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Are Silicon Valley Workers Abandoning Libertarianism For Socialism?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 04:43 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's IDE-ideologies department:
Salon writes that Silicon Valley tech workers are "defying their overlords," arguing that recent unionization attempts by Kickstarter employees may be only the beginning:

The workers' Kickstarter campaign is not the first attempt, though, or even the first time rumblings of unionization, have circulated among programmers. In 2018, software engineers at the startup Lanetix announced their intent to unionize -- and were promptly fired by management (It is illegal to fire employees for trying to unionize). The National Labor Relations Board intervened, and ultimately forced Lanetix to pay the 15 fired engineers a total of $775,000. The show of worker power at Lanetix may have paved the way for Kickstarter's workers. Similarly, workers across the video game industry -- generally among the most overworked, underpaid workers within the tech industry -- have been making steps towards unionization. Game Workers Unite, profiled by Salon last year, is building a grassroots movement to organize the ranks of video game makers.

Together, this suggests that a small but visible movement for white-collar software engineers unionizing has been gaining steam in the Valley over the past few years -- suggesting that the people who make up the tech industry, once a bastion of libertarianism, are starting to understand the often subtle ways that their employers exploit them... For decades, libertarianism was part and parcel to the tech industry. Despite a grueling work culture and a high-profile collusion scandal among major tech corporations to suppress software engineers' wages, tech workers were more likely to see themselves as future founders than an exploited underclass -- a point of view encouraged by employers through high wages and generous, often absurd office perks. Recent developments suggest such endearing tactics are no longer working.

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Internet Explorer Exploit Steals Data From Windows Users-- Even If They Never Use Internet Explorer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 03:23 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bad-browser-bugs department:
Security researcher John Page has revealed a new zero-day exploit that allows remote attackers to exfiltrate Local files using Internet Explorer. "The craziest part: Windows users don't ever even have to open the now-obsolete web browser for malicious actors to use the exploit," reports Mashable. "It just needs to exist on their computer..."

[H]ackers are taking advantage of a vulnerability using .MHT files, which is the file format used by Internet Explorer for its web archives. Current web browsers do not use the .MHT format, so when a PC user attempts to access this file Windows opens IE by default. To initiate the exploit, a user simply needs to open an attachment received by email, messenger, or other file transfer service...

Most worrisome, according to Page, is that Microsoft told him that it would just "consider" a fix in a future update. The security researcher says he contacted Microsoft in March before now going public with the issue. As ZDNet points out, while Internet Explorer usage makes up less than 10 percent of the web browser market, it doesn't particularly matter in this case as the exploit just requires a user to have the browser on their PC.

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Privately-Funded Moon Mission Will Try Again. 'Lunar Library' May Be On The Moon
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 02:03 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's reading-by-moonllight department:
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has congratulated the team which sent the first privately-funded mission into lunar orbit -- even though it crashed into the surface of the moon. Its final photo was taken Thursday just 7.5 kilometers above the surface of the moon.

But Space.com reports that's not the end of the story:

On Saturday Morris Kahn, the billionaire businessman, pilanthropist and SpaceIL president, confirmed that the SpaceIL team is meeting this weekend to begin planning the Beresheet 2.0 mission. "In light of all the support I've got from all over the world, and the wonderful messages of support and encouragement and excitement, I've decided that we're going to actually build a new halalit -- a new spacecraft," Kahn said in a video statement posted on Twitter by SpaceIL. "We're going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission."
The team behind Beresheet knew all along that the mission's design included risks. In order to keep the spacecraft small enough to piggyback with another spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket, the engineering team had to design the craft without any backup systems. Nevertheless, before its ultimate failure, the spacecraft withstood multiple glitches while in Earth orbit and during the early stages of landing.... NASA knows as well as anyone just how difficult spaceflight can be. The moon's surface is littered with dozens of expired spacecraft, and although many ended their missions smoothly, several made unplanned crash landings, including NASA's own Surveyor 2 and 4 missions during the 1960s.

