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Submission + - Deep Space Network glitches worry scientists (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Earlier this year, the Cassini spacecraft screwed up an orbital maneuver at Saturn because of a problem with its radio connection to Earth. The incident was one of several recent glitches in the Deep Space Network (DSN), NASA’s complex of large radio antennas in California, Spain, and Australia. For more than 50 years, the DSN has been the lifeline for nearly every spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit, relaying commands from mission control and receiving data from the distant probe. On 30 September, in a meeting at NASA headquarters, officials will brief planetary scientists on the network’s status. Many are worried, based on anecdotal reports, that budget cuts and age have taken a toll that could endanger the complex maneuvers that Cassini and Juno, a spacecraft now at Jupiter, will require over the next year.

Submission + - Homeland Security Committee Chair Says Crypto Backdoors Would Hurt U.S. Economy

Trailrunner7 writes: Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said forcing vendors to install backdoors or intentionally weakened encryption in their products is not the solution to the disagreement over law enforcement access to encrypted devices and said there needs to be international standards for how the problem is handled.

“The easy knee-jerk solution I thought was let’s just put a back door in everyone’s iPhone that law enforcement can access. Simple, makes sense,” McCaul said.

“Putting in a back door isn’t the solution. People don’t the government to have access to their data. The government wasn’t asking Apple to put in codes to create a vulnerability that would kill their product. We think there’s a better way and a better solution to doing that.”

McCaul also said that pressure from the U.S. government to insert backdoors could drive tech companies to take their operations out of the country.

“I don’t see it as privacy versus security. I see it as security versus security,” he said. “I don’t want to weaken encryption and drive these companies offshore.”

Submission + - Suggested poll to rouse the rabble?

shanen writes: What if WikiLeaks released the plausible, highly embarrassing, but possibly fake tax returns of Donald J Trump?

(1) Trump would still refuse to release his tax returns?

(2) Trump would release his tax returns and he would be helped by the resulting cloud of confusion.

(3) Trump would be hurt by the spotlight.

(4) Cowboy Neal already has the results of the audit!

Just a thought experiment, but remembering how they handled Dan Rather and how WikiLeaks works, I suspect Assange is already sitting on the Donald's tax returns...

Submission + - What Happens When Judges Pull the Plug on Rural America (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: After the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of restrictive state laws that prevent municipalities from setting up their own networks, Pinetops, North Carolina had its internet cut off. And that's just the tip of the iceberg: as Susan Crawford points out at Backchannel, the court decision is likely to spur the introduction of even more restrictive laws, making it increasingly difficult to ensure that we move the entire country over to fiber-plus-advanced-wireless, not leaving pockets of rural America without 21st century connectivity. For too long, local heroes have been fighting this fight—but Crawford argues that this needs to be a focus of the next president of the United States.

Submission + - Alleged proprietors of "DDOS for hire" service vDOS arrested

pdclarry writes: Brian Krebs reports that the two youthful (18 YO) alleged proprietors of vDOS, the DDOS service that was reported in Slashdot September 9, have been arrested in Israel on a complaint from the FBI. They have been released on $10,000 bond each, their passports lifted, and they have been placed under house arrest, and banned from using the Internet for 30 days. They were probably identified through a massive hack of the vDOS database recently.

Krebs also reports that vDOS's DNS addresses were hijacked by the firm BankConnect Security to get out from under a sustained DDOS attack, and that his site, krebsonsecurity.com has been under a sustained DDOS attack since his last article was published, with the packets containing the string "godiefaggot". Those attacks continue, but, as he has been the target of many DDOS attacks in the past, he covered by a DDOS protection firm.

Submission + - Insurance company refuses fire payout claiming it was remote arson (independent.co.uk)

Bruce66423 writes: A man whose house burnt down has been refused his insurance payout on the grounds that the fire was caused by a device using a laptop and printer set up to be initiated over the internet. The criminal case against him for the alleged offence collapsed, but the insurance company is still refusing to pay out, leaving him bankrupt.

Submission + - Microsoft Bing uses Wikipedia (globally editable) data

RockDoctor writes: Though they're trying to minimise it, the recent relocation of Melbourne Australia to the ocean east of Japan in Microsoft's flagship mapping application is blamed on someone having flipped a sign in the latitude given for the city's Wikipedia page. Which may or may not be true. But the simple stupidity of using a globally-editable data source for feeding a mapping and navigation system is ... "awesome" is (for once) an appropriate word.

