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Chaos and Hackers Stalk Investors on Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 16:45
From a report: Dan Wasyluk discovered the hard way that trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin happens in an online Wild West where sheriffs are largely absent. Wasyluk and his colleagues raised bitcoins for a new tech venture and lodged them in escrow at a company running a cryptocurrency exchange called Moolah. Just months later the exchange collapsed; the man behind it is now awaiting trial in Britain on fraud and money-laundering charges. He has pleaded not guilty. Wasyluk's project lost 750 bitcoins, currently worth about $3 million, and he believes he stands little chance of recovering any money. [...] Cryptocurrencies were supposed to offer a secure, digital way to conduct financial transactions, but they have been dogged by doubts. Concerns have largely focused on their astronomical gains in value and the likelihood of painful price crashes. Equally perilous, though, are the exchanges where virtual currencies are bought, sold and stored. These exchanges, which match buyers and sellers and sometimes hold traders' funds, have become magnets for fraud and mires of technological dysfunction, a Reuters examination shows, posing an underappreciated risk to anyone who trades digital coins. Huge sums are at stake.

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Dubai Proposes Giant Simulated Mars City In the Desert

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 09:00
future guy shares a report from New Atlas: The UAE government has announced it is building the world's largest space simulation city, and to top it off it will be designed by one of the world's flashiest architects, Bjarke Ingels, whose company is literally called BIG. The project is called the Mars Science City and will cover 1.9 million sq ft (176,516 sq m) at a cost of nearly $140 million dollars. The city will span several domes, including a space for a team to live for up to a year as part of a Mars simulation. Several scientific laboratories will be included, focusing on developing methods for a Mars colony to produce food, energy and water. A museum exhibiting great space achievements will also be incorporated into the city with the walls of the museum being 3D printed using sand from the nearby Emirati desert.

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AT&T Seeks Supreme Court Review On Net Neutrality Rule

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: AT&T and other broadband providers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Obama-era "net neutrality" rule barring internet service providers from slowing or blocking rivals' content. The appeals, filed Thursday, will put new pressure on a rule enacted in 2015 when the Federal Communications Commission was under Democratic control. Filing a separate appeal from AT&T were the United States Telecom Association, a trade group, and broadband service provider CenturyLink. The embattled net neutrality rules bar internet service providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from blocking or slowing some web traffic in favor of other content -- their own or a paying customer's. "The practical stakes are immense," AT&T said in its appeal of a ruling that backed the FCC. The company pointed to a dissenting opinion that said the regulation "fundamentally transforms the internet" and will have a "staggering" impact on infrastructure investment.

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Amazon's Echo Spot Is a Sneaky Way To Get a Camera Into Your Bedroom

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 02:45
Yesterday, Amazon announced six new hardware products at a surprise event in Seattle. The one that everyone is talking about though is called the Echo Spot -- a little alarm clock with a camera that will probably be pointing directly at your bed. "While all the focus is on what the Echo Spot looks like, it's important to remember that Amazon is using the Spot as a very clever way of making you comfortable with having a camera in your bedroom," reports The Verge. From the report: Amazon launched its Echo Look camera earlier this year to judge your outfits. It's designed to sit in your wardrobe and offer you style advice, and it was Amazon's first Echo device with a camera. Amazon quickly followed it up with the Echo Show, a touchscreen device that sits in your kitchen and lets you watch tutorials or recipes and participate in video calls. Amazon's Look device is still only available exclusively by invitation, and in hindsight it now looks like experimental hardware to gauge the reaction of a camera in the bedroom. A litmus test, if you will. Echo Spot feels like the real push to get cameras inside your smart home. It's more than just an alarm clock, but Amazon is definitely pushing this as a $130 device that will sit next to your bed. Promotional materials show it sitting on nightstands, providing a selection of clock faces and news / weather information. The privacy concerns are obvious: an always-listening (for a keyword) microphone in your bedroom, and a camera pointing at your bed.

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Apple Recommends Children Under 13, Twins and Siblings Do Not Use Face ID On iPhone X

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 01:20
According to a security guide published Wednesday, Apple recommends that children under the age of 13 do not use Face ID on the iPhone X due to the probability of a false match being significantly higher for young children. The company said this was because "their distinct facial features may not have fully developed." They also recommend that twins and siblings do not use the new feature. The Guardian reports: In all those situations, the company recommends concerned users disable Face ID and use a passcode instead. With Face ID, Apple has implemented a secondary system that exclusively looks out for attempts to fool the technology. Both the authentication and spoofing defense are based on machine learning, but while the former is trained to identify individuals from their faces, the latter is used to look for telltale signs of cheating. "An additional neural network that's trained to spot and resist spoofing defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks," the company says. If a completely perfect mask is made, which fools the identification neural network, the defensive system will still notice -- just like a human.

