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Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

wabrandsma Re:Europe is jealous (237 comments)

According to the new European Commissioner for the Digital Economy, Germany’s Günther Oettinger, there would be no "break up and no expropriation" with him. Oettinger: Such measures would be "instruments of the planned economy, not the market economy". Only a more competitive Europe could recover lost markershare in the digital economy. Link: Keine Zerschlagung von Google (in German).

But he also suggested a EU-wide "Google Tax": New EU Digital Chief Floats Tough Anti-Google Regulations
"If Google takes intellectual property from the EU and works with it, the EU can protect this property and can demand a charge for it," Mr. Oettinger told the daily Handelsblatt, adding that such a law could be in place by 2016.

about three weeks ago

It's Not Developers Slowing Things Down, It's the Process

wabrandsma Corporate Policies (186 comments)

Corporate Policies requires that developers cannot have so called 'elevated rights' on a server. Any server, including test and development servers.
Well, that is, the developers have been granted local admin privileges for the development servers, but as a special exception to the corporate policies.

The daylight savings patch that has to be installed, requires an upgrade of the application on the server, with an uninstall and a fresh install.
With a full redeploy of the content and reconfiguring connections to ldap, databases, other servers and reconfiguring user autorizations linked to the content.

The developer documents the deployment procedure in an installation guide.

Next the the upgrade has to be deployd to the test server, but none of the developers have local admin rights for the test server.
So, resources from platform operations have to be claimed by the coordinator. For the installation and the finalization of the application upgrade.

The upgrade takes a little more than the standard 2 hours that have been reserved per week, but finally after a week a slot is available to do the part that has to be done that requires local admin rights for the test server, by someone from platform operations.

At this point, the system test has slipped by a week, on a monthly release cycle, that is a significant amount of time.

A couple of day later the upgrade is deployed to the acceptance server for user testing. Except that most of the users refuse to test the changes, because there are no new features. In their eyes it is purely a technical upgrade. Nevertheless a bug has been found, and it is declared blocking. It takes some days to resolved it. By now, due to all the previous delay, the issue has not been resolved in time to get the change in production.

The monthly release date slips. The next slot available is the next month, and the application gets finally released into production.

Essentially, it means that if something does not get tested beforehand, like a deployment procedure, it eventually gets tested in production.
That is the best way to test something, isn't it? A consequence of the Corporate Policies.

Now I am going to watch some South Park episodes. I like documentaries.

about a month ago

Verizon Injects Unique IDs Into HTTP Traffic

wabrandsma Hello Vodafone (206 comments)

From: Using Browser Properties for Fingerprinting Purposes.

Vodafone injects the X-VF-ACR header: 'Vodafone Anonymous Customer Recognition'. It is unclear what this header exactly does; all headers that have been seen start with the string "204004DYNMVFNLACR", followed by 16 X's, and are followed by a BASE64-encoded 256-byte cyphertext, which we were unable to decrypt. It has been suggested that this string might contain the SIM-card identifier (IMSI) or other personal information, as was found in a research conducted by Mulliner in 2010 [14]. Vodafone did not respond to requests of explaining this header. Nevertheless, the presence of this header, certainly identifies customers of Vodafone as being customers of Vodafone.

about 2 months ago

UK ISP Filter Will Censor More Than Porn

wabrandsma Re:Who will make the list? (329 comments)

The net filtering system praised by David Cameron is controlled by the controversial Chinese company Huawei, the BBC has learned.
UK-based employees at the firm are able to decide which sites TalkTalk's net filtering service blocks.

Initially, TalkTalk told the BBC that it was US security firm Symantec that was responsible for maintaining its blacklist, and that Huawei only provided the hardware, as previously reported.
However, Symantec said that while it had been in a joint venture with Huawei to run Homesafe in its early stages, it had not been involved for over a year.

