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Charter Seeks FCC Permission to Impose Data Caps and Charge Fees to Video Services

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2020-06-27 17:34
"Charter Communications has asked federal regulators for permission to impose data caps on broadband users and to seek interconnection payments from large online video providers, starting next year," writes Ars Technica. Long-time Slashdot reader Proudrooster shares their report: Charter, unlike other ISPs, isn't allowed to impose data caps and faces limits on charges for interconnection payments because of conditions applied to its 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable. The conditions were imposed by the Federal Communications Commission for seven years and are scheduled to elapse in May 2023. Last week, Charter submitted a petition asking the FCC to let the conditions run out on May 18, 2021 instead. The FCC is seeking public comment on the petition... When it sought FCC permission for the merger, it told the FCC that it provides service "without any data caps, usage-based pricing, or modem fees" and that it "has been involved in no notable disputes over traffic management and has long practiced network neutrality." When contacted by Ars yesterday, Charter said it doesn't "currently" plan to impose data caps or change its interconnection policy, but it wants the option to do so.

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Sweden Tries Out a New Status: Pariah State

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2020-06-27 16:34
Sweden's population is not quite twice the size of Norway's — yet Sweden has reported 21 times as many deaths from Covid-19, prompting many countries to close their borders to Sweden, reports the New York Times: Norway isn't the only Scandinavian neighbor barring Swedes from visiting this summer. Denmark and Finland have also closed their borders to Swedes, fearing that they would bring new coronavirus infections with them. While those countries went into strict lockdowns this spring, Sweden famously refused, and now has suffered roughly twice as many infections and five times as many deaths as the other three nations combined, according to figures compiled by The New York Times. While reporting differences can make comparisons inexact, the overall trend is clear, as is Sweden's new status as Scandinavia's pariah state... "When you see 5,000 deaths in Sweden and 230 in Norway, it is quite incredible," said Gro Harlem Brundtland, a former prime minister of Norway and the former director of the World Health Organization, during a digital lecture at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in May... Swedes now find themselves with few options for moving about the European Union. Most countries in the bloc have reopened their borders to member nations, but only France, Italy, Spain and Croatia are welcoming Swedes without restrictions. On a popular Scandinavian radio program, a journalist with a leading Swedish paper complained about how Sweden was being treated by its neighboring countries, according to the Times. "We are supposed to sit here in our corner of shame, and the worst part is that you're savoring it." The BBC notes that just days later, on Wednesday, Sweden reported 1,610 new infections — roughly one infection for every 6,354 people in Sweden and its highest number of daily infections since the outbreak began.

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Mobilewalla Used Cellphone Data To Estimate the Demographics of Protesters

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2020-06-27 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: On the weekend of May 29, thousands of people marched, sang, grieved, and chanted, demanding an end to police brutality and the defunding of police departments in the aftermath of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. They marched en masse in cities like Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, empowered by their number and the assumed anonymity of the crowd. And they did so completely unaware that a tech company was using location data harvested from their cellphones to predict their race, age, and gender and where they lived. Just over two weeks later, that company, Mobilewalla, released a report titled "George Floyd Protester Demographics: Insights Across 4 Major US Cities." In 60 pie charts, the document details what percentage of protesters the company believes were male or female, young adult (18-34); middle-aged 3554, or older (55+); and "African-American," "Caucasian/Others," "Hispanic," or "Asian-American." "African American males made up the majority of protesters in the four observed cities vs. females," Mobilewalla claimed. "Men vs. women in Atlanta (61% vs. 39%), in Los Angeles (65% vs. 35%), in Minneapolis (54% vs. 46%) and in New York (59% vs. 41%)." The company analyzed data from 16,902 devices at protests -- including exactly 8,152 devices in New York, 4,527 in Los Angeles, 2,357 in Minneapolis, and 1,866 in Atlanta. It's unclear how accurate Mobilewalla's analysis actually is. But Mobilewalla's report is another revelation from a wild west of obscure companies with untold amounts of sensitive information about individuals -- including where they go and what their political allegiances may be. There are no federal laws in place to prevent this information from being abused. Mobilewalla's privacy policy says that people have the right to opt out of certain uses of their personal information. But it also says, "Even if you opt out, we, our Clients and third parties may still collect and use information regarding your activities on the Services, Properties, websites and/or applications and/or information from advertisements for other legal purposes as described herein." Mobilewalla CEO Anindya Datta said the company didn't prepare the report for law enforcement or a public agency, but rather to satisfy its own employees' curiosity about what its vast trove of unregulated data could reveal about the demonstrators. He added that the company doesn't plan to include information about whether a person attended a protest to its clients, or to law enforcement agencies.

