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Study: Many Popular Medical Apps Send User Info To 3rd Or 4th Parties

Sun, 2019-10-13 19:51
dryriver writes: A study in the British Medical Journal that looked at 24 of the 100s of Medical apps available on Google Play found that 79% pass all sorts of user info -- including sensitive medical info like what your reported symptoms are and what medications you are taking in some cases -- on to third and fourth parties. A German-made and apparently very popular medical app named Ada was found to share user data with trackers like Facebook, Adjust and Amplitude for example. [Click here for the article in German.] The New York Times also warned recently about apps that want to retrieve/store your medical records. From the conclusion of the study: "19/24 (79%) of sampled apps shared user data. 55 unique entities, owned by 46 parent companies, received or processed app user data, including developers and parent companies (first parties) and service providers (third parties). 18 (33%) provided infrastructure related services such as cloud services. 37 (67%) provided services related to the collection and analysis of user data, including analytics or advertising, suggesting heightened privacy risks. Network analysis revealed that first and third parties received a median of 3 (interquartile range 1-6, range 1-24) unique transmissions of user data. Third parties advertised the ability to share user data with 216 "fourth parties"; within this network (n=237), entities had access to a median of 3 (interquartile range 1-11, range 1-140) unique transmissions of user data. Several companies occupied central positions within the network with the ability to aggregate and re-identify user data."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Invisible Hardware Hacks Allowing Full Remote Access Cost Pennies

Sun, 2019-10-13 18:36
Long-time Slashdot reader Artem S. Tashkinov quotes Wired: More than a year has passed since Bloomberg Businessweek grabbed the lapels of the cybersecurity world with a bombshell claim: that Supermicro motherboards in servers used by major tech firms, including Apple and Amazon, had been stealthily implanted with a chip the size of a rice grain that allowed Chinese hackers to spy deep into those networks. Apple, Amazon, and Supermicro all vehemently denied the report. The NSA dismissed it as a false alarm. The Defcon hacker conference awarded it two Pwnie Awards, for "most overhyped bug" and "most epic fail." And no follow-up reporting has yet affirmed its central premise. But even as the facts of that story remain unconfirmed, the security community has warned that the possibility of the supply chain attacks it describes is all too real. The NSA, after all, has been doing something like it for years, according to the leaks of whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Now researchers have gone further, showing just how easily and cheaply a tiny, tough-to-detect spy chip could be planted in a company's hardware supply chain. And one of them has demonstrated that it doesn't even require a state-sponsored spy agency to pull it off -- just a motivated hardware hacker with the right access and as little as $200 worth of equipment.

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The UK's National Health System Just Opened A Treatment Center for Videogame Addiction

Sun, 2019-10-13 17:39
An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: The battle against gaming addiction entered a new era this week when the U.K. public health system, the National Health Service (NHS), announced the opening of its first center specializing in 'Internet and Gaming Disorders....' Starting in November, the London-based center's psychiatrists and clinical psychologists will work with patients between ages 13 and 25 whose lives have been affected by "severe or complex behavioral issues associated with gaming, gambling and social media," the NHS said in a release... [T]he U.K. center is meant to fill a gap in mental health treatment that was previously occupied by private programs and more generalized NHS mental health services. "We are inundated. We have got sixty referrals already," says Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones of the addictions faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, who serves as director of the National Centre for Internet and Gaming Addictions where the new clinic will be located.... Other European clinics have seen similarly desperate growth. The Yes We Can clinic on the outskirts of Eindhoven, Netherlands, for instance, treated 250 children for gaming addiction in 2018 and has so far treated 450 in 2019 -- including 50 from the U.K... Dr. Bowden-Jones says that she expects that a relatively small percentage of gamers will suffer the medically recognized disorder -- no more than 2% -- but that the issue is important to address because about 75% of young people in the U.K. engage in gaming.

