By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department
Twitter is conducting in-house research to better understand how white nationalists and supremacists use the platform. From a report: The company is trying to decide, in part, whether white supremacists should be banned from the site or should be allowed to stay on the platform so their views can be debated by others, a Twitter executive told Motherboard. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of trust and safety, legal and public policy, said Twitter believes "counter-speech and conversation are a force for good, and they can act as a basis for de-radicalization, and we've seen that happen on other platforms, anecdotally."
"So one of the things we're working with academics on is some research here to confirm that this is the case," she added. Gadde, who, along with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, met with President Trump to discuss the "health of the public conversation" on Twitter last month, said Twitter is working with external researchers on the work, but declined to name them, and added that the researchers are under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). "We're working with them specifically on white nationalism and white supremacy and radicalization online and understanding the drivers of those things; what role can a platform like Twitter play in either making that worse or making that better?" she said. "Is it the right approach to deplatform these individuals? Is the right approach to try and engage with these individuals? How should we be thinking about this? What actually works?" she added.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it," said Internet pioneer John Gilmore in a 1993 Time magazine article about a then-ungoverned place called "cyberspace." How times have changed. From a report: In April, Sri Lankan authorities blocked its citizens' access to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube following a major terrorist attack. Such censorship, once considered all but inconceivable, is now commonplace in a growing number of countries. Russia, for instance, approved an "Internet sovereignty" law in May that gives the government broad power to dictate what its citizens can see online. And China is not just perfecting its "Great Firewall," which blocks such things as searches for "Tiananmen Square" and the New York Times, but is seeking to export its top-down version of the web to countries throughout Southeast Asia.
This phenomenon, colloquially called "splinternet," whereby governments seek to fence off the World Wide Web into a series of national Internets, isn't new. The term, also known as cyberbalkanization, has been around since the 1990s. But lately the rupturing has accelerated, as companies censor their sites to comply with national rules and governments blot out some sites entirely. "It feels like a chunk of the Internet is gone or different. People feel the Internet is not as we knew it," says Venkat Balasubramani, who runs a cyber law firm in Seattle. Technology is one reason for the change. According to Danny O'Brien of the digital civil rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, the sort of censorship tools deployed by China were enormously expensive and labor-Âintensive. But now, as the tools become cheaper and more efficient, other countries are willing to try them too. Meanwhile, there is a new political will among governments to try to control websites -- especially following events like the Arab Spring, during which Facebook and Twitter helped fuel political uprisings.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Every week millions of these requests are sent to hosting platforms, as well as third-party services, such as search engines. Quite a few of the major players, including Twitter, Google, and Bing, publish these requests online. However, due to the massive volume, it's hard for casual observers to spot any trends in the data. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Boston University aim to add some context with an elaborate study covering a broad database of takedown requests. Their results are now bundled in a paper titled: "Who Watches the Watchmen: Exploring Complaints on the Web."
The research covers all takedown requests that were made available through the Lumen Database in 2017. The majority of these were sent to Google, with Bing, Twitter, and Periscope as runners-up. In total, more than one billion reported URLs were analyzed. Most takedown requests or 'web complaints' were copyright-related, 98.6% to be precise. This means that other notices, such as defamation reports, court orders, and Government requests, make up a tiny minority. The researchers report that the complaints were submitted by 38,523 unique senders, covering 1.05 billion URLs. While that's a massive number, most reported links are filed by a very small group of senders.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department
As it faces both an antitrust lawsuit with huge implications and a formal EU investigation over its App Store tactics, Apple today defended itself against Spotify and other critics of the company's massively successful software storefront. From a report: "Today, the App Store is more vibrant and innovative than ever, offering equal opportunities to developers to deliver their apps and services across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch," reads a new page at Apple's website titled "App Store -- Principles and Practices." "We're proud of the store we've built and the way we've built it." Apple says it has paid out $120 billion to App Store developers worldwide since the platform launched, and the company again touts the quick approval process and efficient work of its app review team, which now "represents 81 languages across three time zones." Sixty percent of the approximately 100,000 apps and app updates reviewed each week are approved, with rejections mostly stemming from "minor bugs, followed by privacy concerns." Apple notes that anyone who feels that they were unjustly rejected can have their situation looked at by the App Store Review Board.
