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Submission + - New Report Shows Internet Freedom Declining Worldwide (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A report issued by an independent watchdog organization shows that internet freedom is on the decline worldwide for the sixth straight year. The study by researchers at Freedom House assigned each of 65 countries a Freedom of the Internet (FOTIN) score. The FOTIN score is based on three categories: obstacles to access, which includes infrastructural and economic barriers to the internet; limits to content, and violations of user rights, which covers surveillance, privacy, and repercussions to users who violate internet restrictions. The study found that internet freedom continues to decline as governments increasingly target social media and communication apps to halt dissemination of information among the public.

Submission + - SPAM: Audit the ballots

Presto Vivace writes: Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots

The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence—paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts.

Submission + - U.S. sets plan to build two exascale supercomputers (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The U.S believes it will be ready to seek vendor proposals to build two exascale supercomputers — costing roughly $200 to $300 million each — by 2019. The two systems will be built at the same time and be ready for use by 2023, although it's possible one of the systems could be ready a year earlier, according to U.S. Department of Energy officials. The U.S. will award the exascale contracts to vendors with two different architectures. But the scientists and vendors developing exascale systems do not yet know whether President-Elect Donald Trump's administration will change directions. The incoming administration is a wild card. Supercomputing wasn't a topic during the campaign, and Trump's dismissal of climate change as a hoax, in particular, has researchers nervous that science funding may suffer. At the annual supercomputing conference SC16 last week in Salt Lake City, a panel of government scientists outlined the exascale strategy developed by President Barack Obama's administration. When the session was opened to questions, the first two were about Trump. One attendee quipped that "pointed-head geeks are not going to be well appreciated."

Submission + - A web-site demonstrating, how other sites may track your every move (clickclickclick.click)

mi writes: The site (described here) annotates your every move on its one and only page. Turn on the sound to listen to verbal annotations in addition to reading them.

The same is possible for, and therefore done by, the regular sites as they attempt to study visitors looking for various trends — better to gauge our opinions and sell us things. While not a surprise to regular Slashdotters, it is certainly a good illustration...

Submission + - Google on the Trump Transition Team

Presto Vivace writes: Google is among the many major corporations whose surrogates are getting key roles on Donald Trump’s transition team.

Joshua Wright has been put in charge of transition efforts at the influential Federal Trade Commission after pulling off the rare revolving-door quadruple-play, moving from Google-supported academic work to government – as an FTC commissioner – back to the Google gravy train and now back to the government. ... The Intercept has documented how Wright, as a law professor at George Mason University, received Google funding for at least four academic papers, all of which supported Google’s position that it did not violate antitrust laws when it favored its own sites in search engine requests and restricted advertisers from running ads on competitors. George Mason received $762,000 in funding from Google from 2011 to 2013.

Submission + - Comcast Takes $70 Gigabit Offer Away From Cities Near Chicago (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: When Comcast brought its gigabit cable Internet service to the Chicago area in August, it gave customers in some parts of Chicago and nearby towns the option of subscribing for $70 a month—half off the standard, no-contract price of $140. Though the $70 gigabit offer required a three-year contract, it came with unlimited data, which normally costs an extra $50 a month on top of the $140 no-contract price. For Comcast customers, this was a good deal. But Comcast didn’t make the $70 offer available throughout the Chicago area, and now the company has restricted it even further. The offer remains available in parts of Chicago, namely Uptown, Grand Crossing, the Loop, and South Loop. But Comcast has stopped offering the $70 price in all nearby cities and towns where it was originally available. The $70 price was briefly offered in Arlington Heights, Naperville, Plainfield, Waukegan, Tinley Park, Batavia, and Bloomington in Illinois and in South Bend in Indiana. In those areas, the $140 no-contract price is now the only option for new gigabit cable customers. (People who signed up for the $70 deal before it was rescinded will still get it for three years, as they’re under contract.) A Comcast spokesperson said the company had been “testing” the $70 promotion in certain areas of Illinois and Indiana but decided to stop the tests in most of them. It’s not clear why Comcast stopped the tests in these cities and towns, but Comcast told Ars that it often changes its promotions and thus could expand the $70 deal to other areas or offer new discounts soon. However, there are no expansions of the $70 offer being announced right now.

