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Huawei Commits To Bringing Its Products To the US Despite Government Security Concerns

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-03-31 00:40
Within the last few months, AT&T and Verizon have reportedly decided not to sell Huawei's flagship smartphone due to pressure from the U.S. government, with Best Buy opting to stop offering all Huawei products. Despite all of this, though, the company isn't giving up its U.S. ambitions. PhoneDog reports: Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, says that Huawei will continue working to establish itself in the U.S. and earn consumers' trust. Yu's statement to CNET: "We are committed to the U.S. market and to earning the trust of U.S. consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation. We would never compromise that trust." Yu went on to say that the security concerns that the U.S. government has about Huawei are "based on groundless suspicions and are quite frankly unfair." He added that Huawei is open having a discussion with the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA so long as it is based on facts.

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Airbnb To Share Information With Authorities On Guests In China

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2018-03-31 00:00
Airbnb has notified users in China that, as required by law, their information will soon be automatically logged with the government. Bloomberg reports: This week, it sent an email to hosts declaring it may disclose their information at any time -- those with concerns were given a link to deactivate their listing. Airbnb -- which had previously resisted comparisons to what it calls the hotel cartel -- is abiding by Chinese regulations governing the lodging industry. Hotels there keep tabs on guests and are obliged to report their information to the authorities -- which in turn becomes a useful tool for surveillance. Airbnb's approach automates the process, so travelers' data is directly transmitted to the government. "Like all businesses operating in China, Airbnb China must comply with local laws and regulations," said Airbnb spokesman Jake Wilczynski. "The information we collect is similar to information hotels in China have collected for decades." Previously, the onus was mostly on Airbnb hosts to submit passport and other required traveler information. The company said in its email to hosts that it will comply with requests from authorities for information when asked.

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Ajit Pai Faces Heat Over Proposal To Take Away Poor People's Broadband Plans

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 22:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Democratic senators yesterday asked Ajit Pai to abandon a proposal that the senators say would take subsidized broadband plans away from "millions of Americans." The Federal Communications Commission chairman's plan for the Lifeline subsidy program would force most users of the program to find new providers. But such users could have trouble finding replacement plans or similar prices because Pai's proposal would prevent all telecom resellers from offering Lifeline-subsidized service. "Your proposal impacts over 70 percent of current Lifeline-recipient households by eliminating their wireless providers from the program, leaving less affordable and fewer Lifeline options, while making it more difficult for the companies trying to serve Lifeline customers," Senate Democrats wrote in the letter to Pai yesterday. "Instead of cutting the program, we should ensure Lifeline reaches more Americans in need of access to communication services." The letter was written by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

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EPA Prepares To Roll Back Rules Requiring Cars To Be Cleaner and More Efficient

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 22:00
Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi, reporting for The New York Times: The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide. The move -- which undercuts one of President Barack Obama's signature efforts to fight climate change -- would also propel the Trump administration toward a courtroom clash with California, which has vowed to stick with the stricter rules even if Washington rolls back federal standards. That fight could end up creating one set of rules for cars sold in California and the 12 states that follow its lead, and weaker rules for the rest of the states, in effect splitting the nation into two markets. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to frame the initiative as eliminating a regulatory burden on automakers that will result in more affordable trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles for buyers, according to people familiar with the plan. An E.P.A. spokeswoman confirmed that Mr. Pruitt had sent a draft of the 16-page plan to the White House for approval. Further reading: EPA to its employees: Ignore science when talking about climate change (ArsTechnica)

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'GTA V' Character Doesn't Resemble Lindsay Lohan, Court Rules

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 18:52
Actress Lindsay Lohan has failed in her latest attempt to sue the maker of the video game Grand Theft Auto V. From a report: While the court said in an opinion a computer generated image may be considered a "portrait" under current state civil rights law, "the artistic renderings are indistinct, satirical representations of the style, look, and persona of a modern, beach-going young woman that are not reasonably identifiable as the plaintiff." Lohan sued GTA V publisher Take-Two Interactive in 2014 over a NPC in the game called Lacey Jonas. Players encounter her while she's hiding in an alley from the paparazzi. She describes herself as an "actress slash singer" and the "voice of a generation." Artwork during the game's loading screens depict similar blonde women. One is wearing a red bikini and flashing a peace sign as she takes a selfie. Another wears a fedora and large sunglasses while being frisked by a female police officer. Lohan claimed developer Rockstar Games modelled the character and screens after her, using her "image, likeness, clothing, outfits, clothing line products, and ensemble in the form of hats, hairstyle, and sunglasses" without her permission.

