Linux fréttir

Waymo Can Now Shuttle Passengers In Its Self-Driving Cars In California

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-06 01:25
Waymo has received a new permit from the California Public Utilities Commission to shuttle passengers in its self-driving cars. Before this, Waymo was not allowed to transport passengers. CNET reports: In order to be eligible for this permit, the company in question must already have an AV testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which Waymo has had since 2014. It operates a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, both of which are outfitted with the hardware and software capable of autonomy. This doesn't mean Waymo One has begun operation in California. That may change in the future, though. There's a second tier of the CPUC pilot program that allows members of the public to be shuttled around in driverless vehicles, but that tier requires a DMV permit for driverless testing, and what do you know, Waymo has one of those already. All the company needs to do is start testing its driverless vehicles in California to be eligible for this next stage of the CPUC's pilot. According to the CPUC website, only four companies have been granted access to the first tier of the pilot program: AutoX, Pony.ai, Waymo and Zoox. Waymo is the only company of the four to receive an exemption to use a third party for contracting the safety operators required in every vehicle. In its letter to the CPUC requesting the exemption (PDF), the company said that "operating and scaling a meaningful pilot requires a large group of drivers who are more efficiently engaged through Waymo's experienced and specialized third-party staffing providers." All of its test drivers go through the same training program, the letter says.

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Almost a Third of World's Top VPNs Are Secretly Owned By Chinese Firms, Study Finds

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-06 00:45
SonicSpike shares a report from Computer Weekly: Almost a third (30%) of the world's top virtual private network (VPN) providers are secretly owned by six Chinese companies, according to a study by privacy and security research firm VPNpro. The study shows that the top 97 VPNs are run by just 23 parent companies, many of which are based in countries with lax privacy laws. Six of these companies are based in China and collectively offer 29 VPN services, but in many cases, information on the parent company is hidden to consumers. Researchers at VPNpro have pieced together ownership information through company listings, geolocation data, the CVs of employees and other documentation. In some instances, ownership of different VPNs is split amongst a number of subsidiaries. For example, Chinese company Innovative Connecting owns three separate businesses that produce VPN apps: Autumn Breeze 2018, Lemon Cove and All Connected. In total, Innovative Connecting produces 10 seemingly unconnected VPN products, the study shows. Although the ownership of a number of VPN services by one company is not unusual, VPNpro is concerned that so many are based in countries with lax or non-existence privacy laws.

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Toyota Testing Improved Solar Roof For Electric Cars That Can Charge While Driving

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-07-06 00:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Toyota is testing a new and improved version of the solar power cells it previously launched on the Japan-exclusive Prius PHV, in a pilot along with partners Sharp and Japanese national research organization NEDO. This demo car's prototype cells can convert solar energy at 34% and up, which is much better than the existing commercial version's 22.5%. And, unlike its predecessor, it also can charge the car's driving battery while the car is actually moving, recouping significant range while the vehicle is in use. The new system will provide up to 44.5 km (27.7 miles) of additional range per day while parked and soaking up sun, and can add up to 56.3 km (35 miles) of power to both the driving system and the auxiliary power battery on board, which runs the AC, navigation and more. Using a redesigned solar battery cell film that measures only 0.03 mm (that's 0.001 inches), the vehicle's engineers could put the film over a much broader surface area of the vehicle compared to the existing production version, with solar cells that wrap around covered body components, the rear door and the hood with relative ease. And as mentioned, the system can now work while the car is actually driving, thanks to changes in how generated power is fed to the system, which is a huge step up from the last generation, which could only push power to that auxiliary battery to run the radio, etc. when in motion. This new test vehicle will hit the road in Japan in late July, and perform trials across a range of different regions to test its abilities in different weather and driving conditions.

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Volkswagen Will Share Electric Car Platform and Autonomous Tech With Ford

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 23:20
Ford and Volkswagen have reached an outline agreement to share electric and autonomous car tech, extending their alliance beyond a cooperation on commercial vehicles. Reuters reports: VW will share its MEB electric vehicle platform [a part bin and toolkit for building electric vehicles] with Ford, the source said. Volkswagen's supervisory board is due to discuss deepening the alliance at a meeting on July 11, 2019, a second source told Reuters. A Ford spokeswoman said, "Our talks with Volkswagen continue. Discussions have been productive across a number of areas. We'll share updates as details become more firm."

