Technology News

Nearly 80 rights groups accuse Facebook of "racially biased censorship" of user content, arguing that policies are often unevenly applied (Dustin Volz/Reuters)

(6 days ago)
Dustin Volz / Reuters:Nearly 80 rights groups accuse Facebook of “racially biased censorship” of user content, arguing that policies are often unevenly applied  —  Nearly 80 rights groups on Wednesday accused Facebook (FB.O) of “racially biased censorship” and failing to be more transparent …

Earth Hit Record Hot Year in 2016: NASA

(6 days ago)
Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, government scientists have said. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared. From a report: Measuring global temperatures in slightly different ways, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year passed 2015 as the hottest year on record. NOAA calculated that the average 2016 global temperature was 14.84 degrees Celsius (58.69 degrees Fahrenheit) -- beating the previous year by 0.04 Celsius (0.07 degrees F). NASA's figures, which include more of the Arctic, are higher at 0.22 degrees (0.12 Celsius) warmer than 2015. The Arctic "was enormously warm, like totally off the charts compared to everything else," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, where the space agency monitors global temperatures. Records go back to 1880. This is the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Records have been set in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook dismissive of censorship, abuse concerns, rights groups allege

(6 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 80 rights groups on Wednesday accused Facebook of "racially biased censorship" and failing to be more transparent about its removal policies and cooperation with law enforcement, adding to criticism the company has faced in recent months over its management of content on its network of 1.8 billion users.

South Korean court dismisses request to arrest Samsung chief

(6 days ago)
SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean court on Thursday rejected a request for a warrant to arrest the head of the Samsung Group, Jay Y. Lee, over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Alibaba's Ma says no chance of U.S. trade war with China

(6 days ago)
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - China and the United States are not about to be drawn into a trade war, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

CIA Releases 13M Pages of Declassified Documents Online

(6 days ago)
About 13 million pages of declassified documents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have been released online. The records include UFO sightings and psychic experiments from the Stargate programme, which has long been of interest to conspiracy theorists. From a report on BBC: The move came after lengthy efforts from freedom of information advocates and a lawsuit against the CIA. The full archive is made up of almost 800,000 files. They had previously only been accessible at the National Archives in Maryland. The trove includes the papers of Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, as well as several hundred thousand pages of intelligence analysis and science research and development. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

TomTom acquires Berlin-based startup Autonomos to bolster its self-driving technology (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

(6 days ago)
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:TomTom acquires Berlin-based startup Autonomos to bolster its self-driving technology  —  Navigation and mapping company TomTom — which provides data to companies like Uber and Apple as well as for its own GPS systems — has made an acquisition to add more autonomous driving technology to its platform.

Timehop CEO Jon Wegener, who announced he was leaving last week, lands at Snap Inc. to work on product (Peter Kafka/Recode)

(6 days ago)
Peter Kafka / Recode:Timehop CEO Jon Wegener, who announced he was leaving last week, lands at Snap Inc. to work on product  —  Jonathan Wegener will work on product.  —  Last week, Jonathan Wegener, the CEO of Timehop, a social photo app that once showed a lot of promise, announced he was leaving the startup.

Facebook replaces its inbox for messages with the interface of the web version of Messenger (Sarah Perez/TechCrunch)

(6 days ago)
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:Facebook replaces its inbox for messages with the interface of the web version of Messenger  —  Just under two years ago, Facebook introduced a web interface for its private chat application, Messenger.  Now, Facebook is integrating that same web app into the desktop version of Facebook …

Mozilla's New Logo Reminds Us that It Is, In Fact, a Web Firm

(6 days ago)
Mozilla has a new logo. The company has ditched the world "ill" from the name with a colon and two slashes. From a report: Last year, Mozilla, the internet company best known for the Firefox browser, publicly started the rebranding process by opening the door to public feedback. With several options on display, Mozilla asked for comments and input from all who cared to share. As of today, the new logo is official and the simple change is meant as a reminder that Mozilla is more than just a browser. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft is testing feature that brings Cortana to the lock screen on Android (Mehedi Hassan/MSPoweruser)

(6 days ago)
Mehedi Hassan / MSPoweruser:Microsoft is testing feature that brings Cortana to the lock screen on Android  —  Cortana recently got a pretty sweet update for Android and iOS, bringing a much cleaner and prettier user design.  If you use Cortana on your Android phone, you might be glad to know that Microsoft is making …

Twitter phases out "Buy" button, will continue to have "Donation" button for charities (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

(6 days ago)
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:Twitter phases out “Buy” button, will continue to have “Donation” button for charities  —  There have been rumors for a while about Twitter preparing to retire its commerce operation.  Now it looks like the company has finally started to wind down its partnerships in confirmation of that fact.

