By msmash from Slashdot's more-control department
China's government has told telecommunications carriers to block individuals' access to virtual private networks by Feb. 1, people familiar with the matter said, thereby shutting a major window to the global internet. From a report: Beijing has ordered state-run telecommunications firms, which include China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, to bar people from using VPNs, services that skirt censorship restrictions by routing web traffic abroad, the people said, asking not to be identified talking about private government directives. The clampdown will shutter one of the main ways in which people both local and foreign still manage to access the global, unfiltered web on a daily basis. China has one of the world's most restrictive internet regimes, tightly policed by a coterie of government regulators intent on suppressing dissent to preserve social stability. In keeping with President Xi Jinping's "cyber sovereignty" campaign, the government now appears to be cracking down on loopholes around the Great Firewall, a system that blocks information sources from Twitter and Facebook to news websites such as the New York Times and others.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-affinity department
An anonymous reader shares a report: A new report from Nielsen out this week paints a picture of the booming on-demand audio streaming business, pointing to a significant increase in consumers' use of streaming services and record numbers of streams being served. According to the mid-year report, which focuses only on the U.S. market, on-demand audio streams surpassed the 7 billion figure for the first time ever during March of this year. That's audio streams, to be clear -- not just music. That is, the term "audio" also includes non-music streams like spoken word recordings and podcasts -- the latter of which has also seen rapid growth. Nielsen isn't breaking out music versus non-music streams in this new report, but a prior figure from the measurement firm stated that monthly podcast consumption had doubled over the past five years among adults. Still, the rise of streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music have surely played a role in reaching the new milestones. Says Nielsen, streaming hit a high point of 7.5 billion weekly on-demand audio streams during the week ending March 9, 2017. That's the first time the figure had ever topped 7 billion, setting a new record. In addition, on-demand audio has been streamed over 184 billion times so far in 2017 â" a huge 62.4 percent increase over the same time period in 2016.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's no-prison-can-hold-MacGyver department
An anonymous reader quotes USA Today:
A fugitive South Carolina inmate recaptured in Texas this week had chopped his way through a prison fence using wire cutters apparently dropped by a drone, prison officials said Friday. Jimmy Causey, 46, fled the Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, S.C., on the evening of July 4th after leaving a paper mache doll in his bed to fool guards into thinking he was asleep. He was not discovered missing until Wednesday afternoon. Causey was captured early Friday 1,200 miles away in a motel in Austin by Texas Rangers acting on a tip, WLTX-TV reported... "We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allow(ed) him to escape," South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said...
Stirling said prison officials are investigating the performance by prison guards that night but pointed to cellphones and drones as the main problem. The director said he and other officials have sought federal help for years to combat the use of drones to drop contraband into prison. "It's a simple fix," Stirling said. "Allow us to block the signal... They are physically incarcerated, but they are not virtually incarcerated."
It's the second time the same convict escaped from South Carolina's maximum security prison -- albeit the first time he's (allegedly) used a drone. The state's Law Enforcement Division Chief also complains that the federal government still prohibits state corrections officials from blocking cellphones, and "as long as cellphones continue to be utilized by inmates in prisons we're going to have things like this -- we're going to have very well-planned escapes..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unplanning-obsolescence department
An anonymous reader writes: The EU is preparing legislation that would legalize a customer's "right to repair," and would force vendors to design products for longer life and easier maintenance, in an effort to combat electronic waste and abusive practices like manufacturers legally preventing users from repairing their devices. The legislation is in its earlier stages of public discussion, but it already has the backing of several EU Members of Parliament, along with support from organizations like Greenpeace. Currently, in the US only eleven states have similar laws, and they have been adopted after years of public discussions, and only for certain markets, and not for all types of products. It is unclear what leverage the EU will use to force manufacturers to produce longer lasting products, as this would mean lesser profits for big businesses, who often used tactics such as software DRMs, warranty contract lock-ins, and soldering components together, just to avoid users repairing products on their own.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I-knew-you-were-going-to-say-that department
Mary Lou Jepsen is a former MIT professor with 100 patents and a former engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Intel, and Google[x] (now called X) -- and "she hopes to make communicating telepathically happen relatively soon." An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
Last year Jepsen left her job heading up display technology for the Oculus virtual reality arm of Facebook to develop new imaging technologies to help cure diseases. Shortly thereafter she founded Openwater, which is developing a device that puts the capabilities of a huge MRI machine into a lightweight wearable form. According to the startup's website, "Openwater is creating a device that can enable us to see inside our brains or bodies in great detail. With this comes the promise of new abilities to diagnose and treat disease and well beyond -- communicating with thought alone."
