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NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Heads For Earth With Asteroid Sample

Wed, 2021-05-12 10:00
Obipale shares a press release from NASA: After nearly five years in space, NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is on its way back to Earth with an abundance of rocks and dust from the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. On Monday, May 10, at 4:23 p.m. EDT the spacecraft fired its main engines full throttle for seven minutes -- its most significant maneuver since it arrived at Bennu in 2018. This burn thrust the spacecraft away from the asteroid at 600 miles per hour (nearly 1,000 kilometers per hour), setting it on a 2.5-year cruise towards Earth. After releasing the sample capsule, OSIRIS-REx will have completed its primary mission. It will fire its engines to fly by Earth safely, putting it on a trajectory to circle the sun inside of Venus' orbit. After orbiting the Sun twice, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is due to reach Earth Sept. 24, 2023. Upon return, the capsule containing pieces of Bennu will separate from the rest of the spacecraft and enter Earth's atmosphere. The capsule will parachute to the Utah Test and Training Range in Utah's West Desert, where scientists will be waiting to retrieve it. "OSIRIS-REx's many accomplishments demonstrated the daring and innovate way in which exploration unfolds in real time," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters. "The team rose to the challenge, and now we have a primordial piece of our solar system headed back to Earth where many generations of researchers can unlock its secrets." To realize the mission's multi-year plan, a dozen navigation engineers made calculations and wrote computer code to instruct the spacecraft when and how to push itself away from Bennu. After departing from Bennu, getting the sample to Earth safely is the team's next critical goal. This includes planning future maneuvers to keep the spacecraft on course throughout its journey.

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Biden Administration Approves Nation's First Major Offshore Wind Farm

Wed, 2021-05-12 07:00
The Biden administration gave approval Tuesday to the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, which is scheduled to begin construction this summer. The New York Times reports: he Vineyard Wind project calls for up to 84 turbines to be installed in the Atlantic Ocean about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Together, they could generate about 800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 400,000 homes. The administration estimates that the work will create about 3,600 jobs. The project would dwarf the scale of the country's two existing wind farms, off the coasts of Virginia and Rhode Island. Together, they produce just 42 megawatts of electricity. In addition to Vineyard Wind, a dozen other offshore wind projects along the East Coast are now under federal review. The Interior Department has estimated that by the end of the decade, some 2,000 turbines could be churning in the wind along the coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Electricity generated by the Vineyard Wind turbines will travel via cables buried six feet below the ocean floor to Cape Cod, where they would connect to a substation and feed into the New England grid. The company said that it expects to begin delivering wind-powered electricity in 2023. The Biden administration said that it intended to fast-track permits for other projects off the Atlantic Coast and that it would offer $3 billion in federal loan guarantees for offshore wind projects and invest in upgrades to ports across the United States to support wind turbine construction. [...] The administration has pledged to build 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind in the United States by 2030. It's a target the White House has said would spark $12 billion in capital investments annually, supporting 77,000 direct and indirect jobs by the end of the decade. If Mr. Biden's offshore wind targets are met, it could avoid 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, while creating new jobs and even new industries along the way, the administration said.

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Ford Patents Tech That Could Scan Billboards and Show Associated In-Car Ads

Wed, 2021-05-12 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motor1: Roads are lined with unattractive billboards many of us ignore on our daily commutes, but Ford's new tech will make sure we don't miss them anymore. The system works by scanning the billboards, interpreting the information on the sign, and delivering the most useful bits right into the vehicle's display. It sounds invasive and distracting, with a side of Orwellian creepiness tossed on top for good measure. For now, though, this is just a patent application and may never see implementation, but it's not difficult to see how this could be useful to automakers and advertisers. Ford's application says the tech could display an advertiser's products or services, directions to the store, or the phone number. It's not a stretch to imagine a future where you're driving down the road, and your car sees a sign for your favorite restaurant, prompting you to place an order because the vehicle knows Thursday is take-out night. Cars are only getting infused with more technology designed to assist people in their day-to-day lives, and this would be another avenue to do just that, creating a tailored driving experience. It could also force advertisers to pay Ford to access to its fleet of billboard-scanning-equipped cars, expanding revenue streams beyond the car itself. In a comment to Motor1, Ford says the company submits "patents on new inventions as a normal course of business, but they aren't necessarily an indication of new business or product plans."

