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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

+ - 108 SIM cards have been broken

Submitted by gwolf
gwolf (26339) writes "After unbelievably many years, while mostly anything on a cell phone has been hacked, rooted, tweaked and b0rken, there was one piece that still was regarded as secure: The SIM card. But, Forbes reports, Karsten Nohl has proven them vulnerable, making millions of phones vulnerable. Oh, yes, remotely vulnerable to Java code execution. Nohl will present his findings in the Blackhat Security Conference, to be held on July 31."

+ - 253 PIN-Cracking Robot To Be Showed Off At Defcon->

Submitted by Sparrowvsrevolution
Sparrowvsrevolution (1926150) writes "At the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas early next month, security researchers Justin Engler and Paul Vines plan to show off the R2B2, or Robotic Reconfigurable Button Basher, a piece of hardware they built for around $200 that can automatically punch PIN numbers at a rate of about one four-digit guess per second, fast enough to crack a typical Android phone's lock screen in 20 hours or less.

Engler and Vines built their bot, shown briefly in a preview video, from three $10 servomotors, a plastic stylus, an open-source Arduino microcontroller, a collection of plastic parts 3D-printed on their local hackerspace's Makerbot 3D printer, and a five dollar webcam that watches the phone's screen to detect if it's successfully guessed the password. The device can be controlled via USB, connecting to a Mac or Windows PC that runs a simple code-cracking program. The researchers plan to release both the free software and the blueprints for their 3D-printable parts at the time of their Def Con talk.

In addition to their finger-like R2B2, Engler and Vines are also working on another version of their invention that will instead use electrodes attached to a phone’s touchscreen, simulating capacitative screen taps with faster electrical signals. That bot, which they’re calling the Capacitative Cartesian Coordinate Brute-force Overlay or C3BO, remains a work in progress, Engler says, though he plans to have it ready for Def Con."

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+ - 191 How to set up non-obnoxious outdoor lighting?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "My neighbor recently complained about my outdoor floodlight shining in her window. While trying to address this problem, I read an essay about the tragedy of light pollution, and started to think that this is a much broader issue. With all the new lighting technologies out there, this may be the right time to rethink lighting — both indoor and outdoor; public and private. I solved my problem by replacing the floodlight with a spotlight, but I also considered installing a colored light. What are some strategies for illuminating what we need to without casting excess light everywhere and inadvertently blinding our neighbors or keeping them awake?"

+ - 136 Ask Slashdot - can you install a real OS (Android/Linux) on MS Surface hardware? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I really need a tablet, and I really don't want to re-enter the MicroSoft universe. I haven't used an MS OS since Vista, yet the Surface seems to be sweet hardware. Can you install Android or Ubuntu on a Surface and still use the necessary parts of tabled architecture?

The Google tablet doesn't have access for using an SD chip, which is its major architectural flaw to me, not to mention the problem recharging many users report.

What's the real answer to a tablet to travel overseas with?"

+ - 123 'Pink Mass' Has Made Westboro Baptist Church Founder's Mom Gay->

Submitted by PolygamousRanchKid
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "On Sunday, July 14, the Satanic Temple, a New York-based organization that seeks to foster "benevolence and empathy among all people" through Satan, performed a ritual called a "pink mass" at the Mississippi gravesite of Catherine Idalette Johnston, mother of WBC founder Fred Phelps Jr. The aim? To "turn" the WBC founder's mom gay for all eternity.

"Upon completion of the pink mass ceremony, Catherine Johnston is now gay in the afterlife," notes the Satanic Temple website, which has the cheeky URL www.westboro-baptist.com. "Fred Phelps is obligated to believe that his mother is now gay ... [and] if beliefs are inviolable rights, nobody has the right to challenge our right to believe that Fred Phelps believes that his mother is now gay." The latter assertion appears to be a play on the WBC's own stance that their beliefs are totally infallible.

Vice reports that the idea for the pink mass came about in April, after the WBC threatened to protest the funerals of the Boston Marathon bombing victims. The website compared the the pink mass to "the Mormon practice of baptizing the dead, only much gayer.""

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+ - 124 New Zealand Government About to Legalize Spying on NZ Citizens

Submitted by Flere Imsaho
Flere Imsaho (786612) writes "After admitting they have illegally spied on NZ citizens or residents 88 times since 2003, the government, in a stunning example of arse covering, is about to grant the GCSB the right to intercept the communications of New Zealanders in its role as the national cyber security agency, rather than examine the role the GCSB should play and then look at the laws. There has been strong criticism from many avenues http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/8929715/Calls-widen-for-GCSB-law-probe
The bill is being opposed by Labor and the Greens http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/215154/labour,-greens-say-gcsb-bill-remains-flawed, but it looks like National now have the numbers to get this passed. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10901674

Of course, the front page story is all about the royal baby, with this huge erosion of privacy relegated to a small article near the bottom of the front page. Three cheers, the monarchy is secure, never mind the rights of the people. More bread and circuses anyone?"

