Skip navigation.
Home
Freedom is contagious.

News Aggregator

Nuclear Fusion Plant To Be Built On Site of Britain's Last Coal-Fired Power Plants

Slashdot - 42 min 12 sec ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A power station has been chosen to be the site of the UK's, and potentially the world's, first prototype commercial nuclear fusion reactor. Fusion is a potential source of almost limitless clean energy but is currently only carried out in experiments. The government had shortlisted five sites but has picked the West Burton A plant in Nottinghamshire. The plant should be operational by the early 2040s, a UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) spokesman has said. The government had pledged more than 220 million pounds for the STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) program, led by the UKAEA. The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the project would replace the coal-fired power station site -- owned by French energy giant EDF -- which is set to be closed this year. Matt Sykes, managing director of EDF's Generation business, said: "We are absolutely delighted that the UKAEA has selected the West Burton site in Nottinghamshire to host the UK's first fusion reactor. "The area has been associated with energy generation for over 60 years. Developing such an exciting new project continues this tradition and has the potential to transform both the region and the UK's long-term energy supply." Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the government's choice in a speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. "Over the decades we have established ourselves as pioneers in fusion science and as a country our capabilities to surmount these obstacles is unparalleled, and I am delighted to make an announcement of a vital step in that mission," he said. "The plant will be the first of its kind, built by 2040 and capable of putting energy on the grid, and in doing so will prove the commercial viability of fusion energy to the world."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded To 3 Scientists for Work in Quantum Technology

Slashdot - 55 min 12 sec ago
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger on Tuesday for work that has "laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology," the Nobel Committee for Physics said. The scientists have each conducted "groundbreaking experiments using entangled quantum states, where two particles behave like a single unit even when they are separated," the committee said in a briefing. From a report: Their results, it said, cleared the way for "new technology based upon quantum information." The laureates' research builds on the work of John Stewart Bell, a physicist who strove in the 1960s to understand whether particles, having flown too far apart for there to be normal communication between them, can still function in concert, also known as quantum entanglement. According to quantum mechanics, particles can exist simultaneously in two or more places. They do not take on formal properties until they are measured or observed in some way. By taking measurements of one particle, like its position or "spin," a change is observed in its partner, no matter how far away it has traveled from its pair. Working independently, the three laureates did experiments that helped clarify a fundamental claim about quantum entanglement, which concerns the behavior of tiny particles, like electrons, that interacted in the past and then moved apart. Dr. Clauser, an American, was the first in 1972. Using duct tape and spare parts at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., he endeavored to measure quantum entanglement by firing thousands of photons in opposite directions to investigate a property known as polarization. When he measured the polarizations of photon pairs, they showed a correlation, proving that a principle called Bell's inequality had been violated and that the photon pairs were entangled, or acting in concert. The research was taken up 10 years later by Dr. Aspect, a French scientist, and his team at the University of Paris. And in 1998, Dr. Zeilinger, an Austrian physicist, led another experiment that considered entanglement among three or more particles. Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics, noted that quantum information science had broad implications in areas like secure information transfer and quantum computing. Quantum information science is a "vibrant and rapidly developing field," she said. "Its predictions have opened doors to another world, and it has also shaken the very foundation of how we interpret measurements." The Nobel committee said the three scientists were being honored for their experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Will Be Forced To Use New Charger After EU Votes for USB-C

Slashdot - 2 hours 23 min ago
Members of the European Parliament voted to force companies such as Apple to adapt products that don't already feature a standard USB-C charger to use one. This would include iPhones, in Apple's case. From a report: A total of 602 lawmakers voted for the plan on Tuesday, with 13 against, and eight abstaining. The deal, provisionally agreed in June between the commission and the European Union's 27 countries, still needs to get the final sign-off from the EU member states. The rules are likely to be written into law at the beginning of 2023.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Shuts Down Translate Service In China

Slashdot - 3 hours 42 min ago
Google Translate, one of Google's last remaining products in China, has been shut down "due to low usage." According to CNBC, "The dedicated mainland China website for Google Translate now redirects users to the Hong Kong version of the service. However, this is not accessible from mainland China." From the report: Google has had a fraught relationship with the Chinese market. The U.S. technology giant pulled its search engine from China in 2010 because of strict government censorship online. Its other services -- such as Google Maps and Gmail -- are also effectively blocked by the Chinese government. As a result, local competitors such as search engine Baidu and social media and gaming giant Tencent have come to dominate the Chinese internet landscape in areas from search to translation. Google has a very limited presence in China these days. Some of its hardware including smartphones are made in China. But The New York Times reported last month that Google has shifted some production of its Pixel smartphones to Vietnam. The company is also looking to try to get Chinese developers to make apps for its Android operating system globally that will then be available via the Google Play Store, even though that's blocked in China. In 2018, Google was exploring reentering China with its search engine, but ultimately scrapped that project after backlash from employees and politicians.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Universities Adapt To Google's New Storage Fees, Or Migrate Away Entirely