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Forests the Size of France Regrown Since 2000, Study Suggests

Wed, 2021-05-12 02:30
An area of forest the size of France has regrown naturally across the world in the last 20 years, a study suggests. The BBC reports: The restored forests have the potential to soak up the equivalent of 5.9 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide - more than the annual emissions of the US, according to conservation groups. A team led by WWF used satellite data to build a map of regenerated forests. Forest regeneration involves restoring natural woodland through little or no intervention. This ranges from doing nothing at all to planting native trees, fencing off livestock or removing invasive plants. The Atlantic Forest in Brazil gives reason for hope, the study said, with an area roughly the size of the Netherlands having regrown since 2000. In the boreal forests of northern Mongolia, 1.2 million hectares of forest have regenerated in the last 20 years, while other regeneration hotspots include central Africa and the boreal forests of Canada. The researchers warned that forests across the world face "significant threats." "Despite 'encouraging signs' with forests along Brazil's Atlantic coast, deforestation is such that the forested area needs to more than double to reach the minimal threshold for conservation," the report says.

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Apple Faces UK Class Action for App Store Overcharging

Wed, 2021-05-12 01:50
Apple is facing a London lawsuit over claims it overcharged nearly 20 million U.K. customers for App Store purchases, yet another legal headache for the tech giant fighting lawsuits across the world. Bloomberg reports: Apple's 30% fee is "excessive" and "unlawful" the claimants said in a press release Tuesday. The claim, filed at London's Competition Appeal Tribunal on Monday, calls for the U.S. firm to compensate U.K. iPhone and iPad users for years of alleged overcharging. They estimate that Apple could face paying out in excess of 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion). "Apple is abusing its dominance in the app store market, which in turn impacts U.K. consumers," Rachael Kent, the lead claimant in the case and a professor at King's College London. She teaches the ways in which consumers interact and depend upon digital platforms. The legal challenges come as Apple faces a backlash -- with billions of dollars in revenue on the line -- from global regulators and some developers who say its fees and other policies are unjust and self-serving. Last month, the European Commission sent a statement of objections to the firm, laying out how it thinks Apple abused its power as the "gatekeeper" for music-streaming apps on its store. The suit alleges that Apple deliberately shuts out potential competition and forces ordinary users to use its own payment processing system, generating unlawfully excessive levels of profit for the company. The claimants say any U.K. user of an iPhone or iPad who purchased paid apps, subscriptions or made other in-app purchases since October 2015 is entitled to compensation. "We believe this lawsuit is meritless and welcome the opportunity to discuss with the court our unwavering commitment to consumers and the many benefits the App Store has delivered to the U.K.'s innovation economy," Apple said in an emailed statement. "The commission charged by the App Store is very much in the mainstream of those charged by all other digital marketplaces," Apple said. "In fact, 84% of apps on the App Store are free and developers pay Apple nothing. And for the vast majority of developers who do pay Apple a commission because they are selling a digital good or service, they are eligible for a commission rate of 15%."

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Some Countries Have No COVID-19 Jabs At All

Wed, 2021-05-12 01:10
The World Health Organization says nearly a dozen countries -- many of them in Africa -- are still waiting to get vaccines. Those last in line on the continent along with Chad are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea and Tanzania. From a report: "Delays and shortages of vaccine supplies are driving African countries to slip further behind the rest of the world in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the continent now accounts for only 1% of the vaccines administered worldwide," WHO warned Thursday. And in places where there are no vaccines, there's also the chance that new and concerning variants could emerge, said Gian Gandhi, UNICEF's COVAX coordinator for Supply Division. "So we should all be concerned about any lack of coverage anywhere in the world," Gandhi said, urging higher-income countries to donate doses to the nations that are still waiting. While the total of confirmed COVID-19 cases among them is relatively low compared with the world's hot spots, health officials say that figure is likely a vast undercount: The countries in Africa still waiting for vaccines are among those least equipped to track infections because of their fragile health care systems. Chad has confirmed only 170 deaths since the pandemic began, but efforts to stop the virus entirely here have been elusive. Although the capital's international airport was closed briefly last year, its first case came via someone who crossed one of Chad's porous land borders illegally.

