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Democrats

White House Releases Report On How To Spur Smart-Gun Technology (computerworld.com) 29

Lucas123 writes: A report commissioned by the White House involving the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security Departments has begun a process to define, for the first time, the requirements that manufacturers would need to meet for federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agencies to consider purchasing firearms with "smart" safety technology. They've committed to completing that process by October, and will also identify agencies interested in taking part in a pilot program to develop the smart gun technology. The DoD will help manufacturers test smart guns under "real-world conditions" at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. Manufacturers would be eligible to win cash prizes through that program as well. In addition to spurring the adoption of smart gun technology, the report stated that the Social Security Administration has published a proposed rule that would require individuals prohibited from buying a gun due to mental health issues to be included in a background check system.
Businesses

US Steel Says China Is Using Cyber Stealth To Steal Its Secrets (npr.org) 26

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. Steel Corp. filed a trade complaint with the International Trade Commission: "The Chinese industry has formed a cartel that sets purchase and sale prices, and controls production and export volumes to target export markets. The Chinese industry has used its government to steal U.S. Steel's closely guarded trade secrets and uses those trade secrets to produce advanced steel products it could not make on its own." The steelmaker based in Pittsburgh argues its Chinese rivals must be investigated and that they will "use every tool available to fight for fair trade." The ITC has 30 days to review the complaint and determine whether or not it's worth investigating. In the meantime, China's Commerce Ministry said the complaints "have no factual basis," urging the ITC to reject U.S. Steel's case. The investigation will likely take a while if the ITC decides to proceed with an investigation, as they'll be dealing with three separate issues: price fixing, false labeling to avoid duties, and theft of trade secrets.
Debian

Devuan Releases Beta of Systemd-Free 'Debian Fork' Base System (devuan.org) 53

jaromil writes: Devuan beta is released today, following up the Debian fork declaration and progress made during the past two years. Devuan now provides an alternative upgrade path to Debian, and switching is easy from both Wheezy and Jessie. From The Register: "Devuan came into being after a rebellion by a self-described 'Veteran Unix Admin collective' argued that Debian had betrayed its roots and was becoming too desktop-oriented. The item to which they objected most vigorously was the inclusion of the systemd bootloader. The rebels therefore decided to fork Debian and 'preserve Init freedom.' The group renamed itself and its distribution 'Devuan' and got work, promising a fork that looked, felt, and quacked like Debian in all regards other than imposing systemd as the default Init option."
Businesses

Billionaire Investor Carl Icahn Sells Entire Stake In Apple (theguardian.com) 54

An anonymous reader writes: Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said he has sold his entire stake in Apple, citing the risk of China's influence on the stock. The report comes after Apple announced its first earnings decline in more than a decade, where Apple's revenue is dropping 26% year-over-year. Icahn is concerned with the barriers to trade that China's authoritarian regime might put in place. Icahn said he wasn't concerned with interference so much with the country's "relationship" with Apple. "The thing that I'm worried about here in China doesn't affect the whole market. I'm not talking about China's economic status right now. I'm talking about, could the thing with Apple escalate a little bit? And if that does, what does that mean to Apple's profits during the interim?" Icahn acquired a stake in the company almost three years ago, calling the investment a "no brainer." What caused him to sell his 45.8 million Apple shares (priced at $240 a share) was China's economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business.
Google

Google Files Patent For Injecting A Device Directly Into Your Eyeball (gizmodo.com) 27

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret Google and their parent company Alphabet are interested in developing smart contact lenses for monitoring diabetes. Well, Google-parent Alphabet has filed a patent which takes their development to another level. The patent specifically covers a method for "injecting a fluid into a lens capsule of an eye, wherein a natural lens of the eye has been removed from the lens capsule." It's powered by "radio frequency energy" received by a small antenna inside. The gadget even has its own data storage. Forbes reports, it is designed to help the focusing of light onto the retina, resulting in the correction of poor vision. Samsung is one of the most recent companies to receive a patent for smart contact lenses. Their lenses are for experimenting with new methods of delivering augmented reality interfaces and data.
Businesses

