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OMIGOD: Cloud providers still using secret middleware

TheRegister - Sat, 2022-06-11 11:00
All the news you may have missed from RSA this week

RSA Conference in brief Researchers from Wiz, who previously found a series of four serious flaws in Azure's Open Management Infrastructure (OMI) agent dubbed "OMIGOD," presented some related news at RSA: Pretty much every cloud provider is installing similar software "without customer's awareness or explicit consent."…

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EU Aims To Clinch Deal on Landmark Crypto Law This Month

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-06-11 11:00
The European Union is nearing an agreement on key legislation to regulate the cryptocurrency sector that would set common rules across the 27 member states, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. From a report: France, which currently chairs the EU, and the European Parliament are optimistic about resolving remaining issues holding up the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) package and reaching a deal this month, according to the people. Negotiators are expected to meet on June 14 and June 30. MiCA, first presented in 2020, will put European regulators at the forefront of supervising cryptocurrencies by creating unified rules across the $17 trillion economy. Addressing issues such as investor protection and crypto's impact on financial stability has taken on added urgency after last month's collapse of the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin. Member states and the parliament still disagree on several key aspects of MiCA. According to the people, areas of disagreement include: Whether to include nonfungible tokens in the new set of rules How to regulate significant stablecoins Supervision of the largest crypto-asset service providers, or CASPs Both sides are also discussing how to limit the use of stablecoins as a payment method by introducing a ceiling, in particular for transactions not denominated in euros, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

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Apple's Giving Up Ground in its App Store Fight With Dutch Regulators and Tinder

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-06-11 09:00
Apple announced on Friday that it's once again updated its rules about how Dutch dating apps can use third-party payment systems, after the company had "productive conversations with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)." From a report: The updated rules give developers more flexibility about which payment systems they use, change the language users see when they go to pay, and remove other restrictions that the previous rules put in place. While the rules aren't wide-reaching (again, they only apply to Dutch dating apps), they do show what Apple's willing to do to comply with government regulation -- which it could be facing a lot more of as the EU and US gear up to fight tech monopolies, and potentially even force the company to ditch the iPhone's Lightning port. In December the ACM announced a ruling that Apple had to let dating apps use payment services besides the one built into iOS, after the regulator received a complaint from Match Group, the company behind dating services like Tinder, Match.com, and OkCupid. Since then, Apple has proposed a variety of solutions for complying with the order, which the regulator has said aren't good enough. In May, the ACM said that Apple's most recent rules, the ones prior to the Friday update, were improvements over its past ideas, but that they still didn't comply with Dutch and European laws. There's been increasing pressure for Apple to comply: even while the company works on changes, it's been racking up tens of millions of Euros in fines.

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Nigerian Bourse To Adopt Blockchain for Settling Trades by 2023

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-06-11 07:00
Nigerian Exchange, plans to start a blockchain-enabled exchange platform next year to deepen trade and lure young investors to the market. From a report: The move follows the introduction of regulations to guide trade in digital assets by the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission, and the growing interest to adopt the distributed-ledger technology by businesses and policy makers across the continent including in Kenya and South Africa. The exchange looks to deploy the blockchain technology in settlement of capital market transactions, Temi Popoola, the chief executive of Nigeria Exchange, said in an interview. "For a lot of young and upcoming Nigerians, that is the kind of technology they adopt and we want to see how we can deploy it to grow our market," Temi said. The plan is unfolding in the wake of a rout in cryptocurrency markets following the collapse of the Terra blockchain in May. Bitcoin has plunged more than 50% since reaching a record high last November.

