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Software 'No More Accurate Than Untrained Humans' At Predicting Recidivism

Slashdot - 38 min 50 sec ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The credibility of a computer program used for bail and sentencing decisions has been called into question after it was found to be no more accurate at predicting the risk of reoffending than people with no criminal justice experience provided with only the defendant's age, sex and criminal history. The algorithm, called Compas (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions), is used throughout the U.S. to weigh up whether defendants awaiting trial or sentencing are at too much risk of reoffending to be released on bail. Since being developed in 1998, the tool is reported to have been used to assess more than one million defendants. But a new paper has cast doubt on whether the software's predictions are sufficiently accurate to justify its use in potentially life-changing decisions. The academics used a database of more than 7,000 pretrial defendants from Broward County, Florida, which included individual demographic information, age, sex, criminal history and arrest record in the two year period following the Compas scoring. The online workers were given short descriptions that included a defendant's sex, age, and previous criminal history and asked whether they thought they would reoffend. Using far less information than Compas (seven variables versus 137), when the results were pooled the humans were accurate in 67% of cases, compared to the 65% accuracy of Compas. In a second analysis, the paper found that Compas's accuracy at predicting recidivism could also be matched using a simple calculation involving only an offender's age and the number of prior convictions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

North Korea's finest spent 2017 distributing RATs, wipers, and phish

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 6:30am
And sent them mostly to South Korea, naturally

North Korea's black hats launched at least six extensive malware campaigns mostly against South Korean targets during 2017.…

YouTube turns off cash tap for automatic video nasties

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 6:04am
Beer money channels that made under $100 a year are also out of the Partner Program

YouTube’s changed its rules to exclude low-traffic channels from its Partner Program, the scheme that sees it share ad revenue with video-makers.…

Industrial systems scrambling to catch up with Meltdown, Spectre

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 5:01am
Some confessions, but 'watch this space' is the more common reaction - when there is one

Vendors of industrial systems have joined the long list of vendors responding responses to the Meltdown and Spectre processor vulnerabilities.…

Tim Cook Says Power Management Feature In Older iPhones Will Be Able To Be Turned Off In Future Update

Slashdot - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 3:30am
In an interview with Rebecca Jarvis of ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook touched on the ongoing controversy over power management features in older iPhones. He says that a future update will allow customers to turn off the power management feature that has caused older iPhones to slow down. Mac Rumors reports: According to Cook, when the power management features were first introduced in iOS 10.2.1, Apple did explain what was going on, but following the controversy, he believes Apple should have been clearer. The company did indeed mention that the shutdown issue was caused by uneven power delivery and explained that its power management system had been tweaked, but there was no clear notice that it could cause devices to operate more slowly at times. Cook says Apple "deeply apologizes" to customers who thought the company had other motivations. Apple is introducing better battery monitoring features in a future iOS update, and Cook says Apple will also allow customers to turn off the power management feature, which is new information that the company has not previously shared. The majority of the interview was focused on the announcements that Apple made today. The company plans to contribute $350 billion in the U.S. economy over the next five years, as well as issue employees a bonus of $2,500 of restricted stock units following the introduction of the new U.S. tax law.

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Broadcom confirms anti-trust probe, professes zero worries

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 3:02am
Says probe doesn't impact wireless lines, leaving about a gazillion other products in play

Broadcom has confirmed it's under investigation by the United States' Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over antitrust issues, but doesn't believe that's going to affect its business.…

Poison ping pong prompts patch from Cisco

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 2:59am
Switchzilla has fixes for appliances, voice portal, Nexus switch OS

Cisco admins, it's your weekly patch notice.…

Crypto-cash exchange BitConnect pulls plug amid Bitcoin bloodbath

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 1:58am
BTC plunge, er, sorry, market correction leaves faithful shaken but not deterred

Amid a cryptocurrency price correction that has seen the price of Bitcoin drop by half from its mid-December peak, UK-based cyber-cash lending and exchange biz BitConnect said it is shutting down.…