Cable Industry Threatens To Sue If FCC Tries To Bring Competition To Cable Set Top Boxes (techdirt.com) 55

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Techdirt: Back in February the FCC voted on a new plan to open up the traditional cable box to competition. According to a fact sheet being circulated by the agency (pdf), under the FCC's plan you'd still pay your cable company for the exact same content, cable operators would simply have to design systems -- using standards and copy protection of their choice -- that delivered this content to third-party hardware. The FCC's goal is cheaper, better hardware and a shift away from the insular gatekeeper model the cable box has long protected. Given this would obliterate a $21 billion captive market in set top box rental fees -- and likely direct consumers to more third-party streaming services -- the cable industry has been engaged in an utterly adorable new hissy fit. And now, the industry is also threatening a lawsuit. Former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell is arguing that the FCC has once again overstepped its regulatory authority: "An agency of limited jurisdiction has to act properly within that jurisdiction," Powell said, making it abundantly clear the NCTA does not believe the FCC has not done so in this case. He said that the statute empowers the FCC to create competition in navigation devices, not new services. "Every problem does not empower an FCC-directed solution. The agency is not an agency with unbridled plenary power to roam around markets and decide to go fix inconveniences everywhere they find them irrespective of the bounds of their authority."
Businesses

Rovi Acquires DVR Company TiVo For $1.1 Billion (usatoday.com) 33

Major Blud writes: TiVo, maker of one of the first consumer DVR's, has been purchased by IP powerhouse Rovi (formerly known as Macrovision) for $1.1 Billion. The combined company will go by the TiVo name. According to USA Today, "Shares of Rovi (ROVI) were up 3.7% to $17.99 in premarket trading. TiVo (TIVO) shares closed Thursday up 2% to $9.42." The combined company will reportedly hold more than 6,000 patents related to TV and video technology. Both Robi and TiVo represent a $3 billion entertainment technology company, with saving synergies of $100 million expected over the first year, the companies said.
Data Storage

Slashdot Asks: What's Your View On Benchmark Apps? 43

There's no doubt that benchmark apps help you evaluate different aspects of a product, but do they paint a complete picture? Should we utterly rely on benchmark apps to assess the performance and quality of a product or service? Vlad Savov of The Verge makes an interesting point. He notes that DxOMark (a hugely popular benchmark app for testing a camera) rating of HTC 10's camera sensor is equal to that of Samsung's Galaxy S7, however, in real life shooting, the Galaxy S7's shooter offers a far superior result. "I've used both extensively and I can tell you that's simply not the case -- the S7 is outstanding whereas the 10 is merely good." He offers another example: If a laptop or a phone does well in a web-browsing battery benchmark, that only gives an indication that it would probably fare decently when handling bigger workloads too. But not always. My good friend Anand Shimpi, formerly of AnandTech, once articulated this very well by pointing out how the MacBook Pro had better battery life than the MacBook Air -- which was hailed as the endurance champ -- when the use changed to consistently heavy workloads. The Pro was more efficient in that scenario, but most battery tests aren't sophisticated or dynamic enough to account for that nuance. It takes a person running multiple tests, analyzing the data, and adding context and understanding to achieve the highest degree of certainty. The problem is -- more often than not -- gadget reviewers treat these values as the most important signal when judging a product, which in turn, also influences several readers' opinion. What's your take on this?
Security

GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year (vice.com) 28

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK's signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS. "So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products," a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ. Those issues include a kernel vulnerability in OS X El Captain v10.11.4, the latest version, that would allow arbitrary code execution, and two in iOS 9.3, one of which would have done largely the same thing, and the other could have let an application launch a denial of service attack.
Software

Microsoft Flow -- An IFTTT Alternative -- Aims To Connect Your Online Apps (fortune.com) 48

An anonymous user writes: Microsoft has unveiled a new product called Microsoft Flow, which is designed to better connect diverse services so that you could, if you were so inclined, put all your tweets into a spreadsheet or get an SMS alert when you receive an email. That example may be a solution in search of a problem, but there are other more useful possibilities. Flow could be set up so that any email from your boss triggers an SMS notification to your phone, for example. Or you could make sure any updated work documents get deposited in your team's SharePoint. To be sure, Microsoft is not first to this app-integration party. Many people already use If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier, which claims more than 500 app integrations, to knit their services together.Some IFTTT users must be breathing a sigh of relief.
AI

