background preloader

May

Facebook Twitter

The premature quest for AI-powered facial recognition to simplify screening. In 2009, 22-year-old student Nicholas George was going through a checkpoint at Philadelphia International Airport when Transportation Security Administration agents pulled him aside.

The premature quest for AI-powered facial recognition to simplify screening

A search of his luggage turned up flashcards with English and Arabic words. George was handcuffed, detained for hours, and questioned by the FBI. George had been singled out by behavior-detection officers—people trained in picking out gestures and facial expressions that supposedly betrayed malicious intentions—as part of a US program called Screening Passengers by Observation Technique or SPOT. But the officers were wrong in singling him out, and George was released without charge the same day. Data mining astronomical records fails to falsify Einstein. Testing general relativity is a fraught business.

Data mining astronomical records fails to falsify Einstein

The theory has proven to be so robust that anyone who thinks it's wrong gets slapped around by reality in a pretty serious way. The tests that we apply are also limited by our environment, in that we can only look at gravity with precision where it's rather weak: in the lab, or by tracking the motion of planets. Trump administration rolls out social media vetting of visa applicants. Visa applicants who the US State Department suspects may pose a danger if allowed into the country will be required to provide their social media handles on a new application (PDF) the government just unveiled.

Trump administration rolls out social media vetting of visa applicants

The new vetting, the State Department said, would likely ensnare about 0.5 percent of visa applicants annually—the equivalent of roughly 65,000 people. The screening would apply to visa applicants "who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities," according to a notice in the Federal Register by the State Department. In all, applicants that the government deems suspicious would be required to disclose (PDF) their previous passport numbers, five years of social media handles, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

As hurricane season begins, NOAA told to slow its transition to better models. Anti-vaccine groups step up work as Minnesota measles outbreak rages. After years of being the target of anti-vaccine groups, a vulnerable Somali immigrant community in Minnesota is now fighting a raging measles outbreak.

Anti-vaccine groups step up work as Minnesota measles outbreak rages

It’s the worst outbreak in the state in nearly 30 years, and this year’s totals now exceed the total number of measles cases reported in the entire country in 2016. Nevertheless, anti-vaccine groups have stepped up their effort to spread frightening falsehoods and dangerous misinformation about vaccines and measles, the Washington Post reports. In a recent forum, an anti-vaccine advocate handed out fliers that falsely alleged that safe and life-saving vaccines cause permanent brain damage and death.

Health professionals and religious leaders are uniting to fight back, promoting life-saving vaccinations and accurate health information during this holy month of Ramadan. Logitech MX Master 2S and MX Anywhere 2S: Multicomputer mousing made easy. At first glance, Logitech’s latest mice—the MX Master 2S and the MX Anywhere 2S—are a typical incremental upgrade.

Logitech MX Master 2S and MX Anywhere 2S: Multicomputer mousing made easy

They feature an improved “Darkfield” optical sensor, which tracks on most surfaces, including glass, and are more accurate thanks to a jump from 1,600 DPI to a user-adjustable 4,000 DPI. The sensor is more power efficient too, with battery life now rated for up to 70 days based on eight hours of daily use. Unlike Apple’s obtuse Magic Mouse, when the battery does run out, there’s a micro-USB socket positioned at the front, which allows you to keep clicking while charging. The larger MX Master 2S, which replaces the MX Master, sits at the top of Logitech’s non-gaming lineup, retailing at a substantial £90/$100 (buy here). Right to speak freely about engineering is subject of 1st Amendment lawsuit. An Oregon engineer who has been trying for years to convince state officials to elongate yellow traffic light times has a new cause: the First Amendment.

Right to speak freely about engineering is subject of 1st Amendment lawsuit

Mats Jarlstrom, who has an engineering degree from Sweden, has performed a variety of research and has concluded that yellow lights should last longer to allow for vehicles turning right. The state's response was not to consider his advice, but to fine him. Putin: “Patriotic” Russian hackers may have interfered in US election.

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin acknowledged today that “patriotically minded” Russian hackers may have been responsible for the breach of the network of the Democratic National Committee and the e-mail accounts of members of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as well as other attempts to interfere in the US presidential elections of 2016 to aid the campaign of Donald Trump.

Putin: “Patriotic” Russian hackers may have interfered in US election

The admission, which Putin made during comments at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, was a reversal of previous Kremlin denials of any Russian involvement in the information operations against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. WikiLeaks says CIA’s “Pandemic” turns servers into infectious Patient Zero. WikiLeaks just published details of a purported CIA operation that turns Windows file servers into covert attack machines that surreptitiously infect computers of interest inside a targeted network.

WikiLeaks says CIA’s “Pandemic” turns servers into infectious Patient Zero

"Pandemic," as the implant is codenamed, turns file servers into a secret carrier of whatever malware CIA operatives want to install, according to documents published Thursday by WikiLeaks. When targeted computers attempt to access a file on the compromised server, Pandemic uses a clever bait-and-switch tactic to surreptitiously deliver malicious version of the requested file.

