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Apple Delays App Store Security Deadline For Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 09:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's gentle-reminder department:
Reader Trailrunner7 writes: Apple has pushed back a deadline for developers to support a key transport security technology in apps submitted to the company's app stores. Officials said at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year that developers would have to support Apple Transport Security by the end of 2016. But on Thursday, the company announced that it has decided to extend the deadline indefinitely. ATS is Apple's collection of transport security standards designed to provide attack resistance for data that's sent between iOS and macOS apps and backend servers. It requires apps to support a number of modern transport security technologies, including TLS 1.2, AES-128 or stronger, and certificates must be signed using SHA-2. ATS also requires the use of forward secrecy, a key-exchange method that protects encrypted sessions even if the server certificate is compromised at some point in the future.

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Encrypted Messaging App Signal Uses Google To Bypass Censorship
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 09:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's outwitting-with-tech department:
Developers of the popular Signal secure messaging app have started to use Google's domain as a front to hide traffic to their service and to sidestep blocking attempts. Bypassing online censorship in countries where internet access is controlled by the government can be very hard for users. It typically requires the use of virtual private networking (VPN) services or complex solutions like Tor, which can be banned too. From a report on PCWorld: Open Whisper Systems, the company that develops Signal -- a free, open-source app -- faced this problem recently when access to its service started being censored in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Some users reported that VPNs, Apple's FaceTime and other voice-over-IP apps were also being blocked. The solution from Signal's developers was to implement a censorship circumvention technique known as domain fronting that was described in a 2015 paper by researchers from University of California, Berkeley, the Brave New Software project and Psiphon. The technique involves sending requests to a "front domain" and using the HTTP Host header to trigger a redirect to a different domain. If done over HTTPS, such redirection would be invisible to someone monitoring the traffic, because the HTTP Host header is sent after the HTTPS connection is negotiated and is therefore part of the encrypted traffic.

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A Record High of 455 Scripted TV Shows Aired in 2016
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 08:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's so-much-tv department:
In case you wanted to ground your abstract TV FOMO in hard numbers, FX has data on the fact that, yes, there really is too much TV. An anonymous reader shares a report: The network, whose CEO John Landgraf coined the idea of "peak TV," has released its unofficial tally of the number of shows on TV, finding that 455 different scripted television series from broadcast, cable, and streaming sources aired in the last year. That's an 8 percent increase from last year, when 421 shows aired on TV; a 71 percent increase from 2011, when a mere 266 shows were on TV; and a 137 percent increase from 2006, when there were 192 shows on TV.

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Prepare For Even More Volatile Weather in 2017
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 08:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
An anonymous shares a report on Engadget: Ice isn't just great for keeping your drinks cool at parties, it also helps keep our planet cool by reflecting some of the sun's heat away. But thanks to our steadfast refusal to address climate change, there's going to be a lot less ice in the Arctic next year. Scientists are observing record high temperatures in the Arctic circle that's likely to lead to record low levels of ice coverage in 2017. Long story short, we're currently melting the wall that's helped stop the seas boiling for all of these years. Normally, by November, the global temperature has dropped sufficiently that ice can form again in the Arctic ready for the following summer. This year, however, climate scientists saw a spike to -7 celsius (19f) -- 15 degrees celsius (27f) warmer than usual. While the readings have fluctuated since November 11, they're expected to rocket up again in the next few days.

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Raspberry Pi's Linux-Based PIXEL Desktop Now Available For PC and Mac
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's weekend-project department:
From a report on BetaNews: If you own a Raspberry Pi, you're probably familiar with PIXEL. The desktop environment is included in the Raspbian OS. The Raspberry Pi Foundation describes PIXEL as the "GNU/Linux we would want to use" and understandably so. It offers a smart, clean interface, a decent selection of software, the Chromium web browser with plug-ins, and more -- and from today it's available for PC and Mac. The version of Debian+PIXEL for x86 platforms is described as "experimental" but having taken it for a spin, it seems pretty stable to me. To run PIXEL on your PC or Mac, download the image, burn it onto a DVD or flash it onto a USB memory stick, and boot from it. The desktop environment will load ready for use.

