Linux fréttir

Facebook's New 'Secret Crush' Feature Called Creepy, Stupid

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 20:34
This week Facebook announced a new feature that let's you tell the service that you have a "secret crush" on up to nine Facebook friends, reports the Bay Area News Group: Facebook will send you a notification if a person has added you as one of their secret crushes. However, you don't get to know who that person is unless you happened to have put them on your crush list. At that point, Facebook -- because it really does know everything about everything you do at all times -- will then match you together and reveal your crushed to one another. You also have to be signed up for a Facebook Dating profile in order to get the crush notifications.... Facebook Dating and Secret Crush won't be available in America until later this year. But if you live in Canada, Mexico, Argentina or 16 other countries... well, you can let the crushing begin now. The Guardian describes it as "harking back to Facebook's humble beginnings as a tool for ranking strangers' attractiveness... Or you could always, you know, try telling them in person." And other sites also gave the feature a negative review. BGR says Facebook's new feature "isn't cute, it's creepy," adding "it would be foolish to trust the company with even more sensitive data about yourself." But the harshest response came from Mashable, which writes that "the whole point of a secret crush is obviously to keep it a secret. The term really could not be clearer." They call Facebook's proposed solution "truly, madly, deeply sad... We as a society rely on tech for so much, but we shouldn't rely on it for declarations of love. We have to be braver than that." Or, in the words of one Twitter user, "this is dumb as shit just tell them you like them cowards."

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Windows 10 Will Now Ask Before Installing Massive Feature Updates

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 19:34
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: As Microsoft promised in early April, Windows 10 is gaining a new option that gives users better control over when its twice-yearly major feature updates are installed. That option is called 'Download and install now' and should help Windows 10 users avoid unintentionally accepting a feature update after using Windows Update to check for new patches. While clicking 'Check for updates' could mean checking for monthly or security updates, historically it's also triggered the installation of a feature update, which can be a major disruption... Choosing to download and install when offered a feature update is taken as confirmation that the user wants that update. From that point on, the feature update can then only be paused for up to 35 days. By not clicking on 'Download and install now', the new feature update can be avoided so long as the version of Windows 10 currently running is supported and not nearing end of support.

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Global Meat-Eating Is On the Rise, Bringing Surprising Benefits

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 19:04
"As Africans get richer, they will eat more meat and live longer, healthier lives," writes the Economist. PolygamousRanchKid shares their report: In the decade to 2017 global meat consumption rose by an average of 1.9% a year and fresh dairy consumption by 2.1% -- both about twice as fast as population growth. Almost four-fifths of all agricultural land is dedicated to feeding livestock, if you count not just pasture but also cropland used to grow animal feed... It is largely through eating more pork and dairy that Chinese diets have come to resemble Western ones, rich in protein and fat. And it is mostly because their diets have altered that Chinese people have changed shape. The average 12-year-old urban boy was nine centimetres taller in 2010 than in 1985, the average girl seven centimetres taller. Boys in particular have also grown fatter... The shift from pork to beef in the world's most populous country is bad news for the environment. Because pigs require no pasture, and are efficient at converting feed into flesh, pork is among the greenest of meats. Cattle are usually much less efficient, although they can be farmed in different ways. And because cows are ruminants, they belch methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. A study of American farm data in 2014 estimated that, calorie for calorie, beef production requires three times as much animal feed as pork production and produces almost five times as much greenhouse gases. Other estimates suggest it uses two and a half times as much water... Sub-Saharan Africans currently have tiny carbon footprints because they use so little energy -- excluding South Africa, the entire continent produces about as much electricity as France. The armies of cattle, goats and sheep will raise Africans' collective contribution to global climate change, though not to near Western or Chinese levels. People will probably become healthier, though. Many African children are stunted (notably small for their age) partly because they do not get enough micronutrients such as Vitamin A. Iron deficiency is startlingly common. In Senegal a health survey in 2017 found that 42% of young children and 14% of women are moderately or severely anaemic. Poor nutrition stunts brains as well as bodies. Animal products are excellent sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Studies in several developing countries have shown that giving milk to schoolchildren makes them taller. Recent research in rural western Kenya found that children who regularly ate eggs grew 5% faster than children who did not; cow's milk had a smaller effect. A meat industry spokesman from the U.S. Meat Export Federation tells the Economist that "Unlike decades ago, there are no longer large chunks of the population out there that are not yet eating meat."