Slashdot - 6 hours 42 min ago
united_notions writes: Back in February, Slashdot reported that Google would be phasing out free unlimited storage within Google Apps for Education. Google had a related blog post dressing it up in the exciting language of "empowering institutions" and so forth. Well, now universities all over are waking up to the consequences. Universities in Korea are scrambling to reduce storage use, or migrating to competitors like Naver, while also collectively petitioning Google on the matter. California State University, Chico has a plan to shoe-horn its storage (and restrict its users) to limbo under Google's new limits. UC San Diego is coughing up for fees but apparently under a "favorable" deal, and still with some limits. The University of Cambridge will impose a 20GB per user limit in December 2022. And so on. If you're at a university, what is your IT crowd telling you? Have they said anything? If not, you may want to ask.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NYU Organic Chemistry Professor Terminated For Tough Grading

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the New York Times: In the field of organic chemistry, Maitland Jones Jr. has a storied reputation. He taught the subject for decades, first at Princeton and then at New York University, and wrote an influential textbook. He received awards for his teaching, as well as recognition as one of N.Y.U.'s coolest professors. But last spring, as the campus emerged from pandemic restrictions, 82 of his 350 students signed a petition against him. Students said the high-stakes course -- notorious for ending many a dream of medical school -- was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores. The professor defended his standards. But just before the start of the fall semester, university deans terminated Dr. Jones's contract. The officials also had tried to placate the students by offering to review their grades and allowing them to withdraw from the class retroactively. The chemistry department's chairman, Mark E. Tuckerman, said the unusual offer to withdraw was a "one-time exception granted to students by the dean of the college." Marc A. Walters, director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department, summed up the situation in an email to Dr. Jones, before his firing. He said the plan would "extend a gentle but firm hand to the students and those who pay the tuition bills," an apparent reference to parents. The university's handling of the petition provoked equal and opposite reactions from both the chemistry faculty, who protested the decisions, and pro-Jones students, who sent glowing letters of endorsement. "The deans are obviously going for some bottom line, and they want happy students who are saying great things about the university so more people apply and the U.S. News rankings keep going higher," said Paramjit Arora, a chemistry professor who has worked closely with Dr. Jones. "In short, this one unhappy chemistry class could be a case study of the pressures on higher education as it tries to handle its Gen-Z student body," writes NYT's Stephanie Saul. "Should universities ease pressure on students, many of whom are still coping with the pandemic's effects on their mental health and schooling? How should universities respond to the increasing number of complaints by students against professors? Do students have too much power over contract faculty members, who do not have the protections of tenure? And how hard should organic chemistry be anyway?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Loses Second Bid To Challenge Qualcomm Patents At US Supreme Court

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 10:02pm
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday again declined to hear Apple's bid to revive an effort to cancel three Qualcomm smartphone patents despite the settlement of the underlying dispute between the two tech giants. Reuters reports: The justices left in place a lower court's decision against Apple after similarly turning away in June the company's appeal of a lower court ruling in a closely related case challenging two other Qualcomm patents. Qualcomm sued Apple in San Diego federal court in 2017, arguing that its iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches infringed a variety of mobile-technology patents. That case was part of a broader global dispute between the tech giants. Apple challenged the validity of the patents at issue in this case at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The companies settled their underlying fight in 2019, signing an agreement worth billions of dollars that let Apple continue using Qualcomm chips in iPhones. The settlement included an Apple license to thousands of Qualcomm patents, but allowed the patent-board proceedings to continue. The board upheld the patents in 2020, and Apple appealed to the patent-specialist U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Cupertino, California-based Apple argued it had proper legal standing to appeal because San Diego-based Qualcomm could sue again after the license expires, potentially as soon as 2025. A Federal Circuit three-judge panel, in a 2-1 ruling, dismissed the case last year for a lack of standing, finding that Apple's risk of being sued again was speculative and the challenge would not affect its payment obligations under the settlement. Qualcomm has again argued that Apple has not shown a concrete injury to justify the appeal, just like in the "materially identical" case that the high court rejected.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How Twitter Serves As the Town Hall of Crypto

