Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service
technology - Posted On:2019-08-22 12:15:00 Source: slashdot
Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant's offerings without paying for them. From a report: According to the announcement, the offer is "always-on/not limited time," and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and Student (where available) starting today, as well as Family (where available) and Duo (where available) in the coming months. The announcement notes that the free trial is open only to users who haven't already tried Premium (and is "not available on Headspace, non-recurring products and most carrier billing (except for individual in JP, AU, DE, CH and Student in JP)." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Amazon, Microsoft Are 'Putting World At Risk of Killer AI,' Says Study
technology - Posted On:2019-08-22 06:14:57 Source: slashdot
oxide7 shares a report from International Business Times: Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are among leading tech companies putting the world at risk through killer robot development, according to a report that surveyed major players from the sector about their stance on lethal autonomous weapons. Dutch NGO Pax ranked 50 companies by three criteria: whether they were developing technology that could be relevant to deadly AI, whether they were working on related military projects, and if they had committed to abstaining from contributing in the future. Google, which last year published guiding principles eschewing AI for use in weapons systems, was among seven companies found to be engaging in "best practice" in the analysis that spanned 12 countries, as was Japan's Softbank, best known for its humanoid Pepper robot. Twenty-two companies were of "medium concern," while 21 fell into a "high concern" category, notably Amazon and Microsoft who are both bidding for a $10 billion Pentagon contract to provide the cloud infrastructure for the U.S. military. Others in the "high concern" group include Palantir, a company with roots in a CIA-backed venture capital organization that was awarded an $800 million contract to develop an AI system "that can help soldiers analyze a combat zone in real time." The report noted that Microsoft employees had also voiced their opposition to a U.S. Army contract for an augmented reality headset, HoloLens, that aims at "increasing lethality" on the battlefield. Stuart Russel, a computer science professor at the University of California, argued it was essential to take the next step in the form of an international ban on lethal AI, that could be summarized as "machines that can decide to kill humans shall not be developed, deployed, or used." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Google Postpones Shutdown of Hangouts For G Suite Users
technology - Posted On:2019-08-21 21:44:59 Source: slashdot
Google will let G Suite customers continue to use Hangouts until next year, delaying a shutdown of the service that was supposed to begin in October. Hangouts will now stay around for business customers until at least next June. The Verge reports: The shutdown will move customers of Google's business-focused G Suite subscription over to a pair of new chat services: Hangouts Chat, a Slack competitor; and Hangouts Meet, a video conferencing service. While the services generally include the same functionality (and more), people are pretty used to Hangouts, and Google says it's heard from companies' IT teams that they'd "like more time to migrate [their] organizations from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat." Google says it now plans to start transitioning all G Suite users over to the new services by the end of next year. To make the transition easier, Google says it's going to work on adding more features to classic Hangouts. Right now, classic Hangouts users can only directly message a Hangouts Chat user. In the future, Google suggests that classic users may be able to view or participate in group chats, too. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Waymo Releases a Self-Driving Open Data Set For Free Use By Research Community
technology - Posted On:2019-08-21 20:14:59 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Waymo is opening up its significant stores of autonomous driving data with a new Open Data Set it's making available for the purposes of research. The data set isn't for commercial use, but its definition of "research" is fairly broad, and includes researchers at other companies as well as academics. The data set is "one of the largest, riches and most diverse self-driving data sets ever released for research," according to Waymo principal scientist and head of Research, Drago Anguelov, who was at both Zoox and Google prior to joining Waymo last year. Anguelov said in a briefing that the reason he initiated the push to make this data available is that Waymo and several other companies working in the field are "currently hampered by the lack of suitable data sets." The Waymo Open Data set tries to fill in some of these gaps for their research peers by providing data collected from 1,000 driving segments done by its autonomous vehicles on roads, with each segment representing 20 seconds of continuous driving. It includes driving done in Phoenix, Ariz.; Kirkland, Wash.; Mountain View, Calif.; and San Francisco, Calif., and offering a range of different driving conditions, including at night, during rain, at dusk and more. The segments include data collected from five of Waymo's own proprietary lidars, as well as five standard cameras that face front and to the sides, providing a 360-degree view captured in high resolution, as well as synchronization Waymo uses to fuse lidar and imaging data. Objects, including vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and signage is all labeled. "We decided to contribute our part to make, ultimately, researchers in academia ask the right questions -- and for that, they need the right data," Anguelov said. "And I think this will help everyone in the field; it is not an admission in any way that we have problems solving these issues. But there is always room for improvement in terms of efficiency, scaleability, amount of labels to need. It's a developing field. Mostly we're trying to get others into thinking about our problems and working with us, as opposed to doing work that's potentially not so impactful, given the current state of things." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Google DeepMind Co-Founder Placed On Leave From AI Lab