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Lyft Settles With Justice Department Over Disability Lawsuit

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2020-06-27 00:40
Lyft has settled with the Justice Department in a lawsuit alleging the company discriminated against customers with disabilities. Engadget reports: Now, drivers will be required to help fold and stow wheelchairs and walkers for customers. The rideshare company has also been ordered to educate its drivers as well as pay complainants and a $40,000 civil penalty. Lyft will pay various amounts in damages to the complainants, including $30,000 to J.H. It's been ordered to modify its wheelchair policy to specify that "drivers are required to assist with the stowing of foldable or collapsible mobility devices used by individuals with disabilities, such as wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers." The company will make a few changes to better educate drivers on the wheelchair policy, like sending quarterly reminders of the policy to drivers and creating a new educational video about the policy. For the next three years, Lyft will give the Justice Department biannual written reports on what it's doing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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California City Bans Predictive Policing In US First

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - So, 2020-06-27 00:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: As officials mull steps to tackle police brutality and racism, California's Santa Cruz has become the first U.S. city to ban predictive policing, which digital rights experts said could spark similar moves across the country. "Understanding how predictive policing and facial recognition can be disportionately biased against people of color, we officially banned the use of these technologies in the city of Santa Cruz," Mayor Justin Cummings said on Wednesday. His administration will work with the police to "help eliminate racism in policing", the seaside city's first male African-American mayor said on his Facebook page, following a vote on Tuesday evening. Used by police across the United States for almost a decade, predictive policing relies on algorithms to interpret police records, analyzing arrest or parole data to send officers to target chronic offenders, or identifying places where crime may occur. But critics says it reinforces racist patterns of policing -- low-income, ethnic minority neighborhoods have historically been overpoliced so the data shows them as crime hotspots, leading to the deployment of more police to those areas.

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House Democrats Pass DC Statehood Bill

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-26 22:45
House Democrats approved a bill to admit Washington, DC, as a state on Friday, marking the first time either chamber of Congress has advanced a DC statehood measure. From a report: The bill, introduced by DC's nonvoting House member, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, would shrink the federal capital to a small area encompassing the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and other federal buildings along the National Mall. The rest of the city would become the 51st state, named the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth after abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The bill passed with a vote of 232-180. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota was the only Democrat to join Republicans in voting against it. Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan also voted no. The bill would grant DC two senators and make the existing sole House representative a voting member. It is unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-held Senate, however, and the White House said (PDF) this week that President Donald Trump would veto the bill if it came to his desk. Proponents of making DC a state also point to the area's large population, which surpasses the populations of Wyoming and Vermont. As of June 2019, DC had more than 705,000 residents, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau. To become law, the bill's supporters argue it would only have to pass both chambers of Congress with a simple majority and then be signed by the President. They say the legislation's strategy of resizing the capital area would sidestep constitutional questions about making the rest of DC a state. But Republicans who oppose DC statehood maintain that adding the district as a state would require a constitutional amendment.

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Facial Recognition Bill Would Ban Use By Federal Law Enforcement

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Pt, 2020-06-26 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced legislation Thursday that seeks to ban the use of facial recognition and other biometric surveillance technology by federal law enforcement agencies. The legislation would also make federal funding for state and local law enforcement contingent on the enactment of similar bans. The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, is supported by Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. It comes at a time of intense scrutiny of policing and surveillance tools, and widespread protests after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in late May. The bill would make it unlawful for any federal agency or official to "acquire, possess, access or use" biometric surveillance technology in the United States. It would also prohibit the use of federal funds to purchase such technology. The bill states that this type of surveillance technology could only be used if there was a federal law with a long list of provisions to ensure it was used with extreme caution. Any such federal law would need to stipulate standards for the use, access and retention of the data collected from biometric surveillance systems; standards for accuracy rates by gender, skin color and age; rigorous protections for due process, privacy, free speech, and racial, gender and religious equity; and mechanisms to ensure compliance with the act. It also stipulates that local or state governments would not be eligible to receive federal financial assistance under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, which funds police training, equipment and supplies, without complying with a similar law or policy.

