Facebook Sets Aside $3 Billion For a Potential FTC Fine
technology - Posted On:2019-04-24 16:59:59 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ABC News: Facebook is taking a $3 billion charge as a contingency against a possible fine by the Federal Trade Commission. The agency has been investigating Facebook, but has not announced any findings yet. The one-time charge slashes Facebook's first-quarter net income considerably, although revenue grew by 25% in the period. The FTC has been looking into whether Facebook is in violation of a 2011 agreement promising to protect user privacy. The social network said Wednesday that its net income was 85 cents per share in the January-March period. Revenue grew 26 % to $15.08 billion from a year earlier. Excluding the charge, it earned $1.89 per share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1.62 per share and revenue of $14.98 billion. Facebook's monthly user base grew 8% to 2.38 billion. According to The New York Times, Facebook says it's expected to be fined up to $5 billion for privacy violations, including improper handling of people's data involving Cambridge Analytica, as well as a major data breach. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Some Amazon Sellers Are Paying $10,000 A Month To Trick Their Way To The Top
technology - Posted On:2019-04-24 16:14:59 Source: slashdot
Amazon's marketplace is so competitive that it has led to the emergence of a secretive, lucrative black market where agents peddle "black hat" services, sometimes obtained by bribing Amazon employees, that purportedly give marketplace sellers an advantage over their rivals, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News. These consultants charge up to $10,000 to manipulate rankings by rewriting URLs and programming bots to click on products, a report says. From the report: Other tactics to promote sellers' products include removing negative reviews from product pages and exploiting technical loopholes on Amazon's site to lift products' overall sales rankings. These services make it harder for Amazon sellers who abide by the company's terms of service to succeed in the marketplace, and sellers who rely on these tactics mislead customers and undermine trust in Amazon's products. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Applying For Your Next Job May Be an Automated Nightmare
technology - Posted On:2019-04-24 15:30:00 Source: slashdot
merbs writes: If you think looking for a job is already daunting, anxiety-riddled, and unpleasant, just wait until the algorithms take over the hiring process. When they do, a newfangled 'digital recruiter' like VCV, which just received $1.7 million in early investment, hopes it will look something like this: First, a search bot will be used to scan CVs by the thousands, yours presumably among them. If it's picked out of the haystack, you will be contacted by a chatbot. Over SMS, the bot will set an appointment for a phone interview, which will be conducted by an automated system enabled by voice recognition AI. Next, the system will ask you, the applicant, to record video responses to a set of predetermined interview questions. Finally, the program can use facial recognition and predictive analytics to complete the screening, algorithmically determining whether the nervousness, mood, and behavior patterns you exhibit make you a fit for the company. If you pass all that, then you will be recommended for an in-person job interview. [...] VCV, which did not respond to a request for comment, is far from alone here. A growing suite of startups is pitching AI-driven recruitment services, promising to save corporations millions of dollars throughout the hiring process by reducing overhead, to pluck more ideal candidates out of obscurity, and to reduce bias in the hiring process. Most offer little to no evidence of how they actually do so. VCV's much-larger competitor, HireVue, which has raked in a staggering $93 million in funding and is backed by top-tier Silicon Valley venture capital firms like Sequoia, is hocking many of the same services. It counts 700 companies as its clients, including, it says, Urban Outfitters, Intel, Honeywell, and Unilever. AllyO, which was founded in 2015, and "utilizes deep workflow conversational AI to fully automate end to end recruiting workflow" has $19 million in backing. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Drivers Think Bikers Are Less Than Human, Survey Says
technology - Posted On:2019-04-24 14:15:00 Source: slashdot
Researchers have found an explanation for why many drivers act out toward cyclists: They are actually dehumanizing people who ride bikes, according to an April study by Australian researchers in the journal Transportation Research. From a report: And this dehumanization -- the belief that a group of people are less than human -- correlates to drivers' self-reported aggressive behavior. Since 2010, cyclist fatalities have increased by 25 percent in the US. A total of 777 bicyclists were killed in crashes with drivers in 2017, and 45,000 were injured from crashes in 2015. Data compiled by the League of American Bicyclists also suggests that, in some states, bicyclists are overrepresented in the number of traffic fatalities. "The idea is that if you don't see a group of people as fully human, then you're more likely to be aggressive toward them," said Narelle Haworth, a professor and director of the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety at Queensland University of Technology, one of the authors of the study. The researchers asked 442 Australians, including those who identified as cyclists, to rank the average cyclist on a scale from ape to human. This ape-to-human diagram has been used in other studies, like this one from 2015, looking at the dehumanization of marginalized groups, such as Muslims and black people. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Blocks Windows 10 May 2019 Update on PCs That Use USB Storage or SD Cards
technology - Posted On:2019-04-24 10:44:56 Source: slashdot
