aggregator

Court Again Rules That Cable Giants Can't Weaponize the First Amendment

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-11-21 04:03
Charter has been using the argument that their First Amendment rights are being violated as it fights off state lawsuits for its poor service. "It recently tried to use the First Amendment card again in a legal battle with Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), which recently accused Charter of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1866 by refusing to carry TV channels run by the African-American-owned ESN," reports Techdirt. "While Charter tried to have the suit dismissed by claiming that the First Amendment prohibits such claims because an ISP enjoys 'editorial discretion,' the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit didn't agree." From the report: The court noted that while ISPs and cable companies do enjoy some First Amendment protection, it doesn't apply here, just like it didn't apply in the net neutrality fight: "As part of its defense, Charter had told the court that by choosing which channels to carry, the company was engaging in a form of editorial discretion protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, it said, the court would have to use a stricter standard to evaluate Entertainment Studios' claim of a legal violation -- a standard that might result in the claim being rejected. The Ninth Circuit said otherwise, saying that just because Charter engages in corporate speech when it selects which channels to carry does not 'automatically' require the court to use the tougher standard." As a result, the court is letting the case move forward. For its part, ESN's discrimination complaint alleges that its complaint is based on more than just having its channel withheld from the company's cable lineup: "The opinion on Charter's motion to dismiss also marks a victory for the 25-year-old programming firm founded by comedian Byron Allen, which bought the Weather Channel in March and accused Charter executives in court of hurling racist insults at Allen and other black Americans in numerous encounters. In one alleged instance, Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge called Allen, who is black, 'boy' at an industry conference and advised him to change his behavior, according to court documents. In another alleged example, the court said, Charter's senior executive in charge of programming, Allan Singer, approached a group of black protesters outside Charter's offices to tell them to 'get off of welfare.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ajit Pai Wants To Raise Rural Broadband Speeds From 10Mbps To 25Mbps

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-11-21 02:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is planning to raise the rural broadband standard from 10Mbps to 25Mbps in a move that would require faster Internet speeds in certain government-subsidized networks. The FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) distributes more than $1.5 billion a year to AT&T, CenturyLink, and other carriers to bring broadband to sparsely populated areas. Carriers that use CAF money to build networks must provide speeds of at least 10Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. The minimum speed requirement was last raised in December 2014. Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he's proposing raising that standard from 10Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps. "[W]'re recognizing that rural Americans need and deserve high-quality services by increasing the target speeds for subsidized deployments from 10/1 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps," Pai wrote in a blog post that describes agenda items for the FCC's December 12 meeting. "[T]he program should support high-quality services; rural Americans deserve services that are comparable to those in urban areas," Pai also wrote. The new speeds "will apply to future projects but won't necessarily apply to broadband projects that are already receiving funding," Ars notes. "For ongoing projects, the FCC will use incentives to try to raise speeds. More money will be offered to carriers that agree to upgrade speeds to 25Mbps/3Mbps, a senior FCC official said in a conference call with reporters."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Democrats Intend To Probe Ivanka Trump's Use of Personal Email In Next Congress

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-11-21 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: Amid reports that first daughter and White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump exchanged hundreds of official government business emails using a personal email account, top Democrats on Capitol Hill "want to know if Ivanka complied with the law" and in the next Congress plan to continue their investigation of the Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat who's in line to become the next chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next year, promises any potential investigation into Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's emails won't be like the "spectacle" Republicans led in the Clinton email probe. The Oversight committee has jurisdiction over records and transparency laws, and Cummings helped write an update to the Presidential and Federal Records Acts that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. That measure mandates that every federal employee, including the President, forward any message about official business sent using a private account to the employee's official email account within 20 days. "We launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials' use of private email accounts for official business, but the White House never gave us the information we requested," Cummings, D-Md., noted. "We need those documents to ensure that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and other officials are complying with federal records laws and there is a complete record of the activities of this Administration. My goal is to prevent this from happening again -- not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton. My main priority as Chairman will be to focus on the issues that impact Americans in their everyday lives."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Department of Commerce Could Be the First US Entity To Broadly Regulate an Aspect of AI

