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Showing posts from 2016

Anti-CCTV ‘Reflectacle’ glasses will let criminals evade the law and activists dodge ‘the surveillance state’

SPECS APPEAL Anti-CCTV ‘Reflectacle’ glasses will let criminals evade the law and activists dodge ‘the surveillance state’ Garish spectacles are designed to reflect light and help the wearer evade cameras BY CHARLES WHITE
29th December 2016, 2:51 pm
Anti-CCTV ‘Reflectacle’ glasses could let criminals evade the law AN innovative design for glasses that reflect both visible and infrared light will help budding criminals to dodge CCTV cameras. Scott Urban, 35, has developed retro-style glasses that keep people's face hidden from cameras. This is what happens when light is shone at the glasses The anti-surveillance specs could allow crims to dodge CCTV cameras Two designs, Reflectacles Ghost and Originals, bounce light back from where it comes from causing their faces to appear blurred in images. Mr Urban says he created the design for people who are "just completely fed up with the massive surveillance state". He claims the products are made from micro-prismatic retro-reflective materi…

Want to See the Ball Game? Scan Your Iris First

Want to See the Ball Game? Scan Your Iris First
Fingerprint biometrics ease stadium lines for select fans Teams use data to boost revenue, triggering privacy concerns
by Alan Levin and Jonathan Levin December 28, 2016, 2:00 AM PST
Lazaro Torres, a die-hard Miami Heat fan, was scurrying to reach his seat before tip-off one night last month when he hit an all-too-common roadblock:
Two dozen fans stirring impatiently in the security-check line. Not a problem. He slid into a special entrance line, laid two fingers on a print scanner and, with the Heat's rapid blessing, cruised into the arena.
"It's been great," Torres, a 43-year-old season-ticket holder, said of the service, known as Clear, which offers queue-skipping privileges for six U.S. sports teams including New York's Yankees and Mets baseball franchises. His interview was necessarily brief. "I'm running a little late."
Attending a game used to be a low-tech pleasure: Buy a ticket and grab a ble…

Germany Considers Fining Facebook $522,000 Per Fake News Item

Germany Considers Fining Facebook $522,000 Per Fake News Item
By Lukas Mikelionis | 2:49 pm, December 27, 2016 The government of Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a “fake news” story up without deleting it.
In the name of combating harms from false news, the German government next year will consider the bill, which has bipartisan support, that will allow both official and private complainants to flag content that is considered “fake news”.
The law would also force the social networks to create in-country offices focused on responding to takedown demands and would make these networks responsible for compensation if a post by individual users were found to slander someone.
“If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros,” said German…

Antitrust should be used to break up partisan tech giants like Facebook, Google

Antitrust should be used to break up partisan tech giants like Facebook, Google
BY SELWYN DUKE, CONTRIBUTOR - 12/27/16 12:40 PM EST  464
How much face time will your news story get on Facebook? How many eyes will ogle it on Google? Too often, this is apparently determined not by whether the story is "fake" news or newsworthy, but by whether it's politically correct. And it's time to break up the Internet's left-wing, information-conduit oligopoly.
If "knowledge is power" and "The pen is mightier than the sword," entities controlling what pens you see are powerful indeed. Facebook and Google "account for 75% of all the referrals major news and entertainment sites now receive," according to a Politico report in July.
Facebook boasts a 40 percent share of the social media market and 1.5 billion users worldwide, making this Internet "nation" more populous than any country on Earth.  Upwards of 40 percent of American adults …

Apple leaps into AI research with improved simulated + unsupervised learning

Apple leaps into AI research with improved simulated + unsupervised learning
Posted December 26, 2016 by John Mannes
Corporate machine learning research may be getting a new vanguard in Apple. Six researchers from the company’s recently formed machine learning group published a paper that describes a novel method for simulated + unsupervised learning. The aim is to improve the quality of synthetic training images. The work is a sign of the company’s aspirations to become a more visible leader in the ever growing field of AI.
Google, Facebook, Microsoft and the rest of the techstablishment have been steadily growing their machine learning research groups. With hundreds of publications each, these companies’ academic pursuits have been well documented, but Apple has been stubborn — keeping its magic all to itself.
Things started to change earlier this month when Apple’s Director of AI Research, Russ Salakhutdinov, announced that the company would soon begin publishing research. The tea…

UK: Pleading guilty online leads to fears over open justice

Guilty by email leads to fears over open justice
By Martin Evans, crime correspondent  26 DECEMBER 2016 • 11:45PM
Proposals allowing people to plead guilty to minor offences online could erode the principle of open justice, campaigners have warned.
Changes to the Prisons and Court Reform Bill could see up to 900,000 people who are charged with offences such as fare dodging and traffic violations, circumvent the courts system by pleading guilty remotely.
They would also be able to accept the conviction and pay the fine, all at the touch of a button.
The idea is to save money, streamline the system and free up magistrates courts to deal with more serious offences.
But critics fear the proposals could be the thin end of the wedge and could seriously erode the principle of justice needing to be seen to be done.
The Magistrates' Association has warned that a shift away from legal hearing taking place in open court in from of the judiciary may be "unpalatable for many people"…

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case - Company declined the case raises bigger questions about IoT privacy

