posted 9 days ago on slashdot
schwit1 quotes a report from Politico: In a just-released court opinion, a federal court judge overseeing government surveillance programs said he was "extremely concerned" about a series of incidents in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency deviated from court-approved limits on their snooping activities. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Thomas Hogan sharply criticized the two agencies over the episodes, referred to by intelligence gatherers as "compliance incidents." He also raised concerns that the government had taken years to bring the NSA-related issues to the court's attention and he said that delay might have run afoul of the government's duty of candor to the court. Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice to reveal whether or not they ever forced a company to provide technical surveillance assistance in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on his Facebook page: "Pornography is a public health crisis. The problem is rampant, yet it thrives in secrecy and silence." He emitted this thought on signing a resolution which says porn is "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms." In addition, it "perpetuates a sexually toxic environment." The resolution doesn't just stop there. It goes on to say "due to advances in technology and the universal availability of the Internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hard core, but is now considered mainstream, pornography at an alarming rate." The resolution says pornography "equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography." It requests "the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation." In the words of Gov. Gary Herbert, "Today's bills will start an open discussion." I couldn't agree more...

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Layzej quotes a report from Weather Underground: March 2016 was by far the planet's warmest March since record keeping began in 1880. In the NOAA database, March 2016 came in a full 1.22C (2.20F) warmer than the 20th-century average for March, as well as 0.32C (0.58F) above the previous record for March, set in 2010. This is a huge margin for breaking a monthly global temperature record, as they are typically broken by just a few hundredths of a degree. Global satellite-measured temperatures also found this March to be the warmest -- the sixth consecutive monthly record in the UAH satellite data set. Gavin Schmidt, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has estimated that 2016 already has over a 99% chance of being the hottest year on record, based on the first three months alone.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
darthcamaro writes: For over a decade, Google's Safe Browsing technology has helped to alert users to dangerous sites, where malware and phishing exploits can be found. Apparently, one of those unsafe sites is none other than Google.com itself. According to eWeek, "Google's automatic spidering of the Web will catch some malicious sites, and by Google's own admission, there are sites in its index that will redirect users to locations that will attempt to install malware on their computers. Google also admits and warns that by way of Google.com (and the sites linked in its index), 'Attackers on this site might try to trick you to download software or steal your information (for example passwords, messages, or credit card information).'"

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: According to Softpedia, "Security researchers from SurfWatch Labs have shut down a secret plan to hack and infect hundreds or possibly thousands of forums and websites hosted on the infrastructure of Invision Power Services, makers of the IP.Board forum platform." The man behind this plan was a hacker known as AlphaLeon, maker of the Thanatos malware-as-a-service platform. AlphaLeon hacked IP.Board's customer hosting platform, and was planning to place an exploit kit that would infect the visitors to these websites with his Thanatos trojan, in order to grow his botnet. Some of the companies using IP.Board-hosted forums include Evernote, the NHL, the Warner Music Group, and Bethesda Softworks (Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Doom games).

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: TechCrunch reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice to reveal documents that "show whether DOJ has ever forced a company like Google or Apple to provide technical surveillance assistance in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a federal court that issues secret surveillance warrants in national security cases and has been criticized for rubber-stamping NSA overreach." The EFF has been rejected in its attempt to gain access to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. "Even setting aside the existence of technical assistance orders, there's no question that other, significant FISC opinions remain hidden from the public," EFF senior staff attorney Mark Rumold said in a statement regarding the lawsuit. "The government's narrow interpretation of its transparency obligations under USA FREEDOM is inconsistent with the language of the statute and Congress' intent. Congress wanted to bring an end to secret surveillance law, so it required that all significant FISC opinions be declassified and released. Our lawsuit seeks to hold DOJ accountable to the law." The full lawsuit can be read here.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: You can watch the Titanic sink in real time thanks to an animated simulation created with Unreal Engine 4 to promote the upcoming game "Titanic: Honor and Glory." The HuffingtonPost writes, "This simulation includes the iceberg strike, the ship coasting to a halt in the North Atlantic about 20 minutes later, lifeboats lowered into the water and even scenes of flooding in the interior corridors." The animation will even give you a play-by-play of what was happening aboard the ship at specific times. What some may find especially eerie about the simulation is the lack of people. Some 1,500 people died when the Titanic sunk, but the simulation shows no people. You can watch the video here.