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  • For Now, UK Online Pirates Will Get 4 Warnings -- And That's It

    New submitter Tmackiller writes with an excerpt from VG247.com: The British government has decriminalised online video game, music and movie piracy, scrapping fuller punishment plans after branding them unworkable. Starting in 2015, persistent file-sharers will be sent four warning letters explaining their actions are illegal, but if the notes are ignored no further action will be taken. The scheme, named the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP), is the result of years of talks between ISPs, British politicians and the movie and music industries. The UK's biggest providers – BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky – have all signed up to VCAP, and smaller ISPs are expected to follow suit. VCAP replaces planned anti-piracy measures that included cutting users' internet connections and creating a database of file-sharers. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music trade body the BPI, said VCAP was about "persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection." He added: "VCAP is not about denying access to the internet. It's about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice." Officials will still work to close and stem funding to file-sharing sites, but the news appears to mean that the British authorities have abandoned legal enforcement of online media piracy. Figures recently published by Ofcom said that nearly a quarter of all UK downloads were of pirated content." Tmackiller wants to know "Will this result in more private lawsuits against file sharers by the companies involved?"

    137 comments | 2 days ago

  • Activist Group Sues US Border Agency Over New, Vast Intelligence System

    An anonymous reader writes with news about one of the latest unanswered FOIA requests made to the Department of Homeland Security and the associated lawsuit the department's silence has brought. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sued the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in an attempt to compel the government agency to hand over documents relating to a relatively new comprehensive intelligence database of people and cargo crossing the US border. EPIC's lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, seeks a trove of documents concerning the 'Analytical Framework for Intelligence' (AFI) as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. EPIC's April 2014 FOIA request went unanswered after the 20 days that the law requires, and the group waited an additional 49 days before filing suit. The AFI, which was formally announced in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), consists of "a single platform for research, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data from disparate sources and maintaining the final analysis or products in a single, searchable location for later use as well as appropriate dissemination."

    82 comments | 2 days ago

  • New Technology Uses Cellular Towers For Super-Accurate Weather Measurements

    Iddo Genuth (903542) writes "Israeli scientists from the Tel Aviv University perfected a method for using cell phone service towers' microwave emitters to measure rain and snow and even (for the first time ) detect fog with great accuracy over vast areas in real time. The research team members have analyzed endless amounts of raw cellular data and developed more accurate ways to measure meteorological information and added more parameters that they can now measure using their growing database. When combined with existing meteorological monitoring technologies such as radars and local ground based weather stations, the results show unprecedented level of accuracy that can give better and further weather forecast as well as special warnings about upcoming floods, fog and hail which can affect both people and crop production."

    42 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Hackers Ransom European Domino's Customer Data (including Favourite Toppings)

    stephendavion (2872091) writes Hackers who compromised the servers of Domino's Pizza have demanded a ransom of €30,000 or they will publish the records of more than 600,000 customers – including their favourite toppings. "Earlier this week, we hacked our way into the servers of Domino's Pizza France and Belgium, who happen to share the same vulnerable database," wrote Rex Mundi [the name the perpetrators go by]. "And boy, did we find some juicy stuff in there!"

    100 comments | about a month ago

  • Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

    An anonymous reader writes In the aftermath of the European Court of Justice "right to be forgotten" decision, many asked whether a similar ruling could arise elsewhere. While a privacy-related ruling has yet to hit Canada, Michael Geist reports that last week a Canadian court relied in part on the decision in issuing an unprecedented order requiring Google to remove websites from its global index. The ruling is unusual since its reach extends far beyond Canada. Rather than ordering the company to remove certain links from the search results available through Google.ca, the order intentionally targets the entire database, requiring the company to ensure that no one, anywhere in the world, can see the search results.

