Government

Samsung Warns Customers To Think Twice About What They Say Near Smart TVs (theantimedia.org) 88

In a troubling new development in the domestic consumer surveillance debate, an investigation into Samsung Smart TVs has revealed that user voice commands are recorded, stored, and transmitted to a third party. The company even warns customers not to discuss personal or sensitive information within earshot of the device.

The new Samsung controversy stems from the discovery of a single haunting statement in the company's "privacy policy," which states: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."
AT&T

Apple And AT&T Sued For Infringement Over iPhone Haptic Patents (computerworld.com) 51

Haptic technology company Immersion has accused Apple and carrier AT&T of infringement of three of its patents in the latest iPhone models and Apple watches. Immersion, which claims over 2,100 issued or pending patents worldwide covering various aspects and commercial applications of haptic or touch feedback technology, has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the import of the specified iPhone and Apple Watch models in the U.S., besides suing for damages in a Delaware federal court, company CEO Victor Viegas said in a conference call Thursday. Immersion decided to include AT&T and subsidiary AT&T Mobility in the action because the carrier is the most significant distributor of the iPhone in the U.S.
Piracy

Sci-Hub, a Site With Open and Pirated Scientific Papers 143

lpress writes: Sci-Hub is a Russian site that seeks to remove barriers to science by providing access to pirated copies of scientific papers. It was established in 2011 by Russian neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who could not afford papers she needed for her research and it now claims to have links to 48 million pirated and open papers. I tried it out and found some papers and not others, but it provides an alternative for researchers who cannot afford access to paid journals. After visiting this site, one cannot help thinking of the case of Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide as a result of prosecution for his attempt to free scientific literature.
Spam

BT Announces Free Service To Screen Nuisance Callers (thestack.com) 67

An anonymous reader writes: British telco BT is launching a free landline service for UK customers which promises to divert millions of unwanted calls. A dedicated team at BT will monitor calls made to UK numbers, across its network of over 10 million domestic landlines, to identify suspicious patterns, which could help to filter out nuisance callers. The flagged numbers will then be directed to a junk voicemail box. The company has estimated that the voicemail 'net' will catch up to 25 million cold calls every week. It explained that to achieve this success rate, it would be deploying enormous amounts of compute power to monitor and analyse large amounts of data in real-time.
Education

US Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia To Remove the Diary of Anne Frank (wikimedia.org) 173

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation announced its removal of The Diary of Anne Frank from Wikisource, a digital library of free texts. According to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, works are protected for 95 years from the date of publication, meaning Wikimedia is not allowed to host a copy of the book before 2042. Rogers, the Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, says this is just one of the many examples of the overreach of the United States' current copyright law. He goes on to say, "Our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms."
Censorship

UK GHCQ Is Allowed To Hack (bbc.co.uk) 71

An anonymous reader writes: A security tribunal has just decreed that hacking by the UK security agency GCHQ is legal. [The case was launched after revelations by Edward Snowden about the extent of US and UK spying. Campaigners Privacy International claimed GCHQ's hacking operations were too intrusive]. The legal challenge that they were violating European law was rejected.
Crime

Hackers of Ukrainian Utilities Probably Hit Mining and Railroad Targets, Too (csoonline.com) 21

itwbennett writes: Trend Micro said Thursday that its latest technical research shows that the same malware — dubbed BlackEnergy and KillDisk — were likely used in attacks on a mining company and a railway operator that preceded the devastating power-company hacks and that those earlier attacks may have been test runs. 'The malware used in the attacks, known as Black Energy, has been linked by the security firm iSight Partners to a group nicknamed the Sandworm Team, which is suspected to be from Russia,' writes Jeremy Kirk.
Privacy

Austrian Minister Calls For a Constitutional Right To Pay In Cash 183

New submitter sittingnut writes: Bloomberg reports that Austrian Deputy Economy Minister Harald Mahrer has called for a constitutional right to use cash to protect their privacy. According to the report, Mahrer said, "We don't want someone to be able to track digitally what we buy, eat and drink, what books we read and what movies we watch. We will fight everywhere against rules," including caps on cash purchases. EU finance ministers at a meeting in Brussels last Friday urged the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to "explore the need for appropriate restrictions on cash payments exceeding certain thresholds," " to crack down on "illicit cash movements."
Piracy

Pirate Bay Browser Streaming Technology Is a Security and Privacy Nightmare (softpedia.com) 72

An anonymous reader writes: Last week the Pirate Bay added support for streaming video torrents inside the browser in real-time. Kickass Torrents followed the next week. The technology they used is called Torrents Time. A security researcher has discovered that this technology which is a mix of client and server side code is actually a security and user privacy disaster. Attackers can carry out XSS attacks on TPB and KAT, the app runs on Mac as root, attackers can hijack downloads and force malicious code on the user's PC, and advertisers can collect info on any user that has Torrents Time installed.
Censorship

Indonesia Moves To Ban Same-Sex Emojis On Messaging Apps (thestack.com) 338

An anonymous reader writes: The Indonesian government has this week demanded that instant messaging apps available in the country remove all same-sex emoticons from their platforms, or face heavy sanctions. While homosexuality is not illegal in the country, it remains a controversial issue in the Muslim-dominated country. Now in the latest effort to crackdown on gay rights, Indonesian authorities want to ban emojis, stickers and emoticons which depict same-sex couples, the rainbow flag, and any symbol that symbolises the lesbian, bay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Apps that have been targeted by the demands include the popular Asian messaging app LINE, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter. The Indonesian Communication and Information Ministry added that a particular concern was that children would find the bright coloured stickers appealing.
Australia

Dallas Buyers Club LLC Abandons Fight Against Australian Pirates (theage.com.au) 37

