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Will Gaming Change Humanity As We Know It?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2021-09-06 09:34
"The advent of gaming, especially computer gaming, marks a fundamental break in human affairs," argues American economist Tyler Cowen (in a Bloomberg opinion column). "Gaming is profoundly transforming two central aspects of the modern world: culture and regulation. There will be no turning back... Plenty of trading already takes place in games — involving currencies, markets, prices and contracts. Game creators and players set and enforce the rules, and it is harder for government regulators to play a central role. The lesson is clear: If you wish to create a new economic institution, put it inside a game. Or how about an app that gamifies share trading? Do you wish to experiment with a new kind of stock exchange or security outside the purview of traditional government regulation? Try the world of gaming, perhaps combined with crypto, and eventually your "game" just might influence events in the real world... [R]egulators are already falling behind. Just as gaming has outraced the world of culture, so will gaming outrace U.S. regulatory capabilities, for a variety of reasons: encryption, the use of cryptocurrency, the difficulties of policing virtual realities, varying rules in foreign jurisdictions and, not incidentally, a lack of expertise among U.S. regulators. (At least the Chinese government's attempt to restrict youth gaming to three hours a week, while foolhardy, reflects a perceptive cultural conservatism.) Both the culture-weakening and the regulation-weakening features of games follow from their one basic characteristic: They are self-contained worlds. Until now, human institutions and structures have depended on relatively open and overlapping networks of ideas. Gaming is carving up and privatizing those spaces. This shift is the big trend that hardly anyone — outside of gaming and crypto — is noticing. If the much-heralded "metaverse" ever arrives, gaming will swallow many more institutions, or create countervailing versions of them. Whether or not you belong to the world of gaming, it is coming for your worlds. I hope you are ready.

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Lawsuits Accuse Siri, Alexa, and Google of Listening When They're Not Supposed To

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-09-05 23:34
"Tech companies have long encouraged putting listening devices in homes and pockets..." reports the Washington Post. "But some are growing concerned that these devices are recording even when they're not supposed to — and they're taking their fears to the courts." (Alternate URLs here and here.) On Thursday, a judge ruled that Apple will have to continue fighting a lawsuit brought by users in federal court in California, alleging that the company's voice assistant Siri has improperly recorded private conversations... [H]e ruled that the plaintiffs, who are trying to make the suit a class action case, could continue pursuing claims that Siri turned on unprompted and recorded conversations that it shouldn't have and passed the data along to third parties, therefore violating user privacy. The case is one of several that have been brought against Apple, Google and Amazon that involve allegations of violation of privacy by voice assistants... The voice assistants are supposed to turn on when prompted — saying "Hey, Siri," for example — but the lawsuit alleges that plaintiffs saw their devices activate even when they didn't call out the wake word. That conversation was recorded without their consent and the information was then used to target advertisements toward them and sent on to third-party contractors to review, they allege... The lawsuits ask the companies to contend with what they do once they hear something they weren't intended to. Nicole Ozer, the technology and civil liberties director of the ACLU of California, said the suits are a sign that people are realizing how much information the voice technology is collecting. "I think this lawsuit is part of people finally starting to realize that Siri doesn't work for us, it works for Apple," she said. An Amazon spokesperson told the Post only a "small fraction" of audio is manually reviewed, and users can opt-out of those reviews or manage their recordings. Apple told the Post that isn't selling its Siri recordings, and that its recordings are not associated with an "identifiable individual." And Google pointed out that they don't retain audio recordings by default "and make it easy to manage your privacy preferences." But there's still concerns. "A Washington Post investigation in 2019 found that Amazon kept a copy of everything Alexa records after it thinks it hears its name — even if users didn't realize," the Post adds. In a 2019 video, Post reporter Geoffrey A. Fowler even spliced together all of Amazon's recordings of his voice, into a spoken-word anthem titled "Your voice now belongs to Amazon. "Eavesdropping is an invasion," Fowler argues in the video, adding that Amazon "is putting its profits over our privacy. It's also a sign of a bold data grab that's going on in our increasingly connected homes."

