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Updated: 8 min 29 sec ago

Security Expert Jailed For Reporting Vulnerabilities In Lee County, FL Elections

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 6:12pm
rootmon writes: Information Security Professional David Levin was arrested 3 months after reporting un-patched SQL injection vulnerabilities in the Lee County, Florida Elections Office run by Sharon Harrington, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections. Harrington's office has been in the news before for voting systems problems (for example in during the 2012 election, 35 districts in Lee County had to remain open 3 hours past the closing of polls due to long lines and equipment issues, wasting $800,000 to $1.6 million of taxpayer money on incompatible iPads for which her office is facing an audit. Rather than fixing the issues in their systems, they chose to charge the whistleblower with three third-degree felonies. The News Press also has several related interviews.

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Microsoft Hits $1 Trillion In Total Cumulative Revenue: Reports

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 5:31pm
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has hit a major milestone: $1 trillion in all-time cumulative revenue. The finding was first spotted by Jeff Reifman, a tech consultant. According to him, Microsoft hit the milestone in its last quarter. Interestingly, Apple also hit $1 trillion in revenue in 2015. As for profits, Microsoft currently leads the chart with $265.2 billion with Apple trying to close in with $261.6 billion. "You might expect a company to announce a milestone like this and bask in this incredible accomplishment -- but not Microsoft," writes Reifman. "It chose to stay silent as it faces increased public scrutiny for holding $108.3 billion in earnings offshore (an incredible 41% of its all-time profit) and its history of tax dodging at home in Washington State."Microsoft blog MSPowerUser says it independently verified the numbers. According to which, Microsoft's total cumulative revenue as of last earnings call is 1001.569 billion.

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Twitter Blocks Feds From Data Mining Service

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 4:50pm
An anonymous reader cites a report on USA Today: Online social media company Twitter has reportedly blocked U.S. intelligence agencies from access to a widely used data mining service it partly owns. Twitter told Dataminr, the business partner that sifts through and provides access to the full output of the San Francisco-based firm's social media postings known as tweets, that it didn't want the service provided to government investigators, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Twitter made the decision because the company did not like the "optics" of appearing too close to U.S. spy agencies, the Journal reported, citing an unidentified intelligence official. The issue could further escalate the public privacy vs. government security tensions between high tech firms and the federal government as investigators seek access to social media and other electronic data in an effort to detect and avert suspected terrorist plots. Newsweek's Kenneth Li said: "This makes no sense. So, dataminr's hedge fund customers are ok, but not the government?"

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Creators Of Siri Demo Their Next AI Assistant Viv, It's Far More Open Platform

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 4:10pm
A small company called Viv on Monday unveiled a "frictionless", artificially intelligent software also called Viv, which understands complicated human queries and connects with other apps to get your work done more conveniently and efficiently. Viv was demonstrated live at TechCrunch's Disrupt NY conference on Monday. Dag Kittlaus, co-founder of Viv, and creator of Siri, said that the idea behind it is to open the app to all developers so that they could leverage their technology. (Interestingly, under the realm of Apple, Siri, five years since first launched, is still not open for developers.) Ben Popper, reports for The Verge: The major difference between Siri and Viv is that the latter is a far more open platform. One of the biggest frustrations with Siri is that it has only a small number of tasks it can complete. For the vast multitude of requests or queries, Siri will default to a generic web search. Viv's approach is much closer to Amazon's Alexa or Facebook's Messenger bots, offering the ability to connect with third party merchants and vendors so that it can execute on requests to purchase goods or book reservations. The company's tagline -- intelligence becomes a utility -- nicely sums up its goal of powering the conversational AI inside a multitude of gadgets and digital services.You can watch the demonstration here.

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Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 3:30pm
Michael Nunez, reporting for Gizmodo: Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network's influential "trending" news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site's users. In other words, Facebook's news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing -- but it is in stark contrast to the company's claims that the trending module simply lists "topics that have recently become popular on Facebook." The revelation comes amid a report on the same publication which claimed that a small group of journalists controlled and decided what should trend on Facebook. Also recently, a leaked screenshot revealed Facebook employees asking whether they should do something to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the president.

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Email Mishap Leaks Google Staff Data

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 3:00pm
An anonymous reader writes: Google has suffered a data breach which compromised the security of its employees, after the company's staff benefits vendor mistakenly sent an email containing sensitive data to the wrong recipient. Google has sent a formal apology to an undisclosed number of affected employees. The letter notifies of the data breach and advises staff to register for free identity protection checks and credit monitoring for the next two years. The document explains how the third-party company, which provides Google with benefits management services, sent the personal information to a benefits manager at another firm by accident. The data included staff names and social security numbers, among other sensitive details.

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Parents Could Be Sued By Their Kids For Posting Pictures of Them On Facebook

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 2:40pm
Next time you share pictures of your children on Facebook, you will want to take their permission before doing that. French authorities have warned parents in France of fines of up to $50,000 and a year in prison for publishing intimate photos of their children on social media without permission. From a Guardian report: It's a development that could give pause for thought for many parents used to sharing details of their children's lives across social media. A 2015 study by internet company Nominet found parents in the UK post nearly 200 photos of their under fives online every year, meaning a child will feature in around 1,000 online photos before their fifth birthday. [...] "In a few years, children could easily take their parents to court for publishing photos of them when they were younger," Eric Delcroix, an expert on internet law and ethics, told Le Figaro. "Children at certain stages do not wish to be photographed or still less for those photos to be made public," he added.It may seem like an absurd law to many, but think about the potential consequences of putting a kid's picture on social media. Among others, we've seen plenty of pictures becoming meme on the web.