TalkTalk later confirmed it is Huawei that monitors activity, checking requests against its blacklist of over 65 million web addresses, and denying access if there is a match.
The contents of this list are largely determined by an automated process, but both Huawei and TalkTalk employees are able to add or remove sites independently.

about a year ago

Researcher Evan Booth: How To Weaponize Tax-Free Airport Goods

wabrandsma What Israeli Airport Security Teaches the World (288 comments)

Once again, the Israelis have led the way.

Much of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport’s security protocol is achieved through a combination of comprehensive due diligence, common sense, and consistency – which, one would think would be the objective of airport authorities throughout the world. If more airport authorities were to adopt Ben Gurion’s approach, surely it would be more difficult for those intending to do harm to succeed.


about a year and a half ago

Dutch Gov't Offers Guidance For Responsible Disclosure Practices

wabrandsma Directive ethical hacking solves nothing (37 comments)

The problem is that the definition for hacking is overly broad. If you enter an URL in the address bar, and change just a serial number in the URL, it is considered hacking. Like finding Queen Beatrix's Christmas speech before it was officially published http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2012/12/25/hacker-kersttoespraak-van-geen-kwaad-bewust-tijdens-strafbare-actie/ (in Dutch). Or proving access to medical files by MP Henk Krol http://nos.nl/artikel/447718-krol-vervolgd-om-hacken-dossiers.html (in Dutch).
IT journalist Brenno de Winter calls the guidance useless. "If hackers first have to report the vulnerability, they lose their anonymity without having a guarantee that they will not be prosecuted. And even if a company promises that it will not press charges, the Public Prosecutions Department can start a case." Link here: http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/5133/Media-technologie/article/detail/3372108/2013/01/04/Richtlijn-ethisch-hacken-lost-niets-op.dhtml (in Dutch).

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Do You Find Self Tracking Useful Like Stephen Wolfram Does?

wabrandsma No (139 comments)

Self Tracking could, and thus will be influenced by the observer. With targeted ads I guess.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce?

wabrandsma Re:Simple... (458 comments)

You get all the 1's - she gets all the 0's

How do you divide the qubits?

more than 2 years ago



Quantum physics just got less complicated

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  2 days ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From phys.org:
Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. The result is published 19 December in Nature Communications.
Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore. They found that 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum 'uncertainty principle' in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one."

Link to Original Source

Music publishers sue an ISP over piracy

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about three weeks ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From Ars Technica:
BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music have sued Cox Communications for copyright infringement, arguing that the Internet service provider doesn't do enough to punish those who download music illegally.
Both BMG and Round Hill are clients of Rightscorp, a copyright enforcement agent whose business is based on threatening ISPs with a high-stakes lawsuit if they don't forward settlement notices to users that Rightscorp believes are "repeat infringers" of copyright.
In their complaint (PDF), the music publishers also decided to publicly post IP addresses."

Link to Original Source

Court agrees that Google's search results qualify as free speech

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about a month ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From Ars Technica:
The regulation of Google's search results has come up from time to time over the past decade, and although the idea has gained some traction in Europe (most recently with “right to be forgotten” laws), courts and regulatory bodies in the US have generally agreed that Google's search results are considered free speech. That consensus was upheld last Thursday, when a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Google's right to order its search results as it sees fit."

Link to Original Source

Disney Patents a Piracy Free Search Engine

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about a month and a half ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From Torrentfreak:

Disney has just obtained a patent for a search engine that ranks sites based on various "authenticity" factors. One of the goals of the technology is to filter pirated material from search results while boosting the profile of copyright and trademark holders' websites.

A new patent awarded to Disney Enterprises this week describes a search engine through which pirated content is hard to find.

Titled “Online content ranking system based on authenticity metric values for web elements,” one of the patent’s main goals is to prevent pirated movies and other illicit content from ranking well in the search results.

According to Disney their patent makes it possible to “enable the filtering of undesirable search results, such as results referencing piracy websites.”

Disney believes that current search engines are using the wrong approach as they rely on a website’s “popularity.” This allows site owners to game the system in order to rank higher.

“For example, a manipulated page for unauthorized sales of drugs, movies, etc. might be able to obtain a high popularity rating, but what the typical user will want to see is a more authentic page,” they explain."

