By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Apple's chief executive has called for regulation to tackle the "shadow economy" of data brokers -- intermediaries who trade in the personal information of largely unsuspecting consumers -- as the company continues its push to be seen as supportive of privacy. Tim Cook, in an op-ed for Time Magazine published on Thursday, said: One of the biggest challenges in protecting privacy is that many of the violations are invisible. For example, you might have bought a product from an online retailer -- something most of us have done. But what the retailer doesn't tell you is that it then turned around and sold or transferred information about your purchase to a "data broker" -- a company that exists purely to collect your information, package it and sell it to yet another buyer. The trail disappears before you even know there is a trail. Right now, all of these secondary markets for your information exist in a shadow economy that's largely unchecked -- out of sight of consumers, regulators and lawmakers.
Let's be clear: you never signed up for that. We think every user should have the chance to say, "Wait a minute. That's my information that you're selling, and I didn't consent." Meaningful, comprehensive federal privacy legislation should not only aim to put consumers in control of their data, it should also shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes. Some state laws are looking to accomplish just that, but right now there is no federal standard protecting Americans from these practices. That's why we believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
With markets uncertain, many onlookers might think a recession is on the way, whether that's most CFOs in the world or voters in the United States. But domestic CEOs don't find heavy economic headwinds their biggest external business worry, according to a new survey by the Conference Board. Instead, it's cybersecurity followed by new competitors. Risk of a recession is third. From a report: After high-profile data breaches experienced over the last two years by such companies as Marriott, Equifax, and Uber, that might seem understandable. But U.S. CEOs stand in stark contrast to those of the rest of the world. Cybersecurity was the sixth most pressing issue for chief executives in Europe. It was seventh in Latin America, eighth in Japan, and 10th in China. Regarding concerns over a potential recession, Europe put that in second place, while Japan, China, and Latin America all rated it number one.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-of-mankind department
"iTMunch reports that Elon Musk apparently believes that the human race can only be "saved" by implanting chips into our skulls that make us half human, half artificial intelligence," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. From the report: Elon Musk's main goal, he explains, is to wire a chip into your skull. This chip would give you the digital intelligence needed to progress beyond the limits of our biological intelligence. This would mean a full incorporation of artificial intelligence into our bodies and minds. He argues that without taking this drastic measure, humanity is doomed. There are a lot of ethical questions raised on the topic of what humanity according to Elon Musk exactly is, but he seems undeterred. "My faith in humanity has been a little shaken this year," Musk continues, "but I'm still pro-humanity." The seamless conjunction of humans and computers gives us humans a shot at becoming completely "symbiotic" with artificial intelligence, according to Elon Musk. He argues that humans as a species are all already practically attached to our phones. In a way, this makes us almost cyborg-like. The only difference is that we haven't managed to expand our intelligence to that level. This means that we are not as smart as we could be. The data link that currently exists between the information that we get from our phones or computers is not as fast as it could be. "It will enable anyone who wants to have superhuman cognition," Musk said. "Anyone who wants." As for how much smarter humans will become with these AI chips, Musk writes: "How much smarter are you with a phone or computer or without? You're vastly smarter, actually," Musk said. "You can answer any question pretty much instantly. You can remember flawlessly. Your phone can remember videos (and) pictures perfectly. Your phone is already an extension of you. You're already a cyborg. Most people don't realize you're already a cyborg. It's just that the data rate [...] it's slow, very slow. It's like a tiny straw of information flow between your biological self and your digital self. We need to make that tiny straw like a giant river, a huge, high-bandwidth interface."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's another-day-another-breach department
A collection of almost 773 million unique email addresses and just under 22 million unique passwords were exposed on cloud service MEGA. Security researcher Troy Hunt said the collection of data, dubbed Collection #1, totaled over 12,000 separate files and more than 87GB of data. ZDNet reports: "What I can say is that my own personal data is in there and it's accurate; right email address and a password I used many years ago," Hunt wrote. "In short, if you're in this breach, one or more passwords you've previously used are floating around for others to see." Some passwords, including his own, have been "dehashed", that is converted back to plain text. Hunt said he gained the information after multiple people reached out to him with concerns over the data on MEGA, with the Collection #1 dump also being discussed on a hacking forum. "The post on the forum referenced 'a collection of 2000+ dehashed databases and Combos stored by topic' and provided a directory listing of 2,890 of the files," Hunt wrote.
The collection has since been removed. You can visit Hunt's Have I Been Pwned service to see if you are affected by this breach.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's money-saving-diets department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceDaily: In a University of California, Irvine-led study, researchers found evidence that fasting affects circadian clocks in the liver and skeletal muscle, causing them to rewire their metabolism, which can ultimately lead to improved health and protection against aging-associated diseases. The study was published recently in Cell Reports. The research was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. While fasting, researchers noted the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.