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-11-20 17:20
Dave Gershgorn and Max de Haldevang, writing for Quartz: Artificial intelligence technology has the capability to be the most impactful software advance in history and the US government has no idea how to properly regulate it. The US does know that it doesn't want other countries using its own AI against it. A new proposal published this week by the Department of Commerce lists wide areas of AI software [PDF] that could potentially require a license to sell to certain countries. These categories are as broad as "computer vision" and "natural language processing." It also lists military-specific products like adaptive camouflage and surveillance technology. The small number of countries these regulations would target includes a big name in AI: China. Donald Trump, who has placed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as part of a simmering trade war, has long railed against China's alleged theft of intellectual property. This proposal looks like a warning from US officials, just as Chinese president Xi Jinping aims to boost AI in his own country. "This is intended to be a shot across the bow, directed specifically at Beijing, in an attempt to flex their muscles on just how broad these restrictions could be," says R. David Edelman, a former adviser to president Barack Obama who leads research on technology and public policy issues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ivanka Trump Used Personal Account For Emails About Government Business

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-11-20 03:25
The Washington Post is reporting that Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails last year to White House aids, Cabinet officials and her assistants. Many of the emails were "in violation of federal records rules," the report says. Ivanka's practices are reminiscent of the personal email account Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state. From the report: White House ethics officials learned of Trump's repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner. Some aides were startled by the volume of Ivanka Trump's personal emails -- and taken aback by her response when questioned about the practice. Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction. A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump's attorney and ethics counsel, Abbe Lowell, "acknowledged that the president's daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information," reports Washington Post. "While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family," he said in a statement. He went on to say that her email use was different than that of Clinton. "Ms. Trump did not create a private server in her house or office, no classified information was ever included, the account was never transferred at Trump Organization, and no emails were ever deleted," Mirijanian said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russia Wants DNC Hack Lawsuit Thrown Out, Citing International Conventions

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-11-20 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The Russian Federation has responded to a lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee and has requested the overseeing court to throw out the lawsuit altogether. The lawsuit, filed by the DNC in April 2018, names a slew of figures as defendants, such as the Russian state, Russia's military intelligence service GRU, the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, and several members of the Trump campaign, such as Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, and George Papadopoulos. According to an 87-page indictment, the DNC accused Russia and the other defendants of carrying out the hacking of DNC servers in 2016 and then leaking data online via the WikiLeaks portal in an orchestrated manner for the benefit of the Trump presidential campaign. The lawsuit, which has its own Wikipedia page and was likened to a lawsuit the DNC filed against Nixon after the Watergate scandal, seeks damages, but also for the court to issue a declaration about the defendants' conspiracy. But in a letter sent to a New York court, presented by the Russian Embassy in the U.S. and signed by a representative of the Russian Ministry of Justice, the Russian Federation wants the lawsuit thrown out. In the 12-page letter, the Russian Federation argues that the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA") grants Russia immunity. "The FSIA provides that foreign sovereign States enjoy absolute jurisdictional immunity from suit unless a plaintiff can demonstrate that one of the FSIA's enumerated 'exceptions' applies'," the letter argues. "The DNC's allegations regarding a purported 'military attack' by 'Russia's military intelligence agency' do not fall within any of the FSIA's enumerated exceptions to the Russian Federation's sovereign immunity." "Any alleged 'military attack' is a quintessential sovereign act that does not fall within any exception to the FSIA or the customary international law of foreign sovereign immunity. The Russian Federation's sovereign immunity with respect to claims based upon such allegations is absolute."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Patents Motorized, Omnidirectional VR Sneakers

