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Submission + - Fake News and Google: What Does a Top Google Search Result Really Mean? (vortex.com) 2

Lauren Weinstein writes: Controversy continues to rage over how Holocaust denial sites and related YouTube videos have achieved multiple top and highly-ranked search positions on Google for various forms and permutations of the question “Did the Holocaust really happen?” — and what — if anything — Google intends to ultimately do about these outright, racist lies achieving such search results prominence.

If you’re like most Internet users, you’ve been searching on Google and viewing the resulting pages of blue links for many years now.

But here’s something to ponder that you may not have ever really stopped to think about in depth: What does a top or otherwise high search result on Google really mean?

This turns out to be a remarkably complex issue.

Submission + - First Version of Sandboxed Tor Browser Available (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: To protect Tor users from FBI hacking tools that include all sorts of Firefox zero-days, the Tor Project started working on a sandboxed version of the Tor Browser in September. Over the weekend, the Tor Project released the first alpha version of the sandboxed Tor Browser.

Currently, this version is in an early alpha stage, and only available for Linux. There are also no binaries available, and users must compile it themselves from the source code, which they can grab from here.

Submission + - SPAM: FBI sent planeload of agents to frame Assange in Iceland 3

schwit1 writes: In June 2011, Obama administration implied to Iceland's authorities they had knowledge of hackers wanting to destroy software systems in the country, and offered help, then-Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, said in an interview with the Katoikos publication.

However, Jonasson said he instantly became "suspicious" of the US good intentions, "well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand."

Later in the summer 2011, the US "sent a planeload of FBI agents to Iceland seeking our cooperation in what I understood as an operation set up to frame Julian Assange and WikiLeaks," Jonasson said.

So the US were told to leave, and moreover, the politician made things quite clear for them. "If I had to take sides with either WikiLeaks or the FBI or CIA, I would have no difficulty in choosing: I would be on the side of WikiLeaks," he said.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Fleet Vulnerability to DDoS Is Low, For Now

JohnSmith2016 writes: While 2016 will likely be most remembered for the U.S. presidential election, perhaps more significantly for the seeming renaissance in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. This renaissance was briefly in the spotlight when both campaigns were hit with a DDoS attack. While ultimately unsuccessful, it highlighted the vulnerability to DDoS attacks at the highest level.
The bad news is that these attacks are very prevalent, according to James Scott, senior fellow with .the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT), who, with Drew Spaniel, a researcher with ICIT authored the report "Rise of the Machines: The Dyn Attack was Just a Practice Run."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Stephen Hawking: Automation and AI Is Going To Decimate Middle Class Jobs (businessinsider.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In a column in The Guardian, the world-famous physicist wrote that "the automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining." He adds his voice to a growing chorus of experts concerned about the effects that technology will have on workforce in the coming years and decades. The fear is that while artificial intelligence will bring radical increases in efficiency in industry, for ordinary people this will translate into unemployment and uncertainty, as their human jobs are replaced by machines. Automation will, "in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world," Hawking wrote. "The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive." He frames this economic anxiety as a reason for the rise in right-wing, populist politics in the West: "We are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent." Combined with other issues — overpopulation, climate change, disease — we are, Hawking warns ominously, at "the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity." Humanity must come together if we are to overcome these challenges, he says.

Submission + - Facebook started trending false news stories on a regular basis (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: "Facebook started trending false news stories on a regular basis." that's the conclusion of Susan Etlinger. She is an industry analyst at the thinktank, Altimeter Group, where she focuses on data strategy, analytics and ethical data use.

“In the Facebook News feed, which is optimized for engagement, the consequence is that the most controversial and provocative stories tend to be shared more than real news reporting, and Facebook has not had a way to make verification and authenticity an important part of the algorithm and then Facebook started trending false news stories on a regular basis.” That, Etlinger told Cities of the Future, “is an example where a machine has too much responsibility.”

When asked about the possibility of people using data and AI to influence political decisions and distort information to the public, Etlinger is outspoken:

We don’t even know the level of intentional misinformation that has been shared.” Etlinger says. “Obviously the US news media, as an example, is full of conspiracy theories right now. The reality is [AI] is an incredibly powerful technology, even more because it is very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to go back and understand exactly what happens in an algorithm, and AI.”

Submission + - The Problem is Agendas In The Mainstream Media, Not 'Fake News" (thehill.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The 2016 election win by Donald Trump has resulted in many theories about how Trump won, and how the media missed his support. A prominent theory making the rounds in the media is that 'fake news' from fringe news sites, blogs, foreign government propaganda units, and other sources, is what helped push Trump over the top to win. Cathy Young, writing in The Hill, states that isn't the real problem. The real main problem is when the mainstream media reports the news filtered through an agenda, distorting some facts, ignoring others, and highlighting what supports their agenda. A recent example is the reporting that suggests Trump plans to create a "Muslim registry," implying that all Muslims in the US would have to register with the US government. But that isn't Trump's plan at all:

Trump may revive a program that was in place from 2001 to 2011; according to The Washington Post, that system “required people from countries deemed ‘higher risk’ to undergo interrogations and fingerprinting upon arrival” and, in some cases, “to follow a parole-like system by periodically checking in with local authorities.” Most of the countries identified as high-risk were majority-Muslim, and civil rights groups charged that the program targeted Muslims. But to call such a program a “Muslim registry” creates an essentially false impression — which is what many people were undoubtedly left with if they did not read the story carefully, or only saw the buzz about it in the social media.


