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Feds Spend Nearly $500K To 'Combat Online Trolling'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 05:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's flamebait department:
mi writes: Washington Free Beacon reports: "The National Science Foundation is spending roughly half a million dollars to combat 'online trolling.' A joint project by Northwestern and Northeastern universities is examining how to create 'trolling-free environments' on the internet. The researchers define online trolls as those who try to influence public opinion by boosting 'misleading' and 'inauthentic comments.'" Just how can the "misleading" and "inauthentic" speech be eliminated by the government without violating the First Amendment? "Today almost every browser click that users make is collected by numerous trackers associated with a variety of online services (e.g., advertising networks, online social networks, e-commerce platforms)," a grant for the project states. "Users have often expressed concern about the lack of privacy and control over their personal data. Nonetheless, despite a substantial effort to expose and control this prevalent behavior, the reality is that users keep accepting updated online privacy policies, which in turn grant the gathering of more personal data. This project explores re-using this extensive tracking infrastructure for the benefits of both the users themselves and web services, with a goal of preventing online trolling (scenarios in which various groups deploy tactics to influence public opinion on the internet, by leaving biased, false, misleading, and inauthentic comments, and then artificially amplifying their ratings). The project aims to show how the tracking infrastructure can be re-used as a user 'fingerprint,' allowing a lightweight and privacy-preserving form of identification for third-party web sites." The lead researchers on the project, Aleksander Kuzmanovic from Northwestern University, and Alan Mislove from Northeastern University, said: "Public opinion is of paramount importance in any society. It is thus not a surprise that many governments, political parties, and various other groups deploy tactics to influence public opinion on the internet, a practice commonly referred to as trolling." They say their work could help combat "troll armies" used by Russia and China.

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Verizon Now Offers 'Unlimited' Data On All Plans, Without $5 Fee
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 05:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-late-than-never department:
In July, Verizon announced some big changes coming to its data plans that will make them more expensive, but will add more data. They include some new features like "Carryover Data," which is Verizon slang for rollover data, and "Safety mode," which eliminates the prospect of an overage fee and reduces the speed of the service until the end of the month. Originally, the "feature" was $5 per month for some shared data plans and was included free for Verizon's XL and XXL plan customers. However, this week Verizon announced it's now including safety mode for "free" on all plans, according to DSL Reports. "Responding to ATT's own new plans and renewed pressure from T-Mobile, Verizon will no longer be charging users the $5 'safety mode' fee starting September 6th. Instead, you'll just be throttled to 128 kbps for the remainder of your billing cycle, unless you're willing to pay $15 per each additional gigabyte at LTE speeds. That's good news for users on the S (2GB), M (4GB) and L (8GB) who were shelling out an extra $5 per month, though it doesn't really help make Verizon's new plans any more interesting overall."

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Clinton's First Email Server Was a Power Mac Tower
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's data-capturing-devices department:
An anonymous reader shares with us an excerpt from a report via Ars Technica: As she was being confirmed as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton contacted Colin Powell to ask him about his use of a Blackberry while in the same role. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigations memorandum published today (PDF), Powell warned Clinton that if it became public that she was using a Blackberry to "do business," her e-mails would be treated as "official" record and be subject to the law. "Be very careful," Powell said according to the FBI. "I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data." Perhaps Clinton's troubles began when she switched from a Blackberry-hosted e-mail account to an account on her Clintonemail.com domain -- a domain hosted on an Apple Power Mac "G4 or G5" tower running in the Clintons' Chappaqua, New York residence. The switch to the Power Mac as a server occurred the same month she exchanged messages with Powell. The Power Mac, originally purchased in 2007 by former President Clinton's aide Justin Cooper, had acted as the server for presidentclinton.com and wjcoffice.com. Cooper managed most of the technology support for Bill Clinton and took charge of setting up Hillary Clinton's new personal mail system on the Power Mac, which sat alongside a firewall and network switching hardware in the basement of the Clintons' home. But the Power Mac was having difficulty handling the additional load created by Blackberry usage from Secretary Clinton and her staff, so a decision was made quickly to upgrade the server hardware. Secretary Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the State Department, Huma Abedin, connected Cooper with Brian Pagliano, who had worked in IT for the secretary's 2008 presidential campaign. Cooper inquired with Pagliano about getting some of the campaign's computer hardware as a replacement for the Power Mac, and Pagliano was in the process of selling the equipment off.