Somewhere in the spacecraft's wreckage are 25 data disks backing up crucial human knowledge that were meant to last one billion years. The group behind the disk notes that "airplane black boxes survive stronger impacts, and our disc is less breakable... It was probably thrown a few kilometers away -- a 30 million page frisbee on the moon."

< article continued at Slashdot's reading-by-moonllight department >

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Fake Mouse On Twitter Mocks Overgeneralized Scientific Research
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 12:43 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's here-I-come-to-save-the-day department:
DevNull127 writes: Research scientist James Heathers is a postdoctoral research associate working on bio-signals and meta-science research at Northeastern University, with a PhD from the University of Sydney. He's also pretending to be a mouse on Twitter. And every tweet consists of the exact same two words...

Heathers retweets articles about scientific studies — usually articles with glossy photos and enticing headlines like "Exercise during pregnancy protects children from obesity, study finds." His tweets add the two crucial missing words. "In mice."

In this case a doctoral student at Washington State University measured a specific protein's level in the offspring of mice that performed 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every morning during pregnancy — and in regular mice. On the basis of that he recommended "that women — whether or not they are obese or have diabetes — exercise regularly during pregnancy because it benefits their children's metabolic health."
The name of the Twitter feed: JustSaysInMice.

Other mouse-based studies turning up on the Twitter feed:

How Fatty Diets Stop the Brain From Saying 'No' To Food
Reused Cooking Oil Ups Risk of Metastases In Breast Cancer Patients
Keto Diet Not Effective, Causes Blood Sugar Problems In Women
Growth Hormone Acts To Foil Weight Loss: Study

When you read those headlines, just remember to add those two words...
"In mice."

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Sunday-Morning Outage Strikes Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 12:43 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Sunday-service-outages department:
"We were all free of Facebook's iron grip on the internet for a few hours," writes Gizmodo.

An anonymous reader quotes their report.
Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp experienced widespread outages on Sunday for the second time in the past month (and the third time this year), with issues reported starting at around 6:30 a.m. ET and extending until around 9:00 a.m. ET. Per Bloomberg, Facebook and Instagram domains ceased to be accessible by users during that time period, while Messenger and WhatsApp were also non-functional... Users worldwide appeared to be impacted, with Bloomberg noting that Twitter users everywhere from the U.S. to Israel and Thailand were complaining about the outage.

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Scammers Are Buying Thousands Of Fake 5-Star Amazon Reviews -- on Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 11:23 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hiring-liars department:
Why are there so many five-star reviews for an iPhone charger on Amazon with a voltage irregularity that can cause permanent damage? "It's sad to imagine how many shoppers spotted this $13.99 charger pack on Amazon's first-page results and fell for the thousands of positive reviews and the algorithmically-generated endorsement from a platform that people trust more than religion," reports The Hustle.

A spot-check confirmed that "10 of the 22 first-page results on Amazon for 'iPhone charger' were products with thousands of 5-star reviews, all unverified and posted within a few days of each other," and they've now investigated "the underbelly of Amazon's fake-review economy" and "how such a product, peddled by a ragtag troupe of e-commerce scammers, managed to game one of the world's premier technology companies."

The fake Amazon review economy is a thriving market, ripe with underground forums, "How To Game The Rankings!" tutorials, and websites with names like (now-defunct) "amazonverifiedreviews.com." But the favored hunting grounds for sellers on the prowl is Amazon's fellow tech behemoth, Facebook. In a recent two-week period, I identified more than 150 private Facebook groups where sellers openly exchange free products (and, in many cases, commissions) for 5-star reviews, sans disclosures. A sampling of 20 groups I analyzed collectively have more than 200,000 members. These groups seem to be in the midst of an online Gold Rush: Most are less than a year old, and in the past 30 days have attracted more than 50,000 new users... One stay-at-home mom from Kentucky told me she makes $200-300 per month leaving positive reviews for things like sleep masks, light bulbs, and AV cables...
< article continued at Slashdot's hiring-liars department >

