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Mozilla Might Distrust Dutch Government Certs Over 'False Keys'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's forgoing-Dutch department:
Long-time Slashdot reader Artem Tashkinov quotes BleepingComputer:
Mozilla engineers are discussing plans to remove support for a state-operated Dutch TLS/HTTPS provider after the Dutch government has voted a new law that grants local authorities the power to intercept Internet communications using "false keys". If the plan is approved, Firefox will not trust certificates issued by the Staat der Nederlanden (State of the Netherlands) Certificate Authority (CA)...

This new law gives Dutch authorities the powers to intercept and analyze Internet traffic. While other countries have similar laws, what makes this one special is that authorities will have authorization to carry out covert technical attacks to access encrypted traffic. Such covert technical capabilities include the use of "false keys," as mentioned in Article 45 1.b, a broad term that includes TLS certificates.

"Fears arise of mass Dutch Internet surveillance," reads a subhead on the article, citing a bug report which notes, among other things, the potential for man-in-the-middle attacks and the fact that the Netherlands hosts a major internet transit point.

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Hole In The Ozone Layer Smallest In 29 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's no-ozone-zone department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Weather Channel:
The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is the smallest it's been since 1988, NASA said. According to a press release, the hole in the Earth's ozone layer is 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year and 3.3 million square miles smaller than 2015... This year, the hole grew to 7.6 million square miles. NASA and NOAA scientists said warmer temperatures and a stormier upper atmosphere helped keep damaging chemicals chlorine and bromine from eating ozone from the layer that protects the Earth's surface from harmful ultraviolet rays... The hole that hovers over Antarctica has been slowly recovering, scientists say, due to an international ban on harmful chemicals that were previously used in refrigerants and aerosols.

The hole was its largest in 2000 and measured 11.5 million square miles. Although recovery is underway, the size of the hole remains large compared to the 1980s, when the hole was first detected, NASA noted. And while there has been significant healing of the ozone layer in recent years, some scientists say full healing is a slow process and will not occur until sometime in the 22nd century, Yale Environment 360 reports. Others expect the Antarctic ozone hole to recover back to 1980 levels around 2070, NASA said.

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New Victims in the 'Billionaire War on Journalism'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 09:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blogs-vs-billionaires department:
Newsweek offers a new reminder that internet journalism can vanish in a corporate shutdown or be "sued out of existence" -- so it certainly isn't permanent.
Writers at the local New York City news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist -- as well as Gothamist's network of city-specific sister sites, such as LAist and DCist -- learned this chilling lesson on Thursday, when billionaire Joe Ricketts abruptly shut down the publications and fired their employees. The decision has been widely regarded as a form of retaliation in response to the newsroom's vote last week to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East. Worse, for a full 20 hours after the news broke, Gothamist.com and DNAinfo.com effectively didn't exist: Any link to the sites showed only Ricketts's statement about his decision, which claims the business was not profitable enough to support the journalism...
The larger tragedy is a nationwide death of local news. Alt-weeklies are flailing as ad revenue dries up. The Village Voice, a legendary New York paper, published its final print issue in September. Houston Press just laid off its staff and ended its print edition this week. Countless stories won't be covered, because the journalistic institutions to tell them no longer exist. Who benefits from DNAinfo being shuttered? Billionaires. Shady landlords. Anyone DNAinfo reported critically on over the years. Who loses? Anyone who lives in the neighborhoods DNAinfo and Gothamist helped cover.

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Jeff Bezos Just Sold $1.1 Billion in Amazon Stock
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 09:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Bezos'-billions department:
An anonymous reader quotes CNN Money:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the newly minted richest person in the world, just sold more than $1 billion worth of his stock. The sale was made public in a filing posted Friday. In total, Bezos let go of one million shares for $1,097,803,365. Exactly how Bezos plans to spend those Benjamins wasn't clear. But it isn't unprecedented for him to sell such a large chunk. In May, he sold more than a million shares. A similar sale was executed in August 2016.

