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2 Million-Person Terror Database Leaked Online

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 09:00
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Stack: A 2014 version of the World-Check database containing more than 2.2 million records of people with suspected terrorist, organized crime, and corruption links has been leaked online. The World-Check database is administered by Thomson-Reuters and is used by 4,500 institutions, 49 of the world's 50 largest banks and by over 300 government and intelligence agencies. The unregulated database is intended for use as "an early warning system for hidden risk" and combines records from hundreds of terror and crime suspects and watch-lists into a searchable resource. Most of the individuals in the database are unlikely to know that they are included, even though it may have a negative impact on their ability to use banking services and operate a business. A Reddit user named Chris Vickery says he obtained a copy of the database, saying he won't reveal how until "a later time." To access the database, customers must pay an annual subscription charge, that can reach up to $1 million, according to Vice, with potential subscribers then vetted before approval. Vickery says he understands that the "original location of the leak is still exposed to the public internet" and that "Thomas Reuters is working feverishly to get it secured." He told The Register that he alerted the company to the leak, but is still considering whether to publish the information contained in it.

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Scientists Say The Asteroid That Killed The Dinosaurs Almost Wiped Us Out Too

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 05:30
HughPickens.com writes: Conventional wisdom states that mammalian diversity emerged from the ashes of the Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinction event, ultimately giving rise to our own humble species. But Joshua A. Krisch writes at This Week that the asteroid that decimated the dinosaurs also wiped out roughly 93 percent of all mammalian species. "Because mammals did so well after the extinction, we have tended to assume that it didn't hit them as hard," says Nick Longrich. "However our analysis shows that the mammals were hit harder than most groups of animals, such as lizards, turtles, crocodilians, but they proved to be far more adaptable in the aftermath." Mammals survived, multiplied, and ultimately gave rise to human beings. So what was the great secret that our possum-like ancestors knew that dinosaurs did not? One answer is that early mammals were small enough to survive on insects and dying plants, while large dinosaurs and reptiles required a vast diet of leafy greens and healthy prey that simply weren't available in the lean years, post-impact. So brontosauruses starved to death while prehistoric possums filled their far smaller and less discerning bellies. "Even if large herbivorous dinosaurs had managed to survive the initial meteor strike, they would have had nothing to eat," says Russ Graham, "because most of the earth's above-ground plant material had been destroyed." Other studies have suggested that mammals survived by burrowing underground or living near the water, where they would have been somewhat shielded from the intense heatwaves, post-impact. Studies also suggest that mammals may have been better spread-out around the globe, and so had the freedom to recover independently and evolve with greater diversity. "After this extinction event, there was an explosion of diversity, and it was driven by having different evolutionary experiments going on simultaneously in different locations," Longrich says. "This may have helped drive the recovery. With so many different species evolving in different directions in different parts of the world, evolution was more likely to stumble across new evolutionary paths."

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DMCA Notices Remove 8,268 Projects On Github In 2015

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 03:25
An anonymous reader writes: Github's transparency report for 2015 shows that the site received many DMCA notices that removed more than 8,200 projects. "In 2015, we received significantly more takedown notices, and took down significantly more content, than we did in 2014," Github reports. For comparison, the company received only 258 DMCA notices in 2014, 17 of which responded with a counter-notice or retraction. In 2015, they received 505 takedown notices, 62 of which were the subject of counters or withdrawals. TorrentFreak reports: "Copyright holders are not limited to reporting one URL or location per DMCA notice. In fact, each notice filed can target tens, hundreds, or even thousands of allegedly infringing locations." September was a particularly active month as it took down nearly 5,834 projects. "Usually, the DMCA reports we receive are from people or organizations reporting a single potentially infringing repository. However, every now and then we receive a single notice asking us to take down many repositories," Github explains. They are called 'Mass Removals' when more than 100 repositories are asked to be removed. "In all, fewer than twenty individual notice senders requested removal of over 90% of the content GitHub took down in 2015."