Police seek Amazon Echo data in murder case
The company declined to do so, but the case raises bigger questions about IoT privacy.
Billy Steele December 27, 2016
Amazon's Echo devices and its virtual assistant are meant to help find answers by listening for your voice commands. However, police in Arkansas want to know if one of the gadgets overheard something that can help with a murder case. According to The Information, authorities in Bentonville issued a warrant for Amazon to hand over any audio or records from an Echo belonging to James Andrew Bates. Bates is set to go to trial for first-degree murder for the death of Victor Collins next year.
Amazon declined to give police any of the information that the Echo logged on its servers, but it did hand over Bates' account details and purchases. Police say they were able to pull data off of the speaker, but it's unclear what info they were able to access. Due to the so-called always on nature of the connected device, the a…

Obama Quietly Signs The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" Into Law

Obama Quietly Signs The "Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act" Into Law
byTyler DurdenDec 25, 2016 10:19 PM

Late on Friday, with the US population embracing the upcoming holidays and oblivious of most news emerging from the administration,Obama quietly signed into law the 2017National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which authorizes $611 billion for the military in 2017.
In a statement,Obama said that: Today, I have signed into law S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” This Act authorizes fiscal year 2017 appropriations principally for the Department of Defense and for Department of Energy national security programs, provides vital benefits for military personnel and their families, and includes authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe. It continues many critical authorizations necessary to ensure that we are able to sustain our momentum in countering the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and …

Israeli Ministers Approve ‘Facebook Law’ Against Web Incitement

Israeli Ministers Approve ‘Facebook Law’ Against Web Incitement
Bill would let court issue warrants for removal of content Cabinet to discuss tougher measures amid free-speech concerns
by Gwen Ackerman December 25, 2016, 7:01 AM PST
Israeli courts could demand that companies such as Facebook Inc. remove content deemed as incitement, under a bill that that will head for parliamentary approval amid concerns about free speech.
The law would give Israel the tools “to have content liable to lead to murder and terror removed immediately,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said via text message after an Israeli ministerial committee approved the bill Sunday.
Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have continued pushing the bill even after Facebook agreed in a September meeting to create joint teams to deal with Internet incitement. Israel’s Cabinet said Sunday it would discuss even tougher measures against violent content on the web, without indicating what those measures might be.
The…

Suddenly hot smart home devices are ripe for hacking, experts warn

Suddenly hot smart home devices are ripe for hacking, experts warn
Jennifer Schlesinger Friday, 23 Dec 2016 | 11:28 AM ET | 02:03
Will 2017 be the year your home becomes under attack from cyber criminals?
Experts expect the number of attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT) will likely increase in 2017. IoT includes devices like webcams, DVRs and connected thermostats that make life easier for homeowners, but are susceptible to cyber-intrusions.
These gadgets add conveniences like locking your door or shutting off the lights all from a smartphone app, but they come with certain risks, experts warn.
"The sharks have smelled the blood in the water and they're now circling to use your IoT device for further attacks," said James Lyne, global head of security research for Sophos, a U.K.-based cybersecurity company.
The concerns about technological vulnerabilities come as experts say smart home devices are hot gifts this holiday season. The growing reach of smart devices makes…

Finnish phone app finds reindeer, helps to avoid road kill

Finnish phone app finds reindeer, helps to avoid road kill
JAMES BROOKS Associated Press December 24, 2016
ROVANIEMI, Finland (AP) — There's good news for Rudolph and his friends — an app is helping officials reduce the number of reindeer killed in traffic accidents in Finland.
Some 300,000 reindeer freely wander the wilds of Lapland in Arctic Finland. An estimated 4,000 are killed every year through road accidents, officials say, and compensation to reindeer herders can be expensive.
Most of the accidents occur during the dark winter months when the animals are hard to spot. Several methods to cut roadkill have failed, including spray-painting antlers with fluorescent colors, hanging reflectors on reindeer necks and using movable traffic signs to warn of reindeer as they wander through the lichen-covered fells.
In their latest attempt, officials are using a smartphone app called "Porokello," Finnish for "Reindeer Bell."
And it seems to be working — at least l…

Court Rejects Government’s Secrecy Claims in EFF’s Hemisphere Suit

Victory! Court Rejects Government’s Secrecy Claims in EFF’s Hemisphere Suit DECEMBER 22, 2016 | BY AARON MACKEY
The federal government has not justified its excessive secrecy about the massive telephone surveillance program known as Hemisphere, a court ruled in an EFF Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on Thursday.
As a result, the federal government must submit roughly 260 pages of previously withheld or heavily redacted records to the court so that it can review them and decide whether to make more information about Hemisphere public.
Hemisphere is a partnership between AT&T and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that allows police almost real-time access to telephone call detail records. The program is both extremely controversial—AT&T requires police to hide its use from the public—and appears to violate our First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Although the government disclosed some records in response to EFF’s FOIA request about Hemisphere, it claime…

Consumer Reports Can Not Recommend MacBook Pro - Wildly Inconsistent Battery Life

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Apple working with Consumer Reports to pin down inconsistent MacBook Pro battery test results by Dieter Bohn@backlon  Dec 24, 2016, 10:18am EST
On December 22nd, Consumer Reports said it could not recommend the MacBook Pro — a first for a Mac laptop. It caused a stir! Consumer Reports’ reasoning was simple: it got wildly inconsistent battery test results every time it tried to test multiple versions of the laptop. Its test is one that’s pretty common across the industry, loading up web pages one after another:
For the battery test, we download a series of 10 web pages sequentially, starting with the battery fully charged, and ending when the laptop shuts down. The web pages are stored on a server in our lab, and transmitted over a WiFi network set up specifically for this purpose. We conduct our battery tests using the computer’s default browser—Safari, in the case of the MacBook Pro laptops.
In that test, CR saw the 13-inch MacBook Pro (with the Touch Bar) get results from 16 hours …