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150 San Franciscans Explain How Tech Money Changed Their City
Posted by News Fetcher on October 13 '18 at 07:31 AM
By FirehoseFavorites from Slashdot's open-up-your-golden-gate department:
DevNull127 writes: In a remarkable odyssey, documentary-maker Cary McClelland interviewed more than 150 San Francisco residents — including a tattoo artist, a longshoreman, a venture capitalist, and a pawnshop owner — to capture the real voices of a changing city, in a kind of oral history of the present. It becomes a magical "documentary without film... panoramic, complex — and surprisingly well-balanced," writes one reader, applauding the book's "dazzling omniscience." Legendary Silicon Valley marketer Regis McKenna speaks fondly of the days when young Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were dropping into his office, and despite the apparent challenges facing San Francisco, many people interviewed remained surprisingly hopeful.

"Idexa, a German-born tattoo artist who'd hitchhiked to the city from Los Angeles as a teenager, says despite the new displacements happening today, 'It's also beautiful. There's been a lot of money put into the neighborhood and into the buildings. Buildings that would have fallen apart have been renovated. Oh, it's the end of the world soon. We're not the first generation who thinks that.' It's an almost poetic picture of San Francisco that proves the world isn't as simple — or as discouraging — as it's often made out to be, and the book's passionate purpose seems to spontaneously find its way into the words of each interview subject."
"Until you're standing in front of someone and listening to them with your own ears, you're never going to understand them," says a survivor of one of California's recent wildfires. So Cary McClelland listens — writing in his introduction that his book asks us to hear the city of San Francisco speak in a chorus of voices, with a message for all the other cities. "The goal of the book," he says, "is to reflect people's subjective perspective, their experience — lived, visceral, emotional, intimate. The living-room experience..."

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A Future Where Everything Becomes a Computer Is As Creepy As You Feared
Posted by News Fetcher on October 13 '18 at 06:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's internet-of-things-in-all-the-things department:
schwit1 shares a report from The New York Times: More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk. [...] In recent years, the tech industry's largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There's just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it. The industry's new goal? Not a computer on every desk nor a connection between every person, but something grander: a computer inside everything, connecting everyone. Cars, door locks, contact lenses, clothes, toasters, refrigerators, industrial robots, fish tanks, sex toys, light bulbs, toothbrushes, motorcycle helmets -- these and other everyday objects are all on the menu for getting "smart." Hundreds of small start-ups are taking part in this trend -- known by the marketing catchphrase "the internet of things" -- but like everything else in tech, the movement is led by giants, among them Amazon, Apple and Samsung. [American cryptographer and computer security professional Bruce Schneier] argues that the economic and technical incentives of the internet-of-things industry do not align with security and privacy for society generally. Putting a computer in everything turns the whole world into a computer security threat. [...] Mr. Schneier says only government intervention can save us from such emerging calamities. "I can think of no industry in the past 100 years that has improved its safety and security without being compelled to do so by government."

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Apple Inks $600 Million Deal To Acquire Assets and Talent From Dialog Semiconductor
Posted by News Fetcher on October 13 '18 at 02:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's done-deal department:
In an effort to build faster, more efficient chips, Apple is paying a total of $600 million to Dialog Semiconductor, a chipmaker based out of Europe that it's been working with since the first iPhone. According to TechCrunch, Apple is paying $300 million in cash to buy a portion of the company, including licensing power-management technologies, assets, and more than 300 employees, as well as "committing a further $300 million to make purchases from the remaining part of Dialog's business." From the report: While Dialog is describing this as an asset transfer and licensing deal, it will be Apple's biggest acquisition by far in terms of people: 300 people will be joining Apple as part of it, or about 16 percent of Dialog's total workforce. From what we understand, those who are joining have already been working tightly with Apple up to now. The teams joining are based across Livorno in Italy, Swindon in England, and Nabern and Neuaubing in Germany, near Munich, where Apple already has an operation.

In some cases, Apple will be taking over entire buildings that had been owned by Dialog, and in others they will be colocating in buildings where Dialog will continue to develop its own business â" another sign of how closely the two have and will continue to work together. The Dialog employees Apple is picking up in this acquisition will report to Apple's SVP of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji. Dialog says post the acquisition, the remaining part of the business will focus more on IoT, as well as mobile, automotive, computing and storage markets, specifically as a provider of custom and configurable mixed-signal integrated circuit chips.

