By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: A recent study conducted by academics from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK has revealed that almost two-thirds of second-hand memory cards still contain remnants of personal data from previous owners. For their study, researchers analyzed 100 second-hand SD and micro SD memory cards purchased from eBay, conventional auctions, second-hand shops, and other sources over a four-month period. All in all, researchers say the memory cards they recovered were previously used in smartphones and tablets, but some cards were also used cameras, SatNav systems, and even drones. The research team says the analysis process consisted of creating a bit-by-bit image of the card and then using freely available software to see if they could recover any data from the card. Their efforts were successful and worrisome at the same time, as the team says it managed to recover data from the memory cards, including intimate photos, selfies, passport copies, contact lists, navigation files, pornography, resumes, browsing history, identification numbers, and other personal documents.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's record-breaking department
hackingbear writes: Researchers at the Chinese University of Science and Technology have demonstrated stable quantum entanglement with 18 qubits, surpassing the previous world record of 10, also held by the same team. This represents a step toward realizing large-scale quantum computing, according to a recent study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Physicist Pan Jianwei and his colleagues achieved the new record by simultaneously exploiting three different degrees of freedom-paths, polarization and orbital angular momentum of six photons, the fundamental particle of light. The outcome combination resulted in a stable 18-qubit state. Full control over the number of entangled particles determines the fundamental ability for quantum information processing, according to the study. There are early-stage quantum computers out there that argue more qubits -- such as IBM's 50-qubit machine and Google's 72-qubit Bristlecone, but in those cases, the individual quantum states of the qubits aren't (fully) controllable. "The team's next step will be to realize a 50-qubit entanglement and manipulation," according to Wang Xilin, a member of the team. The same research team also held the world record on quantum communication distance as well as operating the world's first quantum communication satellite.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shiny-and-new department
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's new 2018 iPhones will come in a plethora of colors. The 6.5-inch iPhone will be offered in black, white, and a (new) gold, while the entry-level 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will debut in "grey, white, blue, red and orange." 9to5Mac reports: That's a potential five new colors for the LCD model. It is very possible that when Kuo says "grey" and "white" he is referring to the Space Grey and Silver finishes as seen on the current iPhone X. We've mocked up the new finishes by tinting an iPhone X, but note the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is not expected to have a dual-camera system. However, that still means Apple is looking to introduce four new options. It seems like the higher end models will add gold to the lineup...
The ~$700 6.1-inch LCD 2018 iPhone (which will mostly resemble an iPhone X's design from the front) will have a larger lineup including blue, red and orange. This harkens back to the iPhone 5c era when Apple rolled out a cheaper iPhone sibling in colorful chassis. We have heard some mumblings prior to today's report about Apple expanding the color options for the cheaper phone, but this is the first time someone reputable has reported specifics. It's not clear if the "red" color means PRODUCT(RED)... Kuo also says that the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone Model should be priced around $1,000 like the current iPhone X, and will feature dual SIM capabilities. Meanwhile, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone X style device should retail for around $700. The other iPhone expected to be released later this year will be a spec-bump upgrade to the 5.8-inch iPhone X currently available.
In other Apple-related news, Intel will reportedly not provide the 5G modems for Apple's 2020 mobile devices.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rise-of-the-machines department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: AI agents continue to rack up wins in the video game world. Last week, OpenAI's bots were playing Dota 2; this week, it's Quake III, with a team of researchers from Google's DeepMind subsidiary successfully training agents that can beat humans at a game of capture the flag. DeepMind's researchers used a method of AI training that's also becoming standard: reinforcement learning, which is basically training by trial and error at a huge scale. Agents are given no instructions on how to play the game, but simply compete against themselves until they work out the strategies needed to win. Usually this means one version of the AI agent playing against an identical clone. DeepMind gave extra depth to this formula by training a whole cohort of 30 agents to introduce a "diversity" of play styles. How many games does it take to train an AI this way? Nearly half a million, each lasting five minutes. DeepMind's agents not only learned the basic rules of capture the flag, but strategies like guarding your own flag, camping at your opponent's base, and following teammates around so you can gang up on the enemy. "[T]he bot-only teams were most successful, with a 74 percent win probability," reports The Verge. "This compared to 43 percent probability for average human players, and 52 percent probability for strong human players. So: clearly the AI agents are the better players."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's paper-free department
The plan to replace passport check-ins with more face scans is being trialed by Quantas on passengers for select flights into the Sydney Airport starting this week. The move is an attempt to replace the "inconvenience" of relying on more traditional paper passports. TechCrunch reports: It's still very early stages in a process that isn't exactly being rolled out overnight. After all, implementing such technology for Sydney's 43 million annual passengers is pretty large undertaking, even without myriad security and privacy concerns to contend with. To start with, the technology will be utilized for select international flights, to help automate check-in, boarding, lounge access and bag drop. Moving forward, the airport also hopes to implement it for mobile check-in and customs processing. "We've worked with Qantas from the outset and are delighted to be partnering with them as we trial this technology," Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said in a statement provided to the press. "In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass," he added. "Your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's on-the-horizon department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Arm is teaming up with Samsung's foundry to manufacture the recently announced Cortex-A76 CPU, which the pair say will run at speeds above 3GHz. At that speed the Cortex-A76 will be more powerful than Qualcomm's best Cortex-A75 SoC, the Snapdragon 845, which tops out at 2.8GHz. At launch, Arm said Cortex-A76 chips would even challenge Intel's Core i7 on performance, meaning it could benefit not just smartphones but laptops too, such as "always connected" Windows 10 on Arm devices from HP and Lenovo, which use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835.