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'BlackHoles@Home' Will Use Your PC For DIY Gravitational Wave Analysis
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 10:03 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's doing-the-waves department:
West Virginia University assistant professor Zachariah Etienne is launching "a global volunteer computing effort" analyzing gravitational waves from colliding black holes, reports Phys.org:
"As our gravitational wave detectors become more sensitive, we're going to need to greatly expand our efforts to understand all of the information encoded in gravitational waves from colliding binary black holes," Etienne said. "We are turning to the general public to help with these efforts, which involve generating unprecedented numbers of self-consistent simulations of these extremely energetic collisions. This will truly be an inclusive effort, and we especially hope to inspire the next generation of scientists in this growing field of gravitational wave astrophysics."

His team -- and the scientific community in general -- needs computing capacity to run the simulations required to cover all possibilities related to the properties and other information contained in gravitational waves. "Each desktop computer will be able to perform a single simulation of colliding black holes," said Etienne. By seeking public involvement through use of vast numbers of personal desktop computers, Etienne and others hope to dramatically increase the throughput of the theoretical gravitational wave predictions needed to extract information from observations of the collisions.

Etienne and his team are building a website with downloadable software based on the same Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, or BOINC, system used for the SETI@Home project and other scientific applications. The free middleware system is designed to help harness the processing power of thousands of personal computers across the globe. The West Virginia team has named their project BlackHoles@Home and expects to have it up and running later this year.

They have already established a website where the public can begin learning more about the effort.

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Fifty 'Connected Cows' Already Have 5G
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 08:43 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's moo-moo-here department:
A herd of dairy cows in the U.K. "are enjoying the benefits of 5G connectivity before you," reports Reuters:

For the cows, among the 5G-connected gadgets they are wearing is a collar that controls a robotic milking system. When the cow feels ready to be milked it will approach machine gates that will automatically open. The device recognizes the individual to precisely latch on to its teats for milking, while the cow munches on a food reward. At the government-funded Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) in Shepton Mallet, in southwest England, around 50 of the 180-strong herd is fitted with the 5G smart collars and health-monitoring ear tags.

But -- why?! The Verge explains:
According to Reuters, Cisco is testing infrastructure for the eventual global rollout of 5G that could be used by various industries that are not traditionally in the tech bubble but are still dependent on increasingly sophisticated hardware and software. That includes farming. In this case, Cisco is trying out 5G in three rural locations...

It makes a whole lot of sense when you think about it: farms are large and spread-out spaces, and cows are often shuffled between grazing grounds and areas of the farm where they can be more easily milked and checked on. With the 5G collars, Cisco says farmers can keep tabs on the animals at all times of the day without having to physically trek out to observe the cows up close... The future is wonderful and weird, and farmers have access to it before you and I because without them, we all starve.

"We can connect every cow, we can connect every animal on this farm," Cisco's Nick Chrissos told Reuters, in what may be the strangest boast a Cisco executive has ever uttered in public. "That's what 5G can do for farming -- really unleash the power that we have within this farm, everywhere around the UK and everywhere around the world."

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Overtime Complaints? China's JD.com Boss Criticizes 'Slackers'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 08:43 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's quitting-times department:
An anonymous reader quotes Reuters:
Richard Liu, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc, has weighed in on an ongoing debate about the Chinese tech industry's grueling overtime work culture, lamenting that years of growth had increased the number of "slackers" in his firm who are not his "brothers...." Liu, who started the company that would become JD.com in 1998, in the note spoke about how in the firm's earliest days he would set his alarm clock to wake him up every two hours to ensure he could offer his customers 24-hour service -- a step he said was crucial to JD's success...
The '996' work schedule, which refers to a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. workday, six days a week, has in particular become the target of online debate and protests on some coding platforms, where workers have swapped examples of excessive overtime demands at some firms. Liu said JD did not force its staff to work the "996" or even a "995" overtime schedule. "But every person must have the desire to push oneself to the limit!" he said.
JD disputed reports that the company would be cutting up to 8% of its workforce, but did say "We're getting back to those roots as we seek, develop and reward staff who share the same hunger and values... JD.com is a competitive workplace that rewards initiative and hard work, which is consistent with our entrepreneurial roots."