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Comcast Becomes the First ISP To Join Mozilla's TRR Program

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-25 23:00
Comcast has joined Cloudflare and NextDNS in partnering with Mozilla's Trusted Recursive Resolver program, which aims to make DNS more trusted and secure. Neowin reports: Commenting on the move, Firefox CTO Eric Rescorla, said: "Comcast has moved quickly to adopt DNS encryption technology and we're excited to have them join the TRR program. Bringing ISPs into the TRR program helps us protect user privacy online without disrupting existing user experiences. We hope this sets a precedent for further cooperation between browsers and ISPs." With its TRR program, Mozilla said that encrypting DNS data with DoH is just the first step in securing DNS. It said that the second step requires companies handling the data to have appropriate rules in place for handling it. Mozilla believes these rules include limiting data collection and retention, ensuring transparency about any retained data, and limiting the use of the resolver to block access or modify content. Ars Technica notes that joining Mozilla's program means that Comcast agreed that it won't "retain, sell, or transfer to any third party (except as may be required by law) any personal information, IP addresses, or other user identifiers, or user query patterns from the DNS queries sent from the Firefox browser," along with other requirements. When the change happens, it'll be automatic for users unless they've chosen a different DoH provider or disabled DoH altogether. Comcast told Ars yesterday that "Firefox users on Xfinity should automatically default to Xfinity resolvers under Mozilla's Trusted Recursive Resolver program, unless they have manually chosen a different resolver, or if DoH is disabled. The precise mechanism is still being tested and the companies plan to document it soon in an IETF [Internet Engineering Task Force] Draft."

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Democrats Pitch $100 Billion Broadband Plan, Repeal of State Limits On Muni Networks

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-25 20:17
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: House Democrats yesterday unveiled a $100 billion broadband plan that's gaining quick support from consumer advocates. "The House has a universal fiber broadband plan we should get behind," Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Legislative Counsel Ernesto Falcon wrote in a blog post. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC.) announced the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, saying it has more than 30 co-sponsors and "invests $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities and ensure that the resulting Internet service is affordable." The bill text is available here. In addition to federal funding for broadband networks with speeds of at least 100Mbps downstream and upstream, the bill would eliminate state laws that prevent the growth of municipal broadband. There are currently 19 states with such laws. The Clyburn legislation targets those states with this provision: "No State statute, regulation, or other State legal requirement may prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting any public provider, public-private partnership provider, or cooperatively organized provider from providing, to any person or any public or private entity, advanced telecommunications capability or any service that utilizes the advanced telecommunications capability provided by such provider." The bill also has a Dig Once requirement that says fiber or fiber conduit must be installed "as part of any covered highway construction project" in states that receive federal highway funding. Similar Dig Once mandates have been proposed repeatedly over the years and gotten close to becoming US law, but never quite made it past the finish line.

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Safari 14 Will Let You Log in To Websites With Your Face or Finger

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-25 18:48
With Safari on iOS 14, MacOS Big Sur and iPadOS 14, you'll be able to log in to websites using Apple's Face ID and Touch ID biometric authentication. That's a powerful endorsement for technology called FIDO -- Fast Identity Online -- that's paving the way to a future without passwords. From a report: Apple disclosed the biometric authentication support in Safari on Wednesday at WWDC, its annual developers conference. "It's both much faster and more secure," Apple Safari programmer Jiewen Tan said during one of the WWDC video sessions Apple offered after the coronavirus pandemic pushed the conference online. The change is a big boost for browser technology called Web Authentication, aka WebAuthn, developed by the FIDO consortium allies. Apple's not the first supporter -- it's already in Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, and works with Windows Hello facial recognition and Android fingerprint authentication.