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Google Takes AMP to the OpenJS Foundation

Sun, 2019-10-13 16:34
An anonymous reader quotes TechCrunch: AMP, Google's somewhat controversial project for speeding up the mobile web, has always been open-source, but it also always felt like a Google project first. Thursday, however, Google announced that the AMP framework will join the OpenJS Foundation, the Linux Foundation-based group that launched last year after the merger of the Node.js and JS foundations. The OpenJS Foundation is currently the home of projects like jQuery, Node.js and webpack, and AMP will join the Foundation's incubation program... Google also notes that the OpenJS Foundation's goal of promoting JavaScript and related technologies is a good fit for AMP's mission of providing "a user-first format for web content." The company also notes that the Foundation allows projects to maintain their identities and technical focus and stresses that AMP's governance model was already influenced by the JS Foundation and Node.js Foundation. Google is currently a top-level platinum member of the OpenJS Foundation and will continue to support the project and employ a number of engineers that will work on AMP full-time.

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IRS Programmer Stole Identities, Funded A Two-Year Shopping Spree

Sun, 2019-10-13 15:34
A computer programmer at America's tax-collecting agency "stole multiple people's identities, and used them to open illicit credit cards to fund vacations and shop for shoes and other goods," write Quartz, citing a complaint unsealed last week in federal court. An anonymous reader quotes their report: The complaint accuses the 35-year-old federal worker of racking up almost $70,000 in charges over the course of two years, illegally using "the true names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers" of at least three people. The US Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration, which oversees internal wrongdoing at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is investigating the crime, although the complaint doesn't specify how the employee obtained the information. The arrest, however, comes just months after the Government Accountability Office -- the federal government's auditor, essentially -- issued a report raising concerns about the security of taxpayer information held at the IRS. The report said that unaddressed shortcomings left taxpayer data "unnecessarily vulnerable to inappropriate and undetected use, modification, or disclosure," which could allow employees or outsiders to illegally access millions of people's personal information. An IRS call center employee in Atlanta pleaded guilty last year to illegally using taxpayer data to file fraudulent tax returns, ultimately collecting almost $6,000. In 2016, another IRS worker in Atlanta admitted to improperly accessing the personal information of two taxpayers, amassing close to half a million dollars from illicit tax refunds.... The IRS employee's alleged scheme took place between January 2016 and February 2018, according to court filings. Investigators say he used a fraudulently obtained American Express card to fly to Sacramento and Miami Beach. He also used the card for some 37 Uber rides, nine payments on his father's Amazon account totaling $1,200, various purchases at Lowe's, the Designer Shoe Warehouse, BJ's Wholesale Club, and a flooring outlet, as well as a $7,400 payment to a business he owned. The complaint says the employee, who works for the tax agency as a software developer, obtained a second fraudulent credit card, which he used to fly to Montego Bay, Jamaica. A third fraudulent card was used to travel to Iceland. In a particularly brazen move, investigators say the suspect linked this card to a phony PayPal account he opened using his official IRS email address. Two of the credit cards were delivered to his home address, while a third was sent to his parents' address, according to the article. "The phone numbers listed on the accounts also belonged to the suspect, and he accessed emails associated with the accounts from his home IP address."

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New Chrome Feature Will Use AI To Describe Unlabelled Images To The Vision-Impaired

Sun, 2019-10-13 14:34
An anonytmous reader quotes TechSpot: Google is looking to improve the web-browsing experience for those with vision conditions by introducing a feature into its Chrome browser that uses machine learning to recognize and describe images. The image description will be generated automatically using the same technology that drives Google Lens... The text descriptions use the phrase "appears to be" to let users know that it is a description of an image. So, for example, Chrome might say, "Appears to be a motorized scooter." This will be a cue to let the person know that it is a description generated by the AI and may not be completely accurate. The feature is only available for those with screen readers or Braille displays. "The unfortunate state right now is that there are still millions and millions of unlabeled images across the web," explains Google's senior accessbility program manager. "When you're navigating with a screen reader or a Braille display, when you get to one of those images, you'll actually just basically hear 'image' or 'unlabeled graphic,' or my favorite, a super long string of numbers which is the file name, which is just totally irrelevant."

