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Send mixed messages: Mozilla wants you to try its encrypted file sharing

El Reg - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 12:21pm
Though easy to use, the service's privacy protection isn't fully baked

Mozilla has just rolled out an experimental service called Send that allows users to make an encrypted copy of a local file, store it on a remote server, and share it with a single recipient.…

Enlightenment EFL 1.20 Released

Phoronix - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 11:54am
EFL 1.20 is now available as the newest version of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries...

Haiku OS Continues Work On 64-bit Support, Software Updater

Phoronix - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 11:47am
Fans of the BeOS-inspired Haiku operating system will see a lot of work going into the open-source OS over the summer...

Forget Iran and North Korea. Now there's another uranium source

El Reg - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 10:03am
Yeah, try slapping some sanctions on black holes

Astronomers have proposed that heavy elements in the universe may have been forged when small, primordial black holes swallowed neutron stars.…

Linux Kernel Hardeners Grsecurity Sue Open Source's Bruce Perens

Slashdot - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 10:00am
An anonymous reader shares a report from The Register: In late June, noted open-source programmer Bruce Perens [a longtime Slashdot reader] warned that using Grsecurity's Linux kernel security could invite legal trouble. "As a customer, it's my opinion that you would be subject to both contributory infringement and breach of contract by employing this product in conjunction with the Linux kernel under the no-redistribution policy currently employed by Grsecurity," Perens wrote on his blog. The following month, Perens was invited to court. Grsecurity sued the open-source doyen, his web host, and as-yet-unidentified defendants who may have helped him draft that post, for defamation and business interference. Grsecurity offers Linux kernel security patches on a paid-for subscription basis. The software hardens kernel defenses through checks for common errors like memory overflows. Perens, meanwhile, is known for using the Debian Free Software Guidelines to draft the Open Source Definition, with the help of others. Grsecurity used to allow others to redistribute its patches, but the biz ended that practice for stable releases two years ago and for test patches in April this year. It offers its GPLv2 licensed software through a subscription agreement. The agreement says that customers who redistribute the code -- a right under the GPLv2 license -- will no longer be customers and will lose the right to distribute subsequent versions of the software. According to Perens, "GPL version 2 section 6 explicitly prohibits the addition of terms such as this redistribution prohibition." A legal complaint (PDF) filed on behalf of Grsecurity in San Francisco, California, insists the company's software complies with the GPLv2. Grsecurity's agreement, the lawsuit states, only applies to future patches, which have yet to be developed. Perens isn't arguing that the GPLv2 applies to unreleased software. Rather, he asserts the GPLv2, under section 6, specifically forbids the addition of contractual terms.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Our day with Larry Page: Embedded with one of the world's richest men

El Reg - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 7:34am
Larry: I don't know about that

Earlier this week, El Reg received an unexpected phone call from Google HQ inquiring as to whether we'd be interested in a "color piece" about Google cofounder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page.…

MegaBots Is Finally Going To Take On Japan In the World's First Giant Robot Duel

Slashdot - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 7:00am
A company called MegaBots released a video two years ago challenging a Japanese collective to a giant robot fight. About a week later, the Japanese group, Suidobashi Heavy Industry, agreed. Now, according to MegaBots co-founderes, Matt Oehrlein and Gui Cavalcanti, the battle is set to take place in September. Quartz reports: The battle would have happened a bit sooner, but apparently there have been "logistical issues at the originally-chosen venue," according to a release shared with Quartz by MegaBots. Unfortunately for fans hoping to see the battle in action -- presumably including those who backed the Kickstarter project to the tune of $550,000 to bring this robot to life -- the event will be closed to the public and recorded, for fears over the teams' ability to keep spectators safe. (One of the earliest conversations MegaBots had with Suidobashi was trying to figure out how the human pilots inside the robots would themselves "figure out how to not die.") Fans will be able to watch the fight on MegaBots' Facebook and YouTube sites, but it's not clear whether the fight will be live.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lovers Share Colonies of Skin Microbes, Study Finds

Slashdot - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 3:30am
Aneri Pattani reports via The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternate source): Couples who live together share a lot of things: beds, bathrooms, food, toiletries. But one thing they might not expect to share? Skin bacteria. In a study published Thursday in mSystems, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, researchers studied the skin microbiomes of 10 sexually active, heterosexual couples living together. A microbiome is a mini-ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms living on and in the body. Each square centimeter of skin hosts between one million and one billion microorganisms, according to the study. After analyzing 330 skin swabs collected from 17 parts of the body on each participant, the researchers found that each person significantly influenced the microbial communities on a lover's skin. In fact, computer algorithms relying on microbial data were able to accurately match couples with up to 86 percent accuracy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Parents claim Disney gobbled up kids' info through mobile games

