FCC Orders a Brooklyn Man To Turn Off His Bitcoin Miner Because It Was Interfering With T-Mobile's Wireless Network ( 207

A New York City resident was ordered to turn off his bitcoin miner after the Federal Communications Commission discovered that it was interfering with T-Mobile's wireless network. From a report: After receiving a complaint from T-Mobile about interference to its 700MHz LTE network in Brooklyn, New York, FCC agents in November 2017 determined that radio emissions in the 700MHz band were coming from the residence of a man named Victor Rosario. "When the interfering device was turned off the interference ceased," the FCC's enforcement bureau told Rosario in a "Notification of Harmful Interference" yesterday. "You identified the device as an Antminer S5 Bitcoin Miner. The device was generating spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile's broadband network and causing harmful interference." The FCC told Rosario that continued interference with T-Mobile's network while operating the device would be a violation of federal laws "and could subject the operator to severe penalties, including, but not limited to, substantial monetary fines, in rem arrest action to seize the offending radio equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment."

Office Depot, Best Buy Pull Kaspersky Products From Shelves ( 155

Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for BleepingComputer: Both Office Depot and Best Buy have removed Kaspersky Lab products from shelves. The ban has been in effect since mid-September, and the two chains are offering existing Kaspersky customers replacement security software. The first store to remove Kaspersky products from shelves was Best Buy, on around September 8. At the time, the FBI was pressuring the private sector to cut ties with the Russian antivirus maker, which was the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee on the suspicion it may be collaborating with Russian intelligence agencies. Kaspersky vehemently denied all accusations. A week after Best Buy removed Kaspersky products from shelves, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Binding Operational Directive published ordering the removal of Kaspersky Lab products off government computers. A day later, Office Depot announced a similar decision to ban the sale of Kaspersky products in its stores. Additionally, Office Depot is letting customers exchange their Kaspersky copy with a one-year license for McAfee LiveSafe.

The Kronos Indictment: Is it a Crime To Create and Sell Malware? ( 199

Marcus Hutchins, the 23-year-old British security researcher who was credited with stopping the WannaCry outbreak in its tracks by discovering a hidden "kill switch" for the malware, was arrested by the FBI over his alleged involvement in separate malicious software targeting bank accounts. According to an indictment released by the US Department of Justice on Thursday, Hutchins is accused of having helped to create, spread and maintain the banking trojan Kronos between 2014 and 2015. Hutchins, who is indicted with another unnamed co-defendant, stands accused of six counts of hacking-related crimes as a result of his alleged involvement with Kronos. A preliminary analysis of those counts suggest that the government will face significant legal challenges. Orin Kerr, the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School, writes: The indictment asserts that Hutchins created the malware and an unnamed co-conspirator took the lead in selling it. The indictment charges a slew of different crimes for that: (1) conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; (2) three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. 2512, which prohibits selling and advertising wiretapping devices; (3) a count of wiretapping; and (4) a count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act through accomplice liability -- basically, aiding and abetting a hacking crime. Do the charges hold up? Just based on a first look at the case, my sense is that the government's theory of the case is fairly aggressive. It will lead to some significant legal challenges. It's hard to say, at this point, how those challenges will play out. The indictment is pretty bare-bones, and we don't have all the facts or even what the government thinks are the facts.

Amazon Is Getting Too Big and the Government Is Talking About It ( 205

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MarketWatch: Fresh off its biggest Prime Day yet, the Whole Foods Market bid, and a slew of announcements including Amazon Wardrobe, Inc. was the subject of two investor calls Thursday that raised concerns that it is getting too big. In one case, hedge-fund manager Douglas Kass said government intervention could be imminent. "I am shorting Amazon today because I have learned that there are currently early discussions and due diligence being considered in the legislative chambers in Washington DC with regard to possible antitrust opposition to Amazon's business practices, pricing strategy and expansion announcements already made (as well as being aimed at expansion strategies being considered in the future," wrote Kass, head of Seabreeze Partners Management. "My understanding is that certain Democrats in the Senate have instituted the very recent and preliminary investigation of Amazon's possible adverse impact on competition," he said. "But, in the Trump administration we also have a foe against Jeff Bezos, who not only runs Amazon but happens to own an editorially unfriendly (to President Trump) newspaper, The Washington Post."

