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+ - Uber limits 'God view' to improve rider privacy->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Uber has rolled back employee access to its "God view" mode, which allows the company to track riders' locations and other data.

The ride service company was faced with questions about its privacy policies from U.S. Senator Al Franken, following a series of recent privacy debacles. Uber's updated policy is detailed in its response to the senator's questions.

Franken sent Uber a letter in November after news reports made two things clear: The ride service company collects lots of data on customers — and some executives don't exercise that power responsibly.

In one case, an Uber employee using "God View" easily tracked a reporter's movements on her way to a meeting. In another case, Uber executive Emil Michael proposed digging up dirt on journalists who were critical of his company and spread details of their personal lives."

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Technology

Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies 418

Posted by timothy
from the through-other-eyes dept.
Molly McHugh (3774987) writes with an intriguing use of VR technology: "It's as simple as making a light-skinned person feel connected to a virtual, darker skinned self—a thought experiment pretty much impossible without the immersive potency of VR. The effect is achieved by outfitting participants in VR headsets with built-in head-tracking and motion capture capabilities that sync actual movement to virtual experience." From the article: Evolving from cruder methods, VR is a natural extension of research examining the ways that people think differently when made to feel like they are part of a meaningfully different social group, known as an outgroup. ... What’s most exciting about this channel of research is that it gets at the kind of complex, subtle prejudices that most people can’t even articulate if asked directly.
Education

Touring a Carnival Cruise Simulator: 210 Degrees of GeForce-Powered Projection 42

Posted by timothy
from the bring-it-to-the-lan-party dept.
MojoKid writes Recently, Carnival cruise lines gave tours of their CSMART facility in Almere, the Netherlands. This facility is one of a handful in the world that can provide both extensive training and certification on cruise ships as well as a comprehensive simulation of what it's like to command one. Simulating the operation of a Carnival cruise ship is anything but simple. Let's start with a ship that's at least passingly familiar to most people — the RMS Titanic. At roughly 46,000 tons and 882 feet long, she was, briefly, the largest vessel afloat. Compared to a modern cruise ship, however, Titanic was a pipsqueak. As the size and complexity of the ships has grown, the need for complete simulators has grown as well. The C-SMART facility currently sports two full bridge simulators, several partial bridges, and multiple engineering rooms. When the Costa Concordia wrecked off the coast of Italy several years ago, the C-SMART facility was used to simulate the wreck based on the black boxes from the ship itself. When C-SMART moves to its new facilities, it'll pick up an enormous improvement in processing power. The next-gen visual system is going to be powered by104 GeForce Grid systems running banks of GTX 980 GPUs. C-SMART executives claim it will actually substantially reduce their total power consumption thanks to the improved Maxwell GPU. Which solution is currently in place was unclear, but the total number of installed systems is dropping from just over 500 to 100 rackmounted units.

Google News Sci Tech: US Orion, Russia's future spacecraft 'to be compatible for safety' - RT->

From feed by feedfeeder

RT

US Orion, Russia's future spacecraft 'to be compatible for safety'
RT
In this image released by Nasa, the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Orion spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 at at 7:05 a.m. EST, on December 5, 2014, in Florida. (AFP Photo).
NASA to narrow asteroid retrieval optionsUSA TODAY

all 30 news articles

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Privacy

Microsoft Gets Industry Support Against US Search Of Data In Ireland 132

Posted by timothy
from the encrypt-what-you-must dept.
An anonymous reader writes Tech giants such as Apple and eBay have given their support in Microsoft's legal battle against the U.S. government regarding the handing over of data stored in an Irish datacenter. In connection with a 2014 drugs investigation, U.S. prosecutors issued a warrant for emails stored by Microsoft in Ireland. The firm refused to hand over the information, but in July was ordered by a judge to comply with the investigation. Microsoft has today filed a collection of letters from industry supporters, such as Apple, eBay, Cisco, Amazon, HP, and Verizon. Trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Digital Rights Ireland have also expressed their support.

+ - What Will Microsoft's 'Embrace' of Open Source Actually Achieve?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Back in the day, Microsoft viewed open source and Linux as a threat and did its best to retaliate with FUD and patent threats. And then a funny thing happened: Whether in the name of pragmatism or simply marketing, Microsoft began a very public transition from a company of open-source haters (at least in top management) to one that’s embraced some aspects of open-source computing. Last month, the company blogged that .NET Core will become open-source, adding to its previously open-sourced ASP.NET MVC, Web API, and Web Pages (Razor). There’s no doubt that, at least in some respects, Microsoft wants to make a big show of being more open and supportive of interoperability. The company’s even gotten involved with the .NET Foundation, an independent organization designed to assist developers with the growing collection of open-source technologies for .NET. But there’s only so far Microsoft will go into the realm of open source—whereas once upon a time, the company tried to wreck the movement, now it faces the very real danger of its whole revenue model being undermined by free software. But what's Microsoft's end-goal with open source? What can the company possibly hope to accomplish, given a widespread perception that such a move on its part is the product of either fear, cynicism, or both?"
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Electronic Frontier Foundation

Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance 416

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-watch-someone-long-enough dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from the EFF's Deep Links: The public got an early holiday gift today when a federal court agreed with us that six weeks of continually video recording the front yard of someone's home without a search warrant violates the Fourth Amendment. In United States v. Vargas local police in rural Washington suspected Vargas of drug trafficking. In April 2013, police installed a camera on top of a utility pole overlooking his home. Even though police did not have a warrant, they nonetheless pointed the camera at his front door and driveway and began watching every day. A month later, police observed Vargas shoot some beer bottles with a gun and because Vargas was an undocumented immigrant, they had probable cause to believe he was illegally possessing a firearm. They used the video surveillance to obtain a warrant to search his home, which uncovered drugs and guns, leading to a federal indictment against Vargas.

+ - Federal Court Agrees with EFF, Nixes Six Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "From the EFF:
The public got an early holiday gift today when a federal court agreed with us that six weeks of continually video recording the frontyard of someone's home without a search warrant violates the Fourth Amendment.

In United States v. Vargas local police in rural Washington suspected Vargas of drug trafficking. In April 2013, police installed a camera on top of a utility pole overlooking his home. Even though police did not have a warrant, they nonetheless pointed the camera at his front door and driveway and began watching every day. A month later, police observed Vargas shoot some beer bottles with a gun and because Vargas was an undocumented immigrant, they had probable cause to believe he was illegally possessing a firearm. They used the video surveillance to obtain a warrant to search his home, which uncovered drugs and guns, leading to a federal indictment against Vargas."

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Programming

Godot Engine Reaches 1.0, First Stable Release 53

Posted by timothy
from the waiting-for-godot-two-oh dept.
goruka writes "Godot, the most advanced open source (MIT licensed) game engine, which was open-sourced back in February, has reached 1.0 (stable). It sports an impressive number of features, and it's the only game engine with visual tools (code editor, scripting, debugger, 3D engine, 2D engine, physics, multi-platform deploy, etc) on a scale comparable to commercial offerings. As a plus, the user interface runs natively on Linux. Godot has amassed a healthy user community (through forums, Facebook and IRC) since it went public, and was used to publish commercial games in the Latin American and European markets such as Ultimo Carnaval with publisher Square Enix, and The Mystery Team by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

+ - Microsoft gets industry support against U.S. Irish search warrant->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Tech giants such as Apple and eBay have given their support in Microsoft’s legal battle against the U.S. government regarding the handing over of data stored in an Irish data centre. In connection with a 2014 drugs investigation, U.S. prosecutors issued a warrant for emails stored by Microsoft in Ireland. The firm refused to hand over the information, but in July was ordered by a judge to comply with the investigation. Microsoft has today filed a collection of letters from industry supporters, such as Apple, eBay, Cisco, Amazon, HP, and Verizon. Trade associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Digital Rights Ireland have also expressed their support."
Link to Original Source

+ - Bacteria on pubic hair could be used to identify rapists->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "When it comes to identifying a rapist, one of the main pieces of evidence police analyze are pubic hairs found at the crime scene. But most of these hairs are missing their roots and thus don’t harbor enough DNA for a proper match. Now, a new study suggests there may be a better way to finger the criminal: Look at the bacteria he left behind. Scientists have found that each person harbors a unique "microbial signature" on their pubic hair that can be traced back to the scene of the crime."
Link to Original Source

+ - Godot Engine Reaches 1.0, Releases First Stable->

Submitted by goruka
goruka (1721094) writes "Godot, the most advanced open source (MIT licensed) game engine, that was open-sourced back in February, has reached 1.0 (stable).
It sports an impressive amount of features, and it's the only game engine with visual tools (code editor, scripting, debugger, 3D engine, 2D engine, physics, multi-platform deploy, etc) on a scale comparable to commercial offerings. As a plus, the user interface runs natively on Linux. Godot has amassed a healthy user community (through forum, Facebook and IRC) since it went public, and was used to publish commercial games in the Latin American and European markets such as "Ultimo Carnaval" with publisher Square Enix, or "The Mystery Team" by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe."

Link to Original Source
Communications

Skype Unveils Preview of Live English-To-Spanish Translator 98

Posted by timothy
from the stick-this-in-your-ear dept.
mpicpp writes that Microsoft, after demoing the technology back in May, is giving some real-world exposure to its Skype-based translation. The Skype preview program will kick-off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English, and 40+ instant messaging languages will be available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator sign-up page and are using Windows 8.1 on the desktop or device. Skype asked two schools to try Skype Translator – Peterson School in Mexico City, and Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, USA – playing a game of 'Mystery Skype' in which the children ask questions to determine the location of the other school. One classroom of children speaking Spanish and the other speaking English, Skype Translator removed this language barrier and enabled them to communicate.

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