By EditorDavid from Slashdot's spying-on-spyware department
The New York Times continues their coverage of the commercial spytech industry, noting its services "are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the process making it harder for government agencies to track suspects... For the last six years, the NSO Group's main product, a tracking system called Pegasus, has been used by a growing number of government agencies to target a range of smartphones -- including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems -- without leaving a trace...to extract text messages, contact lists, calendar records, emails, instant messages and GPS locations." Slashdot reader turkeydance quotes their article:
That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like -- just check out the company's price list. The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device...
The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group's corporate mission statement is "Make the world a safe place"... An ethics committee made up of employees and external counsel vets potential customers based on human rights rankings set by the World Bank and other global bodies....
< article continued at Slashdot's spying-on-spyware department
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's missed-connections department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
TSA checkpoints caused 6,800 American Airlines passengers to miss their flights in just one week this spring, and the problem isn't improving. "Two years ago the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offered $15,000 to anybody -- literally anybody -- who could come up with an idea to speed up airport security..." writes Popular Science. "They wouldn't say who won or for which idea, but since we're here two years later with longer wait times than ever, it's fair to say it hasn't lived up to the groundbreaking ideals of that call to action... Now in summer 2016, the TSA recommends arriving three hours early instead of a mere two."
So this spring the Seattle-Tacoma airport replaced many of the TSA staff with private screeners, although "Private security operates under strict direction from the TSA, and even those airports that heavily utilize private contractors still have a lot of TSA personnel in the back rooms..." according to the article. "The ability to do exactly what the TSA does, only faster and cheaper, seems to be the major draw." Now 22 U.S. airports are using private screeners, although the Seattle and San Francisco airports are the only ones with significant traffic.
The article also cites a Homeland Security report which discovered that investigators were able to smuggle a test bomb past security checkpoints in 67 out of 70 tests.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's government-giving department
Finland is getting ready to launch their first pilot program with a Universal Basic Income -- one of several countries which are now testing the concept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Futurism.com:
Finland is about to launch an experiment in which a randomly selected group of 2,000-3,000 citizens already on unemployment benefits will begin to receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros (approximately $600). That basic income will replace their existing benefits. The amount is the same as the current guaranteed minimum level of Finnish social security support. The pilot study, running for two years in 2017-2018, aims to assess whether basic income can help reduce poverty, social exclusion, and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate.
In January a basic income program will also begin testing in the Netherlands, according to the article, which points out that Y Combinator has also launched a test program in Oakland, California. And there's now also calls for a Universal Basic Income in India, where one social worker argues it's "sound social policy," while pointing out that it's already being implemented in other countries. "In Brazil, it targets the poor and has been a way out of poverty; in Iran, it has substituted for subsidies and citizens receive about $500 a year..."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ditching-the-dongles department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from TechHive:
On Friday, HDMI Licensing announced a new cable standard that connects USB-C and HDMI devices... The idea, naturally enough, is to to develop an HDMI-to-USB Type-C cable that ties together the most common cabling protocols in both the PC and consumer electronics industries, eliminating the need for an adapter or special silicon. Source devices like PCs, tablets, and smartphones will be able to output HDMI video and multi-channel audio from a USB-C port, just as they can now with DisplayPort.
"The USB Type-C connector is gaining traction in the mobile and PC markets," said HDMI Licensing, LLC president Rob Tobias. "Consumers expect to easily connect these devices to displays with a USB Type-C to HDMI cable and utilize the capabilities and features of native HDMI. This specification will also result in more source devices incorporating HDMI," which already total about 6 billion, he said.
HDMI Licensing expects to see products launching with this new technology "early next year".Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's friend-requests department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
"A fugitive in Florida has been arrested by police after he used a wanted poster adorned with his mug shot for his Facebook profile picture," writes the International Business Times. After investigating reports of a disturbance, police discovered the 41-year-old's Facebook profile, which revealed the man was already wanted for six months for violating his parole after two counts of battery.
"Police say that as they arrested Yearwood a bag of marijuana fell out of his pocket. They charged him with possession of cannabis under 20 grams and are continuing to investigate the battery complaint."
One Twitter user jokingly suggested that the suspect should also be charged with copyright infringement -- for using the police department's photo without their permission.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Sunday-driving department
Slashdot reader chicksdaddy quotes an article from Security Ledger:
The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to beware of new 'connected car' features that allow rental car customers to connect their mobile phone or other devices to in-vehicle infotainment systems. "If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages," the FTC said in an advisory released on Tuesday. "Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers."
The Commission is advising renters to avoid syncing their mobile phones to their rental car, or to power devices via a USB port, where settings on your device may allow automatic syncing of data. Consumers who do connect their device should scrutinize any requests for permissions.
