The state of Vermont has agreed to suspend enforcement of its net neutrality law pending the outcome of a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission.
In October, the nation's largest broadband industry lobby groups sued Vermont in a US District Court to stop a state law that requires ISPs to follow net neutrality principles in order to qualify for government contracts. But the lobby groups and state agreed to delay litigation and enforcement of the Vermont law in a deal that they detailed in a joint court filing yesterday. The lawsuit against Vermont was filed by mobile industry lobby CTIA, cable industry lobby NCTA, telco lobby USTelecom, the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the American Cable Association (ACA).
The delay will remain in place until after a final decision in the lawsuit seeking to reverse the FCC's net neutrality repeal and the FCC's preemption of state net neutrality laws. Vermont is one of 22 states that sued the FCC in that case in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Tech companies and consumer advocacy groups are also opposing the FCC in the same case. Oral arguments were held last month, and DC Circuit judges will likely issue a decision in the coming months.
This week, certain corners of the gaming Internet have been abuzz with a bit of self-described "amateur analysis" suggesting some "pretty sketchy," spyware-like activity on the part of the Epic Game Store and its launcher software. Epic has now stepped in to defend itself from those accusations, while also admitting to an "outdated implementation" that can make unauthorized access to local Steam information.
The Reddit post "Epic Game Store, Spyware, Tracking, and You!" points to a wide-ranging set of implications based on some broad file and network access traffic observations when the Epic Game Store is running. But much of the post is focused on Epic's association with Chinese gaming giant Tencent, which owns a share of the company.
"Tencent is a significant, but minority shareholder in Epic," co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney wrote in response to the conspiracy theory in one Reddit thread. "I'm the controlling shareholder of Epic... The decisions Epic makes are ultimately my decisions, made here in North Carolina based on my beliefs as a game developer about what the game industry needs!"
Notorious OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma—which has been widely criticized for deceptively marketing its highly addictive painkiller and for its role in spurring the current nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths—is moving ahead with a new, potent drug, one said to be an antidote to opioid overdoses.
The company announced this week that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted fast-track status to its investigational drug nalmefene hydrochloride (HCl), an injectable, emergency treatment intended to rescue people suspected of having an opioid overdose. Purdue suggests that nalmefene HCl’s effects last longer than the similar emergency opioid antagonist naloxone. As such, the company hopes nalmefene HCl will out-compete naloxone at reversing overdoses from the most highly potent opioid, namely fentanyl, which is currently driving the alarming numbers of opioid overdose deaths. The FDA’s fast-track status will speed the development and regulatory review of the drug.
“Opioid antagonists like naloxone have played an important role in the emergency treatment of opioid overdose,” John Renger, Purdue’s head of Research & Development and Regulatory Affairs, said in a statement. “However, because of the increasing number of deaths due to fentanyl and its even more potent analogues, we are focusing on a potentially more potent and longer-lasting rescue option specifically intended to work in those overdose situations.”
Welcome to Edition 1.40 of the Rocket Report! There were some Earth-shaking developments in heavy lift this week, with the announcement by NASA that it will consider using commercial rockets to perform the first Moon launch of the Orion spacecraft. Readers have also submitted a variety of interesting stories, such as Brazil considering a launch site to rival Kourou in neighboring French Guiana.
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.
Vega-C rocket enters qualification phase, but slips. The new European small satellite launch system recently passed its Critical Design Review and is now ready to complete manufacturing and final testing as part of the qualification phase, according to the European Space Agency. The initial flight of the Vega-C booster, a more economical version of Arianespace's Vega rocket, is now planned for early 2020 (this is a slip from late 2019).
The tech giant has hit back over claims that its App store is unfair and levies a tax on developers.
On March 25, Apple executives and partners will take to the stage in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's Cupertino campus to talk about subscriptions, software, services, entertainment, and media. These are all things Apple has dealt with before, but never before has an event focused so completely on them as we're expecting later this month.
That's not to say it's impossible that hardware will appear. The timing is right for an update to Apple's base iPad model, and reports and rumors have been joined by developer beta evidence to imply that hardware refreshes are imminent for a few Apple products like the iPad, iPad mini, iPod touch, and AirPods. These would fit perfectly in an event focused on services like TV, Music, and News: they are media-consumption devices, first and foremost.
But this will be Apple's first public event after it reported a marked decline in worldwide iPhone sales, worrying pundits, analysts, and investors that the iPhone-hardware-dependent company is in for difficult times. It is fitting (and perhaps telling) that the event will focus on services—the division Apple is happiest to boast about right now—rather than hardware.
The warning comes in a National Audit Office (NAO) assessment of the UK's national cyber-defence plan.
AUSTIN, Texas—While watching new documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, I constantly marveled at the film's effort to do the seemingly impossible: to present Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos, as a likeable person.
For one, that's an uphill battle for a Silicon Valley burnout whose crash-and-burn reputation precedes her. For another, this documentary comes from famed takedown artist Alex Gibney, who has previously focused his filmmaking lens on the obvious-villain likes of Enron and the Church of Scientology. Shouldn't we expect the worst?
Things get savage in The Inventor, certainly. Theranos' worst stories have previously been laid bare, and anybody familiar with the company's original promises—transparent, affordable bloodwork for all—won't learn much new in this documentary. (Though, yes, The Inventor is still a fine primer for anyone going into the story blind.) Rather, what Gibney really contributes is a better look at Theranos' secret sauce: how Holmes got so far with so little.
