By msmash from Slashdot's victory department
British security agencies have secretly and unlawfully collected massive volumes of confidential personal data, including financial information, on citizens for more than a decade, top judges have ruled. The Guardian adds:The investigatory powers tribunal, which is the only court that hears complaints against MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, said the security services operated secret regimes to collect vast amounts of personal communications data, tracking individual phone and web use and large datasets of confidential personal information, without adequate safeguards or supervision for more than 10 years. The ruling said the regime governing the collection of bulk communications data (BCD) -- the who, where, when and what of personal phone and web communications -- failed to comply with article 8 protecting the right to privacy of the European convention of human rights (ECHR) between 1998, when it started, and 4 November 2015, when it was made public. It said the holding of bulk personal datasets (BPD) -- which might include medical and tax records, individual biographical details, commercial and financial activities, communications and travel data -- also failed to comply with article 8 for the decade it was in operation until its public avowal in March 2015.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's so-it-begins department
The DeepMind artificial intelligence (AI) being developed by Google's parent company, Alphabet, can now intelligently build on what's already inside its memory, the system's programmers have announced. An anonymous reader writes: Their new hybrid system -- called a Differential Neural Computer (DNC) -- pairs a neural network with the vast data storage of conventional computers, and the AI is smart enough to navigate and learn from this external data bank. What the DNC is doing is effectively combining external memory (like the external hard drive where all your photos get stored) with the neural network approach of AI, where a massive number of interconnected nodes work dynamically to simulate a brain. "These models... can learn from examples like neural networks, but they can also store complex data like computers," write DeepMind researchers Alexander Graves and Greg Wayne in a blog post. At the heart of the DNC is a controller that constantly optimizes its responses, comparing its results with the desired and correct ones. Over time, it's able to get more and more accurate, figuring out how to use its memory data banks at the same time.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's recording-the-recording-artists department
More performers -- and other venues -- are discovering a new anti-piracy technology called Yondr -- including comedian Dave Chappelle. Slashdot reader HughPickens.com quotes the New York Times:
Fans are required to place their cellphones into Yondr's form-fitting lockable pouch when entering the show, and a disk mechanism unlocks it on the way out. Fans keep the pouch with them, but it is impossible to snap pictures, shoot videos or send text messages during the performance while the pouch is locked.
'I know my show is protected, and it empowers me to be more honest and open with the audience,' says Dave Chappelle...But some fans object to not being able to disseminate and see live shows via videotape...
"In this day and age, my phone is how I keep my memory," one live-music fan told the Washington Post, adding "If you don't want your music heard, then don't perform it." But the device is becoming more common, and according to the Times it's now also being used at weddings, restaurants, schools, and when movies are being prescreened.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's breaking-Breakaway-news department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
"Amazon.com's first big-budget video game is like street basketball, except played in a mythological world where athletes are armed," reports the Los Angeles Times, adding "Wait, Amazon makes video games?" Indeed. Two weeks ago Amazon Game Studios held their first live "unboxing event", and PlayBreakaway.com is now accepting sign-ups for alpha playtesting of their new Twitch-optimized team-based title, promising a game "made by streamers, for streamers." ("Taunt every interception, celebrate every kill, and highlight your dominance with instant replays...")
"If you think about what makes games so fantastic, it's the experiences you have with your friends," explained one Amazon Games official, in an interview with the Times Friday. "A long time ago it was in arcades, then over local networks, then online and now you have Twitch and e-sports and modding and cosplay. They are all about shared experiences."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'm-feeling-lucky department
Citing a report from SecureWorks, BuzzFeed is reporting that Russian hackers "used emails disguised to look as Gmail security updates to hack into the computers of the Democratic National Committee and members of Hillary Clinton's top campaign staff":
The emails were sent to 108 members of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign and 20 people clicked on them, at least four people clicking more than once, Secureworks' research found. The emails were sent to another 16 people from the DNC and four people clicked on them, the report said.