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California Ban On Gas-Powered Cars Would Rewrite Plug-In Hybrid Rules

Wed, 2021-05-12 00:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: As of now, California wants to implement an 80-20 mix where 80% of new cars sold will be totally electric or hydrogen-powered, and 20% may still feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Essentially, automakers will still be able to plop an engine under the hood come 2035. However, PHEVs will need to follow far more stringent definitions of the powertrain. California wants any plug-in hybrid to achieve 50 miles of all-electric range to meet the categorization -- a huge ask. Only two plug-in hybrids in recent years meet that criteria: the Chevrolet Volt (no longer on sale) and the Polestar 1 (soon to exit production). To achieve such a lofty range, automakers need to fit larger batteries, and when you're talking about a big battery and an internal-combustion engine, things get complex (and costly) quickly. But, that's not all the state will need. Future PHEVs to qualify under these regulations will need to be capable of driving under only electric power throughout their charged range. So, no software to flick on the engine for a few moments to recoup some lost energy. While these regulations would actually benefit drivers to shift PHEVs away from "compliance cars" to something far more usable, the complexities may just turn automakers to focus exclusively on EVs. It all remains to be seen, however since the plans remain open for public comment until June 11 of this year. After that, the board will vote and detail a full proposal later this year.

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Impossible Burgers Are Coming To US Schools

Wed, 2021-05-12 00:10
Impossible Foods has secured Child Nutrition Labels for its Impossible Burger products, which means they can now be part of school nutrition programs in the US. Engadget reports: To obtain the CN Labels, USDA's Food and Nutrition Services had to evaluate the plant-based meat's product formulation, as well as the company's quality control procedures and manufacturing processes. Now that it has acquired CN Labels for its products, the company is launching K-12 pilot programs this month in partnership with several school districts. The Palo Alto Unified School District in California, the Aberdeen School District in Washington, the Deer Creek Public Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma and the Union City Public Schools in Union City, Oklahoma will be using Impossible's faux meat in a variety of dishes for their menu. Those dishes include tacos, frito pies and spaghetti with Impossible meat sauce. Other school districts can easily obtain Impossible products from suppliers to add them to their menus, as well.

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eBay Embraces NFTs

Tue, 2021-05-11 23:50
eBay is joining the NFT frenzy, telling Reuters today that going forward it will allow the sales of NFTs on its platform, a mainstream embrace that follows billions of dollars in NFT purchases over the past few months. TechCrunch reports: The e-commerce company seems poised to slowly build up sales of digital collectibles on the platform, starting with a smaller group of verified sellers on the platform. "In the coming months, eBay will add new capabilities that bring blockchain-driven collectibles to our platform," eBay exec Jordan Sweetnam told them. eBay has invested heavily in infrastructure for physical collectibles like trading cards, as well as items like sneakers and watches which they help verify for buyers.

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Amazon and Others Ordered To Slash Diesel Pollution From Warehouse Trucks

Tue, 2021-05-11 23:10
Southern California has adopted a new air pollution rule aimed at slashing noxious emissions from warehouse trucks that move goods sold by Amazon and other e-commerce retailers. Ars Technica reports: Diesel pollution from heavy trucks causes everything from asthma to heart attacks, and even Parkinson's disease. Previously, such pollution tended to be concentrated around shipping ports and highways, but the growth of e-commerce has created a new source that is affecting neighborhoods farther inland. There are nearly 34,000 warehouses enclosing 1.17 billion square feet of space in the Los Angeles region alone. The rule, which was adopted late last week by a 9-4 vote of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), would cover around 3,300 warehouses that are larger than 100,000 square feet. The rule seeks to reduce the amount of diesel particulate matter and nitrogen oxides produced by trucks serving these facilities. The district covers more than 17 million people, or nearly half the state's population. The way the South Coast AQMD is approaching warehouse-related pollution is novel. Rather than attempting to control traffic flow to and from the facilities, the regulator will require warehouse owners to take various steps to reduce pollution in the area. That could include buying electric or fuel-cell trucks, adding solar panels to the building roofs, or installing air filters at nearby homes, hospitals, and schools. Each of these measures is assigned a point value, and warehouse operators must achieve a certain total to offset the emissions from their truck traffic. If they cannot meet the goal through mitigation measures, they can pay a fee instead. South Coast AQMD is phasing in compliance depending on the size of the facility. Warehouses that are over 250,000 square feet must meet their goals by June 30, 2022. Warehouses over 150,000 square feet must comply by the same day the following year, and those over 100,000 square feet get until June 30, 2024. Amazon's typical warehouses, for example, range in size from 600,000 to 1 million square feet. [...] The new rule is expected to save 150 to 300 lives and prevent 2,500 to 5,800 asthma attacks between 2022 and 2031. Overall, the public health benefits could be as large as $2.7 billion over the same timeframe.

