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Total votes: 43

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Industry & Technology

Revolut admits making up stats in adverts

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 12:56pm
Digital banking service Revolut is referred to the City watchdog over its Valentine's Day "single takeaway" ad.

Apple to pay teenager who found FaceTime bug

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 12:54pm
The flaw let iPhone owners eavesdrop on people they called via the FaceTime video-chat system.

Robot aims to inspire girls to take STEM and other news

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 11:53am
BBC Click's Jen Copestake looks at some of the best technology stories of the week.

YouTube U-turn over child abuse singer

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 11:47am
YouTube deletes singer Austin Jones's channel, after he exchanges sexual images with underage girls.

Climate change: UK carbon capture project begins

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 7:46am
A controversial new scheme is capturing CO2 emissions from wood burning.

Australia parliament hit by cyber-hack attempt

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 6:37am
Politicians' passwords have all been reset, but officials say it appears no information was stolen.

Jeff Bezos goes public with alleged AMI blackmail over nudes

Ars Technica - February 8, 2019 - 1:40am

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

On Thursday afternoon, Jeff Bezos took to Medium to excoriate David Pecker and his company American Media Inc.—which owns the National Enquirer—for attempting "extortion and blackmail." Rather than comply with their demands, the Amazon founder and CEO (who also owns The Washington Post) has published emails from AMI executives threatening to publish a number of embarrassing photos of Bezos and a woman the Enquirer claims is his mistress.

The kerfuffle all started several weeks ago, when the National Enquirer published text messages that it alleged proved an affair between Bezos—who is married—and another woman, Lauren Sánchez. As a result, Bezos commissioned an investigation into how the paper obtained the text messages, an act which he claims has enraged Pecker. Bezos writes that AMI subsequently contacted his lawyers demanding a halt to the investigation. Should Bezos' lawyers not comply, the Enquirer would publish 10 purloined selfies of Bezos and Sanchez, one of which was described as a "d*ck pick."

The following day, Bezos writes that he received another email that he also reproduced in full on Medium. The message demands that he and his lead investigator, Gavin de Becker, make public statements to the effect that "they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces, and [they make] an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility."

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

'How a smartphone saved my mother's life'

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 1:04am
The smartphone is becoming a powerful medical tool that can diagnose a growing number of conditions.

EE data breach ‘led to stalking’

BBC Technology News - February 8, 2019 - 1:02am
A customer's ex-partner accessed her new address and bank details, before turning up at her home.

Just when an end seemed near, two 3D-printed gun-file legal battles get new life

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 11:30pm

Enlarge / The information contained on this Defense Distributed USB drive has been sparking quite a bit of legal action over the last year. (credit: Nathan Mattise)

Last week, the legal drama surrounding 3D-printed gun files and firearms tech company Defense Distributed seemed near the finish line. A judge had newly ruled that a federal court in Texas lacked jurisdiction to decide whether a new New Jersey "ghost gun" law was unconstitutional in Defense Distributed v. Grewal. And a previous, separate effort from 19 states and the District of Columbia to keep the gun files offline, State of Washington v. Department of State, continued to sit in limbo as it had for months. Nothing happened in the case since the fall when the defense wanted to stay (or pause) the whole thing. The defense claimed rule changes were coming at the State Department within the next four months, and those tweaks would make Washington irrelevant.

But this week, two new and unexpected court filings have set the table for yet another round in this ongoing courtroom saga. In one motion, the judge in Washington v. State has decided the case won't wait any longer and can move forward. And in the other filing, Grewal may now get a sequel situated in the state of New Jersey, as Defense Distributed has submitted a fresh legal complaint against New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. The company did so after a website that hosted DD's gun files received a corresponding takedown notice from New Jersey.

