Technology News

Man Who Refused To Decrypt Hard Drives Is Free After Four Years In Jail

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A Philadelphia man has been freed after a federal appeals court ruled that his continued detention was violating federal law. Francis Rawls, a former police officer, had been in jail since 2015, when a federal judge held him in contempt for failing to decrypt two hard drives taken from his home. The government believes they contain child pornography. After losing that appeal, Rawls raised another challenge: the federal statute that allows judges to hold witnesses in contempt for refusing to testify, passed in 1970, states that "in no event shall such confinement exceed eighteen months." The government argued that this provision didn't apply to Rawls because he was a suspect, not a witness. Also, the rule applies to a "proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand jury." But because the government hadn't formally charged Rawls with a crime, the government argued, there was no court proceeding under way. Last week, a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit rejected this argument in a 2-1 vote. The court's two-judge majority held that Congress had intended for the 18-month limitation to apply broadly to any legal proceeding, not just a formal trial. And while Rawls was a suspect in the case, he was also a witness. The practical result is that, at least in federal court, someone can only be imprisoned for 18 months for refusing to open an encrypted device. The government says it has other evidence suggesting that Rawls[..]

Applied Materials forecasts second-quarter revenue, profit above estimates

(7 days ago)
Chip gear maker Applied Materials Inc forecast second-quarter revenue and profit above Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, as a global roll out of 5G mobile technology led to higher demand for semiconductor equipment.

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona called off over coronavirus fears

(7 days ago)
The Mobile World Congress (MWC), the annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was canceled on Wednesday after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

Pentagon set to back Huawei restrictions: Politico

(7 days ago)
The Pentagon is poised to reverse its opposition to a proposal that would further crack down on U.S. exports to China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with internal deliberations.

Cisco quarterly revenue beats estimate

(7 days ago)
Cisco Systems Inc topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue on Wednesday, as growth in its cyber-security business offset slowing demand for routers and switches.

Applied Materials forecasts current quarter revenue, profit above estimates

(7 days ago)
Chip gear maker Applied Materials Inc forecast second-quarter revenue and profit above Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, as clients upgraded their semiconductor equipment ahead of a global 5G roll out.

Facebook Accidentally Blacked Out an Entire Language

(7 days ago)
On January 16th, Facebook users received an error message when posting in Jinghpaw, a language spoken by Myanmar's ethnic Kachin and written with a Roman alphabet. From a report: "We couldn't post this. Tap for more info," the message said. When clicking, a second appeared: "Your request couldn't be processed. There was a problem with this request. We're working on getting it fixed as soon as we can." A Facebook representative told The Verge that the issue was caused by "a bug in our language infrastructure," and coincided with the launch, the same day, of an updated language identification model supporting ten new languages, including Jinghpaw. The representative said Facebook fixed the issue within hours of receiving reports on January 17th. But while the disabling of Jinghpaw was not an active move of censorship, it alerted many Kachin people that Facebook had the capability to identify their language, an alarming thought for the embattled minority group. That realization has evoked a visceral reaction from the Kachin, and brought forth new calls for the company to be more transparent about its technology and the ways it will be used.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tim Sweeney: Android is a Fake Open System, and iOS is Worse

(7 days ago)
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney opened a game event in Las Vegas today with a call to make the industry more open and liberate it from the monopolistic practices of platform owners such as Google and Apple. From a report: In a talk about his vision for games in the next decade, Sweeney alternated between criticizing all of the big players in the game industry to criticizing specific players with examples of how their behavior isn't good for consumers or for competition. [...] Sweeney called Android a "fake open system" for putting up barriers in front of users when Epic Games wanted to enable players to sideload Fortnite directly from the Epic Games site, rather than through the Google Play store. Sweeney said that Google put up "scary" pop-ups in front of users about the risks of sideloading (viruses, malware) and other steps that users had to engage in order to get Fortnite on Android. Epic also had in "tough discussions" with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to make Fortnite available as a crossplay title (meaning you can play against people on other systems, and your progress, items, and so on are available regardless of device) across the platforms. One of the principles that Sweeney argued for was that "gamers should be free to engage in any game with their friends anyplace they want without any unnecessary friction." He said that the platforms have been too balkanized, and Microsoft lost a whole decade of progress as it tried and failed to make its Windows marketplace more[..]

