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UK Snooper's Charter, AKA The Investigatory Powers Bill, Passes Through Commons
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 05:54 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's watching-your-every-move department:
Mark Wilson quotes a report from BetaNews: The controversial Snooper's Charter -- or the Investigatory Powers Bill as it is officially known -- has been passed through the House of Commons by UK MPs. An overwhelming majority of politicians (444 to 69) voted in favor of the bill which has been roundly criticized by both the public and technology companies. The Investigatory Powers Bill grants the UK government, security, and intelligence agencies greater powers for monitoring internet usage, as well as permitting bulk data collection and remote hacking of smartphones. The law allows for the kind of mass surveillance that Edward Snowden warned about, and while the bill may have passed a majority vote, there are still those who fear not enough has been done to safeguard individuals' privacy. UPDATE 6/7/16: The title/body has been updated to clarify that the bill has been passed through the House of Commons. It will have to pass through the House of Lords before it becomes law. As one Anonymous Coward pointed out, the House of Lords may send it back for modification or reject it entirely.

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Smartphone Sales Growth Will Drop To Single Digits In 2016, Says Gartner
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 04:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-goes-up-must-come-down department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: According to a report from Gartner, smartphone sales growth is expected to shrink from 14.4 percent growth in 2015 to just 7 percent in 2016, with only 1.5 billion smartphone units expected to ship globally this year. Gartner notes the market grew 73 precent in 2010, which was a high-point for the industry. One of the main reasons why the growth is shrinking is because consumers have less of a reason to upgrade their devices each year. Gartner notes that new devices offer only incremental upgrades over existing hardware and carriers have been moving away from subsidizing upgrades. The lifetime of a premium smartphone is between 2.2 and 2.5 years in emerging markets. The biggest smartphone growth is expected in India, where an estimated 139 million smartphones will be sold this year alone. The industry is growing 29.5 percent year-over-year in India. As for China, Gartner expects "little growth" in the region in the next five years calling it a "saturated yet highly competitive" market. Last week, it was reported that Microsoft is selling about 1,500 of its patents to Chinese device maker Xiaomi to build a 'long-term partnership.'

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PayPal Denies Twitch Troll $50,000 Worth In Refunds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 04:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department:
An anonymous reader writes: Trolling is commonplace on the internet. On Twitch, one of the many ways people troll Twitch streamers is by making donations, only to get a refund from PayPal at the very last minute, thus tricking streamers into thinking they've been given large sums of money. A troll by the name of iNexus_Ninja has been doing exactly this. However, when he tried to go to PayPal to refund the charges, PayPal decided to deny his request which ultimately left the troll $50,000 in debt. Twitch streamers apparently fought against his request for a refund and won. Meanwhile, Russia is paying state-sponsored trolls, elevating the troll to the level of professional propagandists.

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Firefox 47 Arrives With Synced Tabs Sidebar, Better YouTube Playback
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 03:13 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what's-new department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 47 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The browser has gained a sidebar for synced tabs from other devices, improvements to YouTube playback and HTML5 support, and is seeing the end of support for Android Gingerbread. [If you're logged in with your Firefox Account, the sidebar will show all your open tabs from your smartphone and other computers. The sidebar even lets you search for specific tabs. Next, Firefox 47 supports the open source VP9 video codec on machines with powerful multiprocessors. VP9 is the successor to VP8, both of which fall under Google's WebM project of freeing web codecs from royalty constraints.] Firefox 47 is available for download on Firefox.com, and will be slowly released on Google Play. You can view the full Firefox 47 changelog here. If you're a developer, Firefox 47 for developers offers more details for you.

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Report: People Are Spending Much Less Time On Social Media
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 03:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-things-to-do department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNBC: According to a new study from marketing intelligence firm SimilarWeb, people are spending less time on social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The company analyzed Android users' daily time spent on these social networks from January to March 2016 with the same period in 2015, which included data from the U.S., UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, India, South Africa, Brazil and Spain. Instagram usage was down 23.7 percent this year, Twitter usage was down 23.4 percent, Snapchat usage was down 15.7 percent, and Facebook usage was down 8 percent. Daily usage was down even more in the U.S. for most of the apps. In the U.S., Instagram usage was down 36.2 percent, Twitter was down 27.9 percent, Snapchat was down 19.2 percent but Facebook only fell 6.7 percent. Current installs for the four big social networks were down nine percent year over year. Meanwhile, Facebook's messaging apps, WhatsApp and Messenger increased their installs by 15 percent and 2 percent respectively.

