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SpaceX Successfully Lands A Falcon 9 Rocket At Sea For The Third Time
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 04:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's third-time's-a-charm department:
An anonymous reader writes: SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for the third time in a row. The Verge reports: "It was the third time in a row the company has landed a rocket booster at sea, and the fourth time overall. The landing occurred a few minutes before the second stage of the Falcon 9 delivered the THAICOM-8 satellite to space, where it will make its way to geostationary geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). GTO is a high-elliptical orbit that is popular for satellites, sitting more than 20,000 miles above the Earth. The 3,100-kilogram satellite will spend 15 years improving television and data signals across Southeast Asia." The company landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship for the second time earlier this month. UPDATE 5/27/15: Frank249 writes in a comment: "Elon Musk just tweeted: 'Rocket landing speed was close to design max and used up contingency crush core, hence back and forth motion. Prob ok, but some risk of tipping.'" He went on to tweet: "Crush core is aluminum honeycomb for energy absorption in the telescoping actuator. Easy to replace (if Falcon makes it back to port)."

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Model X Owner Files Lemon Law Suit Against Tesla, Claims Car Is Unsafe To Drive
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drivers-ed department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR: When designing the Model X, Tesla went more than a little bit overboard in trying to trick out its crossover SUV with as many bells and whistles as possible. Not only did Tesla's overly ambitious development delay the launch of the Model X, it has arguably resulted in a noticeably higher number of quality control issues than we're accustomed to seeing. Hardly a controversial point, even Tesla CEO Elon Musk has conceded that the company was far too zealous when developing the Model X. While some customers with frustrating Model X issues have noted that Tesla has been quick to fix any problems, one Model X owner from California has had enough. According to the Courthouse News Service, via Teslarati, Barrett Lyon recently filed a Lemon Law claim against Tesla, arguing that the car's problems are unfixable and that it's ultimately unsafe to drive. In addition to finding that the front door would often slam shut on his leg, Lyon's suit details a slew of other problems, including Auto Pilot problems, touch screen freezes and more. A Tesla Model S owner, on the other hand, reported that his vehicle went rogue causing an accident all by itself.

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Wearable 'Backpack PCs' Let You Experience High-End VR On The Go
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 02:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's on-the-go department:
An anonymous reader writes: Powerful virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require powerful PCs with beefy graphics cards to operate. That means you'll usually be tethered to a PC tower in your home. Well, HP and MSI have announced portable 'backpack PCs' designed to be used with high-end virtual reality headsets. These PC internals are built in a backpack enclosure powered by a large battery pack. The HP Omen X weighs less than 10 pounds and has a battery that's big enough to last for up to one hour of gameplay, but you do have the option of swapping out the batteries for uninterrupted VR. Specs include either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and at least an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 or higher. The MSI Backpack PC features an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 980 graphics, according to the company. The last of the backpack PC trio is the Zotac Mobile VR. The company hasn't released any specs of the product but the company did state in a blog post, "This mobile solution not only removes the bulk of connecting to the large traditional computer towers of old, but also allows the user to roam freely in VR with their undivided attention. This innovative solution includes a system powerful enough to drive VR, and a portable battery pack to keep you going." There is no pricing or availability information as of yet.

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Amazon Built An Echo Simulator You Can Use In the Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's a-thing-to-do-over-weekend department:
Jordan Novet, writing for VentureBeat: Amazon today announced the availability of Echosim.io, a website that simulates the capabilities of the Amazon Echo speaker, which employs Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology. The thing about Alexa is that many people who don't own the Echo -- or its smaller siblings, the Tap and the Echo Dot -- haven't been able to see what Alexa is capable of. The new tool -- which was inspired by the Alexa in the Browser application that Nexmo developer advocate Sam Machin came up with during a hackathon last year -- solves that problem. All you have to do is head to the website, sign in with your Amazon credentials, and start holding your mouse down over the microphone button to see what Alexa can do. It's nifty for anyone to use, but it's also potentially useful to developers. "Developers worldwide can use Echosim to experience Alexa," Amazon Alexa developer marketing manager Glenn Cameron wrote in a blog post.Interesting move, especially for people who either do not want to -- or can't -- purchase the device (unavailability being one reason). You will need to login with your Amazon account in order to test Echosim.

