By BeauHD from Slashdot's digital-death department
A German court ruled Thursday that Facebook content can be passed onto heirs like letters, books, or diaries. The ruling comes after the parents of a teenager who died in 2012 after being hit by a train argued Facebook should allow them to access her account, including her private messages, to determine whether she committed suicide. "This would also help determine whether the driver of the train should be entitled to compensation," notes Quartz. From the report: Currently, Facebook's policy is to "memorialize" an account when the site is informed of someone's death. If a user has a "legacy contact" (here are instructions on how to set one up), Facebook grants them limited access to the user's account, allowing them change the user's profile picture, accept friend requests, or pin posts to the top of the user's profile. They can also ask the platform to delete the account. Recently, Facebook told Quartz, the company revised its policy to allow parents or guardians of minors to become legacy contacts after their child has died. In rare cases, the company says, authorized people, like family members, can request information from a deceased person's account, if they have a court order. But there's no guarantee they will get what they need.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement the company disagreed with the German ruling: "These questions -- how to weigh the wishes of the relatives and protect the privacy of third parties -- are some of the toughest we've confronted. We empathize with the family. At the same time, Facebook accounts are used for a personal exchange between individuals which we have a duty to protect. While we respectfully disagree with today's decision by [the court], the lengthy process shows how complex the issue under discussion is. We will be analyzing the judgment to assess its full implications."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's eastern-arsenal department
hackingbear shares a report from Popular Science: China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), China's foremost military electronics company, announced that its groundbreaking quantum radar has achieved capability of tracking high altitude objects, likely by increasing the coherence time entangled photons. CETC envisions that its quantum radar will be used in the stratosphere to track objects in "the upper atmosphere and beyond" (including space). Quantum can identify the position, radar cross section, speed, direction and even "observe" on the composition of the target such as differentiating between an actual nuclear warhead against inflatable decoys. [...] Importantly, attempts to spoof the quantum radar would be easily noticed since any attempt to alter or duplicate the entangled photons would be detected by the radar. The news is an important illustration of a larger trend of Chinese advancement in the new, crucial area of quantum research. Other notable projects in China's quantum technology include the Micius satellite, and advances by Alibaba and the Chinese University of Science and Technology in a world record of entangling 18 photons (a quantum supercomputer would require about 50 entangled photons), such that China arguably leads the world in quantum technologies.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's everybody-else-is-doing-it department
Sprint on Thursday unveiled a new, more complicated lineup of unlimited mobile data plans. Sprint goes from having one plan starting at $60 per month to four different options costing $50 to $70 a month. "The main price hike hits customers who want to watch streaming video at HD quality instead of being reduced to DVD quality," reports Fortune. From the report: A new "unlimited plus" plan most resembles the carrier's current one, with subscribers allowed to use up to 15 GB monthly before experiencing slowed download speeds, receiving HD-quality streaming video, and getting free Hulu and Tidal subscriptions. It costs $70 for one line, rising to $180 for four lines. But Sprint also added a "limited time" promotion that cuts the price to $50 to $100 per month for customers who buy a new phone or bring their own device. A cheaper "unlimited basic" plan, starting at $60 for one line and up to $140 for four lines, slows downloads to 3G speeds after just 500 MB, downgrades streaming to DVD-quality, and offers just a Hulu subscription, but no Tidal account.
Although consumers no longer get cut off or have to pay expensive overage charges when they run through a monthly data allowance, they face an increasing array of restrictions and conditions on all but the most expensive unlimited plans, including slowed download speeds. Sprint's four-page press release announcing the new plans included 11 footnotes, signaling just how complicated they are.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hands-where-I-can-see-them department
Mr.Intel writes from a report via Reuters: "Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses," reports Reuters. In a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) because they do not function as "investigative or law enforcement officers." The decision, the first on the issue by a federal appeals court, was a defeat for Nadine Pellegrino, a business consultant from Boca Raton, Florida. "She and her husband had sued for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over a July 2006 altercation at Philadelphia International Airport," reports Reuters. According to court papers, Pellegrino had been randomly selected for additional screening at the Philadelphia airport before boarding a U.S. Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pellegrino, then 57, objected to the invasiveness of the search, but conditions deteriorated and she was later jailed for about 18 hours, the papers show. Criminal charges were filed, and Pellegrino was acquitted at a March 2008 trial.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's highest-bidder department
The now-dormant news and gossip website Gawker.com was sold on Thursday to Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bustle and co-founder of Bleacher Report. According to CNN, the site sold for less than $1.5 million. From the report: Goldberg founded the sports website Bleacher Report along with three other people in 2005; in 2012, they sold it to Turner, which like CNN is owned by AT&T. He launched Bustle, a website focused on women's issues, in 2013. Goldberg addressed the Gawker sale in a Bustle internal email on Thursday, saying the site will be acquired "under a new holding company, separate from Bustle."
