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Green New Deal Bill Aims To Move US To 100 Percent Renewable Energy, Net-Zero Emissions

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2019-02-08 00:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Thursday morning, NPR posted a bill drafted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) advocating for a Green New Deal -- that is, a public works bill aimed at employing Americans and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the face of climate change. A similar version of the bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The House bill opens by citing two recent climate change reports: an October 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a heavily peer-reviewed report released in November 2018 by a group of U.S. scientists from federal energy and environment departments. Both reports were unequivocal about the role that humans play in climate change and the dire consequences humans stand to face if climate change continues unchecked. The bill lists some of these consequences: $500 billion in lost annual economic output for the U.S. by 2100, mass migration, bigger and more ferocious wildfires, and risk of more than $1 trillion in damage to U.S. infrastructure and coastal property. To stop this, the bill says, the global greenhouse gas emissions from human sources must be reduced by 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and we must reach net-zero emissions by 2050. [...] The Green New Deal specifically calls for a 10-year mobilization plan that would "achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers" by creating "millions" of high-paying jobs through investment in U.S. infrastructure. Specific kinds of infrastructure aren't listed, but general categories or works projects are outlined. Adaptive infrastructure tailored to communities, like higher sea walls and new drainage systems, would be included. NPR notes that the language is classified as a non-binding resolution, "meaning that even if it were to pass... it wouldn't itself create any new programs. Instead, it would potentially affirm the sense of the House that these things should be done in the coming years." Surprisingly, the bill doesn't mention fossil fuels at all. "In a draft version of the Green New Deal that had been circulated in December, a Frequently Asked Questions section did not preclude eventually calling for a tax or a ban on fossil fuels, but it noted that this was not what the bill was about," notes Ars Technica. "Simply put, we don't need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs)," the FAQ notes under the Green New Deal draft language. "We also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment."

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Apple Removes Useless 'Do Not Track' Feature From Latest Beta Versions of Safari

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 16:40
In the release notes for Safari 12.1, the new version of Apple's browser installed in iOS 12.2, Apple says that it is removing support for the "Do Not Track" feature, which is now outdated. From a news writeup: "Removed support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable," the release note reads. The same feature was also removed from Safari Technology Preview today, Apple's experimental macOS browser, and it is not present in the macOS 10.14.4 betas. According to Apple, Do Not Track is "expired" and support is being eliminated to prevent its use as, ironically, a fingerprinting variable for tracking purposes. It is entirely up to the advertising companies to comply with the "Do Not Track" messaging, and it has no actual function beyond broadcasting a user preference.

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Facebook Ordered To Stop Combining WhatsApp and Instagram Data Without Consent in Germany; Company Says It Needs That Data To Fight Terrorism and Child Abuse

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 16:00
Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling on Thursday that the world's largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent. From a report: The order applies to data collected by Facebook-owned platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram, but also third-party sources that Facebook uses to flesh out its advertising profiles, including those of non-users. The Bundeskartellamt, or Federal Cartel Office (FCO), has given Facebook one month to appeal the landmark decision, which comes after a three-year investigation. If the appeal fails, the tech company will have to ensure these data sources are not combined without consent within the next four months. Although the ruling only applies within Germany, the decision could influence regulators in other countries. Gizmodo adds: Facebook insists that combining all of that data is actually great. In fact, the company says, it's keeping everyone safe from stuff like terrorism and child abuse. From Facebook's statement this morning: "Facebook has always been about connecting you with people and information you're interested in. We tailor each person's Facebook experience so it's unique to you, and we use a variety of information to do this -- including the information you include on your profile, news stories you like or share and what other services share with us about your use of their websites and apps. Using information across our services also helps us protect people's safety and security, including, for example, identifying abusive behavior and disabling accounts tied to terrorism, child exploitation and election interference across both Facebook and Instagram."

