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Businesses

One Year in Jail For Abusive Silicon Valley CEO (theguardian.com) 287

He grew up in San Jose, and at the age of 25 sold his second online advertising company to Yahoo for $300 million just nine years ago. Friday Gurbaksh Chahal was sentenced to one year in jail for violating his probation on 47 felony charges from 2013, according to an article in The Guardian submitted by an anonymous Slashdot reader: Police officials said that a 30-minute security camera video they obtained showed the entrepreneur hitting and kicking his then girlfriend 117 times and attempting to suffocate her inside his $7 million San Francisco penthouse. Chahal's lawyers, however, claimed that police had illegally seized the video, and a judge ruled that the footage was inadmissible despite prosecutors' argument that officers didn't have time to secure a warrant out of fear that the tech executive would erase the footage.

Without the video, most of the charges were dropped, and Chahal, 34, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor battery charges of domestic violence... In Silicon Valley, critics have argued that Chahal's case and the lack of serious consequences he faced highlight the way in which privileged and wealthy businessmen can get away with serious misconduct.. On September 17, 2014, prosecutors say he attacked another woman in his home, leading to another arrest.

Friday Chahal was released on bail while his lawyer appeals the one-year jail sentence for violating his probation.
Communications

BuzzFeed and Washington Post To Use Robots For RNC Coverage (engadget.com) 80

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Engadget: The Washington Post and Buzzfeed have sent robots to cover the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Washington Post is using a telepresence robot from Double Robotics that consists of an iPad mounted on a Segway-like base. It's objective: to roam around the convention, streaming live on Periscope. Those viewing the stream will be able to ask questions of delegates, politicians and other figures who stumble upon the robot. BuzzFeed is using a robot called 'BuzzBot.' It's a Facebook chat bot that collects and caters news from the convention to users' messaging feeds. All you have to do is add the channel to your Messenger app and it will deliver news updates from BuzzFeed reporters. Specifically, it will collect reports from delegates, protesters and others in Cleveland. You have the option to send pictures and other info to BuzzBot, but it may ask you questions about your experience. The questions it asks will be different depending on your location. For example, if you live in Cleveland it will want to know what kind of impact the RNC is having on your daily life. Meanwhile, with roughly 50,000 attendees and likely millions of viewers watching across the country and abroad, the RNC is preparing for cyberattacks that aim to disrupt the network.

Comment Re:I believe this violates the Outer Space Treaty (Score 5, Insightful) 256

I am not a legal expert but I believe their plan to produce a nuclear-armed spacecraft violates the Outer Space Treaty (to which Russia is a signatory) and specifically Article IV which says "States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner." (which sounds like exactly what Russia wants to do)

Then again, with the way the Russian economy is these days, I dont think they have the funds to actually build or launch this thing so it wont matter...

Sounds like it's planned to only ascend when needed, so nothing stationed in space. (And in any event, not in orbit until the point where treaties are moot.)

EU

Telecoms Promise 5G Networks If EU Cripples Net Neutrality (theverge.com) 194

An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: A group of 20 major telcos including Deutsche Telekom, Nokia, Vodafone, and BT promise to launch 5G networks in every country in the European Union by 2020 -- so long as governments decide to weaken net neutrality rules. The coalition's plans are outlined in its "5G Manifesto," a seven-page document that details how the companies will roll 5G out across the continent over the next few years. However, by warning against regulation that would ensure an open internet and encouraging nations to water rules down, the companies are effectively holding the new technology for ransom... "The EU must reconcile the need for open Internet with pragmatic rules that foster innovation," reads the manifesto. "The telecom industry warns that current net neutrality guidelines, as put forward by [the Body of European Regulators], create significant uncertainties around 5G return on investment..."
The EU is asking the public to share their feedback on the manifesto.

Comment Re:TMobile.... (Score 2) 145

It really depends on your location of use and how far from interstates you travel, when you do.

In my case, there is absolutely NO coverage for T-mobile at my lake home on any provider except Verizon. Considering we spend ~40% of our summer months there, this is a necessity.

We also travel, by car, over 3500 miles each summer on a road trip. With Verizon I have never been out of coverage; however, AT&T and T-mobile cannot keep pace--not even close.

