the unofficial Slashdot digest archive

Google Chief: I'd Disclose Smart Speakers Before Guests Enter My Home

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
After being challenged as to whether homeowners should tell guests smart devices -- such as a Google Nest speaker or Amazon Echo display -- are in use before they enter the building, Google senior vice president of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, concludes that the answer is indeed yes. The BBC reports: "Gosh, I haven't thought about this before in quite this way," Rick Osterloh begins. "It's quite important for all these technologies to think about all users... we have to consider all stakeholders that might be in proximity." And then he commits. "Does the owner of a home need to disclose to a guest? I would and do when someone enters into my home, and it's probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate."

To be fair to Google, it hasn't completely ignored matters of 21st Century privacy etiquette until now. As Mr Osterloh points out, its Nest cameras shine an LED light when they are in record mode, which cannot be overridden. But the idea of having to run around a home unplugging or at least restricting the capabilities of all its voice- and camera-equipped kit if a visitor objects is quite the ask.
The concession came at the end of one-on-one interview given to BBC News to mark the launch of Google's Pixel 4 smartphones, a new Nest smart speaker and other products. You can read the full conversation on the BBC's article.

Smart [sic]

By ChromeAeonuim • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Why is it that everything with the word smart in it's the name inevitably leads to a dumb situation?

Obligatory XKCD

By CeasedCaring • Score: 3 • Thread

California's New Law Bans Schools From Starting Before 8am

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
California governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law on Sunday preventing schools in the state from starting classes before 8am. Quartz reports: The law bars middle schools from starting before 8am, while high schools must wait till 8:30am to begin classes. This means that about half of California schools will need to delay their opening bell by 30 minutes or less, according to a legislative analysis (pdf), while one-quarter will need to wait an additional 31 to 60 minutes to get going. Schools have until July 1, 2022 to comply with the rule, or whenever their three-year collective bargaining agreements with employees expire -- whichever comes later. Some rural schools are exempt from the law, and the new start times do not apply to optional "zero period" classes.

The move makes California the first U.S. state to heed the call of health advocates who argue that early school start times are forcing adolescents to operate in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which backed the bill, said in 2014 policy statement that getting too little sleep puts teenagers' physical and mental health at risk, as well as their academic performance. The organization cited research that shows that biological changes in puberty make it difficult for the average teenager to fall asleep before 11pm, and that teenagers need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep to function at their best. It recommended that schools adjust their schedules rather than compel students to go against their natural sleep rhythms.

Re:How does this help?

By Freischutz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

It is California think of anything then make laws for it. Land of the free?

State's rights! They can run their state as they see fit. So to quote conservative icon Antonin Scalia: Get over it!

This might hot help some kids

By Chrisq • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
A lot of parents work. I'm sure that some kids will end up being woken just as early, taken to some form of "early morning care" for half an hour, then having to stay in school till later.

Re:This might hot help some kids

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's time we thought about changing our working/studying hours entirely to make them more practical for people, and requiring employers to offer flexible hours and working from home where possible.

Newspaper boy

By cerberusss • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I used to deliver newspapers between 6 and 7 AM, and earned decent money with that. Bought my first Intel 386DX powered PC with it. But it was pretty terrible for my sleep and I was always tired.

I'm quite amazed that actual science is driving legislation nowadays! It's much more common to make it easy for the parents, not the kids.

Staggered start times...

By jonwil • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

If schools need to stagger their start times (due to not having enough buses etc) why don't they have the primary school kids (who's body clocks mean they should be going to bed early and getting up early) start first so the older kids can start later (and have the later-to-bed later-to-rise sleep pattern teen body clocks need)

Testosterone Significantly Boosts Women's Athletic Performance, Study Shows

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Boosting testosterone levels significantly improves female athletic performance, according to one of the first randomized controlled trials. The findings come as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Monday it would impose an upper limit for testosterone levels on trans female athletes competing in middle-distance events. The latest research confirmed that testosterone significantly increases endurance and lean muscle mass among young women, even when given for a relatively short period.

In the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48 healthy 18- to 35-year-old women were randomly assigned to 10 weeks of daily treatment with 10mg of testosterone cream or 10mg of a placebo. The scientists tested the hormone's impact on aerobic performance measured by how long the women could run on a treadmill before reaching the point of exhaustion, and leg power, muscle strength and lean muscle mass. Circulating levels of testosterone rose from 0.9 nmol/litre of blood to 4.3 nmol/L in the women given the hormone cream. This was below the recent 5 nmol/L IAAF limit and below the normal male range of 8-29 nmol/L. Running time to exhaustion increased significantly by 21.17 seconds (8.5%) in the testosterone group, compared with those given the inactive substance. The group given the hormone also had significant changes in lean muscle mass, gaining 923g vs 135g overall and 398g vs 91g in their legs.
"The IAAF ruled this week that trans female athletes must keep their levels of natural testosterone below 5 nanomoles per liter of blood to compete in the female category," the report adds. "The new regulation follows a similar limit imposed on athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD), including the South African Olympic gold medallist, Caster Semenya."