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2018-11-20 00:00
Google has patented motorized, omnidirectional virtual-reality sneakers that may solve the "limited space" problem associated with the interactive computer-generated experience. Ars Technica reports: Google's patent describes what are essentially motorized VR roller skates that will let the user walk normally while the motors and wheels work to negate your natural locomotion and keep you inside the VR safe zone. As the patent puts it, Google's new kicks will let you walk "seemingly endlessly in the virtual environment" while keeping you in one spot in real life. Google's shoe solution would track the user's feet, just like how VR controllers are tracked today. The tracking would know when you're too close to the virtual walls of your VR area, and the system would wheel you back into place. Patents are always written to give the broadest possible coverage of an idea, but Google's patent shows normal wheels, tracks, and even omnidirectional mecanum wheels as possible wheels for the VR shoe bottoms. Omnidirectional wheels would be great, as they would allow you to do things like sidestep, while still having your position corrected by the shoes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AWS Rolls Out New Security Feature To Prevent Accidental S3 Data Leaks

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-11-19 17:25
Amazon's Web Services division rolled out new security features to AWS account owners last week that are meant to prevent accidental data exposures caused by the misconfiguration of S3 data storage buckets. From a report: Starting today, AWS account owners will have access to four new options inside their S3 dashboards under the "Public access settings for this account" section. These four new options allow the account owner to set a default access setting for all of an account's S3 buckets. These new account-level settings will override any existing or newly created bucket-level ACLs (access control lists) and policies. Account owners will have the ability to apply these new settings for S3 buckets that will be created from now onwards, to apply the new setting retroactively, or both.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple CEO Explains How a Few Billion Dollars From Google Changes His Views on the Company's 'Unsettling' User Data Mining Activities

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-11-19 16:40
In an interview with Axios on HBO Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the decision to use Google as the default search engine on Apple products. This decision, which enables Apple to make up to $9 billion a year, has baffled some, considering Google's business model of making money off of users' data -- something Apple has spoken out against numerous times. From a report: "I think their search engine is the best," Cook said in the interview. He followed up by diving into privacy features Apple has implemented in its Safari browser. "Look at what we've done with the controls we've built in," Cook stated. "We have private Web browsing. We have an intelligent tracker prevention. What we've tried to do is come up with ways to help our users through their course of the day. It's not a perfect thing. I'd be the very first person to say that. But it goes a long way to helping." Google pays Apple to have its search engine be the primary one on iPhones and other Apple devices.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook Now Faces a Massive Backlash. But Will Anything Change?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-11-19 10:34
Slate argues that Facebook "is a normal sleazy company now," saying the company "obscured its problems and fought dirty against its critics" -- but that now its failings are being publicly aired. And Reason provides yet another example: The Times also reveals that Facebook chose to support FOSTA (and its Senate counterpart, SESTA) -- legislation that guts a fundamental protection for digital publishers and platforms, and makes prostitution advertising a federal crime -- not as a matter of principle but as a political tactic to tar opponents and cozy up to Congressional critics. Even Steve Wozniak has joined the critics, saying this week that Facebook should "stop putting money before morals," adding later that "I haven't seen them do one real thing." Woz also suggested that Facebook should allow users to export their data so they could upload it onto competing social networks. Now long-time Slashdot reader pcjunky reports that the same scammy ad has been running on Facebook for a full two months after it was reported. But maybe they're just understaffed? Engadget reports that over the last six months Facebook has discoverd and eliminated 1.5 billion different fake accounts -- which is 200 million more than the 1.3 billion accounts it removed in the previous six months. On the Blind app, one Facebook employee reportedly asked the ultimate question: "Why does our company suck at having a moral compass?" So where will it all lead? According to Fortune, Senators Chris Coons and Bob Corker "warned Friday that Congress would impose new regulations to rein in Facebook unless the social-media company addresses concerns about privacy and the spread of misinformation on its platform." But will anything change?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How I Got Locked Out of the Chip Implanted In My Hand

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-11-19 03:34
Motherboard staff writer Daniel Oberhaus writes: If I had a single piece of advice for anyone thinking about getting an NFC chip implant it would be to do it sober.... [A]t the urging of everyone at the implant station, the first thing I did with my implant was secure it with a four-digit pin. I hadn't decided what sort of data I wanted to put on the chip, but I sure as hell didn't want someone else to write to my chip first and potentially lock me out. I chose the same pin that I used for my phone so I wouldn't forget it in the morning -- or at least, I thought I did.... I spent most of my first day as a cyborg desperately cycling through the various pin possibilities that made it impossible for me to unlock the NFC chip in my hand and add data to it. He remained locked out of his own implanted microchip for over a year. But even when he regained access, "a part of me wants to leave it blank. After a year of living with a totally useless NFC implant, I kind of started to like it. "That small, almost imperceptible little bump on my left hand was a constant reminder that even the most sophisticated and fool-proof technologies are no match for human incompetence."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

