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Israel Sends Nation-Wide Security Alert Following Reports About Hijacked WhatsApp Accounts
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
A wave of reports about hijacked WhatsApp accounts in Israel has forced the government's cyber-security agency to send out a nation-wide security alert on Tuesday, ZDNet has learned. From a report: The alert, authored by the Israel National Cyber Security Authority, warns about a relatively new method of hijacking WhatsApp accounts using mobile providers' voicemail systems. This new hacking method was first documented last year by Ran Bar-Zik, an Israeli web developer at Oath. The general idea is that users who have voicemail accounts for their phone numbers are at risk if they don't change that account's default password, which in most cases tends to be either 0000 or 1234. The possibility of an account takeover happens when an attacker tries to add a legitimate user's phone number to a new WhatsApp app installation on his own phone. Following normal security procedures, the WhatsApp service would then send a one-time code via SMS to that phone number. This would typically alert a user to an ongoing attack, but Bar-Zik argues that a hacker could easily avoid this by carrying out the attack during nighttime or when he is sure the user is away from his phone.

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Senate Passes Bill That Lets the Government Destroy Private Drones
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
On Thursday, the Senate passed the FAA Reauthorization Act, which, among other things, renews funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and introduces new rules for airports and aircraft. But the bill, which now just needs to be signed by the president, also addresses drones. From a report: And while parts of the bill extend some aspects of drone use -- such as promoting drone package delivery and drone testing -- it also gives the federal government power to take down a private drone if it's seen as a "credible threat." The wording comes from another bill, the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018, which was strongly supported by the Department of Homeland Security and absorbed into the FAA Reauthorization Act. In June, as part of its argument as to why it needed more leeway when it comes to drones, the agency said that terrorist groups overseas "use commercially available [unmanned aircraft systems] to drop explosive payloads, deliver harmful substances and conduct illicit surveillance," and added that the devices are also used to transport drugs, interfere with law enforcement and expolit unsecured networks. Video -- What Happens When a Drone Hits an Airplane Wing?

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Vice President Mike Pence Says Google Should Halt Dragonfly App Development
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department:
On Thursday, the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence weighed in on Dragonfly, a project run by Google to build a censored search engine app for China. He said Dragonfly app would make it easier to track someone's internet searches. From a report: Pence said in a speech that business leaders are now thinking twice before entering the Chinese market "if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing's oppression." He added, "More must follow suit. For example, Google should immediately end development of the 'Dragonfly' app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers."

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Average Time To Resolve Problems is Three Times Higher Than Customers Want
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's reality-vs-expecation department:
Businesses seem to be setting the bar for "good" customer service too low, according to a recent study, which could have significant business impact as the customer experience becomes even more vital as customers decide to buy. From a report: Boston, Mass.- based identity and access company LogMeIn recently released a study to analyze the business impact and consumer attitudes of today's customers and their journey to a sale. It surveyed over 5,000 respondents consisting of business leaders and consumers around the globe. Its 2018 AI Customer Experience study shows that over one-third of consumers were not impressed with their customer journey. Over four out of five (83 percent) of consumers citied an average or poor experience, saying that they had at least one issue while interacting with a brand. Conversely, 80 percent of businesses believe their customers would give them a favorable review -- even whilst admitting that less than half of customer queries are resolved during the first interaction. Two-thirds (68 percent) of business respondents agree that their agents struggle with the volume of customer enquiries, and 61 percent of consumers feel that it takes too long for an enquiry to be resolved.

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Amazon Offloaded Its Chinese Server Business Because it Was Compromised, Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 07:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's aftermath department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: It looks like Amazon's move to sell off its physical server business in China last year was because the unit had been compromised by a Chinese government spying program. That's according to a report from Bloomberg which details how the Chinese government infiltrated a number of U.S. companies by sneaking tiny chips onto motherboards from Supermicro. They then became part of servers deployed by the companies giving remote operatives potential access to data. It's a huge story that includes a comparatively small but important passage shedding light on Amazon's China deal last November -- the U.S. firm sold the physical server business to local partner Beijing Sinnet for 2 billion yuan, or around $300 million. That transaction initially sparked reports that AWS would exit China, but Amazon later clarified it planned to continue to operate its cloud services in China. Selling the physical server business, it said, was down to the fact that "Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services." While it is correct that China did introduce cybersecurity laws that placed restrictions on overseas firms and appeared to give the government unprecedented access to data, the Bloomberg report claims that Amazon's China-based servers were in fact offloaded because they were plagued with compromised servers.

