Submission + - Lawyers for fired Google programmer ask other employees to come forward (

walterbyrd writes: A law firm representing James Damore, who was fired from Google earlier this month for writing a controversial internal memo, is asking other former and current employees to come forward with “illegal employment practices” at Google.

A blog post from Damore's firm specifically solicited those who had been reprimanded for “refusing to comply with the political orthodoxy at the company” or had faced retaliation over their political views or whistleblowing.

Submission + - SpaceX satellite Internet project status update

lpress writes: SpaceX plans two Internet satellite constellations. The first will be in low-Earth orbit and they will launch a prototype satellite this year. They will begin launching operational satellites in 2019 and the constellation will be completed by 2024, at which time they will be offering global connectivity. The second, very low-Earth constellation may replace today's terrestrial ISPs. What about regulation?

Submission + - IRS Now Has a Tool to Unmask Bitcoin Tax Evaders (

SonicSpike writes: You can use bitcoin. But you can’t hide from the taxman.

At least, that’s the hope of the Internal Revenue Service, which has purchased specialist software to track those using bitcoin, according to a contract obtained by The Daily Beast.

The document highlights how law enforcement isn’t only concerned with criminals accumulating bitcoin from selling drugs or hacking targets, but also those who use the currency to hide wealth or avoid paying taxes.

The IRS has claimed that only 802 people declared bitcoin losses or profits in 2015; clearly fewer than the actual number of people trading the cryptocurrency—especially as more investors dip into the world of cryptocurrencies, and the value of bitcoin punches past the $4,000 mark. Maybe lots of bitcoin traders didn't realize the government expects to collect tax on their digital earnings, or perhaps some thought they'd be able to get away with stockpiling bitcoin thanks to the perception that the cryptocurrency is largely anonymous.

“The purpose of this acquisition is to help us trace the movement of money through the bitcoin economy,” a section of the contract reads. The Daily Beast obtained the document through the Freedom of Information Act.

The contractor in this case is Chainalysis, a startup offering its “Reactor” tool to visualize, track, and analyze bitcoin transactions. Chainalysis’ users include law enforcement agencies, banks, and regulatory entities.

The software can follow bitcoin as it moves from one wallet to another, and eventually to an exchange where the bitcoin user will likely cash out into dollars or another currency. This is the point law enforcement could issue a subpoena to the exchange and figure out who is really behind the bitcoin.

Submission + - Twitch Donation Widget, Security Issue

An anonymous reader writes: While looking more into the popular Twitch Donation Fighting widget and bot I have discovered that the service is storing the user's Twitch API Access Token and the Applications Client-ID as a cookie on the user's browser along with as a GET parameter for the widget URL. Allowing random people with the know how to connect to the user's Twitch account via the API to get their email linked to their twitch account. The service is named BitBossBattles and can be googled for more information.

Submission + - Chrome Adds Warning for Extensions That Take Over Your Proxy Settings (

An anonymous reader writes: Google engineers have added two new features to the Chrome browser that will alert users of extensions that hijack proxy settings or the new tab page. Google has been testing these two techniques sparingly with a small subset of users for more than a year, but they have now landed in Google Canary.

The techniques are used by malicious Chrome extensions to hijack traffic and insert ads, or to redirect search traffic to affiliate search engine programs. The addition of these popup alerts are part of Google's plan to fight malicious Chrome extensions that have been starting to plague the Web Store [1, 2, 3, 4].

Submission + - Mark Zuckerberg Says Facebook Will Add Subscriptions For News Stories (

An anonymous reader writes: After years of simply forcing news organizations to heel to the almighty algorithm and craft their content for the News Feed, Facebook has added several features in the hopes of winning back the love of publishers. One of the biggest changes to come is subscriptions via Facebook. Here's how it works: Publishers using Instant Articles, Facebook's fast-loading article pages, will be able to have a paywall (certain number of articles per month) or have locked articles (freemium model). For either case, Facebook users will be prompted to subscribe to read more. All payments will be processed directly via publishers' websites, and Facebook will not take a cut—at least not now.

Submission + - FTC Approves Amazon's Acquisition of Whole Foods (

An anonymous reader writes: The Federal Trade Commission will allow Amazon to continue its $13.7 billion deal to acquire Whole Foods. The FTC conducted an investigation to gauge whether the merger would decrease competition under federal regulations, Bruce Hoffman, acting director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement Wednesday. It ultimately decided not to pursue the matter further. Whole Foods shareholders approved Amazon's acquisition deal hours before the FTC's announcement.The two companies expect to finalize the agreement during the second half of the year. However, source familiar with the matter told CNBC the deal could happen sooner rather than later.

Submission + - MS .NET core 2.0 for Linux released. Redhat will bundle Microsoft's .NET (

Billly Gates writes: Microsoft recently released Visual Studio 15.3 for Windows and Visual Studio 7.1 for Mac with .NET core 2.0. In addition to porting Microsoft Code and SQL Server to Linux they have ported .NET. Redhat will bundle .NET in their software offerings instead of relying on Mono. .NET core is Microsoft's opensource .NET platform which is not based off Mono and available for Linux, Mac, and Windows here.

Submission + - Brilliant Earth Sues YouTube Slueth For Exposing Untrackable Diamonds (

cdreimer writes: As recently featured as the main story on The Philip DeFranco Show, Brilliant Earth Jewelry, an "ethical jeweler" that sells Canadian-certified diamonds, is suing Jacob Worth, a YouTuber who posted videos that claim that Brilliant Earth's diamonds cannot be tracked back to Canada and may be selling "blood diamonds" from war-torn Africa, for defamation. Jacob Worth just posted an updated video regarding the lawsuit, going over the public accusations by Brilliant Earth that he is a pimp and a drug lord. This is a fascinating behind the scenes look at the diamond trade.

Submission + - Elon Musk just unveiled the SpaceX spacesuit (

schwit1 writes: The suit features a helmet and what appears to be a low-weight design. Given that it doesn't look as bulky as NASA's spacewalk suits, this is probably more of a flight suit meant to be worn by passengers traveling inside the ship rather than for spacewalks.

Submission + - Wal-Mart and Google Partner to Challenge Amazon (

schwit1 writes: Google and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are joining forces in a partnership that includes enabling voice-ordered purchases from the retail giant on Google’s virtual assistant, challenging rival Inc.’s grip on the next wave of e-commerce.

Wal-Mart said Wednesday that next month it will join Google’s online-shopping marketplace, Google Express. While the deal will add hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart items to Google Express, it will also give Wal-Mart access to voice ordering. The deal won’t alter how consumers receive their orders, because Wal-Mart will fulfill purchases made through Google Express.

Consumers will be able to order Wal-Mart goods from the retailer’s stores by speaking to Google’s virtual assistant, which sits in phones, Google’s voice-controlled speakers and soon other devices. Wal-Mart said it will share consumers’ purchase history with Google to enable users to quickly reorder items, a primary function of voice-controlled orders for commodity shopping.

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