By BeauHD from Slashdot's equal-rights department
In response to a report from ProPublica alleging that Facebook gives advertisers the ability to exclude specific groups it calls "Ethnic Affinities," three Facebook users have filed a lawsuit against the company. They are accusing the social networking giant of violating the Federal Housing Act of 1964 over its alleged discriminatory policies. Ars Technica reports: ProPublica managed to post an ad placed in Facebook's housing categories that excluded anyone with an "affinity" for African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic people. When the ProPublica reporters showed the ad to prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he described it as "horrifying" and "as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find." According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, by allowing such ads on its site, Facebook is in violation of the landmark civil rights legislation, which specifically prohibits housing advertisements to discriminate based on race, gender, color, religion, and other factors. "This lawsuit does not seek to end Facebook's Ad Platform, nor even to get rid of the "Exclude People" mechanism. There are legal, desirable uses for such functionalities. Plaintiffs seek to end only the illegal proscribed uses of these functions," the lawyers wrote in the civil complaint, which was filed last Friday. The proposed class, if approved by a federal judge in San Francisco, would include any Facebook user in the United States who has "not seen an employment- or housing-related advertisement on Facebook within the last two years because the ad's buyer used the Ad Platform's 'Exclude People' functionality to exclude the class member based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's just-pay-shipping-and-handling department
Tesla has updated its Supercharging Network of free fast-charging stations. Customers who purchase Teslas after January 1st, 2017, will be required to pay "a small fee to Supercharge." The fee itself "will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car." The Verge reports: Current Tesla owners with Supercharger-equipped cars will be able to use the stations for free for the life of those vehicles, and a Tesla spokesperson tells The Verge that the free charging will transfer to successive owners. Customers who buy Teslas after that January 1st cutoff will be afforded 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits each year, good for about 1,000 miles, according to Tesla. The company says it will release more details about the change later this year, but added that "prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity." "Our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center," the company wrote in a blog post about the change. Tesla says that, by losing less money on providing free electricity at these stations, that the fees will subsidize the continued expansion of the Supercharger network. The Superchargers allow for a full charge in about 75 minutes or a half charge in about -- much faster than the standard Level 1 or Level 2 chargers found around the U.S. -- and Tesla has built 734 Supercharger stations (with nearly 5,000 chargers) since the network was started in 2012.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's live-results department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google has been highly involved with connecting U.S. voters to timely information throughout this election cycle, by offering everything from voter registration assistance to polling place information in its search result pages. Today, the company announced plans to display the results of the U.S. election directly in search, in over 30 languages, as soon as the polls close. Web searchers who query for "election results" will be able to view detailed information on the Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional, Gubernatorial races as well as state-level referenda and ballot propositions, says Google. The results will be updated continuously -- every 30 seconds, as indicated by a screenshot shared by the company on its official blog post detailing the new features. Tabs across the top will let you switch to between the various races, like President, House, and Senate, for example. The results will also include information like how many more electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win, how many seats are up for grabs in the House and Senate, and how many Gubernatorial races are underway, among other things. This data is presented in an easy-to-read format, with Democrats in blue, Republicans in red, and simple graphs, alongside the key numbers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's compliance-with-authority department
By msmash from Slashdot's when-fresh-air-is-luxury department
New Delhi residents are suffocating only to find little to no relief. The city, as well as much of Northern India, home of over 400 million people, is blanketed by a thick layer of smog. The air quality has severely depreciated, hitting alarming 1,000 AQI PM2.5 level -- over 15 times of the safe limit. The air quality index hasn't gone down 400 reading, which is considered hazardous. From a report on CNN: Measurements taken at the US Embassy in Delhi put the city's Air Quality Index at 999 on Monday, off the standard chart, which finishes at the "hazardous" level of 500. By comparison, the highest AQI level recorded Monday in Baoding -- China's most polluted city -- was 298. Beijing was a pleasant 30, while India's next most polluted city, coal and industry-heavy Chandrapur, recorded levels of 824, according to the World Air Quality Index. Research released earlier this year found that air quality levels exceed World Health Organizations guidelines for 80% of those living in urban areas around the world.Though Delhi has been one of the most polluted cities for decades, burning of tens of millions of crop stubbles in the recent months and the Hindu festival of Diwali (which sees many people burn crackers) have been held responsible for the severe air quality.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's free-stuff department
It seems AT&T won't leave any stone unturned for its upcoming DirecTV Now streaming service. According to a new report, the company is planning to offer a free Apple TV set-top box or an Amazon Fire USB stick to people who subscribe to the service. From a report on Variety, which also details some channels that could be featured on DirecTV Now: The leaked documents detail that consumers who are willing to commit to at least three months of paid service will be able to get a free Apple TV as part of a device promotion. Consumers who pay for one month will get a free Fire TV streaming stick. Both devices are more expensive on their own than the service charges consumers would have to pay to qualify for each promotion. AT&T officially announced DirecTV Now as an internet-based live TV service earlier this year. The telco has since given us some idea about the programming, announcing deals with Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom as well as Scripps, A&E Networks, Discovery, HBO, and Starz. Last month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson announced that DirecTV Now will cost $35 per month and carry more than 100 channels when it launches in the coming weeks. The leaked customer-support documents didn't include complete channel lineups -- those also depend on the local markets of subscribers -- but they do give us a better idea of which other channels DirecTV Now aims to launch with. A partial list of channels included not only networks from the aforementioned partners, but also Univision networks like Galavision, Univision and UniMas, Fox and MundoFox, CBS, HDNet Movies, the Hallmark Channel and the Sony Movie Channel.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's bank-hack department