Kass said he thinks the government "discussions may have just begun and may never result in any serious effort to limit Amazon's growth plans." But he has been writing a series of columns about whether we've reached "peak Amazon," and said in an earlier column that the Whole Foods deal puts "Amazon's vast power under the microscope." "Is Amazon a productive change agent and force for the good of the consumer by virtue of a reduction in product prices? Or is Amazon's disruption of the general retail business a destroyer of jobs, moving previously productively employed workers into the unemployment line?" he asked.


Remember When You Called Someone and Heard a Song? ( 152

An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard article: If you were youngish in the early 2000s, you probably remember this phenomenon -- calling a friend's cell phone, and instead of hearing the the standard ring, you heard a pop song. Called ringback tones, this digital music fad allowed cell phone owners to subject callers to their own musical preference. Ringback tones were incredibly trendy in the early and mid-2000's, but have since tapered off nearly to oblivion. Though almost nobody is buying ringbacks anymore, plenty of people still have them from back in the day. [...] In the process of writing this story, I heard from several people that they or someone they knew still had a ringback tone, in large part because they have had it for years, and don't know how to get rid of it.

JetBlue and Boeing Are Betting Big On Electric Jet Startup 'Zunem Aero' ( 163

A new startup called Zunum Aero is aiming to reinvent how users travel short distances, such as from San Francisco to Los Angeles. "The Kirkland, Washington-based company [...] plans to build a fleet of hybrid electric jets to sell to major carriers for service on densely traveled regional routes like San Francisco to Los Angeles or Boston to Washington, DC, "reports The Verge. Two aviation giants, Boeing and JetBlue, are reportedly backing the startup. From the report: Lower operating costs (i.e., no fueling) will allow carriers to reduce fares by 40 to 80 percent, they predict. And by flying a smaller aircraft that would be subject to fewer TSA regulations, Zunum claims it will take less time to go through security before boarding one of its planes. Zunum aims to build several models of hybrid-electric propulsion jets. At launch, its first class of aircraft will be tiny, in the 10-15 foot range, with a 10-passenger capacity and a range of up to 700 miles on a single charge. (Think San Francisco to Portland or Atlanta to DC.) Those planes can be expected to roll off the assembly line by the early 2020s, the company's CEO Ashish Kumar told The Verge. By the 2030s, as electric battery technology improves, Zunum hopes to build larger aircraft that can carry up to 50 passengers and travel up to 1,000 miles on a single charge. (Think Seattle to LA or Boston to Jacksonville, Florida.) Zunum's aircraft will feature hybrid electric motors with the capacity to accept recharging power from a variety of sources. Because airplanes are typically kept in service for up to 30 years, Kumar says its important for Zunum's aircraft to be future proof. That means designing them to be compatible with future battery designs and range-extending generators, with an eye toward ultimately switching from hybrid propulsion to fully electric motors once the technology catches up.

Starting Next Year, Evernote Employees Could Access Your Unencrypted Notes ( 98

Mark Wilson, reporting for BetaNews: Evernote has published an update to its Privacy Policy, revealing that as of 23 January 2017, employees will be able to access unencrypted notes. The change is being wheeled in because of the apparent failings of machine learning. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that Evernote says that it is not possible to opt out of having employees possibly accessing your unencrypted notes. The only way to fully protect your privacy is to delete all your notes and close your Evernote account. The update to the Privacy Policy starts off sounding fairly innocuous: "The latest update to the Privacy Policy allows some Evernote employees to exercise oversight of machine learning technologies applied to account content, subject to the limits described below, for the purposes of developing and improving the Evernote service."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF: The Music Industry Shouldn't Be Able To Cut Off Your Internet Access ( 88