Link to Original Source

FBI: backdoors in software may need to be mandatory

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 2 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "The New York Times:

The director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, said on Thursday that the "post-Snowden pendulum" that has driven Apple and Google to offer fully encrypted cellphones had "gone too far." He hinted that as a result, the administration might seek regulations and laws forcing companies to create a way for the government to unlock the photos, emails and contacts stored on the phones.

But Mr. Comey appeared to have few answers for critics who have argued that any portal created for the F.B.I. and the police could be exploited by the National Security Agency, or even Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies or criminals. And his position seemed to put him at odds with a White House advisory committee that recommended against any effort to weaken commercial encryption."

Link to Original Source

FBI will hire no one who is lying about illegal downloading

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 2 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "On Monday, Sacramento State’s Career Center welcomed the FBI for an informational on its paid internship program where applications are now being accepted. One of the highly discussed topics in the presentation was the list of potential traits that disqualify applicants.

This list included failure to register with selective services, illegal drug use including steroids, criminal activity, default on student loans, falsifying information on an application and illegal downloading music, movies and books.

FBI employee Steve Dupre explained how the FBI will ask people during interviews how many songs, movies and books they have downloaded because the FBI considers it to be stealing.

During the first two phases of interviews, everything is recorded and then turned into a report. This report is then passed along to a polygraph technician to be used during the applicant's exam, which consists of a 55-page questionnaire. If an applicant is caught lying, they can no longer apply for an FBI agent position."

Link to Original Source

Test version Windows 10 includes keylogger

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From WinBeta:

One of the more interesting bits of data the company is collecting is text entered. Some are calling this a keylogger within the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which isn't good news.

Taking a closer look at the Privacy Policy for the Windows Insider Program, it looks like Microsoft may be collecting a lot more feedback from you behind the scenes.

Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.

This isn't the only thing Microsoft is collecting from Insider Program participants. According to the Privacy Policy, the company is collecting things like text inputted into the operating system, the details of any/all files on your system, voice input and program information."
Link to Original Source


Hong Kong protesters use a mesh network to organise

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from New Scientist:

Hong Kong's mass protest is networked. Activists are relying on a free app that can send messages without any cellphone connection.

Since the pro-democracy protests turned ugly over the weekend, many worry that the Chinese government would block local phone networks.

In response, activists have turned to the FireChat app to send supportive messages and share the latest news. On Sunday alone, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times in Hong Kong, its developers said. FireChat relies on "mesh networking", a technique that allows data to zip directly from one phone to another via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Ordinarily, if two people want to communicate this way, they need to be fairly close together. But as more people join in, the network grows and messages can travel further.

Mesh networks can be useful for people who are caught in natural disasters or, like those in Hong Kong, protesting under tricky conditions. FireChat came in handy for protesters in Taiwan and Iraq this year."

Link to Original Source

DuckDuckGo joins Google in being blocked in China

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from Tech in Asia:

Privacy-oriented search engine DuckDuckGo is now blocked in China. On Sunday DuckDuckGo founder and CEO Gabriel Weinberg confirmed to Tech in Asia that the team has noticed the blockage in China on Twitter

Weinberg added that he has “no idea” when it happened exactly. We also cannot pinpoint an exact date, but it was accessible in China earlier in the summer. DuckDuckGo had been working fine in mainland China since its inception, aside from the occasional ‘connection reset’ experienced when accessing many overseas websites from within the country. But now the search engine is totally blocked in China. (Update 7 hours after publishing: the GreatFire index of blocked sites suggest that DuckDuckGo got whacked on September 4).

DuckDuckGo joins Google in being censored and blocked in the nation. Google, after years of being throttled by China’s Great Firewall since the web giant turned off its mainland China servers in 2010, was finally blocked totally in June this year."

Link to Original Source

Middle-School Dropout Codes Clever Chat Program That Foils NSA Spying

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from Wired:

The National Security Agency has some of the brightest minds working on its sophisticated surveillance programs, including its metadata collection efforts. But a new chat program designed by a middle-school dropout in his spare time may turn out to be one of the best solutions to thwart those efforts.