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed: A high ranking technology official with the FBI told members of Congress Tuesday that the agency is incapable of cracking locked phones and devices on its own, even with additional resources. Amy Hess, the agency's executive assistant director for science and technology told a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that encrypted communications continue to pose a challenge to the American law enforcement, and to the safety of the American public. But when asked by lawmakers to provide a practical solution beyond the FBI's talking points, she said that the cooperation of technology companies would be necessary. According to the New York Times, "The FBI defended its hiring of a third-party company to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last year's San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting, telling some lawmakers on Tuesday that it needed to join with partners in the rarefied world of for-profit hackers as technology companies increasingly resist their demands for consumer information." They are stressing the importance of cooperation with tech companies and "third parties" to help fight terrorism, claiming they do not have the capabilities and resources available to crack encrypted devices. Congress is currently debating potential legislation on encryption.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: The new hip thing to do if you're a developer of a messaging app is to encrypt everyone's messages -- everyone's doing it! WhatsApp announced earlier this month all messages being sent through the service will now be end-to-end encrypted. Today, Viber has announcd it is doing something similar. All messages being sent through the latest version of the app will be end-to-end encrypted. To confirm messages are being encrypted, a padlock icon will appear in the chat UI. The latest version of the app is already available in the iOS App Store and Android Google Play Store. Viber is one of the largest messaging platforms with over 700 million users. Hidden chats can also be found in the new update. Users can hide select chats with people and access/display them with a PIN or Touch ID.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Tekla Perry writes: It's all about the cloud and the Internet of Things, says Intel explaining the planned layoffs, which will affect some 12,000 employees. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich promises in an email today to employees, that the "transition" will be handled with the "utmost dignity and respect." According to IEEE Spectrum, "Intel Corp. today announced that it would cut some 12,000 jobs -- that's 11 percent of its total workforce -- by mid-2017, with the majority of those affected getting the bad news within the next two months. In a press release, the company said the 'restructuring initiative' would 'accelerate its evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and the billions of smart, connected computing devices,' and that the company would be increasing its investments in 'data center, IoT memory, and connectivity businesses.'"

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader cites a Mashable report: Cutting-edge technology always comes at a premium for early adopters, but it never stays premium for long. After launching its new P-Series 4K TVs with built-in Google Cast last month, Vizio is bringing the feature to its lower-priced TVs. The 2016 M-Series 4K TVs start at $849.99 for a 50-inch and rocket up to $3,999.99 for an 80-inch. They support high dynamic range (HDR) with Dolby Vision. The E-Series 4K TVs are much cheaper. They start at $469.99 for a 43-inch and go up to $1,699.99 for a 70-inch. Vizio's also selling non-4K full HD E-series TVs with SmartCast starting at $229.99 for a 32-inch and going up to $369.99 for a 43-inch.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Over the weekend, thousands of gallons of radioactive waste have leaked at a nuclear storage tank in Washington State. One worker called the leak "catastrophic." RT writes, "The Hanford Nuclear Reservation was originally constructed in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project." It produced plutonium for weapons, including the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The U.S. Department of Energy started removing what was left in the tank in March when workers discovered leaked waste had reached a depth of 8.4 inches. The Department of Energy calls the leak "anticipated," posing no threat to the public. Mike Geffre, the worker who discovered the leak, told King5 News, "This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment)." The double-wall storage tank AY-102 has been slowly leaking since 2011. It wasn't until March of this year that the U.S. Department of Energy began pumping the waste leftover in the tank.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Ernesto Van der Sar, writing for TorrentFreak: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the recent crackdown on VPN and proxy users hasn't hurt the company's results. The VPN blockade only affects a small but vocal minority, according to Hastings, and there are no signs that hordes of subscribers are abandoning ship. Earlier this year Netflix announced that it would increase its efforts to block customers who circumvent geo-blockades. As a result, it has become harder to use VPN services and proxies to access Netflix content from other countries, something various movie studios have repeatedly called for. When asked about the impact of the VPN changes on the results, Hastings brushed the issue aside as a minor detail that doesn't impact the bigger picture in any way. "It's a very small but quite vocal minority. So it's really inconsequential to us, as you could see in the Q1 results." Earlier this year, Hastings also admitted that a VPN-blocking policy might be impossible to enforce.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader cites a report on Reuters: German carmaker Audi created so-called defeat devices which cut emissions in 1999, years before parent company Volkswagen used them to cheat diesel emissions tests, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. VW, Europe's largest automaker, admitted in September it had manipulated the engines of around 11 million diesel cars, including its VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands. Engineers at Audi developed software capable of turning off certain engine functions in 1999, but it was never used by the VW luxury division, the newspaper said in an advance release of an article due to be published on Wednesday, which cited industry and company sources. Six years later, when VW engineers at the firm's Wolfsburg headquarters were unable to bring nitrogen oxide emissions below legal thresholds, they started to install the software developed by Audi, Handelsblatt said.