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GM and Fiat Chrysler Unmasked As Tesla's Secret Source of Cash

Wed, 2019-06-05 00:50
For years, Tesla has hauled in revenue by selling credits to other carmakers that needed to offset sales of polluting vehicles to U.S. consumers. While these transactions have largely been shrouded in secrecy, Bloomberg reports that General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have recently disclosed to the state that they reached agreements to buy federal greenhouse gas credits from Tesla. The filings "represent the first acknowledgments from carmakers that they're turning to Tesla for help to comply with intensifying U.S. environmental regulations," the report says. From the report: The deal with GM will come as a surprise to those who thought years of sales of plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volts and all-electric Chevy Bolts would leave the largest U.S. automaker in the clear with regard to regulatory compliance. But while sales of those models have put GM in a position where it doesn't need extra credits today, demand for its battery-powered vehicles are dwarfed by its gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. And the company wants to bank the credits for future years when emissions rules get tougher -- especially if a Democrat beats President Donald Trump in 2020. The filings don't give specific terms of Tesla's credit sales to GM or Fiat Chrysler, whose past purchases of credits haven't been disclosed directly but could be inferred from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports. GM's agreement to buy greenhouse gas credits was dated Feb. 25 and reported to Delaware the following day. Pat Morrissey, a GM spokesman, said the company is buying the credits as insurance against "future regulatory uncertainties." Fiat Chrysler disclosed agreements to buy credits from Tesla that were reached in 2016, 2018 and earlier this year, in four separate filings. Eric Mayne, a spokesman for the Italian-American automaker, said U.S. standards are getting stricter at a pace that "far exceeds" the level of consumer demand for electric cars that is required for compliance. "Until demand catches up with regulatory requirements, and there is regulatory relief, we will use credits as appropriate," Mayne said.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Firefox Starts Blocking Third-Party Cookies By Default

Wed, 2019-06-05 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today announced a slew of privacy improvements. The company has turned on Enhanced Tracking Protection, which blocks cookies from third-party trackers in Firefox, by default. Mozilla has also improved its Facebook Container extension, released a Firefox desktop extension for its rebranded Lockwise password keeper, and updated Firefox Monitor with a dashboard for multiple email addresses. If you download a fresh copy of Firefox today, Enhanced Tracking Protection will be on by default as part of the Standard setting. That means third-party tracking cookies are blocked without users having to change a thing. You will notice Enhanced Tracking Protection working if there is a shield icon in the address bar. If you click on the shield icon and open the Content Blocking section and then Cookies, you'll see a Blocking Tracking Cookies section. There you can see the companies listed as third-party cookies and trackers that Firefox has blocked. You can also turn off blocking for a specific site. The feature focuses on third-party trackers (the ad industry) while allowing first-party cookies (logins, where you last left off, and so on). Mozilla says it is enabling Enhanced Tracking Protection by default because most users don't change their browser settings.

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KLM Airlines To Fund Development of Fuel-Efficient Flying-V Plane

Tue, 2019-06-04 23:30
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that it will help fund the development of a V-shaped, fuel-efficient airplane design known as the Flying-V. CNN reports: Intended to improve the sustainability of air travel, the Flying-V was conceived by Justus Benad, then a student at the Technical University of Berlin, and developed by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, also known as TU Delft. Its futuristic design incorporates the passenger cabin, fuel tanks and cargo hold into the wings. It's claimed the plane will use 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350-900 while carrying a similar number of passengers -- the Flying-V will seat 314, while the Airbus A350 seats between 300 and 350. The design also mirrors the A350's 65-meter (213 feet) wingspan, enabling it to use existing airport infrastructure. TU Delft project leader Roelof Vos said such innovation was needed as a stepping stone to greater efficiency while technology was still being developed to create large-scale electric airplanes. The plane's increased fuel efficiency is largely a result of its aerodynamic design, Vos explained, although its reduced weight also contributes. The researchers hope to fly a scale model this September, Vos said, while a mock-up of the new cabin design will be open to the public at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in October, as part of KLM's 100th anniversary celebrations. The completed plane is expected to enter service between 2040 and 2050.

