Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft’s creepy Productivity Score now in 365

Microsoft’s Productivity Score has put in a public appearance in Microsoft 365 and attracted the ire of privacy campaigners and activists. The Register had already noted the vaguely creepy-sounding technology back in May. The goal of it is to use telemetry captured by the Windows behemoth to track the productivity of an organisation through metrics Read more about Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft’s creepy Productivity Score now in 365[…]

Prolonged AWS outage takes down a big chunk of the internet

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s internet infrastructure service that is the backbone of many websites and apps, experienced a multi-hour outage on Wednesday that affected a large portion of the internet. The service has been nearly fully restored as of 4:18AM ET on Thursday morning, according to Amazon. Source: Prolonged AWS outage takes down a Read more about Prolonged AWS outage takes down a big chunk of the internet[…]

IRS contracted to Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times

The IRS was able to query a database of location data quietly harvested from ordinary smartphone apps over 10,000 times, according to a copy of the contract between IRS and the data provider obtained by Motherboard. The document provides more insight into what exactly the IRS wanted to do with a tool purchased from Venntel, Read more about IRS contracted to Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times[…]

GM launches OnStar Insurance Services – uses your driving data to calculate insurance rate

Andrew Rose, president of OnStar Insurance Services commented: “OnStar Insurance will promote safety, security and peace of mind. We aim to be an industry leader, offering insurance in an innovative way. “GM customers who have subscribed to OnStar and connected services will be eligible to receive discounts, while also receiving fully-integrated services from OnStar Insurance Read more about GM launches OnStar Insurance Services – uses your driving data to calculate insurance rate[…]

Struggling electric jet startup Zunum sues Boeing for fraud, misuse of trade secrets, poaching talent

In 2017, Zunum Aero was flying high. The Kirkland, Washington-based aviation startup came out of stealth mode with bold plans to build a fleet of 12-seat hybrid electric jets for short, regional hops between cities. The company, which had received millions of dollars from the venture arms of Boeing and JetBlue, said it would be Read more about Struggling electric jet startup Zunum sues Boeing for fraud, misuse of trade secrets, poaching talent[…]

Australia’s spy agencies caught collecting COVID-19 app data

Australia’s intelligence agencies have been caught “incidentally” collecting data from the country’s COVIDSafe contact-tracing app during the first six months of its launch, a government watchdog has found. The report, published Monday by the Australian government’s inspector general for the intelligence community, which oversees the government’s spy and eavesdropping agencies, said the app data was Read more about Australia’s spy agencies caught collecting COVID-19 app data[…]

Amazon’s ad-hoc Ring, Echo mesh network can mooch off your neighbors’ Wi-Fi if needed – and it’s opt-out

Amazon is close to launching Sidewalk – its ad-hoc wireless network for smart-home devices that taps into people’s Wi-Fi – and it is pretty much an opt-out affair. The gist of Sidewalk is this: nearby Amazon gadgets, regardless of who owns them, can automatically organize themselves into their own private wireless network mesh, communicating primarily Read more about Amazon’s ad-hoc Ring, Echo mesh network can mooch off your neighbors’ Wi-Fi if needed – and it’s opt-out[…]

Disney (Disney!) Accused Of Trying To Lawyer Its Way Out Of Paying Royalties To Alan Dean Foster, Star Wars and Alien book writer

Disney, of course, has quite the reputation as a copyright maximalist. It has been accused of being the leading company in always pushing for more draconian copyright laws. And then, of course, there’s the infamous Mickey Mouse curve, first designated a decade ago by Tom Bell, highlighting how copyright term extensions seemed to always happen Read more about Disney (Disney!) Accused Of Trying To Lawyer Its Way Out Of Paying Royalties To Alan Dean Foster, Star Wars and Alien book writer[…]

Scientists Produce Rare Diamonds In Minutes At Room Temperature

While traditional diamonds are formed over billions of years deep in the Earth where extreme pressures and temperatures provide just the right conditions to crystalize carbon, scientists are working on more expedient ways of forging the precious stones. An international team of researchers has succeeded in whittling this process down to mere minutes, demonstrating a Read more about Scientists Produce Rare Diamonds In Minutes At Room Temperature[…]

Split-Second ‘Phantom’ Images Can Fool Tesla’s Autopilot

one group of researchers has been focused on what autonomous driving systems might see that a human driver doesn’t—including “phantom” objects and signs that aren’t really there, which could wreak havoc on the road. Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev have spent the last two years experimenting with those “phantom” images to Read more about Split-Second ‘Phantom’ Images Can Fool Tesla’s Autopilot[…]

Nintendo Continues Cracking Down On People Selling Switch Hacks: jailbraking w RCM = piracy in their minds

Nintendo filed a lawsuit Wednesday against an Amazon Marketplace user who was allegedly selling devices called RCM loaders. Used to help people jailbreak their Switch, shutting these down is the latest in the company’s efforts to stop players from pirating its games. As first reported by Polygon, the lawsuit against reseller Le Hoang Minh seeks Read more about Nintendo Continues Cracking Down On People Selling Switch Hacks: jailbraking w RCM = piracy in their minds[…]

Oppo’s X 2021 rollable concept phone expands in your hand

Today’s Inno Day 2020 event unveiled the Oppo X 2021 concept smartphone, which is all about its “continuously variable OLED display.” With a simple swipe on a button, the phone is able to transform between a regular 6.7-inch size and a tablet-like 7.4-inch size, and the software interface adapts accordingly for optimal experience — be Read more about Oppo’s X 2021 rollable concept phone expands in your hand[…]