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After Insisting For Years That Facebook Is Not a Media Company, Zuckerberg Says Just Not a 'Traditional' One
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's more-clarification department:
Mark Zuckerberg is still trying to explain what his company does. The Facebook CEO said in August that the social-networking giant had no ambitions of being a content provider, insisting that Facebook is "a tech company, not a media company." On Wednesday, he appeared to retreat a bit on that statement, painting a slightly different portrait of his company during a Live video chat with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. From a report on CNET: "Facebook is a new kind of platform," Zuckerberg said during the video chat. "It's not a traditional technology company. It's not a traditional media company. You know, we build technology and we feel responsible for how it's used. We don't write the news that people read on the platform, but at the same time we also know that we do a lot more than just distribute the news, and we're an important part of the public discourse." His comments come amid increased criticism that Facebook's news feed algorithms -- the software that picks the first posts you see -- sometimes fan the flames of "fake news" and allow misinformation to thrive. Numerous allegations have been made that fake news shared on Facebook helped Trump win -- a suggestion Zuckerberg initially called "a pretty crazy idea."

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Uber Stops Self-Driving Car Pilot In San Francisco After The DMV Steps In
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 05:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's you-shall-not-pass department:
93 Escort Wagon writes: San Francisco bicyclists can breathe a sigh of relief now that Uber has suspended testing of its autonomous fleet in the city. The company announced the decision after the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended the registration of the vehicles involved in the testing. Uber remains "100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules," the company said. A spokesperson for Uber told Recode, "We are open to having the conversation about applying for a permit, but Uber does not have plans to do so."

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Worldwide Gaming Market Hits $91 Billion In 2016, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 02:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-money department:
According to a new SuperData Research report, the worldwide gaming market was worth a whopping $91 billion this year, with mobile gaming leading the way with a total estimated market value of $41 billion. The PC gaming market did very well too, as it pulled in nearly $36 billion over the year. PC Gamer reports: The mobile game segment was the largest at $41 billion (up 18 percent), followed by $26 billion for retail games and $19 billion for free-to-play online games. New categories such as virtual reality, esports, and gaming video content were small in size, but they are growing fast and holding promise for 2017, SuperData said. Mobile gaming was driven by blockbuster hits like Pokemon Go and Clash Royale. The mobile games market has started to mature and now more closely resembles traditional games publishing, requiring ever higher production values and marketing spend. Monster Strike was the No. 1 mobile game, with $1.3 billion in revenue. VR grew to $2.7 billion in 2016. Gaming video reached $4.4 billion, up 34 percent. Consumers increasingly download games directly to their consoles, spending $6.6 billion on digital downloads in 2016. PC gaming continues to do well, earning $34 billion (up 6.7 percent) and driven largely by free-to-play online titles and downloadable games. Incumbents like League of Legends together with newcomers like Overwatch are driving the growth in PC games. PC gamers also saw a big improvement with the release of a new generation of graphics cards, offering a 40 percent increase in graphics power and a 20 percent reduction of power consumption.

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China Claims Tests of 'Reactionless' EM Drive Were Successful
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '16 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-generation-space-travel department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Popular Science: The "reactionless" Electromagnetic Drive, or EmDrive for short, is an engine propelled solely by electromagnetic radiation confined in a microwave cavity. Such an engine would violate the law of conservation of momentum by generating mechanical action without exchanging matter. But since 2010, both the United States and China have been pouring serious resources into these seemingly impossible engines. And now China claims its made a key breakthrough. Dr. Chen Yue, Director of Commercial Satellite Technology for the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) announced on December 10, 2016 that not only has China successfully tested EmDrives technology in its laboratories, but that a proof-of-concept is currently undergoing zero-g testing in orbit (according to the International Business Times, this test is taking place on the Tiangong 2 space station). If China is able to install EmDrives on its satellites for orbital maneuvering and altitude control, they would become cheaper and longer lasting. Li Feng, lead CAST designer for commercial satellites, states that the current EmDrive has only a thrust of single digit millinewtons, for orbital adjustment; a medium sized satellite needs 0.1-1 Newtons. A functional EmDrive would also open up new possibilities for long range Chinese interplanetary probes beyond the Asteroid belt, as well freeing up the mass taken up by fuel in manned spacecraft for other supplies and equipment to build lunar and Martian bases. On the military side of things, EmDrives could also be used to create stealthier, longer lasting Chinese surveillance satellites.

