By BeauHD from Slashdot's happy-hacking department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Friday, the Librarian of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office renewed several key exemptions (and added a few new ones) to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This go round, they've extended some essential exemptions ensuring that computer security researchers won't be treated like nefarious criminals for their contributions to society. As part of an effort to keep the DMCA timely, Congress included a so-called "safety valve" dubbed the Section 1201 triennial review process that, every three years, mandates that activists and concerned citizens beg the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to craft explicit exemptions from the law to ensure routine behavior won't be criminalized.
The exemptions still have some caveats. Specifically, the Copyright Office ruling only applies to "use exemptions," not "tools exemptions" -- meaning security researchers still can't release things like pen-testing tools that bypass DRM, or even publish technical papers exploring how to bypass bootloaders or other Trusted Platform Modules to test the security of the systems behind them. But other modest changes to the rules were incredibly helpful, notes Blake Reid, Associate Clinical Professor at Colorado Law. Specifically, the new exemption removes a "device limitation" from previous exemptions that potentially limited researchers to investigating software only on "consumer" devices; hindering their ability to investigate security vulnerabilities in things like the cryptographic hardware used in banking applications, networking equipment, and industrial control systems. The new exemption also modified the "controlled environment limitation" from the previous exemption, which was often read to imply that researchers had to conduct their work in a formal laboratory, potentially hindering research into things like integrated building systems like internet-connected HVAC systems.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
MojoKid writes: AMD launched its line of second generation Ryzen Threadripper CPUs over the summer, but the company offered 16-core and 32-core versions of it only at the time. Today however, the company began shipping 12-core and 24-core versions of the high-end desktop and workstation chips, dubbed Ryzen Threadripper 2920X and 2970WX, respectively. All 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper processors feature an enhanced boost algorithm that came with AMD's Zen+ architecture that is more opportunistic and can boost more cores, more often. They also offer higher-clocks, lower-latency, and are somewhat more tolerant of higher memory speeds. All of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper processors feature 512K of L2 cache per core (6MB total on the 2920X and 12MB on the 2970WX), quad-channel memory controllers (2+2), and are outfitted with 64 integrated PCI Express Gen 3 lanes. The new Ryzen Threadripper 2920X has a 180W TDP, while the 2970WX has a beefier 250W TDP. In highly threaded workloads, the Threadripper 2920X outpaces a far more expensive 10-core Intel Core i9-7900X, while the 24-core / 48-thread Threadripper 2970WX is the second most powerful desktop processor money can buy right now. It's faster than Intel's flagship Core i9-7980XE, and trailed only AMD's own 32-core Threadripper 2990WX. Pricing for the new chips falls in at $649 for the 12-core 2920X and $1299 for the 24-core Threadripper 2970WX.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's change-of-heart department
According to a report from Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel officially made Kristen O'Hara, former longtime WarnerMedia/Time Warner exec, the chief business officer of Snap, but changed his mind two days later. Spiegel decided to hire Jeremi Gorman, who oversaw ad sales at Amazon, instead. "The switch was jarring for Snap's sales division, as O'Hara was well-liked," Bloomberg reports. "Now she's gone." From the report: In a statement to employees Monday, O'Hara told colleagues she is leaving due to changes in team structure. Even if Gorman works well in the role, the incident has eroded trust in Spiegel's decision-making as he is working to improve his leadership skills, and as Snap is depending on new managers to help boost the company's performance. Snap confirmed O'Hara's departure and declined to comment on the circumstances. In an email to the business solutions team on Monday, provided by Snap, Spiegel praised her leadership. Spiegel wrote: "In her time here, Kristen had an immediate and positive impact on the company. She had a deep understanding of our business from the outset and forged strong client relationships that we will continue to build upon. I will miss the leadership and enthusiasm she brought to the organization and wish her only continued success. Jeremi joins us with proven expertise and talent that will make our platform even better for our partners, and I am excited to have her on our team."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's false-claims department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Trump FCC has declared towns and cities that vote to build their own broadband networks an "ominous threat to the First Amendment." The claims were made last week during a speech given at the telecom-funded Media Institute by FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly. In his speech, O'Rielly insinuated, without evidence, that community owned and operated broadband networks would naturally result in local governments aggressively limiting American free speech rights. "I would be remiss if my address omitted a discussion of a lesser-known, but particularly ominous, threat to the First Amendment in the age of the Internet: state-owned and operated broadband networks," claimed O'Rielly.
