GitHub starts week with 4 whole hours of downtime

GitHub marked the start of the week with more than four hours of downtime, as GitHub Issues, Actions, Pages, Packages and API requests all reported “degraded performance.” A problem on the world’s most popular code repository and developer collaboration site was first reported around 05:00 UK time (04:00 UTC) this morning and was resolved at Read more about GitHub starts week with 4 whole hours of downtime[…]

Only 9% of visitors give GDPR consent to be tracked

Most GDPR consent banner implementations are deliberately engineered to be difficult to use and are full of dark patterns that are illegal according to the law. I wanted to find out how many visitors would engage with a GDPR banner if it were implemented properly and how many would grant consent to their information being Read more about Only 9% of visitors give GDPR consent to be tracked[…]

JK Rowling joins 150 public figures warning over free speech and instant judgement

They say they applaud a recent “needed reckoning” on racial justice, but argue it has fuelled stifling of open debate. The letter denounces “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism” and “a blinding moral certainty”. Several signatories have been attacked for comments that caused offence. “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of Read more about JK Rowling joins 150 public figures warning over free speech and instant judgement[…]

New study detects global atmosphere rings like a bell

A ringing bell vibrates simultaneously at a low-pitched fundamental tone and at many higher-pitched overtones, producing a pleasant musical sound. A recent study, just published in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences by scientists at Kyoto University and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, shows that the Earth’s entire atmosphere vibrates in an analogous manner, in a Read more about New study detects global atmosphere rings like a bell[…]

Detroit cops employed facial recognition algos that only misidentifies suspects 96 per cent of the time

Cops in Detroit have admitted using facial-recognition technology that fails to accurately identify potential suspects a whopping 96 per cent of the time. The revelation was made by the American police force’s chief James Craig during a public hearing, this week. Craig was grilled over the wrongful arrest of Robert Williams, who was mistaken as Read more about Detroit cops employed facial recognition algos that only misidentifies suspects 96 per cent of the time[…]

Fraunhofer releases H.266/VVC which encodes video 50% smaller

Fraunhofer HHI (together with partners from industry including Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Sony) is celebrating the release and official adoption of the new global video coding standard H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC). This new standard offers improved compression, which reduces data requirements by around 50% of the bit rate relative to the previous Read more about Fraunhofer releases H.266/VVC which encodes video 50% smaller[…]

Research Libraries Tell Publishers To Drop Their Awful Lawsuit Against The Internet Archive

I’ve seen a lot of people — including those who are supporting the publishers’ legal attack on the Internet Archive — insist that they “support libraries,” but that the Internet Archive’s Open Library and National Emergency Library are “not libraries.” First off, they’re wrong. But, more importantly, it’s good to see actual librarians now coming Read more about Research Libraries Tell Publishers To Drop Their Awful Lawsuit Against The Internet Archive[…]

European police hacked encrypted phones used by thousands of criminals

In one of the largest law enforcement busts ever, European police and crime agencies hacked an encrypted communications platform used by thousands of criminals and drug traffickers. By infiltrating the platform, Encrochat, police across Europe gained access to a hundred million encrypted messages. In the UK, those messages helped officials arrest 746 suspects, seize £54 Read more about European police hacked encrypted phones used by thousands of criminals[…]

Uncovered: 1,000 phrases that incorrectly trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant

As Alexa, Google Home, Siri, and other voice assistants have become fixtures in millions of homes, privacy advocates have grown concerned that their near-constant listening to nearby conversations could pose more risk than benefit to users. New research suggests the privacy threat may be greater than previously thought. The findings demonstrate how common it is Read more about Uncovered: 1,000 phrases that incorrectly trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant[…]

Ads are taking over Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones — and it needs to stop

I’ve used a Samsung Galaxy smartphone almost every day for nearly 4 years. I used them because Samsung had fantastic hardware that was matched by (usually) excellent software. But in 2020, a Samsung phone is no longer my daily driver, and there’s one simple reason that’s the case: Ads. Ads Everywhere Ads in Samsung phones Read more about Ads are taking over Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones — and it needs to stop[…]

Zoom misses its own deadline to publish its first transparency report

How many government demands for user data has Zoom received? We won’t know until “later this year,” an updated Zoom blog post now says. The video conferencing giant previously said it would release the number of government demands it has received by June 30. But the company said it’s missed that target and has given Read more about Zoom misses its own deadline to publish its first transparency report[…]

Consumer orgs ask world’s competition watchdogs: Are you really going to let Google walk off with all Fitbit’s data?