Microsoft has published a support document today warning Windows 10 users that the impending May 2019 Update may not install on their systems if they use external USB storage devices or SD cards. From a report: The OS maker cited problems with "inappropriate drive reassignment" as the main reason for blocking the May 2019 Update. "Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on eligible computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update," the company said. "For this reason, these computers are currently blocked from receiving the May 2019 Update." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Tesla Plans To Launch a Robotaxi Network In 2020
technology - Posted On:2019-04-24 06:14:57 Source: slashdot
Iwastheone shares a report from TechCrunch: Tesla expects to launch the first robotaxis as part of broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said during the company's Autonomy Day. "I feel very confident predicting that there will be autonomous robotaxis from Tesla next year -- not in all jurisdictions because we won't have regulatory approval everywhere" Musk said without detailing what regulations he was referring to. He added that he is confident the company will have regulatory approval somewhere next year. Tesla will enable owners to add their properly equipped vehicles to its own ride-sharing app, which will have a similar business model to Uber or Airbnb. Tesla will take 25 percent to 30 percent of the revenue from those rides, Musk said. In places where there aren't enough people to share their cars, Tesla would provide a dedicated fleet of robotaxis. Musk also said at the event that all new Tesla vehicles are now produced with its custom full self-driving computer chip. The remaining step for Tesla's full self-driving mode to work is the software, "which Musk says will be 'feature complete' and at a reliability level that we could consider that no one needs to pay attention, by the middle of next year," reports TechCrunch. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
ICANN Proposes Allowing Unlimited Fee Increases For
.Org Domain Names
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 22:14:59 Source: slashdot
GeorgeK writes: ICANN is proposing allowing unlimited fee increases for .org domain names, which currently are allowed to increase a maximum of 10% annually. That 10% annual cap on fee increases came about after the huge public outcry that ensued in 2006 when a comparable proposal to eliminate price caps was made, and successfully opposed by the public. It seems that ICANN did not learn from history. Nat Cohen explains why the new proposal to eliminate price caps is a bad idea. Similar proposals exist for the .info, .biz, and .asia top-level domains, and are all open for public comment now (.org public comment period ends April 29, 2019). If these unlimited fee increases are permitted, it is likely that Verisign will seek to further increase their fees for .com and .net. I encourage readers who wish to oppose these unlimited fee increases to submit comments today. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Record Number of Consumers Waiting To Upgrade Their Cellphones
it - Posted On:2019-04-23 20:14:59 Source: slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Wireless customers are hanging on to their old phones longer than ever. That's the message from Verizon, which said its upgrade rate fell to a record low last quarter -- a harbinger of tough times ahead for the iPhone and other devices. Faced with $1,000 price tags on moderately improved phones, consumers may be waiting to hear more about new 5G networks before committing to new models. The faster, more advanced services won't roll out in earnest until 2020. "Incremental changes from one model the the next, hasn't been that great, and it hasn't been enough of an incentive," Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis said in an interview Tuesday after the company reported fewer-than-expected new customers for the first quarter. He expects replacement rates to be down for the year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Engineers Develop Colorful Printed Patch That Hides People From AI
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 18:44:59 Source: slashdot
A group of engineers from the University of KU Leuven in Belgium have come up with a solution to make users invisible to one specific algorithm. "In a paper shared last week on the preprint server arXiv, these students show how simple printed patterns can fool an AI system that's designed to recognize people in images," reports The Verge. From the report: If you print off one of the students' specially designed patches and hang it around your neck, from an AI's point of view, you may as well have slipped under an invisibility cloak. As the researchers write: "We believe that, if we combine this technique with a sophisticated clothing simulation, we can design a T-shirt print that can make a person virtually invisible for automatic surveillance cameras." In the case of this recent research -- which we spotted via Google researcher David Ha -- some caveats do apply. Most importantly, the adversarial patch developed by the students can only fool one specific algorithm named YOLOv2. It doesn't work against even off-the-shelf computer vision systems developed by Google or other tech companies, and, of course, it doesn't work if a person is looking at the image. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Displays Warning Messages in Windows 7 About the Impending End of Support
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 16:14:59 Source: slashdot
Windows 7 users have started to report the appearance of a pop-up message from Microsoft informing them that support for the operating system is coming to an end. From a report: While this will not come as a surprise to everyone, not all Windows 7 users will be aware that Microsoft is on the verge of dropping the aging OS. We have already seen pop-ups encouraging users to update to Windows 10 but now Microsoft is turning up the pressure, telling Windows 7 users: "After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing the end." People have been reporting that the message started appearing as early as April 18, but not all Windows 7 users are seeing it yet. The message includes a link to a Microsoft website that encourages people to backup their data, buy a modern computer and make the jump to Windows 10. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
