Skype and Cortana audio listened in on by workers in China with ‘no security measures’

A Microsoft programme to transcribe and vet audio from Skype and Cortana, its voice assistant, ran for years with “no security measures”, according to a former contractor who says he reviewed thousands of potentially sensitive recordings on his personal laptop from his home in Beijing over the two years he worked for the company. The Read more about Skype and Cortana audio listened in on by workers in China with ‘no security measures’[…]

Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds for Owners of Now-Worthless Equipment, shows you why cloud based hardware isn’t the best idea

Spectrum customers who are also users of the company’s home security service are about a month away from being left with a pile of useless equipment that in many cases cost them hundreds of dollars. On February 5, Spectrum will no longer support customers who’ve purchased its Spectrum Home Security equipment. None of the devices—the Read more about Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds for Owners of Now-Worthless Equipment, shows you why cloud based hardware isn’t the best idea[…]

Hackers Are Breaking Directly Into Telecom Companies using RDP to Take Over Customer Phone Numbers themselves

Hackers are now getting telecom employees to run software that lets the hackers directly reach into the internal systems of U.S. telecom companies to take over customer cell phone numbers, Motherboard has learned. Multiple sources in and familiar with the SIM swapping community as well as screenshots shared with Motherboard suggest at least AT&T, T-Mobile, Read more about Hackers Are Breaking Directly Into Telecom Companies using RDP to Take Over Customer Phone Numbers themselves[…]

Checkpeople, why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks’ aggregated personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address?

A database containing the personal details of 56.25m US residents – from names and home addresses to phone numbers and ages – has been found on the public internet, served from a computer with a Chinese IP address, bizarrely enough. The information silo appears to belong to Florida-based CheckPeople.com, which is a typical people-finder website: Read more about Checkpeople, why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks’ aggregated personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address?[…]

FBI Surveillance Vendor Threatens to Sue Tech Reporters for Heinous Crime of Reporting on tombstones, tree stumps and vacuum cleaners they sell with spy cams in them

Motherboard on Thursday revealed that a “secretive” U.S. government vendor whose surveillance products are not publicly advertised has been marketing hidden cameras disguised as seemingly ordinary objects—vacuum cleaners, tree stumps, and tombstones—to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among other law enforcement agencies, and the military, in addition to, ahem, “select clients.” Yes, that’s tombstone cams, Read more about FBI Surveillance Vendor Threatens to Sue Tech Reporters for Heinous Crime of Reporting on tombstones, tree stumps and vacuum cleaners they sell with spy cams in them[…]

Lawsuit against cinema for refusing cash – and thus slurping private data

Michiel Jonker from Arnhem has sued a cinema that has moved location and since then refuses to accept cash at the cash register. All payments have to be made by pin. Jonker feels that this forces visitors to allow the cinema to process personal data. He tried something of the sort in 2018 which was Read more about Lawsuit against cinema for refusing cash – and thus slurping private data[…]

A Closer Look Into Neon and Its Artificial Humans

In short, a Neon is an artificial intelligence in the vein of Halo’s Cortana or Red Dwarf’s Holly, a computer-generated life form that can think and learn on its own, control its own virtual body, has a unique personality, and retains its own set of memories, or at least that’s the goal. A Neon doesn’t Read more about A Closer Look Into Neon and Its Artificial Humans[…]

Amazon fired four workers who secretly snooped on Ring doorbell camera footage

Amazon’s Ring home security camera biz says it has fired multiple employees caught covertly watching video feeds from customer devices. The admission came in a letter [PDF] sent in response to questions raised by US Senators critical of Ring’s privacy practices. Ring recounted how, on four separate occasions, workers were let go for overstepping their Read more about Amazon fired four workers who secretly snooped on Ring doorbell camera footage[…]

Delta and Misapplied Sciences introduce parallel reality – a display that shows different content to different people at the same time without augmentation

In a ritual I’ve undertaken at least a thousand times, I lift my head to consult an airport display and determine which gate my plane will depart from. Normally, that involves skimming through a sprawling list of flights to places I’m not going. This time, however, all I see is information meant just for me: Read more about Delta and Misapplied Sciences introduce parallel reality – a display that shows different content to different people at the same time without augmentation[…]

A Bed That Cools and Heats Each Sleeper Separately, sets the softness per side and also adjusts automatically to silence snorers

Sleep Number first made a name for itself with its line of adjustable air-filled mattresses that allowed a pair of sleepers to each select how firm or soft they wanted their side of the bed to be. The preferred setting was known as a user’s Sleep Number, and over the years the company has introduced Read more about A Bed That Cools and Heats Each Sleeper Separately, sets the softness per side and also adjusts automatically to silence snorers[…]

DHS Plan to Collect DNA From Migrant Detainees Will Begin Soon – because centralised databases with personally sensitive data in them are a great idea. Just ask the Jews how useful they were during WWII

The Trump administration’s plan to collect DNA evidence from migrants detained in U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities will commence soon in the form of a 90-day pilot program in Detroit and Southwest Texas, CNN reported on Monday. News of the plan first emerged in October, when the Read more about DHS Plan to Collect DNA From Migrant Detainees Will Begin Soon – because centralised databases with personally sensitive data in them are a great idea. Just ask the Jews how useful they were during WWII[…]