Submission + - 2016 on track to become hottest year on record (wmo.int)

ventsyv writes: In June NASA reported that the first 6 months of 2016 were the hottest 6 months on record. Now WMO reports that 2016 has stayed on track and will probably break the 2015 record.

Preliminary data shows that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to an assessment by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Global temperatures for January to September 2016 have been about 0.88 Celsius (1.58F) above the average (14C) for the 1961-1990 reference period, which is used by WMO as a baseline.

Long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking. Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase to new records. Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period, and there was significant and very early melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

NOAA lists the current ranking as:

  1. 2015
  2. 2014
  3. 2010
  4. 2013
  5. 2005

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc...

Submission + - How Republicans can make the net neutrality rules go away 1

Presto Vivace writes: Republican FCC or Congress could get rid of Title II and net neutrality rules.

But once the FCC is in Republican hands, the agency will have multiple options for taking the rules off the books. One is “forbearance.” Wheeler used the legal tool of forbearance to avoid applying the strictest types of Title II regulation (such as rate regulation and tariff requirements) to consumer Internet service providers. ... Basically, forbearance is a way for the FCC to enforce some parts of a statute but not others. Republicans could decide to forbear from the parts of Title II that were used to impose net neutrality rules, eliminating them without reversing the Title II reclassification. A Republican-led FCC could also reclassify ISPs again, removing Title II from the residential and mobile broadband markets entirely.

Submission + - Trump tapped the viral anger over H-1B use (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: President-elect Donald Trump realized early in his campaign that U.S. IT workers were angry over training foreign visa-holding replacements. He knew this anger was volcanic. Trump is the first major U.S. presidential candidate in this race — or any previous presidential race — to focus on the use of the H-1B visa to displace IT workers. He asked former Disney IT employees, upset over having to train foreign replacements, to speak at his rallies. "The fact is that Americans are losing their jobs to foreigners," said Dena Moore, a former Disney IT worker at a Trump rally in Alabama in February. "I believe Mr. Trump is for Americans first." Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Vox, said that "everybody with six degrees of separation either knows or thinks they know someone who knows somebody who lost a job to an undocumented worker or to a worker brought over on a visa to do their job. There's just a lot of churn that suggests this is a real problem." What Clinton described is the definition of viral, and she was right. For nearly 25 years, IT workers have been complaining of training their foreign replacements and the anger had indeed gone viral. Trump used that, Clinton did not.

Submission + - CEO's message jolts IT workers facing layoffs (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: IT workers in the infrastructure team at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) were notified recently of their layoff. They expect to be training replacements from India-based contractor HCL. The layoff affects more than 500 IT workers. But this familiar IT story begins a little differently. A few days before employees were notified in mid-October of their layoff, HCSC CEO Paula Steiner talked about future goals in an internal, company-wide video. Steiner's comments weren't IT-department-specific, but the takeaway quote by one IT employee was this: "As full-time retiring baby boomers move on to their next chapter, the makeup of our organization will consist more of young and non-traditional workers, such as part-time workers or contractors," said Steiner in the video. What Steiner didn't say in the employee broadcast is that some of the baby boomers moving "on to the next chapter" are being pushed out the door. "Obviously not all of us are 'retiring' — a bunch of us are being thrown under the bus," said one older employee.

Submission + - China's new policing computer is frontend cattle prod, backend, supercomputer (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: China recently deployed what it calls a "security robot" in a Shenzhen airport. It's named AnBot and patrols around the clock. It is a cone-shaped robot that includes a cattle prod. The U.S.-China Economic and Secruity Review Commission, which look at autonomous system deployments in a report last week, said AnBot, which has facial recognition capability, is designed to be linked with China's latest supercomputers.

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