In his speech, O'Rielly highlighted efforts by the last FCC, led by former boss Tom Wheeler, to encourage such community-run broadband networks as a creative solution to private sector failure. O'Rielly subsequently tried to claim, without evidence, that encouraging such networks would somehow result in government attempts to censor public opinion. "Municipalities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, have been notorious for their use of speech codes in the terms of service of state-owned networks, prohibiting users from transmitting content that falls into amorphous categories like 'hateful' or "threatening," O'Rielly claimed. The closest O'Rielly gets to supporting evidence appears to be a 2015 white paper written by Professor Enrique Armijo for the ISP-funded Free State Foundation. That paper similarly alleges that standard telecom sector language intended to police "threatening, abusive or hateful" language somehow implies community-run ISPs are more likely to curtail user speech. But municipal broadband experts say the argument has no basis in fact.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-synergy department
At the end of August, Valve announced a new version of Steam Play for Linux that included Proton, a WINE fork that made many Windows games, including more recent ones ,such as Witcher 3, Dark Souls 3 and Dishonored, playable on Linux. Just two months later, ProtonDB says there are over 2,600 Windows games that users can play on Linux, and the number is rapidly growing daily. From a report: When Valve Software launched Steam Play with Proton, it made it easier for gamers to play Windows games that hadn't yet been ported to Linux with the click of a button. Not all games may run perfectly on Linux, but that's also often the case with Windows 10, which can not play older games as well as previous versions of Windows did, even under Compatibility Mode. In only two months, the database of games that work with Proton has increased to over 2,600 -- more than half of the 5,000 Linux-native games that can be obtained through the Steam store.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department
Wenyao Xu and Feng Lin, assistant professors of Computer Science and Engineering at University at Buffalo and The State University of New York, write: Our team has been working with collaborators at other institutions for years, and has invented a new type of biometric that is both uniquely tied to a single human being and can be reset if needed. When a person looks at a photograph or hears a piece of music, her brain responds in ways that researchers or medical professionals can measure with electrical sensors placed on her scalp. We have discovered that every person's brain responds differently to an external stimulus, so even if two people look at the same photograph, readings of their brain activity will be different. This process is automatic and unconscious, so a person can't control what brain response happens. And every time a person sees a photo of a particular celebrity, their brain reacts the same way -- though differently from everyone else's. We realized that this presents an opportunity for a unique combination that can serve as what we call a "brain password." It's not just a physical attribute of their body, like a fingerprint or the pattern of blood vessels in their retina. Instead, it's a mix of the person's unique biological brain structure and their involuntary memory that determines how it responds to a particular stimulus.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's major-reforms department
In a series of rulings, the Library of Congress has carved out a number of exemptions that will help the movement to archive and preserve video games. From a report: In an 85-page ruling [PDF] that covered everything from electronic aircraft controls to farm equipment diagnostic software, the Librarian of Congress carved out fair use exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for video games and software in general. These exemptions will make it easier for archivists to save historic video games and for museums to share that cultural history with the public. "The Acting Register found that the record supported granting an expansion in the relatively discrete circumstances where a preservation institution legally possesses a copy of a video game's server code and the game's local code," the Librarian of Congress said. "In such circumstances, the preservation activities described by proponents are likely to be fair uses." These rules are definitely good news for single-player games. "The big change for single-player games happened during the last DMCA review process in 2015, when the Copyright Office decided that museums and archives could break the online authentication for single-player titles that were just phoning home to a server for copy protection reasons," Phil Salvador -- a Washington, DC-area librarian and archivist who runs The Obscuritory, a site that focuses on discussing and preserving obscure, old game -- told Motherboard. That 2015 ruling was due to expire this year, but thanks to pressure from activists it was renewed today instead.Read Replies (0)