Posts

Showing posts from May, 2017

Tax burdens prompt more Americans to ditch their citizenship

Tax burdens prompt more Americans to ditch their citizenship
Some 9 million Americans reside abroad.
More than 4 in 10 wouldn't rule out renouncing U.S. citizenship, according to a survey.
By Darla Mercado May 31, 2017
Americans abroad have just about had it with Uncle Sam's tax filing requirements.
Those were the findings from a recent survey of more than 2,100 U.S. expatriates, according to Greenback Expat Tax Services, which specializes in working with American taxpayers residing overseas.
Just over 4 in 10 respondents said that while they aren't planning to renounce their U.S. citizenship, they wouldn't rule it out, and 19 percent said they're seriously considering it.
Half of those who are either planning or considering giving up their citizenship say the primary reason is the burden of U.S. tax rules.
"Tax requirements like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the report of foreign bank and financial accounts (FBAR) start to become more pa…

He didn’t give police his iPhone pass code, so he got 180 days in jail

He didn’t give police his iPhone pass code, so he got 180 days in jail
BY DAVID OVALLE MAY 30, 2017 2:11 PM
A Hollywood man must serve 180 days in jail for refusing to give up his iPhone password to police, a Broward judge ruled Tuesday — the latest salvo in intensifying legal battles over law-enforcement access to smart phones.
Christopher Wheeler, 41, was taken into custody in a Broward Circuit Court, insisting he had already provided the pass code to police investigating him for child abuse, although the number did not work.
“I swear, under oath, I’ve given them the password,” a distraught Wheeler, his hands handcuffed behind his back, told Circuit Judge Michael Rothschild, who earlier in May found the man guilty of contempt of court.
As Wheeler was jailed Tuesday, the same issue was unfolding in Miami-Dade for a man accused of extorting a social-media celebrity over stolen sex videos.
That man, Wesley Victor, and his girlfriend had been ordered by a judge to produce a pass code t…

From Amazon to Wal-Mart, digital retail is producing more jobs and higher pay

From Amazon to Wal-Mart, digital retail is producing more jobs and higher pay
Written by Mitchell Schnurman, Business columnist May 30, 2017
Retail trade is one of the biggest job sectors in America, and the vast majority of those workers still clock in at brick-and-mortar stores. But the big growth is coming from e-commerce, which happens to pay a lot better, too.
This is a promising development for retail workers who worry about thousands of store closings and the march of automation. E-commerce also offers a potential antidote to years of low productivity growth and income stagnation.
“If this new pattern continues, it will raise real wages across the economy and rejuvenate the middle class,” said a report by economist Michael Mandel of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington.
By his definition, e-commerce includes online shopping, mail order and warehousing.
That’s a more expansive category than usual and was created to capture the growth in what Mandel calls advanced di…

Once considered the titans of Wall Street, hedge fund managers are in trouble

Once considered the titans of Wall Street, hedge fund managers are in trouble
Hedge funds produced returns of about 5 percent last year, according to Hedge Fund Research, compared with the 10 percent rise of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
By Renae Merle May 29 at 5:04 PM
NEW YORK — Long considered the titans of Wall Street, hedge fund managers have long thrived under a simple premise: They are smarter than the average investor and can produce bigger profits.
That image of the slick, well-connected trader, making bold bets with hundreds of millions of dollars, has attracted trillions from wealthy investors, pension funds and endowments who were willing to pay high fees and hand over 20 percent of any profits to the elite class of traders.
Now, though, many investors are reconsidering. Hedge funds produced returns of about 5 percent last year, according to Hedge Fund Research, compared with the 10 percent rise of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broad collect…

Smartphones could soon be fitted with artificial intelligence thanks to new ‘neural engine’ chip