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electronic Frontier Foundation: No one should have to fear losing their internet connection because of unfounded accusations. But some rights holders want to use copyright law to force your Internet service provider (ISP) to cut off your access whenever they say so, and in a case the Washington Post called "the copyright case that should worry all Internet providers," they're hoping the courts will help them. We first wrote about this case -- BMG v. Cox Communications -- when it was filed back in 2014, and last month, EFF, Public Knowledge (PK), and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) urged the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to overturn a ruling that ISP Cox Communications was liable for copyright infringement. EFF, PK and CDT advised the court to consider the importance of Internet access in daily life in determining when copyright law requires an ISP to cut off someone's Internet subscription. The case turns in part on a provision in copyright law that gives internet intermediaries a safe harbor -- legal protection against some copyright infringement lawsuits -- provided they follow certain procedures. Online platforms like Facebook and YouTube, along with other internet intermediaries, have to "reasonably implement" a policy for terminating "subscribers and account holders" that are "repeat infringers" in "appropriate circumstances." But given the importance of Internet access, the circumstances where it's appropriate to cut off a home Internet subscription entirely are few and far between. The law as written is flexible enough that providers can design and implement policies that make sense for the nature of their service and their subscribers' circumstances. A repeat infringer policy for the company that provides your link to the Internet as a whole should take into account the essential nature of internet access and the severe harm caused by disconnection. But music publisher BMG wants to use this provision to force ISPs to become tougher enforcers of copyright law. According to BMG, ISPs should be required both to forward rights holders' threatening demand letters to their subscribers and terminate a subscriber's Internet access whenever rights holders allege that person has repeatedly violated copyright law. A subscriber is a "repeat infringer" and subject to termination, they argue, whenever they say so. Cox's appeal of the ruling raises two very important issues: (1) Who should be considered a "repeat infringer" who should be cut off from the Internet, and (2) whether ISPs must either cede to rights holders' demands or monitor their subscribers' internet habits to avoid liability. Slashdot reader waspleg adds: Two landmark Supreme Court cases, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., and Sony Corp. of America v. Universal Studios made clear that if a service is capable of significant lawful uses, and the provider doesn't actively encourage users to commit copyright infringement, the provider shouldn't be held responsible when someone nonetheless uses the service unlawfully.
United States

Secret Service, DHS Scramble To Secure America's Election ( 360

Secret service agents rushed Donald Trump off a stage in Nevada Saturday night, CNN reports. "A scuffle could be seen breaking out in the audience, but it was not immediately clear what happened... Secret Service and police tactical units rushed in to detain a man [who] was then rushed by a throng of police officers, Secret Service agents and SWAT officers armed with assault rifles to a side room... A law enforcement official told CNN no weapon was discovered. The GOP nominee was apparently unharmed and returned to the stage minutes later to finish his speech." Meanwhile, an anonymous reader writes: "All but two U.S. states have accepted help from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to probe and scan voter registration and election systems for vulnerabilities, a department official told Reuters." Ohio is relying on the National Guard's cyber protection unit, while Arizona says they've held discussions with the FBI, DHS and state-level agents on cyber security. But in addition, "U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News."

American officials believe Russian hacking efforts will continue through 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal. "By hacking and dumping emails, Russia is trying 'to denigrate the American electoral system, to make it look chaotic, make it look manipulable, make it look subject to intrusion, cheating and vulnerable so you can't trust make us look no better than the Russian electoral system,'" said one senior White House official. Russia is also expected to extend their efforts toward elections in Europe.


Prominent Pro-Patent Judge Issues Opinion Declaring All Software Patents Bad ( 294

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Techdirt: A lawsuit brought by the world's largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, and handled on appeal (as are all patent cases), by the notoriously awful Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) may have actually killed off software patents. The ruling came from a judge that has ruled over patent cases since the 1980s, and it appears he's been born again into the anti-software patent world. Judge Mayer pointed out that the First Amendment says that "some" patents should not be allowed. The whole concurrence is worth reading, starting with the First Amendment argument -- which is kind of fascinating in that it goes well beyond what most people had talked about in the past concerning software patents. Judge Mayer makes the point that basically all software is unpatentable because software is "a form of language," which we don't patent: "All software implemented on a standard computer should be deemed categorically outside the bounds of Section 101. ("Section 101" is 35 U.S. Code; 101 is the part that governs patents.) The central problem with affording patent protection to generically-implemented software is that standard computers have long been ceded to the public domain .... Because generic computers are ubiquitous and indispensable, in effect the 'basic tool []' of modern life, they are not subject to the patent monopoly. In the section 101 calculus, adding software (which is as abstract as language) to a conventional computer (which rightfully resides in the public domain) results in a patent eligibility score of zero .... Software lies in the antechamber of patentable invention. Because generically-implemented software is an 'idea' insufficiently linked to any defining physical structure other than a standard computer, it is a precursor to technology rather than technology itself."

Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize In Medicine For Study of Cell Recycling ( 15

Dave Knott writes from a report via The Guardian: The 2016 Nobel prize in medicine has been awarded to Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle their own components. Ohsumi uncovered "mechanisms for autophagy," a fundamental process in cells that scientists believe can be harnessed to fight cancer and dementia. Autophagy is the body's internal recycling program -- scrap cell components are captured and the useful parts are stripped out to generate energy or build new cells. The process is crucial for preventing cancerous growths, warding off infection and, by maintaining a healthy metabolism, it helps protect against conditions like diabetes. The report adds: "[Ohsumi] said he chose to focus on the cell's waste disposal system, an unfashionable subject at the time, because he wanted to work on something different. By studying the process in yeast cells, Ohsumi identified the main genes involved in autophagy and showed how the proteins they code for come together to build the autophagosome membrane. He later showed that a similar cellular recycling process occurs in human cells -- and that our cells would not survive without it."

Facebook at Work To Report For Duty Next Month ( 83

The debut of the long-awaited business social network is nigh. Facebook at Work is about to report for duty. The social networking company's long-awaited foray into business applications will formally debut in London on October 10, according to tech site TechCrunch. From a report:The news site further noted this would be Facebook's first major product launch to take place outside the United States. Thus far, Facebook is seen as a fun-and-games site, not something corporate employees use to converse or track each other. But Facebook at Work, a business-minded operation, could help change that image. As has been reported, it will be a separate version of the network that can be accessed only from a company's internal IT systems, and in theory, subject to stricter corporate security and access rules. Personal accounts will be cordoned off.

No Man's Sky Under Investigation For False Advertising ( 261

No Man's Sky is one of the most talked about games this year. The game sees the protagonist explore the space and experience uncertain places. But its controversial promotional material may also have played an instrumental role in making the title a sleeper-hit success. Polygon reports: No Man's Sky's promotional material has come under fire since launch, and it's now the subject of an ongoing investigation. The U.K.-based Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) confirmed to Polygon that it's received "several complaints about No Man's Sky's advertising," which angry customers have criticized as misleading. "I can confirm we have received several complaints about No Man's Sky advertising and we have launched an investigation," the ASA told Polygon. A representative for the ASA declined to comment on the particulars of the investigation, but a thread on the No Man Sky's subreddit details some of the most prominent issues Steam users have with the game's store page, which they passed on to the organization. Screens and video on Steam suggest a different type of combat, unique buildings, "ship flying behaviour" and creature sizes than what's found in the actual game itself. The store page overall has also been criticized for showing No Man's Sky with higher quality graphics than can be attained in-game.

Uber Drivers Are Subject To Individual Arbitration, Says Court ( 104

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Uber won a courtroom victory on Wednesday when an appeals court ruled that drivers are subject to individual arbitration in a lawsuit over background checks, a ruling that might help the ride-hailing company fend off another costly class action lawsuit filed by its drivers. While the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that agreements signed by two former drivers for the service over background checks "clearly and unmistakably" require legal disputes be settled by a private arbiter, the reasoning may be applied to another class action lawsuit filed by drivers over the company's employment classifications. Uber agreed to settle that lawsuit earlier this year -- an agreement that was rejected by a federal judge last month. Arbitration is a method frequently used by companies for resolving legal conflicts outside of the court system. However, critics say that binding arbitration clauses give corporations an unfair advantage over employees and consumers who do not have the resources to challenge companies individually.

Clinton's First Email Server Was a Power Mac Tower ( 223

An anonymous reader shares with us an excerpt from a report via Ars Technica: As she was being confirmed as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton contacted Colin Powell to ask him about his use of a Blackberry while in the same role. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigations memorandum published today (PDF), Powell warned Clinton that if it became public that she was using a Blackberry to "do business," her e-mails would be treated as "official" record and be subject to the law. "Be very careful," Powell said according to the FBI. "I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data." Perhaps Clinton's troubles began when she switched from a Blackberry-hosted e-mail account to an account on her domain -- a domain hosted on an Apple Power Mac "G4 or G5" tower running in the Clintons' Chappaqua, New York residence. The switch to the Power Mac as a server occurred the same month she exchanged messages with Powell. The Power Mac, originally purchased in 2007 by former President Clinton's aide Justin Cooper, had acted as the server for and Cooper managed most of the technology support for Bill Clinton and took charge of setting up Hillary Clinton's new personal mail system on the Power Mac, which sat alongside a firewall and network switching hardware in the basement of the Clintons' home. But the Power Mac was having difficulty handling the additional load created by Blackberry usage from Secretary Clinton and her staff, so a decision was made quickly to upgrade the server hardware. Secretary Clinton's deputy chief of staff at the State Department, Huma Abedin, connected Cooper with Brian Pagliano, who had worked in IT for the secretary's 2008 presidential campaign. Cooper inquired with Pagliano about getting some of the campaign's computer hardware as a replacement for the Power Mac, and Pagliano was in the process of selling the equipment off.