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Air Force Gives 10-Year-Old Orbiting Satellite To Ham Radio Operators

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2017-09-29 00:40
Longtime Slashdot reader Bruce Perens writes: The U.S. Air Force has transferred control of a 10-year-old orbiting satellite to AMSAT, a ham radio organization, which has enabled it for any licensed ham to use on the air, as the satellite's Air Force missions have ended. Falconsat 3's first mission was science: measuring gravity gradient, spectrometry of the plasmasphere, electronic noise in the plasmasphere, and testing three-axis attitude control using microthrusters. Secondarily it was used to train Air Force Institute of Technology students in space operations, with close to 700 cadets obtaining ham licenses in order to operate a number of Air Force satellites using ham frequencies. Now in its third mission, control of the satellite has been transferred to AMSAT, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, and all government frequencies have been disabled with only ham ones remaining. The satellite will relay APRS (position and status reporting) signals, it will operate a BBS in the sky, and will broadcast telemetry.

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FCC Chief Tells Apple To Turn on iPhone's FM Radio Chip

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-09-28 22:45
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pushed Apple on Friday to activate the FM radio chips in the iPhone. From a report: In the wake of three major hurricanes that have wiped out communications for millions of people over the past month, Pai issued a statement urging Apple, one of the largest makers of cellphones in the US, to "reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria." FM radios that are already included in every phone could be used to access "life-saving information" during disasters, he said. For years the majority of smartphones sold in the US have included FM radios, but most of them have been turned off so that you couldn't use the function. Why? Mobile customers would be a lot less likely to subscribe to streaming music services if they could just listen to traditional, free broadcast radio. This incentive is especially true for Apple, which has a streaming music service. Apple said in a statement: "iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products."

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More Than Half of American Workers Can't Sue Their Employer

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-09-28 22:05
An anonymous reader shares a report: In the past two years, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Oracle have faced various high-profile lawsuits related to their employment practices. And while those cases generated headlines, workers in almost every sector sue their bosses over emotional abuse, unpaid wages, and discrimination. The ability to sue over wrongful treatment at work is essential to the balance of bargaining power between employer and employee. Unfortunately, more than half of non-union, privately employed Americans -- some 60 million people -- have signed away this right. They are instead beholden to a process known as arbitration. Signing a mandatory arbitration agreement is theoretically voluntary, but refusing to do so can cost a candidate their job offer. Once signed, the agreement strips the employee of the right to take her employer to court for unfairly low pay, termination because of pregnancy, race-based discrimination, loss of paternity or maternity leave, and much more. According to a study published this week by Alexander Colvin of Cornell, more than half (54%) of private, non-unionized workplaces have mandatory arbitration procedures. For larger companies (over 1,000 workers), that jumps to 65%. By contrast, in 2003 Colvin found that just 14% of companies had arbitration agreements.

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Moscow Deploys Facial Recognition to Spy on Citizens in Streets

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-09-28 18:45
Moscow is adding facial-recognition technology to its network of 170,000 surveillance cameras across the city in a move to identify criminals and boost security. From a report: Since 2012, CCTV recordings have been held for five days after they're captured, with about 20 million hours of video stored at any one time. "We soon found it impossible to process such volumes of data by police officers alone," said Artem Ermolaev, head of the department of information technology in Moscow. "We needed an artificial intelligence to help find what we are looking for." Moscow says the city's centralized surveillance network is the world's largest of its kind. The U.K. is one of the most notorious for its use of CCTV cameras but precise figures are difficult to obtain. However, a 2013 report by the British Security Industry Association estimated there were as many as 70,000 cameras operated by the government across the nation.

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Bell Canada Wants Pirate Websites Blocked For Canadians

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-09-28 09:00
New submitter wierzpio writes: According to Rob Malcolmson, Bell Canada's VP of regulatory affairs, Canada is a safe haven to internet pirates and the only solution is to create a federally mandated blacklist of pirate websites. Unlike the existing blacklist in the U.K., Bell's plan appears to involve no judicial oversight. "Engaging in extrajudicial attempts to block access to sites, I think, raises all kinds of Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues," argues Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa professor and internet law expert. Quebec also wants to block sites. The province recently introduced a provincial law that would force internet providers to block users' access to online gambling sites not approved by the government. It argues the legislation is necessary to ensure internet gambling companies maintain responsible gaming rules.