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Beyond Meat's Shares More than Double After Monumental IPO

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 18:34
"Investors have a big appetite for fake meat," writes the Associated Press. The shares of Beyond Meat, the purveyor of plant-based burgers and sausages, more than doubled Thursday in its Nasdaq debut. It's the first pure-play maker of vegan "meat" to go public, according to Renaissance Capital, which researches and tracks IPOs. Beyond Meat raised about $240 million selling 9.6 million shares at $25 each. Those shares rose 163 percent to close at $65.75. The 10-year-old company has attracted celebrity investors like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio and buzz for placing its products in burger joints like Carl's Jr. It sells to 30,000 grocery stores, restaurants and schools in the U.S., Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Israel... Still, Beyond Meat has never made an annual profit, losing $30 million last year. It's also facing serious competition from other "new meat" companies like Impossible Foods and traditional players like Tyson Foods Inc. Tyson recently sold a stake in Beyond Meat because it plans to develop its own alternative meat. The IPO comes amid growing consumer interest in plant-based foods for their presumed health and environmental benefits. U.S. sales of plant-based meats jumped 42 percent between March 2016 and March 2019 to a total of $888 million, according to Nielsen. Traditional meat sales rose 1 percent to $85 billion in that same time frame. The trend is a global one. U.K. sales of meat alternatives jumped 18 percent over the last year, while sales of traditional meat and poultry slid 2 percent... The company says a plant-based burger takes 99 percent less water and 93 percent less land to produce than a beef burger, and generates 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

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Top Cybersecurity Experts Unite to Counter Right-to-Repair FUD

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 17:34
Long-time Slashdot reader chicksdaddy writes: Some of the world's leading cybersecurity experts have come together to counter electronics and technology industry efforts to paint proposed right to repair laws in 20 states as a cyber security risk. The experts have launched securepairs.org, a group that is galvanizing information security industry support for right to repair laws that are being debated in state capitols. Among the experts who are stepping forward is a who's who of the information security space, including cryptography experts Bruce Schneier of IBM and Harvard University and Jon Callas of ACLU, secure coding gurus Gary McGraw of Cigital and Chris Wysopal of Veracode, bug bounty pioneer Katie Moussouris of Luta Security, hardware hackers Joe Grand (aka KingPin) and Billy Rios of Whitescope, nmap creator Gordon "Fyodor" Lyon, Johannes Ullrich of SANS Internet Storm Center and Dan Geer, the CISO of In-Q-Tel. Together, they are calling out electronics and technology industry efforts to keep replacement parts, documentation and diagnostic tools for digital devices secret in the name of cyber security. "False and misleading information about the cyber risks of repair is being directed at state legislators who are considering right to repair laws," said Paul Roberts, the founder of securepairs.org and Editor in Chief at The Security Ledger, an independent cyber security blog. "Securepairs.org is a voice of reason that will provide policy makers with accurate information about the security problems plaguing connected devices. We will make the case that right to repair laws will bring about a more secure, not less secure future." "As cyber security professionals, we have a responsibility to provide accurate information and reliable advice to lawmakers who are considering Right to Repair laws," said Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio, a hardware hacker and embedded systems security expert. The group will counter a stealthy but well-funded industry efforts to kill off right to repair legislation where it comes up. That has included the creation of front groups like the Security Innovation Center, which has enlisted technology industry executives and academics to write opinion pieces casting right to repair laws as a giveaway to cybercriminals. Securepairs organizers say they hope to mobilize information security professionals to help secure the right to repair in their home states: writing letters and emails and providing expert testimony about the real sources of cyber risks in connected devices.

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Will The Future Of America's Biodefense Stockpile Include DNA-Based Vaccines?

