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Submission + - British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech To Authoritarian Regimes (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Since early 2015, over a dozen UK companies have been granted licenses to export powerful telecommunications interception technology to countries around the world, Motherboard has learned. Many of these exports include IMSI-catchers, devices which can monitor large numbers of mobile phones over broad areas. Some of the UK companies were given permission to export their products to authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Egypt; countries with poor human rights records that have been well-documented to abuse surveillance technology. In 2015, the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) started publishing basic data about the exportation of telecommunications interception devices. Through the Freedom of Information Act, Motherboard obtained the names of companies that have applied for exportation licenses, as well as details on the technologies being shipped, including, in some cases, individual product names. The companies include a subsidiary of defense giant BAE Systems, as well as Pro-Solve International, ComsTrac, CellXion, Cobham, and Domo Tactical Communications (DTC). Many of these companies sell IMSI-catchers. IMSI-catchers, sometimes known as “Stingrays” after a particularly popular brand, are fake cell phone towers which force devices in their proximity to connect. In the data obtained by Motherboard, 33 licenses are explicitly marked as being for IMSI-catchers, including for export to Turkey and Indonesia. Other listings heavily suggest the export of IMSI-catchers too: one granted application to export to Iraq is for a “Wideband Passive GSM Monitoring System,” which is a more technical description of what many IMSI-catchers do. In all, Motherboard received entries for 148 export license applications, from February 2015 to April 2016. A small number of the named companies do not provide interception capabilities, but defensive measures, for example to monitor the radio spectrum.

Submission + - SpaceX Dragon Returns Home From ISS (floridatoday.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A SpaceX Dragon capsule that helped prepare the International Space Station for future commercial astronaut flights has returned to Earth after a stay of more than month-long mission. A robotic arm released the unmanned capsule packed with 3,000 pounds of cargo at 6:11 a.m. EDT, then fired thrusters several times to move a safe distance away from the station orbiting about 250 miles up. The departure began a less than six-hour journey that culminated in a Pacific Ocean splashdown at 11:47 a.m. EDT, about 300 miles southwest of Baja, California. The Dragon launched from Cape Canaveral early July 18 on a Falcon 9 rocket and berthed at the station two days later. Among the cargo brought back from space Friday were a dozen mice from a Japanese science experiment — the first brought home alive in a Dragon. Samples from mice euthanized as part of an experiment by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly also were on board. Results were returned from an experiment that studied the behavior of heart cells in microgravity, and from research into the composition of microbes in the human digestive system, NASA said. Findings from both could help keep astronauts healthy during deep space exploration missions.

Submission + - FBI Files Say China Firm Pushed U.S. Experts for Nuclear Secrets (bloomberg.com)

mdsolar writes: A state-owned Chinese power company under indictment in the U.S. pressed American nuclear consultants for years to hand over secret technologies and documents they weren’t supposed to disclose — and in some cases it got them, several of the consultants have told the FBI.
Summaries of the consultants’ interviews with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were filed this month in a federal court where the company, China General Nuclear Power Corp., has been charged with conspiring to steal nuclear technology.
The FBI documents surfaced shortly after the same company became a focus of concerns across the Atlantic: The U.K. last month delayed approval of the country’s biggest nuclear power station in a generation as questions swirled about whether China General Nuclear’s investment in the plant poses a security risk.

The filings provide a window into the tactics of CGN, China’s biggest nuclear power operator. One of the consultants said CGN employees asked for off-limits operational manuals to nuclear equipment and software, according to the interview summaries. Another said he was asked to provide proprietary temperature settings for material used to contain nuclear fuel. After he refused, he wasn’t offered more consulting jobs, he told the FBI.
Employees of CGN “frequently asked for documents which were proprietary or limited to restricted access,” according to a summary of one interview. In several instances, the company got what it wanted, according to the FBI documents.

Submission + - Robot Babies Not Effective Birth Control, Australian Study Finds (wsj.com)

PolygamousRanchKid writes: From your baby AI department . . .

A weekend spent mothering a robot baby to mirror the “real experience” of parenting is meant to discourage teenage girls from getting pregnant. But so-called Baby Think it Over dolls don't cut teen pregnancy rates and in fact increase the risk, Australian research has found.

In a study published in The Lancet medical journal Friday, researchers found teenage girls who used the lifelike computerized dolls as part of a pregnancy-prevention program were more likely to become pregnant compared with girls receiving a less high-tech sex education.

I'm guessing that these robots didn't produce live, stinking diapers. When my sister and brother in law visited once, they were passing their baby around like a mirror of cocaine, taking a sniff, and saying, "Do we need to change it yet?"

While some students frayed at the pressure and consigned their crying robo-babies “to the back of their father’s tool shed” for the weekend, or placed putty over the speaker to dull the noise, most reported enjoying their brief exposure to motherhood.

“The numbers are small, but it makes such intuitive sense that something like this wouldn’t work,” said Dr. Kang, from the University of Sydney. “I think the reasons that young woman would choose to access contraception are far more likely about other reasons—the access to resources around her—being far more important than having time with a robot doll.”