JD's investors include Walmart and Google.

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Amazon Helps Cops Set Up Package Theft Sting Operations
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 07:23 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's boxes-with-smiles department:
An anonymous reader quotes Motherboard:

In response to Amazon packages being stolen from people's doorsteps, police departments around the country have set up sting operations that use fake packages bugged with GPS trackers to find and arrest people who steal packages. Internal emails and documents obtained by Motherboard via a public records request show how Amazon and one police department partnered to set up one of these operations.

The documents obtained by Motherboard -- which include an operations plan and internal emails between Amazon and the Hayward, California Police Department -- show that Amazon's "national package theft team" made several calls to the Hayward Police Department and sent the department packages, tape, and stickers that allowed the department to set up a "porch pirate" operation in November and December of 2018... Several other cities around the country -- including Aurora, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Jersey City, New Jersey; and Hayward, California -- have also conducted porch pirate sting operations aided by Amazon. Jersey City, New Jersey -- like Hayward, California -- put GPS-tracking devices inside the dummy packages. Aurora and Albuquerque, meanwhile, used doorbell cameras from Ring -- which is owned by Amazon -- to capture video footage and surveil for theft.

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We're All Being Judged By a Secret 'Trustworthiness' Score
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 06:03 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I-am-not-a-number department:
schwit1 writes: Nearly everything we buy, how we buy, and where we're buying from is secretly fed into AI-powered verification services that help companies guard against credit-card and other forms of fraud, according to the Wall Street Journal.
More than 16,000 signals are analyzed by a service called Sift, which generates a "Sift score" ranging from 1 to 100. The score is used to flag devices, credit cards and accounts that a vendor may want to block based on a person or entity's overall "trustworthiness" score, according to a company spokeswoman.
From the Sift website: "Each time we get an event be it a page view or an API event we extract features related to those events and compute the Sift Score. These features are then weighed based on fraud we've seen both on your site and within our global network, and determine a user's Score. There are features that can negatively impact a Score as well as ones which have a positive impact."
The system is similar to a credit score except there's no way to find out your own Sift score.

Factors which contribute to one's Sift score (per the WSJ):
Is the account new?Are there are a lot of digits at the end of an email address?Is the transaction coming from an IP address that's unusual for your account?Is the transaction coming from a region where there are a lot of hackers, such as China, Russia or Eastern Europe?Is the transaction coming from an anonymization network?Is the transaction happening at an odd time of day?Has the credit card being used had chargebacks associated with it?Is the browser different from what you typically use?Is the device different from what you typically use?Is the cadence of the way you typed out your password typical for you? (tracked by some advanced systems)

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Microsoft Says Some Webmail Accounts Were Compromised
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 04:43 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unlock-screens department:
A "limited" number of users of Microsoft's webmail services -- which include Hotmail, Outlook.com, and MSN -- "had their accounts compromised, TechCrunch reports.

"We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators' access," said a Microsoft spokesperson in an email. According to an email Microsoft has sent out to affected users, malicious hackers were potentially able to access an affected user's e-mail address, folder names, the subject lines of e-mails, and the names of other e-mail addresses the user communicates with -- "but not the content of any e-mails or attachments," nor -- it seems -- login credentials like passwords. Microsoft is still recommending that affected users change their passwords regardless.

The breach occurred between January 1 and March 28, Microsoft's letter to users said. The hackers got into the system by compromising a customer support agent's credentials, according to the letter. Once identified, those credentials were disabled. Microsoft told users that it didn't know what data was viewed by the hackers or why, but cautioned that users might as a result see more phishing or spam emails as a result.

