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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

EU's Antitrust Commissioner Opens Preliminary Probe into Amazon

1 hour 21 min ago
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has begun questioning merchants on Amazon's use of their data, Vestager said Wednesday. The issue, she said, is whether Amazon is using data from the merchants it hosts on its site to secure an advantage in selling products against those same retailers. From a report: "These are very early days and we haven't formally opened a case. We are trying to make sure that we get the full picture," Vestager said during a news conference Wednesday. The probe comes as the world's largest online retailer faces growing calls for regulation. Investors and insiders have long cited Amazon's size and reach as reason to break the company up. President Donald Trump has hinted at antitrust action against Amazon as part of continued attacks against CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was set to meet this month with state officials to discuss antitrust concerns in Silicon Valley, though much of the regulation on Big Tech thus far has come out of Brussels.

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China's Leaders Soften Their Stance on AI, Say They Will Be Sharing Their Findings With Other Countries

2 hours 5 min ago
China might be at loggerheads with the United States over trade, but it is calling for a friendlier approach to the development of artificial intelligence. From a report: Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai this week, China's vice premier, Liu He, said that AI would depend heavily on international cooperation. "We're hoping that all countries, as members of the global village, will be inclusive and support each other so that we can respond to the double-edged-sword effect of new technologies," He said through a translator. "AI represents a new era. Cross-national and cross-discipline cooperation is inevitable." President Xi Jinping delivered a similar message in a letter presented at the same conference. Xi said that China would "share results with other countries in the field of artificial intelligence." He also called for collaboration between nations on AI topics such as ethics, law, governance, and security. This new, softer approach to artificial intelligence comes just over a year after the Chinese government announced an ambitious and aggressive AI plan. This blueprint called for Chinese AI researchers to lead the world by 2030, and for domestic companies to build an industry worth more than $150 billion. China's tech industry has already embraced machine learning and AI at an impressive rate.

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We Hold People With Power To Account. Why Not Algorithms?

2 hours 45 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: All around us, algorithms provide a kind of convenient source of authority: an easy way to delegate responsibility, a short cut we take without thinking. Who is really going to click through to the second page of Google results every time and think critically about the information that has been served up? Or go to every airline to check if a comparison site is listing the cheapest deals? Or get out a ruler and a road map to confirm that their GPS is offering the shortest route? But already in our hospitals, our schools, our shops, our courtrooms and our police stations, artificial intelligence is silently working behind the scenes, feeding on our data and making decisions on our behalf. Sure, this technology has the capacity for enormous social good -- it can help us diagnose breast cancer, catch serial killers, avoid plane crashes and, as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has proposed, potentially save lives using NHS data and genomics. Unless we know when to trust our own instincts over the output of a piece of software, however, it also brings the potential for disruption, injustice and unfairness. If we permit flawed machines to make life-changing decisions on our behalf -- by allowing them to pinpoint a murder suspect, to diagnose a condition or take over the wheel of a car -- we have to think carefully about what happens when things go wrong.

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Hackers Stole Customer Credit Cards in Newegg Data Breach

3 hours 35 min ago
Newegg is clearing up its website after a month-long data breach. TechCrunch: Hackers injected 15 lines of card skimming code on the online retailer's payments page which remained for more than a month between August 14 and September 18, Yonathan Klijnsma, a threat researcher at RiskIQ, told TechCrunch. The code siphoned off credit card data from unsuspecting customers to a server controlled by the hackers with a similar domain name -- likely to avoid detection. The server even used an HTTPS certificate to blend in. The code also worked for both desktop and mobile customers -- though it's unclear if mobile customers are affected. The online electronics retailer removed the code on Tuesday after it was contacted by incident response firm Volexity, which first discovered the card skimming malware and reported its findings. Newegg is one of the largest retailers in the US, making $2.65 billion in revenue in 2016. The company touts more than 45 million monthly unique visitors, but it's not known precisely how many customers completed transactions during the period.