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MoviePass Has Shut Down For 'Several Weeks' To Update Its App

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 22:40
MoviePass, the long-embattled film subscription service, has shut down for "several weeks" in order to complete work on an updated version of its app and to recapitalize for when the service relaunches. From a report: "There's never a good time to have to do this," MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in a statement, "but to complete the improved version of our app, one that we believe will provide a much better experience for our subscribers, it has to be done." Lowe's statement promised "an enhanced technology platform, which is in the final stages of completion," in the upcoming app. The service shut down on July 4th at 5AM ET, and MoviePass has not announced when it will come back online. During this period, MoviePass will not accept new sign-ups, and existing subscribers will not be charged while the service is offline. Subscribers will also be automatically credited for the downtime once the service is back online.

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London Police's Face Recognition System Gets It Wrong 81 Percent of the Time

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 22:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: London's police force has conducted 10 trials of face recognition since 2016, using Japanese company NEC's Neoface technology. It commissioned academics from the University of Essex to independently assess the scheme, and they concluded that the system is 81% inaccurate (in other words, the vast majority of people it flags for the police are not on a wanted list). They found that of 42 matches, only eight were confirmed to be correct, Sky News reports. The Met police insists its technology makes an error in only one in 1,000 instances, but it hasn't shared its methodology for arriving at that statistic.

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LightSail 2 Sends Back 1st Signals From Its Solar-Surfing Test Flight

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 21:21
The space advocacy organization The Planetary Society recently confirmed that its LightSail 2 spacecraft has sent its first signals home from space. From a report: The roughly 11-lb. (5 kilograms) cubesat is designed to prove that solar sailing is a feasible way of keeping satellites moving. Fuel is a costly and heavy commodity, and if LightSail 2 can prove that the solar-powered technique works well, perhaps future missions into the deep reaches of the solar system and beyond can be propelled by the charged particles released by the sun. The project launched into space last week (June 25) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy megarocket. On Tuesday (July 2), the bread-loaf-size LightSail 2 experiment left Prox-1, its carrier vehicle. LightSail 2 will ultimately open up its ultrathin four-panel sail to achieve a surface area about the size of a boxing ring. But before that can happen, the Planetary Society team needed confirmation that the spacecraft itself was healthy. That message came on July 2, as the spacecraft was passing over the satellite's mission control at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. The signals came from LightSail 2's recently deployed radio antenna, which began transmitting status data and a call sign in the form of morse code, according to LightSail 2 officials. "We're all very happy -- after years of preparation, we are flying an operational spacecraft!" Bruce Betts, LightSail program manager and Planetary Society chief scientist, said in a statement.

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Need Customer Service For an App? Prepare To Lose Your Mind

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 20:41
App-based services have made our lives easier in so many ways. But when things go awry, they offer few paths to real assistance [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report: There's a trade-off between the speed of apps and their ability to provide timely help. Customer service isn't dead, it's just hiding very well, often under a maze of preset menu options that seem designed to make you want to chuck your phone out the window. I recently ordered a Lyft ride from the airport. As the driver loaded my bag into the trunk -- something he didn't seem happy about -- he started talking under his breath. I asked if he was talking to me. His eyes got wide, and he said no, he wasn't. Then he removed my bag and told me I had the wrong car. His license plate matched my app, but he said, "I'm not your ride, baby," before driving off. Part of me was relieved. But to let Lyft know, I had to spend probably 20 minutes going through endless options for pre-written problems I didn't have. "Something happened during my ride" got me a drop-down menu with a bunch of inapt scenarios: "Demanding cash?" Nope. "Refusing my service animal?" Also no. Lyft can foresee these issues, but not "Acting unprofessional"? [...] Except for safety issues, there's no helpline to get a live person with Uber or Lyft. Ditto Spotify, Instagram and many other apps. Airbnb customer support has a phone number where actual humans answer. Instacart's app has an email address with a field to include details about your problem. It's also got a number you can ring 24/7.

