Linux fréttir

Staff in a huff, personal call with Trump, picking fights with Twitter, upsetting civil-rights groups – a week in the life of Facebook's Zuckerberg

TheRegister - 2 hours 11 min ago
Social network's engineers are so upset they're going to just keep on showing up for work

Analysis On Monday, some Facebook employees, sheltering at home amid the persistent coronavirus lockdown, staged a virtual "walkout" to protest the internet giant's refusal to block President Trump's incendiary posts about the protests over the police killing of George Floyd.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

Walmart Employees Are Out To Show Its Anti-Shoplifting AI Doesn't Work

Slashdot - 3 hours 22 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In January, my coworker received a peculiar email. The message, which she forwarded to me, was from a handful of corporate Walmart employees calling themselves the "Concerned Home Office Associates." (Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, is often referred to as the Home Office.) While it's not unusual for journalists to receive anonymous tips, they don't usually come with their own slickly produced videos. The employees said they were "past their breaking point" with Everseen, a small artificial intelligence firm based in Cork, Ireland, whose technology Walmart began using in 2017. Walmart uses Everseen in thousands of stores to prevent shoplifting at registers and self-checkout kiosks. But the workers claimed it misidentified innocuous behavior as theft and often failed to stop actual instances of stealing. They told WIRED they were dismayed that their employer -- one of the largest retailers in the world -- was relying on AI they believed was flawed. One worker said that the technology was sometimes even referred to internally as "NeverSeen" because of its frequent mistakes. WIRED granted the employees anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press. The workers said they had been upset about Walmart's use of Everseen for years and claimed colleagues had raised concerns about the technology to managers but were rebuked. They decided to speak to the press, they said, after a June 2019 Business Insider article reported Walmart's partnership with Everseen publicly for the first time. The story described how Everseen uses AI to analyze footage from surveillance cameras installed in the ceiling and can detect issues in real time, such as when a customer places an item in their bag without scanning it. When the system spots something, it automatically alerts store associates. A video from the Concerned Home Office Associates "purports to show Everseen's technology failing to flag items not being scanned in three different Walmart stores," adds the report. "Set to cheery elevator music, it begins with a person using self-checkout to buy two jumbo packages of Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups. Because the packages are stacked on top of each other, only one is scanned, but both are successfully placed in the bagging area without issue." "The same person then grabs two gallons of milk by their handles and moves them across the scanner with one hand. Only one is rung up, but both are put in the bagging area. They then put their own cell phone on top of the machine, and an alert pops up saying they need to wait for assistance -- a false positive."

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Lenovo certifies all desktop and mobile workstations for Linux – and will even upstream driver updates

TheRegister - 3 hours 36 min ago
Could this make 2020 the mythical year of the penguin on the desktop?

Lenovo has decided to certify all of its workstations for Linux.…

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Apple Warns Looters With Stolen iPhones: You Are Being Tracked

Slashdot - 5 hours 27 min ago
Following the rioting and looting from the death of George Floyd, Apple has a message for those who power on a stolen iPhone: "This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted." Forbes reports: Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a message to his employees as those protests escalated, saying that "there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism." Cook went on to say that "at Apple, our mission has and always will be to create technology that empowers people to change the world for the better. We've always drawn strength from our diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone." These words were being digested as the tech giant made the decision to close the majority of its U.S. stores for the safety of those staff and its customers, stores that had only just reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown. Apple has unsurprisingly become a favored target of looters, given the likely spoils on offer, and the decision was taken to remove stock from shop floors and shutter locations. It has long been known that Apple operates some form of proximity software that disables a device when it is taken illegally from a store. Until now, though, little had been seen of that technology in action. Well, thanks to social media, we can now see the message that greets a looter powering up their new device: "This device has been disabled and is being tracked," it says. "Local authorities will be alerted."

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Watchdog slams Pentagon for failing – for a third time – to migrate US military to IPv6

TheRegister - 5 hours 41 min ago
There’s four checkboxes, auditors point out, and you’ve ticked one of them

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has been shamed for its appalling IPv6 migration efforts in a formal probe by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).…

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Google Faces $5 Billion Lawsuit In US For Tracking 'Private' Internet Use

Slashdot - 6 hours 7 min ago
Google was sued on Tuesday in a proposed class action accusing the internet search company of illegally invading the privacy of millions of users by pervasively tracking their internet use through browsers set in "private" mode. Reuters reports: The lawsuit seeks at least $5 billion, accusing the Alphabet unit of collecting information about what people view online and where they do their browsing, despite using what Google calls Incognito mode. The complaint said Google surreptitiously collects data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads. This helps the Mountain View, California-based company learn details about users' friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the "most intimate and potentially embarrassing things" they search for online, the complaint said. Google "cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone," the complaint said. The complaint said the proposed class likely includes "millions" of Google users who since June 1, 2016 browsed the internet in "private" mode. It seeks damages per user of $5,000 or three times actual damages, whichever is greater, for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws.