+ - 132 Canonical launches highly ambitious smartphone crowdfunding campaign

Submitted by guises
guises (2423402) writes "Canonical has launched an indiegogo campaign for the Ubuntu Edge — a proposed high-end smartphone that would dual-boot Ubuntu and Android by default. The campaign has a lofty goal of $32 million, which they hope to raise in only thirty days. An ambitious goal, given that the highest-funded campaign ever on Kickstarter, the Pebble watch, raised only $10.2 million in thirty eight days. Never the less, the project certainly has it's appeal and those who get in early (today only) can get the phone for as little as $600."

+ - 119 Google Launches Cloud Printer Service For Windows

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is bringing its Cloud Print project to Windows. The company has launched both a driver and a service, both of which are available for download now from Google Tools. For those who don’t know, Google Cloud Print connects Cloud Print-aware applications (across the Web, desktop, and mobile) to any printer. It integrates with the mobile versions of Gmail and Google Docs, and is also listed as a printer option in the Print Preview page of Chrome."

+ - 130 New evidence that megafloods eroded steep gorge->

Submitted by vinces99
vinces99 (2792707) writes "The Yarlung-Tsangpo River in southern Asia drops rapidly through the Himalaya Mountains on its way to the Bay of Bengal, losing about 7,000 feet of elevation through the precipitously steep Tsangpo Gorge. For the first time, scientists have direct geochemical evidence that the 150-mile long gorge, possibly the worldâ(TM)s deepest, was the conduit by which megafloods from glacial lakes, perhaps half the volume of Lake Erie, drained suddenly and catastrophically through the Himalayas when their ice dams failed at times during the last 2 million years.

âoeYou would expect that if a three-day long flood occurred, there would be some pretty significant impacts downstream,â said Karl Lang, a University of Washington doctoral candidate in Earth and space sciences. In this case, the water moved rapidly through bedrock gorge, carving away the base of slopes so steep they already were near the failure threshold. Because the riverbed through the Tsangpo Gorge is essentially bedrock and the slope is so steep and narrow, the deep flood waters could build enormous speed and erosive power."

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+ - 126 Robotic Skin Lights Up When Touched

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have designed a super-thin flexible skin that lights up when touched. 'Thinner than a sheet of paper, the skin is made from layers of plastic and a pressure-sensitive rubber. A conductive silver ink, organic LEDs, and thin-film transistors made from semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotubes are sandwiched between the layers. Applying pressure sends a signal through the rubber that ultimately turns on the LEDs, which light up in red, green, yellow or blue. Instead of using the material to create bodysuits for Burning Man or other illuminated party tricks, scientists suggest that it might be used for smart wallpapers, health-monitoring devices, or in robotics. The type of interactive pressure sensor developed by the Berkeley scientists could also be useful in artificial skin for prosthetic limbs'"

+ - 182 KDE's Vivaldi tablets are shipping to devs for quality testing->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Aaron Seigo, the lead KDE developer, says that the ambitious KDE tablet Vivaldi is shipping to the team for quality testing. Seigo writes on his Google+ page,

"A great start to the week with a warm, sunny, quiet Monday. Well, almost quiet. The first Vivaldi tablets, new dual-core engineering boards and the custom EOMA68 developer workbenches we commissioned have all been shipped out. Don't get too excited: the tablets are pre-certification (EC/FCC) and are on their way to us so we can verify the Q/A targets we set out. Still ... ""