Re:No Shit Sherlock!

By quantaman • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It is being discovered again because the narrative for the past decade was "there are no differences between men and women", a theory that must not only ignore, but must fully deny, science.

I've never heard that theory presented except as a straw-man.

The question was never "are there differences between men and women?" since everyone agreed there were.

Nor was it "does testosterone contribute to the male advantage?" because again, everyone agree it did.

The debate was "how much of an advantage does testosterone contribute to a woman?" Because the answer isn't obvious. How much of the male advantage comes from testosterone vs other factors? How does the female body respond to elevated testosterone? What is a reasonable limit for women? (this suggests the 5nmol limit might be insufficient).

At the most extreme end there was a movement to say that pretty much anyone that was raised as a woman should be allowed to compete as is. It's actually a pretty justifiable perspective, the athlete is born as a women, raised as a woman, looks like a woman, and then she is told she can't compete without medical intervention because she's not really a woman.

From the competition standpoint it's necessary, but you do need to appreciate that it's an incredibly unfortunate situation for the affected women.

You can look here if you're curious for some actual analysis of one of the previous decisions.

Re:No Shit Sherlock!

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

We should give testosterone injections to girls and see if it makes them interested in coding.

Re:No Shit Sherlock!

By nagora • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Actually, there is a fair amount of claiming that there's no difference between men and women. It's generally not within sport - women know perfectly well that testosterone is a way to cheat - but there are many places online where saying "the strongest man is stronger than the strongest woman" will get you banned (voice of experience).

The denial of any meaningful difference between men and women has become an article of faith for a disturbingly large number of people.

Re:No Shit Sherlock!

By quantaman • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

If testosterone did not work to help win in sport it would not have been used.

Again, that's not the question that was being asked.

Why was testosterone allowed to return and not be detected again?

That's covered in the (lengthy) article I posted. But long story short, the IAAF set a policy for women with high levels of testosterone, one of the affected women sued saying "you don't actually have sufficient evidence to justify that policy". The judge looked at the evidence and said "she's right, we all know testosterone matters but you haven't done your homework to determine just how much it matters so you can make appropriate regulations, therefore you can't use that regulation".

Then they did their homework and got to impose a regulation.

Note, that new policy (relevant to this published study) went in a while ago. The new regulation is allowing trans women to go in if they stay below 5nmol. Which actually seems like a more interesting discussion than fighting strawmen.

I'm fine with transgendered athletes competing... assuming advantages from their previous gender are neutralized.

I'm not sure if testosterone levels alone do that, I'm also not sure that a 5nmol threshold is appropriate. I doubt an XX woman could use a testosterone cream to raise her levels right to 4.9, I'm not sure that a trans woman shouldn't go down to something more typical like 0.9.

Re:No Shit Sherlock!

By evilbessie • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The males with autogynephilia want to cheat. The transwomen are women people want validation. Men are not women, women are not men. No transman will ever be able to compete against a natal male, the male advantages are too much, so this is just about men wanting to cheat and pretend to be women. Women are adult human females. Males cannot be females.

I don't know how you deal with DSDs but allowing men to compete against women is not it.

Dutch Family 'Waiting For End of Time' Discovered In Basement

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A family who spent nine years in a basement "waiting for the end of time" have been discovered by police in the Netherlands after one of them turned up at a local pub, reports say. The BBC reports: A man of 58 and a family with young adults aged 18 to 25 were living at a farm in the province of Drenthe. They were found after the eldest of the children ordered beer at a bar in the nearby village of Ruinerwold. He then told staff he needed help, broadcaster RTV Drenthe reported. The older man, who has been arrested, was initially assumed to be the father, but local mayor Roger de Groot later told reporters that was not the case. Nor was the man the owner of the farmhouse, Mr de Groot said, adding: "I've never seen anything like it."

The public broadcaster said that the family had been living in isolation waiting for the end of time. Unconfirmed reports said the children's father was among those found. Bar owner Chris Westerbeek described how a man had come in, ordered five beers and drunk them. "Then I had a chat with him and he revealed he had run away and needed help... then we called the police," he said. He added: "He had long hair, a dirty beard, wore old clothes and looked confused. He said he'd never been to school and hadn't been to the barber for nine years." "He said he had brothers and sisters who lived at the farm. He said he was the oldest and wanted to end the way they were living." Officers visited the remote farmhouse and carried out a search. They discovered a hidden staircase behind a cupboard in the living room that led down to a basement room where the family were housed.

