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Submission + - Orwell's toys

Presto Vivace writes: These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

According to a coalition of consumer-interest organizations, the makers of two “smart” kids toys — the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot — are allegedly violating laws in the U.S. and overseas by collecting this sort of voice data without obtaining consent. ... ... In a complaint [PDF] filed this morning with the Federal Trade Commission, the coalition — made up of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), and our colleagues at Consumers Union — argue that Genesis Toys, a company that manufactures interactive and robotic toys, and Nuance Communications, which supplies the voice-parsing services for these toys, are running afoul of rules that protect children’s privacy and prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices.

Submission + - Michigan court rules against civil forfeiture

schwit1 writes: The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that civil forfeiture denies citizens their due process rights under the Constitution. As the court wrote:

“Because of her indigency and inability to pay the required bond, [Kinnon] was excluded ‘from the only forum effectively empowered to settle [her] dispute.’ Ultimately, Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture scheme operated to deprive [Kinnon] of a significant property interest without according her the opportunity for a hearing, contrary to the requirements of the Due Process Clause.”

This shouldn’t be rocket science, as the language and intent of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is quite plain.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The problem today is that this has become rocket science. Too many people either don’t know this plain language, or work dishonestly to distort it to empower government to oppress us.

Submission + - FBI says foreign hackers penetrated state election systems (yahoo.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.

The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.

Submission + - The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun (theguardian.com) 1

mspohr writes: An article published by Bill McKibben in The Guardian points the finger at Exxon for spreading climate change denial which led to lack of action to prevent widespread coral die-off.
"We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing."

Submission + - Attorney held liable for using "generic" E-Mail?

bbsguru writes: An attorney in New York is being sued for using an AOL email account. The plaintiffs accuse their Real Estate attorney of "negligently using a "notoriously vulnerable" AOL email account that was hacked by cybercriminals who then stole nearly $2 million".
Aside from this possible risk, what does it tell you when your [attorney | broker | accountant | financial advisor] has a generic email account?

Submission + - Smartphone surveillance tech used to target anti-abortion ads at pregnant women

VoiceOfDoom writes: From Rewire

Last year, an enterprising advertising executive based in Boston, Massachusetts, had an idea: Instead of using his sophisticated mobile surveillance techniques to figure out which consumers might be interested in buying shoes, cars, or any of the other products typically advertised online, what if he used the same technology to figure out which women were potentially contemplating abortion, and send them ads on behalf of anti-choice organizations?

Regardless of one's personal stance on the pro-choice/anti-abortion debate, the unfettered use of tracking and ad-targeting technology which makes this kind of application possible is surely a cause for concern. In Europe, Canada and many other parts of the world, the use of a person's data in this way would be illegal thanks to strict privacy laws. Is it time for the US to consider a similar approach to protect its citizens?

Submission + - Security Expert Jailed for Reporting Vulnerabilities in Lee County, FL Elections (theregister.co.uk)

rootmon writes: Information Security Professional David Levin was arrested 3 months after reporting un-patched SQL injection vulnerabilities in the Lee County, Florida Elections Office run by Sharon Harrington, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections. Harrington's office has been in the news before for voting systems problems (for example in during the 2012 election, 35 districts in Lee County had to remain open 3 hours past the closing of polls due to long lines and equipment issues , wasting $800,000 to $1.6 million of taxpayer money incompatible iPads for which her office is facing an audit. Rather than fix the issues with their systems, they chose to charge the whistle blower with three third-degree felonies. The News Press also has several related interviews.

Submission + - Lightning strike affecting multiple locations - how can this be so? 1

trazom28 writes: Hi — I'm throwing this out to the slashdot crowd to see if I can pick some brains. Here's the scoop: I manage a network for a school district in Wisconsin. We have six buildings across the city, several miles apart. Locations have between 2-4 networking closets all with Cisco 2960 series 48LPS or LPD, as well as each closet having a Meraki MS220-48 switch (start of our conversion over). All WiFi APs in each building are on the Meraki switches — this will be important later.

Last week a lightning storm rolled through and a strike was confirmed near the high school — the building actually shook and the power blinked. Since then, we have random connectivity issues in all buildings. Some can log in, some cannot — and it changes as the day goes on. There will be link lights at both ends, but an IP address request does not pass through, therefore it gets an AutoIP and it's done for a while. Randomly it will start working again and others will stop working. WiFi is fine. First thought — the core switch got hit. We replaced that (we were planning to in summer anyway so it was already here). Nope — same issue. Next thought — maybe the metal messenger line for the fiber connections somehow brought it in. Nope — it happens within a building also (in this case the high school) so the outside fiber isn't involved. We also can't find any burned/smoking/scorched parts.

