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Snowden Can Be Asked To Testify In Person In Germany NSA Probe
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 04:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-out-come-out-wherever-you-are department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Whistleblower Edward Snowden can be asked to give evidence in person by a German committee probing the NSA's spying activities, the country's Federal Court of Justice has ruled. Germany's government has been told that it should make suitable arrangements for that to happen. It has been refusing to invite Snowden to give evidence personally since it would need to guarantee that he would not be handed over to the U.S. -- a promise the German authorities say would risk damaging the political relations between the two countries. Instead, it has called for him to give evidence via a video link, or for German officials to interview him in Moscow, both of which Snowden turned down. Following a formal complaint by the greens and left-wing politicians, Germany's Federal Court of Justice has ruled that the German government must provide the necessary guarantees that would allow Snowden to give evidence in person, or explain why it will not do so. Snowden's lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck, told the Suddeutsche Zeitung that the German government might refuse to provide guarantees, and officially admit that it regards cooperating with the U.S. on intelligence matters in the future as more important than getting to the bottom of past surveillance. In that case, an appeal could be made to Germany's constitutional court, according to an article in Der Spiegel, which would decide whether the German government was allowed to make that trade-off. The committee of inquiry is examining to what extent German citizens and politicians were spied on by the NSA and its so-called Five Eyes partners -- notably GCHQ -- and whether German politicians and intelligence agencies knew about this activity.

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Microsoft Launches Office 365 in 10 New Markets, Eyes Expansion in Nearly 100 New Markets By Next Year
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 04:03 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's global-expansion department:
Microsoft is bringing Office 365 to 10 new markets. The company today announced that people in Bhutan, Cambodia, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Laos, Maldives, Martinique, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Vatican City can now also subscribe to its productivity suite. The company says it plans to launch Office 365 in nearly 100 more markets by next year. VentureBeat adds: It's worth underlining that Microsoft is using the word "market" and not "country" on purpose. There are 196 countries in the world today, but the company plans to launch Office 365 in "a further 97 markets over the next year." That would bring the total to 247 markets -- the extra markets are differentiated by certain cultural and language differences that require more work on Microsoft's part, even if they are part of the same geographic country.Office is one of Microsoft's biggest cash cows. The company says over 1.2 billion people worldwide use its productivity suite.

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Samsung Group Offices Raided By Korean Prosecutors
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's influence-peddling department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Samsung Group on Wednesday, a prosecution official said, after media reports of alleged links with a confidante of President Park Geun-hye who has been indicted in an influence-peddling scandal. Prosecutors also raided South Korea's largest pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS), an NPS spokeswoman said. The Yonhap news agency reported that investigators were probing NPS's decision to approve the $8 billion merger of Samsung CT Corp and Cheil Industries last year. The raids signaled that prosecutors are expanding their investigation into allegations of influence-peddling in the corruption scandal that has rocked Park's presidency over the relationship between the government and big businesses. NPS, the world's third-largest pension fund, has come under scrutiny by the media and civic groups over its approval as a major shareholder of the merger between two affiliates of Samsung Group, South Korea's largest family-run conglomerate. Its backing was seen as crucial to the success of the merger and some South Korean media reports said its approval came under mysterious circumstances. Prosecutors raided four locations -- the NPS headquarters, NPS Investment Management office headquarters, Samsung Group offices and the office of a former NPS investment management official -- said a prosecution official who was not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified. Park and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, are under investigation for allegedly improperly pressuring major conglomerates, including the Samsung Group, to raise funds for foundations that backed Park's policy of promoting the cultural and sports communities.

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Trump Says He's Going To 'Get Apple To Build a Big Plant In the United States'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's made-in-the-USA department:
In a Tuesday interview with The New York Times, President-elect Donald Trump said that he would incentivize Apple to "build a big plant in the United States, or many big plants in the United States." Ars Technica reports: Trump indicated to columnist Thomas Friedman that he is going to double-down on bringing factory jobs back to America, especially in the Rust Belt from Michigan to Pennsylvania.

