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Millions of Americans’ medical images and data are available on the Internet

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 8:21pm

Enlarge / Dislocated cervical vertebrae (traumatic lesion of cervical vertebrae C1-C2). X-ray in profile. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) (credit: BSIP | GettyImages)

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

Medical images and health data belonging to millions of Americans, including X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, are sitting unprotected on the Internet and available to anyone with basic computer expertise.

The records cover more than 5 million patients in the United States and millions more around the world. In some cases, a snoop could use free software programs—or just a typical Web browser—to view the images and private data, an investigation by ProPublica and the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk found.

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CentOS 8 To Be Released Next Week

Slashdot - September 17, 2019 - 8:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Feds seek to seize all profits from Snowden’s book over NDA violation

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 8:04pm

Enlarge / The US Government thanks Edward Snowden for the revenue stream with a filing in US court on September 17—the day his book hit shelves in the US. (credit: Henry Holt / Macmillan)

The US Department of Justice may never be able to prosecute Edward Snowden for his procurement and distribution of highly classified information from the network of the National Security Agency. But DOJ lawyers have found a way to reach out and touch his income—and that of Macmillan Publishers—by filing a civil suit today against them for publication of his book, Permanent Record.

The lawsuit, filed in the US Court for the District of Eastern Virginia, does not seek to stop publication or distribution of Permanent Record. Instead, as a DOJ spokesperson said in a press release, "under well-established Supreme Court precedent [in the case] Snepp v. United States, the government seeks to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden because of his failure to submit his publication for pre-publication review in violation of his alleged contractual and fiduciary obligations."

The suit—which also names Macmillan, its Henry Holt and Company imprint, and its parent company Holtzbrinck Publishers—claims Snowden was in violation of both CIA and NSA secrecy agreements he signed as terms of his employment. In the CIA Secrecy Agreements Snowden signed, he acknowledged that "Snowden was required to submit his material for prepublication review 'prior to discussing [the work] with or showing it to anyone who is not authorized to have access to' classified information," DOJ attorneys wrote in their filing. "Snowden was also required not to 'take any steps towards public disclosure until [he] received written permission to do so from the Central Intelligence Agency.'"

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Dealmaster: You can still convert 3 years of Xbox Live to Game Pass Ultimate for $1

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 7:45pm

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of bargains to share. Today's list is headlined by a deal over at Microsoft that gets you a month of the company's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service for $1 or two months for $2. Normally, a Game Pass Ultimate membership—which wraps Game Pass for console and PC together with Xbox Live Gold—costs $15 a month. This offer has admittedly been live for a while now, but Microsoft says the $2 deal is set to expire on September 30. (The company declined to specify when the $1 offer will end.) Plus, you could still turn the discount into an even better value with the right planning.

To explain: we noted this back when Microsoft first ran this deal earlier in the year, but when you buy Game Pass Ultimate, the company will still turn up to 36 months of existing Xbox Live Gold (or non-Ultimate Game Pass) subscription time on your account into the all-in-one membership. That means you can stock up on Xbox Live Gold first—which many Xbox players will buy anyway to play online—then add up to three years of Game Pass to that prepaid time for $1 total instead of the usual $10 (for console) or $5 (for PC) a month. Put another way: after getting three 12-month Xbox Live Gold codes for $60 each, you could get three years of Game Pass Ultimate for $181 instead of the $540 it would cost at full price. (Or two years for $121 instead of $360, one year for $61 instead of $180, etc.)

The catch is that these offers are only available to those who are new to Game Pass Ultimate, not existing subscribers. If you have a standard Game Pass subscription for console or PC, though, you can still take advantage. It's also worth noting that Game Pass Ultimate subscription time can't be reverted back to individual Xbox Live Gold or standard Game Pass subscriptions after upgrading—your account won't be locked into the Ultimate plan forever, just the prepaid time up to 36 months. But you'll have to turn off recurring billing and re-join those other services separately if you don't want to renew Game Pass Ultimate once that prepaid time expires.

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Rockstar Games Launcher: We install it on Windows so you don’t have to [Updated]

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 7:32pm

Enlarge / Right now, Rockstar is giving out a free copy of a 2004 game to entice you to install their new Rockstar Games Launcher on Windows PCs. We imagine more fare—including exclusives—will come to this storefront before long. But for now, Rockstar isn't saying. (credit: Rockstar Games)

After catching our breath and believing the fractured space of PC game launchers had calmed down for a second, yet another contender arrived on Tuesday: Rockstar Games.