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 9:25pm
Twitter is (for now) indispensable to following blockchain technology. What might look to outsiders like idle badgering and joking, is in fact the process of people forming allegiances and making deals. Axios reports: "Crypto Twitter" or "CT," refers to all the people tweeting about various blockchain projects all day. They don't all necessarily follow or interact with each other, just as everyone in a town doesn't necessarily know everyone else, but a town still has its own character and so does CT. "Crypto is 24/7/365, and it needs a medium that matches that pace," Variant Fund's Spencer Noon tells Axios. Sources prominent on Crypto Twitter mostly feel that Twitter has been a useful space for the crypto industry, but not without caveats. Several say it's key to staying abreast of what's hot right now. "Twitter is kind of a 'Great Equalizer' of sorts, where broadcasting continues to be a good way for newcomers to build a brand," Archetype VC's Katherine Wu tells Axios. [...] The best use of Twitter depends on whether you're a trader, investor, content creator or founder, but lots of our sources pointed to Twitter's power as a place for discourse. "To me what matters most is the dialogue," Adamant Research's Tuur Demeester said. "Sometimes I like to just throw ideas out there to immediately connect with those that share similar interests and want to brainstorm," Linda Xie of Scalar Capital said. It takes a while to get your bearings on CT. There are a lot of inside jokes and in group language that takes time to learn. As [Castle Island Ventures Nic Carter] put it, those obstacles serve as filters to make sure folks in the conversation know something about what they're discussing. "It's like an in-group binding mechanism," Matti of Zee Prime Capital says. "You feel rewarded that you're an insider if you get something, and then comes that sweet release of dopamine." Some notable moments in CT include when ConsenSys staffer Jordan Lyall tweeted a gag in the middle of DeFi Summer that turned into a real project, with a token called MEME. And when Coinbase announced acquiring Neutrino in 2019, "a company with staffers known for enabling some very controversion spying," reports Axios. "The hashtag #DeleteCoinbase trended."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Bruce Willis Denies Selling Rights To His Face

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 8:45pm
Last week, a number of outlets reported that Bruce Willis sold his face to a deepfake company called Deepcake, allowing a "digital twin" of himself to be created for use on screen. The only problem is that it's apparently not true. According to the BBC, the actor's agent said that he had "no partnership or agreement" with the company and a representative of Deepcake said only Willis had the rights to his face From the report: On 27 September, the Daily Mail reported that a deal had been struck between Willis and Deepcake. "Two-time Emmy winner Bruce Willis can still appear in movies after selling his image rights to Deepcake," the story reads. The story was picked up by the Telegraph and a series of other media outlets. "Bruce Willis has become the first Hollywood star to sell his rights to allow a 'digital twin' of himself to be created for use on screen." said the Telegraph. But that doesn't appear to be the case. What is true is that a deepfake of Bruce Willis was used to create an advert for Megafon, a Russian telecoms company, last year. The tech used in the advert was created by Deepcake, which describes itself as an AI company specializing in deepfakes. Deepcake told the BBC it had worked closely with Willis' team on the advert. "What he definitely did is that he gave us his consent (and a lot of materials) to make his Digital Twin," they said. The company says it has a unique library of high-resolution celebrities, influencers and historical figures. On its website, Deepcake promotes its work with an apparent quote from Mr Willis: "I liked the precision of my character. It's a great opportunity for me to go back in time. "The neural network was trained on content of Die Hard and Fifth Element, so my character is similar to the images of that time." A representative from Deepcake said in a statement: "The wording about rights is wrong... Bruce couldn't sell anyone any rights, they are his by default."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Launches Dedicated Hub For Its Affordable Shopping Options

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 8:02pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Amazon is launching Amazon Access, a new hub for customers to explore the programs, discounts and features that the online retailer offers for affordable shopping, the company announced on Monday. Amazon also announced that its discounted Prime membership, which launched in 2017, will now be called Prime Access. The new Amazon Access hub gives customers access to information on options like payment with SNAP EBT and Amazon Layaway, which lets users reserve selected items for 20% of the total cost and pay the rest over time. The hub also lets customers clip coupons and find deals on everyday essentials. It also includes information about paying with Amazon Cash, which lets you shop on the marketplace without a debit or credit card. In addition to surfacing information about Amazon's affordable shopping options, the hub will also display accessibility options. Customers will see an option to change their shopping language, learn about accessibility features and contact accessibility customer support. The hub also includes information about the newly named Prime Access option. The discounted program gives eligible customers access to a Prime membership for just $6.99 per month, which is normally priced at $14.99 per month. The membership option is available for EBT and select government assistance recipients. Amazon says the launch of the new name will make more users aware of the affordable option.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FCC Threatens To Block Calls From Carriers For Letting Robocalls Run Rampant