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Google's 'FASTER' 9000km, 60Tbps Transpacific Fiber Optics Cable Completed

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 02:45
An anonymous reader writes from a report via 9to5Google: Google and an association of telecom providers have announced that the FASTER broadband cable system that links Japan and the United States is now complete. The system is the fastest of its kind and stretches nearly 9,000 km across the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, starting in Oregon and ending in two landing spots in Japan. The association consists of Google, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI, Singtel, and supplier NEC Corporation. The estimated construction cost of the project was $300 million in 2014. At 60 terabits per second, FASTER will help "support the expected four-fold increase in broadband traffic demand between Asia and North America." The system uses a six-fiber pair cable and the latest 100Gbps digital coherent optical transmission technology. The service is scheduled to start on June 30, 2016, and will help increase the connectivity between Google's data centers scattered around the globe.

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FCC Says TV Airwaves Being Sold For Wireless Use Are Worth $86.4 Billion

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 02:05
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday the price of 126 MHz of television airwaves taken from broadcasters to be sold for wireless use in an ongoing auction is $86.4 billion. The FCC disclosed the price in a statement after completing the first part of an auction to repurpose low-frequency wireless spectrum relinquished by television broadcasters. The so-called "broadcast incentive" spectrum auction is one of the commission's most complex and ambitious to date. In this round, called a reverse auction, broadcasters competed to give up spectrum to the FCC for the lowest price. In the next stage, the forward auction, wireless and other companies will bid to buy the airwaves for the highest price. If wireless companies are unwilling to pay $86.4 billion, the FCC may have to hold another round of bidding by broadcasters and sell less spectrum than had been expected, analysts said. The Wall Street Journal points out that $86.4 billion is more than the market cap of T-Mobile and Spring combined. It's roughly double the amount raised in the last FCC auction, where ATT spent $18.2 billion and Verizon spent $10.4 billion. It's highly likely we'll see multiple rounds stretching into 2017 that will eventually match the supply with the demand.

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Tesla Admits Defeat, Quietly Settles Model X Lawsuit Over Usability Problems

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR: We can talk about how innovative Tesla is for days on end. Indeed, there's no disputing the fact that the company, in injecting a bit of Silicon Valley ingenuity into the tried and true auto design process, has completely turned the auto industry on its head. At the same time, Tesla helped kickstart the EV revolution, even causing traditional automakers like Porsche and BMW to start taking electric cars more seriously. But in Tesla's zeal to move extraordinarily quickly, problems have inevitably begun to creep in. Specifically, quality control issues still seem to be plaguing the Model X. According to a recent report, avowed Tesla fan named Barrett Lyon recently returned his Model X and filed a lawsuit against Tesla arguing that the Model X was "rushed" and released before it was ready for sale. Now comes word that Tesla has since quietly settled the lawsuit. "In Lyon's lawsuit," Fortune writes, "he claimed the cars doors opened and closed unpredictably, smashing into his wife and other cars, and that the Model X's Auto-Pilot feature posed a danger in the rain. He also shared a video that shows the car's self-parking feature failing to operate successfully." Tesla's response: "We are committed to providing an outstanding customer experience throughout ownership. As a principle, we are always willing to buy back a car in the rare event that a customer isn't completely happy. Today, the majority of Model X owners are loving their cars."

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UK Has Fastest Mobile Internet While US Lags Behind, Says Report

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 00:40
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Content delivery network Akamai says the UK has the best average mobile connection speeds in the world. The State of the Internet report claims that British mobile users were able to get average speeds of 27.9 Mbps when connecting to Akamai's HTTP/S platform in Q1 2016, beating most countries in Europe by an average of more than 10 Mbps, and the United States' average speed by more than 20 Mbps. For comparison, the U.S. had an average connection speed of 5.1 Mbps, which was lower than Turkey, Kenya, and Paraguay, and on par with Thailand. Many European countries more than doubled the average U.S. speed, including Slovakia with 13.3 Mbps, France with 11.5 Mbps, and Germany with 15.7 Mbps. Algeria was only 2.9 Mbps slower than the United States' average with 2.2 Mbps, and they had the lowest average speed of countries included in the report. Akamai says its data shows that regular internet connections have continued to increase in speed, jumping 12 percent from Q4 2015 to 6.3 Mbps in Q1 2016, which is a year-on-year boost of 23 percent. Peak connection speed also rose to 34.7 Mbps, a 6.8 percent increase from the last quarter, and a 14 percent increase year-on-year. In addition, mobile data traffic is rising from just over 3,500 petabytes per month in Q1 2015 to more than 5,500 petabytes per month in the same period this year.