Mobile World Congress called off over coronavirus fears

(7 days ago)
The Mobile World Congress (MWC), the annual telecoms industry gathering that draws more than 100,000 visitors to Barcelona, was cancelled on Wednesday after a mass exodus by exhibitors due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

London hedge funds' websites cloned as scammers grow bolder and more ubiquitous

(7 days ago)
Some of London's top hedge funds and asset managers are among those that have been targeted by rogue internet operators who clone their names and websites in an attempt to part unsuspecting investors from their cash.

Average Tenure of a CISO is Just 26 Months Due To High Stress and Burnout

(7 days ago)
Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs, or CSOs) across the industry are reporting high levels of stress. From a report: Many say the heightened stress levels has led to mental and physical health issues, relationship problems, medication and alcohol abuse, and in some cases, an eventual burnout, resulting in an average 26-month tenure before CISOs find new employment. The numbers, reported by Nominet, represent a growing issue that's been commonly acknowledged, but mostly ignored across the information security (infosec) community, but one that is slowly starting to rear its ugly head as once-ignored infosec roles are becoming more prominent inside today's companies. [...] The survey's results paint a gloomy picture about one of today's most in-demand jobs. According to the numbers: 88% of CISOs reported being "moderately or tremendously stressed." 48% of CISOs said work stress has had a detrimental impact on their mental health. 40% of CISOs said that their stress levels had affected their relationships with their partners or children. 32% said that their job stress levels had repercussions on their marriage or romantic relationships.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

London hedge funds' websites cloned as scammers grow bolder and more ubiquitous

(7 days ago)
Some of London's top hedge funds and asset managers are among those that have been targeted by rogue internet operators who clone their names and websites in an attempt to part unsuspecting investors from their cash.

Andy Rubin's Essential is Shutting Down

(7 days ago)
Essential, Android creator Andy Rubin's high-profile phone startup, is shutting down. From a report: As a result of the shutdown, Essential says it will no longer support the Essential Phone with further security updates or customer support. Additionally, Newton Mail, which Essential acquired when it purchased developer CloudMagic in 2018, will stop working on May 1st. On its blog, Essential cites Project Gem, the tallish concept phone the company teased late last year, and its inability to find a "clear path" to get the device to consumers as the main reason for the shutdown. The startup had raised about $330 million.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Trade Fair Mobile World Congress Has Been Cancelled

(7 days ago)
In an emailed statement, John Hoffman, the CEO of GSMA, which organizes the trade fair, said the coronavirus outbreak has made it "impossible" to hold the event. Further reading, from earlier today: MWC Hangs by a Thread After Nokia, Vodafone, DT and Other Big Names Back OutRead more of this story at Slashdot.

SoftBank executive flags some 50 'winners' in $100 billion Vision Fund

(7 days ago)
SoftBank Vision Fund has around 50 winners in its $100 billion portfolio and a dozen or more companies could pursue listings over the next 18 months, Rajeev Misra, chief executive of SoftBank Investment Advisers, said on Wednesday.

WhatsApp users cross 2 billion, second only to Facebook

(7 days ago)
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp said on Wednesday it has amassed 2 billion users, becoming the second social media platform in the world to hit that milestone.

Mexico's America Movil to focus on bringing 5G to Latin America

(7 days ago)
America Movil, Mexico's largest telecommunications provider, shed light on its plans to roll out 5G technology in Latin America on Wednesday as the company's shares surged on a strong earnings report.

WhatsApp users cross 2 billion, second only to Facebook

(7 days ago)
Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp said on Wednesday it has amassed 2 billion users, becoming the second social media platform in the world to hit that milestone.