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 16:34
Dan Drollette calls our attention to America's Strategic National Stockpile for Biodefense, "a little-publicized $7 billion federal agency...key to defending the country from a biological attack." "Its operators have to prepare for the unthinkable, such as what to do if 100,000 cases of some new disease with pandemic potential appears -- what global health officials have sometimes dubbed 'Disease X.'" From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: [O]ne of the most surprising features about the stockpile is that in all likelihood, it is probably incomplete. The reason for this is that although the stockpile includes what are presumed to be the best medical countermeasures for a broad range of potential biothreats -- we don't know the exact inventory because the identity of the contents are closely held -- there is an even broader range of potential biothreat agents that an adversary could use in an attack. And stockpiling countermeasures for every conceivable individual agent is currently not feasible because countermeasures for some biothreat agents do not even exist yet -- and even if they did, the continuous maintenance of copious countermeasures may not be logistically or financially feasible. There is also the possibility that an adversary could select or engineer an agent that is simply resistant to all-known medications. To address this problem, future stockpiles may benefit from an emerging approach to disease treatment: shifting countermeasures from today's emphasis on protein-based vaccines and antitoxins to a new system primarily focused on nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) coding for genes that help the body protect itself from myriad infectious diseases and toxins. This approach offers the long-term prospect of a stockpile that could simultaneously be more comprehensive and vastly cheaper to establish and maintain. Such a future is conceivable because of the accelerated pace of molecular biology research and development of methods to safely transfer (or what specialists refer to as "deliver") synthetic genes into people. DNA vaccines, for example, are based on the delivery of synthetic genes that code for individual proteins found on a bacteria or a virus -- instead of using the whole pathogen itself as a basis for the vaccine... Once the immune system has established a long-term memory of these recognizable markers, the next time the same pathogen protein appears (now in the context of an infection), the body can immediately identify it as foreign and begin producing large quantities of protective antibodies to fight it. More tantalizing for a future Strategic National Stockpile than improved vaccines -- which would still have a lag time of one-to-two weeks until protection -- is the possibility of bypassing the requirement for immune "education" entirely, and directly delivering genes that code for pathogen-specific antibodies, thereby achieving more rapid protection. The process involves determining the genetic sequence for an antibody that is known to offer protection against a pathogen and then delivering that gene to cells. The body's own cells re-use their existing protein production machinery and become antibody factories, a method termed "antibody gene transfer." It is a form of immunotherapy that has been garnering significant attention lately as a new approach for treating some chronic diseases, such as cancer.

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Apple Accused of Vastly Exaggerating iPhone Battery Life

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 15:34
"A new report by Which?, an advocacy group in the United Kingdom, found that Apple and HTC both overstate battery life on smartphones, sometimes 'significantly'..." reports Hot Hardware. "In stark contrast, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony all underestimate or are conservative about battery life with the phones that were tested, based on the organization's methods." "Which? tested nine iPhone models and found that all of them fell short of Apple's battery time claims. In fact, Apple stated that its batteries lasted between 18 percent and 51 percent longer than the Which? results," Which? said. The biggest discrepancy belonged to the iPhone XR, one of Apple's newest generation handsets... Apple claims that the iPhone XR has a talk time of up to 25 hours. However, Which? found that the battery lasted for 16 hours and 32 minutes during its own talk time tests. Apple's rated metric is 51 percent higher... It seems clear that Which? is using a different method of testing than the manufacturers, but the disparity does not always work against the phone makers. For example, Which? found that Sony's devices lasted 21 percent longer than the manufacturer's own talk time battery life claims. HTC cited "differences in setup and testing environments" that could explain "some variation," according to the article, and Apple also said they stand behind their battery life claims. Apple says that the iPhone "is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life. Our testing methodology reflects that intelligence."

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End To Aids In Sight As Huge Study Finds Drugs Stop HIV Transmission

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 14:34
The Guardian reports: An end to the Aids epidemic could be in sight after a landmark study found men whose HIV infection was fully suppressed by antiretroviral drugs had no chance of infecting their partner. The success of the medicine means that if everyone with HIV were fully treated, there would be no further infections... "It's brilliant -- fantastic. This very much puts this issue to bed," said Prof Alison Rodger from University College London, the co-leader of the paper published in the Lancet medical journal.... Dr Michael Brady, the medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "It is impossible to overstate the importance of these findings. "The Partner study has given us the confidence to say, without doubt, that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment cannot pass the virus on to their sexual partners. This has incredible impact on the lives of people living with HIV and is a powerful message to address HIV-related stigma."

