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Google Launches Incognito Mode For Google Maps; Privacy-Focused Features For YouTube and Google Assistant

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2019-10-02 19:30
Google has announced today new privacy-centered updates for three of its services -- namely Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Assistant. From a report: More specifically, Google Maps will be getting an incognito mode, YouTube is getting a history auto-delete option, and Google Assistant is getting support for voice commands that will help users manage the Assistant's own privacy settings. In addition, Google also launched a new Password Checkup feature that checks users' passwords if they've been leaked at other online services. Google first announced incognito mode for Google Maps earlier this year in May, at its Google I/O developer conference. The Google Maps incognito mode is modeled after the similarly named feature that's found in all modern browsers and has been present in Chrome since its launch, back in 2008. It allows Google Maps users to search and view locations without having this information added to their Google account history. [...] The company said YouTube will get a feature called "history auto-delete." Google is also rolling out new privacy features to its voice assistant -- Google Assistant. These updates come after last week the company rolled out changes to its privacy policy on how Google Assistant handles voice recordings in response to concerns related to third-party contractors listening in on users' voice recordings. But in the coming weeks, Google users will be able to query the Google Assistant itself about these privacy settings.

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EU Brings In 'Right To Repair' Rules For Appliances

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 22:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Household appliances will become easier to repair thanks to new standards being adopted across the European Union. From 2021, firms will have to make appliances longer-lasting, and they will have to supply spare parts for machines for up to 10 years. The rules apply to lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges. But campaigners for the "right to repair" say they do not go far enough as only professionals -- not consumers -- will be able carry out the repairs. The legislation has been prompted by complaints from consumers across Europe and North America infuriated by machines that break down when they are just out of warranty. Under the European Commission's new standards, manufacturers will have to make spares, such as door gaskets and thermostats, available to professional repairers. These parts will have to be accessible with commonly-available tools and without damaging the product. Manufacturers say they are only making the parts available for independent professionals because if consumers were allowed to buy spares and mend their own machines it would raise questions about risk and liability. The report also notes that "star ratings for the energy efficiency of appliances will be ratcheted up," which "could directly save 20 billion euros on energy bills per year in Europe from 2030 onwards -- equivalent to 5% of EU electricity consumption."

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Appeals Court Upholds FCC's Cancelling of Net Neutrality Rules

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 18:12
A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed that the Federal Communications Commission acted lawfully when it scrapped the U.S. government's net neutrality rules in 2017, but it opened the door for state and local governments to introduce their own regulations designed to treat all web traffic equally. From a report: In a nearly 200-page opinion, judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals largely sided with the FCC and its Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, who was appointed to his position by President Trump. While the agency must return to the drawing board on some elements of its repeal, the court upheld the legal underpinnings of the FCC's work, finding that net neutrality supporters had made "unconvincing" arguments in their efforts to override the FCC's deregulation of companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. But the ruling still appeared to offer a lifeline to net neutrality supporters: It overruled an effort by the FCC to block states from adopting open-internet protections of their own. The FCC preempted those regulations as part of its prior repeal, but the court determined the telecom agency had overstepped its authority. In unwinding the agency's blockade on such protections, the judges opened the door for states such as California to forge ahead with their plans for regulation. More: Court rules the FCC can't block state net neutrality laws.

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Leaked Zuckerberg Audio Reveals Facebook's Plan To Sue the US Government If Elizabeth Warren Tries To Break Up Big Tech

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 16:10
Mark Zuckerberg is fully prepared to sue the federal government if someone like Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tries to break up Facebook into smaller companies, according to audio recordings obtained by the Verge. Warren has made breaking up Big Tech a signature promise of her presidential campaign. From a report: The audio recordings, which were not intended for public consumption, are reportedly from two meetings in July that were structured as Q&A sessions between Zuckerberg, the company's CEO, and Facebook employees. Arguably the most interesting insight from the leaked audio is that Facebook is going to use everything they've got to fight antitrust regulators and Elizabeth Warren, should she win the presidency. Zuckerberg makes it clear that the company is not going to be broken up without a messy war in Washington. From a transcript of the audio recording obtained by the Verge: "So there might be a political movement where people are angry at the tech companies or are worried about concentration or worried about different issues and worried that they're not being handled well. That doesn't mean that, even if there's anger and that you have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies ... I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don't want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. I mean, that's not the position that you want to be in when you're, you know, I mean ... it's like, we care about our country and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone's going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight. In a statement, Warren said on Tuesday, "What would really "suck" is if we don't fix a corrupt system that lets giant companies like Facebook engage in illegal anticompetitive practices, stomp on consumer privacy rights, and repeatedly fumble their responsibility to protect our democracy."

