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Google Fiber Is Now a Fiber and Wireless ISP
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-in-one department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Google Fiber today said it has completed its acquisition of Webpass, a wireless Internet service provider that will figure prominently into its plans for deployment of high-speed Internet. But the Alphabet division is not giving up on fiber, saying it will use both wireless and fiber networks to compete against cable companies and telcos. Google Fiber revealed its plan to buy Webpass in June, and the company said in an announcement today that Webpass "is now officially part of the Google Fiber family." The Webpass site has been updated to call the service "Webpass from Google Fiber." Webpass uses point-to-point wireless technology that's useful for connecting businesses and multi-unit residential buildings in densely populated areas. It hasn't been financially feasible for Webpass to bring its high-speed network to single-family homes, so it can't fully replace Google Fiber's wired Internet service. "[O]ur strategy going forward will be a hybrid approach with wireless playing an integral part," Google Fiber President Dennis Kish wrote. "Going forward, Webpass will continue to grow and scale their business with point-to-point wireless technology, including expanding into new cities. And for our part, Google Fiber will continue to build out our portfolio of wireless and fiber technologies, to bring super fast Internet to more people, faster." Existing Webpass customers will see no change to their service, he wrote. Webpass's residential service offers speeds of up to 1Gbps for $60 a month in San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, Chicago, and Boston. There's no word yet on where Webpass will deploy next.

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'If KickassTorrents is a Criminal Operation, Google Should Start Worrying'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 05:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's seeking-clarification department:
An anonymous reader writes: Polish authorities have extended the arrest of Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of KickassTorrents. His defense team is currently preparing to fight the U.S. extradition request, which will start next month. According to Artem's U.S. lawyer, operating a torrent site is not a criminal offense. "In fact, in my opinion operating an index search engine cannot constitute a crime in the United States because secondary infringement is not criminalized under US law. If KickassTorrents is a criminal operation, then Google should start worrying," Gurvits says

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The Microsoft Band Is Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 03:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
Microsoft's fitness-band line of devices have not be very well adopted over the years. Last month it was reported that Microsoft will be killing off the Lumia brand in favor of a new Surface Phone brand. Now, it appears the company is discontinuing its Band devices, as it has removed all references to them from its Microsoft Store listing online. Mary Jo Foley writes via ZDNet: A tipster who asked not to be named showed me a cached version of the Microsoft Online Store listing from yesterday, October 2, which included Band devices; today, October 3, references to the Band devices are gone from the company's Store sites. Microsoft also removed the Band software development kit (SDK) today, which isn't surprising given it's no longer selling Band 2 devices. Microsoft is believed to have disbanded the software team that was looking to bring Windows 10 to the Band a couple months ago. I've gotten various tips that at least some of the Band hardware team members have dispersed, too, with some moving to other Microsoft hardware teams inside the company. Even though sources of mine have said Microsoft is planning to phase out its fitness band devices and to have no plans to roll out a Band 3 device any time soon (or likely, ever), company officials still haven't completely conceded that it's the end of the line for Band. I asked again today and have yet to get an updated statement from the company regarding when and why Band devices were removed from Microsoft's online stores. A spokesperson sent me the following statement: "We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year. We remain committed to supporting our Microsoft Band 2 customers through Microsoft Stores and our customer support channels and will continue to invest in the Microsoft Health platform, which is open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices."

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FBI Agreed To Destroy Laptops of Clinton Aides With Immunity Deal, Sources Say
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 03:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's destroyed-evidence department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from Fox News: Immunity deals for two top Hillary Clinton aides included a side arrangement obliging the FBI to destroy their laptops after reviewing the devices, House Judiciary Committee sources told Fox News on Monday. Sources said the arrangement with former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson also limited the search to no later than Jan. 31, 2015. This meant investigators could not review documents for the period after the email server became public -- in turn preventing the bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice, sources said. The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee fired off a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking why the DOJ and FBI agreed to the restrictive terms, including that the FBI would destroy the laptops after finishing the search. The immunity deals for Mills and Samuelson, made as part of the FBI's probe into Clinton's use of a private email server when she served as secretary of state, apparently included a series of "side agreements" that were negotiated by Samuelson and Mills' attorney Beth Wilkinson. The side deals were agreed to on June 10, less than a month before FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency would recommend no charges be brought against Clinton or her staff. Judiciary Committee aids told FoxNews.com that the destruction of the laptops is particularly troubling as it means that the computers could not be used as evidence in future legal proceedings, should new information or circumstances arise.