The Court Let T-Mobile Buy Sprint Because Sprint Completely Sucks

(7 days ago)
Nilay Patel, a lawyer and editor-in-chief of The Verge, on court's approval of T-Mobile and Sprint merger: The decision itself is extremely surprising: Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York basically decided that the various data and experts put forward by the 10 state attorneys general who sued to stop the merger weren't worth taking seriously and that he would decide for himself whether T-Mobile and Dish seemed like cool companies worth trusting. And... it turns out that Judge Marrero thinks CEO John Legere and the rest of T-Mobile's executives are extremely cool and smart and that Dish Network is definitely trustworthy and that everything is going to work out great. Also, the judge thinks that Sprint sucks. Really, if there's one major takeaway here, it's that Victor Marrero, a federal judge selected by Bill Clinton for a lifetime appointment on the federal judiciary, thinks that Sprint is a bad company with a crap network run by dummies. This is the law now. Let's go through the decision.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Transgender users accuse TikTok of censorship

(7 days ago)
The short-form video platform has been unable to explain why some content has been taken down.

Facebook starts fact-checking partnership with Reuters

(7 days ago)
Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it has reached an agreement with news agency Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters Corp, to fact-check content posted on the social media platform and its photo-sharing app Instagram.

Facebook postpones EU rollout of dating service: regulator

(7 days ago)
Facebook has postponed the rollout of its new dating services in the European Union scheduled for Thursday after Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), the company's main regulator in the bloc, raised concerns about the launch.

Facebook postpones EU rollout of dating service: regulator

(7 days ago)
Facebook has postponed the rollout of its new dating services in the European Union scheduled for Thursday after Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), the company's main regulator in the bloc, raised concerns about the launch.

EU antitrust regulators plan broad enquiry into tech sector

(7 days ago)
EU antitrust regulators plan to open an enquiry into the tech industry, according to a European Commission document seen by Reuters, a sign of more regulatory troubles ahead for Google, Facebook, Amazon and other online groups.

Trump signs order to test U.S. infrastructure's vulnerability to GPS outage

(7 days ago)
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order directing U.S. agencies to test the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure systems in the event of a disruption or manipulation of satellite-based global positioning system services (GPS).

Organizers agonize over whether to scrap Mobile World Congress

(7 days ago)
Organizers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) agonized on Wednesday over whether to cancel or press ahead with a smaller version of the event after major European telecom companies pulled out over the coronavirus outbreak.

Data Protection Authority Investigates Avast for Selling Users' Browsing History

(7 days ago)
The Czech data protection authority has announced an investigation into antivirus company Avast, which was harvesting the browsing history of over 100 million users and then selling products based on that data to a slew of different companies including Google, Microsoft, and Home Depot. From a report: "On the basis of the information revealed describing the practices of Avast Software s.r.o., which was supposed to sell data on the activities of anti-virus users through its 'Jumpshot division' the Office initiated a preliminary investigation of the case," a statement from the Czech national data protection authority on its website reads. Under the European General Protection Regulation (GDPR) and national laws, the Czech Republic, like other EU states, has a data protection authority to enforce things like mishandling of personal data. With GDPR, companies can be fined for data abuses. "At the moment we are collecting information on the whole case. There is a suspicion of a serious and extensive breach of the protection of users' personal data. Based on the findings, further steps will be taken and general public will be informed in due time," added Ms Ivana Janu, President of the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection, in the statement. Avast is a Czech company.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Shopify hits record high on better-than-expected 2020 sales forecast

(7 days ago)
Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc's full-year revenue forecast above analysts' estimates and better-than-expected quarterly earnings on higher holiday sales, pushed its shares to a record high on Wednesday.

This App Automatically Cancels and Sues Robocallers

(7 days ago)
DoNotPay, the family of consumer advocacy services meant to protect people from corporate exploitation, is launching a new app aimed at helping end our long national nightmare surrounding robocalls by giving you a burner credit card to get their contact details then giving you a chatbot lawyer to automatically sue them. From a report: DoNotPay Founder and CEO Joshua Browder's Robo Revenge app is unique from every other app looking to protect you from robocalls in that it can get you cash while stopping them completely. "All of the big companies like AT&T and Apple have failed to protect consumers," Browder told Motherboard over the phone. "Consumers have to protect themselves. The only way the problem will end is if the robocallers start losing money every time they call someone." In the past, DoNot Pay has offered various apps to help consumers fight back. DoNotPay's Free Trial Card creates a virtual, one-time-use credit card to protect you from getting charged by "industrialized scams" like free trials. DoNotPay's original offering was a chatbot lawyer program that automatically disputed parking tickets in small claims court. Robo Revenge combines both features to automatically add you to the Do Not Call Registry, generate a virtual DoNotPay burner credit card to provide scammers when they illegally call you anyways, use the transaction information to get the scammer's contact information, then walk you through how to sue them for as much as $3,000 per call under the[..]

