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Edge Browser Scores Worst in Test of Telemetry Privacy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2020-03-07 17:34
"New academic research published last month looked at the phone-home [telemetry] features of six of today's most popular browsers and found that the Brave browser sent the smallest amount of data about its users back to the browser maker's servers," reports ZDNet: The research, conducted by Douglas J. Leith, a professor at Trinity College at the University of Dublin, looked at Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Brave, Microsoft Edge (the new Chromium-based version), and the Yandex Browser. "In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the second Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex...." [T]he professor found evidence that Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all tagged telemetry data with identifiers that were linked to each browser instance. These identifiers allowed Google, Mozilla, and Apple to track users across browser restarts, but also across browser reinstalls... [T]he most intrusive phoning-home features were found in the new version of Microsoft Edge and the official Yandex Browser. According to Prof. Leith, both used unique identifiers that were linked to the device's hardware, rather than the browser installation. Tracking users by hardware allows Microsoft and Yandex to follow users across installations and potentially link browser installs with other apps and online identities. The professor said that Edge collected the hardware UUID of the user's computer, an identifier that cannot be easily changed or deleted without altering a computer's hardware. Similarly, Prof. Leith also found that Yandex transmitted a hash of the hardware serial number and MAC address to its backend servers. "As far as we can tell this behaviour [in Edge and Yandex] cannot be disabled by users," the professor said. The article also points out that Brave was the only browser that didn't use search autocomplete functionality to collect and send back information on a user's visited web pages. (Even though this can be disabled in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, it's on by default.) But Edge and Yandex "also sent back information about visited web pages that did not appear to be related to the search autocomplete feature, suggesting the browsers had other ways to track users' browsing habits."

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Copyright Lobby Calls Out Plex For Not Doing Enough To Stop Piracy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-03-06 21:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: For those who don't want to dive fully into torrents, Plex is a great alternative for streaming television shows and movies for free. Officially, Plex is a "neutral" media player, and it first became popular with people looking to stream content between devices at home, like from their desktop in the study to their laptop in their bedroom. But, with Plex Media Server, users can also share media with other users to stream, creating a virtual free-for-all, and a serious problem from a copyright perspective. CreativeFuture, a pro-copyright coalition boasting more than 560 members, has taken notice and is calling out the platform, along with rival service Kodi. "Thanks to a rapidly growing media application called Plex, torrent-based piracy is back in vogue, and better than ever (for criminals who have no problem with profiting from content that doesn't belong to them, that is)," the coalition writes in a blog post. Those who pay $4.99 per month for Plex Pass are able to share their libraries with up to 100 users. As Creative Future points out, this isn't always done for the sake of altruism, or so family's can share their legally procured copies of Frozen. Some Plex users actually charge for access to their content -- a more nefarious (though, granted, enterprising) evolution from the totally free world of torrenting. For extra sass, the shared content can be pirated to begin with.

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Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It Was a Secret Plaything of the Rich

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-03-06 17:40
Investors and clients of the facial recognition start-up freely used the app on dates and at parties -- and to spy on the public. From a report: One Tuesday night in October 2018, John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery store chain, was having dinner at Cipriani, an upscale Italian restaurant in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, when his daughter, Andrea, walked in. She was on a date with a man Mr. Catsimatidis didn't recognize. After the couple sat down at another table, Mr. Catsimatidis asked a waiter to go over and take a photo. Mr. Catsimatidis then uploaded the picture to a facial recognition app, Clearview AI, on his phone. The start-up behind the app has a database of billions of photos, scraped from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Within seconds, Mr. Catsimatidis was viewing a collection of photos of the mystery man, along with the web addresses where they appeared: His daughter's date was a venture capitalist from San Francisco.. Ms. Catsimatidis said she and her date had no idea how her father had identified him so quickly. Clearview was unknown to the general public until this January, when The New York Times reported that the secretive start-up had developed a breakthrough facial recognition system that was in use by hundreds of law enforcement agencies. The company quickly faced a backlash on multiple fronts. Facebook, Google and other tech giants sent cease-and-desist letters. Lawsuits were filed in Illinois and Virginia, and the attorney general of New Jersey issued a moratorium against the app in that state. [...] The Times, however, has identified multiple individuals with active access to Clearview's technology who are not law enforcement officials. And for more than a year before the company became the subject of public scrutiny, the app had been freely used in the wild by the company's investors, clients and friends.