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Homeland Security Plans To Collect Immigrants' Social Media Information

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-09-28 07:00
The Department of Homeland Security plans to expand the files it collects on immigrants, as well as some citizens, by including more online data -- most notably search results and social media information -- about each individual. The plan is set out in the Federal Register, where the government publishes forthcoming regulations. A final version is set to go into effect on Oct. 18. Fortune reports: The plan, reported by BuzzFeed, is notable partly because it permits the government to amass information not only about recent immigrants, but also on green card holders and naturalized Americans as well. The proposal to collect social media data is set out in a part of the draft regulation that describes expanding the content of so-called "Alien Files," which serve as detailed profiles of individual immigrants, and are used by everyone from border agents to judges. Here is the relevant portion: "The Department of Homeland Security, therefore, is updating the [file process] to ... (5) expand the categories of records to include the following: country of nationality; country of residence; the USCIS Online Account Number; social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results."

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Internet Explorer Bug Leaks Whatever You Type In the Address Bar

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2017-09-28 05:30
The latest version of Internet Explorer has a bug that leaks the addresses, search terms, or any other text typed into the address bar. The flaw was disclosed Tuesday by security researcher Manual Caballero. Ars Technica reports: The bug allows any currently visited website to view any text entered into the address bar as soon as the user hits enter. The technique can expose sensitive information a user didn't intend to be viewed by remote websites, including the Web address the user is about to visit. The hack can also expose search queries, since IE allows them to be typed into the address bar and then retrieved from Bing or other search services. The proof-of-concept makes it transparent that the attacking website is viewing the entered text. The hack, however can easily be modified to make the information theft completely stealthy. A proof-of-concept site shows the exploit in action.

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The World's First Blockchain Smartphone Is In Development

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2017-09-27 16:40
A company called Sirin Labs is developing an open-source smartphone that runs on a fee-less blockchain. "The Finney -- named in honor of bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney -- will be the only smartphone in the world that's fully secure and safe enough to hold cryptographic coins," reports Engadget. The company is launching a crowdsale event this October (date to be confirmed) to support the phone's development. From the report: According to Sirin, all Finney devices (there's an all-in-one PC coming, too) will form an independent blockchain network powered by IOTA's Tangle technology. The network will operate without centralized backbones or mining centers cluttering up the transaction process, using the SRN token as its default currency (only SRN token holders will be able to purchase the device). And it'll all run on a Sirin operating system specially designed to support blockchain applications such as crypto wallets and secure exchange access. The phone comes with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a device with a $1,000 price tag, including a 256GB internal memory and 16MP camera, plus a hefty suite of security measures.

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Russia Threatens To Shut Down Facebook Over Local Data Storage Laws

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2017-09-27 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Facebook Inc. will be shut down in Russia next year if it fails to comply with requirements to store user data locally, according to the head of Russia's state communications watchdog. "The law is mandatory for everyone," Alexander Zharov told reporters Tuesday. Roskomnadzor will be forcing foreign internet companies to comply or shut down in the country. President Vladimir Putin signed a law in 2014 that requires global internet firms to store personal data of Russian clients on local servers. Companies ranging from Alphabet Inc.'s Google to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd complied, while others like Twitter Inc. demanded extra time to evaluate the economic feasibility of doing so.

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Equifax CEO Steps Down Amid Hacking Scandal

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2017-09-27 09:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Richard Smith, CEO and chairman of Equifax, abruptly retired Tuesday following a data breach at the credit-reporting service that affected the personal information of 143 million people. Smith, who was 57 as of the company's proxy statement in March, became CEO and chairman in 2005 after 22 years at General Electric in senior roles in various divisions. He is to appear at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee on Oct. 4 and is the only person scheduled to testify. He is also scheduled to testify next week at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Smith's salary for 2016 was $1.45 million and his bonus was $3.045 million. In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, the company said Smith will not get a bonus for this year and any other decisions regarding how his departure has been characterized or how much the company owes him will be deferred until the board completes an independent review of the breach and the response to it. In a separate report, CNBC notes that Smith could walk away with at least $18.4 million in pension benefits. The company is looking for a new CEO, naming its Asia-Pacific head to take on the interim CEO role.

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NSA Targeted 106,000 Foreigners In Spy Program Up For Renewal

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2017-09-26 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The U.S. National Security Agency conducted targeted surveillance over the past year against 106,000 foreigners suspected of being involved in terrorism and other crimes, using powers granted in a controversial section of law that's set to expire at the end of this year. The number of foreigners targeted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act rose from 94,000 in fiscal year 2015, according to U.S. intelligence officials, who asked not to be identified discussing the information. The program lets agencies collect the content of emails and other communications from suspected foreign criminals operating outside the U.S., but it has become a flash point with some lawmakers for potential infringement of Americans' constitutional rights. Congress has to decide by year-end whether to renew the NSA's power under Section 702, a program that came to light when former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed classified government documents in 2013. While the intelligence officials cautioned that changes would limit its effectiveness, lawmakers including Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, have indicated they'll seek adjustments to ensure against abuses.