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Samsung Says Its Foldable Phone Will Be a Tablet You Can Put In Your Pocket
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 11:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pocket-friendly department:
The CEO of Samsung's mobile business, D.J. Koh, said you'll be able to use its upcoming foldable smartphone as a tablet that you can put in your pocket. While the phone has been teased and hyped up for several months, Koh stressed that it will not be a "gimmick product" that will "disappear after six to nine months after it's delivered." It'll reportedly be available globally. CNET reports: However, the foldable Samsung phone, like the Galaxy Round, will be Samsung's testbed device to see how reviewers and the market react. The Galaxy Round, which bowed vertically in the middle, was Samsung's first curve-screen phone. It's a direct ancestor to the dual curved screens we see on today's Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones. The larger screen is important, Koh said. When Samsung first released the original Galaxy Note, he said, competitors called its device dead on arrival. Now, after generations of Notes phones, you see larger devices like the iPhone XS Max and the Pixel 3 XL, proving that consumers want bigger screens. A foldable phone would let screen sizes extend beyond 6.5 inches.

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Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Is Now Online
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 08:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's last-but-not-least department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: When Stephen Hawking died in March at the age of 76, the world mourned a beloved and visionary scientist. But it is some consolation that Hawking's final paper has now been published on the preprint journal ArXiv, demonstrating that even during his last days, he was still pursuing the epic cosmic questions that defined his career. Entitled "Black hole entropy and soft hair," the paper was authored by Hawking along with physicists Sasha Haco, Malcolm Perry, and Andrew Strominger. The work is the third in a series from the team and addresses Hawking's famous brainchild -- the black hole information paradox. Like many physics conundrums, the paradox emerges from the lack of coherence between quantum field theory and general relativity. On the smallest scales of matter, where atoms and quarks abound, there exists a different and seemingly contradictory set of rules to the largest scale of matter, involving stars and galaxies. The search for a "theory of everything" that reconciles these two models is one of the holy grails of modern physics, and was a lifelong fascination for Hawking.

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Tech Suffers From Lack of Humanities, Says Mozilla Head
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 07:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's academic-disciplines department:
The head of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker, is warning that companies need to diversify their hiring practices to include more people from backgrounds in philosophy and psychology if they want to tackle the problem of misinformation online. He also "warned that hiring employees who mainly come from Stem -- science, technology, engineering and maths -- will produce a new generation of technologists with the same blindspots as those who are currently in charge, a move that will 'come back to bite us,'" reports the Guardian. From the report: "Stem is a necessity, and educating more people in Stem topics clearly critical," Baker told the Guardian. "Every student of today needs some higher level of literacy across the Stem bases. "But one thing that's happened in 2018 is that we've looked at the platforms, and the thinking behind the platforms, and the lack of focus on impact or result. It crystallized for me that if we have Stem education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behavior, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of Stem to society or humans or life."

"Stem is a necessity, and educating more people in Stem topics clearly critical," Baker told the Guardian. "Every student of today needs some higher level of literacy across the Stem bases. "But one thing that's happened in 2018 is that we've looked at the platforms, and the thinking behind the platforms, and the lack of focus on impact or result. It crystallized for me that if we have Stem education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behavior, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of Stem to society or humans or life."

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Facebook Is Testing An Unsend Feature For Messenger
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-development department:
Facebook is reportedly testing a feature that will let you take back what you send via Messenger. The company said it was working on the feature back in April after TechCrunch caught it deleting messages from CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After TechCrunch asked Facebook about its progress on the Unsend feature, the company said: "Though we have nothing to announce today, we have previously confirmed that we intend to ship a feature like this and are still planning to do so." From the report: Now we have our first look at the feature thanks to TechCrunch's favorite tipster Jane Manchun Wong. She's managed to generate screenshots of a prototype Unsend button from Facebook Messenger's Android code. Currently, you can only delete messages from your own inbox -- they still remain in the recipients' inbox. But with this Unsend feature prototype, you're able to remove a message from both sides of a conversation. However, the code indicates that in the current prototype there's a "time limit." That may mean users would only have a certain amount of time after they send a message to unsend it. That would essentially be an editing window in which users could take back what they said.