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Many Popular iPhone Apps Secretly Record Your Screen Without Asking

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Many major companies, like Air Canada, Hollister and Expedia, are recording every tap and swipe you make on their iPhone apps. In most cases you won't even realize it. And they don't need to ask for permission. You can assume that most apps are collecting data on you. Some even monetize your data without your knowledge. But TechCrunch has found several popular iPhone apps, from hoteliers, travel sites, airlines, cell phone carriers, banks and financiers, that don't ask or make it clear -- if at all -- that they know exactly how you're using their apps. Worse, even though these apps are meant to mask certain fields, some inadvertently expose sensitive data. Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed "session replay" technology into their apps. These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn't work or if there was an error. Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded -- effectively screenshotted -- and sent back to the app developers. [...] Apps that are submitted to Apple's App Store must have a privacy policy, but none of the apps we reviewed make it clear in their policies that they record a user's screen. Glassbox doesn't require any special permission from Apple or from the user, so there's no way a user would know. When asked, Glassbox said it doesn't enforce its customers to mention its usage in their privacy policy. A mobile expert known as The App Analyst recently found Air Canada's iPhone app to be improperly masking the session replays when they were sent, exposing passport numbers and credit card data in each replay session. Just weeks earlier, Air Canada said its app had a data breach, exposing 20,000 profiles.

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Huawei Admits To Needing 5 Years, $2 Billion To Fix Security Issues

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 12:00
Bruce66423 writes: In a remarkable piece of honest self assessment, Huawei has produced a letter to a House of Commons committee member in response to security concerns raised by the UK Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) in its annual report, a body that includes Huawei, UK operators and UK government officials. The firm pledged to spend about $2 billion over five years to resolve these issues. However they also claim that: "Huawei has never and will never use UK-based hardware, software or information gathered in the UK or anywhere else globally, to assist other countries in gathering intelligence. We would not do this in any country" -- a claim in sharp contrast to the ability of the Communist Party of China to suborn anyone into doing so. Good to see that Chinese firms still have a sense of humor. As The Economist puts it: "And China's leaders are tightening their grip on business, including firms such as Huawei in which the state has no stake. This influence has been formalized in the National Intelligence Law of 2017, which requires firms to work with China's one-party state."

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NYPD To Google: Stop Revealing the Location of Police Checkpoints

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 09:00
schwit1 shares a report from the New York Post: The NYPD is calling on Google to yank a feature from its Waze traffic app that tips off drivers to police checkpoints -- warning it could be considered "criminal conduct," according to a report on Wednesday. The department sent a cease-and-desist letter over the weekend demanding Google disable the crowd-sourced app's function that allows motorists to pinpoint police whereabouts, StreetsBlog reported. "Individuals who post the locations of DWI checkpoints may be engaging in criminal conduct since such actions could be intentional attempts to prevent and/or impair the administration of the DWI laws and other relevant criminal and traffic laws," wrote Acting Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Ann Prunty in the letter, according to the website. My $0.02 is that the NYPD loses on first amendment grounds.

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Reddit, Banned In China, Is Reportedly Set To Land $150 Million Investment From a Chinese Censorship Powerhouse

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 02:03
Reddit is about to get a huge new round of investment of up to $300 million. As Gizmodo points out, "the first $150 million is reportedly expected to come from the Chinese tech giant Tencent, the first ever Asian technology company to pass a $500 billion market value." The investment is complicated since Reddit is banned in China via the Great Firewall of China. Also, "Tencent is not merely a resident of China's internet -- the company is one of the most important architects of the Great Firewall," reports Gizmodo. "It's an interesting source of cash for a Silicon Valley company whose product is essentially speech." From the report: Tencent is, at great cost and ultimately for great profit, literally reinventing censorship in China. The Great Firewall was not built by the Communist Party in Beijing, it's built by the tech giants all around China. This opaque but clearly powerful relationship between the $500 billion company and the Chinese government raises interesting and unanswered questions about Tencent's forays into the West, including questions about Reddit's future. The pending Chinese investment in Reddit, a social media company with relatively little Chinese-language community, is a richer twist on that old tale, and it's a part of Tencent's expanding global investment strategy. The Chinese company owns about 12 percent of Snap, for instance, even though Snapchat is banned in China. Tencent also owns a piece of the chat app Discord even though, you guessed it, Discord is blocked in China. If Tencent does kick in $150 million on a nearly $3 billion valuation for Reddit, as TechCrunch reports, it will be interesting if we ever find out exactly what it means. What kind of influence and position, if any, will Tencent gain at Reddit? Neither company responded to Gizmodo's questions.