FRIEDMAN: Are you worried, though, that those companies will keep their factories here, but the jobs will be replaced by robots?
TRUMP: They will, and we'll make the robots, too. [laughter]
TRUMP: It's a big thing, we'll make the robots, too. Right now we don't make the robots. We don't make anything. But we're going to. I mean, look, robotics is becoming very big and we're going to do that. We're going to have more factories. We can't lose 70,000 factories. Just can't do it. We're going to start making things.

< article continued at Slashdot's made-in-the-USA department >

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China Breaks Patent Application Record
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's slow-and-steady department:
China-based inventors applied for a record-setting number of patents last year. The country accounted for more than a million submissions, according to an annual report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). It said the figure was "extraordinary". From a BBC report:A total of 2.9 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2015, according to Wipo, marking a 7.8% rise on the previous year. China can lay claim to driving most of that growth. Its domestic patent office -- the Property Office of the People's Republic of China (Sipo) -- received a record 1,101,864 filings. Many of the filings were for innovations in telecoms, computing, semiconductors and medical tech. Beijing had urged companies to boost the number of such applications. But some experts have cast doubt as to whether it signifies that the country is truly more inventive than others, since most of China's filings were done locally.

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Google Quietly Phases Out 'Google Cast' Branding for TVs, Speakers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-in-a-name department:
Google can't seem to settle for a good name for its media-streaming device. The company is changing Google Cast branding to Chromecast, it subtly announced this week on Twitter. The tech giant has been jumping around on its branding for Cast, most recently switching from Google Cast to Google Home with the release of the company's smart speaker. From a report on Variety:Google has been phasing put the 'Google Cast' branding for TVs and internet-connected loudspeakers that are compatible with Google's own Chromecast streaming adapters. Instead, the company and its partners have switched to describing these products as having "Chromecast built-in."

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UK Plans To Censor Online Videos Of 'Non-Conventional' Sex Acts
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's crack-down department:
Mark Wilson, writing for BetaNews: The UK government's relationship with the web is something of a checkered one. Keen to pander to the fear of concerned hand-wringers, we've seen torrent sites blocked and there are plans afoot to censor porn sites that do not implement 'effective' age checks. Now there is a chance that UK web users will be denied access to websites that portray "non-conventional sexual acts" in the latest act of censorship by the government. A bill currently being considered would apply the same restrictions to online pornography that currently apply offline. In what appears to be yet another example of the government failing to understand quite how the internet works -- and trying to bend offline laws to apply to online situations -- the plan is to block websites that display content that would not normally receive a classification if released on DVD.

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Clinton Urged To Challenge Election Results Due To Possible Hacking [Update]
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's bombshell department:
Reader Bruha writes: After examining results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin computer scientists have discovered Clinton averaged 7% worse in counties with e voting machines vs. counties with only paper or optical scan ballots.From a CNN report:The computer scientists believe they have found evidence that vote totals in the three states could have been manipulated or hacked and presented their findings to top Clinton aides on a call last Thursday. The scientists, among them J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told the Clinton campaign they believe there is a questionable trend of Clinton performing worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines compared to paper ballots and optical scanners, according to the source. The group informed John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, and Marc Elias, the campaign's general counsel, that Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines, which the group said could have been hacked.Halderman wrote more about it on Medium today in an article titled, "Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots" Update: Green party candidate Jill Stein is asking for donations to fund a recount of her own in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which are the states key to Hillary Clinton's surprising loss. Stein says she must raise $2.5 million by Friday 4 pm central time to proceed. Editor's note: the story has been updated and moved up on the front page.

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Sony Accused of Censoring Negative Feedback On Its Bravia TVs Ahead of Black Fri
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
An anonymous reader writes: Disgruntled owners of Sony's Bravia televisions have accused the company of "censoring" its community forums by preventing users from reporting technical issues. Several users say the company has locked threads containing complaints about its 4K televisions to suppress negative feedback in the run-up to the high-spending season. One of the threads removed by Sony contained 90 pages-worth of reports of input lag issues affecting its 2016 line of ultra-high definition (UHD) Bravia sets. The thread is titled, "Buyers beware, it looks almost the entire 4K 'HDR capable' TV line up from Sony are trash for 4K and HDR gaming" and clicking on the link now brings up an empty page with the error message: "the topic you are trying to access is not available."