"The reorganization of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression. In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against aging-associated diseases." This study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's environmental-protection department
Yesterday, the Key West City Commission unanimously voted to ban the sale of sunscreens that contain two ingredients -- oxybenzone and octinoxate -- that a growing body of scientific evidence says harm coral reefs. The measure must now be reviewed again by the commission before it becomes law. The second vote is scheduled for February 5th. Miami Herald reports: Environmental researchers have published studies showing how these two ingredients, which accumulate in the water from bathers or from wastewater discharges, can damage coral reefs through bleaching and harming the corals' DNA. In some instances, the corals can die. A Feburary 2016 study in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology examining the impact of oxybenzone in corals in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands concluded that the sunscreen ingredient "poses a hazard to coral reef conservation and threatens the resiliency of coral reefs to climate change.''
Last year, Hawaii banned the sale or distribution of any sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, a measure that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. It was the first state in the nation to implement such a ban. In Florida, the website for the South Florida Reef Ambassador Initiative, which falls under the state's Department of Environmental Protection, tells divers to "Avoid sunscreens with Oxybenzone and Avobenzone. The benzones are compounds that are lethal to coral reproduction in very small amounts." Experts who have studied the issue say sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are minerals, also block ultraviolet rays. They create a barrier on the skin that deflect the sun's rays .Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ice-repelling department
"Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new theory in physics called stress localization, which they used to tune and predict the properties of new materials," reports Phys.Org. "Based on those predictions, the researchers reported in Materials Horizons that they have created a durable silicone polymer coating capable of repelling ice from any surface." The new research has huge implications for aircraft, power transmission lines, and more. From the report: Hadi Ghasemi, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at UH and corresponding author for the work, said the findings suggest a way to take trial and error out of the search for new materials, in keeping with the movement of materials science toward a physics-driven approach. "You put in the properties you want, and the principle will tell you what material you need to synthesize," he said, noting that the concept can also be used to predict materials with superb antibacterial or other desirable properties.
The new material uses elastic energy localization where ice meets the material, triggering cracks at the interface that slough off the ice. Ghasemi said it requires minimal force to cause the cracks; the flow of air over the surface of an airplane acts as a trigger, for example. The material, which is applied as a spray, can be used on any surface, and Ghasemi said testing showed it is not only mechanically durable and unaffected by ultraviolet rays -- important for aircraft which face constant sun exposure -- but also does not change the aircraft's aerodynamic performance. Testing indicates it will last for more than 10 years, with no need to reapply, he said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's click-of-a-mouse department
Researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point say three vulnerabilities chained together could have allowed hackers to take control of any of Fortnite's 200 million players. "The flaws, if exploited, would have stolen the account access token set on the gamer's device once they entered their password," reports TechCrunch. "Once stolen, that token could be used to impersonate the gamer and log in as if they were the account holder, without needing their password." From the report: The researchers say that the flaw lies in how Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, handles login requests. Researchers said they could send any user a crafted link that appears to come from Epic Games' own domain and steal an access token needed to break into an account.
Here's how it works: The user clicks on a link, which points to an epicgames.com subdomain, which the hacker embeds a link to malicious code on their own server by exploiting a cross-site weakness in the subdomain. Once the malicious script loads, unbeknownst to the Fortnite player, it steals their account token and sends it back to the hacker. "If the victim user is not logged into the game, he or she would have to log in first," a researcher said. "Once that person is logged in, the account can be stolen." Epic Games has since fixed the vulnerability.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's consumer-privacy department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill Wednesday aimed at creating federal standards of privacy protection for major internet companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. The bill, titled the American Data Dissemination Act, requires the Federal Trade Commission to make suggestions for regulation based on the Privacy Act of 1974. Congress would then have to pass legislation within two years, or the FTC will gain the power to write the rules itself (under current laws, the FTC can only enforce existing rules). While Rubio's bill is intended to reign in the data collection and dissemination of companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix, it also requires any final legislation to protect small businesses from being stifled by new rules. The caveat comes when one considers states' rights to create their own privacy laws. Under Rubio's legislation, any national regulations would preempt state laws -- even if the state's are more strict. "While we may have disagreements on the best path forward, no one believes a privacy law that only bolsters the largest companies with the resources to comply and stifles our start-up marketplace is the right approach," Rubio wrote in an op-ed for The Hill, announcing his bill.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lost-and-found department
pgmrdlm quotes a report from CBS News: For the first time, a new network of satellites will soon be able to track all commercial airplanes in real time, anywhere on the planet. Currently, planes are largely tracked by radar on the ground, which doesn't work over much of the world's oceans. The final 10 satellites were launched Friday to wrap up the $3 billion effort to replace 66 aging communication satellites, reports CBS News' Kris Van Cleave, who got an early look at the new technology. On any given day, 43,000 planes are in the sky in America alone. When these planes take off, they are tracked by radar and are equipped with a GPS transponder. All commercial flights operating in the U.S. and Europe have to have them by 2020. It's that transponder that talks to these new satellites, making it possible to know exactly where more than 10,000 flights currently flying are.Read Replies (0)