During Brain Surgery, This AI Can Diagnose a Tumor in 2 Minutes

Expert human pathologists typically require around 30 minutes to diagnose brain tumors from tissue samples extracted during surgery. A new artificially intelligent system can do it in less than 150 seconds—and it does so more accurately than its human counterparts. New research published today in Nature Medicine describes a novel diagnostic technique that leverages the Read more about During Brain Surgery, This AI Can Diagnose a Tumor in 2 Minutes[…]

New evidence shows that the key assumption made in the discovery of dark energy is in error

The most direct and strongest evidence for the accelerating universe with dark energy is provided by the distance measurements using type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) for the galaxies at high redshift. This result is based on the assumption that the corrected luminosity of SN Ia through the empirical standardization would not evolve with redshift. New Read more about New evidence shows that the key assumption made in the discovery of dark energy is in error[…]

Injecting the flu vaccine into a tumor gets the immune system to attack it

Now, some researchers have focused on the immune response, inducing it at the site of the tumor. And they do so by a remarkably simple method: injecting the tumor with the flu vaccine. As a bonus, the mice it was tested on were successfully immunized, too. Revving up the immune system This is one of Read more about Injecting the flu vaccine into a tumor gets the immune system to attack it[…]

Fresh Cambridge Analytica leak ‘shows global manipulation is out of control’

An explosive leak of tens of thousands of documents from the defunct data firm Cambridge Analytica is set to expose the inner workings of the company that collapsed after the Observer revealed it had misappropriated 87 million Facebook profiles. More than 100,000 documents relating to work in 68 countries that will lay bare the global Read more about Fresh Cambridge Analytica leak ‘shows global manipulation is out of control’[…]

U.S. government limits exports of artificial intelligence software – seem to have forgotten what happened when they limited cryptographic exports in the 90s

The Trump administration will make it more difficult to export artificial intelligence software as of next week, part of a bid to keep sensitive technologies out of the hands of rival powers like China. Under a new rule that goes into effect on Monday, companies that export certain types of geospatial imagery software from the Read more about U.S. government limits exports of artificial intelligence software – seem to have forgotten what happened when they limited cryptographic exports in the 90s[…]

Bosch’s LCD Car Visor Only Blocks Your View of the Road Where the Sun Is In Your Eyes

Instead of a rigid panel wrapped in fabric, Bosch’s Virtual Visor features an LCD panel that can be flipped down when the sun is hanging out on the horizon. The panel works alongside a camera that’s pointed at a driver’s face whose live video feed is processed using a custom trained AI to recognize facial Read more about Bosch’s LCD Car Visor Only Blocks Your View of the Road Where the Sun Is In Your Eyes[…]

Smart speaker maker Sonos takes heat for deliberately bricking older kit with ‘Trade Up’ plan

Soundbar and smart-speaker-flinger Sonos is starting the new year with the wrong kind of publicity. Customers and netizens are protesting against its policy of deliberately rendering working systems unusable, which is bad for the environment as it sends devices prematurely to an electronic waste graveyard. The policy is also hazardous for those who unknowingly purchase Read more about Smart speaker maker Sonos takes heat for deliberately bricking older kit with ‘Trade Up’ plan[…]

This particle accelerator fits on the head of a pin

If you know nothing else about particle accelerators, you probably know that they’re big — sometimes miles long. But a new approach from Stanford researchers has led to an accelerator shorter from end to end than a human hair is wide. The general idea behind particle accelerators is that they’re a long line of radiation Read more about This particle accelerator fits on the head of a pin[…]

Government exposes addresses of > 1000 new year honours recipients

More than 1,000 celebrities, government employees and politicians who have received honours had their home and work addresses posted on a government website, the Guardian can reveal. The accidental disclosure of the tranche of personal details is likely to be considered a significant security breach, particularly as senior police and Ministry of Defence staff were Read more about Government exposes addresses of > 1000 new year honours recipients[…]

Wyze data leak may have exposed personal data of millions of users

Security camera startup Wyze has confirmed it suffered a data leak this month that may have left the personal information of millions of its customers exposed on the internet. No passwords or financial information were exposed, but email addresses, Wi-Fi network IDs and body metrics were left unprotected from Dec. 4 through Dec. 26, the Read more about Wyze data leak may have exposed personal data of millions of users[…]

Researchers detail AI that de-hazes and colorizes underwater photos

Ever notice that underwater images tend to be be blurry and somewhat distorted? That’s because phenomena like light attenuation and back-scattering adversely affect visibility. To remedy this, researchers at Harbin Engineering University in China devised a machine learning algorithm that generates realistic water images, along with a second algorithm that trains on those images to Read more about Researchers detail AI that de-hazes and colorizes underwater photos[…]

France slaps Google with $166M antitrust fine for opaque and inconsistent ad rules

France’s competition watchdog has slapped Google with a €150 million (~$166 million) fine after finding the tech giant abused its dominant position in the online search advertising market. In a decision announced today — following a lengthy investigation into the online ad sector — the competition authority sanctioned Google for adopting what it describes as Read more about France slaps Google with $166M antitrust fine for opaque and inconsistent ad rules[…]