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Submission + - Inside The NYPD's Attempt To Build Community Trust Through Twitter (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: When the NYPD rolled out its Twitter presence a couple years back, it didn't go so smoothly: the @NYPDNews account tweeted a request: “Do you have a photo with a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD,” and by midnight the same day, more than 70,000 people had responded decrying police brutality. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford looks at the department's attempt to use Twitter to rebuild community trust, noting that while the NYPD has a long ways to go, any opening up of communication is an improvement on the traditionally tight-lipped culture.

Submission + - Apache Zeppelin open-source analytics startup reveals new name, fresh funding (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: The team behind the Apache Zeppelin open-source notebook for big data analytics visualization has renamed itself ZEPL and announced $4.1M in Series A funding. ZEPL, which swears a certain professional football organization had nothing to do with it ditching its former name (NFLabs), is one of numerous companies smelling blood in the water around Tableau, the $3.5 billion business intelligence and analytics software vendor that has stumbled financially in recent quarters and seen its stock price plummet accordingly.

Submission + - Orwell's toys

Presto Vivace writes: These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kid; They Send What They Hear To A Defense Contractor

According to a coalition of consumer-interest organizations, the makers of two “smart” kids toys — the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot — are allegedly violating laws in the U.S. and overseas by collecting this sort of voice data without obtaining consent. ... ... In a complaint [PDF] filed this morning with the Federal Trade Commission, the coalition — made up of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), and our colleagues at Consumers Union — argue that Genesis Toys, a company that manufactures interactive and robotic toys, and Nuance Communications, which supplies the voice-parsing services for these toys, are running afoul of rules that protect children’s privacy and prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices.

Submission + - Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter join forces to fight terrorism (betanews.com) 3

BrianFagioli writes: Unfortunately, terrorists thrive on the internet too. Using social media and video platforms like YouTube, these evil-doers look to recruit new members while sharing propaganda. Today, Google announces that it is partnering with some major players — Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter — to fight online terrorism with a special database. The partners will look to protect user privacy in the process.

Submission + - Al Gore has "an extremely interesting conversation" with Trump (bbc.com)

tomhath writes: Mr Gore told reporters he met Ivanka before his meeting with her father.

"The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued," Mr Gore said.

Mr Trump has been stocking his administration with conservative ideologues, and many of the possible names for his environmental posts are sceptical of current policy. If Ms Trump pushes the issue and Mr Gore continues his "extremely interesting conversation" with the president, however, this could become a test of how willing President Trump is to cross party orthodoxy.

A free-agent president — beholden to neither party and willing to strike deals according to his own fancy — may be exactly what his voters wanted and what Washington insiders fear.

Submission + - Chrome 55 Now Blocks Flash, Uses HTML5 by Default (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year, in May. While some of the initial implementation details of the "HTML5 By Default" plan changed since then, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome.

Google's plan is to turn off Flash and use HTML5 for all sites. Where HTML5 isn't supported, Chrome will prompt users and ask them if they want to run Flash to view multimedia content. The user's option would be remembered for subsequent visits, but to avoid overprompting, Chrome 55 will use a system called Site Engagement (chrome://site-engagement).

Submission + - US Bitcoin Exchange Ordered To Disclose Three Years Of User Data To IRS (justice.gov)

turkeydance writes: The government’s request was part of a bitcoin tax-evasion probe, and seeks to identify all Coinbase users in the U.S. who “conducted transactions in a convertible virtual currency” from 2013 to 2015. What makes a “John Doe” unique, is that it represents a special "shotgun" form of summons to look for tax evaders that allows the IRS to obtain information about all taxpayers in a group or class of people, even if the agency doesn’t know their identities. The IRS has deployed the tactic in its recent crackdown on undeclared offshore accounts, with the implication that any such broad sweep may lead to prosecution.

Submission + - International Authorities Cooperate To Take Down Massive 'Avalanche' Botnet

plover writes: Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Eurojust, Europol, and other global partners announced the takedown of a massive botnet named 'Avalanche', estimated to have involved as many as 500,000 infected computers worldwide on a daily basis.

