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Japanese Police Charge 13-Year-Old Girl For Sharing 'Unclosable Popup' Code Online
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crime-of-the-century department:
"Japanese police have brought in, questioned, and charged a 13-year-old female student from the city of Kariya for sharing [links to] browser exploit code online," writes ZDNet. An anonymous reader shares their report:

The code was a mere prank that triggered an infinite loop in JavaScript to show an "unclosable" popup when users accessed a certain link, Japanese news agency NHK reported yesterday. The popup could be closed in some browsers -- such as Edge and Firefox on desktop -- but couldn't be closed in others, such as Chrome on desktop and the majority of mobile browsers.
The popup was hosted in several places online, and police say the teenager helped spread the links... The teenage girl did not create the malicious code, which had been shared on online forums by multiple users for the past few years. NHK reported that police also searched the house of a second suspect, 47-year-old man from Yamaguchi, and are also looking at three other suspects for the same "crime" of sharing the link on internet forums.
Ars Technica found a tweet suggesting that the code was actually written in 2014.

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Amazon's Charity 'AmazonSmile' Funds Anti-Vaccine Groups
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's donating-to-disinformation department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Guardian:
Amazon appears to be helping fund anti-vaccine not-for-profit organizations through its charity arm, the AmazonSmile Foundation. The AmazonSmile fundraising program -- through which Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of a shopper's Amazon transactions to an organization of their choice -- is promoted on the websites of four prominent anti-vaccine organizations... Numerous other anti-vaccine organizations are also listed by Amazon as eligible for the donations.
Amazon's donations are just the latest example of how US tech companies have -- wittingly or not -- helped to promote and finance the anti-vaccine movement... Not-for-profit organizations are key players in the anti-vaccine movement in the U.S.

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Facebook Begins Hiding Anti-Vaccine Misinformation
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's adjusting-algorithms department:
America now has 206 confirmed cases of measles, its highest year-to-date number in over 25 years . Now USA Today reports on how Facebook is responding:

In mid-February, Facebook told USA TODAY it had "taken steps" to reduce fake health news and anti-vaxx posts and said it was considering making anti-vaccination content on its site less visible amid a measles outbreak that has reignited a conversation about preventative shots. At the time, Facebook said, "we know we have more to do...." Revealed Thursday: The social network says it will reduce distribution and provide users with "authoritative information" on the topic.
Facebook is following the lead of Pinterest, which has blocked all searches using terms related to vaccines or vaccinations as part of a plan to stop the spread of misinformation related to anti-vaxx posts.... It will reduce the ranking of Facebook groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search. "These groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or in predictions when you type into Search," Facebook said. When it discovers ads with misinformation about vaccinations, "we will reject them." Facebook said it has removed related targeting options, like "vaccine controversies," in ads.... Additionally, Facebook said it wouldn't show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on the Explore section of Facebook-owned Instagram or on its hashtag pages.

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Many Android VPN Apps Request 'Dangerous' Permissions They Don't Need
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 12:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's who-watches-the-watchers? department:
A VPN researcher found that many Android VPN apps request access to sensitive permissions that they don't need, according to an article shared by WaitingForSupport. ZDNet reports:

The study, carried out by John Mason from TheBestVPN.com, analyzed 81 Android apps available for download through the Google Play Store. Mason said he downloaded and extracted the permissions requested by each VPN app from their respective APK installer files.... According to Mason, 50 of the 81 Android VPN apps he tested requested access to at least one dangerous permission that accessed user data...

Mason said he discovered VPN apps that requested access to read/write permissions for external device storage, wanted access to precise location data, wanted the ability to read or write system settings, and, in some cases, wanted to access call logs or manage local files. "In theory, VPN apps should only need a few permissions to function. INTERNET and ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE should usually be enough," Mason told us. "The use of a large number of dangerous permissions could be cause for suspicion."

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Major League Baseball Finally Begins Experimenting With Robot Umpires
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 11:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's robo-ump department:
"Baseball's potential future will be showcased in the independent Atlantic League this year, and it includes robot umpires..." reports ESPN, calling it part of "a wide variety of experiments that the Atlantic League will run this season as part of its new partnership with Major League Baseball."
While MLB has long tested potential rule changes in the minor leagues, its three-year partnership with the Atlantic League -- an eight-team league that features former major leaguers trying to return to affiliated ball -- offers the ability to try more radical rules. MLB has chafed at using technology to replace ball-and-strike-calling duties for umpires, fearful that it's not yet consistent enough to warrant implementation... [W]ith the TrackMan system installed at Atlantic League stadiums, MLB will have a trove of data to analyze and see the effect of doing so.
Other changes aim to speed up the game, including bans on visits to the pitcher's mound and shortening the amount of time between innings.