Google AI Has Access To 1.6M People's NHS Records (newscientist.com) 48

Hal Hodson, reporting for New Scientist:It's no secret that Google has broad ambitions in healthcare. But a document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant's collaboration with the UK's National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced. The document -- a data-sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust -- gives the clearest picture yet of what the company is doing and what sensitive data it now has access to. The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust -- Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free -- each year. This will include information about people who are HIV-positive, for instance, as well as details of drug overdoses and abortions. The agreement also includes access to patient data from the last five years. According to their original agreement, Google cannot use the data in any other part of its business.
Communications

The Critical Hole At the Heart Of Our Cell Phone Networks (wired.com) 29

An anonymous reader writes: Kim Zetter from WIRED writes an intriguing report about a vulnerability at the heart of our cell phone networks. It centers around Signaling System No. 7 (SS7), which refers to a data network -- and the protocols or rules that govern how information gets exchanged over it. Zetter writes, "It was designed in the 1970s to track and connect landline calls across different carrier networks, but is now commonly used to calculate cellular billing and send text messages, in addition to routing mobile and landline calls between carriers and regional switching centers. SS7 is part of the telecommunications backbone but is not the network your voice calls go through; it's a separate administrative network with a different function." According to WIRED, the problem is that SS7 is based on trust -- any request a telecom receives is considered legitimate. In addition to telecoms, government agencies, commercial companies and criminal groups can gain access to the network. Most attacks can be defended with readily available technologies, but more involved attacks take longer to defend against. T-Mobile and ATT have vulnerabilities with fixes that have yet to be implemented for example.
China

Obesity 'Explosion' In Young Rural Chinese A Result Of Socioeconomic Changes, Study Warns (bbc.com) 155

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Obesity has rapidly increased in young rural Chinese, a study has warned, because of socioeconomic changes. Researchers found 17% of boys and 9% of girls under the age of 19 were obese in 2014, up from 1% for each in 1985. The 29-year study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, involved nearly 28,000 students in Shandong province. The study said China's rapid socioeconomic and nutritional transition has led to an increase in energy intake and a decrease in physical activity. The data was taken from six government surveys of rural school children in Shandong aged between seven and 18. The percentage of overweight children has also grown from 0.7% to 16.4% for boys and from 1.5% to nearly 14% for girls, the study said. "It is the worst explosion of childhood and adolescent obesity that I have ever seen," Joep Perk from the European Society of Cardiology told AFP news agency.
Advertising

In Internet Age, Pirate Radio Arises As Surprising Challenge (ap.org) 140

K7DAN writes: Just as the demise of terrestrial radio has been greatly exaggerated, so has the assumed parallel death of pirate radio. Due to the failure of licensed stations to meet the needs of many niche communities, pirate radio continues to increase in popularity. Helping facilitate this growth is the weakening power of the FCC to stop it, reports the Associated Press. Rogue stations can cover up to several square miles thanks largely in part to cheaper technology. The appeal? "The DJs sound like you and they talk about things that you're interested in," said Jay Blessed, an online DJ who has listened to various unlicensed stations since she moved from Trinidad to Brooklyn more than a decade ago. "You call them up and say, 'I want to hear this song,' and they play it for you," Blessed said. "It's interactive. It's engaging. It's communal." It's upsetting many congressional members who are urging the FCC to do more about the "unprecedented growth of pirate radio operations." They're accusing said pirates of undermining licensed minority stations while ignoring consumer protection laws that guard against indecency and false advertising.
The Internet

Dissension Grows Inside Anonymous Because Of Political Propaganda (softpedia.com) 123