AI PHONE Apple iPhones could soon be fitted with artificial intelligence thanks to new ‘neural engine’ chip
Latest tech gossip indicates Apple's new smartphone will be very clever indeed By David Glance, news.com.au
30th May 2017, 10:38 am  Updated: 30th May 2017, 2:09 pm
APPLE is reportedly planning to install an artificial intelligence chip in upcoming iPhones.
The tech giant is said to be working on a chip called the Apple Neural Engine which would be dedicated to carrying out artificial intelligence (AI) processing, news.com.au reports.
Although artificial intelligence is being used already to power digital assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, these technologies rely on computer servers to process data sent to them rather than the processing happening on the mobile device itself.
The technology will bring new types of capabilities to mobile devices and should reduce or even eliminate the need for an internet connection.
The uses are potentially limitless and will bring …

Swiss man convicted of racism and anti-Semitism over Facebook ‘likes’ in defamation case

Man convicted over Facebook ‘likes’ in defamation case
MAY 30, 2017 - 11:38
​​​​​​​In a landmark trial, a Swiss man has received a suspended sentence and a CHF4,000 ($4,000) fine in a defamation case which involved him “liking” Facebook posts that accused an animal rights activist of racism and anti-Semitism.
On Monday, a Zurich district court found the 45-year-old defendant guilty of defamation. The Zurich man had accused Erwin Kessler, the president of the animal protection organisation “Verein gegen Tierfabrikenexternal link” and his association online of racism and anti-Semitism.
The defendant had also liked six Facebook posts from other people that contained the inflammatory content, also commenting on and linking to several of the posts.
The court said the inflammatory Facebook posts were unjustifiable. According to Judge Catherine Gerwig, such defamatory statements on the social media network violated Kessler’s honour. By clicking on a Facebook “Like” button, the defendant…

This Dystopian Device Warns You When AI Is Trying to Impersonate Actual Humans

This Dystopian Device Warns You When AI Is Trying to Impersonate Actual Humans AI is turning against itself.
PETER DOCKRILL 29 MAY 2017
Scared of a future where you can no longer discern if you're dealing with a human or a computer? A team of Australian researchers have come up with what they call the Anti-AI AI.
The wearable prototype device is designed to identify synthetic speech and alert the user that the voice they're listening doesn't belong to a flesh-and-blood individual. Developed as a proof of concept in just five days, the prototype makes use of a neural network powered by Google's Tensorflow machine learning software.
As artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technology rapidly evolve, we're facing an uncertain future where machines can seemingly do all sorts of things better than people can – from mastering games to working our jobs, and even making new, more powerful forms of AI.
While the gravest concerns envision a future dystopia where unregula…

Chipotle says hackers hit most restaurants in data breach

Chipotle says hackers hit most restaurants in data breach
By Lisa Baertlein Fri May 26, 2017 | 9:03pm EDT
Hackers used malware to steal customer payment data from most of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc's (CMG.N) restaurants over a span of three weeks, the company said on Friday, adding to woes at the chain whose sales had just started recovering from a string of food safety lapses in 2015.
Chipotle said it did not know how many payment cards or customers were affected by the breach that struck most of its roughly 2,250 restaurants for varying amounts of time between March 24 and April 18, spokesman Chris Arnold said via email.
A handful of Canadian restaurants were also hit in the breach, which the company first disclosed on April 25.
Stolen data included account numbers and internal verification codes. The malware has since been removed.
The information could be used to drain debit card-linked bank accounts, make "clone" credit cards, or to buy items on certain less-secure…

Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens

Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens
BY TIM JOHNSON MAY 26, 2017 6:37 PM
U.S. intelligence agencies conducted illegal surveillance on American citizens over a five-year period, a practice that earned them a sharp rebuke from a secret court that called the matter a “very serious” constitutional issue.
The criticism is in a lengthy secret ruling that lays bare some of the frictions between the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and U.S. intelligence agencies obligated to obtain the court’s approval for surveillance activities.
The ruling, dated April 26 and bearing the label “top secret,” was obtained and published Thursday by the news site Circa.
It is rare that such rulings see the light of day, and the lengthy unraveling of issues in the 99-page document opens a window on how the secret federal court oversees surveillance activities and seeks to curtail those that it deems overstep legal authority.
The document, signed by Judge Rosemary M. C…

