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India's Top Court Rules Privacy a Fundamental Right in Blow To Government

Slashdot - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 2:00pm
India's top court unanimously ruled on Thursday that individual privacy is a fundamental right, a verdict that will impact everything from the way companies handle personal data to the roll-out of the world's largest biometric ID card program. From a report: A nine-member bench of India's Supreme Court announced the ruling in a big setback for the Narendra Modi-led government, which argued that privacy was not a fundamental right protected by the constitution. The ruling comes against the backdrop of a large multi-party case against the mandatory use of national identity cards, known as Aadhaar, as an infringement of privacy. There have also been concerns over breaches of data. Critics say the ID cards link enough data to create a comprehensive profile of a person's spending habits, their friends and acquaintances, the property they own and a trove of other information. "This is a blow to the government, because the government had argued that people do not have a right to privacy," said Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer involved in the case.

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The less-hidden benefits of modern Flash

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 1:53pm
Let’s go surfing the waves of AFA automation and orchestration

Research  Done properly, All-Flash Arrays are a lot more than just extra-fast storage: Reg readers told us in a recent survey that they can also be that rare thing, a transformational technology. Even if you have already invested in AFA technology and obtained good returns simply from the performance boost, there is almost certainly more that could be wrung from it, such as the opportunity to upskill and free up resources for more important tasks than routine admin.…

IRS Now Has a Tool To Unmask Bitcoin Tax Evaders

Slashdot - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 1:00pm
SonicSpike shares a report from The Daily Beast: You can use bitcoin. But you can't hide from the taxman. At least, that's the hope of the Internal Revenue Service, which has purchased specialist software to track those using bitcoin, according to a contract obtained by The Daily Beast. The document highlights how law enforcement isn't only concerned with criminals accumulating bitcoin from selling drugs or hacking targets, but also those who use the currency to hide wealth or avoid paying taxes. The IRS has claimed that only 802 people declared bitcoin losses or profits in 2015; clearly fewer than the actual number of people trading the cryptocurrency -- especially as more investors dip into the world of cryptocurrencies, and the value of bitcoin punches past the $4,000 mark. Maybe lots of bitcoin traders didn't realize the government expects to collect tax on their digital earnings, or perhaps some thought they'd be able to get away with stockpiling bitcoin thanks to the perception that the cryptocurrency is largely anonymous. "The purpose of this acquisition is to help us trace the movement of money through the bitcoin economy," a section of the contract reads. The Daily Beast obtained the document through the Freedom of Information Act. The contractor in this case is Chainalysis, a startup offering its "Reactor" tool to visualize, track, and analyze bitcoin transactions. Chainalysis' users include law enforcement agencies, banks, and regulatory entities. The software can follow bitcoin as it moves from one wallet to another, and eventually to an exchange where the bitcoin user will likely cash out into dollars or another currency. This is the point law enforcement could issue a subpoena to the exchange and figure out who is really behind the bitcoin.

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A GNU/Linux Smartphone Running GNOME & HTML5 Web Apps? Priced At $599, Ships In 2019 If The Stars Align

Phoronix - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 1:00pm
After two successful crowdfunding campaigns for producing security-focused Linux laptops while aiming to be as open-source as possible and now shipping with Coreboot, Purism is aiming for their most ambitious project yet... the smartphone. Can Purism succeed where Ubuntu Mobile, Firefox OS, OpenMoko, and others have not lasted? They think so, but it will take crowdfunding again and the finished device likely won't surface until at least 2019.

Fewer than half GCSE computing students got a B or higher this year

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 12:54pm
Teachers need more support to tackle 'chronic shortages'

The UK government has been told to tackle teacher shortages in Blighty – and offer more support for those now teaching tougher syllabuses – as GCSE computing results showed little improvement on last year.…

Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 12:25pm
Hot pumps + fuel/air mixture = bang, warn aviation safety folk

Airbus has issued an emergency patch to stop its A350 airliners from exploding.…

Mesa DRM 2.4.83 Library Released

Phoronix - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 12:12pm
Mesa's DRM library, libdrm, that sits between the Linux kernel DRM and Mesa among other possible user-space components, is out with a new release today...

Reality strikes Dixons Carphone's profits after laughing off Brexit threat

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:53am
Punters are putting off handset refreshes as prices rise

Pricier smartphones and lower EU roaming charges will dampen Dixons Carphone's bottom line, the retailer's CEO warned today in an unscheduled trading update that sent its share price crashing by 30 per cent.…

Probing the online phish market reveals thriving, profitable underworld

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 11:22am
For $20 you could have a credit card-slurping landing page bashed out in 10 minutes

A new study has lifted the lid on the booming ecosystems of fake websites that underpin phishing scams, revealing a wide variety of prices and products from cheap knock-ups to bespoke fraud services offering concierge-level customer support.…

Vulkan Debug Report Extension For Intel's ANV Driver

Phoronix - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 10:23am
Intel's open-source developer crew is now working on VK_EXT_debug_report as the latest Vulkan extension for their "ANV" Linux driver...

