By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-or-not-here-it-comes department
Google's new confidential mode is rolling out to G Suite users and will be turned on by default starting on June 25th. Personal account holders have been able to use this feature since Gmail's mid-2018 redesign, but Gmail users at work have not.
"Confidential mode is a powerful tool that will come in handy at work if you send messages containing sensitive details," reports The Verge. "It lets you set an expiration date for your message, which cuts off access when that day arrives. While the message is available, recipients won't be able to forward your message to others, copy its contents, or download it, and the sender can revoke access at any point. To add another layer of security, you can set the message to only unlock after the recipient types in an SMS verification code that's sent to their phone number." Slashdot reader shanen reacts: Apparently the Google of supreme evil has decided they need to try to force this confidential-mode email down people's throats. I think that's actually a gigantic business opportunity for Outlook, assuming they actually want to offer a superior email system. The fundamental premise of confidential mode is "We want to communicate with you, but we don't trust you," and my fundamental response is GFY. The ONLY thing I want is an option to reject all confidential-mode email. (However, I'm sure Microsoft is too evil to offer that option because they don't trust their own employees and have to eat their own poison dog food.) (Well, actually there are several other improvements I want from email, such as a bounce for no-reply email.)Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sticking-to-their-guns department
Earlier this year, Google proposed changes to the open-source Chromium browser that would break content-blocking extensions, including various ad blockers. Despite the overwhelming negative feedback to the move, Google appears to be standing firm on the changes, sharing that current ad blocking capabilities will be restricted to enterprise users. 9to5Google reports: Manifest V3 comprises a major change to Chrome's extensions system, including a revamp to the permissions system and a fundamental change to the way ad blockers operate. In particular, modern ad blockers, like uBlock Origin and Ghostery, use Chrome's webRequest API to block ads before they're even downloaded. With the Manifest V3 proposal, Google deprecates the webRequest API's ability to block a particular request before it's loaded. As you would expect, power users and extension developers alike criticized Google's proposal for limiting the user's ability to browse the web as they see fit.
Now, months later, Google has responded to some of the various issues raised by the community, sharing more details on the changes to permissions and more. The most notable aspect of their response, however, is a single sentence buried in the text, clarifying their changes to ad blocking and privacy blocking extensions: "Chrome is deprecating the blocking capabilities of the webRequest API in Manifest V3, not the entire webRequest API (though blocking will still be available to enterprise deployments)." Google is essentially saying that Chrome will still have the capability to block unwanted content, but this will be restricted to only paid, enterprise users of Chrome. This is likely to allow enterprise customers to develop in-house Chrome extensions, not for ad blocking usage.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
New submitter AntiBrainWasher writes: Running away from the fear of legal/political persecution, the New York City-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) told editors of its roughly 200 journals yesterday that it feared "severe legal implications" from continuing to use Huawei scientists as reviewers in vetting technical papers. They can continue to serve on IEEE editorial boards, according to the memo, but "cannot handle any papers" until the sanctions are lifted. The IEEE ban has sparked outrage among Chinese scientists on social media. "I joined IEEE as a Ph.D. student because it is recognized as an International academic platform in electronics engineering," wrote Haixia (Alice) Zhang of Peking University in Beijing in a letter to IEEE leadership. "But this message is challenging my professional integrity. I have decided to quit the editorial boards [of two IEEE journals] until it restores our common professional integrity."