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Trump Administration Says Huawei, Hikvision Backed By Chinese Military

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-25 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The Trump administration has determined that top Chinese firms, including telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies and video surveillance company Hikvision, are owned or controlled by the Chinese military, laying the groundwork for new U.S. financial sanctions, according to a document seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The list of 20 companies that Washington alleges are backed by the People's Liberation Army also includes China Mobile Communications Group and China Telecommunications Corp as well as aircraft manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China. The designations were drawn up by the Defense Department, which was mandated by a 1999 law to compile a list of firms "owned or controlled" by the People's Liberation Army that provide commercial services, manufacture, produce or export. The Pentagon's designations do not trigger sanctions, but the law says the president may declare a national emergency which would allow him to penalize any companies on the list that operate in the United States.

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Amazon Launches Counterfeit Crimes Unit To Fight Knockoffs On Its Store

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-25 02:02
Amazon has announced that it's launching a new Counterfeit Crimes Unit as the latest effort by the online retailer to fight counterfeit products on its website. The Verge reports: The new team is said to be made up of "former federal prosecutors, experienced investigators, and data analysts," who will work to proactively "go on the offensive" against counterfeiters, instead of just reacting by trying to identify and block bad listings. According to Amazon, the new Counterfeit Crimes Unit will make it easier for the company to file civil lawsuits, aid brands in their own investigations, and work with law enforcement officials in fighting counterfeiters. Earlier this month, 3M sued merchants who used Amazon to sell 3M and counterfeit masks for more than 18 times their standard price. The Trump administration also took aim at Amazon by recently including the company's foreign websites in Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and India in its annual report on "notorious markets" for counterfeit foreign goods.

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Boston Votes To Ban Government Use of Facial Recognition

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Cz, 2020-06-25 00:40
Boston is now the largest city on the East Coast to ban facial recognition technology for municipal use. They join cities like San Francisco, Oakland, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. CNET reports: The ordinance passed unanimously and will prevent the capital city from using facial recognition technology or obtaining software for conducting surveillance using the technology. "Boston should not be using racially discriminatory technology and technology that threatens our basic rights," City Councilor Michelle Wu said at the hearing on Wednesday. The ordinance comes with exceptions, like allowing city employees to use facial recognition for authentication purposes such as unlocking their own devices. City officials can also use facial recognition technology for automatically redacting faces in images. But they can't use it for identifying people. The vote came from City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, who sponsored the bill with Wu. "This is a crucial victory for our privacy rights and for people like Robert Williams, who have been arrested for crimes they did not commit because of a technology law enforcement shouldn't be using," said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts."Lawmakers nationwide should follow suit and immediately stop law enforcement use of this technology. This surveillance technology is dangerous when right, and dangerous when wrong."

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Google Says It Will Keep Less Browser History and Location Data By Default

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-24 22:45
Google said Wednesday it was changing the defaults on its services in an effort to store less browser history and location data on its servers. NBC News reports: Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that the first time a person turns on location history, the default option would be for the data to be stored for 18 months. Activity from the web and from apps would also default to 18 months for new accounts, he said. "This means your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, rather than kept until you choose to delete it," Pichai said. There will be no automatic change for existing accounts and people who already have location history turned on in their Google settings, but the company plans to inform existing users of the option to set up auto-delete after three to 18 months, he said. People also have the option to turn the setting off.

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It's Unconstitutional For Cops To Force Phone Unlocking, Court Rules

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-24 22:05
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Indiana's Supreme Court has ruled that the Fifth Amendment allows a woman accused of stalking to refuse to unlock her iPhone. The court held that the Fifth Amendment's rule against self-incrimination protected Katelin Seo from giving the police access to potentially incriminating data on her phone. The courts are divided on how to apply the Fifth Amendment in this kind of case. Earlier this year, a Philadelphia man was released from jail after four years of being held in contempt in connection with a child-pornography case. A federal appeals court rejected his argument that the Fifth Amendment gave him the right to refuse to unlock hard drives found in his possession. A Vermont federal court reached the same conclusion in 2009 -- as did a Colorado federal court in 2012, a Virginia state court in 2014, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2014. But other courts in Florida, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have reached the opposite conclusion, holding that forcing people to provide computer or smartphone passwords would violate the Fifth Amendment. Lower courts are divided about this issue because the relevant Supreme Court precedents all predate the smartphone era. To understand the two competing theories, it's helpful to analogize the situation to a pre-digital technology.

