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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - 2 former federal agents charged with stealing Bitcoin during Silk Road probe->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The federal government became owners of one of the biggest troves of Bitcoin, thanks to seizing millions of dollars in the digital currency from criminals associated with the online black market Silk Road.

Two federal agents who led the probe allegedly decided they wanted some of the money for themselves, according to a new federal court documents.

The two now-former agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Secret Service are charged with wire fraud, money laundering and other offenses for allegedly stealing Bitcoin during the federal investigation of Silk Road, an underground illicit black market federal prosecutors shut down last year.

The charges in a criminal complaint filed in San Francisco federal court paints a picture of corrupt federal agents trying to enrich themselves as they tried to bring down one of the Internet's top cybercriminals.

The charges against the agents could end up causing complications for the government's case against Ross Ulbricht, also known as "Dread Pirate Roberts", the Silk Road founder. Ulbricht was found guilty last year of aiding drug trafficking with his site. He is awaiting sentencing. As a result of the case against Ulbricht and others, the federal government seized bitcoin that it said at the time was valued at over $33 million."

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+ - Oops: World Leaders' Personal Data Mistakenly Released by Autofill Error->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "With a single key stroke, the personal information of President Obama and 30 other world leaders was mistakenly released by an official with Australia's immigration office.

Passport numbers, dates of birth, and other personal information of the heads of state attending a G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, were inadvertently emailed to one of the organizers of January's Asian Cup football tournament, according to The Guardian. The U.K. newspaper obtained the information as a result of an Australia Freedom of Information request.

Aside from President Obama, leaders whose data were released include Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The sender forgot to check the auto-fill function in the email "To" field in Microsoft Outlook before hitting send, the BBC reports."

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+ - Google loses ruling in Safari tracking case->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The floodgates are now open for UK users to sue Google over privacy violations tied to tracking cookies.

In a landmark ruling, the UK's Court of Appeal has dismissed Google's request to prevent British Web users from suing the company over tracking cookies and privacy violations.

The decision was announced Friday, according to the BBC.

The case revolves around Apple's Safari browser, Google's Safari workaround, and cookies — small text files installed on PCs that record data on surfing activity. In spite of default privacy settings and user preferences — including an opt-out of consent to be tracked by cookies — Google's tracking cookies gathered information on Safari browser users for nine months in 2011 and 2012.

Google profits from DoubleClick tracking cookies by installing them on computing devices and leading users to tailored advertisements. The DoubleClick ID Cookie, when settled within a user's browser, tracks and gathers data about the user based on Web activity and searches.

This information can include surfing habits, ethnicity, sexual interests, religious and political beliefs, and potentially financial data."

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+ - Dad and daughter recreated 'Jurassic Park' with $100,000 in Lego pieces->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "ego pieces and dino-DNA — both considered "building blocks of life" and very useful for creating dinosaurs from scratch.

Animator Paul Hollingsworth and his daughter Hailee, along with some help from a few "master builders" — decided to recreate iconic scenes from Jurassic Park using only Lego pieces. More than $100,000 in Lego were used, according to the video's description.

The result is a surprisingly stunning and hilarious version of the 1993 dino-thriller. The team behind the film also released an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the production."

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+ - Chevy Malibu 'Teen Driver' Tech Will Snitch if You Speed-> 1

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "General Motors wants to help curb teen crashes with a new system that lets parents monitor their kids' driving habits—even when mom and dad aren't actually in the car.
Dubbed Teen Drive, the new system will debut in the 2016 Chevy Malibu, offering a bunch of features designed to encourage safe driving. It will, for instance, mute the radio or any device paired with the car when front seat occupants aren't wearing their seatbelts, and give audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling faster than preset speeds.
It doesn't end there. Brace yourself, teens, because you might not like this next part too much. The new system also lets parents view a readout of how you drove the car, including how fast you went, how far you drove, and whether any active safety features (like over-speed warnings) were engaged.
Parents can also set the radio system's maximum volume to a lower level, and select a maximum speed between 40 and 75 miles per hour, which, if exceeded, will trigger warnings."