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New Law Could Make Verizon Pay a Decade's Worth of Taxes It Avoided

Tue, 2019-06-04 22:50
Verizon has avoided paying local taxes on telecom equipment in many New Jersey municipalities over the past decade, but a proposed state law would force the company to pay back taxes for all the payments it didn't make. Ars Technica reports: The bill, filed on May 23 by Assemblyman John Burzichelli (Dâ"Paulsboro), "would force Verizon to pay local taxes on telephone poles, lines, land, and other equipment that the telecom giant has refused to fork over in an increasing number of New Jersey municipalities, starving them of tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue," The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. As of 2015, Verizon had reportedly stopped paying the tax in more than 150 of the 565 municipalities in New Jersey. The tax Verizon has avoided ranges from $15,000 to more than $1 million a year for each municipality, taking revenue away from local budgets or forcing residents and other businesses to cover the shortfalls. Despite not paying tax in many cities and towns, local officials point out that Verizon "continues to benefit from the use of municipalities' poles, utility lines, and switching facilities even when it no longer pays taxes," a 2015 Inquirer article said. "The tax dispute centers on a 1997 amendment to state tax law that required 'business personal property' payments from landline phone companies that provide 'dial tone and access to 51 percent of a local telephone exchange,'" the report adds. Verizon said in 2008 that it would stop paying the tax because it said its market share had dropped below the 51 percent threshold. In reality, Verizon's share was closer to 90 percent.

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Shifting Strategy, Microsoft Closed All Its Specialty Stores and Kiosks in the US

Tue, 2019-06-04 22:10
Microsoft is on the cusp of finally opening its flagship retail store in the UK next month, but all of the smaller Microsoft Specialty Stores have evidently been shuttered with many reportedly closing this past weekend. From a report: As of June 2019, Microsoft has just over 80 full-fledged Microsoft Stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia, but 17 of the smaller kiosks and so-called specialty stores have now been removed. Indeed, all the specialty stores are now gone implying a planned shift in retail strategy. In a statement, Microsoft said: After careful discussion and evaluation, we've made the decision to close our specialty store locations. We are focused on delivering great experiences throughout the customer journey. We will continue to connect with and empower our customers to achieve more and discover all that's possible with Microsoft through Microsoft Store across the globe online and in our physical stores in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, and coming soon to the U.K.

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Apple Is Now the Privacy-As-A-Service Company

Tue, 2019-06-04 21:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Apple's truly transforming into a privacy-as-a-service company, which shows in the way that it's implementing both the new single sign-on account service, as well as its camera and location services updates in iOS 13. The SSO play is especially clever, because it includes a mechanism that will allow developers to still have the relevant info they need to maintain a direct relationship with their users -- provided users willingly sign-up to have that relationship, but opting in to either or both name and email sharing. Apple's work with camera providers is also unique -- providing actual on-device analysis of footage captured by third-party partners to deliver things that security device makers have typically offered as a value-add service themselves. That includes apparent identification of visitors to your home, for instance, and sending alerts when it detects people, as well as being able to differentiate that from other kinds of motion. That's going above and beyond simply protecting your data: It's replacing a potential privacy-risk feature with a privacy-minded one, at a service level across an entire category of devices. The new location services feature also makes it possible to provide single-use location permissions to apps, putting all the control with users instead of with service providers. "Other new features, including HomeKit firewalling of specific services and devices, are similar in tone, and likely indicate what Apple intends to do more of in the future," the report adds. "Combined with its existing efforts, this begins to paint a picture of where Apple plans to play in offering a comprehensive consumer services product that is substantially differentiated from similar offerings by Google and others."

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House Committee Votes To Continue Research Ban On Genetically Modified Babies

Tue, 2019-06-04 20:54
A congressional committee voted this week to continue a federal ban on creating genetically modified babies in the United States. From a report: The House Appropriations Committee voted to retain the ban after the prohibition had been lifted last month by a subcommittee. The vote was part of debate over routine funding legislation for the Food and Drug Administration. "This is a prohibition that is accepted by nearly every nation in the world due to the unknown risks," said Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., during a hearing where the ban was restored. "The risks of harm are real." The ban prohibits the FDA from considering any proposals to study whether genetically modified embryos could be used to try to establish pregnancies. Some scientists oppose the ban because it bars them from conducting the studies necessary to determine whether it might one day be safe and effective to create genetically modified babies. The goal would be to prevent devastating genetic diseases. During the hearing, several Democratic committee members said they were reluctantly agreeing to reinstate the ban but hoped the issue would be reconsidered at some point.