YouTube will run ads on smaller creators’ videos without paying them

Don’t be surprised if you start seeing ads on videos made by smaller YouTube creators. The video-sharing website has updated its Terms of Service, and it includes a new section that gives it the right to monetize videos from channels not big enough to be part of its Partner Program. That doesn’t mean new creators Read more about YouTube will run ads on smaller creators’ videos without paying them[…]

After 12,523 replacements, Feds investigate Tesla Media Control Unit failures

Is one of Tesla’s infotainment systems defective by design? That’s a question the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to answer. It has started an engineering analysis after hundreds of customer complaints of bricked systems resulted in a preliminary investigation in June. NHTSA thinks it knows what the problem is: an 8GB eMMC NAND flash Read more about After 12,523 replacements, Feds investigate Tesla Media Control Unit failures[…]

The ones who brought you Let’s Encrypt, bring you: Tools for gathering anonymized app usage metrics from netizens

The Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) has a plan to allow companies to collect information about how people are using their products while protecting the privacy of those generating the data. Today, the California-based non-profit, which operates Let’s Encrypt, introduced Prio Services, a way to gather online product metrics without compromising the personal information of Read more about The ones who brought you Let’s Encrypt, bring you: Tools for gathering anonymized app usage metrics from netizens[…]

Apple’s ‘Batterygate’ Saga Wraps Up With $113 Million Settlement

Younger readers might not know, but there was once an annual tradition in which Apple would release a new iPhone, old iPhones would suddenly start performing poorly, and users would speculate about a conspiracy to get them to buy the shiny new thing. It turned out that a conspiracy, of sorts, did exist, and Apple Read more about Apple’s ‘Batterygate’ Saga Wraps Up With $113 Million Settlement[…]

Scientists Discover Outer Space has as much light between galaxies as inside galaxies – it’s not black after all

Look up at the night sky and, if you’re away from city lights, you’ll see stars. The space between those bright points of light is, of course, filled with inky blackness. Some astronomers have wondered about that all that dark space–about how dark it really is. “Is space truly black?” says Tod Lauer, an astronomer Read more about Scientists Discover Outer Space has as much light between galaxies as inside galaxies – it’s not black after all[…]

Cerebras’ wafer-size chip is 10,000 times faster than a GPU

Cerebras Systems and the federal Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory today announced that the company’s CS-1 system is more than 10,000 times faster than a graphics processing unit (GPU). On a practical level, this means AI neural networks that previously took months to train can now train in minutes on the Cerebras system. Read more about Cerebras’ wafer-size chip is 10,000 times faster than a GPU[…]

Google Will Make It a bit Easier to Turn Off Smart Features which track you, Slightly Harder for Regulators to Break Up Google

Soon, Google will present you with a clear choice to disable smart features, like Google assistant reminders to pay your bills and predictive text in Gmail. Whether you like the Gmail mindreader function that autofills “all the best” and “reaching out,” or have long dreaded the arrival of the machine staring back from the void,: Read more about Google Will Make It a bit Easier to Turn Off Smart Features which track you, Slightly Harder for Regulators to Break Up Google[…]

Apple hits back at European activist lawsuit against unauthorised tracking installs – says it doesn’t use it… but 3rd parties do

The group, led by campaigner Max Schrems, filed complaints with data protection watchdogs in Germany and Spain alleging that the tracking tool illegally enabled the $2 trillion U.S. tech giant to store users’ data without their consent. Apple directly rebutted the claims filed by Noyb, the digital rights group founded by Schrems, saying they were Read more about Apple hits back at European activist lawsuit against unauthorised tracking installs – says it doesn’t use it… but 3rd parties do[…]

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps

The U.S. military is buying the granular movement data of people around the world, harvested from innocuous-seeming apps, Motherboard has learned. The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Read more about How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps[…]

Bumble Left Daters’ Location Data Up For Grabs For Over Six Months

Bumble, the dating app behemoth that’s allegedly headed to a major IPO as soon as next year, apparently took over half a year to deal with major security flaws that left sensitive information its millions of users vulnerable. That’s according to new research posted over the weekend by cybersecurity firm Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) detailing Read more about Bumble Left Daters’ Location Data Up For Grabs For Over Six Months[…]

GitHub Restores YouTube Downloader Following DMCA Takedown, starts to protect developers from DMCA misuse

Last month, GitHub removed a popular tool that is used to download videos from websites like YouTube after it received a DMCA takedown notice from the Recording Industry Association of America. For a moment, it seemed that GitHub might throw developers under the bus in the same fashion that Twitch has recently treated its streamers. Read more about GitHub Restores YouTube Downloader Following DMCA Takedown, starts to protect developers from DMCA misuse[…]

Worn-out NAND flash blamed for Tesla vehicle gremlins, such as rearview cam failures and silenced audio alerts

Worn-out NAND memory chips can cause a whole host of problems with some Tesla cars, ranging from the failure of the rearview camera to an absence of turn signal chimes and other audio alerts, a watchdog warned this month. Some 159,000 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles built between 2012 and 2018 are at Read more about Worn-out NAND flash blamed for Tesla vehicle gremlins, such as rearview cam failures and silenced audio alerts[…]

NSA Spied On Denmark As It Chose Its Future Fighter Aircraft: Report – also FR, NL, DE, NO, SE

Reports in the Danish media allege that the United States spied on the country’s government and its defense industry, as well as other European defense contractors, in an attempt to gain information on its fighter acquisition program. The revelations, published online by DR, Denmark’s Danish public-service broadcaster, concern the run-up to the fighter competition that Read more about NSA Spied On Denmark As It Chose Its Future Fighter Aircraft: Report – also FR, NL, DE, NO, SE[…]