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Days Before Election: Macron Campaign Says It Is the Victim of Massive, Coordinated Hacking Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's here-we-go-again department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: A large trove of emails from the campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was posted online late on Friday, a little more than a day before voters go to the polls to choose the country's next president in a run-off against far-right rival Marine Le Pen. Some nine gigabytes of data were posted by a user called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a document-sharing site that allows anonymous posting. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or whether the emails were genuine. In a statement, Macron's political movement En Marche! (Onwards!) confirmed that it had been hacked. "The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information," the statement said. In its statement on Friday, En Marche! said that the documents released online only showed the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but that authentic documents had been mixed on social media with fake ones to sow "doubt and misinformation." "The seriousness of this event is certain and we shall not tolerate that the vital interests of democracy be put at risk," it added.

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10 Percent of Harvard's Popular 'Introduction To Computer Science' Class Accused of Cheating
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's academic-dishonesty department:
theodp writes: The Harvard Crimson reports that more than 60 of the 636 students enrolled in last fall's CS50: "Introduction to Computer Science I" course appeared before the College's Honor Council in a wave of academic dishonesty cases that has stretched the Council to its limits over the past few months. Former students and course staff, though, said course policy was unclear about what constituted cheating, creating the potential for unintentional violations. Consistently, one of the most popular courses at Harvard, CS50 is known for an unconventional atmosphere, complete with flashy promotional videos and corporate-sponsored events.

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Walmart Wants To Put Sensors On Everything So It Can Automatically Order You Stuff
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's consumption-habits department:
According to a recently published patent spotted by CB Insights, Walmart "describes a system of connected sensors that could monitor customers' product consumption," reports The Verge. "The sensors would be attached to products and rely on a variety of technology, like radio frequencies, Bluetooth, conventional barcodes, and RFID tags." From the report: Walmart doesn't suggest that any one sensor type would work best; rather, it lays out its options. Apparently it has a lot of ideas: these tags would all track how often a product is used and where it's located in a home. They could also help Walmart figure out what other products it could market to users based off their purchases. A tag reader installed on a fridge, for example, could scan every item that goes inside. This reader could then track when food is going bad or needs to be reordered. On the other hand, an RFID system could figure out when a person is picking up their toothbrush and use that information to estimate how much toothpaste is left. It could then be automatically reordered.

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Cop Fakes Body Cam Footage, Prosecutors Drop Drug Charges
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's justice-will-prevail department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Prosecutors in Pueblo, Colorado are dropping felony drug and weapon-possession charges after an officer involved in the case said he staged body cam footage so he could walk "the courts through" the vehicle search that led to the arrest. The development means that defendant Joseph Cajar, 36, won't be prosecuted on allegations of heroin possession and of unlawful possession of a handgun. The evidence of the contraband was allegedly found during a search of Cajar's vehicle, which was towed after he couldn't provide an officer registration or insurance during a traffic stop. Officer Seth Jensen said he found about seven grams of heroin and a .357 Magnum in the vehicle at the tow yard. But the actual footage of the search that he produced in court was a reenactment of the search, the officer told prosecutors.

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More Than Half of People Believe Using Spyware To Snoop On Family Members Is Legal, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 02:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's grey-area department:
An anonymous reader writes: A new study shows that 53 percent of people believe it's legal to install a program on a family member's phone to snoop on their activity. The survey of more than 2,000 people in the US and UK by software comparison service Comparitech.com also finds 57 percent would consider spying on their children's phone conversations and messages. [...] It is generally illegal to install an app on another person's phone without their knowledge. Though this does depend on the circumstances. "It's a legal grey area, in that the laws haven't been truly tested in this arena as of yet since the technology is relatively new, so as relevant cases move through the legal system they'll be decided on a case by case basis," says Josh King, a legal expert in privacy laws and the chief legal officer of Avvo, an online legal marketplace in the US. "Intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud claims -- all could be implicated, depending on the circumstances. It's also possible that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be used to prosecute someone who installs this type of app on someone else's phone."