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Amazon Bans Incentivized Reviews Tied To Free Or Discounted Products
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 02:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-thumbs-up department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Amazon is making a significant change to its Community Guidelines, announced today, which will eliminate any incentivized reviews, except for those that emerge from within its own Amazon Vine program. This program allows Amazon -- not the seller or vendor -- to identify trusted reviewers, and has a number of controls in place in order to keep bias out of the review process. Amazon has historically prohibited compensation for reviews -- even going so far as to sue those businesses who pay for fake reviews, as well as the individuals who write them, in an effort to make its review and rating system fairer and more helpful to online shoppers. However, it has allowed businesses to offer products to customers in exchange for their "honest" review. The only condition was that those reviewers would have to disclose their affiliation with the business in question in the text of their review. Reviewers were generally offered the product for free or at a discounted price, in exchange for their review. Although, in theory, these reviewers could write their true opinion on the product -- positive or negative -- these incentivized reviews have tended to be overwhelmingly biased in favor of the product being rated. Amazon says that, going forward, the only incentivized reviews will be those from Amazon Vine. These don't work the same way, however. For starters, Amazon selects who will be allowed to review products, and it does so mainly to boost the review count on new or pre-release products that haven't yet generated enough sales to have a large number of organic reviews. Vine reviewers are invited to join the program only after having written a number of reviews voted as "helpful" by other customers, and tend to have expertise in a specific product category. In addition, vendors don't have any contact with Vine reviewers, nor do they get to influence which reviewers will receive their products, which are submitted directly to Amazon for distribution. These changes will apply to all product categories other than books, as Amazon has always allowed advance copies of books to be distributed, the retailer notes.

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Sandpoint Town Square Home To First Public Solar Roadways Panel Installation
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 02:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's go-towards-to-the-light department:
Two years after the Idaho-based company Solar Roadways exceeded its crowdfunding goal of $1 million for constructing roads that gather solar power, the company has completed its first public installation in the City of Sandpoint, Idaho, where there are 30 tiles currently installed. New Atlas reports: The 150 sq ft (14 sq m) installation in Sandpoint's Jeff Jones Town Square is made up of 30 SR3 panels. Where Solar Roadways' second generation prototype was a 36-watt panel, the SR3 is the same size but is rated at 48 W, made possible by replacing the panel mounting holes with edge connectors. The new units each include four heating elements to help keep the installation free of snow and ice and over 300 brighter, daylight readable LEDs with over 16 million available colors. Though now laid down and switched on, not everything went exactly to plan with the installation. Manufacturing difficulties meant that some of the SR3 panels were not fully operational at the time of the public reveal. The working units were placed in the center of the grid and surrounded by dead panels. Solar Roadways aims to swap out the non-working units as soon as possible. Sandpoint officials plan to allow the public to interact with and modify the light show soon, and future plans for the town square include free public Wi-Fi and the roll out of electric vehicle charging stations. You can view the live stream of the Solar Roadways installation here.

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Apple To Make macOS Sierra Available As Automatic Download Beginning Today
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 01:05 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's let-me-download-it-for-you department:
Remember how Microsoft was pushing Windows 10 updates to your computers? That surely made a lot of people furious. Today, Apple told The Loop that it will also begin automatic download of its latest desktop operating system update, macOS Sierra on Macs that are compatible with the new software -- provided, automatic downloads are switched on and the Mac has enough storage space. From the report: t's important to note that this is not an automatic installer -- this process will only download the update in the background, and then alert you that it is available to install. You can choose to install it when its convenient. You can also choose to ignore the update. [...] Of course, you can manually delete the download if you don't wish to upgrade, and you can choose to manually download the update from the App Store at any time.

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Ubuntu 16.04 Available in Latest Insider Update To Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 11:35 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's choice-is-yours department:
The latest Windows 10 Insider preview -- build 14936 -- features Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. When a user enables the 'Bash on Ubuntu on Windows' feature for the first time, OMGUbuntu reports, Windows 10 now installs an Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) image instead of Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr). From the report: The updated version of Ubuntu in the WSL only affects new instances, i.e., those created by running lxrun.exe /install or on the very first run of the bash.exe setup. It is possible to upgrade WSL instances from Ubuntu 14.04 to Ubuntu 16.04 manually by running the do-release-upgrade command. Other changes in the WSL in Build 14936 include support for chroot system call, epoll support for /dev/null and the ability for bash -c to redirect to a file.