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Skepticism Grows Over El Salvador's Pioneering Plan to Adopt Bitcoin as Legal Tender

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-09-05 09:34
This week the Guardian reported that a "tumultuous few weeks" awaits El Salvador as it prepares to become the first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender on Tuesday. In August a research note by Bank of America enthused about the new law's ability to reduce the cost of cross-border transactions (remittances account for 20% of El Salvador's GDP), increase digital penetration in a country where 70% of people still do not use banks, and attract foreign investment as a first mover in cryptocurrency adoption. Since then, however, the verdict from international financial organisations — and El Salvadorans themselves — has turned decidedly pessimistic. "The law was adopted extremely quickly, without a technical study or a public debate," says Ricardo Castañeda, a local economist. "I don't think the president has fully understood the implications of the law, its potential to cause serious macroeconomic problems and convert the country into a haven for money laundering." The regulatory framework for adoption has yet to be published and there are rumours of delays to the Chivo app. Bankers in the capital say they have received calls from anxious clients threatening to withdraw their deposits rather than risk exposure to the volatile cryptocurrency markets. The ratings agency Moody's downgraded El Salvadoran debt over fears of "weakened governance" evidenced by the new law, and the IMF — with which the government is negotiating a $1bn loan — published a blogpost highlighting the risks of adopting crypto as national currency. "The shift from euphoria to scepticism has been very fast," says Castañeda. The potential benefits identified by the Bank of America are probably overstated. A paper by Johns Hopkins University says the cost of remittances via Bitcoin will be higher than traditional methods, and a July survey found that nearly two-thirds of El Salvadorans would not be open to accepting payment in Bitcoin. Eric Grill, CEO of Chainbytes, which produces Bitcoin ATMs, told the Guardian that his plan to relocate manufacturing to El Salvador had faced serious challenges in sourcing parts. Local geothermal energy experts say Bukele's plan to power energy-intensive Bitcoin mining activities from the country's volcanoes are wildly optimistic. Reuters offered an update on Thursday. "In the main handicraft market of El Salvador's capital, traders complain that with a week to go before bitcoin becomes legal tender, no officials have come to explain how it will work or what benefits it may bring."

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Ethiopian Airlines Settles With Boeing, Expects Resumed 737 Max Flights in January

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2021-09-05 05:44
"Two-and-a-half years after the deadly Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash, with the final investigation report into the accident still pending, the airline's management has reached a settlement with Boeing and said it expects to resume flying the jet again by January," reports the Seattle Times: The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The Seattle Times reported exclusively in January that Boeing had then offered an amount on the order of $500 million to $600 million, a large portion of which was not cash but concessions, including discounts on future airplane sales and waivers on maintenance costs... A person with knowledge of the final settlement said Saturday that it included a payment of $280 million in cash, discounts on future planes, free maintenance and parts for three years, and replacement of the aircraft that crashed — with an estimated value for the total package less than $600 million. The settlement comes as Ethiopia is torn by a bloody civil war in the northern region of Tigray that has frayed relations with the U.S. and undermined its economy. Meanwhile, the state-owned airline has struggled for 18 months with the extreme downturn in air travel due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Parallel to the settlement over the MAX, Ethiopian Airlines this week made public a related agreement: Boeing will partner with Ethiopian to make the airline's base in Addis Ababa "Africa's aviation hub" and to set up a manufacturing facility there to make airplane parts. The Times also looks at what's changed for Boeing since their two fatal crashes: This summer, the FAA slowed certification of Boeing's next new plane, the 777X; directed Boeing to rework its flight manuals for both the 777X and MAX 10 to include detailed emergency pilot procedures; and ordered Boeing to improve the independence of engineers working on airplane certification, after a third of those surveyed by the FAA said they feel they cannot raise safety concerns without interference... With deliveries of the 787 suspended, restoring the MAX to market acceptance is now central to Boeing's cash generation. The jet has been back in service since late December, and more than 300 MAXs are now carrying passengers globally. Even as the pandemic continues to suppress air travel, Boeing is building new MAXs at a rate of 16 jets per month with a plan to increase production to 31 per month early in 2022. By year end, Boeing hopes to deliver more than 200 of the MAXs that were parked during the prolonged grounding... In January, Boeing escaped serious consequences from a criminal investigation into the MAX crashes when the Department of Justice imposed a fine of $244 million, a relatively small amount for Boeing. Boeing's ongoing estimate of the total cost of the MAX crisis in financial filings has stabilized at about $21 billion, of which almost $9 billion is compensation to airline customers. Wall Street doesn't expect that to grow... The upgraded flight controls on the MAXs flying today include fixes to the MCAS design flaws. And all MAX pilots undergo simulator training specific to the system before they fly the aircraft.