But the most interesting parts of this new site relate to competition. In one section, Apple goes over the core, built-in apps on iOS and lists the many popular third-party options that are available from the App Store in each category as alternatives. The company fails to mention that none of these apps can be chosen as the default messaging app, maps service, email client, web browser, or music player. That limitation isn't always a deal-breaker -- just ask WhatsApp, which is more popular than iMessage in many countries -- but it still gives Apple's services an advantage. [...] The message here seems to be that if companies don't like Apple's policies, they've got other options. Go find your riches on Android or make a Roku app.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department
Drones have become an increasingly popular tool for industry and government. But the Department of Homeland Security is warning that drones manufactured by Chinese companies could pose security risks, including that the data they gather could be stolen. From a report: The department sent out an alert on the subject on May 20, and a video on its website notes that drones in general pose multiple threats, including "their potential use for terrorism, mass casualty incidents, interference with air traffic, as well as corporate espionage and invasions of privacy." "We're not being paranoid," the video's narrator adds. Most drones bought in the U.S. are manufactured in China, with most of those drones made by one company, DJI Technology. Lanier Watkins, a cyber-research scientist at Johns Hopkins University's Information Security Institute, said his team discovered vulnerabilities in DJI's drones. "We could pull information down and upload information on a flying drone," Watkins said. "You could also hijack the drone." The vulnerabilities meant that "someone who was interested in, you know, where a certain pipeline network was or maybe the vulnerabilities in a power utilities' wiring might be able to access that information," he noted.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Microsoft still hasn't officially confirmed the existence of its rumored Windows Lite operating system, but the software giant is dropping some pretty big hints about the future of Windows today. From a report: Nick Parker, Microsoft's corporate vice president of consumer and device sales, appeared on stage at Computex today to detail the company's vision for a modern operating system. While Parker didn't unveil Windows Lite, a rumored lightweight version of Windows for dual-screen and Chromebook-like devices, he did reveal how Microsoft is preparing for new device types. These new devices will require what Microsoft calls a "modern OS," that includes a bunch of "enablers" like seamless updates. We've seen various promises about Windows Updates being improved over the years, but Microsoft is now promising that "modern OS updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions!" No interruptions and done in the background sounds very different from the Windows Update experience available on Windows 10 today, and it sounds far more Chrome OS-like. This "modern OS" is also secure by default according to Microsoft, meaning the state is separated from the OS and compute is "separated from applications," which sounds a lot more cloud-powered than what we're used to today. Microsoft also wants this modern OS to work with 5G connectivity, and to include a variety of inputs like pen, voice, touch, even gaze.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Sony is quietly launching a chip that could change how e-bikes, cars, street lamps and all kinds of other connected devices can relay information. The module, when installed on any IoT object, will allow it send data to Sony's proprietary low-power wide area (LPWA) ELTRES network launching this fall. It can transmit up to about 60 miles and work in noisy urban environments on objects moving at high speeds, opening up a lot of new applications in security, monitoring, tracking and more. Sony's ELTRES LPWA network harnesses low-power wireless technology to transfer low-bit data across a wide area, with lower power consumption, making it feasible to connect a wide range of devices.
The CXM1501GR chip transmits signals in the 920MHz band to Sony's ELTRES network, and is also equipped with GPS/GNSS sensors to obtain time and position data. Sony said it'll work in a "broad range of IoT devices, aiming to develop various services making the most of stable wireless communications over long distances and while moving at high speeds, thereby creating a new market." In a use case document, Sony said the tech could be used to "help friends find each other at a ski hill," track wildlife, geolocate ships, follow yacht races, monitor bike rentals, while tracking numerous things like drones, rental cars and trains. The chip is limited to Japan for now, but Sony has launched an application program for interested companies and the company does have plans to build out the network.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bright-lights-in-the-sky department
SpaceX's Starlink satellites -- recently launched from Cape Canaveral last week -- may obstruct the view of the universe, posing serious problems for astronomers. It's not much of a problem now as there are only 60 satellites at present, but eventually that number will reach 12,000, and a megaconstellation will encircle the Earth. CNET reports: The first batch of satellites were launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and deployed to orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket on May 23. Each contains a single solar array, which both captures and bounces sunlight off the satellites and, as a result, can sometimes be seen from Earth. On May 25, as the drifting luminescent army of satellites zoomed overhead, Dutch satellite tracker Marco Langbroek captured their marching, posting a stunning video to Vimeo. In time, the satellites will drift apart and head to specific orbits so that satellite internet coverage can be beamed to every corner of the globe.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department
dryriver shares a report from The Guardian: It was the evolutionary leap that defined the species: while other apes ambled around on all fours, the ancestors of humans rose up on two legs and, from that lofty position, went on to conquer the world. The benefits of standing tall in the African savannah are broadly nailed down, but what prompted our distant forebears to walk upright is far from clear. Now, in a radical proposal, U.S. scientists point to a cosmic intervention: protohumans had a helping hand from a flurry of exploding stars, they say.
