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Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

OpenBSD Turns 25 With a New Release

2 hours 2 min ago
ArchieBunker writes: The OpenBSD project has turned 25 years old and is celebrating this with release 6.8.

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Apple Launches 'Apple Music TV', a 24-Hour Music Video Livestream

2 hours 40 min ago
Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include "exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests," according to the announcement. From a report: Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app. It can be found at apple.co/AppleMusicTV and in the browse tab in the Apple Music and Apple TV app. The service premiered Monday morning with a countdown of the top 100 all-time most-streamed songs in the U.S. on Apple Music. On Thursday (October 22), it will celebrate the upcoming release of Bruce Springsteens's "Letter to You" album with an "all day Bruce takeover" featuring music-video blocks of his most popular videos, an interview with Zane Lowe, anchor of Apple Music's radio station, and a special livestream fan event.

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EU Shoots For $11.7B 'Industrial Cloud' To Rival US

3 hours 20 min ago
The European Union aims to spend up to 10 billion euro ($11.7 million) over the next seven years to help build up a homegrown cloud computing sector that could rival foreign corporations such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba. From a report: Twenty-five EU countries signed a joint declaration last week pledging public money to power up the cloud sector and establishing the "European Alliance on Industrial Data and Cloud," a partnership geared toward facilitating such projects. The alliance -- whose funding is to be drawn from existing EU programs and hoped-for pledges from industry and national capitals -- will be launched by the end of the year. Cyprus and Denmark were the only EU member countries not to sign the declaration due to "technical reasons." The declaration "is a foundation stone for the establishment of European cloud technology, which will be very high performing," said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, following a meeting of European telecoms ministers organized by the German government, which currently holds the EU's rotating Council presidency. "Contrary to the prejudices, we are not late [on cloud development]. We are the first to get involved in the industrial cloud," he added.

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US Charges Russian Hackers Behind NotPetya, KillDisk, OlympicDestroyer Attacks

4 hours 43 sec ago
The US Department of Justice has unsealed charges today against six Russian nationals believed to be part of one of Russia's most elite and secretive hacking groups, universally known as Sandworm. From a report: US officials said all six nationals are officers in Unit 74455 of the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), a military intelligence agency of the Russian Army, DOJ officials said today. Under orders from the Russian government, US officials said the six (believed to be part of a much larger group) conducted cyber-attacks on behalf of the Russian government with the intent to destabilize other countries, interfere in their internal politics, and cause havoc and monetary losses. Their attacks span the last decade and include some of the biggest cyber-attacks known to date: Ukrainian Government & Critical Infrastructure (between December 2015 to December 2016), French Elections (April and May 2017), Worldwide Businesses and Critical Infrastructure (aka NotPetya; June 2017), PyeongChang Winter Olympics Hosts, Participants, Partners, and Attendees (December 2017 through February 2018), PyeongChang Winter Olympics IT Systems (aka Olympic Destroyer; 2017 through February 2018), Novichok Poisoning Investigations (April 2018), and Georgian Companies and Government Entities (a 2018 spearphishing campaign targeting a major media company, 2019 efforts to compromise the network of Parliament, and a wide-ranging website defacement campaign in 2019.)

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Marvel Shortens Window Between Print and Digital Comics

4 hours 40 min ago
Marvel Entertainment has announced that it is halving the wait time for fans choosing to read releases on its digital subscription Marvel Unlimited, with titles now appearing on the service just three months after print release. The change takes effect immediately. From a report: Marvel Unlimited launched in 2007, and offers access to the publisher's digital library of titles -- currently numbering more than 27,000 issues -- for either a monthly or annual subscription fee. The service is available as an iOS, Android and web app.

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Drivers To Be Banned From Picking Up Mobile Phones

5 hours 21 min ago
It will become illegal for anyone in the UK to pick up and use their mobile phone while driving, under new legislation to be enacted next year. From a report: The change will end a loophole that can allow drivers to escape punishment for using a hand-held phone to take a photo or play a game. Mobiles will still be able to be used to pay for a drive-through takeaway. And drivers will still be able to use devices hands-free under the plans, the Department for Transport said. At present, making phone calls and sending text messages are banned while driving. Ministers have rejected calls to also ban the use of hands-free function, for example using a sat-nav in a phone cradle. Roads minister Baroness Vere said hand-held phone use behind the wheel was "distracting and dangerous" and that "for too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment." The change in law would apply across the UK and is expected to come into effect early next year, depending on the outcome of the consultation.