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Someone In North Korea Is Hosting a Facebook Clone
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-North-Korea department:
Reporter Jason Koebler shares: Someone in North Korea appears to have created a Facebook clone, according to an internet analytics company that traced the site's DNS to the notoriously isolated country. The social network is an off-the-shelf Facebook clone called dolphinPHP. Dyn Analytics researcher Doug Madory said that "very few websites resolve to the North Korean address space, and this one does."From the screenshots in the article, the user interface, and other elements do look similar to that of Facebook.

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All European Scientific Articles To Be Freely Accessible By 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-free-access department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on EU2016: All scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020. EU member states want to achieve optimal reuse of research data. They are also looking into a European visa for foreign start-up founders. And, according to the new Innovation Principle, new European legislation must take account of its impact on innovation. These are the main outcomes of the meeting of the Competitiveness Council in Brussels on 27 May. Under the presidency of Netherlands State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker, the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation decided unanimously to take these significant steps.Many questions remain unanswered. For instance, it is not clear whether the publishers would be forced to make their papers available for free or whether EU will only allow scientists who are happy to abide by the rules to publish papers. We should have more details on this soon.

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Hackers Claim to Have 427 Million Myspace Passwords
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 11:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's remember-Myspace? department:
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, reporting for Motherboard: There's an oft-repeated adage in the world of cybersecurity: There are two types of companies, those that have been hacked, and those that don't yet know they have been hacked. MySpace, the social media behemoth that was, is apparently in the second category. The same hacker who was selling the data of more than 164 million LinkedIn users last week now claims to have 360 million emails and passwords of MySpace users, which would be one of the largest leaks of passwords ever. And it looks like the data is being circulated in the underground by other hackers as well. It's unclear when the data was stolen from MySpace, but both the hacker, who's known as Peace, and one of the operators of LeakedSource, a paid hacked data search engine that also claims to have the credentials, said it's from a past, unreported, breach.

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North Korea Linked to the SWIFT Bank Hacks
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 11:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
North Korea could be behind the recent string of digital attacks on Asian banks, says Symantec. The cyber security firms notes that the attacks could be traced as far back as October 2015, two months prior to the earliest known incident. As you may recall, hackers stole around $80M from Bangladesh's central bank in March, and a similar attack was seen at a Vietnamese bank earlier this month. Symantec says that it has found evidence that distinctive malware that was used in both the hacks had strong commonalities with the 2014 Sony Picture breaches. Security firm FireEye also investigated the matter. From a Bloomberg report: Investigators are examining possible computer breaches at as many as 12 banks linked to Swift's global payments network that have irregularities similar to those in the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank, according to a person familiar with the probe. FireEye, the security firm hired by the Bangladesh bank, has been contacted by the other banks, most of which are in Southeast Asia, because of signs that hackers may have breached their networks, the person said. They include banks in the Philippines and New Zealand but not in Western Europe or the United States. There is no indication of whether money was taken.

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Gigabit Internet With No Data Caps May Be Coming To Rural America
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 10:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's hope-is-a-good-thing department:
Jon Brodkin, writing for Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is making another $2.15 billion available for rural broadband projects, and it's trying to direct at least some of that money toward building services with gigabit download speeds and unlimited data. The FCC voted for the funding Wednesday (PDF) and released the full details yesterday (PDF). The money, $215 million a year for 10 years, will be distributed to Internet providers through a reverse auction in which bidders will commit to providing specific performance levels. Bidders can obtain money by proposing projects meeting requirements in any of four performance tiers. There's a minimum performance tier that includes speeds of at least 10Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream, with at least 150GB of data provided each month. A "baseline" performance tier requires 25Mbps/3Mbps speeds and at least 150GB a month, though the data allotment minimum could rise based on an FCC metric that determines what typical broadband consumers use per month.

