By BeauHD from Slashdot's pretty-please department
Coinciding with the launch of Oliver Stone's movie Snowden in select theaters this week, a coalition of civil rights groups are launching a campaign to convince President Obama to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Fusion reports: The effort, which is organized by the ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, will gather signatures from regular people and endorsements from celebrities. Snowden will speak by video link from Moscow at a press conference on Wednesday morning in New York, and an initial list of "prominent legal scholars, policy experts, human rights leaders, technologists and former government officials" in support of the cause will be released, according to a statement from the campaign. A presidential pardon would mean that Snowden could come home from Moscow, where he's lived for the past three years, without the fear of being prosecuted. He currently faces federal charges of violating the Espionage Act and stealing government property, even though his disclosures led to reform of the wiretapping program by Congress. Many Snowden supporters are hoping the movie Snowden, which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, will spur support for a pardon. "I think the value of the movie is that it's lsikely to reach millions of people who have not been paying close attention to Snowden or to the debate about surveillance and privacy," Snowden's layer at the ACLU, Ben Wizner, told Fusion. "Those people will emerge from the movie more education about surveillance and with more positive attitudes toward Snowden."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's root-cause department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: The Israeli government and Facebook agreed to work together to determine how to tackle incitement on the social media network, a senior Israeli Cabinet minister said Monday. The announcement came after two government ministers met top Facebook officials to discuss the matter. The Facebook delegation is in Israel as the government pushes ahead with legislative steps meant to force social networks to rein in content that Israel says incites violence. Israel has argued that a wave of violence with the Palestinians over the past year has been fueled by incitement, much of it spread on social media sites. It has repeatedly said that Facebook should do more to monitor and control the content, raising a host of legal and ethical issues over whether the company is responsible for material posted by its users. Both Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, two key figures in Israel's battle against the alleged online provocations, participated in Monday's meeting. Erdan's office said they agreed with Facebook representatives to create teams that would figure out how best to monitor and remove inflammatory content, but did not elaborate further. Erdan and Shaked have proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content that Israel considers to be incitement. An opposition lawmaker has also proposed a bill seeking to force social networks to self-monitor or face a fine. Facebook said in a statement "online extremism can only be tackled with a strong partnership between policymakers, civil society, academia and companies, and this is true in Israel and around the world." The company did also say that its community standards "make it clear there is non place for terrorists or content that promotes terrorism on Facebook." ABC News reports that "over the past four months Israel submitted 158 requests to Facebook to remove inciting content and another 13 requests to YouTube," according to Shaked. "She said Facebook granted some 95 percent of the requests and YouTube granted 80 percent." All of this adds to the censorship controversy that is currently surrounding Facebook. Last week, Norway's largest newspaper accused Mark Zuckerberg of abusing power after his company decided to censor a historic photograph of the Vietnamese "Napalm Girl," claiming it violated the company's ban on "child nudity."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's truth-is-out-there department
The Intercept has today published 200-page documents revealing details about Harris Corp's Stingray surveillance device, which has been one of the closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The firm, in collaboration with police clients across the U.S. have "fought" to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The publication reports that the surveillance equipment carries a price tag in the "low six figures." From the report:The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times. Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the "manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of" Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's hate-data-caps department
Netflix hates data caps. The on-demand movies and TV shows service has asked the US Federal Communications Commission to declare that home internet data caps are unreasonable and that they limit customers' ability to watch online video. From an article on DSLReports:Netflix has long has an adversarial relationship with ISPs, and often for good reason. Usage caps on fixed-line networks are specifically designed to protect ISP TV revenues from Netflix competition, allowing an ISP to both complicate and generate additional profit off of the shift away from legacy TV. "Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage based pricing ("UBP") discourage a consumer's consumption of broadband, and may impede the ability of some households to watch Internet television in a manner and amount that they would like," said Netflix in a new filing with the FCC. "For this reason, the Commission should hold that data caps on fixed Âline networks ÂÂand low data caps on mobile networksÂÂ may unreasonably limit Internet television viewing and are inconsistent with Section 706." Netflix's filing comes as ISP's increasingly turn to broadband usage caps to take advantage of the lack of broadband competition in many markets. Fearing FCC crackdown both Comcast and AT&T raised their caps to one terabyte, though many ISPs still cap usage at much-lower allotments. High, low, or somewhere in between, Netflix highlights that there is no good reason to implement caps on well-managed fixed-line networks, despite a decade of ISPs trying to justify the price gouging.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's diversity department
