AmiMoJo writes: All Dutch electric trains are now powered by wind energy, the national railway company NS has said. An increase in the number of wind farms across the country and off the coast of the Netherlands had helped NS achieve its aim. One windmill running for an hour can power a train for 120 miles, the companies said. They hope to reduce the energy used per passenger by a further 35% by 2020 compared with 2005.
AmiMoJo writes: The V sign, made by holding up two parted fingers and commonly called the peace sign in Japan, may allow fingerprints to be copied from photographs, researchers warn. Research by a team at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII) were able to copy fingerprints based on photos taken by a digital camera three meters away from the subject.
AmiMoJo writes: A former soldier from Wales has pleaded guilty to a terrorism offence after failing to reveal his mobile phone PIN to police. Robert Clarke had been arrested at Heathrow Airport in September as he tried to leave the UK to go and fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria. He was stopped and searched, and then arrested while waiting to board a flight to Jordan, from where he planned to join Kurdish anti-IS militants. Police seized his passport and phone. Clarke's offence was to obstruct a search carried out under the notorious Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 – not in itself a terrorist crime as ordinary people would recognise. He refused to give police the PIN to his iPhone, claiming that he used the fingerprint access method and that he couldn't remember the numerical PIN. A PIN he gave them allegedly did not work.
AmiMoJo writes: According to reports in Chinese media, China-based suppliers aren’t planning to follow Apple should the company decide to move production to the United States, citing the increased costs as the main reason. Lens Technology, which — according to the report — is in charge of manufacturing cover glass that Apple uses on its iPhones, has already said that it’s not planning to transfer its operations to the United States, explaining that labor supply would be substantially higher than in China. The company explained that most of its workforce is less than 45 years old, while in the United States, employees would be over this age and, at the same time, ask for bigger wages. Furthermore, the firm says, many workers in the United States are unlikely to accept its working schedules. Additionally, a second supplier based in Shenzhen (southern China) has explained that it’s nearly impossible for a Chinese company to move operations from China because all partners are in the country and, when requested, they could easily adapt to changes on the fly. The company pointed out that, in some cases, adapting production to new requests takes only 10 days in China, while retooling in the US could take more than a month.
AmiMoJo writes: Google has said it is "thinking deeply" about ways to improve search, after criticism over how some results — including ones discussing the Holocaust — were ranked. Searching for "did the Holocaust happen?" returned a top result from white supremacist site Stormfront, that claimed it did not. "This is a really challenging problem, and something we're thinking deeply about in terms of how we can do a better job," said a Google spokesman. "Search is a reflection of the content that exists on the web. The fact that hate sites may appear in search results in no way means that Google endorses these views." Search Engine Land has some more detailed analysis suggesting that people are actively trying to influence search result rankings on controversial topics.
AmiMoJo writes: A leak of the EU's new ePrivacy Directive contains strong protections for users. It suggests that web browsers should require affirmative consent from the user before storing third party data (i.e. cookies), and effectively gives legal weight to the Do Not Track flag. The Directive also reduces the need for cookie information messages (the banners EU users see on web sites) and requires software and hardware (including IoT devices) to offer Privacy by Design. For example, browser privacy settings should default to not sharing data and rejecting tracking, and chat clients should default to end-to-end encryption.
AmiMoJo writes: An Oregon District Court has sided with a wrongfully accused man, who was sued for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler. According to the court's recommendations, the man is entitled to more than $17,000 in compensation as the result of the filmmakers "overaggressive" and "unreasonable" tactics. The defendant in question, Thomas Gonzales, operates an adult foster care home where several people had access to the Internet. The filmmakers were aware of this and during a hearing their counsel admitted that any guest could have downloaded the film.
AmiMoJo writes: Hundreds of thousands of user account details for porn site xHamster are being traded on the digital underground. The database of nearly 380,000 users includes usernames, email addresses, and what appears to be poorly-hashed passwords. The database includes some 40 email addresses belonging to the US Army, and 30 related to various US, UK, and other countries’ government bodies. The hashes in the database have been created with the long-aging algorithm MD5. Hackers can trivially crack these hashes, and plenty of websites exist where anyone can quickly look up the plaintext of an already-cracked hash.
AmiMoJo writes: Investigators at major insurers in Japan have started using portable digital devices when assessing damage. They say a new generation of technology can help settle claims more promptly. Workers at Sompo Japan Nipponkoa have started wearing high-tech eyeglasses, when they investigate damage to homes and household goods. A camera is embedded in the units. This means claim adjusters don't have to visit accident sites in person. They can remotely instruct field staff to take and transmit the needed images.
AmiMoJo writes: "Technology has changed our universe," said Melania Trump on Thursday. "But like anything that is powerful, it can have a bad side. Children and teenagers can be fragile. They are hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence. This makes their life hard and can force them to hide and retreat... It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground. And it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet." She ended by promising to make cyberbullying one of her "main focuses" in the White House.
AmiMoJo writes: If you can't get to some of your favorite websites today, it's may not have a thing to do with your browser or ISP. The blame likely goes to GlobalSign, a Belgium-based security certificate provider. The company fouled up a clean-up of some of their root certificates links. This resulted in many "secure" websites showing up as being insecure and, depending on your web browser, unavailable.
The bad news is GlobalSign customers need to replace their SSL certificates. The really bad news is those same corrupt certificates are now on end-user systems. There they will block the affected sites for as long as week.