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Raspberry Pi Foundation Launches Compute Module 4 for Industrial Users

6 hours 43 sec ago
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is launching a new product today -- the Compute Module 4. From a report: If you've been keeping an eye on the Raspberry Pi releases, you know that the flagship Raspberry Pi 4 was released in June 2019. The Compute Module 4 features the same processor, but packed in a compute module for industrial use cases. A traditional Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer with a ton of ports sticking out. Compute Modules are somewhat different. Those system-on-module variants are more compact single-board computers without any traditional port. It lets you create a prototype using a traditional Raspberry Pi, and then order a bunch of Compute Modules to embed in your commercial products. "Over half of the seven million Raspberry Pi units we sell each year go into industrial and commercial applications, from digital signage to thin clients to process automation," Eben Upton wrote on the Raspberry Pi blog. Some things are strictly similar between the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Compute Module 4, such as the 64-bit ARM-based processor with VideoCore VI graphics. This is going to represent a huge upgrade for previous Compute Module customers. In particular, you get much better video performance with 4Kp60 hardware decode for H.265 videos, 1080p60 hardware decode for H.264 videos, 1080p30 hardware encode of H.264 videos. You can also take advantage of the dual HDMI interfaces to connect up to two 4K displays at 60 frames per second.

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The Long Wait for Google's $2.1 Billion Fitbit Deal

6 hours 36 min ago
Google's $2.1 billion deal for Fitbit might go down as the only merger to qualify as both pre-pandemic and post-pandemic. From a report: European Union antitrust regulators have again extended their decision deadline, this time to Jan. 8, 2021. And it could be further complicated by U.S. authorities, who are drawing up a broader antitrust case against Google and/or its parent company Alphabet. The deal was originally announced on Nov. 1, 2019. The delay is about data: Google has always said the acquisition is centered on devices, but that alone hasn't allayed regulator fears over what happens to the information those devices collect. Reuters reports that Google recently offered concessions to the European Commission: It would "restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads, facilitate rival makers of wearables seeking to connect to the Android platform and allow third parties' continued access to Fitbit users' data with their consent." These revisions appear to have satisfied the EC, but that could change once analyzed by outside critics. Plus, again, there are those pesky Americans.

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AMC Offers Private Theater Rentals Starting at $99, As Cinemas Continue To Struggle

7 hours 3 min ago
Mega-chain AMC has begun to offer the option through its site, with prices for renting out a theater starting at a surprisingly reasonable $99 (though not in New York, Alaska and Hawaii). Split among ten friends, and you're already paying less than a normal movie ticket. From a report: Attendees can invite as many as 20 people to a screening, which consists of classic titles like Jurassic Park and Halloween-centric fare like The Nightmare Before Christmas. Prices go up from there. New titles like Tenet and The New Mutants, cost up to $349 for a single screening. The former, helmed by blockbuster director Christopher Nolan, was set to be a kind of litmus test for moviegoers' willingness to return to theaters.

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Japan To Join Forces With US, Europe in Regulating Big Tech Firms

8 hours 3 min ago
Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog said on Monday, a sign Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators. From a report: Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC), also said Tokyo could open a probe into any merger or business tie-up involving fitness tracker maker Fitbit if the size of such deals are big enough. "If the size of any merger or business-tie up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer's process of acquiring a start-up (like Fitbit)," he told Reuters. "We're closely watching developments including in Europe." EU antitrust regulators in August launched an investigation into a $2.1 billion deal by Google's bid to buy Fitbit that aimed to take on Apple and Samsung in the wearable technology market. Japan is laying the groundwork to regulate platform operators. Among them are big tech giants dubbed "GAFA" - Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook -- that face various antitrust probes in western nations.