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Engineer At the Center of Waymo/Uber Legal Battle Declares Bankruptcy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-03-06 02:45
Anthony Levandowski, the controversial engineer at the center of the recent legal battle between Google's Waymo and Uber, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move comes shortly after a California federal judge confirmed that Levandowski owed Waymo $179 million for theft of trade secrets. Ars Technica reports: Levandowski was an early member of Google's self-driving car team, earning tens of millions of dollars for his efforts. Then in early 2016, he left Google to co-found a self-driving startup called Otto. A few months later, Uber acquired Otto in a deal reportedly worth around $680 million. But a forensic investigation by Google revealed that Levandowski had taken thousands of confidential technical documents with him on his way out the door -- including schematics for Google's cutting-edge lidar technology. Google sued Levandowski and Uber for theft of trade secrets. Google and Uber settled their lawsuit in 2018, but Google's battle with Levandowski continued. In December 2019, an arbitrator ruled that Levandowski and one of his colleagues -- ex-Googler and Otto co-founder Lior Ron -- had breached their legal obligations to the search giant. Ron has settled with Google for $9.7 million, TechCrunch reports. The arbitrator ruled that Levandowski owed Google $179 million. Reuters reports that a federal judge confirmed that ruling on Wednesday, triggering Levandowski's bankruptcy filing. In his bankruptcy filing, Levandowski says that he has fewer than $100 million in assets, while he owes between $100 million and $500 million to creditors -- presumably including the $179 million he owes to Waymo. However, Levandowski may still be able to get Uber to pay the damages on his behalf. Uber indemnified Levandowski when it hired him in 2016. However, Reuters notes that, in a regulatory filing, Uber said it expected to challenge paying Levandowski's nine-figure judgment.

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Judge Rejects Tulsi Gabbard's 'Free Speech' Lawsuit Against Google

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-03-06 00:40
Last July, Hawaii representative and long-shot presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard sued Google for infringing on her free speech when it briefly suspended her campaign's advertising account after the first Democratic debate in June. On Wednesday, California's Central District Court rejected the suit outright. TechCrunch reports: Gabbard's campaign, Tulsi Now, Inc., asked for $50 million in damages from Google for "serious and continuing violations of Tulsi's right to free speech." In the suit, her campaign claimed that Google "helps to run elections" through political advertising and search results -- an argument District Judge Stephen Wilson firmly rejected. In dismissing the case, Wilson writes that what Gabbard "fails to establish is how Google's regulation of its own platform is in any way equivalent to a governmental regulation of an election." When it comes to Google, "an undisputedly private company," the First Amendment's free speech protections do not apply. A week ago, another California court reached the same conclusion in a case that right-wing group PragerU brought against YouTube.

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For $3, a 'Robot Lawyer' Will Sue Data Brokers That Don't Delete Your Personal and Location Info

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-03-05 20:42
In January, a new law gave consumers the power to stop companies collecting their personal information. The law, known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (or the CCPA), can be a powerful tool for privacy, but it comes with a catch: Consumers who want to exercise their CCPA rights must contact every data broker individually, and there are more than a hundred of them. But now they have an easier option. From a report: On Thursday, a startup called DoNotPay unveiled a service it calls Digital Health that automates the data-deletion process. Priced at $3 a month, the service will contact more than 100 data brokers on your behalf and demand they delete your and your family's personal information. It will also show you the types of data the brokers have collected -- such as phone number or location info -- and even initiate legal proceedings if the firms fail to comply. The monthly fee also gives subscribers access to DoNotPay's other automated avenging services, like appealing parking tickets in any city, claiming compensation for poor in-flight Wi-Fi, and Robo Revenge, which sues robocallers.