An anonymous reader writes from a report on Softpedia: Political tensions relating to the U.S. presidential race are creating turmoil inside the Anonymous hacker collective, muddling waters even more in a group that's known for its lack of leadership and a common goal. The most recent Anonymous infighting relates to the actions of the group's most famous news portal known as AnonHQ, who's been showing downright public support for Bernie Sanders, while being extremely busy at bashing Trump, Cruz, and more recently issuing video threats against Clinton. Ever since Anonymous' official news source has started showing public support for Sanders, many of the group's divisions have publicly disavowed it and have even gone so far as launching constant waves of DDoS attacks at what once used to be the hacker's official news portal. Last month, when a former Anonymous member decided to dox himself, he said in interviews that the group had been infiltrated by government agents.
Communications

Google's OnHub Is First WiFi Router To Support IFTTT (theverge.com) 49

An anonymous reader writes: The first router to feature IFTTT support is Google OnHub. IFTTT is an abbreviation of "If This Then That," a free web-based service that can allow users to create "recipes," which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, etc. OnHub's smart features can now connect to the 300-plus programs and apps supported by IFTTT. Google provides some examples in its blog post. For example, you can automatically prioritize Wi-Fi to your Chromecast when it connects to your OnHub network after you plug it in to start binge watching your favorite TV show, or to your Nest Cam when it senses motion or sound after you've exhausted yourself from said binge watching and passed-out on your couch. There's a friendly little video Google put together to explain the feature in detail.
Earth

Who's Downloading Pirated Scientifc Papers? Everyone (sciencemag.org) 141

sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: In increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, the controversial website that hosts 50 million pirated papers and counting. Now, with server log data from Alexandra Elbakyan, the neuroscientist who created Sci-Hub in 2011 as a 22-year-old graduate student in Kazakhstan, Science addresses some basic questions: Who are Sci-Hub's users, where are they, and what are they reading? The Sci-Hub data provide the first detailed view of what is becoming the world's de facto open-access research library. Among the revelations that may surprise both fans and foes alike: Sci-Hub users are not limited to the developing world. Some critics of Sci-Hub have complained that many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead -- for convenience rather than necessity. The data provide some support for that claim. Over the 6 months leading up to March, Sci-Hub served up 28 million documents, with Iran, China, India, Russia, and the United States the leading requestors.
Microsoft

Microsoft Limits Cortana Search Box In Windows 10 To Bing and Edge Only (venturebeat.com) 324

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana, said in a Windows blog post announcing the change, "Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can't depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing -- all designed to do more for you."
Encryption

Top Security Experts Say Anti-Encryption Bill Authors Are 'Woefully Ignorant' (dailydot.com) 88

blottsie writes from a report on the Daily Dot: In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled "Encryption Without Tears," Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein pushed back on widespread condemnation of their Compliance with Court Orders Act, which would require tech companies to provide authorities with user data in an "intelligible" format if served with a warrant. But security experts Bruce Schneir, Matthew Green, and others say the lawmakers entirely misunderstand the issue. "On a weekly basis we see gigabytes of that information dumped to the Internet," Green told the Daily Dot. "This is the whole problem that encryption is intended to solve." He added: "You can't hold out the current flaws in the Internet as a justification for why the Internet shouldn't be made secure." "These criticisms of Burr and Feinstein's analogy emphasize an important point about digital security: The differences between the levels of encryption protecting certain types of data -- purchase records on Amazon's servers versus photos on an iPhone, for example -- lead to different levels of risk," writes Eric Geller of the Daily Dot.
The Military

North Korea Launches Two Midrange Missiles, Both Tests Fail (cnn.com) 69

An anonymous reader writes: According to South Korean Defense Ministry officials, North Korea fired two midrange Musudan missiles Thursday, and both missiles appear to have failed. The military cannot confirm exactly when the missile exploded but said it "crashed shortly after it was launched," a Defense Ministry official said. U.S. military officials said the missiles traveled an estimated 200 meters from the launchpad. This past weekend, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine off the east cost of the Korean peninsula. It only traveled about 30 km, well short of the 300 km range that would be considered a successful test. A little more than a week prior to that launch, North Korea failed to launch an intermediate-range missile on the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the country's 'eternal president,' Kim II Sung.

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