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Report: Feds To Ban Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes For 2 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's three-strikes-you're-out department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to the Wall Street Journal, health regulators have proposed pulling the federal license for the company's California laboratory and banning its founder and CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, and company president Sunny Balwani from the blood-testing business for two years. The letter which the WSJ cited in its report found that Theranos had not corrected problems at its lab in Newark, California, and faced possible sanctions as a result. In October 2015, the WSJ reported all but one of Theranos' analyzers in use were off the shelf, and that their tiny samples may not always have been accurate. The company was facing allegations of data manipulation in late December 2015. Earlier this year, U.S. regulators found serious deficiencies at Theranos' laboratory in Newark, California, putting the company's relationship with the Medicare program in danger. Theranos has said that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not imposed sanctions on its Newark Lab. "Due to the comprehensive nature of the corrective measures we've taken over the past several months, which has been affirmed by several experts, we are hopeful that CMS won't impose sanctions," the company said in an emailed statement. "But if they do, we will work with CMS to address all of their concerns."

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Obama Forms Commission To Bolster US Cyber Security
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's a-matter-of-national-security department:
An anonymous reader writes: President Obama unveiled a commission of private, public and academic experts to bolster the US cyber security sector. The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity will be co-chaired by former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano and Tom Donilon, the President's former national security adviser. Some other notable members include MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, Microsoft Research VP Peter Lee, Uber's current (and Facebook's former) Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, Frontier Communications Executive Chairperson Maggie Wildrotter, and Annie Anton, chair of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. The specific goals of the commission are to: "Raise the level of cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors, deter, disrupt, and interfere with malicious cyber activity aimed at the U.S. or its allies and respond effectively to and recover from cyber incidents."

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Whistleblowers Fear Prosecution Under New European Trade Secrets Law
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 03:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's intention-of-misinterpretation department:
An anonymous reader writes: The European Parliament is debating the Trade Secrets Protection Act critics say threatens to turn whistleblowers into criminals. The bill is aimed to protect European companies from corporate spying by their rivals in other parts of the world. But critics fear that the legislation will make it possible for corporations to define any information they do not want released as a trade secret, and then prosecute journalists or whistleblowers who release it to the public. Campaigner Martin Pigeon, from Corporate Europe Observatory in Brussels says the Trade Secrets Protection Act would have potentially criminalized the release of the Panama Papers. On the flip side, supporters of the bill say there is nothing to worry about because it contains a defense for those who release information exposing criminal wrongdoing or who are acting in the public interest. The bill will still need to be passed into law by national parliaments across the 28 nations of the EU, assuming the bill is approved by the European Parliament.

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Dyson Airblades 'Spread Germs 1,300 Times More Than Paper Towels'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 02:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's achoo-cough-cough department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Journal of Applied Microbiology published a report claiming Dyson Airblade hand-driers spread 60 times more germs than standard air dryers, and 1,300 times more than standard paper towels. The researchers from University of Westminster conducted their research by dipping their hands in water containing a harmless virus. Then, they dried their hands with either a Dyson Airblade, a standard hot-air dryer, or a paper towel. Their research shows the Dyson drier's 430mph blasts of air are capable of spreading viruses up to 3 meters across a bathroom. Typical driers spread viruses up to 75cm (about 2.5ft), and the hand towels 25cm (less than 1ft).

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DARPA's Latest Chip Is Designed To Be Bad At Arithmetic
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 12:52 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's deliberately-getting-your-sums-wrong department:
Reader holy_calamity writes: Pentagon research agency DARPA has funded the creation of a chip incapable of correct arithmetic, in the hope of making computers better at understanding the real world. A chip that canâ(TM)t guarantee that every calculation is perfect can still get good results on many problems but needs fewer circuits and burns less energy, says Joseph Bates, cofounder and CEO of Singular Computing. The S1 chip can process noisy data like video very efficiently because it doesn't need the extra circuits or operations needed to ensure every mathematical operation is performed perfectly. This summer DARPA will put five prototype computers, each equipped with 16 of the inexact S1 chips, online for researchers to experiment with.

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Phone-Friendly Movie Theaters For Millennials Could Be Reality Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 12:52 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's that-escalated-quickly department:
An anonymous reader writes: AMC Entertainment realizes Millennials' increasingly growing love for and reliance on smartphones for things, which is why it says it is open to the idea of phone-friendly movie theaters. "When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don't ruin the movie, they hear 'please cut off your left arm above the elbow,'" Adam Aron, AMC Entertainment CEO tells Variety. "You can't tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That's not how they live their life." Aron believes that AMC needs "to reshape our product in some concrete ways so that millennials go to movie theaters with the same degree of intensity as baby boomers went to movie theaters throughout their lives." AMC also realizes that if it allows people to use cellphones in theater, and text and talk to their friends, this might disturb the fellow citizen who just want to watch the god-damn movie in peace. He says the company is "going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't disturb today's audiences. [...] That's one possibility. What may be more likely is we take specific auditoriums and make them more texting-friendly."