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Microsoft's New Keyboards Have Dedicated Keys For 'Office' and Emojis

Sun, 2019-10-13 13:34
"Microsoft's latest keyboards now include dedicated Office and emoji keys," reports the Verge: The software giant was previously experimenting with an Office key on keyboards earlier this year, and now the company is launching a new Ergonomic and slim Bluetooth Keyboard that include the dedicated button. The Office key replaces the right-hand Windows key, and it's used to launch the Office for Windows 10 app that acts as a hub for Microsoft's productivity suite. You can also use the Office key as a shortcut to launch Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. Office key + W opens Word for example, while Office key + X opens Excel. Alongside the Office key, there's also a new emoji key on these new keyboards. It will launch the emoji picker inside Windows 10, but you won't be able to assign it to a specific emoji or even create shortcuts, unfortunately... Microsoft quietly launched these new keyboards at the company's Surface hardware event last week, but they'll be available in stores on October 15th.

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New OpenLibra Cryptocurrency: Like Libra, But Not Run By Facebook

Sun, 2019-10-13 11:34
"While Facebook's upcoming cryptocurrency Libra struggles to keep partners on board and regulators happy, an alternative called OpenLibra is here to address some of Libra's potential shortcomings," reports Mashable: Announced at Ethereum Foundation's Devcon 5 conference in Osaka, Japan, OpenLibra is described as an "open platform for financial inclusion," with a telling tagline: "Not run by Facebook." OpenLibra aims to be compatible with Libra in a technical sense, meaning someone building an app on the Libra platform should be able to easily deploy it to OpenLibra as well. OpenLibra's token's value will be pegged to the value of the Libra token. But while Libra will be a permissioned blockchain (meaning, roughly, that only permitted parties will be able to run a Libra node), OpenLibra will be permissionless from the start. There's an important difference in governance, too. Libra will initially be run by a foundation comprised of up to a 100 corporations and non-profits. It's not entirely clear how OpenLibra will be governed, but the 26-strong "core team" of the project includes people related to cryptocurrency projects such as Ethereum and Cosmos.

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Bell Labs Plans Big 50th Anniversary Event For Unix

Sun, 2019-10-13 07:34
Photographer Peter Adams launched a "Faces of Open Source" portrait project in 2014. This week he posted a special announcement on the web site of Bell Labs: Later this month, Bell Labs will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Unix with a special two day "Unix 50" event at their historic Murray Hill headquarters. This event should be one for the history books with many notable Unix and computer pioneers in attendance...! As I was making those photographs (which will be on display at the event), I gained much insight into Bell Labs and the development of Unix. However, it was some of the more personal stories and anecdotes that brought Bell Labs to life and gave me a feel for the people behind the code. One such time was when Ken Thompson (who is an accomplished pilot) told me how he traveled to Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union in order to fly in a MiG-29 fighter jet... Brian Kernighan told me about how a certain portrait of Peter Weinberger found its way into some very interesting places. These included the concrete foundation of a building on Bell Labs campus, the cover images printed onto Unix CD-ROMs, and most notably, painted on the top of a nearby water tower. Which brings us to another important piece of Unix mythology that I learned about: the fictitious Bell Labs employee G.R. Emlin (a.k.a. "the gremlin").... A lot of this folklore (including the gremlin) is going to be on display at the Unix 50 event. The archivists at Bell Labs have outdone themselves by pulling together a massive collection of artifacts taken from the labs where Unix was developed for over 30 years. I was able to photograph a few of these artifacts last year, but so much more will be exhibited at this event -- including several items from the personal archives of some attendees. As if that wasn't enough, the event will also showcase a number of vintage computers and a look into Bell Labs future with a tour of their Future X Labs. The article includes some more quick stories about the Unix pioneers at Bell Labs (including "the gremlin") and argues that "the decision to freely distribute Unix's source code (to anyone who asked for it) inadvertently set the stage for the free and open source software movements that dominate the technology industry today... "In hindsight, maybe 1969 should be called the 'summer of code.'"

