Technology News

No-deal Brexit data - should firms worry?

(6 days ago)
In a no-deal Brexit, the UK will need to prove to the EU that its data protection is up to scratch.

Goldman evaluating role in Megvii IPO after AI firm put on U.S. blacklist

(6 days ago)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Tuesday it was reviewing its involvement in Megvii Technology Ltd's planned initial public offering (IPO) after the U.S. government placed the Chinese artificial intelligence firm on a human rights blacklist.

FBI's Use of Surveillance Database Violated Americans' Privacy Rights: Court

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's electronic surveillance activities violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), a secretive surveillance court has ruled. The ruling deals a rare rebuke to U.S. spying activities that have generally withstood legal challenge or review. The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI's pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans -- raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near total secrecy. The court ruling identifies tens of thousands of improper searches of raw intelligence databases by the bureau in 2017 and 2018 that it deemed improper in part because they involved data related to tens of thousands of emails or telephone numbers -- in one case, suggesting that the FBI was using the intelligence information to vet its personnel and cooperating sources. Federal law requires that the database[..]

Arm Holdings still aiming for 2023 return to public markets, CEO says

(6 days ago)
Arm Holdings, the semiconductor technology firm owned by Softbank Group Corp, still plans to return to the public markets by 2023, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Senator Proposes Mandatory Labeling For Products With Mics, Cameras

(6 days ago)
Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced a bill, dubbed the Protecting Privacy in our Homes Act, that would require tech companies to include a label on products disclosing the presence of internet-connected microphones or cameras. "The proposed law does not define what kind of labels would need to be appended but rather would order the Federal Trade Commission to put in place specific regulations 'under which each covered manufacturer shall be required to include on the packaging of each covered device manufactured by the covered manufacturer a notice that a camera or microphone is a component of the covered device,'" reports Ars Technica. From the report: "Consumers face a number of challenges when it comes to their privacy, but they shouldn't have a challenge figuring out if a device they buy has a camera or microphone embedded into it," Gardner said. "This legislation is about consumer information, consumer empowerment, and making sure we're doing everything we can to protect consumer privacy." Most products that ship with cameras or microphones included tout the inclusion of such recording devices as a selling point, which could make this kind of regulation feel redundant at best. That said, there's quite a difference between "most" and "all." A rule such as the regulation Gardner proposes would close the gap that, for example, led owners of Nest Secure devices to the unpleasant discovery earlier this year that the products had shipped with undisclosed microphones.Read[..]

D-Link Home Routers Open To Remote Takeover Will Remain Unpatched

(6 days ago)
D-Link won't patch a critical unauthenticated command-injection vulnerability in its routers that could allow an attacker to remotely take over the devices and execute code. Threatpost reports: The vulnerability (CVE-2019-16920) exists in the latest firmware for the DIR-655, DIR-866L, DIR-652 and DHP-1565 products, which are Wi-Fi routers for the home market. D-Link last week told Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs, which first discovered the issue in September, that all four of them are end-of-life and no longer sold or supported by the vendor (however, the models are still available as new via third-party sellers). The root cause of the vulnerability, according to Fortinet, is a lack of a sanity check for arbitrary commands that are executed by the native command-execution function. Fortinet describes this as a "typical security pitfall suffered by many firmware manufacturers." With no patch available, affected users should upgrade their devices as soon as possible.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China state newspaper criticizes Apple for app use by Hong Kong protesters

(6 days ago)
The Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper, the People's Daily, lashed out on Tuesday at Apple Inc for allowing an app on its app store that tracks the movement of police around Hong Kong and is used by protesters in ongoing and sometimes violent demonstrations.

Goldman Sachs evaluating involvement in Megvii IPO after U.S. action

(6 days ago)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Tuesday it is reviewing its involvement in Megvii Technology Ltd's planned initial public offering (IPO) in light of U.S. action against the Chinese artificial intelligence firm.

US Expands Blacklist To Include China's Top AI Startups Ahead of Trade Talks

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. government widened its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. The decision, which drew a sharp rebuke from Beijing, targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd. The action bars the firms from buying components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval -- a potentially crippling move for some of them. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei for what it says are national security reasons. The Commerce Department said in a filing the "entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups." "The U.S. Government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. In response, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the U.S. should stop interfering in its affairs and that it will continue to take firm and resolute[..]