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Live Facial Recognition Is Coming To US Police Body Cameras

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-03-05 19:21
Wolfcom, a company that makes technology for police, is pitching body cameras with live facial recognition to law enforcement groups across the United States, OneZero reported Thursday. From a report: It's a move that pushes against industry norms: Axon, the largest manufacturer of body cameras in the United States, declared last year that it would not put the invasive technology in its hardware, citing "serious ethical concerns." NEC, which sells live facial recognition elsewhere in the world, has also not sold it to U.S. law enforcement. Wolfcom claims to have sold body cameras to at least 1,500 police departments, universities, and federal organizations across the country. It has been developing live facial recognition for the Halo, Wolfcom's newest body camera model, according to documents and a video obtained by OneZero through public records requests. This new initiative makes Wolfcom the first major body camera provider in the United States to pursue live facial recognition, a controversial stance given a nationwide push from privacy advocates to ban the technology.

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Uber Drivers' Self-Employed Status 'Fictitious', France Rules

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-03-05 01:21
France's top court ruling opens the way for Uber drivers to be reclassified as employees, the country's highest court ruled on Wednesday, the latest in a wave of rulings globally to grant more rights to gig workers. From a report: The Cour de Cassation in Paris said Uber drivers can't build a clientele, don't set rates or decide on terms and conditions, itineraries are imposed and destinations unknown to them. The top court said the fact that Uber "unilaterally determines its terms and rules" are all indications that drivers are more like employees of the company than self-employed. "The existence of a relationship of subordination between the company Uber and the driver when connecting to the digital platform" makes the "driver's self-employed status merely fictitious," the Cour de Cassation wrote.

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ACLU Sues To End ICE's Rigged Algorithms That Keep Immigrants In Jail

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-03-04 01:30
A new lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and Bronx Defenders alleges that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses a rigged algorithm to detain virtually everyone ICE's New York Field Office brings in, even when the government itself believes they present a minimal threat to public safety. The Intercept reports: The suit, which asks that ICE's "Risk Classification Assessment" tool be ruled illegal and the affected detainees reassessed by humans, includes damning new data obtained by the NYCLU through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The data illuminates the extent to which the so-called algorithm has been perverted. Between 2013 and 2017, the FOIA data shows, the algorithm recommended detention without bond for "low risk" individuals 53 percent of the time, according an analysis by the NYCLU and Bronx Defenders. But from June 2017 -- shortly after President Donald Trump took office -- to September 2019, that number exploded to 97 percent. "This dramatic drop in the release rate comes at a time when exponentially more people are being arrested in the New York City area and immigration officials have expanded arrests of those not convicted of criminal offenses," says the groups' lawsuit. "The federal government's sweeping detention dragnet means that people who pose no flight or safety risk are being jailed as a matter of course -- in an unlawful trend that is getting worse." Individuals detained under what the lawsuit calls a "no-release policy" will remain jailed until they can be seen by an immigration judge. People arrested by ICE had no access to information about how they were classified by the algorithm -- that's why the FOIAs were necessary -- and most don't have access to lawyers at the time of their detention, Thomas Scott-Railton, a fellow at the Bronx Defenders told The Intercept. "The result," he said, "is that people are detained for weeks, even months, without having been given the actual justification for their detention and without a real chance to challenge it." The lawsuit alleges that this algorithmic rubber stamp violates both the constitutional guarantee to due process and federal immigration law that calls for "individualized determinations" about release, rather than blanket denials with a computerized imprimatur. Reached by email, ICE New York spokesperson Rachael Yong Yow told The Intercept, "I am not familiar with the lawsuit you reference, but I am not inclined to comment on pending litigation." The risk assessment algorithm is supposed to provide a recommendation to ICE officers who are then meant to make the final decision, but the agency's New York Field Office diverged from the algorithm's ruling less than 1 percent of the time since 2017. When detainees are finally seen by a human, non-algorithmic immigration judge, the lawsuit says, "approximately 40% of people detained by ICE are granted release on bond."

