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Submission + - How Google Almost Killed ProtonMail (

An anonymous reader writes: From 2015 through 2016 for nearly a year, results from searching e.g. "secure email" or "encrypted email" would vary little in most popular search engines and commonly yield mention of ProtonMail, typically within the first page. Not in Google, though. The ProtonMail team investigated and could find no cause. After receiving no substantial reply to their inquiries, ProtonMail turned to Twitter in August, where soon after, Google responded after correcting the issue. Yen, author of the ProtonMail article, writes the following in reference to what he calls "Search Risk":

"The danger is that any service such as ProtonMail can easily be suppressed by either search companies, or the governments that control those search companies. This can happen even across national borders. For example, even though Google is an American company, it controls over 90% of European search traffic. In this case, Google directly caused ProtonMail’s growth rate worldwide to be reduced by over 25% for over 10 months."

Submission + - Police use cell tower logs to contact potential witnesses to unsolved murder (

itamblyn writes: It what appears to be the first example of a new approach in investigative policing, Ontario Provincial Police are using cell phone tower logs to reach out to potential witnesses in an unsolved homicide case from 2015.

CBC reports ( that police "will be sending texts to about 7,500 people on Thursday to ask for information" to individuals that were, according to the cell phone tower logs, within the tower area near the time of the incident.

While we have heard lots of stories about cell phone tower logs being used in policing before (they are even discussed at length in Season 1 of Serial), I think this is the first case where they have been used to actively contact potential witnesses.

A news release by the police states that the texts will ask the recipient to "voluntarily answer a few simple questions to possibly help the Ontario Provincial Police solve this murder". CBC reports that "Investigators will also consider calling the numbers of people who don't respond voluntarily, but they would be required to obtain another court order to do so."

On one hand, this seems like the natural progression from the traditional approach of canvassing local residents by putting up flyers and knocking on doors. Indeed, the investigators use the term "digital canvas" to describe their plan.

On the other hand, I think one can reasonably ask — Are we OK with this approach? For example, presumably, it would be possible to get a better view of who was in the area by checking credit card transaction logs for all stores within the area. License plate readers and speed cameras might also give information about which vehicles were in the area. There are many levels of tracking that could be used simultaneously as a means of generating lists. The question is, do we want this to happen whenever there is a major crime? A minor one? Maybe this is just how things work now, and it really is no different than walking around, knocking on doors. I figured it was worth a discussion at the very least.

Submission + - Tesla shocks Wall St. with huge earnings surprise and actual profits (

anderzole writes: Tesla on Wednesday posted its earnings report for the quarter gone by and investors will have a lot to cheer about. While analysts on Wall St. were expecting Tesla to post a loss, Tesla during its September quarter actually posted a profit, and an impressive profit at that. When the dust settled, Tesla posted a quarterly profit of $22 million and EPS of $0.71. Revenue for the quarter checked in at $2.3 billion.

Illustrating how impressive Tesla’s performance was this past quarter, Wall St. was anticipating Tesla to post a loss amid $1.9 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Submission + - SPAM: Search Risk – How Google Almost Killed ProtonMail

An anonymous reader writes: Excerpts from article:
"For nearly a year, Google was hiding ProtonMail from search results for queries such as ‘secure email’ and ‘encrypted email’."

"The danger is that any service such as ProtonMail can easily be suppressed by either search companies, or the governments that control those search companies. This can happen even across national borders. For example, even though Google is an American company, it controls over 90% of European search traffic. In this case, Google directly caused ProtonMail’s growth rate worldwide to be reduced by over 25% for over 10 months."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - The sorry state of science the last time the Cubs won the World Series (

sciencehabit writes: In 1908, the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, humans were far from ignorant. People already crossed continents and oceans on trains and ships, and they sent and received messages over vast distances using the telegraph. Yet, scientifically, people had only begun to systematically decipher nature's mysteries. Indeed, a quick look at the state of the sciences shows how shockingly far humans have comes since the Cubs last won baseball's championship. Astronomers knew of only one galaxy (our own), DNA was unknown, and the terms "big bang", "black hole", and "antimatter" had not been invented. Science has the full list of what we did--and didn't--know 100 years ago.

Submission + - FCC plans to make DD-WRT illegal to use ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Recent FCC rules have made it illegal for users to modify transmit power and other similar functions on personal WiFi access points. This makes loading custom illegal and opens easy backdoors into your network. Could this be the end of wireless?

Submission + - Could the Slashdot community take control of Slashdot? 10

turp182 writes: This is intended to be an idea generation story for how the community itself could purchase and then control Slashdot. If this happened I believe a lot of former users would at least come and take a look, and some of them would participate again.

This is not about improving the site, only about aquiring the site.

First, here's what we know:
1. DHI (Dice) paid $20 million for Slashdot, SourceForce, and Freecode, purchased from Geeknet back in 2012:
2. Slashdot has an Alexa Global Rank of 1,689, obtaining actual traffic numbers require money to see:
3. According to Quantcast, Slashdot has over 250,000 unique monthly views:
4. Per an Arstechnia article, Slashdot Media (Slashdot and Sourceforge) had 2015Q2 revenues of $1.7 million and have expected full year revenues of $15-$16 million (which doesn't make sense given the quarterly number):

Next, things we don't know:
0. Is Slashdot viable without a corporate owner? (the only question that matters)
1. What would DHI (Dice) sell Slashdot for? Would they split it from Sourceforge?
2. What are the hosting and equipment costs?
3. What are the personnel costs (editors, advertising saleforce, etc.)?
4. What other expenses does the site incur (legal for example)?
5. What is Slashdot's portion of the revenue of Slashdot Media?