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Star Trek: Discovery Nearly Cracks Pirate Bay's Top 10 In Less Than 24 Hours

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2017-09-26 09:00
Yesterday was the season premiere of the first new Star Trek TV series in 12 years. While the first episode aired on the CBS broadcast network Sunday night, the second episode -- and all the rest to come -- was made available exclusively on the CBS All Access streaming service for $6 a month. Naturally, this upset Trekkies and led many of them to find alternative methods to watch the show. EW reports that Star Trek: Discovery "is on the verge of cracking Pirate Bay's Top 10 most illegally downloaded shows in less than 24 hours." From the report: The Discovery pilot is currently at No. 11 on the list (apparently at No. 15 just a few hours ago), the pilot is up there with the likes of HBO's Game of Thrones, Adult Swim's Rick and Morty and, for some reason, TNT's The Last Ship. The show's second episode is at No. 17, which is a tad surprising as that was the one that wasn't free. Ever since the distribution plan was first announced fans have resisted with some vehemence the idea of paying for "yet another streaming service just to watch a single show" (there's more than one show on All Access, CBS is quick to point out, and then a debate over the relative merits of NCIS and MacGyver repeats ensues).

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If Data Is the New Oil, Are Tech Companies Robbing Us Blind?

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2017-09-26 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Digital Trends: Data is the new oil, or so the saying goes. So why are we giving it away for nothing more than ostensibly free email, better movie recommendations, and more accurate search results? It's an important question to ask in a world where the accumulation and scraping of data is worth billions of dollars -- and even a money-losing company with enough data about its users can be worth well into the eight-figure region. The essential bargain that's driven by today's tech giants is the purest form of cognitive capitalism: users feed in their brains -- whether this means solving a CAPTCHA to train AI systems or clicking links on Google to help it learn which websites are more important than others. In exchange for this, we get access to ostensibly "free" services, while simultaneously helping to train new technologies which may one day put large numbers of us out of business. In an age in which concepts like universal basic income are increasingly widely discussed, one of the most intriguing solutions is one first put forward by virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. In his book Who Owns the Future?, Lanier suggests that users should receive a micropayment every time their data is used to earn a company money. For example, consider the user who signs up to an online dating service. Here, the user provides data that the dating company uses to match them with a potential data. This matching process is, itself, based on algorithms honed by the data coming from previous users. The data resulting from the new user will further perfect the algorithms for later users of the service. In the case that your data somehow matches someone else successfully in a relationship, Lanier says you would be entitled to a micropayment.

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Waymo Clarifies It Actually Wants $1.8 Billion From Uber

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2017-09-26 00:00
Last week, a lawyer for Uber said Waymo was seeking about $2.6 billion from the company for the alleged theft of one of several trade secrets in a lawsuit over self-driving cars. Over the weekend, Waymo filed a document with the court noting that the correct figure was actually $1.859 billion. TechCrunch reports: It's not clear why this seemingly important detail was left uncorrected for nearly a week. The filing also includes some additional clarification around the way in which the damages figure was calculated. Though Waymo is arguing that nine trade secrets were put in jeopardy by Anthony Levandowski, it is seeking a maximum of $1.8 billion in damages. That figure is the value that Waymo is attributing to a single trade secret -- trade secret 25. The other eight secrets are being individually valued at less than $1.8 billion. Consequently, Waymo is capping the damages at the value of its most valuable compromised trade secret. Waymo's attorneys note that the $1.8 billion figure was calculated based on an estimate of "Uber's unjust enrichment from Uber's trade secret misappropriation." Waymo continues that the damages are based on Uber's own profitability forecasts of deploying autonomous vehicles into its ridesharing business.

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China Blocks WhatsApp

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2017-09-25 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: China has blocked WhatsApp, security experts confirmed today to The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled). Over the past few months, WhatsApp has experienced brief disruptions to service, with users unable to send video chats or photos. Now, even text messages are completely blocked, according to Nadim Kobeissi, an applied cryptographer at Symbolic Software, a Paris-based research firm that also monitors digital censorship in China. Kobeissi found that China may have recently upgraded its firewall to detect and block the NoiseSocket protocol that WhatsApp uses to send texts, in addition to already blocking the HTTPS/TLS that WhatsApp uses to send photos and videos. He said, "I think it took time for the Chinese firewall to adapt to this new protocol so that it could also target text messages." His company noticed the app disruptions beginning last Wednesday.

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