Even after his most recent sell off, Bezos still personally owns about a 16% of Amazon, which he founded in 1994. Bezos's large ownership stake helped vault him past Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index... One possible destination for the cash Bezos just freed up is his commercial space company, Blue Origin. Earlier this year, Bezos told reporters at a space symposium that he sells about $1 billion per year worth of Amazon stock to fund the company, according to Reuters... Last month, Blue Origin Chief Executive Officer Bob Smith said he expects the first manned flight to take place by April 2019.

One Silicon Valley newspaper calls it the biggest stock sale ever.

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Pandora Loses 7 Million Listeners
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 08:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unplugged department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Bay Area Newsgroup:
So many listeners have turned off Pandora that Friday could have been called the day the music died for the internet radio streaming pioneer. Late Thursday, Pandora said it ended its third quarter with 73.7 million active listeners, a decline of more than 7 million listeners from the 81 million it had in the same quarter a year ago. Declining listener numbers, along with weaker-than-expected advertising revenue and a disappointing fourth-quarter forecast, had investors tuning Pandora out on Friday, as the company's shares fell by almost 25 percent, to close at $5.59. Pandora still has more listeners than Apple Music, which has 27 million paying subscribers. But the Oakland-based music streaming business trails its other major rival, Spotify, which has 140 million active listeners, including 60 million who pay a monthly fee for on-demand streaming and to avoid listening to commercials with their music.
For comparision, Pandora now has just 5.19 million paying subscribers for its two ad-free streaming music services.

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An iOS 11.1 Glitch Is Replacing Vowels
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 08:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's spell-different department:
An anonymous reader quotes Mashable:
We became privy to a new iPhone keyboard glitch after a few Mashable staffers recently started having issues with their iPhone keyboards, specifically with vowels. The issue started when iOS 11's predictive text feature began to display an odd character in the place of the letter "I," offering up "A[?] instead and autocorrecting within the message field...The bug was also covered by MacRumors, but it appears that my colleagues have even more issues than just the letter "I." One reported that they were also seeing the glitch with the letters "U" and "O" as well, making the problem strictly restricted to vowels. They also said the letters showed up oddly in iMessage on Mac devices, and shared some more screenshots of what the glitch looks like when they went through with sending a message. The glitch wasn't just limited to iMessage, however. My colleagues shared screenshots of their increasingly futile attempts to type out messages on Facebook Messenger...and Twitter.
Apple seems to be acknowledging that the iOS 11.1 glitch may affect iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. "Here's what you can do to work around the issue until it's fixed by a future software update," Apple posted on a support page, advising readers to "Try setting up Text Replacement for the letter 'i'."

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Jeff Bezos's Just Sold $1.1 Billion in Amazon Stock
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 06:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Bezos'-billions department:
An anonymous reader quotes CNN Money:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the newly minted richest person in the world, just sold more than $1 billion worth of his stock. The sale was made public in a filing posted Friday. In total, Bezos let go of one million shares for $1,097,803,365. Exactly how Bezos plans to spend those Benjamins wasn't clear. But it isn't unprecedented for him to sell such a large chunk. In May, he sold more than a million shares. A similar sale was executed in August 2016.

Even after his most recent sell off, Bezos still personally owns about a 16% of Amazon, which he founded in 1994. Bezos's large ownership stake helped vault him past Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index... One possible destination for the cash Bezos just freed up is his commercial space company, Blue Origin. Earlier this year, Bezos told reporters at a space symposium that he sells about $1 billion per year worth of Amazon stock to fund the company, according to Reuters... Last month, Blue Origin Chief Executive Officer Bob Smith said he expects the first manned flight to take place by April 2019.

One Silicon Valley newspaper calls it the biggest stock sale ever.