Goldman Sachs evaluating involvement in Megvii IPO after of U.S. action

(6 days ago)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Tuesday it is reviewing its involvement in Megvii Technology Ltd's planned initial public offering (IPO) in light of U.S. action against the Chinese artificial intelligence firm.

Thunderbird Announces OpenPGP Support

(6 days ago)
doconnor writes: On the Mozilla Thunderbird blog it was announced that for the future Thunderbird 78 release, planned for summer 2020, they will add built-in functionality for email encryption and digital signatures using the OpenPGP standard. This addresses a feature request opened on Bugzilla almost 20 years ago and has been one of the top voted bugs for most of that period.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Bipartisan Senate Report Calls For Sweeping Effort To Prevent Russian Interference in 2020 Election

(6 days ago)
A bipartisan panel of U.S. senators Tuesday called for sweeping action by Congress, the White House and Silicon Valley to ensure social media sites aren't used to interfere in the coming presidential election, delivering a sobering assessment about the weaknesses that Russian operatives exploited in the 2016 campaign. From a report: The Senate Intelligence Committee, a Republican-led panel that has been investigating foreign electoral interference for more than two and a half years, said in blunt language that Russians worked to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton while bolstering Republican Donald Trump -- and made clear that fresh rounds of interference are likely ahead of the 2020 vote. "Russia is waging an information warfare campaign against the U.S. that didn't start and didn't end with the 2016 election," said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the committee's chairman. "Their goal is broader: to sow societal discord and erode public confidence in the machinery of government. By flooding social media with false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls, and by exploiting existing divisions, Russia is trying to breed distrust of our democratic institutions and our fellow Americans." Though the 85-page report itself had extensive redactions, in the visible sections lawmakers urged their peers in Congress to act, including through the potential adoption of new regulations that would make who bought an ad more transparent. The report also called on the White House and the executive[..]

Venezuela designers turn to piracy after Adobe announces it will cut service

(6 days ago)
Venezuelans on Tuesday desperately explored piracy workarounds to continue using Adobe programs after the software developer said it will cut access to its products for the country's users, citing U.S. sanctions, in a move critics said demonstrated the unintended consequences of the Trump administration's policies.

Nobel Prize in Physics: 2019 Winners Made Significant Cosmological Discoveries

(6 days ago)
The Nobel Prize in physics for 2019 was awarded to three scientists on Tuesday for groundbreaking work on the evolution of the universe and Earth's place in it. From a report: Their discoveries have forever "transformed our ideas about the cosmos" and helped answer fundamental questions about existence, said the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Half of the award went to James Peebles, a physicist with Princeton University, for developing a theoretical framework that traces the the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to present day. His contributions to the Big Bang model and other work led to insights that just 5% of the universe is known matter -- everything from stars to plants to humans -- and the remaining 95% is unknown dark matter and dark energy. "When I started working in this subject -- I can tell you the date, 1964 -- at the invitation of my mentor, Professor Robert Henry Dicke, I was very uneasy about going into this subject because the experimental observational basis was so modest. ... I just kept going," Peebles said during a news conference, according to Princeton University. "Which particular step did I take? I would be very hard-pressed to say. It's a life's work." The other half was jointly awarded to Michel Mayor, an astrophysicist with the University of Geneva, and Didier Queloz, an astronomer with the University of Geneva and University of Cambridge, for the first discovery of a planet outside our solar system. In October 1995, the two[..]

Arm joins with GM, Toyota to find common ground on car chips

(6 days ago)
Arm Holdings, the British chip technology firm owned by Japan's Softbank Group Corp, is joining with automakers General Motors Co and Toyota Motor Corp to establish common computing systems for self-driving cars, an effort the companies hope will speed development of the technology.

Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes To 3 Scientists For Discovering How Cells Use Oxygen

(6 days ago)
Dave Knott writes: Two Americans and a British scientist won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on Monday for discovering details of how the body's cells sense and react to low oxygen levels, providing a foothold for developing new treatments for anemia, cancer and other diseases. Drs. William G. Kaelin Jr., of Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Gregg L. Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University, and Peter J. Ratcliffe, at the Francis Crick Institute and Oxford University, won the prize. They "revealed the mechanism for one of life's most essential adaptive processes," the Nobel committee said.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Activision Blizzard Suspends 'Hearthstone' Pro Player for Supporting Hong Kong Protests

(6 days ago)
Activision Blizzard suspended Hearthstone pro Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai on Tuesday after he spoke up in support of protests in Hong Kong during a post-match interview during Hearsthone's Asia-Pacific Grandmaster tournament on October 6. From a report: Two days later, on October 8, Activision Blizzard suspended him from competing in Hearthstone esports tournaments for a year, rescinded his $3000 winnings from the tournament, and fired the two people who interviewed him. Each year, Hearhstone's best players compete in regional tournaments that narrow the field to 48 Grandmasters. After the regionals, the Grandmasters play for a $500,000 prize pool. After winning a match in the Asia-Pacific regional, Chung streamed a post-victory interview while wearing ski goggles and a gas mask, a look often worn by protestors in Hong Kong to mitigate the effects of tear gas. "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time," Chung said on the stream, a phrase that's become a rallying cry for protestors in Hong Kong.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple's Merged iPad, Mac Apps Leave Developers Uneasy, Users Paying Twice

(6 days ago)
Last year, Apple software chief Craig Federighi said developers would be able to easily bring their iPad apps to Mac computers, essentially letting coders write an app once and deploy it across millions more devices. So far, the reality has fallen short for some developers and is even leaving consumers paying twice for apps. From a report: Major app developers and service providers like Netflix are also demurring on taking part, at least at this early stage. Apple rolled out Catalyst, the technology to transition iPad apps into Mac versions, on Monday. It's the initial step toward a bigger goal: By 2021, developers should be able to build an app once and have it work on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers through a single, unified App Store. But the first iteration, which appears to still be quite raw and in a number of ways frustrating to developers, risks upsetting users who may have to pay again when they download the Mac version of an iPad app they've already bought. "As a user, I don't want to pay again just to have the same app," said longtime Apple developer Steven Troughton-Smith. "As a developer, I don't want my users to have to make that decision." James Thompson has had to work harder than he expected to get his popular PCalc calculator iPad app running well on Mac computers. Getting paid a second time for that extra work makes sense for developers, but consumers may not immediately understand that after Apple made the porting process sound as easy as checking a box,[..]

U.S. online brokers still profiting from 'dumb money'

(6 days ago)
People who trade stocks online cheered last week when several large retail brokers slashed stock-trading commissions to zero, a move made possible, in part, by a controversial source of broker revenue that has drawn regulatory scrutiny.

Russia and China to sign treaty on combating illegal online content

(6 days ago)
Russia and China will sign a cooperation treaty aimed at combating illegal content on the Internet this month, Russia's state communications watchdog said on Tuesday, an example of deepening cooperation between the powers.

Sony Confirms PlayStation 5 Name, Holiday 2020 Release Date

(6 days ago)
Sony has confirmed that its next-generation console will be called the PlayStation 5, and it'll be out next year, launching in time for "Holiday 2020." From a report: The company also announced several changes that it'll be making to the controller on the PS5. Chief among them is replacing the current rumble technology that Sony has been using since the original PlayStation for new haptic feedback technology that it promises will offer a "broader range of feedback." The other big change that Sony is talking about today is a technology it's calling "adaptive triggers," which will go in the primary R2/L2 triggers on the PS5's controller. According to Sony, developers will be able to "program the resistance of the triggers," giving the example that you'll be able to "feel" the increased tension as you draw back a bow or force you to push down with extra pressure if you're driving through rough terrain. It sounds pretty similar to a Microsoft patent from earlier this year, which detailed a similar trigger system for a future Xbox controller.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Using Trade Deals To Shield Tech Giants From Foreign Regulators

