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'Microsoft' Scam Callers Arrested After Years of Terrorising the Technically Challenged
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's about-time department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Those shameless scammers that cold-call people pretending to be from Microsoft and demanding money after walking users through supposed problems with their computers? They're going down, it seems, with four people arrested in the UK for enabling the rip-off. City of London Police and Microsoft, the real Microsoft, have been working together for two years to trace the operators of the scheme, with the four people -- two from Woking and two from South Shields -- arrested on suspicion of fraud. Although the calls were found to originate from India, the investigators found that the scam was allegedly being run out of the UK, with the poor overseas callers working from scripts and, presumably, not really aware they're doing anything hugely wrong.

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Uber Crosses 5 Billion Rides
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-numbers department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The ride-hailing company just reached a big milestone: 5 billion Uber rides around the world. With Uber's endless bad headlines, and Lyft gaining real momentum in the war against Uber, it's easy to forget how much else Uber has going on. Lyft is only competing with Uber in the U.S.; billions of Uber's trips have taken place outside America. Uber officially reached 5 billion rides with 156 simultaneous trips at exactly 7:29:06 a.m. GMT on May 20. The company announced the news on Thursday.

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Tumblr's Unclear Future Shows That There's No Money in Internet Culture
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 11:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's struggle-continues department:
Earlier this month as Verizon completed its acquisition, a number of Tumblr employees, as well as those at other Verizon-owned properties, like the Huffington Post, were laid off. This comes at an interesting time for Tumblr, which is increasingly struggling to find a business model. From an article on NYMag: The future of Tumblr is still an open question. The site is enormously popular among the coveted youth crowd -- that's partly why then-CEO Marissa Mayer paid $1 billion for the property in 2013 -- but despite a user base near the size of Instagram's, Tumblr never quite figured out how to make money at the level Facebook has led managers and shareholders to expect. For a long time, its founder and CEO David Karp was publicly against the idea of inserting ads into users' timelines. (Other experiments in monetization, like premium options, never caught on: It's tough to generate revenue when your most active user base is too young to have a steady income.) Even once the timeline became open to advertising, it was tough to find clients willing to brave the sometimes-porny waters of the Tumblr Dashboard. Since it joined Yahoo, the site has started displaying low-quality "chum"-style ads in between user posts on the Dashboard. Looked at from a bottom-line perspective, Tumblr is an also-ran like its parent company -- a once-hot start-up that has eased into tech-industry irrelevance. [...] It is rare, but not at all unprecedented, for a site to reach Tumblr's size, prominence, and level of influence and still be unable to build a sustainable business. Twitter steers a huge portion of online culture, and has become an essential water cooler and newswire for journalists, tech workers, and otaku Nazis, but still has trouble turning a profit.

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Twitter Detects Riots Faster Than Police, Study Says
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 11:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's crowdsourcing-data department:
A new study by Cardiff University has determined that Twitter can be used to identify dangerous situations up to an hour faster than police reports. From a report: Researchers at Cardiff analyzed 1.6 million tweets relevant to the 2011 London riots. In the town of Enfield, police received reports of disorder an hour and 23 minutes after computer systems could have picked up the same information from Twitter, according to the study. "In this research, we show that online social media are becoming the go-to place to report observations of everyday occurrences -- including social disorder and terrestrial criminal activity," said co-author of the study Pete Burnap.

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The Biggest Windows 10 Shop? Microsoft Partner Accenture
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 10:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's windows-farm department:
Mary Zo Foley, reporting for ZDNet: Microsoft partner Accenture, a global consulting company, is on track to become "the largest consumer of Windows 10," say the two companies. By 2018, Accenture will have migrated all of its 400,000 employees to Windows 10 in a move that will have taken two years. (Accenture has 400,000 employees?! Microsoft has about 114,000.) Currently, Accenture has migrated somewhere between 250,000 and close to 300,000 users to Windows 10, according to information shared on June 28. In a video accompanying the latest statistics on the Microsoft Windows blog site, it appears that Accenture also currently has 450,000 Office 365 mailboxes, 16,000 SharePoint sites and 99,500 smartphones and tablets enrolled in mobile-device management (which I take to be Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility + Security suite products).

