By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department
The EU's long-promised digital media portability rules have taken effect as of April 1st, letting residents access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other paid digital media services in other member countries as if they were still at home. From a report: The European Commission's 'digital single market strategy,' which last year claimed victory over mobile roaming charges, has now lead to it passing the 'portability regulation,' which will allow users around the EU to use region locked services more freely while travelling abroad. Under currently active rules, what content is available in a certain territory is based on the specific local rights that a provider has secured. The new rules allow for what Phil Sherrell, head of international media, entertainment and sport for international law firm Bird and Bird, calls "copyright fiction," allowing the normal rules to be bent temporarily while a user is travelling. The regulation was originally passed in June 2017, but the nine-month period given to rights holders and service providers to prepare is about to expire, and thereby making the rules enforceable. From today, content providers, whether their products are videos, music, games, live sport or e-books, will use their subscribers' details to validate their home country, and let them access all the usual content and services available in that location all around the Union.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's looking-forward department
To mark Red Hat's 25th anniversary, TechCrunch spoke with the company's CEO Jim Whitehurst to talk about the past, present and future of the company, and open-source software in general. An excerpt: "Ten years ago, open source at the time was really focused on offering viable alternatives to traditional software," he told me. "We were selling layers of technology to replace existing technology. [...] At the time, it was open source showing that we can build open-source tech at lower cost. The value proposition was that it was cheaper." At the time, he argues, the market was about replacing Windows with Linux or IBM's WebSphere with JBoss. And that defined Red Hat's role in the ecosystem, too, which was less about technological information than about packaging. "For Red Hat, we started off taking these open-source projects and making them usable for traditional enterprises," said Whitehurst. About five or six ago, something changed, though. Large corporations, including Google and Facebook, started open sourcing their own projects because they didn't look at some of the infrastructure technologies they opened up as competitive advantages. Instead, having them out in the open allowed them to profit from the ecosystems that formed around that. "The biggest part is it's not just Google and Facebook finding religion," said Whitehurst. "The social tech around open source made it easy to make projects happen. Companies got credit for that." He also noted that developers now look at their open-source contributions as part of their resume. With an increasingly mobile workforce that regularly moves between jobs, companies that want to compete for talent are almost forced to open source at least some of the technologies that don't give them a competitive advantage.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's hit-back department
A week after Apple CEO Cook said "some well-crafted regulation is necessary " in light of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and that Apple was better off than Facebook because it doesn't sell user data to advertisers, Facebook's CEO has struck back. In an interview published on Monday, he said: "You know, I find that argument, that if you're not paying that somehow we can't care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth. The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can't afford to pay. And therefore, as with a lot of media, having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people . . . I don't at all think that means that we don't care about people. To the contrary, I think it's important that we don't all get Stockholm syndrome, and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you. Because that sounds ridiculous to me."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's talking-to-a-pioneer department
Christine Peterson is a long-time futurist who co-founded the nanotech advocacy group the Foresight Institute in 1986. One of her favorite tasks has been contacting the winners of the institute's annual Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, but she also coined the term "Open Source software" for that famous promotion strategy meeting in 1998. Now Christine's agreed to answer questions from Slashdot readers. We'll pick the very best questions and forward them along for answers.
Interestingly, Christine was also on the Editorial Advisory Board of NASA's Nanotech Briefs, and on the state of California's nanotechnology task force. Her tech talks at conferences include "Life Extension for Geeks" at Gnomedex and "Preparing for Bizarreness: Open Source Physical Security" at the 2007 Singularity Summit. Another talk argues that the nanotech revolution will be like the information revolution, except that "Instead of with bits, we should do it with atoms," allowing molecule-sized machines that can kill cancer and repair DNA. Her most recent publication is "Cyber, Nano, and AGI RIsks: Decentralized Approaches to Reducing Risks." Christine graduated from MIT with a bachelors in chemistry.