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Why Are We Spending Billions and Tons of Fossil Fuel On Search of Lost Planes?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 10:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's reader-asks department:
Reader Max_W asks: After days of massive search finally, "Report: Signals detected from EgyptAir Flight 804 in Mediterranean" Why not record GPS/GLONASS track constantly into a text file on say twenty flash USB drives enclosed into orange styrofoam with the serial aircraft number on it? In case of an accident, these waterproof USB flash drives are released outside overboard. Certainly the text file is encrypted. Such a floating USB flash drive would cost maximum a hundred USD even if equipped with a tiny LED lamp; while an aircraft costs millions, and a search may costs billions let alone thousands of tons of burned fossil fuel.

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Microsoft's Get Windows 10 App, KB 3035583, Reappears
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 08:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's old-habits-die-hard department:
An anonymous reader shares an InfoWorld article: Once again, Microsoft has unleashed the GWX Kraken, with no explanation and no description. The latest KB 3035583 appears as a "Recommended" optional patch for Windows 7 and 8.1. Those with Automatic Update turned on and "Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates" checked -- the default settings -- will see the patch as a checked, optional update, and it will be installed the next time Automatic Update runs. If you previously hid KB 3035583, it's now unhidden. I'm sure there are a dozen people on earth who still have Auto Updates turned on, "Recommended updates" checked, and who haven't yet accepted Microsoft's kind invitation for a free copy of Windows 10. This one's for them. In late March 2015, Microsoft released the first version of KB 3035583. Described as "Update enables additional capabilities for Windows Update notifications in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1," the patch immediately raised eyebrows. In April of last year, a German researcher named Gerard Himmelein, writing at heise.de, figured out that Microsoft was sneaking a Windows 10 upgrader onto Win7 and 8.1 machines. Life for Win7 and 8.1 customers since then has degenerated into Win10 whack-a-mole.In some other news, Chinese news outlet Xinhua reports that plenty of users in China are unhappy about Microsoft's push to get them to mandatorily upgrade their Windows OS. "The company has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," Xinhua quoted Zhao Zhanling, a legal adviser with the Internet Society of China, as saying.

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Slashdot Asks: Would You Pay For Android Updates?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 08:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's pay-for-updates department:
It's no secret that most Android OEMs could do better when it comes to seeding out updates for their existing devices. A report on Bloomberg earlier this week claimed that Google plans to publicly name and shame the OEMs who are too slow at updating their devices. An HTC executive who didn't want to be identified told Slashdot on Thursday that it is not the right way to approach the problem. But that's only one part of the problem. The other issue is that almost every Android OEM partner -- including Google itself -- only provides support to their devices for 18-24 months. Vlad Savov of The Verge in a column today urges Android OEMs to perhaps charge its users if that is what it takes for them to offer support to their devices for a longer period of time and in a timely manner. He writes: I've been one of the many people dissatisfied with the state of Android software updates, however I can't in good conscience direct my wrath at the people manufacturing the devices. Price and spec competition is so intense right now that there's literally no option to disengage: everyone's been sucked into the whirlpool of razor-thin profit margins, and nobody can afford the luxury of dedicating too many resources to after-sales care. The question that's been bugging me lately is, if we value Android updates as highly as we say we do, why don't we pay for them? The situation can't be fixed by manufacturers -- most of them are barely breaking even -- or by Google, which is doing its best to improve things but ultimately relies on carriers and device makers to get the job done. Carriers will most certainly not be the solution, given how they presently constitute most of the problem (just ask AT&T Galaxy S6 owners) -- so like it or not, the best chance for substantial change comes from us, the users. What I'm proposing is a simple crowdfunding operation. I'm skeptical about this, because I don't think it is in an OEM's best interest to serve its existing users for long -- how else they will convince customers to purchase their new devices? A newer software version is after all one of the ultimate selling points of a new phone. So I don't think an OEM will take up on such an offer. What do you folks think?

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Facebook Begins Tracking Non-Users Around the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 07:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's no-escape department:
Amar Toor, reporting for The Verge: Facebook will now display ads to web users who are not members of its social network, the company announced Thursday, in a bid to significantly expand its online ad network. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook will use cookies, "like" buttons, and other plug-ins embedded on third-party sites to track members and non-members alike (Editor's note: link swapped with a non-paywall source). The company says it will be able to better target non-Facebook users and serve relevant ads to them, though its practices have come under criticism from regulators in Europe over privacy concerns. Facebook began displaying a banner notification at the top of its News Feed for users in Europe today, alerting them to its use of cookies as mandated under an EU directive.Mark Wilson of BetaNews adds that Facebook has outlined these changes in its cookies policy page. As part of which, the company is now allowing Facebook users to opt-out of the ad scheme by making changes to their Facebook settings. For users that don't have a Facebook account, they can opt-out through Digital Advertising Alliance in the United States and Canada, and the European Interactive Digital Adverting Alliance in Europe.