John Brooks, who is just 22 and a self-taught coder who dropped out of school at 13, was always concerned about privacy and civil liberties. Four years ago he began work on a program for encrypted instant messaging that uses Tor hidden services for the protected transmission of communications. The program, which he dubbed Ricochet, began as a hobby. But by the time he finished, he had a full-fledged desktop client that was easy to use, offered anonymity and encryption, and even resolved the issue of metadata—the “to” and “from” headers and IP addresses spy agencies use to identify and track communications—long before the public was aware that the NSA was routinely collecting metadata in bulk for its spy programs. The only problem Brooks had with the program was that few people were interested in using it. Although he’d made Ricochet’s code open source, Brooks never had it formally audited for security and did nothing to promote it, so few people even knew about it.

Then the Snowden leaks happened and metadata made headlines. Brooks realized he already had a solution that resolved a problem everyone else was suddenly scrambling to fix. Though ordinary encrypted email and instant messaging protect the contents of communications, metadata allows authorities to map relationships between communicants and subpoena service providers for subscriber information that can help unmask whistleblowers, journalists’s sources and others."

Link to Original Source

Free will persists (even if your brain made you do it)

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from New Scientist:

The vast majority of people think we have free will and are the authors of our own life stories. But if neuroscientists were one day able to predict our every action based on brain scans, would people abandon this belief in droves? A new study concludes that such knowledge would not by itself be enough to shake our confidence in our own volition.

If people lost their belief in their own free will, that would have important consequences for how we think about moral responsibility, and even how we behave. For example, numerous studies have shown that when people are led to reject free will they are more likely to cheat, and are also less bothered about punishing other wrongdoers.

For those who argue that what we know about neuroscience is incompatible with free will, predicting what our brain is about to do should reveal the illusory nature of free will, and lead people to reject it. Experimental philosopher Eddy Nahmias at Georgia State University in Atlanta dubs this view "willusionism". He recently set out to test it.

For Nahmias, this suggests that, when it comes to free will, people are "theory-lite", which renders the fact that our behaviour is generated by the brain, whose actions can predicted like the weather, largely irrelevant. "People don't have detailed metaphysical views about what underlies free will," says Nahmias. "What people care about is that their own conscious reasoning makes a difference to their behaviour – and nothing in neuroscience suggests it doesn't.""

Link to Original Source

Google's Doubleclick ad servers exposed millions of computers to malware

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from The Verge:
Last night, researchers at Malwarebytes noticed strange behavior on sites like Last.fm, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post. Ads on the sites were being unusually aggressive, setting off anti-virus warnings and raising flags in a number of Malwarebytes systems. After some digging, researcher Jerome Segura realized the problem was coming from Google's DoubleClick ad servers and the popular Zedo ad agency. Together, they were serving up malicious ads designed to spread the recently identified Zemot malware. A Google representative has confirmed the breach, saying "our team is aware of this and has taken steps to shut this down.""

Link to Original Source

Ethical trap: robot paralysed by choice of who to save

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From New Scientist:

Can a robot learn right from wrong? Attempts to imbue robots, self-driving cars and military machines with a sense of ethics reveal just how hard this is

In an experiment, Alan Winfield and his colleagues programmed a robot to prevent other automatons – acting as proxies for humans – from falling into a hole. This is a simplified version of Isaac Asimov's fictional First Law of Robotics – a robot must not allow a human being to come to harm.

At first, the robot was successful in its task. As a human proxy moved towards the hole, the robot rushed in to push it out of the path of danger. But when the team added a second human proxy rolling toward the hole at the same time, the robot was forced to choose. Sometimes, it managed to save one human while letting the other perish; a few times it even managed to save both. But in 14 out of 33 trials, the robot wasted so much time fretting over its decision that both humans fell into the hole.

Winfield describes his robot as an "ethical zombie" that has no choice but to behave as it does. Though it may save others according to a programmed code of conduct, it doesn't understand the reasoning behind its actions. Winfield admits he once thought it was not possible for a robot to make ethical choices for itself. Today, he says, "my answer is: I have no idea".