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Windows 10 Will Soon Protect Files and Folders From Ransomware
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 10:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's smart-move department:
Microsoft is making some interesting security-related changes to Windows 10 with the next Fall Creators Update, expected to debut in September. From a report: Windows 10 testers can now access a preview of the changes that include a new controlled folder access feature. It's designed to only allow specific apps to access and read / write to a folder. If enabled, the default list prevents apps from accessing the desktop, pictures, movies, and documents folders. "Controlled folder access monitors the changes that apps make to files in certain protected folders," explains Dona Sarkar, head of Microsoft's Windows Insiders program. "If an app attempts to make a change to these files, and the app is blacklisted by the feature, you'll get a notification about the attempt."

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US Senators Seek Military Ban on Kaspersky Lab Products Amid FBI Probe
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 09:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: U.S. senators sought on Wednesday to ban Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab's products from use by the military because of fears the company is vulnerable to "Russian government influence," a day after the FBI interviewed several of its U.S. employees as part of a probe into its operations. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents visited the homes of Kaspersky employees late on Tuesday in multiple U.S. cities, although no search warrants were served, according to two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the FBI probe. Kaspersky Lab confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that FBI agents have had "brief interactions" with some of its U.S. employees, discussions that the company described as "due diligence" chats. The interviews were followed on Wednesday by the release of a defense spending policy bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which would prohibit the U.S. Defense Department from using Kaspersky software platforms because the company "might be vulnerable to Russian government influence," according to a summary of the legislation.

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Mozilla Employee Denied Entry To the United States
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 09:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's here-we-go department:
Reader Artem Tashkinov writes: Daniel Stenberg, an employee at Mozilla and the author of the command-line tool curl, was not allowed to board his flight to the meeting from Sweden—despite the fact that he'd previously obtained a visa waiver allowing him to travel to the US. Stenberg was unable to check in for his flight, and was notified at the airport ticket counter that his entry to the US had been denied. Although Mozilla doesn't believe that the incident is related to Trump's travel ban, the incident stirred fears among international tech workers, who fear they'll miss out on work and research opportunities if they're not allowed to travel to the US. The situation even caught the eye of Microsoft's chief legal officer Brad Smith, who tweeted at Stenberg to offer legal assistance.

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Let's Encrypt Hits New Milestone: Over 100,000,000 Certificates Issued
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 09:02 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-things-forward department:
Josh Aas, the executive director of Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) writing for Let's Encrypt: Let's Encrypt, a free, automated, and open certificate authority has reached a milestone: we've now issued more than 100,000,000 certificates. This number reflects at least a few things: First, it illustrates the strong demand for our services. We'd like to thank all of the sysadmins, web developers, and everyone else managing servers for prioritizing protecting your visitors with HTTPS. Second, it illustrates our ability to scale. I'm incredibly proud of the work our engineering teams have done to make this volume of issuance possible. I'm also very grateful to our operational partners, including IdenTrust, Akamai, and Sumo Logic. Third, it illustrates the power of automated certificate management. If getting and managing certificates from Let's Encrypt always required manual steps there is simply no way we'd be able to serve as many sites as we do. The total number of certificates we've issued is an interesting number, but it doesn't reflect much about tangible progress towards our primary goal: a 100% HTTPS Web.

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Hacks Raise Fear Over NSA's Hold on Cyberweapons
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 07:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
Nicole Perlroth, and David Sanger, writing for The New York Times: Twice in the past month, National Security Agency cyberweapons stolen from its arsenal have been turned against two very different partners of the United States -- Britain and Ukraine. The N.S.A. has kept quiet, not acknowledging its role in developing the weapons (alternative source). White House officials have deflected many questions, and responded to others by arguing that the focus should be on the attackers themselves, not the manufacturer of their weapons. But the silence is wearing thin for victims of the assaults, as a series of escalating attacks using N.S.A. cyberweapons have hit hospitals, a nuclear site and American businesses. Now there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands. On Wednesday, the calls for the agency to address its role in the latest attacks grew louder, as victims and technology companies cried foul. Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and a former Air Force officer who serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, urged the N.S.A. to help stop the attacks and to stop hoarding knowledge of the computer vulnerabilities upon which these weapons rely.