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Safari 14 Removes Flash, Gets Support for Breach Alerts, HTTP/3, and WebP

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-24 21:25
Safari 14, scheduled to be released later this fall with iOS 14 and macOS 11, is a release that is packed choke-full with features. From a report: The biggest and most important of the new additions is support for WebExtensions, a technology for creating browser extensions. What this means for Safari users is that starting this fall, they'll see a huge influx of new Safari extensions as add-on developers are expected to port their existing Chrome and Firefox extensions to work on Apple's browser as well. Apple said that, for now, WebExtensions will only be available for Safari on macOS. Safari 14 is also an end of an era, as this will be the first version of Safari that won't support Adobe Flash Player content. But while old stuff is being removed, new stuff is also being added. One of the new technologies added to Safari is support for HTTP/3, a new web standard that will make loading websites faster and safer. Another important addition in Safari is support for WebP, a lightweight image format that has been gaining widespread adoption across the internet. The format, created by Google, serves as an alternative to the older JPEG format, and Safari has been the last browser to add support for it. [...] But Safari hasn't been lagging behind other browsers just in terms of HTTP/3 and WebP support. Apple has also added support for another cool feature, namely breach alerts, already present in both Chrome and Firefox. Starting this fall, Apple says that Safari 14 will scan a user's locally-stored passwords and show a prompt if one or more of the user's credentials are present in publicly available lists of breached accounts.

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Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-24 16:02
In what may be the first known case of its kind, a faulty facial recognition match led to a Michigan man's arrest for a crime he did not commit. From a report: On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit Police Department telling him to come to the station to be arrested. He thought at first that it was a prank. An hour later, when he pulled into his driveway in a quiet subdivision in Farmington Hills, Mich., a police car pulled up behind, blocking him in. Two officers got out and handcuffed Mr. Williams on his front lawn, in front of his wife and two young daughters, who were distraught. The police wouldn't say why he was being arrested, only showing him a piece of paper with his photo and the words "felony warrant" and "larceny." His wife, Melissa, asked where he was being taken. "Google it," she recalls an officer replying. The police drove Mr. Williams to a detention center. He had his mug shot, fingerprints and DNA taken, and was held overnight. Around noon on Friday, two detectives took him to an interrogation room and placed three pieces of paper on the table, face down. "When's the last time you went to a Shinola store?" one of the detectives asked, in Mr. Williams's recollection. Shinola is an upscale boutique that sells watches, bicycles and leather goods in the trendy Midtown neighborhood of Detroit. Mr. Williams said he and his wife had checked it out when the store first opened in 2014. The detective turned over the first piece of paper. It was a still image from a surveillance video, showing a heavyset man, dressed in black and wearing a red St. Louis Cardinals cap, standing in front of a watch display. Five timepieces, worth $3,800, were shoplifted. "Is this you?" asked the detective. The second piece of paper was a close-up. The photo was blurry, but it was clearly not Mr. Williams. He picked up the image and held it next to his face. "No, this is not me," Mr. Williams said. "You think all Black men look alike?" Mr. Williams knew that he had not committed the crime in question. What he could not have known, as he sat in the interrogation room, is that his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm, according to experts on technology and the law. A nationwide debate is raging about racism in law enforcement. Across the country, millions are protesting not just the actions of individual officers, but bias in the systems used to surveil communities and identify people for prosecution.