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New App Claims It Can Identify Venture Capitalists Using Facial Recognition

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: AngelFace [is] an Android app that lets users identify whether someone is a venture capitalist by capturing a quick photo of their face. According to [app developer Tosh Velaga and co-founder Igor Nefedov], "You just hold your phone up to someone's face for a second, tap a button and their profile will pop up." Velaga and Nefedov scraped photos of investors from Signal, a directory of venture capitalists in different industries, as well as Google Images. They declined to specify how many photos they have, though they said it is over 1,000. Velaga believes the app can solve a common issue for new entrepreneurs: meeting and talking to the people who can fund their ideas. "Part of it is like if you see somebody walking down the street in Allbirds and a puffy vest, you might be like who is this? VCs are not the most sympathetic crowd and it's hard to just go up and talk to them. Now you at least know who they are," he said. Today, AngelFace is focused on venture capitalists based in the Bay Area, though Velaga hasn't ruled out the possibility of expanding to other cities. He's marketing the app cautiously because, as he says, "it's a slippery slope, this technology. We're not even sure if it's legal." If you're planning on giving the app a try, don't expect it to work very well. The Verge said they tested the app around the office and it "didn't recognize Casey Newton or Benchmark's Bill Gurley."

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US Dept of Education Has Big Payday For K-12 CS, Including Tech-Backed Code.org

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 04:00
theodp writes: On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced $123 million in new Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant awards to 41 school districts, nonprofits and state educational agencies. Over $78 million of that went to 29 grantees focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, and more than 85% of the funded STEM projects include a specific focus on computer science. The announcement was scant on details, but the awardees listed include tech-bankrolled Code.org, whose Board of Directors include Microsoft President Brad Smith, Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke, and Google VP of Education & University Programs Maggie Johnson. In his new book, Tools and Weapons, Smith interestingly reveals how Microsoft, Amazon, and Google each pledged to commit $50 million to K-12 computer science education to get First Daughter and Presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump to work to secure $1 billion of Federal support for K-12 STEM/CS education. From the book: "While you would be hard-pressed to say that every student must take computer science, you could say that every student deserves the opportunity. That means getting computer science into every high school, and into earlier grades as well. The only way to train teachers at this scale is for federal funding to help fill the gap. After years of lobbying, there was a breakthrough in federal interest in 2016. In January President Obama announced a bold proposal to invest $4 billion of federal money to bring computer science to the nation's schools. While the proposal produced enthusiasm, it didn't spur Congress to appropriate any new money. Ivanka Trump had more success the following year. Even before her father had moved into the White House, she was interested in federal investments in computer science in schools. She was confident she could persuade the president to support the idea, but she also believed that the key to public money was to secure substantial private funding from major technology companies. She said she would work to secure $1 billion of federal support over five years if the tech sector would pledge $300 million during the same time. As always, there was the question of whether someone would go first. The White House was looking for a company to get things rolling by pledging $50 million over five years. Given Microsoft's long-standing involvement, financial support, and prior advocacy with the Obama White House, we were a natural choice. We agreed to make the commitment, other companies followed, and in September 2017 Mary Snapp, the head of Microsoft Philanthropies, joined Ivanka in Detroit to make the announcement." The $300 million was apparently money well-pledged. Surrounded by children, educators, Ivanka Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, President Trump in late 2017 signed a presidential memorandum directed to DeVos calling for the expansion of K-12 computer science and STEM education in the U.S. with at least $200 million in annual grant funding.