Well, it''s Bing, so at least no-one was actually using it.

Submission + - This crypto puzzle might unlock the other half of the NSA files (businessinsider.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Hacker 1x0123 says he has the other half of the NSA Equation Group files for sale, and he's offering a sample for those who can solve his crypto puzzle. So far, 1x0123 has refused to give up any samples to journalists who've asked, so this all could be a clever troll. But he has offered some hints on Twitter in recent days, with the .onion URL encrypted as: 02010403. On Tuesday, he offered up another hint and said at least two people had solved it.

Submission + - Fake Linus Torvalds' Key Found in the Wild

AmiMoJo writes: It was well-known that PGP is vulnerable to short-ID collisions. Real attacks started in June, some developers found their fake keys with same name, email, and even "same" fake signatures by more fake keys in the wild, on the keyservers. All these keys have same short-IDs, created by collision attacks. Fake keys of Linus Torvalds, Greg Kroah-Hartman, and other kernel devs are found in the wild recently.

Submission + - French government removed evidence of emissions cheating by Renault from report (ft.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In the past year, there was a steady flow of evidence for various forms of trickery in automobile emissions controls, prompting, among others, the French government to investigate the behaviour of a number of popular cars certified to conform to Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards.

While the report concluded that some Renault models emitted many times more nitrogen oxides (NOx) on the road than during the official emissions test, it did not mention that a Renault Captur SUV was observed to perform a cleaning procedure on its lean NOx trap (LNT) five times in a row when the prescribed preparations for emissions testing where made, rendering it much more effective in the test than under normal conditions.

Three members of the enquiry commission told the Financial Times that the French state, which owns a 20% interest in Renault, decided that these findings should remain confidential. A spokesperson of the French environment ministry denies that facts where hidden on purpose. Meanwhile, the anti-fraud agency in France continues its investigations into Renault's emissions practices.

Renault has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, but it has agreed to voluntarily recall 15,000 cars to perform a software update that should reduce NOx emissions.

Submission + - Chicago's Experiment in Predictive Policing Isn't Working (technologyreview.com)

schwit1 writes: Struggling to reduce its high murder rate, the city of Chicago has become an incubator for experimental policing techniques. Community policing, stop and frisk, "interruption" tactics — the city has tried many strategies. Perhaps most controversial and promising has been the city’s futuristic "heat list" — an algorithm-generated list identifying people most likely to be involved in a shooting.

The hope was that the list would allow police to provide social services to people in danger, while also preventing likely shooters from picking up a gun. But a new report from the RAND Corporation shows nothing of the sort has happened. Instead, it indicates that the list is, at best, not even as effective as a most wanted list. At worst, it unnecessarily targets people for police attention, creating a new form of profiling.

Submission + - The Big Driver of Mass Incarceration That Nobody Talks About (the-american-interest.com) 1

schwit1 writes: If you follow media coverage of America’s mass incarceration problem, you are likely to hear a lot about unscrupulous police officers, mandatory minimums, and drug laws. But you are unlikely to hear these two words that have probably played a larger role in producing the excesses of the American criminal justice system than anything else: plea coercion.

The number of criminal cases that actually go to trial in America is steadily dwindling. That’s because prosecutors have so much leverage during plea bargaining that most defendants take an offer—in particular, defendants who are held on bail, and who might need to wait in jail for months or even years before standing trial and facing an uncertain outcome.

We reported last week on a study from Columbia showing that all things being equal, defendants in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia who were made to pay bail are much more likely to plead guilty. Since then, a separate study from researchers at Harvard, Princeton and Stanford has come out that reaches a similar conclusion. . . .

Of course, bail remains a vital tool for judges, and some defendants are too dangerous to be let out before their trial, period. But there are ways we might be able to reform the pre-trial detention system so as to reduce the number of defendants who simply resign themselves to a guilty plea out of desperation since they can’t come up with the money to buy their temporary freedom. For example, the average amount of money bail assessed should be reduced (it has risen exponentially over the last several decades) and courts should experiment with ankle bracelets and home visits to monitor defendants rather than holding them in a jail cell before they have been convicted of a crime.

The focus on policing and minimum sentences and drug laws in the public discourse is all well and good. But if they are serious about making our justice system more fair and less arbitrary, criminal justice reformers should devote more of their efforts to reforming what happens in the period after arrest and before sentencing. That’s an area where big progress can be made with relatively straightforward, and politically palatable reforms.

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."

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