By BeauHD from Slashdot's given-the-boot department
The FBI has shut down the domains of 15 high-profile distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) websites. "Several seizure warrants granted by a California federal judge went into effect Thursday, removing several of these 'border' or 'stresser' sites off the internet 'as part of coordinated law enforcement action taken against illegal DDoS-for-hire services,'" reports TechCrunch. "The orders were granted under federal seizure laws, and the domains were replaced with a federal notice." From the report: Prosecutors have charged three men, Matthew Gatrel and Juan Martinez in California and David Bukoski in Alaska, with operating the sites, according to affidavits filed in three U.S. federal courts, which were unsealed Thursday. The FBI had assistance from the U.K.'s National Crime Agency and the Dutch national police, and the Justice Department named several companies, including Cloudflare, Flashpoint and Google, for providing authorities with additional assistance. In all, several sites were knocked offline -- including downthem.org, netstress.org, quantumstress.net, vbooter.org and defcon.pro and more -- which allowed would-be attackers to sign up to rent time and servers to launch large-scale bandwidth attacks against systems and servers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Videos and pictures of children being subjected to sexual abuse are being openly shared on Facebook's WhatsApp on a vast scale, with the encrypted messaging service failing to curb the problem despite banning thousands of accounts every day. From a report: Without the necessary number of human moderators, the disturbing content is slipping by WhatsApp's automated systems. A report reviewed by TechCrunch from two Israeli NGOs details how third-party apps for discovering WhatsApp groups include "Adult" sections that offer invite links to join rings of users trading images of child exploitation. TechCrunch has reviewed materials showing many of these groups are currently active.
TechCrunch's investigation shows that Facebook could do more to police WhatsApp and remove this kind of content. Even without technical solutions that would require a weakening of encryption, WhatsApp's moderators should have been able to find these groups and put a stop to them. Groups with names like "child porn only no adv" and "child porn xvideos" found on the group discovery app "Group Links For Whats" by Lisa Studio don't even attempt to hide their nature.
Better manual investigation of these group discovery apps and WhatsApp itself should have immediately led these groups to be deleted and their members banned. While Facebook doubled its moderation staff from 10,000 to 20,000 in 2018 to crack down on election interference, bullying, and other policy violations, that staff does not moderate WhatsApp content. With just 300 employees, WhatsApp runs semi-independently, and the company confirms it handles its own moderation efforts. That's proving inadequate for policing at 1.5 billion user community. It's a similar problem that WhatsApp, used by more than a billion users,
is facing in developing markets where its service is being used to spread false information.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
merbs writes: Out of the three major sectors of the economy -- agriculture, manufacturing, and service -- two are already largely automated. Farm labor, which about half the American workforce used to do, now comprises around 2 percent of American jobs. And we all know the rust belt song and dance, beat out to outsourcing and mechanization. Which is largely why some 80 percent of all American jobs are service jobs. And this year, quietly but in the open, the robots and their investors came for them, too.
There's a case to be made that 2018 is the year automation took its biggest lunge forward toward our largest pool of human labor: Amazon opened five cashier-less stores; three in Seattle, one in Chicago, and one in San Francisco. Self-ordering kiosks invaded fast food and franchise restaurants in a big way. Smaller robot-centric outfits like the long-awaited auto-burger joint Creator opened, too, and so did a number of others.
In Las Vegas, our service job mecca, hotels' and casinos' widespread plans for automation in everything from bartending to waitstaff to hotel work led one of the city's most powerful hospitality unions to the brink of a 50,000-person strike last summer before a successful negotiation was reached... Combined, they act as a set of markers on a trendline we can no longer ignore. We face the prospect of major upheaval in the last dependable pool of jobs we've got.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department
The Python Software Foundation has settled on a new governance model for the programming language Python. The decision to come up with a new model was made after Python creator and chief Guido van Rossum stepped down as the "Benevolent Dictator For Life" (BDFL). SDTimes: The new governance model will rely on a five-person steering council to establish standard practices for introducing new features to the Python programming language. Based on tested methods, the proposal was designed to be "boring," comprehensive, flexible and lightweight, the steering council model document explained. "We're not experts in governance, and we don't think Python is a good place to experiment with new and untried governance models," software developers Nathaniel Smith and Donald Stufft explained in the Python documentation.
"So this proposal sticks to mature, well-known, previously tested processes as much as possible. The high-level approach of a mostly-hands-off council is arguably the most common across large successful F/OSS projects, and low-level details are derived directly from Django's governance." The steering council will serve as the "court of final appeal" for changes to the language and will have broad authority over the decision-making process, including the ability to accept or reject PEPs (Python Enhancement Proposals) (such as the one used to introduce this governance model), enforce and update the project's code of conduct, create subcommittees and manage project assets. But the intended goal of the council is to take a more hands-off and occasional approach to flexing its powers, Smith and Stufft explained.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Latest registration figures released by Verisign, an internet network company that oversees some domain name endings, seem to indicate that after a rocky few years, new gTLDs may finally be finding their niche in the marketplace. 2019 could be the year of the obscure domain name. Registrations for new gTLDs rose by nearly 11 per cent in the last year, compared to an average 3.5 per cent increase across the entire domain landscape, according to Verisign. One in five domain name registrations in the last year were on new gTLDs.
