Linux fréttir

Good luck deleting someone's private info from a trained neural network – it's likely to bork the whole thing

TheRegister - Mon, 2019-07-15 09:04
Researchers show limited success in getting rid of data

AI systems have weird memories. The machines desperately cling onto the data they’ve been trained on, making it difficult to delete bits of it. In fact, they often have to be completely retrained from scratch with the newer, smaller dataset.…

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Industry reps told the UK taxman everything wrong with extending IR35. What happened next will astound you

TheRegister - Mon, 2019-07-15 08:10
Don't like it? Take it to an employment tribunal!

The UK government disregarded a raft of concerns about extending IR35 to the private sector in its response to a consultation over off-payroll working rules, industry groups have said.…

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Review: 'Solid State' by Jonathan Coulton

Slashdot - Mon, 2019-07-15 07:33
We're reviving an old Slashdot tradition -- the review. Whenever there's something especially geeky -- or relevant to our present moment -- we'll share some thoughts. And I'd like to start with Jonathan Coulton's amazing 2017 album Solid State, and its trippy accompanying graphic novel adaptation by Matt Fraction. I even tracked down Jonathan Coulton on Friday for his thoughts on how it applies to our current moment in internet time... "When I started work on Solid State, the only thing I could really think of that I wanted to say was something like, 'The internet sucks now'," Coulton said in 2017 in an epilogue to the graphic novel. "It's a little off-brand for me, so it was a scary place to start..." So what does he think today? And what did we think of his album...?

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Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned

TheRegister - Mon, 2019-07-15 07:06
More than four decades on, we can finally shine the light on this tale

Who, Me? As the weekend disappears with the speed of a Phantom flung off an aircraft carrier, it is time to console ourselves with another tale of decades-old hijinks in The Register's weekly Who, Me? column.…

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Malicious code ousted from PureScript's npm installer – but who put it there in the first place?

TheRegister - Mon, 2019-07-15 06:04
Account hijacking claimed by some but it may just be a developer behaving badly

Another JavaScript package in the npm registry - the installer for PureScript - has been tampered with, leading project maintainers to revise their software to purge the malicious code.…

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New old Windows bug emerges, your 'strong' password is anything but, plus plenty more

TheRegister - Mon, 2019-07-15 05:31
What you need to know from infosec land lately

Roundup Here is a brief look at some of the other security stories floating around right now.…

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Watch online this month: How to leave the past behind when you migrate to the cloud

TheRegister - Mon, 2019-07-15 05:00
Practical steps for your migration journey

Sponsored webcast Moving to the cloud is not as simple as we have sometimes been led to believe. Many organisations are eager to benefit from the functionality and convenience that the cloud offers but find themselves constrained by the past.…

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How America's Tech Giants Are Helping Build China's Surveillance State

Slashdot - Mon, 2019-07-15 03:36
"An American organization founded by tech giants Google and IBM is working with a company that is helping China's authoritarian government conduct mass surveillance against its citizens," the Intercept reports. The OpenPower Foundation -- a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to "drive innovation" -- has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently. Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people... Semptian presents itself publicly as a "big data" analysis company that works with internet providers and educational institutes. However, a substantial portion of the Chinese firm's business is in fact generated through a front company named iNext, which sells the internet surveillance and censorship tools to governments. iNext operates out of the same offices in China as Semptian, with both companies on the eighth floor of a tower in Shenzhen's busy Nanshan District. Semptian and iNext also share the same 200 employees and the same founder, Chen Longsen. [The company's] Aegis equipment has been placed within China's phone and internet networks, enabling the country's government to secretly collect people's email records, phone calls, text messages, cellphone locations, and web browsing histories, according to two sources familiar with Semptian's work. Promotional documents obtained from the company promise "location information for everyone in the country." One company representative even told the Intercept they were processing "thousands of terabits per second," and -- not knowing they were talking to a reporter -- forwarded a 16-minute video detailing their technology. "If a government operative enters a person's cellphone number, Aegis can show where the device has been over a given period of time: the last three days, the last week, the last month, or longer," the Intercept reports. Joss Wright, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford's Internet Institute, told the Intercept that "by any meaningful definition, this is a vast surveillance effort." Read what the U.S. companies had to say about their involvement with Chinese surveillance technology:

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US Lawmakers Consider Ban On Big Tech Companies Launching Cryptocurrencies

Slashdot - Mon, 2019-07-15 01:44
PolygamousRanchKid quotes Reuters: A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters. In a sign of widening scrutiny after Facebook Inc's (FB.O) proposed Libra digital coin aroused widespread objection, the bill proposes a fine of $1 million per day for violation of such rules.... Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to U.S. and global regulations if they wanted to "become a bank." His comments came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook's plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability. The article concedes this proposal "would likely spark opposition" in the House and Senate, but adds that "Nevertheless, the draft proposal sends a strong message to large tech firms increasingly eyeing the financial services space." The draft legislation's title? The "Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act."

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Craigslist Founder: Most Online Outrage is Faked For Profit

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 23:57
The Guardian profiles 66-year-old Craigslist founder (and former IBM programmer) Craig Newmark, calling him "a survivor from the era of internet optimism." He's now investing "significant sums" to protect the future of the news industry -- "and rejects the idea his website helped cause journalism's financial crisis" [H]e firmly rejects any notion that all the philanthropy -- an estimated $50m in the past year including to New York Public Radio, new publication the Markup and local journalism efforts such as the American Journalism Project -- is an attempt to assuage guilt, a reach for atonement. "That takes an active imagination that I don't understand. I have very little imagination...." Newmark, by his own admission not a journalist, says: "I had great hopes for citizen journalism 10, 15 years ago. It hasn't worked out. One reason is that journalism is a profession. You have to know how to write well. You have to fact-check. You have to know how to develop sources, often over years. You have to have specialised knowledge on a beat like disinformation or crime or birds. Citizen journalists can complement what's going on and, sometimes, citizens come to journalism with skills... Now I think more: what are the practical problems of professional journalism? For example, we've seen a couple of cases where bad actors will try to really hurt a publication by engaging in lengthy, frivolous lawsuits. There is a great need for shared risk pool insurance, media insurance in the US, and I talk to people about that...." Social media fights, he insists, get attention but are not representative of what is really going on. Much of it is manufactured. "Americans are much more reasonable and moderate than what you might guess when you see a little Twitter war. But I'm guessing that the purpose of many Twitter wars is to polarise people and, in fact, we've seen that happen because you can often trace some of the fighting groups to the same location. Outrage is profitable. Most of the outrage I've seen in the online world -- I would guess 80% -- someone's faking it for profit..." Indeed, he remains convinced that the internet is still a positive for humanity. "It allows people of goodwill to get together and work together for common good...." The Guardian notes that during their interview, Craig also "cheerfully admits he is 'simulating' social skills."

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First E-Bikes, Then Flying Cars: a Do-Anything 3D Printing Tech

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 22:34
Tekla Perry shares an interesting story from the IEEE's "View from the Valley" blog: Arevo was aiming to get into the aircraft parts business when it started developing software and hardware to print 3D structures using a composite containing continuous carbon fibers. Its technology lays out the lines of the material in ways to maximize strength and minimize the amount of composite used. Printing out a bike frame? That was just going to be a demo for investors. Now the company is in the e-bike manufacturing business, but thinks the ultimate application of its technology will be flying cars. That's not a joke, the article explains: Bheda says the flying car market could turn out to be Arevo's sweet spot. "They will be manufactured in a larger volume than airplanes, the manufacturing technology being used for current aircraft won't scale to that, and they want to use thermoplastic. Our technology is at least three years ahead of any other thermoplastic technology, so we will be ready." They're now marketing their in-house printing capabilities as a service, "keeping the manufacture of any products in house."