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America's NSA Isn't Sure Quantum Computers Will Ever Break Public Key Encryption

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-09-04 23:49
America's National Security Agency "isn't really sure when or even if quantum computers will be able to crack public key cryptography," writes TechRadar. They report that the NSA "has expressed its reservations about the potential of quantum computing" in a new FAQ titled Quantum Computing and Post-Quantum Cryptography. "NSA does not know when or even if a quantum computer of sufficient size and power to exploit public key cryptography (a CRQC) will exist," said the security agency in response to whether it is worried about the potential of adversarial use of quantum computing. In the FAQ, the NSA describes a Cryptographically Relevant Quantum Computer (CRQC) as a quantum computer that's capable of actually attacking real world cryptographic systems, something that's currently infeasible. While it agrees that such a computer would be "devastating" to the digital security infrastructure, it seems to suggest that it doesn't believe such a CRQC would ever materialize. However, the growing research in quantum computing has moved the agency to also support the development of post-quantum cryptographic standards, along with plans for eventual transition to such standards.

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Is America's FTC Investigating McDonalds' Right to Repair McFlurry Machines?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-09-04 19:34
America's consumer-protection agency has apparently launched a "preliminary investigation" into how often McDonalds franchise owners are allowed to repair their own McFlurry-making equipment, reports CBS Moneywatch (citing an article Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal). The machine's manufacturer insists that the product's warranty is void if purchasers attempt to fix machines on their own, according to the Wall Street Journal. But CBS MoneyWatch adds: It's illegal for companies to make warranties conditional on the use of certain parts or services, a practice antitrust law calls "tying"... The Federal Trade Commission in July issued a new policy broadly in favor of the "right to repair," an issue that President Joe Biden singled out in a broad executive order on anticompetitive practices. The agency is now writing new rules targeting repair restrictions. "If this [case] is connected to that, it's going to be the first example of the FTC looking at repair restrictions as something worth investigating," said Nathan Proctor, senior director of the Right to Repair campaign for the U.S. Public Interest Group.

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GitHub Files Court Brief Criticizing 'Vague Infringement Allegations'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2021-09-04 16:34
"One project going dark — due to a DMCA takedown or otherwise — can impact thousands of developers," GitHub warns in a blog post this week: We saw that firsthand with both leftpad and mimemagic. That's why GitHub's designed its DMCA process to follow the law in requiring takedown requests to identify specific content. We want developers on our platform and elsewhere to have a clear opportunity to remove infringing code yet keep non-infringing code up for others to use, modify, and learn from. Ensuring that software copyright allegations are specific and actionable benefits the entire developer ecosystem. That's why GitHub submitted a "friend of the court" brief in the SAS Institute, Inc. v. World Programming Ltd. case before a Federal Court of Appeals. This case is the most recent in a ten-year litigation spanning both the UK and the US. SAS Institute has brought copyright and non-copyright claims against World Programming's software that runs code written in the SAS language, and the copyright claims drew comparison to the recent Google v. Oracle Supreme Court case. But this case is different from Google v. Oracle because here the alleged copyright infringement is based on a claim of "nonliteral" infringement. That means there is no allegation that specific lines of code were literally copied, but only that other aspects, like the code's overall structure and organization, were used. In nonliteral infringement claims, the questions arise: what aspects of the "nonliteral" features were taken and are they actually protected by copyright...? GitHub believes that for claims involving nonliteral copying of software, it is critical that a copyright owner provide — as early as possible — examples that would allow a developer, a court, or a software collaboration platform like GitHub to identify what was claimed to be copied. Our brief helps educate the court why specificity is especially important for developers.... We urged the court to think about efficiency in dispute resolution to avoid FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). The sooner infringement allegations can be made specific and clear, the sooner infringing code can be changed and non-infringing code can stay up. That should be the result for both federal lawsuits, as well as DMCA infringement notices.