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Ask Slashdot: Will P2P Video Sites Someday Replace YouTube?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 03:40
dryriver writes: BitChute is a video-hosting website like YouTube, except that it states its mission as being "anti-censorship" and is Peer-To-Peer, WebTorrent based. "It is based on the peer-to-peer WebTorrent system, a JavaScript torrenting program that can run in a web browser," according to Wikipedia. "Users who watch a video also seed it. BitChute does not rely on advertising, and users can send payments to video creators directly. In November 2018 BitChute was banned from PayPal." So it seems that you don't need huge datacenters to build something like YouTube -- Bitchute effectively relies on its users to act as a distributed P2P datacenter. Is this the future of internet video? Will more and more people flock to P2P video-hosting sites as/when more mainstream services like YouTube fall prey to various forms of censorship?

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Legit-Looking iPhone Lightning Cables That Hack You Will Be Mass Produced and Sold

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 03:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Soon it may be easier to get your hands on a cable that looks just like a legitimate Apple lightning cable, but which actually lets you remotely take over a computer. The security researcher behind the recently developed tool announced over the weekend that the cable has been successfully made in a factory. MG is the creator of the O.MG Cable. It charges phones and transfers data in the same way an Apple cable does, but it also contains a wireless hotspot that a hacker can connect to. Once they've done that, a hacker can run commands on the computer, potentially rummaging through a victim's files, for instance. After demoing the cable for Motherboard at the Def Con hacking conference this summer, MG said "It's like being able to sit at the keyboard and mouse of the victim but without actually being there." At the time, MG was selling the handmade cables at the conference for $200 each. Now that production process has been streamlined. This doesn't necessarily mean that factories are churning out O.MG Cables right now, but it shows that their manufacture can be fully outsourced, and MG doesn't have to make the cables by hand.

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Fugitive On Run For 17 Years Found Living In Cave By a Drone

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 01:40
Chinese police have arrested a fugitive who'd been on the run for 17 years, after they used drones to spot his cave hideout. The BBC reports: The 63-year old, named Song Jiang by the police, had been jailed for trafficking women and children but escaped from a prison camp in 2002. He had been living in a tiny cave cut off from human interaction for years. Yongshan police received clues about Song's whereabouts in early September, they said on their WeChat account. Those clues led them to the mountains behind his hometown in Yunnan province in south-west China. After regular searches failed to find anything, authorities sent additional drones to help the officers. The drones eventually spotted a blue-colored steel tile on a steep cliff as well as traces of household rubbish nearby. According to the police, the man had been living in seclusion for so long that it was difficult for him to communicate with the officers. He has been sent back to jail.

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California Governor Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes To Profit

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2019-10-01 01:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: In a move that puts California on a collision course with the NCAA, Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill effectively allowing college athletes in the state to earn compensation for the use of their likeness, sign endorsement deals and hire agents to represent them. The governor signed the measure in a segment released Monday by Uninterrupted, a sports programming company co-founded by LeBron James. Newsom proclaimed the move as "the beginning of a national movement -- one that transcends geographic and partisan lines." California is the first state to pass such a law, which is to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. That marks a significant shift from the current policies enforced by the NCAA, collegiate sports' national governing body, which generally renders student-athletes ineligible to accept compensation for "the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind." And the NCAA Board of Governors pushed back hard against the bill at the time of its passage in the Legislature, saying that it would leave the playing field for universities of different sizes radically uneven. "Collegiate student athletes put everything on the line -- their physical health, future career prospects and years of their lives to compete. Colleges reap billions from these student athletes' sacrifices and success but, in the same breath, block them from earning a single dollar," Newsom said in a statement. "That's a bankrupt model -- one that puts institutions ahead of the students they are supposed to serve. It needs to be disrupted." In response, a 22-member panel composed mostly of university presidents and athletic directors said in a letter: "Right now, nearly half a million student-athletes in all 50 states compete under the same rules. This bill would remove that essential element of fairness and equal treatment that forms the bedrock of college sports."

