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Submission + - Ask /. Should I sign permission slip so my kid can use Google Apps at school? (

McGruber writes: My childrens' public elementary school recently acquired 100 Chromebooks and is using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) []. As part of the rollout, the school emailed this to parents:

[School] now has over 100 ChromeBooks that teachers can use in their classrooms for a variety of purposes. Teachers and students will have access to Google Apps for Education (GAFE) as a tool for learning, creativity, and critical thinking. In preparation for the roll-out of this great resource, we ask all parents to give permission for classroom instructional use. Please take a moment and complete the form sent home last week in the Friday Folder and return it to your child's teacher.

The permission slip asks us to sign-away some of the protections provided by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It says:
COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. This permission form allows the school to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school's use of student information is solely for education purposes.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) FERPA protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents the rights to review student records. Signing this form acknowledges that some student records, such as portfolios of student work with teacher feedback, may be stored in a student’s GAFE accounts on Google servers.

Should we, the parents, sign this form? If not, how do we explain to the school leadership why we declined to grant permission?

Submission + - Switzerland Agrees New Data Sharing Pact With the US

Mickeycaskill writes: Switzerland has agreed its own new data transfer agreement with the United States, basing the framework on the deal struck by the European Union (EU) following the invalidation of Safe Harbour.

The previous arrangement was invalidated because of concerns about US mass surveillance but Switzerland says the new Swiss-US Privacy Shield will allow Swiss companies to transfer customer data without the need for additional contractual guarantees.

The Swiss Federal Council, a seven member executive council that is effectively the head of government in Switzerland, claim citizens will benefit from additional protections and the ability to contact an ombudsman about data issues.

Although not part of the EU, Switzerland is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has several bilateral agreements with the EU that sees it adopt many of the bigger bloc’s policies. The Federal Council says the alignment between the EU and the Swiss transatlantic data sharing partnerships is good news for multinational organisations.

Submission + - D-Wave releases quantum computing tool as open source (

haruchai writes: Canadian company D-Wave has released their Qbsolv tool on GitHub to help bolster interest and familiarity with quantum computing

"qbsolv is a metaheuristic or partitioning solver that solves a potentially large quadratic unconstrained binary optimization (QUBO) problem by splitting it into pieces that are solved either on a D-Wave system or via a classical tabu solver"

This joins the Qmasm macro assembler for D-Wave systems, a tool written in Python by Scott Pakin of Los Alamos National Labs

D-Wave president Bo Ewald says "D-Wave is driving the hardware forward but we need more smart people thinking about applications, and another set thinking about software tools.”

Comment Re:Netflix sort of has the right model... almost (Score 1) 209

Except that they don't offer much than I'm interested in watching.

Netflix has been putting most of their effort into exclusive content. Which really makes them just another premium channel like HBO. They aren't even close to competing with cable. There still isn't an option to watch whatever you want, when you want.

Submission + - Spotify Offers Obama a Job (

Thelasko writes: President Barack Obama recently joked that he was hoping for a job at Spotify when he leaves the White House. Spotify has recently posted a job opening for a "President of Playlists" position. The job requirements include, eight years experience running a highly regarded nation, a friendly and warm attitude, and a Nobel Peace Prize. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, contacted the President on Twitter saying, "I heard you were interested in a role at Spotify. Have you seen this one?"

Comment Re:Get it down to 5 minutes (Score 1) 198

and available at multiple street corners and every exit on the highway. 20 mins and low availability still does not get past range anxiety.

The human body has requirements too. Most people don't want to drive more than four hours without a bite to eat and a bathroom. That should kill most of those 20 minutes.

Comment Tesla Currently (Score 4, Informative) 198

Tesla's superchargers currently manage to provide around 170 miles of range on a half-hour charge, so Samsung's planned tech could approximately double that.

Sure, this technology will beat Tesla's current capability, but it won't be available until 2021. Does Samsung think Tesla won't make improvements by then? They are already quietly increasing the capability of their charging stations, and rolling out new batteries using production tooling.

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