Meanwhile, the SD and Wi-Fi Alliance reinstated Huawei as a member, less than a week after they quietly removed the company from its membership list. Despite the lack of evidences, U.S. officials have alleged that the Chinese government could use equipment manufactured by Huawei, which is a global supplier of cellphones and wireless data networks, to spy on users or disrupt critical infrastructure, similar to what the NSA has done.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's think-outside-the-box department
MojoKid writes: What do you think graphics cards will look like in the next decade and a half? Intel wanted to know that as well, so it commissioned designer Cristiano Siquiera to give us a taste of what graphics cards might look like in the year 2035. Siquiera, the original talented designer that brought the first set of Intel Odyssey GPU renders not long ago, focused primarily on the fan/shroud designs and what innovations could be fostered in the coming years. He was tasked with thinking far beyond current design conventions, materials and cooling technologies in current-gen graphics cards, and to envision new designs that could employ technologies and materials not even invented yet. One concept, called Gemini, shows an ionic-based cooling system that isn't too far beyond the realm of feasibility. Yet another design, called Prometheus, showcases top edge-mounted display readout that could also be fairly easily employed with flexible OLED display technology. Intel also just launched a new Graphics Command Center driver package today, which offers more customization, better control of power and cooling and one-click game optimization for Intel GPU-enabled systems.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's respect-is-a-two-way-street department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Uber is now requiring the same good behavior from riders that it has long expected from its drivers. Uber riders have always had ratings, but they were never really at risk of deactivation -- until now. Starting today, riders in the U.S. and Canada are now at risk of deactivation if their rating falls significantly below a city's average. For drivers, they face a risk of deactivation if they fall below 4.6, according to leaked documents from 2015. Though, average ratings are city-specific. Uber, however, is not disclosing the average rider rating, but says "any rider at risk of losing access will receive several notifications and opportunities to improve his or her rating," an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. For example, Uber will offer tips to riders around encouraging polite behavior and keeping the car clean. "Ultimately, we expect this to impact only a very small number of riders," the spokesperson said. "Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability," Uber Head of Safety Brand and Initiatives Kate Parker wrote in a blog post. "Drivers have long been required to meet a minimum rating threshold which can vary city to city. While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it's the right thing to do."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department
Twitter is conducting in-house research to better understand how white nationalists and supremacists use the platform. From a report: The company is trying to decide, in part, whether white supremacists should be banned from the site or should be allowed to stay on the platform so their views can be debated by others, a Twitter executive told Motherboard. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of trust and safety, legal and public policy, said Twitter believes "counter-speech and conversation are a force for good, and they can act as a basis for de-radicalization, and we've seen that happen on other platforms, anecdotally."
"So one of the things we're working with academics on is some research here to confirm that this is the case," she added. Gadde, who, along with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, met with President Trump to discuss the "health of the public conversation" on Twitter last month, said Twitter is working with external researchers on the work, but declined to name them, and added that the researchers are under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). "We're working with them specifically on white nationalism and white supremacy and radicalization online and understanding the drivers of those things; what role can a platform like Twitter play in either making that worse or making that better?" she said. "Is it the right approach to deplatform these individuals? Is the right approach to try and engage with these individuals? How should we be thinking about this? What actually works?" she added.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it," said Internet pioneer John Gilmore in a 1993 Time magazine article about a then-ungoverned place called "cyberspace." How times have changed. From a report: In April, Sri Lankan authorities blocked its citizens' access to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube following a major terrorist attack. Such censorship, once considered all but inconceivable, is now commonplace in a growing number of countries. Russia, for instance, approved an "Internet sovereignty" law in May that gives the government broad power to dictate what its citizens can see online. And China is not just perfecting its "Great Firewall," which blocks such things as searches for "Tiananmen Square" and the New York Times, but is seeking to export its top-down version of the web to countries throughout Southeast Asia.
This phenomenon, colloquially called "splinternet," whereby governments seek to fence off the World Wide Web into a series of national Internets, isn't new. The term, also known as cyberbalkanization, has been around since the 1990s. But lately the rupturing has accelerated, as companies censor their sites to comply with national rules and governments blot out some sites entirely. "It feels like a chunk of the Internet is gone or different. People feel the Internet is not as we knew it," says Venkat Balasubramani, who runs a cyber law firm in Seattle. Technology is one reason for the change. According to Danny O'Brien of the digital civil rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, the sort of censorship tools deployed by China were enormously expensive and labor-Âintensive. But now, as the tools become cheaper and more efficient, other countries are willing to try them too. Meanwhile, there is a new political will among governments to try to control websites -- especially following events like the Arab Spring, during which Facebook and Twitter helped fuel political uprisings.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Every week millions of these requests are sent to hosting platforms, as well as third-party services, such as search engines. Quite a few of the major players, including Twitter, Google, and Bing, publish these requests online. However, due to the massive volume, it's hard for casual observers to spot any trends in the data. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Boston University aim to add some context with an elaborate study covering a broad database of takedown requests. Their results are now bundled in a paper titled: "Who Watches the Watchmen: Exploring Complaints on the Web."