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In Canada's North, a Single Satellite Outage Means Losing Basic Services
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 11:35 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
Jordan Pearson, writing for Motherboard: Around 5 PM Eastern time on Sunday, a satellite providing internet services to most of North America went offline due to a technical glitch, the CBC reported. If you live the vast majority of communities in southern Canada or the US, you probably didn't notice. But in some parts of Canada's sparsely populated North, losing just one satellite means giving up basic services like access to ATMs or a flight out of town. In other words, life went offline before the satellite's function was restored on Monday afternoon. The satellite in question was Ottawa-based Telesat's Anik F2, which first went online in 2004 and has a coverage area spanning Canada's northernmost tip down to the southern US. Most places in North America don't totally depend on Anik F2 for an internet connection, and have landlines as well as other satellites -- even some of Telesat's -- to fall back on if one piece of equipment goes offline. But Canada's northern communities are desperately lacking in internet infrastructure, a situation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to remedy. Some places depend on Anik F2's connection for everything. There is no backup.

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Google, Lagging Amazon, Races Across the Threshold Into the Home
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 10:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's google-mania department:
Google will unveil its answer to Amazon's Echo at an event on Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The Google Home device, which looks like an "air freshener," is expected to go on sale later this month (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source), the publication added. The Google Home is powered by what Google calls Assistant, which uses "artificial intelligence" to understand what users are saying and respond conversationally with the best answers. "Amazon is the accidental winner here," Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business at New York University, told the paper. "Amazon got there first, which is superimpressive, and it has been a huge hit." From the report: Google is a leader in natural language processing -- the ability to turn spoken words into terms that computers can digest -- and its search engine is the starting point for how most people get answers on the internet. In fact, the company says 20 percent of Google searches on mobile phones are done by voice. So why didn't Google create an Echo-like device before Amazon? In part, Google was hindered by a balkanized structure that prevented different groups within the company from working together, according to four current and former employees. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., had a large team working on voice search but its focus was on an app for smartphones. The company had a separate team working on the Android operating system, which runs on smartphones, tablets and internet-connected home devices, and they were building virtual assistant technology into mobile devices.Google is also expected to launch two new smartphones, expected to be called Pixel and Pixel XL. Earlier today, both the phones showed up on a retailer's website, revealing their specifications. The Guardian reports: The leaked images show two sizes of the phone -- a regular and "XL" version, USB-C fast charging, a new interface, video calling and the Google Assistant, which first launched within the company's Allo messaging app. Both devices will have 32GB or 128GB of storage, 4GB of RAM, Qualcomm's latest 821 processor, AMOLED screens, fingerprint scanners on the back, an eight-megapixel selfie camera and a 12-megapixel camera on the back with optical image stabilisation, according to the smartphone retailers listings which have since been removed.

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Facebook Launches Marketplace On App, Takes On eBay and Craigslist
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 10:12 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's omnipresence department:
Facebook today also announced the launch of "Marketplace," allowing users to buy and sell items on the social media platform. The company says more than 450 million people already visit buying and selling groups on Facebook each month. The new service will be available to people over 18 years of age in the United States, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand on Facebook's iPhone and Android over the coming days. BetaNews adds: The primary aim of Facebook Marketplace is to keep things as simple as possible. Both listing and searching for items is incredibly easy, and the focus is on putting would-be buyers in contact with sellers as close by as possible. The new feature sits alongside the many existing pages that have been set up to facilitate the buying and selling of goods, and Facebook has made it possible to post items to the Marketplace and individual pages simultaneously to help maximize your audience.

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Samsung Says It's Taking Some Time Off For Thinking and Waiting To See How the VR Market Shapes Up
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 08:55 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's time-out department:
Samsung says it is taking some time off to think before creating the next-generation VR headsets. The company said it wants to see the direction the market takes over the next few months and years. The company added that it is satisfied with the progress it has made in the mobile VR space (rightfully so, Samsung is among the frontrunners in VR tech), but it isn't happy with the state of display technology that goes along with the headsets. One solution the company sees right now is 10K displays, but that alone would require $5-10 billion commitment from Samsung. From an article on XDA: Samsung believes display technology needs to advance to at least twice the pixel density that we have in smartphones today. So it looks like the company is waiting and seeing how the experience of a standalone VR headset will be with Ultra HD display panels. Samsung's President & Chief Strategy Officer, Young Sohn, says this could be an incentive for the company to advance the technology faster, but it would cost them at least $5 to $10 billion to do so and develop a 10K mobile display.