Submission + - BleachBit stifles investigation of Hillary Clinton

ahziem writes: The IT team for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used the open source cleaning software BleachBit to wipe systems "so even God couldn’t read them," according to South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy on Fox News. His comments on the "drastic cyber-measure" were in response to the question of whether emails on her private Microsoft Exchange Server were simply about "yoga and wedding plans."

Perhaps Clinton's team used an open source application because, unlike proprietary applications, it can be audited, like for backdoors. In response to the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, privacy expert Bruce Schneier advised, "Closed-source software is easier for the NSA to backdoor than open-source software," in an article in which he stated he also uses BleachBit. Ironically, Schneier was writing to a non-governmental audience.

Submission + - BIND9 Adopts the MPL 2.0 License with BIND 9.11.0 (isc.org)

An anonymous reader writes: ISC published BIND under a very permissive open source license nearly two decades ago, and we have been maintaining it ever since. In December we announced we were changing the license for our Kea DHCP server to the modern and widely-used Mozilla Public License (MPL 2.0). The MPL 2.0 license requires that if you make changes to licensed software (e.g. BIND) and distribute them outside your organization, that you publish those changes under that same license. It does not require that you publish or disclose anything other than the changes you made to our software. (read about it at tl;dr Legal https://tldrlegal.com/license/...)

Submission + - Sex Doll Makers 'Putting Finishing Touches' To AI App So They Can Love You Back (mirror.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Matt McMullen, CEO of RealDoll, revealed the next step in making the high-end sex toys will be to give them artificial intelligence (AI) to replicate humans more closely than ever. "We are building an AI system which can either be connected to a robotic doll OR experienced in a VR environment," he revealed as part of an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit. "I think it will allow for an option that never existed before, and for some, may represent a happiness they [users] never though they could have. "We are designing the AI to be fun and engaging, more than focusing on whether it can fool you into thinking it's a person," he said. He later added, when someone asked if dolls will ever love us back: "I hope that we can at least simulate that," McMullen responded. "That's the goal."

Submission + - DEA regularly mines Americans' travel records to seize millions in cash (usatoday.com)

turp182 writes: FTA:
Federal drug agents regularly mine Americans’ travel information to profile people who might be ferrying money for narcotics traffickers — though they almost never use what they learn to make arrests or build criminal cases.

Instead, that targeting has helped the Drug Enforcement Administration seize a small fortune in cash.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/...

Submission + - An Earth-like planet around our nearest star? (discovermagazine.com)

Flash Modin writes: A report in the German newspaper Der Spiegel says that astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will soon announce an Earth-like exoplanet orbiting the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, in its habitable zone. "The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surfaceâ"an important requirement for the emergence of life,â a source said. The starâ(TM)s proximity has made it an obvious target for many past exoplanet searches. All of them have come up short, which makes the most recent reports all the more remarkable.

Submission + - Google Play Store Drops Google+ Integration (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Google Play Store is the latest Google product to drop integration with Google+. The Play Store has dropped Google+ votes from apps and nixed the Google+ account requirement from app reviews, reports Ars Technica. "There was an entire Google+ focused 'People' section on the Play Store that showed apps and ratings from people you follow on Google+. The Play Store also allowed users to '+1' apps on the Play Store, which served as a vote of approval from people you follow. Both features are being stripped out of Google Play, starting earlier this week. The other feature being removed is the requirement to have a Google+ account to leave a Play Store review on apps, games, and media. Several users have reported to Android Police that they can now leave reviews using their regular Google account, where before they were nagged to create a Google+ account."

Submission + - FBI: No charges recommended in Clinton probe (cnn.com)

An anonymous reader writes: FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state but that Clinton and her aides were "extremely careless" handling classified information.

Submission + - Theranos Faces Congressional Inquiry Over Faulty Blood Tests (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to blood analysis startup Theranos asking for them to explain their failure in providing accurate results to patients using its proprietary blood test technology. The company has faced serious backlash after government and regulatory agencies questioned the results of their proprietary 'Edison' machine, that the company claimed could detect hundreds of diseases using a single drop of blood. Not only have the feds proposed banning founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes and the company president Sunny Balwani from the blood-testing business for two years, but Holmes' net worth has been cut from $4.5 billion to zero. Most recently, Walgreens decided to cut ties with the company. House Democrats Frank Pallone, Gene Green and Diana DeGette sent the letter on June 30th, asking Holmes to explain what went wrong, what steps the company is taking to help medical professionals and patients who might have been affected by the manipulated results, and how Theranos plans to comply with regulators. "Given Theranos' disregard for patient safety and its failure to immediately address concerns by federal regulators, we write to request more information about how company policies permitted systemic violations of federal law," reads the letter. Theranos says it plans to clear things up with these lawmakers.

Submission + - There are four quarks! (home.cern)

slew writes: Although last year saw the first LHC observations of pentaquark particles, apparently there are indeed tetraquark particles too! And the LHC found four of them (coincidence?) Even more interesting, although they apparently each have a unique internal structure, mass and their own sets of quantum numbers, all of the four particles apparently contain the same quark composition (charm,anti-charm,strange,anti-strange). Weird stuff ;^)

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