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The TRACED Act, sponsored by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), would dramatically increase the penalty per robocall to up to $10,000. Previously, violators were charged with up to $1,500 per call. Currently, the Federal Communications Commission can only prosecute violators over inauthentic calls that were placed in the past year. This bill increases that time frame to three years. In previous letters to the senators, the commission said that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement. . . would improve the Commission’s enforcement efforts against knowing and willful violators.”
Earlier this year, the FCC inflicted a $120 million fine on a robocall kingpin. It was one of the largest fines ever implemented for robocall violations, and it signified that the federal government would prioritize lessening the burden of these calls on consumers. This bill generally gives the FCC more power to act on these calls, and this new power has the potential to dissuade others from placing them.
A controversial health app developed by artificial intelligence firm DeepMind will be taken over by Google, it has been revealed.
Streams was first used to send alerts in a London hospital but hit headlines for gathering data on 1.6 million patients without informing them. DeepMind now wants the app to become an AI assistant for nurses and doctors around the world. One expert described the move as "trust demolition".
The news that Streams would be joining Google was announced in a DeepMind blogpost. "Our vision is for Streams to now become an AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere - combining the best algorithms with intuitive design, all backed up by rigorous evidence. "The team working within Google, alongside brilliant colleagues from across the organisation, will help make this vision a reality."
Instagram co-founder and former CEO Kevin Systrom said it is important for the future of the world that social media companies be policed well and seriously address the issues of misinformation and harassment on their services.
Systrom said Russian meddling in U.S. elections and the exploitation of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica have highlighted just how big social media companies have become and the implications of their reach.
[...] In particular, Systrom highlighted "deepfakes," which are highly-believable doctored videos that are beginning to make their way onto social services. This emerging type of fake content will be among the next set of problems social media companies will have to contend with, he said. "It's getting on the margin of real," Systrom said. "In an era when you can distribute information widely to the world very, very quickly and amplify it, what happens when you think some political figure said something they didn't?"
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the company will establish an independent body to oversee user appeals of content removal, one day after a bombshell report that detailed how the company avoided and deflected blame in the public conversation around its handling of Russian interference and other misuses of its social network.
The move could help Facebook avoid accusations of bias as it removes material deemed problematic, like fake news and hate speech. Some conservative groups and lawmakers have accused Facebook and other social media outlets of censoring politically conservative points of view, a charge that Facebook denies.
Microsoft is removing one of the big limitations of Windows on ARM this week by allowing developers to create 64-bit ARM (ARM64) apps. Developers will be able to recompile existing win32 or Universal Windows Apps to run natively on Windows 10 on ARM hardware. That means 64-bit app performance should get a lot better, as long as developers take the time to recompile.
Microsoft is now relying on developers to use its tools to improve its Windows on ARM efforts. That's a situation the software giant has found itself in before, relying on developers to create Universal Windows Apps for Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows Phone apps for a variety of new touch-based hardware. It's hard to say whether 64-bit app support will really help move Windows on ARM into the mainstream, but it's certainly laying the ground work for a bigger push by Microsoft.
Also at TechRadar.
Do you use the default Mail client on your PC, the one that comes with Windows 10, to read your email? How would you feel if Microsoft decided to throw in a few ads right at the top of your inbox?
These aren't rhetorical questions — as Windows news site Aggiornamenti Lumia noticed today, Microsoft is already testing that exact idea in a number of countries around the world. According to Microsoft's FAQ, what we're seeing is a pilot program, an experiment, a test that'll theoretically help the company decide if it should actually roll out the feature for real.
Update, 11:52 AM PT: Microsoft comms head Frank Shaw tells us the company has decided to turn these ads off. He also says the experiment was never intended to be tested broadly, which doesn't quite jibe with the existence of a FAQ about a pilot program taking place in several countries around the world, but either way the ads should be gone.
Parents could be unwittingly putting their children's safety and privacy at risk, thanks to security vulnerabilities in potentially millions of kids' GPS-tracker watches.
These cheapo watches are supposed to be worn by the youngsters, and use SIM cards to connect to cellular networks. The idea is they beam to backend servers the GPS-located coordinates of the wearer so their parents can, via a website or app, find out where the tykes are at all times.
The devices also display any messages and take calls from guardians, can listen in on a child's activities using a microphone, and warn if the kid has strayed out of a particular area, such as the playground.
However, an investigation by British security shop Pen Test Partners has shown that the software used by a smartphone app that communicates with the watches is so poorly coded that the connections are easy to hijack. This means miscreants can snoop on kids as if they were their parents.
[...] "We believe that in excess of a million smart kids tracking watches with similar vulnerabilities are being used, possibly in excess of 3 million globally," said researcher Alan Monie on Tuesday. "These are sold under numerous brands, but all appear to use remarkably similar APIs, suggesting a common original device manufacturer or ODM."