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Zealous Zoom's zesty zymotic zone zinger: Zestful zealots zip zillions

TheRegister - 6 hours 40 min ago
Video-conferencing upstart's sales soar 169 per cent mid-pandemic in quarter to May, funnily enough

Videoconferencing upstart Zoom zipped past even the most optimistic projections for its fiscal quarter, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forcing millions to stay at home.…

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A Look At AI Benchmarking For Mobile Devices In a Rapidly Evolving Ecosystem

Slashdot - 6 hours 50 min ago
MojoKid writes: AI and Machine Learning performance benchmarks have been well explored in the data center, but are fairly new and unestablished for edge devices like smartphones. While AI implementations on phones are typically limited to inferencing tasks like speech-to-text transcription and camera image optimization, there are real-world neural network models employed on mobile devices and accelerated by their dedicated processing engines. A deep dive look at HotHardware of three popular AI benchmarking apps for Android shows that not all platforms are created equal, but also that performance results can vary wildly, depending on the app used for benchmarking. Generally speaking, it all hinges on what neural networks (NNs) the benchmarks are testing and what precision is being tested and weighted. Most mobile apps that currently employ some level of AI make use of INT8 (quantized). While INT8 offers less precision than FP16 (Floating Point), it's also more power-efficient and offers enough precision for most consumer applications. Typically, Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 powered devices offer the best INT8 performance, while Huawei's Kirin 990 in the P40 Pro 5G offers superior FP16 performance. Since INT8 precision for NN processing is more common in today's mobile apps, it could be said that Qualcomm has the upper hand, but the landscape in this area is ever-evolving to be sure.

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Senators Introduce COVID-19 Contact-Tracing Privacy Bill

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: A group of U.S. senators on Monday introduced a bill to regulate contact-tracing apps, aiming to protect user privacy as technology is used to track the spread of the novel coronavirus. The proposal is called the Exposure Notification Privacy Act and seeks to ensure that people couldn't be forced to use the technology. It also would make sure that the data isn't used for advertising or commercial purposes and that people can delete their data. The bill seeks to require that notification systems only rely on "an authorized diagnosis" that came from medical organization. "Public health needs to be in charge of any notification system so we protect people's privacy and help them know when there is a warning that they might have been exposed to COVID-19," Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington and one of the bill's sponsors, said in a comment provided to CNET. Cantwell's co-sponsor on the bill is Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, also has given her support. "We need to regulate apps that provide COVID-19 exposure notification to protect a user's privacy, prevent data misuse and preserve our civil rights -- and this bill offers a roadmap for doing all three," Public Knowledge Policy Counsel Sara Collins said in a statement. "The bill marks a valuable first step in the long road ahead to protecting Americans' data."

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If you bought a CRT monitor, TV 13+ years ago, hold on a little longer, there may be a small check for you

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-06-02 23:04
Price-fixing scandal case rumbles on and on, and on and on, and on and on

Nearly 13 years after the first court papers were submitted, a California class-action lawsuit over CRT monitor and TV pricing drags on.…

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Instagram Users Flood the App With Millions of Blackout Tuesday Posts

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 22:40
Instagram users are flooding the platform with black squares in support of black victims of police violence as part of a Blackout Tuesday protest. CNBC reports: As of 11:45 a.m. ET, more than 14.6 million Instagram posts used the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. Searches for "blackout tuesday image" and "blackout image" surged 400% Tuesday morning, according to Google Trends. The idea of an online movement was announced last week, when music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang called on members of the music industry to pause business on Tuesday and take a stand against racism. "We will not continue to conduct business as usual without regard for Black lives," the founders wrote. Platforms, such as Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music, joined the movement and are using their apps to promote black artists. Additionally, media company ViacomCBS, which owns MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Pop, VH1, TV Land, among others, also joined this call to action. On Monday, the company's networks all went off the air for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that an officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee on Floyd's neck. The movement has since spread to brands, organizations and individuals, who are using Instagram to post only a black square Tuesday to show a virtual moment of silence. Others are choosing to continue posting, but will only amplify voices of the black community.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Rust Enters 'Top 20' Popularity Rankings For the First Time