"The global effort to take down this network involved the crucial support of prosecutors and investigators from 30 countries. As a result, five individuals were arrested, 37 premises were searched, and 39 servers were seized. Victims of malware infections were identified in over 180 countries. In addition, 221 servers were put offline through abuse notifications sent to the hosting providers. The operation marks the largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures and is unprecedented in its scale, with over 800 000 domains seized, sinkholed or blocked."

Submission + - The Inside Story of MakerBot and the 3D Printing Revolution That Wasn't (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: MakerBot promised to revolutionize society, letting us 3D print anything we needed right from home. That never happened. At Backchannel, Andrew Zaleski has the definitive, investigative account of why the 3D printing revolution hasn't yet come to pass, culled from interviews with industry observers, current MakerBot leadership, and a dozen former MakerBot employees. As he tells it, "In the span of a few years, MakerBot had to pull off two very different coups. It had to introduce millions of people to the wonders of 3D printing, and then convince them to shell out more than $1,000 for a machine. It also had to develop the technology fast enough to keep its customers happy. Those two tasks were too much for the fledgling company."

Submission + - Matt Taibbi: 'Washington Post' 'Blacklist' Story Is Shameful and Disgusting (rollingstone.com)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: From the article:

Most high school papers wouldn't touch sources like these. But in November 2016, both the president-elect of the United States and the Washington Post are equally at ease with this sort of sourcing.

Even worse, the Post apparently never contacted any of the outlets on the "list" before they ran their story. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism says she was never contacted. Chris Hedges of Truthdig, who was part of a group that won the Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times once upon a time, said the same. "We were named," he tells me. "I was not contacted."

Hedges says the Post piece was an "updated form of Red-Baiting."

"This attack signals an open war on the independent press," he says. "Those who do not spew the official line will be increasingly demonized in corporate echo chambers such as the Post or CNN as useful idiots or fifth columnists."


Submission + - Social Media Is Killing Discourse Because It's Too Much Like TV (technologyreview.com)

Joe_NoOne writes: Like TV [social media] now increasingly entertains us, and even more so than television it amplifies our existing beliefs and habits. It makes us feel more than think, and it comforts more than challenges. The result is a deeply fragmented society, driven by emotions, and radicalized by lack of contact and challenge from outside. This is why Oxford Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as the word of 2016: an adjective "relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals."

Traditional television still entails some degree of surprise. What you see on television news is still picked by human curators, and even though it must be entertaining to qualify as worthy of expensive production, it is still likely to challenge some of our opinions (emotions, that is). Social media, in contrast, uses algorithms to encourage comfort and complaisance, since its entire business model is built upon maximizing the time users spend inside of it.

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 + - San Francisco's 58-Story Millennium Tower Seen Sinking From Space (sfgate.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Engineers in San Francisco have tunneled underground to try and understand the sinking of the 58-story Millennium Tower. Now comes an analysis from space. The European Space Agency has released detailed data from satellite imagery that shows the skyscraper in San Francisco's financial district is continuing to sink at a steady rate — and perhaps faster than previously known. The luxury high-rise that opened its doors in 2009 has been dubbed the Leaning Tower of San Francisco. It has sunk about 16 inches into landfill and is tilting several inches to the northwest. Engineers have estimated the building is sinking at a rate of about 1-inch per year. The Sentinel-1 twin satellites show almost double that rate based on data collected from April 2015 to September 2016. The satellite data shows the Millennium Tower sunk 40 to 45 millimeters — or 1.6 to 1.8 inches — over a recent one-year period and almost double that amount — 70 to 75 mm (2.6 to 2.9 inches) — over its 17-month observation period, said Petar Marinkovic, founder and chief scientist of PPO Labs which analyzed the satellite's radar imagery for the ESA along with Norway-based research institute Norut. The Sentinel-1 study is not focused on the Millennium Tower but is part of a larger mission by the European Space Agency tracking urban ground movement around the world, and particularly subsidence "hotspots" in Europe, said Pierre Potin, Sentinel-1 mission manager for the ESA. The ESA decided to conduct regular observations of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Hayward Fault, since it is prone to tectonic movement and earthquakes, said Potin, who is based in Italy. Data from the satellite, which is orbiting about 400 miles (700 kilometers) from the earth's surface, was recorded every 24 days. The building's developer, Millennium Partners, insists the building is safe for occupancy and could withstand an earthquake.

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