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 7:20pm
The Federal Communications Commission is threatening to block calls from voice service providers that have yet to take meaningful action against illegal robocalls. The Verge reports: On Monday, the FCC announced that it was beginning the process to remove providers from the agency's Robocall Mitigation Database for failing to fully implement STIR/SHAKEN anti-robocall protocols into their networks. If the companies fail to meet these requirements over the next two weeks, compliant providers will be forced to block their calls. "This is a new era. If a provider doesn't meet its obligations under the law, it now faces expulsion from America's phone networks. Fines alone aren't enough," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement on Monday. "Providers that don't follow our rules and make it easy to scam consumers will now face swift consequences." The FCC's orders target seven carriers, including Akabis, Cloud4, Global UC, Horizon Technology Group, Morse Communications, Sharon Telephone Company, and SW Arkansas Telecommunications and Technology. "These providers have fallen woefully short and have now put at risk their continued participation in the U.S. communications system," Loyaan A. Egal, FCC acting chief of the enforcement standards, said in a Monday statement. "While we'll review their responses, we will not accept superficial gestures given the gravity of what is at stake."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Fandom Buys TV Guide, Metacritic, GameSpot and Other Brands For About $50 Million In Cash

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 6:40pm
Fandom is rolling up a suite of entertainment and gaming content properties -- including TV Guide and Metacritic -- in a deal with digital-marketing company Red Ventures worth about $50 million. Variety reports: San Francisco-based Fandom acquired GameSpot, Metacritic, TV Guide, GameFAQs, Giant Bomb, Cord Cutters News and Comic Vine under the deal. The sites collectively attract 46 million monthly active users, according to Fandom. Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed; a source familiar with the deal pegged it "in the mid-eight figures," with Fandom paying the roughly $50 million for the properties in cash. Red Ventures had acquired TV Guide, Metacritic and GameSpot in 2020 as part of its $500 million deal to buy the CNET Media Group from Paramount Global. Founded in 2004, Fandom today hosts more than 250,000 user-curated wiki pages spanning pop culture, gaming, TV and film -- reaching some 300 million monthly active users. Fandom was founded by Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia co-founder, and entrepreneur Angela Beesley Starling. In 2018, Fandom was sold to a company backed by venture-capital firm TPG headed by Jon Miller. The latest deal continues Fandom's expansion beyond its wiki-based roots. In 2018, Fandom acquired ScreenJunkies, producers of the popular "Honest Trailer" series, from now-defunct digital media company Defy Media. The company acquired Curse Media in 2019 which brought together gaming wikis with integrated digital gaming tools. In 2021, Fandom acquired Fanatical, a an online video-game retailer. Fandom Productions, the content arm of Fandom, will house GameSpot, TV Guide and Metacritic, along with the Honest Trailers team and the weekly video news program "The Loop."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Linux 6.0 Arrives With Support For Newer Chips, Core Fixes, and Oddities

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 6:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A stable version of Linux 6.0 is out, with 15,000 non-merge commits and a notable version number for the kernel. And while major Linux releases only happen when the prior number's dot numbers start looking too big -- there is literally no other reason" -- there are a lot of notable things rolled into this release besides a marking in time. Most notable among them could be a patch that prevents a nearly two-decade slowdown for AMD chips, based on workaround code for power management in the early 2000s that hung around for far too long. [...] Intel's new Arc GPUs are supported in their discrete laptop form in 6.0 (though still experimental). Linux blog Phoronix notes that Intel's ARC GPUs all seem to run on open source upstream drivers, so support should show up for future Intel cards and chipsets as they arrive on the market. Linux 6.0 includes several hardware drivers of note: fourth-generation Intel Xeon server chips, the not-quite-out 13th-generation Raptor Lake and Meteor Lake chips, AMD's RDNA 3 GPUs, Threadripper CPUs, EPYC systems, and audio drivers for a number of newer AMD systems. One small, quirky addition points to larger things happening inside Linux. Lenovo's ThinkPad X13s, based on an ARM-powered Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, get some early support in 6.0. ARM support is something Linux founder Linus Torvalds is eager to see [...]. Among other changes you can find in Linux 6.0, as compiled by LWN.net (in part one and part two): - ACPI and power management improvements for Sapphire Rapids CPUs - Support for SMB3 file transfer inside Samba, while SMB1 is further deprecated - More work on RISC-V, OpenRISC, and LoongArch technologies - Intel Habana Labs Gaudi2 support, allowing hardware acceleration for machine-learning libraries - A "guest vCPU stall detector" that can tell a host when a virtual client is frozen Ars' Kevin Purdy notes that in 2022, "there are patches in Linux 6.0 to help Atari's Falcon computers from the early 1990s (or their emulated descendants) better handle VGA modes, color, and other issues." Not included in this release are Rust improvements, but they "are likely coming in the next point release, 6.1," writes Purdy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Said To Plan New Limits on China's AI and Supercomputing Firms

