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The Web's Creator Thinks We Need a New One That Governments Can't Control
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 11:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's reinventing-the-web-101 department:
The web has created millions of jobs, impacted nearly every industry, connected people, and arguably made the world a better place. But the person who started it all isn't exactly pleased with the way things have turned out to be. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, believes that the way it works in the present day "completely undermines the spirit of helping people create." The Next Web reports: "Edward Snowden showed we've inadvertently built the world's largest surveillance network with the web," said Brewster Kahle, who heads up Internet Archive. And he's not wrong: governments across the globe keep an eye on what their citizens are accessing online and some censor content on the Web in an effort to control what they think. To that end, Berners-Lee, Kahle and other pioneers of the modern Web are brainstorming ideas for a new kind of information network that can't be controlled by governments or powered by megacorporations like Amazon and Google.The New York Times originally reported on this and has more details. (But it is also paywalled.)

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Crazy Patent Troll Suing Devs For Posting Apps To Google Play
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 11:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's crossing-the-line department:
Developer Austin Meyer is fighting back patent trolls after he was sued for putting his flight simulator app called X-Plane on Google Play. TechnoBuffalo reports: A few years ago, he uploaded the app to the Google Play Store and was very unexpectedly hit with a lawsuit from Uniloc in 2012. The firm claims it patented the idea behind the app market. That's right, Uniloc isn't going after Meyer for making a flight simulator; it's going after any company that uses Google Play. It's already targeted a bunch of other popular apps, including Minecraft. So Meyer did a bit of digging and discovered a few pretty shocking details. It turns out the judge in that district may have a direct relationship with the prosecuting lawyer in many of these cases. The judge, Leonard Davis, is apparently known for almost never throwing out patent lawsuits. Meyer claims that his son, Bo Davis, is the lawyer representing many of these patent trolls.

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Apple To Offer iOS Developers 85-15 Revenue Split; Debut Paid App Store Search Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 10:26 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's big-changes-to-how-we-buy-apps department:
Apple says it will now take a smaller cut of commission from app developers provided they have customers who stick with their subscription model for longer than a year. Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, told The Verge in an interview that the company will revise the 70-30 split for such developers to 85-15. In addition, the company will also begin showing search ads for apps in its iOS App Store search results. Also, the company says it is speeding up app review times "to the point where 50 percent of submitted apps are now reviewed in 24 hours, and 90 percent are reviewed within 48 hours." From the report: If the new subscription model becomes widely adopted, it will represent a fundamental shift in the economics of the App Store. Developers will be incentivized to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost. It could change the way consumers pay for certain apps, but it also presents a massive opportunity for developers, many of whom feel the app economy has been become moribund in recent years. And as iPhone sales growth slows, a move to app subscriptions is another way for Apple wring more profits from its existing user base.

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Microsoft Isn't Adding a TV DVR Feature To Xbox One Anymore
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 10:26 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's bad-news-guys department:
The much-anticipated TV DVR feature isn't coming to Xbox One ... at least not in the immediate future. The company has confirmed to The Verge that it has put the plans to add this functionality to its current generation gaming console on hold. From the report: Microsoft had originally planned to let Xbox One users schedule recordings on the go, and stream or download shows to mobile devices and other Windows 10 PCs. The DVR feature would have only been limited to free-to-air TV, and Microsoft had released digital TV tuners in Europe and the US that would have supported it. After Microsoft killed off Windows Media Center in Windows 10, the company still doesn't have a viable alternative.

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Firefox Finally Confirms 'Largest Change Ever' Featuring Electrolysis In v48
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 09:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's largest-change-ever department:
Firefox is finally getting multi-process support. Mozilla has announced that Electrolysis (e10s) will be available to users starting Firefox 48. The foundation finds it the most significant Firefox change since the browser's inception. From a ZDNet report: With Electrolysis, Firefox can use child processes for content (tabs), media playback and legacy plug-ins. This is some way short of Google Chrome, which uses a different process for each tab. However, the result is that Chrome is a huge resource hog: Chrome uses roughly twice as much memory as Firefox on Windows and Linux. Eric Rahm has run some browser tests with Electrolysis, and says: "Overall we see a 10-20 percent increase in memory usage for the 1 content process case (which is what we plan on shipping initially). This seems like a fair trade-off for potential security and performance benefits." With 8 content processes, Rahm says: "we see roughly a doubling of memory usage on the TabsOpenSettled measurement. It's a bit worse on Windows, a bit better on OS X, but it's not 8 times worse."The aforementioned feature will be available in Firefox 48 Beta shortly.

