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Privacy

How Do You Handle the Discovery of a Web Site Disclosing Private Data? 224

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-to-do-and-what-not-to-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes I recently discovered that a partner web site of a financial institution I do business with makes it trivially easy to view documents that do not belong to me. As in, change the document ID in a URL and view someone else's financial documents. This requires no authentication, only a document URL. (Think along the lines of an online rebate center where you upload documents including credit card statements.) I immediately called customer service and spoke with a perplexed agent who unsurprisingly didn't know what to do with my call. I asked to speak with a supervisor who took good notes and promised a follow-up internally. I asked for a return call but have not yet heard back. In the meantime, I still have private financial information I consider to be publicly available. I'm trying to be responsible and patient in my handling of this, but I am second guessing how to move forward if not quickly resolved. So, Slashdot, how would you handle this situation?
Google

Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links 356

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-the-facts dept.
wabrandsma writes about Google's new system for ranking the truthfulness of a webpage. "Google's search engine currently uses the number of incoming links to a web page as a proxy for quality, determining where it appears in search results. So pages that many other sites link to are ranked higher. This system has brought us the search engine as we know it today, but the downside is that websites full of misinformation can rise up the rankings, if enough people link to them. Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. 'A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy,' says the team. The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score. The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings."
Microsoft

Report: Samsung Replacing Its Apps With Microsoft's For Galaxy S6 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the trading-proprietary-for-proprietary dept.
An anonymous reader writes: SamMobile is reporting that the next major revision of Samsung's Galaxy S line of phones is going to have some major changes. According to insider sources, Samsung has gotten rid of many of their pre-loaded apps, making them optional downloads. What's interesting is that they're replacing these apps with software from Microsoft — apps like Skype, Office Mobile, and OneDrive. "With Windows Phone failing to make a dent on the smartphone market, Microsoft has recently shifted focus to its software services, and having them pre-installed on one of the bestselling Android smartphone lineups might just give the Redmond giant the exposure it needs to court consumers into switching from Google's massively more popular services that come preloaded on all Android devices."
Earth

Study: 8 Million Metric Tons of Plastic Dumped Into Oceans Annually 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-high-score dept.
hypnosec writes: According to a new study (abstract) that tracked marine debris from its source, roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic gets dumped into the world's oceans annually. Plastic waste is a global problem, and until now, there wasn't a comprehensive study that highlighted how much plastic waste was making it into the oceans. "The research also lists the world's 20 worst plastic polluters, from China to the United States, based on such factors as size of coastal population and national plastic production. According to the estimate, China tops the list, producing as much as 3.5 million metric tons of marine debris each year. The United States, which generates as much as 110,000 metric tons of marine debris a year, came in at No. 20."
DRM

Farmers Struggling With High-Tech Farm Equipment 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the hammers-break-all-encryption dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Farming is a difficult profession. One of the constants throughout the generations is that if you're working out in the field all day, machinery eventually breaks down. Farmers tend to deal with this harsh reality by becoming handy at basic repair — but that strategy is starting to fail in the digital age. Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit, writes about the new difficulties in repairing your broken tractors and other equipment. Not only do you often need experience in computer software, but proprietary technology actively blocks you from making repairs.

"Dave asked me if there was some way to bypass a bum sensor while waiting for the repairman to show up. But fixing Dave's sensor problem required fiddling around in the tractor's highly proprietary computer system—the tractor's engine control unit (tECU): the brains behind the agricultural beast. One hour later, I hopped back out of the cab of the tractor. Defeated. I was unable to breach the wall of proprietary defenses that protected the tECU like a fortress. I couldn't even connect to the computer. Because John Deere says I can't." Wiens also tells us about Farm Hack, a community that has sprung up to build a library of open source tools and knowledge for dealing with high-tech modification and repair in agriculture.
Toys

LEGO Contraption Allows Scientists To Safely Handle Insects 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the build-and-study dept.
sciencehabit writes Researchers have built contraption from LEGOs that can move and rotate insects every which way while keeping them stable and positioned under a microscope. The design improves on previous insect manipulators because it's cheap, customizable, and easy to build. As natural history museums work on digitizing their voluminous collections—taking high-resolution photographs of each precious beetle, bee, and dragonfly in their possession—they have to handle insects repeatedly. Now the job will be easier on the entomologists, and more insect specimens will be able to hang on to their wings—all thanks to LEGOs.
Medicine