Security researchers have also discovered another car-related vulnerability. The software connecting smartphones to in-vehicle "infotainment" systems could also make cars vulnerable to remote attacks.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ready-for-the-red-planet department
NASA will land a new probe on Mars on November 26, 2018, "paving the way toward an ambitious journey to send humans to the Red Planet," according to one NASA official. The $828 million project will investigate how the planet was formed, NASA announced Friday, calling it "an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about the internal structure of the Red Planet."
Meanwhile, long-time Slashdot reader taiwanjohn shares an editorial published by Ars Technica the same day, titled "We love you SpaceX, and hope you reach Mars. But we need you to focus." Noting that SpaceX receives the majority of its funding from NASA, the site's senior space editor writes that the company's business model requires that they ultimately deliver a reusable launch system.
"I understand SpaceX has a master plan -- the company wants to colonize Mars... But at some point you have to focus on the here and now, and that is the Falcon 9 rocket... if there is no Falcon 9, there is no business."
In a related story, Saturday NASA's history office shared a photograph from the Viking 2's landing on the surface of Mars -- which happened exactly 40 years ago.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's secret-search-subpoenas department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes BetaNews about new legal documents filed Friday:
Microsoft is fighting the US Justice Department in an attempt to quash a law that prevents companies informing customers that the government is requesting their data. The technology giant has the backing of other tech companies as well as media outlets. Amazon, Apple, Google, Fox News, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Mozilla are among those offering their support to Microsoft. The lawsuit says that blocking companies from keeping their customers informed is unconstitutional, and it comes at a time when tech companies in particular are keen to be as open and transparent as possible about government requests for data....
As EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien puts it: "Whether the government has a warrant to rifle through our mail, safety deposit boxes, or emails stored in the cloud, it must notify people about the searches. When electronic searches are done in secret, we lose our right to challenge the legality of law enforcement invasions of privacy. The Fourth Amendment doesn't allow that, and it's time for the government to step up and respect the Constitution."
Mozilla argues transparency "is critical to our vision of an open, trusted, secure web that places users in control of their experience online," in a blog post announcing that they'd joined a brief filed by Apple, Twilio, and Lithium Technologies.
And a statement from an EFF staff attorney argues that notifying the targets of searches "provides a free society with a crucial means of government accountability."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's beat-the-clock-speed department
"Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are the first to have fabricated carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs) that outperform the current-density of conventional semiconductors like silicon and gallium arsenide," reports NanotechWeb.
Slashdot reader wasteoid
shares the site's interview with one of the researchers:
"When the transistors are turned on to the conductive state (meaning that current is able to pass through the CNT channel) the amount of current traveling through each CNT in the array approaches the fundamental quantum limit," he tells nanotechweb.org.
"Since the CNTs conduct in parallel, and the packing density and conductance per tube are very high, the overall current density is very high too -- at nearly twice that of silicon's. The result is that these CNT array FETs have a conductance that is seven times higher than any previous reported CNT array field-effect transistor."
The research was funded in part by the U.S. Army and Air Force, as well as the National Science Foundation. "The implication here is that by replacing silicon with a CNT channel, it should be possible for us to make either a higher performing device or one that works at lower power." In other news, Fujitsu announced this week that it's joining an effort to release a 256-megabyte 55-nanometer carbon nanotube-based NRAM by 2018.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's join-us-now-and-hide-the-payments department
Long-time Slashdot reader mspohr writes:
The Guardian has an opinion piece by Richard Stallman which argues that we should be able to pay for news anonymously. From the article: "Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust... What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay."
He also (probably not coincidentally) has developed a method to do just that. "For the GNU operating system, which was created by the free software movement and is typically used with the kernel Linux, we are developing a suitable payment system called GNU Taler that will allow publishers to accept anonymous payments from readers for individual articles."
Publishers "can profit from defending privacy rather than from exposing their readers," argues Stallman, ending his article with a simple plea. "Publishers, please let me pay you -- anonymously!"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's your-money's-no-good-here department
An anonymous reader quotes Softpedia: Anthony Di Iorio, founder of Jaxx, a crypto-currency wallet, claims that an Apple representative revealed to him the six crypto-currencies allowed on the App Store, during a private phone conversation... Di Iorio had this conversation with the Apple employee after the company removed his Jaxx iOS app from the store. The Apple employee told Di Iorio that they had to remove his app because it featured support for Dash, another blockchain technology, touted as an alternative to Bitcoin. During the conversation, Di Iorio asked what crypto-currencies Apple approves of, so he'd know what to remove from Jaxx's iOS version and get his app back on the App Store. Di Iorio says that Apple is comfortable approving apps on its App Store that handle only six crypto-currencies: Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, the DAO and Ripple. Reaction to Apple's list of approved crypto-currencies wasn't positive, at least on Twitter. Most users criticized Apple's decision to limit the list to only six, which they considered might thwart the evolution of other, lesser-known crypto-currencies.