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Jobless Claims In US Decline To Match Lowest Since 1973
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 12:52 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's increasing-workforce department:
Sho Chandra, reporting for Bloomberg: The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined last week to match a more than 42-year low, indicating employers are upbeat about an economy that bogged down in the first quarter. Jobless claims dropped by 13,000 to 253,000 in the week ended April 9, equaling the level in March that was the lowest since November 1973, a report from the Labor Department showed Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for 270,000. Continuing claims also declined, to the lowest since mid-October. "Jobless claims are running really low and all other labor market data are telling us that the economy is creating a lot of jobs," said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. "This is further confirmation that the labor market is strong."

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Golden State and the Mathematical Magic of Seventy-Three
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 11:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's 73 department:
Charles Bethea has written a fascinating piece on the number '73' for The New Yorker. Below are some tidbits from the story but I urge you to hit the New Yorker link and read the story in entirety there. Bethea writes: "I am aware of the Warriors's push for seventy-three wins," Ken Ono, a professor of mathematics at Emory University and the author of "The Web of Modularity: Arithmetic of the Coefficients of Modular Forms and q-series," said recently. [...] Professor Ono worked as a math consultant on a film called "The Man Who Knew Infinity," which stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons, and which screens this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, in New York. The movie centers on the friendship of the legendary Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Patel) and his Cambridge University colleague G. H. Hardy (Irons), and it depicts a famous story that Hardy once told about Ramanujan. "I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney," Hardy said. "I had ridden in taxicab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied. "It is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways." One cubed plus twelve cubed, and nine cubed plus ten cubed. This was the first of what came to be known as "taxicab numbers." [...] So what does Professor Ono think of seventy-three? "I really like the number seventy-three," he said. "It is the sixth 'emirp.'" An emirp, he explained, is a prime number that remains prime when its digits are reversed. (Emirp, of course, is 'prime' spelled backward.)

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Microsoft Sues US Justice Department, Asks Court To Declare Secrecy Orders Unconstitutional
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 10:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fighting-for-your-rights department:
Todd Bishop, reporting for GeekWire: Microsoft is suing the U.S. Justice Department, asking a federal judge to declare unconstitutional a provision of U.S. law that lets the government keep Microsoft and other tech companies from informing their customers when investigators seek access to emails and other cloud data. The suit, filed moments ago in U.S. District Court in Seattle, targets Section 2705(b) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which allows the government to seek and obtain secrecy orders preventing companies from letting their customers know when their data is the target of a federal warrant, subpoena or court order. Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, recently criticized the 30-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act as outdated during his testimony in February before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee -- bringing along IBM's first laptop, released the same year, to help illustrate his point.Microsoft argues that these "indefinite gag orders" violate the First Amendment rights to inform customers. Furthermore, the company adds that the law also "flouts" the Fourth Amendment, which requires the government to give a notice to the concerned person when his or her property is being searched or seized. "This is a First Amendment fight that needed to get picked and I'm glad Microsoft picked it. Just as in the real world with physical seizures, secrecy in digital seizures should be the exception and not the rule. Yet as the Microsoft complaint shows, it's receiving thousands of law enforcement gag orders every year and more than two-thirds of them are eternal gags with no end data," said Kevin Bankston, internet freedom advocate and digital rights lawyer. "This is clearly unconstitutional, yet with so many orders per year, it makes sense to strike at the root with a facial challenge to the law rather than try and challenge them all individually. And based on previous similar cases around gag orders in national security cases, I think they'll succeed in striking this overbroad law down."

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Microsoft Releases CentOS-Based 'Linux Data Science Virtual Machine' For Azure
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 10:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's microsoft-linux-affair department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has announced a CentOS-based VM image for Azure called 'Linux Data Science Virtual Machine'. The VM has pre-installed tools such as Anaconda Python Distribution, Computational Network Toolkit, and Microsoft R Open. It focuses on machine learning and analytics, making it a great choice for data scientists. "Thanks to Azure's worldwide cloud infrastructure, customers now have on-demand access to a Linux environment to perform a wide range of data science tasks. The VM saves customers the time and effort of having to discover, install, configure and manage these tools individually. Hosting the data science VM on Azure ensures high availability, elastic capacity and a consistent set of tools to foster collaboration across your team", says Gopi Kumar, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Data Group.