Amazon Won't Say If It Hands Your Echo Data To the Government

Slashdot - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 1:30am
Zack Whittaker reports via ZDNet of how Amazon still won't say whether or not it hands your Echo data to the government -- three years after the Echo was first released. From the report: Amazon has a transparency problem. Three years ago, the retail giant became the last major tech company to reveal how many subpoenas, search warrants, and court orders it received for customer data in a half-year period. While every other tech giant had regularly published its government request figures for years, spurred on by accusations of participation in government surveillance, Amazon had been largely forgotten. Eventually, people noticed and Amazon acquiesced. Since then, Amazon's business has expanded. By its quarterly revenue, it's no longer a retail company -- it's a cloud giant and a device maker. The company's flagship Echo, an "always listening" speaker, collects vast amounts of customer data that's openly up for grabs by the government. But Amazon's bi-annual transparency figures don't want you to know that. In fact, Amazon has been downright deceptive in how it presents the data, obfuscating the figures in its short, but contextless, twice-yearly reports. Not only does Amazon offer the barest minimum of information possible, the company has -- and continues -- to deliberately mislead its customers by actively refusing to clarify how many customers, and which customers, are affected by the data demands it receives.

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Free gift for all readers: Google's AutoML launch translated into plain English (where possible)

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 1:18am
It's an image-recognition thing

Google today tore the covers off something called Cloud AutoML, a new service that's part of its "mission to democratize AI."…

LAPD Is Not Using the Electric BMWs It Announced In 2016

Slashdot - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 12:50am
mi shares a report from CBS Los Angeles: "In a 2016 well-choreographed press conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck got out of an electric BMW driven by Mayor Garcetti to tout the city's ambitious project [to provide electric cars for the department]," reports CBS Los Angeles. "The cost: $10.2 million, which includes charging stations." However, the cars have seen very little use. With the monthly lease payment of a little more than $418, one vehicle ends up costing taxpayers over $15 a mile to use. Some of the use they do get is improper too, alleges CBS Los Angeles, citing footage captured from several hidden cameras. "We followed someone after leaving the downtown police garage; they went to the drive-through at Yoshinoya," reports CBS. "On another day, someone drove from downtown LA to Loyola Marymount University in West LA, picked up someone who appeared to be a student, and went to lunch." The deputy chief is looking into what CBS found and says the cars are to be used for business only.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Arch Linux vs. Antergos vs. Clear Linux vs. Ubuntu Benchmarks

Phoronix - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 12:40am
Last week when sharing the results of tweaking Ubuntu 17.10 to try to make it run as fast as Clear Linux, it didn't take long for Phoronix readers to share their opinions on Arch Linux and the request for some optimized Arch Linux benchmarks against Clear Linux. Here are some results of that testing so far in carrying out a clean Arch Linux build with some basic optimizations compared to using Antergos Minimal out-of-the-box, Ubuntu Server, and Clear Linux.

Make Apple, er, America Great Again: iGiant to bring home profits, pay $38bn in repatriation tax

El Reg - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 12:37am
Triumphant Trump touts terrific tax tactic

Apple announced today it will start to repatriate back to America some of the massive profits it accumulated outside the USA – and will use the cash to Make America Great Again.…

Apple Gives Employees $2,500 Bonuses After New Tax Law

Slashdot - Thu, 18/01/2018 - 12:10am
Apple told employees that it's issuing a bonus of $2,500 of restricted stock units, following the introduction of the new U.S. tax law. "The iPhone maker will begin issuing grants to most employees worldwide in the coming months," reports Bloomberg. Apple also announced today that it would bring back most of its cash from overseas and spend $30 billion in the U.S. over the next five years. From the report: Apple confirmed the bonuses in response to a Bloomberg inquiry Wednesday. The Cupertino, California-based company joins a growing list of American businesses that have celebrated the introduction of corporate-friendly tax law with one-time bonuses for staff. AT&T, Comcast, JetBlue, and Wal-Mart also said they were giving bonuses.