Freedreno MSM Driver Updates Submitted For Linux 4.14

Phoronix - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 10:13am
Adding to the DRM changes for Linux 4.14 is a late pull request for adding the Freedreno MSM DRM driver changes for Qualcomm hardware...

Fancy talking to SAP about your indirect licensing concerns? Straw poll says no

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 10:04am
Users fear fees and audits despite firm's promise not to pursue back-payments

SAP has been told that customers are too afraid to strike up a conversation about indirect access, as a survey indicated most users had concerns that opening up to the firm could backfire.…

Google Pulls 500+ Backdoored Apps With Over 100 Million Downloads From Google Play

Slashdot - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 10:00am
Orome1 shares a report from Help Net Security: Security researchers have identified over 500 apps on Google Play containing an advertising software development kit (SDK) called Igexin, which allowed covert download of spying plugins. The apps in question represent a wide selection of photo editors, Internet radio and travel apps, educational, health and fitness apps, weather apps, and so on, and were downloaded over 100 million times across the Android ecosystem. Lookout researchers did not name the apps that were found using the malicious SDK, but notified Google of the problem. The latter then proceeded to clean up house, either by removing the offending apps altogether, or by forcing app developers to upload an updated version with the invasive features (i.e. the Igexin SDK) removed. "Users and app developers have no control over what will be executed on a device after the remote API request is made. The only limitations on what could potentially be run are imposed by the Android permissions system," the researchers pointed out. "It is becoming increasingly common for innovative malware authors to attempt to evade detection by submitting innocuous apps to trusted app stores, then at a later time, downloading malicious code from a remote server. Igexin is somewhat unique because the app developers themselves are not creating the malicious functionality -- nor are they in control or even aware of the malicious payload that may subsequently execute. Instead, the invasive activity initiates from an Igexin-controlled server."

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Cisco sheds Euro execs to 'evolve and simplify'... or, y'know, chop costs

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 9:33am
All about making itself an organisation of the 'future'

Change seems to be the one constant at Cisco as it battles to maintain relevance amid the new ways tech is sold and consumed. With this in mind, it is initialising another restructure that has cost three execs their job.…

<i>El Reg</i> gets schooled on why SSDs will NOT kill off the trusty hard drive

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 9:04am
Shirts will be lost!

Interview  Some commentators think saying SSDs will kill off disk drives is wrong. Here is an exchange El Reg had with a storage media industry insider who wished to remain anonymous…

Dell, BT alchemists turn bog-standard HW/SW to flexible, open networks

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 8:35am
Playing the disaggregation game

Analysis  Dell EMC is supplying network switches to a proof-of-concept research project at BT Labs in Adastral Park, Suffolk.…

Apple actually opens up about something – the R&amp;D behind Siri's voices

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 8:02am
But you'd have to start working for them to find out any more

At an academic speech tech conference today (Thursday), Apple researchers will present some of the classic building blocks behind the voice generation of the Siri assistant.…

Mozilla ponders making telemetry opt-out, 'cos hardly anyone opted in

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 7:31am
Browser-maker wants to compile global top 100 sites list, promises to protect privacy

Mozilla may require users to opt-out of sending telemetry from its Firefox browser because so few have opted in that it's hard for developers to get a good sample of what causes problems.…

Seriously, friends. You suck at driving. Get a computer behind the wheel to save your life

El Reg - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 7:06am
I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't drive like that

Much of the hype surrounding self-driving cars arises from the fact that people are terrible drivers. Automated systems, we're told, can help save lives.…

Elon Musk Posts First Photo of SpaceX's New Spacesuit

Slashdot - Thu, 24/08/2017 - 7:00am
Early Wednesday morning, SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted a photo of the spacesuit that will be used by astronauts flying aboard the company's Dragon spacecraft, perhaps as early as next year. Ars Technica reports: In his Instagram post, Musk added that this suit was not a mock-up but rather a fully functional unit. "Already tested to double vacuum pressure," he wrote. "Was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics and function. Easy to do either separately." (Double vacuum pressure simply means the suit was probably inflated to twice the pressure of sea level and then put into a vacuum chamber.) Musk gave no other technical information about the suit. Most strikingly, it is white, in contrast to the very blue spacesuits unveiled by Boeing in January. These are not, strictly speaking, "space suits." Rather, they are more properly flight suits designed to be worn during the ride to space and again on the ride back down to Earth. They have a limited time in which they can operate in a full vacuum and are not intended for spacewalks.

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