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+ - Amazon wins U.S. regulators' approval to test-fly drone->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Amazon.com Inc has won U.S. federal regulators' approval to test a delivery drone, as the e-commerce giant pursues a vision of speeding packages to customers through the air amid public concern over the safety and privacy implications.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday it had issued an experimental airworthiness certificate to an Amazon unit and its prototype drone design, allowing it to conduct outdoor test flights on private, rural land in Washington state.

The experimental certificate applies to a particular drone design and Amazon must obtain a new certification for test flights if it modifies the drone.

In return, the company must supply monthly data to the regulators, and conduct flights at 400 feet (120 meters) or below and in "visual meteorological conditions," according to the FAA's certificate.

The drone operators must also have a private pilots' license and current medical certification."

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+ - Microsoft's Windows Hello will make your face, finger or iris the new sign-in->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "With biometric authentication for Windows 10 devices, the world's largest software maker hopes to make it harder for hackers to scoop up your data.

Microsoft is the latest tech company to turn our bodies into passwords.

With Windows Hello, announced Tuesday, users of the upcoming Windows 10 operating system will be able to sign in to their devices using their fingerprint, their face or even the iris of their eye. Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 later this year.

"You — uniquely you — plus your device are the keys to your Windows experience, apps, data and even websites and services, not a random assortment of letters and numbers that are easily forgotten, hacked or written down and pinned to a bulletin board," Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate VP of operating systems, wrote in a blog post.

As Belfiore points out, we live in an age of constant cyberthreat. Hacking has become full-time job, with professional cybercriminals breaching the computer systems of companies, financial institutions and even government agencies. Yet despite these nearly continual cyberattacks, consumers still rely on passwords to unlock everything from our bank accounts to our email. It doesn't help that many of us reuse our passwords across multiple websites, since hackers who have scooped up passwords from vulnerable sites now have the keys to more-secure sites. And the problem keeps growing as criminals collect large swaths of personal data from across the Internet. Just last August, Russian hackers breached hundreds of thousands of websites to nab 1.2 billion usernames and passwords.

Biometric verification, which confirms who we are by using our unique physical characteristics, promises to put up an additional wall of security between our devices and malicious third parties. Though a fingerprint will always be more secure than "Password1234," people sometimes worry whether hackers can find a way to access our biometrics. Belfiore says not to worry.

"We understand how critical it is to protect your biometric data from theft, and for this reason your 'biometric signature' is secured locally on the device and shared with no one but you," he wrote. Windows Hello also comes with "enterprise-grade" security, meaning Microsoft wants it to work across businesses in all industries."

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+ - Facebook sees APAC data request surge->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Facebook's latest half-yearly government requests transparency report has revealed that Australian government agencies made 829 requests for data from 933 Facebook users' accounts during the second half of 2014, with 68.64 percent of requests resulting in some data being handed over.

This equates to a 37.5 percent increase compared to the six months ending 2013, with Facebook receiving 603 requests, and handing over data for 65.51 percent of requests for the same period the previous year.

Facebook said that it restricted access to three items of content in compliance with a request from a local state consumer affairs regulator for violating local laws that ban "false and misleading information".

"We also restricted one page in compliance with Australia's federal anti-discrimination laws," the company said. "We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency, and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague," it said.

Of the countries in the APAC region that were included in Facebook's transparency report, Australia was bested only by India in terms of data request volume, which saw a 52 percent increase in data requests for the six months compared to the same period the prior year.

Indian law-enforcement agencies made 5,473 requests for data from 7,281 Facebook users' accounts for the period, with 44.7 percent of requests resulting in content being handed over.

In fact, several countries in the APAC region saw marked increases in the number of requests from government agencies for Facebook users' data.

Facebook received 139 requests for data from 151 accounts from New Zealand authorities, up from just 80 requests for data from New Zealand agencies for the same period ending 2013. For the latter half of 2014, Facebook said it provided data for 62.6 percent of requests.

"We restricted access in New Zealand to one item in compliance with a Court Suppression Order made by the Chief High Court Judge of New Zealand," Facebook stated.

Hong Kong authorities made 39 requests from 51 accounts, up from 25 requests the previous year, while Malaysian agencies made 17 requests for data — up from 16 last year — with only 23.5 percent of requests resulting in the production of data."

