China Is Harvesting Organs From Detainees, Tribunal Concludes

science - Posted On:2019-06-17 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: An independent tribunal sitting in London has concluded that the killing of detainees in China for organ transplants is continuing, and victims include imprisoned followers of the Falun Gong movement. The China Tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who was a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said in a unanimous determination at the end of its hearings it was "certain that Falun Gong as a source -- probably the principal source -- of organs for forced organ harvesting." Among those killed, it has been alleged, are members of religious minorities such as Falun Gong. Persecution of the group began in 1999 after it had attracted tens of millions of followers and came to be seen as a threat to the communist party. There is less evidence about the treatment of Tibetans, Uighur Muslims and some Christian sects. China announced in 2014 that it would stop removing organs for transplantation from executed prisoners and has dismissed the claims as politically-motivated and untrue. "The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, that more may suffer in similar ways and that all of us live on a planet where extreme wickedness may be found in the power of those, for the time being, running a country with one of the oldest civilizations known to modern man," said Sir Geoffrey Nice QC. He added: "There is no evidence of the practice having been stopped and the tribunal is satisfied that it is continuing." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Is Finally Taking Charge of the RCS Rollout

news - Posted On:2019-06-17 22:14:58 Source: slashdot

Google is finally taking charge of the RCS rollout by allowing Android users in the UK and France to opt in to RCS Chat services provided directly by Google instead of waiting for their carrier to support it, which is largely the reason why it hasn't been more widely adopted. Google says that it will release the services to more countries "throughout the year," but wouldn't commit to saying that it would be available in all regions by the end of the year. The Verge reports: That seems like yet another minor status check-in on the service meant to replace SMS, but in fact it's a huge shift in strategy: as Google rolls this offering out to more countries, it should eventually mean that RCS will become universally available for all Android users. For the first time in years, Google will directly offer a better default texting experience to Android users instead of waiting for cellphone carriers to do it. It's not quite the Google equivalent of an iMessage service for Android users, but it's close. Not knowing when or if RCS Chat would be available for your phone was RCS's second biggest problem, and Google is fixing it. RCS's biggest problem is that messages are still not end-to-end encrypted. iMessage, WhatsApp, and Signal are secured in that way, and even Facebook has said it will make all its apps encrypted by default. Google's chat solution is increasingly looking out of touch -- even immoral. But there is hope on that front as well. The product management director overseeing Android Messages, Sanaz Ahari, assures me that Google recognizes the need for private chat within RCS and is working on it. Here's her full statement: "We fundamentally believe that communication, especially messaging, is highly personal and users have a right to privacy for their communications. And we're fully committed to finding a solution for our users." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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A bride must play the most dangerous game in Ready or Not red band trailer

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2019-06-17 21:44:58 Source: arstechnica

A young bride's idealized wedding night takes a deadly turn when her eccentric new in-laws insist that playing a game at midnight is a family tradition in the red-band trailer for Ready or Not, a forthcoming comic horror film from Fox Searchlight. Per io9, "It's kind of The Purge meets every newlywed-themed gothic horror movie ever (Rebecca, Crimson Peak) but with a pitch-black sense of humor." That sounds like a winning combination.

Grace (Samara Weaving) can't believe her good fortune when she falls in love with Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien), a member of a wealthy gaming dynasty—although the family prefers the term "dominion." After a picture-perfect wedding on the family estate, Alex informs her that there's just one more formality to be observed: "At midnight, you have to play a game. It's just something we do when someone joins the family."

That game turns out to be hide-and-seek, except Grace soon discovers that, as played by the Le Domas family, it has less in common with an innocent children's pastime and more with the classic 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game." Grace is the prey, and she must elude detection until dawn to avoid being killed in a bizarre ritual sacrifice.