So leave your best questions in the comments. (Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per comment.) We'll pick the very best questions and forward them along for answers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's inside-story department
An anonymous reader writes: A software bug in a telecom provider's phone number blacklisting system caused the largest telephony outage in US history, according to a report released by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the start of the month. The telco is Level 3, now part of CenturyLink, and the outage took place on October 4, 2016. According to the FCC's investigation, the outage began after a Level 3 employee entered phone numbers suspected of malicious activity in the company's network management software. The employee wanted to block incoming phone calls from these numbers and had entered each number in fields provided by the software's GUI. The problem arose when the Level 3 technician left a field empty, without entering a number. Unbeknownst to the employee, the buggy software didn't ignore the empty field, like most software does, but instead viewed the empty space as a "wildcard" character. As soon as the technician submitted his input, Level 3's network began blocking all incoming and outgoing telephone calls — over 111 million in total.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's faith-in-humanity-restored department
The New York Times has a feature story about two incredible teenagers who work behind the scenes to improve all of the Wikipedia articles about the New York Subway system. An excerpt: Ryan Ng is a 19-year-old freshman at Baruch College in Manhattan. He studies finance, lives at home with his parents in Queens and is a member of the college's "League of Legends" video game club. But in the somewhat fanatical world of Wikipedia supercontributors, he is best known by his alias, Epicgenius. As Epicgenius, Mr. Ng has made over 180,000 edits to Wikipedia and created more than 17,000 pages for the site. Most of his work is in the service of his particular fixation: updating the articles associated with all 472 stations of the New York Subway system. "Sometimes I edit before I do homework, which is not a good thing," Mr. Ng said. But he finds his hobby satisfying. "When I improve an article, I feel like I've accomplished something. I see my editing as more of a mission." Mr. Ng discovered Wikipedia editing when he was 13. He recalled wanting to collaborate on the page for "Gangnam Style," the hugely popular 2012 hit by the South Korean performer Psy. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Ng decided to specialize in public transit, which he considered a somewhat more useful pursuit. He knows his hobby can become obsessive because it's happened before.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares an Associated Press report: It may be a while before President Donald Trump gets another chance at creating a new, "merit-based" immigration system, a keystone of his four-part plan that Congress rejected last month. In the meantime, his administration is busy making it harder, not easier, for skilled migrants to come work in the United States. The State Department has ended an Obama-era program to grant visas to foreign entrepreneurs who want to start companies in the United States. It is more aggressively scrutinizing visas to skilled workers from other countries. And it is contemplating ending a provision that allows spouses of those skilled workers to be employed in the U.S. The administration and its backers contend it's trying to fix flaws in the existing, employer-centric skilled immigration system while advocating for a complete overhaul of America's immigration system. "The stuff that they're actually doing is not so much restricting skilled immigration as enforcing the law," said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports reducing immigration. "They're rolling back some of the extralegal measures that other administrations have taken." A primary avenue for skilled immigrants to enter the United States is the H1B visa for specialty workers, which is heavily used by the technology industry. About 85,000 visas are issued annually in a lottery system. Some critics argue they are a way for companies to avoid hiring U.S. citizens; Trump himself has said H1B recipients shouldn't even be considered skilled. Further reading: On Easter Sunday, Trump threatens to end DACA and 'stop' NAFTA.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department
Hudson's Bay said on Sunday that data from card payments in some of its Saks and Lord & Taylor stores in North America had been compromised. From a report: A well-known ring of cybercriminals has obtained more than five million credit and debit card numbers from customers of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, according to a cybersecurity research firm that specializes in tracking stolen financial data. The data, the firm said, appears to have been stolen using software that was implanted into the cash register systems at the stores and that siphoned card numbers until last month. The Hudson's Bay Company, the Canadian corporation that owns both retail chains, confirmed on Sunday that a breach had occurred. "We have become aware of a data security issue involving customer payment card data at certain Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and Lord & Taylor stores in North America," the company said in a statement. "We have identified the issue, and have taken steps to contain it. Once we have more clarity around the facts, we will notify our customers quickly and will offer those impacted free identity protection services, including credit and web monitoring."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
AI systems can sometimes be tricked into seeing something that's not actually there -- remember when Google's software "saw" a 3-D-printed turtle as a rifle. At an event earlier this week, Google Brain researcher Ian Goodfellow explained how AI systems defend themselves. From a report: Goodfellow is best known as the creator of generative adversarial networks (GANs), a type of artificial intelligence that makes use of two networks trained on the same data. One of the networks, called the generator, creates synthetic data, usually images, while the other network, called the discriminator, uses the same data set to determine whether the input is real. Goodfellow went through nearly a dozen examples of how different researchers have used GANs in their work, but he focused on his current main research interest, defending machine-learning systems from being fooled in the first place. [...] GANs are very good at creating realistic adversarial examples, which end up being a very good way to train AI systems to develop a robust defense. If systems are trained on adversarial examples that they have to spot, they get better at recognizing adversarial attacks. The better those adversarial examples, the stronger the defense.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-trend department