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In Oracle's Cloud Pitch To Enterprises, an Echo of a Bygone Tech Era
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 12:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's bygone-tech-era department:
An anonymous reader writes: Oracle sought to position itself once again this week as the best place for everything companies need to move to cloud computing. On Thursday, executives at the database and business software giant distanced Oracle from public cloud leaders such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure that provide computing, storage and other services to corporations looking to reduce or eliminate their data centers. "Our cloud is more comprehensive than any other cloud in the market today, a full end-to-end cloud," said David Donatelli, Oracle's executive vice president of converged infrastructure. "We design from the chip all the way up to the application, fully vertically integrated." What's interesting about that messaging, which Oracle has been refining since at least its OpenWorld conference last September, is not simply the competitive positioning. Oracle is essentially saying that the nature of cloud computing suggests customers need to move away from the notion that has dominated information technology since personal computers and PC-based servers began to displace mainframes and minicomputers: cherry-picking the best applications and hardware and cobbling together their own IT setups. In short, Oracle contends, it's time for another broad swing back to the integrated, uber-suppliers of a bygone era of technology. Of course, the new tech titans such as Google, Facebook and Amazon arguably wield as much power in their particular domains of advertising and e-commerce as the Big Blue of old. But it has been a long time since a soup-to-nuts approach has worked for enterprise tech companies, and for those few still attempting it, such as Dell and Oracle, it's far from obvious it will work. The cloud, Oracle contends, may well change that.

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The World's Most Valuable Resource is No Longer Oil, But Data
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 12:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's regulating-the-internet-giants department:
An oil refinery is an industrial cathedral, a place of power, drama and dark recesses: ornate cracking towers are its gothic pinnacles, flaring gas its stained glass, the stench of hydrocarbons its heady incense. Data centres, in contrast, offer a less obvious spectacle: windowless grey buildings that boast no height or ornament, they seem to stretch to infinity. Yet the two have much in common. From an article on The Economist: A new commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). These titans -- Alphabet (Google's parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft -- look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year. Such dominance has prompted calls for the tech giants to be broken up, as Standard Oil was in the early 20th century.

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Seattle Restored ISP Privacy Rules in the First Local Blow To Trump's Rollback
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 11:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A majority of Americans from both parties objected to a law passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in April that gives internet service providers the go-ahead to collect and sell users' browsing history without users' consent. This week, Seattle became the first municipality in the country to fight that rollback, in effect restoring ISP privacy rules for city residents under municipal code. The city's Cable Customer Bill of Rights, dating back to 1999, gives the city authority to set privacy standards over cable providers. In a new rule added on Wednesday on the urging of Mayor Ed Murray, cable internet providers must obtain opt-in consent from users before collecting their web-browsing history or other internet usage data, including details on a person's health and finances.

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How Scratch Is Feeding Hacker Values into Young Minds
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 11:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's new-horizons department:
Reader mirandakatz writes: It's the 10th anniversary of Scratch, the kids programming language that's become a popular tool for training the next generation of minds in computer science. But as Steven Levy writes at Backchannel, Scratch's real value is how it imparts lessons in sharing, logic, and hackerism: 'A product of the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is steeped in a complicated set of traditions -- everything from educational philosophy to open source activism and the pursuit of artificial life. The underpinnings of this tool subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, convey a set of values through its use... These values include reverence of logic, an unshakeable belief in the power of collaboration, and a celebration of the psychic and tangible rewards of being a maker.'

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Microsoft Tests a Secured Edge Browser For Business
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 10:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's sandbox-ftw department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is in the testing stage of a new feature in its Edge browser for Windows 10 that is malware-proof as it partitions the browser window from the rest of the computer. This will be a welcome addition for users who are worried about the legitimacy of sites they want to visit. The new feature, catchily dubbed Windows Defender Application Guard, is part of the recently launched Windows Insider Previews. In order to access it you'll need to be a member of Microsoft's business service Enterprise, and have your settings calibrated so you're in the testing group called Fast Ring. Application Guard works by creating a virtual PC that is entirely separate from all storage, other apps, and the Windows 10 Kernel, meaning that the browser should be completely impervious to malware.