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Man Deletes His Entire Company With One Line of Bad Code
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 10:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's undo-undo-oh-god department:
Reader JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Marco Marsala appears to have deleted his entire company with one mistaken piece of code. By accidentally telling his computer to delete everything in his servers, the hosting provider has seemingly removed all trace of his company and the websites that he looks after for his customers. Marsala wrote on a Centos help forum, "I run a small hosting provider with more or less 1535 customers and I use Ansible to automate some operations to be run on all servers. Last night I accidentally ran, on all servers, a Bash script with a rm -rf {foo}/{bar} with those variables undefined due to a bug in the code above this line. All servers got deleted and the offsite backups too because the remote storage was mounted just before by the same script (that is a backup maintenance script)." The terse "rm -rf" is so famously destructive that it has become a joke within some computing circles, but not to this guy. Can this example finally serve as a textbook example of why you need to make offsite backups that are physically removed from the systems you're archiving?"Rm -rf" would mark the block as empty, and unless the programmer hasn't written anything new, he should be able to recover nearly all of the data. Something about the story feels weird.

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Canadian Police Have Had BlackBerry's Global Decryption Key Since 2010
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 08:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-secure-is-BlackBerry? department:
Justin Ling and Jordan Pearson, reporting for Vice News: A high-level surveillance probe of Montreal's criminal underworld shows that Canada's federal policing agency has had a global encryption key for BlackBerry devices since 2010. The revelations are contained in a stack of court documents that were made public after members of a Montreal crime syndicate pleaded guilty to their role in a 2011 gangland murder. The documents shed light on the extent to which the smartphone manufacturer, as well as telecommunications giant Rogers, cooperated with investigators. According to technical reports by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that were filed in court, law enforcement intercepted and decrypted roughly one million PIN-to-PIN BlackBerry messages in connection with the probe. The report doesn't disclose exactly where the key -- effectively a piece of code that could break the encryption on virtually any BlackBerry message sent from one device to another -- came from. But, as one police officer put it, it was a key that could unlock millions of doors. Government lawyers spent almost two years fighting in a Montreal courtroom to keep this information out of the public record. Motherboard has published another article in which it details how Canadian police intercept and read encrypted BlackBerry messages. "BlackBerry to Canadian court: Please don't reveal the fact that we backdoored our encryption," privacy and security activist Christopher Soghoian wittily summarizes the report. "Canadian gov: If you use Blackberry consumer encryption, you're a "dead chicken".

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FBI Tried To Defeat Encryption 10 Years Ago, Files Show
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 08:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-it-all-began department:
An anonymous reader shares a NYTimes article: In early 2003, F.B.I. agents hit a roadblock in a secret investigation, called Operation Trail Mix. For months, agents had been intercepting phone calls and emails belonging to members of an animal welfare group that was believed to be sabotaging operations of a company that was using animals to test drugs. But encryption software had made the emails unreadable. So investigators tried something new. They persuaded a judge to let them remotely, and secretly, install software on the group's computers to help get around the encryption. That effort, revealed in newly declassified and released records, shows in new detail how F.B.I. hackers worked to defeat encryption more than a decade before the agency's recent fight with Apple over access to a locked iPhone. The Trail Mix case was, in some ways, a precursor to the Apple dispute. In both cases, the agents could not decode the data themselves, but found a clever workaround. The Trail Mix records also reveal what is believed to be the first example of the F.B.I. remotely installing surveillance software, known as spyware or malware, as part of a criminal wiretap. 'This was the first time that the Department of Justice had ever approved such an intercept of this type,' an F.B.I. agent wrote in a 2005 document summing up the case.

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iOS 1970 Bug Is Back, Can Be Exploited Via Rogue WiFi Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 08:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's weird-bugs-strange-exploits department:
An anonymous reader writes: Back in February iOS users noted that setting your phone/tablet's date to January 1, 1970 would permanently brick their devices. After Apple fixed the issue in iOS 9.3.1, two security researchers have now uploaded a video on YouTube showing how to exploit this bug from a remote location, with no access to the user's phone. The setup involves attackers putting up a Wi-Fi network on which they're running a rogue NTP server. This server tells iOS devices syncing their time that it's December 31, 1969, 23:59:00. Twenty minutes later, if the battery didn't catch fire (which is possible with this new exploit), the iPad or iPhone device is permanently and irreversibly bricked.