Mozilla unveils new logo, font, and design (Emil Protalinski/VentureBeat)

(6 days ago)
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat:Mozilla unveils new logo, font, and design  —  Mozilla today revamped its “brand identity”: a new logo, font, color palette, language architecture, and imagery.  This is the first time the company, first founded in February 1998, has done such thorough brand refresh.

Department of Labor sues Oracle over discriminatory pay and hiring practices (Darrell Etherington/TechCrunch)

(6 days ago)
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:Department of Labor sues Oracle over discriminatory pay and hiring practices  —  The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Oracle for discriminatory employment practices, the government body announced on Wednesday.  The Department of Labor specifically states that the company has “a systemic practice” …

The Problem With Google AMP

(6 days ago)
Kyle Schreiber has raised some issues about Google's AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an open source project unveiled by the company in 2015 with which it aims to accelerate content on mobile devices. He writes on his blog: The largest complaint by far is that the URLs for AMP links differ from the canonical URLs for the same content, making sharing difficult. The current URLs are a mess. They all begin with some form of https://wwww.google.com/amp/ before showing a URL to the AMP version of the site. There is currently no way to find the canonical link to the page without guessing what the original URL is. This usually involves removing either a .amp or ?amp=1 from the URL to get to the actual page. Make no mistake. AMP is about lock-in for Google. AMP is meant to keep publishers tied to Google. Clicking on an AMP link feels like you never even leave the search page, and links to AMP content are displayed prominently in Google's news carousel. This is their response to similar formats from both Facebook and Apple, both of which are designed to keep users within their respective ecosystems. However, Google's implementation of AMP is more broad and far reaching than the Apple and Facebook equivalents. Google's implementation of AMP is on the open web and isn't limited to just an app like Facebook or Apple.[..]

Facebook dismissive of censorship, abuse concerns, rights groups allege

(6 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 80 rights groups on Wednesday accused Facebook of "racially biased censorship" and failing to be more transparent about its removal policies and cooperation with law enforcement, adding to criticism the company has faced in recent months over its management of content on its network of 1.8 billion users.

India to consider Apple request for investment incentives with 'open mind'

(6 days ago)
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will consider Apple's request for incentives to invest in the country with an "open mind", Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters on Wednesday.

General Motors to pay $1 million to resolve SEC accounting case tied to ignition switch

(6 days ago)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Motors Co has agreed to pay $1 million to resolve a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accounting case related to a faulty ignition switch linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries, the regulator said on Wednesday.

South Korea's Netmarble seeks M&As, U.S. expansion: founder

(6 days ago)
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's largest mobile game company, Netmarble Games Corp, is seeking more mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property rights to expand its share of the gaming market in North America and Europe, its founder said.

Starship Technologies partners with Postmates and DoorDash to test deliveries by its largely self-driving robots, in California and Washington D.C. respectively (Sean O'Kane/The Verge)

(6 days ago)
Sean O'Kane / The Verge:Starship Technologies partners with Postmates and DoorDash to test deliveries by its largely self-driving robots, in California and Washington D.C. respectively  —  Postmates and DoorDash are the first commercial partners Stateside  —  A small number of Americans will soon be able to have food …

The Latest: State Argues for More Say on Endangered Species

(6 days ago)
A federal appeals court is weighing whether New Mexico can block the federal government from releasing more endangered wolves in the state without state permission

Slack rolls out new threaded messages feature on mobile, desktop, and web (Casey Newton/The Verge)

(6 days ago)
Casey Newton / The Verge:Slack rolls out new threaded messages feature on mobile, desktop, and web  —  Evolving beyond chat  —  Slack today is rolling out message threads inside its familiar chat window, allowing teams to have more focused conversations inside a new “flex pane” that appears next to the main chat.

Japan To End Tourists' Toilet Trouble With Standardised Buttons

(6 days ago)
The Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association, a consortium of companies producing plumbing products has agreed to unify the iconography used on the often baffling control panels for Japanese toilets. From a report on The Guardian: Navigating the array of buttons on Japan's high-tech toilets can be a disconcerting experience for the uninitiated, who, expecting to hear a familiar flushing sound, are instead subjected to a sudden, and unwanted, cleansing of the nether regions. As Japan prepares for an influx of overseas visitors during the 2019 rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics the following year, the country's sanitation industry has agreed to standardize pictograms on toilets so users know for certain if they are about to receive a blast of warm air or a jet of water. Nine manufacturers belonging to the Japan sanitary equipment industry association will soon start using the same eight symbols to explain the buttons found on their state-of-the-art WCs. At a launch event this week, the firms said they had agreed to simplify the pictography in response to complaints from tourists that they are confused by symbols that differ depending on the make of toilet. In a survey of 600 foreign visitors, a quarter said they could not understand some of the symbols that appear on the toilet buttons. Read more[..]

