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Largest Auto-Scandal Settlement In US History: Judge Approves $15 Billion Volkswagen Settlement (usatoday.com) 109

A federal just has approved the largest auto-scandal settlement in U.S. history, a $14.7 billion settlement concerning Volkswagen Group's diesel car emissions scandal. USA Today reports: U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco approved the sweeping agreement between consumers, the government, California regulators and the German automaker in a written ruling a week after signaling he was likely to sign off. He said the agreement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." The settlement comes about a year after Volkswagen admitted that it rigged 11 million vehicles worldwide with software designed to dodge emissions standards. The company is still facing criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and German prosecutors. The U.S. probe could lead to additional financial penalties and criminal indictments. About 475,000 Volkswagen owners in the U.S. can choose between a buyback or a free fix and compensation, if a repair becomes available. VW will begin administering the settlement immediately, having already devoted several hundred employees to handling the process. Buybacks range in value from $12,475 to $44,176, including restitution payments, and varying based on milage. People who opt for a fix approved by the Environmental Protection Agency will receive payouts ranging from $5,100 to $9,852, depending on the book value of their car. Volkswagen will also pay $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and another $2 billion for clean-emissions infrastructure.

Cisco Develops System To Automatically Cut-Off Pirate Video Streams (torrentfreak.com) 111

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Pirate services obtain content by capturing and restreaming feeds obtained from official sources, often from something as humble as a regular subscriber account. These streams can then be redistributed by thousands of other sites and services, many of which are easily found using a simple search. Dedicated anti-piracy companies track down these streams and send takedown notices to the hosts carrying them. Sometimes this means that streams go down quickly but in other cases hosts can take a while to respond or may not comply at all. Networking company Cisco thinks it has found a solution to these problems. The company's claims center around its Streaming Piracy Prevention (SPP) platform, a system that aims to take down illicit streams in real-time. Perhaps most interestingly, Cisco says SPP functions without needing to send takedown notices to companies hosting illicit streams. "Traditional takedown mechanisms such as sending legal notices (commonly referred to as 'DMCA notices') are ineffective where pirate services have put in place infrastructure capable of delivering video at tens and even hundreds of gigabits per second, as in essence there is nobody to send a notice to," the company explains. "Escalation to infrastructure providers works to an extent, but the process is often slow as the pirate services will likely provide the largest revenue source for many of the platform providers in question." To overcome these problems Cisco says it has partnered with Friend MTS (FMTS), a UK-based company specializing in content-protection. Among its services, FMTS offers Distribution iD, which allows content providers to pinpoint which of their downstream distributors' platforms are a current source of content leaks. "Robust and unique watermarks are embedded into each distributor feed for identification. The code is invisible to the viewer but can be recovered by our specialist detector software," FMTS explains. "Once infringing content has been located, the service automatically extracts the watermark for accurate distributor identification." According to Cisco, FMTS feeds the SPP service with pirate video streams it finds online. These are tracked back to the source of the leak (such as a particular distributor or specific pay TV subscriber account) which can then be shut-down in real time.

Comment Re:Bribe? (Score 1) 122

Why not both ?

As an aside, can you imagine the unholy shitstorm that would be making the rounds if any of this were happening to Apple ?

Exploding iPhones... The internet might not cope with that, and then Apple bribing people to keep quiet about the whole thing ? We might have a singularity event...


4Chan Hackers Claim To Have Remotely Wiped John Podesta's iPhone and iPad (gizmodo.com) 269

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Gizmodo: For the past several days, WikiLeaks has been publishing thousands of emails belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta -- and the leaks are starting to cause some serious damage. Gizmodo reports: "Many of the leaked emails contained contact info, cell phone numbers, and account data, none of which was redacted by Wikileaks before being posted. With this information accessible to anyone with the time and energy to read through it all, users on 4chan's /pol/ (politically incorrect) board were able to gain access to Podesta's Twitter account, tweeting a message in support of Trump. Imageboard posters also stumbled on an email containing Podesta's Apple ID -- and appear to have exploited it. 'iPad/iPhone info and data wiped out,' a post on Endchan claimed, show screenshots of what seems to be the hacker gaining access to Find My iPhone using Podesta's credentials. If Podesta's Apple ID was compromised, it stands to reason that his iCloud account was similarly vulnerable. And sure enough, Redditor's on r/The_Donald claim Podesta's iCloud data was downloaded. A hacker known as CyberZeist also appears to have uncovered the passwords to dozens of senators' email addresses, as well as social security numbers and credit card info for many Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and acting Chair of the DNC Donna Brazile. The information was posted to pastebin.