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Optional Windows Update Aims To Halt Wireless Mouse Hijacking
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 07:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's improved-security department:
Reader itwbennett writes: An optional Windows patch released Tuesday protects against an attack, dubbed MouseJack that affects wireless mice and keyboards from many manufacturers, including Microsoft and allows attackers to spoof a wireless mouse from up to 100 meters away and send rogue keystrokes instead of clicks to a computer. According to a Microsoft security advisory, the devices affected by this attack are: Sculpt Ergonomic mouse, Sculpt Mobile Mouse, Wireless Mobile Mouse 3000 v2.0, Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, Wireless Mouse 1000, Wireless Mouse 2000, Wireless Mouse 5000 and Arc Touch Mouse. But Marc Newlin, one of the researchers who developed the attack said on Twitter that the patch doesn't go far enough and 'injection still works against MS Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse and non-MS mice.'

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FBI Couldn't Tell Apple What Hack It Used, Even If It Wanted To
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 07:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's apple-vs-government department:
An anonymous reader writes: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn't own the technique used to unlock the San Bernardino iPhone, so it can't reveal the method to Apple even if it wanted to, Reuters reported, citing unnamed White House sources. The Washington Post reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources, that the FBI had paid a hacker a one-time fee to use a piece of hardware that allowed it to access the iPhone 5c belonging to one of the San Bernardino, California assailants. The vendor that supplied the hack is a non-US company, according to Reuters. But according to the Post report, it is not the Israeli firm Cellebrite, which had previously been named. The FBI would require the vendor's cooperation in order to submit the technique it used to Vulnerabilities Equities Process, a mechanism that allows the government to consider whether it should disclose security flaws to manufacturers. It's a move that mirrors Apple's own efforts to create security systems on its phones that even it wouldn't be able to crack, meaning it can't comply with a government order to hand over user data even if it wanted to.

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Obama Is Threatening To Veto the GOP's Latest Assault On Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 06:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's thanks-Obama department:
An anonymous reader cites a Motherboard article: President Obama has long been a vocal supporter of net neutrality. In a "
Statement of Administration Policy" (PDF) released Tuesday, Obama signaled that he intends to veto Republican-backed legislation that open internet advocates say could eviscerate federal net neutrality protections. Earlier this year, a GOP-controlled House subcommittee approved the "No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act," (H.R. 2666) which net neutrality supporters say could severely undercut the Federal Communications Commission's ability to police the nation's largest cable and phone companies. The House bill would "undermine key provisions in the Federal Communications Commission's open internet order and harm the commission's ability to protect consumers while facilitating innovation and economic growth," said the Obama administration's statement. "If the President were presented with H.R. 2666, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."Please do, Obama.

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Chrome 50 Updates Push Notifications, Drops Support For Old Windows and OS X Versions
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 06:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Chrome 50 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, adding the usual slew of developer features. You can update to the latest version now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome. As announced in November 2015, Chrome now no longer supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, nor OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Chrome 50 allows sites to include notification data payloads with their push messages. This eliminates the final server check -- the initial version relied on service workers to proactively fetch the information for a notification from the server, leading to problems when there were multiple messages in flight or when the device was on a poor network connection. Push notification payloads must be encrypted. Sites can now detect when a notification is closed by the user, resulting in better analytics and allowing for cross-device notification dismissal. The look of notifications can now be customized with timestamps and icons. Chrome 50 also brings support for declarative preload.

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Zika Virus Officially Causes Rare Microcephaly Birth Defects, CDC Says
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '16 at 03:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's known-causes department:
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday the Zika virus causes microcephaly and other birth defects. "This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak. It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly," CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden said. The CDC previously said it was likely the virus in pregnant women was the cause of the rare birth defect that results in an underdeveloped brain and that more evidence and research were needed to conclusively say it is causal. "We started using criteria about a month ago to see which ones had been met and which ones had not been met. We wanted to do this in a systematic and calculated way," said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, lead author of the New England Journal of Medicine special report. There's was also no alternative explanation to account for the increase in these congenital defects among women who had the Zika virus during pregnancy. The CDC says they are not yet ready to conclude the virus causes Guillain-Barre syndrome. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 1,000 cases of microcephaly and other fetal malformations believed to be associated with the Zika virus from six countries.

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Burr-Feinstein Anti-Encryption Bill Is Officially Released
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '16 at 11:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's backdoors-and-loopholes department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein released the official version of their anti-encryption bill today after a draft appeared online last week. The bill, titled the Compliance with Court Orders Act 2016, would require tech firms to decrypt customers' data at a court's request. The bill is not expected to get anywhere in the Senate. President Obama has also indicated that he will not support the bill, Reuters reports. The bill requires legislation requires communications services to backdoor their encryption in order to provide "intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information or data." Sen. Feinstein stated, "The bill we have drafted would simply provide that, if a court of law issues an order to render technical assistance or provide decrypted data, the company or individual would be required to do so. Today, terrorists and criminals are increasingly using encryption to foil law enforcement efforts, even in the face of a court order. We need strong encryption to protect personal data, but we also need to know when terrorists are plotting to kill Americans."

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