By BeauHD from Slashdot's serious-consequences department
Soon after it was reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Elon Musk for making false statements related to his abandoned efforts to take Tesla private, the SEC announced today that Elon Musk has agreed to settle the fraud charges. In a press release, the SEC says "Musk and Tesla have agreed to settle the charges against them without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations." The settlements, which are subject to court approval, require the following: - Musk will step down as Tesla's Chairman and be replaced by an independent Chairman. Musk will be ineligible to be re-elected Chairman for three years;
- Tesla will appoint a total of two new independent directors to its board;
- Tesla will establish a new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communications;
- Musk and Tesla will each pay a separate $20 million penalty. The $40 million in penalties will be distributed to harmed investors under a court-approved process. Slashdot reader Rei writes: In the wake of initially refusing a settlement offer over the wording, Elon Musk has now settled today with the SEC, concerning his tweets about taking Tesla private. As per the settlement agreement, there is 1) no admission of wrongdoing; 2) Musk and Tesla will each pay a $20 million fine; 3) Musk will remain as CEO of Tesla; 4) Musk will be prohibited from serving as chairman of Tesla for three years; and 5) Tesla must appoint two new members to its board of directors. An additional clause seems apropos: Musk must "comply with all mandatory procedures implemented by Tesla, Inc [...] regarding (i) the oversight of communications relating to the Company made in any format, including, but not limited to, posts on social media..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's core-products department
An anonymous reader quotes the Bay Area Newsgroup:
Apple turned against customers and its own employees after the death of co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, a fired Apple engineer claims in a lawsuit. "No corporate responsibility exists at Apple since Mr. Jobs' death," Darren Eastman alleged in a lawsuit over his termination and patents related to his work at the Cupertino tech giant... Eastman, who is representing himself in court, started working as an engineer for Apple in 2006, largely because Jobs was interested in his idea for a low-cost Mac for education, and wanted him hired straight out of graduate school, Eastman said in the filing. Eastman claims to have invented the "Find my iPhone" function. When Jobs headed Apple, he told Eastman to notify him of any unresolved problems with the company's products, and employees in general were expected to raise such concerns, Eastman said in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
That changed after Jobs died in 2011, he claimed. "Many talented employees who've given part of their life for Apple were now regularly being disciplined and terminated for reporting issues they were expected to (report) during Mr. Jobs tenure," Eastman alleged in the filing. "Cronyism and a dedicated effort to ignore quality issues in current and future products became the most important projects to perpetuate the goal of ignoring the law and minimizing tax. Complying with the law and paying what's honestly required is taboo at Apple, with judicial orders and paying tax (of any kind) representing the principal frustration of Apple's executives... Notifying Mr. Cook about issues (previously welcomed by Mr. Jobs) produces either no response, or, a threatening one later by your direct manager," Eastman claimed.... "There's no accountability, with attempts at doing the right thing met with swift retaliation."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'm-feeling-lucky department
"Recently, a privacy-oriented search engine called DuckDuckGo raised $10 million from a Canadian pension fund," reports Marketplace.org, saying the privacy-focused search engine is "trying to establish itself as the anti-Google."
An anonymous reader quotes their report:
"So it's like Google, except when you search on it, you're completely anonymous," said Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of the company. The searches are encrypted. The site knows where you are, but only while you're searching, and it doesn't store your personal information. "We serve you the search results and we throw away your personal information...so your IP address and things like that. And we don't actually store any cookies by default. And so when you search on DuckDuckGo, it's like every time you're a new user and we know nothing about you..." Weinberg said about a quarter of Americans have taken some action to protect their privacy, and DuckDuckGo searches have been growing about 50 percent a year.
"We are proud to have a profitable business model that doesn't rely on collecting personal data," the company tweeted in June, and this week they also shared a quote from a Harvard Business Review article that asked "How far can the surveillance economy go?"
"Most consumers are either unaware of the personal info they share online or, quite understandably, unable to determine the cost of sharing it -- if not both."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's back-to-the-future department
An anonymous reader quotes Microsoft's Developer blog:
In March 2014, Microsoft released the source code to MS-DOS 1.25 and 2.0 via the Computer History Museum. The announcement also contains a brief history of how MS-DOS came to be for those new to the subject, and ends with many links to related articles and resources for those interested in learning more.
Today, we're re-open-sourcing MS-DOS on GitHub. Why? Because it's much easier to find, read, and refer to MS-DOS source files if they're in a GitHub repo than in the original downloadable compressed archive file.... Enjoy exploring the initial foundations of a family of operating systems that helped fuel the explosion of computer technology that we all rely upon for so much of our modern lives!
While non-source modifications are welcome, "The source will be kept static," reads a note on the GitHub repo, "so please don't send Pull Requests suggesting any modifications to the source files."