This week Jepsen went further and suggested a timeframe for such capabilities becoming reality. "I don't think this is going to take decades," she told CNBC. "I think we're talking about less than a decade, probably eight years until telepathy"... Jepsen, who has also spent time at Google X, MIT and Intel, says the basic idea is to shrink down the huge MRI machines found in medical hospitals into flexible LCDs that can be embedded in a ski hat and use infrared light to see what's going on in your brain. "Literally a thinking cap," Jepsen explains... The idea is that communicating by thought alone could be much faster and even allow us to become more competitive with the artificial intelligence that is supposedly coming for everyone's jobs very soon.
Jepsen tells CNBC, "If I threw [you] into an M.R.I. machine right now... I can tell you what words you're about to say, what images are in your head. I can tell you what music you're thinking of. That's today, and I'm talking about just shrinking that down."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's guardians-of-the-galaxy department
An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo:
This week, the House Armed Services Committee voted 60 to 1 in favor of the creation of a new military branch to be called the United States Space Corps... The United States Space Corps would be the first new branch of the military since 1947, when the Air Force was formed. The current proposal would classify the USSC under the Air Force in a way that mirrors the Marines classification under the Navy. The Space Corps' chief of staff would be ranked as equal to the Air Force chief of staff and would report to the Secretary of the Air Force...
According to CNN, the Air Force's secretary and chief of staff are opposed to the plan. One reason is that we already have the Air Force Space Command and the military believes that the creation of the Space Corps would just cause more complications. Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters that "this will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organizational chart, and cost more money."
The bill charges the division of the military with providing "combat-ready space forces," though CNN adds "There are still plenty more congressional hoops for the Space Corps to jump through before it would become official. But, hey, at least the name sounds cool." And Gizmodo's reporter thoughtfully weighs the pro's and cons before concluding, "Yeah, this is probably stupid."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's kernel-copyrights department
Bruce Perens co-founded the Open Source Initiative with Eric Raymond. Now he's sharing a "strong opinion" that companies should avoid the Grsecurity security patch for the Linux kernel "because it presents a contributory infringement and breach of contract risk." Slashdot reader NewGnu shared Bruce's comments:
[I]t would fail a fair-use test... Because of its strongly derivative nature of the kernel, it must be under the GPL version 2 license, or a license compatible with the GPL and with terms no more restrictive than the GPL. Earlier versions were distributed under GPL version 2... My understanding from several reliable sources is that customers are verbally or otherwise warned that if they redistribute the Grsecurity patch, as would be their right under the GPL, that they will be assessed a penalty: they will no longer be allowed to be customers, and will not be granted access to any further versions of Grsecurity. GPL version 2 section 6 explicitly prohibits the addition of terms such as this redistribution prohibition...
This is tantamount to the addition of a term to the GPL prohibiting distribution or creating a penalty for distribution. GPL section 6 specifically prohibits any addition of terms. Thus, the GPL license, which allows Grsecurity to create its derivative work of the Linux kernel, terminates, and the copyright of the Linux Kernel is infringed. The contract from the Linux kernel developers to both Grsecurity and the customer which is inherent in the GPL is breached.
Perens advises companies to discuss his position with their attorneys, adding "In the public interest, I am willing to discuss this issue with companies and their legal counsel, under NDA, without charge."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's self-driving-lawsuits department
Google's Waymo has dismissed three of its four patent-infringement claims against Uber. An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:
This comes after Waymo was encouraged to drop the claims following U.S. District Judge William Alsup's request that both parties narrow their issues for the trial. Additionally, Waymo dropped all but one of the patent claims because Uber abandoned its "Spider" LiDAR design, which had reportedly infringed upon the Waymo patents. The fourth patent claim, however, relates to a LiDAR design called, "Fuji," that the ride-hailing giant continues to use, according to Bloomberg...
In a statement to Fortune, a Waymo spokesperson said, "We found after fighting for discovery a device created by Anthony Levandowski at Uber that infringed Waymo patents. Uber has assured the court in statements made under penalty of perjury that it no longer uses and will not use that device, so we have narrowed the issues for trial by dismissing the patent claims as to that device, with the right to re-file suit if needed." The spokesman added, "We continue to pursue a patent claim against Uber's current generation device and our trade secret claims, which are not at all affected by this stipulated dismissal. We look forward to trial."
