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Google's Fitbit Takeover Probed by EU Regulators

Thu, 2020-07-02 20:04
The EU is questioning whether Google's proposed takeover of Fitbit will harm competition, or give it access to too much personal data. From a report: Fitbit makes fitness-tracking watches that monitor the wearer's heart rate and activity levels. A group of 20 consumer groups and privacy advocates have called for Google's takeover to be blocked. Google said it would not use Fitbit data to target advertising and would be "transparent" about the data gathered. It announced it was buying loss-making Fitbit for $2.1bn in November 2019. The move would help Google expand its wearables business and offer its own-brand smart watches to rival the Apple Watch. But some are concerned that Google already has a wealth of personal information about many people who use its products. As part of its campaign opposing the takeover, Privacy International said: "We don't think any company should be allowed to accumulate this much intimate information about you."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Boeing Quietly Pulls Plug on the 747, Closing Era of Jumbo Jets

Thu, 2020-07-02 19:24
Boeing hasn't told employees, but the company is pulling the plug on its hulking 747 jumbo jet, ending a half-century run for the twin-aisle pioneer. From a report: The last 747-8 will roll out of a Seattle-area factory in about two years, a decision that hasn't been reported but can be teased out from subtle wording changes in financial statements, people familiar with the matter said. It's a moment that aviation enthusiasts long have dreaded, signaling the end of the double-decker, four-engine leviathans that shrank the world. Airbus SE is already preparing to build the last A380 jumbo, after the final convoy of fuselage segments rumbled to its Toulouse, France, plant last month. Yet for all their popularity with travelers, the final version of the 747 and Europe's superjumbo never caught on commercially as airlines turned to twin-engine aircraft for long-range flights. While Boeing's hump-nosed freighters will live on, the fast-disappearing A380 risks going down as an epic dud.

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World's Pile of Electronic Waste Grows Ever Higher: Study

Thu, 2020-07-02 18:44
The world's mountain of discarded flat-screen TVs, cellphones and other electronic goods grew to a record high last year, according to an annual report released Thursday. New submitter Splyncryth writes: The U.N.-backed study estimated the amount of e-waste that piled up globally in 2019 at 53.6 million metric tonnes (59.1 million tons) - almost 2 million metric tons more than the previous year. The authors of the study calculated the combined weight of all dumped devices with a battery or a plug last year was the equivalent of 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2. Among all the discarded plastic and silicon were large amounts of copper, gold and other precious metals -- used for example to conduct electricity on circuit boards. While about a sixth of it was recycled, the remainder of those valuable components -- worth about $57 billion -- weren't reclaimed, the study found.

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Advertisers Will Be Back To Facebook 'Soon Enough', Zuckerberg Assures Employees

Thu, 2020-07-02 18:13
As the ads boycott grows, Mark Zuckerberg shows no sign of backing down. From a report: "My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough" the Facebook chief executive has said. Campaigners accuse the tech firm of being too slow and reluctant to remove some hateful content. But Zuckerberg added: "We're not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue." The comments were made to Facebook staff at a private meeting last Friday, and were subsequently leaked to the Information news site. The social network has confirmed they are accurate and also announced a fresh development: its chief executive is to meet the organisers of the boycott - Stop Hate for Profit. It illustrates the concurrent ways Facebook is dealing with the matter. The first is to be publicly conciliatory: offer smaller changes and hit home its message that hate has no place on the platform. The second is to privately play down the impact of the boycott: reassure advertisers and resist any fundamental changes to Facebook's business model.

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Facebook Says 5,000 App Developers Got User Data After Cutoff Date

Thu, 2020-07-02 17:39
Social media giant Facebook disclosed on Wednesday a new user privacy incident. The company said that it continued sharing user data with approximately 5,000 developers even after their application's access expired. From a report: The incident is related to a security control that Facebook added to its systems following the Cambridge Analytica scandal of early 2018. Responding to criticism that it allowed app developers too much access to user information, Facebook added at the time a new mechanism to its API that prevented apps from accessing a user's data if the user did not use the app for more than 90 days. However, Facebook said that it recently discovered that in some instances, this safety mechanism failed to activate and allowed some apps to continue accessing user information even past the 90-day cutoff date. Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, VP of Platform Partnerships at Facebook, said engineers fixed the issue on the same day they found it.