Re:How fast the police were called...

By LeeLynx • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Man in bar: A man has been keeping my family trapped in a basement for nine years, I've only just managed to escape. I need help to get them out!

AC: No need for police, my good man! I and my sense of righteous indignation at society's dependence on law enforcement shall save your family - quickly, to the DoucheMobile!

self sufficient for 9 years?

By 4wdloop • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That seems like a fantastic science experiment, 4 (5?) people living for 9 years in self-sufficient manner? Wow! The farm does not look that big, how'd they manage?

The real story here...

By WolfgangVL • Score: 3 • Thread

The five beers. What kind of beers? Was it five different beers? Did he order them all once? How fast did he drink them? Did he pay for them?


By Brett Buck • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's a bizarre notion that the police are somehow the enemies.

They belong on Slashdot

By Required Snark • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
Nine years in a basement. Impressive even by Slashdot standards.

Robot War Breaks Out As Roomba Maker Sues Upstart SharkNinja

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Roomba robotic vacuum maker IRobot Corp. is suing rival SharkNinja for copying a device of theirs and selling it at "half the price." "Shark is not even shy about being a copycat," iRobot said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Boston, "claiming that the Shark IQ Robot offers the same iRobot technology at 'half the price of iRobot i7+'."Bloomberg reports: The company that unveiled the Roomba robotic vacuum in the early 2000s launched a product last year that takes house cleaning to a new level: It maps your home, schedules sweeps through each room, empties the dust bin itself and even knows where to resume cleaning after has returned to its base for a recharge. After being recognized by Time magazine for one of 2018's inventions of the year, IRobot Corp. says it's no accident that rival SharkNinja Operating LLC came out with a similar device a year later. [...] SharkNinja, a unit of closely held EP Midco LLC, on Friday filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in federal court in Delaware, asking the court to declare that the Shark IQ doesn't infringe six patents cited in iRobot's complaint, nor five others. IRobot had previously demanded that the Shark IQ be pulled off store shelves.

Corporate greed

By thesjaakspoiler • Score: 3 • Thread

iRobot was too slow making it too the masses with it's sole focus on selling even more expensive products.
In Asia their products prices have never gone down significantly, so it's logical that other companies jump into this gaping hole that iRobot left for them.

Why I can't bear patent stories here

By dpille • Score: 3 • Thread
So, headline says "Roomba maker sues" then the story and article say "SharkNinja, a unit of closely held EP Midco LLC, on Friday filed a pre-emptive lawsuit." Presumably the story is correct, but I'll never know, because the poor editing reminded me I can't bear to read these things here.

That's rich coming from irobot

By Trailer Trash • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Basically, irobot finally made a competitor to the neato vacuums, with an actual upgrade being that it empties its own dirt bin. Other than that, Neato beat them on mapping and all of that by years. And it's not like irobot didn't have a huge head start - irobot was founded in 1990 and Neato was founded in 2010. irobot had a 20 year head start and still ended up far behind the upstart.

I would also note that irobot may not have even made the technology that they're using here. They also bought Mint in 2012, which had mapping technology.

It's sad, because rather than innovating it looks like they're just going to turn into patent trolls and try to feed off others' inventions.

Re:yeah, the maid fight ensues...

By youngone • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

"Maidwars" coming to a theatre near you.

Pretty sure Pornhub beat Hollywood to it.

The first fucking Roomba I ever saw

By Ryzilynt • Score: 3 • Thread

When they were first a thing. I said to myself "they need to empty themselves"

My design would have involved a ramp that the robot would drive up over a small trash bin.

The design I have seen using suction is admittedly cooler. But little tech and cost would have been involved with mine.

Of course my first design iteration would have simply required cutting a hole in floor. But I quickly realized very few would be willing to commit to such engineering for the sake of a vacuum.

YouTube Gets Alleged Copyright Troll To Agree To Stop Trolling YouTubers

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Alleged copyright troll Christopher Brady will no longer be able to issue false DMCA takedowns to other YouTubers, according to a lawsuit settlement filed today. The Verge reports: Under the new agreement, Brady is banned from "submitting any notices of alleged copyright infringement to YouTube that misrepresent that material hosted on the YouTube service is infringing copyrights held or claimed to be held by Brady or anyone Brady claims to represent." Brady agreed to pay $25,000 in damages as part of the settlement. He is also prohibited from "misrepresenting or masking their identities" when using Google products, including YouTube. "This settlement highlights the very real consequences for those that misuse our copyright system. We'll continue our work to prevent abuse of our systems," a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge.