More Companies Plan To Implant Microchips Into Their Employees' Hands

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2018-11-19 02:34
"British companies are planning to microchip some of their staff in order to boost security and stop them accessing sensitive areas," reports the Telegraph. "Biohax, a Swedish company that provides human chip implants, told the Telegraph it was in talks with a number of UK legal and financial firms to implant staff with the devices." An anonymous reader quote Zero Hedge: It is really happening. At one time, the idea that large numbers of people would willingly allow themselves to have microchips implanted into their hands seemed a bit crazy, but now it has become a reality. Thousands of tech enthusiasts all across Europe have already had microchips implanted, and now a Swedish company is working with very large global employers.... For security-obsessed corporations, this sort of technology can appear to have a lot of upside. If all of your employees are chipped, you will always know where they are, and you will always know who has access to sensitive areas or sensitive information. According to a top official from Biohax, the procedure to implant a chip takes "about two seconds...." Of course once this technology starts to be implemented, there will be some workers that will object. But if it comes down to a choice between getting the implant or losing their jobs, how many workers do you think will choose to become unemployed? Engadget provides more examples, pointing out that in 2006 an Ohio surveillance firm had two employees in its secure data center implant RFIDs in their triceps, and that just last year 80 employees at Three Square Market in Wisconsin had chips implanted into their hands. Their article also hints that "no one's thinking about the inevitable DEF CON talk 'Chipped employees: Fun with attack vectors'" Dr. Stewart Southey, the Chief Medical Officer at Biohax International, describes the technology as "a secure way of ensuring that a person's digital identity is linked to their physical identity," with a syringe injecting the chip directly between their thumb and forefinger to enable near-field communication. But what do Slashdot's readers think? Would you let your employer microchip you?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Compelling New Suspect For DB Cooper Skyjacking Found By Army Data Analyst

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-11-18 16:15
A U.S. Army officer with a security clearance and a "solid professional reputation" believes he's solved the infamous D.B. Cooper skyjacking case -- naming two now-dead men in New Jersey who have never before been suspected, "possibly breaking wide open the only unsolved skyjacking case in U.S. history," according to the Oregonian. The data analyst started his research because, simply enough, he had stumbled upon an obscure old book called "D.B. Cooper: What Really Happened," by the late author Max Gunther. Gunther wrote that he was contacted in 1972 by a man who claimed to be the skyjacker... Using the name "Dan LeClair" and various details from the book, as well as information from the FBI's D.B. Cooper case files that have become public in recent years, Anonymous tracked the bread crumbs to a very real man named Dan Clair, a World War II Army veteran who died in 1990... Continuing his research, our anonymous Army officer eventually determined that Clair probably was not D.B. Cooper. More likely the skyjacker was a friend and co-worker of Clair's, a native New Jerseyan by the name of William J. Smith, who died in January of this year at age 89... Clair and Smith worked together at Penn Central Transportation Co. and one of its predecessors. For a while, they were both "yardies" at the Oak Island rail yard in Newark. It appears they bonded in the 1960s as Penn Central struggled to adapt to a changing economy. The data analyst says the two men's military backgrounds -- Smith served in the Navy -- and long experience in the railroad business would have made it possible for either of them to successfully parachute from a low-flying jetliner, find railroad tracks once they were on the ground, and hop a freight train back to the East Coast. Poring over a 1971 railroad atlas, the hijacked plane's flight path and the skyjacker's likely jump zone, he determined that no matter where D.B. Cooper landed, he would have been no more than 5-to-7 miles from tracks. "I believe he would have been able to see Interstate 5 from the air," he says, adding that one rail line ran parallel to the highway... He believes Smith and Clair may have been in on the skyjacking together. He notes that Clair, who spent his career in relatively low-level jobs, retired in 1973 when he was just 54 years old. Several incriminating coincidences were noted by an article this week in the Oregonian -- including a scar on Smith's hand, his visit to a skydiving facility in 1971, and Smith's strong resemblance to the police artist's sketches. Even the chemicals found on Cooper's clip-on tie in 2017 would be consistent with his job as the manager of a railyard. "[I]n my professional opinion, there are too many connections to be simply a coincidence," the data analyst told the FBI, while telling the Oregonian he believes the pair were "mad at the corporate establishment" in America and determined to do something about it. "If I was on that plane, I wouldn't have thought he was a hero," he says. "But after the fact, I might think, 'OK, this took balls,' especially if I knew he was an ordinary guy, a working man worried about his pension going away. That he wasn't some arch-criminal. I would want to talk to that guy.... he is a kind of folk hero."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook Filed a Patent To Predict Your Household's Demographics Based On Family Photos