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NASA Funds Company To 3D-Print Spacecraft Parts in Orbit

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 22:03
An anonymous reader quotes Engadget: NASA is expanding its efforts to bring 3D printing to space. The agency has given Made In Space a $73.3 million contract to demonstrate the ability to 3D-print spacecraft parts in orbit using Archinaut One, a robotic manufacturing ship due to launch in 2022 or later. The vessel will fly aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket and 3D-print two 32-foot beams on each side, with each unfurling two solar arrays. The completed arrays could produce up to five times more power than the solar panels you normally find on spacecraft this size, NASA said... If successful, it could alter how NASA and others approach building and fixing spacecraft. This could lead to building spacecraft (albeit smaller ones at this stage) in orbit, of course, but it could also let space agencies launch small satellites that receive large power collectors once they're floating above Earth. It could also lead to fewer spacewalks by having robots build items that would otherwise require human involvement.

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India Plans Historic Launch of a Rocket to the Moon

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 20:49
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is planning to launch a rocket to the moon. UPDATE: 2:28: The launch "has been called off for today," the ISRO posted on Twitter. But when the re-schedule launch happens, you can watch it live on two YouTube channels, on Twitter, Facebook, or webcast on the ISRO's web site. TechCrunch has also embedded a livestreaming video in their report: Chandrayaan-2 will carry lunar lander Vikram, which will deliver ISRO rover Pragyan to the surface at the pole, with a target landing zone of a plain that covers the ground between two of the Moon's craters, Simpelius N and Manzinus C. The rocket used for the launch is the GSLV Mk-III, India's most powerful launch vehicle ever, and the orbiter used for this mission will relay back information from the lander and rover to Earth via the Indian Deep Space Network, as well as make its own observations during its planned one-year mission lifespan. The mission will seek to take a number of measurements of the lunar surface, including topographic, mineral makeup, seismographic, chemical analytics and more, with an eye to shedding more light on the Moon's origins. If all goes to plan, the lunar orbiter will make its way to to Moon over the next couple of months and aim to soft land the Vikram at the South Pole target site on September 6, 2019. This is a historic mission for a few reasons, including being the first ever soft-landing attempt at the Moon's South Pole region, as well as being the first Indian mission to attempt a soft landing using all home-grown lander and rover technology. If successful, India will be only the fourth country ever to have soft-landed a vehicle on the lunar surface.

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Google Tries Social Networking Again, Challenging Facebook Events

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 20:04
What's Google working on after shuttering Google+ ? An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: Google's in-house incubator, Area 120, is working on a new social networking app called Shoelace which is aimed at organizing local events and activities. You use it by listing your interests in the app, allowing it to recommend a series of "hand-picked" local activities which it calls "Loops." You can also organize your own events, and there's a map interface to view and RSVP to other people's Loops. Shoelace's soft-launch comes just months after Google shut down Google+, its most prominent attempt at building a social media platform. However, rather than trying to create a new all-encompassing social network to rival the likes of Facebook, Shoelace seems to have much more modest ambitions that take aim at Facebook's ubiquitous Events functionality... [I]t's also only available in New York City at the moment; the team says it's hoping to expand to more cities across the US soon.

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America's FBI Wants To Build a Social Media-Monitoring Tool

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 19:34
America's FBI "wants to gather more information from social media," reports Engadget. Friday, it issued a call for contracts for a new social media monitoring tool. According to a request-for-proposals (RFP), it's looking for an "early alerting tool" that would help it monitor terrorist groups, domestic threats, criminal activity and the like. The tool would provide the FBI with access to the full social media profiles of persons-of-interest. That could include information like user IDs, emails, IP addresses and telephone numbers. The tool would also allow the FBI to track people based on location, enable persistent keyword monitoring and provide access to personal social media history. According to the RFP, "The mission-critical exploitation of social media will enable the Bureau to detect, disrupt, and investigate an ever growing diverse range of threats to U.S. National interests." But a tool of this nature is likely to raise a few red flags, despite the FBI's call for "ensuring all privacy and civil liberties compliance requirements are met." Back in 2011 a video by The Onion jokingly described Facebook as "the massive online surveillance program run by the CIA." Looks like they had the right idea -- but the wrong government agency. On Twitter the ACLU's senior staff attorney highlighted some key phrases from the FBI's request for proposals -- including "constant monitoring of social media platforms." He added that "They're not beating around the bush in terms of how pervasively they're monitoring social media content:"

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Should Local Governments Pay Ransomware Attackers?