New submitter aphelion_rock writes: It's a happy day for Aussie pirates: The Hollywood studio behind the film Dallas Buyers Club has abandoned its fight to extract huge sums of cash from alleged copyright infringers. Dallas Buyers Club LLC had until midday Thursday to lodge a second appeal against an August Federal Court decision which effectively prevented it from engaging in so-called 'speculative invoicing' in Australia.
AI

Debating a Ban On Autonomous Weapons (thebulletin.org) 213

Lasrick writes: A pretty informative debate on banning autonomous weapons has just closed at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The debate looks at an open letter, published In July, 2015, in which researchers in artificial intelligence and robotics (and endorsed by high-profile individuals such as Stephen Hawking) called for 'a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.' The letter echoes arguments made since 2013 by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, which views autonomous weapons as 'a fundamental challenge to the protection of civilians and to international human rights and humanitarian law.'

But support for a ban is not unanimous. Some researchers argue that autonomous weapons would commit fewer battlefield atrocities than human beings—and that their development might even be considered morally imperative. The authors in this debate focus on these questions: Would deployed autonomous weapons promote or detract from civilian safety; and is an outright ban the proper response to development of autonomous weapons?

Government

Senate Passes Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent (consumerist.com) 95

kheldan writes: Nearly two decades ago, Congress passed the first Internet Tax Freedom Act, establishing that — with a handful of grandfathered exceptions — local, state, and federal governments couldn't impose taxes on Internet access. Problem is, that law has had to be renewed over and over, each time with an expiration date. But today, the U.S. Senate finally passed a piece of legislation that would make the tax ban permanent.
Security

ZDNet Writer Downplays Windows 10's Phoning-Home Habits 260

jones_supa writes: Gordon F. Kelly of Forbes whipped up a frenzy over Windows 10 when a Voat user found out in a little experiment that the operating system phones home thousands of times a day. ZDNet's Ed Bott has written a follow-up where he points out how the experiment should not be taken too dramatically. 602 connection attempts were to 192.168.1.255 using UDP port 137, which means local NetBIOS broadcasts. Another 630 were DNS requests. Next up was 1,619 dropped connection attempts to address 94.245.121.253, which is a Microsoft Teredo server. The list goes on with NTP, random HTTP requests, and various cloud hosts which probably are reached by UWP apps. He summarizes by saying that a lot of connections are not at all about telemetry. However, what kind of telemetry and data-mined information Windows specifically sends still remains largely a mystery; hopefully curious people will do analysis on the operating system and network traffic sent by it.
Censorship

As Elections Approach, Iran Uses "Far More Advanced" Internet Censorship (dailydot.com) 40

Patrick O'Neill writes: Election time in Iran means increased censorship for the country's tens of millions of Internet users. But this months parliamentary election, experts say, comes with a new level of aggressive censorship from a government notorious for authoritarianism in cyberspace. "What's happening [right now] is far more advanced than anything we've seen before," said Karl Kathuria, CEO of Psiphon Inc., the company behind the widely popular encryption and circumvention tool Psiphon. "It's a lot more concentrated attempt to stop these services from working."
Encryption

US Encryption Ban Would Only Send the Market Overseas (dailydot.com) 154

Patrick O'Neill writes: As U.S. legislatures posture toward legally mandating backdoored encryption, a new Harvard study suggests that a ban would push the market overseas because most encryption products come from over non-U.S. tech companies. "Cryptography is very much a worldwide academic discipline, as evidenced by the quantity and quality of research papers and academic conferences from countries other than the U.S.," the researchers wrote.
EU

Google Expands 'Right To Be Forgotten' To All Global Search Results (thestack.com) 93

An anonymous reader writes: Google has confirmed that it will be updating its 'right to be forgotten' so that any hidden content under the ruling is removed from all versions of its search engine in countries where it has been approved. Until now Google had only been removing results from the originating country and European versions of its search engine, such as google.co.uk and google.de. The EU had previously asked for an extension of the rule to include all versions of Google. Last year, French data protection authority CNIL threatened the tech giant with a sanction should it not remove data from all of its global platforms – such as google.com – in addition to its European sites. Now, Google's new extension of the 'right to be forgotten' is expected to come into force over the next few weeks.
Facebook

France Launches Second Salvo Against Facebook (liberation.fr) 84

Eunuchswear writes: After Mondays decision by the French CNIL (National Center for Computers and Freedom) that Facebook must stop tracking non-users, the DGCCRF (General Direction for Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud), has ruled that Facebooks terms of use are abusive and must be changed within 60 days." The linked story is in French, but for those of us who don't speak the language, Google translate works. Here's the DGCCRF's Facebook page.
The Courts

SCO vs. IBM Battle Over Linux May Finally Be Over (networkworld.com) 226

JG0LD writes with this news from Network World: A breach-of-contract and copyright lawsuit filed nearly 13 years ago by a successor company to business Linux vendor Caldera International against IBM may be drawing to a close at last, after a U.S. District Court judge issued an order in favor of the latter company earlier this week.
Here's the decision itself (PDF). Also at The Register.
Government

FAA Eases Drone Restrictions Around Washington, DC (roboticstrends.com) 72

An anonymous reader writes with a link to Robotics Trends, which reports that: After doubling the radius of the "no-drone zone" from 15 miles to 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C. in 2015, the FAA announced drones can now fly in the "outer ring" of the Special Flight Rules Area. This means drones can operate between a 15- to 30-mile radius outside of the nation's capitol. Drones that fly between the 15- to 30-mile radius still have to operate under specific conditions: drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, be registered and marked, fly under 400 feet, stay in the operator's line of sight, only fly in clear conditions, and avoid other aircraft.

Slashdot Top Deals