An anonymous reader writes:Tesco Bank has halted online payments for current account customers after money was taken from 20,000 accounts. The bank's chief executive Benny Higgins told the BBC he was "very hopeful" customers would be refunded within 24 hours. About 40,000 accounts saw suspicious transactions over the weekend, of which half had money taken, he said. Customers will still be able to use their cards for cash withdrawals, chip and pin payments, and bill payments. The bank is blocking customers from making online payments using their debit card, although transfers between accounts and to other people are still allowed, a spokesperson said. Earlier, the bank confirmed some accounts "have been subject to online criminal activity, in some cases resulting in money being withdrawn fraudulently."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's when-in-China department
The Chinese government today passed new cybersecurity regulations that will put stringent new requirements on technology companies operating in the country. The proposed Cybersecurity Law comes with data localization, surveillance, and real-name requirements. From a TechCrunch report:The regulation would require instant messaging services and other internet companies to require users to register with their real names and personal information, and to censor content that is "prohibited." Real name policies restrict anonymity and can encourage self-censorship for online communication. The law also includes a requirement for data localization, which would force "critical information infrastructure operators" to store data within China's borders. According to Human Rights Watch, an advocacy organization that is opposing the legislation, the law does not include a clear definition of infrastructure operators, and many businesses could be lumped into the definition. "The law will effectively put China's Internet companies, and hundreds of millions of Internet users, under greater state control," said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director. HRW maintains that, while many of the regulations are not new, most were informal or only laid out in low-level law -- and implementing the measures on a broader level will lead to stricter enforcement.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's reasonably-fair department
An anonymous reader shares a report on Quartz:In a sea of biased content, Wikipedia is one of the few online outlets that strives for neutrality. After 15 years in operation, it's starting to see results. Researchers at Harvard Business School evaluated almost 4,000 articles in Wikipedia's online database against the same entries in Encyclopedia Brittanica to compare their biases. They focused on English-language articles about US politics, especially controversial topics, that appeared in both outlets in 2012. In its initial years, Wikipedia's crowdsourced articles were tinted very blue, slanting more toward Democratic views and displayed greater bias than Britannica. However, with more revisions and more moderators volunteering on the platform, the bias wore away. In fact, the upper quartile of the Wikipedia's sample had enough revisions that there was no longer any difference in slant and bias from its offline counterpart. More surprisingly, the authors found that the 2.8 million registered volunteer editors who were reviewing the articles also became less biased over time.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's more-biting,-less-chewing department
LeEco is a giant conglomerate in China. The company offers a range of services -- from online streaming service, to smartphones, to TV, to electric cars. On top of that, the company has been aggressively expanding into different markets with India and the United States being the two notable ones. How does it make so much cash? You wonder. It doesn't actually, according to the CEO, who has informed the employees that the company is quickly running out of cash. An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: The billionaire chairman of China's LeEco has admitted his technology empire is running out of cash to sustain a headlong rush into businesses from electric cars to smartphones. In a lengthy letter to employees, company co-founder Jia Yueting apologized to shareholders and pledged to slash his income to 1 yuan (15 cents), slow LeEco's madcap pace of expansion, and move the company toward a more moderate phase of growth. LeEco is the umbrella holding company for a sprawling family of businesses that includes sports media, automobiles, smartphones and TVs. The company known for its LeTV streaming service has aggressively pursued funding and placed bets on new ventures, from an electric car plant in Nevada to a $2 billion acquisition of California TV maker Vizio Inc. "No company has had such an experience, a simultaneous time in ice and fire," Jia wrote in a letter, obtained by Bloomberg News, describing LeEco's rise and subsequent issues. "We blindly sped ahead, and our cash demand ballooned. We got over-extended in our global strategy. At the same time, our capital and resources were in fact limited."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's he-asked-you-answer department
Slashdot reader davidwr is "an American-born, American-educated mid-career IT professional." But he's still curious about why American geeks earn more than their IT counterparts overseas:
If I'm a mid-career programmer looking for a job, why should I expect to be paid a whole lot more than my peer in India when applying for a job that could easily be outsourced to India? If I do get the job, why should I expect to keep it more than a year or two instead of being told "your job is being outsourced" before 2020? Is my American education and 5-25 years of experience in the American workplace really worth it to an employer?
Should we, as an industry, lower our salary expectations -- and that of students entering the field -- to make us more competitive with our peers in India and similar "much cheaper labor than first world" economies? If not, what should we be doing to make ourselves competitive in ways that our peers overseas cannot duplicate?
What's the secret ingredient that justifies those higher salaries? Leave your answers in the comments. Why are American tech workers paid so well?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Hulk-Hogan's-lawyer department
Shiva Ayyadurai still claims he invented email -- rather than the late ARPANET pioneer Ray Tomlinson. Now Gizmodo reports that Ayyadurai "will receive a $750,000 settlement from Gawker Media, the bankrupt publisher that he sued for defamation earlier this year."
As part of the settlement, Gawker Media has agreed to delete three stories from the archive of Gawker.com, including one about Ayyadurai. Univision, which purchased most of Gawker Media's assets [including Gizmodo] out of bankruptcy in September, deleted two Gizmodo posts concerning Ayyadurai -- over the objections of the editorial staff -- immediately after closing the transaction... The offending Gizmodo articles made the case that "a lot of people don't believe that Ayyadurai invented email," and that "networked communication actually predates [his] computer program by a few years." As Tomlinson told Gizmodo in one of the stories Ayyadurai succeeded in getting unpublished, the email formats that are so familiar today -- to:, from:, etc. -- were in use years before Ayyadurai "invented" them.
The third post was titled, "If Fran Drescher Read Gizmodo She Would Not Have Married This Fraud."Read Replies (0)