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The iPhone Turns 10
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 06:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's unarguably-revolutionary department:
"Every once in awhile a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," said co-founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as he kickstarted the iPhone keynote. Ten years ago, thousands of people around the world listened to him in a mock turtleneck talk about a phone. They liked it so much that they decided to wait outside Apple stores for hours on end to buy one. Little did anyone know the phone -- called the iPhone -- would go on to revolutionize, in the truest sense of the word, the smartphone industry as we know it. From an Economist article: No product in recent history has changed people's lives more. Without the iPhone, ride-hailing, photo-sharing, instant messaging and other essentials of modern life would be less widespread. Shorn of cumulative sales of 1.2bn devices and revenues of $1trn, Apple would not hold the crown of the world's largest listed company. Thousands of software developers would be poorer, too: the apps they have written for the smartphone make them more than $20bn annually. Here's how some journalists saw the original iPhone. David Pogue, writing for the New York Times: But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles. Walt Mossberg, writing for the Wall Street Journal: Expectations for the iPhone have been so high that it can't possibly meet them all. It isn't for the average person who just wants a cheap, small phone for calling and texting. But, despite its network limitations, the iPhone is a whole new experience and a pleasure to use. John Gruber's first impressions of the iPhone: The iPhone is 95 percent amazing, 5 percent maddening. I'm just blown away by how nice it is -- very thoughtful UI design and outstanding engineering. It is very fun. Jason Snell, writing for Macworld: To put it more simply: The iPhone is the real deal. It's a product that has already changed the way people look at the devices they carry in their pockets and purses. After only a few days with mine, the prospect of carrying a cellphone with me wherever I go no longer fills me with begrudging acceptance, but actual excitement. Recode has some charts that show how the iPhone has grown over the years. Here's the primer: 1. The iPhone put the internet in everyone's pocket. 2. The iPhone transformed photography from a hobby to a part of everyday life. 3. The iPhone App Store changed the way software was created and distributed. 4. iPhone apps changed everything, even how people work. 5. The iPhone made Apple the world's most valuable company. Apple commentator Horace Dediu writing for Asymco: The iPhone is the best selling product ever, making Apple perhaps the best business ever. Because of the iPhone, Apple has managed to survive to a relatively old age. Not only did it build a device base well over 1 billion it engendered loyalty and satisfaction described only by superlatives. To summarize I can offer two numbers: 1. 1,162,796,000 iPhones sold (to end of March 2017). 2. $742,912,000,000 in revenues. $1 trillion will be reached in less than 18 months. In closing, security researcher Mikko Hypponen tweeted, "iPhone is 10 years old today. After 10 years, not a single serious malware case. It's not just luck; we need to congratulate Apple on this."

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WikiLeaks Dump Reveals CIA Malware For Tracking Windows Devices Via WiFi Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 05:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's creepy-tricks department:
WikiLeaks has published the documentation manual for an alleged CIA tool that can track users of Wi-Fi-capable Windows devices based on the Extended Service Set (ESS) data of nearby Wi-Fi networks. According to the tool's 42-page manual, the tool's name is ELSA. Bleeping Computer has an image embedded in its report that explains how the tool works. There are six steps that summarize the ELSA operation. Bleeping Computer reports: Step 1: CIA operative configures ELSA implant (malware) based on a target's environment. This is done using a tool called the "PATCHER wizard," which generates the ELSA payload, a simple DLL file. Step 2: CIA operative deploys ELSA implant on target's Wi-Fi-enabled Windows machine. Because ELSA is an implant (malware), the CIA operator will likely have to use other CIA hacking tools and exploits to place the malware on a victim's PC. Step 3: The implant begins collecting Wi-Fi access point information based on the schedule set by the operator. Data collection can happen even if the user is disconnected from a Wi-Fi network. Step 4: When the target user connects to the Internet, ELSA will take the collected Wi-Fi data and query a third-party database for geolocation information. Step 5: The CIA operative connects to the target's computer and fetches the ELSA log. This is done via the tools that allowed the operator to place ELSA on his system, or through other tools. Step 6: The operator decrypts the log and performs further analysis on their target. Optionally, he can use the collected WiFi data to query alternate EES geo-location databases, if he feels they provide a better accuracy.