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Coffee Requires Cancer Warning, California Judge Rules

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 16:03
Scientists haven't rendered a verdict on whether coffee is good or bad for you but a California judge has. He says coffee sellers in the state should have to post cancer warnings. From a report: The culprit is a chemical produced in the bean roasting process that is a known carcinogen and has been at the heart of an eight-year legal struggle between a tiny nonprofit group and Big Coffee. The Council for Education and Research on Toxics wanted the coffee industry to remove acrylamide from its processing -- like potato chip makers did when it sued them years ago -- or disclose the danger in ominous warning signs or labels. The industry, led by Starbucks, said the level of the chemical in coffee isn't harmful and any risks are outweighed by benefits. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Wednesday that the coffee makers hadn't presented the proper grounds at trial to prevail.

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FCC Authorizes SpaceX's Ambitious Satellite Internet Plans

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 09:00
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved an application by Elon Musk's SpaceX, allowing the aerospace company to provide broadband services using satellites in the U.S. and worldwide. "With this action, the Commission takes another step to increase high-speed broadband availability and competition in the United States," the FCC said in a statement. CNBC reports: This marks the first time the FCC has allowed a U.S.-licensed satellite constellation to provide broadband services through low-Earth orbit satellites. "We appreciate the FCC's thorough review and approval of SpaceX's constellation license. Although we still have much to do with this complex undertaking, this is an important step toward SpaceX building a next-generation satellite network that can link the globe with reliable and affordable broadband service, especially reaching those who are not yet connected," Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX said in a statement. SpaceX will begin launching the constellation it dubbed "Starlink" in 2019. The system will be operational once at least 800 satellites are deployed. Starlink will offer broadband speeds comparable to fiber optic networks.The satellites would offer new direct to consumer wireless connections, rather the present system's redistribution of signals, transforming a traditionally high-cost, low reliability service.

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Google Removes 'Kodi' From Search Autocomplete In Anti-Piracy Effort

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 02:10
Google has banned the term "Kodi" from the autocomplete feature of its search engine because it's "closely associated with copyright infringement." This means that the popular software and related suggestions won't appear unless users type out the full term. TorrentFreak reports: It turns out that Google has recently removed the term "Kodi" from its autocomplete results. While Kodi can be abused through pirate add-ons, the media player software itself is perfectly legal, which makes it an odd decision. Users who type in "Kod" get a list of suggestions including "Kodak" and "Kodiak," but not the much more popular search term Kodi. Similarly, when typing "addons for k" Google suggests addons for Kokotime and Krypton 17.6. While the latter is a Kodi version, the name of the media player itself doesn't come up as a suggestion. Once users type the full Kodi term and add a space, plenty of suggestions suddenly appear, which is similar to other banned terms. Ironically enough, the Kokotime app is frequently used by pirates as well. Also, the names of all of the pirate Kodi addons we checked still show up fine in the autosuggest feature. Unfortunately, Google doesn't document its autocomplete removal decisions, nor does it publish the full list of banned words. However, the search engine confirms that Kodi's piracy stigma is to blame here. In a statement to TorrentFreak, a Google spokesperson said: "Since 2011, we have been filtering certain terms closely associated with copyright infringement from Google Autocomplete. This action is consistent with that long-standing strategy."

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Under Armour Says 150 Million MyFitnessPal Accounts Were Hacked

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 00:50
Under Armour said about 150 million user accounts for its MyFitnessPal nutrition tracker were breached earlier this year. From a report: An unauthorized party stole data from the accounts in late February, Under Armour said on Thursday. It became aware of the breach earlier this week and took steps to alert users about the incident, the company said.