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LLVM 7.0 Released: Better CPU Support, AMDGPU Vega 20; Clang 7.0 Gets FMV and OpenCL C++

4 hours 15 min ago
LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg announced Wednesday the official availability of LLVM 7.0 compiler stack as well as associated sub-projects including the Clang 7.0 C/C++ compiler front-end, Compiler-RT, libc++, libunwind, LLDB, and others. From a report: There is a lot of LLVM improvements ranging from CPU improvements for many different architectures, Vega 20 support among many other AMDGPU back-end improvements, the new machine code analyzer utility, and more. The notable Clang C/C++ compiler has picked up support for function multi-versioning (FMV), initial OpenCL C++ support, and many other additions. See my LLVM 7.0 / Clang 7.0 feature overview for more details on the changes with this six-month open-source compiler stack update. Wennborg's release statement can be read on the llvm-announce list.

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Sony Announces PlayStation Classic, a $100 Mini PS1

4 hours 55 min ago
Sony announced Wednesday that it will release the PlayStation Classic micro console on December 3. It will cost $100 and come with 20 built-in games. From a report: Like Nintendo's NES Classic and SNES Classic, the PlayStation Classic will come packed with a list of beloved hits from the system's original library. There will be 20 games in all, but Sony only announced five of them today: Final Fantasy 7, Jumping Flash, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. "All of the pre-loaded games will be playable in their original format," the company said in an announcement post on the PlayStation Blog. Sony plans to launch the PlayStation Classic worldwide on Dec. 3 -- the 24th anniversary of the PlayStation's release. (The PS1 debuted in Japan on Dec. 3, 1994, and Sony didn't bring it to the West until September 1995.) The retro console will retail for $99.99 in the U.S., 89.99 pound in the U.K., 99.99 euro in Europe and 9,980 yen in Japan. For that price, customers will get the system and two controllers. The gamepads are full-size replicas of the PS1's original controller, not the DualShock, so they and don't include analog sticks or vibration. As you can see in the gallery above, the gamepads are wired USB devices that plug into the console in the same spot as the original system's controller ports.

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Life In the Spanish City That Banned Cars

5 hours 55 min ago
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via The Guardian: People don't shout in Pontevedra -- or they shout less. With all but the most essential traffic banished, there are no revving engines or honking horns, no metallic snarl of motorbikes or the roar of people trying make themselves heard above the din -- none of the usual soundtrack of a Spanish city. What you hear in the street instead are the tweeting of birds in the camellias, the tinkle of coffee spoons and the sound of human voices. Teachers herd crocodiles of small children across town without the constant fear that one of them will stray into traffic. "Listen," says the mayor, opening the windows of his office. From the street below rises the sound of human voices. "Before I became mayor 14,000 cars passed along this street every day. More cars passed through the city in a day than there are people living here." Miguel Anxo Fernandez Lores has been mayor of the Galician city since 1999. His philosophy is simple: owning a car doesn't give you the right to occupy the public space. "How can it be that the elderly or children aren't able to use the street because of cars?" asks Cesar Mosquera, the city's head of infrastructures. "How can it be that private property -- the car -- occupies the public space?" Lores became mayor after 12 years in opposition, and within a month had pedestrianized all 300,000 sq m of the medieval centre, paving the streets with granite flagstones. "The historical center was dead," Lores says. "There were a lot of drugs, it was full of cars -- it was a marginal zone. It was a city in decline, polluted, and there were a lot of traffic accidents. It was stagnant. Most people who had a chance to leave did so. At first we thought of improving traffic conditions but couldn't come up with a workable plan. Instead we decided to take back the public space for the residents and to do this we decided to get rid of cars." Some of the benefits mentioned in the report include less traffic accidents and traffic-related deaths, and decreased CO2 emissions (70%). "Also, withholding planning permission for big shopping centers has meant that small businesses -- which elsewhere have been unable to withstand Spain's prolonged economic crisis -- have managed to stay afloat," reports The Guardian.

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VW Group, BMW and Daimler Are Under Investigation For Collusion In Europe

8 hours 55 min ago
The European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation into the Volkswagen Group, BMW and Daimler, over allegations they colluded to keep certain emissions control devices from reaching the market in Europe, according to a statement the Commission released on Tuesday. CNET reports: The technologies the group allegedly sought to bury include a selective catalytic reduction system for diesel vehicles, which would help to reduce environmentally problematic oxides of nitrogen in passenger cars, and "Otto" particulate filters that trap particulate matter from gasoline combustion engines. "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy for the European Commission, in a statement. "These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers."