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FBI Hacked Over 8,000 Computers In 120 Countries Based on One Warrant
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 12:02 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's too-much-power department:
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: In January, Motherboard reported on the FBI's "unprecedented" hacking operation, in which the agency, using a single warrant, deployed malware to over one thousand alleged visitors of a dark web child pornography site. Now, it has emerged that the campaign was actually several orders of magnitude larger. In all, the FBI obtained over 8,000 IP addresses, and hacked computers in 120 different countries, according to a transcript from a recent evidentiary hearing in a related case. The figures illustrate the largest ever known law enforcement hacking campaign to date, and starkly demonstrate what the future of policing crime on the dark web may look like. This news comes as the US is preparing to usher in changes that would allow magistrate judges to authorize the mass hacking of computers, wherever in the world they may be located.

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BBC Planning 'Netflix of the Spoken Word' to Take Radio Content Global
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 10:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's affinity-for-good-radio department:
Georg Szalai, reporting for Hollywood Reporter: "The BBC makes the best radio in the world," says director general Tony Hall. British public broadcaster BBC plans to launch a "Netflix of the spoken word" to take its radio content beyond the U.K. Director general Tony Hall in a London speech on Wednesday said that the BBC plans to offer all of its audio content, in addition to its BBC World Service programming to people in foreign markets. He didn't immediately provide further details, including about whether the BBC would charge international users. The BBC is funded via a license fee covered by British taxpayers. "With our world-class content, we could use our current output and the richness of our archive to create a Netflix of the spoken word," the BBC quoted Hall as saying. "The BBC makes the best radio in the world. It is one of our crown jewels, and we have an extraordinary wealth of audio riches at our disposal." He added: "It's one of the things that will help the BBC carry the full weight of Britain's culture and values, knowledge and know-how to the world in the years ahead, and say something really important about modern Britain."

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Opera Browser Asked to Blacklist Pirate Sites in 'Turbo Mode'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 10:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's mandating-things department:
Opera web browser's 'Turbo Mode' is designed to speed up browsing. As a side effect, it also bypasses website blocks, something popular with pirates. However, it appears that the company has been in talks to integrate a blacklist which could stop access to blocked domains. From a report on TorrentFreak: It transpires that earlier this year, Opera's owners were approached by Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor who aired concerns about the browser's ability to unblock banned sites. It was suggested that Opera should introduce some kind of filtering/blacklist mechanism to disallow blocked sites from accessing 'Turbo Mode.' Russian publication Kommersant says that it was able to confirm the nature of the discussions with sources within Opera. And according to Roskomnadzor's Vadim Ampelonsky, a meeting took place between the parties early in the fall. Ampelonsky says that discussion surrounded the technical issues of keeping blocked sites inaccessible when 'Turbo Mode' is activated. Representatives from Opera reportedly confirmed that this kind of filtering is possible. "We are ready to periodically send a list of sites to enter into such a filter at the conclusion of a bilateral agreement [with Opera]," Ampelonsky says, adding that discussions continue.

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Apple Captures Record 91 Percent of Global Smartphone Profits: Research
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's dominance department:
Apple has captured a record share of profits in the global smartphone industry in the third quarter, according to new research, despite grappling with falling iPhone sales. From a report on CNBC:Third-quarter smartphone operating profit reached $9 billion globally of which Apple took 91 percent of the share, Strategy Analytics said in a note on Tuesday. This amounts to $8.19 billion for the U.S. technology giant. Apple has the highest profit margins in the smartphone industry thanks to a loyal brand following and the ability to price its iPhones at a premium. And the figures come even after Apple reported three straight quarters of iPhone sales declines. Sat a long way behind Apple is China's Huawei which managed to grab 2.4 percent of global operating profit share in the smartphone market, accounting for $200 million, according to Strategy Analytics. Chinese start-up brands Vivo and OPPO are in third and fourth place, both capturing 2.2 percent of global smartphone profit each.