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China Infiltrated Apple, Amazon and Other US Companies Using Spy Chips on Servers, According To Bloomberg; Apple, and Amazon, Among Others Refute the Report
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 05:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Data center equipment run by Amazon Web Services and Apple were subject to surveillance from the Chinese government via a tiny microchip inserted during the equipment manufacturing process, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported Thursday, citing 17 people at Apple, Amazon, and U.S. government security officials, among others. The compromised chips in question came from a server company called Supermicro that assembled machines used in the centers, the report added. The scrutiny of these chips, which were used for gathering intellectual property and trade secrets from American companies, have also been the subject of an ongoing top secret U.S. government investigation, which started in 2015, the news outlet reported. Amazon, which runs AWS, Apple, and Supermicro have disputed summaries of Bloomberg BusinessWeek's reporting. The report states that Amazon became aware of a Supermicro's tiny microchip nested on the server motherboards of Elemental Technologies, a Portland, Oregon based company, as part of a due diligence ahead of acquiring the company in 2015. Amazon acquired Elemental as it prepared to use its technologies for what is now known as Prime Video, its video streaming service. The report adds that Amazon informed the FBI of its findings. From the report: One official says investigators found that it eventually affected almost 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors, and the world's most valuable company, Apple. Apple was an important Supermicro customer and had planned to order more than 30,000 of its servers in two years for a new global network of data centers. Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons. [...] A U.S. official says the governmentâ(TM)s probe is still examining whether spies were planted inside Supermicro or other American companies to aid the attack. Some background on Supermicro, courtesy of Bloomberg: Today, Supermicro sells more server motherboards than almost anyone else. It also dominates the $1 billion market for boards used in special-purpose computers, from MRI machines to weapons systems. Its motherboards can be found in made-to-order server setups at banks, hedge funds, cloud computing providers, and web-hosting services, among other places. Supermicro has assembly facilities in California, the Netherlands, and Taiwan, but its motherboards -- its core product -- are nearly all manufactured by contractors in China. The company's pitch to customers hinges on unmatched customization, made possible by hundreds of full-time engineers and a catalog encompassing more than 600 designs.

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Police Use Fitbit Data To Charge 90-Year-Old Man In Stepdaughter's Killing
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 05:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's and-I-would've-gotten-away-with-it-too-if-it-weren't-for-you-meddling-wearables department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The last time Anthony Aiello spoke to his stepdaughter, he took homemade pizza and biscotti to her house in San Jose, Calif., for a brief visit. Mr. Aiello, 90, told investigators that she then walked him to the door and handed him two roses in gratitude. But an unnoticed observer in the house later revealed that their encounter ended in murder, a police report said. Five days afterward, Mr. Aiello's stepdaughter, Karen Navarra, 67, was discovered by a co-worker in her house with fatal lacerations on her head and neck. She had been wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker, which investigators said showed that her heart rate had spiked significantly around 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 8 (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source), when Mr. Aiello was there. Then it recorded her heart rate slowing rapidly, and stopping at 3:28 p.m., about five minutes before Mr. Aiello left the house, the report said. Mr. Aiello was arrested last week on murder charges and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail, the San Jose Police Department said. On Thursday, he will appear in court in the Hall of Justice in San Jose, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office. "[T]he police said their investigation used a combination of video surveillance and data from Ms. Navarra's Fitbit, an Alta HR device, which she wore on her left wrist and synchronized with a computer in her home, where she lived alone," reports NYT. When asked for comment, Fitbit shared a copy of its privacy policy, stating in part that they comply with legal processes, including search warrants and court orders, when it shares data.