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Mozilla Set To Offer Ad-Free News Consumption Capability on Firefox For $5 Per Month

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 20:01
As previously announced, Mozilla has started to tease the launch of a new $5 monthly subscription to a variety of online news publishers that involves no ads. The idea is that a single, low subscription fee gives you access to a number of sites with the ads removed. From a report: You pay a monthly fee to Mozilla, and this money is shared with its partners to help fund an ad-free internet experience. More than this, Mozilla says that the subscription fee will also grant access to audio versions of articles, article synchronization and more. In a page which promises people the chance to "support the sites you love, avoid the ads you hate", Mozilla says: "We've partnered with some of the world's greatest publishers to bring you a better journalism experience. We share your payment directly with the sites you read. They make more money which means they can bring you great content without needing to distract you with ads just to keep the lights on.

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Fake Samsung Firmware Update App Tricks More Than 10 Million Android Users

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 19:20
Over ten million users have been duped in installing a fake Samsung app named "Updates for Samsung" that promises firmware updates, but, in reality, redirects users to an ad-filled website and charges for firmware downloads. From a report: "I have contacted the Google Play Store and asked them to consider removing this app," Aleksejs Kuprins, malware analyst at the CSIS Security Group, told ZDNet this week in an interview, after publishing a report on the app's shady behavior earlier today. The app takes advantage of the difficulty in getting firmware and operating system updates for Samsung phones, hence the high number of users who have installed it. "It would be wrong to judge people for mistakenly going to the official application store for the firmware updates after buying a new Android device," the security researcher said. "Vendors frequently bundle their Android OS builds with an intimidating number of software, and it can easily get confusing."

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Cisco delivers Patch Tuesday warmup with bundle of 18 bug fixes

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-05 19:14
Unified Comms, Jabber among targets for clean-up

Cisco has delivered a bundle of 17 security updates to address 18-CVE-listed vulnerabilities in its networking and communications gear.…

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Firm fat-fingered G Suite and deleted its data, so it escalated its support ticket to a lawsuit

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-05 18:51
Google told startup its files are gone for good

An interior design tools startup called Mosss on Wednesday sued Google to get it to restore its data after someone at the startup accidentally deleted the firm's G Suite account.…

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Five Couples Have Lined Up for CRISPR Babies To Avoid Deafness

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 18:40
Five Russian couples who are deaf want to try the CRISPR gene-editing technique so they can have a biological child who can hear, biologist Denis Rebrikov told New Scientist. He plans to apply to the relevant Russian authorities for permission in "a couple of weeks." From a report: The case for using CRISPR for this purpose is stronger than for trying to make children HIV-resistant, as attempted previously, but the risks still outweigh the benefits, say other researchers. "Rebrikov is definitely determined to do some germline gene editing, and I think we should take him very seriously," says CRISPR expert Gaetan Burgio at the Australian National University. "But it's too early, it's too risky." Both would-be parents in each couple have a recessive form of deafness, meaning that all their children would normally inherit the same condition. While the vast majority of genetic diseases can be prevented by screening IVF embryos before implantation, with no need for gene-editing, this is not an option for these couples. Several reports have suggested that -- if it can be done safely -- editing the genes of babies might be justified in this kind of situation.

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Google Maintains a List of Everything You Ever Bought Using Gmail, Even if You Delete All Your Emails

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 18:00
Todd Haselton, reporting for CNBC: In May, I wrote up something weird I spotted on Google's account management page. I noticed that Google uses Gmail to store a list of everything you've purchased, if you used Gmail or your Gmail address in any part of the transaction. If you have a confirmation for a prescription you picked up at a pharmacy that went into your Gmail account, Google logs it. If you have a receipt from Macy's, Google keeps it. If you bought food for delivery and the receipt went to your Gmail, Google stores that, too. You get the idea, and you can see your own purchase history by going to Google's Purchases page. Google says it does this so you can use Google Assistant to track packages or reorder things, even if that's not an option for some purchases that aren't mailed or wouldn't be reordered, like something you bought at a store. At the time of my original story, Google said users can delete everything by tapping into a purchase and removing the Gmail. It seemed to work if you did this for each purchase, one by one. This isn't easy -- for years worth of purchases, this would take hours or even days of time. So, since Google doesn't let you bulk-delete this purchases list, I decided to delete everything in my Gmail inbox. That meant removing every last message I've sent or received since I opened my Gmail account more than a decade ago. Despite Google's assurances, it didn't work.