Researchers found the emails by tracing the malicious URLs set up by [state-sponsored hacking group] Fancy Bear using Bitly, a link shortening service... "We were monitoring bit.ly and saw the accounts being created in real time," said Phil Burdette, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, explaining how they stumbled upon the the URLs set up by Fancy Bear.
The URL apparently resolved to accounts-google.com (rather than accounts.google.com), and Burdette says "They did a great job with capturing the look and feel of Google."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's go-Go-go department
2016 saw a big spike in the popularity of Go, attributed to the rising importance of Docker and Kubernetes. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes InfoWorld:
Ranked 65th a year ago in the Tiobe Index of language popularity, it has climbed to 16th this month and is on track to become Tiobe's Programming Language of the Year, a designation awarded to the language with the biggest jump in the index...which gauges popularity based on a formula assessing searches on languages in popular search engines...
The article also cites an alternate set of rankings.
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's where-there's-smoke department
While "the vast majority" of lithium-ion batteries will never malfunction, lithium itself "is highly combustible and batteries made with it are subject to 'thermal runaway'," which can be triggered by damage -- or by bad design. An anonymous reader quotes the San Jose Mercury News:
Battery and electronics manufacturers take numerous steps to try to mitigate such dangers... But while the industry has tried to make lithium-ion batteries safer, 'the technology itself isn't foolproof,' said Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage research at GTM Research... And there's reason to think that the problem could get worse before it gets better. Consumer demand for devices that are ever more powerful and longer lasting has encouraged manufacturers to make batteries that can hold even more charge. To do that, they typically pack the battery cells closer and closer together...
Since June of this year, educational toy company Roylco recalled 1,400 light tables designed for kids... Razor, Swagway and some eight other manufacturers recalled a total of 500,000 hoverboards. And HP and Sony between them recalled more than 42,000 notebook computers. All for similar reasons -- lithium-ion batteries that either had caught fire or which have posed a fire hazard... Other notorious examples include the several different Tesla Model S's that have caught fire, typically after crashes compromised their battery packs, and Sony's wide-scale recall a decade ago of the batteries that powered its Vaio and other laptop computers.
In a related story, Samsung's recall of their Note 7 is now expected to cost $5.3 billion.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sudo-apt-get-install-bsdgames department
First-time submitter Big O Notation shares "an honest review about the new Ubuntu Bash" that shipped with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. While it's still officially beta, most of the commands work as expected, and it includes popular programs like the Pico text editor. Here's some of the review's highlights:
Pros: You can also manage and manipulate other files inside your entire Hard Disk, even those outside of your Linux home directory.
Cons: Even if you chmod something properly, when you use ls -l the Bash would not show the correct permissions. [And] if you try to create a Folder in your Linux Home Directory by using the Windows GUI, it would be impossible to read and manage it. Don't try this at home.
Microsoft says they've included the Windows Subsystem for Linux
primarily as "a tool for developers -- especially web developers and those who work on or with open source projects." One Scandinavian developer has even tried running X on Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, reporting success running simpler programs like xcalc and xclock, as well as Gnome Control Center and xeditor and SciTE. "Things start to fall apart if you try to get more ambitious, though."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's augmented-iPhones department
Earlier this month Mashable wrote "it's now even more obvious what [Apple] is working to bring to the masses, and it's probably not, as some rumors have indicated, virtual reality." They cited CEO Tim Cook's recent predictions that augmented reality "is going to become really big" -- he said it again on Thursday -- and BuzzFeed noted that Apple "has quietly put into place the components of what could prove to be an AR ecosystem:
The iPhone 7 Plus has...a two-camera system capable of gathering stereoscopic data and generating image depth maps... In Apple Watch, the company has a spatially-aware, wearable device outfitted with an accelerometer and GPS. In its new AirPod wireless earphones, Apple essentially has a pair of diminutive, spatially-aware microcomputers -- each one with an Apple W1 wireless chip (the company's first), two accelerometers, two optical sensors, beam-forming microphones, and an antenna... And sources tell BuzzFeed News that the company has recently been taking meetings with immersive content companies like Jaunt.