Acquisitions accelerate as tech giants seek to build AI smarts

Acquisitions accelerate as tech giants seek to build AI smarts
By Julia Love | SAN FRANCISCO Fri May 26, 2017 | 3:26pm EDT
A total of 34 artificial intelligence startups were acquired in the first quarter of this year, more than twice the amount of activity in the year-ago quarter, according to the research firm CB Insights.
Tech giants seeking to reinforce their leads in artificial intelligence or make up for lost ground have been the most aggressive buyers. Alphabet Inc's Google has acquired 11 AI startups since 2012, the most of any firm, followed by Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Intel Corp, respectively, according to CB Insights.
The companies declined to comment on their acquisition strategies. A spokesman for Apple did confirm the company's recent purchase of Lattice Data, a startup that specializes in working with unstructured data.
The first quarter also saw one of the largest deals to date as Ford Motor Co invested $1 billion in Argo AI, founded by former executives on…

Major U.S. tech firms press Congress for internet surveillance reforms

Major U.S. tech firms press Congress for internet surveillance reforms
By Dustin Volz | WASHINGTON Fri May 26, 2017 | 11:56am EDT
Facebook, Amazon and more than two dozen other U.S. technology companies pressed Congress on Friday to make changes to a broad internet surveillance law, saying they were necessary to improve privacy protections and increase government transparency.
The request marks the first significant public effort by Silicon Valley to wade into what is expected to be a contentious debate later the year over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, parts of which will expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress reauthorizes them.
Of particular concern to the technology industry and privacy advocates is Section 702, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to vacuum up vast amounts of communications from foreigners but also incidentally collects some data belonging to Americans that can be searched by analysts without a warrant.
"We are writing to express our support for re…

'Bot Dylan' AI writes its own catchy folk songs after studying 23,000 tunes

The future of music: 'Bot Dylan' AI writes its own catchy folk songs after studying 23,000 tunes
Computer composes new tunes after being trained on 23,000 Irish folk songs This allowed AI to learn the patterns and structures that make for a catchy tune So far it has created over 100,000 new machine 'folk tunes', researchers say It marks a significant step forward for the capabilities of artificial intelligence
By RICHARD GRAY FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 05:01 EDT, 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 07:02 EDT, 26 May 2017
Researchers have created a 'Bot Dylan' computer that is capable of writing its own folk music.
The system uses artificial intelligence to compose new tunes after it was trained using 23,000 pieces of Irish folk music.
This allowed the machine to learn the patterns and structures that make for a catchy tune before it created its own pieces of music that we showcased at a concert in London this week.
It marks a significant step forward for the capabilities o…

Disney CEO Bob Iger: Hacker Threat About Stolen Movie Was a Hoax

Disney CEO Bob Iger: Hacker Threat About Stolen Movie Was a Hoax
By Todd Spangler MAY 25, 2017 | 01:57PM PT
Disney chief Bob Iger confirmed the company received a threat from cybercriminals who claimed to have stolen the digital copy of a movie — but that the studio believes the claims were false.
“To our knowledge we were not hacked,” Iger said in an interview with Yahoo Finance published Thursday. “We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen. We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required.”
Iger added, “We don’t believe that it was real and nothing has happened.”
According to some reports, the movie in question was Johnny Depp-starrer “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” But piracy-news site TorrentFreak, citing an email exchange with someone purporting to be behind the extortion attempt, reported that the hackers told Disney they stole an incomplete cut of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
The unid…

10 percent of Americans trading in a car plan to use Uber and Lyft instead of buying a new one