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Take-Two Sues Enthusiasts Behind GTA Fan Projects Re3, ReVC

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-09-03 22:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Take-Two Interactive has sued several programmers and enthusiasts said to be behind the popular re3 and reVC Grand Theft Auto fan projects. The lawsuit says that after the company filed a DMCA takedown notice to remove the projects from Github, the defendants filed a bad faith counter notice to have the content reinstated, thus triggering this copyright infringement lawsuit. "Defendants' source code projects, known as re3 and reVC, purport to have created a set of software files (which Defendants claim they 'reverse engineered' from the original Game software) that allow members of the public to play the Games on various hardware devices, but with so-called 'enhancements' and 'modifications' added by Defendants," the complaint reads (PDF). "Perhaps most notably, Defendants claim that their derivative GTA source code enables players to install and run the Games on multiple game platforms, including those on which the Games never have been released, such as the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch." According to Take-Two, the defendants' conduct is willful and deliberate since they are well aware that they do not have the necessary rights to copy, adapt or distribute derivative GTA source code or the audiovisual elements of the games. The gaming giant adds that [defendant Angelo Papenhoff] publicly expressed concern that Take-Two would find out about the 're3' and 'reVC' projects. [...] Take-Two says that by willfully and maliciously copying, adapting and distributing its source code and other content, all of the defendants have infringed its exclusive rights under copyright law. As a result, the company is entitled to damages in amounts to be determined at trial or, alternatively, a maximum statutory damages award of $150,000 for each infringed work. Additionally, the gaming company says that by submitting bad faith DMCA counternotices to have the projects restored to Github, three of the defendants made misrepresentations under U.S.C. 512(f). Finally, Take-Two is seeking temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief to restrain the defendants from continuing their allegedly infringing activities. The company wants all infringing source code and games removed from the Internet and wants the defendants to hand over all materials that infringe its rights. Take-Two also wants a full accounting of "any and all sales or downloads of products or services" that infringe its rights.

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Feds To Close Unit That Monitored Americans' Social Media for Census Disinformation

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-09-03 19:29
The US Commerce Department said Friday that it will eliminate an internal security division after an investigation found it had overstepped its authority when it launched criminal investigations into Commerce employees and US citizens. From a report: The Investigations and Threat Management Service division had no "adequate legal authority" to conduct criminal investigations, according to an internal investigation by the Commerce Department's Office of General Counsel. The investigators recommended that the ITMS unit be eliminated within 90 days, and that its security duties be folded into other Commerce divisions. The Commerce Department said in a statement it would accept the report's recommendations. "Our most important priority is creating an environment at the Department of Commerce where employees feel safe and respected," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in the statement. "We are committed to maintaining our security, but also equally committed to protecting the privacy and civil liberties of our employees and the public." [...] ITMS was the subject of a Congressional investigation earlier this year. In May, Sen. Roger Wicker, (R-Mississippi), the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released a fact sheet detailing a Congressional investigation into the ITMS that began in February. Wicker's memo claimed that ITMS "surveilled social media activity on Twitter to monitor accounts that posted commentary critical of processes used to conduct the US Census." The Washington Post was first to report on ITMS' activities.