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Ask Slashdot: Should I Allow A 'Smart TV' To Connect To The Internet?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 04:16 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Internet-of-TVs department:
Slashdot reader GovCheese has a question:

I use Roku and also the client apps on my gaming consoles for Amazon and Netflix. But it seems less prudent to allow my television, a Samsung, to connect to the internet. My Phillips Blu-ray wants to connect also. But I'd rather not. Is it illogical to allow Roku and a console to connect to streaming services but prevent a "smart" television from doing so?
Slashdot reader gurps_npc argues there's a distinction between devices that need internet access and devices that want it, adding "Smart TVs overcharge in privacy invasion for the minimal advantages they offer."
Leave your own best answers in the comments. Should you let a smart TV connect to the internet?

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Many US States Consider Abandoning Daylight Savings Time
Posted by News Fetcher on November 05 '17 at 12:00 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's falling-backwards department:
A special Massachusetts commission recommends the state stop observing Daylight Savings TIme "if a majority of other northeast states, also possibly including New York, also do so." After a 9-to-1 vote, the head of the commission reported their conclusion after months of study: "There's no good reason why we're changing these clocks twice a year"... According to local reports, "The commission studied the pros and cons of the move and found, for example, retailers liked the idea of more daylight late in the day for shoppers... They also said there would be less crime, fewer traffic accidents and we would actually save energy."
A Maine state representative argues that it's actually harmful to observe Daylight Savings Time. "Some of those harms include an increased risk of stroke, more heart attacks, miscarriages for in vitro fertilization patients, among many other undesirable complications," reports Newsweek. Maine's legislature has already passed a bill approving an end to daylight savings time -- if Massachusetts and New Hampshire also end the practice, and if voters approve the change in a referendum.
At least six states are considering changing the time zones, according to Newsweek, and when it comes to Daylight Savings Time, the Maine representative told a reporter she had just one question.

"Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?"

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Should Developers Do All Their Own QA?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 08:04 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's QA-for-IT department:
An anonymous reader quotes IT News:
Fashion retailer The Iconic is no longer running quality assurance as a separate function within its software development process, having shifted QA responsibilities directly onto developers... "We decided: we've got all these [developers] who are [coding] every day, and they're testing their own work -- we don't need a second layer of advice on it," head of development Oliver Brennan told the New Relic FutureStack conference in Sydney last week. "It just makes people lazy..."
Such a move has the obvious potential to create problems should a developer drop the ball; to make sure the impact of any unforeseen issues is minimised for customers, The Iconic introduced feature toggles -- allowing developers to turn off troublesome functionality without having to deploy new code. Every new feature that goes into production must now sit behind one of these toggles, which dictates whether a user is served the new or old version of the feature in question. The error rates between the new and old versions are then monitored for any discrepancies... While Brennan is no fan of "people breaking things", he argues moving fast is more beneficial for customers.

"If our site is down now, people will generally come back later," Brennan adds, and the company has now moved all of its QA workers into engineering roles.

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Newspaper Obtains James Damore's Complaint Against Google
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 06:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's labor-relations department:
A Silicon Valley newspaper brings this update on fired Google engineer James Damore:
California law allows employers to fire workers for virtually any reason -- and the Constitutional protection of free speech doesn't apply to private company workplaces. Until now it was unclear how Damore might fight back against Google over his termination. Now, this news organization has obtained the U.S. National Labor Relations Board charge sheet that reveals the basis for Damore's battle. His argument hinges on the contents of his memo, which went far beyond discussing a possible biological reason for the gender gap.
The document contained detailed criticism of Google's diversity initiatives and their effects on employees, and it said that the company's biases led to alienation among employees holding conservative views. His Labor Board charge rests on Section 8(a) subsection (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives employees the right to engage in activities for the purpose of "mutual aid or protection." Google discriminated against Damore by firing him "in retaliation" for activities protected by law, and also possibly to discourage such activities within the company, the charge sheet said. It appears clear that the protected activities Damore refers to are his communications, in the memo, with co-workers, about issues in the workplace.
Google was unavailable for comment, but the newspaper quoted an earlier statement from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that "An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn't mean that anything goes."