Link to Original Source

+ - 111 Lenovo 'Rips and Flips' The ThinkPad with the Convertible Helix Design->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Convertible laptops and ultrabooks had a big presence this year with the release of Windows 8. At CES, Lenovo revealed its ThinkPad Helix which it marketed as having a "groundbreaking 'rip and flip' design" that enables this 11.6-inch ultrabook to transform into a powerful Windows 8 tablet with Intel vPro technology for the enterprise. The ThinkPad Helix lets you work in four different modes: laptop, tablet, stand, and tablet+. When attached to the Enhanced Keyboard Dock in laptop mode, you’ll get additional battery life and additional ports as well as Lenovo’s ThinkPad Precision keyboard, a five button trackpad that supports Windows 8 features, and a traditional ThinkPad TrackPoint mouse. By docking the Helix backward on the enhanced keyboard, you can use it in stand mode for business presentations or watching movies. Folding it down from stand mode enables tablet+ mode which gives you a tablet with extended battery life and additional ports. The ThinkPad Helix features an 11.6-inch Full HD 1080p IPS (In-Plane Switching) 10-point multi-touchscreen with pen touch input and Gorilla Glass for protection. Lenovo claims the ThinkPad Helix will run for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Performance-wise, the new ThinkPad tablet convertible doesn't have a ton of horsepower, but the machine will get by well enough handling light multimedia and office app use with relative ease."
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+ - 110 MIT Startup's Coffee-Infuse Socks Neutralize Stinky Feet->

Submitted by fangmcgee
fangmcgee (1716754) writes "Summer swelter have your feet in funk? Ministry of Supply is launching a line of men’s dress socks that are engineered to eliminate sweat and odor while providing all-day comfort at key pressure points. Derived from coffee-infused recycled-polyester fibers, the “Atlas” acts like a “Brita filter for your feet, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-based startup, which launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its development."
Link to Original Source

+ - 159 Here's What Wi-Fi Would Look Like If We Could See It->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Artist Nickolay Lamm, a blogger for MyDeals.com, decided to shed some light on the subject. He created visualizations that imagine the size, shape, and color of wi-fi signals were they visible to the human eye.

"I feel that by showing what wi-fi would look like if we could see it, we'd appreciate the technology that we use everyday," Lamm told me in an email. "A lot of us use technology without appreciating the complexity behind making it work.""

Link to Original Source

+ - 143 Chemical weapons expert destroys the "science" of claim on Syrian chem weapons->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Charles P. Blair of the Federation of American Scientists has a blistering piece on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. 'When it comes to hostile states suspected of having weapons of mass destruction, examples of unwarranted and erroneous US allegations are not hard to find.' Terrific read."
Link to Original Source

+ - 144 True Tales of (Mostly) White Hat Hacking

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "Stings, penetration pwns, spy games — it's all in a day’s work along the thin gray line of IT security, writes Roger A. Grimes, introducing his five true tales of (mostly) white hat hacking. "Three guys sitting in a room, hacking away, watching porn, and getting paid to do it — life was good," Grimes writes of a gig probing for vulnerabilities in a set-top box for a large cable company hoping to prevent hackers from posting porn to the Disney Channel feed. Spamming porn spammers, Web beacon stings with the FBI, luring a spy to a honeypot — "I can't say I'm proud of all the things I did, but the stories speak for themselves.""

+ - 212 Fedora Project Considering Switch to Layered Design->

Submitted by Karrde712
Karrde712 (125745) writes "Fedora Cloud Architect Matthew Miller announced today[1] a proposal on a plan to redesign the way that the Fedora Project builds its GNU/Linux distribution. Fedora has often been described as a "bag of bits", with thousands of packages and only minimal integration. Miller's proposal for "Fedora.Next" describes reorganizing the packages and upstream projects that comprise Fedora into a series of "rings", each level of which would have its own set of release and packaging requirements. The lowest levels of the distribution may be renamed to "Fedora Core".

Discussion on the list has questioned whether this is meant to be a return to the old "Fedora Core" and "Fedora Extras" model of Fedora's early life, to which Miller responded: 'I'm aware of this concern — I was there too, you know. As I was talking about the idea with people, it kept being hard to not accidentally say "core". Finally, as I was talking to Seth Vidal, he said, in his characteristic way, "Look, here's the thing. You should just call it Fedora Core. If you don't, people are going to be grumbling in the back corner and saying that it's really Core, and the conversation becomes about a conspiracy about the name. Just call it Fedora Core, and then have the conversation about the important point, which is how it's different."'

Much discussion is ongoing on the Fedora Devel mailing list. If any Slashdot readers have good advice to add to the discussion, it would be most useful to respond to the ongoing thread there.