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Google AI Claims 99 Percent Accuracy In Metastatic Breast Cancer Detection
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's promising-solutions department:
Researchers at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Google AI, a division within Google dedicated to artificial intelligence research, are using cancer-detecting algorithms to detect metastatic tumors by autonomously evaluating lymph node biopsies. VentureBeat reports: Their AI system -- dubbed Lymph Node Assistant, or LYNA -- is described in a paper titled "Artificial Intelligence-Based Breast Cancer Nodal Metastasis Detection," published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology. In tests, it achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC) -- a measure of detection accuracy -- of 99 percent. That's superior to human pathologists, who according to one recent assessment miss small metastases on individual slides as much as 62 percent of the time when under time constraints. LYNA is based on Inception-v3, an open source image recognition deep learning model that's been shown to achieve greater than 78.1 percent accuracy on Stanford's ImageNet dataset. As the researchers explained, it takes as input a 299-pixel image (Inception-v3's default input size), outlines tumors at the pixel level, and, in the course of training, extracts labels -- i.e., predictions -- of the tissue patch ("benign" or "tumor") and adjusts the model's algorithmic weights to reduce error.

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How To See If Your Personal Data Was Stolen In the Recent Facebook Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's join-the-club department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: Hackers stole personal data from 29 million Facebook users in a recent hack, including information like phone numbers, emails, gender, hometowns and even relationship data. Was your data stolen? (Mine was.) There's an easy way to check. Visit this Help Center page on Facebook's website and log in to your account. It will tell you whether or not your data was stolen, and which data in particular. Worth noting, while Facebook's alert says that no "payment card or credit card information" was stolen, Facebook product executive Guy Rosen did say that hackers would have been able to see the last four digits of a user's credit card through this hack. Facebook also says it will reach out to people directly if their data was stolen.

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Twitter and Salesforce CEOs Spat Over Who is Helping the Homeless More
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 04:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's celebrity-deathmatch department:
The CEOs of two of the world's most prominent tech companies got into an online spat on Friday over who was doing the most to address homelessness. From a report: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were tweeting at each other about a proposed tax on high-earning San Francisco businesses. It would redirect millions of dollars to help thousands of people who live on the streets, including outside the headquarters of both companies. Benioff tweeted that he was in favor of the tax. Dorsey tweeted that he was not -- prompting a displeased response. "Hi Jack. Thanks for the feedback," Benioff quipped. "Which homeless programs in our city are you supporting? Can you tell me what Twitter and Square & you are in for & at what financial levels? How much have you given to heading home our $37M initiative to get every homeless child off the streets?" Benioff was referring to an initiative he is spearheading for homeless families. In May he announced that he and his wife would match a $1.5m donation from his company's philanthropic arm. In a second tweet, he alleged that Dorsey had failed to contribute to the city's homeless programs, public hospitals and public schools, despite earning billions and receiving a tax break to relocate in a deprived part of town. Dorsey did not respond.

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World's Fastest Camera Shoots 10 Trillion Frames a Second
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-zeros department:
bbsguru shares a report from New Atlas: Slow-motion video has always been fun to watch, with the best rigs usually shooting on the scale of thousands of frames per second. But now the world's fastest camera, developed by researchers at Caltech and INRS, blows them out of the water, capturing the world at a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second -- fast enough to probe the nanoscale interactions between light and matter. For the new imaging technique, the team started with compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), a method that it is capable of 100 billion fps. That's nothing to scoff at by itself, but it's still not fast enough to really capture what's going on with ultrafast laser pulses, which occur on the scale of femtoseconds. A femtosecond, for reference, is one quadrillionth of a second.

So the team built on that technology by combining a femtosecond streak camera and a static camera, and running it through a data acquisition technique known as Radon transformation. This advanced system was dubbed T-CUP. For the first test, the camera proved its worth by capturing a single femtosecond pulse of laser light, recording 25 images that were each 400 femtoseconds apart. Through this process, the team could see the changes in the light pulse's shape, intensity and angle of inclination, in much slower motion than ever before.

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The UK Invited a Robot To 'Give Evidence' In Parliament For Attention
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's show-and-tell department:
"The UK Parliament caused a bit of a stir this week with the news that it would play host to its first non-human witness," reports The Verge. "A press release from one of Parliament's select committees (groups of MPs who investigate an issue and report back to their peers) said it had invited Pepper the robot to 'answer questions' on the impact of AI on the labor market." From the report: "Pepper is part of an international research project developing the world's first culturally aware robots aimed at assisting with care for older people," said the release from the Education Committee. "The Committee will hear about her work [and] what role increased automation and robotics might play in the workplace and classroom of the future." It is, of course, a stunt.