technology - Posted On:2019-08-21 18:59:59 Source: slashdot
Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founder of Google's high-profile AI lab DeepMind, has been placed on leave after controversy over some of the projects he led. Bloomberg reports: Mustafa Suleyman runs DeepMind's "applied" division, which seeks practical uses for the lab's research in health, energy and other fields. Suleyman is also a key public face for DeepMind, speaking to officials and at events about the promise of AI and the ethical guardrails needed to limit malicious use of the technology. "Mustafa is taking time out right now after 10 hectic years," a DeepMind spokeswoman said. She didn't say why he was put on leave. He founded DeepMind in 2010 alongside current Chief Executive Officer Demis Hassabis. Four years later, Google bought DeepMind for 400 million pounds (currently $486 million), an ambitious bet on the potential of AI that set off an expensive race in Silicon Valley for specialists in the field. DeepMind soon began working on health-care research, eventually creating a division dedicated to the area. Suleyman, nicknamed "Moose" and whose mother was a nurse, led the development of the DeepMind Health team, building it into a 100-person unit. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Moscow's Blockchain Voting System Cracked a Month Before Election
it - Posted On:2019-08-21 18:14:59 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A French security researcher has found a critical vulnerability in the blockchain-based voting system Russian officials plan to use next month for the 2019 Moscow City Duma election. Pierrick Gaudry, an academic at Lorraine University and a researcher for INRIA, the French research institute for digital sciences, found that he could compute the voting system's private keys based on its public keys. This private keys are used together with the public keys to encrypt user votes cast in the election. Gaudry blamed the issue on Russian officials using a variant of the ElGamal encryption scheme that used encryption key sizes that were too small to be secure. This meant that modern computers could break the encryption scheme within minutes. What an attacker can do with these encryption keys is currently unknown, since the voting system's protocols weren't yet available in English, so Gaudry couldn't investigate further. "Without having read the protocol, it is hard to tell precisely the consequences, because, although we believe that this weak encryption scheme is used to encrypt the ballots, it is unclear how easy it is for an attacker to have the correspondence between the ballots and the voters," the French researcher said. "In the worst case scenario, the votes of all the voters using this system would be revealed to anyone as soon as they cast their vote." The Moscow Department of Information Technology promised to fix the reported issue. "We absolutely agree that 256x3 private key length is not secure enough," a spokesperson said in an online response. "This implementation was used only in a trial period. In few days the key's length will be changed to 1024." However, a public key of a length of 1024 bits may not be enough, according to Gaudry, who believes officials should use one of at least 2048 bits instead. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Flaws in Cellphone Evidence Prompt Review of 10,000 Verdicts in Denmark
it - Posted On:2019-08-21 17:44:59 Source: slashdot
The authorities in Denmark say they plan to review over 10,000 court verdicts because of errors in cellphone tracking data offered as evidence. From a report: The country's director of public prosecutions on Monday also ordered a two-month halt in prosecutors' use of cellphone data in criminal cases while the flaws and their potential consequences are investigated. "It's shaking our trust in the legal system," Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement. The first error was found in an I.T. system that converts phone companies' raw data into evidence that the police and prosecutors can use to place a person at the scene of a crime. During the conversions, the system omitted some data, creating a less-detailed image of a cellphone's whereabouts. The error was fixed in March after the national police discovered it. In a second problem, some cellphone tracking data linked phones to the wrong cellphone towers, potentially connecting innocent people to crime scenes, said Jan Reckendorff, the director of public prosecutions. "It's a very, very serious case," Mr. Reckendorff told Denmark's state broadcaster. "We cannot live with incorrect information sending people to prison." The authorities said that the problems stemmed partly from police I.T. systems and partly from the phone companies' systems, although a telecom industry representative said he could not understand how phone companies could have caused the errors. The national police determined that the flaws applied to 10,700 court cases dating to 2012, but it is unclear whether the faulty data was a decisive factor in any verdicts. The justice minister set up a steering group to track the extent of the legal problems they may have caused and to monitor the reviews of cases that may have been affected. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Intel, Google, Microsoft, and Others Launch Confidential Computing Consortium for Data Security
it - Posted On:2019-08-21 17:00:00 Source: slashdot