Evidently it can’t wait

The last major action in Washington came toward the end of 2018 when the defendants filed a motion to pause everything for four months while the State Department considered new rules that it argued would "directly bear on this case." Washington et al. pursued this legal action initially because they believed that, when the Department of Justice settled its five-year legal battle with Defense Distributed in July 2018 and allowed the CAD files in question to be re-posted, that action violated the Constitution. But in a November 2018 filing, government lawyers for the defense explained that rule changes being considered by the State Department would make any legal conflicts in Washington moot.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Flickr gives free accounts a few more days to save their pictures from destruction

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 10:47pm

Enlarge (credit: Randy Adams / Flickr)

Last November, photo-hosting site Flickr announced that it was going to slash the storage afforded to free accounts; they'd be capped at just 1,000 pictures each. Starting January 8 this year, free accounts with more than 1,000 pictures were rendered unable to upload any new images, and on February 5, the service was due to start deleting the excess images. Flickr intends to delete pictures working from the oldest to the newest until each account is brought under the threshold.

February 5 has come and gone, and so far nothing has been deleted. Deletion is still in the cards, but Flickr has extended its deadline to March 12, giving its users a few more weeks to rescue their pictures. The extension comes amid widespread difficulties with downloading pictures en masse from the site, especially among its very heaviest users. As Flickr's own help pages note, it can take as long as a week to package your pictures into a single downloadable ZIP file.

Alternatively, account holders can upgrade to Flickr Pro to safeguard their pictures.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Cable lobby asks for net neutrality law allowing paid prioritization

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 10:20pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | nevarpp)

Cable industry chief lobbyist Michael Powell today asked Congress for a net neutrality law that would ban blocking and throttling but allow Internet providers to charge for prioritization under certain circumstances.

Powell—a Republican who was FCC chairman from 2001 to 2005 and is now CEO of cable lobby group NCTA—spoke to lawmakers today at a Communications and Technology subcommittee hearing on net neutrality (see a transcript of Powell's prepared testimony).

Powell said there is "common ground around the basic tenets of net neutrality rules: There should be no blocking or throttling of lawful content. There should be no paid prioritization that creates fast lanes and slow lanes, absent public benefit. And, there should be transparency to consumers over network practices."

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Woody Allen sues Amazon for $68m for dropping A Rainy Day in New York

BBC Technology News - February 7, 2019 - 10:17pm
The film-maker takes legal action against the company for allegedly refusing to release his latest film.

Apple pushes fix for “FacePalm,” possibly its creepiest vulnerability ever

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 9:53pm

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple has patched one of its creepiest vulnerabilities ever—a flaw in its FaceTime messenger app that made it possible for people to eavesdrop on audio and video captured by iPhones and Macs.

The bug in Group FaceTime, a feature that allows conference-call-style chats, made it trivial for someone to eavesdrop on someone else simply by initiating a FaceTime call, swiping up and choosing “add person,” and entering their own number to add themselves as a participant in a Group FaceTime call. While people on the receiving end would see a call was coming through, they would have no idea that the person trying to connect could already hear nearby audio and, in many cases, see video.

Two other potentially serious iOS security bugs Apple fixed Thursday have been under active attack in the wild, security researchers with Google's Project Zero said. One bug indexed as CVE-2019-7287, is a memory corruption flaw in the IOKit. Apple said it may allow apps to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. Another memory corruption bug in Foundation, CVE-2019-7286 may allow an application to gain elevated privileges.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Second-generation Range Rover Evoque gets hybrid option

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 9:07pm

Enlarge / A 2020 Land Rover Evoque parked on a drawbridge over the Chicago River. (credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

CHICAGO—At the Chicago Auto Show, Land Rover took the wraps off the newly redesigned Range Rover Evoque. Originally introduced for the 2011 model year, the second-generation subcompact SUV has undergone a complete makeover, featuring a hybrid powertrain option, advanced driver-assistance tech, and what Land Rover calls "groundbreaking" off-road tech.