Artificial intelligence is spreading beyond the technology sector, with big consequences for companies, workers and consumers. An anonymous reader shares a report: Bosses of non-tech companies in a broad range of industries are starting to worry that AI could scorch or even incinerate them, and have been buying up promising young tech firms to ensure they do not fall behind (the link may be paywalled). In 2017 firms worldwide spent around $21.8bn on mergers and acquisitions related to AI, according to PitchBook, a data provider, about 26 times more than in 2015. They are doing this partly to secure talent, which is thin on the ground. Startups without revenue are fetching prices that amount to $5m-10m per AI expert. As AI spreads beyond the tech sector, it will fuel the rise of new firms that challenge incumbents. This is already happening in the car industry, with autonomous-vehicle startups and ride-hailing firms such as Uber. But it will also change the way other companies work, transforming traditional functions such as supply-chain management, customer service and recruitment. The path ahead is exhilarating but perilous. Around 85% of companies think AI will offer a competitive advantage, but only one in 20 is "extensively" employing it today, according to a report by MIT's Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group. Large companies and industries, such as finance, that generate a lot of data, tend to be ahead and often build their own AI-enhanced systems. But many firms will choose to work with the growing array of independent AI vendors, including cloud providers, consultants and startups.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Amazon and Google, the leading sellers of smart speakers, say their AI-powered assistants record and process audio only after users trigger them by pushing a button or uttering a phrase like "Hey, Alexaâ or âoeO.K., Google." But each company has filed patent applications, many of them still under consideration, that outline an array of possibilities for how devices like these could monitor more of what users say and do (the link may be paywalled), The New York Times reports. From the report: That information could then be used to identify a person's desires or interests, which could be mined for ads and product recommendations. In one set of patent applications, Amazon describes how a "voice sniffer algorithm" could be used on an array of devices, like tablets and e-book readers, to analyze audio almost in real time when it hears words like "love," "bought" or "dislike." A diagram included with the application illustrated how a phone call between two friends could result in one receiving an offer for the San Diego Zoo and the other seeing an ad for a Wine of the Month Club membership. Some patent applications from Google, which also owns the smart home product maker Nest Labs, describe how audio and visual signals could be used in the context of elaborate smart home setups. One application details how audio monitoring could help detect that a child is engaging in "mischief" at home by first using speech patterns and pitch to identify a child's presence, one filing said. A device could then try to sense movement while listening for whispers or silence, and even program a smart speaker to "provide a verbal warning." A separate application regarding personalizing content for people while respecting their privacy noted that voices could be used to determine a speaker's mood using the "volume of the user's voice, detected breathing rate, crying and so forth," and medical condition "based on detected coughing, sneezing and so forth."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's we-as-a-nation department
Earlier this week, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, pledged to spend $1.9 billion over the next five years and allow expanded data-sharing to help make France a leader in artificial intelligence. In an interview with Wired, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, explained why he is making big investments to bring France into the "winner takes all" race with the U.S. and China on artificial intelligence. An interesting quote, "At some point, as citizens, people will say, 'I want to be sure that all of this personal data is not used against me, but used ethically, and that everything is monitored. I want to understand what is behind this algorithm that plays a role in my life." An excerpt from the story: AI will raise a lot of issues in ethics, in politics, it will question our democracy and our collective preferences. For instance, if you take healthcare: you can totally transform medical care making it much more predictive and personalized if you get access to a lot of data. We will open our data in France. I made this decision and announced it this afternoon. But the day you start dealing with privacy issues, the day you open this data and unveil personal information, you open a Pandora's Box, with potential use cases that will not be increasing the common good and improving the way to treat you. In particular, it's creating a potential for all the players to select you. This can be a very profitable business model: this data can be used to better treat people, it can be used to monitor patients, but it can also be sold to an insurer that will have intelligence on you and your medical risks, and could get a lot of money out of this information. The day we start to make such business out of this data is when a huge opportunity becomes a huge risk. It could totally dismantle our national cohesion and the way we live together. This leads me to the conclusion that this huge technological revolution is in fact a political revolution.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's old-school-analog department
An anonymous reader quotes Reuters:
Atlanta's top officials holed up in their offices on Saturday as they worked to restore critical systems knocked out by a nine-day-old cyber attack that plunged the Southeastern U.S. metropolis into technological chaos and forced some city workers to revert to paper... Police and other public servants have spent the past week trying to piece together their digital work lives, recreating audit spreadsheets and conducting business on mobile phones in response to one of the most devastating "ransomware" virus attacks to hit an American city. Three city council staffers have been sharing a single clunky personal laptop brought in after cyber extortionists attacked Atlanta's computer network with a virus that scrambled data and still prevents access to critical systems. "It's extraordinarily frustrating," said Councilman Howard Shook, whose office lost 16 years of digital records...
City officials have declined to discuss the extent of damage beyond disclosed outages that have shut down some services at municipal offices, including courts and the water department. Nearly 6 million people live in the Atlanta metropolitan area... Atlanta police returned to taking written case notes and have lost access to some investigative databases, department spokesman Carlos Campos told Reuters... Meanwhile, some city employees complained they have been left in the dark, unsure when it is safe to turn on their computers. "We don't know anything," said one frustrated employee as she left for a lunch break on Friday.
"Our data management teams are working diligently to restore normal operations and functionalities to these systems," said a spokesperson for the police department, adding that they "hope to be back online in the very near future."Read Replies (0)