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One Out of Every 142 Passwords is '123456'

Thu, 2020-07-02 16:48
In one of the biggest password re-use studies of its kind, an analysis of more than one billion leaked credentials has discovered that one out of every 142 passwords is the classic "123456" string. From a report: The study, carried out last month by computer engineering student Ata Hakcil, analyzed username and password combinations that leaked online after data breaches at various companies. These "data dumps" have been around for more than half a decade, and have been piling up as new companies are getting hacked. The data dumps are easily available online, on sites like GitHub or GitLab, or freely distributed via hacking forums and file-sharing portals. Over the years, tech companies have been collecting these data dumps. For example, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, have collected leaked credentials to create in-house alert systems that warn users when they're utilizing a "weak" or "common" password.

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Apple and Google Block Dozens of Chinese Apps in India

Thu, 2020-07-02 16:08
Two days after India blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, Google and Apple have started to comply with New Delhi's order and are preventing users in the world's second largest internet market from accessing those apps. From a report: UC Browser, Shareit, and Club Factory and other apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple's App Store and Google Play Store. In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that the company had "temporarily blocked access to the apps" on Google Play Store as it reviews New Delhi's interim order. Apple, which has taken a similar approach as Google in complying with New Delhi's order, did not respond to a request for comment. Some developers including ByteDance have voluntarily made their apps inaccessible in India, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. India's Department of Telecommunications ordered telecom networks and other internet service providers earlier this week to block access to those 59 apps "effective immediately." Websites of many of these apps have also become inaccessible in India.

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WeWork Founder Warned Staff in 2016: 'You Do Not Get a Chance Like This Again'

Thu, 2020-07-02 15:33
To many of its employees, WeWork was much more than a job. Adam Neumann, the co-founder and former chief executive officer, kept workers motivated by invoking a higher calling to community-building and promising a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From a report: "None of us want to look back and say, 'I could have done more,'" Neumann said in a 2016 staff meeting, captured in hours of tape obtained by Bloomberg. "That's not acceptable. You do not get a chance like this again." In this episode of Foundering, a former WeWork executive assistant, Cody Quinn, describes the tumultuous experience working inside WeWork's New York headquarters. According to Quinn, most employees worked until near-burnout, then were rewarded with trips to Summer Camp and Summit, WeWork's famously raucous companywide parties. And she details the strange things she saw at the office: an executive smashing a printer on the floor, 2 a.m. meetings with Neumann and an elaborate technique designed to lure investors called "activating the space."

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How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime

Thu, 2020-07-02 14:48
Police monitored a hundred million encrypted messages sent through Encrochat, a network used by career criminals to discuss drug deals, murders, and extortion plots. From a report: Something wasn't right. Starting earlier this year, police kept arresting associates of Mark, a UK-based alleged drug dealer. Mark took the security of his operation seriously, with the gang using code names to discuss business on custom, encrypted phones made by a company called Encrochat. For legal reasons, Motherboard is referring to Mark using a pseudonym. Because the messages were encrypted on the devices themselves, police couldn't tap the group's phones or intercept messages as authorities normally would. On Encrochat, criminals spoke openly and negotiated their deals in granular detail, with price lists, names of customers, and explicit references to the large quantities of drugs they sold, according to documents obtained by Motherboard from sources in and around the criminal world. Maybe it was a coincidence, but in the same time frame, police across the UK and Europe busted a wide range of criminals. In mid-June, authorities picked up an alleged member of another drug gang. A few days later, law enforcement seized millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs in Amsterdam. It was as if the police were detaining people from completely unrelated gangs simultaneously. "[The police] all over it aren't they," the dealer wrote in one of the messages obtained by Motherboard. "My heads still baffled how they got on all my guys." Unbeknownst to Mark, or the tens of thousands of other alleged Encrochat users, their messages weren't really secure. French authorities had penetrated the Encrochat network, leveraged that access to install a technical tool in what appears to be a mass hacking operation, and had been quietly reading the users' communications for months. Investigators then shared those messages with agencies around Europe. Only now is the astonishing scale of the operation coming into focus: It represents one of the largest law enforcement infiltrations of a communications network predominantly used by criminals ever, with Encrochat users spreading beyond Europe to the Middle East and elsewhere. French, Dutch, and other European agencies monitored and investigated "more than a hundred million encrypted messages" sent between Encrochat users in real time, leading to arrests in the UK, Norway, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands, a team of international law enforcement agencies announced Thursday. As dealers planned trades, money launderers washed their proceeds, and even criminals discussed their next murder, officers read their messages and started taking suspects off the street.