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UK competition bods to stick probe into worrying lack of said competition in online advertising

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-05 17:30
Facebook, Google have a reason to be worried

The UK's competition watchdog has launched an investigation into online advertising – and Facebook and Google are in its sights.…

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How AI Helped Improve Crowd Counting in Hong Kong Protests

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 16:40
K.K. Rebecca Lai, Jin Wu and Lingdong Huang, writing for the Times: Crowd estimates for Hong Kong's large pro-democracy protests have been a point of contention for years. The organizers and the police often release vastly divergent estimates. This year's annual pro-democracy protest on Monday, July 1, was no different. Organizers announced 550,000 people attended; the police said 190,000 people were there at the peak. But for the first time in the march's history, a group of researchers combined artificial intelligence and manual counting techniques to estimate the size of the crowd [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled], concluding that 265,000 people marched. The high density of the crowd and the moving nature of these protests make estimating the turnout very challenging. For more than a decade, groups have stationed teams along the route and manually counted the rate of people passing through to derive the total number of participants. Though the use of A.I. does not make the calculation definitive, the technology helps produce a more precise estimate because it uses computers to try to count every person. Since 2003, Paul Yip, a social sciences professor at Hong Kong University, has been producing a count of the size of protests held annually on July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong's 1997 handover from Britain to China. With the hopes of creating a more robust estimate this year, Mr. Yip teamed up with Edwin Chow from Texas State University and Raymond Wong from C&R Wise AI, a local technology company, to use artificial intelligence to count the crowd at the march. Using open source software, The New York Times developed a computer model to illustrate how artificial intelligence could be used to recognize people and objects moving within a video. Analyzing a short video clip recorded on Monday, The Times's model tried to detect people based on color and shape, and then tracked the figures as they moved across the screen. This method helps avoid double counting because the crowd generally flowed in one direction.

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Privacy-First Browsers Look To Take the Shine Off Google's Chrome

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 16:40
From a report: Google's Chrome now reigns as the biggest browser on the block, and the company is facing challenges similar to Microsoft's from competitors, as well as government scrutiny. But Google faces a new wrinkle -- a growing realization among consumers that their every digital move is tracked. "I think Cambridge Analytica acted as a catalyst to get people aware that their data could be used in ways they didn't expect," said Peter Dolanjski, the product lead for Mozilla's Firefox web browser, referring to the scandal in which a political consulting firm obtained data on millions of Facebook users and their friends. And in something of a poetic role reversal, Microsoft is positioning itself to pick up the slack from people who may be fed up with Google's Chrome browser and its questionable privacy practices. Microsoft is expected to release an overhaul of its latest browser, called Edge, in the coming months. Microsoft is just one of a number of companies and organizations looking to take a piece out of Google -- some using the company's own open-source software. One name that might be familiar to most consumers -- Mozilla's Firefox browser -- is also a veteran of the "browser wars" of two decades ago. The nonprofit Mozilla, which has been biting at the heels of leading browsers for most of its existence, is introducing more aggressive privacy settings to try to stand out and take advantage of the privacy stumbles by Google and other tech giants.

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Let's check in with Samsung to see how it's riding out the memory glut. Operating profit down 56%. Oops.

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-05 16:22
Chalk that up as a third quarter of consecutive decline

Samsung Electronics has estimated that operating profit for its second calendar quarter of 2019 will fall by a whopping 56 per cent due to continued crappy demand for memory chips.…

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Image Recognition, Mini Apps, QR Codes: How China Uses Tech To Sort Its Waste

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-07-05 16:00
An anonymous reader shares a report: China's war on garbage is as digitally savvy as the country itself. Think QR codes attached to trash bags that allow a municipal government to trace exactly where its trash comes from. On July 1, the world's most populated city Shanghai began a compulsory garbage sorting program. Under the new regulations (in Chinese), households and companies must classify their wastes into four categories and dump them in designated places at certain times. Noncompliance can lead to fines. Companies and properties that don't comply risk having their credit rating lowered. The strict regime became the talk of the city housing over 24 million residents, who criticized the program's inflexibility and confusing waste categorization. Gratefully, China's tech startups are here to help.

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Wide of the net: Football Association of Ireland says player, manager data safe after breach

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-07-05 15:44
It was a game of two halves

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has confirmed it suffered a security breach of its payroll systems, which was discovered last month, saying no staff data had been compromised.…

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