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Only Humans, Not AI Machines, Can Get a US Patent, Judge Rules

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-09-03 18:05
A computer using artificial intelligence can't be listed as an inventor on patents because only a human can be an inventor under U.S. law, a federal judge ruled in the first American decision that's part of a global debate over how to handle computer-created innovation. From a report: Federal law requires that an "individual" take an oath that he or she is the inventor on a patent application, and both the dictionary and legal definition of an individual is a natural person, ruled U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Alexandria, Virginia. The Artificial Inventor Project, run by University of Surrey Law Professor Ryan Abbott, has launched a global effort to get a computer listed as an inventor. Abbott's team enlisted Imagination Engines founder Stephen Thaler to build a machine whose main purpose was to invent. Rulings in South Africa and Australia have favored his argument, though the Australian patent office is appealing the decision in that country. "We respectfully disagree with the judgment and plan to appeal it," Abbott said in an email. "We believe listing an AI as an inventor is consistent with both the language and purpose of the Patent Act. Brinkema cited cases in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the nation's top patent court, rejected the idea of a corporation being an inventor.

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Apple Delays Plans To Roll Out CSAM Detection in iOS 15

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-09-03 16:00
Apple has delayed plans to roll out its child sexual abuse (CSAM) detection technology that it chaotically announced last month, citing feedback from customers and policy groups. From a report: That feedback, if you recall, has been largely negative. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said this week it had amassed more than 25,000 signatures from consumers. On top of that, close to 100 policy and rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, also called on Apple to abandon plans to roll out the technology. In a statement on Friday morning, Apple told TechCrunch: "Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features."

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New Boss of US Digital Service: Mina Hsiang

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-09-03 02:45
Mina Hsiang will lead the U.S. Digital Service, the Office of Management and Budget told Axios Thursday, as the Biden administration beefs up its cadre of technological special forces tasked with solving problems across the federal government. From the report: Washington is preparing to spend trillions in infrastructure money allocated by the president's top-priority legislation, and building and tuning the digital systems for those programs will demand know-how. Hsiang will be the first woman and first Asian-American to be the administrator of USDS, which was launched in 2014 in the aftermath of the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website. Hsiang is a USDS veteran from the Obama administration and worked on the HealthCare.gov rescue team. More recently, she helped the Biden administration with the launch of the Vaccines.gov website to help Americans find COVID-19 vaccines. She will fill the vacancy left by the April departure of Matt Cutts, the Google veteran who led the service from 2017. USDS teams are deployed for crisis work that needs a quick response -- such as assisting at the southern border or helping with the Afghanistan evacuation. They also help implement new programs like those created by the American Rescue Plan. "Government services -- and helping people access those services via many channels, including digitally -- are more critical now than ever," Hsiang told Axios. "The pandemic has been a catalyst to our country's collective awareness of this truth and has mobilized people to step up and act." Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced a new program, the U.S. Digital Corps, aimed at bringing software engineers, data scientists and others into federal agencies for two-year fellowships.

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Seemingly Normal Lightning Cable Will Leak Everything You Type

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2021-09-03 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: It looks like a Lightning cable, it works like a Lightning cable, and I can use it to connect my keyboard to my Mac. But it is actually a malicious cable that can record everything I type, including passwords, and wirelessly send that data to a hacker who could be more than a mile away. This is the new version of a series of penetration testing tools made by the security researcher known as MG. MG previously demoed an earlier version of the cables for Motherboard at the DEF CON hacking conference in 2019. Shortly after that, MG said he had successfully moved the cables into mass production, and cybersecurity vendor Hak5 started selling the cables. But the more recent cables come in new physical variations, including Lightning to USB-C, and include more capabilities for hackers to play with. "There were people who said that Type C cables were safe from this type of implant because there isn't enough space. So, clearly, I had to prove that wrong. :)," MG told Motherboard in an online chat. The OMG Cables, as they're called, work by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot itself that a hacker can connect to from their own device. From here, an interface in an ordinary web browser lets the hacker start recording keystrokes. The malicious implant itself takes up around half the length of the plastic shell, MG said. MG said that the new cables now have geofencing features, where a user can trigger or block the device's payloads based on the physical location of the cable. "It pairs well with the self-destruct feature if an OMG Cable leaves the scope of your engagement and you do not want your payloads leaking or being accidentally run against random computers," he said. "We tested this out in downtown Oakland and were able to trigger payloads at over 1 mile," he added. He said that the Type C cables allow the same sort of attacks to be carried out against smartphones and tablets. Various other improvements include being able to change keyboard mappings, the ability to forge the identity of specific USB devices, such as pretending to be a device that leverages a particular vulnerability on a system.