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The Sci-Hub Effect: Sci-Hub Downloads Lead To More Article Citations

Thu, 2020-07-02 14:08
Excerpt of a paper on Arxiv [PDF]: Citations are often used as a metric of the impact of scientific publications. Here, we examine how the number of downloads from Sci-hub as well as various characteristics of publications and their authors predicts future citations. Using data from 12 leading journals in economics, consumer research, neuroscience, and multidisciplinary research, we found that articles downloaded from Sci-hub were cited 1.72 times more than papers not downloaded from Sci-hub and that the number of downloads from Sci-hub was a robust predictor of future citations. Among other characteristics of publications, the number of figures in a manuscript consistently predicts its future citations. The results suggest that limited access to publications may limit some scientific research from achieving its full impact.

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New Mac Ransomware Is Even More Sinister Than It Appears

Thu, 2020-07-02 13:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: The threat of ransomware may seem ubiquitous, but there haven't been too many strains tailored specifically to infect Apple's Mac computers since the first full-fledged Mac ransomware surfaced only four years ago. So when Dinesh Devadoss, a malware researcher at the firm K7 Lab, published findings on Tuesday about a new example of Mac ransomware, that fact alone was significant. It turns out, though, that the malware, which researchers are now calling ThiefQuest, gets more interesting from there. In addition to ransomware, ThiefQuest has a whole other set of spyware capabilities that allow it to exfiltrate files from an infected computer, search the system for passwords and cryptocurrency wallet data, and run a robust keylogger to grab passwords, credit card numbers, or other financial information as a user types it in. The spyware component also lurks persistently as a backdoor on infected devices, meaning it sticks around even after a computer reboots, and could be used as a launchpad for additional, or "second stage," attacks. Given that ransomware is so rare on Macs to begin with, this one-two punch is especially noteworthy. Though ThiefQuest is packed with menacing features, it's unlikely to infect your Mac anytime soon unless you download pirated, unvetted software. Thomas Reed, director of Mac and mobile platforms at the security firm Malwarebytes, found that ThiefQuest is being distributed on torrent sites bundled with name-brand software, like the security application Little Snitch, DJ software Mixed In Key, and music production platform Ableton. K7's Devadoss notes that the malware itself is designed to look like a "Google Software Update program." So far, though, the researchers say that it doesn't seem to have a significant number of downloads, and no one has paid a ransom to the Bitcoin address the attackers provide. [...] Given that the malware is being distributed through torrents, seems to focus on stealing money, and still has some kinks, the researchers say it was likely created by criminal hackers rather than nation state spies looking to conduct espionage.

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3D-Printed Plant-Based Steaks Could Arrive In 2021

Thu, 2020-07-02 10:00
In 2021, Israeli startup Redefine Meat plans to launch a 3D printer that will allow customers to produce plant-based flank steak at home. Engadget reports: Redefine Meat says that through 3D printing, it's able to create plant-based meat with the same "appearance, texture and flavor of animal meat," according to its website. Texture specifically seems to be the 3D printer's hallmark achievement. "You need a 3D printer to mimic the structure of the muscle of the animal," Redefine Meat CEO Eshchar Ben-Shitrit told Reuters. 3D printing differs from other methods companies have used for reproducing meat taste and texture. Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat use combinations of plant-based proteins, oils and binders, like methylcellulose and potato starch, to achieve a realistic texture for their ground beef and patties -- though the texture of ground beef is arguably easier to achieve than that of steak. Atlast Food uses mushroom fibers to emulate animal tissue in its meatless bacon.