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Reader Trailrunner7 writes: As part of the enhancements to Android security, Google scans more than 6 billion installed applications per day on users' devices. The company also scans more than 400 million devices each day, it announced on Tuesday. Google last year also began releasing monthly security updates for devices running modern versions of Android, which includes devices on version 4.4.4 (KitKat) and later. "70.8% of all active Android devices are on a version that we support with patches," the Android report says. However, that still leaves hundreds of millions of Android devices without regular updates. There were roughly 1.4 billion Android devices active in September, according to Google, so that would leave about 420 million Android devices without patches. In the Android ecosystem, carriers are also responsible for pushing security patches to users, so while Google pushes security updates each month, not all carriers and device manufacturers release them to all users regularly.In its report, Google also says that fewer than 0.15% of devices, that only get apps from Google Play, had potentially harmful apps installed on them.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: Apple has been asked by Chinese authorities within the last two years to hand over its source code but refused to do so, the company's top lawyer told U.S. lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell made the statement in response to a line of attack from law enforcement officials who have attempted to portray Apple as complicit in handing over information to Chinese authorities for business reasons while refusing to cooperate with U.S. requests for access to private data in criminal investigations. Apple and the FBI returned to Washington to testify before lawmakers about their heated disagreement over law enforcement access to encrypted devices, highlighted in the case of a locked iPhone linked to a gunman in last December's Islamist militant-inspired shootings in San Bernardino, California. Earlier in the hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Captain Charles Cohen, commander in the Indiana State Police, repeated the suggestion that Apple has quietly cooperated with Beijing. But when pressed by Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, for the source of that claim, Cohen only cited news reports. "That takes my breath away," a visibly frustrated Eshoo said. "That is a huge allegation."In some other Apple news, the Cupertino-based company complied with 80% of U.S. law enforcement requests in the second half of 2015, its just released transparency report shows. U.S. law enforcement asked Apple for information 4,000 times, covering 16,112 devices in the second half of 2015.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader cites a report on Climate Change News: India is on track to soar past a goal to deploy more than 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, the country's energy minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday. Speaking at the release of a 15-point action plan for the country's renewable sector, Goyal said he was now considering looking at "something more" for the fast-growing solar sector. "I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant," he said. "Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that -- but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based." In the past financial year, nearly 20GW of solar capacity has been approved by the government, with a further 14GW planned through 2016 according to the Union Budget.More details here. It is worth pointing out that India is currently among the handful of nations that is increasing its coal consumption, according to a The Guardian report from late last year. Also see: India aims to become 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have developed a new system that can identify people using their brain waves or 'brainprint' with 100% accuracy, an advance that may be useful in high-security applications. Researchers at Binghamton University in U.S. recorded the brain activity of 50 people wearing an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset while they looked at a series of 500 images designed specifically to elicit unique responses from person to person -- e.g., a slice of pizza, a boat, or the word "conundrum." They found that participants' brains reacted differently to each image, enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer's 'brainprint' with 100% accuracy. "When you take hundreds of these images, where every person is going to feel differently about each individual one, then you can be really accurate in identifying which person it was who looked at them just by their brain activity," said Assistant Professor Sarah Laszlo. One thing the paper doesn't talk about is the effect of time on the accuracy of the system. People may perceive different things when looking at the same picture a year later, for instance.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader shares a report at Mirror: Scientists believe human limbs evolved from the gills of sharks -- thanks to a gene named after Sonic the Hedgehog. The discovery comes from analysis of skate, a cartilaginous fish which has much in common with sharks. Limbs, like gills, grow thanks to a vital protein known as the 'Sonic hedgehog gene' -- named after the video game character. The new discovery backs up a theory suggested 138 years ago that legs and arms evolved from prehistoric fish gills. Gizmodo has more details on this.