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US To Seek Social Media Details From All Visa Applicants

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2018-03-30 00:10
According to Bloomberg, the State Department wants to require all U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers. From the report: In documents to be published in Friday's Federal Register, the department said it wants the public to comment on the proposed new requirements, which will affect nearly 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the U.S. each year. The new rules would apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The department estimates it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants, including those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education, according to the documents. If the requirements are approved by the Office of Management and Budget, applications for all visa types would list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. It would also give the applicant the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed in the application. In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants will be asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities. Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types may be exempted from the requirements, the documents said.

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Uber Settles With Family of Woman Killed By Self-Driving Car, Avoids Lawsuit

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-03-29 22:50
It appears that Uber won't go to court to settle a lawsuit after one of its self-driving cars killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona earlier this month. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares a report from Ars Technica: Uber has reached a settlement with the family of the woman killed by an Uber self-driving car. Uber reached the settlement with the daughter and husband of Elaine Herzberg, who died at age 49 after being hit by the Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. The settlement presumably includes a cash payment, but no details were provided by either Uber or the family's attorney. "The matter has been resolved," said Christina Perez Hesano, an attorney for Herzberg's family, according to reports by Reuters and NPR.

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Apple Launches iOS 11.3 With Raft of Privacy Features

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-03-29 20:07
Apple is launching a major privacy push, with software updates across all its devices to introduce new data privacy information immediately, with an updated website offering new privacy management tools to follow in May. From a report: Thursday's updates (macOS 10.13.4, iOS11.3 and tvOS 11.3) are prompted by the enormous new European data protection regulation GDPR, and have been in the works since at least January. But they come at a good time for the company, whose head Tim Cook has been merrily capitalising on the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, publicly rebuking Mark Zuckerberg over the social network's business model. For users of the company's devices, the biggest change will be the introduction of a unified data privacy iconography, which now shows up alongside detailed information about how Apple uses personal data for its various first-party services. "Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right," the company will tell every user the first time they turn on their devices after the update, "so every Apple product is designed to minimise the collection and use of your data, use on-device processing whenever possible, and provide transparency and control over your information."

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ACLU Urges Cities To Build Public Broadband To Protect Net Neutrality

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-03-29 19:20
The ACLU is calling on cities across the country to build their own public municipal broadband networks to help preserve net neutrality after the Federal Communications Commission repealed the open internet rules. From a report: In a report released Thursday morning, the civil liberties group argued that in the absence of the FCC's rules cities could give residents an alternative to private service providers who will soon no longer be required to treat all web traffic equally. "Internet service has become as essential as utilities like water and electricity, and local governments should treat it that way," Jay Stanley, an ACLU policy analyst who authored the report, said in a statement. "If local leaders want to protect their constituents' rights and expand quality internet access, then community broadband is an excellent way to do that," Stanley added. The ACLU sent the report to more than 100 mayors across the country who had spoken out against the FCC's decision to scrap the rules.

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President Trump Slams Amazon For 'Causing Tremendous Loss To the United States'

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-03-29 18:00
President Trump escalated his attack on Amazon on Thursday, saying that the e-commerce giant does not pay enough taxes, and strongly suggested that he may try to rein in the e-commerce business. From a report: The president took aim at Amazon's tax contributions, its use of the US Postal Service and practices that put "many thousands of retailers out of business!" The accusations aren't new. The tweet was likely prompted by an Axios story on Wednesday that claimed Trump was weighing "going after" Amazon over alleged antitrust activities or violations of competition laws. The Axios story appeared to contribute to a selloff of Amazon stock Wednesday, with Amazon shares dropping 4.4 percent, even though Trump's disdain for Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, was already well-known. Bezos owns The Washington Post, whose coverage has been less than glowing about the new president, which may be a factor in Trump's attacks. Trump's tweet, in full: I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

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Facebook Will No Longer Allow Third-Party Data For Targeting Ads