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Fed Cuts Rates Half Point in Emergency Move Amid Spreading Virus

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-03-03 17:28
The U.S. Federal Reserve delivered an emergency half-percentage point interest rate cut Tuesday in a bid to protect the longest-ever economic expansion from the spreading coronavirus. From a report: "The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity," the Fed said in a statement. "In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point." U.S. stocks briefly reversed earlier declines before resuming their selloff, while the 10-year Treasury yield touched 1.09%. Fed funds futures are pricing more than a percentage point of central bank rate reductions for 2020, including another quarter-point cut in the first half of the year. The central bank also said it is "closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook and will use its tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."

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'Have I Been Pwned' Is No Longer For Sale

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-03-03 01:20
Troy Hunt, the owner and founder of the well-known and respected data breach notification website "Have I Been Pwned," announced in a blog post today that his website is no longer being sold and will continue running independently. The news comes several months after Hunt announced he was actively looking for a buyer. Last June, Hunt wrote: "To date, every line of code, every configuration and every breached record has been handled by me alone. There is no 'HIBP team,' there's one guy keeping the whole thing afloat. It's time for HIBP to grow up. It's time to go from that one guy doing what he can in his available time to a better-resourced and better-funded structure that's able to do way more than what I ever could on my own." Now, according to Hunt, "unexpected changes" with the business model of the party believed to be the purchaser of the service "made the deal infeasible." "It wasn't something I could have seen coming nor was it anything to do with HIBP itself, but it introduced a range of new and insurmountable barriers," writes Hunt in today's blog post. Hunt goes on to explain what's been happening since April 2019 and how the service will operate in the future.

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Newly Obtained Documents Show Huawei Role In Shipping Prohibited US Gear To Iran

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-03-03 00:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: China's Huawei, which for years has denied violating American trade sanctions on Iran, produced internal company records in 2010 that show it was directly involved in sending prohibited U.S. computer equipment to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator. Two Huawei packing lists, dated December 2010, included computer equipment made by Hewlett-Packard Co and destined for the Iranian carrier, internal Huawei documents reviewed by Reuters show. Another Huawei document, dated two months later, stated: "Currently the equipment is delivered to Tehran, and waiting for the custom clearance." The packing lists and other internal documents, reported here for the first time, provide the strongest documentary evidence to date of Huawei's involvement in alleged trade sanctions violations. They could bolster Washington's multifaceted campaign to check the power of Huawei, the world's leading telecommunications-equipment maker. The newly obtained documents involve a multi-million dollar telecommunications project in Iran that figures prominently in an ongoing criminal case Washington has brought against the Chinese company and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. The daughter of Huawei's founder, Meng has been fighting extradition from Canada to the United States since her arrest in Vancouver in December 2018. Huawei and Meng have denied the charges, which involve bank fraud, wire fraud and other allegations. The documents, which aren't cited in the criminal case, provide new details about Huawei's role in providing an Iranian telecom carrier with numerous computer servers, switches and other equipment made by HP, as well as software made by other American companies at the time, including Microsoft, Symantec and Novell. "A U.S. indictment alleges that Huawei and Meng participated in a fraudulent scheme to obtain prohibited U.S. goods and technology for Huawei's Iran-based business, and move money out of Iran by deceiving Western banks," the report adds. "The indictment accuses Huawei and Meng of surreptitiously using an "unofficial subsidiary" in Iran called Skycom Tech Co Ltd to obtain the prohibited goods." The documents also show that Chinese company, Panda International Information Technology Co, was involved in shipping gear to Iran too.

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Coke and Pepsi Sued For Creating a Plastic Pollution 'Nuisance'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 22:05
Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and other large companies are being sued by a California environmental group for creating a plastic pollution "nuisance" and misleading consumers about the recyclability of plastic. From a report: The suit, filed in San Mateo county superior court last week, argues that companies that sell plastic bottles and bags that end up polluting the ocean should be held accountable for damaging the environment. Earth Island Institute, which filed the lawsuit, says a significant amount of the eight to 20m tons of plastic entering the Earth's oceans annually can be traced back to a handful of companies, which rely heavily on single-use plastic packaging. The suit seeks to require these companies to pay to remediate the harm that plastic pollution has caused to the Earth and oceans. It also demands these companies stop advertising products as "recyclable," when they are, in fact, largely not recycled. "These companies should bear the responsibility for choking our ecosystem with plastic," said David Phillips, executive director of Earth Island Institute. "They know very well that this stuff is not being recycled, even though they are telling people on the labels that it is recyclable and making people feel like it's being taken care of." Further reading: Coca-Cola, Nestle, and PepsiCo Are the Top 3 Plastic Polluters on the Planet .

