffled a few feathers inside the Redmond-based software giant. In an open letter published Saturday, an unspecified number of Microsoft employees stated their disapproval. They wrote: Many Microsoft employees don't believe that what we build should be used for waging war. When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of "empowering every person on the planet to achieve more," not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality. For those who say that another company will simply pick up JEDI where Microsoft leaves it, we would ask workers at that company to do the same. A race to the bottom is not an ethical position. Like those who took action at Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, we ask all employees of tech companies to ask how your work will be used, where it will be applied, and act according to your principles. We need to put JEDI in perspective. This is a secretive $10 billion project with the ambition of building "a more lethal" military force overseen by the Trump Administration. The Google workers who protested these collaborations and forced the company to take action saw this. We do too. So we ask, what are Microsoft's A.I. Principles, especially regarding the violent application of powerful A.I. technology? How will workers, who build and maintain these services in the first place, know whether our work is being used to aid profiling, surveillance, or killing? Earlier this year Microsoft published "The Future Computed," examining the applications and potential dangers of A.I. It argues that strong ethical principles are necessary for the development of A.I. that will benefit people, and defines six core principles: "fair, reliable and safe, private and secure, inclusive, transparent, and accountable." With JEDI, Microsoft executives are on track to betray these principles in exchange for short-term profits. If Microsoft is to be accountable for the products and services it makes, we need clear ethical guidelines and meaningful accountability governing how we determine which uses of our technology are acceptable, and which are off the table. Microsoft has already acknowledged the dangers of the tech it builds, even calling on the federal government to regulate A.I. technologies. But there is no law preventing the company from exercising its own internal scrutiny and standing by its own ethical compass. Further reading: Google Drops Out of Pentagon's $10 Billion Cloud Competition.

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Climate Change Report Actually Understates Threats

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-10-14 03:13
"Dire as it is, the latest IPCC report is actually too optimistic," writes Slashdot reader Dan Drollette. "It ignores the risk of self-reinforcing climate feedbacks pushing the planet into chaos beyond human control. So says a team of climate experts, including the winner of the 1995 Nobel for his work on depletion of the ozone layer." From their article: These cascading feedbacks include the loss of the Arctic's sea ice, which could disappear entirely in summer in the next 15 years. The ice serves as a shield, reflecting heat back into the atmosphere, but is increasingly being melted into water that absorbs heat instead. Losing the ice would tremendously increase the Arctic's warming, which is already at least twice the global average rate. This, in turn, would accelerate the collapse of permafrost, releasing its ancient stores of methane, a super climate pollutant 30 times more potent in causing warming than carbon dioxide. By largely ignoring such feedbacks, the IPCC report fails to adequately warn leaders about the cluster of six similar climate tipping points that could be crossed between today's temperature and an increase to 1.5 degrees -- let alone nearly another dozen tipping points between 1.5 and 2 degrees. These wildcards could very likely push the climate system beyond human ability to control. As the UN Secretary General reminded world leaders last month, "We face an existential threat. Climate change is moving faster than we are.⦠If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences." In related news, a court in The Hague "has upheld a historic legal order on the Dutch government to accelerate carbon emissions cuts, a day after the world's climate scientists warned that time was running out to avoid dangerous warming. Appeal court judges ruled that the severity and scope of the climate crisis demanded greenhouse gas reductions of at least 25% by 2020 -- measured against 1990 levels -- higher than the 17% drop planned by Mark Rutte's liberal administration. The ruling -- which was greeted with whoops and cheers in the courtroom -- will put wind in the sails of a raft of similar cases being planned around the world, from Norway to New Zealand and from the UK to Uganda." Meanwhile, a new article in GQ cites estimates that more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies, complaining that "there is no 'free market' incentive to prevent disaster."