Starting at $42,650 for the base S model, the 2020 Evoque keeps the coupe-like silhouette and dimensions of the first-generation models. Although it's roughly the same size, Land Rover has carved out more interior space for the second-gen Evoque to make the backseat more comfortable. There's also 6 percent more luggage space (now 21.5 cubic feet), which expands to 50.5 cubic feet when the back seat is folded flat.

In addition to the four-cylinder, 2.0-liter twin-turbo engine, there will be a 48V mild hybrid powertrain version that is paired with the internal-combustion engine. Like other hybrids, the Evoque will use regenerative braking to charge the battery positioned under the floor of the cabin. The engine will shut off when the Evoque drops below 11mph, and the car will tap the battery to boost acceleration once it starts moving again.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Instagram vows to remove all graphic self-harm images from site

BBC Technology News - February 7, 2019 - 8:40pm
But some pictures - such as scars - will be allowed to remain, the head of the platform says.

Dealmaster: Take $150 off a new 11-inch iPad Pro with 256GB of storage

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 8:30pm

Enlarge (credit: TechBargains)

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a deal on Apple's latest 11-inch iPad Pro, the 256GB model of which is currently down to $799 at Amazon (for select users) and B&H. That's a $150 discount and the lowest sale price we've seen.

As we noted in our review a few months back, it's still premature to say the 2018 iPad Pros can totally replace a traditional laptop for most people's productivity needs. iOS is still a mobile-first operating system, and the tablet's USB-C port doesn't support external peripherals as easily as your everyday notebook. There's no headphone jack, annoyingly, and to get the most out of the device, you'll still need to pay for an external keyboard, which drives the price up further.

All that said, just because the iPad Pro can't serve as a pseudo-laptop for most people doesn't mean it can't work for everyone. And taken as a iPad, it's a phenomenal piece of hardware. The bezels are slimmer, Apple's A12X chip is blazingly fast, and the 120Hz display is both smoother and more color accurate than Apple's lower-end offerings. The 9.7-inch iPad—which is also on sale—is still the best tablet for most people, but if you've been wanting the best iPad possible for gaming, multimedia work, or what have you, this is a good time to take a look.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Messy office owners, rejoice: Skype now blurs the background to your video

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 7:18pm

Watch the user on the bottom left corner—voila! No more ho-hum apartment backdrop.

The desktop Skype client now supports blurring the background of your video calls so that all the clutter and mess that, ahem, some of us accumulate no longer needs to be broadcast to everyone you talk to.

The background-blurring feature has already been rolled out to Microsoft's corporate communication client, Teams, and now it's in the consumer-oriented app. While bulletproof detection of the background requires a depth-sensing camera, the approach used in Skype (and Teams) uses machine learning-derived algorithms in order to work with any camera. The algorithms have been trained to detect human outlines, including the voluminous hair that some lucky people are blessed with as well as arms and hands. Presumably this means that it will properly detect even those arms and hands that appear dismembered, appearing from off the edge of the screen. Using blur is optional, and it can be enabled on a call-by-call basis.

This use of machine learning does, however, mean that it's not 100 percent guaranteed to blur everything that you might want blurred. So if there's anything too embarrassing behind you, you still might want to move it out of the camera shot just in case.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Green New Deal bill aims to move US to 100% renewable energy, net-zero emissions

Ars Technica - February 7, 2019 - 7:12pm

Enlarge / Wind turbines on private working ranch land on August 1, 2017 near Kevin, Montana. (credit: Getty Images / William Campbell-Corbis)

On Thursday morning, NPR posted a bill drafted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) advocating for a Green New Deal—that is, a public works bill aimed at employing Americans and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the face of climate change.

A similar version of the bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

The House bill opens by citing two recent climate change reports: an October 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a heavily peer-reviewed report released in November 2018 by a group of US scientists from federal energy and environment departments. Both reports were unequivocal about the role that humans play in climate change and the dire consequences humans stand to face if climate change continues unchecked.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Social media: How can governments regulate it?

BBC Technology News - February 7, 2019 - 6:57pm
As the government draws up plans, what are its options for regulating the firms?

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