By EditorDavid from Slashdot's adjusting-algorithms department
America now has 206 confirmed cases of measles, its highest year-to-date number in over 25 years . Now USA Today reports on how Facebook is responding:
In mid-February, Facebook told USA TODAY it had "taken steps" to reduce fake health news and anti-vaxx posts and said it was considering making anti-vaccination content on its site less visible amid a measles outbreak that has reignited a conversation about preventative shots. At the time, Facebook said, "we know we have more to do...." Revealed Thursday: The social network says it will reduce distribution and provide users with "authoritative information" on the topic.
Facebook is following the lead of Pinterest, which has blocked all searches using terms related to vaccines or vaccinations as part of a plan to stop the spread of misinformation related to anti-vaxx posts.... It will reduce the ranking of Facebook groups and Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search. "These groups and Pages will not be included in recommendations or in predictions when you type into Search," Facebook said. When it discovers ads with misinformation about vaccinations, "we will reject them." Facebook said it has removed related targeting options, like "vaccine controversies," in ads.... Additionally, Facebook said it wouldn't show or recommend content that contains misinformation about vaccinations on the Explore section of Facebook-owned Instagram or on its hashtag pages.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's who-watches-the-watchers? department
A VPN researcher found that many Android VPN apps request access to sensitive permissions that they don't need, according to an article shared by WaitingForSupport. ZDNet reports:
The study, carried out by John Mason from TheBestVPN.com, analyzed 81 Android apps available for download through the Google Play Store. Mason said he downloaded and extracted the permissions requested by each VPN app from their respective APK installer files.... According to Mason, 50 of the 81 Android VPN apps he tested requested access to at least one dangerous permission that accessed user data...
Mason said he discovered VPN apps that requested access to read/write permissions for external device storage, wanted access to precise location data, wanted the ability to read or write system settings, and, in some cases, wanted to access call logs or manage local files. "In theory, VPN apps should only need a few permissions to function. INTERNET and ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE should usually be enough," Mason told us. "The use of a large number of dangerous permissions could be cause for suspicion."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's think-different department
Apple is already running on 100% green energy, according to Fast Company. But Apple is still "keen to show it's a good corporate citizen," reports the Australian Financial Review:
Apple's annual supplier responsibility report released on Thursday revealed 20 manufacturing supplier facilities had been removed from the company's supply chain for breaches of environmental permits or workplace rules. "Smelters and refiners deeper in our supply chain are held to similar standards and if they exhibit a lack of commitment to meet our supplier code of conduct, they risk losing Apple's business," the report said...
In 2018, Apple completed 770 audits of its supplier manufacturing facilities, logistics and repair centres and contact centre facilities. There were also 279 third-party mineral smelter and refiner audits conducted... Apple's 13th annual supplier responsibility progress report said all final assembly points for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod, were now certified zero waste to landfill, while conserving billions of litres of water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Apple's suppliers in 45 countries have diverted 1 million tonnes of garbage in three years, saved 28.7 gigalitres of water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 466,000 annualised metric tons, which is the equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road for one year.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 60-billion-dollar-companies department
"For over a decade, VMware has been accused of illegally using Linux code in its VMware ESX bare-metal virtual machine hypervisor," reports ZDNet, adding that "A German court has dismissed the case, but the struggle may not be over."
VMware stood accused of illegally using Linux code in its flagship VMware ESX bare-metal virtual machine (VM) hypervisor... In 2011, the Software Freedom Conservancy, a non-profit organization that promotes open-source software, discovered that VMware had failed to properly license any Linux or BusyBox, a popular embedded Linux toolkit, source code... In 2015, having exhausted all other means, [Linux kernel developer Christoph] Hellweg and the Software Freedom Conservancy sued VMware in the district court of Hamburg in Germany. Besides the general violation of the GPLv2, "Conservancy and Hellwig specifically assert that VMware has combined copyrighted Linux code, licensed under GPLv2, with their own proprietary code called 'vmkernel' and distributed the entire combined work without providing nor offering complete, corresponding source code for that combined work under terms of the GPLv2."