"I, Christopher L. Brady, admit that I sent dozens of notices to YouTube falsely claiming that material uploaded by YouTube users infringed my copyrights," he said in an apology, shared by YouTube with The Verge. "I apologize to the YouTube users that I directly impacted by my actions, to the YouTube community, and to YouTube itself." YouTube claimed the investigation caused the company to "expend substantial sums on its investigation in an effort to detect and halt that behavior, and to ensure that its users do not suffer adverse consequences from it." YouTube also said that the company may be "unable to detect and prevent similar misconduct in the future," as a result of the various methods Brady took to cover up his identity.

Speaking of copyright offenders...

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Somewhat ironic that The Verge is reporting on a copyright infringement case. They waited months after the tech community laughed their POS PC build guide video offline to copyright strike two high-profile videos that mocked their video.


By Rockoon • Score: 3 • Thread
He costs content producers hundreds of thousands of dollars by diverting their monitization to himself... gets fined $25000... and can still issue takedown notices.

Google basically did nothing.

Wait, why?

By RyanFenton • Score: 3 • Thread

Why is it 3 strikes, you're gone for 99+% of users, but several dozen strikes for this guy (likely hundreds+), and he's keeping an active account?

I'm not asking for the sake of fairness - but for the sake of security and logistics. Why keep such a bad actor that will almost certainly generate much more blowback than any other user?

I'm just not seeing an angle where the usual 'greed' motivations play out. Even if this guy has beefy lawyers, I can't imagine the legal team at Google really seeing savings capitulating to the guy in particular, and keeping his account active.

Why keep that relationship active for this guy?

Ryan Fenton

Admitted guilt - time to sue

By Sebby • Score: 3 • Thread
Now that he's gone on record and admitted guilt, time for affected Youtube creators to sue him for damages!

Bad example.

By Opportunist • Score: 3 • Thread

Don't ask for permission. Just do it and if you get caught, offer a fake apology and a token amount of money as compensation.

If anything, this is an encouragement for others to follow in his footsteps. Does anyone here think he extorted less than 25 grand from this?

Also in the news, people who listen to music the wrong way get slapped with lawsuits for billions, settle for millions and have their life ruined over basically nothing. With the exact same law, by the way.

OpenAI's AI-Powered Robot Learned How To Solve a Rubik's Cube One-Handed

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Earlier today, San Francisco-based research institute OpenAI announced that it had taught a robotic hand to solve Rubik's cube one-handed. "Lost in the shuffle is just what is new here, if anything, and what of it may or may not be machine learning and artificial intelligence -- the science in other words," writes Tiernan Ray via ZDNet. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an excerpt from his report: The real innovation in Tuesday's announcement, from a science standpoint, is the way many versions of possible worlds were created inside the computer simulation, in an automated fashion, using an algorithm called ADR. ADR, or "Automatic domain randomization," is a way to reset the neural network at various points based on different appearances of the Rubik's cube and different positions of the robotic hand, and all kinds of physical variables, such as friction and gravity. It's done by creating thousands of variations of the values of those variables inside the computer simulator while the neural network is being trained. ADR is an algorithm that changes the variables automatically and iteratively, as the policy network is trained to solve the Rubik's cube. The ADR, in other words, is a separate piece of code that is designed to increase random variation in training data to make things increasingly hard for the policy neural network.

Using ADR, the real world Dexterous Hand can adapt to changes such as when it drops the cube on the floor and the cube is placed back in the hand at a slightly different angle. The performance of the Dexterous Hand after being trained with ADR is vastly better than without it, when only a handful (sorry again again for the pun) of random variants are thrown at it using the prior approach of manually-crafted randomness, the authors report. What's happening, they opine, is the emergence of a kind of "meta-learning." The neural network that has been trained is still, in a sense "learning" at the time it is tested on the real-world Rubik's cube. What that means is that the neural network is updating its model of what kinds of transitions can happen between states of affairs as events happen in the real world. The authors assert that they know this is happening "inside" the trained network because they see that after a perturbation -- say, the Dexterous Hand is hit with some object that interrupts its effort -- the robot's activity suddenly plunges, but then steadily improves, as if the whole policy network is adjusting to the changed state of affairs.

Ask Slashdot: What Should I Do About My Landlord Forcing Smart Things Into My Home?

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter aaronb1138 writes: So my apartment (UDR) pulled a bit of a blitz last Friday (10/11) to install new "Smart" IoT stuff in my home today (10/15) under the umbrella of SmartRent management. According to a CNET article from earlier this year, this seems to be SmartRent's usual method of attack. UDR is usually pretty miserly, so I suspect the monetization of my apartment usage is being sold at a nice price to advertisers. SmartRent FAQ claims no data sales, but their privacy policy is wide open and gives no such assurances. Further, they won't acknowledge if they also operate in California and as such provide me with their CCPA compliance information (I'm in TX, but figured, take the shot).