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'There's an Automation Crisis Underway Right Now, It's Just Mostly Invisible'

Sun, 2019-10-13 04:34
"There is no 'robot apocalypse', even after a major corporate automation event," writes Gizmodo, citing something equally ominous in new research by a team of economists. merbs shared their report: Instead, automation increases the likelihood that workers will be driven away from their previous jobs at the companies -- whether they're fired, or moved to less rewarding tasks, or quit -- and causes a long-term loss of wages for the employee. The report finds that "firm-level automation increases the probability of workers separating from their employers and decreases days worked, leading to a 5-year cumulative wage income loss of 11 percent of one year's earnings." That's a pretty significant loss. Worse still, the study found that even in the Netherlands, which has a comparatively generous social safety net to, say, the United States, workers were only able to offset a fraction of those losses with benefits provided by the state. Older workers, meanwhile, were more likely to retire early -- deprived of years of income they may have been counting on. Interestingly, the effects of automation were felt similarly through all manner of company -- small, large, industrial, services-oriented, and so on. The study covered all non-finance sector firms, and found that worker separation and income loss were "quite pervasive across worker types, firm sizes and sectors." Automation, in other words, forces a more pervasive, slower-acting and much less visible phenomenon than the robots-are-eating-our-jobs talk is preparing us for. "People are focused on the damage of automation being mass unemployment," study author James Bessen, an economist at Boston University, tells me in an interview. "And that's probably wrong...." According to Bessen, compared to firms that have not automated, the rate of workers leaving their jobs is simply higher, though from the outside, it can resemble more straightforward turnover. "But it's more than attrition," he says. "A much greater percentage -- 8 percent more -- are leaving." And some never come back to work. "There's a certain percentage that drop out of the labor force. That five years later still haven't gotten a job." The result, Bessen says, is an added strain on the social safety net that it is currently woefully unprepared to handle.

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Should High School Computer Science Classes Count as a Math Credit?

Sun, 2019-10-13 01:34
"In a widely-reprinted essay, Ohio State University assistant professor of physics Chris Orban ponders whether the tech world did students a favor or disservice by getting states to count computer science as high school math credit," writes long-time Slashdot reader theodp. The assistant physics professor writes: In 2013, a who's who of the tech world came together to launch a new nonprofit called Code.org. The purpose of the organization was to get more computer science into schools. Billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates donated millions of dollars to the group. According to the organization's last annual report...$6.9 million went to advocate for state legislation across the country. As part of the organization's mission to "make computer science count" in K-12 education, code.org takes credit for having influenced graduation policies in 42 states. Today, 47 states and the District of Columbia allow computer science classes to count in place of math classes like Algebra 2. Prior to the organization's work, only a few states allowed computer science to count for math credit. In addition, 29 states passed legislation allowing computer science to count in place of a science course. When computer science begins to count as math or science, it makes sense to ask if these changes are helping America's students or hurting them... I worry that students may take computer science just to avoid the more difficult math and science courses they need for college. Computer science could be a way for students to circumvent graduation requirements while adults look the other way.... Computer science advocates have created a kind of national experiment. The next few years will show if this was a good idea, but only if we're looking at more than just the numbers of students taking computer science.

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Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China

Sat, 2019-10-12 23:34
An anonymous reader quotes BuzzFeed News: In early 2018 as development on Apple's slate of exclusive Apple TV+ programming was underway, the company's leadership gave guidance to the creators of some of those shows to avoid portraying China in a poor light, BuzzFeed News has learned. Sources in position to know said the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, its head of international content development. It was part of Apple's ongoing efforts to remain in China's good graces after a 2016 incident in which Beijing shut down Apple's iBooks Store and iTunes Movies six months after they debuted in the country. A spokesperson for Apple declined comment. Apple's tip toeing around the Chinese government isn't unusual in Hollywood. It's an accepted practice. "They all do it," one showrunner who was not affiliated with Apple told BuzzFeed News. "They have to if they want to play in that market. And they all want to play in that market. Who wouldn't?"