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Brexit Row Could Prompt Exodus of Senior Scientists From UK

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-06-11 05:00
The UK is facing an exodus of star scientists, with at least 16 recipients of prestigious European grants making plans to move their labs abroad as the UK remains frozen out of the EU's flagship science programme. From a report: Britain's participation in Horizon Europe has been caught in the crosshairs of the dispute over Brexit in Northern Ireland, meaning that 143 UK-based recipients of European Research Council fellowships this week faced a deadline of either relinquishing their grant or transferring it to an institute in an eligible country. The UK government has promised to underwrite the funding, totalling about 250m pound ($307m), but a growing number of scientists appear likely to reject the offer and instead relocate, along with entire teams of researchers. The ERC said 16 academics had recently informed it that they intend to move their lab abroad or are in negotiations about doing so. These researchers, and some others, have been given an extension before their grants are terminated. Moritz Treeck, a group leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London who is due to receive $2.1m over five years from the ERC to study the malaria pathogen, is among those contemplating a move. He said a major downside of the UK offer was the lack of flexibility about moving the funding internationally.

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Short-Sightedness Was Rare. In Asia, It Is Becoming Ubiquitous

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-06-11 03:00
Researchers have found that being outside drastically reduces the risk of developing short-sightedness. From a report: In the early 1980s Taiwan's army realised it had a problem. More and more of its conscripts seemed to be short-sighted, meaning they needed glasses to focus on distant objects. "They were worried that if the worst happened [ie, an attack by China] their troops would be fighting at a disadvantage," says Ian Morgan, who studies myopia at Australian National University, in Canberra. An island-wide study in 1983 confirmed that around 70% of Taiwanese school leavers needed glasses or contact lenses to see properly. These days, that number is above 80%. But happily for Taiwan's generals, the military disparity has disappeared. Over the past few decades myopia rates have soared across East Asia (see chart 1 in the linked story). In the 1960s around 20-30% of Chinese school-leavers were short-sighted. These days they are just as myopic as their cousins across the straits, with rates in some parts of China running at over 80%. Elsewhere on the continent things are even worse. One study of male high-school leavers in Seoul found 97% were short-sighted. Hong Kong and Singapore are not far behind. And although the problem is worst in East Asia, it is not unique to it. Reliable numbers for America and Europe are harder to come by. But one review article, published in 2015, claimed a European rate of between 20% and 40% -- an order of magnitude higher than that which people working in the field think is the "natural," background rate. For most of those affected, myopia is a lifelong, expensive nuisance. But severe myopia can lead to untreatable vision loss, says Annegret Dahlmann-Noor, a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, in London. A paper published in 2019 concluded that each one-dioptre worsening in myopia was associated with a 67% increase in prevalence of myopic maculopathy, an untreatable condition that causes blindness. (A dioptre is a measure of a lens's focusing power.) In some parts of East Asia, 20% of young people have severe myopia, defined as -6 dioptres or worse (see chart 2 in linked story). "This is storing up a big problem for the coming decades," says Kathryn Rose, head of orthoptics at the University of Technology, Sydney.

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Jack Dorsey's TBD Announces Web3 Competitor: Web5

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-06-11 01:25
Jack Dorsey's beef with Web3 has never been a secret. In his view, Web 3 -- blockchain boosters' dream of a censorship resistant, privacy-focused internet of the future -- has become just as problematic as the Web2 which preceded it. Now, he's out with an alternative. From a report: At CoinDesk's Consensus Festival here in Austin, TBD -- the bitcoin-focused subsidiary of Dorsey's Block (SQ) -- announced its new vision for a decentralized internet layer on Friday. Its name? Web5. TBD explained its pitch for Web5 in a statement shared with CoinDesk: "Identity and personal data have become the property of third parties. Web5 brings decentralized identity and data storage to individual's applications. It lets devs focus on creating delightful user experiences, while returning ownership of data and identity to individuals." While the new project from TBD was announced Friday, it is still under open-source development and does not have an official release date. A play on the Web3 moniker embraced in other corners of the blockchain space, Web5 is built on the idea that incumbent "decentralized internet" contenders are going about things the wrong way. Appearing at a Consensus panel clad in a black and bitcoin-yellow track suit emblazoned with the numeral 5, TBD lead Mike Brock explained that Web5 -- in addition to being "two better than Web3" -- would beat out incumbent models by abandoning their blockchain-centric approaches to a censorship free, identity-focused web experience. "This is really a conversation about what technologies are built to purpose, and I don't think that renting block space, in all cases, is a really good idea for decentralized applications," Brock said. He continued: "I think what we're pushing forward with Web5 -- and I admit it's a provocative challenge to a lot of the assumptions about what it means to decentralize the internet -- really actually is back to basics. We already have technologies that effectively decentralize. I mean, bittorrent exists, Tor exists, [etc]." The full presentation is here.