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NASA's Impossible Propulsion EmDrive Is Heading to Space
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 04:31 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's third-law department:
An anonymous reader writes:The EmDrive, a hypothetical miracle propulsion system for outer space, has been sparking heated arguments for years. Now, Guido Fetta plans to settle the argument about reactionless space drives for once and for all by sending one into space to prove that it really generates thrust without exhaust. Even if mainstream scientists say this is impossible. Fetta is CEO of Cannae Inc, and inventor of the Cannae Drive. His creation is related to the EmDrive first demonstrated by British engineer Roger Shawyer in 2003. Both are closed systems filled with microwaves with no exhaust, yet which the inventors claim do produce thrust. There is no accepted theory of how this might work. Shawyer claims that relativistic effects produce different radiation pressures at the two ends of the drive, leading to a net force. Fetta pursues a similar idea involving Lorentz (electromagnetic) forces. NASA researchers have suggested that the drive is actually pushing against "quantum vacuum virtual plasma" of particles that shift in and out of existence. Most physicists believe these far-out systems cannot work and that their potential benefits, such as getting to Mars in ten weeks, are illusory. After all, the law of conservation of momentum says that a rocket cannot accelerate forward without some form of exhaust ejected backwards. Yet the drumbeat goes on. Just last month, Jose Rodal claimed on the NASA Spaceflight forum that a NASA paper, "Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum" has finally been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, but this cannot be confirmed yet.

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Florida Man Arrested For Hacking Linux Kernel Organization In 2011
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 03:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's five-years-later department:
An anonymous reader writes: The FBI seems to have solved the mysterious case of the 2011 kernel.org hack, when an unknown attacker breached kernel.org servers and attempted to install a rootkit in the kernel code. As years went by, the Linux Kernel Organization kept avoiding releasing an incident response surrounding the event, irking their community accustomed to more open communications from their leaders. The mystery seems to have been solved when yesterday a Florida man was arrested and charged with "hacking the Linux Kernel Organization" and installing a "rootkit and trojan software," just like in the 2011 kernel.org server breach. Donald Ryan Austin is his name. He was arrested during a routine traffic stop last Sunday, on August 28, 2016, and faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and any other restitution.

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Police Seize Two 'Perfect Privacy' VPN Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 03:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's leased-hardware department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TorrentFreak: VPN provider Perfect Privacy has informed its customers that two of its servers had been seized by the police in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Torrent Freak reports: "The authorities went directly to the hosting company I3D and the VPN provider itself wasn't contacted by law enforcement. 'Currently we have no further information since the responsible law enforcement agency did not get in touch with us directly, we were merely informed by our hoster,' Perfect Privacy says. Despite losing control over two servers, Perfect Privacy assures its customers that no personally identifiable data is present on the seized hardware. Like many other VPNs, the company maintains a strict no-logging policy. 'Since we are not logging any data there is currently no reason to believe that any user data was compromised,' the VPN provider says. 'When the Dutch police contact us with a subpoena, we work with them in a professional manner and ensure their request and our responses are in compliance with the Dutch law,' I3D informs us. 'We think with the affected customer as well, for example by making temporary capacity available so the customer does not suffer extended downtime during the investigation.'"

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Google Chrome Begins Warns Users About Insecure Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 01:44 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's better-security department:
An anonymous reader shares an article on CertSimple, a firm that helps companies prove their identity on their websites: Today Chrome's stable channel was updated with a new HTTPS UI. The changes in these versions of Chrome (Chrome 53 for Windows, Mac users got them in Chrome 52) complete 'transition 1' in Google's HTTPS plans, first announced in December 2014: T1: Non-secure origins marked as Dubious. In other words: Chrome now explicitly tells users non-HTTPS sites aren't private. If a Chrome user visits a site that isn't private -- for example, there's no HTTPS, broken HTTPS, or HTTPS only on 'checkout' pages -- Chrome now displays a mid-grey colored info box.

