Tech News

Google Has Stopped Responding To Data Requests from Hong Kong Authorities

technology - Posted On:2020-08-14 14:14:59 Source: slashdot

Google will stop responding to requests for data from Hong Kong authorities with the search giant instead directing requests for user data to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States that is done in conjunction with the Department of Justice. From a report: The move comes after a new national security law imposed by China curbed political expression. Although Hong Kong officials have said that the law would only target a "small minority," human rights groups such as Amnesty International are concerned that police will use the new law as a way to crack down on government critics with those that are found guilty potentially facing life imprisonment. Google, Facebook and Twitter each announced in July that they were pausing the review of the Hong Kong government requests for user data to study the new law, with Google now taking the next step in stopping responding directly. "Since the new national security law was enacted in June, we have not produced data in response to new requests from Hong Kong authorities and that remains the case," a Google spokesperson tells CNET in a statement. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Resumes Its Attack on the URL Bar, Hides Full Addresses on Chrome 86

technology - Posted On:2020-08-14 12:30:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report: Google has tried on and off for years to hide full URLs in Chrome's address bar, because apparently long web addresses are scary and evil. Despite the public backlash that came after every previous attempt, Google is pressing on with new plans to hide all parts of web addresses except the domain name in Chrome 86, this time accompanied by an admittedly hover animation. The new look builds upon the animation-less hover reveal that's already in testing, but in contrast to that method, the improved variant also displays the protocol and the subdomain, which remain invisible in the older version. That's achieved with a neat sliding animation that moves over the visible part of the URL to make space for the strings preceding it. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Instagram Wasn't Removing Photos and Direct Messages From Its Servers

technology - Posted On:2020-08-14 04:44:57 Source: slashdot

A security researcher was awarded a $6,000 bug bounty payout after he found Instagram retained photos and private direct messages on its servers long after he deleted them. From a report: Independent security researcher Saugat Pokharel found that when he downloaded his data from Instagram, a feature it launched in 2018 to comply with new European data rules, his downloaded data contained photos and private messages with other users that he had previously deleted. It's not uncommon for companies to store freshly deleted data for a time until it can be properly scrubbed from its networks, systems and caches. Instagram said it takes about 90 days for deleted data to be fully removed from its systems. But Pokharel found that his ostensibly deleted data from more than a year ago was still stored on Instagram's servers, and could be downloaded using the company's data download tool. Pokharel reported the bug in October 2019 through Instagram's bug bounty program. The bug was fixed earlier this month, he said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Single-line Software Bug Causes Fledgling YAM Cryptocurrency To Implode Just Two Days After Launch

it - Posted On:2020-08-13 19:14:59 Source: slashdot

A two-day-old decentralized cryptocurrency called YAM collapsed this week after its creators revealed that a software bug had effectively vetoed human governance. From a report: "At approximately 6PM UTC, on Wednesday, August 12, we discovered a bug in the YAM rebasing contract that would mint far more YAM than intended to sell to the Uniswap YAM/yCRV pool, sending a large amount of excess YAM to the protocol reserve," the YAM project explained in a post on Thursday. "Given YAM's governance module, this bug would render it impossible to reach quorum, meaning no governance action would be possible and funds in the treasury would be locked." The bug followed from this line of code... totalSupply = initSupply.mul(yamsScalingFactor); ...which was supposed to be⦠totalSupply = initSupply.mul(yamsScalingFactor).div(BASE); YAM, a decentralized finance experiment, implements a governance system (for making protocol changes) based on supposed smart contracts that allocates votes based on assets. [...] The code flaw locked up about $750,000 worth of Curve (yCRV) tokens in the YAM treasury, assets intended to serve as a reserve currency to support the value of YAM tokens. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Facebook Abandons Broken Drilling Equipment Under Oregon Coast Seafloor