ShadowHammer Targets Multiple Companies, ASUS Was Just One of Them
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 13:30:00 Source: slashdot
ASUS was not the only company targeted by supply-chain attacksduring the ShadowHammer hacking operation as discovered by Kaspersky, with at least six other organizations having been infiltrated by the attackers. From a report: As further found out by Kaspersky's security researchers, ASUS' supply chain was successfully compromised by trojanizing one of the company's notebook software updaters named ASUS Live Updater which eventually was downloaded and installed on the computers of tens of thousands of customers according to experts' estimations. The tampered with binaries were signed using a legitimate certificate which helped the attackers avoid breaking the digital signature and having the malicious updater flagged. Among the similarities, they discovered that the ASUS samples and the newly found ones were both using very similar algorithms to calculate API function hashes, while the IPHLPAPI.dll was heavily used within all malware samples for various reasons. As in the ASUS case, the samples were using digitally signed binaries from three other Asian vendors: Electronics Extreme, authors of the zombie survival game called Infestation: Survivor Stories. Innovative Extremist, a company that provides Web and IT infrastructure services but also used to work in game development. Zepetto, the South Korean company that developed the video game Point Blank. Besides these three Asian gaming companies, Kaspersky was also able to find three other organizations which were successfully compromised, "another video gaming company, a conglomerate holding company and a pharmaceutical company, all in South Korea." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Paint To Remain Part of Windows 10 After All
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 12:45:00 Source: slashdot
Microsoft had been planning to remove its popular Paint app from Windows 10, but the company has now reversed course. From a report: The software maker had been warning Windows 10 users for months that Paint would be removed, and those warnings vanished in the latest May 2019 Update (1903). "Yes, MSPaint will be included in 1903," says Brandon LeBlanc, a senior program manager for Windows at Microsoft. "It'll remain included in Windows 10 for now." LeBlanc didn't reveal why Microsoft had removed its warnings, but it's clear Paint will no longer be removed from Windows 10 in the immediate future. Microsoft previously marked Paint as "deprecated," meaning it wasn't in active development and could be removed in future releases of Windows. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The New Microsoft Edge Sometimes Impersonates Other Browsers
it - Posted On:2019-04-23 10:14:56 Source: slashdot
AmiMoJo writes: The new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge will impersonate other browsers depending on the site being visited. This is may be done for compatibility reasons, like properly rendering pages or how video will be streamed and played back. When the new Microsoft Edge starts, it will connect to config.edge.skype.com and download a JSON configuration for the browser. One section of the JSON configuration file is called EdgeDomainActions and is a series of rules that specify what browser Microsoft Edge should impersonate when visiting a particular site. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Tesla Investigates After Parked Model S Appears To Explode In China
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 09:14:56 Source: slashdot
"CNN reports on CCTV footage from China showing a parked Model S bursting violently into flames," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. From the report: Tesla is investigating after one of its vehicles appeared to explode in China. A short video of surveillance footage posted on Chinese social media site Weibo (WB) showed white smoke emerging from what looks like a white Tesla car parked at a lot in Shanghai. After a few seconds, the electric vehicle bursts into flames and the clip ends soon afterward. The video, which was filmed just after 8:15 pm local time on April 21, appears to show a Tesla Model S sedan. It was posted on Chinese social media a couple of hours later and has since been shared widely. The clip attracted a mix of derision and outrage on Weibo. "Us car owners demand an explanation," wrote user Miao Hongyang. "Jeopardizing our safety in a moment's instant and the fact it ignited so quickly is something we will not tolerate." Another Weibo user registered under the name Your Dad, added: "One thing I've learned from this incident: from now on, don't ever park next to a Tesla.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Windows 10's 'Sets' Feature Is Gone and Not Expected To Return
technology - Posted On:2019-04-23 06:14:57 Source: slashdot
Sets, one of two new features teased in 2017 to be coming to Windows 10, has reportedly been scrubbed. "Microsoft dropped plans for Sets, a Windows-management feature, which would have allowed users to group app data, websites and other information in tabs, months ago," reports ZDNet, citing their sources. "Although Microsoft did test Sets last year with some of its Windows Insider testers, the feature generally wasn't well received or understood. For apps like Office to work well with Sets, the Office engineering team was going to have to do a lot of extra work." From the report: Sets didn't make an reappearance in the Insider test builds leading up to the May 2019 Update/1903, and officials haven't mentioned the Sets feature in months. Over the weekend, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Rich Turner tweeted "The Shell-provided tab experience is no more, but adding tabs is high on our to do list." (That's likely the closest we will get to an "official" comment on the future of the Sets feature.) Turner pointed to a Devblogs.Microsoft.com post originally dated June 29 about tabs coming to the Windows Console. At that point in time, the Console team was planning to use the new Sets feature as the base for adding Tabs in the Windows Console. But since the Windows team has decided against moving forward with Sets, the Console team is now going to have to build Tabs into the Console without using Sets as the foundation, my sources say. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Tesla Will Allow Aggressive Autopilot Mode With 'Slight Chance of a Fender Bender'