Trump Signs Order To Test Vulnerabilities of US Infrastructure To GPS Outage

(7 days ago)
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order directing U.S. agencies to test the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure systems in the event of a disruption or manipulation of global positioning system services (GPS). From a report: GPS is critical to a variety of purposes ranging from electrical power grids, weather forecasting, traffic signals, smartphone applications and vehicle navigation systems. The order said "disruption or manipulation of these services has the potential to adversely affect the national and economic security of the United States."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Trump signs order to test vulnerabilities of U.S. infrastructure to GPS outage

(7 days ago)
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order directing U.S. agencies to test the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure systems in the event of a disruption or manipulation of global positioning system services (GPS).

WhatsApp user base crosses 2 billion mark, second only to Facebook

(7 days ago)
Messaging app WhatsApp said on Wednesday it now has over 2 billion users worldwide, making it the largest social media platform after Facebook Inc, its parent company.

WhatsApp user base crosses 2 billion mark, second only to Facebook

(7 days ago)
Messaging app WhatsApp said on Wednesday it now has over 2 billion users worldwide, making it the largest social media platform after Facebook Inc, its parent company.

Samsung Galaxy Book S is Thinner, Lighter, Faster Than MacBook Air

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: The Intel Core i5-8210Y delivers a multi-core score of 1544 which compares poorly with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx multi-core score of 2745. Yet, despite fitting the MacBook Air with a 49.9 Wh battery, Apple claims it will deliver just 13 hours of continuous video playback. However, because of the superior performance-per-watt of the Snapdragon 8cx when paired with the smaller 42 Wh battery in the Galaxy Book S, it delivers up to 25 hours (claimed) of continuous video playback. You can probably also argue that Microsoft has done an excellent job of optimizing Windows on ARM so that it works so harmoniously in this WinARM union. The MacBook Air weighs 1.25 kg (2.75 pounds) and is 15.6 mm (0.61-inches) at its thickest point. This compares with the Galaxy Book S which weighs 0.96 kg (2.11 pounds) and measures 11.8 mm (0.46-inches). Given that buyers of the slightly more expensive MacBook Air (US$1,099) are also only going to be doing relatively light-weight tasks on it like internet browsing and running Microsoft's Office suite on it, why would anyone choose the MacBook Air over the Galaxy Book S (US$999)? Like the MacBook Air, the Galaxy Book S runs its operating system, pre-installed apps and the Office suite natively while also giving users the option to use 32-bit x86 apps for those occasions where you might want to use other apps.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A stock and a hard place: SoftBank's $150 billion Alibaba warchest in spotlight

(7 days ago)
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son threw cold water on Wednesday on the idea of cutting his firm's $150 billion stake in e-commerce giant Alibaba , after prominent activist investor Elliott Management called for big buybacks.

WhatsApp Hits 2 Billion Users

(7 days ago)
WhatsApp, the most popular messaging service, revealed today just how big it has become. From a report: The Facebook-owned app said it has amassed two billion users, up from 1.5 billion it revealed two years ago. The announcement today makes WhatsApp the only second app from Facebook to join the two-billion-users club. (Facebook's marquee app has 2.5 billion users.) In an earnings call late January, Facebook also noted that that there were 2.26 billion users that opened either Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp each day, up from 2.2 billion last quarter. The family of apps sees 2.89 billion total monthly users, up 9% year-over-year. WhatsApp, founded 11 years ago and sold to Facebook for $19 billion six years ago, took the opportunity today to reiterate how committed it is to providing end-to-end encryption to its customers all over the globe -- a crucial feature lauded by security experts everywhere but something that many governments are increasingly trying to contest. "Strong encryption acts like an unbreakable digital lock that keeps the information you send over WhatsApp secure, helping protect you from hackers and criminals. Messages are only kept on your phone, and no one in between can read your messages or listen to your calls, not even us. Your private conversations stay between you," WhatsApp wrote in a blog post.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Organisers poised to call off Mobile World Congress: sources

(7 days ago)
Organisers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will decide on Wednesday whether to cancel the event, two sources said, after several major European telecom companies pulled out due to the coronavirus outbreak.