Submission + - How Otto Defied Nevada and Scored a $680 Million Payout from Uber (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: Otto, the self-driving truck startup, came out of stealth in May—and just a few months later, it was acquired by Uber for a huge sum of money. But it turns out that the fledgling company might not have abided by the laws surrounding self-driving technology in Nevada. At Backchannel, Mark Harris digs into emails obtained under public records legislation, and offers up the surprising story of how the engineer who helped craft Nevada’s self-driving car regulations also ended up blowing past them.

Submission + - SPAM: The Air Force Now Plans To Keep The A-10 Warthog Flying Indefinitely 5

schwit1 writes: The A-10 Thunderbolt AKA “Warthog” is a flying farm tractor. Slow, brutish, but reliable as the tide and endearingly indestructible and incredibly effective. Strategists have feared that the jet will be axed in favor of funding the F-35, but the U.S. Air Force recently confirmed that it plans to keep the A-10 flying “indefinitely.”

While the Air Force is theoretically supposed to be diverting the A-10’s operating expenses to feed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the people in charge are now planning to keep the plane running.

“They have re-geared up, we’ve turned on the depot line, we’re building it back up in capacity and supply chain,” Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told AviationWeek in a interview. “Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely.”

While the beancounters and product planners are trying to push the A-10 off the board, Materiel Command is going to keep on keeping the planes in peak condition, which will give the A-10 it’s best chance of proving its worth over and over again.

And it seems to be working– the A-10 posted a five percent increase in its availability rate from 2014 to 2015, and the Air Force seems to keep postponing its demise.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Ask the FCC to switch to sane software engineering practices for wifi! (google.com) 2

mtaht writes: The CeroWrt project is collecting signatures for a letter to the FCC strongly suggesting they adopt saner software engineering practices for certifying wifi devices instead of pending regulations.

You can view the letter (signed by Dave Täht, Vint Cerf and many other notables) and add your signature,
here.

Submission + - Politics Poisoning NASA's Ability To Meet Its Goals (slate.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Phil Plait just published an article showing how politics is interfering with NASA's ability to perform vital scientific experiments. As expected when we heard that Ted Cruz would be made head of the committee in charge of NASA's funding, the Texas senator is pushing hard for NASA to stop studying Earth itself. Plait writes, "Over the years, NASA has had to beg and scrape to get the relatively small amount of money it gets—less than half a percent of the national budget—and still manages to do great things with it. Cruz is worried NASA’s focus needs to be more on space exploration. Fine. Then give them enough money to do everything in their charter: Explore space, send humans there, and study our planet. Whether you think climate change is real or not—and it is— telling NASA they should turn a blind eye to the environment of our own planet is insanity." He concludes, "[T]he politics of funding a government agency is tying NASA in knots and critically endangering its ability to explore."

Submission + - Microsoft's 'Delve' Will Tell You What Your Co-Workers Are Doing With Office (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: Users of one of Microsoft's business-class Office 365 plans will soon have access to Delve, a feature designed to analyze how people work on Office 365 and automatically make relevant data on colleagues and content easily accessible. For example, using calendar information, Delve can determine that a user has a meeting in four hours, what topics will be discussed and who will participate, so the application collects documents, files and information it deems relevant and displays the content in the dashboard. Will this herald a new era of assisted collaboration, or is this just Clippy in the cloud?

Submission + - Trans-Pacific Partnership Enables Harsh Penalties For Filesharing (eff.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The EFF went through a recently leak of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, an international agreement in development that among other things would impose new intellectual property laws on much of the developed world. The EFF highlights one section in particular, which focuses on the punishments for copyright infringement. The document doesn't set specific sentences, but it actively encourages high monetary penalties and jail terms. Its authors reason that these penalties will be a deterrent to future infringement. "The TPP's copyright provisions even require countries to enable judges to unilaterally order the seizure, destruction, or forfeiture of anything that can be 'traceable to infringing activity,' has been used in the 'creation of pirated copyright goods,' or is 'documentary evidence relevant to the alleged offense.' Under such obligations, law enforcement could become ever more empowered to seize laptops, servers, or even domain names."

Submission + - David Carr dies after moderating event with Edward Snowden & Glenn Greenwald (washingtonpost.com)

McGruber writes: David Carr, the New York Times media columnist who overcame numerous battles with addiction to become one of the nation’s most recognizable and respected journalists, died on Thursday after collapsing in the newsroom, the New York Times announced on Thursday evening. He was 58.

On Thursday evening, Carr moderated "Citizenfour — New York Times Talk at The New School" [http://events.newschool.edu/event/new_york_times_talk_at_the_new_school_citizenfour#.VN2BFPk7tcY] a panel conversation that included Edward Snowden, filmmaker Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald to discuss last year’s National Security Agency surveillance revelations. Afterward, he collapsed at his office around 9 p.m., NY Times spokesman Eileen Murphy said.

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