technology - Posted On:2020-08-13 17:14:59 Source: slashdot

Kale Williams, reporting for The Oregonian: Lynnae Ruttledge was worried when she heard Facebook planned to build a landing spot for an undersea fiber-optic cable near her Oregon Coast home. Tierra Del Mar, where the 70-year-old retired government worker lives part-time, is a tiny community north of Pacific City with no stoplights and no cell-phone service. The enclave, all zoned residential, consists of about a dozen mostly gravel streets running perpendicular to an idyllic stretch of beach, each lined with single-family homes. Ruttledge and many of her neighbors worried about heavy equipment on fragile roads built over sand dunes. They worried about noise and vibrations from the drill needed to punch a hole under the seafloor thousands of feet out into the ocean. They worried about threatened bird species, like the snowy plover and marbled murrelet, that could be affected. Despite their concerns, and a vocal campaign to stop the project, construction began earlier this year. Then, on April 28, the drilling crew hit an unexpected area of hard rock. The drill bit became lodged and the drill pipe snapped 50 feet below the seafloor. The crew was able to recover some of the equipment, but they left the rest where it lay. Today, about 1,100 feet of pipe, a drill tip, various other tools and 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid sit under the seafloor just off the central Oregon coast. Facebook has no plans to retrieve the equipment. Edge Cable Holdings, a Facebook subsidiary responsible for the project, notified the county of the accident on May 5, but it did not explicitly mention the abandoned equipment. That information didn't emerge until a meeting with state officials June 17, nearly two months after the malfunction, said Ali Hansen, a Department of State Lands spokeswoman. "The delay in notification eliminated any potential options for recovery of the equipment," Hansen said in an email. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the company's new plan is to return in early 2021 to drill a new hole, leaving the lost equipment under the seafloor indefinitely. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Facebook Launches Hub To Help Users With US Poll Related Information

technology - Posted On:2020-08-13 04:14:57 Source: slashdot

Facebook on Thursday launched a 'Voting Information Center' for the 2020 U.S. elections to help voters easily navigate the poll process. From a report: The hub will connect Facebook and Instagram users to accurate and easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live and help them hold their elected officials accountable, the social media company said in a blog. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Cities Lose Lawsuit Against FCC's 5G Rules

technology - Posted On:2020-08-12 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

A federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission's rules that limit municipalities' ability to negotiate with telecom companies such as AT&T and Verizon that are seeking to deploy thousands of 5G antennas on city streets and neighborhoods. From a report: The ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is a blow to dozens of cities that sued the agency, claiming the FCC's 2018 rules takes away their leverage and autonomy in deciding how the telecom industry can install "small-cell" antennas to build 5G networks. The FCC maintains that its rules -- which prohibit excessive fees and permitting delays by municipal governments -- will speed up the deployment of 5G networks throughout the country by removing burdensome barriers to telecom providers. "The wind is at our backs: With the FCC's infrastructure policies now ratified by the court, along with pathbreaking spectrum auctions concluded, ongoing and to come, America is well-positioned to extend its global lead in 5G and American consumers will benefit from the next generation of wireless technologies and services," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Mozilla Extends its Google Search Deal

technology - Posted On:2020-08-12 20:14:59 Source: slashdot

Mozilla and Google have extended their search deal for another three years, news outlet ZDNet reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with thee matter. Mozilla confirmed the news. From a report: The new search deal will ensure Google remains the default search engine provider inside the Firefox browser until 2023 at an estimated price tag of around $400 million to $450 million per year. Mozilla officials are expected to announce the search deal's extension later this fall, in November, when the organization is scheduled to disclose its 2019 financial figures. Terms of the new deal were leaked to this reporter after Mozilla announced plans to lay off more than 250 employees on Wednesday in a move that had many users fearing for the browser maker's future, as Mozilla's current Google search deal was scheduled to expire at the end of the year. However, several sources have confirmed that the organization is sound financially, and the layoffs were part of a restructuring of its core business, with Mozilla moving away from its current role of internet standards steward and experimental approach to its product catalog to more commercially-viable offerings that generate revenues on their own. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Silicon Valley Game-Plans For a Messy Election Night