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New Deepfake Algorithm Allows You To Text-Edit the Words of a Speaker In a Video

technology - Posted On:2019-06-17 21:29:59 Source: slashdot

It is now possible to take a talking-head style video, and add, delete or edit the speaker's words as simply as you'd edit text in a word processor. A new deepfake algorithm can process the audio and video into a new file in which the speaker says more or less whatever you want them to. New Atlas reports: It's the work of a collaborative team from Stanford University, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University and Adobe Research, who say that in a perfect world the technology would be used to cut down on expensive re-shoots when an actor gets something wrong, or a script needs to be changed. In order to learn the face movements of a speaker, the algorithm requires about 40 minutes of training video, and a transcript of what's being said, so it's not something that can be thrown onto a short video snippet and run if you want good results. That 40 minutes of video gives the algorithm the chance to work out exactly what face shapes the subject is making for each phonetic syllable in the original script. From there, once you edit the script, the algorithm can then create a 3D model of the face making the new shapes required. And from there, a machine learning technique called Neural Rendering can paint the 3D model over with photo-realistic textures to make it look basically indistinguishable from the real thing. Other software such as VoCo can be used if you wish to generate the speaker's audio as well as video, and it takes the same approach, by breaking down a heap of training audio into phonemes and then using that dataset to generate new words in a familiar voice. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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AT&T Cuts Another 1,800 Jobs As It Finishes Fiber-Internet Buildout

technology - Posted On:2019-06-17 20:59:58 Source: slashdot

AT&T is planning to cut another 1,800 jobs from its wireline division. "Last week, AT&T declared more than 1,800 jobs nationwide as 'surplus,' meaning they are slated to be eliminated in August or September," reports Ars Technica, citing the Communications Workers of America (CWA). From the report: "They've been cutting their employment massively in the past year and a half or so," with cuts affecting both union and non-union jobs, CWA Communications Director Beth Allen told Ars. Under union contracts, AT&T can declare a surplus of jobs each quarter, she said. But even by AT&T standards, last week's surplus declaration "was a very large number," Allen said. Jobs that are declared "surplus" are taken off the payroll, CWA says. AT&T told Ars that most affected union workers will be able to stay at the company in other positions. But letters from AT&T to the CWA say that only 27 of about 550 employees declared "surplus" in the Southwest division will be given so-called "follow-the-work" opportunities in which they can take nearly identical jobs in other locations. Follow-the-work offers are given when an employee's specific job is consolidated with another position or moved to another geographic location, AT&T said. This is different from the job-offer guarantee that ensures "surplus" employees will be offered a different type of job in the company; AT&T didn't say exactly how many surplus employees will get those offers. The 1,800 newly announced AT&T job cuts affect wireline technicians who fix customer problems, install new service, and who work on AT&T's fiber expansion, Allen said. Over the past four years, AT&T expanded its fiber-to-the-home network to 12.5 million customer locations to meet a government mandate imposed on its purchase of DirecTV. But AT&T is apparently slowing its fiber deployments now that it has finished the government-mandated buildout. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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AMD says its Ryzen 3000 isn’t just cheaper—it’s better

Tech - Posted On:2019-06-17 20:14:59 Source: arstechnica

AMD's new line of Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs will benefit from the same 7nm manufacturing process as the company's new Navi-powered GPUs. Much of the tech community's hype is for the biggest and baddest of the bunch: the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950x. But there's an entire new line ranging from the $499 3950x down to a relatively-modest $199 3600X—and AMD is gunning for Intel every step of the way.

What's really interesting is, this time around, AMD is not just pitching cheaper parts and "good-enough" performance—the company is claiming top-dog stats, along with thermal and power efficiency wins. The Ryzen 9 3700x is listed at $329, while Intel's i7-9700k is currently available for about $410. But according to AMD's slides, the Ryzen part also outperforms the i7-9700k across the board, and it draws less power and produces less heat while doing so. Even when comparing absolute flagship CPUs, the monstrous 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 3950x boasts 135W TDP, while Intel's 32-threaded i7-7960x runs 165W TDP.

If the data here is reasonably accurate, the savings in power and cooling costs over the lifespan of a system will probably outweigh its already lower purchase price.