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Activision to begin union negotiations with workers from Raven Software

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 23:19
Biz trying to clean up shop to close $68.7bn buyout by Microsoft

Activision Blizzard is starting collective bargaining with quality-assurance workers at its game studio Raven Software, after they voted in favor of unionizing.…

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UK Regulator Plans To Launch Probe Into Google's and Apple's Mobile Duopoly

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-06-10 22:22
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has concluded that Google and Apple "hold all the cards" when it comes to mobile phones a year after taking a closer look at their "duopoly." It's now consulting on the launch of a market investigation into the tech giants' market power in mobile browsers, as well as into Apple's cloud gaming restrictions. From a report: In addition, the CMA has launched a separate investigation into Google's Play Store rules -- the one that requires certain app developers to use the tech giant's payment system for in-app purchases, in particular. The CMA has concluded after its year-long study that the tech giants do indeed exhibit an "effective duopoly" on mobile ecosystems. A total of 97 percent of all mobile web browsing in the UK is powered by Apple's and Google's browser engines. iPhones and Android devices typically come with Safari and Chrome pre-installed, which means their browsers have the advantage from the start. Further, Apple requires developers to make sure their iOS and iPadOS apps are using its WebKit engine to browse the web. That limits the incentives Apple may have to invest in Safari, the CMA said.

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World Economic Forum wants a global map of online crime

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 21:27
Will cyber crimes shrug off Atlas Initiative? Objectively, yes

RSA Conference An ambitious project spearheaded by the World Economic Forum (WEF) is working to develop a map of the cybercrime ecosystem using open source information.…

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OVHcloud datacenter fire last year possibly due to water leak

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 20:57
French investigative report draws no conclusion but hints at inverter malfunction

Late last month, France's BEA-RI, or Bureau of Investigation and Analysis on industrial risks, issued its technical report on the March 10th, 2021 fire at the OVH datacenter in Strasbourg.…

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Apple’s M2 chip isn’t a slam dunk, but it does point to the future

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 20:27
The chip’s GPU and neural engine could overshadow Apple’s concession on CPU performance

Analysis For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Apple's move to homegrown silicon for Macs, the tech giant has admitted that the new M2 chip isn't quite the slam dunk that its predecessor was when compared to the latest from Apple's former CPU supplier, Intel.…

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Microsoft forgot to renew the certificate for its Windows Insider subdomain

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 19:31
Visitors to insider.windows.com met with safety warning - how reassuring

Microsoft has forgotten to renew the certificate for the web page of its Windows Insider software testing program.…

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Threat and risk specialists signal post-COVID conference season is back on

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 19:25
Well, we'll see in a week or so

RSA Conference For the first time in over two years the streets of San Francisco have been filled by attendees at the RSA Conference and it seems that the days of physical cons are back on.…

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Wickr, Amazon's Encrypted Chat App, Has a Child Sex Abuse Problem

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-06-10 18:00
Wickr Me, an encrypted messaging app owned by Amazon Web Services, has become a go-to destination for people to exchange images of child sexual abuse, according to court documents, online communities, law enforcement and anti-exploitation activists. From a report: It's not the only tech platform that needs to crack down on such illegal content, according to data gathered by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or NCMEC. But Amazon is doing comparatively little to proactively address the problem, experts and law enforcement officials say, attracting people who want to trade such material because there is less risk of detection than in the brighter corners of the internet. NBC News reviewed court documents from 72 state and federal child sexual abuse or child pornography prosecutions where the defendant allegedly used Wickr (as it's commonly known) from the last five years in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, using a combination of private and public legal and news databases and search engines. Nearly every prosecution reviewed has resulted in a conviction aside from those still being adjudicated. Almost none of the criminal complaints reviewed note cooperation from Wickr itself at the time of filing, aside from limited instances where Wickr was legally compelled to provide information via a search warrant. Over 25 percent of the prosecutions stemmed from undercover operations conducted by law enforcement on Wickr and other tech platforms. These court cases only represent a small fraction of the problem, according to two law enforcement officers involved in investigating child exploitation cases, two experts studying child exploitation and two people who have seen firsthand how individuals frequently use Wickr and other platforms for criminal transactions on the dark web.