Mic published a report last week in which it criticized the gender divide at Apple's last two iPhone events. The reporter noted that at iPhone 7 event, women spoke for roughly eight minutes at stage compared to men, who spoke for 99. Furthermore, most of the women and people of color who appeared onstage weren't Apple representatives. An Apple spokesperson, who shared the information "off-the-record", had a weird response. The email read, "We may have different interpretations of diversity." The email continues, via Mic report, "he pointed to 'two African-Americans' who spoke at the keynote, neither of whom are actually employed by Apple. He also mentioned 'a Canadian, and a British woman.'" The reporter has defended the use of "off-the-record" information, noting that Apple PR didn't warn her beforehand -- and as an important ethic in journalism -- they didn't reach an agreement before the Apple PR decided to share things.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's final-frontier department
Earlier this year, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin said he would unveil details about his company's orbital rocket sometime "later this year." He is now delivering on the promise. Bezos has released some preliminary details about the "New Glenn" rocket which employs seven of the company's new generation BE-4 rocket engines. The rocket, named after the first American to reach orbit, is bigger than Elon Musk's Falcon Heavy rocket. Bezos said he intends to launch the New Glenn in less than a decade from now. The Verge reports: The New Glenn will incorporate reusability, according to an email update from Bezos. The first stage of the rocket will be able to land post-launch, similar to how Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle lands after a flight. However, the New Shepard is only capable of going to sub-orbital space, so it's not traveling as fast or as high as a rocket going to orbit. Landing an orbital rocket post-launch will put Blue Origin in a whole new ball game. And it looks like there will be a lot of rocket to land. The New Glenn will be 23 feet in diameter and range between 270 and 313 feet high. That height depends on if there is one upper stage or two on top of the rocket. With just one upper stage, the rocket will be able to send satellites and people into lower Earth orbit (LEO). But with two upper stages, the New Glenn is capable of taking payloads beyond LEO. The main portion of the rocket will be powered by seven BE-4s, an engine that Blue Origin is currently developing. It's the same engine that the company hopes to sell to the United Launch Alliance to power the future Vulcan rocket. Combined, the BE-4s should provide 3.85 million pounds of thrust, according to Bezos. That's more thrust than the 2 million pounds the Delta IV Heavy is capable of, and slightly less than the 5 million pounds SpaceX's Falcon Heavy can pull off.Bezos said: Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step. It won't be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that's a story for the future.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's redefining-courage department
theodp writes: Every fall," writes The Intercept's Sam Biddle, "internet and its resident tech mumblers congregate for The Apple Event, a quasi-pagan streaming-video rite in which Tim Cook boasts of just how much money his company is making (a lot) and just how much good it's introducing to the world (this typically involves a new iPhone). This is merely annoying most years; but in 2016, when Apple is loudly, publicly denying its tax obligations around the world, it's just gross." Biddle finds Apple's use of the word 'courage' to describe the corporate ethos that pushed the company to remove the headphone plug from the newest iPhone while offering a new pair of $160 jack-free earbuds particularly irksome: "Removing a headphone jack or adding 20 headphone jacks does not require courage; engineers are very smart, but their job does not typically require much bravery. Courage is more often found in, say, running into a burning school to rescue the students and class rodent. Or, maybe, you could call courageous the act of paying the many billions you owe around the world into the system that ensures those students have all of the resources they need in order to learn and grow. Just a hint: Collaborative spreadsheet software doesn't count [introducing new real-time collaboration features, Cook called iWork a "very important tool in education"].Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's microsoft-loves-linux department
After neglecting Linux's Skype client for years, Microsoft released a new app of Skype for Linux in July, giving comfort to millions of users. The app, however, had a fair share of bugs. Microsoft today has updated the app to iron out those bugs, and introduced a handful of interesting options. An anonymous reader writes: There were plenty of users who complained that Skype for Linux was reconnecting automatically when not using the app for a certain amount of time and Microsoft has already acknowledged the bug. This new version fixes the problem, so everything should work correctly after updating. Additionally, Skype for Linux 1.7 introduces a new grid layout of the group calls, but also fixes the standard behavior of unread messages. According to Microsoft, this means that "when opening chat with unread messages, the view will focus on the first unread message and as you scroll, messages will be marked as read."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's grappling-with-Giphy-GIFs department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Softpedia:
Mozilla has announced this week that it is delaying the release of Firefox 49 for one week to address two unexpected bugs. Firefox 49, which was set for release on Tuesday, September 13, will now launch the following Tuesday, on September 20...