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Apple Is Now Forcing Its Suppliers to Go 'Green'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's think-different department:
Apple is already running on 100% green energy, according to Fast Company. But Apple is still "keen to show it's a good corporate citizen," reports the Australian Financial Review:
Apple's annual supplier responsibility report released on Thursday revealed 20 manufacturing supplier facilities had been removed from the company's supply chain for breaches of environmental permits or workplace rules. "Smelters and refiners deeper in our supply chain are held to similar standards and if they exhibit a lack of commitment to meet our supplier code of conduct, they risk losing Apple's business," the report said...
In 2018, Apple completed 770 audits of its supplier manufacturing facilities, logistics and repair centres and contact centre facilities. There were also 279 third-party mineral smelter and refiner audits conducted... Apple's 13th annual supplier responsibility progress report said all final assembly points for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod, were now certified zero waste to landfill, while conserving billions of litres of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Apple's suppliers in 45 countries have diverted 1 million tonnes of garbage in three years, saved 28.7 gigalitres of water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 466,000 annualised metric tons, which is the equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road for one year.

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VMware Touts Dismissal of Linux GPL Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 60-billion-dollar-companies department:
"For over a decade, VMware has been accused of illegally using Linux code in its VMware ESX bare-metal virtual machine hypervisor," reports ZDNet, adding that "A German court has dismissed the case, but the struggle may not be over."
VMware stood accused of illegally using Linux code in its flagship VMware ESX bare-metal virtual machine (VM) hypervisor... In 2011, the Software Freedom Conservancy, a non-profit organization that promotes open-source software, discovered that VMware had failed to properly license any Linux or BusyBox, a popular embedded Linux toolkit, source code... In 2015, having exhausted all other means, [Linux kernel developer Christoph] Hellweg and the Software Freedom Conservancy sued VMware in the district court of Hamburg in Germany. Besides the general violation of the GPLv2, "Conservancy and Hellwig specifically assert that VMware has combined copyrighted Linux code, licensed under GPLv2, with their own proprietary code called 'vmkernel' and distributed the entire combined work without providing nor offering complete, corresponding source code for that combined work under terms of the GPLv2."

The German court disagreed in November 2018. Helwig appealed and continued the fight, saying "The lower court dismissed the case as a result of evidentiary rules and likely an incomplete understanding of the documentation of the code in question...." [Monday] VMware rather mysteriously announced: "VMware is pleased with the Feb. 28, 2019 decision of the German appellate court in Hamburg to dismiss Mr. Hellwig's appeal and let stand the regional court's decision to dismiss Mr. Hellwig's lawsuit. "

< article continued at Slashdot's 60-billion-dollar-companies department >

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Satellite Magnate Argues Post-Brexit Britain Will Be 'Lost In Space'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 08:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's danger-danger-Will-Robinson department:
PolygamousRanchKid quotes the BBC: Will Marshall's "Planet" company operates the world's largest satellite imaging network, with 150 spacecraft able to fully picture Earth on a daily basis. He warns EU withdrawal will do immense harm to Britain's space industry. The UK will be "lost in space", he says.
The UK Space Agency responded by saying home businesses had a positive outlook. The most recent survey of confidence across the sector found that three-quarters of organisations expected growth over the next three years, it added.
Dr Marshall holds particular scorn for the UK government's actions on Galileo, the EU version of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Ministers have decided to walk away from the project because Brussels says a future Britain, as a "third country" outside the EU, cannot be involved in the system's most secure elements — this despite the UK having already invested £1.5bn in Galileo. London says it will build its own sat-nav system instead, but Dr Marshall calls this a "pie in the sky" plan that has significant economic and security implications.

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Will A No-Deal Brexit Void 340,000 British-Owned<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.EU Domains?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 08:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's anarchy-in-the-UK department:
The Guardian reports on what may happen next to British businesses and individuals who own .EU domains:
There are about 340,000 registered British holders of these web addresses, and the government has urged them to make contingency plans as their web addresses will disappear if the UK does not agree on a deal with Brussels. The domains were introduced in 2006 as a rival to the likes of .com and .org but are available only to individuals or businesses based in the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA)...
Updated government guidance confirms that if the UK leaves without a deal at the end of March then domain owners based in the UK will have two months leeway to move their principal location to somewhere within the EU or EEA. "These .EU domain names will then be withdrawn and will become inoperable," states the guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which confirms warnings issued this year by the EU's domain registrar. "This means you may not be able to access your .EU websites or email from 30 May 2019."
After a year, all the British-registered .EU domains will be made available for purchase by individuals and companies who continue to reside in the EU. This raises the possibility that on the anniversary of a no-deal Brexit, one lucky German or Spaniard could be able to mark the occasion by taking over the Leave.EU domain and using it for their own purposes.