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Red Hat CFO 'Dismissed' From Company, Forfeits $4M Retention Award

Sat, 2019-10-12 22:34
"Red Hat Inc.'s finance chief Eric Shander has been dismissed from the company, forfeiting a $4 million retention award that was agreed to ahead of Red Hat's acquisition by IBM," reports the Wall Street Journal: The Raleigh, N.C.-based software company confirmed late Thursday that Mr. Shander was no longer working at Red Hat. "Eric was dismissed without pay in connection with Red Hat's workplace standards," a company spokeswoman said in a statement. The company, which said that its accounting and control functions remain healthy, on Friday declined to provide specifics about what led to Mr. Shander's dismissal. Mr. Shander didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Shander was named Red Hat's permanent chief financial officer in April 2017 after a stint as acting CFO, according to the spokeswoman. He had served in various finance roles at IBM and Lenovo Group Ltd. before joining Red Hat in 2015... His departure puts Red Hat in a difficult spot, said Ivan Feinseth, director of research at Tigress Financial Partners LLC, an investment banking firm. "The fallout for companies in these situations is not only the dismissal of an executive but also the litigation risk," Mr. Feinseth said. "Companies could be held responsible for not creating and maintaining a proper workplace environment." IBM said it supports Red Hat's decision to dismiss Mr. Shander. "Our values are fully aligned in this area," a spokesman said.

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Larry Wall Approves Re-Naming Perl 6 To Raku

Sat, 2019-10-12 21:38
Long-time Slashdot reader hondo77 notes that Larry Wall has given his approval to the re-naming of Perl 6. In the "Path to Raku" pull request, Larry Wall indicated his approval, leaving this comment: I am in favor of this change, because it reflects an ancient wisdom: "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." "Perl 6 will become Raku, assuming the four people who haven't yet approved the pull request give their okay," reports the Register, adding that Perl 5 will then become simply Perl. Dozens of comments on that pull request have now already been marked as "outdated," and while a few contributors have made a point of abstaining from the approval process, reviewer Alex Daniel notes that "this pull request will be merged on October 14th if nobody in the list rejects it or requests more changes."

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Windows 10 Testers Can Now Answer Android Phone Calls and Text Messages

Sat, 2019-10-12 20:34
An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat: At Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2019 in August and the Surface hardware event last week, Microsoft talked about Windows 10's Your Phone app getting a new "Calls" feature. Today, the company is letting Windows Insiders start testing an early preview of Android calling on Windows 10. Having given up on Windows Phone, Microsoft has increasingly poured more resources into Android as its mobile platform of choice. The company offers plenty of Android apps and features, including some that it can't match on Apple's more restricted iOS platform. Last week, Microsoft even unveiled the dual-screen Surface Neo Android phone, coming in holiday 2020. Your Phone is part of Microsoft's "Continue on PC" functionality, which lets you send a task from your Android or iOS device to Windows 10. The app's main purpose is to let you access your phone's content -- like text messages, photos, and notifications -- right on your PC. The feature first arrived with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in October 2017, and Microsoft has been broadening it ever since. Calling support means you no longer have to grab your Android phone to answer a call when you're at your computer. You can interact with the call using your PC's speakers, microphone, and screen.