According to the researchers, a series of stars in our corner of the Milky Way exploded in a cosmic riot that began about 7 million years ago and continued for millions of years more. The supernovae blasted powerful cosmic rays in all directions. On Earth, the radiation arriving from the cataclysmic explosions peaked about 2.6 million years ago. The surge of radiation triggered a chain of events, the scientists argue. As cosmic rays battered the planet, they ionized the atmosphere and made it more conductive. This could have ramped up the frequency of lightning strikes, sending wildfires raging through African forests, and making way for grasslands, they write in the Journal of Geology. With fewer trees at hand in the aftermath, our ancient ancestors adapted, and those who walked upright thrived.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's intentional-errors department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Thurrott: Microsoft started testing a new Microsoft Edge browser based on Chromium a little while ago. The company has been releasing new canary and dev builds for the browser over the last few weeks, and the preview is actually really great. But if you watch YouTube quite a lot, you will face a new problem on the new Edge. It turns out, Google has randomly disabled the modern YouTube experience for users of the new Microsoft Edge. Users are now redirected to the old YouTube experience, which lacks the modern design as well as the dark theme for YouTube, as first spotted by Gustave Monce. And when you try to manually access the new YouTube from youtube.com/new, YouTube simply asks users to download Google Chrome, stating that the Edge browser isn't supported. Ironically, the same page states "We support the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Edge." The change affects the latest versions of Microsoft Edge Canary and Dev channels. It is worth noting that the classic Microsoft Edge based on EdgeHTML continues to work fine with the modern YouTube experience.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-gen-charging department
Samsung on Tuesday announced the launch of two new chips that it says will support secure, fast-charging USB-C power delivery controllers. "One of them, the SE8A, is what the company calls the industry's first solution that combines a power delivery controller and Secure Element in a single chip, offering new protections like security key storage," reports BGR. "Another result of the development of these new power delivery controllers is that Samsung's power chargers will now be able to support up to a 100W capacity: A 10x improvement over the 10W of a general smartphone charger." From the report: Samsung said the MM101 supports a symmetric encryption algorithm called the Advanced Encryption Standard that enables product authentication and includes moisture sensing capabilities to ensure safer charging conditions. The SE8A supports USB Type-C Authentication, the certificate-based authentication program for USB-C chargers and devices. "With enhanced security," Samsung explained in the announcement, "the SE8A opens possibilities for new kinds of content and services that may be exclusive to a certain brand, location or event."
Today's announcement is also significant because Samsung says the new power delivery controllers meet the most recent USB specs for fast-charging which addresses things like compatibility and efficiency challenges across mobile devices and other electronics. Those challenges can have effects like causing a device to, for example, charge slower than usual in addition to compromising the battery's life cycle.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's chase-for-cold-fusion department
According to a peer-reviewed paper revealed this week, Google is continuing its experiments into the controversial science of cold fusion -- the theory that nuclear fusion, the process that powers the Sun, can produce energy in a table-top experiment at room temperature. While Google's recent project found no evidence that cold fusion is possible, it did make some advances in measurement and materials-science techniques that the researchers say could benefit energy research. "The team also hopes that its work will inspire others to revisit cold-fusion experiments, even if the phenomenon still fails to materialize," reports Nature. From the report: The Google team explored three experimental set-ups that have been proposed to generate cold fusion -- two involving palladium and hydrogen, and one involving metallic powders and hydrogen. None foundï evidence of fusion. The results have been published across 12 papers over the past 2 years: 9 in peer-reviewed journals and 3ï on the arXiv preprint server.
In March 1989, two U.S.-based chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced that they had seen excess heat and fusion-reaction products -- signs of nuclear fusion -- when they ran a current across two palladium plates in water laden with deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen. Others quickly pointed out errors in their experimental procedure. Since then, two U.S. Department of Energy reviews have found no evidence of the phenomenon . But cold fusion -- now commonly referred to as low-energy nuclear reactions -- has retained a persistent following that continues to claim evidence of success. Google's $10-million project aimed to test the cold-fusion claims rigorously in a field that lacked credible scientific data, says Matthew Trevithick, a research program manager at Google. Another goal was also to push methods in challenging experimental conditions. But, he adds: "The fact that the pay-out could be huge is definitely a component of our interest.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hands-off-my-data department
Three iTunes customers have filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of sending personal user data to third parties to boost its revenues. "It is alleged that Apple is selling, renting or disclosing full names, addresses, genres of music and specific titles of songs purchased on the iTunes Store app on iPhones without consent or notification," reports CNET. From the report: According to documents filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, Apple does this "to supplement its revenues and enhance the formidability of its brand in the eyes of mobile application developers," the lawsuit alleges. "None of the information pertaining to the music you purchase on your iPhone stays on your iPhone," the lawsuit further alleges. "While Apple profits handsomely from its unauthorized sale, rental, transmission and/or disclosure of its customers' Personal Listening Information, it does so at the expense of its customers' privacy and statutory rights."
First reported by Bloomberg, the plaintiffs -- Leigh Wheaton from Rhode Island, and Jill Paul and Trevor Paul from Michigan -- allege third parties then use this data to append several more categories, including age, gender, income, educational background and marital status. This "enhanced" data is then allegedly sold on to other third parties, the lawsuit says. The plaintiffs are representing other iTunes customers in their respective states, seeking $250 for Rhode Island class-action members under the Video, Audio, And Publication Rentals Privacy Act and $5,000 for Michigan class-action members under the Preservation of Personal Privacy Act.Read Replies (0)