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The Official Android Beta Community Moves From Google+ To Reddit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 05:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's another-nail-goes-into-the-coffin department:
With Google+ being shutdown in just a few weeks, the official Android Beta community announced that it will be leaving the dying social media site in exchange for Reddit. The group on Google+ was home to over 163,000 members. Android Police reports: The community's new home will be r/android_beta. In an official announcement, the Android Beta team says they'll keep a close eye on the subreddit for feedback and will use it for announcements and updates. There's nothing there just yet, but when the Android Q beta hits, we're sure things will get much busier. For now, just make sure you subscribe and keep in mind that you have a second address where you can send all your Q beta complaints -- the first is obviously our tips inbox.

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Infrared Drowning Detection System To Be Installed At 11 Public Swimming Pools In Singapore
Posted by News Fetcher on March 09 '19 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's life-saving-tech department:
By April 2020, a total of 11 public pools in Singapore will feature a state-of-the-art computer vision drowning detection system (CVDDS). The CVDDS uses a network of overhead infrared cameras to detect if anyone in the pool becomes unconscious while swimming. It reportedly has a detect response time of 15 seconds, allowing lifeguards to spot distressed swimmers more quickly. "[T]he system will be installed at pools in Bukit Batok, Jurong West and Our Tampines Hub this year, with another seven to follow by April 2020," reports Channel NewsAsia. "The system will be implemented following a successful year-long trial at Hougang Swimming Complex. MCCY said that the system was assessed to have complied with international standards and had a low false-alarm rate."

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Prioritizing the MacBook Hierarchy of Needs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 11:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's feed-and-speed department:
Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors: This week on the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP), John Siracusa floated the concept of a MacBook Hierarchy of Needs, a priority list of features for the next time Apple redesigns the MacBook line, as is rumored to happen later this year. It's a fun thought experiment, because it requires you to rank your wish list of laptop features. That's important, because if I've learned anything in this wacky world of ours, it's that you can never get everything you ask for, so you've got to prioritize.

The ATP hosts all made a "good keyboard" their top priority, an idea that would've been surprising a few years ago but now is almost a given. Yes, of course, Apple laptops need to be fast and reliable and have great displays and good battery life, but the past few years' worth of MacBooks have made a lot of people realize the truth: a bad/unreliable laptop keyboard isn't something you can really work around if you're a laptop user. This is why a lot of nice-to-have-features, like SD card slots, have to fall way down the hierarchy of needs. Any feature that can be rectified with an add-on adapter falls immediately to the bottom of the list. You're stuck with a laptop keyboard forever, and if you're committed to the Mac and every single Mac laptop that's sold uses the exact same keyboard, there's nowhere to run.

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Ajit Pai's Rosy Broadband Deployment Claim May Be Based On Gigantic Error
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 08:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's math-is-hard department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Pai's claim was questionable from the beginning, as we detailed last month. The Federal Communications Commission data cited by Chairman Pai merely showed that deployment continued at about the same rate seen during the Obama administration. Despite that, Pai claimed that new broadband deployed in 2017 was made possible by the FCC "removing barriers to infrastructure investment." But even the modest gains cited by Pai rely partly on the implausible claims of one ISP that apparently submitted false broadband coverage data to the FCC, advocacy group Free Press told the FCC in a filing this week.

< article continued at Slashdot's math-is-hard department >

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North Korea Amassed Cryptocurrency Through Hacking, Says UN Panel
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 07:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-concern department:
North Korea has used cyberattacks and blockchain technology to circumvent economic sanctions and obtain foreign currency, according to a panel of experts reporting to the U.N. Security Council. From a report: Pyongyang has amassed around $670 million in foreign and virtual currency through cyberthefts, using blockchain technology to cover its tracks, the panel told the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee in its annual report, Nikkei has learned. It is the first time the panel has given details on how North Korea obtains foreign currency through cyberattacks. In its report, the panel recommended that member states "enhance their ability to facilitate robust information exchange on the cyberattacks by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with other governments and with their own financial institutions," to detect and prevent attempts by North Korea to evade sanctions. The full report obtained by Nikkei, which has been approved by Security Council members for publication next week, says North Korea waged cyberattacks on overseas financial institutions from 2015 to 2018.

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NASA Captures Unprecedented Images of Supersonic Shockwaves
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's I-just-found-a-new-wallpaper department:
As NASA looks into developing planes that can fly faster than sound without creating "sonic booms," the space agency has captured unprecedented photos of the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft. Phys.Org reports: When an aircraft crosses that threshold -- around 1,225 kilometers (760 miles) per hour at sea level -- it produces waves from the pressure it puts on the air around it, which merge to cause the ear-splitting sound. In an intricate maneuver by "rock star" pilots at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, two supersonic T-38 jets flew just 30 feet (nine meters) apart below another plane waiting to photograph them with an advanced, high-speed camera, the agency said. The rendezvous -- at an altitude of around 30,000 feet -- yielded mesmerizing images of the shockwaves emanating from both planes. You can view all of the photos via NASA.