Comment Re:Everyone is a moron to someone.... (Score 1) 294

I've been coding for about 30 years now, a bit longer actually. Something that's become apparent over the years is that there ought to be a law of conservation of complexity. You can abstract and then re-abstract, you can use well-known design patterns, you can write defensively, and you can document until the cows come home. All of these help, they help by spreading out the complexity onto a larger surface - it becomes less opaque as it gets "thinner", the more it spreads out.

However, it remains the case that some things are just inherently complex, that understanding them, or their particular interfaces and parameters, requires the understanding of the system as a whole, not the parts in isolation. Sometimes divide does not conquer, at least in the real world. There's not *many* problems like this, and I've no idea if this is the sort of thing Linus is referring to - I don't keep up with the Linux kernel these days, but there may be a good reason why he's done what he's done. You "calling him out" without explicit reasons why, or (better) giving a superior approach than what is already there is just showing ignorance, IMHO.

Comment Re:Pics or it didn't happen! (Score 1) 412

Personally I think you've already made the assumption that naked infant pictures are in some way embarrassing. To my mind, they're not. To most Europeans, they're not.

It seems I'm really struggling to say this sufficiently clearly: The difference between a photo of a naked 4 year-old and a clothed 4-year old to me is the clothes, that's it. I really don't care whether the kid has clothes on or not, it makes absolutely no difference to the photo, and the first comment that would come to mind would be something like "wasn't that Summer of '73" or "Hey look at the size of that sand-castle you were building", or something equally irrelevant to the clothing situation.

If someone wants to get all upset over the photos, then fine. It's a bit weird to make an issue out of it, but whatever. Similarly, if the parents don't want to take the photos down, that's also a bit weird, it seems like basic courtesy ought to rule here. As I said, I don't really care; I think it's a matter for the family to handle, and apparently they think it's a matter for the courts to handle. Fair enough. I don't really see why it's news, either.

Comment Re:Pics or it didn't happen! (Score 1) 412

[sigh] My point was that *I* live in the USA. If *I* posted pics of my 4-year-old niece naked, then *I* would be in trouble in the USA. Because nuts.

FWIW, I have no desire or plan to post pics of my niece naked, I see no reason to. I just don't regard it with the same level of apparent disgust that Anonymous Coward "Pics or it didn't happen" 2 posts up seems to.

I don't have a horse in the race here - I don't care what the parents or the child do in this particular case, I think they're both being stupid, but whatever.

Comment Re:Good Lord... (Score 2) 412

The law in the UK is specifically *not* for this sort of thing:

"The most recent amendment to the law, outlawing the possession of pornographic photographs of children, was introduced seven years ago, amid intense lobbying from campaigners who included Mary Whitehouse. Although John Patten, then a Home Office minister, emphasised it was not the intention to catch innocent family snaps of naked children in the bath or on the beach"

I quickly googled. There *are* people getting into trouble for taking photos of naked teens etc. on European beaches, but the photographer wasn't related to those teens and that makes a big difference. Naked teenagers is also a lot different from naked 4 year-olds. I didn't find anything successfully prosecuted over naked infant snaps when the photographer was related.

Comment Re:Good Lord... (Score 4, Insightful) 412

Maybe in the US.