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 18:34
At least 170 local or state government systems in America have been hit with ransomware, and the French Interior Ministry received reports of 560 incidents just in 2018, according to Phys.org. (Though the French ministry also notes that most incidents aren't reported.) But when a government system is hit by ransomware, do they have a responsibility to pay the ransomware to restore their data -- or to not pay it? "You have to do what's right for your organization," said Gregory Falco, a researcher at Stanford University specializing in municipal network security. "It's not the FBI's call. You might have criminal justice information, you could have decades of evidence. You have to weigh this for yourself." Josh Zelonis at Forrester Research offered a similar view, saying in a blog post that victims need to consider paying the ransom as a valid option, alongside other recovery efforts. But Randy Marchany, chief information security officer for Virginia Tech University, said the best answer is to take a hardline "don't pay" attitude. "I don't agree with any organization or city paying the ransom," Marchany said. "The victims will have to rebuild their infrastructure from scratch anyway. If you pay the ransom, the hackers give you the decryption key but you have no assurance the ransomware has been removed from all of your systems. So, you have to rebuild them anyway." Victims often fail to take preventive measures such as software updates and data backups that would limit the impact of ransomware. But victims may not always be aware of potential remedies that don't involve paying up, said Brett Callow of Emsisoft, one of several security firms that offer free decryption tools. "If the encryption in ransomware is implemented properly, there is a zero chance of recovery unless you pay the ransom," Callow said. "Often it isn't implemented properly, and we find weaknesses in the encryption and undo it." Callow also points to coordinated efforts of security firms including the No More Ransom Project, which partners with Europol, and ID Ransomware, which can identify some malware and sometimes unlock data.

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Doing Five Things Could Decrease Your Risk of Alzheimer's By 60%

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 17:34
"Light-to-moderate" alcohol consumption can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: A study presented Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Los Angeles found that combining five lifestyle habits -- including eating healthier, exercising regularly and refraining from smoking -- can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 60 percent. A separate study showed that lifestyle choices can lower risk even for those who are genetically prelifestyle disposed to the disease... Over the last decade, studies have increasingly pointed to controllable lifestyle factors as critical compenents to reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Researchers say that, as with heart disease, combating dementia will probably require a "cocktail" approach combining drugs and lifestyle changes. And as recent efforts to develop a cure or more effective drug treatments for dementia have proven disappointing, the fact that people can exert some control in preventing the disease through their own choices is encouraging news, they say. While the new study's authors expected to see that leading a healther life decreases the chance of dementia, they were floored by the "magnitude of the effect," said Klodian Dhana, a Rush University professor and co-author. "This demonstrates the potential of lifestyle behaviors to reduce risk as we age," said Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer's Association. "The fact that four or five lifestyle habits put together can have that kind of benefit for your brain is incredibly powerful." The fifth lifestyle habit is "engaging in mentally stimulating activities like reading the newspaper, visiting the library or playing games such as chess and checkers." Time reports that even following just two or three of the healthy lifestyle factors reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer's dementia in the study by at least 39%.

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Minecraft Earth Begins Closed Beta In Two Weeks on iOS

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 16:34
The Minecraft team has released "a handy video to illustrate exactly what to expect from the Minecraft Earth beta" on the Minecraft blog. "We've even included actual moving images from said beta (with an impossibly upbeat, yet beautifully pedagogical voice-over by Stephen Scott of the Minecraft Earth Design Team, as a fun bonus!)" The closed beta will launch for iOS in the next two weeks, with the Android version following soon thereafter. As with most closed betas, the number of participants will be limited in numbers and locations. This is to make sure our servers are able to keep up with all the exploration, creation and, hopefully, surviving that is going on around the world... As is also common with beta versions, your progress will occasionally be reset as we test and develop various features of the game. If you are selected to participate in the closed beta (congratulations!), you will receive an invitation email to the email address you have associated with the Microsoft Account or Xbox Live account you submitted in your registration. If you are selected (congrats again!), you will need to play at least once every 7 days. If you don't, we'll give your spot to someone else, as space in the beta is very limited. You have to be 18 years or older to participate.