I asked SmartRent's Project Manager, Steven, as well as SmartRent's support not to plug into the electrical power I pay for, but I doubt that will be respected and instead I'll find them stealing my electricity for their own purposes when I get home. The install list is a smart lock (one of the hackable Yale cheapos), smart thermostat, a couple leak detectors, a dimmer plug -- and the scary part -- SmartRent's own Alloy brand SmartRent Hub with 4G backup (who pays the extra for 4G?). I'll do a full hardware teardown to find out what else is inside the Hub -- hopefully just minimally functional cheap ARM stuff and radios. But what else do I do from here /.? I don't really have time to file a lawsuit, and my gut tells me every step I take against the landlord is going to bring their more onerous leasing agreement line items on my head.

Re: Good and Bad

By Z00L00K • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The hackable door lock means that you have to give up the security of your home for the convenience of the landlord. Check local legislation if it permits installation of secondary locks to improve security.


By apoc.famine • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That was my thought as well. If you signed a lease that lets them install spyware in your apartment at any time, yeah, you're SOL.

But if nothing in there would allow them to install monitoring hardware in your apartment, they can suck it until you sign a lease which does.

The last condo I was in had a no-dog policy that wasn't enforced for years. They finally decided to enforce it, and gave me a form to fill out to disclose all pets living in my condo. I tossed that. I had 2 cats, but nothing in the agreement I signed had anything to do with cats, and there was nothing that would legally compel me to fill that out unless the condo board brought to vote a new policy and passed it at their annual meeting.

Look at what you sign before you do, and keep a copy. If it's not in the contract and not covered by law, it's a polite request and nothing more.


By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

just be smart(er) and move.

Yeah, because everyone can simply buy themselves out of a lease/mortgage and find somewhere else at the drop of a hat.

To address a few of your technical concerns...

By Yaztromo • Score: 3 • Thread

I can't address your (somewhat reasonable) privacy and rights concerns, however I can address a few of your technical concerns:

  1. 1. Smart Lock. The Yale locks aren't cheap, and aren't easily hackable. It's generally easier to just pick the lock itself using a standard set of lock picks, which is likely exactly as secure as your current deadbolt.
  2. 2. Power. The Smart Lock and Leak Sensors are battery powered (you can't reasonably run a wire into your door, and you don't really want mains power connected to something designed to be in contact with water). If you current have an electronic thermostat, then you likely already have a 24VDC circuit installed behind it, which is what would power the smart thermostat (they don't run off mains power). Depending on your buildings heating system, you already may not be paying for this power. That won't change with a smart thermostat.

The only main thing of concern would be the hub. A teardown isn't going to help you -- it's likely fairly common hardware. The concerning part is the software -- and that you don't have access to, so you won't know what sort of information it may be sending to your landlord. But assuming it's violating your privacy, at that point it becomes a legal issue, and not so much a technical issue.

Instead of a teardown, you could try to to plug it into your LAN and do some packet captures to see what information it's sending out and where. I suspect however you'll find that the information is encrypted (which is a normally a good thing TBH), but you can at least capture IP addresses it's trying to connect to, and then see if you can identify who owns them.


contact your local tenant's rights organization

By cathector • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

many cities have official organizations for tenants rights.
i've seen them be extremely helpful with grounded advice,
and there's a very low barrier to entry. just call.

Twitter Says It Will Restrict Users From Retweeting World Leaders Who Break Its Rules

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
The social media giant said it will not allow users to like, reply, share or retweet tweets from world leaders who break its rules. Instead, it will let users quote-tweet to allow ordinary users to express their opinions. The company said the move will help its users stay informed about global affairs, but while balancing the need to keep the site's rules in check. TechCrunch reports: Twitter has been in a bind, amid allegations that the company has not taken action against world leaders who break its rules. "When it comes to the actions of world leaders on Twitter, we recognize that this is largely new ground and unprecedented," Twitter said in an unbylined blog post on Tuesday. "We want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely," the company said. Any user who tweets content promoting terrorism, making "clear and direct" threats of violence, and posting private information are all subject to ban. But Twitter said in cases involving a world leader, "we will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so." "Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially," Twitter added in a tweet. "In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public's right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account."

Re:**Which rules?**

By Citizen of Earth • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I wonder if they'll ban any "world leaders" who screech "Kill the infidel!"


By slashmydots • Score: 3 • Thread
But not Chinese accounts. I mean let's not get crazy here. Don't want to anger the Chinese government.