"You are probably wondering what happens next," he said in the email, which was obtained by CNN. "The short is this -- not much. We have no immediate plans to re-launch Gawker. For now, things will stay as they are. I'm very excited about the possibilities for the future of Gawker. I will share more in the months ahead." The sale includes an archive of hundreds of thousands of Gawker stories and social media accounts affiliated with the site. Gawker Media was sold to Univision in 2016 for $135 million and renamed Gizmodo Media Group after the company declared bankruptcy, "the result of a legal assault waged by the former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan that was secretly subsidized by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime Gawker adversary," reports CNN.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's trust-the-process department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: The information operatives who worked out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg did not stop at posing as American social media users or spreading false information from purported news sources, according to new details. They also created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans' hometown headlines. NPR has reviewed information connected with the investigation and found 48 such accounts. They have names such as @ElPasoTopNews, @MilwaukeeVoice, @CamdenCityNews and @Seattle_Post. "A not-insignificant amount of those had some sort of variation on what appeared to be a homegrown local news site," said Bret Schafer, a social media analyst for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which tracks Russian influence operations and first noticed this trend. Another example: The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978. The Internet Research Agency-linked account was created in May 2014, and for years, it just posted local headlines, accumulating some 19,000 followers by July 2016.
Another twist: These accounts apparently never spread misinformation. In fact, they posted real local news, serving as sleeper accounts building trust and readership for some future, unforeseen effort. "They set them up for a reason. And if at any given moment, they wanted to operationalize this network of what seemed to be local American news handles, they can significantly influence the narrative on a breaking news story," Schafer told NPR. "But now instead of just showing up online and flooding it with news sites, they have these accounts with two years of credible history."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department
After almost 30 years of overseeing the development of the world's most popular language, Python, its founder and "Benevolent Dictator For Life" (BDFL), Guido van Rossum, has decided to remove himself entirely from the decision process. From a report: Van Rossum isn't leaving Python entirely. He said, "I'll still be there for a while as an ordinary core dev, and I'll still be available to mentor people -- possibly more available." It's clear from van Rossum's note he's sick and tired of running the organization. He wrote, "I don't ever want to have to fight so hard for a PEP (Python Enhancement Proposals) [PEP 572 Assignment Expressions] and find that so many people despise my decisions." In addition, van Rossum hints he's not been well. "I'm not getting younger... (I'll spare you the list of medical issues.)" So, "I'm basically giving myself a permanent vacation from being BDFL, and you all will be on your own." From the email: I am not going to appoint a successor. So what are you all going to do? Create a democracy? Anarchy? A dictatorship? A federation? I'm not worried about the day to day decisions in the issue tracker or on GitHub. Very rarely I get asked for an opinion, and usually it's not actually important. So this can just be dealt with as it has always been. At Slashdot, we had the privilege of interviewing Guido van Rossum, a Computer History Museum honoree, in 2013.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department
What if, instead of a black and white X-ray picture, a doctor of a cancer patient had access to color images identifying the tissues being scanned? From a post: This is now a reality, thanks to a New-Zealand company that scanned, for the first time, a human body using a breakthrough color medical scanner based on the Medipix3 technology developed at CERN. Father and son scientists Professors Phil and Anthony Butler from Canterbury and Otago Universities spent a decade building and refining their product. Medipix is a family of read-out chips for particle imaging and detection. The original concept of Medipix is that it works like a camera, detecting and counting each individual particle hitting the pixels when its electronic shutter is open. This enables high-resolution, high-contrast, very reliable images, making it unique for imaging applications in particular in the medical field. Hybrid pixel-detector technology was initially developed to address the needs of particle tracking at the Large Hadron Collider, and successive generations of Medipix chips have demonstrated over 20 years the great potential of the technology outside of high-energy physics.Read Replies (0)