10 percent of Americans trading in a car plan to use Uber and Lyft instead of buying a new one
Mike Coppola May 25, 2017
Wally Nowinski got his first car when he turned 16 in Michigan, the home of the U.S. auto industry. But after two years of living in New York City, he sold his wheels, using ride services, carsharing and bike sharing to get around.
"My mom didn't think I could do it. She thought I would buy a new car in six months," he said. But that was more than a year ago, and his car budget of $820 per month fell to $250 for carsharing and ride services last year. "I take Uber like pretty frivolously," he said.
Nowinski, 32, is not alone.
Nearly a quarter of American adults sold or traded in a vehicle in the last 12 months, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll published on Thursday, with most getting another car. But 9 percent of that group turned to ride services like Lyft Inc and Uber Technologies Inc as their main way to get around.
About the sam…

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls for exploring universal basic income during his Harvard Commencement Speech

Mark Zuckerberg joins Silicon Valley bigwigs in calling for government to give everybody free money
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just wrapped up his Harvard Commencement speech
Zuckerberg touched on America's economics, health care system and the need to "modernize democracy"
Zuckerberg also called for universal basic income, echoing other elite members of Silicon Valley
Todd Haselton May 25, 2017 1 Hour Ago
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called on the need to consider universal basic income for Americans during his Harvard Commencement Speech.
Zuckerberg's comments reflect those of other Silicon Valley bigwigs, including Sam Altman, the president of venture capital firm Y Combinator.
"Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it's time for our generation to define a new social contract," Zuckerberg said during his speech. "We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a ro…

Hackers are hiding computer viruses in film subtitles, security experts warn

Hackers are hiding computer viruses in film subtitles, security experts warn
By James Titcomb 25 MAY 2017 • 8:55AM
Hackers can hide computer viruses in online video subtitles and use them to take control of computers, security experts have warned.
The attacks are embedded within the subtitle files that accompany many illegally downloaded films, and easily bypass security software and antivirus programs designed to keep computers safe.
Check Point, the security group that discovered the flaw, said millions of people who use video software including to stream or play films and TV shows on computers could be at risk.
They warned that the attack lets hackers take "complete control" over any type of device using the software, including smart TVs. It identified four programs - VLC, Kodi, Popcorn Time and Stremio - but said there could be more.
"We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this…

Amazon Opens Grocery Pickup Kiosks to Rival Wal-Mart

Amazon Opens Grocery Pickup Kiosks to Rival Wal-Mart
by Spencer Soper May 25, 2017, 8:30 AM PDT May 25, 2017, 9:45 AM PDT
Amazon.com Inc. opened two grocery pickup kiosks in Seattle, part of its latest effort to enter the $800 billion grocery market and compete with “click and collect” shopping options from big box competitors like Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The “AmazonFresh Pickup” spots let shoppers buy groceries online and pick them up in as little as 15 minutes rather than having them delivered to their homes. The service is open to Amazon Prime members who pay $99 a year for delivery discounts and video and music streaming. Each location has parking spaces beneath canopies similar to those seen at gas stations.
Grocery sales have been slow to shift online, unlike books and electronics, leaving Amazon at a disadvantage to competitors like Wal-Mart, Target Corp. and supermarket chain Kroger Co. Amazon is experimenting with brick-and-mortar concepts to get a toehold in grocery sales whil…

Reality Check: What Does, and Doesn’t, Protect Your Smartphone

Reality Check: What Does, and Doesn’t, Protect Your Smartphone
By BRIAN X. CHEN MAY 24, 2017
Once you get a smartphone, what’s the first thing you might want to go along with the device? For many people, it’s probably a case.
That’s because carrying a smartphone without a case is like driving a car without bumpers — and no one wants a new gadget to shatter, crack or get dented. Spending on mobile phone accessories is expected to reach $107.3 billion by 2022, according to Allied Market Research, up from about $61 billion in 2014. Protective cases are the hottest sellers in the category.
Yet here’s the truth about those accessories: Some products that purport to protect your smartphones are useless. It’s unclear, for one, whether a screen protector — a thin plastic or glass film for your phone display — actually prevents glass from shattering upon impact. Sales clerks at cellphone stores also often pressure people into purchasing expensive extended warranty plans for their devices, man…