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Apple To Pay Up To $500 Million To Settle US Lawsuit Over Slow iPhones

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 18:43
Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle litigation accusing it of quietly slowing down older iPhones as it launched new models, to induce owners to buy replacement phones or batteries. From a report: The preliminary proposed class-action settlement was disclosed on Friday night and requires approval by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California. It calls for Apple to pay consumers $25 per iPhone, which may be adjusted up or down depending on how many iPhones are eligible, with a minimum total payout of $310 million. Apple denied wrongdoing and settled the nationwide case to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation, court papers show. Friday's settlement covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system. It also covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.

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Rail Station Wi-Fi Provider in UK Exposed Traveller Data

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 18:05
The email addresses and travel details of about 10,000 people who used free wi-fi at UK railway stations have been exposed online. From a report: Network Rail and the service provider C3UK confirmed the incident three days after being contacted by BBC News about the matter. The database, found online by a security researcher, contained 146 million records, including personal contact details and dates of birth. It was not password protected. Named railway stations in screenshots seen by BBC News include Harlow Mill, Chelmsford, Colchester, Waltham Cross, Burnham, Norwich and London Bridge. C3UK said it had secured the exposed database - a back-up copy that included about 10,000 email addresses -- as soon as it had been drawn to their attention by researcher Jeremiah Fowler, from Security Discovery. "To the best of our knowledge, this database was only accessed by ourselves and the security firm and no information was made publicly available," it said. "Given the database did not contain any passwords or other critical data such as financial information, this was identified as a low-risk potential vulnerability."

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A Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial in Scientific Research

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 16:01
An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change -- including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial -- into the agency's scientific reports, the New York Times reported Monday, citing internal documents. From the report: The misleading language appears in at least nine reports, including environmental studies and impact statements on major watersheds in the American West that could be used to justify allocating increasingly scarce water to farmers at the expense of wildlife conservation and fisheries. The effort was led by Indur M. Goklany, a longtime Interior Department employee who, in 2017 near the start of the Trump administration, was promoted to the office of the deputy secretary with responsibility for reviewing the agency's climate policies. The Interior Department's scientific work is the basis for critical decisions about water and mineral rights affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of acres of land. The wording, known internally as the "Goks uncertainty language" based on Mr. Goklany's nickname, inaccurately claims that there is a lack of consensus among scientists that the earth is warming. In Interior Department emails to scientists, Mr. Goklany pushed misleading interpretations of climate science, saying it "may be overestimating the rate of global warming, for whatever reason;" climate modeling has largely predicted global warming accurately. The final language states inaccurately that some studies have found the earth to be warming, while others have not. He also instructed department scientists to add that rising carbon dioxide -- the main force driving global warming -- is beneficial because it "may increase plant water use efficiency" and "lengthen the agricultural growing season." Both assertions misrepresent the scientific consensus that, overall, climate change will result in severe disruptions to global agriculture and significant reductions in crop yields.

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Newspaper Decries Fearmongering of the 'Student Surveillance Industry'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 10:24
Iowa City's school board heard presentations from "two companies pitching digital surveillance services," complains a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, expressing concerns about their offers to "track students' digital lives and flag potential threats for in-house analysts and school officials to review." The student surveillance industry is overrun with buzz words, misinformation and fearmongering. Digital citizenship. Crowd-sourcing. Machine-learning algorithm. Those are warm and fuzzy phrases meant to make us feel secure in the arms of corporate tech. Discussing an out-of-state case where a student allegedly sought to join ISIS, a Securly company representative at the school board meeting said, "There are plenty of kids like (him) walking around every school in every district in this country who need help." Kids in every school district who are trying to join international terrorist networks? I doubt that.... A parent testimonial from Gaggle aptly sums up the student surveillance philosophy: "If it's going to protect my child or save my child, I don't care how you get the information, just get it." I worry young people will heed that message -- safety at any cost, privacy be damned. They will grow up to accept constant government surveillance in a world where everything they do is recorded. It's all they've ever known, and they won't think to question it.