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How Silicon Valley Pushed Coding Into American Classrooms
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '17 at 02:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department:
theodp writes: Noting that Apple CEO Tim Cook's advice for President Trump at last week's White House gathering of the Tech Titans was that "coding should be a requirement in every public school," the New York Times examines How Silicon Valley Pushed Coding Into American Classrooms (Warning: source may be paywalled). "The Apple chief's education mandate was just the latest tech company push for coding courses in schools," writes Natasha Singer. "But even without Mr. Trump's support, Silicon Valley is already advancing that agenda -- thanks largely to the marketing prowess of Code.org, an industry-backed nonprofit group." Singer continues: "In a few short years, Code.org has raised more than $60 million from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Salesforce, along with individual tech executives and foundations. It has helped to persuade two dozen states to change their education policies and laws, Mr. Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Code.org, said, while creating free introductory coding lessons, called Hour of Code, which more than 100 million students worldwide have tried. Along the way, Code.org has emerged as a new prototype for Silicon Valley education reform: a social-media-savvy entity that pushes for education policy changes, develops curriculums, offers online coding lessons and trains teachers -- touching nearly every facet of the education supply chain. The rise of Code.org coincides with a larger tech-industry push to remake American primary and secondary schools with computers and learning apps, a market estimated to reach $21 billion by 2020." Singer also mentions Apple's work to spread computer science in schools. The company launched a free app last year called Swift Playgrounds to teach basic coding in Swift, as well as a yearlong curriculum for high schools and community colleges to teach app design in Swift.

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Research Finds 1 In 3 American Cats and Dogs Are Overweight
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 11:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-hit-the-treadmill department:
After surveying 2.5 million dogs and 500,000 cats in the U.S. last year, a group of researchers found that about one in three were overweight or obese. "Looking over data from the last decade, the researchers say the new figures reveal a 169-percent increase in hefty felines and a 158-percent increase in chunky canines," reports Ars Technica. From the report: All the data is from researchers at Banfield, which runs a chain of veterinary hospitals across 42 states. The researchers surveyed animals that checked into one of Banfield's 975 locations, putting them through a five-point physical and visual exam. Animals were considered overweight if their ribs were not clearly visible or easily felt and if their waists were also hard to see. Pets were dubbed obese if their ribs couldn't be felt at all and they had no visible waist. As in humans, being overweight makes pets more prone to chronic health conditions. Also similar to humans, doctors blame pets' weight problems on overfeeding and lack of exercise. Other contributing factors include genetics and health issues such as arthritis, which can make play painful. Last, some pet owners may not be able to spot weight issues in their pets -- particularly because so many more dogs and cats are now overweight, making chubby pets the new norm. Dog breeds with the highest prevalence of obesity are Labrador Retrievers, Cairn Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels, the researchers report. For cats, the fattest breeds are Manx and Maine Coons.

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Mayors of 7,400 Cities Vow To Meet Obama's Climate Commitments
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 08:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's team-work department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Mayors of more than 7,400 cities across the world have vowed that Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord will spur greater local efforts to combat climate change. At the first meeting of a "global covenant of mayors," city leaders from across the US, Europe and elsewhere pledged to work together to keep to the commitments made by Barack Obama two years ago. Cities will devise a standard measurement of emission reductions to help them monitor their progress. They will also share ideas for delivering carbon-free transport and housing. Kassim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, told reporters he had travelled to Europe to "send a signal" that US states and cities would execute the policies Obama committed to, whether the current White House occupants agreed or not. Reed, whose administration has promised that the city of Atlanta will use 100% renewable energy by 2035, said 75% of the US population and GDP lay in urban areas, where local leaders were committed to fighting climate change. "We have the ability to still achieve between 35% and 45% CO2 emission reductions without the involvement of the national government and it is why I chose to be here at this time to send a signal to 7,400 cities around the world that now should be a time of optimism, passion and action," he said.

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London Metropolitan Police's 18,000 Windows XP PCs Is a Disaster Waiting To Happen
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-only-a-matter-of-time department:
According to MSPoweruser, the London Metropolitan Police are still using around 18,000 PCs powered by Windows XP, an operating system Microsoft stopped supporting in 2014. What's more is that the police force is upgrading its PCs from Windows XP to Windows 8.1, instead of Windows 10. Only 8 PCs at the police force are reportedly powered by the "most secure version of Windows right now." From the report: From the looks of things, the London Metropolitan Police will continue to upgrade their systems to Windows 8.1 at the moment. Windows 8.1 is still being supported by Microsoft, although the mainstream support for the OS is set to end on the 9 January 2018. Microsoft will offer extended support for the OS until 2023, which means Windows 8.1 is still a much more secure alternative for the Metropolitan Police than Windows XP. Windows 10 still would have been the best option in terms of security, however. Microsoft is releasing security updates for the OS every month, and the new advanced security features like Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection makes PCs running Windows a whole lot more secure. The spokesman of the 0Conservative London Assembly said in a statement: "The Met is working towards upgrading its software, but in its current state it's like a fish swimming in a pool of sharks. It is vital the Met is given the resources to step up its upgrade timeline before we see another cyber-attack with nationwide security implications."