[...] The key problem is that the app and the GPS watch do not encrypt their communications, and transmit virtually all data in plain text for anyone to snoop on or meddle with. This includes profile pictures, names, gender, dates of birth, height, weight, and so on, of the child. The watches talk to backend servers, and those servers pass on the info to apps used by the parents.
By simply intercepting and changing the user ID number in the phone app's request to the backend servers for information on a child, you can gain full access to data on that particular youngster. In other words, you can make an API request using any ID number and you'll get the photograph, whereabouts, and other details for the child of that ID. You can set the ID to anything you like, and produce a shopping catalog of potential victims for savvy predators.
Thus, a miscreant or pervert could, for example, just buy one of these things, tamper with the backend connection using Burp Suite or a similar tool on the network, and abuse the vulnerability to request the whereabouts of strangers' kids, who may be playing on their own. Scumbags could also send messages to kids to trick them into accepting a ride from a stranger, who happens to know exactly where they are.
Seeing as watch communicates every five minutes, you can also track the location of a child in near-real-time.
After Monie wrote a simple C# program to automate this process, he would have been able to access the accounts of over 12,000 MiSafe watches, and also download a photo of each child, plus their name and other aforementioned personal details, as well as the phone number of the parents and of the watch itself.
Where you live could influence how much you drink. According to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Division of Gastroenterology, people living in colder regions with less sunlight drink more alcohol than their warm-weather counterparts.
The study, recently published online in Hepatology, found that as temperature and sunlight hours dropped, alcohol consumption increased. Climate factors also were tied to binge drinking and the prevalence of alcoholic liver disease, one of the main causes of mortality in patients with prolonged excessive alcohol use.
"It's something that everyone has assumed for decades, but no one has scientifically demonstrated it. Why do people in Russia drink so much? Why in Wisconsin? Everybody assumes that's because it's cold," said senior author Ramon Bataller, M.D., Ph.D., chief of hepatology at UPMC, professor of medicine at Pitt, and associate director of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Center. "But we couldn't find a single paper linking climate to alcohol intake or alcoholic cirrhosis. This is the first study that systematically demonstrates that worldwide and in America, in colder areas and areas with less sun, you have more drinking and more alcoholic cirrhosis."
Alcohol is a vasodilator – it increases the flow of warm blood to the skin, which is full of temperature sensors – so drinking can increase feelings of warmth. In Siberia that could be pleasant, but not so much in the Sahara.
Drinking also is linked to depression, which tends to be worse when sunlight is scarce and there's a chill in the air.
Using data from the World Health Organization, the World Meteorological Organization and other large, public data sets, Bataller's group found a clear negative correlation between climate factors – average temperature and sunlight hours – and alcohol consumption, measured as total alcohol intake per capita, percent of the population that drinks alcohol, and the incidence of binge drinking.
The researchers also found evidence that climate contributed to a higher burden of alcoholic liver disease. These trends were true both when comparing across countries around the world and also when comparing across counties within the United States.
Meritxell Ventura-Cots, Ariel E. Watts, Monica Cruz-Lemini, et. al. Colder weather and fewer sunlight hours increase alcohol consumption and alcoholic cirrhosis worldwide. Hepatology, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/hep.30315
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Some days are dry, and others are wet. And some are really wet. A new study reveals that any particular place on the globe gets half its annual rainfall—on average—in just 12 days.
For their analysis, the researchers looked at daily rainfall data gathered at 185 sites worldwide from 1999 through 2014. That 16-year period was long enough to capture year-to-year variations in rainfall caused by El Niño and other short-term climate cycles. They also focused on weather stations located within 50° of the equator, which allowed them to use satellite data both to validate their data and to extrapolate their findings to broader regions.
On average, the wettest day at each site received a full month's worth of rain. Also, half of a site's annual precipitation falls over the course of just 12 days, the researchers report this month in Geophysical Research Letters. Which specific days are the wettest varies from place to place and season to season, of course, but the pattern holds worldwide.
The kilogram — anywhere in the world, for any purpose — is based on the exact weight of a golf-ball-sized chunk of platinum and iridium stored under three glass bell jars in a vault in an ornate building outside of Paris. Accessing the vault requires three people with three separate keys and the oversight of the Bureau Internationale des Poids et Mesures, the international organization that oversees the International System of Units.
Despite all of this security, in the 129 years since the International Prototype of the Kilogram was forged, polished and sanctioned as an artifact of measurement, it seems to have lost a tiny amount of material.
[...] On Friday, metrologists — people who study the science of measurements — and representatives from 57 nations will gather in a conference room in Versailles, France to redefine the kilogram. In other words: the way we weigh the world is about to change.
From New Atlas:
A new study from the Telethon Kids Institute in Australia has revealed a possible association between intellectual disability and some specific forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Experts are urging caution when interpreting these results, as it is unclear exactly what may be causing the increased rates of intellectual disability.
