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Submission + - Viewing Data Harvested from Smart TVs Used to Push Ads To Other Screens? (

chicksdaddy writes: In the latest episode of EULA overreach, electronics maker Vizio Holdings has been called out by the non profit investigative reporting outfit ProPublica for an on-by-default feature on its smart TVs called “Smart Interactivity” that analyzes both broadcast and streamed content viewed using the device. ProPublica noted that the company's privacy policy failed to clearly describe the tracking behavior, which included the collection of information such as the date, time, channel and whether the program was viewed live or recorded.

According to ProPublica (, the monitoring of viewing information through IP addresses, while it does not identify individuals, can be combined with other data available in commercial databases from brokers such as Experian, creating a detailed picture of an individual or household. Vizio has since updated its privacy policy with a supplement that explains how "Smart Interactivity" works. (

The bigger issue may be what that updated privacy policy reveals. As The Security Ledger notes (, the updated Vizio privacy policy makes clear that the company will combine “your IP address and other Non-Personal Information in order to inform third party selection and delivery of targeted and re-targeted advertisements.” Those advertisements “may be delivered to smartphones, tablets, PCs or other internet-connected devices that share an IP address or other identifier with your Smart TV.”

In other words, TV viewing patterns will be used to serve ads to any device user who happens to be connected to the same network as the Vizio Smart TV — an obvious problem for households with a mix of say... adults and children?!

Vizio does provide instructions for disabling the Smart Interactivity features and says that “connected” features of the device aren’t contingent on monitoring. That's better than some other vendors. In 2014, for example, LG used a firmware update for its smart televisions to link the "smart" features of the device to viewer tracking and monitoring. Viewers who applied the update, but refused to consent to monitoring were not able to use services like Netflix and YouTube. (

Submission + - Google Will Retire Chrome Support For XP, Vista, OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 In April

An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced it is extending Chrome support for Windows XP until April 2016. The company will also end Chrome support for Windows Vista, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion at the same time. This means Google will provide regular Chrome updates and security patches for users on these operating systems for five more months. After that, the browser will still work, but it will be stuck on the last version released in April.

Submission + - Computerworld: Fury and fear in Ohio as IT jobs go to India (

ErichTheRed writes: A company called Cengage Learning now joins the Toys 'R Us, Disney and Southern California Edison IT offshoring club. Apparently, even IT workers in low-cost parts of the country are too expensive and their work is being sent to Cognizant, one of the largest H-1B visa users. As a final insult, the article describes a pretty humiliating termination process was used. Is it time to think about a professional organization before IT goes the way of manufacturing?

Submission + - UK gov't can demand backdoors, give prison sentences for disclosing them (

An anonymous reader writes: Buried in the 300 pages of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snooper's Charter), published on Wednesday, is something called a "technical capability notice" (Section 189). Despite its neutral-sounding name, this gives the UK's home secretary almost unlimited power to impose "an obligation on any relevant operators"—any obligation—subject to the requirement that "the Secretary of State considers it is reasonable to do so."

There is also the proviso that "it is (and remains) practicable for those relevant operators to comply with those requirements," which probably rules out breaking end-to-end encryption, but would still allow the home secretary to demand that companies add backdoors to their software and equipment.

That's bad enough, but George Danezis, an associate professor in security and privacy engineering at University College London, points out that the Snooper's Charter is actually much, much worse. The Investigatory Powers Bill would also make it a criminal offence, punishable with up to 12 months in prison and/or a fine, for anyone involved to reveal the existence of those backdoors, in any circumstances (Section 190(8).)

Submission + - Most of the Universe's gold doesn't come from supernovae

StartsWithABang writes: Building up the heaviest elements in the periodic table seems like a task well-suited to stars in the final stages of their lives. Red giants produce neutrons that are captured through the s-process, building up elements one-by-one all the way up to lead and bismuth, but only in small quantities and very slowly. Supernovae produce free neutrons copiously and that can be captured many-at-a-time through the r-process, giving us the full suite of known elements in much greater abundance. But the majority of elements like gold, platinum and tungsten comes from neutron star-neutron star mergers instead, which are very rare, but a single merger produces 20 times the mass of the Moon in gold. It's not supernovae after all!

Submission + - Miami Installs Free Public Sunscreen Dispensers in Fight Against Cancer 1 writes: If you walk along South Beach in Miami right now, you will notice something strange, even by Florida standards: Dotting the sandscapes are sky-blue boxes that supply free sunscreen. In a novel experiment this year, the City of Miami Beach has put 50 free sunscreen dispensers in public spaces, and those dispensers are full of radiation-mitigating goo, free to any and all passersby. BBC reports that one in five people living in Florida will eventually suffer from skin cancer but the new campaign hopes that increasing people's awareness will lead to a change in behavior. "[The sunscreen dispensers'] visibility — even without additional messaging — could be a good cue to action," says Dr Richard De Visser, a psychologist who has researched health campaigns.