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For the average AI shop, sparse models and cheap memory will win

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 17:30
Massive language models aren't for everyone, but neither is heavy-duty hardware, says AI systems maker Graphcore

As compelling as the leading large-scale language models may be, the fact remains that only the largest companies have the resources to actually deploy and train them at meaningful scale.…

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openSUSE Leap 15.4: The best desktop on the RPM side of the Linux world

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 16:44
The Reg FOSS desk takes the latest stable distro for a spin

Review The Reg FOSS desk took the latest update to openSUSE's stable distro for a spin around the block and returned pleasantly impressed.…

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Telegram Says It's Working on a Paid Service

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-06-10 15:50
Instant messaging app Telegram, which is used by over 500 million active users, said on Friday it's working on a premium tier, but plans to keep many of the current features available to existing users. In a post, Telegram Pavel Durov wrote: Since the day Telegram was launched almost 9 years ago, we've been giving our users more features and resources than any other messaging app. A free app as powerful as Telegram was revolutionary in 2013 and is still unprecedented in 2022. To this day, our limits on chats, media and file uploads are unrivaled. And yet, many have been asking us to raise the current limits even further, so we looked into ways to let you go beyond what is already crazy. The problem here is that if we were to remove all limits for everyone, our server and traffic costs would have become unmanageable, so the party would be unfortunately over for everyone. After giving it some thought, we realized that the only way to let our most demanding fans get more while keeping our existing features free is to make those raised limits a paid option. That's why this month we will introduce Telegram Premium, a subscription plan that allows anyone to acquire additional features, speed and resources. It will also allow users to support Telegram and join the club that receives new features first. Not to worry though: all existing features remain free, and there are plenty of new free features coming. Moreover, even users who don't subscribe to Telegram Premium will be able to enjoy some of its benefits: for example, they will be able to view extra-large documents, media and stickers sent by Premium users, or tap to add Premium reactions already pinned to a message to react in the same way. While our experiments with privacy-focused ads in public one-to-many channels have been more successful than we expected, I believe that Telegram should be funded primarily by its users, not advertisers. This way our users will always remain our main priority.

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Oracle plans US database for electronic health records

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-06-10 15:39
Based in the Big Red cloud, the system will suck up records from hospitals and physicians, says CTO Larry Ellison

Oracle is planning to build a national database of individuals' health records for the whole United States following its $28.3 billion acquisition of electronic health records specialist Cerner.…

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US Court Orders Terraform Labs' Chief To Comply With SEC Subpoenas

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-06-10 15:35
A US court has ordered the chief executive of collapsed stablecoin operator Terraform Labs to comply with subpoenas from the regulator seeking documents and materials related to the sale of potential unregistered securities. From a report: The US court of appeals in New York on Wednesday upheld the claim from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is seeking information on Mirror Protocol, a trading network built on the Terra ecosystem that offered customers tokens that closely mirrored the price of some of the US's largest listed companies such as Apple and Amazon. The regulator's victory marks a further blow to Terraform Labs' head Do Kwon, who is facing several legal cases in the wake of the sudden $40bn collapse of terraUSD, a stablecoin, and its accompanying token luna, which left investors out of pocket. The 30-year-old South Korean was the chief developer of terraUSD, whose collapse last month sent shockwaves through the crypto industry. Mirror Protocol was also developed by Kwon's Terraform Labs with the hope of bridging traditional finance with crypto.

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