[1] https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/devel/2013-July/186323.html"

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+ - 187 Hollywood's Love of Analytics Couldn't Prevent Six Massive Blockbuster Flops-> 3

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "In June, Steven Spielberg predicted that Hollywood was on the verge of an “implosion” in which “three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing to the ground.” The resulting destruction, he added, could change the film industry in radical and possibly unwelcome ways. And sooner than he may have thought, the implosion has arrived: in the past couple weeks, six wannabe blockbusters have cratered at the North American box office: “R.I.P.D.,” “After Earth,” “White House Down,” “Pacific Rim,” and “The Lone Ranger.” These films featured big stars, bigger explosions, and top-notch special effects—exactly the sort of summer spectacle that ordinarily assures a solid run at the box office. Yet all of them failed to draw in the massive audiences needed to earn back their gargantuan budgets. Hollywood's more reliant than ever on analytics to predict how movies will do, and even Google has taken some baby-steps into that arena with a white paper describing how search-query patterns and paid clicks can estimate how well a movie will do on its opening weekend, but none of that data seems to be helping Hollywood avoid shooting itself in the foot with a "Pacific Rim"-sized plasma cannon. In other words, analytics can help studios refine their rollout strategy for new films—but the bulk of box-office success ultimately comes down to the most elusive and unquantifiable of things: knowing what the audience wants before it does, and a whole lot of luck."
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+ - 248 Software development employment rises 45% in 10 years->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Software employment is rising at 4 to 5% a year, and may be the only tech occupation to have recovered to full employment since the recession. Other tech occupations aren't doing as well. In 2001, there were more than 200,000 people working in the semi-conductor industry. That number was less than 100,000 by 2010, according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute. Darin Wedel, who was laid off from Texas Instruments, and gained national attention when his wife, Jennifer, challenged President Obama on H-1B use, said that for electrical engineers, "unless you are in the actual design of circuits, then you're not in demand." He said that much of the job loss in the field is due to the closing of fabrication facilities. Wedel has since found new work as a quality engineer."
Link to Original Source

+ - 137 Privacy Documentarian Secretly Films Zuckerberg After Zuckerberg Says Stop->

Submitted by sunsurfandsand
sunsurfandsand (1959680) writes "From the Telegraph: Cullen Hobeck approached Mark Zuckerberg with a video camera, and asked questions. Zuckerberg told Hoback to stop filming. Hoback turned off the videocam, but continued filming with "spy glasses". Hey, Mark, you were right; privacy IS dead after all."
Link to Original Source

+ - 274 Canonical crowdsources to make Ubuntu smartphone called Edge-> 1

Submitted by nk497
nk497 (1345219) writes "Canonical has kicked off a crowdfunding campaign to raise $32 million in 30 days to make its own smartphone, called Ubuntu Edge, that can also hook up to a monitor and be used as a PC. If it meets its funding target on Indiegogo, the Ubuntu Edge is scheduled to arrive in May 2014. To get one, backers must contribute $600 (£394) on the first day or $810 (£532) thereafter. Canonical will only make 40,000 of the devices."
Link to Original Source

+ - 134 US Air Force Reporting 'Pilot Shortage'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Times sure have changed: it is no longer cool to be a fighter pilot. The Pentagon expects to be short some 200 fighter pilots this year, and is projecting that shortfall will increase to 700 pilots by 2021. Various factors seem to be involved: better paying jobs in the commercial sector with more stability, the stress of repeated overseas deployments, and the threat that ultimately the job they trained to do — fly planes — is being superseded by remotely-controlled drones. With demand for commercial aviators heating up as thousands of pilots are expected to reach mandatory retirement age (65) in the next five years, the Air Force is caught in a quandrary. Where are they going to get the pilots to fly their shiny new F-35s?"
Link to Original Source

+ - 221 Finnish Copyright Initiative Gets 50,000 Signatures

Submitted by Koookiemonster
Koookiemonster (1099467) writes "The Finnish citizens' initiative site (Finnish/Swedish only) has fulfilled the required amount of signatures for the third initiative since its founding. This means that the Parliament of Finland is required to take the Common Sense in Copyright initiative into processing.

The initiative calls for removal of copyright infringement as a crime, reducing violations by private individuals to a misdemeanor."

+ - 162 Imitation in Dogs Matches Humans and Apes->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The next time your dog digs a hole in the backyard after watching you garden, don't punish him. He's just imitating you. A new study reveals that our canine pals are capable of copying our behavior as long as 10 minutes after it's happened. The ability is considered mentally demanding and, until this discovery, something that only humans and apes were known to do."
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+ - 211 China Hackers Chuck Zero-Day Malware At Spiritual Activists And Military Groups

Submitted by twoheadedboy
twoheadedboy (2025278) writes "A Chinese hacker group is the chief suspect of spear phishing attacks against the Falun Dafa spiritual group and military organisations in the Philippines. Data handed to TechWeek by AlienVault Labs showed how zero-day malware, designed to pilfer Outlook email account logins, was just one strand of the attacks, which are ongoing. Other malware sought to steal passwords for other accounts, dodging many commercial AV products, whilst remote access tools indicate this is a serious surveillance operation. Chinese authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the claims. But it marks another case of Internet-led surveillance with China's name attached to it, following numerous reports of mass Chinese hacking, which has already allegedly hit massive firms like Facebook and Google."