The Trojan is then executed by the targeted computers. A user manual said Pandemic takes only 15 seconds to be installed. To kill net neutrality rules, FCC says broadband isn’t “telecommunications” The Federal Communications Commission's plan to gut net neutrality rules and deregulate the Internet service market may hinge on the definition of the word "broadband.

To kill net neutrality rules, FCC says broadband isn’t “telecommunications”

" In February 2015, the FCC's then-Democratic leadership led by Chairman Tom Wheeler classified broadband as "telecommunications," superseding the previous treatment of broadband as a less heavily regulated "information service. " This was crucial in the rulemaking process because telecommunications providers are regulated as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, the authority used by the FCC to impose bans on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. Thus, when the FCC's new Republican majority voted on May 18 to start the process of eliminating the current net neutrality rules, the commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) also proposed redefining broadband as an information service once again.

FCC gets benefit of the doubt Why Pai says broadband isn't telecommunications. Anti-missile test shows US can defend against N. Korean ICBMs, MDA chief says. LIGO spots a third black hole merger, tightens mass limits on gravitons. Today, the team behind the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is announcing the detection of a third black hole merger, the first from its second operational run.

LIGO spots a third black hole merger, tightens mass limits on gravitons

The merger shares some features with the previous ones: the black holes were bigger than expected, and their merger released a staggering amount of energy. But the LIGO team was also able to extract some information about the details of the collision and propagation of gravitational waves. These details tell us something about the limits of general relativity and the history of the black holes themselves. Boom. Mylan shareholders revolt, say directors’ greed has gone too far. A group of disgruntled Mylan investors launched a campaign late Tuesday to block the re-election of six directors over their exorbitant—and increasing—compensation.

That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. In a letter sent to fellow shareholders, the group lambasted hefty bonuses and salary increases that came as the company faced backlash for the skyrocketing price of its life-saving EpiPen devices. Such outrage is likely to continue given that a new government report released today suggests that Mylan overcharged taxpayers $1.27 billion dollars for EpiPens over 10 years. Appeals court upholds Ross Ulbricht’s life sentence for creating Silk Road. A US federal appeals court has upheld (PDF) a life sentence for Ross Ulbricht. He was convicted in 2015 of being the Dread Pirate Roberts who ran the Silk Road website, the largest Internet black market at that time. The three-judge panel unanimously upheld the rulings on a variety of issues by US District Judge Kathleen Forrest, who oversaw the trial. Ulbricht's defense lawyers wrote dozens of pages challenging Forrest's rulings on the rules of cross-examination, hearsay evidence, and expert witnesses.

But the appeals court ruled in favor of the lower court judge on every count, saying she handled the trial with "patience and skill. " It's debatable how much of a defense case Ulbricht would have had even if the judge had ruled for him on all of those matters. Paul Allen showed off his new rocket-launching plane today, and it’s BIG. Paul Allen's intriguing launch company, Vulcan Aerospace, has gone relatively quiet in recent years, and questions about the venture's viability have been increasing.

But on Wednesday, the cofounder of Microsoft shared a new photo of the company's Stratolaunch airplane—the largest in the world—and it seems the company is moving forward. The new plane is, in a word, bigly. The aircraft has 385-foot wingspan and, powered by six Pratt & Whitney engines used on Boeing 747 aircraft, has a maximum takeoff weight of 1.3 million pounds. The Stratolaunch's wingspan is the largest in history, blowing away the previous record-holder (Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose) by 65 feet. Vulcan Aerospace says its Stratolaunch airplane will have an operational range of 2,000 nautical miles. Exxon investors clash with executives, vote in favor of annual climate report.

On Wednesday, 62.3 percent of investors in oil giant Exxon Mobil voted for the company to produce an annual report on the impacts of climate change policies on the company’s business. The resolution, which was opposed by Exxon leadership, passed by a large margin compared to last year, when a similar resolution garnered only 38 percent of the investor vote. According to a copy of the resolution posted by Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability organization, the investors want Exxon to “publish an annual assessment of the long-term portfolio impacts of technological advances and global climate change policies.” They also instruct the company to annually assess the financial risks of “a scenario in which reduction in demand results from carbon restrictions and related rules or commitments adopted by governments consistent with the globally agreed upon 2-degree target.”

Senators want FBI to find out who attacked net neutrality comment system. Five Democratic senators today asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to find out who was behind attacks on the Federal Communications Commission's public commenting system. The FCC website failed on May 8 just as many people were trying to submit comments on the commission's plan to gut net neutrality rules. "The public comment period associated with the FCC’s rulemaking authority is a critical part of the regulatory process and the primary way for the American people to make their voices heard," senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote in a letter to FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe.

Court: Dead daughter’s parents have no right to access her Facebook account. SpaceX set to join rare company by re-flying an orbital spacecraft. We can now convert every film and TV show from the last 80 years into HDR. Supreme Court overturns Lexmark’s patent win on used printer cartridges. Renewable energy generation in the US dramatically exceeds 2012 predictions. Uber engineer Levandowski, accused of massive theft from Google, has been fired. The father of Android builds a smartphone: The “Essential Phone” is official. Intel claims 30% performance boost for 8th generation processors.