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Watchdog Says FBI Has Access To About 640M Photographs

Tue, 2019-06-04 20:11
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs -- including from driver's licenses, passports and mugshots -- that can be searched using facial recognition technology. The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans. It was reported by the Government Accountability Office at a congressional hearing in which both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the use of the technology. The FBI maintains a database known as the Interstate Photo System of mugshots that can help federal, state and local law enforcement officials. It contains about 36 million photographs, according to Gretta Goodwin of the GAO. But taking into account the bureau contracts providing access to driver's licenses in 21 states, and its use of photos and other databases, the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs, Goodwin told lawmakers at the House oversight committee hearing. Kimberly Del Greco, a deputy assistant director at the FBI, said the bureau has strict policies for using facial recognition. She said it is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can precede a formal investigation.

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Apple is Building a Major Defense Against Spam Calls Into iOS 13

Tue, 2019-06-04 19:31
Apple is taking a new step to combat spam calls in iOS 13. Today, you can already install third-party spam call screeners on your iPhone, but if that's not good enough (or something you don't want to do), iOS 13 will add a new solution this fall. From a report: iOS 13 will be able to automatically silence any calls coming in from an unknown number. Even better, it'll automatically send them to voicemail. The new "silence unknown callers" option can be toggled on or off based on your preference, but I'm thinking most people will enable it right after updating and leave it that way. The feature is explained on this page of what's new in iOS 13. So many of the spam calls we're bombarded with on a daily basis are spoofed to look like a local number. But Apple says that iOS 13 will "use Siri intelligence to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messages." Any number that can't be found in one of those places will be routed to voicemail.

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SEC Sues Kik Over $100 Million ICO

Tue, 2019-06-04 18:53
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Kik for illegally raising $100 million through a 2017 digital-token sale, in one of its highest profile cases targeting a company for not registering an offering with the regulator. From a report: After losing money for years on its sole product, an online-messaging application, Kik raised more than $55 million from U.S. investors by selling a digital token called Kin without the proper disclosures, the SEC said in a Tuesday court filing. The agency is seeking unspecified monetary penalties. "Companies do not face a binary choice between innovation and compliance with the federal securities laws," said Steven Peikin, co-head of the SEC's enforcement division. Kik was among the biggest initial coin offerings in the past two years and has prominent backers. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson defended the Kin digital currency in a blog post, saying it is not a security.

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Microsoft Teases Its Secret Dual-Screen Surface Device

Tue, 2019-06-04 18:14
Microsoft reportedly has shown off a dual-screen version of a Surface device, in what sounds like a smaller version of the "Twin Rivers" concept Intel showed off at Computex in late May. From a report: Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the company recently held an all hands event for its devices team, where it showed a sizzle video for new Surface devices and dual-screen prototype hardware. Employees even formed long lines to get a closer glimpse at this new Surface device. Microsoft has been building a new dual-screen device, codenamed Centaurus, for around two years, and it's designed to be the hero device for a wave of new dual-screen tablet / laptop hybrids. Windows Central first reported on the Centaurus codename back in December, and we understand it's more similar to Microsoft's Courier tablet concept than the company's previous Andromeda effort. Microsoft was working on a smaller "pocketable" Surface device codenamed Andromeda, but the company has halted its work in favor of pushing for something larger (Centaurus).

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YouTube Bans Kids From Live-Streaming Video Unless Accompanied by an Adult

Tue, 2019-06-04 17:33
YouTube is taking additional steps to restrict the possibility that children will be targeted by predators on the video platform -- including banning young kids from live-streaming with adult supervision. From a report: The Google-owned video platform, in a blog post Monday, also said it is limiting recommendations of videos that depict "minors in risky situations." The updated policies come after YouTube in February announced that it would disable the ability to leave comments on nearly all videos featuring kids. The announcement also comes in the wake of a New York Times report Monday, citing research that YouTube's recommendation system has been suggesting videos of "prepubescent, partially clothed children" to users who had watched sexually themed content. According to YouTube, it has applied new restrictions to the algorithm-based recommendations system curbing recommendations of videos with minors to "tens of millions of videos." However, it will continue recommending many videos with children because an all-out ban would hurt creators who rely on the recommendation engine to generate views, according to YouTube.