"The numbers are picking up as well as the usage," says Thomas Keller of 1&1 IONOS, a German web hosting company. In part that's down to saturation in more traditional domain name endings like dot-com, and country code TLDs (such as .uk, .tk and .cn). It's difficult to get good, precise and short dot-com domain names now, but hyper-specific and new gTLDs still have plenty of choice. Around ten per cent of new URLs registered through 1&1 IONOS were for new gTLds, Keller says.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
In an official statement Thursday, Intel called out Qualcomm for allegedly continuing to pursue its use of patent lawsuits and threatening lawsuits against its own customers and competitors even as multiple antitrust agencies have found Qualcomm to be violating competition laws with these tactics. From a report: The statement from Steven Rodgers, Intel EVP and general counsel, said that despite Qualcomm being fined by multiple governments around the world over its abuse of patents against other companies, the company continues the same aggressive legal strategy against its partners and competitors. This, Intel said, will only lead to higher prices for consumers and less innovation.
According to Intel, Qualcomm's goal is not to vindicate its IP rights, but to drive competition out of the market completely. Intel pointed out that Qualcomm has been fined almost a billion dollars in China, $850 million in Korea, $1.2 billion in the European Union and $773 million in Taiwan over the companyâ(TM)s anti-competitive practices. Intel also encouraged everyone to pay attention to FTC's lawsuit against Qualcomm in the United States. The FTC will begin its opening arguments in court on January 4. Intel, who is a competitor of Qualcomm in the wireless modem space, said that it hopes the actions taken by global authorities against Qualcomm will preserve competition in the 5G market.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's dirty-dealings department
Fascinating article on The Verge on the many ways Amazon Marketplace, the ecommerce giant's the company's third-party platform, sellers sabotage each other and defraud customers, and how Amazon is run its own government, so to speak -- with its own rules that its suppliers have no choice but to follow. And, of course, sellers have little choice but to continue with Amazon. The story starts with this anecdote: framing a seller for false advertising by buying fake five-star reviews for their products. Select excerpts from the report: For sellers, Amazon is a quasi-state. They rely on its infrastructure -- its warehouses, shipping network, financial systems, and portal to millions of customers -- and pay taxes in the form of fees. They also live in terror of its rules, which often change and are harshly enforced. A cryptic email like the one Plansky received can send a seller's business into bankruptcy, with few avenues for appeal. Sellers are more worried about a case being opened on Amazon than in actual court, says Dave Bryant, an Amazon seller and blogger. Amazon's judgment is swifter and less predictable, and now that the company controls nearly half of the online retail market in the US, its rulings can instantly determine the success or failure of your business, he says. "Amazon is the judge, the jury, and the executioner."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's open-the-floodgates department
"At midnight on New Year's Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain," reports Smithsonian Magazine. "It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S. "After January 1, any record label can issue a dubstep version of the 1923 hit 'Yes! We Have No Bananas,' any middle school can produce Theodore Pratt's stage adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and any historian can publish Winston Churchill's The World Crisis with her own extensive annotations." From the report: "The public domain has been frozen in time for 20 years, and we're reaching the 20-year thaw," says Jennifer Jenkins, director of Duke Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain. The release is unprecedented, and its impact on culture and creativity could be huge. We have never seen such a mass entry into the public domain in the digital age. The last one -- in 1998, when 1922 slipped its copyright bond -- predated Google. "We have shortchanged a generation," said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. "The 20th century is largely missing from the internet."
< article continued at Slashdot's open-the-floodgates department
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's A-for-effort department
In September, a nonprofit deployed a multimillion-dollar floating structure designed to corral plastic debris littering the Pacific Ocean. But, according to CBS News, the 2,000-foot-long structure hasn't picked up any plastic waste. Slashdot reader pgmrdlm shares the report: A floating device sent to corral a swirling island of trash in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii has not swept up any plastic waste. But the young innovator behind the project said Monday that a fix was in the works. Boyan Slat, 24, who launched the Pacific Ocean cleanup project, said the speed of the solar-powered barrier isn't allowing it to hold on to the plastic it catches. The plastic barrier with a tapered 10-foot-deep screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch, while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it. The garbage patch isn't an island and it's even difficult to see with the naked eye, "60 Minutes" reported in September -- it's a vast soup of floating debris, much of it tiny and below the surface.Read Replies (0)