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Microsoft's Plan To Split OS From Shell Takes Shape

technology - Posted On:2019-06-17 20:14:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The latest Windows preview from the 20H1 branch, build 18917, has some hidden components that signal a future where the Windows Shell UI parts, such as Action Center, will be separate from the rest of Windows and can be updated with shell packages. A developer who uses the Twitter handle Albacore gave a breakdown of a new component in Build 18917 called 'Shell Update Agent,' which he notes is "capable of obtaining and updating the shell on demand." That capability may mean nothing to most Windows 10 users. However, for Windows watchers it could be an interesting development of Microsoft's unannounced plans for Windows Core OS, in which Windows is modularized and calls on a range of shells that target different form factors, from HoloLens to Surface and dual-screen devices like the recently revealed Centaurus laptop, whose shell is called Santorini. Albacore goes on to explain that the Shell Update Agent references 'Package Family Names,' which suggests that the "shell will indeed be a separate, packaged component." Those shell packages can be acquired from both external and internal sources, which could mean shell components like the Start Menu, Action Center and Taskbar could be selectively built, based on these acquired packages. Finally, one more shell-related change noted relates to a new method for syncing settings. "The new one should support syncing more advanced and previously 'legacy' options such as File Explorer configuration," Albacore notes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Adobe's Experimental AI Tool Can Tell If Something's Been Photoshopped

technology - Posted On:2019-06-17 19:29:59 Source: slashdot

Adobe and UC Berkeley researchers are working on tool that can tell if a photo has been manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. The goal is to cut down on fake content and "to increase trust and authority in digital media." TheINQUIRER reports: A bunch of images were created using Photoshop's "Face Aware Liquify" tool, and mixed with a set of expertly human-doctored photographs. When humans were shown the original image and the doctored version, they spotted the fakes 53 percent of the time, but the artificial intelligence hit 99 percent. That's pretty good -- changing a coin toss guess into near certainty, but the AI isn't quite done showboating. As well as being able to point out what areas might have been changed, the AI can also predict what methods have been used to change the image. Better still, it'll have a stab at undoing the vandalism, and returning the image to its former untampered glory. Not perfectly, but well enough to impress the researchers all the same: it's like having an undo button on someone else's work, and who hasn't always wanted one of those? "It might sound impossible because there are so many variations of facial geometry possible," said Professor Alexei A. Efros of UC Berkeley. "But, in this case, because deep learning can look at a combination of low-level image data, such as warping artifacts, as well as higher level cues such as layout, it seems to work." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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First Amendment Constraints Don't Apply To Private Platforms, Supreme Court Affirms

yro - Posted On:2019-06-17 18:44:59 Source: slashdot

In a case that could have potential implications for social media, the Supreme Court has ruled that a nonprofit running public access channels isn't bound by governmental constraints on speech. "The case, which the conservative wing of the court decided in a split 5-4 ruling, centered around a Manhattan-based nonprofit tasked by New York City with operating public access channels in the area," reports The Verge. "The organization disciplined two producers after a film led to complaints, which the producers argued was a violation of their First Amendment speech rights. The case turned on whether the nonprofit was a 'state actor' running a platform governed by First Amendment constraints." From the report: In a decision written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative justices ruled that the First Amendment constraints didn't apply to the nonprofit, which they considered a private entity. Providing a forum for speech wasn't enough to become a government actor, the justices ruled. Nowhere is the internet or social media discussed in the ruling, but the idea that the decision could be used to penalize social media companies was raised by groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The groups argued that too broad of a decision could prevent other private entities like YouTube and Twitter from managing their platforms by imposing new constraints them. The Internet Association, a trade group, said last year that such a decision could mean the internet "will become less attractive, less safe and less welcoming to the average user." But today's decision seems to assuage those concerns. The liberal justices on the court, in a dissenting ruling, argued instead that the terms under which the nonprofit ran the channels for the city should have bound it to First Amendment constraints. The nonprofit, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "stepped into the City's shoes and thus qualifies as a state actor, subject to the First Amendment like any other." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Federal bill would allow clean energy companies to structure like oil companies

Biz & IT - Posted On:2019-06-17 18:14:59 Source: arstechnica

Last week, US senators and representatives introduced bills in the Senate and the House to open up a type of corporate structure originally reserved for oil, gas, and coal companies to clean energy companies.