Major tech companies including Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, IBM, Intel, Google Cloud, Microsoft, and Red Hat today announced intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium to improve security for data in use. From a report: Established by the Linux Foundation, the organization plans to bring together hardware vendors, developers, open source experts, and others to promote the use of confidential computing, advance common open source standards, and better protect data. "Confidential computing focuses on securing data in use. Current approaches to securing data often address data at rest (storage) and in transit (network), but encrypting data in use is possibly the most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data," the Linux Foundation said today in a joint statement. "Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users." The consortium also said the group was formed because confidential computing will become more important as more enterprise organizations move between different compute environments like the public cloud, on-premises servers, or the edge. To get things started, companies made a series of open source project contributions including Intel Software Guard Extension (SGX), an SDK for code protection at the hardware layer. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Researcher Publishes Second Steam Zero Day After Getting Banned on Valve's Bug Bounty Program
it - Posted On:2019-08-21 15:44:59 Source: slashdot
A Russian security researcher has published details about a zero-day in the Steam gaming client. This is the second Steam zero-day the researcher has made public in the past two weeks. From a report: However, while the security researcher reported the first one to Valve and tried to have it fixed before public disclosure, he said he couldn't do the same with the second because the company banned him from submitting further bug reports via its public bug bounty program on the HackerOne platform. The entire chain of events behind the public disclosure of these two zero-days has caused quite a drama and discussions in the infosec community. All the negative comments have been aimed at Valve and the HackerOne staff, with both being accused of unprofessional behavior. Security researchers and regular Steam users alike are mad because Valve refused to acknowledge the reported issue as a security flaw, and declined to patch it. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
How Flat Earthers Nearly Derailed a Space Photo Book
technology - Posted On:2019-08-21 13:45:00 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: A photographer trying to raise money for a self-published book of historical space artifacts had his Facebook ads repeatedly removed by Facebook because flat-Earthers and Moon hoax conspiracy theorists were offended. About 24 hours after the ads were approved, he got a notification telling him the ad had been removed. He resubmitted it. It was accepted -- and then removed again -- 15 or 20 times, he said. The explanation given: He had run "misleading ads that resulted in high negative feedback." He understood that it was Facebook's algorithm that rejected the ads, not a person. Getting additional answers proved difficult, a common complaint with advertising on Facebook. The best clues he could find came in the comments under the ads, which he and his colleagues captured in screenshots before they were removed and in responses to other posts about the project: There were phrases such as "The original moon landing was faking" and "It's all a show," along with memes mocking space technology. Some comments were hard to gauge, with users insisting that the earth was flat but that they'd buy the book anyway. Mr. Redgrove didn't entirely blame the commenters. If these were their beliefs, then of course they were going to be annoyed by the ads. But how these individuals had ended up with the power to derail his campaign perplexed him. "They don't really have their systems in place to protect people," Mr. Redgrove said of Facebook. Facebook said it could not immediately comment on what had gone wrong. On Thursday, after the publication of this article, a representative for the company said it had investigated the issue and had confirmed that, as Mr. Redgrove had said, all the ads were originally approved. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Gmail in G Suite Now Uses AI For Inline Spelling and Grammar Suggestions
technology - Posted On:2019-08-21 12:15:00 Source: slashdot
Ever been stumped by spelling or sentence syntax while pecking out an email to colleagues? Fortunately for G Suite users, Google will soon introduce improved spelling and grammar correction tools in Gmail that offer corrections as you type. From a report: Starting August 20 for rapid release domains and September 12 for scheduled release domains across all G Suite editions, Google will begin applying AI to make real-time spell-check suggestions while detecting potential grammar issues. For some common spelling mistakes, it'll also add "as-you-type" autocorrection for improved accuracy. The inline grammar suggestions are a carryover from Google Docs, which gained them back in February 2019. Squiggly blue lines appear under erroneous phrases as you write them, and right-clicking on them accepts or dismisses the corrections. The Mountain View company says its engine can handle basic cases like "affect" versus "effect" and "there" versus "their," in addition to more complicated rules like how to use prepositions correctly or to pick the right verb tense. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The First Lightning Security Key For iPhones Is Here, and It Works With USB-C, Too
it - Posted On:2019-08-21 06:14:57 Source: slashdot
