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Australia wants law to ban de-anonymisation of anonymous data

El Reg - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 10:57pm
Attorney-General Brandis says it's important for privacy - but what about researchers who probe privacy, George?

Yet again, the Australian government has announced a proposal that could outlaw academic research.…

D-Wave's 2,000-Qubit Quantum Annealing Computer Now 1,000x Faster Than Previous Generation

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 10:50pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Tom's Hardware: D-Wave, a Canadian company developing the first commercial "quantum computer," announced its next-generation quantum annealing computer with 2,000 qubits, which is twice as many as its previous generation had. One highly exciting aspect of quantum computers of all types is that beyond the seemingly Moore's Law-like increase in number of qubits every two years, their performance increases much more than just 2x, unlike with regular microprocessors. This is because qubits can hold a value of 0, 1, or a superposition of the two, making quantum systems able to deal with much more complex information. If D-Wave's 2,000-qubit computer is now 1,000 faster than the previous 1,000-qubit generation (D-Wave 2X), that would mean that, for the things Google tested last year, it should now be 100 billion times faster than a single-core CPU. The new generation also comes with control features, which allows users to modify how D-Wave's quantum system works to better optimize their solutions. These control features include the following capabilities: The ability to tune the rate of annealing of individual qubits to enhance application performance; The ability to sample the state of the quantum computer during the quantum annealing process to power hybrid quantum-classical machine learning algorithms that were not previously possible; The ability to combine quantum processing with classical processing to improve the quality of both optimization and sampling results returned from the system. D-Wave's CEO, Vern Brownell, also said that D-Wave's quantum computers could also be used for machine learning task in ways that wouldn't be possible on classical computers. The company is also training the first generation of programmers to develop applications for D-Wave quantum systems. Last year, Google said that D-Wave's 1,000 qubit computer proved to be 100 million times faster than a classical computer with a single core: "We found that for problem instances involving nearly 1,000 binary variables, quantum annealing significantly outperforms its classical counterpart, simulated annealing. It is more than 10^8 times faster than simulated annealing running on a single core," said Hartmut Neven, Google's Director of Engineering.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Verizon Technician Is Accused of Selling Customers' Call Records and Location Data To Private Investigator

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 10:10pm
A former Verizon technician who worked in Alabama is being accused of selling customers' private call records and location data to an unnamed private investigator. Authorities said the data was sold for more than four years, from 2009 to 2014. The Associated Press reports: [Daniel Eugene Traeger] logged into one Verizon computer system to gain access to customers' call records, authorities said. He used another company system known as Real Time Tool to "ping" cellphones on Verizon's network to get locations of the devices, according to the plea agreement. He then compiled the data in spreadsheets, which he sent to the private investigator for years, the court records show. "Between April 2009 and January 2014, the defendant was paid more than $10,000 in exchange for his provision of confidential customer information and cellular location data to the PL, an unauthorized third party," court records state. Though Traeger was based in the Birmingham area, the court records do not indicate whether the information that was sold involved Verizon Wireless customers in Alabama or elsewhere. He faces up to five years in prison, but prosecutors are recommending a lesser sentence since he accepted responsibility, according to terms of the plea agreement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

HP To Issue 'Optional Firmware Update' Allowing 3rd-Party Ink

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 9:30pm
Soon after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) issued a letter to HP, calling for them to apologize to customers for releasing firmware that prevents the use of non-HP ink cartridges and refilled HP cartridges, the company has responded with a temporary solution. HP "will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature" for certain OfficeJet printers. Ars Technica reports: HP made its announcement in a blog post titled "Dedicated to the best printing experience." "We updated a cartridge authentication procedure in select models of HP office inkjet printers to ensure the best consumer experience and protect them from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges that do not contain an original HP security chip and that infringe on our IP," the company said. The recent firmware update for HP OfficeJet Pro, and OfficeJet Pro X printers "included a dynamic security feature that prevented some untested third-party cartridges that use cloned security chips from working, even if they had previously functioned," HP said. For customers who don't wish to be protected from the ability to buy less expensive ink cartridges, HP said it "will issue an optional firmware update that will remove the dynamic security feature. We expect the update to be ready within two weeks and will provide details here." This customer-friendly move may just be a one-time thing. HP said it will continue to use security features that "protect our IP including authentication methods that may prevent some third-party supplies from working." Without the optional firmware update, printers will only be able to use third-party ink cartridges that have an "original HP security chip," the company said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cloudflare: We Can't Shut Down Pirate Sites