Called a Master Limited Partnership (MLP), the structure currently allows fossil fuel companies to take advantage of lower taxes placed on limited partnerships while also allowing those companies to issue publicly traded stocks and bonds. If the recently re-introduced bills—which have bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate—pass their respective votes, clean energy companies would have the option to structure their companies as MLPs and take advantage of the tax and funding benefits.

According to sponsoring Senator Chris Coons' (D-Del.) website, "Newly eligible energy resources would include solar, wind, marine and hydrokinetic energy, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat to power, renewable fuels, biorefineries, energy efficient buildings, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS)."

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Nvidia Will Support ARM Hardware For High-Performance Computing

hardware - Posted On:2019-06-17 18:14:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: At the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany this week, Santa Clara-based chipmaker Nvidia announced that it will support processors architected by British semiconductor design company Arm. Nvidia anticipates that the partnership will pave the way for supercomputers capable of "exascale" performance -- in other words, of completing at least a quintillion floating point computations ("flops") per second, where a flop equals two 15-digit numbers multiplied together. Nvidia says that by 2020 it will contribute its full stack of AI and high-performance computing (HPC) software to the Arm ecosystem, which by Nvidia's estimation now accelerates over 600 HPC applications and machine learning frameworks. Among other resources and services, it will make available CUDA-X libraries, graphics-accelerated frameworks, software development kits, PGI compilers with OpenACC support, and profilers. Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang pointed out in a statement that, thanks to this commitment, Nvidia will soon accelerate all major processor architectures: x86, IBM's Power, and Arm. "As traditional compute scaling has ended, the world's supercomputers have become power constrained," said Huang. "Our support for Arm, which designs the world's most energy-efficient CPU architecture, is a giant step forward that builds on initiatives Nvidia is driving to provide the HPC industry a more power-efficient future." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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YouTube is Too Big To Fix Completely, Google CEO Says

news - Posted On:2019-06-17 17:29:59 Source: slashdot

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says YouTube is too big to completely fix the site's problems with harmful content. From a report: During a CNN interview that aired Sunday, Pichai was asked whether there will ever be enough humans to filter through and remove such content. "We've gotten much better at using a combination of machines and humans," Pichai said. "So it's one of those things, let's say we're getting it right 99% of the time, you'll still be able to find examples. Our goal is to take that to a very, very small percentage well below 1%." Pichai said Google probably can't get that to 100%. "Any large scale systems, it's tough," Pichai said. "Think about credit card systems, there's some fraud in that. ... Anything when you run at that scale, you have to think about percentages." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Accidental Cat Filter Makes Politician's Live Stream Hilarious

Security - Posted On:2019-06-17 17:00:00 Source: bleepingcomputer

In what feels like a skit, a Pakistani politician forgot to turn off a cat filter during a Facebook Live press conference. [...]

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AT&T cuts another 1,800 jobs as it finishes fiber-Internet buildout

Biz & IT - Posted On:2019-06-17 17:00:00 Source: arstechnica

AT&T has informed employees of plans to cut another 1,800 jobs from its wireline division, an AT&T workers' union told Ars today.

Last week, AT&T declared more than 1,800 jobs nationwide as "surplus," meaning they are slated to be eliminated in August or September, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) told Ars.

"They've been cutting their employment massively in the past year and a half or so," with cuts affecting both union and non-union jobs, CWA Communications Director Beth Allen told Ars. Under union contracts, AT&T can declare a surplus of jobs each quarter, she said. But even by AT&T standards, last week's surplus declaration "was a very large number," Allen said.