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Creators Call Out YouTube For Demonetizing Videos
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 01:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's form-of-censorship department:
Striek writes: "On Wednesday, several YouTube creators posted videos that voiced concerns over the platform's process of demonetizing videos for not being friendly to advertisers," reports Daily Dot. Many YouTube creators have similar concerns that no, this isn't censorship in the strictest sense, but that YouTube owes its users a better commitment to free speech than most private companies due to its dominant marketplace position. Its criteria for videos being "advertiser-friendly" is also incredibly vague or restrictive, or both. The Daily Dot reports: "Content that is considered inappropriate for advertising includes: Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor; Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism; Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language; Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items; Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown." You read that right -- any YouTube video covering any war or natural disaster is considered inappropriate for advertising, which essentially includes all news and current events shows. This might not seem like a big deal to many people, but it would be, if you made your living creating YouTube videos. So while technically not censorship, many people are arguing YouTube has gone a few steps too far with this, and are likewise worried that this will be too selectively enforced. justthinkit adds: On August 31, 2016, YouTube demonetized videos for reasons that appear to punish those who attack "Social Justice Warriors" and the mainstream media. Philip DeFranco has spoken out about it and hinted he may have to move to other video platforms. Is this an issue most should care about or is it merely a first world problem? The reason this is a story is because YouTube has "recently improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication." What this means is YouTube has been making users more aware of the issue with language or content, and the chance to appeal a demonetized video. What has upset many creators is the fact that the company has been demonetizing videos without telling the creators. YouTube has only recently started telling partners what is going on. In addition, there has been a discrepancy as to which channels/networks have been demonetized. For example, while one YouTube creator may be reporting on a current event that isn't "advertiser-friendly" and has been denied monetization as a result, another YouTube creator via a large network like CNN may be covering the same current event but be allowed monetization.

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Intel Confuses, Rebrands Some Core M Processors As Core I
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 12:13 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's confucious department:
Reader thegarbz writes: As already covered previously Intel has announced it's 7th generation Kaby Lake processors. Curiously absent from the announcement was any mention of Core m5 and Core m7 product lines. As it turns out, Intel quietly removed the m branding and rolled its budget processors up into the Core i5 and Core i7 brands. When we met with representatives of Intel to talk about Kaby Lake, they said that consumers didn't understand the Core m branding and that this move would help alleviate customer confusion.But what's more confusing: having two different brand names for different types of CPU or having the same name for both? Intel will tell you that you have to pay attention to the SKU numbers at the end of the chip names. And if you do, you can sidestep the issue. The regular i-series will continue as usual: Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7, with all of the processor numbers ending in the letter "U" (the i3-7100U, i5-7200U and i7-7500U). The former m5 and m7 will have the letter "Y" in the name (i5-7Y54, i7-7Y75 and m3-7Y30).

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Is Apache OpenOffice Finally On the Way Out?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 12:13 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's time department:
Reader JImbob0i0 writes: After almost another year without a release and another major CVE leaving users vulnerable for that year the Chairman of the Project Management Committee has started public discussions on what it will entail to retire the project, following the Apache Board showing concern at the poor showing.It's been a long battle which would have been avoided if Oracle had not been so petty. Did this behaviour actually help get momentum in the community underway though? What ifs are always hard to properly answer. Hopefully this long drawn out death rattle will finally come to a close and the wounds with LibreOffice can heal with the last few contributors to AOO joining the rest of the community.

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FBI Releases Hillary Clinton Email Report
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 12:13 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's leaky-emails department:
The FBI released 58-pages documents on Friday detailing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, and a summary of her interview with agents, providing the most thorough look yet at the probe that has dogged the campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee. CNN reports: Clinton repeatedly told the FBI she lacked recollection of key events. She said she "could not recall any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling classified information," according to the FBI's notes of their July 2 interview with Clinton. Fallout from Clinton's use of a private email server continues to dog the Democratic presidential nominee's campaign, as her lead over her Republican counterpart Donald Trump has been cut in half since her post convention bounce last month, according to CNN's Poll of Polls released Thursday. Trump and other Republicans have stepped up their attacks connecting the emails to questions over whether Clinton gave preferential treatment to donors to her family's foundation. The bureau is making the information public in response to numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, including from CNN. "Today the FBI is releasing a summary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal e-mail server she used during her tenure," the agency said in a statement. "We also are releasing a factual summary of the FBI's investigation into this matter."