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Army of Fake Fans Boosts China's Messaging on Twitter

Tue, 2021-05-11 22:30
China's ruling Communist Party has opened a new front in its long, ambitious war to shape global public opinion: Western social media. From a report: Liu Xiaoming, who recently stepped down as China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, is one of the party's most successful foot soldiers on this evolving online battlefield. He joined Twitter in October 2019, as scores of Chinese diplomats surged onto Twitter and Facebook, which are both banned in China. Since then, Liu has deftly elevated his public profile, gaining a following of more than 119,000 as he transformed himself into an exemplar of China's new sharp-edged "wolf warrior" diplomacy, a term borrowed from the title of a top-grossing Chinese action movie. "As I see it, there are so-called 'wolf warriors' because there are 'wolfs' in the world and you need warriors to fight them," Liu, who is now China's Special Representative on Korean Peninsula Affairs, tweeted in February. His stream of posts -- principled and gutsy ripostes to Western anti-Chinese bias to his fans, aggressive bombast to his detractors -- were retweeted more than 43,000 times from June through February alone. But much of the popular support Liu and many of his colleagues seem to enjoy on Twitter has, in fact, been manufactured. A seven-month investigation by the Associated Press and the Oxford Internet Institute, a department at Oxford University, found that China's rise on Twitter has been powered by an army of fake accounts that have retweeted Chinese diplomats and state media tens of thousands of times, covertly amplifying propaganda that can reach hundreds of millions of people -- often without disclosing the fact that the content is government-sponsored. More than half the retweets Liu got from June through January came from accounts that Twitter has suspended for violating the platform's rules, which prohibit manipulation. Overall, more than one in ten of the retweets 189 Chinese diplomats got in that time frame came from accounts that Twitter had suspended by Mar. 1. But Twitter's suspensions did not stop the pro-China amplification machine. An additional cluster of fake accounts, many of them impersonating U.K. citizens, continued to push Chinese government content, racking up over 16,000 retweets and replies before Twitter kicked them off late last month and early this month, in response to the AP and Oxford Internet Institute's investigation.

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Voice Actor Reportedly Responsible For Amazon Alexa Revealed

Tue, 2021-05-11 21:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Amazon's Alexa has a voice familiar to millions: calm, warm, and measured. But like most synthetic speech, its tones have a human origin. There was someone whose voice had to be recorded, analyzed, and algorithmically reproduced to create Alexa as we know it now. Amazon has never revealed who this "original Alexa" is, but journalist Brad Stone says he tracked her down, and she is Nina Rolle, a voiceover artist based in Boulder, Colorado. The claim comes from Stone's upcoming book on the tech giant, Amazon Unbound, an excerpt of which is published here in Wired. Neither Amazon nor Rolle confirmed or denied Stone's reporting, which he says is based on conversations with the professional voiceover community, but Rolle's voice alone makes for a compelling case. Here's how Stone writes up the process in selecting Alexa's voice: "Believing that the selection of the right voice for Alexa was critical, [then-Amazon exec Greg] Hart and colleagues spent months reviewing the recordings of various candidates that GM Voices produced for the project, and presented the top picks to Bezos. The Amazon team ranked the best ones, asked for additional samples, and finally made a choice. Bezos signed off on it. Characteristically secretive, Amazon has never revealed the name of the voice artist behind Alexa. I learned her identity after canvasing the professional voice-over community: Boulder, Colorado -- based voice actress and singer Nina Rolle. Her professional website contains links to old radio ads for products such as Mott's Apple Juice and the Volkswagen Passat -- and the warm timbre of Alexa's voice is unmistakable. Rolle said she wasn't allowed to talk to me when I reached her on the phone in February 2021. When I asked Amazon to speak with her, they declined."