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ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Slashdot - Thu, 06/30/2016 - 00:00
An anonymous reader writes: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice contending that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act's criminal prohibitions have created a barrier for those wishing to conduct research and anti-discrimination testing online. The ACLU have pursued the matter on behalf of a group of academic researchers, computer scientists and journalists seeking to remove that barrier to allow for third-party testing and research into potential online discrimination. In a public statement the ACLU contend: "The CFAA violates the First Amendment because it limits everyone, including academics and journalists, from gathering the publicly available information necessary to understand and speak about online discrimination."

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Google's My Activity Reveals How Much It Knows About You

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 23:20
An anonymous reader writes: Google has released a new section to Google's account settings, called My Activity, which lets users review everything that Google has tracked about their online behavior -- search, YouTube, Chrome, Android, and every other Google service. Best of all, users can edit or delete their tracked behaviors. In addition, the My Activity tools come with new ad preferences. Google is now offering to use its behavioral information to tailer ads shown across the wider non-Google internet and Google's search pages, which until now was purely done through the use of cookies. The difference between Google and other companies that offer ads like Facebook is that Google is making this interest-based advertising extension optional, or opt-in, not opt-out. There are two separate behavioral advertising settings for users to switch on or off: signed in ads and signed out ads. Signed in ads are those on Google services, and signed out ads are those served by Google on third-party sites. However, if you're conscious about your privacy, you'll probably want to stay opted out.

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AMD RX 480 Offers Best-in-Class Performance For $199/$239

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 23:00
Reader Vigile writes: It's been a terribly long news cycle, but today is finally the day reviews and sales start of the new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card based on the company's latest Polaris architecture and built on 14nm FinFET process technology. With a starting price tag of $199 for the 4GB model and $239 for the 8GB, the RX 480 has some interesting performance characteristics. Compared to the GeForce GTX 970, currently selling for around $280, the RX 480 performs +/- 5-10% in DX11 games but PC Perspective found that the RX 480 was as much as 40% faster in DX12 titles like Gears of War, Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Compared to previous AMD products, the RX 480 is as fast as a Radeon R9 390 but uses just 150 watts compared to 275 watts for the previous generation. Chances are that NVIDIA will have a competing product based on Pascal available sometime in July, so AMD's advantage may be short-lived; but in the meantime, the Radeon RX 480 is clearly the best GPU for $200.AnandTech has more details.

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Facebook Wins Belgian Court Appeal Over Storing Non-User Data

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 22:40
Stephanie Bodoni, and Aoife White reporting for Bloomberg Technology (condensed):Facebook won an appeal against a Belgian privacy ruling that prompted the social network to prevent people without an account from accessing its site within the country. The Brussels Court of Appeal said the nation's data protection authority couldn't prevent Facebook from storing data from non-users in a fight over measures the technology giant says help it combat hacking attacks. "Belgian courts don't have international jurisdiction over Facebook Ireland, where the data concerning Europe is processed," the Brussels court of appeal said in a ruling Wednesday, referring to the company's European headquarters. The court also said there was no urgency to rule on the case since Belgian court proceedings only started in mid-2015 over behavior that started in 2012. Facebook is appealing a ruling that ordered it to stop storing data from people who don't have an account with the social network, or face a 250,000 euro ($277,800) daily fine. Willem Debeuckelaere, president of the Belgian data protection commission, said last year that Facebook's "disrespectful" treatment of users' personal data, without their knowledge, "needs tackling." Facebook said it can now start showing its pages to Belgians who aren't signed up to its service.