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Nomads Travel To America's Backroads and Walmarts -- to Stock Amazon's Shelves

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 15:34
The Verge recently profiled "a small group of merchants who travel the backroads of America searching clearance aisles and dying chains for goods to sell on Amazon. "Some live out of RVs and vans, moving from town to town, only stopping long enough to pick the stores clean and ship their wares to Amazon's fulfillment centers." The majority of goods sold on Amazon are not sold by Amazon itself, but by more than 2 million merchants who use the company's platform as their storefront and infrastructure. Some of these sellers make their own products, while others practice arbitrage, buying and reselling wares from other retailers. Amazon has made this easy to do, first by launching Fulfillment by Amazon, which allows sellers to send their goods to company warehouses and have Amazon handle storage and delivery, and then with an app that lets sellers scan goods to instantly check whether they'd be profitable to sell on the site. A few sellers, like [Chris] Anderson, have figured out that the best way to find lucrative products is to be mobile, scouring remote stores and chasing hot-selling items from coast to coast. "It's almost like I'm the front end of the business and Amazon is just an extension of my arm," says Sean-Patrick Iles, a nomad who spent weeks driving cross-country during Toys R Us' final days. It was a feeding frenzy Anderson and others also hit the road for... For Anderson, the holy grail is the Bounce Dryer Bar, a $5 plastic oblong you affix to the dryer rather than adding a dryer sheet to each load. Now discontinued, a two-pack sells on Amazon for $300. Discontinued nail polish, Pop-Tarts, hair curling products: Anderson has chased them all when the scanner has shown them fetching multiples of their normal price. He once hunted a particular brand of discontinued dental floss across the Big Lots of America, buying six-packs for 99 cents and selling them on Amazon for over $100 apiece. According to the article, Anderson "thinks the constant travel is part of why his marriage ended..."

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IQ Test Scores Increased For a Century. But Did it Help?

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-07-14 14:34
IQ test scores have been increasing for 100 years, reports a senior journalist at BBC Future. He also writes that there's evidence "that we may have already reached the end of this era -- with the rise in IQs stalling and even reversing." But this raises an even larger question: did a century of increasing scores on IQ tests bring benefits to society? You might assume that the more intelligent you are, the more rational you are, but it's not quite this simple... Consider the abundant literature on our cognitive biases. Something that is presented as "95% fat-free" sounds healthier than "5% fat", for instance -- a phenomenon known as the framing bias. It is now clear that a high IQ does little to help you avoid this kind of flaw, meaning that even the smartest people can be swayed by misleading messages. People with high IQs are also just as susceptible to the confirmation bias -- our tendency to only consider the information that supports our pre-existing opinions, while ignoring facts that might contradict our views. That's a serious issue when we start talking about things like politics. Nor can a high IQ protect you from the sunk cost bias -- the tendency to throw more resources into a failing project, even if it would be better to cut your losses -- a serious issue in any business. (This was, famously, the bias that led the British and French governments to continue funding Concorde planes, despite increasing evidence that it would be a commercial disaster.) Highly intelligent people are also not much better at tests of "temporal discounting", which require you to forgo short-term gains for greater long-term benefits. That's essential, if you want to ensure your comfort for the future. Besides a resistance to these kinds of biases, there are also more general critical thinking skills -- such as the capacity to challenge your assumptions, identify missing information, and look for alternative explanations for events before drawing conclusions. These are crucial to good thinking, but they do not correlate very strongly with IQ, and do not necessarily come with higher education. One study in the USA found almost no improvement in critical thinking throughout many people's degrees. Given these looser correlations, it would make sense that the rise in IQs has not been accompanied by a similarly miraculous improvement in all kinds of decision making. The article concludes that "this kind of thinking can be taught -- but it needs deliberate and careful instruction," and suggests "we might also make a more concerted and deliberate effort to improve those other essential skills too that do not necessarily come with a higher IQ..." "Ideally, we might then start to see a steep rise in rationality -- and even wisdom... If so, the temporary blip in our IQ scores need not represent the end of an intellectual golden age -- but its beginning.

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