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Senate Passes Music Modernization Act With Unanimous Support

11 hours 55 min ago
After the House's unilateral support back in April, the Senate has unanimously voted to pass the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act, which is named in honor of the Republican senior senator from Utah -- a songwriter himself -- who will retire at the end of the year. Billboard explains the bill: The bill creates a blanket mechanical license and establishes a collective to administer it; reshapes how courts can determine rates, while making sure future performance rates hearings between performance rights organizations BMI and ASCAP and licensees rotate among all U.S. Southern District Court of New York Judges, instead of being assigned to the same two judges, Judge Denise Cote for ASCAP and Judge Louis Stanton for BMI, as its done now; creates a royalty for labels, artists and musicians to be paid by digital services for master recordings created prior to Feb. 15, 1972, while also eliminating a Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 carve out for "pre-existing digital services" like Sirius XM and Music Choice that allows for certain additional considerations not given to any other digital service when rates are set; and codifies a process for Sound Exchange to pay producers and engineers royalties for records on which they have worked. Over on the music publishing side of the business, there was much happiness too. For example, ASCAP noted that the legislation reforms an "outdated music licensing system and give music creators an opportunity to obtain compensation that more accurately reflects the value of music in a free market." Billboard notes that the revised Senate version "will go back to the House where it needs approval due to all the changes made to the bill in order to get it passed in the Senate." Once the House approves, it will then head to President Trump's desk.

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Facebook Wanted Banks To Fork Over Customer Data Passing Through Messenger

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 21:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: For years, Facebook has publicly positioned its Messenger application as a way to connect with friends and as a way to help customers interact directly with businesses. But a new report from The Wall Street Journal today indicates that Facebook also saw its Messenger platform as a siphon for the sensitive financial data of its users, information it would not otherwise have access to unless a customer interacted with, say, a banking institution over chat. In this case, the WSJ report says not only did the banks find Facebook's methods obtrusive, but the companies also pushed back against the social network and, in some cases, moved conversations off Messenger to avoid handing Facebook any sensitive data. Among the financial firms Facebook is said to have argued with about customer data are American Express, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. The report says Facebook was interested in helping banks create bots for its Messenger platform, as part of a big push in 2016 to turn the chat app into an automated hub of digital life that could help you solve problems and avoid cumbersome customer service calls. But some of these bots, like the one American Express developed for Messenger last year, deliberately avoided sending transaction information over the platform after Facebook made clear it wanted to use customer spending habits as part of its ad targeting business. In some cases, companies like PayPal and Western Union negotiated special contracts that would let them offer many detailed and useful services like money transfers, the WSJ reports. But by and large, big banks in the U.S. have reportedly shied away from working with Facebook due to how aggressively it pushed for access to customer data. Facebook said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal: "Like many online companies, we partner with financial institutions to improve people's commerce experiences, like enabling better customer service, and people opt into these experiences. We've emphasized to partners that keeping people's information safe and secure is critical to these efforts. That has been and always will be our priority."

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Wharton Professor Says America Should Shorten the Work Day By 2 Hours

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 20:10
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, New York Times best-selling author, and The Wharton School's top professor, says Americans should work two hours less. Instead of the typical 9-to-5, people "should finish at 3pm," says Grant in a recent LinkedIn post. "We can be as productive and creative in 6 focused hours as in 8 unfocused hours." CNBC reports: In the LinkedIn post, Grant was weighing in on an Atlantic article about the time gap between when school and work days end, a bane for many parents. But it's not the first time Grant has given his stamp of approval to less work with more productivity. "Productivity is less about time management and more about attention management," Grant tweeted in July, highlighting an article about a successful four-day work week study. For the study, a New Zealand company adopted a four-day work week (at five-day pay) with positive results; the company saw benefits ranging from lower stress levels in employees to increased performance. In a recent blog post, billionaire Richard Branson also touted the success of a three-day or four-day work week. "It's easier to attract top talent when you are open and flexible," Branson said in the post. "It's not effective or productive to force them to behave in a conventional way." "Many people out there would love three-day or even four-day weekends," said Branson. "Everyone would welcome more time to spend with their loved ones, more time to get fit and healthy, more time to explore the world."