MWC Hangs by a Thread After Nokia, Vodafone, DT and Other Big Names Back Out

(7 days ago)
More big names are stepping away from the world's biggest phone and telecom trade fair, they announced today, prompting the organizers to urgently decide what they wish to do going forward. From a report: Nokia, one of the omnipresent firms at major tech trade conferences, won't be attending this year's Mobile World Congress, it said Wednesday citing health and safety concerns over coronavirus outbreak. Electronics giant HMD, which sells smartphones under Nokia brand, cited similar reasoning for its withdrawal, too. The iconic Finnish firm, one of the cornerstone companies at MWC, and HMD have become the latest to back out of the trade fair. In recent days, scores of firms including Ericsson, Amazon, Vivo, LG, Facebook, and Sony have withdrawn their participation from the world's biggest smartphones-focused trade show. German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom, London-headquartered telecoms giant Vodafone, and BT, Britain's biggest telecommunications group, have also backed out citing coronavirus outbreak, they announced on Wednesday. MWC attracts over 100,000 attendees, thousands of companies and high-profile executives who use this global platform to broker deals and unveil their upcoming gadgets and innovations to the world. The trade fair also contributes to the bottom line of Barcelona city. This year, the four-day trade show was scheduled to take place from February 27.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

We're monitoring coronavirus, say organizers of Barcelona telecoms meet

(7 days ago)
The organizers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) said on Wednesday they were monitoring "the fast-changing" development of the coronavirus, in a statement issued after sources said the event in Barcelona was likely to be called off.

Vodafone joins Mobile World Congress exodus

(7 days ago)
Vodafone , the world's second largest mobile operator, said it was pulling out of Barcelona's Mobile World Congress because of the coronavirus outbreak, joining an exodus of major European players on Wednesday.

Organizers poised to call off Mobile World Congress: sources

(7 days ago)
Organizers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) will decide on Wednesday whether to cancel the event, two sources said, after several major European telecom companies pulled out due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Softbank's Vision Fund 2 stalls as key backers opt out

(7 days ago)
Big investors who are critical to SoftBank Group's plans for a second massive technology investment fund are refusing to take part unless the first $100 billion Vision Fund can turn around its performance, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Google says EU antitrust regulators holding back innovation

(7 days ago)
Google defended its business model on Wednesday, saying that making innovative products was at its core rather than helping rivals, as it sought to overturn a 2.4-billion-euro ($2.6 billion) EU antitrust fine at Europe's second-highest court.

Battery Ventures closes two funds totaling $2 billion

(7 days ago)
Battery Ventures, a tech-focused venture capital firm, on Wednesday said it had raised $2 billion in two new funds, a sign of investor interest in start-ups despite some high-profile stumbles including office space leasing company WeWork.

The Price of a .Com Domain Is Set To Rise, and Some Sellers Aren't Happy

(7 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: If you're the sort who buys domains for fun, or to inspire you to start a future project, your hobby's about to get a little pricier. ICANN is just days away from ending a consultation into the future of the .com top-level domain that'll put an end to Obama-era price freezes. If successful, it'll see the cost of a .com address rise by two bucks by the end of 2026, and potentially more thereafter. Verisign has the exclusive right to sell .com domains, and since 2012 the price of a .com has been frozen at $7.85. ICANN and Verisign are planning to reverse the freeze, allowing the company to increase its price four out of every six years, potentially in perpetuity. The other part of the deal will offer Verisign the right to operate its own registrar for other domains it offers, allowing it to compete with other DNS businesses. Price-wise, Verisign will be able to increase the wholesale price of a .com name by up to seven percent for four of the next six years. That means that, potentially, the cost of one such domain would rise to $10.26 by the end of 2026, although existing owners will have advance notice of any change to lock in existing prices for up to 10 years at a time. The cause of this is a desire to roll back an Obama-era initiative, something that the Department of Commerce has been open about. In 2018, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the Department of Commerce pretty much said[..]
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