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Gamers Are Replacing Bing Maps Objects in Microsoft Flight Simulator With Rips From Google Earth

8 hours 40 min ago
Microsoft's flagship 2020 game Flight Simulator was supposed to showcase Bing Maps and Azure's streaming capabilities. There's just one small problem: gamers are overwriting Bing's in-game 3D photogrammetry with entire cities ripped from Google Earth. From a report: "When playing the game, you're essentially looking at an extremely high resolution image of the entire globe in 3D -- think Google Earth but of a much higher quality," gushed one Flight Simulator reviewer earlier this summer. It may come as a shock to him and Redmond alike that gamers are importing Google photogrammetry into the simulator to replace the default Bing 3D buildings. Microsoft made a big deal of how Flight Simulator's depiction of the entire world would be powered by Bing Maps and data extrapolated from Bing Maps to create reasonably accurate 3D buildings (stand fast, accidental skyscrapers) in the same places as their real-world counterparts.

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Proprietary Grapes Come With Draconian End User License Agreement

9 hours 29 min ago
They did EULA to a grape. A company put an end user license agreement (EULA) on a bag of grapes: "The recipient of the produce contained in this package agrees not to propagate or reproduce any portion of this produce, including 'but not limited to' seeds, stems, tissue, and fruit," read the EULA on a bag of Carnival brand grapes posted on Twitter by user Tube Time. From a report When you purchase a bag of delicious and sugary Carnival brand grapes, you enter into an agreement whereby you will consume the grapes and do nothing else with them. This kind of warning against reproduction is something we're used to with digital products like video games, but is jarring to see spread to the world of consumer produce. "It's always shocking and more than a little absurd to find these licenses on everyday consumer products, especially at the grocery store," Aaron Perzanowski, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University and the co-author of The End of Ownership, told Motherboard in an email. In the broader world of agriculture, however, there's actually quite a lot of precedent for this. And patented seeds with specific restrictions is a constant sore point for farmers. Agriculture giant Monsanto has patented a whole host of proprietary seeds that are weed- and insect-resistant, and threatens to sue farmers who harvest and replant them from year-to-year. In fact, the Supreme Court has already ruled on this.

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Privacy Advocates Alarmed By Singapore's World-First Face-Scanning Plans

11 hours 56 min ago
"Singapore will become the world's first country to use facial verification in its national ID scheme, but privacy advocates are alarmed by what they say is an intrusive system vulnerable to abuse," reports AFP: Face scanning technology remains controversial despite its growing use and critics have raised ethical concerns about it in some countries — for instance, law enforcement agencies scanning crowds at large events to look for troublemakers. Singapore authorities are frequently accused of targeting government critics and taking a hard line on dissent, and activists are concerned about how the face scanning tech will be used. "There are no clear and explicit restraints on government power when it comes to things like surveillance and data gathering," said Kirsten Han, a freelance journalist from the city. "Will we one day discover that this data is in the hands of the police or in the hands of some other agency that we didn't specifically give consent for?" Those behind the Singapore scheme stress facial verification is different to recognition as it requires user consent, but privacy advocates remain sceptical. "The technology is still far from benign," Privacy International research officer Tom Fisher told AFP. He said systems like the one planned for Singapore left "opportunities for exploitation", such as use of data to track and profile people.

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Microsoft Forces Windows 10 Restarts -- To Install 'Unsolicited, Unwanted' Office Apps

15 hours 56 min ago
The Verge's senior news editor complains that without permission, Windows 10 restarted to install "unsolicited, unwanted web app versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook onto my computer." OK, it's not as bad as when my entire computer screen got taken over by an unwanted copy of Microsoft Edge. That was truly egregious. No, this time Microsoft is merely sneaking unwanted web apps onto my PC — and using my Windows 10 Start Menu as free advertising space. Did I mention that icons for Microsoft Office apps have magically appeared in my Start Menu, even though I've never once installed Office on this computer? These aren't full free copies of Office, by the way. They're just shortcuts to the web version you could already access in any web browser of your choice, which double as advertisements to pay for a more fully featured copy... They're the latest proof that Microsoft doesn't respect your ownership of your own PC, the latest example of Microsoft installing anything it likes in a Windows update up to and including bloatware, and the latest example of Microsoft caring more about the bottom line than whether a few people might lose their work when Windows suddenly shuts down their PC. Luckily, I didn't lose any work today, but a friend of mine recently did... Microsoft seems to think our computers are free advertising space, a place where it can selfishly promote its other products — even though they were told roundly in the '90s that even bundling a web browser was not OK. Now, they're bundling a browser you can't uninstall, and a set of PWA web apps that launch in that same browser. (Yes, they fire up Edge even if you've set a different browser as default.)