The collaboration will involve the Arm-designed chips being manufactured on Samsung's 7LPP (7nm Low Power Plus) and 5LPE (5nm Low Power Early) process technologies, combined with Arm's Artisan physical IP platform. However, it could still be some time before consumers see these high-powered Arm CPUs in devices. Initial production on the 7LPP process is set to begin in the second half of 2018. Samsung says 5LPE, the process technology after 7LPP, will allow greater area scaling and ultra-low power.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's reaching-big-milestones department
BrianFagioli writes: People sometimes forget that when the first-ever iPhone launched in 2007, there was no App Store. Believe it or not, Apple's smartphone was limited to the apps with which it came. In fact, Steve Jobs famously didn't want third-party apps on the iPhone at all. Ultimately, the App Store was added in 2008 despite Jobs' initial push against it. This move changed the computer industry forever. This month, the Apple App Store reaches an impressive milestone -- its 10th Birthday. This day is important for three groups -- Apple (of course), but more importantly, consumers and developers. Apple has made billions of dollars from the App Store, but third party developers have as well -- the company has literally transformed some devs into millionaires. Consumers have benefited from high-quality applications too. Regardless of your feelings about Apple, the world owes it a collective thank you for its App Store. It inspired other companies, such as Google with Android and Microsoft with Windows 8/10, to adopt the same app concepts. It really did change everything.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
More details have emerged about where Google intends -- or at least intended until a few weeks ago -- to take its controversial AI Duplex, which it first demonstrated to the public at its developer conference in May. The AI system is capable of making calls to local businesses to place reservations on behalf of Google Assistant users. And it does so in a voice that most people can't distinguish from that of a normal human being. This resulted in a public outcry at the implication of people in the future not knowing whether they were talking to humans or machines, which led Google to adapt the bot's introduction so it clearly explains it's not a human. The Information reports: Some big companies are in the very early stages of testing Google's technology for use in other applications, such as call centers, where it might be able to replace some of the work currently done by humans [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], according to a person familiar with the plans. The market for cloud-based customer call center market is expected to hit more than $20.9 billion by 2022, up from around $6.8 billion last year, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. [...] At least one potential customer, a large insurance company, is looking at ways it can use the technology, according to the person with knowledge of the project, including for call centers where the voice assistant could handle simple and repetitive customer calls while humans step in when the conversations get more complicated. But the ethical concerns that overshadowed the original presentation have slowed work on the project, this person said.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's cost-of-low-cost-phones department
Newley Purnell, reporting for WSJ: For millions of people buying inexpensive smartphones in developing countries where privacy protections are usually low, the convenience of on-the-go internet access could come with a hidden cost: preloaded apps that harvest users' data without their knowledge. One such app, included on thousands of Chinese-made Singtech P10 smartphones sold in Myanmar and Cambodia, sends the owner's location and unique-device details to a mobile-advertising firm in Taiwan called General Mobile, or GMobi. The app also has appeared on smartphones sold in Brazil and those made by manufacturers based in China and India, security researchers say. Taipei-based GMobi, with a subsidiary in Shanghai, says it uses the data to show targeted ads on the devices. It also sometimes shares the data with device makers to help them learn more about their customers. "If end users want a free internet service, he or she needs to suffer a little for better targeting ads," said a GMobi spokeswoman. [...] GMobi is one of several entities using the combination of low-cost smartphones and low regulations to siphon off reams of user data. Shanghai-based Adups and Indian digital advertising firm MoMagic offer similar firmware-updating services in partnership with smartphone makers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Isaac Stone Fish, reporting for The Washington Post: On Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce recommended the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deny a license to China Mobile, the state-run company that is the world's largest phone network by subscribers. (It reaches more people than Verizon and AT&T combined.) The Commerce Department suggested the move because of the national security risk China Mobile poses. Indeed, because China Mobile is an arm of the Chinese state, there are legitimate concerns that Beijing could use it to gather data on American citizens. There is, however, a previously unreported concern with China Mobile that adds to worries about the company's suitability in the United States. According to several interviews with frequent Chinese travelers to the United States, those with China Mobile as their carrier are often unable to access American websites and apps that are banned in China. A Chinese journalist who regularly travels to the United States for work, and who asked to speak anonymously, said she couldn't access Facebook or the New York Times in the United States with her China Mobile number. Even Google Maps is banned, leading to some frustrating travel experiences. When she was visiting a friend in Brooklyn, the Chinese journalist said, "it took me a long time to find her place because my VPN failed me and I couldn't use Google Maps." She was referring to a Virtual Private Network, a method that some Chinese use to circumvent the Chinese censorship apparatus.Read Replies (0)