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Pornhub Expresses Interest In Acquiring Tumblr

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 13:34
Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes the Verge: Verizon is seeking a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired along with other Yahoo assets in 2017... The platform hosts 465.4 million blogs and 172 billion posts, according to its about page... On Thursday evening, Pornhub VP Corey Price claimed in a statement to BuzzFeed News that his company is "extremely interested" in buying Tumblr and "very much looking forward to one day restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content..." Price is referring to a major change implemented late last year, when Tumblr took the controversial step of banning porn on its platform. The company has been using AI to detect and automatically block images and videos that contain certain adult content. Existing posts containing porn were made private and are no longer publicly accessible. Both Fortune and TechCrunch warned the acquisition might actually have bad consequences for adult content producers, since PornHub's owner MindGeek has been accused of ignoring piracy on its streaming sites, "a significant factor in the deflation of salaries for performers in the industry." In a thread on Twitter, Engadget's senior news editor added "I guess the good news is that things PornHub announces as a publicity stunt don't usually happen, so..."

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'Why I Prefer Go Over Python or Java'

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 11:34
Stefan Nilsson, a computer science professor at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, recently explained "why I prefer Go to Java or Python," arguing that Go "makes it much easier for me to write good code." Go is a minimalist language, and that's (mostly) a blessing. The formal Go language specification is only 50 pages, has plenty of examples, and is fairly easy to read. A skilled programmer could probably learn Go from the specification alone. The core language consists of a few simple, orthogonal features that can be combined in a relatively small number of ways. This makes it easier to learn the language, and to read and write programs. When you add new features to a language, the complexity doesn't just add up, it often multiplies: language features can interact in many ways. This is a significant problem -- language complexity affects all developers (not just the ones writing the spec and implementing the compiler). Here are some core Go features: - The built-in frameworks for testing and profiling are small and easy to learn, but still fully functional. There are plenty of third-party add-ons, but chances are you won't need them. - It's possible to debug and profile an optimized binary running in production through an HTTP server. - Go has automatically generated documentation with testable examples. Once again, the interface is minimal, and there is very little to learn. - Go is strongly and statically typed with no implicit conversions, but the syntactic overhead is still surprisingly small. This is achieved by simple type inference in assignments together with untyped numeric constants. This gives Go stronger type safety than Java (which has implicit conversions), but the code reads more like Python (which has untyped variables). - Programs are constructed from packages that offer clear code separation and allow efficient management of dependencies. The package mechanism is perhaps the single most well-designed feature of the language, and certainly one of the most overlooked. - Structurally typed interfaces provide runtime polymorphism through dynamic dispatch. - Concurrency is an integral part of Go, supported by goroutines, channels and the select statement. The professor points out that the Java® Language Specification is 750 pages, and blames much of its complexity on feature creep (for example, inner classes, generics, and enum). And he also applauds the strict compatibility guarantees of Go 1 for the core language and standard packages, as well as its open source, BSD-style license, and Go's code transparency. "There is one standard code format, automatically generated by the fmt tool," he writes, arguing that "Your project is doomed if you can't read and understand your code."

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Python Creator Guido van Rossum Blames His Resignation Partly On Social Media

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 07:36
"Swapnil Bhartiya, the founder of TFIR, sat down with Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python, to talk about the origin of the language and why he stepped down from the leadership of the very project he created," writes sfcrazy. In the interview, van Rossum emphasizes that he still remains one of the core developers, and provides this update: "We're going to set up a new form of governance. We haven't decided yet what that will be. There is actually an interesting time ahead where we currently have about five of six different proposals for new governance systems, and in November there's going to be a vote among the core developers about that. And then there will be another vote that will actually determine specifically who is going to form the leadership. So we're starting out by choosing a constitution, and then using the rules set out in the selected constitution, we're going to vote for a leadership..." He talks more about his resignation when asked if there's ever been an after-the-fact debate about decisions he's made: "Well, that certainly happens too. What led to my resignation was a form of that, where on social media -- and I've got a feeling that social media are sort of getting out of hand... But for me personally, social media definitely sort of caused additional stress. And I did not enjoy it when core developers were sort of sending tweets where they were questioning my authority or the wisdom of my decisions, rather than saying it to my face and having an honest debate about things... "It might just have to do with the fact that I've had this role for 28 years... And all that time, I've been sort of the final decider, the final arbiter. I'm getting older, I'm not always available... I just want to spend less time feeling stressed about what is the community -- I have this attitude where everything that was being said on some of the mailing lists, python-ideas, python-dev, touched me. I felt involved in everything, because ultimately every idea would end on my desk for deciding. And I just thought that that should be a responsibiity that should either be shared or transferred... Given that I've been on the project for such a long time, and some of the currently active core developers are good personal friends that I've known for 20 years or more, I am completely confident that the more experienced core developers that we currently have, plus the newer core developers that we have, together will be able to weather any kind of storm that might come Python's way. Yes I resigned from the title suddenly, but there were a lot of responsibilities that I had already completely delegated. I mean, I barely touch the code base, I barely reviewed submissions. At one point van Rossum compares the future of Python to that of a grown-up child, in that "You're supposed to raise your child for independence..." So what's he doing now? " I was and still am a principal engineer at Dropbox, which is actually where I spend most of my time."