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Fully Driverless Waymo Taxis Are Due Out This Year, Alarming Critics
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-or-not-here-I-come department:
Alphabet's Waymo is launching a driverless taxi service in Phoenix in the next three months -- and it's open to the public. But due to the limited regulations surrounding self-driving cars, many critics argue that more regulations are needed to ensure the safety of these vehicles before they roll out for public and commercial use. Ars Technica reports: If a company wants to sell a new airplane or medical device, it must undergo an extensive process to prove to federal regulators that it's safe. Currently, there's no comparable requirement for self-driving cars. Federal and state laws allow Waymo to introduce fully self-driving cars onto public streets in Arizona without any formal approval process. That's not an oversight. It represents a bipartisan consensus in Washington that strict regulation of self-driving cars would do more harm than good.

Mary "Missy" Cummings, an engineering professor at Duke, agrees. "I don't think there should be any driverless cars on the road," she tells Ars. "I think it's unconscionable that no one is stipulating that testing needs to be done before they're put on the road." But so far these advocates' demands have fallen on deaf ears. Partly that's because federal regulators don't want to slow the introduction of a technology that could save a lot of lives in the long run. Partly it's because they believe that liability concerns give companies a strong enough incentive to behave responsibly. And partly it's because no one is sure how to regulate self-driving cars effectively. When it comes to driverless cars, "there's no consensus on what it means to be safe or how we go about proving that," says Bryant Walker Smith, a legal scholar at the University of South Carolina.

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Nintendo Plans New Version of Switch Next Year
Posted by News Fetcher on October 04 '18 at 01:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo is planning to release a new version of its Switch gaming console next year (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) "to maintain the sales momentum of the device," which is "no longer delivering the favorable surprises that marked the machine's first year on the market." From the report: Nintendo is still debating what new hardware and software features to include in the upgrade and weighing the cost of the features, people with knowledge of the discussions said. One option is improving the display, they said. The current Switch uses a lower-end liquid-crystal display without some technologies that are standard in more recent smartphone LCDs. Updating the display with these technologies would make it brighter, thinner and more energy-efficient. The updated Switch isn't expected to adopt the organic light-emitting diode or OLED panels used in Apple's iPhone X series. Nintendo is looking to release the new Switch in the latter half of 2019, perhaps as soon as summer, the people said. [...] The upgraded Switch would likely share many features with the current version and be compatible with existing Switch game software.

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Lockheed Martin Unveils Plans For Huge Reusable Moon Lander For Astronauts
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 11:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-soon-to-a-moon-base-near-you department:
Lockheed Martin revealed its concept for a reusable, single-stage spaceship capable of ferrying four astronauts between lunar orbit and the surface of moon. Lockheed's craft weighs roughly five times more than the lunar lander NASA used during the Apollo program. When it's fully fueled, it will weigh 68 tons (62 metric tons). Space.com reports: The Lockheed lander would use as its home base the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a small space station that NASA aims to start building near the moon in 2022. The lander would depart from the Gateway, taking astronauts and up to 1.1 tons (1 metric tons) of cargo down to the lunar surface, according to a newly published Lockheed white paper. The craft (and crew) could stay on the surface for up to two weeks, then launch back to the Gateway without the need to refuel. (The lander would be refueled between missions -- eventually, perhaps, with propellant derived from water ice extracted from the moon or asteroids.)

Lockheed's proposed lander could be up and running by the late 2020s, in keeping with the timeline NASA has targeted for getting boots back on the moon, said Rob Chambers, Lockheed Martin Space's director of human spaceflight strategy and business development. The lander would also launch atop the SLS, at least for the foreseeable future, he told Space.com.

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Australia Set To 'Eliminate' Cervical Cancer By 2028
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 08:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's making-progress department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Australia is set to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer, aided by its national vaccination and screening programs, says a new study. The country is on track to meet the threshold of four or less new cases per 100,000 women each year, effectively eliminating the cancer by 2028, finds the new study published Wednesday. The cancer could be classified as "rare" as early as 2022, meeting a threshold of six new cases per 100,000 and deaths due to the diseases are expected to decline to one new case per 100,000 women by 2034. But this is all contingent on Australia's high vaccination coverage and screening being maintained, write the study authors.