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Global App Usage Still Rising, and Users in the US Spend 135 Minutes a Day in Them
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 10:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-we-live department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: There's a reason that everyone you look at it is looking at a smartphone. According to the folks whose job it is to track such things, people can't get enough of apps, and global usage of them continues to increase. In its latest usage report, App Annie takes a look at the average user's app usage for the first quarter of 2017 and reaches the conclusion that mobile apps have become vital to our day-to-day lives. Last year's report found that time spent in apps reached 1 trillion hours. The average smartphone user, in the United States and other countries analyzed, used over 30 apps per month. That's about a third of the number that are actually installed on phones in the U.S. People use about 10 apps every day, the data shows, with iPhone users using slightly more than Android users. Utilities and tools are the most commonly used apps on a monthly basis, thanks to pre-installed apps such as Safari on iOS and Google on Android.

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Leaked Document Reveals UK Plans For Wider Internet Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 10:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
The UK government is planning to push greater surveillance powers that would force internet providers to monitor communications in near-realtime and install backdoor equipment to break encryption, according to a leaked document. From a report on ZDNet: A draft of the proposed new surveillance powers, leaked on Thursday, is part of a "targeted consultation" into the Investigatory Powers Act, brought into law last year, which critics called the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy." Provisions in proposals show that the government is asking for powers to compel internet providers to turn over the realtime communications of a person "in an intelligible form," including encrypted content, within one working day. To that end, internet providers will be forced to introduce a backdoor point on their networks to allow intelligence agencies to read anyone's communications.

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EU Leader Says English Is Losing Importance
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 08:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader writes: Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, opted to deliver a speech in French on Friday morning because he said "English is losing importance" in Europe. He gave the comments, which are unlikely to mend fences after a war of words between Brussels and London over Brexit negotiations, at the "State of the Union" conference in Florence's Palazzo Vecchio -- an annual event for European dignitaries. Juncker said he was opting for French because "slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe and France has elections this Sunday and I want the French people to understand what I am saying about the importance of the EU." He spoke in English.

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A New Instance of Android Malware is Discovered Every 10 Seconds, Say Researchers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 08:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's story-of-our-lives department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Security firm G Data says that a new piece of Android malware is discovered every 10 seconds. At this rate, the company is predicting that there will be 3,500,000 new malicious Android files by the end of the year. "The threat level for users with smartphones and tablets with an Android operating system remains high. In all, the G DATA security experts expect around 3.5 million new Android malware apps for 2017," they said. The firm said that the risk was heightened by the fact that only a small minority of users are on the latest version of Android.

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April Jobs Report: 211,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment At 4.4 Percent
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 07:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's where-we-are department:
An anonymous reader shares an NPR report: The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Both the unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.1 million, saw only incremental changes in April. The new data follow disappointing results from March, when the Labor Department initially said less than 100,000 jobs were created. In April, some of the biggest job gains came in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining, the agency says.

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Justice Department Opens Criminal Probe Into Uber
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 06:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's band-on-the-run department:
parallel_prankster quotes a report from Washington Post: The Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Uber's use of a secret software that was used to evade authorities in places where its ride-sharing service was banned or restricted, according to a person familiar with the government's probe. The investigation is in its early stages, but deepens the crisis for the embattled company and its chief executive and founder Travis Kalanick, who has faced a barrage of negative press this year in the wake of high-profile sexual harassment complaints, a slew of high-level executive departures, and a consequential trade secrets lawsuit from Google's parent company. The federal criminal probe, first reported by Reuters, focuses on software developed by Uber called "Greyball." The program helped the company evade officials in cities where Uber was not yet approved. The software identified and blocked rides to transportation regulators who were posing as Uber customers to prove that the company was operating illegally.