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US Online Privacy Rules Unlikely This Year, Hurting Big Tech

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-09-30 22:20
A U.S. online privacy bill is not likely to come before Congress this year, Reuters reported Monday, citing three sources, as lawmakers disagree over issues like whether the bill should preempt state rules, forcing companies to deal with much stricter legislation in California that goes into effect on Jan. 1. From a report: Without a federal law, technology companies, retailers, advertising firms and others dependent on collecting consumer data to track users and increase sales must adapt to the California law, potentially harming corporate profits over the long term. The delay is a setback for companies ranging from Amazon and Facebook to Alphabet's Google and retailers like Walmart, who either directly collect shopper information to run their websites, or provide free services and derive revenues from advertising that relies on online data collection. "This will be tremendously challenging... companies need to really focus on complying with California now because there is not going to be a life raft from a federal level," Gary Kibel, a partner specializing in technology and privacy at law firm Davis & Gilbert. While the sources, who are involved in the negotiations, still think it is possible at least one discussion draft of the bill could land before the year ends, congressional negotiators must still agree on whether it is adequate to simply ask consumers to consent to collection of personally identifiable information and give them the opportunity to opt out and how the new law would be enforced.

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Top Oracle Lawyer Attempting To Gaslight Entire Software Community: Insists APIs Are Executable

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-09-30 21:00
Mike Masnick, reporting for TechDirt: Last week, the Solicitor General of the White House weighed in on Google's request for the Supreme Court to overturn the Federal Circuit's ridiculously confused ruling in the Oracle/Google case concerning the copyrightability of APIs (and whether or not repurposing them is fair use). Not surprisingly, as the Solicitor General has been siding with Oracle all along, it suggests that the Supreme Court not hear the case. Of course, it does so by completely misrepresenting what's at stake in the case -- pretending that this is about whether or not software source code is copyright-eligible:"This case concerns the copyrightability of computer code. To induce a computer to perform a function, a person must give the computer written instructions. Typically, those instructions are written in 'source code,' which consists of words, numbers, and symbols in a particular 'programming language,' which has its own syntax and semantics. The source code is then converted into binary 'object code' -- ones and zeros -- that is readable by the computer. It is both 'firmly established' and undisputed in this case that computer code can be copyrightable as a 'literary work[].' 1 Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright & 2A.10[B] (2019). Section 101 defines a 'computer program' as 'a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.' 17 U.S.C. 101. And various Copyright Act provisions recognize that a person may own a copyright in a 'computer program.'" Masnick adds: Except... that's not what this case is about. Even remotely. Literally no one denies that software source code is subject to copyright. The question is whether or not an Application Programming Interface -- an API -- is subject to copyright.

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US Treasury Goes After the Planes and Yacht of Russia's Troll Farm Founder

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-09-30 18:54
The US Treasury Department announced today the third set of sanctions against the Internet Research Agency (IRA), also known as Russia's troll farm. From a report: The Treasury previously sanctioned the IRA in March and December 2018. This time, the sanctions are being imposed because of the Russian company's involvement in the 2018 US midterm elections, when it used social media campaigns in an attempt to influence the election's outcome. But this time, Treasury officials are taking a new route. Besides imposing new sanctions on the IRA and the private property of six of its employees, Treasury officials today also went after the private possessions of Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the IRA's founder and primary financier. More specifically, US officials imposed sanctions on three companies that Prigozhin uses to manage three planes and a yacht. The first is Beratex Group Limited, a company registered in the Seychelles, which the Russian oligarch uses to manage a private jet with the tail number of M-VITO, and a private yacht under the name of St. Vitamin.

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Looking Back at the Snowden Revelations

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-09-30 17:21
Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins University, writes: So what did Snowden's leaks really tell us? The brilliant thing about the Snowden leaks was that he didn't tell us much of anything. He showed us. Most of the revelations came in the form of a Powerpoint slide deck, the misery of which somehow made it all more real. And despite all the revelation fatigue, the things he showed us were remarkable. I'm going to hit a few of the highlights from my perspective. Many are cryptography-related, just because that's what this blog is about. Others tell a more basic story about how vulnerable our networks are. "Collect it all" Prior to Snowden, even surveillance-skeptics would probably concede that, yes, the NSA collects data on specific targets. But even the most paranoid observers were shocked by the sheer scale of what the NSA was actually doing out there. The Snowden revelations detailed several programs that were so astonishing in the breadth and scale of the data being collected, the only real limits on them were caused by technical limitations in the NSA's hardware. Most of us are familiar with the famous examples, like nationwide phone metadata collection. But it's the bizarre, obscure leaks that really drive this home. "Optic Nerve": From 2008-2010 the NSA and GCHQ collected millions of still images from every Yahoo! Messenger webchat stream, and used them to build a massive database for facial recognition. The collection of data had no particular rhyme or reason -- i.e., it didn't target specific users who might be a national security threat. It was just... everything.