Next — the UPS logs- they show a power spike at the High School (core location) and... all the way across town (2 miles away) at an elementary school at almost the exact same time. The rest of the UPS units I'm having issues with — the web interface no longer wants to stay up enough for me to get to the logs.. I telnet in to reset it and I"m good for a couple clicks and then it's done.

All the Meraki switches are fine — WiFi hasn't gone down at all. The scope of this with distance is mind boggling however. Has anyone *ever* seen anything like this in their networking experience? It's looking like the closets in all locations somehow took a hit through the electrical, even through a UPS, and the Cisco switches all got affected — but the Meraki ones are OK. I've only seen this similar thing once before — years ago. Building took a hit and the only two remaining PCs of a certain brand — both in a surge protector — both would no longer boot.

Thank you for any experience/insight.

Submission + - SPAM: Pill Identifier

drugid writes: The Pill ID API provides direct access to the PillID.com pill identification service, which stores the master copy of an extensive, and up-to-date databases providing a definitive identification (ID) from the imprint’s alpha characters, numeric digits and logos. This database is one of the most extensive and up-to-date databases found anywhere.

Utilizing our patented look up routines, we provide a definitive identification (ID) that include logos when others cannot. A definitive ID makes it unnecessary for the user to search through long lists of possible matches, as is often the case when using other resources on the Web.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Are Microsoft Crippling Windows 7 Update?

ytene writes: Over the last few weeks I've noticed ALL my home PCs (Win7) report updates available, but then refuse to download them. Checked with my local PC shop who tell me they're seeing the same thing — but *only* with Win 7. Nothing reported by Microsoft... Are they deliberately crippling the W7 update?

Submission + - McDonald's Opens in Quetta, Pakistan — Taliban Isn't Lovin' It (nbcnews.com)

AmiMoJo writes: The Taliban now has access to Big Macs and McNuggets. McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Pakistan's western city of Quetta, the reputed home of the fearsome militant group's ruling council. But the extremist fighters weren't impressed — with one telling NBC News "we don't even consider it as a food." All menu items are halal, and there's even a shawarma-meets-gyro type of wrap to get local tastebuds interested: Behold, the McArabia.

Submission + - How Google's RankBrain Artificial Intelligence is changing your Local SEO Result (socialgrow.us)

socialgrow writes: Known as one of the most technologically advanced institutions in the world, Google recently made headlines due to their involvement with ‘RankBrain,’ which is essentially a search system based on the intuition of artificial intelligence. The product was announced October of 2015 and has since made a splash with casual searchers and users of local SEO alike. Google themselves announced that the new update to the system is not only vital, but the third most important factor in what comes up during a search.

Submission + - In search of a healthy gut, one man turned to an extreme DIY fecal transplant (theverge.com)

Josiah Zayner writes: Arielle Duhaime-Ross at The Verge followed Dr. Josiah Zayner, a former Scientist at NASA turned BioHacker, as he attempted the first ever fullbody microbiome transplant. She writes "Over the course of the next four days, Zayner would attempt to eradicate the trillions of microbes that lived on and inside his body — organisms that helped him digest food, produce vitamins and enzymes, and protected his body from other, more dangerous bacteria. Ruthlessly and methodically, he would try to render himself into a biological blank slate. Then, he would inoculate himself with a friend’s microbes — a procedure he refers to as a 'microbiome transplant.'".

Submission + - How Intel Knocked Itself Out Of the Smartphone Chip Market (cio.com)

itwbennett writes: Remember back in 2007 when Intel passed on making chips for the iPhone? In hindsight, that was probably not the best move (Former CEO Paul Otellini admitted as much in a 2013 interview with The Atlantic). But it also wasn't the company's only mistake. The company placed a high priority on the now-declining tablet market. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who replaced Otellini, set a goal to ship 40 million tablet chips by the end of 2014 using heavy subsidies on Atom chips. The company shipped 46 million chips that year, but the effort hurt Intel's profitability, and Krzanich decided not to repeat that strategy with smartphones. Late last month the company cancelled its upcoming Atom chip lines for smartphones, including Broxton and the Sofia 3GX, Sofia LTE and Sofia LTE2 commercial platforms. Instead, it's looking for redemption in 5G technology, which won't be limited to mobile devices.

Submission + - For first time, scientists grow two-week-old human embryos in lab (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Using a culture method previously tested to grow mouse embryos outside of a mother, the teams were able to conduct almost hour by hour observations of human embryo development to see how they develop and organize themselves up to day 13.

Brave new world, here we come

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