An estimated 99.7% of cervical cancer cases are caused by infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses that spread though sexual intercourse and skin-to-skin contact around the genitals. In their new study, the researchers at Cancer Council NSW modeled data on HPV vaccination, natural history of the disease, and cervical screening to estimate the age-incidence of cervical cancer in Australia from 2015 to 2100. Currently, Australia reports seven cases of cervical cancer per 100,000 women, according to the study. As well as eliminating the disease within 20 years, the data showed that the annual incidence of cervical cancer will decrease and remain at fewer than one case per 100,000 women if screening for HPV every five years continues and as long as people have been offered the vaccine.

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Honda Will Use GM's Self-Driving Technology, Invest $750 Million In Cruise Startup
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 07:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's full-speed-ahead department:
Honda announced today that it is investing $750 million in Cruise, the self-driving car startup whose majority shareholder is General Motors. The automotive company is also planning to invest $2 billion over the next 12 years to develop and manufacture self-driving cars based on Cruise's software. Ars Technica reports: Honda has been working on autonomous vehicles since at least 2015, but progress has been slow. In 2015, the company said it hoped to have a partially self-driving car ready by 2020 but that a fully self-driving car won't be ready until the 2030s. In 2017, Honda said it was aiming to offer freeway-only self-driving capabilities in 2020 and then reach "level 4" capability -- cars that are fully self-driving, but only in certain locations and weather conditions -- by 2025. That compares unfavorably to Waymo, which is planning to launch a level 4 taxi service this year. Cruise is aiming to launch a level 4 taxi service next year. Honda's new plan is to build self-driving cars based on Cruise's hardware and software designs. So far, Cruise has focused on modifying the Chevy Bolt for autonomous capabilities. But this new Honda vehicle will be designed from the ground up for autonomous operation.

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Toys R Us Cancels Bankruptcy Auction, Plans To Revive Brand
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's near-death-experiences department:
Toys "R" Us may not be dead after all. According to Reuters, "The top lenders of Toys "R" Us have decided to cancel the bankruptcy auction of its brand name and other intellectual property assets and instead plan to revive the Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us brand names." From the report: The bankrupt retailer's debtors aim to open a new Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us branding company that maintains existing global license agreements and can invest and develop new retail shops. The lenders also plan to expand its international presence and further develop its private brands business. The bids were not superior to the plan to revive the brand as it did not offer "probable economic recovery" to creditors as well as benefits to stakeholders who would maintain the brands under the new independent U.S. business, the court filing showed. Under the intellectual property auction, the company had planned to sell its assets, including the brand names of Toys "R" Us, Babies "R" Us, registry lists, website domains, Geoffrey the Giraffe and other assets. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September last year, but later said it would sell or close all 800 of its U.S. stores.

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New Autonomous Farm Wants To Produce Food Without Human Workers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's automated-living department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Iron Ox isn't like most robotics companies. Instead of trying to flog you its technology, it wants to sell you food. As the firm's cofounder Brandon Alexander puts it: "We are a farm and will always be a farm." But it's no ordinary farm. For starters, the company's 15 human employees share their work space with robots who quietly go about the business of tending rows and rows of leafy greens. Today Iron Ox is opening its first production facility in San Carlos, near San Francisco. The 8,000-square-foot indoor hydroponic facility -- which is attached to the startup's offices -- will be producing leafy greens at a rate of roughly 26,000 heads a year. That's the production level of a typical outdoor farm that might be five times bigger. The opening is the next big step toward fulfilling the company's grand vision: a fully autonomous farm where software and robotics fill the place of human agricultural workers, which are currently in short supply. Iron Ox uses software, dubbed "The Brain," to watch over the farm and monitor nitrogen levels, temperature, and robot location. Alexander hopes to automative every process of the farm, but human workers are currently needed to help with seeding and processing the crops. He cites the shortage of agricultural workers and the distances that fresh product currently has to be shipped for reasons why we need automated farming.