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UK ISP Sky Broadband Feeds Realtime Customer Bandwidth Data To Litigious Anti-Piracy Firm

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2021-09-02 23:25
UK ISP Sky Broadband is monitoring the IP addresses of servers suspected of streaming pirated content to subscribers and supplying that data to an anti-piracy company working with the Premier League. That inside knowledge is then processed and used to create blocklists used by the country's leading ISPs, to prevent subscribers from watching pirated events. An anonymous reader shares the report from Torrent Freak: In recent weeks, an anonymous source shared a small trove of information relating to the systems used to find, positively identity, and then ultimately block pirate streams at ISPs. According to the documents, the module related to the Premier League work is codenamed 'RedBeard.' The activity appears to start during the week football matches or PPV events take place. A set of scripts at anti-piracy company Friend MTS are tasked with producing lists of IP addresses that are suspected of being connected to copyright infringement. These addresses are subsequently dumped to Amazon S3 buckets and the data is used by ISPs to block access to infringing video streams, the documents indicate. During actual event scanning, content is either manually or fingerprint matched, with IP addresses extracted from DNS information related to hostnames in media URLs, load balancers, and servers hosting Electronic Program Guides (EPG), all of which are used by unlicensed IPTV services. The big question then is how the Premier League's anti-piracy partner discovers the initial server IP addresses that it subsequently puts forward for ISP blocking. According to documents reviewed by TF, information comes from three sources -- the anti-piracy company's regular monitoring (which identifies IP addresses and their /24 range), manually entered IP addresses (IP addresses and ports), and a third, potentially more intriguing source -- ISPs themselves. The document revealing this information is not dated but other documents in the batch reference dates in 2021. At the time of publishing date, the document indicates that ISP cooperation is currently limited to Sky Broadband only. TorrentFreak asked Friend MTS if that remains the case or whether additional ISPs are now involved. It appears that instead of monitoring customer IP addresses, Sky is compiling data on which IP addresses subscribers are pulling most data from during (and potentially before) match or event times. Sky then uploads the highest-trafficked IP addresses along with the port the traffic is streamed on to the S3 bucket mentioned above, every five minutes. It is then accessed by the anti-piracy company which, every five minutes, extracts the IP, bandwidth rate, and the port number that bandwidth is on. At the time of the document's publication, the Sky 'Top Talker' threshold for the Premier League's 'RedBeard' module was 100mbps. The IP address information provided by the ISP that exceeds this limit then appears to be cross-referenced by IP address and port number with data obtained during game week scanning at Friend MTS. It is then processed accordingly. Torrent Freak goes on to note that the Premier League is "seeking cooperation from additional ISPs too." "In summary, it appears that Sky subscribers aren't being directly monitored per se, but the servers they draw most bandwidth from are being noted by Sky and that data is being forwarded for anti-piracy enforcement," the report adds. "This means that Sky subscribers' piracy habits are directly providing information to support Premier League, Matchroom Boxing, and Queensbury Promotions blocking efforts."