AI

Europe's Robots To Become 'Electronic Persons' Under Draft Plan (yahoo.com) 262

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Yahoo News: Under the European Union's new draft plan, Europe's growing army of robot workers could be classed as "electronic persons," with their owners liable to paying social security for them. Robots are only becoming more prevalent in the workplace. They're already taking on tasks such as personal care or surgery, and their population is only expected to rise as their abilities are expanded with the increased development of new technologies. A draft European Parliament motion suggests that their growing intelligence, pervasiveness and autonomy requires rethinking everything from taxation to legal liability. The draft motion called on the European Commission to consider "that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations." It also suggested the creation of a register for smart autonomous robots, which would link each one to funds established to cover its legal liabilities. Patrick Schwarzkopf, managing director of the VDMA's robotic and automation department, said: "That we would create a legal framework with electronic persons -- that's something that could happen in 50 years but not in 10 years. We think it would be very bureaucratic and would stunt the development of robotics," he told reporters. The report added that the robotics and artificial intelligence may result in a large part of the work now done by humans being taken over by robots, raising concerns about the future of employment and the viability of social security systems. The draft motion also said organizations should have to declare savings they made in social security contributions by using robotics instead of people, for tax purposes.
Iphone

'Headphone Jacks Are the New Floppy Drives' (daringfireball.net) 771

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple's upcoming iPhone won't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The news has already upset many people. The Verge's Nilay Patel wrote on Tuesday that the decision of getting rid of the legacy headphone port is "user hostile and stupid." Apple commentator John Gruber makes a case for why Apple's supposed move is not a bad idea at all. He writes:Patel misses the bigger problem. It's not enforcement of DRM on audio playback. It's enforcement of the MFi Program for certifying hardware that uses the Lightning port. Right now any headphone maker in the world can make any headphones they want for the standard jack. Not so with the Lightning port.He adds that the existing analog headphone jack "is more costly in terms of depth than thickness," and by getting rid of it, Apple could use the extra real estate to stuff in more battery juice. Addressing Patel's point that the move of ditching a deeply established standard will "disproportionately impact accessibility," Gruber adds that "enabling, open, and democratizing" have never been high on Apple's list of priorities for external ports. Gruber also addressed Patel's argument that introducing a Lightning Port-enabled headphone feature will make Android and iPhone headphones incompatible. He wrote: Why would Apple care about headphone compatibility with Android? If Apple gave two shits about port compatibility with Android, iPhones would have Micro-USB ports. In 1998 people used floppy drives extensively for sneaker-netting files between Macs and PCs. That didn't stop Apple from dropping it.As for "nobody is asking" Apple to remove headphone jack from the next iPhone, Gruber reminds: This is how it goes. If it weren't for Apple we'd probably still be using computers with VGA and serial ports. The essence of Apple is that they make design decisions "no one asked for".The 3.5mm headphone jack has been around for decades. We can either live with it forever, or try doing something better instead. History suggests that OEMs from across the world quickly replicate Apple's move. Just the idea of Apple removing the headphone jack -- the rumor of which first began last year -- arguably played an instrumental role in some smartphones shipping without the legacy port this year. If this is a change that we really need, Apple is perhaps the best company to set the tone for it. Though, whether we really need to get rid of the headphone jack remains debatable.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 32

While all of your points are quite valid, there is definitely a lot of community on IG and, as someone who recently stopped using it due to the changes to the feed planned by Facebook, I definitely miss seeing local photographers sharing their work and helping each other get better at their craft.

Social Networks

Executive Says Facebook Will Be All Video, No Text In 5 Years (mashable.com) 244

Kellen Beck, writing for Mashable: Video must be doing well on Facebook, because an executive at the company just predicted that's all Facebook will be in five years. Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's vice president of European, Middle Eastern and African operations, said at a conference Tuesday that in five years, Facebook "will be probably all video," Quartz reported. Mendelsohn added that video is "the best way to tell stories in this world" and "helps us to digest much more information." Mendelsohn is predicting the obsolescence of the written word, at least on Facebook, according to Quartz. That sounds far-fetched, but consider the way Facebook is decreasing an emphasis on text and diving headfirst into video with numerous recent updates and features.
Youtube

Trent Reznor: YouTube Is Built On the Back Of Stolen Content (theguardian.com) 428

An anonymous reader writes: Singer and record producer Trent Reznor has become the latest artist to attack Google's video service YouTube. "I find YouTube's business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content and that's how they got that big," said Reznor in an interview with Billboard. Reznor was not speaking purely as an artist, however. He is also chief creative officer at Apple Music, the streaming service launched by Apple in 2015, which is one of the key rivals to YouTube in the digital music world. "I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It's making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers. That's how I feel about it. Strongly," said Reznor, widening his criticism to other rivals like Spotify in the process.
China