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US Secures World Stock of Key COVID-19 Drug Remdesivir

Thu, 2020-07-02 07:00
The U.S. has bought up virtually all the stocks of remdesivir, perhaps the most closely watched experimental drug to treat COVID-19. The Guardian reports: Remdesivir, the first drug approved by licensing authorities in the U.S. to treat Covid-19, is made by Gilead and has been shown to help people recover faster from the disease. The first 140,000 doses, supplied to drug trials around the world, have been used up. The Trump administration has now bought more than 500,000 doses, which is all of Gilead's production for July and 90% of August and September. "President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19," said the U.S. health and human services secretary, Alex Azar. "To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people." The drug, which was trialled in the Ebola epidemic but failed to work as expected, is under patent to Gilead, which means no other company in wealthy countries can make it. The cost is around $3,200 per treatment of six doses, according to the US government statement. The deal was announced as it became clear that the pandemic in the U.S. is spiralling out of control. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading public health expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate the U.S. was sliding backwards.

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MIT Removes Huge Dataset That Teaches AI Systems To Use Racist, Misogynistic Slurs

Thu, 2020-07-02 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register MIT has taken offline its highly cited dataset that trained AI systems to potentially describe people using racist, misogynistic, and other problematic terms. The database was removed this week after The Register alerted the American super-college. MIT also urged researchers and developers to stop using the training library, and to delete any copies. "We sincerely apologize," a professor told us. The training set, built by the university, has been used to teach machine-learning models to automatically identify and list the people and objects depicted in still images. For example, if you show one of these systems a photo of a park, it might tell you about the children, adults, pets, picnic spreads, grass, and trees present in the snap. Thanks to MIT's cavalier approach when assembling its training set, though, these systems may also label women as whores or bitches, and Black and Asian people with derogatory language. The database also contained close-up pictures of female genitalia labeled with the C-word. Applications, websites, and other products relying on neural networks trained using MIT's dataset may therefore end up using these terms when analyzing photographs and camera footage. The problematic training library in question is 80 Million Tiny Images, which was created in 2008 to help produce advanced object-detection techniques. It is, essentially, a huge collection of photos with labels describing what's in the pics, all of which can be fed into neural networks to teach them to associate patterns in photos with the descriptive labels. So when a trained neural network is shown a bike, it can accurately predict a bike is present in the snap. It's called Tiny Images because the pictures in library are small enough for computer-vision algorithms in the late-2000s and early-2010s to digest. Today, the Tiny Images dataset is used to benchmark computer-vision algorithms along with the better-known ImageNet training collection. Unlike ImageNet, though, no one, until now, has scrutinized Tiny Images for problematic content.

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People Testing Negative For COVID-19 Antibodies May Still Have Some Immunity, Study Suggests

Thu, 2020-07-02 02:02
Thelasko shares a report from the BBC: For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells which identify and destroy infected cells. This was seen even in people who had mild or symptomless cases of Covid-19. But it's not yet clear whether this just protects that individual, or if it might also stop them from passing on the infection to others. Researchers at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden tested 200 people for both antibodies and T-cells. Some were blood donors while others were tracked down from the group of people first infected in Sweden, mainly returning from earlier affected areas like northern Italy. This could mean a wider group have some level of immunity to Covid-19 than antibody testing figures, like those published as part of the UK Office for National Statistics Infection Survey, suggest. It's likely those people did mount an antibody response, but either it had faded or was not detectable by the current tests. And these people should be protected if they are exposed to the virus for a second time.

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Firefox 78: Protections Dashboard, New Developer Features, and the End of the Line For Older MacOS Versions

Thu, 2020-07-02 01:25
williamyf shares a report from The Register: Mozilla has released Firefox 78 with a new Protections Dashboard and a bunch of updates for web developers. This is also the last supported version of Firefox for macOS El Capitan (10.11) and earlier. Firefox is on a "rapid release plan," which means a new version every four to five weeks. This means that major new features should not be expected every time. That said, Firefox 78 is also an extended support release (ESR), which means users who stick with ESR get updates from this and the previous 10 releases. The main new user-facing feature in Firefox 78 is the Protections Dashboard, a screen which shows trackers and scripts blocked, a link to the settings, a link to Firefox Monitor for checking your email address against known data breaches, and a button for password management. Developers get a bunch of new features. The Accessibility inspector is out of beta -- this is a tab in the developer tools that will check a page for accessibility issues when enabled. Source maps are a JavaScript feature that map minified code back to the original code to make debugging easier. Firefox has a Map option that lets you use source maps in the debugger, and this now works with logpoints, a type of breakpoint that writes a message to the console rather than pausing execution, so that you see the original variable names. Mozilla has also worked on debugging JavaScript promises, so you can see more detail when exceptions are thrown. A big feature for debugging web applications when running on mobile is the ability to connect an Android phone with USB, and navigate and refresh mobile web pages from the desktop. Patience is required though, since this will only work with a forthcoming new version of Firefox for Android. Mozilla has been working on a new Regular Expression (RegExp) evaluator and this is included in SpiderMonkey (Mozilla's JavaScript engine) in Firefox 78. This brings the evaluator up to date with the requirements of ECMAScript 2018.