The simply named Rockstar Games Launcher went live worldwide on Tuesday on Windows PCs, and it includes the ability to purchase and install a range of Rockstar-developed games (and their associated microtransactions). This is the first time Rockstar has offered direct purchases of its PC games, as opposed to serving games on services such as Steam. With that in mind, the launcher also lets players find and boot existing Rockstar games' Steam installations.

Currently, the app includes zero exclusives or apparent discounts compared to other retailers, so why should gamers install it?

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Lawsuit: AT&T signed customers up for DirecTV Now without their knowledge

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 7:20pm

Enlarge / AT&T logo. (credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr)

AT&T supervisors encouraged sales reps to create fake DirecTV Now accounts to make the online video service seem more successful than it really was, a class-action complaint alleges.

AT&T "promot[ed] and reward[ed] account fraud" such as creating the fake accounts and signing AT&T customers up for DirecTV Now "without the customer knowing," the lawsuit claims.

The new allegations were made Friday in an amended complaint as part of a lawsuit filed against AT&T in April in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that AT&T lied to investors in order to hide DirecTV Now's failure.

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Faster Wi-Fi Officially Launches Today

Slashdot - September 17, 2019 - 6:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Google Fi gets a cheaper “unlimited” plan, bundled cloud storage

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 6:38pm


Google Fi, Google's MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) cellular service, is launching a second plan for users today. Besides the original pay-per-megabyte plan with unlimited calls and text, Google Fi is now launching a full blown "Unlimited" plan (with throttling after 22GB) for $70, and it comes with 100GB of cloud storage thanks to a bundled "Google One" membership.

In 2018, Google Fi introduced "Bill Protection," a tweak to the pay-per-MB plan that capped monthly bills at $80, making it an "unlimited" plan that throttled after 15GB. This new $70 plan is $10 cheaper and comes with more unthrottled data, and the bundled 100GB of Google One storage saves you another $2 a month. Google One is a monthly subscription service that gives you more storage for your Google account. Free Google accounts get 15GB across Gmail, Drive, and Google Photos, and Google One allows you to purchase anywhere from 100GB to 30TB of online storage.

The new Fi plan supports Google's family bundling, too. The unlimited plan is $70 a month for a single person, $60 a month each for two accounts ($120 total), $50 each for three accounts ($150 total) and $45 each for four accounts or more ( $180 total). With this plan, you'll get 22GB of unthrottled data and 100GB of storage per person, not shared across the whole family, which sounds like a good deal.

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Video: DOD pulls plug on Boeing/Raytheon missile interceptor program

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 6:28pm

SITREP: The RKV has been cancelled, meaning multi-target ballistic missile interceptors are even further off. (video link)

With North Korea throwing missiles around again and Iran continuing to depart from the nuclear framework after President Donald Trump exited the deal and re-imposed sanctions, there is as much reason as ever to be concerned about the United States' nascent anti-ballistic missile defenses. While the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) and the Navy's Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system have shown some promise in testing, there are still some weaknesses in those systems that could be exploited by an attacker—including the use of multiple decoys to soak up attempted intercepts.

That was the rationale behind the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), a $1 billion program intended to create the US military’s next ballistic missile interceptor. A joint effort by Boeing and Raytheon, RKV was supposed to give GMD the capability of engaging multiple targets with a single interceptor. The RKV was intended to build on the Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, currently deployed as part of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense System. But the RKV program has been cancelled, and the Department of Defense has put the whole program back into competitive bidding after having been placed on hold for evaluation in May by Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin.

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This is what it’s like driving a Bugatti Chiron at 305mph

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 6:09pm


FRANKFURT, GERMANY—As the twin forces of efficiency and safety change the vehicles around us to meet the needs of the 21st century, there's not much day-to-day relevancy in how fast a car can go on a straight and flat enough road. Just about any new car sold today will happily cruise 20-30mph (30-65km/h) faster than even the most permissive speed limits outside a few stretches of German Autobahn. Even on the derestricted stretches, you might struggle to find yourself traffic-free long enough to exercise a supercar up to 200mph, and anything beyond that has always been more of an academic exercise than anything else. Unless your name is Andy Wallace, that is.