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 8:45pm
CloudFlare has said it cannot shut down piracy websites. The CloudFlare's response comes two months after adult entertainment outfit ALS Scan filed a complaint at a California federal court two months ago in which the company accused the CDN service of various counts of copyright and trademark infringement. From a TorrentFreak report:"CloudFlare is not the operator of the allegedly infringing sites but is merely one of the many intermediaries across the internet that provide automated CDN services, which result in the websites in question loading a bit faster than they would if they did not utilize CDN services." If Cloudflare terminated the accounts of allegedly infringing websites, the sites themselves would still continue to exist. It would just require a simple DNS reconfiguration to continue their operation. "Indeed, there are no measures of any kind that CloudFlare could take to prevent this alleged infringement, because the termination of CloudFlare's CDN services would have no impact on the existence and ability of these allegedly infringing websites to continue to operate," Cloudflare writes. As such, the company argues that it's not "materially contributing" to any of the alleged copyright infringements.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

El Reg - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 8:44pm
Firmware fix coming soon to clean up Inc's ink stink

HP Inc is trying to spin its way out of the mess it created when it decided it would be a fantastic idea to brick unofficial and refilled printer cartridges.…

How to create a security startup and bag VC millions – step one: Containers, AI or cloud

El Reg - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 8:20pm
Step two: Keep doing that

While venture capitalists have been tightening their belts over the past year, there’s still a lot of love and funding for security startups – especially if you’re working in the right areas.…

Raspberry Pi Announces PIXEL Desktop Environment

Phoronix - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 8:09pm
Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation formally announced the Raspberry Pi PIXEL, their own desktop that will be used in future Raspbian spins...

The United Nations Will Launch Its First Space Mission In 2021

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 8:06pm
The United Nations will send its first ever mission to space in 2021. It said it intends to send Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser spacecraft into a two-week, low-Earth orbit flight in 2021. Sierra Nevada had signed the UN as a partner in June. Motherboard adds:As detailed for a small crowd at the International Astronautical Congress yesterday, the goal of the 2021 UN mission is to make space accessible to developing member states that lack the resources to develop a standalone, national space program. "One of UNOOSA's core responsibilities is to promote cooperation and the peaceful uses of outer space, but our work is about more than that," said Simonetta Di Pippo, the director of UNOOSA. "We have the vision of bringing the benefits of space to humankind, and that means helping developing countries access space technologies and their benefits."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google cranks out new developer center in San Francisco – inexplicably, we were at the opening

El Reg - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 7:37pm
Sustainable biz, welcome – the rest of you, not so much

Google has opened a 14,000 square foot developer space in the heart of San Francisco to encourage the next generation of startups to use its products.…

Ubuntu 16.10 Isn't Shipping Vulkan Support By Default

Phoronix - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 7:28pm
With Ubuntu 16.10 being right around the corner you may be wondering about its support for Vulkan. Here's my experience when trying out today's Ubuntu 16.10 "beta 2" release and looking for Vulkan support...

US Warns Samsung Washing Machine Owners After Explosion Reports

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 7:25pm
Samsung may have a new problem on its hands, and it feels too familiar. The U.S. regulators on Wednesday warned users of certain top-loading Samsung washing machines of safety issues following reports that "some have exploded." CNN reports: The warning, from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, covered machines made between March 2011 and April 2016. It did not specify a model. The commission suggested people use only the delicate cycle to wash bedding and water-resistant and bulky items because the lower spin speed "lessens the risk of impact injuries or property damage due to the washing machine becoming dislodged." The agency said it is working with Samsung on a remedy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

City of Detroit's IT boss took payola from tech suppliers, now faces jail

El Reg - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 6:54pm
Motor City bad man on $142,000-a-year salary swung contracts amid cutbacks

The head of IT for the city of Detroit, Michigan, has admitted taking bribes from a pair of tech contractors.…

No Man's Sky Under Investigation For False Advertising

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 6:48pm
No Man's Sky is one of the most talked about games this year. The game sees the protagonist explore the space and experience uncertain places. But its controversial promotional material may also have played an instrumental role in making the title a sleeper-hit success. Polygon reports: No Man's Sky's promotional material has come under fire since launch, and it's now the subject of an ongoing investigation. The U.K.-based Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed to Polygon that it's received "several complaints about No Man's Sky's advertising," which angry customers have criticized as misleading. "I can confirm we have received several complaints about No Man's Sky advertising and we have launched an investigation," the ASA told Polygon. A representative for the ASA declined to comment on the particulars of the investigation, but a thread on the No Man Sky's subreddit details some of the most prominent issues Steam users have with the game's store page, which they passed on to the organization. Screens and video on Steam suggest a different type of combat, unique buildings, "ship flying behaviour" and creature sizes than what's found in the actual game itself. The store page overall has also been criticized for showing No Man's Sky with higher quality graphics than can be attained in-game.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NVIDIA Shows Off Their Latest Linux-Powered AI Car Demonstration

Phoronix - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 6:29pm
For those curious how NVIDIA's DRIVE PX 2 system is working and how their self-driving car efforts are progressing, they've published a new video today showing their self-driving car that's taught by deep learning with analyzing human driving patterns...