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Are Universal Basic Incomes 'A Tool For Our Further Enslavement'?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-10-14 00:37
Douglas Rushkoff, long-time open source advocate (and currently a professor of Digital Economics at the City University of New York, Queens College), is calling Universal Basic Incomes "no gift to the masses, but a tool for our further enslavement." Uber's business plan, like that of so many other digital unicorns, is based on extracting all the value from the markets it enters. This ultimately means squeezing employees, customers, and suppliers alike in the name of continued growth. When people eventually become too poor to continue working as drivers or paying for rides, UBI supplies the required cash infusion for the business to keep operating. When it's looked at the way a software developer would, it's clear that UBI is really little more than a patch to a program that's fundamentally flawed. The real purpose of digital capitalism is to extract value from the economy and deliver it to those at the top. If consumers find a way to retain some of that value for themselves, the thinking goes, you're doing something wrong or "leaving money on the table." Walmart perfected the softer version of this model in the 20th century. Move into a town, undercut the local merchants by selling items below cost, and put everyone else out of business. Then, as sole retailer and sole employer, set the prices and wages you want. So what if your workers have to go on welfare and food stamps. Now, digital companies are accomplishing the same thing, only faster and more completely.... Soon, consumers simply can't consume enough to keep the revenues flowing in. Even the prospect of stockpiling everyone's data, like Facebook or Google do, begins to lose its allure if none of the people behind the data have any money to spend. To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.... Under the guise of compassion, UBI really just turns us from stakeholders or even citizens to mere consumers. Once the ability to create or exchange value is stripped from us, all we can do with every consumptive act is deliver more power to people who can finally, without any exaggeration, be called our corporate overlords... if Silicon Valley's UBI fans really wanted to repair the economic operating system, they should be looking not to universal basic income but universal basic assets, first proposed by Institute for the Future's Marina Gorbis... As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It's the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they've sexually harassed. It's hush money. Rushkoff's conclusion? "Whether its proponents are cynical or simply naive, UBI is not the patch we need."

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Facebook Says Russian Firms 'Scraped' Data, Some for Facial Recognition

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-10-13 23:34
An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times: On the same day Facebook announced that it had carried out its biggest purge yet of American accounts peddling disinformation, the company quietly made another revelation: It had removed 66 accounts, pages and apps linked to Russian firms that build facial recognition software for the Russian government. Facebook said Thursday that it had removed any accounts associated with SocialDataHub and its sister firm, Fubutech, because the companies violated its policies by scraping data from the social network. "Facebook has reason to believe your work for the government has included matching photos from individuals' personal social media accounts in order to identify them," the company said in a cease-and-desist letter to SocialDataHub that was dated Tuesday and viewed by The New York Times... As Facebook is taking a closer look at its own products amid increasing scrutiny and public outcry, it is increasingly finding examples of companies that have been exploiting its global social network for questionable ends.... Artur Khachuyan, the 26-year-old chief executive of SocialDataHub and Fubutech, said in an interview Friday that Fubutech scraped data from the web, particularly Google search and the Russian search engine Yandex, to build a database of Russian citizens and their images that the government can use for facial recognition. "We don't know exactly what they do with it," he said.... At one point in a 30-minute phone interview, he said the Russian Defense Ministry was a client but later said he could not name Fubutech's government clients. The two Russian companies have been around for over four years, "relying in part on Facebook data," the Times reports. "At the top of the SocialDataHub's website, there is a single line: 'We know everything about everybody.'"

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A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is As Creepy As You Feared

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-10-13 15:00
schwit1 shares a report from The New York Times: More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk. [...] In recent years, the tech industry's largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There's just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it. The industry's new goal? Not a computer on every desk nor a connection between every person, but something grander: a computer inside everything, connecting everyone. Cars, door locks, contact lenses, clothes, toasters, refrigerators, industrial robots, fish tanks, sex toys, light bulbs, toothbrushes, motorcycle helmets -- these and other everyday objects are all on the menu for getting "smart." Hundreds of small start-ups are taking part in this trend -- known by the marketing catchphrase "the internet of things" -- but like everything else in tech, the movement is led by giants, among them Amazon, Apple and Samsung. [American cryptographer and computer security professional Bruce Schneier] argues that the economic and technical incentives of the internet-of-things industry do not align with security and privacy for society generally. Putting a computer in everything turns the whole world into a computer security threat. [...] Mr. Schneier says only government intervention can save us from such emerging calamities. "I can think of no industry in the past 100 years that has improved its safety and security without being compelled to do so by government."

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