By timothy from Slashdot's at-the-right-time department
The Washington Post reports that Apple has prevailed for the moment in its fight with the FBI over the agency's demand that Apple help them break the security of an iPhone — but not in the California case about the phone belonging to San Bernadino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook -- that more famous case, as we mentioned the other day, is of course not the only phone the FBI would like to peek into. New York federal judge James Orenstein scoffs in his 50-page decision at government arguments that Apple should be compelled to produce a software solution that would give them full access to content of the phone belonging to a drug dealer's phone.
[Orenstein] found that the All Writs Act does not apply in instances where Congress had the opportunity but failed to create an authority for the government to get the type of help it was seeking, such as having firms ensure they have a way to obtain data from encrypted phones.
He also found that ordering Apple to help the government by extracting data from the iPhone- which belonged to a drug dealer --would place an unreasonable burden on the company....
He also expressed concern about conferring too much authority in the government. "Nothing in the government's arguments suggests any principled limit on how far a court may go in requiring a person or company to violate the most deeply-rooted values to provide assistance to the government the court deems necessary," he said.
Whether the same logic will prevail in California is yet unclear; the New York decision is not binding on any other court.Read Replies (0)
By yaelk from Slashdot's happiest-or-most-expensive-place-on-earth department
HughPickens.com writes: Taking a page from the Uber playbook, Christopher Palmeri writes that Disney's six parks in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, are raising the cost to visit its theme parks as much as 20 percent during the busiest times of year and lowering them on typically slow days. Previously, the parks charged the same price for a one-day pass any time of year. "The demand for our theme parks continues to grow, particularly during peak periods," the company said. "In addition to expanding our parks, we are adopting seasonal pricing on our one-day ticket to help better spread visitation throughout the year." The move is designed to help manage traffic at the parks, which had record visits in the final three months of 2015. Busy days at Disney's amusement parks cause long lines for customers, and even gate closures. Dynamic pricing is meant to financially incentivize customers to choose less-busy days, spread out attendance, and to make as much money as possible on days when the park is historically expected to be full. It is also likely to boost Disney's total revenue since most visitors will pay more for their tickets.
One reason Disney may expect bigger crowds this year is the upcoming Star Wars theme park expansion which includes a virtual reality ride that allows guests to control the Millennium Falcon in an aerial battle with the First Order. "Star Wars is, for lack of a better word awesome," said Harrison Ford. "I'm so blessed that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. To walk in these iconic locations. And soon, you'll be able to do that as well. Not in a galaxy far, far away, but in a place close to home."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's but-that's-not-what-the-amendment-originally-meant department
New submitter Firx writes: My university department has a tradition of selling its used computers and/or repurposing them with Linux for graduate students and science computer labs. With Windows no longer requiring one be able to disable secure boot, my department is writing up a procurement policy to ensure future machines we buy will still have this feature. Part of the draft motion reads: "Be it resolved that computers running or intending to run Microsoft Windows purchased by the
department which boot using the Unified Extensible Firmware
Interface (UEFI) have the ability to disable the Secure Boot features for both local hard drive and
network booting." Is there something further we should be including here and what is the best way to explain the need for this policy to colleagues less technically literate?Read Replies (0)
By yaelk from Slashdot's dangerzone department
HughPickens.com writes: A new report written by a former Pentagon official who helped establish United States policy on autonomous weapons argues that autonomous weapons could be uncontrollable in real-world environments, where they are subject to design failure as well as hacking, spoofing and manipulation by adversaries. The report contrasts these completely automated systems, which have the ability to target and kill without human intervention, to weapons that keep humans "in the loop" in the process of selecting and engaging targets. "Anyone who has ever been frustrated with an automated telephone call support helpline, an alarm clock mistakenly set to 'p.m.' instead of 'a.m.,' or any of the countless frustrations that come with interacting with computers, has experienced the problem of 'brittleness' that plagues automated systems," Mr. Scharre writes.
The United States military does not have advanced autonomous weapons in its arsenal. However, this year the Defense Department requested almost $1 billion to manufacture Lockheed Martin's Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, which is described as a "semiautonomous" weapon. The missile is controversial because, although a human operator will initially select a target, it is designed to fly for several hundred miles while out of contact with the controller and then automatically identify and attack an enemy ship. As an alternative to completely autonomous weapons, the report advocates what it describes as "Centaur Warfighting." The term "centaur" has recently come to describe systems that tightly integrate humans and computers. Human-machine combat teaming takes a page from the field of "centaur chess," in which humans and machines play cooperatively on the same team. "Having a person in the loop is not enough," says Scharre. "They can't be just a cog in the loop. The human has to be actively engaged."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's horses-for-courses department
The usual narrative in the last few years is that robots relentlessly displace humans in today's highly mechanized workplaces (like factories and mines), but sometimes robots' speed and dexterity can't overcome their basic problem -- namely, they're robots. Reader jones_supa writes with this story from The Guardian about why robots aren't always the right tool, excerpting: Bucking modern manufacturing trends, carmaker Mercedes-Benz has been forced to trade in some of its assembly line robots for more flexible humans. The robots cannot handle the pace of change and the complexity of the key customization options available for the company's S-Class saloon at the 101-year-old Sindelfingen plant, which produces 400,000 vehicles a year from 1,500 tons of steel a day. The dizzying number of options for the cars – from heated or cooled cup holders, various wheels, carbon-fibre trims and decals, and even four types of caps for tire valves – demand adaptability, a quality that is still more easily fulfilled by humans than robots.Read Replies (0)