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Russia Says Tinder Must Share User Data, Private Messages

Tue, 2019-06-04 16:50
An anonymous reader writes: The Russian government has added dating service Tinder on a government database that legally forces the company to hand over user data and private communications to the country's law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The database is called ORI, or the Register of Information Dissemination Organizations. According to Russian laws 97-FZ and 374-FZ, companies added to this database must hand over data to Russian police or Russian intelligence agencies like the FSB, upon request, with or without a court order, in order to help with investigations into terrorist and national security cases. Prior to today, the ORI database contained 175 companies, from both Russia and foreign countries. Tinder's addition to the ORI database was announced earlier today in a press release published by Roskomnadzor, the Russian government's telecommunications watchdog, and the agency in charge of maintaining ORI. According to Roskomsvoboda, a Russian non-governmental organization for the protection of digital rights of Internet users, Tinder is the fourth dating service added to ORI, after Mamba, Wamba, and Badoo's dating portal.

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Apple Replaces Bash With Zsh as the Default Shell in macOS Catalina

Tue, 2019-06-04 16:50
Starting with macOS Catalina, Macs will now use zsh as the default login shell and interactive shell across the operating system. From a report: All newly created user accounts in macOS Catalina will use zsh by default. Bash will still be available, but Apple is signaling that developers should start moving to zsh on macOS Mojave or earlier in anticipation of bash eventually going away in macOS. Apple hasn't explained exactly why it's making this change, but bash isn't exactly a modern shell as it's implemented in macOS, and a switch to something less aging makes a lot more sense for the company. Apple is stuck using version 3.2 of bash that has been licensed under GPLv2, as newer versions are licensed under GPLv3. Apple has kept clear of using GPLv3 packages in macOS as the license is generally more restrictive to companies like Apple that sign their own code and it includes explicit patent grants, too.

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Firefox Starts Blocking Third-Party Cookies By Default

Tue, 2019-06-04 15:21
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today announced a slew of privacy improvements. The company has turned on Enhanced Tracking Protection, which blocks cookies from third-party trackers in Firefox, by default. Mozilla has also improved its Facebook Container extension, released a Firefox desktop extension for its rebranded Lockwise password keeper, and updated Firefox Monitor with a dashboard for multiple email addresses. Mozilla added basic Tracking Protection to Firefox 42's private browsing mode in November 2015. The feature blocked website elements (ads, analytics trackers, and social share buttons) based on Disconnect's tracking protection rules. With the release of Firefox 57 in November 2017, Mozilla added an option to enable Tracking Protection outside of private browsing. (Tracking Protection was not turned on by default because it can break websites and cut off revenue streams for content creators who depend on third-party advertising.)

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Apple's Top Spec Mac Pro and Pro Display Will Cost At Least $50,000

Tue, 2019-06-04 14:41
Apple announced this week that its new Mac Pro starts at an already pricey $6,000, but the company neglected to mention how much the top-of-the-line model will cost. From a report on The Verge: So we shopped around for equivalent parts to the top-end spec that Apple's promising. As it turns out: $33,720.88 is likely the bare minimum -- and that's before factoring in the four GPUs, which could easily jack that price up to around $45,000. For all that dough, big-budget video editors and other creative types get a lot of firepower: a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor, an almost-impossible-to-comprehend 1.5TB of RAM, 4TB of SSD storage, and four AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo GPUs -- assuming you can afford one. Add in a Pro Display XDR monitor (and a Pro Stand to go with it), and you're looking at a workstation that could clear $50,000. Keep in mind too that these estimates are based on market prices for these (or similar) parts: Apple historically has charged far more for its pre-built configurations than for a computer you'd build on your own.

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Square Sends Millions of Digital Receipts, Sometimes To the Wrong Person

Tue, 2019-06-04 14:03
With access to years of data on the purchase activity of hundreds of millions of unique credit and debit cards across millions of small businesses, payments app Square has a window into spending patterns that few other tech companies can match. By supplementing that data with contact details that shoppers provide to Square for the purpose of getting digital receipts, the company is able to assemble expansive profiles of consumer behavior that it can use to run marketing and loyalty programs for its small-business customers. But misfires happen. From a report: Square has forwarded receipts documenting transactions as mundane as a cup of coffee and as sensitive as an obstetrician's visit to people who were uninvolved in the purchases, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. In some cases, neither the purchaser nor the recipient could say why Square sent receipts to the people it did. At issue are the methods that tech companies employ to make money off of the financial data of their users, as well as the degree to which those companies disclose or get consent from their users about those efforts. Data on individuals' credit-card transactions can be particularly delicate and more revealing than their social-media posts or web-browsing activity. The Journal reported last year that Facebook requested detailed information from large U.S. banks about their customers as part of an effort to offer new services to users, but that data privacy emerged as a sticking point.