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Google To Deprecate SSLv3, RC4 in Gmail IMAP/POP Clients
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 09:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's good-riddance department:
Michael Mimoso, reporting for Threatpost: Google said that it will initiate on June 16 a gradual deprecation of SSLv3 and RC4 for Gmail IMAP/POP mail clients. Both the crypto protocols cipher are notoriously unsafe and are being phased out in big chunks of the Internet. Google, for its part, had already announced in May that it would no longer support SSLv3 and RC4 connections for Gmail SMTP. Google does note that most mail clients already default to safer TLS connections, and most will not be affected by the impending changes."Unlike Gmail SMTP, this change will be rolled out as a gradual change, where it may take longer than 30 days for users to be fully restricted from connecting to Gmail from SSLv3 or RC4 connections; however, we recommend updating your clients soon in order to avoid any potential disruption," Google said in an announcement.

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Fake Gaming Torrents Download Unwanted Apps Instead of Popular Games
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 07:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Reader Orome1 writes: If you're looking for torrents to download pirated copies of popular games, be extra careful not to be tricked into downloading malicious and unwanted software instead. According to Symantec researchers, who have been trawling popular torrent websites, there's an active distribution campaign going on that delivers potentially unwanted apps posing as torrents for games like Assassin's Creed Syndicate, The Witcher 3, World of Warcraft: Legion, The Walking Dead: Michonne, and several others. At first glance, the torrent does not seem suspicious -- its size is as small as expected from a torrent file. After saying "Yes" to the UAC security dialogue that asks if they are sure they want to allow the program to make changes to the computer, users end up with a file downloaded from a Google Drive -- a file that is considerably larger than a torrent file (around 3.5 MB) and is obviously an executable.

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KickassTorrents Enters The Dark Web, Adds Official Tor Address
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 07:42 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's beyond-censorship department:
An anonymous reader writes: KickassTorrents has now added a dark web address to make it easier for users to bypass blockades installed by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It has announced a new .onion domain through which KickassTorrents users can access their favourite sites on a Tor (The Onion Router) network. "Good news for those who have difficulties accessing KAT due to the site block in their country, now you can always access KAT via this address lsuzvpko6w6hzpnn.onion on a Tor network," announced a member of the KickassTorrents team.

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Singapore To Cut Off Internet Access For Government Workers From 2017
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 06:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's going-backward department:
An anonymous reader writes: Government workers in Singapore will return to a 1990s-level of net connectivity from May of 2017, as the domestic government has decided to block internet access on all of its 100,000 office computers. The decision has been made in the interests of national security, although the Draconian policy will still permit workers to forward work mails to private email addresses as necessary. Workers' own devices will be allowed to connect to the internet normally by special terminals being provided in early trials, while intra-departmental connectivity will presumably be maintained via VPN tunneling. The move comes in the direct wake of a visit to Singapore from the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter late last week, promoting stronger security ties with Singapore in the face of the rise of China in the region.BBC News has more details.

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Many Lexus Navigation Systems Bricked By Over-The-Air Software Update
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 06:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's try-turning-it-off-and-on-again department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: An unknown number of Lexus automobiles have seen their infotainment and navigation head units broken by a bug in an over-the-air software update from Lexus. The glitch, which was confirmed by a Lexus spokesperson, was delivered in a routine software update. In affected cars, it can cause the dashboard screen to spontaneously reset itself and, as a result, both the radio and navigation system can be unusable. It affects cars equipped with Lexus' Enform system with navigation. Lexus social media channels have been flooded by frustrated owners, but the company has been unable to give any estimates for when the problem will be resolved. The company also couldn't say whether customers will see the problem fix itself with another software update or if they will need to head into dealers to get it fixed. Some users on Twitter have reported success with disconnecting their battery for a few moments to force a reset of the system.

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Researchers Say The Aliens Are Silent Because They Are Extinct
Posted by News Fetcher on June 08 '16 at 03:33 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Goldilocks-Zone department:
HughPickens.com writes: The Conversation reports that according to research by Dr. Charles Lineweaver and Dr. Aditya Chopra, a plausible solution to Fermi's paradox is near universal early extinction of life on exoplanets, which they have named the Gaian Bottleneck. "The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens," says Chopra. "The mystery of why we haven't yet found signs of aliens may have less to do with the likelihood of the origin of life or intelligence and have more to do with the rarity of the rapid emergence of biological regulation of feedback cycles on planetary surfaces." According to the researchers, most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable. About four billion years ago, Earth, Venus and Mars may have all been habitable. However, a billion years or so after formation, Venus turned into a hothouse and Mars froze into an icebox. Even if wet rocky Earth-like planets are in the "Goldilocks Zone" of their host stars, it seems that runaway freezing or heating may be their default fate. Large impactors and huge variation in the amounts of water and greenhouse gases can also induce positive feedback cycles that push planets away from habitable conditions. The difference on Earth may be that as soon as life became widespread on our planet, the earliest metabolisms began to modulate the greenhouse gas composition of the atmosphere. "The emergence of life's ability to regulate initially non-biological feedback mechanisms could be the most significant factor responsible for life's persistence on Earth, conclude Lineweaver and Chopra. "Even if life does emerge on a planet, it rarely evolves quickly enough to regulate greenhouse gases, and thereby keep surface temperatures compatible with liquid water and habitability."