Intel unveils X-series platform: Up to 18 cores and 36 threads, from $242 to $2,000. Is “I forget” a valid defense when court orders demand a smartphone password? [Update] A 16th-century engineer whose work almost defeated an Empire. A year of digging through code yields “smoking gun” on VW, Fiat diesel cheats. Say goodbye to the video store, hello to the non-profit foundation. Our galaxy produces 9 trillion kilograms of antimatter a second—how? Radio-controlled pacemakers aren’t as hard to hack as you (may) think. Calculating when your climate will start to seem weird.

People who were impersonated by anti-net neutrality spammers blast FCC. First data from Juno shows strong magnetic field, massive polar storms. No prison for Colombian biologist who uploaded scientist’s thesis to Scribd. Diving deep into the world of emergent gravity. Beware! Subtitle Files Can Hack Your Computer While You're Enjoying Movies. 7-Year-Old Samba Flaw Lets Hackers Access Thousands of Linux PCs Remotely. All Android Phones Vulnerable to Extremely Dangerous Full Device Takeover Attack.

IKEA’s low-cost smart lights get Alexa, Google, and Siri voice support. Feds probing psychiatric hospitals for locking in patients to boost profits. AT&T’s purchase of HBO could lead to 20-minute Game of Thrones episodes. Google and Facebook lobbyists try to stop new online privacy protections. For 4,500 years, Stone Age humans returned to this mysterious cave. This technology could unleash the self-driving revolution for older vehicles. Intel to make Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free in bid to spur adoption. The A-EON Amiga X5000: An alternate universe where the Amiga platform never died.

If you’d bought $1,000 of Bitcoin in 2010, you’d be worth $35M. The A-EON Amiga X5000: An alternate universe where the Amiga platform never died. A wormable code-execution bug has lurked in Samba for 7 years. Patch now! Windows 7, not XP, was the reason last week’s WCry worm spread so widely. SSD Drives Vulnerable to Attacks That Corrupt User Data. Dark Web Market Shuts Down Claiming Hack, but Users Fear an Exit Scam. A Trump FCC advisor’s proposal for bringing free Internet to poor people. River channels on three worlds reveal a history of shifting landscapes.

GOP lawmaker who helped kill ISP privacy rules proposes new privacy rules. Tabby’s star is dimming again, and astronomers are excited. Where a solar roof works and where it doesn’t. Journalist allegedly “manhandled by FCC guards” for asking questions. A single mutation may explain why Zika exploded in the Americas. Net neutrality goes down in flames as FCC votes to kill Title II rules. Mercedes-Benz Energy pairs with solar company to sell batteries, rooftop panels.

North Sea Wind Power Hub: A giant wind farm to power all of north Europe. Facebook fined $122 million for misleading EU over WhatsApp deal. Fearing Shadow Brokers leak, NSA reported critical flaw to Microsoft. Updates to Google Photos ensure you’ll actually see those party photos you’re in. Google brings 45 teraflops tensor flow processors to its compute cloud. Google Lens knows more about what’s in your photos than you do. Ajit Pai accidentally supports utility rules and open-access networks. Bigger is better: Quantum volume expresses computer’s limit. AMD unveils Ryzen Threadripper: A monster CPU with 16 cores, 32 threads. “Genericide” legal assault to nullify the Google trademark fails. Title II hasn’t hurt network investment, according to the ISPs themselves. AI’s next target could be NASA’s mission control. UK gave Google’s DeepMind access to patient data without legal basis. Cosmic rays suggest dark matter is a self-annihilating WIMP.

Microsoft’s Fluent Design System threatens to make Windows look good. Google Tracker 2017—All the stuff Google has in the works ahead of Google I/O. Learning the rules of antibiotics to make old drugs work on new bugs. XData Ransomware on a Rampage in Ukraine. New SMB Worm Uses Seven NSA Hacking Tools. WannaCry Used Just Two. Vault 7: CIA Co-Developed Athena Malware with US Cyber-Security Company. Chinese Government Contractor Identified as Cyber-Espionage Group APT3. Firefox 55: Flash Will Become "Ask to Activate" for Everyone. New Battery Technology Draws Energy Directly From Human Body. Twitter Ticks Off a Bunch of Users with New Privacy Policy Update. You Can Steal Windows Login Credentials via Google Chrome and SCF Files.

Human Rights Activist Faces Prison for Not Giving up Password at UK Airport. Russia Plans to Keep Internet Traffic Inside the Country, Fearing Foreign Wiretaps. Microsoft Exec Blames WannaCry Ransomware on NSA Vulnerability Hoarding Program. Discord Phone Bot Abused for Swatting and Harassing Calls. Google Adds New Behavior-Based Malware Scanner To Every Android Device.

More Hacking Groups Found Exploiting SMB Flaw Weeks Before WannaCry. WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows. WannaCry Ransomware Decryption Tool Released; Unlock Files Without Paying Ransom. Zomato Hacked; Hacker Puts Up 17 Million Users' Emails and Passwords On Sale. ExtraTorrent, Popular Torrent Site, Permanently Shuts Down! Latest Joomla 3.7.1 Release Patches Critical SQL Injection Attack. DocuSign Data Breach Led to Targeted Email Malware Campaign.