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Wi-Fi Gets Multi-Gigabit, Multi-User Boost With Upgrades To 802.11ac

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 22:00
The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced its certification program for IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2, a technology that has been around on the market for more than a year. Wave 2 can deliver up to 6.8Gbps and lets an access point interact with more than one device at a time. Wave 2 features MIMO (or MU-MIMO) which improves the MIMO technology that lets Wi-FI transmit over more than one stream through the air. Wave 2 standard utilizes channels up to 160MHz wide (up from 80MHz channels available with Wave 1). It also creates more spatial streams and uses spectrum more efficiently, the industry group said on Wednesday. Ars Technica adds:On top of MU-MIMO, wider channels, and more streams, the Wi-Fi Alliance says Wave 2 features now being certified bring "support for a greater number of available channels in 5GHz," a change that "makes more efficient use of available spectrum and reduces interference and congestion by minimizing the number of networks operating on overlapping channels." You may have already noticed routers supporting some of these features, since the specification details have been available for a few years. In fact, routers with MU-MIMO started appearing in July 2014, and you can find routers that use 160MHz channels. The certification program takes a while to catch up with real-world implementations, but it ensures compatibility between devices and may spur faster adoption by vendors. End-user devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops must also be updated to take advantage of new features such as MU-MIMO.

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Facebook Tweaks Its Newsfeed To Better Showcase Posts From Friends Instead Of Publishers

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 21:20
Facebook announced on Wednesday that it is making some changes to its algorithm that powers the News Feed to better showcase posts from friends and family members over posts from publishers. Mark Wilson, writing for BetaNews:The problem we currently face, Facebook says, is that there is "far too much information for any one person to consume." This is where algorithms come into play, meddling with timelines and newsfeeds in ways that never please everyone. The latest change promises that content from "the friends you care about" will appear "higher up in your News Feed."The move comes as Facebook struggles to get people to interact and post more on its social network. This is yet another blow to publishers that rely heavily on social media exposure. In recent years, Facebook has not only downranked stories that have misleading and unclear headlines but also cut the traffic it was once sending publishers' way. It is worth pointing out that these events have happened in the lights of Facebook launching its own publishing network called Instant Articles on the social media and encouraging publishers to directly publish on its platform instead of their respective websites.

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Microsoft Kills Windows 10's Messaging Everywhere Texts, To Bolster Skype

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 20:40
Reader tripleevenfall writes: The ability to respond to text messages received on your phone with the same app on your PC. It's a dream that's been a reality for Mac users since 2014, and Windows 10 Mobile users were supposed to get the feature, called Messaging Everywhere, with the Anniversary Update rolling out August 2. But that's not happening anymore. Instead, Microsoft thinks it has a better idea: add Messaging Everywhere to an upcoming version of Skype for Windows 10 PCs.Microsoft commentator Brad Sams writes, "Skype barely works; let's add new features. Texting from your phone is cool, let's remove it. 0.0% people want this."

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Amazon Prime Will Knock $50 Off an Android Phone If You Watch Amazon's Lock-Screen Ads

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 20:00
It's no secret that Amazon's Fire Phone tanked on the market. But while the e-commerce giant is keeping a distance from smartphone manufacturing business for some time, it is not ignoring the platform. The company is now willing to offer its Prime members a $50 discount on two unlocked phone models should they agree to see ads on the lock-screen of their smartphone. Recode reports:Unlike the Fire Phone, which used Amazon services in place of Google, these two phones (the fourth-generation Moto G and Blu R1 HD) will include all the standard Google apps (Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, etc.) along with Amazon apps for shopping, watching video and playing music. With the discount, the Blu phone will sell for just $49, while the price of the Moto G drops to $149. The move is clearly a modest one but could at some point become more significant, particularly if Amazon is willing to strike deals with other hardware makers to include its apps and services.The bigger news is Amazon finding its way into Google Mobile Services-powered Android smartphones. Most of the Amazon-branded devices don't have Google Mobile Services (Google Play, Google Play Services, Gmail etc).

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Android Malware Pretends To Be WhatsApp, Uber and Google Play

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 19:20
Reader itwbennett writes: Security vendor FireEye said on Tuesday that malware that can spoof the user interfaces of Uber, WhatsApp and Google Play has been spreading through a phishing campaign over SMS. Once downloaded, the malware, which has struck Android users in Denmark, Italy and Germany, will create fake user interfaces on the phone as an 'overlay 's top of real apps. These interfaces ask for credit card information and then send the entered data to the hacker.