BBC Click’s Lara Lewington looks at some of the best tech news stories of the week.
The new mass-market electric vehicle has a base price of $39,000 and a 230-mile range.
Tonight in Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype version of the Model Y, the fourth mass-produced vehicle that the electric car maker will bring to market. As expected, the vehicle will be a larger SUV take on the Model 3, much like the Model X was the larger, SUV version of the Model S.
Musk revealed very few details about the upcoming car, but some key figures stuck out: the 300-mile, long-range version of the vehicle will go into production in Fall 2020 with an MSRP of $47,000. The 230-mile standard version will cost $37,000 and go into production in Spring 2021, according to Musk. The Y will seat seven people with 66 cubic feet of storage space.
The vehicle will also have a dual-motor all-wheel drive version and an available performance package, both at additional cost.
Malicious hackers wasted no time exploiting a nasty code-execution vulnerability recently disclosed in WinRAR, a Windows file-compression program with 500 million users worldwide. The in-the-wild attacks install malware that, at the time this post was going live, was undetected by the vast majority of antivirus product.
The flaw, disclosed last month by Check Point Research, garnered instant mass attention because it made it possible for attackers to surreptitiously install persistent malicious applications when a target opened a compressed ZIP file using any version of WinRAR released over the past 19 years. The absolute path traversal made it possible for archive files to extract to the Windows startup folder (or any other folder of the archive creator’s choosing) without generating a warning. From there, malicious payloads would automatically be run the next time the computer rebooted.
On Thursday, a researcher at McAfee reported that the security firm identified “100 unique exploits and counting” in the first week since the vulnerability was disclosed. So far, most of the initial targets were located in the US.
The programme is modelled on the Last Mile project in the San Quentin prison in California.
Young people around the world on their fears about the effects of pollution and climate change.
How AI is helping to come up with new weird and wonderful spice combinations.
The two resignations come a week after Mark Zuckerberg outlined plans for a "privacy-focused" platform.
The firm is reportedly planning a stock market flotation in April, hot on the heels of its rival Lyft.
Something deep in the history of the German language pulled speech sounds toward hisses rather than pops. Words like that and ship end with a small popping sound in English, Dutch, and other Germanic languages—but in German, they end in softer s and f sounds—dass, Schiff. Centuries ago, before German was even German, this change was already underway, an example of one of the many small shifts that ends up separating a language from its close cousins and sending it off as its own distinct tongue.
How does change like this happen? One of the major reasons is speech efficiency. Speakers are constantly walking a tightrope between being understood and making speech as easy as possible—over time, this tension pulls languages in new directions. But if efficiency pushed German speakers in this direction, why not Dutch speakers, too? That is, if two languages share a given feature, why does that feature sometimes change in one language but not the other?
A paper published in Science today lays out an intriguing answer: technology might accidentally trigger a change. Changes like agriculture and food-preparation technology changed the arrangement of our teeth—and in turn, the authors suggest, this made certain speech sounds more likely. It's a daring suggestion, flying in the face of well-established linguistic thought. But the authors draw on multiple strands of evidence to support their proposal, which is part of a growing raft of ideas about how culture and environment could play a role in shaping language.
The rash of e-commerce sites infected with card-skimming malware is showing no signs of abating. Researchers on Thursday revealed that seven sites—with more than 500,000 collective visitors per month—have been compromised with a previously unseen strain of sniffing malware designed to surreptitiously swoop in and steal payment card data as soon as visitors make a purchase.
One of those sites, UK sporting goods outlet Fila.co.uk, had been infected since November and had only removed the malware in the past 24 hours, researchers with security firm Group-IB told Ars. The remaining six sites—jungleeny.com, forshaw.com, absolutenewyork.com, cajungrocer.com, getrxd.com, and sharbor.com—remained infected at the time this post was being reported. Ars sent messages seeking comment to all seven sites but has yet to receive a response from any of them.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Division staged what Iranian state media described as "massive drone drills" on March 14, including coordinated offensive operations with dozens of flying-wing drones based on the Lockheed RQ-170 Sentinel, captured by Iran in 2011, and Iranian copies of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator. During the exercise, called "Towards al-Quds" (al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem), a total of about 50 drones—including "Saegheh" unmanned combat aerial vehicles based on the RQ-170's flying wing design—were used in a coordinated air strike on training targets 1,000 kilometers (about 600 miles) from their launch site.
The Saegheh is much smaller than the RQ-170, with a wingspan of about six meters (about 20 feet). It has been shown carrying Sadid-1 TV-guided antitank missiles on its belly in static displays, and it does not appear to have landing gear—unlike a fiberglass replica of the RQ-170 that was displayed five years ago. There are two variants of the Saegheh: one uses a piston-driven propeller for thrust, while the other uses a small turbofan engine.
Video from Iran's PressTV showed guided bombs being dropped from other types of Iranian drones but did not show weapons released from the Saegheh drones. The video claimed 50 of the RQ-170 knockoffs were used in the exercise, while the text of the article published by PressTV said "dozens" in a headline, and then the actual text of the article stated 10 Saegheh drones were used. So just how many were flown is left as an exercise for the reader's imagination.