No platform is publisher of other author's info

By tepples • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

No. Under U.S. law, platforms are not publishers. Paraphrasing 47 USC 230 using modern-day terminology: "No provider or user of [a platform] shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another [author]."

The exact wording in the statute differs because the terminology for participants in Internet communication hadn't yet stabilized in 1996 when section 230 became law:

(c)(1)No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

(f)(2)The term “interactive computer service” means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.

(f)(3)The term “information content provider” means any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.

Re:A Trump by any other name

By nonBORG • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
No it is not Trump, it is conservatives. Basically Twitter if full of left wing operatives (millennials) who have no respect for free speech but follow the group mind set known as progressive lefties. So post something like your house being surrounded by leftists and get banned. However if you post something like trump shooting people you get promoted.

Already in violoation of SCOTUS rulings

By Crashmarik • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

1965 Cox VS Louisiana

Seeing as the courts have ruled that government figures can't block people from interacting with them on twitter as well

This will be fun too watch. The only real question is Twitter looking to have the government force this on them or are they just horribly arrogant.

Google's New Voice Recorder App Transcribes in Real Time, Even When Offline

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
At Google's hardware event this morning, the company introduced a new voice recorder app for Android devices, which will tap into advances in real-time speech processing, speech recognition and AI to automatically transcribe recordings in real time as the person is speaking. From a report: The improvements will allow users to take better advantage of the phone's voice recording functionality, as it will be able to turn the recordings into text even when there's no internet connectivity. This presents a new competitor to others in voice transcriptions that are leveraging similar AI advances, like, Reason8, Trint and others, for example. As Google explained, all the recorder functionality happens directly on the device -- meaning you can use the phone while in airplane mode and still have accurate recordings. "This means you can transcribe meetings, lectures, interviews, or anything you want to save," said Sabrina Ellis, VP of Product Management at Google. The Recorder app was demonstrated onstage during the event, live, and was offering -- from what was shown -- an error-free transcription.

Only on Pixel 4

By bill_mcgonigle • Score: 3 • Thread

Geeze, that was waste of time.

Data For 26 Million Stolen Payment Cards Leaked In Hack of Fraud Bazaar

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A thriving online bazaar selling stolen payment card data has been hacked in a heist that leaked the records for more than 26 million cards, KrebsOnSecurity reported on Tuesday. The 26 million figure isn't significant only to the legitimate consumers and businesses who own the stolen cards or the financial institutions that issued them. Fortunately for the card owners, the database is now in the hands of affected financial institutions, who can invalidate and replace the cards.

The hacked market is called BriansClub, a site available at BriansClub[.]at that, for years, has imitated Krebs' site and likeness. The data taken in the hack shows that BriansClub acquired 1.7 million cards in 2015, 2.9 million in 2016, 4.9 million in 2017, 9.2 million in 2018, and 7.6 million in the first eight months of this year. Most of the pilfered data is composed of "dumps," the term card thieves use to describe data that's stored on the magnetic stripe of payment cards. The stolen dumps can be transferred to new cards that crooks use to buy electronics, gift cards, and other large-ticket items from big-box stores. An analysis based on how many of the cards had expiration dates in the future suggests that more than 14 million of the leaked records could still be valid. Based on the pricing tiers listed on BriansClub, the haul represents about $414 million worth of lost sales, security intelligence firm Flashpoint told Krebs. By tracking the cards that were once available for sale and later removed, Flashpoint estimated that BriansClub has sold data for about 9.1 million cards for about $126 million. Federal prosecutors often value each stolen credit card record at $500, a sum that represents the average cost incurred from each compromised holder. Based on that estimate, the 9.1 million cards translates to about $2.27 billion in losses.

Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Event as It Tries To Contain Backlash

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Activision Blizzard, reeling from harsh reactions after it punished a tournament player for backing Hong Kong's anti-Beijing protesters, canceled a New York launch event for an edition of its Overwatch game. From a report: The event, scheduled for Wednesday at Nintendo's store in Rockefeller Center, was planned to support the release of Overwatch: Legendary Edition for the Nintendo Switch portable game machine. Nintendo tweeted Tuesday that Blizzard had canceled the promotion. Blizzard, which didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, has been struggling to contain a backlash after it punished the gamer Chung Ng Wai, known as Blitzchung. The player wore a gas mask and chanted a pro-Hong Kong slogan in a post-tournament interview, leading Blizzard to ban him from events for a year and strip him of $10,000 in prize money.

Truth in Virtue Signaling

By Vandil X • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Everyone who lives in the US would love to see freedom flourish for those in other lands who seek it. However, as wonderful is it to post messages, tweets, and memes in support of that, those all really accomplish nothing except to virtue signal and make people feel better about themselves.