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UK Nuclear Lab Achieves Americum-Generated Power

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 03:36
Long-time Slashdot reader nojayuk quotes World Nuclear News (a publication of the World Nuclear Association): The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and University of Leicester have generated usable electricity from the chemical element americium in what it believes to be a global first. The achievement is seen as a step towards potential use of americium in so-called space batteries, which may mean future space missions can be powered for up to 400 years. Americium is an element not found in nature, but which is produced by the radioactive decay of plutonium -- which itself is produced during the operation of nuclear reactors. A team led by NNL has extracted americium from some of the UK's plutonium stocks, and used the heat generated from this highly radioactive material to generate electric current, which in turn lit up a small light bulb -- all within a specially shielded area of NNL's Central Laboratory in Cumbria, England. The breakthrough means potential use of americium in radioisotope power systems for missions which would use the heat from americium pellets to power spacecraft heading into deep space or to challenging environments on planet surfaces where other power sources, such as solar panels, no longer function. In this way, NNL said, such space missions can carry on sending back vital images and data to Earth for many decades, far longer than would otherwise be possible. Tim Tinsley, NNL's account director for the work, calls it "recycling something that is a waste from one industry into a significant asset in another," though he adds that the plutonium is not exactly being recycled. "We 'clean' the americium from it, which would have been a waste. With sufficient applications, all of the UK plutonium could be 'cleaned' of the americium. The returned plutonium is in a better condition, ready for further storage or reuse as nuclear fuel."

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When an AI Tries to Name Racehorses

Slashdot - Sun, 2019-05-05 01:39
In December the breed registry for Thoroughbred horses released their list of the over 42,000 names for currently-registered racehorses. Then research scientist Janelle Shane turned their list into training data for two neural networks, reports Fast Company: It came up with names like She's a Babe, North Storm, Fabulous Charm, Frisky Joe, and Velvet One, which are so good, it's kind of surprising they haven't already been used by the professional horse namers. Of course, not every name was quite as successful. For example, Ginky's Rental, Moretowiththebotterfron, Orcha Shuffleston, Oats and is Fuct, Pat's Glory Dance, Exclusive Bear, and The Madland Cookie. Although if I were a betting man, I would put all my nonexistent trust fund on Snuckles (or maybe Unbridled Dave or Pick's Lilver or maybe Pickle Rake or Rapple Musty. (Look, there's a reason I don't bet). As an added treat, Shane opted to have a few of the names illustrated by BigGAN, a neural net that generates pictures. Unfortunately, according to Shane, "horse" was not an image option, so Shane used "horse cart" instead, resulting in some very interesting images. In 2017 Shane trained a neural network on 162,000 Slashdot headlines, coming up with alternate reality-style headlines like "Microsoft To Develop Programming Law" and "More Pong Users for Kernel Project." But for racehorses, Shane points out that there's already a real-world prizewinner named "Cloud Computing" -- so there's obviously room for improvement. And today the fastest horse in this year's Kentucky Derby was "Maximum Security", who ironically was disqualified for interference for the first time in the race's 145-year history, making the winner a 65-to-1 longshot named "Country House."

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Ask Slashdot: Why Do Companies Need All That Personal Data They're Collecting?