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Julian Assange: Google is 'Directly Engaged' In Hillary Clinton's Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 11:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's monopolistic-influence department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Infowars: Speaking to the "New Era of Journalism: Farewell to Mainstream" symposium, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stated Google is "directly engaged" with the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Assange said, "The chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, set up a company to run the digital component of Hillary Clinton's campaign." As reported by Quartz in late 2015, an under-the-radar startup known as "The Groundwork" was funded by Schmidt "to ensure that Clinton has the engineering talent needed to win the election." Assange went on to say that "[...] once Hillary Clinton becomes president, those people in Google, like Jared Cohen, will be placed into positions around the new Clinton presidency." Controlling the majority of the world's smart phones, Assange adds, raises even more serious concerns in light of the company's growing and monopolistic influence. "Google controls 80 percent of the smart phone market through its control of Android and if you control the device itself -- that people use to read -- then anything that they connect to through that device you have control over as well. [...] Google has gotten into bed with the Obama administration in a very significant way," Assange stated. "It is the company that visits the White House more than any other -- averaged once per week in the last 4 years."

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North Korea Restarts Plutonium Production For Nuclear Bombs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 08:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's satellite-imagery department:
New submitter ReginaldBryan45 quotes a report from Reuters: North Korea has restarted production of plutonium fuel, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday, showing that it plans to pursue its nuclear weapons program in defiance of international sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAE) said on Monday that it had seen signs based on satellite imagery that show that the secretive country had re-activated the nuclear fuel production reactor at Yongbyon. The analysis by the IAEA pointed to "resumption of the activities of the five megawatt reactor, the expansion of centrifuge-related facility, [and] reprocessing -- these are some of the examples of the areas [of activity indicated at Yongbyon]." U.S. Intelligence tried to infect the Yongbyon site with a variant of the Stuxnet malware last year but ultimately failed. Experts at the U.S.-Korea Institute at John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington predicted last year that the country's nuclear arsenal could grow to as many as 100 bombs within five years, from an estimated 10 to 16. Naturally, this news is a cause for concern as North Korea had four (failed) test launches in the last two months.

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Researchers Turn Smartphone Vibration Motor Into Microphone To Spy On You
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 05:54 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tin-can-telephone department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: Two researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a method to turn smartphone vibration motors into makeshift microphones, capable of recording the sound around them. The attack relies on using the vibration motor's coil to record incoming sound waves, which are then transmitted to the attacker, who then uses a processing algorithm to enhance the signal by reconstructing high-frequency waves. This is needed because the vibra-motor can only pick up low-frequency sounds, up to 2 kHz. Their method doesn't yield perfect results (4 in 5 people can understand the sounds) and also needs physical access to the device, but it puts in place the theoretical details needed to carry out and refine such attacks in the future.

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Tor Developer Jacob Appelbaum Allegedly Intimidated Victims Into Silence and Anonymity
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '16 at 05:54 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's anonymous-user department:
blottsie quotes a report from The Daily Dot: In the wake of programmer Jacob Appelbaum's abrupt departure from the Tor Project, rumors and accusations about both sexual misconduct and bullying have surfaced that extend back years. Now, four witnesses -- including a current senior Tor employee -- are stepping forward into the public eye, adding valuable insight into how Appelbaum allegedly intimidated those around him to keep accusations of sexual misconduct secret and pressure those who are speaking out to remain anonymous. [Late last week, a website was launched in which alleged victims of Appelbaum's sexual misconduct joined together to post their stories in an effort to publicize them without a much-feared wave of personalized and professional backlash. The stories are graphic and describe the ways Appelbaum allegedly assaulted people in public and in private. Three current Tor employees -- two of which agreed to be named on the record -- have confirmed that they personally know the authors of the alleged victim statements on the site, JacobAppelbaum.net. Although they continue to maintain anonymity for the authors of the stories, these Tor employees are now publicly vouching for the site's authenticity, which Appelbaum has called into question. Appelbaum broke his silence on Monday, deriding the accounts of his former colleagues as "vague rumors." It was an "attack," he said, on his reputation, led by character-assassins spreading "vicious and spurious" allegations against him.] In May, one of Tor's core software developers dodged the FBI and left the U.S. for Germany to avoid testifying in a criminal hacking investigation.

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

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

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

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

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

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