Smartphone Attachment Can Test For HIV In 15 Minutes 84

Posted by timothy
from the text-anxiety dept.
stephendavion writes A team of researchers from Columbia University have developed a device that can be plugged into a smartphone and used to quickly test for HIV and syphilis. The mobile device tests for three infectious disease markers in just 15 minutes by using a finger-prick of blood, and draws all the power it needs from the smartphone, Science Daily reports. The accessory costs an estimated $34 to make and is capable of replicating tests done in a laboratory using equipment that costs many thousands of dollars.
Businesses

Staples To Buy Office Depot For $6.3 Billion 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Today Staples announced plans to buy Office Depot in a deal worth $6.3 billion. This is a huge consolidation within the office supply industry. Office Depot and OfficeMax were the second- and third-biggest suppliers when they merged in 2013. Adding those to the enormity of Staples would effectively bring the U.S. under a single office supply chain. "The move is expected to draw scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, though regulators have been increasingly willing to approve retail mergers in light of burgeoning e-commerce competition. ... This isn't the first time Staples has tried to buy Office Depot. In 1997, the FTC derailed Staples' acquisition of its rival as anticompetitive. By 2013, though, the agency's view had shifted. When the FTC allowed Office Depot to buy OfficeMax, it said the advent of online retailing ensured competition in the market for office supplies. Consumers today also rely more heavily on big-box chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for office products, the commission said."
Wikipedia

One Man's Quest To Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake 425

Posted by timothy
from the literally-exploding-with-rage dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this Fascinating profile of one particular Wikipedia editor Giraffedata (a 51-year-old software engineer named Bryan Henderson), who has spent the last seven years correcting only the incorrect use of "comprised of" on Wikipedia. Using a code to crawl for uses of "comprised of" throughout all of Wiki's articles, he'll then go in and manually correct them (for example, using "consists of" or "composed of") and has made over 47,000 edits to date.
Crime

FBI Put Hactivist Jeremy Hammond On a Terrorist Watchlist 127

Posted by timothy
from the watch-you-watch-yourself dept.
blottsie writes The Federal Bureau of Investigation put Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist, according to confidential records obtained by the Daily Dot. The records further reveal how the FBI treats cybercrimes and shines a rare light on the expanding definitions of terrorism used by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
United States

Obama's 2016 NASA Budget Status Quo, Funds Europa Mission 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the paying-bills dept.
MarkWhittington writes The Washington Post reported that the NASA portion of the president's 2016 budget proposal is basically status quo though it does provide further funding for a mission to Europa. A Europa probe is near and dear to the new chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, Rep. John Culberson. However, the $18.5 billion budget proposal also funds the asteroid redirect mission, which has come under increasing fire from both Congress and the scientific community. The Houston Chronicle suggested that the final spending bill will be considerably different once congressional Republicans get through with it.
Lord of the Rings

Texas Boy Suspended For "Threatening" Classmate With the One Ring 591

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-ring-to-rule-the-playground dept.
An anonymous reader writes Nine-year-old Aiden Steward has been suspended by officials at a Texas school after he allegedly threatened to use his magic ring to make another boy disappear. His father says the family had watched The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies last weekend. His son brought a ring to class and told another boy his magic ring could make the boy disappear. "I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend's existence," Aiden's father wrote in an email. "If he did, I'm sure he'd bring him right back." Principal Roxanne Greer declined to comment on the school's zero tolerance policy on magic rings. It may seem easy to make fun of Principal Greer in this case, but it does make one wonder how many elves could have been saved if someone took a hard line with a young Sauron.
Build

The "Cool Brick" Can Cool Off an Entire Room Using Nothing But Water 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the jeeping-it-cool dept.
ErnieKey writes Emerging Objects, a company which experiments with 3D printing technology, has created what they call the "Cool Brick." Using basic concepts of evaporation, it holds water like a sponge, takes in hot dry air and converts it into cool moist air. 3D-printed with a specially engineered lattice using ceramics, it can be formed into entire walls which could be placed in different rooms of a house or building, thus replacing the need for air conditioning in hot, dry climates such as deserts.

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