< article continued at Slashdot's show-and-tell department >

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Cops Told 'Don't Look' at New iPhones To Avoid Face ID Lock-Out
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 02:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
As Apple continues to update its iPhones with new security features, law enforcement and other investigators are constantly playing catch-up, trying to find the best way to circumvent the protections or to grab evidence. From a report: Last month, Forbes reported the first known instance of a search warrant being used to unlock a suspect's iPhone X with their own face, leveraging the iPhone X's Face ID feature. But Face ID can of course also work against law enforcement -- too many failed attempts with the 'wrong' face can force the iPhone to request a potentially harder to obtain passcode instead. Taking advantage of legal differences in how passcodes are protected, US law enforcement have forced people to unlock their devices with not just their face but their fingerprints too. But still, in a set of presentation slides obtained by Motherboard this week, one company specialising in mobile forensics is telling investigators not to even look at phones with Face ID, because they might accidentally trigger this mechanism. "iPhone X: don't look at the screen, or else... The same thing will occur as happened on Apple's event," the slide, from forensics company Elcomsoft, reads. Motherboard obtained the presentation from a non-Elcomsoft source, and the company subsequently confirmed its veracity. The slide is referring to Apple's 2017 presentation of Face ID, in which Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, tried, and failed, to unlock an iPhone X with his own face. The phone then asked for a passcode instead. "This is quite simple. Passcode is required after five unsuccessful attempts to match a face," Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft, told Motherboard in an online chat, pointing to Apple's own documentation on Face ID. "So by looking into suspect's phone, [the] investigator immediately lose one of [the] attempts."

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A Mysterious Grey-Hat Is Patching People's Outdated MikroTik Routers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's just-trying-to-help department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A Russian-speaking grey-hat hacker is breaking into people's MikroTik routers and patching devices so they can't be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals, ZDNet has learned. The hacker, who goes by the name of Alexey and says he works as a server administrator, claims to have disinfected over 100,000 MikroTik routers already. "I added firewall rules that blocked access to the router from outside the local network," Alexey said. "In the comments, I wrote information about the vulnerability and left the address of the @router_os Telegram channel, where it was possible for them to ask questions." But despite adjusting firewall settings for over 100,000 users, Alexey says that only 50 users reached out via Telegram. A few said "thanks," but most were outraged. The vigilante server administrator says he's been only fixing routers that have not been patched by their owners against a MikroTik vulnerability that came to light in late April.

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Google CEO Tells Senators That Censored Chinese Search Engine Could Provide 'Broad Benefits'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 12:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has refused to answer a list of questions from U.S. lawmakers about the company's secretive plan for a censored search engine in China. From a report: In a letter newly obtained by The Intercept, Pichai told a bipartisan group of six senators that Google could have "broad benefits inside and outside of China," but said he could not share details about the censored search engine because it "remains unclear" whether the company "would or could release a search service" in the country. Pichai's letter contradicts the company's search engine chief, Ben Gomes, who informed staff during a private meeting that the company was aiming to release the platform in China between January and April 2019. Gomes told employees working on the Chinese search engine that they should get it ready to be "brought off the shelf and quickly deployed." [...] In his letter to the senators, dated August 31, Pichai did not mention the word "censorship" or address human rights concerns. He told the senators that "providing access to information to people around the world is central to our mission," and said he believed Google's tools could "help to facilitate an exchange of information and learning." The company was committed to "promoting access to information, freedom of expression, and user privacy," he wrote, while also "respecting the laws of jurisdictions in which we operate."