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Hehe, still writing code for a living? It's 2018. You could be earning x3 as a bug bounty hunter

El Reg - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 11:38pm
Oh, yeah, and learning new tricks and protecting stuff, sure

Ethical hacking to find security flaws appears to pay better, albeit less regularly, than general software engineering.…

Facebook Is a 'Living, Breathing Crime Scene,' Says Former Tech Insider

Slashdot - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: With more than 2 billion users, Facebook's reach now rivals that of Christianity and exceeds that of Islam. However, the network's laser focus on profits and user growth has come at the expense of its users, according to one former Facebook manager who is now speaking out against the social platform. "One of the things that I saw consistently as part of my job was the company just continuously prioritized user growth and making money over protecting users," the ex-manager, Sandy Parakilas, who worked at Facebook for 16 months, starting in 2011, told NBC News. During his tenure at Facebook, Parakilas led third-party advertising, privacy and policy compliance on Facebook's app platform. "Facebook is a living, breathing crime scene for what happened in the 2016 election -- and only they have full access to what happened," said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. His work centers on how technology can ethically steer the thoughts and actions of the masses on social media and he's been called "the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience" by The Atlantic magazine. In response to the comments, Facebook issued a statement saying it is a "vastly different company" from when it was founded. "We are taking many steps to protect and improve people's experience on the platform," the statement said. "In the past year, we've worked to destroy the business model for false news and reduce its spread, stop bad actors from meddling in elections, and bring a new level of transparency to advertising. Last week, we started prioritizing meaningful posts from friends and family in News Feed to help bring people closer together. We have more work to do and we're heads down on getting it done."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Project Fi Creates Its Own Version of An Unlimited Plan

Slashdot - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 10:50pm
Google's Project Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) has launched a new feature called Bill Protection that will cap your $10 per GB data bill at $60 a month, while still allowing you to use as much data as you want, essentially creating its own version of an unlimited data plan. The Verge reports: Prior to today, Project Fi users were charged $10 per GB no matter how much data they used, which could become quite costly for heavy users. Bill Protection should help alleviate those worries for most users. Google says those who use up to 15GB of data in a month won't experience any throttling, but if they cross that threshold -- Google says less than 1 percent of its users pass that mark -- they will "experience slower data" with speeds going down to 256kbps. If you don't want to be throttled when you pass 15GB in a month, Google says you can pay the usual $10 per GB to opt out of the slower speeds. It also noted that Bill Protection for Project Fi users on group plans will kick in at different usage levels, depending on the size of your group.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hey. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Get in here... so we can shake your hands – US Senate cyber-terror panel

El Reg - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 10:36pm
So much for that grilling

The US Senate's commerce committee basically gave executives from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube a back-rub at a hearing on Wednesday morning.…

Meteor Lights Up Southern Michigan

Slashdot - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 10:10pm
New submitter Foundryman writes: Amidst fake missile reports in Hawaii and Japan, Michigan gets hit by something real. From a report via Ars Technica: "Early last night local time, a meteor rocketed through the skies of southern Michigan, giving local residents a dramatic (if brief) light show. It also generated an imperceptible thump, as the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that there was a coincident magnitude 2.0 earthquake. The American Meteor Society has collected more than 350 eyewitness accounts, which ranged from western Pennsylvania out to Illinois and Wisconsin. They were heavily concentrated over southern Michigan, notably around the Detroit area. A number of people have also posted videos of the fireball online. The American Meteor Society estimates that the rock was relatively slow-moving at a sedate 45,000km an hour. Combined with its production of a large fireball, the researchers conclude it was probably a big rock. NASA's meteorwatch Facebook page largely agrees and suggests that this probably means that pieces of the rock made it to Earth. If you were on the flight path, you might want to check your yard.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Flapjack Helps Developers Work On Components Inside Flatpak

Phoronix - Wed, 17/01/2018 - 10:09pm
Endless OS developer Philip Chimento has developed Flapjack as a means of helping developers work on Flatpak...
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