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Get Ready For Under-Display Smartphone Cameras

Tue, 2019-06-04 13:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: With in-screen fingerprint readers quickly becoming a regular feature of flagship phones, manufacturers are starting to wonder about what other things they can stick under the display. In the past day, both Oppo and Xiaomi have taken to social media to show off the latest development: under-display front-facing cameras. Forget camera notches, hole punch displays, and complicated pop-up mechanisms; the under-display camera enables all-screen smartphone designs with no moving parts. Under-display cameras will work a lot like optical under-display fingerprint readers -- a CMOS chip will be placed under a transparent section of the display, and it will peer through the pixels to see the outside world. For an optical fingerprint reader, the image capturing setup only needs to be of high enough quality to identify the ridges and valleys of your fingertip. For selfies and video chats, there will be much higher demands for image quality, and we wonder what obstructing the camera view with pixels will do to the image quality. Both Xiaomi and Oppo shared videos of the in-display cameras working, but the videos are too low quality to make any kind of image quality determinations. When you aren't taking a picture, the display pixels work normally, and when it's picture time, the pixels around the camera turn off, allowing the camera to see through the display. Xiaomi detailed some of its implementation, saying it was using a "special low-reflective glass" for better image quality.

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Apple Limits Tracking and Ads In Kid-Focused Apps

Tue, 2019-06-04 11:30
In addition to the "Sign in With Apple" button, Apple announced another privacy-focused measure at its WWDC on Monday: developers are no longer permitted to include third-party ads or analytics tools in apps in the App Store's kid category. Engadget reports: The company laid out the rule in its updated guidelines for app submissions, confirming a report from last week that it would add such additional protections for younger users. Developers are also prohibited from including external links or in-app purchases, unless they're in a section of the app only accessible to parents. Apple also urged developers to be mindful of privacy laws in various jurisdictions regarding the data they collect from kids.

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Apple Unveils 6K 'Pro Display XDR' Monitor That Starts At $5,000

Tue, 2019-06-04 10:00
One of the most ridiculous announcements made at Apple's WWDC on Monday was the new Pro Display XDR monitor. It's a monitor made to pair with the new Mac Pro, complete with top-level specs and a staggering $5,000 starting price. CNET reports: The monitor's chief feature is high-dynamic range, aka HDR. Doing HDR correctly requires a lot of horsepower to illuminate the screen, and the XDR monitor can get exceedingly bright -- and stay that way. Apple says an advanced cooling system can maintain its 1,000 nits brightness "indefinitely." The monitor has a full-array backlight with 576 zones of full array local dimming -- more than just about any similarly equipped TV available. That advanced dimming tech likely contributes to the incredibly high 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio specification. At 32 inches and a resolution of 6,016 x 3,384, the Pro Display XDR is Apple's largest retina display ever. While not used in many TVs (which are either 4K or 8K), the 6K resolution is increasingly popular for video capture, with cameras like the Pansonic Lumix S1H, Sony Venice, and models from Red doing 6K. Apple has also improved the screen to better control reflections and offers a new matte option called "nano-texture, with glass etched at the nanometer level for low reflectivity and less glare." The matte option brings the price of the monitor up to $6,000. Apple also talks up its polarizer technology and wide off-axis viewing angle. Pre-set reference modes include HDR video (P3-ST 2084), Digital Cinema (P3-DCI) and Photography (P3-D65). In traditional Apple fashion, the Pro Display XDR does not ship with a stand -- you'll have to buy that separately. The optional $999 Pro stand allows users to articulate the screen and place it in various positions. It has tilt, height, and rotation adjustment, meaning you can rotate it from landscape to portrait mode, juts like your iPhone. Apple is also selling a VESA mount adapter for $199, but that will require you to buy another third-party stand.

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