Coursera Commits 'Cultural Vandalism' As Old Platform Shuts ( 119

Reader mikejuk writes: Coursera has announced that 30 June is the date when it will shut down the servers hosting courses that were the first, free, offerings on its platform. The new model isn't just a revised interface, it is also a new monetization model, and presumably the decision to throw out all the original free content, by shutting the platform, is motivated by greedy commercialism. You could say that the golden age of the MOOC (a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people) is over with the early enthusiastic pioneers doing it because they were passionate about their subject and teaching it being replaced by a bunch of "lets teach a course because it's good for my career and ego" with subjects being selected by what will sell.
Closing down the old platform is an unnecessary destruction of irreplaceable content. Coursera needs to rethink this policy that goes against everything it originally stood for. The courses affected are from the early days of the MOOC that are likely to be important in the history of their subject. The most relevant for us, but far from the only one, is Geoffrey Hinton's Neural Networks for Machine Learning which gave a "deep" insight into the way he thinks and how neural networks work.
Something has to be done to preserve this important record -- they don't have to turn off the servers just because they have a new platform.
Dhawal Shah, founder of Class Central has written about ways one can download Coursera's courses before they're gone.
The Almighty Buck

Bill Guarantees 50% Salary For Workers Laid Off With Non-Compete ( 223

Reader dcblogs shares a Computer World report: Non-compete agreements are controversial for many reasons, but what may be worst of all: Even if you are laid off from your job, a non-compete agreement may still apply. California has made non-compete agreements unenforceable, but Massachusetts has not. Some opponents say that's partly the result of lobbying by EMC, which has considerable clout as a major state employer, headquartered in the Boston suburb of Hopkinton. But the pending $67 billion merger of EMC with Dell, and the prospect of merger-related layoffs, is spurring a new attack on non-compete agreements. State lawmakers are considering limiting non-compete agreements to one year, banning them for low-wage workers and for people terminated without cause. The leading legislative proposal will also require an employer to pay at least 50% of the former employer's salary during the period of time the non-compete is in effect. This salary guarantee is called "garden leave" and is in Massachusetts House bill H.4323. In May, the White House released a report about non-compete agreements. It found that 18% of the workforce is now covered by a non-compete agreement, but over the course of a career, some 37% of all workers (PDF) will be subject to them.
Social Networks

EFF launches Site To Track Censored Content On Social Media ( 39

Mark Wilson writes: There are many problems with the censoring of online content, not least that it can limit free speech. But there is also the question of transparency. By the very nature of censorship, unless you have been kept in the loop you would simply not know that anything had been censored. This is something the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to change, and today the digital rights organization launches to blow the lid off online censorship. The site, run by EFF and Visualizing Impact, aims to reveal the content that is censored on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube — not just the 'what' but the 'why'. If you find yourself the subject of censorship, the site also explains how to lodge an appeal.
United Kingdom

UK Gov't Can Demand Backdoors, Give Prison Sentences For Disclosing Them ( 187

An anonymous reader writes with some of the latest news about the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. Ars reports: "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 offense, 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).)"

Professor of journalism at City University Heather Brook writes at the Gaurdian: "When the Home Office and intelligence agencies began promoting the idea that the new investigatory powers bill was a “climbdown”, I grew suspicious. If the powerful are forced to compromise they don’t crow about it or send out press releases – or, in the case of intelligence agencies, make off-the-record briefings outlining how they failed to get what they wanted. That could mean only one thing: they had got what they wanted. So why were they trying to fool the press and the public that they had lost? Simply because they had won. I never thought I’d say it, but George Orwell lacked vision. The spies have gone further than he could have imagined, creating in secret and without democratic authorization the ultimate panopticon. Now they hope the British public will make it legitimate."

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