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 5:20pm
The Biden administration is expected to announce new measures to restrict Chinese companies from accessing technologies that enable high-performance computing, The New York Times reported Monday, citing several people familiar with the matter, the latest in a series of moves aimed at hobbling Beijing's ambitions to craft next-generation weapons and automate large-scale surveillance systems. From a report: The measures, which could be announced as soon as this week, would be some of the most significant steps taken by the Biden administration to cut off China's access to advanced semiconductor technology. They would build on a Trump-era rule that struck a blow to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei by prohibiting companies around the world from sending it products made with the use of American technology, machinery or software. A number of Chinese firms, government research labs and other entities are expected to face restrictions similar to Huawei, according to two people with knowledge of the plans. In effect, any firm that uses American-made technologies would be blocked from selling to the Chinese entities that are targeted by the administration. It's not yet clear which Chinese firms and labs would be impacted. The broad expansion of what is known as the foreign direct product rule is just one part of Washington's planned restrictions. The administration is also expected to try to control the sale of cutting-edge U.S.-made tools to China's domestic chip makers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

India's Space Agency Says Its Mars Orbiter Craft Has Lost Communication, Confirms Mission Over

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 4:40pm
Local newspaper Mint reports: The Indian Space Research Organisation on 3 October confirmed that the Mars Orbiter craft has lost communication with ground station, it's non-recoverable and with this the Mangalyaan mission has attained end-of-life. Giving an update on the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), ISRO was celebrating the completion of its eight years in the Martian orbit and commemorate MOM. Despite being designed for a life-span of six months as a technology demonstrator, the MOM lived for about eight years in the Martian orbit with a gamut of significant scientific results on Mars as well as on the Solar corona. Though it has lost communication with the ground station, due to a long eclipse in April 2022, ISRO said. ISRO deliberated that the propellant must have been exhausted, and therefore, the "desired altitude pointing" could not be achieved for sustained power generation. "It was declared that the spacecraft is non-recoverable, and attained its end-of-life", an ISRO statement said, adding, "The mission will be ever-regarded as a remarkable technological and scientific feat in the history of planetary exploration."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

After Chess, Cheating Rows Rock Poker and Fishing

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 4:01pm
AmiMoJo writes: First it was chess -- now top-level US poker and match fishing have been dogged by their own claims of cheating. A casino is investigating after one player stunned poker fans by making an audacious bet to win a huge pot. Meanwhile, two fishermen have been accused of stuffing their catches with lead weights in order to win a tournament held on Lake Erie, Ohio. And world chess officials are probing whether a teen talent cheated in face-to-face matches -- something he denies. A row erupted following a high-stakes game held at the Hustler Casino in Los Angeles on Thursday night. Robbi Jade Lew stunned the table by appearing to successfully call a semi-bluff by her opponent Garrett Adelstein. Lew called an all-in bet by her opponent, risking her chips with an underwhelming hand, apparently convinced her opponent was bluffing and scooping a pot that had grown to $269,000. Pundits commentating during the livestreamed match expressed their incredulity at the gambit, while Adelstein gave his competitor an icy stare.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UN Says Fed, Other Central Banks Risk Pushing Global Economy Into Recession, Requests Halt on Interest-Rate Increases