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China Unveils 'Straddling Bus' Design To Beat Traffic Jams
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 07:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's beating-the-traffic department:
An anonymous reader writes: A Beijing company has unveiled spectacularly futuristic designs for a pollution-busting, elevated bus capable of gliding over the nightmarish mega-jams for which urban China has become notorious. The "straddling bus," which owes more to Blade Runner than China's car-clogged highways, is supported by two legs that run along rails laid along the roadside. Those legs allow the Transit Explore Bus, or TEB's giant frame to glide high above the gridlock at speeds of up to 60km per hour. Equally, vehicles that are less than two metres high will be able to drive freely underneath the bus, even when it is stationary. "The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space," Song Youzhou, the project's chief engineer, told Xinhua, China's official news agency. Song claimed his buses, capable of transporting up to 1,400 commuters, could be produced for 20% of the price of an underground train and rolled out far more quickly since the supporting infrastructure was relatively simple. One TEB could replace 40 conventional buses, he said.You can watch the concept video here. Interestingly a very similar -- if not the exact same -- concept has come out of China before. Not sure what kind of developments have been made in the six years since then.

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Secret Text In Senate Bill Would Give FBI Warrantless Access To Email Records
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 06:03 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unlimited-access department:
mi quotes a report from The Intercept: A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate's annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals' email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers using those beloved 'National Security Letters' -- without a warrant and in complete secrecy. [The spy bill passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, with the provision in it. The lone no vote came from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wrote in a statement that one of the bill's provisions "would allow any FBI field office to demand email records without a court order, a major expansion of federal surveillance powers." If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI's already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs -- most commonly, information about the name, address, and call data associated with a phone number or details about a bank account. The FBI's power to issue NSLs is actually derived from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act -- a 1986 law that Congress is currently working to update to incorporate more protections for electronic communications -- not fewer. The House unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act in late April, while the Senate is due to vote on its version this week. "NSLs have a sordid history. They've been abused in a number of ways, including targeting of journalists and use to collect an essentially unbounded amount of information," Andrew Crocker, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote. One thing that makes them particularly easy to abuse is that recipients of NSLs are subject to a gag order that forbids them from revealing the letters' existence to anyone, much less the public.]

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Mars Is Coming Out Of An Ice Age
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '16 at 03:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's turn-up-the-heat department:
Taco Cowboy quotes a report from Reuters: An analysis of radar images that peered inside the polar ice caps of Mars shows that Earth's neighbor is coming out of an ice age that is part of an ongoing cycle of climate change, scientists said on Thursday. Using images taken by satellites orbiting Mars, the researchers determined that about 20,872 cubic miles (87,000 cubic km) of ice has accumulated at its poles since the end of the ice age, mostly in the northern polar cap. Scientists are keenly interested in piecing together the climate history of Mars, which contains strong evidence that oceans and lakes once pooled on its surface, bolstering the prospects for life. From the perspective of an Earthling, every day on Mars may feel like an ice age. According to NASA, temperatures on Mars may hit a high at noon at the equator in the summer of roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), or a low of about minus-225 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-153 degrees Celsius) at the poles. The Martian ice began its retreat about 370,000 years ago, marking the end of the last ice age, according to the research published in the journal Science

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Apple Not Allowed To Open Stores In India
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '16 at 11:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's job-creation department:
ffkom writes: Reuters reports: "India has said Apple Inc must meet a rule obliging foreign retailers to sell at least 30 percent locally-sourced goods if it wishes to open stores in the country, a senior government official told Reuters. A change in legislation last year exempted foreign retailers selling high-tech goods from the rule, which states 30 percent of the value of goods sold in the store should be made in India. However, Apple's products were not considered to be in this category, said the official, who has direct knowledge of the matter." Now just imagine what Apple stores in the U.S. would look like if 30% of their offerings had to be made in the US... "They did ask for a waiver but didn't provide any material on record to justify it. The decision was taken only after a thorough examination of their application," the source said. Apple planned to open at least three stores in India by the end of 2017. Separate sources said Apple talked with the Indian government about a relaxation of the rule before it filed an application to open stores in the country in January. In a report from The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled), one of India's government officials said, "We are sticking to the old policy. We want local sourcing for job creation. You can't have a situation where people view India only as a market. Let them start doing some manufacturing here." Currently, Apple sells its products "through a network of Indian-owned distribution companies and retailers."