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Researchers Create New Probiotic Beer That Boosts Immunity
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's health-beverages department:
randomErr writes: A new patent has been filed for a innovative brewing technique that incorporates a live strain of good bacteria into the brewing process. Researchers at NUS (National University of Singapore) have created a probiotic sour beer that may boost immunity and improve gut health. The bacteria Lactobacillus paracasei L26 is capable of neutralizing toxins and viruses and regulating the immune system. Chan Mei Zhi Alcine, of the Food Science and Technology Program at NUS said, "While good bacteria are often present in food that have been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics. Developing sufficient counts of live probiotics in beer is a challenging feat as beers contain hop acids that prevent the growth and survival of probiotics. As a believer of achieving a healthy diet through consuming probiotics, this is a natural choice for me when I picked a topic for my final-year project."

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O'Reilly No Longer Selling Individual Books, Videos Online
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
dovf writes: Just got an email from O'Reilly Media that as of today, they are no longer selling individual books or videos online -- rather, they are encouraging people to sign up for Safari. They are continuing to publish books and videos, "and you'll still be able to buy them at Amazon and other retailers." They also make it clear that we will not lose access to already-purchased content, updates to such content, etc. More details can be found in the FAQ. No mention, though, of whether the content sold at these other retailers will remain DRM-free... From the FAQ: "You can buy all of the books (ebooks and print) at shop.oreilly.com from Amazon and other digital and bricks-and-mortar retailers. We're no longer selling individual books and videos via shop.oreilly.com -- but we are definitely continuing to publish books and videos on the topics you need to know. And of course, every O'Reilly book and video (including O'Reilly conference sessions) is available instantly on Safari." The only mention of "DRM" in the FAQ is in regard to what happens to the digital content you have in your account at members.oreilly.com. According to O'Reilly, "Your DRM-free ebooks and videos are safe and sound, and you'll continue to have free lifetime access to download them anytime, anywhere."

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US Imposes Stricter Security Screenings At Foreign Airports, But Won't Expand Laptop Ban Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 03:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's preventative-measures department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The United States will require foreign airports to implement stricter security practices and screenings for any passengers headed to the U.S. John Kelly, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, announced today that the new measures were being put in place. Though he didn't go into specifics, Kelly said the new requirements would include further screenings of electronics, more thorough vetting of passengers, and measures meant to stop "insider attacks." The U.S. is also encouraging the use of more bomb-detecting dogs, "advanced checkpoint screening technology," and the addition of "preclearance" locations, which station U.S. customs officers overseas, allowing them to screen passengers before boarding instead of after they land. One thing Kelly didn't announce was an expansion of the tablet and laptop ban, which is currently in effect on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. If airports don't comply with the new screening rules, Kelly said, they may be subject to additional electronics bans. But for the time being, it sounds like the ban will be kept to those 10 locations. According to Reuters, airlines have 21 days to comply with the new rules for explosives screenings and four months to comply with everything else.

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Equal Rights Center Sues Uber For Denying Equal Access To People Who Use Wheelchairs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '17 at 03:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unequal-access department:
The Equal Rights Center is suing Uber, alleging that the company has chosen not to include wheelchair-accessible cars as an option in its standard UberX fleet of vehicles, and excludes people who use wheelchairs in Washington, D.C. According to the lawsuit, Uber is in violation of Title 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the D.C. Human Rights Act. TechCrunch reports: After conducting its own investigation of Uber's services for people in wheelchairs, the ERC found that passengers had to wait an average of eight times longer for an accessible car to arrive. They also had to pay twice as much in fares, according to the ERC's study. Ultimately, the ERC wants Uber to integrate wheelchair accessible cars into its UberX fleet so that people who use wheelchairs don't have to wait longer and pay more to use the car service. Uber said in a statement provided to TechCrunch: "We take this issue seriously and are committed to continued work with the District, our partners, and stakeholders toward expanding transportation options and freedom of movement for all residents throughout the region."

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