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Microsoft: Windows 10 Will Remain Free For People With Accessibility Needs

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 2:00pm
Reader Mark Wilson writes: The free ride is coming to an end. Windows 10 was always going to be free for the first year after release, and this year is up on 29 July. There are, of course, still ways to get your hands on Windows 10 for free beyond this date. One way is to buy a new PC with Windows 10 installed, although not many people would regard this as a free upgrade. But Microsoft has also confirmed that people with accessibility needs will still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free after the deadline. Writing on its Accessibility Blog, Microsoft points out that the 29 July cut-off point does not apply to people with accessibility needs.From Microsoft's blog post: As you may have heard, the free Windows 10 upgrade offer for customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is set to end on July 29, but we want to clarify that that deadline will not apply to customers who use assistive technologies. We are continuing to deliver on our previously-shared vision for accessibility for Windows 10 and we are committed to ensuring that users of assistive technologies have the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free as we do so.

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Combat Lasers To Be Added To US Fighter Jets

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NextBigFuture: The US Air Force plans to arm its fleet of drones and fighter jets with high-tech laser weapons.... Ground testing of a laser weapon called the High Energy Laser, or HEL, was slated to take place last year at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, service officials said... The Air Force plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35. Instead of flying with six or seven missiles on an aircraft, a directed energy weapons system could fire thousands of shots using a single gallon of jet fuel.

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Swiss City of Zug Will Accept Bitcoin For Public Service Payments

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 11:30am
Slashdot reader Mickeycaskill writes: The Swiss city of Zug, famed for its financial sector and low tax rates, will accept Bitcoin as payment for public services up the value of 200 Swiss Francs.The city council hopes the use of digital currencies will help stimulate the local fintech sector and promote the region as a financial hub. If the trial is successful, the value of transactions could be increased and other towns in the canton will join in. "We want to express our openness to new technologies," said Mayor Dolfi Muller. "We will invite FinTech companies in Zug to meet with the City Council to exchange ideas. Our goal is to provide the best environment for their development."

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Neuroscience Explains Why Dieters Rarely Lose Weight

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 7:30am
HughPickens.com writes: According to a new study, the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity, suggesting that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity. Now neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt writes in the New York Times that "in the long run dieting is rarely effective, doesn't reliably improve health and does more harm than good". And according to Aamodt, the root of the problem is not willpower but neuroscience. Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters' weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding. If someone starts at 120 pounds and drops to 80, her brain rightfully declares a starvation state of emergency, using every method available to get that weight back up to normal. This coordinated brain response is a major reason that dieters find weight loss so hard to achieve and maintain. According to Aamodt dieting can actually lead to weight gain because dieting is stressful. Calorie restriction produces stress hormones, which act on fat cells to increase the amount of abdominal fat. Such fat is associated with medical problems like diabetes and heart disease, regardless of overall weight.... Aamodt recommends mindful eating -- paying attention to signals of hunger and fullness, without judgment, to relearn how to eat only as much as the brain's weight-regulation system commands.

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Debian Dropping Support For Older CPUs

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader shares DistroWatch's report that the Debian distribution will soon be dropping support for older, 32-bit processors. The Debian project supports a wide range of hardware architectures, including 32-bit x86 CPUs. Changes are happening in Debian's development branches which will make older versions of the 32-bit architecture obsolete. Ben Hutchings provides the details: "Last year it was decided to increase the minimum CPU features for the i386 architecture to 686-class in the Stretch release cycle. This means dropping support for 586-class and hybrid 586/686 processors. (Support for 486-class processors was dropped, somewhat accidentally, in Squeeze.) This was implemented in the Linux kernel packages starting with Linux 4.3, which was uploaded to Unstable in December last year. In case you missed that change, GCC for i386 has recently been changed to target 686-class processors and is generating code that will crash on other processors. Any such systems still running Testing or Unstable will need to be switched to run Stable (Jessie)." Hutching's announcement includes a list of processors which will no longer be supported after Debian "Jessie".

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NVIDIA Shows New Doom Demo On GeForce GTX 1080

Mon, 09/05/2016 - 1:30am
MojoKid shares a video showing the upcoming Doom game on NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card using the Vulkan API, quoting this report from HotHardware: At a private briefing with NVIDIA, representatives from id software came out on stage to show off the upcoming game...the first public demonstration of the game using both NVIDIA's new flagship and the next-gen API, which is a low-overhead, cross-platform graphics and compute API akin to DirectX 12 and AMD's Mantle. In the initial part of the demo, the game is running smoothly, but its frame rate is capped at 60 frames per second. A few minutes in, however, at about the :53 second mark...the rep from id says, "We're going to uncap the framerate and see what Vulkan and Pascal can do". With the framerate cap removed, the framerate jumps into triple digit territory and bounces between 120 and 170 frames per second, give or take. Note that the game was running on a projector at a resolution of 1080p with all in-game image quality options set to their maximum values. The game is very reminiscent of previous Doom titles and the action is non-stop.

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