(6 days ago)
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America's tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home. From a report: The protections, which stem from a 1990s law, have already been tucked into the administration's two biggest trade deals -- the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a pact with Japan that President Trump signed on Monday. American negotiators have proposed including the language in other prospective deals, including with the European Union, Britain and members of the World Trade Organization. The administration's push is the latest salvo in a global fight over who sets the rules for the internet. While the rules for trading goods have largely been written -- often by the United States -- the world has far fewer standards for digital products. Countries are rushing into this vacuum, and in most cases writing regulations that are far more restrictive than the tech industry would prefer. Europe has enacted tough policies to curb the behavior of companies like Facebook and Google and passed laws to deal with privacy, hate speech and disinformation. China has largely cordoned itself off from the rest of the internet, allowing Beijing to censor political content and bolster Chinese tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent. In India, Indonesia, Russia and Vietnam,[..]

Albanian teens develop app for domestic violence victims

(6 days ago)
Three Albanian 16-year-old girls have developed an app to help victims of domestic violence access support, hoping to tackle a huge problem in Albania, where one in two women suffered abuse last year, according to a survey.

Chinese Firms Tencent, Vivo, and CCTV Suspend Ties With the NBA Over Hong Kong Tweet

(6 days ago)
Smartphone maker Vivo, broadcaster CCTV, and internet giant Tencent said today they are suspending all cooperation with the National Basketball Association, becoming the latest Chinese firms to cut ties with the league after a tweet from a Houston Rockets executive supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters offended many in the world's most populous nation. From a report: Vivo, which is a key sponsor for the upcoming exhibition games to be played in Shanghai and Shenzhen this week, said in a statement on Chinese social networking platform Weibo, that it was "dissatisfied" with Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey's views on Hong Kong. In a tweet over the weekend, Morey voiced his support for protesters in Hong Kong. He said, "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong." Even as he quickly moved to delete the tweet and the NBA attempted to smoothen the dialogue, Morey's views had offended many in China, which maintains a low tolerance for criticism of its political system. In a statement, the NBA said it was "regrettable" that Morey's views had "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China." This stance from the NBA, which has grown accustomed to seeing its star players speak freely and criticize anyone they wish including the U.S. president Donald Trump, in turn, offended many. Earlier today, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said it was also suspending broadcasts of the league's games to be played in China. China remains a key strategic nation for the NBA. According[..]

Rent the Runway back up after operational glitch

(6 days ago)
U.S. clothing rental service Rent the Runway said on Tuesday its business was back online after an operational snag caused the company to cancel several customer orders and hold off on new sign-ups.

Target to power new Toys 'R' Us online business

(6 days ago)
Target Corp on Tuesday announced a partnership with Tru Kids, the parent company of Toys 'R' Us brand, to power the toy retailer's online business in the United States ahead of the holiday season.

China Is Breeding Giant Pigs the Size of Polar Bears

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: In a farm deep in the southern region of China lives a very big pig that's as heavy as a polar bear. The 500 kilogram, or 1,102 pound, animal is part of a herd that's being bred to become giant swine. At slaughter, some of the pigs can sell for more than 10,000 yuan ($1,399), over three times higher than the average monthly disposable income in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province where Pang Cong, the farm's owner, lives. While Pang's pigs may be an extreme example of the lengths farmers are going to fill China's swelling pork shortage problem, the idea that bigger is better has been spreading across the country, home to the world's most voracious consumers of the meat. High pork prices in the northeastern province of Jilin is prompting farmers to raise pigs to reach an average weight of 175 kilograms to 200 kilograms, higher than the normal weight of 125 kilograms. They want to raise them "as big as possible,"said Zhao Hailin, a hog farmer in the region. The trend isn't limited to small farms either. Major protein producers in China, including Wens Foodstuffs Group Co, the country's top pig breeder, Cofco Meat Holdings Ltd. and Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co. say they are trying to increase the average weight of their pigs. Big farms are focusing on boosting the heft by at least 14%, said Lin Guofa, a senior analyst with consulting firm Bric Agriculture Group. The average weight of pigs at slaughter at some[..]