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What If the Government Ran a Social Network?

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 11:34pm
A publicly-funded social network run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation "has been proposed as one possible response if Facebook and Google limit services in Australia when the mandatory news code becomes law this year," reports the Guardian: Facebook has warned it will block Australians from sharing news if the landmark plan to make digital platforms pay for news content becomes law. Google has been running a public campaign against the code and launched an international campaign targeting YouTube users when the government announced it would force the company to pay news publishers for content... The proposal for a platform hosted by the ABC is among a raft of risk mitigation proposals in a report commissioned by the Centre for Responsible Technology, "Tech-Xit: Can Australia survive without Google and Facebook?" The proposed platform would connect the community without harvesting data in the way Google and Facebook do, and could rely on the wide reach of the ABC across local, regional and national communities, as well as the trust the invested in the institution by the public. "An ABC platform which engages the community, allows for a genuine exchange and influence on decision making, and applying principles of independent journalism and storytelling would provide real value to local communities starved of civic engagement," the report says. "[We should] develop viable alternatives to Google and Facebook, such as national online social platform hosted through the ABC..." The report argues the arrival of the mandatory news code is a chance to push back against the profit or surveillance imperative of the tech giants and look for alternatives. "Google and Facebook's response to the ACCC mandatory news code has placed in stark relief our national over-reliance on them," the director of the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology, Peter Lewis, said. "This analysis shows that two global corporations that play a dominant role in our civic and commercial institutions are prepared to threaten to withdraw those services to protect their own commercial self-interest."

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Another California City Launches a Two-Year Guaranteed Income Program

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 9:44pm
The Los Angeles Times reports a new guaranteed income pilot program which within a few months "will begin giving 800 Compton residents free cash for a two-year period," according to mayor Aja Brown: So far, private donors have contributed $2.5 million to the Fund for Guaranteed Income, a charity headed by Nika Soon-Shiong, daughter of Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong... Each selected family will receive at least a few hundred dollars on a recurring basis, as well as tools that will help them access financial guidance, Brown said. Parents or other residents caring for dependents may receive more. Anonymous researchers will track the participants' spending and well-being. Brown said she had been aware of the concept of universal guaranteed income for years, but got to see it in action in February 2019 when Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs launched the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which gave 125 residents $500 a month for 18 months... The concept of giving citizens free money with no strings attached was once a radical idea that has begun gaining traction, partly as a result of the pandemic. Opponents of guaranteed income have argued that extra cash with no strings attached would lead to higher levels of unemployment and that recipients might spend the money on drugs or alcohol or other "temptation goods." But decades of research has indicated that very few people work less after receiving cash transfers, and those who do use usually spend more with their families, said Halah Ahmad, head of public relations and policy communications for the Jain Family Institute, a nonprofit research firm that helps design guaranteed income pilot programs. In a review of 19 studies on cash transfers between 1997 and 2014 by the World Bank, authors found that "Almost without exception, studies find either no significant impact or a significant negative impact of transfers on temptation goods."

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Three npm Packages Opened Remote-Access Shells on Linux and Windows Systems

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 7:52pm
"Three JavaScript packages have been removed from the npm portal on Thursday for containing malicious code," reports ZDNet. "According to advisories from the npm security team, the three JavaScript libraries opened shells on the computers of developers who imported the packages into their projects." The shells, a technical term used by cyber-security researchers, allowed threat actors to connect remotely to the infected computer and execute malicious operations. The npm security team said the shells could work on both Windows and *nix operating systems, such as Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and others. All three packages were uploaded on the npm portal in May (first) and September 2018 (last two). Each package had hundreds of downloads since being uploaded on the npm portal. The packages names were: plutov-slack-client nodetest199 nodetest1010 "Any computer that has this package installed or running should be considered fully compromised. All secrets and keys stored on that computer should be rotated immediately from a different computer," the npm security team said.