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UK Snooper's Charter, AKA The Investigatory Powers Bill, Voted Into Law
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 01:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's watching-your-every-move department:
Mark Wilson quotes a report from BetaNews: The controversial Snooper's Charter -- or the Investigatory Powers Bill as it is officially known -- has been voted into law by UK MPs. An overwhelming majority of politicians (444 to 69) voted in favor of the bill which has been roundly criticized by both the public and technology companies. The Investigatory Powers Bill grants the UK government, security, and intelligence agencies greater powers for monitoring internet usage, as well as permitting bulk data collection and remote hacking of smartphones. The law allows for the kind of mass surveillance that Edward Snowden warned about, and while the bill may have passed a majority vote, there are still those who fear not enough has been done to safeguard individuals' privacy.

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FAA Warns of GPS Outages This Month During Mysterious Tests On the West Coast
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 01:53 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's X-files-I-want-to-believe department:
Long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 shares a Gizmodo report: Starting today, it appears the U.S. military will be testing a device or devices that will potentially jam GPS signals for six hours each day. We say "appears" because officially the tests were announced by the FAA but are centered near the U.S. Navy's largest installation, China Lake, Californi -- home to the Navy's 1.1 million acre Naval Air Weapons Center in the Mojave Desert. And the Navy won't tell us much about what's going on. The FAA issued an advisory warning pilots on Saturday that global positioning systems (GPS) could be unreliable during six different days this month, primarily in the Southwestern United States. On June 7, 9, 21, 23, 28, and 30th the GPS interference testing(PDF) will be taking place between 9:30am and 3:30pm Pacific time. But if you're on the ground, you probably won't notice interference.

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BlackBerry Really Struggling In Android Market
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 12:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's stepping-in-rival's-territory department:
Once an icon in the smartphone business, BlackBerry is having a hard time transitioning to Android. According to a report on CNET, the company's BlackBerry Priv Android smartphone, citing a high-level executive at AT&T, is really struggling. From the report: AT&T offered a more detailed account of why the Priv has disappointed. BlackBerry and the carrier expected to see demand for an Android phone with a physical keyboard. Instead, most of the buyers were BlackBerry loyalists, the executive said. Those faithful, however, struggled with the transition from the BlackBerry operating system to the Android operating system, leading to a higher-than-expected rate of return. BlackBerry's decision to market the phone as a high-end device also hurt its prospects, the executive said. The Priv initially sold unlocked for $699, above the starting price of the iPhone 6S, which sells for $650. Few premium phones have fared well beyond devices from Apple and Samsung.

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Netflix Blocks Many IPv6 Users Over Geolocation Difficulty
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 12:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's assuming-control department:
An anonymous reader writes: In another example of content owners putting the screws to Netflix and consumers, network operators are reporting that the popular streaming service has begun blocking many customers on IPv6 connections. Many users of Hurricane Electric's IPv4-to-IPv6 service have been blocked entirely, while users on ISPs that provide native IPv6 are also facing difficulty connecting and watching shows. Netflix customer service has been advising users that the only workaround is to completely disable IPv6 on their computers. The ban on IPv6 appears to be the latest round of a wider crackdown against users whose IP address can't be sufficiently geolocated. While the rest of the internet moves forward with implementing IPv6, content owners are forcing Netflix to move backwards.

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The US Army Is Rolling Out Superhuman Hearing to Soldiers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 11:15 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's innovation-trickling-down department:
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Army has developed an all-in-one hearing system that not only boosts the hearing of troops in the field, it also acts to cut down the noise of battle. The system, known as Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), is currently rolling out to units in the field. TCAPS is $2,000 pair of earbuds designed to limit battlefield noise exposure, cutting off noise that reaches a set decibel threshold. The wearer can still hear gunshots and estimate their direction, but the noise is dampened to a non-damaging level thanks to microphones that detect the noise, and internals that use sound canceling technology to modify it for a wearer's ears. At the same time, the decibel cap allows TCAPS-equipped soldiers to hear the voices of others around him, including through radios and other communications equipment.