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 22:02
Programming language Rust has entered the top 20 of the Tiobe popularity index for the first time, but it's still five spots behind systems programming rival Go. ZDNet reports: There's growing interest in the use of memory-safe Rust for systems programming to build major platforms, in particular at Microsoft, which is exploring it for Windows and Azure with the goal of wiping out memory bugs in code written in C and C++. Amazon Web Services is also using Rust for performance-sensitive components in Lambda, EC2, and S3. Rust has seen its ranking rise considerably on Tiobe, from 38 last year to 20 today. Tiobe's index is based on searches for a language on major search engines, so it doesn't mean more people are using Rust, but it shows that more developers are searching for information about the language. Rust was voted for the fifth year straight the most loved programming language by developers in Stack Overflow's 2020 survey. This year, 86% of developers said they are keen to use Rust, but just 5% actually use it for programming. On the other hand, it could become more widely used thanks to Microsoft's public preview of its Rust library for the Windows Runtime (WinRT), which makes it easier for developers to write Windows, cross-platform apps and drivers in Rust.

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As Twitter blocks white supremacists posing as anti-fascists, FBI appeal is flooded with images of cop violence

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-06-02 21:33
The confusion of physical and online protests merge

Comment Anyone who has ever been involved in a demo will know its key defining characteristic is confusion. With protests across America over the death of George Floyd, systemic racism, and police brutality moving into another day, the internet has become as much a battleground as the streets.…

Categories: Linux fréttir

Lawsuit Says Trump's Social Media Crackdown Violates Free Speech

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 21:25
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: President Trump's crackdown on social media companies faced a new legal challenge on Tuesday, as a technology policy organization claimed in a lawsuit that he violated the companies' right to free speech with his executive order aimed at curtailing their legal protections. The nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology says in the suit that Mr. Trump's attempt to unwind a federal law that grants social media companies discretion over the content they allow on their platforms was retaliatory and would have a chilling effect on the companies. The lawsuit -- filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia -- is indicative of the pushback that the president is likely to face as he escalates his fight with social media companies, which he has accused of bias against conservative voices. It asks the court to invalidate the executive order. [...] "President Trump -- by publicly attacking Twitter and issuing the order -- sought to chill future online speech by other speakers," its filing said. The center added, "The order clouds the legal landscape in which the hosts of third-party content operate and puts them all on notice that content moderation decisions with which the government disagrees could produce penalties and retributive actions, including stripping them of Section 230's protections."

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Trump Administration Escalates Global Fight Over Taxing Tech

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 20:45
The U.S. investigation targets nine countries, plus the European Union, that have adopted or are considering new taxes that would hit American companies like Google and Amazon. From a report: The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it would open an investigation into taxes on digital commerce that have been adopted or proposed in nine countries and the European Union, escalating a global battle that will affect where big American tech companies like Facebook and Amazon pay taxes. The administration's move could ultimately lead to American tariffs on imports from Brazil, Britain, India and a host of other countries, heightening the chances of another global trade dispute that results in retaliatory taxes on U.S. goods. The investigation, which will be conducted by the United States Trade Representative, could also complicate global negotiations that have been underway for more than a year and are aimed at reaching a multinational consensus on how to tax internet commerce that crosses borders. At issue are efforts spreading across Europe and beyond to impose so-called digital services taxes on economic activity generated online. Those taxes deviate from many traditional international tax regimes by affecting revenues earned by a company where they are generated -- regardless of whether the company has a physical presence there. For example, India imposed a 2 percent tax in April on online sales of goods and services to people in India by large foreign firms. The European Union has revived its push for a similar tax as a way to help fund response measures to the coronavirus.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Zuckerberg Defends Hands-Off Approach To Trump's Posts