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FBI Releases Hillary Clinton Email Report
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 10:53 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's leaky-emails department:
The FBI released 58-pages documents on Friday detailing its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, and a summary of her interview with agents, providing the most thorough look yet at the probe that has dogged the campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee. CNN reports: Clinton repeatedly told the FBI she lacked recollection of key events. She said she "could not recall any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling classified information," according to the FBI's notes of their July 2 interview with Clinton. Fallout from Clinton's use of a private email server continues to dog the Democratic presidential nominee's campaign, as her lead over her Republican counterpart Donald Trump has been cut in half since her post convention bounce last month, according to CNN's Poll of Polls released Thursday. Trump and other Republicans have stepped up their attacks connecting the emails to questions over whether Clinton gave preferential treatment to donors to her family's foundation. The bureau is making the information public in response to numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, including from CNN. "Today the FBI is releasing a summary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal e-mail server she used during her tenure," the agency said in a statement. "We also are releasing a factual summary of the FBI's investigation into this matter."

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Google Is Testing a Trending Stories Feature On Its Homepage
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 10:53 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's more-news-is-good-for-you department:
Jeff John Roberts, reporting for Fortune: Google and its rival Facebook have transformed into giant media companies in recent years, working with news and video companies as part strategy to encourage consumers to stay on their platforms. Now, it appears Google is taking another big step in this direction by showing visitors three trending news stories on its home page -- right under its iconic search bar -- as well as three "trending topics." Google's decision to display trending news topics mirrors what Facebook has been doing in recent months, and will likely provide more grist for the debate over how the companies curate news, and their growing power over the media. The change to Google's homepage began to appear this week, though it does not appear to have been rolled out to many users.

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No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book - Most People Still Prefer Them
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 10:53 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's books-v-ebooks department:
Daniel Victor, writing for The New York Times: Even with Facebook, Netflix and other digital distractions increasingly vying for time, Americans' appetite for reading books -- the ones you actually hold in your hands -- has not slowed in recent years (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source), according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Sixty-five percent of adults in the United States said they had read a printed book in the past year, the same percentage that said so in 2012. When you add in ebooks and audiobooks, the number that said they had read a book in printed or electronic format in the past 12 months rose to 73 percent, compared with 74 percent in 2012. Twenty-eight percent said they had opted for an ebook in the past year, while 14 percent said they had listened to an audiobook. Lee Rainie, the director of internet, science and technology research for Pew Research, said the study demonstrated the staying power of physical books. "I think if you looked back a decade ago, certainly five or six years ago when ebooks were taking off, there were folks who thought the days of the printed book were numbered, and it's just not so in our data," he said. The 28 percent who said they had read an ebook in the past year has remained relatively steady in the past two years, but the way they are consuming ebooks is changing.

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Stanford's New Alcohol Policy Isn't Based On Much Research
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 09:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's college-and-drinks department:
Sophia Carter-Kahn, reporting for Motherboard: Last week Stanford University announced a strict new alcohol policy in hopes to curb binge drinking. The new policy bans hard liquor at on-campus parties, and restricts hard alcohol in undergraduate possession to containers smaller than 750 milliliters ("a fifth"). Lisa Lapin, the vice president of university communications, clarified that the goal is to prevent medical transports [i.e. trips to the hospital]. Universities across the country are looking for new ways to deal with dangerous binge drinking. If this new restriction at Stanford is successful, it would set a precedent for how universities across the country grapple with a seemingly insurmountable alcohol problem. There's just one catch: there's little data to suggest restricting bottle size can change college drinking culture. Colleges have tried different strategies, from mailing parents flyers about alcoholism stats to policing campuses to break up parties. Dartmouth College, for example, implemented a hard alcohol ban last year. And the University of Virginia cracked down on liquor and Greek life on campus. But their efforts don't seem to be working. Drunkorexia -- skipping meals to have more room for alcohol -- is on the rise. And administrative desperation to find some way to reduce alcohol consumption has continued.