The study tracked over 200,000 live births between 1994 and 2002. A little over one percent of those births were conceived using an ART technique. Overall, the results showed only a small increase in intellectual disability relating to ART (1 in 48 for ART versus 1 in 59 for non-ART). However, a specific technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), showed a more significant increase in risk for intellectual disability (1 in 32).
Scientists led by the University of Copenhagen's Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark have found an ancient meteor crater under the Greenland ice cap that's larger than Paris. Discovered using ground-penetrating radar data gathered by NASA, the possibly three-million-year-old impact crater is 19 mi (31 km) in diameter, about 1,000 ft (305 m) deep, and is buried under 3,200 ft (1,000 m) of glacial ice.
Until now, Greenland was thought to be devoid of impact craters. With its permanent shroud of ever-moving glaciers, the giant island was considered too erosive for any craters to survive for long before being ground away. However, the discovery of the crater under the Hiawatha Glacier shows that not only does the region have impact craters, it also has one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth.
At last we know the source of the parasite that killed Isaiah's father.
A Micron buddy told me about this when the story broke, and I was sure someone would pick it up here. So though it's a bit late, I hope you enjoy it.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday unveiled an indictment against two companies based in China and Taiwan and three individuals, saying they conspired to steal trade secrets from U.S. semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc relating to its research and development of memory storage devices.
The charges against Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp, China state-owned Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co Ltd and three individuals who once worked for a unit of Micron mark the fourth case brought by the Justice Department since September as part of a broader crackdown against alleged Chinese espionage on U.S. companies.
Increasing the scary factor was that one guy was a Director at Micron. So he probably had access to far more intel than the average molerat.
While the list isn't comprehensive, it looked at 70 popular items and found that a little over 25 of them meet Mozilla's minimum security standards. The most secure gadgets: the Nintendo Switch, a Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit that mixes wand magic and teaching kids how to code, and an open-source smart speaker called Mycroft Mark 1.
Also at Engadget.
The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government's yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group. It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange. The indictment came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him. "The court filing was made in error," said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia. "That was not the intended name for this filing."
[...] Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at George Washington University who closely tracks court cases, uncovered the filing and posted it on Twitter.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to say on Thursday what led to the inadvertent disclosure. It was made in a recently unsealed filing in an apparently unrelated sex-crimes case charging a man named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi with coercing and enticing an underage person to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Mr. Kokayi was charged in early August, and on Aug. 22, prosecutors filed a three-page document laying out boilerplate arguments for why his case at that time needed to remain sealed.
While the filing started out referencing Mr. Kokayi, federal prosecutors abruptly switched on its second page to discussing the fact that someone named "Assange" had been secretly indicted, and went on to make clear that this person was the subject of significant publicity, lived abroad and would need to be extradited — suggesting that prosecutors had inadvertently pasted text from a similar court filing into the wrong document and then filed it.
"Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged," prosecutors wrote. They added, "The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant, as well as this motion and the proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter."
Previously: Prominent Whistleblowers and Journalists Defend Julian Assange at Online Vigil
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
DNC Serves WikiLeaks Lawsuit Over Twitter; US Senate Invites Assange to Testify for Russia Probe
The Guardian: Russian Diplomats Planned to Sneak Julian Assange Out of the UK
Julian Assange Sues Ecuador for "Violating His Fundamental Rights"
UK Said Assange Would Not be Extradited If He Leaves Embassy Refuge
Ongoing Bitcoin woes left the channel holding all the cards, and that's not a good thing
Nvidia has turned in growth in revenue and profit, but has been punished for missing its guidance in the third quarter of its fiscal 2019, all amid a continuing sharp drop in demand from crypto-currency miners.
Its stock fell as much as 20 per cent after it reported on Thursday:
- Revenue of $3.18bn, up 21 per cent year-on-year, during the three months to the end of October.
- Net income of $1.23bn in that quarter, up 47 per cent year-on-year.
- GAAP diluted earnings per share of $1.97, up 48 per cent year-on-year.
Nvidia missed forecasts because of a decline in what was formerly one of its most important growth markets – cryptocurrency mining rigs. With Bitcoin and Ethereum declining in value, big mining rigs are less economic.
As CEO and cofounder Jensen Huang said in the company's media announcement: "Our near-term results reflect excess channel inventory post the crypto-currency boom, which will be corrected."
CFO Colette Kress told analysts on a conference call that GaaP gross margins grew 90 basis points year-on-year, reflecting "our continued shift towards higher-value platforms", but the crypto collapse meant Nvidia suffered a "$57mn charge for prior architecture and chips."
[...] The company's announcement noted that in the last year, there was "a 48 per cent jump over last year in the number of systems using NVIDIA GPU accelerators, climbing to 127, including the fastest in the world, No 1 in the US, No 1 in Europe and No 1 in Japan".
Was nice while it lasted. Now that Bitcoin has dropped from $19,500 to $5,500 over the past 11 months and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin have seen drops of 80-90%, a one-time bright spot in NVIDIA's revenue stream has passed. How much of an opportunity is this for AMD?