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 20:05
In a call with Facebook employees, who have protested the inaction on Mr. Trump's messages, Mr. Zuckerberg said his decision was "pretty thorough." From a report: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, on Tuesday stood firmly behind his decision to not do anything about President Trump's inflammatory posts on the social network, saying that he had made a "tough decision" but that it "was pretty thorough." In a question-and-answer session with employees conducted over video chat software, Mr. Zuckerberg sought to justify his position on Mr. Trump's messages, which has led to fierce internal dissent. The meeting, which had been scheduled for Thursday, was moved up to Tuesday after hundreds of employees protested the inaction by staging a virtual "walkout" of sorts on Monday. Facebook's principles and policies around free speech "show that the right action where we are right now is to leave this up," Mr. Zuckerberg said on the call, the audio of which was heard by The New York Times. He added that though he knew many people would be upset with the company, a review of its policies backed up his decision. "I knew that I would have to separate out my personal opinion," he said. "Knowing that when we made this decision we made, it was going to lead to a lot of people upset inside the company, and the media criticism we were going to get."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Snapping at Canonical's Snap: Linux Mint team says no to Ubuntu store 'backdoor'

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-06-02 20:01
Version 20 will ship without any snap packages, snapd daemon

The developers of Linux Mint have expressed concern with Canonical's Snap Store and the way it is forced on Ubuntu users who try to install popular packages like the Chromium web browser.…

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China Delayed Releasing Coronavirus Info, Frustrating WHO

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 19:25
schwit1 shares a report: Throughout January, the World Health Organization publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus "immediately," and said its work and commitment to transparency were "very impressive, and beyond words." But behind the scenes, it was a much different story, one of significant delays by China and considerable frustration among WHO officials over not getting the information they needed to fight the spread of the deadly virus, The Associated Press has found. Despite the plaudits, China in fact sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information. Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents. Chinese government labs only released the genome after another lab published it ahead of authorities on a virologist website on Jan. 11. Even then, China stalled for at least two weeks more on providing WHO with detailed data on patients and cases, according to recordings of internal meetings held by the U.N. health agency through January -- all at a time when the outbreak arguably might have been dramatically slowed.

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You're 3 billion years too late to see Mars' impressive ring system. The next one will be along in 40 million years or so

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-06-02 19:00
Astroboffins say Deimos's wonky orbit suggests slow-burning ring-moon cycle

Like the gas giants in the outer region of the Solar System, Mars may have been circled by a ring of debris over three billion years ago.…

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Covid-19 Is History's Biggest Translation Challenge

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-06-02 18:45
Services like Google Translate support only 100 languages, give or take. What about the thousands of other languages -- spoken by people just as vulnerable to this crisis? From a report: If we want to avoid a pandemic spreading to all the humans in the world, this information also has to reach all the humans of the world -- and that means translating Covid PSAs into as many languages as possible, in ways that are accurate and culturally appropriate. It's easy to overlook how important language is for health if you're on the English-speaking internet, where "is this headache actually something to worry about?" is only a quick Wikipedia article or WebMD search away. For over half of the world's population, people can't expect to Google their symptoms, nor even necessarily get a pamphlet from their doctor explaining their diagnosis, because it's not available in a language they can understand. [...] In a pandemic, the challenge isn't just translating one or a handful of primary languages in a single region -- it's on a scale of perhaps thousands of languages, at least 1,000 to 2,000 of the 7,000-plus languages that exist in the world today, according to the pooled estimates of the experts I spoke with, all of whom emphasized that this number was very uncertain but definitely the largest number they'd ever faced at once. Machine translation might be able to help in some circumstances, but it needs to be approached with caution. [...] That's not to say that machine translation isn't helpful for some tasks, where getting the gist quickly is more important than the nuanced translations humans excel at, such as quickly sorting and triaging requests for help as they come in or keeping an eye on whether a new misconception is bubbling up. But humans need to be kept in the loop, and both human and machine language expertise needs to be invested in during calmer times so that it can be used effectively in a crisis. The bigger issue with machine translation is that it's not even an option for many of the languages involved. Translators Without Borders is translating Covid information into 89 languages, responding to specific requests of on-the-ground organizations, and 25 of them (about a third) aren't in Google Translate at all. Machine translation disproportionately works for languages with lots of resources, with things like news sites and dictionaries that can be used as training data. Sometimes, like with French and Spanish, the well-resourced languages of former colonial powers also work as lingua francas for translation purposes. In other cases, there's a mismatch between what's easy to translate by machine versus what's useful to TWB: The group has been fielding lots of requests for Covid info in Kanuri, Dari, and Tigrinya, none of which are in Google Translate, but hasn't seen any for Dutch or Hebrew (which are in Google Translate but don't need TWB's help -- they have national governments already producing their own materials). Google Translate supports 109 languages, Bing Translate has 71, and even Wikipedia exists in only 309 languages -- figures that pale in comparison to the 500-plus languages on the list from the Endangered Languages Project, all human-created resources.

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