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 23:43
"People tend to think that the crazy amount of personal data gathering happening on the Internet is 'because companies otherwise wouldn't know who to target where with what product and at what price," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. "But there are two problems with this reasoning..." 1) Experienced marketers already know how to sell products successfully to various demographics without needing trillions of data points on tens of millions of random internet users. They were able to pull off this feat long before the Internet even came into existence. They are not dumber or more incompetent today than they were 20 years ago. Internet data is not the only tool in their marketing toolbox. 2) Most products are not being improved significantly based on the data collected -- almost everything sold has obvious weakness, flaws, deficiencies and sometimes outright annoyances baked in that any good product designer would spot quite easily before the product is manufactured and shipped out. So you 1) already know how to target my demographic and 2) do not listen to my feedback even when I send it to you directly and really are not trying to improve your product to genuinely satisfy my needs. Why all the crazy data gathering at all? Why do you need to know what news articles I read, what I type into a search engine, what I post in a comments section or whether I know "Bobby K. from back in high-school" on Facebook? Do you really need hundreds of Internet data points on me to design a decent laptop, TV, electric screwdriver, running shoe or lawnmower for my use? We hear people saying big data is the new gold rush -- but can anyone explain in layman's terms what exactly it is that they're up to? Leave your own thoughts in the comments. Why do companies need all that personal data they're collecting?

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Microsoft Xbox's Community Guidelines Now Explain 'Acceptable Trash Talk'

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 22:49
"Looking for some new sick burns to throw out at other players on Xbox Live? Microsoft's got you covered," reports Motherboard: In its new community standards, published this week, the company's got some examples of acceptable trash talk, including gems like: - Get destroyed. Can't believe you thought you were on my level. - That was some serious potato aim. Get wrecked. - Only reason you went positive was you spent all game camping. Try again, kid. - Cheap win. Come at me when you can actually drive without running cars off the road. - That sucked. Get good and then come back when your k/d's over 1.... "We get it -- gaming can be competitive and interactions with other players can get heated," the community standards state. "A little trash talk is an expected part of compe titive multiplayer action, and that's not a bad thing. But hate has no place here, and what's not okay is when that trash talk turns into harassment." Microsoft defines acceptable trash talk as "light-hearted banter or bragging" that's focused directly on the game and "encourages healthy competition." Harassment is "negative behavior that's personalized, disruptive, or likely to make someone feel unwelcome or unsafe..." For breaking the rules, players can expect consequences, but Microsoft is hesitant to call it a punishment "We're not out to punish, but rather to protect everyone's experience," the standards note. For every "corrective action" -- which the standards state could be a suspension, or a restriction on the ability to send messages or stream live -- Microsoft wants its players to learn from their mistakes; players will be welcomed back to the community to prove they've changed their ways, the company says. But that doesn't mean every abusive gamer will be welcomed back into the fold. Repeat offenders or particularly severe abuse will garner a permanent suspension, the standards state, which requires the profile owner to "forfeit all licenses for games and other content, Gold membership time, and Microsoft account balances."

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Scammers Exploit Home Rental Listings With 'Let Yourself In' Link

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 21:34
"American Homes For Rent is a publicly traded company that owns more than 50,000 properties," writes Slashdot reader McGruber -- calling our attention to a glaring security error. "Its website has a tab on its listings that says 'Let Yourself In.' If you click it, you are taken to Rently.com, a website that sells the lockbox codes to anyone for only $0.99." And those lockboxes contain a key to the vacant home being advertised. But what's to stop a scammer from pretending that they're the home-owner, and then sending you the code for that same lockbox so you can tour "their" home -- before they then ask you to wire a deposit? Ciarra McConnell was one of the scam's "several" unsuspecting victims, reports CBS46 in Atlanta: "The lockbox is what made it seem legitimate, and he gave me the key," said Ciarra. Once she got the key, the scammer emailed a phony lease. Ciarra then wired a $1,900 deposit and moved in. The next morning an American Homes For Rent employee was at her door. "They were just like yup, nope sorry we can't do anything for you but you need to get out," she explained. The scammers post duplicates of real home listings on Craigslist -- and then ask to be paid through a bitcoin ATM.