technology - Posted On:2020-08-12 17:14:59 Source: slashdot

Google, Facebook, Twitter and other major social media companies are working together to scenario-plan for the last three months before Election Day in the United States -- including gaming out what to do if there's no quickly declared winner in the contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on election night. From a report: The close collaboration between Silicon Valley companies in the run-up to election day is detailed in an unusual cross-industry statement put out Wednesday. Pinterest, LinkedIn-owner Microsoft, and Reddit are also among its signatories. "We discussed preparations for the upcoming conventions and scenario planning related to election results. We will continue to stay vigilant on these issues and meet regularly ahead of the November election,‚ reads the statement. Among dozens of scenarios being contemplated by the companies for election night in particular are a "hack and leak" operation where stolen materials are quickly spread through online networks and addressing the distribution of manipulated videos, according to a person involved in the planning who spoke anonymously so as to not speak on behalf of the full industry coalition. The scenario planning is "candidate agnostic," they said. Today's statement comes shortly after a meeting among the companies and government officials -- the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI's Foreign Influence Task Force, the Department of Justice's National Security Division, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- to discuss the planning. It builds on a series of monthly meetings, the person said, that go back to September of last year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'Stalkerware' Phone Spying Apps Have Escaped Google's Ad Ban

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 23:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Several companies offering phone-spying apps -- known as "stalkerware" -- are still advertising in Google search results, despite the search giant's ban that took effect today, TechCrunch has found. These controversial apps are often pitched to help parents snoop on their child's calls, messages, apps and other private data under the guise of helping to protect against online predators. But some repurpose these apps to spy on their spouses -- often without their permission. It's a problem that the wider tech industry has worked to tackle. Security firms and antivirus makers are working to combat the rise of stalkerware, and federal authorities have taken action when app makers have violated the law. One of the biggest actions to date came last month when Google announced an updated ads policy, effectively banning companies from advertising phone-snooping apps "with the express purpose of tracking or monitoring another person or their activities without their authorization." Google gave these companies until August 11 to remove these ads. But TechCrunch found seven companies known to provide stalkerware -- including FlexiSpy, mSpy, WebWatcher and KidsGuard -- were still advertising in Google search results after the ban took effect. Google did not say explicitly say if the stalkerware apps violated its policy, but told TechCrunch that it removed ads for WebWatcher. Despite the deadline, Google said that enforcement is not always immediate. "We recently updated our policies to prohibit ads promoting spyware for partner surveillance while still allowing ads for technology that helps parents monitor their underage children," said a Google spokesperson. "To prevent deceitful actors who try to disguise the product's intent and evade our enforcement, we look at several signals like the ad text, creative and landing page, among others, for policy compliance. When we find that an ad or advertiser is violating our policies, we take immediate action." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Twitter's Reply-Limiting Feature is Now Available To Everyone

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 16:14:59 Source: slashdot

Twitter is making one of its boldest experiments official. After months of testing, the company is bringing its reply-limiting feature, which allows users to control who can reply to their tweets, to all users. From a report: With the update, which is rolling out now to Twitter's apps and website, users can choose who can reply to tweets before they send them. The options are everyone, people you follow, and people you mention. If you choose people you mention, but don't mention anyone in the tweet, it effectively means no one can reply. The settings don't affect the ability to retweet or quote tweet. The change is one of many experiments Twitter's run in recent years in order to improve "conversational health," on its platform. Though limits on replies has been controversial among some users, Twitter has said it's meant to improve some of the less-than desirable dynamics on Twitter, such as ratios and, of course, the infamous reply guys. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Beats Song Lyric Scraping Lawsuit

