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Submission + - Pwned Barbies Spying on Children? Toytalk CEO downplays hacking reports (

McGruber writes: Earlier this year Mattel unveiled "Hello Barbie" (, a $74.99 wi-fi equipped interactive doll. Users press a button on Barbie's belt to start a conversation and the recorded audio is processed over the internet so that the doll can respond appropriately. The doll also remembers the user’s likes and dislikes.

Now Security Researcher Matt Jakubowski claims that he has managed to hack the Hello Barbie system to extract wi-fi network names, account IDs and MP3 files, which could be used to track down someone’s home. “You can take that information and find out a person’s house or business. It’s just a matter of time until we are able to replace their servers with ours and have her say anything we want,” Jakubowski warned.

Mattel partnered with ToyTalk to develop "Hello Barbie". ToyTalk CEO Oren Jacob said: “An enthusiastic researcher has reported finding some device data and called that a hack. While the path that the researcher used to find that data is not obvious and not user-friendly, it is important to note that all that information was already directly available to Hello Barbie customers through the Hello Barbie Companion App. No user data, no Barbie content, and no major security or privacy protections have been compromised to our knowledge.”

A petition by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood asking Mattel to drop the doll has already been signed by over 6,000 people.

NOTE: The original reporting of this hack appears to have been this NBC-Chicago newscast:

Submission + - Georgia gives personal data of 6 million voters to Georgia GunOwner Magazine ( 1

McGruber writes: A class action lawsuit alleges that Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office released the personal identifying information of Georgia voters to twelve organizations, "including statewide political parties, news media organizations and Georgia GunOwner Magazine".

According to Kemp, his office shares "voter registration data every month with news media and political parties that have requested it as required by Georgia law. Due to a clerical error where information was put in the wrong file, 12 recipients received a disc that contained personal identifying information that should not have been included."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution independently confirmed the inclusion of the personal data in the October file. The AJC did so by accessing the October data disc, looking up information for an AJC staffer and confirming his Social Security number and driver’s license information was included. The AJC has returned its copy of the disc to the state.

Submission + - TGV Test Train Catches Fire & Derails, Killing Five (

McGruber writes: Earlier today in Eckwersheim, France, TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) 2369 Test Train caught fire, derailed and overturned. Two carriages were partially submerged into a river and at least five people were killed.

As of now, there are no direct links with the terrorist attacks on Paris and the train crash does not appear to have been caused deliberately.

A TGV test train holds the record for the fastest wheeled train, having reached 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph) on 3 April 2007 ( Today's derailment appears to have been the first fatal crash of a TGV while running at high speed.

Comment Looks like a Camera on a Copy Stand (Score 1) 221

To me, the device looks like a camera on a copy stand.

My guess is that it uses a camera from a cell phone, some LEDs to provide illumination, and the foot pedal is the shutter trigger.

To scan, you hit the foot pedal to snap a photo, turn the page, hit the foot pedal again to snap another photo, turn the page, snap another photo, turn the page again, snap another photo, etc. Software then combines the photos into a scanned document.

Comment Update: Piazza took memory card & copied info (Score 4, Informative) 172

There's more information about the scandal on the AJC's (easily circumvented) paywalled site: MyAJC:Voting irregularities alleged in LaVista Hills election

The article includes a key detail not mentioned in the slashdot summary:

Leonard Piazza, the second in command in DeKalb’s elections office, said there were serious problems regarding the LaVista vote.....Piazza said he took the memory card and copied information from DeKalb’s voting tabulation server so that he could try and prove tampering. But those actions aren’t allowed, and he has been placed on paid leave.

Submission + - "Unsecured Memory Card" prompts election fraud investigation in Georgia (

McGruber writes: On Tuesday, there was an election in Dekalb County, Georgia. An area of the county known as LaVista Hills voted on a referendum on whether they should incorporate into a brand-new city or whether they should remain an unincorporated part of the county. The referendum failed by a mere 136 votes, less than 1 percent of all votes cast.

The second in command at DeKalb County’s office of elections is now alleging there were very serious irregularities regarding the LaVista Hills cityhood vote. Piazza says voters were turned away at their polling places, voter material wasn’t properly secured, and that "there was a memory card that collects citizen votes loose in the office." Piazza's allegations have prompted Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to open an investigation.


Local Atlanta television stations are reporting that Piazza first reported the irregularities to his boss in Dekalb County and that she responded by putting him on leave. One TV station is also broadcasting footage of state investigators removing election equipment from Dekalb County offices. (Those reports are not yet posted on their websites.)

Submission + - Billion Dollar Blimp breaks free and is now endangering Pennsylvania (

McGruber writes: The Baltimore Sun reports that ( a military surveillance blimp has broken free of its mooring at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and was last seen drifting at 16,000 ft over Pennsylvania.

The 243-foot-long, helium-filled JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System) aerostat detached from its mooring at about 11:54 a.m. Wednesday. It was trailing approximately 6,700 feet of cable. "Anyone who sees the aerostat is advised to contact 911 immediately," spokeswoman Heather Roelker said. "People are warned to keep a safe distance from the airship and tether as contact with them may present significant danger."

Comment Compare to the Cost of Highway Projects (Score 4, Insightful) 342

Here in Atlanta, we are spending $1.1 Billion on widening just one highway interchange: Contractors vying to build $1.1 billion Ga. 400/I-285 interchange

IMHO, that makes the $68 billion California is spending seem like a bargain since they'll be getting 36 miles of tunnels, plus "300 miles of track, dozens of bridges or viaducts, high-voltage electrical systems, a maintenance plant and as many as six stations".

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.