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China's NextEV NIO EP9 Claims To Be 'World's Fastest' Electric Supercar
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's need-for-speed department:
Brandon Hill, writing for HotHardware: NextEV, a Chinese manufacturer that fields a team in Formula E, is looking to take the world by storm with its EP9. Launching under the NIO sub-brand, the EP9 is said to accelerate to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and can hit 124 mph in 7.1 seconds. After 15.9 seconds, the EP9 will be traveling at a heady 186 mph. The EV weighs 3,825 pounds, or 1,730kg (about 200 pounds heavier than the 918 Spyder), of which 1,400 pounds is devoted solely to the lithium-ion battery pack. Despite the fact that the EP9's motors combine to produce an astonishing 1390 horsepower, it still has a respectable driving range of 265 miles. So what do all of these performance numbers mean in the real world? Well, NextEV says that the EP9 is capable of lapping the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife race track in 7 minutes, 5 seconds. Interestingly enough, NextEV is claiming that the EP9 is the world's fastest EV, but we have the feeling that Rimac Automobili would take issue with that statement. Rimac's Concept_S can dash to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and can hit 186 mph in 13.5 seconds. Likewise, the Concept_S is capable of topping out at 226.8 mph, whereas NextEV hasn't provided a top speed for the EP9.

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Clinton Urged To Challenge Election Results Due To Possible Hacking
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 08:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's bombshell department:
Reader Bruha writes: After examining results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin computer scientists have discovered Clinton averaged 7% worse in counties with e voting machines vs. counties with only paper or optical scan ballots.From a CNN report:The computer scientists believe they have found evidence that vote totals in the three states could have been manipulated or hacked and presented their findings to top Clinton aides on a call last Thursday. The scientists, among them J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told the Clinton campaign they believe there is a questionable trend of Clinton performing worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines compared to paper ballots and optical scanners, according to the source. The group informed John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, and Marc Elias, the campaign's general counsel, that Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines, which the group said could have been hacked.Halderman wrote more about it on Medium today in an article titled, "Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots"

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US Regulators Seek To Reduce Road Deaths With Smartphone 'Driving Mode'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 08:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's bettering-things department:
US regulators are seeking to reduce smartphone-related vehicle deaths with a new driving-safe mode that would block or modify apps to prevent them being a distraction while on the road. From a report on The Guardian:The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are to issue voluntary guidelines for smartphone makers, which will seek to restrict the apps and services accessible on a smartphone being used by a driver. US transport secretary Anthony Foxx said: "Your smartphone becomes so many different things that it's not just a communication device. Distraction is still a problem. Too many people are dying and being injured on our roadways." The NHTSA is hoping that Apple, Samsung and other popular smartphone manufacturers will adopt the guidelines in future smartphone and software releases. The so-called driving mode will block distractions such as social media, messages or email, stop the use of the keyboard for communication activities and also restrict access to websites, video and distracting graphics. The intention is that the driving mode will be adopted in a similar manner to the airplane mode common to most smartphones and connected devices, which restricts radio communications while airborne. Airplane mode has been a feature of smartphones since 2007.

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Tech Firms Seek To Frustrate Internet History Log Law
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 06:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's complicated-things department:
Plans to keep a record of UK citizens' online activities face a challenge from tech firms seeking to offer ways to hide people's browser histories. Internet providers will soon be required to record which services their customers' devices connect to -- including websites and messaging apps. From a report on BBC: The Home Office says it will help combat terrorism, but critics have described it as a "snoopers' charter". Critics of the law have said hackers could get access to the records. "It only takes one bad actor to go in there and get the entire database," said James Blessing, chairman of the Internet Service Providers' Association (Ispa), which represents BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and others. "You can try every conceivable thing in the entire world to [protect it] but somebody will still outsmart you. "Mistakes will happen. It's a question of when. Hopefully it's in tens or maybe a hundred years. But it might be next week."