Yubico is releasing the $70 YubiKey 5Ci, the first security key that can plug into your iPhone's Lightning port or a USB-C port, and it's compatible with popular password vaults LastPass and 1Password out of the box. The Verge reports: That means you may not have to remember your password for your bank ever again -- just plug the YubiKey into your iPhone, use it to log into the 1Password app, and get that bank password. At launch, it'll support these well-known password managers and single sign-on tools: 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane, Idaptive, LastPass, and Okta. And when using the Brave browser for iOS, the YubiKey 5Ci can be used as an easier way to log into Twitter, GitHub, 1Password's web app, and a couple other services. Notably, the 5Ci doesn't work with the newest iPad Pros at all, despite having a USB-C connector that fits. And you can't just plug the Lightning side of the 5Ci into an iPhone and expect it to work with any service that supports the FIDO authentication protocol -- our passwordless future isn't here just yet. Yubico tells The Verge that services have to individually add support for Lightning connector on the 5Ci into their apps. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
'World's Oldest Webcam' To Be Switched Off
technology - Posted On:2019-08-21 03:14:58 Source: slashdot
The world's oldest continuously working webcam is being switched off after 25 years. The BBC reports: The Fogcam was set up in 1994 to watch how the weather changed on the San Francisco State University campus. has broadcast almost continuously since then barring regular maintenance and the occasional need for it to be re-sited to maintain its view. Its creators said it was being shut down because there were now no good places to put the webcam. Jeff Schwartz, who with Dan Wong set up the webcam, said it would go offline on 30 August. "We felt it was time to let it go," Mr Schwartz told the SFGate newspaper, adding that it was getting harder to find secure locations to put the camera so it had a good view of Holloway Avenue. Mr Schwartz said he was inspired to set up the camera by what is believed to be the first-ever live webcam which was set up at Cambridge University in 1993 to watch a communal coffee pot. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
IFTTT Warns Its Users Not To Migrate To Google Accounts
technology - Posted On:2019-08-20 19:44:59 Source: slashdot
Back in May Google announced it was phasing out its Work With Nest program in favor of a Works With Google Assistant framework, frustrating many users as it will break IFTTT tie-ins. Thankfully, IFTTT has some good news for concerned users: IFTTT applets designed for the Nest Thermostat, Nest Protect and Nest Cam will continue to work after August 31st, when Google plans on shutting down the Works With Nest Program. Engadget reports: But, there's some bad news. IFTTT's applets won't work at all if users move their Nest accounts to Google accounts. This is fine for now, obviously, but in the future it means users could miss out on new features only available through a Google account. Google has said it's working on a system that will allow IFTTT users to migrate, but whether the company will integrate the comprehensive features that made IFTTT so popular in the first place is another question entirely. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
WebKit Introduces New Tracking Prevention Policy
it - Posted On:2019-08-20 11:45:01 Source: slashdot
AmiMoJo writes: WebKit, the open source HTML engine used by Apple's Safari browser and a number of others, has created a new policy on tracking prevention. The short version is that many forms of tracking will now be treated the same way as security flaws, being blocked or mitigated with no exceptions. While on-site tracking will still be allowed (and is practically impossible to prevent anyway), all forms of cross-site tracking and covert tracking will be actively and aggressively blocked. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Truth About Faster Internet: It's Not Worth It
technology - Posted On:2019-08-20 10:59:57 Source: slashdot
Americans are spending ever more for blazing internet speeds, on the promise that faster is better. Is that really the case? For most people, the answer is no. From a report: The Wall Street Journal studied the internet use of 53 of our journalists across the country, over a period of months, in coordination with researchers at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. Our panelists used only a fraction of their available bandwidth to watch streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube, even simultaneously. Quality didn't improve much with higher speeds. Picture clarity was about the same. Videos didn't launch quicker. Broadband providers such as Comcast, Charter and AT&T are marketing speeds in the range of 250, 500 or even 1,000 megabits a second, often promising that streaming-video bingers will benefit. "Fast speeds for all of your shows," declares one online ad from Comcast. But for a typical household, the benefits of paying for more than 100 megabits a second are marginal at best, according to the researchers. That means many households are paying a premium for services they don't need. To gauge how much bandwidth, or speed capacity, households need, it helps to look at an extreme scenario. Our users spent an evening streaming up to seven services simultaneously, including on-demand services like Netflix and live-TV services like Sling TV. We monitored the results. Peter Loftus, one of our panelists, lives outside Philadelphia and is a Comcast customer with a speed package of 150 megabits a second. Peter's median usage over 35 viewing minutes was 6.9 Mbps, 5% of the capacity he pays for. For the portion when all seven of his streams were going at once, he averaged 8.1 Mbps. At one point, for one second, Peter reached 65% of his capacity. Did his video launch faster or play more smoothly? Not really. The researchers said that to the extent there were differences in video quality such as picture resolution or the time it took to launch a show, they were marginal. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Juul, Philip Morris Sued Under Racketeer Act For Targeting Kids