El Reg - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 1:07am
Who's the guy that just got sued for invading privacy? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

Disney has been sued in America for allegedly collecting children's personal information without getting parents' approvals.…

BLU Claims Innocence, Gets Phones Reinstated On Amazon

Slashdot - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 1:00am
Earlier this week, Amazon suspended budget phone maker BLU from selling its phones on the site, citing a "potential security issue." A few days have passed and BLU has made its defense. SlashGear reports: AdUps, the Chinese company that provides affordable firmware update software to countless budget Android phones, is not spyware and not even Kryptowire, the security firm that broke the news last year, called it that, insists BLU. To be fair, Kryptowire really didn't. In its 2016 report, it simply described AdUps' OTA software as "FIRMWARE THAT TRANSMITTED PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION (PII) WITHOUT USER CONSENT OR DISCLOSURE." Curiously, that is more or less how the FTC defines spyware (PDF). In its 2017 follow-up, it did drop the second part of that phrase and simply reported on "mobile devices for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collection and transmission to third parties." While BLU, and a few other OEMs, was caught unaware by the first report, it's insisting on its innocence in this second instance. Its defense stems from the argument that it is doing nothing that violates its Privacy Policy and, therefore, doesn't constitute any wrongdoing. Yes, that privacy policy that barely anyone reads, which can't legally be blamed on manufacturers anyway. In other words, when you agreed to use BLU's devices, you basically agreed that such PII could possibly be transmitted to a third party outside the US. In this particular case, that does apply to the situation with AdUps. Interestingly, the policy's copyright dates back to 2016, when the AdUps issue first came up. The Internet Archives doesn't seem to have any version of that page before April this year. And so we come to BLU's second arguments: everybody's doing it. The data that AdUps collects is the same or even just a fraction of what other OEMs are collecting. Google is hardly the bastion of privacy and other OEMs are also collecting such data and sending it to servers in China, as is the case with Huawei and ZTE. Finally, BLU says that Kryptowire's new report really only identifies the Cubot X16S, from a Chinese OEM, as the only smartphone really spying on its users. UPDATE: BLU has confirmed that its devices "are now back up for sale on Amazon."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Plans To Release a Cellular-Capable Watch To Break iPhone Ties

Slashdot - Sat, 05/08/2017 - 12:20am
According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to release a version of the Apple Watch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device's reliance on the iPhone. From the report: Currently, Apple requires its smartwatch to be connected wirelessly to an iPhone to stream music, download directions in maps, and send messages while on the go. Equipped with LTE chips, at least some new Apple Watch models, planned for release by the end of the year, will be able to conduct many tasks without an iPhone in range, the people said. For example, a user would be able to download new songs and use apps and leave their smartphone at home. Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation. Apple is already in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe about offering the cellular version, the people added. The carriers supporting the LTE Apple Watch, at least at launch, may be a limited subset of those that carry the iPhone, one of the people said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Vermont Medical School Says Goodbye To Lectures

Slashdot - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 11:40pm
The University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine has begun phasing out lectures in favor of what's known as "active learning" and plans to be done with lectures altogether by 2019. NPR spoke with William Jeffries, a dean at the school who's leading the effort, about the thinking behind this move. From the report: Why are lectures bad? Well, I wouldn't say that they're bad. The issue is that there is a lot of evidence that lectures are not the best way to accumulate the skills needed to become a scientist or a physician. We've seen much evidence in the literature, accumulated in the last decade, that shows that when you do a comparison between lectures and other methods of learning -- typically called "active learning" methods -- that lectures are not as efficient or not as successful in allowing students to accumulate knowledge in the same amount of time. Give us an example of a topic taught in a traditional lecture versus an "active learning" setting. A good example would be the teaching of what we would call pharmacokinetics -- the science of drug delivery. So, how does a drug get to the target organ or targeted receptor? A lot of the science of pharmacokinetics is simply mathematical equations. If you have a lecture, it's simply presenting those equations and maybe giving examples of how they work. In an active learning setting, you expect the students to learn about the equations before they get there. And when you get into the classroom setting, the students work in groups solving pharmacokinetic problems. Cases are presented where the patient gets a drug in a certain dose at a certain time, and you're looking at the action of that over time and the concentration of the drug in the blood. So, those are the types of things where you're expecting the student to know the knowledge in order to use the knowledge. And then they don't forget it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to malware claims

El Reg - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 11:23pm
He admitted writing software nasty code, Feds allege. Brit's lawyers say he's innocent