"The problem with the indoor [farm] is the initial investment in the system," says Yiannis Ampatzidis, an assistant professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Florida. "You have to invest a lot up front. A lot of small growers can't do that." Currently, Iron Ox is sending the food it produces to a local food bank and to the company salad bar.

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New Yorkers Sue Trump and FEMA To Stop Presidential Alert
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 04:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department:
Not everyone is pleased to hear that President Trump has the power to use communications systems in case of an emergency. According to CNET, three New York residents recently filed a lawsuit against President Trump and William Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to halt FEMA's new Presidential Alert messaging system.

The lawsuit reads in part: "Plaintiffs are American citizens who do not wish to receive text messages, or messages of any kind, on any topic or subject, from defendant Trump. [Trump's] rise to power was facilitated by weaponized disinformation that he broadcast into the public information sphere via Twitter in addition to traditional mass media." From the report: Presidential Alerts are similar to Amber or other emergency alerts on your phone -- you hear a loud noise comes along with vibration. The messages come from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which attempts to send the alert to every cell phone within the U.S. operating on a network run by a carrier opting into the Wireless Emergency Alert system. IPAWS is used in the event of natural disasters, acts of terrorism or other disasters or threats to public safety. The plaintiffs' main complaint is that Presidential Alerts are compulsory -- there's no way to opt-out of receiving them. They argue that under civil rights law, government cannot use cellular devices to compel listening, "trespass into and hijack" devices without a warrant or individual consent.

The plaintiffs are also concerned Trump might use the alerts to spread disinformation because IPAWS doesn't regulate the content of the messages. That means Trump may be free to define "act of terrorism" and "threat to public safety," and may broadcast "arbitrary, biased, irrational" messages to "hundreds of millions of people," the plaintiffs say in the lawsuit.

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LG Announces V40 ThinQ With Five Cameras, 6.4-iInch OLED Screen
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 04:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
While LG technically announced the LG V40 ThinQ last week in Korea, it left many surprises for its October 3rd event in the U.S. We have now learned that the company's new flagship sports a total of five cameras, a 6.4-inch display, headphone jack with hi-fi Quad DAC, and Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB of RAM. The Verge reports: [T]he V40 has a very premium price and will range between $900 and $980 from US carriers when it's released on October 18th in black or blue color options. The 6.4-inch, notched OLED panel doesn't have the same "super bright" mode you can find on the G7, with brightness topping out between 500 and 600 nits. But LG says the phone is noticeably lighter -- more than an ounce -- than both the Note and XS Max. The new three-camera setup on the back of the V40 offers a lot of versatility. It includes:
- Standard f/1.5 12-megapixel camera with 1.4um pixels that are 40 percent larger than the G7. Remember that bigger pixels are a key reason for the improved camera performance in the iPhone XS, so hopefully LG fans will see a similar uptick in quality over the G7.
- Super-wide-angle f/1.9 16MP camera with 107-degree field of view. Identical to G7.
- 12MP f/2.4 telephoto/portrait camera, which basically amounts to a 2x optical zoom compared to the regular lens. LG has added new lighting effects such as "natural, studio, contour, stage, stage mono."
< article continued at Slashdot's new-and-improved department >

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Microsoft Is Embracing Android As the Mobile Version of Windows
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 04:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's obvious-choice department:
Microsoft unveiled a bunch of new hardware during a press event last night, but one of the most interesting announcements the company made was their new "Your Phone" app for Windows 10. Basically, the feature will let Android users mirror any app on their device to a Windows 10 desktop. The Verge's Tom Warren writes about how Microsoft is embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows: We've seen a variety of ways of bringing Android apps to Windows in recent years, including Bluestacks and even Dell's Mobile Connect software. This app mirroring is certainly easier to do with Android, as it's less restricted than iOS. Still, Microsoft's welcoming embrace of Android in Windows 10 with this app mirroring is just the latest in a number of steps the company has taken recently to really help align Android as the mobile equivalent of Windows.