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+ - 3D Printer for Molecules Opens Access to Customized Chemistry->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have simplified the chemical synthesis of small molecules, eliminating a major bottleneck that limits the exploration of a class of compounds offering tremendous potential for medicine and technology.

Scientists led by Martin Burke, an HHMI early career scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, used a single automated process to synthesize 14 distinct classes of small molecules from a common set of building blocks.

Burke's team envisions expanding the approach to enable the production of thousands of potentially useful molecules with a single machine, which they describe as a "3D printer" for small molecules. Their work is described in the March 13, 2015, issue of the journal Science."

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+ - China Blocks Web Access to 'Under the Dome' Documentary on Pollution->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "“Under the Dome,” a searing documentary about China’s catastrophic air pollution, had hundreds of millions of views on Chinese websites within days of its release one week ago.

The country’s new environment minister compared it to “Silent Spring,” the landmark 1962 book that energized the environmental movement in the United States. Domestic and foreign journalists clamored to interview the filmmaker, a famous former television reporter, though she remained silent.

Then on Friday afternoon, the momentum over the video came to an abrupt halt, as major Chinese video websites deleted it under orders from the Communist Party’s central propaganda department.

The startling phenomenon of the video, the national debate it set off and the official attempts to quash it reflect the deep political sensitivities in the struggle within the Chinese bureaucracy to reverse China’s environmental degradation, among the worst in the world. The drama over the video has ignited speculation over which political groups were its supporters and which sought to kill it, and whether party leaders will tolerate the civic conversation and grass-roots activism that in other countries have been necessary to curbing rampant pollution.

“It’s been spirited away by gremlins,” said Zhan Jiang, a professor of journalism and media studies in Beijing."

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+ - NASA's Dawn Probe Begins Orbiting Dwarf Planet Ceres-> 1

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around the asteroid Ceres on Friday morning at an altitude of just under 38,000 miles. Currently, the spacecraft is above the night side of Ceres, limiting the amount of information that can be gathered.

When conventional spacecraft enter orbit, they fire their engines for less than an hour to slow down and be captured by the gravity of their target. But Dawn is powered by an ion engine, which generates a small amount of thrust but can fire continuously for weeks, and there was no big change in Dawn’s course on Friday.

By late April, it will move into a 8,400-mile circular orbit where it can start examining Ceres in detail. Ceres, at almost 600 miles wide, is the largest of the asteroids and is now counted as a dwarf planet; it follows an orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Already, scientists are intrigued by bright spots on its surface, which may be reflective patches of ice or salt."

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+ - Google Gets Into Car Insurance Comparison Business in US->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Google has made it official: It’s getting into car insurance in the U.S.

The tech giant announced Thursday that it’s launching a new feature called “Google Compare for Auto Insurance.”

It’s a comparison shopping site that lets consumers compare rates from different insurance carriers.

The option to compare rates will pop up when a consumer searches on Google for “car insurance.”

At the outset, the service is available to California residents, but Google said it will expand to other states later this year.

Google already offers auto, travel and mortgage quotes in the United Kingdom.

It also operates a credit card comparison service in the U.S. under the “Google Compare” umbrella.

Several major U.S. insurance carriers are reportedly reluctant to work with Google. The tech giant does not list major carriers such as State Farm, GEICO, Progressive and Allstate among its current partners."

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+ - Paul Allen helps find sunken Japanese WWII battleship Musashi off Philippines->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen and his research team have found a massive Japanese World War II battleship off the Philippines near where it sank more than 70 years ago, his representatives said Wednesday.

The apparent discovery of the wreckage of the Musashi, one of the largest battleships in history, comes as the world marks the 70th anniversary of the war’s end.

Allen and the team aboard his superyacht M/Y Octopus found the ship on Sunday, more than eight years after their search began, Allen’s publicity agency Edelman said in a statement.

Detailed images captured by a high-definition camera mounted on the underwater probe confirmed the wreckage as that of the Musashi, it said.

Japanese experts said they were eager to study the images to try to confirm the ship’s identity.

Allen’s team found the battleship in the Sibuyan Sea, using an autonomous underwater vehicle in its third dive after narrowing down the search area using detailed undersea topographical data and other locator devices, the statement said.

“The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction,” Allen said."

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