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Source Code For IoT Botnet 'Mirai' Which Took Down Krebs On Security Website With DDoS Attack Released
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 08:55 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
As if the state of security wasn't already a headache worldwide, we now may have one more reason to worry about: a hacker has made available the source code that could allow more people to wage the kinds of extraordinary large assaults that recently knocked security news site KrebsOnSecurity offline. Brian Krebs reports:The source code that powers the "Internet of Things" (IoT) botnet responsible for launching the historically large distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against KrebsOnSecurity last month has been publicly released, virtually guaranteeing that the Internet will soon be flooded with attacks from many new botnets powered by insecure routers, IP cameras, digital video recorders and other easily hackable devices. The leak of the source code was announced Friday on the English-language hacking community Hackforums. The malware, dubbed "Mirai," spreads to vulnerable devices by continuously scanning the Internet for IoT systems protected by factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords. Vulnerable devices are then seeded with malicious software that turns them into "bots," forcing them to report to a central control server that can be used as a staging ground for launching powerful DDoS attacks designed to knock Web sites offline. The Hackforums user who released the code, using the nickname "Anna-senpai," told forum members the source code was being released in response to increased scrutiny from the security industry.

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Tim Cook Defends Apple's Approach To Security: 'Encryption is Inherently Great'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 07:25 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department:
Apple CEO Tim Cook has once again defended his company's hardline approach to security. At Utah Tech Tour event while taking questions from the audience, Cook said, (via BusinessInsider):"This is one of the biggest issues that we face. Encryption is what makes the public safe. As you know, there are people kept alive because the grid is up. If our grid goes down, if there was a grid attack, the public's safety is at risk" -- hence the need for encryption to protect it. "You can imagine defence systems need encryption, because there are a few bad actors in the world who might like to attack those. [...] Some people have tried to make it out to be bad," the chief executive told the audience at the Utah question-and-answer session. "Encryption is inherently great, and we would not be a safe society without it. So this is an area that is very, very important for us... as you can tell from our actions earlier this year, we throw all of ourselves into this." he added. "We're very much standing on principle here."

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Microsoft Expands Azure Data Centers To France, Launches Trust Offensive vs AWS, Google
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 07:25 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's 'good-will'-cloud-game department:
Microsoft announced on Monday that it plans to build its first Azure data center in France this year as part of its $3 billion investment for building cloud services in Europe. The company today also launched a new publication dubbed, Cloud for Global Good with no fewer than 78 public policy recommendations in 15 categories such as data protection and accessibility issues. TechCrunch adds:The new expansion, investment and "trust" initiative were revealed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was speaking at an event in Dublin, Ireland. He said that the expansion would mean that Microsoft covers "more regions than any other cloud provider... In the last year the capacity has more than doubled." As a measure of how Microsoft and Amazon are intent on levelling each other on service availability right now, the news of the French data center comes one month after Amazon announced that it would also be building a data center in France. Nadella, of course, did not mention AWS by name but that is the big elephant in the room for Microsoft. Nadella said today that Microsoft has data centers covering 30 regions across the globe, "more regions than any other cloud provider," with the European footprint including Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany.An anonymous reader writes: Satya Nadella, currently on a whirlwind tour of Europe, says that Microsoft has now invested over $3 billion in cloud infrastructure in Europe, and will extend that to governance-friendly French data centers in 2017. The company has also released a new publication calling for 78 policy reviews in 15 sectors of Cloud, including an overhaul of the verbose and opaque way that end-users are required to click legal agreements over data, some of which are specious and others of which are critical: "Because data is now collected and used in so many different ways, people can be overwhelmed if constantly presented with privacy choices and requests to consent to data collection. Requiring express consent in every situation could also make it difficult to understand which situations raise serious privacy implications and which are trivial."