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US Lawmakers Urge Canada To Snub China's Huawei in Telecoms
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 12:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
Two leading U.S. lawmakers, both sharp critics of China, urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday to consider dropping China's Huawei Technologies from helping to build next-generation 5G telecommunications networks. From a report: Senators Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said they had "grave concern" about the prospects of Huawei equipment in Canada's 5G networks on the grounds that it would pose dangers for U.S. networks. "While Canada has strong telecommunications security safeguards in place, we have serious concerns that such safeguards are inadequate given what the United States and other allies know about Huawei," the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Trudeau. Warner and Rubio are on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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Apple Rebukes Australia's 'Dangerously Ambiguous' Anti-Encryption Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 11:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's not-holding-any-punches department:
Apple has strongly criticized Australia's anti-encryption bill, calling it "dangerously ambiguous" and "alarming to every Australian." From a report: The Australian government's draft law -- known as the Access and Assistance Bill -- would compel tech companies operating in the country, like Apple, to provide "assistance" to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in accessing electronic data. The government claims that encrypted communications are "increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption," without citing evidence. But critics say that the bill's "broad authorities that would undermine cybersecurity and human rights, including the right to privacy" by forcing companies to build backdoors and hand over user data -- even when it's encrypted. Now, Apple is the latest company after Google and Facebook joined civil and digital rights groups -- including Amnesty International -- to oppose the bill, amid fears that the government will rush through the bill before the end of the year. In a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, Apple said that it "would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat." The company adds, "We appreciate the government's outreach to Apple and other companies during the drafting of this bill. While we are pleased that some of the suggestions incorporated improve the legislation, the unfortunate fact is that the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous with respect to encryption and security. This is no time to weaken encryption. Rather than serving the interests of Australian law enforcement, it will just weaken the security and privacy of regular customers while pushing criminals further off the grid."

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Movie Commentary Tracks Are Back
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 11:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Last spring, long before Get Out's eventual Oscar win, the movie was released on home video with a commentary track from its writer-director. A decade ago, in the pre-streaming era, this wouldn't have been news: Back then, seemingly every movie got a commentary track, even Good Luck Chuck. Then the DVD market began to decline, and the commentary track went from a being standard-issue add-on to relative rarity. Even recent Best Picture nominees like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, and Spotlight were released sans tracks -- bad news for anyone looking for behind-the-scenes intel on Mark Ruffalo's little-Ceasar haircut. In the last few years, though, several high-profile films -- everything from Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Lady Bird to Get Out -- have been released with commentary tracks. That means you can spend your umpteenth viewing of Peele's film listening to him talk about how he modeled the opening credits on those of The Shining, or how the film's title was inspired by a routine from Eddie Murphy Delirious. For casual movie watchers, such details may not be too thrilling. But for film nerds who absorb behind-the-scenes trivia and how-we-made-it logistics, tracks like the one for Get Out remain the cheapest movie-making education available.

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The FBI Is Now Investigating Facebook's Security Breach Where Attackers Accessed 30 Million Users' Personal Information
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 10:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's friday-security-briefings department:
An online attack that forced Facebook to log out 90 million users last month directly affected 29 million people on the social network [alternative source], the company said Friday as it released new details about the scope of an incident that has regulators and law enforcement on high alert. The company said the FBI is actively investigating the hack, and asked Facebook not to disclose any potential culprits. From a report: Through a series of interrelated bugs in Facebook's programming, unnamed attackers stole the names and contact information of 15 million users, Facebook said. The contact information included a mix of phone numbers and email addresses. An additional 14 million users were affected more deeply, by having additional details taken related to their profiles such as their recent search history, gender, educational background, geolocation data, birth dates, and lists of people and pages they follow. Facebook said last month that it detected the attack when it noticed an uptick in user activity. An investigation soon found that the activity was linked to the theft of security codes that, under normal circumstances, allow Facebook users to navigate away from the site while remaining logged in. The bugs that allowed the attack to occur gave hackers the ability to effectively take over Facebook accounts on a widespread basis, Facebook said when it disclosed the breach. The attackers began with a relatively small number of accounts that they directly controlled, exploiting flaws in the platform's "View As" feature to gain access to other users' profiles.

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FCC Tells Court It Has No 'Legal Authority' To Impose Net Neutrality Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '18 at 10:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
The Federal Communications Commission opened its defense of its net neutrality repeal yesterday, telling a court that it has no authority to keep the net neutrality rules in place. From a report: Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC argued that broadband is not a "telecommunications service" as defined in federal law, and therefore it must be classified as an information service instead. As an information service, broadband cannot be subject to common carrier regulations such as net neutrality rules, Pai's FCC said. The FCC is only allowed to impose common carrier regulations on telecommunications services. "Given these classification decisions, the Commission determined that the Communications Act does not endow it with legal authority to retain the former conduct rules," the FCC said in a summary of its defense filed yesterday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The FCC is defending the net neutrality repeal against a lawsuit filed by more than 20 state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies. The FCC's opponents in the case will file reply briefs next month, and oral arguments are scheduled for February.

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