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America's Coronavirus Testing Lags Far Behind South Korea and China

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 05:09
The news site Axios (founded by former Politico staffers) reports on an issue discovered at an Atlanta lab for America's Centers for Disease Control that was manufacturing "relatively small amounts" of coronavirus testing kits for laboratories around the country. Sources familiar with the situation in Atlanta tell them that manufacturing has now been moved to another lab. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn confirmed to the site that there had been problems with "certain test components." The Commissioner also said the problems had been resolved and "were due to a manufacturing issue," and said the FDA has confidence in the current manufacturing of the tests they're distributing, which "have passed extensive quality control procedures and will provide the high-level of diagnostic accuracy we need..." Axios adds that "It was not immediately clear if or how possible contamination in the Atlanta lab played a role in delays or problems" that America's been experiencing with its coronavirus testing: The U.S. government had admitted to problems with its diagnostic tests -- which have put the U.S. well behind China and South Korea in doing large-scale testing of the American public for the coronavirus... As of Friday, South Korea had tested 65,000 people for the coronavirus; the U.S. had tested only 459, per Science Magazine. China can reportedly conduct up to 1.6 million tests a week. Although the World Health Organization has sent testing kits to 57 other countries, the U.S. decided to make its own. There have also been problems with the tests themselves. On Feb. 12, the FDA announced that health labs across the country were having problems validating the CDC's diagnostic test, Science reports in an in-depth account of what went wrong with the tests. The FDA announced yesterday that public health labs can create their own diagnostic test. Scott Becker, the CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, told Science that he expects that public health labs will be able to do 10,000 tests a day by the end of the week.

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12 Countries Are Now Considering Central Bank Digital Currencies

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pn, 2020-03-02 00:36
"Officials at central banks are considering how and whether to create a digital form of cash," reports Qz: As money gets swept up by tech innovation, government authorities are taking a closer look at old fashioned notes and coins. More than a dozen countries are either researching, piloting, or, like China, have ongoing work in place for central bank digital currencies, according to a Bank for International Settlements report published today. "Central banks around the world are investigating a rich set of prototypes," the BIS wrote... While physical cash isn't yet endangered in most places, the experience of a few countries, notably Sweden, China, and even to some extent the UK, shows that a world with much less cash usage is increasingly possible. That's why the BIS, sometimes called the central bank for central banks, published a report sketching out possible designs for a peer-to-peer central bank digital currency.

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America Proposes New Rules Requiring Drones to Broadcast Their Location Online

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - N, 2020-03-01 21:34
LetterRip (Slashdot reader #30,937) shares a report from Ars Technica: More than 34,000 people have deluged the Federal Aviation Administration with comments over a proposed regulation that would require almost every drone in the sky to broadcast its location over the Internet at all times. The comments are overwhelmingly negative, with thousands of hobbyists warning that the rules would impose huge new costs on those who simply wanted to continue flying model airplanes, home-built drones, or other personally owned devices... The new rules are largely designed to address safety and security concerns raised by law enforcement agencies. They worry that drones flying too close to an airport could disrupt operations or even cause a crash. They also worry about terrorists using drones to deliver payloads to heavily populated areas. To address these concerns, the new FAA rule would require all new drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds to connect over the Internet to one of several location-tracking databases (still to be developed by private vendors) and provide real-time updates on their location. That would enable the FAA or law enforcement agencies to see, at a glance, which registered drones are in any particular area... The rules require that the drone itself have an Internet connection. That will instantly render many existing drones obsolete, forcing hobbyists to upgrade or discard them. And it will also make it significantly more expensive to own a drone, since you'll need to sign up for a data plan.... Apparently anticipating a backlash, the FAA does offer a workaround for people with existing or custom-built aircraft: special FAA-designated areas where people could fly non-compliant aircraft. These would be run by "community-based organizations" — most likely existing model airplane clubs that already operate fields for hobbyists to fly their aircraft.

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