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Microsoft Is Giving Students a Free Xbox One With Surface Pro 4 Purchases

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 19:00
Microsoft on Wednesday announced a sweet deal for any student on the fence on purchasing the Surface Pro 4. The company has said that it will be taking $300 off when students purchase a Surface Pro 4 and Xbox One. In a statement to The Verge, Terry Myerson, head of Windows and devices at Microsoft said, "So basically a free Xbox One with the purchase of a Surface Pro 4." The deal is only running at Microsoft's retail stores in the United States. The deal goes live today and will last until August 14.

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Europe's 'Net Neutrality' Rules Fail to Ban BitTorrent Throttling

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 18:40
Europe has finally agreed on a set of net neutrality rules. According to a report on TorrentFreak, these rules offer improvements for some individual members states, various activist groups and experts. But the current language would also allow ISPs to throttle BitTorrent traffic permanently if that would optimize overall "transmission quality." From the report (edited):"Europe's new net-neutrality rules should ban throttling BitTorrent, but they don't. They leave ISPs a loophole," said Holmes Wilson of Fight for the Future (FFTF), one of the driving forces behind the Save Net Neutrality campaign. "ISPs can say they're doing it for 'traffic management' purposes -- even when their networks aren't clogged, because the rules say they can throttle to 'prevent impending network congestion,'" he adds. In addition to file-sharing traffic, the proposed rules also allow Internet providers to interfere with encrypted traffic including VPN connections. Since encrypted traffic can't be classified through deep packet inspection, ISPs may choose to de-prioritize it altogether. In theory, ISPs may choose to throttle any type of traffic they want, as long as they frame it as a network congestion risk. "So if your ISP is lazy, or wants to cut corners and save money, they can throttle BitTorrent, or VPNs, or Bitcoin, or Tor, or any class of traffic they can identify," Wilson says.

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Satya Nadella Explores How Humans and AI Can Work Together To Solve Society's Greatest Challenges

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 18:00
In an op-ed for Slate, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has shared his views on AI, and how humans could work together with this nascent technology to do great things. Nadella feels that humans and machines can work together to address society's greatest challenges, including diseases and poverty. But he admits that this will require "a bold and ambition approach that goes beyond anything that can be achieved through incremental improvements to current technology," he wrote. You can read the long essay here. GeekWire has summarized the principles and goals postulated by Nadella. From the article:AI must be designed to assist humanity. AI must be transparent.AI must maximize efficiencies without destroying the dignity of people.AI must be designed for intelligent privacy. AI needs algorithmic accountability so humans can undo unintended harm.AI must guard against bias.It's critical for humans to have empathy.It's critical for humans to have education.The need for human creativity won't change.A human has to be ultimately accountable for the outcome of a computer-generated diagnosis or decision.

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Istanbul Attack: A Grim Reminder Of Why Airports Are Easy Targets

Slashdot - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 17:20
An anonymous reader shares a FirstPost article:Even as I write this the echo of gunfire continues at Ataturk International Airport. For reasons that defy logic, Istanbul's main airport has always been seen as a vulnerable target which only underscores the fact that all airports in the world are open to attack and fail-safe is not a viable option. At Ataturk, security is usually high, but the weak underbelly lies in vehicular traffic entering the airport being given cursory checks, pretty much like most airports which is why President Erdogan was able to say this sort of attack could have occurred anywhere. That is true. Airports are easy targets. That even though Turkey was aware of the chinks nothing much was done to up the security levels. If you take Delhi International as a prime example, the access to the terminal is scarcely blockaded and one can reach the entry points with ease, crossing a couple of indolent checkpoints and a roller fence. (Editor's note: the article has been written by an Indian author, and so he uses an Indian airport as an example.) Indian airports are as porous as a sponge. Most of our airports are red-starred which places them in the inadequate category. Add to that the fact that several thousand VIPs are given privileges that make a pudding out of security and it indicates how easy peasy it would be to amble up to the terminal entrance. The weakness primarily lies in the absence of X-Rays and deterrent technology on approach. You practically can check in and get to immigration before being cleared for hazardous material.

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