But if you do something like boycott businesses doing things you disagree with, that's a financial impact felt pretty hard if enough people do it.

Sadly, I'll bet the servers for Overwatch are still filled with players who DGAF and players who posted their tweet, and logged onto Overwatch anyway.

Best email ever.

By GrBear • Score: 3 • Thread

Finally.. can't say I'll miss them.


You filed a request on 2019 October 09 to remove personal information from the Blizzard account registered to this email. This request is complete, and we have removed or disassociated all personal information from your account.

This included your:
- Name, contact information, and security details
- Payment methods and purchase history
- Purchased games, codes, promotions, and in-game items
- Game licenses and all game progress
- Communications with Blizzard support
- Any remaining Blizzard Balance

To completely finish this process, you must remove cookies, cache data, and any other temporary file on your computer that may identify you. If you do not, those files can still identify you to our servers.

Blizzard no longer has your information, and we cannot restore the account to you under ANY circumstance. If you would like to play Blizzard games in the future, you need to create a new account at

Blizzard Entertainment

Right? Right?

By AndyKron • Score: 3 • Thread
Nobody here on /. still has a membership with Blizzard, right? I think everyone here is for free speech, right?

Re:Or anything

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Here's the thing: the Chinese market, at least for US companies, is a complete illusion. As soon as there's a Chinese company with a similar product, whether created legitimately or via stolen IP, the original company is simply shut out of the market. As China gains technological parity with the West, you'll start seeing this more and more.

China may have embraced capitalism, but it's not really a free market - for the outside world, at least. China's government will never allow US companies to reap the benefits of its huge markets. Not for the long-term, at least. And in the meantime, Chinese companies can simply buy an interest in those companies to "advise" them on how to make "correct" decisions for the Chinese market.

Aaaaahahahaha HAHAHA! Up yours, ActiBlizz.

By Qbertino • Score: 3 • Thread

Nice. Like it. A lot! Both Activision and Blizzard are a husk of what they used to be, all because of cynical corporate overlords sucking up to greed, exploitation and oppressive totalitarian governments. Give them what they deserve I say!

Google Announces New Google Assistant With Huge Boost To Speed

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google has announced the second-generation version of its Google Assistant software, which promises new capabilities, a design overhaul, and a noticeable boost to speed. From a report: That last upgrade means the new Assistant can launch and return answers to queries much faster than before. The service is coming first to Pixel phones, and Google made the announcement onstage at its Pixel 4 reveal event in New York City on Tuesday. We already knew quite a bit about the new Assistant, thanks to Google's initial reveal back at its I/O developer conference in May, but we also got to see it in action on the Pixel 4 ahead of release, thanks to a flood of leaks that included, among other things, new Assistant marketing videos. Google claimed in May that the new Assistant would be up to 10 times faster than before, and the marketing videos did indeed show a much speedier version of the software retrieving directions and returning answers to queries. (It's not clear if that 10x estimation is for all Assistant features or just certain lightweight ones.)

Wake me up when...

By pr0t0 • Score: 3 • Thread

All that sounds great. When do we get a voice profile that sounds like Majel Barret?!

Google's Auto-Delete Tools Are Practically Worthless For Privacy

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: By default, Google collects a vast amount of data on users' behavior, including a lifelong record of web searches, locations, and YouTube views. But amid a privacy backlash and ongoing regulatory threats, the company has started to hype its recently released privacy tools, like the ability to automatically delete some of the data it collects about you -- data that helps power its $116 billion ad business. [...] In reality, these auto-delete tools accomplish little for users, even as they generate positive PR for Google. Experts say that by the time three months rolls around, Google has already extracted nearly all the potential value from users' data, and from an advertising standpoint, data becomes practically worthless when it's more than a few months old. "Anything up to one month is extremely valuable," says David Dweck, the head of paid search at digital ad firm WPromote. "Anything beyond one month, we probably weren't going to target you anyway." Dweck says that in the digital ad industry, recent activity is essential. If you start searching on Google for real estate or looking up housing values, for instance, Google might lump you into a "prospective home buyers" category for advertisers. That information becomes instantly valuable to realtors, appraisers, and lenders for ad targeting, and it could remain valuable for a while as other companies, such as painters or appliance brands, try to follow up on your home buying. Still, it's unusual for advertisers to target users based on their activity from months earlier, Dweck says.

privacy is about privacy not about advertising

By vux984 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This line is absurd

"Experts say that by the time three months rolls around, Google has already extracted nearly all the potential value from users' data, and from an advertising standpoint"

Yes, from an 'advertising standpoint' data over 3 months old might be much lower value. But the police on the other hand might be interested in everything going back years. So might your insurance company. Customs and Border agents at any given border. Or your future ex's divorce lawyers.