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NIST Asks Public For Help With Quantum-Proof Cryptography
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 07:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-be-safe-than-sorry department:
chicksdaddy quotes a report from The Security Ledger: With functional, quantum computers on the (distant?) horizon, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is asking the public for help heading off what it calls "a looming threat to information security:" powerful quantum computers capable of breaking even the strongest encryption codes used to protect the privacy of digital information. In a statement Tuesday, NIST asked the public to submit ideas for "post-quantum cryptography" algorithms that will be "less susceptible to a quantum computer's attack." NIST formally announced its quest in a publication on The Federal Register. Dustin Moody, a mathematician at NIST said the Institute's main focus is developing new public key cryptography algorithms, which are used today to protect both stored and transmitted information. "We're looking to replace three NIST cryptographic standards and guidelines that would be the most vulnerable to quantum computers," Moody said. They are FIPS 186-4, NIST SP 800-56A and NIST SP 800-56B. Researchers have until November, 2017 to submit their ideas. After the deadline, NIST will review the submissions. Proposals that meet the "post-quantum crypto" standards set up by NIST will be invited to present their algorithms at an open workshop in early 2018.

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Firefox Takes the Next Step Towards Rolling Out Multi-Process To Everyone
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 07:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's play-catch-up department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: With Firefox 50, Mozilla has rolled out the first major piece of its new multi-process architecture. Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari all have a multiple process design that separates their rendering engine -- the part of the browser that reads and interprets HTML, CSS, and JavaScript -- from the browser frame. They do this for stability reasons (if the rendering process crashes, it doesn't kill the entire browser) and security reasons (the rendering process can be run in a low-privilege sandbox, so exploitable flaws in the rendering engine are harder to take advantage of). Moreover, these browsers can all create multiple rendering engine processes and use different processes for different tabs. This means that the scope of a crash is narrowed even further, typically to a single tab. Internet Explorer and Chrome both implemented this long ago, in 2009. Firefox, however, has not offered a similar design. Although work on a multi-process browser was started in 2009, under the codename Electrolysis, that work was suspended between 2011 and 2013 as priorities within the organization shifted. In response, Mozilla started switching to a new extension system in 2015 that opened the door to a multi-process design. The first stage of Firefox's move to multi-process involves separating the browser shell from a single rendering process that's used by every tab. In Firefox 48, that feature was enabled for a small number of users who used no extensions. Firefox 49 was rolled out to include users running a limited selection of extensions. Now, in Firefox 50, a separate renderer process is used for most users and most extensions. Developers are now able to mark their extensions as explicitly multi-process compatible. Firefox 51 will extend this even further to cover all extensions, except those that are explicitly marked as incompatible. Mozilla says that, even with the limited changes made in Firefox 50, responsiveness of the browser has improved by 400 percent due to the separation between the renderer and the browser shell. During page loads, responsiveness will increase to 700 percent.

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7-Eleven Beats Google, Amazon To First Commercial Drone Delivery Service In US
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 06:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hit-the-ground-running department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Phys.Org: U.S. drone delivery service Flirtey on Monday announced that its self-piloting flying machines have whisked flu medicine, hot food and more from 7-Eleven convenience stores to customers' homes. The Nevada-based company boasted of being the first drone service to complete regular commercial deliveries to residences in this country, having completed 77 such autonomous missions. "We have now successfully completed the first month of routine commercial drone deliveries to customer homes in partnership with 7-Eleven," Flirtey chief executive Matthew Sweeny said in a release. "This is a giant leap towards a future where everyone can experience the convenience of Flirtey's instant store-to-door drone delivery." Flirtey said it made 77 drone deliveries to homes of select customers on weekends in November, filling orders placed using a special application.Ordered items, including food and over-the-counter medicine, were packed into special containers and flow by drones that used GPS capabilities to find addresses, according to Flirtey. Drones hovered in the air and lowered packages to the ground, on average getting items to customers within 10 minutes, the company reported.

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Hotbed of Cybercrime Activity Tracked Down To ISP In Ukrainian Civil War Region
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 06:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's smoke-screen department:
An anonymous reader writes: Last week, WordPress security firm WordFence revealed it detected over 1.65 million brute-force attacks originating from an ISP in Ukraine that generated more malicious traffic than GoDaddy, OVH, and Rostelecom, put together. A week later, after news of WordFence's findings came to light, Ukrainian users have tracked down the ISP to a company called SKS-Lugan in the city of Alchevs'k, in an area controlled by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. All clues point to the fact that the ISP's owners are using the chaos created by the Ukrainian civil war to host cyber-crime operations on their servers. Some of the criminal activities the ISP hosts, besides servers for launching brute-force attacks, include command-and-control servers for the Locky ransomware, [email, comment, and forum] spam botnets, illegal streaming sites, DDoS stressers, carding sites, several banking trojans (Vawtrack, Tinba), and infostealers (Pony, Neurevt).