Photos show 'weaponised commercial drones' in Iraq

(6 days ago)
Photographs taken in Iraq appear to show commercial drones adapted to drop grenades on the Iraqi security forces.

DNA-testing smartphone aims to tackle drugs resistance

(6 days ago)
A smartphone attachment that analyses DNA could help improve cancer and tuberculosis treatments.

YouTube rolls out group chat platform for its iOS and Android apps that allows discussion around videos as they play, arriving first in Canada (Josh McConnell/Financial Post)

(6 days ago)
Josh McConnell / Financial Post:YouTube rolls out group chat platform for its iOS and Android apps that allows discussion around videos as they play, arriving first in Canada  —  Canadians share more videos online than any other nation so it's fitting that YouTube is unveiling its latest social feature in this country.

Russia Extends Edward Snowden's Asylum To 2020, To Offer Citizenship Next Year

(6 days ago)
Whistleblower and former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been allowed to remain in Russia for another three years and will next year qualify to apply for Russian citizenship. From a report on CNN: Edward Snowden's leave to remain in Russia has been extended until 2020, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has confirmed to CNN. Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor, sought asylum in Russia in June 2013 after leaking volumes of information on American intelligence and surveillance operations to the media. On Tuesday, Zakharova announced an extension of a "couple of years" in a Facebook post that criticized former CIA acting director Michael Morell for an opinion piece he wrote suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin should consider returning Snowden to the United States as "the perfect inauguration gift" to President-elect Donald Trump. Snowden settled in Moscow after initially traveling to Hong Kong following his 2013 public disclosure of classified information. The Russian government granted him asylum soon after. In August 2014, Snowden received a three-year extension to his leave to remain in Russia. That extension was due to expire this year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Thousands of Note 7 Phones Still in Use On Verizon, All Non-911 Calls To Be Rerouted To Customer Service

(6 days ago)
Thousands of Verizon customers continue to use the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the carrier said. This despite the widely publicized recalls spurred by battery fire concerns and a software upgrade designed to kill the phone by preventing it from recharging. From a report: "In spite of our best efforts, there are still customers using the recalled phones who have not returned or exchanged their Note 7 to the point of purchase," a Verizon spokeswoman said. "The recalled Note 7s pose a safety risk to our customers and those around them." So now Verizon is fighting fire with fire, so to speak. The carrier plans to reroute all non-911 outgoing calls to its customer service line, and it might bill the holdouts for the full retail cost of the phone. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ukraine's Power Outage Was a Cyber Attack, Says Power Supplier

(6 days ago)
A power blackout in Ukraine's capital Kiev last month was caused by a cyber attack and investigators are trying to trace other potentially infected computers and establish the source of the breach, utility Ukrenergo told Reuters on Wednesday. From the report: When the lights went out in northern Kiev on Dec. 17-18, power supplier Ukrenergo suspected a cyber attack and hired investigators to help it determine the cause following a series of breaches across Ukraine. Preliminary findings indicate that workstations and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, linked to the 330 kilowatt sub-station "North", were influenced by external sources outside normal parameters, Ukrenergo said in comments emailed to Reuters. "The analysis of the impact of symptoms on the initial data of these systems indicates a premeditated and multi-level invasion," Ukrenergo said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

DocuSign names former Responsys chief Daniel Springer as new CEO, ending a lengthy search (Alex Konrad/Forbes)

(6 days ago)
Alex Konrad / Forbes:DocuSign names former Responsys chief Daniel Springer as new CEO, ending a lengthy search  —  After at least one false start and a 15 month search, one of tech's most valuable private companies has finally found its new chief executive.  —  DocuSign announced on Wednesday …

Android Will Now Store Google Searches Offline and Deliver Them When You Get Signal

(6 days ago)
Google is rolling out an update for its Android app that makes it easier to search on the web with an inconsistent internet connection. Users can make searches when offline and the Google app will store them, delivering the results later (with an optional notification) when the devices get signal again. From a report: As Google product manager Shekhar Sharad writes in a blog post: "So the next time you lose service, feel free to queue up your searches, put your phone away and carry on with your day. The Google app will work behind-the-scenes to detect when a connection is available again and deliver your search results once completed." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Plans To Add an Ebook Store To Windows 10