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Krebs Publishes 'Interview With the Guy Who Tried To Frame Me For Heroin Possession'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2019-09-30 09:34
"In April 2013, I received via U.S. mail more than a gram of pure heroin as part of a scheme to get me arrested for drug possession," writes security reserch Brian Krebs. "But the plan failed and the Ukrainian mastermind behind it soon after was imprisoned for unrelated cybercrime offenses. "That individual recently gave his first interview since finishing his jail time here in the states, and he's shared some select (if often abrasive and coarse) details on how he got into cybercrime and why... Vovnenko claims he never sent anything and that it was all done by members of his forum... "They sent all sorts of crazy shit. Forty or so guys would send. When I was already doing time, one of the dudes sent it...." In an interview published on the Russian-language security blog Krober.biz, Vovnenko said he began stealing early in life, and by 13 was already getting picked up for petty robberies and thefts... "After watching movies and reading books about hackers, I really wanted to become a sort of virtual bandit who robs banks without leaving home," Vovnenko recalled... Around the same time Fly was taking bitcoin donations for a fund to purchase heroin on my behalf, he was also engaged to be married to a nice young woman. But Fly apparently did not fully trust his bride-to-be, so he had malware installed on her system that forwarded him copies of all email that she sent and received. But Fly would make at least two big operational security mistakes in this spying effort: First, he had his fiancée's messages forwarded to an email account he'd used for plenty of cybercriminal stuff related to his various "Fly" identities. Mistake number two was the password for his email account was the same as one of his cybercrime forum admin accounts. And unbeknownst to him at the time, that forum was hacked, with all email addresses and hashed passwords exposed. Soon enough, investigators were reading Fly's email, including the messages forwarded from his wife's account that had details about their upcoming nuptials, such as shipping addresses for their wedding-related items and the full name of Fly's fiancée. It didn't take long to zero in on Fly's location in Naples. While it may sound unlikely that a guy so immeshed in the cybercrime space could make such rookie security mistakes, I have found that a great many cybercriminals actually have worse operational security than the average Internet user. I suspect this may be because the nature of their activities requires them to create vast numbers of single- or brief-use accounts, and in general they tend to re-use credentials across multiple sites, or else pick very poor passwords -- even for critical resources... Towards the end, Fly says he's considering going back to school, and that he may even take up information security as a study. I wish him luck in that whatever that endeavor is as long as he can also avoid stealing from people.

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Google's DNS-Over-TLS Plans Scrutinized By US Congress

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2019-09-29 23:34
Google's plans to implement DNS over TLS in Chrome are being investigated by a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, while the Justice Department has "recently received complaints" about the practice, according to the Wall Street Journal. An anonymous reader quotes Engadget: While Google says it's pushing for adoption of the technology to prevent spying and spoofing, House investigators are worried this would give the internet giant an unfair advantage by denying access to users' data. The House sent a letter on September 13th asking if Google would use data handled through the process for commercial purposes... Internet service providers are worried that they may be shut out of the data and won't know as much about their customers' traffic patterns. This could "foreclose competition in advertising and other industries," an alliance of ISPs told Congress in a September 19th letter... Mozilla also wants to use the format to secure DNS in Firefox, and the company's Marshall Erwin told the WSJ that the antitrust gripes are "fundamentally misleading." ISPs are trying to undermine the standard simply because they want continued access to users' data, Erwin said. Unencrypted DNS helps them target ads by tracking your web habits, and it's harder to thwart DNS tracking than cookies and other typical approaches.