The German court disagreed in November 2018. Helwig appealed and continued the fight, saying "The lower court dismissed the case as a result of evidentiary rules and likely an incomplete understanding of the documentation of the code in question...." [Monday] VMware rather mysteriously announced: "VMware is pleased with the Feb. 28, 2019 decision of the German appellate court in Hamburg to dismiss Mr. Hellwig's appeal and let stand the regional court's decision to dismiss Mr. Hellwig's lawsuit. "
< article continued at Slashdot's 60-billion-dollar-companies department
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's anarchy-in-the-UK department
The Guardian reports on what may happen next to British businesses and individuals who own .EU domains:
There are about 340,000 registered British holders of these web addresses, and the government has urged them to make contingency plans as their web addresses will disappear if the UK does not agree on a deal with Brussels. The domains were introduced in 2006 as a rival to the likes of .com and .org but are available only to individuals or businesses based in the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA)...
Updated government guidance confirms that if the UK leaves without a deal at the end of March then domain owners based in the UK will have two months leeway to move their principal location to somewhere within the EU or EEA. "These .EU domain names will then be withdrawn and will become inoperable," states the guidance issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which confirms warnings issued this year by the EU's domain registrar. "This means you may not be able to access your .EU websites or email from 30 May 2019."
After a year, all the British-registered .EU domains will be made available for purchase by individuals and companies who continue to reside in the EU. This raises the possibility that on the anniversary of a no-deal Brexit, one lucky German or Spaniard could be able to mark the occasion by taking over the Leave.EU domain and using it for their own purposes.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's feed-and-speed department
Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors: This week on the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP), John Siracusa floated the concept of a MacBook Hierarchy of Needs, a priority list of features for the next time Apple redesigns the MacBook line, as is rumored to happen later this year. It's a fun thought experiment, because it requires you to rank your wish list of laptop features. That's important, because if I've learned anything in this wacky world of ours, it's that you can never get everything you ask for, so you've got to prioritize.
The ATP hosts all made a "good keyboard" their top priority, an idea that would've been surprising a few years ago but now is almost a given. Yes, of course, Apple laptops need to be fast and reliable and have great displays and good battery life, but the past few years' worth of MacBooks have made a lot of people realize the truth: a bad/unreliable laptop keyboard isn't something you can really work around if you're a laptop user. This is why a lot of nice-to-have-features, like SD card slots, have to fall way down the hierarchy of needs. Any feature that can be rectified with an add-on adapter falls immediately to the bottom of the list. You're stuck with a laptop keyboard forever, and if you're committed to the Mac and every single Mac laptop that's sold uses the exact same keyboard, there's nowhere to run.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sign-of-the-times department
MGM, one of the largest global casino companies in the world, is considering replacing some workers with robots. The company's 2020 plan calls for reducing its workforce by about 2,100 people to save roughly $300 million in the coming years. Vegas Slots Online reports: Among those who could be replaced are cashiers and bartenders. Automatic technology that can make drinks would replace the bartenders and monetary transactions could be done through standard payment technology. There would also be mobile payment processors going around the floor with the wait staff, eliminating the need for cashiers. There is no indication as to how many such jobs would be replaced at the MGM properties. The unions and workers will not be happy with this news. Jobs will be lost and it may also violate the labor agreement that MGM struck with the unions last summer. The Las Vegas Culinary Union (LVCU), which represents bartenders, kitchen staff, and wait staff, reached a five-year deal in June 2018 with the MGM. The agreement guarantees that MGM will not implement any technology that would have a negative impact on employment. However, the news that the MGM is considering replacing some workers with robots could mean that the company is not willing to fulfill this agreement. MGM CEO Jim Murren unveiled the new "MGM 2020" plan earlier this year, describing it as a "company-wide, business-optimization initiative aimed to leverage a more centralized organization to maximize profitability and, through key investments in technology, lay the groundwork for the company's digital transformation to drive revenue growth."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's accessing-sensitive-data department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Fearing that China could be spying on them using power cords and plugs, several U.S. technology companies have asked their Taiwanese suppliers to shift production of some components out of the mainland, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday. The report cited unnamed executives from two Taiwanese companies: Lite-On Technology, a manufacturer of electronic parts, and Quanta Computer, a supplier of servers and data centers. Lite-On's clients include Dell EMC, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, while Quanta counts Google and Facebook among its customers, according to Nikkei. The executives told Nikkei that some of their American clients -- without specifying which companies -- asked them to move out of China partly because of cyberespionage and cybersecurity risks. The U.S. tech firms were worried that even mundane components such as power plugs could be tapped by Beijing to access sensitive data, according to the report. According to the report, Lite-On Technology is building a new factory in Taiwan to manufacture power components for servers due to China's cybersecurity concerns. Quanta has also shifted production out of mainland China to Taiwan due to similar concerns, as well as additional tariffs imposed by Washington as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.Read Replies (0)