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-03-29 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: In a surprise change, Facebook will give up one major data source that the company uses to help advertisers target relevant users on the platform. The company just announced that it will end a feature called Partner Categories, launched back in 2013 out of a partnership between Facebook and major data brokers. Third party data helps Facebook further atomize its user base into meaningful segments for advertisers. Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that the change is permanent, not a temporary precaution. In order to leverage the deep pool of data Facebook collects on users, the company mixes information that it obtains from users themselves (Pages a user liked, for instance) with information from advertisers (membership status in a loyalty program, for example) and with data obtained from third party providers. While Facebook feels comfortable with the integrity of its data sourcing within the first two categories, it feels less settled about dipping into these aggregate pools of third party data. The decision was issued in light of the company's recent privacy concerns over third-party data mishandling.

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Tim Cook Says Apple's Customers Are Not Its Product, Unlike Facebook

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2018-03-29 00:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with MSNBC and Recode on Wednesday that Silicon Valley, and notably Facebook, should be far more careful with its customers' data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica disclosures. "I think the best regulation is no regulation, is self-regulation," he said, according to Recode. "However, I think we're beyond that here." Cook reiterated points that he and former CEO Steve Jobs made previously, that Apple's business model -- unlike Google, Facebook, and many other tech companies -- is predicated on selling physical products rather than capturing data about customers. "We've never believed that these detailed profiles of people that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources should exist," he said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer -- if our customer was our product," he added. "We've elected not to do that."

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Facebook Tweaks Privacy Tools To Ease Discontent Over Data Leak

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-03-28 21:42
Facebook has adjusted privacy settings to give users more control over their information in a few taps, it said on Wednesday, after an outcry over a whistleblower's allegations that members' data was used to sway the 2016 U.S. election. From a report: It put all the settings on one page and made it easier to change and more straightforward to stop apps using data. Until now changing settings had been complex, spread over at least 20 screens, which had frustrated users. The world's largest social network said in a blog post it had been working on the updates for some time but sped things up to appease users' anger over how the company uses their data and as lawmakers around the globe called for strong regulation. "Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data," Facebook wrote in the blog post on Wednesday.

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Many VPN Providers Leak Customer's IP Address via WebRTC Bug

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-03-28 20:14
An anonymous reader shares a report: Around 20% of today's top VPN solutions are leaking the customer's IP address via a WebRTC bug known since January 2015, and which apparently some VPN providers have never heard of. The discovery belongs to Paolo Stagno, a security researcher who goes by the pseudonym of VoidSec, and who recently audited 83 VPN apps on this old WebRTC IP leak. Stagno says he found that 17 VPN clients were leaking the user's IP address while surfing the web via a browser. The researcher published his results in a Google Docs spreadsheet. The audit list is incomplete because Stagno didn't have the financial resources to test all commercial VPN clients.

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Ecuador Cutting Off WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Communications Outside London Embassy

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-03-28 19:30
The government of Ecuador said on Wednesday it has cut off internet access in its embassy in London to Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, saying that he was putting the country's international relations at risk. In a statement released on Wednesday, Ecuador said that the step had been taken because Assange had failed to abide by an agreement not to interfere in the South American country's relations with other states. From a report: As part of an agreement between Assange and the Ecuadorean government, he is not permitted to send any messages that could interfere with the South American nation's relations with other countries. Assange has been living in Ecuador's embassy for more than five years.

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Cities Worldwide Spent Over $3 Billion Last Year To Peep On You

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2018-03-28 18:50
The world market for security equipment in city surveillance surged past $3 billion last year and won't be slowing down anytime soon, a research report by IHS Markit said Wednesday. From a report: State capitals and major cities have been spurring rapid development of city surveillance market in recent years, mostly to help police forces maintain public safety and reduce crime, the researcher said. Demand has surged for video content analysis, like facial recognition, as well as for things like body-worn cameras and services for police officers. IHS Markit estimated the city surveillance market will grow at average annual rate of 14.6 percent from 2016 to 2021. China is the biggest market for security equipment in city surveillance, taking up a two-thirds share, and it will also be the first country to widely use facial recognition in city surveillance projects, according to the researcher. More than 10,000 smart cameras are expected to roll out in Shenzhen city this year.

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