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Fake WhatsApp App Downloaded 1 Million Times
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 04:05 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-the-Android-app-you're-looking-for department:
An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:
Reddit users yesterday spotted an extremely convincing spoofed copy of the popular WhatsApp messenger on Google Play. The fake was downloaded by more than 1 million users, who instead of a messaging tool wound up with a bundle of ads... The fake WhatsApp was nearly indistinguishable from the real thing thanks to an invisible space placed at the end of the developer's name.

One of the security hounds discussing the case on Reddit pointed out that this was not an isolated incident, even for WhatsApp. A search for "WhatsApp" on Google Play currently shows no fewer than seven spoof apps using slight variations on the developer name "WhatsApp Inc.", including versions with extra spaces, asterisks, or commas. All of them have four-star review averages, presumably thanks to industrial-scale subversion of Play's review system.

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9.6% of Facebook's Users 'May Be Fakes'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 02:44 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's click-'Like'-if-you're-real department:
An anonymous reader quotes the New York Times:
Facebook estimates that about 200 million of its more than 2.07 billion users may be fakes... [Non-paywalled article here.] Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, told the Senate Intelligence Committee the company was doubling its review staff to 20,000 and using artificial intelligence to find more "bad actors"... Sean Edgett, Twitter's general counsel, testified before Congress that about 5 percent of its 330 million users are "false accounts or spam," which would add up to more than 16 million fakes.

Independent experts say the real numbers are far higher. On Twitter, little more than an email address is needed to start tweeting. Facebook's requirement that users be their authentic selves means the company asks for a smattering of information to sign up -- name, birthday, gender and email address. But few checks exist to verify if that information is true when a user signs up.

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Advice To Twitter Worker Who Deactivated Trump's Account: 'Get A Lawyer'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 02:44 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's updating-your-status department:
An anonymous reader quotes The Hill:
A prominent attorney for cybersecurity issues has this advice to the unnamed Twitter worker said to have pulled the plug on President Trump's Twitter account: "Don't say anything and get a lawyer." Tor Ekeland told The Hill that while the facts of the case are still unclear and the primary law used to prosecute hackers is murky and unevenly applied, there is a reasonable chance the Twitter worker violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act...widely considered to be, as Ekeland explained it, "a mess." Various courts around the country have come up with seemingly contradictory rulings on what unauthorized access actually means. Ekeland said the Ninth Circuit, covering the state of California, has itself issued rulings at odds with itself that would have an impact on the Trump Twitter account fiasco as a potential case. The Ninth Circuit ruled that employees do not violate the law if they exceed their workplace computer policies. It has also ruled that employees who have been told they do not have permission to access a system cannot legally access it. Depending on which ruling a court leans on the hardest, a current Twitter employee without permission to shutter accounts may have violated the law by nixing Trump's account.
Ekeland points out that just $5,000 worth of damage could carry a 10-year prison sentence.
Friday the New York Times also reported that the worker responsible wasn't even a Twitter employee, but a hired contractor, adding that "nearly every" major tech company uses contractors for non-technical positions, including Google, Apple, and Facebook.

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Peter Thiel Could End Up Owning Gawker
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 01:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bought-by-a-billionaire department:
An anonymous reader writes: Gawker's assets are now up for sale, and Page Six reports that they could be sold to a Hollywood movie studio which is "seriously interested" in adapting the site's stories into movies or TV shows -- and is also looking into filming the story of Gawker itself. Another interested buyer is described as a "group of hard-core Gawker fans" who are currently performing their own due diligence. But the bankruptcy manager for Gawker "has not ruled out the possibility" of selling the site to Peter Thiel. Also up for sale are "potential legal claims" Gawker may have against Peter Thiel, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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A Third of the Internet Experienced DoS Attacks in the Last Two Years
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 12:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's no-denying-it department:
Long-time Slashdot reader doom writes: Over a two year period, a third of the IPv4 address space have experienced some sort of DoS attack, though the researchers who've ascertained this suspect this is an underestimate. This is from a story at Science Daily reporting on a study recently presented in London at the Internet Measurement Conference.
"As might be expected, more than a quarter of the targeted addresses in the study came in the United States, the nation with the most internet addresses in the world. Japan, with the third most internet addresses, ranks anywhere from 14th to 25th for the number of DoS attacks, indicating a relatively safe nation for DoS attacks..."