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Android Companies Keep Pretending That Android doesn't Exist
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 09:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's android-problems department:
Europe's biggest tech show IFA is underway in Berlin currently. Companies from around the world are showcasing their new smartphones at the event, chearleading the advancements they have made on the hardware side. Pretty much all these devices are running Android, but the way they are presented, you wouldn't be able to tell if that really is the case. The Verge's Vlad Savov writes: Sony would have us believe that buying an Xperia phone grants us a pass into the exclusive Xperia experience. The stuff actually differentiating the Xperia brand is junk and bloatware: the Xperia assistance software is a mobile version of Microsoft's Clippy. Huawei is even worse in its Android omerta, deathly afraid to utter the green giant's name. I understand that hardware companies want to spend more time talking about their hardware, but all these launches feel lobotomized without a proper discussion of the software driving their devices. Tell me about your implementation of Android. Tell me why you think it's okay to launch a phone without the latest software. Reassure me that I won't be left behind the way that many 2014 Android flagships already have been, and explain to your users why they don't need smarter multitasking, improved notifications, and baked-in VR support. Yes, those are harder issues to discuss, but dodging them is what makes customers untrusting of Android manufacturers.

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Microsoft To Add Flux Like Night Mode In Windows 10, Rendering 3rd-Party App's Existence Useless
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 08:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's kill-rivals department:
An anonymous reader writes: With suggestions that bluish lights disrupt our sleep, software that shifts screen white balance towards the red end of the spectrum in the evening -- cutting back that potentially sleep-disrupting light -- has gained quite a following. f.lux is the big name here with many people enjoying its gradual color temperature shifts. Apple recently built a color shifting feature into iOS, under the name Night Shift, and there are now signs that Microsoft is doing the same in Windows 10. Twitter user tfwboredom has been poking around the latest Windows insider build and found hints that the operating system will soon have a "blue light reduction" mode. Similarly to f.lux, this will automatically reduce the color temperature in the evenings as the sun sets and increase it in the mornings when the sun rises. Signs are that the feature will have a quick access button in the Action Center when it is eventually enabled.The feature is expected to arrive with Redstone, which is Windows 10's next major update expected to arrive next year.

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Android Users More Honest and Humble Than iPhone Users, Study Says
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 08:03 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's your-phone department:
The kind of software your phone is running can tell a lot about you, apparently. According to a new study by a team of researchers at the University of Lincoln, Android smartphone users have great levels of honesty and humility, agreeableness and openness personality traits but are seen as less extroverted than Apple's iPhone users. According to a report by IANS, via BGR: The researchers believe that this could be because iPhone users thought it was more important to have a high-status phone than Android users. The team from the University of Lincoln also found that women were twice more likely to own an iPhone than an Android device. However, most of the personality stereotypes did not occur in reality as only honesty and humility was found in greater amounts within Android users, the findings showed.

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Google Cancels Project Ara Modular Smartphone Plans, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 06:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-the-road department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google has "suspended" work on Project Ara, the initiative to build a phone with interchangeable modules for various components like cameras and batteries, according to Reuters and Recode. The company reportedly may license the technology to other partners, but will not release a phone itself. The decision is said to be part of an effort to unify Google's hardware development under former Motorola president Rick Osterloh. Although Project Ara has always seemed a dubious commercial prospect, the news is surprising if only because Google made a renewed effort to push the modular concept at its I/O conference earlier this year, promising a developer version for fall and a consumer release for 2017. Google's Project Ara was originally spearheaded by Motorola to reinvent the smartphone in a form made up of hot-swappable modules that consumers can configure as they choose, then upgrade later as new technologies emerge. RIP Project Ara.

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Lawsuit Accuses Warriors' Mobile App of Eavesdropping On Fans -- Even When Not In Use
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '16 at 06:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
An anonymous reader writes: A lawsuit is accusing the Golden State Warriors' app of spying on fans in order to determine a user's precise location in order to serve targeted ads. The creepiest thing about it? The lawsuit says the app does this even when it isn't in use. It claims the app secretly uses the microphones from the mobile device running the app to listen in and record user conversations. CBS Local reports: "The app, which delivers up-to-date scores, schedules and news, asks for permission to access the microphone on users' phones. But, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in San Francisco federal court, it doesn't disclose the extent to which it listens in. If true, the allegations would violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which prohibits the 'interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications.' The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, seeks statutory damages equal to 'the sum of actual damages suffered plus any profits defendants earned through its unlawful conduct.'" "Even more disconcerting, the app turns on the microphone (listening and recording) any time the app is running," the filing reads. "No matter if a consumer is actively using the app or if it is merely running in the background: the app is listening."

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