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After Facing Class-Action Lawsuit, Instacart CEO Says It's Taking Steps To Ensure Tips Are Counted Separately From Wages

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2019-02-07 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: On the heels of a recently-filed class action lawsuit over wages and tips, as well as drivers and shoppers speaking out about Instacart's alleged practices of subsidizing wages with tips, Instacart is taking steps to ensure tips are counted separately from what Instacart pays shoppers. In a blog post today, Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta said all shoppers will now have a guaranteed higher base compensation, paid by Instacart. Depending on the region, Instacart says it will pay shoppers between $7 to $10 at a minimum for full-service orders (shopping, picking and delivering) and $5 at a minimum for delivery-only tasks. The company will also stop including tips in its base pay for shoppers. "After launching our new earnings structure this past October, we noticed that there were small batches where shoppers weren't earning enough for their time," Mehta wrote. "To help with this, we instituted a $10 floor on earnings, inclusive of tips, for all batches. This meant that when Instacart's payment and the customer tip at checkout was below $10, Instacart supplemented the difference. While our intention was to increase the guaranteed payment for small orders, we understand that the inclusion of tips as a part of this guarantee was misguided. We apologize for taking this approach." For the shoppers who were subject that approach, Instacart says it will retroactively pay people whose tips were included in payment minimums. Previously, Instacart guaranteed its workers at least $10 per job, but workers said Instacart offsets wages with tips from customers. The suit alleges Instacart "intentionally and maliciously misappropriated gratuities in order to pay plaintiff's wages even though Instacart maintained that 100 percent of customer tips went directly to shoppers. Based on this representation, Instacart knew customers would believe their tips were being given to shoppers in addition to wages, not to supplement wages entirely."

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Ex-FCC Commissioner Advises T-Mobile, Sprint On $26 Billion Merger

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-02-06 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is working to help T-Mobile and Sprint get their $26 billion merger approved by regulators. Clyburn, a Democrat, confirmed she's working as a paid consultant to the carriers to advise them on their impending merger. The news of her involvement was first reported by Politico on Monday. The companies, whose merger was announced in April last year, need approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice. "Affordable broadband access is a critical priority particularly for those Americans who are underserved or currently have no viable options at all," she said in an interview with CNET. "I am advising T-Mobile and Sprint as they seek to accelerate the creation of an inclusive nationwide 5G network on how best to build a bridge across the digital divide that currently exists in our country." Clyburn's involvement in advising the merger is interesting because she was part of the majority on the FCC in 2011 that rejected the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, concluding that a reduction in the number of national carriers would harm consumers. When the idea of a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint was first floated in 2014, the Democratic-controlled FCC also signaled it wouldn't approve the deal for the same reason. [...] Executives for the companies say they will not raise rates on consumers. In a letter to the FCC on Monday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere made a personal pledge to regulators that the "New T-Mobile" would not raise prices on its service following the merger. Doing so, he said, would erode the relationship with T-Mobile customers.

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House Democrats Tell Ajit Pai: Stop Screwing Over the Public