The British racing driver's initial big result came at Le Mans in 1988, the first of many in a success-filled career racing sports prototypes. That first win was back when the Mulsanne Straight really was flat-out for 3.7 miles (6km), which meant going a little faster than 247mph (398km/h) for most of the 394 laps it took to win that year. So it shouldn't be surprising that Wallace has gotten the call when someone needed a production car tested at that kind of velocity. He was behind the wheel of the record-setting McLaren F1 at Ehra-Lessien in 1998 and then again with an even faster Bugatti in 2007. That association continues to this day, most recently experiencing the 305mph (495km/h) Vmax of the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+.

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Facebook to use Met Police videos to recognise shooters

BBC Technology News - September 17, 2019 - 6:00pm
The technology giant will provide body cameras to Metropolitan Police officers on firearms training.

Richard Stallman leaves MIT after controversial remarks on rape

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 5:57pm

Enlarge / Richard Stallman in 2015. (credit: Michael Debets/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Free software pioneer Richard Stallman has resigned from his posts at MIT and the Free Software Foundation after leaked emails showed him quibbling over the definition of rape in a conversation related to Jeffrey Epstein.

The conversation that triggered Stallman's fall started when someone—names other than Stallman's are redacted in the leaked emails—posted about a planned protest at MIT. The email stated that famed MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky "is accused of assaulting one of Epstein's victims."

Stallman objected, saying that the blurb "does an injustice" to Minsky because even if it's true that the then-17-year-old had sex with Minsky, "the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing." (One witness to the alleged incident says that Minsky, who died in 2016, declined to have sex with her.)

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Facebook to block altering of headlines in adverts

BBC Technology News - September 17, 2019 - 5:50pm
Social media firm is to tighten rules after 'misrepresentation' row over Conservative party advert.

'Racist' AI art warns against bad training data

BBC Technology News - September 17, 2019 - 5:36pm
An AI art exhibition is facing criticism for using racist and sexist tags to classify its users.

NBC Peacock is Comcast’s dive into the crazy streaming-video fray

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 5:34pm

Enlarge / An artist's approximation of what today's newly announced Saved by the Bell reboot might look like, since it will include at least some original series actors. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

The streaming fragmentation war continues apace, and today's new contender comes from Comcast—specifically, its NBCUniversal subsidiary, which finally took the wraps off its NBC Peacock service on Tuesday after months of rumors.

The official site is currently scarce on details, but NBCUniversal has begun distributing a massive list of expected new and legacy series coming to Peacock when it launches in "April 2020." In all, NBCUniversal estimates "15,000 hours" of content on that day-one launch. No pricing information is yet attached.

To review: Peacock is just the latest to join the likes of existing "mainstream" services Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube TV, and CBS All Access, as well as this November's Disney+ and Apple TV+ and next year's HBO Max. That doesn't even count the proliferation of "niche" streaming services ranging from the anime-focused Crunchyroll to the proudly pretentious Criterion.

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Aquaculture may be the future of seafood, but its past is ancient

Ars Technica - September 17, 2019 - 5:22pm

Enlarge (credit: By Paul Hermans - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Fish farms play an important role in supplying the modern world’s massive demand for seafood—about half the fish we eat today comes from fish farms rather than being caught in the wild. Aquaculture helps lighten the burden on wild fish populations, and farmed fish have a much smaller carbon footprint per pound than beef. (Of course, fish farms also produce waste and nutrients at concentrations that can wreak havoc on local marine ecosystems.) With all its modern relevance and all the hopes pinned on it for the future, it’s easy to forget that fish farming is an ancient practice.

People around the world have farmed fish since at least 1500 BCE; Egyptian tomb paintings show Nile tilapia being raised in captivity, and in ancient Assyria and Rome, wealthy homes often kept fish and crustaceans in pools called vivariums—a household version of a restaurant’s lobster tank. In China, ancient writers describe raising carp in flooded rice fields starting at around 1100 BCE. But some archaeologists, like Tsuneo Nakajima of the Lake Biwa Museum in Japan and his colleagues, suggest that aquaculture may have started much earlier.

Finding fish from a farm

“Given that rice paddy fields date back to the fifth millennium BCE in China, it might be expected that carp aquaculture has a similar antiquity,” wrote Nakajima and his colleagues. But it’s hard to find archaeological evidence of fish farming; a rice paddy that once housed carp looks about the same as a rice paddy that didn’t. Nakajima and his colleagues suggest that the size of the fish people ate may offer a clue—a clue that points to people capturing and raising wild carp in channels and enclosed areas of marshes starting around 6000 BCE.

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Password-Leaking Bug Purged From LastPass Extensions

Slashdot - September 17, 2019 - 5:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

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