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-11-18 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: Facebook has submitted a patent application for technology that would predict who your family and other household members are, based on images and captions posted to Facebook, as well as your device information, like shared IP addresses. The application, titled "Predicting household demographics based on image data," was originally filed May 10, 2017, and made public today. The system Facebook proposes in its patent application would use facial recognition and learning models trained to understand text to help Facebook better understand whom you live with and interact with most. The technology described in the patent looks for clues in your profile pictures on Facebook and Instagram, as well as photos of you that you or your friends post. It would note the people identified in a photo, and how frequently the people are included in your pictures. Then, it would assess information from comments on the photos, captions, or tags (#family, #mom, #kids) -- anything that indicates whether someone is a husband, daughter, cousin, etc. -- to predict what your family/household actually looks like. According to the patent application, Facebook's prediction models would also analyze "messaging history, past tagging history, [and] web browsing history" to see if multiple people share IP addresses (a unique identifier for every internet network). A Facebook spokesperson said in response to the story, "We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patents should not be taken as an indication of future plans."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Man Spoofs GPS To Fake Shop Visits For Profit, Gets Caught

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-11-18 03:30
AmiMoJo writes: A man in Japan used GPS spoofing to fake 2.7 million visits to shops in the Aeon Kyushu chain. Each visit rewarded him with two "WAON" points, with the total worth around 5.3 million yen ($45,000). The man used 45 laptops to continually spoof GPS readings and launch the Aeon Kyushu app, collecting two points each time.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EFF, MuckRock Partner To See How Local Police Are Trading Your Car's Location

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2018-11-18 01:23
v3rgEz writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation and transparency non-profit MuckRock helped file over a thousand public records requests, looking into how local police departments were trading away sensitive data on where you drive and park, picked up by their use of automated license plate recognition devices. They've just published the results of those requests, including looking at how hundreds of departments freely share that data with hundreds of other organizations -- often with no public oversight. Explore the data yourself, or, if your town isn't yet in their database, requests its information free on MuckRock and they'll file a request for it. "[Automated license plate readers (ALPR)] are a combination of high-speed cameras and optical character recognition technology that can identify license plates and turn them into machine-readable text," reports the EFF. "What makes ALPR so powerful is that drivers are required by law to install license plates on their vehicles. In essence, our license plates have become tracking beacons. After the plate data is collected, the ALPR systems upload the information to a central a database along with the time, date, and GPS coordinates. Cops can search these databases to see where drivers have traveled or to identify vehicles that visited certain locations. Police can also add license plates under suspicion to 'hot lists,' allowing for real-time alerts when a vehicle is spotted by an ALPR network."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hacker Says They Compromised ProtonMail; ProtonMail Calls BS