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Microsoft Could Turn Every PC Into an Xbox
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 11:15 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's for-better-or-worse department:
For the past few years, Microsoft has been trying to mold Xbox One system's user interface and functionalities to resemble that of Windows 8 and Windows 10's Modern UI. But the company has also hinted that we will be seeing a closer integration in the coming months. It is expected to unveil some of that at E3 tradeshow next week. Long-time Microsoft watcher Tom Warren reports for The Verge: Microsoft is currently working on a secret project internally, codenamed Helix. Kotaku originally reported on the Project Helix name, and the work is designed to more closely combine Xbox and Windows 10. Some of that work has started, but more of it is due later this year and next year with future upgrades to Windows 10. Microsoft wants to enable features like streaming PC games to the Xbox One, but sources familiar with the company's plans also tell us there are greater ambitions to make Xbox One games playable on a PC without needing a console for streaming. Part of this could involve bringing the full Xbox One UI and system directly into desktop versions of Windows 10. The latest Xbox One dashboards are built on top of Windows 10, so most of the work involved would be customizing the interface towards keyboard and mouse. Bringing the Xbox One UI over to Windows 10 machines would effectively turn every PC into an Xbox One, especially if they're also capable of running the latest console games.

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Finnish Mail System Abandons Tuesday Delivery
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's cutting-cost department:
Reader jones_supa writes: In a world moving to electronic communications, the snail mail traffic has seen a huge drop. Because of this, Posti, the mail delivery organization of Finland will not be delivering letters and magazines on Tuesdays anymore. Tuesday was selected because it generally has the lowest volume of mail. For example, magazines and advertisements are targeted to the end of the week, so that people have more time for shopping dreams in the weekend. Another reason is that Posti recently launched a lawn mowing service which operates on Tuesdays.

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Broadband CEOs Admit Usage Caps Are Nothing More Than A Toll On Uncompetitive Markets
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 09:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's the-truth-is-out-there department:
Though giant ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast continue to impose caps on users with several of their data plans, a crop of local ISPs is no longer hesitating from admitting that there is no justification for these caps as the cost to provide broadband services has only dropped in the past years. From a TechDirt article (condensed): "The cost of increasing [broadband] capacity has declined much faster than the increase in data traffic," says Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic, an independent ISP based in Santa Rosa, Calif. [...] Frontier Communications CEO Dan McCarthy adds, "There may be a time when usage-based pricing is the right solution for the market, but I really don't see that as a path the market is taking at this point in time." Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent said, "I think one of the things people don't realize [relates to] the question of capital intensity and having to keep spending to keep up with capacity. Those days are basically over, and you are seeing significant free cash flow generated from the cable operators as our capital expenditures continue to come down."

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Password Re-user? Get Ready to Get Busy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-measures department:
Security reporter Brian Krebs writes: In the wake of megabreaches at some of the Internet's most-recognized destinations, don't be surprised if you receive password reset requests from numerous companies that didn't experience a breach: Some big name companies -- including Facebook and Netflix -- are in the habit of combing through huge data leak troves for credentials that match those of their customers and then forcing a password reset for those users. Netflix.com, for example, sent out a notification late last week to users who made the mistake of re-using their Netflix password at Linkedin, Tumblr or MySpace. All of three of those breaches are years old, but the scope of the intrusions (more than a half billion usernames and passwords leaked in total) only became apparent recently when the credentials were posted online at various sites and services.

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Tech Firms Say FBI Wants Browsing History Without Warrant
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's it's-coming department:
Aaron Souppouris, reporting for Engadget: Tech companies and privacy advocates are warning against new legislation that would give the FBI the ability to access "electronic communication transactional records" (ECTRs) without a warrant in spy and terrorism cases. ECTRs include high-level information on what sites a person visited, the time spent on those sites, email metadata, location information and IP addresses. To gain access to this data, a special agent in charge of a bureau field office need only write a "national security letter" (NSL) that doesn't require a judge's approval. It's worth noting that ECTRs don't amount to a full browsing history. If a suspected terrorist were reading this article, the FBI would only see they read "engadget.com" and how long for, rather than the specific page links. Additionally, the ECTRs won't include the content of emails, search queries, or form content, but will feature metadata, so the FBI would know who someone is messaging and when.

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Huge Vulnerabilities In Facebook Chat and Messenger Exploitable With Basic HTML
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Check Point's security research team has discovered vulnerabilities in Facebook's standard online Chat function, as well as Messenger app. The vulnerabilities, if exploited, would allow anyone to essentially take control of any message sent by Chat or Messenger, modify its contents, distribute malware and even insert automation techniques to outsmart security defences. To exploit the vulnerability, an attacker simply needed to identify the unique ID for the sent message he or she is targeting.According to the report, Facebook, in conjunction with Check Point's researchers, patched the vulnerability earlier this month.