The sunscreen is the type that is effective at preventing cancer and premature skin aging: Broad-spectrum, water resistant, and SPF 30. You can buy a product that is labeled as higher than SPF 30, but it’s almost always a waste, and potentially harmful. Above SPF 30, the difference is essentially meaningless. SPF 15 filters out about 93 percent of UV-B rays, SPF 30 filters out 97 percent, SPF 50 filters out 98 percent, and SPF 100 might get you to 99. The problem, though, is the psychology of the larger number. "We put on the "more powerful" sunscreens and then suddenly think we're Batman or some other superhero who can stay out in the sun indefinitely." says James Hamblin. "But no sunscreen is meant to facilitate prolonged exposure of bare skin to direct sunlight." Dr. Jose Lutzky, head of the melanoma program out Mount Sinai, says Florida is second behind California in incidence of melanoma but the trend is going in the wrong direction. "Unfortunately, our numbers are growing. That is really something we do not want to be first in.”

Submission + - Existence of cosmic neutrino background confirmed (

StartsWithABang writes: The hot Big Bang — proposed seventy years ago — is a tremendous success story. Predicated on the assumption that the Universe was hotter, denser, more uniform and expanding faster in the past, it’s allowed us to predict the rate of cosmic expansion over distance and time, the primeval abundances of the light elements, the formation and evolution of large-scale-structure, and the existence and properties of the cosmic microwave background: the leftover photon glow from the Big Bang. All these predictions have been borne out, but there’s one more prediction that has yet to be tested: the existence and properties of a cosmic neutrino background. A just detected the cosmic neutrino background definitively and in a new way, with the subsequent polarization spectra — set to be released by the Planck team — ready to confirm the greatest prediction of all: the cosmic neutrino background’s temperature!

Submission + - Microsoft's Anti-privacy in Windows 7, 8 in Detail

WheezyJoe writes: ghacks, Extremetech, Ars, and even Forbes are providing more detail about Windows 10's telemetry and "privacy invasion" features being backported to Windows 7 and 8. The articles list and explain some of the involved hotfixes by number (e.g., KB3068708, KB3022345, KB3075249, and KB3080149). The Extremetech and ghacks articles suggest what you might be able to do about it.

gHacks notes that ”these four updates ignore existing user preferences stored in Windows 7 and Windows 8 (including any edits made to the Hosts file) and immediately starts exchanging user data with and These, and maybe others, appear to be hardcoded which means that the Hosts file is bypassed automatically”

Submission + - Updates Make Windows 7 and 8 Spy On You Like Windows 10 ( 1

schwit1 writes: Windows 10 has been launched and already installed on more than 50 million computers worldwide. It is now a known fact that Windows 10 user data is being sent back to Microsoft servers back in Redmond, Washington. Well, now new updates that are being deployed to all Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 machines will turn their computers into a big piece of spyware, just like their predecessor, Windows 10.

Submission + - PressureNet announces weather forecasts using smartphone sensors

cryptoz writes: Weather forecasts can now be created using the sensors in your smartphone, with the launch of PressureNet 5. As nearly all the new Android and iPhones have barometers in them (for altitude purposes), there are now enough sensors in the network to make hyper-local weather forecasts for smartphone users. This has been in the works for some time — in 2013, Professor Cliff Mass, an expert in mesoscale weather prediction — wrote about the increasing number of atmosphere observations available but it was not enough to make a real forecast. The app now displays 8 hour temperature forecasts based on the internal sensor data.

Submission + - 10 years of Intel processors compared (

jjslash writes: An interesting look back at the evolution of Intel CPUs since the original Core 2 Duo E6600 and Core 2 Quad processors were introduced. The test pits the eight year old CPUs to their successors in the Nehalem, Sandy Bridge and Haswell families, including today's Celeron and Pentium parts which fare comparably well. A great reference just days before Intel's new Skylake processor debuts.

Submission + - Open Hardware Team successfully replicating Tesla inventions (

lkcl writes: A small team has successfully overcome the usual barrier to replicating one of Tesla's inventions (death threats and intimidation) by following Open Hardware development practices, encouraging other teams world-wide to replicate their work. Their FAQ and several other reports help explain that the key is Schumann resonance: "tuning" the device to the earth's own EM field and harvesting it as useful electricity. Whilst it looks like it's going mainstream, the real question is: why has it taken this long, and why has an Open Hardware approach succeeded where other efforts have not?

Submission + - Questioning The Dispute over Key Escrow (

Nicola Hahn writes: "The topic of key escrow encryption has once again taken center stage as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has spoken out against key escrow both at this year’s Aspen Security Forum and in an op-ed published recently by the Washington Post. However the debate over cryptographic back doors has a glaring blind spot. As the trove of leaks from Hacking Team highlights, most back doors are implemented using zero-day exploits. Keep in mind that the Snowden documents reveal cooperation across the tech industry, on behalf of the NSA, to make products that were "exploitable". Hence, there are people who question whether the whole discussion over key escrow includes an element of theater. Is it, among other things, a public relations gambit, in the wake of the PRISM scandal, intended to cast Silicon Valley companies as defenders of privacy?"

Submission + - SourceForge hijacks nmap account despite prior promises ( 1

Khyber writes: SourceForge is still at it. Despite their June 1 announcement that they would no longer do such a thing, word on the nmap development mailing list directly from the maintainer shows otherwise. Their account has been completely wiped, with nmap now accessible on Sourceforge only through an account that sf-editor1 and sf-editor3 control.

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