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-02-06 02:10
slack_justyb shares a report from Ars Technica: The House Commerce Committee is "reassuming its traditional role of oversight to ensure the agency is acting in the best interest of the public and consistent with its legislative authority," Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) said in an announcement yesterday. Pallone, Jr. and Doyle wrote a letter to Pai, saying that he has made the FCC too secretive and has repeatedly advanced the interests of corporations over consumers. They wrote: "Not only have you have failed on numerous occasions to provide Democratic members of this committee with responses to their inquiries, you have also repeatedly denied or delayed responding to legitimate information requests from the public about agency operations. These actions have denied the public of a full and fair understanding of how the FCC under your leadership has arrived at public policy decisions that impact Americans every day in communities across the country. Under your leadership, the FCC has failed repeatedly to act in the public interest and placed the interest of corporations over consumers. The FCC should be working to advance the goals of public safety, consumer protection, affordable access, and connectivity across the United States. To that end, it is incumbent upon the Committee's leadership and its members to oversee the activities of the FCC." On Thursday this week, the Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing about the impact of Pai's net neutrality repeal on consumers, small businesses, and free speech. Witnesses who have been invited to testify at the hearing include former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, cable industry chief lobbyist Michael Powell (who is also a former FCC chairman), and representatives of Mozilla, Free Press, and Eastern Oregon Telecom.

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'You Need To Be Very, Very Cautious': US Warns European Allies Not To Use Chinese Gear For 5G Networks

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 22:10
The United States sees the European Union as its top priority in a global effort to convince allies not to buy Huawei equipment for next-generation mobile networks, a U.S. State Department Official said on Tuesday. From a report: After meetings with the European Commission and the Belgian government in Brussels, U.S. officials are set to take a message to other European capitals that the world's biggest telecommunications gear maker poses a security risk, said the official, who declined to be named. "We are saying you need to be very, very cautious and we are urging folks not to rush ahead and sign contracts with untrusted suppliers from countries like China," the official said. The United States fears China could use the equipment for espionage -- a concern that Huawei Technologies says is unfounded. The push to sideline Huawei in Europe, one of its biggest markets, is likely to deepen trade frictions between Washington and Beijing.

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DuckDuckGo Warns that Google Does Not Respect 'Do Not Track' Browser Setting

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 19:30
DuckDuckGo cautions internet users that companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, do not respect the "Do Not Track" setting on web browsers. From a report: According to DuckDuckGo's research, over 77% of US adults are not aware of that fact. The "Do Not Track" (DNT) setting on browsers sends signals to web services to stop tracking a user's activity. However, the DNT setting is only a voluntary signal which websites are not obligated to respect. "It can be alarming to realize that Do Not Track is about as foolproof as putting a sign on your front lawn that says "Please, don't look into my house" while all of your blinds remain open."

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EU Orders Recall of Children's Smartwatch Over Severe Privacy Concerns

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: For the first time, EU authorities have announced plans to recall a product from the European market because of a data privacy issue. The product is Safe-KID-One, a children's smartwatch produced by German electronics vendor ENOX. According to the company's website, the watch comes with a trove of features, such as a built-in GPS tracker, built-in microphone and speaker, a calling and SMS text function, and a companion Android mobile app that parents can use to keep track and contact their children. The product is what most parents regularly look in a modern smartwatch but in a RAPEX (Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products) alert published last week and spotted by Dutch news site Tweakers, European authorities ordered a mass recall of all smartwatches from end users citing severe privacy lapses. "The mobile application accompanying the watch has unencrypted communications with its backend server and the server enables unauthenticated access to data," said authorities in the RAPEX alert. "As a consequence, the data such as location history, phone numbers, serial number can easily be retrieved and changed." On top of this, authorities also said that "a malicious user can send commands to any watch making it call another number of his choosing, can communicate with the child wearing the device or locate the child through GPS."

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Google Hired Microworkers To Train Its Controversial Project Maven AI