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader cites an article on Motherboard: Like the changing of the seasons, a natural stage in the dark web marketplace life cycle has once again manifested. Nucleus market, which primarily sold illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis, has disappeared: The site is unresponsive, and the market administrators have not made any announcements about planned downtime. This has forced vendors to migrate to other sites and panicked users to figure out where to go next, all amidst a whirlwind of rumours and speculation of where Nucleus -- and its cash -- has gone. 'Nucleus is an awesome market. One of the best. Hope all the admins are ok and nothing serious happened,' someone identifying themselves as a vendor wrote in a comment on the news site Deep Dot Web. At the moment, it's not totally clear why Nucleus' website is unresponsive. It could be an exit scam -- a scam where site administrators stop allowing users to withdraw their funds and then disappear with the stockpile of bitcoins.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Reader saccade writes: Kindle Unlimited is Amazon's book service that lets customers "check out" any book from a large selection without paying for individual titles. Like most things on the Internet, it's fallen prey to scammers. The system is designed to pay authors out of a single pool of money based on how many pages of their books are actually read. However, scammers have figured out how to rig the system by posting large, fake books, then hiring click farms to "read" them. This doesn't affect people using the service to read books (other than the nuisance of occasionally stumbling over bogus titles), but legitimate authors are getting squeezed as more of the KU payment pool goes to thieves and their bogus books.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Americans as a whole are growing less likely than before to have residential broadband, according to new data on a sample of 53,000 Americans. In plain English, they're abandoning their wired Internet for a mobile-data-only diet -- and if the trend continues, it could reflect a huge shift in the way we experience the Web. The study, conducted for the Commerce Department by the U.S. Census Bureau, partly upholds what we already knew. Low-income Americans are still one of the biggest demographics to rely solely on their phones to get online. Today nearly a third of households earning less than $25,000 a year exclusively use mobile Internet to browse the Web. That's up from 16 percent in 2013. They're often cited as evidence of a digital divide; families with little money to afford a home Internet subscription must resort to free Wi-Fi at libraries and even McDonald's to do homework, look for jobs and find information. But people with higher incomes are ditching their wired Internet access at similar or even faster rates. In 2013, 8 percent of households making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year were mobile-only. Fast-forward a couple of years, and that figure is 18 percent. Seventeen percent of households making between $75,000 and $100,000 are mobile-only now, compared with 8 percent two years ago. And 15√Ępercent of households earning more than $100,000 are mobile-only, versus 6 percent in 2013.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Apple, on Tuesday, announced a refresh for its 12-inch MacBook laptop. The 2016 MacBook comes with a new Intel processor -- sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M model, offering up to 1.3 GHz clock speed with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.1 GHz, faster 1866 MHz memory, and a 'rose gold' color variant. Apple assures 10 hours of wireless Web browsing time, or 11 hours of movie playback on a single charge. The new model will hit retail stores on Wednesday. It starts at $1299 for the 256GB SSD version, and goes all the way up to $1,599 for the top-of-the-line model which offers 512GB SSD.A couple of points: the first-generation MacBook didn't fare well with reviewers and plenty of users alike. Second, today's announcement also hints that the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lineups won't be getting the Intel Skylake upgrade for at least a few more months. Which is really sad, because at present, they are running almost three-year-old processor and graphics chips.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
schwit1 quotes a report from Mirror Online: NASA has been accused of an alien cover up after a live International Space Station feed appearing to show a horseshoe UFO suddenly went down. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day over the sighting of the strange U-shaped object hovering on the horizon of the the ISS. They claim NASA 'cut the live feed' after the glowing blue object flew too close to the space station. Some have even gone as far to say NASA's funding should be cut over their 'great alien deception.' Scott Waring of UFO Sightings Daily first discovered the UFO. He passed the footage on to Tyler Glockner who uploaded the video to his YouTube channel secureteam10. What do you think: is it an alien spaceship or something more likely such as a reflection from a station window?

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
mdsolar quotes a report from Los Angeles Times: After a decades-long search, scientists announced early this year that they had detected gravitational waves probably coming from the merger of two black holes back in September. Now, a team of scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope say they spotted a brief flash of gamma rays that occurred less than half a second after that long-sought gravitational wave signal. The gamma-ray outburst, described at the American Physical Society's April meeting in Salt Lake City, has not been definitively linked to that first gravitational wave signal, and scientists weren't able to pinpoint its exact origin -- just that they came from the same general area. But if other astronomers begin to find a similar pattern, the results do raise the intriguing possibility that such high-energy events might not be quite as 'invisible' as we thought. The first gravitational wave signal rolled through the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory on Sept. 14, hitting the Louisiana detector first and then the one in Washington state seven milliseconds later, telling researchers that the signal must have come from the southern hemisphere.

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