technology - Posted On:2019-04-22 19:44:59 Source: slashdot
During Tesla's "Autonomy Investor Day" today, Elon Musk said that the company will someday allow drivers to select aggressive modes of its Autopilot driver assistance system that have a "slight chance of a fender bender." "Musk didn't say when Tesla might roll out that option, only that the company would have to have "higher confidence" in Autopilot's capabilities before allowing it to happen," reports The Verge. From the report: "Do you want to have a nonzero chance of a fender bender on freeway traffic?" Musk asked at the event, which was for investors in the company. He dubbed it "LA traffic mode," because "unfortunately, [it's] the only way to navigate LA traffic." Tesla already allows its owners to select a "Mad Max" setting for Navigate on Autopilot, which is a feature that handles highway driving from on-ramp to off-ramp. The Mad Max setting makes quicker lane changes than if the car is in "Mild" or "Average" modes. Musk suggested Tesla will eventually allow drivers to choose "gradually more aggressive behavior" by "dial[ing] the setting up." Musk also said Tesla's full self-driving computer is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, and a next-gen chip that's "three times better" than the current system is already "halfway done." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Toyota Establishes Research Institute In China To Study Hydrogen, Green Tech
technology - Posted On:2019-04-22 18:29:59 Source: slashdot
Japan announced on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China. Reuters reports: The initiative, outlined by Toyota's President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University, is part of the Japanese carmaker's efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said. The Tsinghua-Toyota Joint Research Institute will conduct research into cars and new technology to solve environmental problems in China, including reducing traffic accidents, Toyota said in a statement. The institute will "cooperate in research not only related to cars for Chinese consumers, but also in research related to active utilization of hydrogen energy that can help solve China's energy problems," the company said. The move dovetails with Toyota's announcement this month that it would offer carmakers and suppliers around the world free access to nearly 24,000 patents for electric vehicle technologies. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Tesla's Full Self-Driving Computer is Now in All New Cars and a Next-Gen Chip is Already 'Halfway Done'
technology - Posted On:2019-04-22 16:29:59 Source: slashdot
The Tesla computer, a new custom chip designed to enable full self-driving capabilities, is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, CEO Elon Musk said during the company's Autonomy Day. From a report: Tesla switched over from Nvidia's Drive platform to its own custom chip for the Model S and X about a month ago and for the Model 3 about 10 days ago, Musk said. "All cars being produced all have the hardware necessary -- computer and otherwise -- for full self-driving," Musk said. "All you need to do is improve the software." Work is also already underway on a next-generation chip, Musk added. The design of this current chip was completed "maybe one and half, two years ago." Tesla is now about halfway through the design of the next-generation chip. Musk wanted to focus the talk on the current chip, but he later added that the next-generation one would be "three times better" than the current system and was about two years away. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Google Walkout Organizers Say They're Facing Retaliation
technology - Posted On:2019-04-22 15:59:59 Source: slashdot
Two employee activists at Google say they have been retaliated against for helping to organize a walkout among thousands of Google employees in November, and are planning a "town hall" meeting on Friday for others to discuss alleged instances of retaliation. Wired: In a message posted to many internal Google mailing lists Monday, Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google's Open Research, said that after Google disbanded its external AI ethics council on April 4, she was told that her role would be "changed dramatically." Whittaker said she was told that, in order to stay at the company, she would have to "abandon" her work on AI ethics and her role at AI Now Institute, a research center she cofounded at New York University. Claire Stapleton, another walkout organizer and a 12-year veteran of the company, said in the email that two months after the protest she was told she would be demoted from her role as marketing manager at YouTube and lose half her reports. After escalating the issue to human resources, she said she faced further retaliation. "My manager started ignoring me, my work was given to other people, and I was told to go on medical leave, even though I'm not sick," Stapleton wrote. After she hired a lawyer; the company conducted an investigation and seemed to reverse her demotion. "While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day," she wrote. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Amazon is Now Making Its Delivery Drivers Take Selfies
technology - Posted On:2019-04-22 13:30:00 Source: slashdot
Amazon is now making its delivery drivers take selfies, in a bid to reduce fraud. Using facial recognition, the company will verify drivers' identities to make sure they are who they say they are. From a report: The new requirements appeared on the Amazon Flex app to drivers, notifying them that they needed to take a selfie before continuing work. Of course, Amazon warns drivers to "not take a selfie while driving." By asking drivers to take selfies, Amazon could be preventing multiple people from sharing the same account. These efforts could screen out anyone who is technically unauthorized from delivering packages, such as criminals who are attempting to use Amazon Flex as an excuse to lurk in front of people's homes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.