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 03:50
Google hired gig economy workers to help build out a controversial AI program that the company had paired with the Pentagon to build, according to a new report from The Intercept. "The workers were hired through a crowdsourcing gig company outfit called Figure Eight, which pays as little at $1 an hour for people to perform short, seemingly mindless tasks," reports The Verge. "Whether the individuals were identifying objects in CAPTCHA-like images, or other simple tasks, the workers were helping to train Google's AI that was created as part of a Defense Department initiative known as Project Maven." From the report: Project Maven is a Pentagon project intended to use machine learning and artificial intelligence in order to differentiate people and objects in thousands of hours of drone footage. By employing these crowdsourced microworkers, Google was able to use them to teach the algorithms it was running how to distinguish between human targets and surrounding objects. According to The Intercept, these workers had no idea who their work was benefitting or what they were building. Figure Eight, which was previously known as Crowdflower, is one of the largest platforms that employs microworkers. On its website, Figure Eight says its platform "combines human intelligence at scale with cutting-edge models to create the highest quality training data for your machine learning (ML) projects." By partnering with these microworker outfits, Google could quickly and cheaply build out its AI. "You upload your data to our platform and we provide the annotations, judgments, and labels you need to create accurate ground truth for your models," the website reads. Google decided against renewing its contract with the Defense Department last June after over 3,000 employees signed a petition in protest of the company's involvement in Project Maven. The deal is set to end in March 2019.

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Highest Court In Indiana Set To Decide If You Can Be Forced To Unlock Your Phone

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-02-05 03:10
The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that police should not be allowed to force you to turn over your passcode or unlock your device. "The Fifth Amendment states that no one can be forced to be 'a witness against himself,' and we argue that the constitutional protection applies to forced decryption," writes the EFF. Last week, the non-profit digital rights group filed a brief making that case to the Indiana Supreme Court, which is set to decide if you can be forced to unlock your phone. From the report: The case began when Katelin Eunjoo Seo reported to law enforcement outside of Indianapolis that she had been the victim of a rape and allowed a detective to examine her iPhone for evidence. But the state never filed charges against Seo's alleged rapist, identified by the court as "D.S." (Courts often refer to minors using their initials.) Instead, the detective suspected that Seo was harassing D.S. with spoofed calls and texts, and she was ultimately arrested and charged with felony stalking. Along with a search warrant, the state sought a court order to force Seo to unlock her phone. Seo refused, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights. The trial court held her in contempt, but an intermediate appeals court reversed. When the Indiana Supreme Court agreed to get involved, it took the somewhat rare step of inviting amicus briefs. EFF got involved because, as we say in our brief filed along with the ACLU and the ACLU of Indiana, the issue in Seo is "no technicality; it is a fundamental protection of human dignity, agency, and integrity that the Framers enshrined in the Fifth Amendment." Our argument to the Indiana Supreme Court is that compelling Seo to enter her memorized passcode would be inherently testimonial because it reveals the contents of her mind. Obviously, if she were forced to verbally tell a prosecutor her password, it would be a testimonial communication. By extension, the act of forced unlocking is also testimonial. First, it would require a modern form of written testimony, the entry of the passcode itself. Second, it would rely on Seo's mental knowledge of the passcode and require her to implicitly acknowledge other information such as the fact that it was under her possession and control. The lower appellate court in Seo added an intriguing third reason: "In a very real sense, the files do not exist on the phone in any meaningful way until the passcode is entered and the files sought are decrypted. . . . Because compelling Seo to unlock her phone compels her to literally recreate the information the State is seeking, we consider this recreation of digital information to be more testimonial in nature than the mere production of paper documents." Because entering a passcode is testimonial, that should be the end of it, and no one should be ordered to decrypt their device, at least absent a grant of immunity that satisfies the Fifth Amendment. The case gets complicated when you factor in a case from 1976 called Fisher v. United States, where the Supreme Court recognized an exception to the Fifth Amendment privilege for testimonial acts of production. "State and federal prosecutors have invoked it in nearly every forced decryption case to date," writes the EFF. "In Seo, the State argued that all that compelling the defendant to unlock her phone would reveal is that she knows her own passcode, which would be a foregone conclusion once it 'has proven that the phone belongs to her.'" "As we argue in our amicus brief, this would be a dangerous rule for the Indiana Supreme Court to adopt. If all the government has to do to get you to unlock your phone is to show you know the password, it would have immense leverage to do so in any case where it encounters encryption."

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

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

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

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

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Slack Says It's Filed To Go Public

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

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Nest Secure Has an Unlisted, Disabled Microphone

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

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

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

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