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Linux On Windows 10: Running Ubuntu VMs Just Got a Lot Easier, Says Microsoft

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 19:30
Liam Tung reporting for ZDNet: Ubuntu maintainer Canonical and Microsoft have teamed up to release an optimized Ubuntu Desktop image that's available through Microsoft's Hyper-V gallery. The Ubuntu Desktop image should deliver a better experience when running it as a guest on a Windows 10 Pro host, according to Canonical. The optimized version is Ubuntu Desktop 18.04.1 LTS release, also known as Bionic Beaver. Microsoft's work with Canonical was prompted by its users who wanted a "first-class experience" on Linux virtual machines (VMs) as well as Windows VMs. To achieve this goal, Microsoft worked with the developers of XRDP, an open-source remote-desktop protocol (RDP) for Linux based on Microsoft's RDP for Windows. Thanks to that work, XRDP now supports Microsoft's Enhanced Session Mode, which allows Hyper-V to use the open-source implementation of RDP to connect to Linux VMs. This in turn gives Ubuntu VMs on Windows hosts a better mouse experience, an integrated clipboard, windows resizing, and shared folders for easier file transfers between host and guest. Microsoft's Hyper-V Quick Create VM setup wizard should also help improve the experience. "With the Hyper-V Quick Create feature added in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we have partnered with Ubuntu and added a virtual machine image so in a few quick minutes, you'll be up and developing," said Clint Rutkas, a senior technical product manager on Microsoft's Windows Developer Team. "This is available now -- just type 'Hyper-V Quick Create' in your start menu."

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Chrome OS Revamp Delivers a New Look and Linux App Support

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:50
Google has released a Chrome OS 69 update that introduces a range of new features. From a report: Most notably, there's now support for running Linux apps. You'll need a supported machine (a handful of machines from Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Google itself). Still, this could be more than a little helpful if you want to run a conventional desktop app or command line terminal without switching to another PC or a virtual environment. The new software also adds the long-in-the-making Night Light mode to ease your eyes at the end of the day. Voice dictation is now available in any text field, and there's a fresh Files interface that can access Play files and Team Drives.

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EU Drops Court Case After Apple Repays More Than $16 Billion In Taxes and Interest To Ireland

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:10
"Ireland's government has fully recovered more than [$16 billion] in disputed taxes and interest from Apple, which it will hold in an escrow fund pending its appeal against a European Union tax ruling," reports The Guardian. From the report: The European commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives from the Irish government. Both Apple and Dublin are appealing against the original ruling, saying the iPhone maker's tax treatment was in line with Irish and EU law. Ireland's finance ministry, which began collecting the back taxes in a series of payments in May, estimated last year the total amount could have reached -- [$17.5 billion] including EU interest. In the end the amount was [$15.2 billion] in back taxes plus [$1.4 billion] interest. For its part, the commission said it would scrap its lawsuit against Ireland, which it initiated last year because of delays in recovering the money. "In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal state aid it had received from Ireland, commissioner (Margrethe) Vestager will be proposing to the college of commissioners the withdrawal of this court action," the commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said. Ireland's finance ministry said its appeal had been granted priority status and is progressing through the various stages of private written proceedings before the general court of the European Union (GCEU), Europe's second highest court. The matter will likely take several years to be settled by the European courts, it added.

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People Tend To Cluster Into Four Distinct Personality 'Types,' Says Study