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Python Code Glitch May Have Caused Errors In Over 100 Published Studies

Sat, 2019-10-12 19:34
Over 100 published studies may have incorrect results thanks to a glitchy piece of Python code discovered by researchers at the University of Hawaii. An anonymous reader quotes Motherboard: The glitch caused results of a common chemistry computation to vary depending on the operating system used, causing discrepancies among Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. The researchers published the revelation and a debugged version of the script, which amounts to roughly 1,000 lines of code, on Tuesday in the journal Organic Letters. "This simple glitch in the original script calls into question the conclusions of a significant number of papers on a wide range of topics in a way that cannot be easily resolved from published information because the operating system is rarely mentioned," the new paper reads. "Authors who used these scripts should certainly double-check their results and any relevant conclusions using the modified scripts in the [supplementary information]." Yuheng Luo, a graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, discovered the glitch this summer when he was verifying the results of research conducted by chemistry professor Philip Williams on cyanobacteria... Under supervision of University of Hawaii at Manoa assistant chemistry professor Rui Sun, Luo used a script written in Python that was published as part of a 2014 paper by Patrick Willoughby, Matthew Jansma, and Thomas Hoye in the journal Nature Protocols . The code computes chemical shift values for NMR, or nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a common technique used by chemists to determine the molecular make-up of a sample. Luo's results did not match up with the NMR values that Williams' group had previously calculated, and according to Sun, when his students ran the code on their computers, they realized that different operating systems were producing different results. Sun then adjusted the code to fix the glitch, which had to do with how different operating systems sort files. The researcher who wrote the flawed script told Motherboard that the new study was "a beautiful example of science working to advance the work we reported in 2014. They did a tremendous service to the community in figuring this out." Sun described the original authors as "very gracious," saying they encouraged the publication of the findings.

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Ransomware Gang's Victim Cracks Their Server and Releases All Their Decryption Keys

Sat, 2019-10-12 18:34
"A user got his revenge on the ransomware gang who encrypted his files by hacking their server and releasing the decryption keys for all victims," writes ZDNet. ccnafr shared their report: One of the gang's victims was Tobias Frömel, a German software developer. Frömel was one of the victims who paid the ransom demand so he could regain access to his files. However, after paying the ransom, Frömel also analyzed the ransomware, gained insight into how Muhstik operated, and then retrieved the crooks' database from their server. "I know it was not legal from me," the researcher wrote in a text file he published online on Pastebin earlier Monday, containing 2,858 decryption keys. "I'm not the bad guy here," Frömel added. Besides releasing the decryption keys, the German developer also published a decrypter that all Muhstik victims can use to unlock their files. The decrypter is available on MEGA [VirusTotal scan], and usage instructions are avaiable on the Bleeping Computer forum. In the meantime, Frömel has been busy notifying Muhstik victims on Twitter about the decrypter's availability, advising users against paying the ransom.

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Richard Stallman Defies Push By 27 GNU Project Developers To End His Leadership

Sat, 2019-10-12 17:34
"27 GNU project maintainers and developers have signed on to a joint statement asking for Richard Stallman to be removed from his leadership role at GNU," writes Slashdot reader twocows. The statement argues that "Stallman's behavior over the years has undermined a core value of the GNU project: The empowerment of all computer users. GNU is not fulfilling its mission when the behavior of its leader alienates a large part of those we want to reach out to." The Register reports: The GNU maintainer memo follows a statement issued by the Free Software Foundation on Sunday. The FSF said that because Stallman founded the GNU Project and the FSF, and until recently had led both, the relationship between the two organizations remains in flux. "Since RMS resigned as president of the FSF, but not as head of GNU, the FSF is now working with GNU leadership on a shared understanding of the relationship for the future," the FSF said. Matt Lee, a free and open-source software developer and one of the 18 [now 27] signatories of the joint statement, said that the two organizations have been intertwined for so long -- the FSF provides GNU with financial, technical, and promotional assistance -- that their relationship is confusing. "For example, the GNU GPL is published by the FSF, not GNU," Lee said. "Key infrastructure that GNU relies on is owned by the FSF, and used by GNU and non-GNU projects alike." ZDNet reports: Stallman's only comment on this situation so far has been: "As head of the GNU Project, I will be working with the FSF on how to structure the GNU Project's relationship with the FSF in the future." LWN.net notes that the next day Stallman issued an additional statement: As Chief GNUisance, I'd like to reassure the community that there won't be any radical changes in the GNU Project's goals, principles and policies. I would like to make incremental changes in how some decisions are made, because I won't be here forever and we need to ready others to make GNU Project decisions when I can no longer do so. But these won't lead to unbounded or radical changes. But the Register notes that Stallman's personal web site has also changed the first headline across the top of its page. It used to promote the Free Software Foundation's giving guide, saying "If you participate in the commercial ritual of end-of-the-year presents, please avoid the digital products that would mistreat the people you give them to." It nows says: I continue to be the Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project. I do not intend to stop any time soon.