Microsoft Launcher is designed to replace the default Google experience on Android phones, and bring Microsoft's own services and Office connectivity to the home screen. It's a popular launcher that Microsoft keeps updating, and it's even getting support for the Windows 10 Timeline feature that lets you resume apps and sites across devices. All of this just reminds me of Windows Phone. It's only been three years since Microsoft launched its Lumia 950 Windows 10 Mobile device at a packed holiday hardware event. Windows Phone has vanished in the last couple of years, and Microsoft finally admitted Windows Phone was dead nearly a year ago. The software maker has now embraced the reality that people don't need Windows on a phone. Instead, it's embracing Android as the mobile version of Windows.

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Nintendo President: Our Future Is As an 'Entertainment' Company
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 03:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's question-and-answer department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime appeared at Seattle's Geekwire Summit on Wednesday to speak broadly about the company's future, and, while the talk didn't include new product reveals, it proved illuminating about what to expect from the big N in the future. The short version: Nintendo would rather be defined as an "entertainment" company, not a gaming one. Fils-Aime says the company currently has three "pieces of business": a dedicated video game business ("the way most of our consumers interact with us"), a mobile gaming business, and "leveraging our intellectual property (IP) in a variety of ways." The latter includes previously announced plans for a Universal Studios attraction in Osaka, Japan (still slated to open ahead of Tokyo's next Olympics hosting run in 2020) and a Super Mario film produced by Illumination Entertainment (Minions, Despicable Me). When asked about Nintendo's future focus on a company-wide level, Fils-Aime said: "It's about Mario, Zelda, Pokemon -- all these wonderful intellectual properties. How we leverage these across a variety of entertainment platforms is how we're looking to grow the company." He went on to say that he doesn't see Xbox and PlayStation as competitors. Ars reports: "He counted the exact number of minutes per day and said that outside of the time a consumer spends eating, sleeping, working, and going to school, 'all of the rest of that time is entertainment time. That's what I compete for, minute by minute. That time you spend surfing the Web, watching a movie, watching a telecast of a conference: that's all entertainment time we're competing for. My competitive set is much bigger than my direct competitors in Sony and Microsoft. I compete for time. When I do that, I have to be creative and innovative in order to win that battle.'"

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Alphabet's Intra App Encrypts DNS Queries To Help Users Bypass Online Censorship
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 03:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for ZDNet: Jigsaw, a technology incubator created by Google and operated as a subsidiary under the Alphabet brand, has released today an Android app named Intra that can encrypt DNS queries as a protection against DNS manipulation at the ISP (internet service provider) level. DNS manipulation is one of the most common forms of online censorship used by oppressive regimes or unscrupulous ISPs, used to block access to news sites, information portals, social media platforms, undesirable software, and more. Intra protects against DNS manipulation by keeping DNS traffic hidden from third-parties with state-level surveillance capabilities, such as internet service providers in countries with autocratic regimes. Reports suggest that Alphabet tested the app with a few dozen political activists in Venezuela before the global roll-out.

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Verizon is Offering Buyout Packages To as Many as 44,000 Management Employees; Some IT Employees Will Be Transferred To Indian Outsourcing Firm Infosys [Update]
Posted by News Fetcher on October 03 '18 at 03:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
Verizon Communications is offering buyout packages to as many as 44,000 management employees as part of a cost-cutting drive, potentially eliminating more than a fourth of its workforce. From a report: The offer, which excludes executives in sales or crucial company roles, is part of a four-year, $10 billion cost-reduction program that Chairman Lowell McAdam put in place last year. A Verizon spokesman declined to say how many of the 44,000 managers are expected to take the offer and leave the company. Update: The Wall Street Journal adds: Verizon notified many information technology employees that they were being transferred to Indian outsourcing giant Infosys as part of a $700 million outsourcing agreement. The pool of employees who either received the severance offer or are affected by the Infosys deal amounts to about 30% of the 153,100 employees that Verizon had globally at the end of June. "Strategically we are going to invest more in transforming the business versus running the business," materials detailing the outsourcing agreement said. As part of that pact, Verizon is transferring about 2,500 employees in the U.S. and overseas to Infosys. Those employees aren't eligible for severance payments and won't receive their 2018 bonus if they are offered a job at Infosys and don't accept it, according to materials given to the employees.

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