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 15:30:00 Source: slashdot

Genius Media Group was pretty clever when it used digital watermarks to show that Google had been copying its huge collection of song lyrics. One of those watermarks spelled "redhanded" in Morse code. That Google was caught lifting another site's song lyrics made international news -- and even merited a mention during Congress' Big Tech hearing late last month. But was Google's scraping illegal? On Monday, a New York federal judge dismissed claims by Genius. From a report: Genius doesn't own copyrights to the song lyrics. Those rights belong to publishers and songwriters. Genius does have a license to the song lyrics in question. Additionally, Genius spends a lot of time and millions of dollars facilitating collaborative lyric transcription. Can't it protect its sweat? Genius believed so. Genius prohibits its users from transmitting its transcriptions for commercial purpose. Google breached the Terms of Service, claimed a complaint filed in New York state court. After the case was filed last December, Google had it removed to federal court on the basis that Genius' state claims were preempted. As federal court provides the exclusive jurisdiction for copyright controversies, the initial question in this case was whether Genius was doing anything more than disguising copyright claims. That's the subject of a new 36-page opinion from U.S. District Court Judge Margo Brodie. There's little doubt that the transcribed song lyrics fit within the types of works protected by the Copyright Act and thus satisfy subject matter of a preempted claim. However, under precedent, state contract claims over what's typically regarded as intellectual property can nevertheless survive so long as there's an "extra element" at play. That could be contractual obligations that are qualitatively different from a copyright claim. Here, Brodie rejects the proposition that Genius' attempt to guard against scraping for profit constitutes an extra element. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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MLB Teams Explore Using Cameras To Detect Maskless Fans at Games

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 15:00:00 Source: slashdot

The baseball season has started with eerily empty stadiums, but some teams are exploring high-tech ways to verify that people in the stands are taking health precautions, a possible step toward bringing fans back. From a report: Several Major League Baseball teams have held talks with a California startup called Airspace Systems that develops technology to detect whether people are wearing face masks, the league and the company said. The discussions focus on implementing the systems into cameras around the stadium to identify people without face coverings, with masks dangling from their chins or otherwise worn improperly. [...] A mask requirement at ballparks would likely stoke controversy. Such mandates at stores and on airplanes have resulted in violent confrontations between customers and workers. The use of software to analyze people's behavior on camera is contentious, too. Airspace's system reviews people's faces, but the results aren't personally identifiable, the company said. Still, companies collecting data on their workers or customers in the name of public health should be required to set up privacy guardrails around how the information is used, said Ifeoma Ajunwa, an associate professor at Cornell University who has studied the intersection of law and surveillance. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Ask Slashdot: Is it Time To Call Time on Time Zones?

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 13:00:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report [may be paywalled]: Anyone who has struggled to schedule a conference call across multiple time zones should pity the poor residents of Indiana. For decades, the Midwestern US state has been in flux over whether to observe Central or Eastern time. Some counties even switched time zones twice in as many years during the mid-2000s. This situation must be particularly baffling to the people of India and China, whose countries span thousands of miles yet obey a single time zone -- whatever the cost to their citizens' Circadian rhythms. Today's time zones are a 19th-century invention, driven by railway engineers' desire to harmonise schedules across states and countries. Now that we travel at internet speed, the system is breaking down. [...] One of the first modern-day attempts to disrupt time zones came, counter-intuitively, from a watchmaker. In 1998, as dotcom hype was crescendoing, Swatch tried to divide the day into 1,000 ".beats," each lasting one minute and 26.4 seconds. "Internet Time exists so that we do not have to think about time zones," Swatch declared. Swatch no longer produces .beats watches and the idea has been largely forgotten. In 2011, economist Steve Hanke and physicist Richard Conn Henry suggested a slightly less radical version of the same idea. Instead of replacing the current 24-hour system of timekeeping altogether, they argued for replacing the "cacophony of time zones" globally with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), sometimes also known as Greenwich Mean Time. "The readings on the clocks . . . would be the same for all," they wrote, while office hours or shop opening times would be adapted locally. This seems even more feasible today, in a world when the nine to five has been replaced by gig-economy jobs and homeworking parents spend their evenings with laptops on their knees. But such a change to global UTC would create new headaches of co-ordination. We would no longer be able to ask, "What time is it there?" to understand when it might be appropriate to call someone. Assuming our calendars tracked UTC in the same way they do local time today, days of the week would become a confusing concept for many parts of the world. When the clock passes what we now call midnight, Monday would tick into Tuesday at lunchtime in some places and breakfast in others. No amount of fiddling with the numbers on the clock can change the fact most people will want to work when it's light and sleep when it's dark. Your thoughts? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Parallels Desktop 16 Supports macOS Big Sur and Smoother PC 3D Graphics