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Activision Blizzard Cuts Ban of Pro-Hong Kong Gamer From One Year To Six Months

Sat, 2019-10-12 16:39
"Activision Blizzard Inc., facing the threat of a boycott, reduced the punishment it meted out to a tournament player who voiced support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrators," reports Bloomberg: The company's Blizzard Entertainment division originally barred the player from events for a year and stripped him of some $10,000 in prize money. But it said at the end of the week that it would cut the ban to six months and pay his winnings. The reversal followed an uproar from customers and even U.S. lawmakers, who felt Blizzard was kowtowing to China by punishing the player. Some analysts worried the boycott might take a toll on a company that has already suffered recent upheaval... [C]ustomers and some Blizzard workers felt the reaction was too extreme. In the furor that ensued, several employees staged a protest at its offices in Irvine. They covered up a plaque that read "Every Voice Matters" and held up umbrellas -- a symbol of the Hong Kong protesters. "In hindsight, our process wasn't adequate, and we reacted too quickly," J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, said in the statement. Still, he added that "if this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same." Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo shares another update from Ars Technica: Additionally, the two Chinese broadcasters who interviewed (and possibly egged on) blitzchung during his shout of "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" had been fired; they too have had their punishment changed to a six-month suspension from their jobs as official Hearthstone esports "casters."

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Today's 'Day Against DRM' Protests Locks On Educational Materials

Sat, 2019-10-12 15:44
This year's "International Day Against DRM" is highlighting user-disrespecting restrictions on educational materials. An anonymous reader quotes the Free Software Foundation's Defective By Design site: The "Netflix of textbooks" model practiced by Pearson and similar publishers is a Trojan horse for education: requiring a constant Internet connection for "authentication" purposes, severely limiting the number of pages a student can read at one time, and secretly collecting telemetric data on their reading habits. Every year, we organize the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) to mobilize protests collaboration, grassroots activism, and in-person actions against the grave threat of DRM. For IDAD 2019, we are calling on Pearson and similar companies to stop putting a lock on our learning, and demonstrate their alleged commitment to education by dropping DRM from their electronic textbooks and course materials. At the same time, it is our plan to show that a better world is possible by encouraging people to contribute to collaborative and DRM-free textbooks, and resist the stranglehold these publishers are putting on something as fundamental as one's education. To help us, join the Defective by Design (DbD) coalition as we organize local and remote hackathons on free culture educational materials, and an in-person protest of Pearson Education on Saturday, October 12th. The group is joined in this year's event by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, and The Document Foundation (as well as 10 other participating organizations). Here's some of the site's suggestions for ways to participate: In Boston, we'll be leading the way with our own demonstration on October 12th, 2019, at Pearson Education's corporate offices, followed by an evening hackathon on collaborative, freely licensed educational materials... We'll be providing activists around the world with support on how they can stage their own local in-person event, as well as how to join us online while we help improve the free and ethical alternatives to educational materials restricted by DRM. The easiest way to participate is to join us in going a Day Without DRM, and resolve to spend an entire day (or longer!) without Netflix, Hulu, and other restricted services to show your support of the movement. Document your experiences on social media using the tags "#idad" or "#dbd", and let us know at info@defectivebydesign.org if you have a special story you'd like us to share. Print and share our dust jacket design, which you can slip over your "dead tree" books (while you still have them) to warn others of the dangers of ebook DRM. Pass them out at coffee shops, libraries, and wherever readers congregate!

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