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Canada's CRTC Declares Broadband Internet Access a Basic Service
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's basic-needs department:
New submitter jbwiebe quotes a report from CBC.ca: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has declared broadband internet a basic telecommunications service. In a ruling handed down today, the national regulator ordered the country's internet providers to begin working toward boosting internet service and speeds in rural and isolated areas. With today's ruling, CRTC has set new targets for internet service providers to offer customers in all parts of the country download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps, and to also offer the option of unlimited data. The CRTC estimates two million Canadian households, or roughly 18 per cent, don't have access to those speeds or data. The CRTC's goal is to reduce that to 10 per cent by 2021. To achieve that, the CRTC will require providers pay into a fund that's set to grow to $750 million over five years. The companies will be able to dip into that fund to help pay for the infrastructure needed to extend high-speed service to areas where it is not currently available. The fund is similar to one that subsidized the expansion of local landline telephone service in years past. Providers used to pay 0.53 per cent of their revenues, excluding broadband, into that fund. Now they'll pay the same rate on all revenues, including broadband.

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Yahoo Email Scan Shows US Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's red-flag department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Yahoo Inc's secret scanning of customer emails at the behest of a U.S. spy agency is part of a growing push by officials to loosen constitutional protections Americans have against arbitrary governmental searches, according to legal documents and people briefed on closed court hearings. The order on Yahoo from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) last year resulted from the government's drive to change decades of interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment right of people to be secure against "unreasonable searches and seizures," intelligence officials and others familiar with the strategy told Reuters. The unifying idea, they said, is to move the focus of U.S. courts away from what makes something a distinct search and toward what is "reasonable" overall. The basis of the argument for change is that people are making much more digital data available about themselves to businesses, and that data can contain clues that would lead to authorities disrupting attacks in the United States or on U.S. interests abroad. While it might technically count as a search if an automated program trawls through all the data, the thinking goes, there is no unreasonable harm unless a human being looks at the result of that search and orders more intrusive measures or an arrest, which even then could be reasonable. Civil liberties groups and some other legal experts said the attempt to expand the ability of law enforcement agencies and intelligence services to sift through vast amounts of online data, in some cases without a court order, was in conflict with the Fourth Amendment because many innocent messages are included in the initial sweep. But the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Robert Litt, said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that the legal interpretation needed to be adjusted because of technological changes.

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A Ham Radio Software Company Has Been Blacklisting Users For Leaving Negative Reviews
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's refusal-of-service department:
Gandalf_the_Beardy quotes a report from The Register: The Register reports on the story of Jim Giercyk, an amateur radio enthusiast who had his copy of the popular Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) software revoked after posting a negative review. Other radio hams have followed up with us regarding claims that this was not an isolated incident and others may have had their license keys blacklisted for being publicly critical of the company. And just to be clear: by blackballing keys, installed copies of the software stop working. Giercyk, a professional musician in South Carolina, U.S., says that after his dealings with HRD Software (which has since reinstated his software key) and the statement made by the developer's co-owner Dr Michael Carper, he takes issue with claims made by the company. Giercyk, aka N2SUB, told us on Tuesday: "The issue is not the refusal of service, the issue is that HRD disabled my software, and then offered to enable it in exchange for the removal of an online review of their product. It's extortion, not refusal of service." Giercyk also said that since he went public about his blacklisting last week, he has received messages from other users who have stories of their software keys being revoked by HRD without their knowledge for speaking up about having a bad support experience. A number of other readers pointed out a collection of bad reviews posted on hobbyist site eHam by customers who had their license keys blacklisted. HRD told us some of those users could have written their assessments after requesting a refund and deactivating their software, thus their licenses will appear revoked. Meanwhile, Reddit threads and follow-up discussions to Giercyk's catalyst forum post reveal similar stories of keys being revoked after critical comments about Ham Radio Deluxe have appeared online. Other sources allege some amateur radio forums have in the past deleted posts critical of HRD.