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Facebook Shareholders Force A Vote On Ousting Mark Zuckerberg
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '19 at 12:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unfriending department:
On May 30th, Facebook's shareholder's will vote on whether to remove Mark Zuckerberg as chairman of the board, reports Business Insider:
Business Insider broke the news of the proposal in July last year after revealing the plans of activist shareholder Trillium Asset Management, which had grown tired of the "mishandling" of scandals including the Cambridge Analytica data breach. Responding to the proposal in the SEC filing, Facebook called on investors to vote it down. "We believe our board of directors is functioning effectively under its current structure, and that the current structure provides appropriate oversight protections," Facebook said...

The chance of it becoming a reality is extremely slim, despite it being backed by investors that control around $3 billion of Facebook stock. A similar proposal in 2017 was popular among independent investors but was crushed because of Zuckerberg's voting power. This is because of Facebook's dual-class share structure. Class B shares have 10 times the voting power of class A shares, and it just so happens that Zuckerberg owns more than 75% of class B stock. It means he has more than half of the voting power at Facebook....
Facebook will almost certainly get its way. But the two investor proposals mark continued dissatisfaction among shareholders about the way Facebook is run following a year from hell for the company. It also shows that investors continue to believe that Zuckerberg has too much power.

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Police Are Using Google's Location Data From 'Hundreds of Millions' of Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 08:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's search-results department:
"When law enforcement investigations get cold, there's a source authorities can turn to for location data that could produce new leads: Google."

An anonymous reader quotes CNET:

Police have used information from the search giant's Sensorvault database to aid in criminal cases across the country, according to a report Saturday by The New York Times. The database has detailed location records from hundreds of millions of phones around the world, the report said. It's meant to collect information on the users of Google's products so the company can better target them with ads, and see how effective those ads are. But police have been tapping into the database to help find missing pieces in investigations.

Law enforcement can get "geofence" warrants seeking location data. Those kinds of requests have spiked in the last six months, and the company has received as many as 180 requests in one week, according to the report.... For geofence warrants, police carve out a specific area and time period, and Google can gather information from Sensorvault about the devices that were present during that window, according to the report. The information is anonymous, but police can analyze it and narrow it down to a few devices they think might be relevant to the investigation. Then Google reveals those users' names and other data, according to the Times...

[T]he AP reported last year that Google tracked people's location even after they'd turned off location-sharing on their phones.

Google's data dates back "nearly a decade," the Times reports -- though in a statement, Google's director of law enforcement and information security insisted "We vigorously protect the privacy of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement." (The Times also interviewed a man who was arrested and jailed for a week last year based partly on Google's data -- before eventually being released after the police found a more likely suspect.)

< article continued at Slashdot's search-results department >

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Paul Allen's Stratolaunch Finally Flies The World's Biggest Plane
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 06:03 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's satellite-launching-planes department:
"Stratolaunch, the aerospace venture founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, sent the world's biggest airplane into the air today for its first flight test," report GeekWire.

The twin-fuselage plane, which incorporates parts from two Boeing 747 jumbo jets and has a world-record wingspan of 385 feet, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California for a flight that lasted two and a half hours. For more than seven years, Stratolaunch has been working with Mojave-based Scaled Composites on the project, which aims to use the plane as a flying launch pad for orbital-class rockets. The first flight test had been anticipated for months. "We finally did it," Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said today during a briefing.

Stratolaunch's plane, which has been nicknamed Roc after a giant mythical bird, took off at 6:58 a.m. PT and went through a series of in-flight maneuvers, including roll doublets, yawing maneuvers, pushovers and pull-ups, steady heading side slips and simulated landing approach exercises. Stratolaunch said it reached a maximum speed of 189 mph and maximum altitude of 17,000 feet.... The plan ahead calls for further tests over the next 12 to 18 months, with the aim of getting the plane fully certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Stratolaunch has already struck a deal to use Northrop Grumman's Pegasus XL rocket to send payloads weighing as much as 816 pounds (370 kilograms) to low Earth orbit...