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 3:10pm
The Federal Reserve and other central banks risk pushing the global economy into recession followed by prolonged stagnation if they keep raising interest rates, a United Nations agency said Monday. From a report: The warning comes amid growing unease about the haste with which the Fed and its counterparts are raising borrowing costs to contain surging inflation. India's central bank Friday said that the global economy was facing a third major shock after the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the form of aggressive rate increases by central banks in rich countries. In its annual report on the global economic outlook, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said the Fed risks causing significant harm to developing countries if it persists with rapid rate rises. The agency estimated that a percentage point rise in the Fed's key interest rate lowers economic output in other rich countries by 0.5%, and economic output in poor countries by 0.8% over the subsequent three years. UNCTAD estimated that the Fed's rate increases so far this year would reduce poor countries' economic output by $360 billion over three years, and further policy tightening would do additional harm. "There's still time to step back from the edge of recession," UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said. "We have the tools to calm inflation and support all vulnerable groups. But the current course of action is hurting the most vulnerable, especially in developing countries and risks tipping the world into a global recession."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

YouTube Asks Some Users To Purchase a Premium Subscription To Watch in 4K

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 2:09pm
YouTube's Premium paid subscription includes benefits like ad-free viewing, video and song downloads for offline consumption, and background plays. Now, it might also be shifting video streaming in 4K resolution (currently free for all users) to the premium tier. TechCrunch: Over the weekend, users across Reddit and Twitter noted that YouTube had been asking them to upgrade to the premium tier to watch videos in 4K. It's not clear if the change is part of a limited test, or if the company is thinking about capping free users to 1440p resolution. Google declined to comment on the story when contacted by TechCrunch. The company has tried various methods to convert free users into paying ones. One of the most notorious ones was showing them up to 11 unskippable ads before the start of a long video to let them have an uninterrupted experience.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Provides Cloud Technology For a Chinese Military Company

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 2:00pm
New submitter Billi-13 shares a report: Amazon's business relationships with two Chinese surveillance giants, Hikvision and Dahua, may violate a law prohibiting federal contractors from doing business with certain Chinese firms, a joint investigation by National Review and IPVM, a surveillance and security research group, reveals. While lawmakers are calling out these practices, Amazon has defended them and maintains that it is in full compliance with the law. Specifically, the Seattle-based tech giant might be running afoul of a provision in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act barring contracts with firms that use certain Chinese surveillance hardware or software. One potentially significant issue is that Amazon Web Services simultaneously provides cloud Internet services to the U.S. National Security Agency and Hikvision, which the U.S. government designated as a Chinese military-industrial complex company last year. "Facing a clear threat to federal networks, Congress drew a line in the sand for its contractors: if you do business with Hikvision or Dahua, you can't do business with the federal government," said Conor Healy, IPVM's director of government research. "Amazon seems determined to do the opposite. It is actively facilitating and incubating the very threat Congress sought to mitigate." Even absent the NDAA ban, enforcement of which is spotty, the record of the two Chinese surveillance firms -- neither of which responded to NR's requests for comment -- should be cause for concern. In 2019, Hikvision and Dahua were both blacklisted by the Commerce Department for their extensive work with the authorities in Xinjiang, as the Chinese Communist Party built out a sophisticated police state to systematically target ethnic minorities in the region. Dahua sells cameras that can identify Uyghur faces, with an alarm that goes off when they are in view. The company characterizes this as a smart-policing feature to detect "real-time Uyghur warnings" and "hidden terrorist inclinations." Hikvision, in addition to providing cameras used in Xinjiang prison camps, sells "tiger chair" torture and interrogation systems, among other things. Hikvision also has a well-documented relationship with the Chinese military, providing the People's Liberation Army air force with drone jammers, and pitching its technology as key to improving missile and tank systems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackers Leak 500GB Trove of Data Stolen During LAUSD Ransomware Attack

Slashdot - October 3, 2022 - 1:20pm
Hackers have released a cache of data stolen during a cyberattack against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in what appears to be the biggest education breach in recent years. From a report: Vice Society, a Russian-speaking group that last month claimed responsibility for the ransomware attack that disrupted the LAUSD's access to email, computer systems and applications, published the data stolen from the school district over the weekend. The group had previously set an October 4 deadline to pay an unspecified ransom demand. The stolen data was posted to Vice Society's dark web leak site and appears to contain personal identifying information, including passport details, Social Security numbers and tax forms. While TechCrunch has not yet reviewed the full trove, the published data also contains confidential information including contract and legal documents, financial reports containing bank account details, health information including COVID-19 test data, previous conviction reports and psychological assessments of students. Vice Society, a group known for targeting schools and the education sector, included a message with the published data that said the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the government agency assisting the school in responding to the breach, "wasted our time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Syndicate content