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Chinese TV Maker Skyworth Under Fire For Excessive Data Collection That Users Call Spying

Tue, 2021-05-11 21:10
Chinese television maker Skyworth has issued an apology after a consumer found that his set was quietly collecting a wide range of private data and sending it to a Beijing-based analytics company without his consent. From a report: A network traffic analysis revealed that a Skyworth smart TV scanned for other devices connected to the same local network every 10 minutes and gathered data that included device names, IP addresses, network latency and even the names of other Wi-Fi networks within range, according to a post last week on the Chinese developer forum V2EX. The data was sent to the Beijing-based firm Gozen Data, the forum user said. Gozen is a data analytics company that specialises in targeted advertising on smart TVs, and it calls itself Chinaâs first "home marketing company empowered by big data centred on family data." The user did not identify himself, and efforts to contact the person received no reply. However, the post quickly picked up steam, touching a nerve among Chinese consumers and prompting angry comments. "Isn't this already the criminal offence of spying on people?" asked one user on Sina.com, a Chinese financial news portal. "Whom will the collected data be sold to, and who is the end user of this data?"

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East Coast Facing Gas Shortage Due To Ransomware Attack

Tue, 2021-05-11 20:30
New submitter TheCowSaysMoo writes: Gas stations from Florida to Virginia began running dry and prices at the pump jumped on Tuesday as the shutdown of the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline by hackers extended into a fifth day and sparked panic buying by motorists. About 7.5% of gas stations in Virginia and 5% in North Carolina had no fuel on Tuesday as demand jumped 20%, tracking firm GasBuddy said. Prices rose to their highest in more than six years, and Georgia suspended sales tax on gas until Saturday to ease the strain on consumers. North Carolina declared an emergency. Colonial Pipeline has forecast that it will not substantially restore operations of the 5,500-mile pipeline network that supplies nearly half of the East Coast's fuel until the end of the week. The company preventively shut the pipeline on Friday after hackers locked its computers and demanded ransom, underscoring the vulnerability of U.S. energy infrastructure to cyberattack.

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Google Plans To Double AI Ethics Research Staff

Tue, 2021-05-11 19:56
Alphabet's Google plans to double the size of its team studying artificial-intelligence ethics in the coming years, as the company looks to strengthen a group that has had its credibility challenged by research controversies and personnel defections. From a report: Vice President of Engineering Marian Croak said at The Wall Street Journal's Future of Everything Festival that the hires will increase the size of the responsible AI team that she leads to 200 researchers. Additionally, she said that Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has committed to boost the operating budget of a team tasked with evaluating code and product to avert harm, discrimination and other problems with AI. "Being responsible in the way that you develop and deploy AI technology is fundamental to the good of the business," Ms. Croak said. "It severely damages the brand if things aren't done in an ethical way." Google announced in February that Ms. Croak would lead the AI ethics group after it fired the division's co-head, Margaret Mitchell, for allegedly sharing internal documents with people outside the company. Ms. Mitchell's exit followed criticism of Google's suppression of research last year by a prominent member of the team, Timnit Gebru, who says she was fired because of studies critical of the company's approach to AI. Mr. Pichai pledged an investigation into the circumstances around Ms. Gebru's departure and said he would seek to restore trust.

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Tech Giants Join Call for Funding Chip Production

Tue, 2021-05-11 16:52
Some of the world's biggest chip buyers, including Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet's Google, are joining top chip-makers such as Intel to create a new lobbying group to press for government chip manufacturing subsidies. From a report: The newly formed Semiconductors in America Coalition, which also includes Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services, said Tuesday it has asked U.S. lawmakers to provide funding for the CHIPS for America Act, for which President Joe Biden has asked Congress to provide $50 billion. "Robust funding of the CHIPS Act would help America build the additional capacity necessary to have more resilient supply chains to ensure critical technologies will be there when we need them," the group said in a letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in both houses of the U.S. Congress. A global chip shortage has hit automakers hard, with Ford Motor saying it could halve second-quarter production. Automotive industry groups have pressed the Biden administration to secure chip supply for car factories. But Reuters last week reported administration officials were reluctant to use a national security law to redirect computer chips to automakers because doing so could hurt other industries. The new coalition includes some of those other chip-consuming industries, with members such as AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Verizon Communications. It cautioned against government actions to favor a single industry such as automakers.