Stratolaunch's air-launch system is designed to carry multiple rockets up to an altitude of about 40,000 feet, and then drop them into the air to fire up their rocket engines. The advantage of such a system is that it can take off from any runway that's long enough to accommodate the plane, fly around bad weather if need be, and launch a satellite into any orbital inclination.

Stratolaunch CEO Jean Floyd said their team had dedicated the flight to Paul Allen.
< article continued at Slashdot's satellite-launching-planes department >

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Is The Linux Desktop In Trouble?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 04:43 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's frightened-by-fragmentation department:
"I believe that, as Microsoft keeps moving Windows to a Desktop-as-a-Service model, Linux will be the last traditional PC desktop operating system standing," writes ZDNet contributing editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

"But that doesn't mean I'm blind to its problems."

First, even Linus Torvalds is tired of the fragmentation in the Linux desktop. In a recent [December 2018] TFiR interview with Swapnil Bhartiya, Torvalds said, "Chromebooks and Android are the path toward the desktop." Why? Because we don't have a standardized Linux desktop. For example, better Linux desktops, such as Linux Mint, provide an easy way to install applications, but under the surface, there are half-a-dozen different ways to install programs. That makes life harder for developers. Torvalds wishes "we were better at having a standardized desktop that goes across the distributions."

Torvalds thinks there's been some progress. For software installation, he likes Flatpak. This software program, like its rival Snap, lets you install and maintain programs across different Linux distros. At the same time, this rivalry between Red Hat (which supports Flatpak) and Canonical (which backs Snap) bugs Torvalds. He's annoyed at how the "fragmentation of the different vendors have held the desktop back." None of the major Linux distributors -- Canonical, Red Hat, SUSE -- are really all that interested in supporting the Linux desktop. They all have them, but they're focused on servers, containers, the cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT). That's, after all, is where the money is.

Linux desktop distros "tend to last for five or six years and then real life gets in the way of what's almost always a volunteer effort..." the article argues. "It is not easy building and supporting a Linux desktop. It comes with a lot of wear and tear on its developers with far too little reward."

< article continued at Slashdot's frightened-by-fragmentation department >

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Top US Congressman Says Silicon Valley's Self-Regulating Days 'Probably Should Be' Over
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 03:23 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's move-slower-and-break-less department:
On the technology podcast Recode Decode, America's Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said that Silicon Valley's self-regulating days "probably should be" over. Recode reports:
Pelosi said Silicon Valley is abusing the privilege of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says that internet companies are not responsible for what is posted on their platforms. "230 is a gift to them, and I don't think they are treating it with the respect that they should," she said. "And so I think that that could be a question mark and in jeopardy.... For the privilege of 230, there has to be a bigger sense of responsibility on it, and it is not out of the question that that could be removed."
Asked about Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's proposal to break up Amazon, Google, and Facebook, Pelosi said she had not studied it closely. Instead, she more cautiously suggested that some agglomerations of power may be worth breaking up. "I know there could be some clear lines that we see in our community, of companies that maybe could be easily broken up without having any impact, one on the other," she said. "I'm a big believer in the antitrust laws, I think that's very important for us to have them and to use them, and to subject those who should be subjected to it. "

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Ecuador Jails Swedish Programmer Over Alleged Ties To WikiLeaks
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 03:23 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's run-time-errors department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Guardian:
A judge in Ecuador has jailed a Swedish software developer whom authorities believe is a key member of WikiLeaks and close to Julian Assange, while prosecutors investigate charging him with hacking as part of an alleged plot to "destabilise" the country's government. Ola Bini, 36, was ordered to held in preventive detention on Saturday pending possible cyber-attack charges and his bank accounts were frozen. Prosecutors were examining dozens of hard drives and other material he had in his possession, according to local media reports...