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Oracle Exec Mocks Google Arguments About Java's APIs

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 20:34
"Whether it is consumers' data or competitors' code, Google's view seems to be the same: What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine," argues Oracle executive vice president Kenneth Glueck. Google had urged America's Supreme Court to rule in their ongoing legal case about access to Java's APIs, a case which Google says hinges on "whether developers should be able to create new applications using standard ways of accessing common functions. Those functions are the building blocks of computer programming, letting developers easily assemble the range of applications and tools we all use every day. Making it harder to connect with those functions would lock developers into existing platforms, thus reducing competition and, ultimately, hurting consumers. Access to software interfaces like these is the key to interoperability, the foundation of great software development." That editorial -- written by Google's senior vice president for global affairs, Kent Walker, notes that 175 startups, developers, academics and other tech companies (including Microsoft) are also asking the Supreme Court to hear this case. Google warns of a risk to innovation posed if companies like Oracle become "gatekeepers to interoperability," calling it "a defining battle of the digital era." Oracle's executive responds that "There are many 'defining battles' of the digital era -- 5G, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous devices -- but Oracle v. Google is surely not among them." Only in Google's world does weaker intellectual property protection lead to more innovation. It is settled in law and in economics that the opposite is true. And at a time when the U.S. is circling the globe to enhance the protection of U.S. intellectual property -- including strong copyright protection -- Google takes the opposite view... In a stunning what's-up-is-down and down-is-up statement, Walker attempts to wrap Google in the cloak of interoperability. Java defined the era of interoperability with its "write once, run everywhere" architecture. It was Google that copied Java, built Android around it, and altered it so it was only interoperable with itself (i.e., write once, run only on Google). Android killed Java interoperability, and now Google argues that killing interoperability is good for interoperability? Those facts are not in dispute. The only issue in dispute is Google's assertion that its actions were all "fair." On this point, the federal circuit court clearly analyzed and methodically decided against Google's fair-use defense. This makes sense because, under no interpretation of fair use, may you copy a competitor's software code and turn around and compete against that competitor in the marketplace. Hard stop... There is no matter of law in question, nor is there a conflict among circuit courts. Google was caught killing interoperability and is now trying to concoct a new "we are too important" legal defense. Reuters reports that this week the Supreme Court asked the White House "to offer its views on whether it should hear Google's bid to end Oracle's copyright infringement lawsuit."

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Amazon's Doorbell Company Is Selling Fear

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 20:34
Amazon Ring is building "a team of news editors who deliver breaking crime news alerts to our neighbors," reports the director Nieman Journalism Lab, in a post from The Atlantic: That's right: A doorbell company wants to report crime news. It already is, actually. Several people on LinkedIn describe their jobs as "news editors" at Ring... I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is a really bad idea. Crime has declined enormously over the past 25 years, but people's perception of how much crime there is has not. A majority of Americans have said that crime is increasing in each of the past 16 years -- despite crime in each major category being significantly lower today than it used to be. A 2016 Pew survey found that only 15 percent of Americans believed (correctly) that crime was lower in 2016 than it had been in 2008 -- versus 57 percent who thought it had gotten worse... These mistaken beliefs are driven largely by the editorial decisions of local media -- especially local TV newscasts, which are just as bloody today as they were when murder rates were twice as high. There's a term for it: "mean world syndrome," the phenomenon where media consumption makes people see the world as more violent and dangerous than it really is... But news organizations have multiple and sometimes conflicting incentives that might affect how they present the local police blotter. A company that sells security-optimized doorbells has only one incentive: emphasizing that the world is a scary place, and you need to buy our products to protect you.... So think about this managing-editor job. Ring wants to be "covering local crime" everywhere, down to the house and neighborhood level. So one managing editor, plus however many other people are on this team, is supposed to be creating a thoughtful, nonexploitative editorial product that is sending journalistically sound "breaking news crime alerts," in real time, all across the country. Are they really delivering news or just regular pulses of fear in push-notification form? If that's the job, it is literally impossible to do responsibly... It's like relying on the people who make antivirus software to tell you about the latest cybersecurity issues: Even when the reporting is sound, it's still prone to exaggerating the scale of the threat and still aimed at making you so afraid that you give them money. The article's author spent 10 years working for newspapers (most recently the Dallas Morning News), and argues that "the reality is that 'breaking crime news alerts' are not something the majority of people needs -- especially if 'two Greenpeace volunteers stood on my porch for 30 seconds' is the bar we're talking about. It's not actionable intelligence -- it's puffing a little more air into an atmosphere of fear..." He concludes that Amazon Ring "says it's selling safety, but it's really selling fear. "