Marcus Hutchins, the WannaCry ransomware killer and now suspected malware developer, was told by a Las Vegas court on Friday he can be released on bail. He also denied any wrongdoing.…

WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins released on bail after Feds accused him of crafting malware

El Reg - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 11:23pm
He admitted writing software nasty code, prosecutors claim

Marcus Hutchins, the WannaCry killer and now suspected malware seller, has had his initial court hearing and won't be getting out of jail free, after a Las Vegas court set his bail at $30,000. Handing $3,000 to a bail bondsman will see him able to leave jail.…

Supreme Court Moves Toward Digital With Online Court Filings

Slashdot - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 11:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: Supreme Court case documents will soon be made available for the first time online. The court announced Thursday that it will launch an electronic filing system on Nov. 13 that will make "virtually all new filings" accessible to the public via the court's website for free. Court documents for the lower courts are typically available online through the Public Access to Court Electronics Records, which charges a fee per page. The court's announcement comes just days after the high court unveiled a newly designed website. Court watchers say it's a surprising, but welcome, jump into the 21st century for a court that's been reluctant over the years to advance its technologies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Owns $52.6 Billion In US Treasury Securities, More Than Mexico, Turkey or Norway

Slashdot - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 10:20pm
randomErr shares a report from CNBC: If Apple were a foreign country, CEO Tim Cook might have considerable political clout in the United States. That's because the tech giant owns $52.6 billion in U.S. Treasury securities, which would rank it among the top 25 major foreign holders, according to estimates from the Treasury Department and Apple's SEC filings released Wednesday. Apple's stake in U.S. government securities as of June, up from $41.7 billion as of last September, puts it ahead of Israel, Mexico and the Netherlands, according to Treasury data released last month, which tracks up to May of this year. With $20.1 billion in short-term Treasury securities and $31.35 billion in long-term marketable Treasury securities, Apple still falls far below countries like China and Japan, which hold over a trillion dollars in U.S. government debt each -- which has caused considerable hand-wringing in Washington. Still, Apple is way above other big companies like Amazon, which owns less than $5 billion in U.S. government or agency securities combined, according to regulatory filings.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook Looking To Add Zstd Support To The Linux Kernel, Btrfs

Phoronix - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 9:48pm
Zstd (also known as Zstandard) is a lossless data compression developed by Facebook that has been open-source since last year. This BSD-licensed compression algorithm aims to offer compression similar to zip/gzip but with faster speeds both for compression and decompression. Facebook developers are now looking at adding this support to the Linux kernel...

US Army Calls Halt On Use of Chinese-Made Drones By DJI

Slashdot - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 9:40pm
Due to "an increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities with DJI products," the U.S. Army is asking all units to discontinue the use of DJI drones. The news comes from an internal memo obtained by the editor of SUAS News. It notes that the Army had issued over 300 separate releases authorizing the use of DJI products for Army missions, meaning a lot of hardware may have been in active use prior to the memo, which is dated August 2nd, 2017. The Verge reports: SUAS News published a piece back in May of this year that made a number of serious accusations about data gathered by DJI drones. Author Kevin Pomaski starts out writing, "Using a simple Google search the data mined by DJI from your provided flights (imagery, position and flight logs) and your audio can be accessed without your knowing consent." However, he never follows up with evidence to demonstrate how this data becomes public or can be found through a Google search. Pomaski also point out, correctly, that when DJI users elect to upload data to their SkyPixel accounts through the DJI app, this data can be stored on servers in the U.S., Hong Kong, and China. This data can include videos, photos, and audio recorded by your phone's microphone, and telemetry data detailing the height, distance, and position of your recent flights. DJI provided the following statement to The Verge: "People, businesses and governments around the world rely on DJI's products and technology for a variety of uses including sensitive and mission critical operations. The Department of the Army memo even reports that they have 'issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets.' We are surprised and disappointed to read reports of the U.S. Army's unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision. We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues. We'll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by 'cyber vulnerabilities.' Until then, we ask everyone to refrain from undue speculation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple pulls massive HomeKit chip U-turn to keep up with Amazon Echo and Google Home

El Reg - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 9:34pm
Blink and you'd have missed surprise news

Analysis  Apple has made a huge reversal in its HomeKit smart-home technology, in an effort to keep up with Amazon and Google.…

Mid-flight jumbo font smartphone text shock sparks kid abuse arrests

El Reg - Fri, 04/08/2017 - 9:14pm
Quick-thinking preschool teacher clocks, reports fellow passenger's 'vile' messages

Two people have been charged with child molestation after their texts allegedly discussing sexually abusing kids were spotted and reported by a preschool teacher. Who was sitting behind one of them. On an airplane. And the messages were in a huge font.…

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