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Intel Unveils Full Tiger Lake-H Processor Line-Up For Higher Performance Laptops

Tue, 2021-05-11 16:05
MojoKid writes: In January, Intel officially announced its Tiger Lake-H mobile platform, but today disclosed full details on the new, higher-end variant of Tiger Lake manufactured using 10nm SuperFIN technology, that brings with it a few significant platform enhancements beyond just its clock speed and core count boost. Intel is refreshing the lineup with higher-power and higher-performance Tiger Lake-H45 processors, with up to 8 physical cores (16 threads). In addition, the CPUs feature 20 reconfigurable PCI Express 4.0 lanes attached directly to the processor, which enable PCIe 4.0 NVMe RAID -- a first for any mobile platform. The platform features all of the latest IO and connectivity technologies, like Killer Wi-Fi 6 / 6E, Thunderbolt 4, and support for Resizable BAR. There are an array of consumer and commercial Tiger Lake-H based 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors coming down the pipeline. The top-end consumer SKU is the Core i9-11980HK, which is an 8-core / 16-thread processor, with a base clock of 2.6GHz and maximum turbo clock of 5GHz on one or two cores. What also makes this particular processor interesting is that it is fully unlocked and overclockable via Intel's XTU utility. Intel has shipped millions of units volume to laptop OEMs already and expects to have laptops in market from all of the majors this month.

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FCC Approves $7B Broadband Connectivity Fund

Tue, 2021-05-11 15:34
The US Federal Communications Commission has unanimously approved the final rules to implement the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The FCC program will provide funding for schools and libraries across the country to buy laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connections to help students and teachers to access the internet for online learning during the pandemic. From a report: The program is part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. It also follows the FCC approving a plan in February to administer $3.2 billion in emergency relief to subsidize broadband for millions of Americans during the pandemic. That program will provide $50 per month to low-income households and $75 per month to households on Native American lands to cover the cost of broadband services starting May 12. It also provides $100 toward buying a laptop or tablet. "Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households," Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the FCC, said in a statement Monday. "These investments will help more Americans access online education, healthcare and employment resources. They will help close the homework gap for students nationwide."

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Apple Gave Zoom Access To Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Tue, 2021-05-11 14:42
AmiMoJo writes: Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the app to continue using and accessing the iPad camera while the app is being used in Split View mode. Zoom can do this thanks to an "entitlement," which grants developers the ability to execute a particular capability with an API. As Provost notes, Apple publicly documents the ability for developers to apply for several different entitlements, such as ones related to CarPlay, HomeKit, and more. However, the special API that Zoom has been given is not offered to other developers by Apple, nor is its existence acknowledged by the company itself. On the Zoom Developer Forum, a staff member for the video conferencing platform had confirmed earlier in February that Zoom has access to the "com.apple.developer.avfoundation.multitasking-camera-access," or iPad Camera Multitasking entitlement. Further reading: Apple Offered Special App Store API Access To Hulu and Other Developers.

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Facebook Ordered To Stop Collecting German WhatsApp Data

Tue, 2021-05-11 14:12
Facebook was ordered to stop collecting German users' data from its WhatsApp unit, after a regulator in the nation said the company's attempt to make users agree to the practice in its updated terms isn't legal. From a report: Johannes Caspar, who heads Hamburg's privacy authority, issued a three-month emergency ban, prohibiting Facebook from continuing with the data collection. He also asked a panel of European Union data regulators to take action and issue a ruling across the 27-nation bloc. The new WhatsApp terms enabling the data scoop are invalid because they are intransparent, inconsistent and overly broad, he said. "The order aims to secure the rights and freedoms of millions of users which are agreeing to the terms Germany-wide," Caspar said in a statement on Tuesday. "We need to prevent damage and disadvantages linked to such a black-box-procedure." The order strikes at the heart of Facebook's business model and advertising strategy. It echoes a similar and contested step by Germany's antitrust office attacking the network's habit of collecting data about what users do online and merging the information with their Facebook profiles. That trove of information allows ads to be tailored to individual users -- creating a cash cow for Facebook.

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