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The CDC is Studying the Rise in Electric Scooter Injuries For the First Time as Startups Expand To More Cities
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 05:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's about-time department:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is examining the rise of injuries related to shareable electric scooters. From a report: "We want to identify the risk factors for those who get injured, how severe the injuries are and why they're getting hurt," said Jeff Taylor, manager of the Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit with Austin Public Health. Taylor, who is overseeing the investigation, is working with three CDC epidemiologists to examine severe injuries that occurred in Austin from September to November 2018. He said both agencies have completed collecting data and are currently in the process of summarizing various reports. "There's a perception that scooter-related injuries occur at night. Well that's not true," Taylor said. "Our study will show they occur during all times of the day. People may also perceive there's typically a car involved. But our study finds most of the time the rider may hit a bump in the road or they simply lose their balance."

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Hard Disks Can Be Turned Into Listening Devices, Researchers Find
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
Researchers from the University of Michigan and Zhejiang Univeristy in China have found that hard disk drives can be turned into listening devices, using malicious firmware and signal processing calculations. The Register reports: For a study titled "Hard Drive of Hearing: Disks that Eavesdrop with a Synthesized Microphone," computer scientists Andrew Kwong, Wenyuan Xu, and Kevin Fu describe an acoustic side-channel that can be accessed by measuring how sound waves make hard disk parts vibrate. "Our research demonstrates that the mechanical components in magnetic hard disk drives behave as microphones with sufficient precision to extract and parse human speech," their paper, obtained by The Register ahead of its formal publication, stated. "These unintentional microphones sense speech with high enough fidelity for the Shazam service to recognize a song recorded through the hard drive."

< article continued at Slashdot's always-listening department >

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Tim Draper, One of Theranos' First Investors, Says He Would Back Elizabeth Holmes Again as Chief Science Officer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 03:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's you've-got-a-friend-in-me department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Despite all her alleged crimes, Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of the biotech company Theranos, can rest assured she still has someone who'll go to bat for her. At a panel discussion on growing startup ecosystems at the Montgomery Summit yesterday, Bloomberg reporter Sarah McBride asked Tim Draper -- a venture capitalist, enthusiastic Bitcoin supporter, and one of Theranos' first investors -- whether he would back Holmes again. Draper responded to the question by saying, "I'd back her as chief science officer, not CEO. Good question."

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MGM Considers Replacing Workers With Robots In Its Las Vegas Strip Properties
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sign-of-the-times department:
MGM, one of the largest global casino companies in the world, is considering replacing some workers with robots. The company's 2020 plan calls for reducing its workforce by about 2,100 people to save roughly $300 million in the coming years. Vegas Slots Online reports: Among those who could be replaced are cashiers and bartenders. Automatic technology that can make drinks would replace the bartenders and monetary transactions could be done through standard payment technology. There would also be mobile payment processors going around the floor with the wait staff, eliminating the need for cashiers. There is no indication as to how many such jobs would be replaced at the MGM properties. The unions and workers will not be happy with this news. Jobs will be lost and it may also violate the labor agreement that MGM struck with the unions last summer. The Las Vegas Culinary Union (LVCU), which represents bartenders, kitchen staff, and wait staff, reached a five-year deal in June 2018 with the MGM. The agreement guarantees that MGM will not implement any technology that would have a negative impact on employment. However, the news that the MGM is considering replacing some workers with robots could mean that the company is not willing to fulfill this agreement. MGM CEO Jim Murren unveiled the new "MGM 2020" plan earlier this year, describing it as a "company-wide, business-optimization initiative aimed to leverage a more centralized organization to maximize profitability and, through key investments in technology, lay the groundwork for the company's digital transformation to drive revenue growth."

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US Tech Firms Fear China Could Be Spying On Them Using Power Cords, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '19 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's accessing-sensitive-data department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Fearing that China could be spying on them using power cords and plugs, several U.S. technology companies have asked their Taiwanese suppliers to shift production of some components out of the mainland, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday. The report cited unnamed executives from two Taiwanese companies: Lite-On Technology, a manufacturer of electronic parts, and Quanta Computer, a supplier of servers and data centers. Lite-On's clients include Dell EMC, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, while Quanta counts Google and Facebook among its customers, according to Nikkei. The executives told Nikkei that some of their American clients -- without specifying which companies -- asked them to move out of China partly because of cyberespionage and cybersecurity risks. The U.S. tech firms were worried that even mundane components such as power plugs could be tapped by Beijing to access sensitive data, according to the report. According to the report, Lite-On Technology is building a new factory in Taiwan to manufacture power components for servers due to China's cybersecurity concerns. Quanta has also shifted production out of mainland China to Taiwan due to similar concerns, as well as additional tariffs imposed by Washington as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.

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