technology - Posted On:2019-08-20 09:14:56 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc. and Philip Morris USA Inc. were sued for illegally marketing nicotine-delivery devices to minors and deceiving consumers about the risks of vaping. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 19-year-old, Christian Foss, who says he became addicted to nicotine and suffered worsening asthma symptoms after he began using Juul's device at 16, and seeks to represent all Illinois minors who used it. It alleges that Juul and Philip Morris violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, adopting the tobacco industry's past use of catchy ad campaigns aimed at children. The Justice Department invoked RICO to sue the industry two decades ago. "Mimicking Big Tobacco's past marketing practices, defendants prey on youth for financial gain," according to the lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Chicago. Philip Morris is a unit of Altria Group, which is also named as a defendant and which recently bought a 35% stake in Juul for $12.8 billion. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Jaguar and Audi SUVs Fail To Dent Tesla's Electric-Car Dominance
technology - Posted On:2019-08-19 22:14:58 Source: slashdot
Tesla has managed to expand its electric-car marketshare, despite two new battery-powered luxury SUVs that have been in U.S. showrooms for the last 10 months: Jaguar's I-Pace and Audi's e-tron. Bloomberg reports: Their starts are the latest indications that legacy automakers aren't assured instant success when they roll out new plug-in models. Tesla's Model S and X have largely held its own against the two crossovers that offer shorter range and less plentiful public charging infrastructure. Jaguar and Audi also lack the cool factor Musk has cultivated for the Tesla brand by taking an aggressive approach to autonomy and using over-the-air software updates to add games and entertainment features. Tesla's Model X and Model S each boast more than 300 miles of range, and the cheaper Model 3 travels 240 miles between charges. Jaguar's $69,500 I-Pace is rated at 234 miles, and Audi's $74,800 e-tron registers 204 miles. Jaguar's marketing team spent years laying the groundwork to introduce the I-Pace. In 2016, the brand joined Formula E, an open-wheeled, electric-powered race circuit similar to Formula One. Porsche and Mercedes-Benz are also joining Formula E for the 2019-2020 season to help generate buzz for the new all-electric models they have coming out. The circuit makes stops in cities including New York, Hong Kong and London, which the brands are banking on as major markets for plug-in cars. But while Formula E is drawing crowds of urban dwellers and a substantial audience on social media, all that buzz may not necessarily translate into showroom traffic. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Twitter Blocks State-Controlled Media Outlets From Advertising On Its Social Network
technology - Posted On:2019-08-19 20:59:59 Source: slashdot
Twitter is now blocking state-run media outlets from advertising on its platform. The new policy was announced just hours after the company was criticized for running promoted tweets by China's largest state agency that paint pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong as violent, even though the rallies, including one that drew an estimated 1.7 million people this weekend, have been described as mostly peaceful by international media. TechCrunch reports: State-funded media enterprises that do not rely on taxpayer dollars for their financing and don't operate independently of the governments that finance them will no longer be allowed to advertise on the platform, Twitter said in a statement. That leaves a big exception for outlets like the Associated Press, the British Broadcasting Corp., Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, according to reporting from BBC reporter, Dave Lee. The affected accounts will be able to use Twitter, but can't access the company's advertising products, Twitter said in a statement. The policy applies to news media outlets that are financially or editorially controlled by the state, Twitter said. The company said it will make its policy determinations on the basis of media freedom and independence, including editorial control over articles and video, the financial ownership of the publication, the influence or interference governments may exert over editors, broadcasters and journalists, and political pressure or control over the production and distribution process. Twitter said the advertising rules wouldn't apply to entities that are focused on entertainment, sports or travel, but if there's news in the mix, the company will block advertising access. Affected outlets have 30 days before they're removed from Twitter and the company is halting all existing campaigns. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Twitter is Blocked in China, But Chinese State News Agency is Buying Promoted Tweets To Portray Hong Kong Protestors as Violent
technology - Posted On:2019-08-19 13:30:00 Source: slashdot
Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua is promoting tweets attacking the protestors and claiming they do not have wider support. From a report: Twitter is being criticized for running promoted tweets by China's largest state news agency that paint pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong as violent, even though the rallies, including one that drew an estimated 1.7 million people this weekend, have been described as mostly peaceful by international media. Promoted tweets from China Xinhua News, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, were spotted and shared by the Twitter account of Pinboard, the bookmarking service founded by Maciej Ceglowski, and other users. The demonstrations began in March to protest a now-suspended extradition bill, but have grown to encompass other demands, including the release of imprisoned protestors, inquiries into police conduct, the resignation of current Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam and a more democratic process for electing Legislative Council members and the chief executive. Read more of this story at Slashdot.