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Digital Economy Act: Illegal Kodi Streams Could Now Land Users In Prison For 10 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 06:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's risky-business department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: The Digital Economy Act has passed into law, meaning people could now face ten-year prison sentences for illegally streaming copyrighted content. It covers a wide number of areas, including broadband speeds, access to online pornography and government data-sharing. However, amid the rising popularity of Kodi, an increase to the maximum prison term -- from two years to ten -- for people guilty of copyright infringement is particularly interesting. Anyone caught streaming TV shows, films and sports events illegally using websites, torrents and Kodi add-ons could technically face a decade behind bars. However, the new law will most likely target individuals and groups making a business out of selling illegal content, FACT CEO Kieron Sharp told the Mirror. The Independent also notes in a separate report that The Digital Economy Act could allow UK police to "remotely disable mobile phones, even before the user actually commits a crime." The Digital Economy Act "contains a section stating that officers will be able to place restrictions on handsets that they believe are being used by drug dealers," reports The Independent.

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AMD and Nvidia Silicon Manufacturing Secrets Allegedly Stolen, Sold To China
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '17 at 03:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's chamber-of-secrets department:
According to a report on DigiTimes, a former TSMC engineer has been accused of stealing the secrets of their 28nm
manufacturing process and taking them across the Taiwan Straits to Chinese rival, HLMC. "The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) produce the chips for the great and the good of the PC hardware market, specifically Nvidia and latterly AMD," reports PCGamesN. From the report: The report claims the former engineer, known only as Hsu, has been accused of taking details and materials relating to TSMC's 28nm manufacturing process and handing them over to Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC) after being offered a job there. The engineer was arrested before he even had a chance to start his new job on mainland China. This isn't the first reported instance of potentially shady dealings involving HLMC. DigiTimes previously reported that the Chinese foundry had headhunted a team of up to 50 research and development engineers from Taiwan's first semiconductor company, United Microelectronics (UMC), to help them get their 28nm production process up to speed. DigiTimes also alleges that some Chinese memory manufacturers have been doing the same thing, headhunting Taiwanese talent to get their own fabs off the ground, and that Micron are taking legal action against some of their Taiwan partners for allegedly nicking their tech and handing it over to China-based RAM companies.

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The World Video Game Hall of Fame 2017 Inductees
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '17 at 11:20 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's winners-and-losers department:
Dave Knott writes: The 2017 World Video Game Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. The Hall Of Fame "recognizes individual electronic games of all types -- arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile -- that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture and society in general." The 2017 inductees are: Donkey Kong, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pokemon Red and Green, and Street Fighter II. These four titles join the inaugural 2015 class, which included Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Doom and World of Warcraft, and the 2016 class which included Grand Theft Auto 3, The Legend of Zelda, The Oregon Trail, The Sims, Sonic the Hedgehog and Space Invaders.

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California Seeks To Tax Rocket Launches, Which Are Already Taxed
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '17 at 08:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's double-whammy department:
The state of California is looking into taxing its thriving rocket industry. The Franchise Tax Board has issued a proposed regulation for public comment that would require companies that launch spacecraft to pay a tax based upon "mileage" traveled by that spacecraft from California. Ars Technica reports: The proposal says that California-based companies that launch spacecraft will have to pay a tax based upon "mileage" traveled by that spacecraft from California. (No, we're not exactly sure what this means, either). The proposed regulations were first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Thomas Lo Grossman, a tax attorney at the Franchise Tax Board, told the newspaper that the rules are designed to mirror the ways taxes are levied on terrestrial transportation and logistics firms operating in California, like trucking or train companies. The tax board is seeking public input from now until June 16, when it is expected to vote on the proposed tax. The federal government already has its own taxes for commercial space companies, and until now no other state has proposed taxing commercial spaceflight. In fact most other states, including places like Florida, Texas, and Georgia, offer launch providers tax incentives to move business into their areas.

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