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 11:30:01 Source: slashdot

As Apple's Mac computers begin their two-year transition from Intel- to Apple-developed CPUs later this year, one feature that's going away is Boot Camp -- the Mac's ability to boot directly into Windows and run PC apps natively. But Corel's Parallels Desktop will still be there to let Mac users run Windows, and in this year's version 16, it will thankfully be faster, more compatible, and easier to use than ever. From a report: Like Parallels Desktop 15, version 16 is an emulator that allows users to load a complete operating system or individual apps within macOS, treating them as windows within the Mac environment. Once again, high-end Business, mid-range Pro, and regular Standard versions are available. With the latest Business version of Parallels Desktop, an IT department can create, deploy, and remotely manage a profile-customized Windows system that Mac users download in a compact file size and expand on their own machines. A simpler Pro version includes the file-compacting feature used to more easily transfer virtual machines between computers, achieving as much as 20 times compression for Linux installs and 75% faster Linux git status executions. The standard version includes a manual Free Up Disk Space feature with archiving and space reclaiming options. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Mozilla Lays Off 250 Employees While it Refocuses on Commercial Products

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 11:15:01 Source: slashdot

The Mozilla Corporation announced today it was laying off approximately 250 staff members in a move to shore up the organization's financial future. From a report: The layoffs were publicly announced in a blog post today. Employees were notified hours before, earlier this morning, via an email sent by Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Corporation CEO and Mozilla Foundation Chairwoman. Baker's message cited the organization's need to adapt its finances to a post-COVID-19 world and re-focus the organization on new commercial services. Baker said that after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mozilla attempted to minimize the healthcare crisis' financial impact with "immediate cost-saving measures such as pausing our hiring, reducing our wellness stipend and cancelling our All-Hands [meetings]." However, Baker said that Mozilla's "pre-COVID plan is no longer workable." "We have talked about the need for change -- including the likelihood of layoffs -- since the spring. Today these changes become real," the Mozilla CEO said today. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Android is Becoming a Worldwide Earthquake Detection Network

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 10:44:57 Source: slashdot

Google is creating a worldwide, Android phone-powered earthquake alert system. The first part of that system is rolling out today. If you opt in, the accelerometer in your Android phone will become one data point for an algorithm designed to detect earthquakes. Eventually, that system will automatically send warnings to people who could be impacted. From a report: It's a feature made possible through Google's strengths: the staggering numbers of Android phones around the world and clever use of algorithms on big data. As with its collaboration with Apple on exposure tracing and other Android features like car crash detection and emergency location services, it shows that there are untapped ways that smartphones could be used for something more important than doomscrolling. Google is rolling out the system in small stages. First, Google is partnering with the United States Geological Survey and the California Office of Emergency Services to send the agencies' earthquake alerts to Android users in that state. Those alerts are generated by the already-existing ShakeAlert system, which uses data generated by traditional seismometers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Belarus Has Shut Down the Internet Amid a Controversial Election