Russia and China to sign agreement on combating illegal online content

(7 days ago)
Russia's state communications watchdog will sign an agreement with its Chinese counterpart this month as part of cooperation to combat the circulation of what it calls illegal online content, it said on Tuesday.

Wirecard raises long-term growth targets; analysts unconvinced

(7 days ago)
German payments group Wirecard raised its long-term outlook on Tuesday, but the company's shares fell as analysts questioned the ability of any tech company to give a precise forecast for its business in five years' time.

Spooked by Libra, EU pledges to regulate digital currencies

(7 days ago)
The European Union's finance commissioner pledged on Tuesday to propose new rules to regulate virtual currencies, in a reaction to Facebook's plans to introduce Libra, which the EU considers a risk to financial stability.

'Call of Duty Mobile' smashes records with 100 million downloads in first week

(7 days ago)
The mobile version of videogame franchise "Call of Duty" racked up 100 million downloads in its first week, industry site Sensor Tower said on Tuesday, dwarfing the debuts of previous smashes including "Fortnite" and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG).

'Call of Duty Mobile' smashes records with 100 million downloads in first week

(7 days ago)
The mobile version of videogame franchise "Call of Duty" racked up 100 million downloads in its first week, industry site Sensor Tower said on Tuesday, dwarfing the debuts of previous smashes including "Fortnite" and "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" (PUBG).

You Can Now Overclock a Raspberry Pi 4 For Some Nice Performance Gains

(7 days ago)
MojoKid writes: The Raspberry Pi 4 is one of the cheapest single-board computers around. The new 4th generation is a solid performance lift over its predecessor and good bang for the buck if you're interested in learning Linux, working with embedded computing, or just want to kick back and play some retro games on an emulator. In addition, the latest version of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Linux distribution, Raspbian Buster, comes with a new firmware revision for the tiny DIY PC that removes its 2GHz clock speed limit and allows voltage adjustments to wring out additional performance, with proper cooling of course. In testing, while there are no guarantees in overclocking, HotHardware was able to realize more than a 40% lift in their Raspberry Pi 4's processor clock speed, and a 50% boost to the GPU with an air-cooled mini case kit. Combined, they're not enough to turn the Pi 4 into your every day PC, but the performance gains are measurable and valuable. All it takes is a quick firmware update and a couple of Linux commands to dial things in.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

U.S. expands blacklist to include China's top AI startups ahead of trade talks

(7 days ago)
The U.S. government widened its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week.

EU finance commissioner pledges to regulate digital currencies

(7 days ago)
The European Union's finance commissioner pledged on Tuesday, if he is reappointed, to propose new rules to regulate virtual currencies such as Libra, the currency Facebook plans to launch.

Sorrell's S4 Capital content arm buys Firewood ad agency in digital push

(7 days ago)
S4 Capital's content unit, MediaMonks, is set to merge with Silicon Valley's biggest independent agency, Firewood, as the Martin Sorrell advertising vehicle ramps up its digital push and raises funds to expand.

First Meat Grown In Space Lab 248 Miles From Earth

(7 days ago)
The Israeli food technology startup Aleph Farms has successfully cultured meat in space for the first time. The Guardian reports: Aleph Farms grew the meat on the International Space Station, 248 miles (399 km) away from any natural resources. Bovine cells were harvested on Earth and taken to space, where they were grown into small-scale muscle tissue using a 3D bioprinter. The method relies on mimicking a natural process of muscle-tissue regeneration occurring inside a cow's body. The experiment took place on September 26 on the Russian segment of the space station, and involved the assembly of small-scale muscle tissue in a 3D bioprinter under controlled microgravity conditions. In future the technique could be used to provide meat for people living on the space station.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Strong smartphone sales raise hopes of Samsung turnaround

(7 days ago)
Strong sales of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 10 smartphone series are limiting forecast profit falls at the South Korean tech giant, raising hopes it is getting back on a growth track after years of moribund sales.

S4 Capital's digital content unit to merge with U.S.-based agency

(7 days ago)
Martin Sorrell's advertising vehicle S4 Capital on Tuesday said its digital content unit, MediaMonks, would merge with U.S.-based marketing agency Firewood as the company pushes further into a lucrative digital space.
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