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 17:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A new study has sifted through some of the largest online data sets of personality quizzes and identified four distinct "types" therein. The new methodology used for this study -- described in detail in a new paper in Nature Human Behavior -- is rigorous and replicable, which could help move personality typing analysis out of the dubious self-help section in your local bookstore and into serious scientific journals. What's new here is the identification of four dominant clusters in the overall distribution of traits. [Paper co-author William Revelle (Northwestern University)] prefers to think of them as "lumps in the batter" and suggests that a good analogy would be how people tend to concentrate in cities in the United States. The Northwestern researchers used publicly available data from online quizzes taken by 1.5 million people around the world. That data was then plotted in accordance with the so-called Big Five basic personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The Big Five is currently the professional standard for social psychologists who study personality. (Here's a good summary of what each of those traits means to psychologists.) They then applied their algorithms to the resulting dataset. Here are the four distinct personality clusters that the researchers ended up with: Average: These people score high in neuroticism and extraversion, but score low in openness. It is the most typical category, with women being more likely than men to fit into it. Reserved: This type of person is stable emotionally without being especially open or neurotic. They tend to score lower on extraversion but tend to be somewhat agreeable and conscientious. Role Models: These people score high in every trait except neuroticism, and the likelihood that someone fits into this category increases dramatically as they age. "These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas," says Amaral. "These are good people to be in charge of things." Women are more likely than men to be role models. Self-Centered: These people score very high in extraversion, but score low in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Most teenage boys would fall into this category, according to Revelle, before (hopefully) maturing out of it. The number of people who fall into this category decreases dramatically with age.

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Google's Android OS To Power Dashboard Displays

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 16:50
schwit1 shares a report from The Wall Street Journal: Google is making a major push into the auto industry, partnering with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to use the tech company's Android OS to power media displays (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) that will eventually be sold in millions of cars world-wide. The auto-making alliance, which together sells more vehicles than any other auto maker, is picking Google to provide the operating system for its next-generation infotainment system, marking a major victory for the Silicon Valley tech giant, which has spent more than a decade trying to replicate the success it has had with the smartphone in the car. The alliance, which last year sold a combined 10.6 million vehicles globally, will debut the new system in 2021, giving drivers better integration of Google's maps, app store and voice-activated assistant from the vehicle's dashboard, the companies said. The move comes as other auto makers have been reluctant to cede control of this space to tech rivals, in part because they see the technology as generating valuable consumer data that can be turned into new revenue streams. Slashdot reader schwit1 adds: "But can I get it unlocked and can it be turned off, like this traveling telescreen?

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iPhone XS, XS Max Are World's Fastest Phones (Again)

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 16:10
According to "several real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks," the new iPhone XS and XS Max, equipped with the world's first 7-nanometer A12 Bionic processor, are the world's fastest smartphones, reports Tom's Guide. They even significantly outperform Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chip. From the report: Geekbench 4 is a benchmark that measures overall performance, and no other phone comes close to Apple's new handsets on this test. The iPhone Xs notched 11,420, and the iPhone Xs Max hit 11,515. The older iPhone X scored 10,357, so that's about an 11 percent improvement. There's a lot more distance between the new iPhones and Android flagships. The fastest Android phone around, the OnePlus 6, scored 9,088 on Geekbench 4 with its 8GB of RAM, while the Galaxy Note 9 reached 8,876. To test real-world performance, we use the Adobe Premiere Clips app to transcode a 2-minute 4K video to 1080p. The iPhone X was miles ahead last year with a time of just 42 seconds. This time around, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max knocked it down further to 39 seconds. The Galaxy S9+ took 2 minutes and 32 seconds to complete the task, and that's the fastest we've seen from an Android phone. The OnePlus 6 finished in 3:45, and the LG G7 ThinQ took 3:16. One good way to measure real-world performance is to see how long it takes for a phone to load demanding apps. Because the phones have the same processor for this round, we just used the iPhone Xs Max and put it up against the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 9. The iPhone XS Max was faster every time, including a 15-second victory in Fortnite over the Note 9 and 3-second win in Asphalt 9. The phones were closer in Pokemon Go but the iPhone XS Max still came out on top. The new iPhones did lag behind the competition in the 3DMark Slingshot Extreme test, which measures graphics performance by evaluating everything from rendering to volumetric lighting. The iPhone XS Max and iPhone X received scores of 4,244 and 4,339, respectively, while the OnePlus 6 received a score of 5,124. As for the GFXBench 5 test, the iPhone XS Max achieved 1,604.7 frames on the Aztec Ruins portion of the test, and 1,744.44 frames in the Car Chase test," reports Tom's Guide. "The Note 9 was far behind at 851.7 and 1,103 frames, respectively. However, the Galaxy S9+ edged past the iPhone XS Max on this test."