Firefox 49 is an important release in Mozilla's grand scheme of things when it comes to Firefox. This is the version when Mozilla will finish multi-process support rollout (a.k.a. e10s, or Electrolysis), and the version when Firefox launches the new WebExtensions API that replaces the old Add-ons API, making Firefox compatible with Chromium extensions.
Firefox's release manager explained the delays as "two blocking issues and the need for a bit more time to evaluate the results of their fixes/backouts" -- one of which apparently involves opening Giphy GIFS on Twitter.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's goodbye-Seattle department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
Amazon plans to open "as many as 100" retail stores in shopping malls by the end of next year, according to Business Insider. The 300- to 500-square-foot stores will sell familiar Amazon hardware products like Kindles and Fire TV, "but the broader goal is to drive more traffic to Amazon's online store, as these devices make it easier to purchase items there" -- and to promote Amazon's Echo personal assistant.
Amazon stores have already quietly opened in 12 states, including six stores in California and more stores in New York, Texas, Virginia, and Massachusetts. But now the brick-and-mortar stores "have emerged from the test phase with a goal to expand and grow," according to one Amazon job posting, and Business Insider reports that new Amazon stores "are popping up almost every week in shopping malls across the country."
The article has pictures of the new Amazon stores, and points out that the company also experienced disappointing results from an earlier experiment with Amazon trucks.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's weaponizing-demons-for-a-brighter-tomorrow department
DOOM 2016 "cleverly re-uses old data computed in the previous frames...1331 draw calls, 132 textures and 50 render targets," according to a new article which takes a very detailed look at the process of rendering one 16-millisecond frame. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
The game released earlier this year uses the Vulkan API to push graphics quality and performance at new levels. The article sheds light on rendering techniques, mega-textures, reflection computation... all the aspects of a modern game engine.
Some of the information came from "The Devil is in the Details," a July presentation at the SIGGRAPH 2016 conferences on graphics by Tiago Sousa, id's lead renderer programmer, and senior engine programmer Jean Geffroy. (And there's also more resources at the end of the article, including a July interview with five id programmers by Digital Foundry.) "Historically id Software is known for open-sourcing their engines after a few years, which often leads to nice remakes and breakdowns," the article notes. "Whether this will stand true with id Tech 6 remains to be seen but we don't necessarily need the source code to appreciate the nice graphics techniques implemented in the engine."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's today's-the-day department
Slashdot reader prisoninmate quotes an article on Softpedia: it looks like the Linux kernel maintainers decided that there's no need to maintain the Linux kernel 3.14 LTS series anymore, so earlier today, September 11, 2016, they decided to release that last maintenance update, version 3.14.79, and mark the series as EOL (End of Life). Famous Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman was the one to make the big announcement, and he's urging users who want to still run a long-term supported kernel version to move to the Linux 4.4 LTS series, which is currently the most advanced LTS branch, or use the latest stable release, Linux kernel 4.7.3...
Linux kernel 3.14.79 is a very small update that changes a total of 12 files, with 45 insertions and 17 deletions, thus fixing a bug in the EXT4 file system, a networking issue related to the Reliable Datagram Sockets (RDS) protocol, and updating a few HID, s390, SCSI, networking drivers.Read Replies (0)