These questions would need to be answered in order to valuate the site. Getting that info and performing the valuation would require expensive professional services.

What are possible ways we could proceed?

In my opinion, a non-profit organization would be the best route.

Finally, the hard part: Funding. Here are some ideas.

1. Benefactor(s) — It would be very nice to have people with some wealth that could help.
2. Crowdfunding/Kickstarter — I would contribute to such an effort I think a lot of Slashdotters would contribute. I think this would need to be a part of the funding rather than all of it.
3. Grants and Corporate Donations — Slashdot has a wide and varied membership and audience. We regularly see post from people that work at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. And at universities. We are developers (like me), scientists, experts, and also ordinary (also like me). A revived Slashdot could be a corporate cause in the world of tax deductions for companies.
4. ????
5. Profit!

Oh, the last thing: Is this even a relevant conversation?

I can't say. I think timing is the problem, with generating funds and access to financial information (probably won't get this without the funds) being the most critical barriers. Someone will buy the site, we're inside the top 2,000 global sites per info above.

The best solution, I believe, is to find a large corporate "sponsor" willing to help with the initial purchase and to be the recipient of any crowd sourcing funds to help repay them. The key is the site would have to have autonomy as a separate organization. They could have prime advertising space (so we should focus on IBM...) with the goal would be to repay the sponsor in full over time (no interest please?).

The second best is seeking a combination of "legal pledges" from companies/schools/organizations combined with crowdsourcing. This could get access to the necessary financials.

Also problematic, from a time perspective, a group of people would need to be formed to handle organization (managing fundraising/crowdsourcing) and interations with DHI (Dice). All volunteer for sure.

Is this even a relevant conversation? I say it is, I actually love Slashdot; it offers fun, entertaining, and enlightning conversation (I browse above the sewer), and I find the article selection interesting (this gyrates, but I still check a lot).

And to finish, the most critical question: Is Slashdot financially viable as an independent organization?

Submission + - Facebook told to allow the use of fake names (

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook comes in for a lot of criticism, but one things that managed to rub a lot of people up the wrong way is its real names policy. For some time the social network has required its users to reveal their real name rather than allowing for the adoption of pseudonyms. This has upset many, including musicians and the drag community.

Now a German watchdog has told Facebook that its ban on fake names is not permitted. The Hamburg Data Protection Authority said that the social network could not force users to replace pseudonyms with real names, nor could it ask to see official identification.

The watchdog's order follows a complaint from a German woman who had her Facebook account closed because she used a fake name. She had opted to use a pseudonym to avoided unwanted contact from business associates, but Facebook demanded to see ID and changed her username accordingly. Hamburg Data Protection Authority said this and similar cases were privacy violations.


Security Company Tries To Hide Flaws By Threatening Infringement Suit 124

An anonymous reader writes: An RFID-based access control system called IClass is used across the globe to provide physical access controls. This system relies on cryptography to secure communications between a tag and a reader. Since 2010, several academic papers have been released which expose the cryptographic insecurity of the IClass system. Based on these papers, Martin Holst Swende implemented the IClass ciphers in a software library, which he released under the GNU General Public License.

The library is useful to experiment with and determine the security level of an access control system (that you own or have explicit consent to study). However, last Friday, Swende received an email from INSIDE Secure, which notified him of (potential) intellectual property infringement, warning him off distributing the library under threat of "infringement action." Interestingly, it seems this is not the first time HID Global has exerted legal pressure to suppress information.

Submission + - Apple legend Steve Wozniak takes up university post (

An anonymous reader writes: Apple founder Steve Wozniak has joined the University of Technology, Sydney as adjunct professor, to work in the school's “magic lab”, more formally known at the Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab.

Submission + - Supercomputer Repossessed by State, May Be Sold in Pieces (

1sockchuck writes: A supercomputer that was the third-fastest machine in the world in 2008 has been repossessed by the state of New Mexico and will likely be sold in pieces to three universities in the state. The state has been unable to find a buyer for the Encanto supercomputer, which was built and maintained with $20 million in state funding. The supercomputer had the enthusiastic backing of Gov. Bill Richardson, who saw the project as an economic development tool for New Mexico. But the commercial projects did not materialize, and Richardson's successor, Susana Martinez, says the supercomputer is a "symbol of excess."

Submission + - Speculative Article Prompts Precautionary Giles County School Closure (

An anonymous reader writes: On New Year's Day, an article on the website titled "The Next School Massacre Target?" prompted law enforcement to shut down schools in Giles County, VA. The article cites a map of "strike zones" illustrated in a The Dark Knight Rises scene. One of the "strike zones" was named Sandy Hook. Since the website has since been suspended and media coverage hasn't specified details, it is difficult to determine what elements the author connected to the Aurora, CO event; however, it is apparent that law enforcement was unwilling to take any chances; the Giles County sheriff's office made reverse 911 calls to parents and notified school administrations of the precautions — students would be taking the following day off and increased security would be implemented near schools. The article and website, which has been repeatedly stated to have not made any threats, is currently down, but allegedly not under investigation. Such a situation may be difficult to evaluate, but it doesn't seem too unreasonable to consider possible copycat scenarios, and the response-time was, presumably, respectably quick.

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