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Patent Troll VirnetX Wants To Ban FaceTime and iMessage, Increase Damages Award By $190M
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '16 at 08:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-more-more department:
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this year, patent troll VirnetX won a court battle with Apple to the tune of $625 million. Now, the company wants to increase the damages award by $190 million. Law360 reports: "At a post-trial hearing Wednesday, Texas technology company VirnetX argued that although an injunction blocking Apple's popular video chatting and messaging features, along with a virtual private network on demand feature, may seem like a harsh remedy, it is necessary because of the irreparable harm Apple's infringement caused the company. VirnetX also asked the court to increase the jury's damages award by at least $190 million, arguing that Apple has been the 'poster child' for unreasonable litigation tactics." VirnetX also wants the court to block FaceTime and iMessage entirely. "Meanwhile, Apple argued that in light of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decisions rejecting the four patents-in-suit, an injunction would be inappropriate, as would any ongoing royalty based on FaceTime, iMessage and virtual private network on demand features. The tech giant also sought a mistrial based on a purportedly inappropriate argument to the jury and argued that the company is entitled to a judgment of non infringement, despite the jury verdict, based on VirnetX's allegedly insufficient evidence," reports Law360.

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Anonymous Hackers Turned Stock Analysts Are Targeting US, Chinese Corporations
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's act-of-sabotage department:
An anonymous reader writes: A smaller group of Anonymous, called Anonymous Analytics, reached the conclusion that DDoSing is stupid and never fixes anything, so they decided to use their hacking skills and stock market knowledge to make a difference in another way. For the past years, the group has been compiling market reports on U.S. and Chinese companies and publishing their results. Their reports have been noticed by the stock market, who recently started to react to their findings. The most obvious case was of Chinese lottery machine maker REXLot. The hackers discovered that REXLot inflated its revenue and the amount of cash on its balance sheet, based on the amount of interest earned. "The group published its findings on June 24, 2015, and REXLot stock price plummeted from 0.485 Hong Kong dollar per share to 0.12, before trading was suspended [for ten months]. REXLot rejoined the market on April 18, 2016, this year, but even after submitting a 53-page report, the company stock fell again by 50 percent," reports Softpedia. Anonymous Analytics then published two more reports on the company, urging the market to sell, and two days later, Reuters reported that REXLot did not have enough cash to make due bond payments, which meant the company had to sell assets to repay bonds. Other companies on which the group published market reports include Qihoo 360 and Western Union.

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Smartphone Surveillance Tech Used To Target Anti-Abortion Ads At Pregnant Women
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
VoiceOfDoom writes: Rewire reports: "Last year, an enterprising advertising executive based in Boston, Massachusetts, had an idea: Instead of using his sophisticated mobile surveillance techniques to figure out which consumers might be interested in buying shoes, cars, or any of the other products typically advertised online, what if he used the same technology to figure out which women were potentially contemplating abortion, and send them ads on behalf of anti-choice organizations?"
Regardless of one's personal stance on the pro-choice/anti-abortion debate, the unfettered use of tracking and ad-targeting technology which makes this kind of application possible is surely a cause for concern. In Europe, Canada and many other parts of the world, the use of a person's data in this way would be illegal thanks to strict privacy laws. Is it time for the U.S. to consider a similar approach to protect its citizens? Google has been reportedly tracking users on around 80 percent of all 'Top 1 Million' domains. Facebook is doing something similar. A recent report shows that Facebook uses smartphone microphones to identify the things users are listening to or watching based on the music and TV shows its able to identify. Facebook says the feature must be turned on, and that "it's only active when you're writing a status update."

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