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Linux PCs, Servers, Gadgets Can Be Crashed by 'Ping of Death' Network Packets

linux - Posted On:2019-06-17 16:59:59 Source: slashdot

Artem S. Tashkinov writes: The Register reports that it is possible to crash network-facing Linux servers, PCs, smartphones and tablets, and gadgets, or slow down their network connections, by sending them a series of maliciously crafted packets. It is also possible to hamper FreeBSD machines with the same attack. Patches and mitigations are available, and can be applied by hand if needed, or you can wait for a security fix to be pushed or offered to your at-risk device. A key workaround is to set /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_sack to 0. At the heart of the drama is a programming flaw dubbed SACK Panic aka CVE-2019-11477: this bug can be exploited to remotely crash systems powered by Linux kernel version 2.6.29 or higher, which was released 10 years ago. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid

Biz & IT - Posted On:2019-06-17 16:45:00 Source: arstechnica

The Kremlin on Monday warned that reported US digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid could trigger a "cyberwar" between the two countries.

The warning came two days after The New York Times reported that the US Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military's offensive and defensive operations in the online world, was aggressively stepping up its targeting of Russia's grid. Saturday's report said the command had taken steps to place "potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before." In some cases, the NYT reported, Pentagon and intelligence officials have been hesitant to brief President Trump in detail about the activities out of concern he might countermand the operations or discuss them with foreign officials. Last year, Trump gave the Cyber Command more leeway to conduct offensive online operations, the publication said.

Some analysts have cast doubt on the NYT reporting that the United States has put implants inside Russia's grid, and the publication was clear it had no classified information detailing how deep into Russia's power infrastructure the US has bored. The report, however, was enough to get the attention of Kremlin officials, who pushed back in a post published Monday by the TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government.

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Multiple Linux and FreeBSD DoS Vulnerabilities Found by Netflix

Security - Posted On:2019-06-17 16:30:00 Source: bleepingcomputer

A denial of service flaw found in the way recent Linux and FreeBSD kernels handle TCP networking can be exploited by remote attackers to trigger a kernel panic in vulnerable systems. [...]

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PSA: Upgrade 3 years of Xbox Live to Game Pass Ultimate for just $1

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2019-06-17 16:30:00 Source: arstechnica

If you've been paying attention to Xbox rumors and announcements of late, you may know that Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass have now been officially merged into a single $15 a month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription plan (which now also includes PC games, for good measure).

What you might not realize is you can upgrade up to three years of a current Xbox Live gold subscription to the new, more expensive plan for $1 as part of a launch promotion from Microsoft.

As Microsoft describes on the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate announcement page (emphasis added):

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Robocalls Are Overwhelming Hospitals and Patients, Threatening a New Kind of Health Crisis

technology - Posted On:2019-06-17 16:14:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report: In the heart of Boston, Tufts Medical Center treats scores of health conditions, from administering measles vaccines for children to pioneering next-generation tools that can eradicate the rarest of cancers. But doctors, administrators and other hospital staff struggled to contain a much different kind of epidemic one April morning last year: a wave of thousands of robocalls that spread, like a virus, from one phone line to the next, disrupting communications for hours to come. For most Americans, such robocalls represent an unavoidable digital-age nuisance, resulting in constant interruptions targeting their phones each month. For hospitals, though, the spam calls amount to a literal life-or-death challenge, one that increasingly is threatening doctors and patients in a setting where every second can count. At Tufts Medical Center, administrators registered more than 4,500 calls between about 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on April 30, 2018, said Taylor Lehmann, the center's chief information security officer. Many of the messages seemed to be the same: Speaking in Mandarin, an unknown voice threatened deportation unless the person who picked up the phone provided their personal information. Such calls are common, widely documented scams that seek to swindle vulnerable foreigners, who may surrender their private data out of fear their families and homes are at risk. But it proved especially troubling at Tufts, which is situated amid Boston's Chinatown neighborhood, Lehmann said. Officials there couldn't block the calls through their telecom carrier, Windstream, which provides phone and web services to consumers and businesses. "There's nothing we could do," Lehmann said Windstream told them. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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How To Secure Your Network: Five Modern Alternatives to VPN

Security - Posted On:2019-06-17 15:29:59 Source: bleepingcomputer

Are there alternatives to VPNs that provide better security and anonymity for users, and more visibility and control for IT when and where needed? While the answer depends mostly on your organization's needs, five solutions deliver where traditional VPNs fall short. [...]

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