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Facebook Releases Messenger Lite For People On Slower Networks and With Old and Basic Android Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 07:25 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-things department:
Facebook has launched a slimmed-down version of its popular Messenger app in an effort to appeal to its users in countries with slower internet access. The app is called Messenger Lite, and it is also aimed at users who have basic Android smartphones. From a CNET article: Facebook Messenger Lite takes up a much smaller amount of a phone's storage --just 10 megabytes -- than the full-fat app that most users have installed on their phones, and it has been pared back so that it runs nippily over slower than average network speeds. It is the companion app to Facebook Lite, a stripped-down version of the social network, also for old Android phones, launched in 2015. The app's launch is one cog in the wheel of Facebook's strategy to make the social network and the internet as a whole more accessible to users in the developing world. One of Facebook's stated aims is to bring the next 3 billion people online and it has a number of initiatives to that end, including internet.org, Free Basics and its Lite apps.

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Vint Cerf Warns About the Perishability Of Human Knowledge
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 04:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's data-dumped department:
Vint Cerf "worries about the decreasing longevity of our media, and, thus, about our ability as a civilization to self-document -- to have a historical record that one day far in the future might be remarked upon and learned from." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Motherboard:

Magnetic films do not quite have the staying power as clay tablets. Clay tablets are more resilient than papyrus manuscripts are more resilient than parchment are more resilient than printed photographs are more resilient than digital photographs. At stake, according to Cerf, is "the possibility that the centuries well before ours will be better known than ours will be unless we are persistent about preserving digital content.

"The earlier media seem to have a kind of timeless longevity while modern media from the 1800s forward seem to have shrinking lifetimes. Just as the monks and Muslims of the Middle Ages preserved content by copying into new media, won't we need to do the same for our modern content...? Unless we face this challenge in a direct way, the truly impressive knowledge we have collectively produced in the past 100 years or so may simply evaporate with time."

He points out that much of this century's digital documents can't be viewed without software. Do we need to start carving our web pages into clay tablets?

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India Ratifies The Paris Climate Change Agreement
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '16 at 12:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's world's-second-largest-population department:
"India just ratified the Paris climate deal -- bringing it extremely close to taking effect," reports the Washington Post, calling India the world's fourth-largest producer of greenhouse gas. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes NPR's update on the Paris agreement:
It will not become binding until it's ratified by 55 countries that contribute a total of at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The 55-country requirement has already been fulfilled -- India is No. 62 -- but...the current signatories account for about 52 percent of global greenhouse emissions, according to a statement released by the U.N. on Sunday.

India currently produces about 4.5 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions [and] has set a goal of producing 40 percent of its electricity with non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. India also promised to plant or preserve enough tree cover to act as a sink for at least 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and has called on the U.S. and other fully developed countries to share technologies that help decrease emissions.

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Linus Torvalds Officially Announces the Release of Linux Kernel 4.8
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '16 at 08:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's kernel-of-wisdom department:
Slashdot reader prisoninmate brings news from Softpedia:

Today, Linus Torvalds proudly announced the release and availability for download of the Linux 4.8 kernel branch, which is now the latest stable and most advanced one. Linux kernel 4.8 has been in development for the past two months, during which it received no less than eight Release Candidate testing versions that early adopters were able to compile and install on their GNU/Linux operating system to test various hardware components or simply report bugs...
A lot of things have been fixed since last week's RC8 milestone, among which we can mention lots of updated drivers, in particular for GPU, networking, and Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module (NVDIMM), a bunch of improvements to the ARM, MIPS, SPARC, and x86 hardware architectures, updates to the networking stack, as well as to a few filesystem, and some minor changes to cgroup and vm.

The kernel now supports the Raspberry Pi 3 SoC as well as the Microsoft Surface 3 touchscreen.

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WikiLeaks' Big Tuesday Announcement Will Now Take Place Via Video
Posted by News Fetcher on October 02 '16 at 07:03 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's on-again-off-again department:
Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike writes that media outlets including Fox News were reporting WikiLeaks cancelled a big announcement scheduled for Tuesday and expected to reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton. But they were all citing a tweet from NBC as their source. "Due to security concerns at the Ecuadorian Embassy, Julian Assange's balcony announcement on Tues has been cancelled," tweeted NBC producer Jesse Rodriguez -- which was apparently taken to mean the announcement had been cancelled altogether.

But six hours ago, citing WikiLeaks, that same producer reported that Assange "will appear via video link" at a Tuesday press conference in Berlin marking the 10th anniversary of WikiLeaks. While it's possible this "appearance" will be different than the originally scheduled "announcement," it also seems very possible that the NBC producer's tweets were just misunderstood.

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