The research covers all takedown requests that were made available through the Lumen Database in 2017. The majority of these were sent to Google, with Bing, Twitter, and Periscope as runners-up. In total, more than one billion reported URLs were analyzed. Most takedown requests or 'web complaints' were copyright-related, 98.6% to be precise. This means that other notices, such as defamation reports, court orders, and Government requests, make up a tiny minority. The researchers report that the complaints were submitted by 38,523 unique senders, covering 1.05 billion URLs. While that's a massive number, most reported links are filed by a very small group of senders.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department
As it faces both an antitrust lawsuit with huge implications and a formal EU investigation over its App Store tactics, Apple today defended itself against Spotify and other critics of the company's massively successful software storefront. From a report: "Today, the App Store is more vibrant and innovative than ever, offering equal opportunities to developers to deliver their apps and services across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch," reads a new page at Apple's website titled "App Store -- Principles and Practices." "We're proud of the store we've built and the way we've built it." Apple says it has paid out $120 billion to App Store developers worldwide since the platform launched, and the company again touts the quick approval process and efficient work of its app review team, which now "represents 81 languages across three time zones." Sixty percent of the approximately 100,000 apps and app updates reviewed each week are approved, with rejections mostly stemming from "minor bugs, followed by privacy concerns." Apple notes that anyone who feels that they were unjustly rejected can have their situation looked at by the App Store Review Board.
But the most interesting parts of this new site relate to competition. In one section, Apple goes over the core, built-in apps on iOS and lists the many popular third-party options that are available from the App Store in each category as alternatives. The company fails to mention that none of these apps can be chosen as the default messaging app, maps service, email client, web browser, or music player. That limitation isn't always a deal-breaker -- just ask WhatsApp, which is more popular than iMessage in many countries -- but it still gives Apple's services an advantage. [...] The message here seems to be that if companies don't like Apple's policies, they've got other options. Go find your riches on Android or make a Roku app.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department
Drones have become an increasingly popular tool for industry and government. But the Department of Homeland Security is warning that drones manufactured by Chinese companies could pose security risks, including that the data they gather could be stolen. From a report: The department sent out an alert on the subject on May 20, and a video on its website notes that drones in general pose multiple threats, including "their potential use for terrorism, mass casualty incidents, interference with air traffic, as well as corporate espionage and invasions of privacy." "We're not being paranoid," the video's narrator adds. Most drones bought in the U.S. are manufactured in China, with most of those drones made by one company, DJI Technology. Lanier Watkins, a cyber-research scientist at Johns Hopkins University's Information Security Institute, said his team discovered vulnerabilities in DJI's drones. "We could pull information down and upload information on a flying drone," Watkins said. "You could also hijack the drone." The vulnerabilities meant that "someone who was interested in, you know, where a certain pipeline network was or maybe the vulnerabilities in a power utilities' wiring might be able to access that information," he noted.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Microsoft still hasn't officially confirmed the existence of its rumored Windows Lite operating system, but the software giant is dropping some pretty big hints about the future of Windows today. From a report: Nick Parker, Microsoft's corporate vice president of consumer and device sales, appeared on stage at Computex today to detail the company's vision for a modern operating system. While Parker didn't unveil Windows Lite, a rumored lightweight version of Windows for dual-screen and Chromebook-like devices, he did reveal how Microsoft is preparing for new device types. These new devices will require what Microsoft calls a "modern OS," that includes a bunch of "enablers" like seamless updates. We've seen various promises about Windows Updates being improved over the years, but Microsoft is now promising that "modern OS updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions!" No interruptions and done in the background sounds very different from the Windows Update experience available on Windows 10 today, and it sounds far more Chrome OS-like. This "modern OS" is also secure by default according to Microsoft, meaning the state is separated from the OS and compute is "separated from applications," which sounds a lot more cloud-powered than what we're used to today. Microsoft also wants this modern OS to work with 5G connectivity, and to include a variety of inputs like pen, voice, touch, even gaze.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Sony is quietly launching a chip that could change how e-bikes, cars, street lamps and all kinds of other connected devices can relay information. The module, when installed on any IoT object, will allow it send data to Sony's proprietary low-power wide area (LPWA) ELTRES network launching this fall. It can transmit up to about 60 miles and work in noisy urban environments on objects moving at high speeds, opening up a lot of new applications in security, monitoring, tracking and more. Sony's ELTRES LPWA network harnesses low-power wireless technology to transfer low-bit data across a wide area, with lower power consumption, making it feasible to connect a wide range of devices.
The CXM1501GR chip transmits signals in the 920MHz band to Sony's ELTRES network, and is also equipped with GPS/GNSS sensors to obtain time and position data. Sony said it'll work in a "broad range of IoT devices, aiming to develop various services making the most of stable wireless communications over long distances and while moving at high speeds, thereby creating a new market." In a use case document, Sony said the tech could be used to "help friends find each other at a ski hill," track wildlife, geolocate ships, follow yacht races, monitor bike rentals, while tracking numerous things like drones, rental cars and trains. The chip is limited to Japan for now, but Sony has launched an application program for interested companies and the company does have plans to build out the network.Read Replies (0)