Uber called Waymo's move "yet another sign that they have overpromised and can't deliver. Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber's LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's pressure-through-paperwork department
"A public interest group wants the Federal Communications Commission to hold off on its proposal to kill net neutrality regulations," according to The Hill. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed a motion on Friday to delay the FCC's proceeding to undo its net neutrality rules, pending the release of documents the group has requested from the agency. The NHMC says it filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for consumer complaints about the open internet since the net neutrality rules went into place in 2015. Carmen Scurato, the group's director of legal affairs, said that the requested documents will affect the public's view of the rules... "Millions of consumers have voiced their concerns about eliminating net neutrality protections and the agency should release all complaints that members of the public have submitted showing how the Open Internet Order has served as a tool in protecting our consumer rights."
"The FCC has confirmed that there is an overwhelming amount of responsive documents, therefore the disclosure of this information must be paired with sufficient time for members of the public to review and contribute meaningful input..." the group said in a statement. "To date, the FCC has only released a small fraction of the documents requested. This is a clear indication that the FCC must delay its Net Neutrality proceeding until all documents requested by NHMC are released. The FCC must then provide NHMC and members of the public adequate time to review and comment on this information before moving forward with its Net Neutrality proceeding."
An FCC spokesman was not immediately available for comment.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's survey-says department
After collating 30,171 responses, Phoronixhas released some results from their first Linux Laptop Survey. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
To little surprise, Ubuntu was the most popular Linux distribution running on the respondents' laptops. 38.9% of the respondents were said to be using Ubuntu while interesting in second place was Arch Linux at 27.1% followed by Debian at 15.3%. Rounding out the top ten were then Fedora at 14.8%, Linux Mint in 5th at 10.8%, openSUSE/SUSE in sixth at 4.2%, Gentoo in seventh at 3.9%, CentOS/RHEL in eighth at 3.1%, Solus in ninth at 2%, and Manjaro in tenth at 1.6%. The other Linux distributions had each commanded less than 1% of the overall response.
Only 10.3% of respondents said their most recent laptop purchase came pre-loaded with Linux. But 29.3% are now dual-booting their Linux laptop with Windows, while another 4.4% were dual-booting with yet another Linux distribution.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's down-in-the-dumps department
An anonymous reader writes:
Silicon Valley real estate developers want to construct a $6.7 billion housing complex over a former landfill with 5.5 million tons of municipal waste from the last 25 years. "The regulators were pretty skeptical at the start, I have to say," one of the firm's partners told a local newspaper. Besides the 1,680 units of housing, there'd also be 700 hotel rooms, plus 5.7 million square feet of office space, and 1.1 million square feet for retail stores. The project "includes elaborate safety systems to block the escape of combustible methane gas and other dangerous vapors, and to prevent groundwater contamination," according to the Bay Area Newsgroup -- including one foot of solid concrete over 30 acres of landfill, with the housing built above the first-floor shops and parking structures "as a way of creating additional distance between residents and any escaped gases in the event of an emergency." In addition, there's alarms and sensors, "as well as another system to monitor, collect and dispose of gases underground."
Though the project has gained key approvals from the city of Santa Clara, it could still take two decades to complete. "Last year, the City of San Jose sued the City of Santa Clara, charging that the imbalance between the project's jobs and housing -- 23,000 jobs and 1,680 housing units -- will increase housing demand in San Jose and tax its overstretched services and infrastructure... but both sides said they hope for an out-of-court resolution."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's read-right-privileges department
The Free Software Foundation's anti-DRM initiative "Defective By Design" argues that since last year's annual Day Against DRM, "we've seen cracks appearing in the foundation of the DRM status quo."
The companies that profit from Digital Restrictions Management are still trying to expand the system of law and technology that weakens our security and curtails our rights, in an effort to prop up their exploitative business models. But since the last International Day Against DRM, the TPP trade agreement -- a key pro-DRM initiative -- crashed and burned. And our allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation brought major legal and regulatory challenges against DRM in Washington DC... If we play our cards right, this may be the beginning of the end of DRM.
On Sunday, July 9, 2017, we will channel this momentum into the International Day Against DRM. We'll be gathering, protesting, and making -- showing the world that we insist on a future without Digital Restrictions Management. Will you join us? Here's what you can do now:
They're asking supporters to plan a protest, translate their fliers into more languages, voice support in videos and blog posts, or make endorsements. And you can also join the "DRM Elimination crew" mailing list or their Freenode IRC channel #dbd for year-round conversation and collaboration with the anti-DRM movement -- or simply make a donation to show your support.Read Replies (0)