Twenty consumer and citizen rights groups have published an open letter [PDF] urging regulators to pay closer attention to Google parent Alphabet’s planned acquisition of Fitbit. The letter describes the pending purchase as a “game-changer” that will test regulators’ resolve to analyse how the vast quantities of health and location data slurped by Google would Read more about Consumer orgs ask world’s competition watchdogs: Are you really going to let Google walk off with all Fitbit’s data?[…]

Purism’s quest against Intel’s Management Engine black box CPU now comes in 14 inches

This latest device succeeds the previous Librem 13 laptop, which ran for four generations, and includes a slightly bigger display, a hexa-core Ice Lake Intel Core i7 processor, gigabit Ethernet, and USB-C. As the name implies, the Librem 14 packs a 14-inch, 1920×1080 IPS display. Purism said this comes without increasing the laptop’s dimensions thanks Read more about Purism’s quest against Intel’s Management Engine black box CPU now comes in 14 inches[…]

Facebook says 5,000 app developers got user data after Cambridge Analytica scandal cutoff date

The company said that it continued sharing user data with approximately 5,000 developers even after their application’s access expired. The incident is related to a security control that Facebook added to its systems following the Cambridge Analytica scandal of early 2018. Responding to criticism that it allowed app developers too much access to user information, Read more about Facebook says 5,000 app developers got user data after Cambridge Analytica scandal cutoff date[…]

Microsoft is forcing Edge on Windows users with a malware-like install

If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady Read more about Microsoft is forcing Edge on Windows users with a malware-like install[…]

After a second stage failure, Rocket Lab loses seven satellites

On Sunday morning, local time in New Zealand, Rocket Lab launched its 13th mission. The booster’s first stage performed normally, but just as the second stage neared an altitude of 200km, something went wrong and the vehicle was lost. In the immediate aftermath of the failure, the company did not provide any additional information about Read more about After a second stage failure, Rocket Lab loses seven satellites[…]

New mathematical idea reins in AI bias towards making unethical and costly commercial choices

Researchers from the University of Warwick, Imperial College London, EPFL (Lausanne) and Sciteb Ltd have found a mathematical means of helping regulators and business manage and police Artificial Intelligence systems’ biases towards making unethical, and potentially very costly and damaging commercial choices—an ethical eye on AI. Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly deployed in commercial situations. Read more about New mathematical idea reins in AI bias towards making unethical and costly commercial choices[…]

Google Just Acquired Smart Glasses Startup North, then kills off the product

Last Friday, it was reported that Canadian smart glasses startup North was on the verge of being snapped up by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Today, it’s official. North announced the acquisition on both Twitter and in an official blog. Details regarding the terms of the sale were scant, though a Globe and Mail scoop from Read more about Google Just Acquired Smart Glasses Startup North, then kills off the product[…]

The internet becomes trademarkable, sort of, with near-unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Booking.com

The internet’s domain names have become potentially trademarkable following a decision by the US Supreme Court today that Booking.com can in fact be registered with America’s Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – against officials’ objections. The near-unanimous decision [PDF] – Justice Stephen Breyer was the sole rebel – went against the PTO’s legal arguments that Read more about The internet becomes trademarkable, sort of, with near-unanimous Supreme Court ruling on Booking.com[…]

Three words you do not want to hear regarding a ‘secure browser’ called SafePay… Remote. Code. Execution

Folks running Bitdefender’s Total Security 2020 package should check they have the latest version installed following the disclosure of a remote code execution bug. Wladimir Palant, cofounder of Adblock-Plus-maker Eyeo, tipped off Bitdefender about the flaw, CVE-2020-8102, after discovering what he called “seemingly small weaknesses” that could be exploited by a hostile website to take Read more about Three words you do not want to hear regarding a ‘secure browser’ called SafePay… Remote. Code. Execution[…]

Burger King Is Leveraging Tesla Autopilot’s Confusion To Sell Whoppers

the Monarch of Meat announced a campaign that takes advantage of some sloppy sign recognition in the Tesla Autopilot’s Traffic Light and Stop Sign control, specifically in instances where the Tesla confuses a Burger King sign for a stop sign (maybe a “traffic control” sign?) and proceeds to stop the car, leaving the occupants of Read more about Burger King Is Leveraging Tesla Autopilot’s Confusion To Sell Whoppers[…]

Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Comcast to handle DNS-over-HTTPS for Firefox-using subscribers

Comcast has agreed to be the first home broadband internet provider to handle secure DNS-over-HTTPS queries for Firefox browser users in the US, Mozilla has announced. This means the ISP, which has joined Moz’s Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) Program, will perform domain-name-to-IP-address lookups for subscribers using Firefox via encrypted HTTPS channels. That prevents network eavesdroppers Read more about Talk about the fox guarding the hen house. Comcast to handle DNS-over-HTTPS for Firefox-using subscribers[…]

Russia returns to space tourism and offers a first citizen spacewalk

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has re-entered the space tourism market and this time will offer one person the chance to spacewalk. The agency on Thursday announced a new deal with US outfit Space Adventures to take two people to the International Space Station atop a Soyuz rocket. One of the tourists, according to Space Adventures’ Read more about Russia returns to space tourism and offers a first citizen spacewalk[…]

As advertisers revolt, Facebook commits to flagging ‘newsworthy’ political speech that violates policy

As advertisers pull away from Facebook to protest the social networking giant’s hands-off approach to misinformation and hate speech, the company is instituting a number of stronger policies to woo them back. In a livestreamed segment of the company’s weekly all-hands meeting, CEO Mark Zuckerberg recapped some of the steps Facebook is already taking, and Read more about As advertisers revolt, Facebook commits to flagging ‘newsworthy’ political speech that violates policy[…]