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-11-17 21:19
A hacker going by the name AmFearLiathMor is claiming to have hacked ProtonMail and stolen "significant" amounts of data. They have posted a ransom demand to an anonymous Pastebin but it reads like a prank, as it states that the alleged hackers have access to underwater drone activity and treaty violations in Antarctica. Lawrence Abrams writes via BleepingComputer: According to the message, a hacker going by the name AmFearLiathMor makes quite a few interesting claims such as hacking ProtonMail's services and stealing user's email, that ProtonMail is sending their user's decrypted data to American servers, and that ProtonMail is abusing the lack of Subresource Integrity (SRI) use to purposely and maliciously steal their user's passwords. After reading the Pastebin message (archive.is link), which is shown in its entirety below minus some alleged keys, and seeing the amount of claims, the first thing that came to mind was a corporate version of the sextortion scams that have been running rampant lately. As I kept reading it, though, it just felt like a joke. ProtonMail posted on Twitter that this is a hoax and that there is no evidence that anything states is true. The encrypted email service provided a statement to BleepingComputer: "We believe this extortion attempt is a hoax, and we have seen zero evidence to suggest otherwise. Not a single claim made is true and many of the claims are unsound from a technical standpoint. We are aware of a small number of ProtonMail accounts that have been compromised as a result of those individual users falling for phishing attempts. However, there is zero evidence of a breach of our infrastructure."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dutch Government Report Says Microsoft Office Telemetry Collection Breaks EU GDPR Laws

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-11-17 16:14
"The Register reports that Microsoft has been accused of breaking EU's GDPR law by harvesting information through Office 365 and sending it to U.S. servers," writes Slashdot reader Hymer. "The discovery was made by the Dutch government." From the report: The dossier's authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. Those actions break Europe's new GDPR privacy safeguards, it is claimed, and may put Microsoft on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines. The Dutch authorities are working with the corporation to fix the situation, and are using the threat of a fine as a stick to make it happen. The investigation was jumpstarted by the fact that Microsoft doesn't publicly reveal what information it gathers on users and doesn't provide an option for turning off diagnostic and telemetry data sent by its Office software to the company as a way of monitoring how well it is functioning and identifying any software issues. Much of what Microsoft collects is diagnostics, the researchers found, and it has seemingly tried to make the system GDPR compliant by storing Office documents on servers based in the EU. But it also collected other data that contained private information and some of that data still ended up on U.S. servers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

86 Organizations Demand Zuckerberg To Improve Takedown Appeals

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-11-17 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg signed by 86 organizations and published on Tuesday implores Facebook to provide a clear, fast mechanism that allows users to appeal instances of content takedowns and account deactivations. The letter which was spearheaded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Article 19, Ranking Digital Rights, and the Center for Democratic Technology (CDT) -- expanded upon the Santa Clara Principles published earlier this year, which called for all social media platforms to improve its transparency and responsiveness to flagged posts and appeals for removed content. In April of this year, Facebook launched appeals for posts that are removed on grounds nudity, hate speech, or graphic violence. The press release claims that one of Facebook's human content reviewers will review all appeals within 24 hours, and notify users if their appeal has been approved or denied. The open letter to Mark Zuckerberg also requests that all content takedown and deactivation appeals are reviewed by a human moderator, which Facebook claims that it already does. EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, believes the undercurrent of content moderation on social media is the censorship or restriction of speech towards marginalized groups. "There are accounts, [and] there is content that is taken down frequently from social media, and we don't hear those stories as much because they're often overshadowed by the pushes for hate speech to come down," York said. "I respect the people doing that work, I think it's really important. But really, the thing about appeals is they work in every case. So if someone breaks the rules for hate speech and they appeal, they're not gonna get their account restored. But if someone who should not have had their account taken down in the first place, appeals are the right solution to that."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A New Senate Bill Would Hit Robocallers With Up To a $10,000 Fine For Every Call

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-11-17 04:05
Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey and South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune have introduced a bill on Friday that aims to ramp up the penalties on illegal robocalls and stop scammers from sending them. Gizmodo reports: The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, raises the penalty for robocalls from $1,500 per call to up to $10,000 per call, and allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action on illegal robocalls up to three years after the calls are placed, instead of a year. The Act also aims to push the FCC to work along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other agencies to provide information to Congress about advancements in hindering robocall and prosecuting scammers. Perhaps most importantly for us highly annoyed Americans, the bill would also force phone service providers to use call authentication that filters out illegitimate calls before they go through to consumers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.