"But feel free to fork this repo and experiment!"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's devs-and-data department
schwit1 shared an article from the New York Times:
When investigative journalist Julia Angwin worked for ProPublica, the nonprofit news organization became known as "Big Tech's scariest watchdog." By partnering with programmers and data scientists, Angwin pioneered the work of studying Big Tech's algorithms -- the secret codes that have an enormous effect on everyday American life... Now, with a $20 million gift from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, she and her partner at ProPublica, data journalist Jeff Larson, are starting the Markup, a news site dedicated to investigating technology and its effect on society. Sue Gardner, former head of the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia, will be the Markup's executive director. Angwin and Larson said that they would hire two dozen journalists for its New York office and that stories would start going up on the website in early 2019...
Angwin, who was part of a Wall Street Journal team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for coverage of corporate corruption, said the newsroom would be guided by the scientific method, and each story would begin with a hypothesis... At the Markup, journalists will be partnered with a programmer from a story's inception until its completion. "To investigate technology, you need to understand technology," said Angwin, 47... Newmark, who splits his time between San Francisco and New York, has for years kept a low profile. But he worries about what he sees as a lack of self-reflection among engineers. "Sometimes it takes an engineer a while to understand that we need help, then we get that help, and then we do a lot better," Newmark said. "We need the help that only investigative reporting with good data science can provide...."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's what-if department
Slashdot reader Actually, I do RTFA remains wary of a new "blockchain-powered mobile voting app" being used by the state of West Virginia to collect ballots from overseas absentee voters.
But meanwhile, Slashdot reader chicksdaddy notes an election hacking exercise conducted with city employees and local FBI officers in Boston focused on attempts to disrupt a hypothetical election in "Nolandia" by simply clogging highways and sowing chaos. From Security Ledger:
The day started with snarled traffic and a suspicious outage of the 9-1-1 emergency call center that has put the public and first responders on edge. Already, the city's police force was taxed keeping tabs on protests tied to a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. By afternoon, the federal Emergency Alert System (EAS) was warning Nolandia residents of massive natural gas leaks in neighborhoods in the north and west part of the city, prompting officials to order evacuations of the affected areas.
Later, bomb threats called in to local television stations shut down a bridge linking the northern and southern halves of the city -- a major artery for vehicles. The EAS warning turns out to have been false -- no gas leaks are detected, nor is any bomb found on the bridge. Later in the day, cyber attack s on a smart traffic light deployment in Nolandia snarl traffic further and sow chaos during the evening commute... This is election hacking 2018 style: a highly successful operation in which no voting machines or voting infrastructure were compromised, attacked or even targeted.
The cybersecurity company that created the exercise said they "wanted to expand that scope and demonstrate that the threat landscape is actually much broader...."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's nuclear-options department
An anonymous reader quotes iTWire:
Linux developers who contribute code to the kernel cannot rescind those contributions, according to the software programmer who devised the GNU General Public Licence version 2.0, the licence under which the kernel is released. Richard Stallman, the head of the Free Software Foundation and founder of the GNU Project, told iTWire in response to queries that contributors to a GPLv2-covered program could not ask for their code to be removed. "That's because they are bound by the GPLv2 themselves. I checked this with a lawyer," said Stallman, who started the free software movement in 1984.
There have been claims made by many people, including journalists, that if any kernel developers are penalised under the new code of conduct for the kernel project -- which was put in place when Linux creator Linus Torvalds decided to take a break to fix his behavioural issues -- then they would ask for their code to be removed from the kernel... Stallman asked: "But what if they could? What would they achieve by doing so? They would cause harm to the whole free software community. The anonymous person who suggests that Linux contributors do this is urging them to [use a] set of nuclear weapons in pique over an internal matter of the development team for Linux. What a shame that would be."
Slashdot reader dmoberhaus shared an article from Motherboard with more perspetives from Eric S. Raymond and LWN.net founder Jonathan Corbet, which also traces the origins of the suggestion. "[A]n anonymous user going by the handle 'unconditionedwitness' called for developers who end up getting banned through the Code of Conduct in the future to rescind their contributions to the Linux kernel 'in a bloc' to produce the greatest effect.
"It is worth noting that the email address for unconditionedwitness pointed to redchan.it, a now defunct message board on 8chan that mostly hosted misogynistic memes, many of which were associated with gamergate."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's security-taken-seriously department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a cybersecurity law covering "smart" devices, making California the first state with such a law. The bill, SB-327, was introduced last year and passed the state senate in late August. Starting on January 1st, 2020, any manufacturer of a device that connects "directly or indirectly" to the internet must equip it with "reasonable" security features, designed to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or information disclosure. If it can be accessed outside a local area network with a password, it needs to either come with a unique password for each device, or force users to set their own password the first time they connect. That means no more generic default credentials for a hacker to guess.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-way-of-doing-things department
Sophia Chen reporting for Science Magazine: In a small basement laboratory, Harry Levine, a Harvard University graduate student in physics, can assemble a rudimentary computer in a fraction of a second. There isn't a processor chip in sight; his computer is powered by 51 rubidium atoms that reside in a glass cell the size of a matchbox. To create his computer, he lines up the atoms in single file, using a laser split into 51 beams. More lasers -- six beams per atom -- slow the atoms until they are nearly motionless. Then, with yet another set of lasers, he coaxes the atoms to interact with each other, and, in principle, perform calculations.