(6 days ago)
Microsoft may have plans to give Windows 10 users the ability to purchase ebooks directly from the Windows Store. According to a report on MSPowerUser, Windows 10 Creators Update will feature a new book store interface that will support the purchase and viewing of books in the Microsoft Edge browser. The report claims that this feature will be coming to both Windows 10 Mobile and other Windows 10 variants on PCs and tablets. It's worth mentioning that Microsoft made EPUB support a feature of Microsoft Edge as part of its Windows 10 Creators Update Insider test builds last year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Security vendor OPAQ Networks launches security-as-a-service platform, raised $21M Series A (Sean Michael Kerner/eWeek)

(6 days ago)
Sean Michael Kerner / eWeek:Security vendor OPAQ Networks launches security-as-a-service platform, raised $21M Series A  —  A new security vendor is officially starting up today, with the official launch of OPAQ Networks (pronounced opaque).  As part of the official launch, OPAQ Networks also announced …

One in Five of Us May 'Hear' Flashes of Light

(6 days ago)
One in five people is affected by a synaesthesia-like phenomenon in which visual movements or flashes of light are "heard" as faint sounds, according to scientists. From a report on The Guardian: The findings suggest that far more people than initially thought experience some form of sensory cross-wiring -- which could explain the appeal of flashing musical baby toys and strobed lighting at raves. Elliot Freeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at City University and the study's lead author, said: "A lot of us go around having senses that we do not even recognise." More florid forms of synaesthesia, in which disparate sensory experiences are blended, are found in only about 2-4% of the population. To a synaesthete, the number seven might appear red, or the name Wesley might "taste" like boiled cabbage, for instance. The latest work -- only the second published on the phenomenon -- suggests that many more of us experience a less intrusive version of the condition in which visual movements or flashes are accompanied by an internal soundtrack of hums, buzzes or swooshes. Since movements are very frequently accompanied by sounds in everyday life, the effect is likely to be barely discernible. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dutch Developer Added Backdoor To Websites He Built, Phished Over 20,000 Users

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: A Dutch developer illegally accessed the accounts of over 20,000 users after he allegedly collected their login information via backdoors installed on websites he built. According to an official statement, Dutch police officials are now in the process of notifying these victims about the crook's actions. The hacker, yet to be named by Dutch authorities, was arrested on July 11, 2016, at a hotel in Zwolle, the Netherlands, and police proceeded to raid two houses the crook owned, in Leeuwarden and Sneek. According to Dutch police, the 35-years-old suspect was hired to build e-commerce sites for various companies. After doing his job, the developer also left backdoors in those websites, which he used to install various scripts that allowed him to collect information on the site's users. Police say that it's impossible to determine the full breadth of his hacking campaign, but evidence found on his laptop revealed he gained access to over 20,000 email accounts. Authorities say the hacker used his access to these accounts to read people's private email conversations, access their social media profiles, sign-up for gambling sites with the victim's credentials, and access online shopping sites to make purchases for himself using the victim's funds. Read[..]

Thousands warned they may be victims of rogue webmaster

(6 days ago)
Police in the Netherlands are contacting more than 20,000 people who they suspect had their data stolen by a rogue web developer.

Low-Cost Android One Phones Coming To The US, Says Report

(7 days ago)
The Android One platform is a program designed by Google to provide budget-friendly Android smartphones to developing markets. The phones are attractive because they contain no bloatware, competing services, and a lack of software and security updates -- the stuff that most low-end smartphones contain. According to a report from The Information, the program is about to make its way to the U.S. market. The Verge reports: Android One phones have historically been produced by companies you probably haven't heard of, like Micromax, Cherry, and QMobile. Originally Google had a direct hand in detailing what components would go into the phone, but apparently became more flexible over time and eventually expanded the program beyond India to parts of Africa, Spain, and Portugal. Android One may not have been the rousing worldwide success Google was hoping for, but it's still an important initiative for the company. Especially at the low end, there's a lot of incentive for manufacturers to pile on extra software in a bid to make those devices more profitable -- but that could cut against Google's efforts to make its own services more pervasive and popular. If Google really does put some real effort behind Android One, it could make its plans for Android a little clearer. Google itself has taken a stand that it wants to make its own hardware at the high-end of the smartphone market with the Pixel, and if The Information's report is accurate, it wants to ensure that its services are not[..]

Study Finds Global Warming Could Steal Postcard-Perfect Days

(7 days ago)
A new study says those nice weather days _ the kind perfect for picnics and outdoor weddings _ will be dwindling in the future because of global warming
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