Online Loans Made In China Using Nude Pictures As Collateral 118

HughPickens.com writes: There is more than one way to get a student loan in China as People's Daily Online reports that many Chinese university students use their nude pictures as IOUs on online lending platforms, putting themselves at the risks of having everybody -- including their parents -- see them naked. Borrowers are also required to upload pictures of their ID cards and report their family information, including their address and cellphone numbers. "The nude photos will be made public if the borrowers fail to repay their debts with interest," an insider was quoted as saying. The credit varies based on the borrower's education background. Usually an undergraduate student can receive 15,000 yuan ($2,277) in credit, while those studying at famous universities as well as doctorate students can receive even larger loans. Snapshots of threatening collection messages have also gone viral, with a photo of a female borrower and a message reading how the lender would send the photo and her naked video footage to her family members if she could not pay back her 10,000 yuan borrowed on an annual interest rate of 24 percent within a week. "Naked IOUs started long ago. Not only university students but many others also borrowed money with nude pictures," says insider surnamed Zhang. Zuo Shenggao from Jingshi Law Firm says that nude photos are actually invalid as collateral in terms of laws. "Nude photos are not property. It is in the category of reputation rights," says Shenggao. "If anyone threatens to publish the photos online, they will violate the clients' reputation. At the same time, they are also spreading pornographic material. Both are illegal and they will commit double offense,"
Privacy

Visual Studio 2015 C++ Compiler Secretly Inserts Telemetry Code Into Binaries (infoq.com) 421

Reader edxwelch writes: Reddit user sammiesdog discovered recently that Visual Studio 2015 C++ compiler was inserting calls to a Microsoft telemetry function into binaries. "I compiled a simple program with only main(). When looking at the compiled binary in IDA, I see a call for telemetry_main_invoke_trigger and telemetry_main_return_trigger. I cannot find documentation for these calls, either on the web or in the options page," he wrote. Only after the discovery did Steve Carroll, the dev manager for Visual C++ admit to the "feature" and posted a workaround to remove it.A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the existence of this behavior to InfoQ, adding that the company wil be removing it in a future preview build. For those who wish to get rid of it, the blog writes: Users who have a copy of VS2015 Update 2 and wish to turn off the telemetry functionality currently being compiled into their code should add notelemetry.obj to their linker command line.
Businesses

British Startup Strip Mines Renters' Private Social Media For Landlords (washingtonpost.com) 371

Rick Zeman writes: Creepy British startup Score Assured has brought the power of "big data" to plumb new depths. In order to rent from landlords who use their services, potential renters are "...required to grant it full access to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram profiles. From there, Tenant Assured scrapes your site activity, including entire conversation threads and private messages; runs it through natural language processing and other analytic software; and finally, spits out a report that catalogs everything from your personality to your 'financial stress level.'" This "stress level" is a deep dive to (allegedly) determine whether the potential renter will pay their bills using vague indicators like "online retail social logins and frequency of social logins used for leisure activities." To make it worse, the company turns over to the landlords' indicators that the landlords aren't legally allowed to consider (age, race, pregnancy status), counting on the landlords to "do the right thing." As if this isn't abusive enough, the candidates are not allowed to see nor challenge their report, unlike with credit reports. Landlords first, employers next...and then? As the co-founder says, "People will give up their privacy to get something they want" and, evidently, that includes a place to live and a job. In late May, an apartment building in Salt Lake City told tenants living in the complex to "like" its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease.
Government

US Agency Lines Up Broad Support For ICANN Transition (pcworld.com) 64

An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A U.S. agency has lined up broad support for its plan to end the government's oversight of the Internet's domain name system, despite opposition from some Republicans in Congress. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Thursday released statements of support for a plan to end its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Among supporters of a plan, developed by the ICANN community, to transition ICANN's domain name coordination functions to a multistakeholder governance model are Amazon.com, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. NTIA on Thursday announced it had reviewed the community proposal and found it meets the agency's criteria for allowing the ICANN privatization plan to move forward. The community plan maintains the openness of the Internet and maintains the security and stability of the DNS, said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling. It does not replace NTIA's oversight with another government organization, he said, although that's been a fear of some critics of the NTIA plan. On Wednesday, Ted Cruz proposed a bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, that would prohibit the U.S. government from relinquishing its role with respect to overseeing the web's domain name system (DNS), unless explicitly authorized by Congress.

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