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Stupid Russian Disinformation Campaign Targets Oxford Vaccine

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 6:59pm
The Times of London reports that "a Russian disinformation campaign designed to undermine and spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine has been exposed by a Times investigation." Pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made vaccine as dangerous have been devised in Russia and middlemen are now seeking to "seed" the images on social media networks around the world. The crude theme of the distorted images is that the vaccine, millions of doses of which will be manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca, could turn people into monkeys because it uses a chimpanzee virus as a vector. The campaign is being targeted at countries where Russia wants to sell its own Sputnik V vaccine, as well as western nations. CNN points out that this "monkey vaccine" narrative "has been voiced by Russian officials and the state media before."

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China Bans Internet Services Which 'Induce Addiction' In Children

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 5:46pm
"China is implementing stricture measures in its bid to keep kids away from addictive digital content," reports Engadget: The state-backed news agency Xinhua reported (via Reuters) that China has voted for a revamped law that will ban internet products and services which "induce addiction" in kids. Game creators, livestream services and social networks also have to set up time and consumption limits. The revised measures also give kids and their parents the right to ask internet providers to take "necessary measures" to thwart cyberbullying, including blocking and deleting content. The updated law will take effect on June 1st, 2021.

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Is QAnon an 8Chan Game Gone Wrong?

Sun, 10/18/2020 - 4:43pm
This week London's prestigious Financial Times published a 15-minute video investigating the question: "Is QAnon a game gone wrong?" In 2017, the Q team, whoever they may be, made use of the modern equivalent of the Playboy's letters page. It's a message board called 4Chan... A YouTuber called defango has since claimed the work was his. He says he created Q as an alternative reality game, mostly for the LOLs, but also to smoke out bad journalists in the alternative media space. But he also says that in 2018, a man called Thomas Schoenberger wrested control of the game from him... Nobody knows if what he says is really true. What is becoming clear is that the whole thing has run away with itself... Anyone who plays live action role playing games, known as LARPs, will recognise the gaming elements of QAnon [according to alternate-Reality Game pioneer Jim Stewartson.] "In 2015, 2016, and 2017, there were a lot of what are called LARPs, live action role playing is what the term means. And it really just means that there is a person pretending to be somebody else. The players knew they weren't real, but it was fun for them to interact with. But what happened on 4Chan and 8Chan is that individual people would go and LARP all by themselves, and create basically a single point of contact for an entire alternate reality game. In 2016, there was FBI Anon, and CIA Anon, Meganon, and all of these different LARPs that were basically practicing, they were prototyping what QAnon is... So it turns out there's a guy named Thomas Schoenberger. He saw this Cicada game as an opportunity to radicalise smart people, and he ended up creating puzzles and calling it Cicada, even though he was not the creator of it." To this day, no one seems quite sure who the creator of Cicada was. We haven't been able to confirm Thomas Schoenberger's involvement in either Cicada or QAnon... [But Jim Stewartson tells them] "There's a woman named Lisa Clapier who runs an account called SnowWhite7IAM. And her job was to bring people from Cicada to QAnon. So there was a whole theme about follow the White Rabbit. A whole theme around Snow White and Disney characters. And that theme was used specifically to pull people from Cicada into QAnon." A similar origin story appears in a new article at Heavy.com: Between 2014 and 2016, Schoenberger "stole" Cicada, Heavy's source said, and he started manipulating the puzzle. Later on, while working with Chavez, "breadcrumbs" — vague top secret information hidden in clues, were presented through the Cicada game. In October 2017 QAnon posts premiered on 4chan, a site Schoenberger was prominent on before moving to 8chan in December, a site run out of the Philippines by pornography mogul and pig farmer, Jim Watkins, Heavy's source said...

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