The study itself states, "On average, on a single day, about 3% of all Web sites were involved in attacks (i.e., by being hosted on targeted IP addresses)."

"Put another way," said the report's principal investigator, "during this recent two-year period under study, the internet was targeted by nearly 30,000 attacks per day."

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Appeals Court Rules: SCO v. IBM Case Can Continue
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 12:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's neverending-stories department:
Long-time Slashdot reader Freshly Exhumed quotes Ars Technica:
A federal appeals court has now partially ruled in favor of the SCO Group, breathing new life into a lawsuit and a company (now bankrupt and nearly dead) that has been suing IBM for nearly 15 years. Last year, U.S. District Judge David Nuffer had ruled against SCO (whose original name was Santa Cruz Operation) in two summary judgment orders, and the court refused to allow SCO to amend its initial complaint against IBM. SCO soon appealed. On Monday, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that SCO's claims of misappropriation could go forward while also upholding Judge Nuffer's other two orders.
Here's Slashdot's first story about the trial more than 14 years ago, and a nice timeline from 2012 of the next nine years of legal drama.

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3D Printing Doubles the Strength of Stainless Steel
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 10:32 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-metals department:
sciencehabit writes:
Researchers have come up with a way to 3D print tough and flexible stainless steel, an advance that could lead to faster and cheaper ways to make everything from rocket engines to parts for nuclear reactors and oil rigs. The team designed a computer-controlled process to not only create dense stainless steel layers, but to more tightly control the structure of their material from the nanoscale to micron scale. That allows the printer to build in tiny cell wall-like structures on each scale that prevent fractures and other common problems. Tests showed that under certain conditions the final 3D printed stainless steels were up to three times stronger than steels made by conventional techniques and yet still ductile.

The work was done using a commercially-available 3D printer, according to Science magazine. "That makes it likely that other groups will be able to quickly follow their lead to make a wide array of high-strength stainless steel parts for everything from fuel tanks in airplanes to pressure tubes in nuclear power plants."

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Are You OK With Google Reading Your Data?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 09:12 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'm-feeling-lucky department:
Remember when Google randomly flagged files in Google Docs for violating its terms of service? An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
Many people worried that Google was scanning users' documents in real time to determine if they're being mean or somehow bad. You actually agree to such oversight in Google G Suite's terms of service. Those terms include personal conduct stipulations and copyright protection, as well as adhering to "program policies"... Even though this is spelled out in the terms of service, it's uncomfortably Big Brother-ish, and raises anew questions about how confidential and secure corporate information really is in the cloud.

So, do SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS providers make it their business to go through your data? If you read their privacy policies (as I have), the good news is that most don't seem to. But have you actually read through them to know who, like Google, does have the right to scan and act on your data? Most enterprises do a good legal review for enterprise-level agreements, but much of the use of cloud services is by individuals or departments who don't get such IT or legal review. Enterprises need to be proactive about reading the terms of service for cloud services used in their company, including those set up directly by individuals and departments. It's still your data, after all, and you should know how it is being used and could be used...

The article argues that "Chances are you or your employees have signed similar terms in the many agreements that people accept without reading."

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Firefox Borrows From Tor Browser Again, Blocks Canvas Fingerprinting
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '17 at 07:52 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fingerprints-vs-Firefox department:
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla engineers have borrowed yet another feature from the Tor Browser and starting with version 58 Firefox will block attempts to fingerprint users using the HTML5 canvas element. The technique is widely used in the advertising industry to track users across sites. Firefox 58 is scheduled for release on January 16, 2018. Canvas fingerprinting blocking is the second feature Mozilla engineers have borrowed from the Tor Project. Previously, Mozilla has added a mechanism to Firefox 52 that prevents websites from fingerprinting users via system fonts. Mozilla's efforts to harden Firefox are part of the Tor Uplift project, an initiative to import more privacy-focused feature from the Tor Browser into Firefox.

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