Their article also lists AR companies that Apple's bought over the last three years -- plus their patents for a "head-mounted display" and a "peripheral treatment for head-mounted displays." BGR adds that Tim Cook "likes to tease future products," and points out that Cook has even said Apple is working on AR features "behind the curtain". This casts a new light on those rumors of an all-glass case for next year's iPhone 8. Will the whole body of the phone become part of an Augmented Reality display system? (And could AR also explain Apple's aggressive push for wireless headphones?)Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's achievement-unlocked department
For the first time ever, secure HTTPS encryption was used for over half the pageloads served to Mozilla users, representing a big milestone for encryption. TechCrunch reports on the telemetry data tweeted by the Head of Let's Encrypt:
Mozilla, which is one of the organizations backing Let's Encrypt, was reporting that 40% of page views were encrypted as of December 2015. So it's an impressively speedy rise...
The Let's Encrypt initiative, which exited beta back in April, is doing some of that work by providing sites with free digital certificates to help accelerate the switch to HTTPS. According to [co-founder Josh] Aas, Let's Encrypt added more than a million new active certificates in the past week -- which is also a significant step up. In the initiative's first six months (when still in beta) it only issued around 1.7 million certificates in all.
The "50% HTTPS" figure is just a one-day snapshot, and it's from "only a subset of Firefox users who are running Mozilla's telemetry browser...not default switched on for most Firefox users (only for users of pre-release Firefox builds)."
But the biggest caveat is it's only counting Firefox users, which in July represented just 7.7% of web surfers (according to Statista), behind both Chrome (49.5%) and Safari (13.68%) -- but also ahead of Internet Explorer (5.4%) and Opera (5.99%).Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's priority department
From a report on Inverse: When Mercedes-Benz starts selling self-driving cars, it will choose to prioritize driver safety over pedestrians', a company manager has confirmed. The ethical conundrum of how A.I.-powered machines should act in life-or-death situations has received more scrutiny as driverless cars become a reality, but the car manufacturer believes that it's safer to save the life you have greater control over. "You could sacrifice the car. You could, but then the people you've saved initially, you don't know what happens to them after that in situations that are often very complex, so you save the ones you know you can save," said Christoph von Hugo, Mercedes' manager of driver assistance systems. "If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car. This moral question of whom to save: 99 percent of our engineering work is to prevent these situations from happening at all. We are working so our cars don't drive into situations where that could happen and [will] drive away from potential situations where those decisions have to be made."As long as they are better at driving and safety than humans, it is a progress, in my opinion.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's bed-time department
Apple will make all iPhone 4 models, the late 2010 13-inch MacBook Air, third-generation AirPort Extreme, and mid-2009 AirPort Time Capsule obsolete come October 31, MacRumor claims, citing a different report. From the report: Apple products on the vintage and obsolete list are no longer eligible for hardware service, beyond a few exceptions. Apple defines vintage products as those that have not been manufactured for more than five years but less than seven years ago, while obsolete products are those that were discontinued more than seven years ago. Each of the products added were released between 2009 and 2010. The report specifically pertains to Apple's vintage and obsolete products list in Japan, but the new additions will more than likely extend to the United States, Australia, Canada, and the rest of the Asia-Pacific and Europe regions.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's cleaning-the-mess department
Kate Lunau, reporting Motherboard:Greenland isn't happy about being treated as a dumping ground for abandoned US military bases established at the height of the Cold War -- and in a newspaper editorial, it's calling on Denmark to deal with the mess left behind by the Americans, since the Danish long ago took responsibility for them. This editorial notes that, after decades, Greenland is "losing its patience." One of the abandoned bases, called Camp Century, is full of nasty chemicals and some radioactive material, as Motherboard previously reported. At Camp Century, which was built in 1959, soldiers called "Iceworms" practiced deployment of missiles against Russia and literally lived inside the ice. When the US decommissioned the base in the 1960s, the military left basically everything behind, thinking that its waste would stay locked up in the Greenland ice sheet forever. Well, climate change has made that unlikely. Melting ice threatens to expose all kinds of toxic debris in decades to come, and Greenland wants it cleaned up, now.Read Replies (0)