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Obama Blocks Offshore Drilling In Atlantic, Arctic Areas
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's off-limits department:
Before the new administration takes over next month, President Obama took new action Wednesday to place large sections of the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans off limits to oil drilling. NPR reports: The Arctic protections are a joint partnership with Canada. "These actions, and Canada's parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on earth," the White House said in a statement. "They reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region's harsh conditions is limited," the White House added. "By contrast, it would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region -- at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels." Obama's action designates 31 Atlantic canyons "off limits to oil and gas exploration and development activity," totaling 3.8 million acres, according to the administration. It provides the same protections to much of the Arctic's waters, covering the "vast majority of U.S. waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas," totaling 115 million acres. Canada is doing the same to "all Arctic Canadian waters," the joint statement adds. Obama took these actions by invoking a law called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which gives the president the authority to withdraw lands from oil and gas leases.

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The Loyalty To AMD's GPU Product Among AMD CPU Buyers Is Decreasing
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 02:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Data from the builds on PCPartPicker show an interesting trend among the buyers of AMD CPUs. Of the 25,780 builds on PCPartPicker from the last 31 months with a price point between $450âS - $5,000, 19% included an AMD CPU. This is in-line with the Steam Hardware Surveys, but things have changed recently. Builds with AMD CPUs tend to be much less expensive than those with Intel CPUs. The builds with an AMD CPU were $967 on average versus the Intel CPU builds, which were on average $1,570. In the last 31 months, brand loyalty to AMD seemed to push AMD CPU builders to choose AMD graphics cards at a much higher rate than Intel CPU builders. 55% of machines with an AMD CPU also had an AMD GPU; whereas, only 19% of builds with an Intel CPU included an AMD GPU. In the last six months, AMD has started to lose even more ground to Intel and to Nvidia. On the CPU builds, only 10% of gamers building on PCPartPicker were opting to buy an AMD CPU. Among these, the percentage that decided to pair their AMD CPU with an AMD GPU dropped to 51%. The challenges that AMD is seeing in the overall GPU market are being felt even amongst their loyal supporters.

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White Hat Security Group Hacks Marvel Twitter Accounts
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-call-the-Avengers department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Polygon: Netflix, Marvel and various Marvel-affiliated Twitter accounts became the latest victims of hacker group OurMine on Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, the group took over control of Netflix's twitter account, issuing a message to the company's 2.4 million followers about the lack of security Netflix had. The full message was followed by a secondary tweet that invited Twitter users to see how secure their accounts were by emailing the hacking group responsible, OurMine. Netflix was eventually able to regain control of its account and deleted the tweets, but OurMine didn't stop there. Around 12 p.m. ET today, OurMine took over control of Marvel's main Twitter account and those affiliated with the company. Accounts for Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Thor, Doctor Strange and Marvel Music were all compromised in the attack. Like the takeover Netflix suffered from earlier in the day, OurMine used the attack to post messages about security -- or lack thereof -- that major companies had when it came to their social media accounts. Marvel's main Twitter account has close to 4.4 million followers, nearly double Netflix's online following. It only took Marvel about ten minutes to regain control of its accounts and delete OurMine's tweets. Those tweets can no longer be seen on any of the affiliated accounts, but can still be found through Twitter searches thanks to people's screenshots.

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Government Requests For Facebook User Data Up 27 Percent in First Half of 2016
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '16 at 12:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's affinity-for-data department:
Facebook said Wednesday that government requests for user account data rose 27 percent in the first half of 2016, compared to the second half of last year, with U.S. law enforcement agencies topping the list. From a report on TechCrunch: According to the report, government requests for account data increased by 27 percent globally as compared with the last half of 2015. The number of requests grew from 46,710 to 59,229, Facebook said. The majority of the requests (56 percent) received from U.S. law enforcement contained a non-disclosure clause that prevented Facebook from notifying the user in question, the company noted. As with prior transparency reports, Facebook also detailed the number of content restriction requests -- that is, the requests from governments in response to postings that violate local laws. These actually decreased by 83 percent from 55,827 to 9,663. However, those figures don't point to a general decline in these sorts of requests from governments. Instead, the last cycle's numbers were elevated more than usual due to a sharp increase in requests related to a single image from the terrorist attacks in Paris last November.

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