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America's CIA Reportedly Spied on Julian Assange In the Ecuador Embassy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-09-28 22:34
A Spanish private security firm spied on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on behalf of the CIA while he was inside Ecuador's embassy in London, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. An anonymous reader quotes AFP: Citing unspecified documents and statements, the paper said Undercover Global Ltd, which was responsible for security at the embassy while Assange was staying there, sent the US intelligence service audio and video files of meetings he had with his lawyers. The reports were allegedly handed over by David Morales, who owns the company and is currently being investigated by Spain's National Court, the paper said.... According to El Pais, Undercover Global installed microphones in the embassy's fire extinguishers as well as in the women's toilets where Assange's lawyers used to meet for fear of being spied on. It said the company also installed a streaming system so the recordings could be directly accessed by US officials, enabling them to spy on a meeting Assange had with Ecuador's secret service chief Rommy Vallejo in December 2017. El Pais reports that the company's team was also ordered to install stickers that prevented the windows from vibrating in one of the rooms Assange used, "allegedly to make it easier for the CIA to record conversations with their laser microphones."

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Facebook and WhatsApp Will Be Forced to Share Encrypted Messages With British Police

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-09-28 18:41
"Social media platforms based in the U.S. including Facebook and WhatsApp will be forced to share users' encrypted messages with British police under a new treaty between the two countries, " reports Bloomberg, citing "a person familiar with the matter." The accord, which is set to be signed by next month, will compel social media firms to share information to support investigations into individuals suspected of serious criminal offenses including terrorism and pedophilia, the person said.

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Should We Build A Publicly-Funded Social Media Platform?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-09-28 17:34
What if the problems with social media just can't be solved by a for-profit platform? Writing in the New York Times, a former Tumblr executive argues the solution might require the creation of a nonprofit publicly-funded social media platform. The mechanics of how a public social media product would work have been fairly well figured out by now: It would be a digital platform that allows people to post and share a variety of media -- pictures, audio, video, text -- to other people in the network. I personally would structure it a little more like Instagram or Tumblr, where I was one of the early employees, than Twitter or Facebook. In other words, it should be built to prioritize sharing things you love over getting attention by simply being loud online... A nonprofit model eliminates most of the incentives for bad behavior. The network would not be under pressure from investors to generate growth at all costs. There would be no incentive to allow fake accounts; in fact the incentives would be opposite, since fake accounts impose costs on the network and provide no benefits. Unlike for-profit social media, public social media would be explicitly noncommercial -- no brand accounts allowed. In fact, there would be no accounts for any organizations -- this network is for people only. An account on a public media platform would be tied to a real-world, local identity, like a driver's license or library card. Anonymity online has real benefits, and a user name doesn't have to be your real name. The public social media network could keep this information hashed, unscrambled only when action against a user is required, which would make it easier to crack down on fake and troll accounts... In some ways this structure is very similar to what Facebook once was. TheFacebook started as a platform limited to Harvard students. This restricted access helped behavior on the network: Only people with a verified real-world identity and accountability could get in. This is not the case today with Facebook, of course, or with any other for-profit social platform that depends on getting as many accounts as possible... Public social media is an idea that our civic space can be improved by the creation of a platform organized in the public interest. A thriving digital social network is as vital to the public sphere as a public library, public schools, or even a public water fountain. Let's build one. He argues that this community could then work through any issues that come up, adding "This is the key work of a democracy, and establishing those community standards shouldn't be left, as they are now, for any for-profit, unaccountable company to decide."

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GNOME Foundation Is Being Sued Because of Shotwell Photo Manager

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2019-09-28 16:34
JustAnotherOldGuy quotes ItsFOSS: The GNOME Foundation is facing a lawsuit from Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC. Rothschild allege that Shotwell, a free and open source personal photo manager infringes its patent. Neil McGovern, Executive Director for the GNOME Foundation says "We have retained legal counsel and intend to vigorously defend against this baseless suit. Due to the ongoing litigation, we unfortunately cannot make any further comments at this time." While Neil cannot make any further comments on this issue, let me throw some lights on this matter. The patent in the question deals with wireless image distribution. The patent is ridiculous because it could mean any software that transfers images from one device to another could be violating this patent. BoingBoing adds: Rothschild was only recently awarded a patent relating to wifi image transfers, but he has a long history taking companies like Apple and Samsung to court. His LLC was named in 2015 as the single largest nonpracticing entity by defendant count; a NPE is a company or person who holds patents but makes no products, instead pursuing companies that do for settlements. One website counts 30 lawsuits filed since June involving Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC, with more than 100 ongoing. ZDNet argues the suit " doesn't make much sense. But when has that ever stopped a patent troll?"

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