It's a quantum computer, which manipulates "qubits" that can encode zeroes and ones simultaneously in what's called a superposition state. If scaled up, it might vastly outperform conventional computers at certain tasks. But in the world of quantum computing, Levine's device is somewhat unusual. In the race to build a practical quantum device, investment has largely gone to qubits that can be built on silicon, such as tiny circuits of superconducting wire and small semiconductors structures known as quantum dots. Now, two recent studies have demonstrated the promise of the qubits Levine works with: neutral atoms. In one study, a group including Levine showed a quantum logic gate made of two neutral atoms could work with far fewer errors than ever before. And in another, researchers built 3D structures of carefully arranged atoms, showing that more qubits can be packed into a small space by taking advantage of the third dimension. Chen goes on report on the startups -- ColdQuanta and Atom Computing -- that are working to build fully programmable quantum computers. ColdQuanta has received $6.75 million in venture funding while Atom Computer has raised $5 million.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department
Motherboard's Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai spoke with Patrick Wardle, the ex-NSA hacker who's organizing a security conference exclusively dedicated to Macs. Despite what Apple has famously promoted in the mid 2000s that Macs don't get "PC viruses," Mac computers do in fact have bugs, vulnerabilities, and even malware targeted at them. From the report: "People are peeking behind the curtain and realizing that the facade of Mac security is not always what it's cracked to be," Wardle told Motherboard in a phone interview. "Any company that designs software is going to have issues -- but Apple has perfected the art of a flawless public facade that masks many security issues." Wardle would know. After hacking primarily Windows computers at Fort Meade, for the last few years Wardle been finding several issues in MacOS, so many that he considers himself a "thorn" on Apple's side. But his conference is not an exercise in shaming or finger pointing, Wardle said he hopes to educate and teach people about Mac security, especially now that so many companies are using Macs as their corporate computers.
The conference is called Objective By the Sea, a wordplay on Objective-See, the name of Wardle's suite of free Mac security products (which is itself a wordplay on Apple's main programming language called Objective-C.) It will be held in Maui, Hawaii on November 3 and 4. The conference will be free for residents of Hawaii, and for patrons of Objective-See. That's why Wardle said he can't afford to pay for all speakers to attend, but he had no trouble finding people who wanted to participate. One group that doesn't want to come to Maui, at least for now, is Apple. Wardle said he reached out to the company, essentially offering it carte blanche to talk about whatever it wanted. But the company, so far, has not responded, according to him.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's still-developing department
Sources have shared some new details with CNBC relating to the recent SEC charges against Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Yesterday, U.S. securities regulators sued Musk for allegedly making false statements related to his abandoned efforts to take Tesla Motors private. Now, according to CNBC, Tesla and the SEC were close to a no-guilt settlement but Elon Musk pulled out at the last minute. From the report: Under the deal, Musk and Tesla would have had to pay a nominal fine, and the CEO would not have had to admit any guilt, the sources said. However, the settlement would have barred Musk as chairman for two years and would require Tesla to appoint two new independent directors, CNBC's David Faber, citing sources. Musk refused to sign the deal because he felt that by settling he would not be truthful to himself, and he wouldn't have been able to live with the idea that he agreed to accept a settlement and any blemish associated with that, the sources said. Musk called the SEC's allegations "unjustified" and that he acted in the best interests of investors. "Tesla and the board of directors are fully confident in Elon, his integrity, and his leadership of the company, which has resulted in the most successful U.S. auto company in over a century. Our focus remains on the continued ramp of Model 3 production and delivering for our customers, shareholders and employees," said Tesla's board of directors in a statement.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
Follow the revelations this morning that a hacker exploited a security flaw in a popular feature of Facebook to steal account credentials of as many as 50 million users, a class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of one California resident, Carla Echavarria, and one Virginia resident, Derick Walker. "Both allege that Facebook's lack of proper security has exposed them and additional potential class members to a significantly increased chance of identity theft as a result of the breach," reports The Verge. From the report: The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint alleges Facebook is guilty of unlawful business practices, deceit by concealment, negligence, and violations of California's Customer Records Act. The plaintiffs want statutory damages and penalties awarded to them and other class members, as well as the providing of credit monitoring services, punitive damages, and the coverage of attorneys' fees and expenses. Although Facebook says it has fixed the issue that resulted in the breach, it still has little to no information to provide on who is behind the attack or when the attack even occurred.
As it stands, in addition to this new lawsuit, Facebook is facing pressure from the New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who announced on Twitter this afternoon that, "We're looking into Facebook's massive data breach. New Yorkers deserve to know that their information will be protected." Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra had a terse public reaction, releasing a simple three-line tweet reading, "I want answers." In addition to Underwood and Chopra, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released a statement describing the hack is "deeply concerning" and calling for a full investigation.Read Replies (0)