Yahoo Repeatedly Didn't Invest In Security, Rejected Bare Minimum Measure To Reset All User Passwords: NYTimes

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 6:05pm
If it wasn't already enough that the mega breach at Yahoo affects over 500 million users, a new investigative report on The New York Times states the extent to which Yahoo didn't care about its users' security (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternate source). The report says Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer refused to fund security initiatives at the company, and instead invested money in features and new products. Despite Edward Snowden warning Yahoo that it was too easy of a target for hackers, the company took one year to hire a new chief information officer. The company hired Alex Stamos, who is widely respected in the industry. But Stamos soon left partly due to clashes with Mayer, The Times adds. And it gets worse. From the report:But when it came time to commit meaningful dollars to improve Yahoo's security infrastructure, Ms. Mayer repeatedly clashed with Mr. Stamos, according to the current and former employees. She denied Yahoo's security team financial resources and put off proactive security defenses, including intrusion-detection mechanisms for Yahoo's production systems. [...] But during his tenure, Ms. Mayer also rejected the most basic security measure of all: an automatic reset of all user passwords, a step security experts consider standard after a breach. Employees say the move was rejected by Ms. Mayer's team for fear that even something as simple as a password change would drive Yahoo's shrinking email users to other services.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Safe' Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Explodes in China

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 5:25pm
Rahil Bhagat, writing for CNET: The tendency of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to catch fire has led to the company's global recall of around 2.5 million of the phones, to be replaced with new, safe units. Samsung could have another problem on its hands, though, as a Chinese man says a brand new Note 7 exploded on him, Bloomberg reported. Samsung had previously said Chinese models of the phone were safe as they use a different battery than Note 7 devices sold in the rest of the world. Hu Renjie, 25, claimed his brand new Note 7, bought over the weekend from JD.com, exploded while charging, burning two of his fingers and damaging a MacBook Pro. Hu said that a representative from Samsung paid him a visit concerning this incident and asked for the smouldering corpse of his phone to perform an autopsy, but he refused.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Colour us shocked: Dell EMC rules converged systems like a boss

El Reg - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 4:48pm
VCE and VSAN very very virtuous for newly joined duo

Dell EMC rules the converged systems roost in IDC’s latest storage tracker converged systems revenues in the second 2016 quarter.…

Elon Musk: First Humans Who Journey To Mars Must 'Be Prepared To Die'

Slashdot - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 4:45pm
At a conference yesterday, Elon Musk outlined his company SpaceX's plan to send humans to Mars. The vehicle is called the Interplanetary Transport System and it is capable of carrying 100 tons of cargo (people and supplies). Musk added that this rocket ship could take people to Mars in just 80 days. But he also reminded that the first batch of people who are brave enough to go to Mars should be well aware that they are almost certainly going to die. The Verge adds:During the Q&A session that followed, the question inevitably came up: what sort of person does Musk think will volunteer to get strapped to that big rocket and fired toward the Red Planet? "Who should these people be, carrying the light of humanity to Mars for all of us?" an audience member asked. "I think the first journeys to Mars will be really very dangerous," answered Musk. "The risk of fatality will be high. There's just no way around it." The journey itself would take around 80 days, according to the plan and ideas that Musk put forward. "Are you prepared to die? If that's okay, then you're a candidate for going," he added. But Musk didn't want to get stuck talking about the risks and immense danger. "This is less about who goes there first... the thing that really matters is making a self-sustaining civilization on Mars as fast as possible. This is different than Apollo. This is really about minimizing existential risk and having a tremendous sense of adventure," he said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

macOS 10.12 Sierra vs. Ubuntu 16.04 Linux Benchmarking

Phoronix - Wed, 28/09/2016 - 4:08pm
Apple released macOS 10.12 "Sierra" last week as the successor to OS X El Capitan. Given this annual update to macOS / OS X, here are benchmarks of macOS Sierra compared to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on a MacBook Air and Mac Mini computers.