Not to mention Social Justice Warrior types just love to dredge up stuff from years ago and then eject you from accepted society with what they find; maybe you belonged to the wrong forum 5 years ago or looked at the wrong porn, or liked Kevin Spacey or Mario Batali... or something... etc etc etc.

Having everything older than 3 months get deleted is a HUGE improvement over it not.

Yep, the headline doesn't match the summary

By raymorris • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Indeed, it may not be particularly useful for ADVERTISERS, but there is definitely a privacy impact of whether or not there is a database saying Senator Sneekie Paants (D, California) spent $10,000 at a strip club three years ago.

In fact, it's a reasonable compromise. *If* you accept the idea that we consumers should be allowed to choose not tomoay cash for services but instead pay via accepting targeted ads, privacy is helped by keeping only very short-term information - even just the last five minutes, while still allowing them to trade valuable ad targeting info for services.

* Obviously one can debate if free ad-supported services are good or bad, and separately one can debate whether they should be legal. (Some bad ideas, like smoking weed all day, are legal in some places). The vast majority of people choose to use such services, so apparently they are in favor of having them available.

Non sequitur

By vakuona • Score: 3 • Thread

I think the author needs to relearn making logical arguments.

The again, this is what counts as making logical arguments nowadays - just find one thing you don't like about something (in this case, Google making money using data) and make a claim about something tangentially related (privacy).

not perfect but...

By yodleboy • Score: 3 • Thread

Hey, google is going to use my information anyway. I'd like to know that it only goes back 3 months instead of 'lifelong'. Smaller privacy 'surface area' i guess.

Re:Expecting an advertising business to protect yo

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I always wonder if advertising really works?

Of course it does. American companies spend over $200B annually on advertising and marketing. They employ thousands of statisticians to analyse the results. For many companies, such as luxury brands and cosmetics, marketing is, by far, their biggest expense. They wouldn't be doing that if it didn't work.

The Internet makes it easier than ever to try different campaigns, and to analyse the results. I remember running A-B tests using card decks back in the early 1990s. It would take months and cost kilobucks to get results. Today, you can do that with Google Ads in an hour.

Also, many studies have show that people who think they aren't affected by advertising are actually influenced by advertising about as much as everyone else. Walk around your house. Look in your pantry. How many of those products are brand names?

Argentinian Security Researcher Arrested After Tweeting About Government Hack

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Argentinian police briefly detained and raided the home of a well-known security researcher last week on suspicion of hacking and leaking data from government systems. From a report: Following his release, Javier Smaldone, the security researcher, obtained and published court documents pertaining to his arrest on Twitter. The documents showed that authorities arrested and raided the security expert just for tweeting about a recent government hack, with no tangible evidence that he was involved. Smaldone claimed the entire affair was a witch-hunt, describing his arrest and raid as "political persecution." The researcher is a well-known cyber-security activist, previously testified in front of the Argentinian Senate against the use of electronic voting machines, and regularly publishes blog posts criticizing the government's plans to use such devices. Smaldone believes this is the government's revenge for past criticism.


By Nidi62 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

fairly on target here.

I hope the pro socialists understand this is what is waiting for them. There is an endless number of stories about citizens of socialism learning that you are not allowed to criticize or expose their government. You are only allowed to sing praises or beg for socialist salvation.

You keep using that word socialist. I do not think it means what you think it means. The correct word you are looking for is authoritarian.

Arrest the guy who budgets IT security.

By jellomizer • Score: 3 • Thread

Arrest the guy who budgets the IT security, not the guy who finds the hole.

This is a taste of the future

By cachimaster • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I'm very close to Smaldone, we worked on the same group of e-voting vulnerability research.

From the 4 initial group members, 3 of them were already raided, only I remain un-raided and un-arrested. Yeah I don't feel very safe in here.

This is obviously a payback for the government, not unlike Chinese arrests. But this is happening in a western country, and using modern cyber tools. Let me explain this part: Basically the police have software that analyze social networks, mainly twitter. So the software tracks your tweets and the detective try to solve the case that way. You might thing, this is a stupid way to solve a crime, and you will be correct. Add to this, the utter ineptitude of police agents using this software, and you have a ridiculous case like this. Smaldone is obviously innocent and you cannot assume someone is a hacker because he tweets about python and java.

Persecution to e-voting researchers is not new. All researchers from Brazil had to go into exile. Gov don't like hackers messing with the elections, and much less, publishing bugs.

But look forward to a future (very near future) where all your social network posts are actively monitored by, not one, but several government groups, that make inept use of analysis software to make life-altering decisions. This is why anonymity is so fundamental.