It's pretty commonplace for infant kids to run around naked on the beach in Europe for example. My niece is 4, and when I'm iChatting my parents over in the UK, it's pretty common to see her wandering round the house naked (lunchtime here being bath time in the UK). I don't see why photos are any different. Nudity just isn't such a big deal when the kid is so young they're still "innocent", at least for most Europeans. As far as I'm aware it's the same in Asia. It's mainly the US that's so puritanical over the human body.

And (presumably) the photos aren't sexual in nature. If someone was jacking off to them, the fault lies with that person, not with the photo.


The Unsettling Relationship Between Russia and Wikileaks (dailymail.co.uk) 271

schnell writes: The New York Times is reporting on the informal but seemingly symbiotic relationship between Russian hackers attacking American targets and Wikileaks (Warning: may be paywalled) as their favorite spot for disseminating the embarrassing results. New York Times reports: "American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed." When it comes to embarrassing the U.S. government, Russia and Wikileaks' Julian Assange doubtlessly have common interests. But the reporters' analysis of leaks over the past several years raises a question of whether this is just a natural alliance of a source for incriminating documents and a motivated publisher, or does Wikileaks focus on the U.S. and downplay revelations about authoritarian regimes like Russia's as a result of the cozy relationship? nickovs adds: The New York Times is reporting how Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West's secrets. The article discusses Assange's change in stance regarding Russia over the years and how the Kremlin appears to support, and benefit from, the leaks that he publishes. The New York Times reports: "United States officials say they believe with a high degree of confidence that the Democratic Party material was hacked by the Russian government, and suspect that the codes may have been stolen by the Russians as well. That raises a question: Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin's Kremlin?" Daily Mail (non paywalled source) reports: "In 2010 Assange was arrested in London on allegations of rape stemming from Sweden and released on bail. He described the arrest as a plot to extradite him to the U.S. where he could be investigated over the diplomatic cables leak, which greatly harmed American relations with the rest of the world while Clinton was Secretary of State. Putin also called the charges against Assange 'politically motivated' and said he is being 'persecuted for spreading the information he received from the U.S. military regarding the actions of the USA in the Middle East, including Iraq.' Russian officials have also suggested that Assange be given a Nobel Prize, and in 2012 paid to stream his TV show on state-backed network Russia Today. The Times also claims that Assange was offered a visa by Russia in 2011, though WikiLeaks has denounced this as false..."

Comment Re:I've gone through four iPhones due to this issu (Score 2) 222

A "failure" here includes an app that crashes. In your case you're saying the touch screen has failed to work, 4 times in a row, and somehow you know it's about to be 5 times.

The chance of a failure involving the touchscreen is statistically (from the report you didn't read) 3%. Raising 0.03 to the fifth power gives a failure rate of 0.0000000243.

Still going with Occam.

Comment Re:I've gone through four iPhones due to this issu (Score 1) 222

Well, literally hundreds of millions of people (per year) buy iPhones (last 12 months was 215 million) and don't have this problem.

I could see you getting a bad phone - shit happens. I could (just about) see you getting *two* bad phones out of two. There is no way I'd buy that you got three successive phones that failed in the same way, as for five ? Well, I'll be charitable and say you must be the unluckiest person on the planet. Is your name Brian by any chance ?

For reference: "In line with the firm’s fourth-quarter report, a study that analyzed smartphone failures during the first quarter of 2016 determined that Android devices cause far more problems for their owners than iPhones. According to Blancco Technology Group’s new data, 44% of Android phones experienced failures between January and March of this year, compared to 25% of iPhones"

Occam's razor says I still think you don't look after the phone, assuming you're telling the truth. Sorry.

Comment Re:So much for Apple's "better design" (Score 1, Troll) 222

Yep, in an nutshell.

You sell 215 million (how many phones Apple sold in the last 12 months) of *anything*, and there's going to be a tiny percentage of them that go wrong in some pattern-like way. Even 0.001% of 215 million is 2150 people with a problem, and although a failure rate of 0.001% is pretty damn good with such a complex device, that's still enough for "many" people to come up with a common problem and someone to get some ad-revenue from the click-bait headline.

(Also own an iPhone, a 6+, and haven't seen any issues)

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He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.