On Thursday, Ecuador's interior minister, Maria Paula Romo, said they had identified a "key member of WikiLeaks" who was "close to Mr Julian Assange". Secret visitors' logs seen by the Guardian show that Bini was one of Assange's many visitors in Ecuador's embassy in Knightsbridge, west London.... Speaking to local media on Thursday, Romo said Ecuador was at risk of cyber attack, hinting Wikileaks could retaliate for the termination of Assange's asylum. She added the government did not want the country "to turn into an international [cyber] piracy centre"...

Last week, the government of president Lenin Moreno, 66, accused WikiLeaks of being involved in a campaign implicating Moreno and his family in corruption. Moreno, who has long expressed his unhappiness over Assange's asylum status, complained that "photos of my bedroom, what I eat and how my wife and daughters and friends dance" had been circulating on social media.

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Ecuador Complains Julian Assange Was a Bad Housegust, Neglected His Pet Cat
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 02:03 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's overstaying-your-welcome department:
The BBC reports that Ecuador's foreign minister Jose Valencia has been sharing complaints about Julian Assange's conduct during his stay in Ecuador's embassy -- for example, that Julian Assange "damaged the facilities by riding his skateboard and playing football, despite being told not to do so."
Cleaning staff, Mr Valencia said, had described "improper hygienic conduct" throughout Assange's stay, an issue that a lawyer had attributed to "stomach problems". One unnamed senior Ecuadorean official told AP news agency that other issues included "weeks without a shower" and a "dental problem born of poor hygiene". Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo then complained that Assange had been allowed to do things like "put faeces on the walls of the embassy and other behaviours of that nature...."

Assange's stay at the embassy cost Ecuador some $6.5m (£5m) from 2012 to 2018, Mr Valencia said.

NPR reports that Julian Assange's cat also "arguably played a small role in Ecuador's decision to end its asylum agreement," citing remarks from Ecuador President Lenin Moreno:
Moreno explained that Assange treated his hosts disrespectfully; late last year the embassy implemented a series of rules for Assange, including a requirement to be responsible for the "well-being, food, hygiene and proper care of your pet." If Assange didn't, the embassy threatened to put the cat in a shelter. In other words, it is likely that Assange didn't effectively clean up after his cat's own wiki-leaks...

< article continued at Slashdot's overstaying-your-welcome department >

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Flat Earther Now Wants to Launch His Homemade Rocket Into Space
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '19 at 12:43 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rocketman department:
At a flat-earth conference in May, Mad Mike Hughes will announce details of "an Antarctic expedition with the goal of reaching the edge of the world...to prove once and for all that this Earth is flat." But before that, he's heading for outer space.
An anonymous reader quotes PhillyVoice:
If you recognize the name Mad Mike Hughes, it's likely because he strapped himself into a rocket last March and traveled three-tenths of a mile into the heavens in the name of Flat Earth awareness. (See for yourself!) Well, nearly a year to the date after that momentous achievement, the limousine-driving daredevil and gubernatorial candidate has announced he's building upon the lessons learned last year and pushing the limits even further...
We caught up with him Thursday afternoon on the phone from California where he was "putting decals on the rocket right now!" Before any sort of Antarctica excursion, he's planning for a May 9 launch either in New Mexico "or the middle of the ocean if the government tries to stop me..." He hopes to reach the Kármán line, some 62.8 miles above Earth where space begins. "That way, we'll see what shape this rock really is," he said.
"More people will watch this than those who watched the fake moon landing. It will be an incredible, incredible event. People will see what I'm seeing for three hours up there and back and they'll be able to make up their own minds.... I'm the only guy capable of actually proving what shape this rock is, and that's by going up into space to do it."
The Science Channel is now filming Hughes' progress. (Here's a slick trailer for an upcoming documentary called "Rocketman".)
And Hughes says he's also claimed the legal entities that famous people are operating under, including Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett, putting these powerful people in a precarious position because now "they can't even exist..."
"I have a lot of court cases going on."

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