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Tesla Is Facing US Criminal Probe Over Elon Musk Statements

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 15:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tesla is under investigation by the Justice Department over public statements made by the company and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. The criminal probe is running alongside a previously reported civil inquiry by securities regulators. Federal prosecutors opened a fraud investigation after Musk tweeted last month that he was contemplating taking Tesla private and had "funding secured" for the deal. The tweet initially sent the company's shares higher. Tesla confirmed it has been contacted by the Justice Department. The investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of California follows a subpoena issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking information from the electric-car maker about Musk's plans to go private, which he has since abandoned. Tesla said in a statement following Bloomberg's report: "Last month, following Elon's announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it. We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ's desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received."

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Cyber Sleuths Find Traces of Infamous iPhone and Android Spyware 'Pegasus' in 45 Countries

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 14:50
Security researchers have found evidence that a piece of malware peddled as "lawful intercept" software to government agencies has been deployed against victims located in 45 countries, a number that far outweighs the number of known operators, meaning that some of them are conducting illegal cross-border surveillance. The findings come from a report published by Citizen Lab, a digital rights watchdog at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. ZDNet: The malware, known as Pegasus (or Trident), was created by Israeli cyber-security firm NSO Group and has been around for at least three years -- when it was first detailed in a report over the summer of 2016. The malware can operate on both Android and iOS devices, albeit it's been mostly spotted in campaigns targeting iPhone users primarily. On infected devices, Pegasus is a powerful spyware that can do many things, such as record conversations, steal private messages, exfiltrate photos, and much much more. Citizen Lab's researchers explained how they were able to arrive at the conclusion. They said they identified 1,091 IP addresses that matched their fingerprint for NSO's spyware. Then, they clustered the IP addresses into 36 separate operators with traces in 45 countries where these government agencies "may be conducting surveillance operations" between August 2016 and August 2018. Motherboard adds: Some of the countries where the researchers spotted Pegasus in democratic countries, such as the United States, France, and the UK, but there's also countries with questionable human rights records such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mexico, Turkey, and Yemen. There's a caveat though. In some cases, the researchers aren't sure if the traces they found indicate an infection -- thus a target that may have been hacked from a foreign country -- or an operator. [...] "I can only hope that our research is causing these companies to think twice about sales where there is the potential for spyware abuse, causing potential customers to think twice about being associated with a company dealing with repressive governments, and causing potential investors to think twice about the inherently risky business of selling spyware to dictators." The report includes a corroboration of sorts from security firm Lookout, which noted that it had detected "three digits" Pegasus infections around the world.

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Google is Giving up Some Control of the AMP Format

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 14:10
Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, has been a controversial project since its debut. Critics say AMP is a Google-specific project and it is creating a walled-garden, which would only serve Google's best interests. On its part, Google has insisted that AMP's mission is to benefit the open web, and that many who contribute to AMP are non-Googlers. On Tuesday, Google announced that it would be giving up some control of how the code behind AMP is managed. A report adds: It plans to move the AMP Project to a "new governance model," which is to say that decisions about the code will be made by a committee that includes non-Googlers. Until now, final decisions about AMP's code have been made by Malte Ubl, the tech lead for the AMP Project at Google. A model with a single person in charge is not actually all that rare in open source. That person is often cheekily referred to as the BDFL, or "benevolent dictator for life." Ubl's been that person for AMP, but, he writes, "we've found that it doesn't scale to the size of the AMP Project today. Instead, we want to move to a model that explicitly gives a voice to all constituents of the community, including those who cannot contribute code themselves, such as end-users." [...] Google has already signed up non-Google people for the Advisory Committee, which will include representatives from The Washington Post, AliExpress, eBay, Cloudflare, and Automattic (which makes WordPress). Ubl says that it will also include "advocates for an open web," including "Leonie Watson of The Paciello Group, Nicole Sullivan of Google / Chrome, and Terence Eden." Of course, as anybody who's taken part in a committee knows, it's neither a fun solution nor a guarantee that a single company or person won't dominate it. But it's a step in the right direction, and Google is encouraging people to comment on the plan at the AMP Contributor Summit on September 25th.

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