technology - Posted On:2020-08-11 09:14:57 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Internet connectivity and cellular service in Belarus have been down since Sunday evening, after sporadic outages early that morning and throughout the day. The connectivity blackout, which also includes landline phones, appears to be a government-imposed outage that comes amid widespread protests and increasing social unrest over Belarus' presidential election Sunday. The ongoing shutdown has further roiled the country of about 9.5 million people, where official election results this morning indicated that five-term president Aleksandr Lukashenko had won a sixth term with about 80 percent of the vote. Around the country, protests against Lukashenko's administration, including criticisms of his foreign policy and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, grew in the days leading up to the election and exploded on Sunday night. The government has responded to the protests by mobilizing police and military forces, particularly in Minsk, the capital. Meanwhile, opposition candidates and protesters say the election was rigged and believe the results to be illegitimate. On Monday, Lukashenko said in an interview that the internet outages were coming from abroad, and were not the result of a Belarusian government initiative. Belarus' Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, in a statement on Sunday blamed large distributed denial-of-service attacks, particularly against the country's State Security Committee and Ministry of Internal Affairs, for causing "problems with equipment." The Belarusian government-owned ISP RUE Beltelecom said in a statement Monday that it is working to resolve the outages and restore service after "multiple cyberattacks of varying intensity." Outside observers have met those claims with skepticism. "The truth of what's going on in Belarus isn't really knowable right now, but there's no indication of a DDoS attack. It can't be ruled out, but there's no external sign of it that we see," says Alp Toker, director of the nonpartisan connectivity tracking group NetBlocks. After midnight Sunday, NetBlocks observed an outage that went largely unnoticed by the Belarus population, given the hour, but the country's internet infrastructure became increasingly wobbly afterward. "Then just as polls are opening in the morning, there are more disruptions, and those really continue and progress," says Toker. "Then the major outage that NetBlocks detected started right as the polls were closing and is ongoing." The disruption extended even to virtual private networks -- a common workaround for internet outages or censorship -- most of which remain unreachable. "Belarus hasn't had a lot of investment in circumvention technologies, because people there haven't needed to," Toker says. Meanwhile, there are a few anecdotal indications that the outages were planned, and even possibly that the government warned some businesses and institutions ahead of time. A prescient report on Saturday from the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets included an interview with a salesperson who warned journalists attempting to buy SIM cards that the government had indicated widespread connectivity outages might be coming as soon as that night. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Leaked Documents Reveal What TikTok Shares With Authorities In the US

technology - Posted On:2020-08-10 18:14:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: Documents published in the BlueLeaks trove, which was hacked by someone claiming a connection to Anonymous and published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets, show the information that TikTok shared with U.S. law enforcement in dozens of cases. Experts familiar with law enforcement requests say that what TikTok collects and hands over is not significantly more than what companies like Amazon, Facebook, or Google regularly provide, but that's because U.S. tech companies collect and hand over a lot of information. The documents also reveal that two representatives with bytedance.com email addresses registered on the website of the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, a fusion center that covers the Silicon Valley area. And they show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security actively monitored TikTok for signs of unrest during the George Floyd protests. The number of requests for subscriber information that TikTok says it receives from law enforcement is significantly lower than what U.S. tech giants reportedly field, likely because police are more accustomed to using data from U.S. companies and apps in investigations. TikTok enumerates its requests from law enforcement in a biannual transparency report, the most recent of which says that for the last half of 2019, the company received 100 requests covering 107 accounts. It handed over information in 82 percent of cases. Facebook, by contrast, says it received a whopping 51,121 requests over the same period, and handed over at least some data in 88 percent of cases. A 2018 document found in BlueLeaks titled "Law Enforcement Technology Investigations Resource Guide" gives police details on how to obtain records from Musical.ly, which was acquired by ByteDance and merged into TikTok that year. "In the releases shown in BlueLeaks, TikTok handed over multiple IP addresses, information about the devices used to register for accounts, cellphone numbers, and unique IDs tied to platforms including Instagram, Facebook, or Google if the user logged in using a social media account," the report adds. "It is unclear whether these data releases were in response to warrants, subpoenas, or other requests, and the company would not give details, citing user privacy. The accounts for which TikTok handed over data in the BlueLeaks dump range from influencers with tens of thousands of followers to people who primarily post for friends." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Gives Android TV Developers Instant Apps, Speech-to-Text, and Predictive Typing

technology - Posted On:2020-08-10 15:45:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report: Even before the pandemic, the battle to own your living room was reaching a boiling point. Now the big screen is bigger than ever as 2020 accelerates the streaming wars and raises the smart TV platform stakes. Naturally, Google is making every effort to avoid being left behind. Today the company gave Android TV developers new tools, including Google Play Instant, the Play Store in the emulator, PIN code purchases, Gboard TV, auto low latency mode, and leanback library improvements. [...] Google says Android TV now works with seven of the top 10 smart TV OEMs and over 160 TV operators. The company also added that there are now "over 80% more Android TV monthly active devices than a year ago," but didn't divulge raw numbers. Developers have built about 7,000 apps for Google Play on Android TV, to date, up from 5,000 in April 2019. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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