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Apple Will Ask Before it Targets You With Its Ads in iOS 15

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2021-09-02 22:44
Apple will start asking for permission to enable Personalized Ads in iOS 15, the company's method of serving relevant ads in the App Store and Apple News by analyzing what you read, purchase, and search for on your device. From a report: The company used to collect that information by default, but now it plans to ask for permission. Apple required other developers to seek users' permission with the debut of App Tracking Transparency, so it seems like it's showing that it will hold itself to a similar standard. The Personalized Ads pop-up should show up when you open the App Store if you're running the most recent iOS 15 beta. In the pop-up, Apple writes that the ads will help you discover relevant apps, products, and services while protecting your privacy by using "device-generated identifiers and not linking advertising information to your Apple ID."

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New AMD Patent Proposes Teleportation To Make Quantum Computing More Efficient

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2021-09-02 12:00
A team of researchers with AMD have filed a patent application that looks toward a more efficient and reliable quantum computing architecture, thanks to a conventional multi-SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) approach. Tom's Hardware reports: According to the application, AMD is researching a system that aims to use quantum teleportation to increase a quantum system's reliability, while simultaneously reducing the number of qubits necessary for a given calculation. The aim is to both alleviate scaling problems and calculation errors stemming from system instability. The AMD patent, titled "Look Ahead Teleportation for Reliable Computation in Multi-SIMD Quantum Processor," aims to improve quantum stability, scalability, and performance in novel, more efficient ways. It describes a quantum architecture based on quantum processing regions: areas of the chip that hold or can hold qubits, lying in wait for their turn on the processing pipeline. AMD's approach aims to improve on existing quantum architectures by actually reducing the number of qubits needed to perform complex calculations -- via the science fiction-esque concept of quantum teleportation. AMD's design aims to teleport qubits across regions, enabling workloads that would theoretically require in-order execution to become capable of being processed in an out-of-order philosophy. As a quick refresher, in-order execution features dependencies between one instruction and the next, meaning that a workload has to be processed sequentially, with later steps dependent on the previous step being fully processed and its result being known before the chip can move ahead with the computation. As you may imagine, there are chip resources (in this case, qubits) that sit idle until it's their time to perform the next calculation step. On the other hand, Out-of-order execution analyzes a given workload, figures out which parts of it are dependent on previous results and which are not, and executes every step of the instruction that doesn't require a previous result, thus improving performance via increased parallelism. AMD's patent also includes a look-ahead processor embedded into the architecture, tasked to analyze the input workload, predict what steps can be tackled in parallel (and those that can't), and appropriately distribute the workload across qubits, using a quantum teleporting technique to deliver them to the required quantum processing, SIMD-based region. How this quantum teleportation occurs isn't described in the patent -- it looks like AMD is playing its cards close to its chest on this one.

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Judge Rules UC-Berkeley Must Freeze Its Enrollment To Assess Ecological Impact of Its Undergrads

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2021-09-02 02:02
schwit1 shares a report from Slate: Enrolling more students at one of America's best public universities might be bad for the environment. That's the conclusion of California Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman, who on Aug. 23 ordered the University of California-Berkeley to temporarily freeze the number of students it admits every year under the California Environmental Quality Act, putting crowded classrooms in the same category as heavy infrastructure like highways and airports. "Further increases in student enrollment above the current enrollment level at UC-Berkeley could result in an adverse change or alteration of the physical environment," the judge wrote (PDF). How'd we get here? Under California law, universities are periodically required to prepare a long-term development plan that includes enrollment forecasts and an environmental impact study. In 2005, UCâ"Berkeley produced one projecting that its headcount would stabilize at about 33,500 students. Instead, the school ended up enrolling more than 42,000 by 2020, with plans to admit more still in the years to come. The university didn't think that welcoming more students to campus required it to perform a whole new environmental review. But a state appeals court in San Francisco disagreed in 2020, ruling (PDF) that increasing enrollment counted as a "project" that needed to be evaluated under the CEQA, just like building a stadium or dorm would be. In doing so, the judges sided with a local community group, Save Berkeley's Neighborhoods, which sued UC-Berkeley in 2019 and set the stage for last week's lower court decision officially hitting pause on the school's enrollment ambitions. California's flagship public university must now assess the ecological cost of its student body at once.