As robots integrate further into our everyday lives, this question will need to be answered. A self-driving car, for example, may one day have to weigh the safety of its passengers against the risk of harming other motorists or pedestrians. It may be very difficult to program robots with rules for such encounters."

Link to Original Source

Treasure Map: NSA, GCHQ work on real-time 'Google Earth' internet observation

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 3 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "from Der Spiegel:
According to top-secret documents from the NSA and the British agency GCHQ, the intelligence agencies are seeking to map the entire Internet, including end-user devices. In pursuing that goal, they have broken into networks belonging to Deutsche Telekom.

The document that Der Spiegel has seen shows a map with the name 'Treasure Map'. On the map are the names of Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne and their networks highlighted in red, where the legend says that within the networks 'access points' exist for 'technical observation'.

Treasure Map is anything but harmless entertainment. Rather, it is the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world. It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers.

Furthermore, every single end device that is connected to the Internet somewhere in the world — every smartphone, tablet and computer — is to be made visible. Such a map doesn't just reveal one treasure. There are millions of them.

The breathtaking mission is described in a Treasure Map presentation from the documents of the former intelligence service employee Edward Snowden which SPIEGEL has seen. It instructs analysts to "map the entire Internet — Any device, anywhere, all the time."

Treasure Map allows for the creation of an "interactive map of the global Internet" in "near real-time," the document notes. Employees of the so-called "FiveEyes" intelligence agencies from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which cooperate closely with the American agency NSA, can install and use the program on their own computers. One can imagine it as a kind of Google Earth for global data traffic, a bird's eye view of the planet's digital arteries.

The New York Times reported on the existence of Treasure Map last November. What it means for Germany can be seen in additional material in the Snowden archive that SPIEGEL has examined."

Link to Original Source

Patents that kill

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 4 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "The Economist:
The patent system, which was developed independently in 15th century Venice and then in 17th century England, gave entrepreneurs a monopoly to sell their inventions for a number of years. Yet by the 1860s the patent system came under attack, including from The Economist. Patents, critics argued, stifled future creativity by allowing inventors to rest on their laurels. Recent economic research backs this up."

Link to Original Source

Google Flu Trends gets it wrong three years running

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about 9 months ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From NewScientist:

Google may be a master at data wrangling, but one of its products has been making bogus data-driven predictions. A study of Google's much-hyped flu tracker has consistently overestimated flu cases in the US for years. It's a failure that highlights the danger of relying on big data technologies.

Evan Selinger, a technology ethicist at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, says Google Flu's failures hint at a larger problem with the algorithmic approach taken by technology companies to deliver services we all want to use. The problem is with the assumption that either the data that is gathered about us, or the algorithms used to process it, are neutral.

Google Flu Trends has been discussed at slashdot before: When Google Got Flu Wrong."

Link to Original Source

Made in China: Up to a quarter of California smog

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about a year ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "What goes around comes around – quite literally in the case of smog. The US has outsourced many of its production lines to China and, in return, global winds are exporting the Chinese factories' pollution right back to the US."
Link to Original Source

Study Suggests Link Between Dread Pirate Roberts and Satoshi Nakamoto

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  1 year,26 days

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "Two Israeli computer scientists say they may have uncovered a puzzling financial link between Ross William Ulbricht, the recently arrested operator of the Internet black market known as the Silk Road, and the secretive inventor of bitcoin, the anonymous online currency, used to make Silk Road purchases."
Link to Original Source

Reprogrammed bacterium speaks new language of life

wabrandsma wabrandsma writes  |  about a year ago

wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From NewScientist:
A bacterium has had its genome recoded so that the standard language of life no longer applies. Instead, one of its words has been freed up to impart a different meaning, allowing the addition of genetic elements that don't exist in nature.
The work has been described as the first step towards a new biology because the techniques used should open the door to reinventing the meaning of several genetic words simultaneously, potentially creating new types of biomaterials and drugs."

Link to Original Source


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