Vitalik Buterin, who helped create Ethereum with Di lorio, tweeted "For the record: despite being a beneficiary of this instance of (private) regulatory protectionism, I oppose it."Read Replies (0)
QtCon Opens In Berlin
Posted by News Fetcher on September 03 '16 at 06:43 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Qt-community department
Long-time Slashdot reader JRiddell writes: A unique coming together of open source communities is happening in Berlin over the next week. QtCon brings together KDE, Qt, VLC and FSF-E to discuss free software, open development, community management and proprietary coding. Live streams of many of the talks are available now. The opening keynote spoke of open data and collaborative coding freeing accessibility information. 13 tracks of talks cover Community, Web, Best practices, Automotive, Mobile and Embedded, Let's talk business, Tooling, QtQuick, Multithreading, OpenGL and 3D.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's star-search department
Long-time Slashdot reader RockDoctor writes: Remember the screaming and welcoming of our Dyson-Sphere-Dwelling 1500 LY distant Overlords that accompanied the news that star KIC 8462852 was irregularly dimming on both short and longer timescales? A second star with a similar light curve has been discovered and reported on ARXIV. With the euphonious names "EPIC 204278916" and "2MASS J16020757-2257467", the star is a young M1 (red) star, traveling as part of a group of stars which haven't had time to disperse from their place of formation. The age is estimated at 5 — 11 million years. Analysis of 70+ days of data from the K2 mission epoch shows a rotation of 3.6 days, but a period of 25 days near the start of the observation epoch showed dips in intensity of up to 60% lasting for up to about a day each. Details are in the Arxiv paper linked to above, particularly figures 1 and 4.
If confirmed, this discovery changes the situation with interpreting the so-called "Tabby's Star". Firstly with a second object in the class, the odds of it representing a class of naturally occurring objects compared to a unique, unusual object is greatly increased. Secondly, the different celestial mechanical situations around the different stars allows a better estimate of plausible formation mechanisms. One potentially important point is that clumps of debris that could produce these dimmings seem to be quite large. "It is also important to note that the resulting size for the transiting and occulting clump would be quite large at with the clump being in the order of 1.5 times the radius of the Sun. Sadly, this appears to be a new class of "dirty young planetary system." no alien Overlords, no screaming in the streets. Just business-like astronomy.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's thinking-different department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from the San Jose Mercury News:
Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company plans to bring back billions of dollars in profit to the U.S. next year. Cook's statement, made during an interview with RTE radio Thursday, contradicts his previous public statements on the issue: He has said for years that U.S. corporate taxes are too high, and that the Silicon Valley company wouldn't be repatriating profit until its home country changed its tax code.
"Right now I would forecast that we repatriate next year"Cook said, saying that the company has "provisioned several billion" for that purpose.
An interesting side-note: Apple accounts for 40% of Silicon Valley's profits.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's feeling-the-burn department
Dozens of aircraft fires have been caused by lithium batteries, and after 2013 Tesla even strengthened their battery shields after several of their cars caught on fire. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes the AP:
Samsung's Note 7 isn't the only gadget to catch fire thanks to lithium-battery problems, which have afflicted everything from iPhones to Tesla cars to Boeing jetliners. Blame chemistry and the fact that the batteries we rely on for everyday life are prone to leaking and even bursting into flame if damaged, defective or exposed to excessive heat...
Still, lithium batteries are so ubiquitous that ordinary users of phones and computers shouldn't worry. Research suggests that you're more likely to get hurt by a kitchen grease fire or a drunk driver than the battery powering your iPhone, Kindle or laptop. "It's not like we live in a world where people's smartphones spontaneously combust," said Ramon Llamas, research manager of research firm IDC's mobile phones team. He said owners of Galaxy Note 7s should err on the side of caution and contact Samsung for a replacement that doesn't run the same risk.
The article also reports that hoverboards were linked to at least 99 electrical fires in America that were presumably caused by battery problems. "Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers dumped the products after videos of burning hoverboards went viral."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's coding-competitions department
After analyzing 1.4 million scores on HackerRank's tests for coding accuracy and speed, Chinese programmers "outscored all other countries in mathematics, functional programming, and data structures challenges". Long-time Slashdot reader DirkDaring quotes a report from InfoWorld:
While the United States and India may have lots of programmers, China and Russia have the most talented developers according to a study by HackerRank... "If we held a hacking Olympics today, our data suggests that China would win the gold, Russia would take home a silver, and Poland would nab the bronze. Though they certainly deserve credit for making a showing, the United States and India have some work ahead of them before they make it into the top 25."
While the majority of scores came from America and India, the two countries ranked 28th and 31st, respectively. "Poland was tops in Java testing, France led in C++, Hong Kong in Python, Japan in artificial intelligence, and Switzerland in databases," reports InfoWorld. Ukrainian programmers had the top scores in security, while Finland showed the highest scores for Ruby.Read Replies (0)