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Categories: Linux fréttir

How Amazon's Facial-Recognition Technology is Supercharging Local Police

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 19:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: Deputies in this corner of western Oregon outside ultraliberal Portland used to track down criminals the old-fashioned way, faxing caught-on-camera images of a suspect around the office in hope that someone might recognize the face. Then, in late 2017, the Washington County Sheriff's Office became the first law enforcement agency in the country known to use Amazon's artificial-intelligence tool Rekognition, transforming this thicket of forests and suburbs into a public testing ground for a new wave of experimental police surveillance techniques. Almost overnight, deputies saw their investigative powers supercharged, allowing them to scan for matches of a suspect's face across more than 300,000 mug shots taken at the county jail since 2001. A grainy picture of someone's face -- captured by a security camera, a social media account or a deputy's smartphone -- can quickly become a link to their identity, including their name, family and address. More than 1,000 facial-recognition searches were logged last year, said deputies, who sometimes used the results to find a suspect's Facebook page or visit their home... "Just like any of our investigative techniques, we don't tell people how we catch them," said Robert Rookhuyzen, a detective on the agency's major crimes team who said he has run "several dozen" searches and found it helpful about 75% of the time. "We want them to keep guessing... But lawyers in Oregon said the technology should not be, as many see it, an imminent step forward for the future of policing, and they frame the system not as a technical milestone but a moral one: Is it OK to nab more bad guys if more good guys might get arrested, too? "People love to always say, âHey, if it's catching bad people, great, who cares,' " said Joshua Crowther, a chief deputy defender in Oregon, "until they're on the other end." The article acknowledges that no one's challenged their arrests on the grounds of a mistaken photo match -- but it still feels a little creepy. "In one case, an inmate was talking to his girlfriend on a jailhouse phone when she said there was a warrant out for her arrest. Deputies went to the inmate's Facebook page, found an old video with her singing and ran a facial-recognition search to get her name; she was arrested within days." And the article also notes that Amazon's doorbell camera Ring "applied last year for a facial-recognition patent that could flag 'suspicious' people at a user's doorstep. "A Ring spokeswoman said the company's patent applications are intended to 'explore the full possibilities of new technology.'"

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Censorship 'Can't Be The Only Answer' To Anti-Vax Misinformation, Argues EFF

Slashdot - Sat, 2019-05-04 18:34
Despite the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation, "censorship cannot be the only answer," argues the EFF, adding that "removing entire categories of speech from a platform does little to solve the underlying problems." "Tech companies and online platforms have other ways to address the rapid spread of disinformation, including addressing the algorithmic 'megaphone' at the heart of the problem and giving users control over their own feeds... " Anti-vax information is able to thrive online in part because it exists in a data void in which available information about vaccines online is "limited, non-existent, or deeply problematic." Because the merit of vaccines has long been considered a decided issue, there is little recent scientific literature or educational material to take on the current mountains of disinformation. Thus, someone searching for recent literature on vaccines will likely find more anti-vax content than empirical medical research supporting vaccines. Censoring anti-vax disinformation won't address this problem. Even attempts at the impossible task of wiping anti-vax disinformation from the Internet entirely will put it beyond the reach of researchers, public health professionals, and others who need to be able to study it and understand how it spreads. In a worst-case scenario, well-intentioned bans on anti-vax content could actually make this problem worse. Facebook, for example, has over-adjusted in the past to the detriment of legitimate educational health content... Platforms must address one of the root causes behind disinformation's spread online: the algorithms that decide what content users see and when. And they should start by empowering users with more individualized tools that let them understand and control the information they see.... Users shouldn't be held hostage to a platform's proprietary algorithm. Instead of serving everyone "one algorithm to rule them all" and giving users just a few opportunities to tweak it, platforms should open up their APIs to allow users to create their own filtering rules for their own algorithms. News outlets, educational institutions, community groups, and individuals should all be able to create their own feeds, allowing users to choose who they trust to curate their information and share their preferences with their communities.

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