+ - 103 Google Now 25% of the Internet->

Submitted by sturgeon
sturgeon (1309895) writes "Wired Magazine claims today that Google is 25% of the Internet with a mostly unreported (and rapidly expanding), massive deployment of edge caching servers in almost every Internet provider around the world. Whether users are directly using a Google service (i.e. search, YouTube) or the devices are automatically sending data (e.g. Google Analytics, updates), the majority of end devices around the world will now send traffic to Google server during the course of an average day. It looks like Wired based their story on a report from cloud analytics and network management company DeepField at http://www.deepfield.net/2013/07/google-sets-new-internet-record."
Link to Original Source

+ - 115 'Female' Chromosome May Leave a Mark on Male Fertility->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Behind every great man, the saying goes, there's a great woman. And behind every sperm, there may be an X chromosome gene. In humans, the Y chromosome makes men, men, or so researchers have thought: It contains genes that are responsible for sex determination, male development, and male fertility. But now a team has discovered that X—"the female chromosome"—could also play a significant role in maleness. It contains scores of genes that are active only in tissue destined to become sperm. The finding shakes up our ideas about how sex chromosomes influence gender and also suggests that at least some parts of the X chromosome are playing an unexpectedly dynamic role in evolution."
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+ - 120 Disney Algorithm Builds High-Res 3D Models From Ordinary Photos->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Disney Research has developed an algorithm which can generate 3D computer models from 2D images in great detail, sufficient, it says, to meet the needs of video game and film makers. The technology requires multiple images to capture the scene from a variety of vantage points."
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+ - 187 Intellectual Property Drama Reaches 3D Printing World->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Stratasys, one of the world's biggest 3D printer manufacturer, routinely uses 3D-printed objects as displays for its booths at trade shows. The problem: It's been using objects designed by popular designer Asher Nahmias, whose creations are licensed under a noncommercial Creative Commons license — and he says Stratasys's use violates the licensing terms. This is just one example of how the nascent 3D printing industry is having to grapple with the IP implications of creating physical objects out of downloadable designs. Another important problem: IP law distinguishes between purely deocrative and useful objects, but how should the digital files that provide a design for those objects be treated?"
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+ - 115 Hollywood recipe making all movies the same?

Submitted by Bruce66423
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "This Slate story http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/07/hollywood_and_blake_snyder_s_screenwriting_book_save_the_cat.single.html
explains how a 2005 book has led to all Hollywood movies following the same structure — to a depressing extent. I've always known we could be manipulated — but this provides a segment by segment, almost minute by minute, guide how to do it."

+ - 115 British Prime Minister Promises Default On Porn Blocking->

Submitted by judgecorp
judgecorp (778838) writes "David Cameron, the British Prime Minister has promised that the UK's ISPs will be required to provide connections with "porn blocking " filters switched on by default.. The public promise comes despite opposition from ISPs, and the near-universal acknowledgement that the system wouldn't work. Last week also saw the leak of a letter from the Department for Education which effectively told ISPs to lie — to implement their preferred "active choice" system, and simply CALL it "default-on"."
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+ - 200 Self-assembling multi-copter demonstrates networked flight control->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated an amazing capability for small robots to self-assemble and take to the air as a multi-rotor helicopter. Maximilian Kriegleder and Raymond Oung worked with Professor Raffaello D’Andrea at his research lab to develop the small hexagonal pods that assemble into flying rafts. The true accomplishment of this research is that there is not one robot in control – each unit in itself decides what actions to take to keep the group in the air in what's known as Distributed Flight Array."
Link to Original Source

+ - 107 Online pornography to be blocked automatically, PM to announce->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Every household in the UK is to have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it, David Cameron is to announce.

In addition, Mr Cameron will say possessing online pornography depicting rape will be illegal, bringing England and Wales in line with Scotland.

In a speech, the prime minister will warn that access to online pornography is "corroding childhood"."

Link to Original Source

+ - 167 All pornography in the United Kingdom to be censored by default-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Arguing that pornography is "corroding childhood", British Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce that UK Internet Service Providers must filter all online pornography unless users decide to opt-in to receiving it. In addition, pornography depicting rape will be outlawed, and a database of "banned child porn images" will be constructed to identify anyone viewing these images. Cameron also wants search engines to pop up warning messages when people appear to be searching for prohibited content. He concludes, "This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence."

This is not an April Fool."

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