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Dish Buys Prepaid Carrier Boost Mobile For $1.4 Billion

Thu, 2020-07-02 00:45
Today, Dish announced the $1.4 billion acquisition of Boost Mobile. With this purchase, Dish secures its place in the retail wireless market and will serve more than nine million customers. Engadget reports: The deal is the result of T-Mobile's Sprint merger. In order to gain FCC approval and quell fears that the merger would hurt competition, T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to several demands, including divesting Boost Mobile, one of Sprint's prepaid brands. Rumors circulated last year that Dish would buy Boost for $6 billion. Obviously, the final price is nowhere near that amount. "This marks an important milestone in DISH's evolution as a connectivity company," Dish CEO and president Erik Carlson said in a statement. "It positions us well as we continue to build out the first virtualized, standalone 5G network in America." Dish will continue to use the Boost brand, but it has unveiled a new logo. It's also launching a new "$hrink-It!" plan, which starts at $45 for 15GB. If customers make three on-time payments, Dish will drop the monthly rate by $5. Dish will take off another $5 after six on-time payments. Another 10GB plan with unlimited talk and text will cost $35. Both plans will be available beginning July 2nd.

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Multiple Service Providers Are Blocking DuckDuckGo In India

Thu, 2020-07-02 00:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Just a few days after India banned 59 Chinese apps, many users in the country are reporting that privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is inaccessible to them. Users on Reddit have noticed they're unable to access the site on their Airtel and Reliance Jio mobile network connections. While Some users on Twitter have further suggested multiple internet service providers (ISP) have blocked the site. There's no clarity at the moment if there's an order from India's telecom authority to block the site. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo confirmed on Twitter that it's looking into the issue and suggested Android users change their DNS provider to get around the issue. It also added that there's no issue on the server-side.

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Apple Recloses More Than 25% of Its US Retail Stores Due To COVID-19 Spikes

Wed, 2020-07-01 23:20
Apple will close 30 additional stores in the United States by Thursday, the company said, bringing the total number of reclosures in the United States to 77 as Covid-19 cases rapidly rise in several regions around the country. CNBC reports: Stores in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada and Oklahoma will close Thursday. Other stores in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Utah are closed as of Wednesday. Apple has 271 stores in the United States. An Apple spokesman said in a statement: "Due to current COVID-19 conditions in some of the communities we serve, we are temporarily closing stores in these areas. We take this step with an abundance of caution as we closely monitor the situation and we look forward to having our teams and customers back as soon as possible." The closings announced on Wednesday include the last two remaining stores open in Florida, as well as a number of stores around the Los Angeles area.

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Kongregate No Longer Accepting New Games, Shutting Down Forums and Chat

Wed, 2020-07-01 22:40
Kongregate, a video game publisher and web gaming portal featuring over 128,000 titles, announced that many features on the site are going away. The site is no longer allowing uploads of new flash games, and will be shutting down forums and chat services. From a report: Previously, anyone who created a game was able to upload their title for anyone to play, which is why the website has "over 128,000 titles." Another key feature hitting the chopping block is badges. Badges were achievements of varying difficulty, which were periodically added into popular games. Players were granted points upon earning a badge. Kongregate is also famous for its chat features. While playing a game, users can talk with each other in a "chat room." On July 22, most chat rooms are closing down in addition to "non-gaming" forums. It is worth noting that the company is still supporting Kartridge, a gaming platform where you can purchase titles -- it operates like Steam and GOG. Kartridge has essentially the same features as Kongregate, such as chat rooms and badges; only, this is a curated platform that has downloadable games instead of Adobe Flash. Kongregate also continues to "focus on developing games," according to the post. Most of these titles are on mobile, however, some can be found on Kartridge and Steam, like Realm Grinder.

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