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WordPress Auto-Update Server Had Flaw Allowing Persistent Backdoors In Websites
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 05:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's recipe-for-disaster department:
mask.of.sanity quotes a report from The Register: Up to a quarter of all websites on the internet could have been breached through a since-patched vulnerability that allowed WordPress' core update server to be compromised. The since-shuttered remote code execution flaw was found in a php webhook within api.wordpress.org that allows developers to supply a hashing algorithm of their choice to verify code updates are legitimate. Matt Barry, lead developer of WordPress security outfit WordFence, found attackers could supply their own extremely weak hashing algorithm as part of that verification process, allowing a shared secret key to be brute-forced over the course of a couple of hours. The rate of guessing attempts would be small enough to fly under the radar of WordPress' security systems. Attackers that used the exploit could then send URLs to the WordPress update servers that would be accepted and pushed out to all WordPress sites. Web-watching service W3techs.com reckons those sites represent 27.1 per cent of the entire world wide web. "By compromising api.wordpress.org, an attacker could conceivably compromise more than a quarter of the websites worldwide in one stroke," Barry says. "We analyzed [WordPress] code and found a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to execute their own code on api.wordpress.org and gain access to it. Compromising this [update] server could allow an attacker to supply their own URL to download and install software to WordPress websites, automatically." Attackers could go further; once a backdoored or malicious update was pushed out, they could disable the default auto updates preventing WordPress from fixing compromised websites.

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US Navy's High-Tech Ship Loses Power In Panama Canal
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '16 at 02:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's abort-the-mission department:
bsharma writes: USS Zumwalt suffered engine failure and collided with lock walls while transiting the Panama Canal. The ship lost propulsion in its port shaft during the transit and the crew saw water intrusion in two of the four bearings that connect to Zumwalt's port and starboard Advanced Induction Motors (AIMs) to the drive shafts, a defense official told USNI News on Tuesday. The AIMs are the massive electrical motors that are driven by the ship's gas turbines and, in turn, electrically power the ship's systems and drive the shafts. USNI News reports: "Zumwalt entered the Panama Canal following a successful port visit to Columbia last week -- a visit which the service intended to skip if it thought the engineering problems would continue, several defense officials told USNI News. The ship's engineering plant -- the Integrated Power System (IPS) -- is arguably the most complex and unique in the service. Installing and testing the system -- that provides ship additional power margins to power high energy weapons and sensors -- was a primary reason the ship delivered months late to the service. Before the casualty, the ship was set to arrive in San Diego by the end of the year and start weapon system activation period before joining the fleet as an operational warship sometime in 2018. (Zumwalt is the first of three in the $22-billion class.)

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American Computer Scientists Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton Receive Presidential Medals of Freedom
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '16 at 11:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from FedScoop: President Barack Obama awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom to two storied women in tech -- one posthumously to Grace Hopper, known as the "first lady of software," and one to programmer Margaret Hamilton. Hopper worked on the Harvard Mark I computer, and invented the first compiler. "At age 37 and a full 15 pounds below military guidelines, the gutsy and colorful Grace joined the Navy and was sent to work on one of the first computers, Harvard's Mark 1," Obama said at the ceremony Tuesday. "She saw beyond the boundaries of the possible and invented the first compiler, which allowed programs to be written in regular language and then translated for computers to understand." Hopper followed her mother into mathematics, and earned a doctoral degree from Yale, Obama said. She retired from the Navy as a rear admiral. "From cell phones to Cyber Command, we can thank Grace Hopper for opening programming up to millions more people, helping to usher in the Information Age and profoundly shaping our digital world," Obama said. Hamilton led the team that created the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo command modules and lunar modules, according to a White House release. "At this time software engineering wasn't even a field yet," Obama noted at the ceremony. "There were no textbooks to follow, so as Margaret says, 'there was no choice but to be pioneers.'" He added: "Luckily for us, Margaret never stopped pioneering. And she symbolizes that generation of unsung women who helped send humankind into space."

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