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80,000 Printers Are Exposing Their IPP Port Online

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Śr, 2020-06-24 02:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: In a report published earlier this month, security researchers from the Shadowserver Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on improving cyber-security practices across the world, have published a warning about companies that are leaving printers exposed online. More specifically, Shadowserver experts scanned all the four billion routable IPv4 addresses for printers that are exposing their IPP port. IPP stands for "Internet Printing Protocol" and, as the name suggests, is a protocol that allows users to manage internet-connected printers and send printing jobs to printers hosted online. The difference between IPP and the multiple other printer management protocols is that IPP is a secure protocol that supports advanced features such as access control lists, authentication, and encrypted communications. However, this doesn't mean that device owners are making use of any of these features. Shadowserver experts said they specifically scanned the internet for IPP-capable printers that were left exposed without being protected by a firewall and allowed attackers to query for local details via the "Get-Printer-Attributes" function. In total, experts said they usually found an average of around 80,000 printers exposing themselves online via the IPP port on a daily basis. The number is about an eighth of all IPP-capable printers currently connected online. A normal scan with the BinaryEdge search engine reveals a daily count of between 650,000 and 700,000 devices with their IPP port (TCP/631) reachable via the internet. What are the issues with not securing the IPP port? Shadowserver experts say this port can be used for intelligence gathering, since many of the printers scanned returned additional info about themselves, such as printer names, locations, models, firmware, organization names, and even Wi-Fi network names. "To configure IPP access control and IPP authentication features, users are advised to check their printers' manuals," adds ZDNet. "Most printers have an IPP configuration section in their administration panel from where users can enable authentication, encryption, and limit access to the device via access lists."

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America Is Reopening. Coronavirus Tracing Apps Aren't Ready.

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-06-23 23:24
Smartphone apps meant to track where people have traveled or whom they have been near are mostly buggy, little-used or not ready for major rollouts, raising concerns as restrictions lift and infections rise. From a report: Local officials in Teton County, Wyo., home to Yellowstone National Park and resort town Jackson Hole, want to prevent a new wave of coronavirus cases as the area reopens. They decided to lean on technology. The county signed up for a location-tracking app developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help accelerate contact tracing, the process of notifying and isolating people who might have been exposed to the virus. But as tourists stream into Yellowstone -- rangers spotted license plates from 41 states the day it reopened in mid-May -- the app isn't ready. It can't accurately track location, it's missing key features and its developers have struggled to protect sensitive user data. U.S. states and counties are placing great faith in contact tracing, in tandem with aggressive testing, as they reopen their economies. Pressure has increased as coronavirus infections rise in many states, including Arizona, Texas and Florida. The quick spread of the coronavirus makes it hard for human contact tracers to keep up, so authorities are turning to smartphone technologies to help track where people have traveled or whom they have been near. What is emerging across the country so far, however, is a patchwork of buggy or little-used apps, made by partners ranging from startups on shoestring budgets to academics to consulting firms. Some are working with location-tracking firms that have been under fire from privacy advocates. None appears ready for a major rollout, even as more local governments ease restrictions. Utah signed a deal worth more than $6 million with a firm backed by the family of billionaire Nelson Peltz and other investors. Rhode Island hired Indian software company Infosys to build its app free. North Dakota's governor turned to an old friend who had built an app for a college football team in 2013. Apple and Alphabet's Google deployed technology that at least five U.S. states agreed to adopt, but integrating it into smartphone apps takes time and comes with significant trade-offs. Some local health departments aren't keen on privacy restrictions in the Apple-Google protocol that limit information they can collect. Others had already sunk money into Covid apps before the tech giants arrived on the scene.

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EU May Ban Travel From US As It Reopens Borders, Citing Coronavirus Failures

Slashdot - Your Rights Online - Wt, 2020-06-23 22:45
European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers seen by The New York Times. From a report: That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Donald Trump's handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country. European nations are currently haggling over two potential lists of acceptable visitors based on how countries are faring with the coronavirus pandemic. Both include China, as well as developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam. Travelers from the United States and the rest of the world have been excluded from visiting the European Union -- with few exceptions mostly for repatriations or "essential travel" -- since mid-March. But a final decision on reopening the borders is expected early next week, before the bloc reopens July 1. [...] Prohibiting American travelers from entering the European Union would have significant economic, cultural and geopolitical ramifications. Millions of American tourists visit Europe every summer. Business travel is common, given the huge economic ties between the United States and the EU.

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