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Amazon Asked FCC To Reject Starlink Plan Because It Can't Compete, SpaceX Says

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-09-01 23:25
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Amazon's attempt to block proposals for the next-generation Starlink system is a "delay tactic" and a continuation of Amazon's strategy of "hinder[ing] competitors to compensate for Amazon's failure to make progress of its own," SpaceX told the Federal Communications Commission yesterday. "Amazon's track record amply demonstrates that as it falls behind competitors, it is more than willing to use regulatory and legal processes to create obstacles designed to delay those competitors from leaving Amazon even further behind," SpaceX told the FCC in its filing. Approving Amazon's request would hurt consumers by denying them "access to faster-moving competition," SpaceX said. Amazon last week urged the FCC to reject an update to SpaceX's Starlink plan because it "proposes two different configurations for the nearly 30,000 satellites of its Gen2 System, each of which arranges these satellites along very different orbital parameters." Amazon contends that the SpaceX request violates a rule requiring applications to be complete and have no internal inconsistencies. Amazon's request would prevent the commission from seeking public comment on SpaceX's application, SpaceX said. "The commission should recognize this gambit for the obstructionist tactic that it is, reject Amazon's request, and quickly put the amendment out for public comment," SpaceX said. The public-comment process will allow "any issues [to] be fully vetted," SpaceX said.

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Australian Powers To Spy on Cybercrime Suspects Given Green Light

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-09-01 18:41
A government bill to create new police powers to spy on criminal suspects online, disrupt their data and take over their accounts has been passed with the support of Labor. From a repoort: The identify and disrupt bill passed the Senate on Wednesday, despite concerns about the low bar of who can authorise a warrant, and that the government failed to implement all the safeguards recommended by the bipartisan joint committee on intelligence and security. The bill creates three new types of warrants to enable the AFP and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to modify and delete data, take over accounts and spy on Australians in networks suspected of committing crimes. Earlier in August, the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security -- (PJCIS) chaired by the Liberal senator James Paterson -- made a series of recommendations to improve oversight and safeguards. On Tuesday, the home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, introduced amendments to implement some of the proposed safeguards, including a sunset clause so the new powers would expire after five years and stronger criteria to issue warrants. Andrews said the amendments would mean data disruption warrants would need to be "reasonably necessary and proportionate" and data disruption and account takeover warrants would need to specify the types of activities proposed to be carried out. The media would also gain some extra protection, with the addition of a "public interest test for data disruption warrants, network activity warrants and account takeover warrants where an investigation of an unauthorised disclosure offence is in relation to a person working in a professional capacity as a journalist," she said.

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Apple Secures First States To Support Digital Driver's Licenses, But Privacy Questions Linger

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2021-09-01 18:08
Apple's plan to digitize your wallet is slowly taking shape. What started with boarding passes and venue tickets later became credit cards, subway tickets, and student IDs. Next on Apple's list to digitize are driver's licenses and state IDs, which it plans to support in its iOS 15 update expected out later this year. From a report: But to get there it needs help from state governments, since it's the states that issue driver's licenses and other forms of state identification, and every state issues IDs differently. Apple said today it has so far secured two states, Arizona and Georgia, to bring digital driver's license and state IDs. Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah are expected to follow, but a timeline for rolling out wasn't given. Apple said in June that it would begin supporting digital licenses and IDs, and that the TSA would be the first agency to begin accepting a digital license from an iPhone at several airports, since only a state ID is required for traveling by air domestically within the United States. The TSA will allow you to present your digital wallet by tapping it on an identity reader. Apple says the feature is secure and doesn't require handing over or unlocking your phone. The digital license and ID data is stored on your iPhone but a driver's license must be verified by the participating state. That has to happen at scale and speed to support millions of drivers and travelers while preventing fake IDs from making it through. The goal of digitizing licenses and IDs is convenience, rather than fixing a problem. But the move hasn't exactly drawn confidence from privacy experts, who bemoan Apple's lack of transparency about how it built this technology and what it ultimately gets out of it.

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