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Samsung To Launch Smartphones With Bendable Screens in 2017, Reports Bloomberg
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's well-that's-at-least-unique department:
Samsung plans to launch two smartphones with bendable screens. The South Korean technology conglomerate could showcase these two phones as early as the Mobile World Congress tradeshow next year, according to Bloomberg, which cites sources "familiar with the matter." The publication adds that one of the phones will fold in half like a makeup compact, whereas the other with a 5-inch display would fold out into a larger tablet-style device. From the report: The devices using organic light-emitting diodes could be unveiled as soon as early 2017. That would likely give it a head start on new Apple Inc. iPhones. The second Samsung model will have a 5-inch screen when used as a handset, that unfurls into a display that's as large as 8 inches, similar to a tablet, the people said.As for more immediate future plans, the Galaxy Note 6, which is expected to launch later this year, might ship with the moniker "Note 7". This would allow Samsung to put its flagship phablet's branding in line with its current smartphone numbering. Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge earlier this year. (Editor's note: Bloomberg website, though very credible, has pop-up videos, which some of you may find annoying. Just in case, here's an alternate source.)

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'Alarming' Rise In Ransomware Tracked
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 05:34 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's return-on-investment department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Cyber-thieves are adopting ransomware in "alarming" numbers, say security researchers. There are now more than 120 separate families of ransomware, said experts studying the malicious software. Other researchers have seen a 3,500% increase in the criminal use of net infrastructure that helps run ransomware campaigns. The rise is driven by the money thieves make with ransomware and the increase in kits that help them snare victims. Ransomware was easy to use, low risk and offered a high reward, said Bart Parys, a security researcher who helps to maintain a list of the growing numbers of types of this kind of malware. Mr Parys and his colleagues have now logged 124 separate variants of ransomware. Some virulent strains, such as Locky and Cryptolocker, were controlled by individual gangs, he said, but others were being used by people buying the service from an underground market. A separate indicator of the growth of ransomware came from the amount of net infrastructure that gangs behind the malware had been seen using. The numbers of web domains used to host the information and payment systems had grown 35-fold, said Infoblox in its annual report which monitors these chunks of the net's infrastructure. A lot of ransomware reached victims via spear-phishing campaigns or booby-trapped adverts, he said, but other gangs used specialized "crypters" and "packers" that made files look benign. Others relied on inserting malware into working memory so it never reached the parts of a computer on which most security software keeps an eye. Ars Technica reports that drive-by attacks that install the TeslaCrypt crypto ransomware are now able to bypass Microsoft's EMET.

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Password Autocorrect Without Compromising Security
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 02:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's autofill department:
msm1267 quotes a report from Threatpost: Intuitively, auto-correcting passwords would seem to be a terrible idea, and the worst security-for-convenience tradeoff in technology history. But a team of academics from Cornell University, MIT and a Dropbox security engineer say that the degradation of security from the introduction of such an authentication mechanism is negligible. The team -- Rahul Chatterjee, Ari Juels and Thomas Ristenpart of Cornell University, Anish Athalye of MIT, and Devdatta Akhawe of Dropbox -- presented their findings in a paper called "pASSWORD tYPOS and How to Correct Them Securely" at the recent IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. The paper describes a framework for what the team calls typo-tolerant passwords that significantly enhances usability without compromising security. The paper focuses on three common types of password errors that users make while typing: engaging caps lock; inadvertently capitalizing the first letter of a password; or adding or omitting characters to the beginning or end of a password. By instituting an autocorrect scheme, the researchers said in their paper that they could reduce common mistakes and user frustrations with logins. Recently, an anonymous user asked Slashdot how one creates a highly secure password after a study from Carnegie Mellon issued a warning about common user misconceptions. You can engage in the conversation and/or read the witty responses here.

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Tesla: Model X Accident Caused By Driver Error, Not Autopilot
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 12:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's false-accusations department:
An anonymous reader writes: Tesla has responded to a recent report from a Model X owner claiming their vehicle suddenly accelerated at "maximum speed" by itself, jumped a curb and slammed into the side of a building while his wife was sitting behind the wheel. They said it analyzed vehicle logs, "which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver's action, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed. Safety is the top priority at Tesla and we engineer and build our cars with this foremost in mind. We are pleased that the driver is ok and ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles." When will people stop lying about Tesla's Autopilot mode crashing their cars? One Tesla owner recently filed a Lemon Law claim against the company over a high number of quality control issues.

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