    248 comments | about a month ago

  • Transforming the Web Into a Transparent 'HTTPA' Database

    An anonymous reader writes MIT researchers believe the solution to misuse and leakage of private data is more transparency and auditability, not adding new layers of security. Traditional approaches make it hard, if not impossible, to share data for useful purposes, such as in healthcare. Enter HTTPA, HTTP with accountability.
    From the article: "With HTTPA, each item of private data would be assigned its own uniform resource identifier (URI), a component of the Semantic Web that, researchers say, would convert the Web from a collection of searchable text files into a giant database. Every time the server transmitted a piece of sensitive data, it would also send a description of the restrictions on the data’s use. And it would also log the transaction, using the URI, in a network of encrypted servers."

    69 comments | about a month ago

  • Appeals Court Finds Scanning To Be Fair Use

    NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) writes In Authors Guild v Hathitrust, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has found that scanning whole books and making them searchable for research use is a fair use. In reaching its conclusion, the 3-judge panel reasoned, in its 34-page opinion (PDF), that the creation of a searchable, full text database is a "quintessentially transformative use", that it was "reasonably necessary" to make use of the entire works, that maintaining four copies of the database was reasonably necessary as well, and that the research library did not impair the market for the originals. Needless to say, this ruling augurs well for Google in Authors Guild v. Google, which likewise involves full text scanning of whole books for research.

    34 comments | about a month ago

  • Chicago Robber Caught By Facial Recognition Sentenced To 22 Years

    mpicpp (3454017) writes with this excerpt from Ars: "The first man to be arrested in Chicago based on facial recognition analysis was sentenced last week to 22 years in prison for armed robbery. ... In February 2013, Pierre Martin robbed a man at gunpoint while on a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train. After taking the man's phone, Martin jumped off the train. However, his image was captured by CTA surveillance cameras and was then compared to the Chicago Police Department's database of 4.5 million criminal booking images. Martin, who already had priors, had a mugshot in the database. He was later positively identified by witnesses. At trial, Martin also admitted to committing a similar robbery also on the Pink Line in January 2013—his face was captured during both robberies."

    143 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining

    theodp writes 'Politico reports that parents have mobilized into an unexpected political force to fight the data mining of their children, catapulting student privacy to prominence in statehouses. Having already torpedoed the $100 million, Bill Gates-funded inBloom database project, which could have made it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies, the amateur activists are now rallying against another perceived threat: huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers. "The Education Department," writes Stephanie Simon, "lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?" Leonie Haimson, a NY mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy says, "Every parent I've talked to has been horrified. We just don't want our kids tracked from cradle to grave." For their part, ed tech entrepreneurs and school reformers are both bewildered by and anxious about the backlash — and struggling to craft a response, having assumed parents would support their vision: to mine vast quantities of data for insights into what's working, and what's not, for individual students and for the education system as a whole. "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn, a co-founder an education think tank."

    139 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • Machine Learning Used For JavaScript Code De-obfuscation

    New submitter velco writes: "ETH Zurich Software Reliability Lab announced JSNice, a statistical de-obfuscation and de-minification tool for JavaScript. The interesting thing about JSNice is that it combines program analysis with machine learning techniques to build a database of name and type regularities from large amounts of available open source code on GitHub. Then, given new JavaScript code, JSNice tries to infer the most likely names and types for that code by basing its decision on the learned regularities in the training phase."

    31 comments | about 1 month ago

  • New Federal Database Will Track Americans' Credit Ratings, Other Financial Info

    schwit1 (797399) writes "As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives — including their Social Security numbers — in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy. The FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions. FHFA officials claim the database is essential to conducting a monthly mortgage survey required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and to help it prepare an annual report for Congress."

    294 comments | about 2 months ago

  • I Want a Kindle Killer

    lpress (707742) writes "Amazon's Kindle is a good e-reader and they've sold around 40 million units, but it is far from perfect. It could be significantly improved with speech recognition for commands and text entry, a well-designed database for marginal notes and annotations, and integration with laptop and desktop computers. Google, Apple and Microsoft all have device design and manufacturing experience as well as stores that sell books and other written material. A Kindle-killing e-reader would be low-hanging fruit for Apple, Google or Microsoft — think of the competition if they each built one!" Handwriting as an input method would be nice too; a friend in college had one of the experimental Windows XP tablet PCs, and it was great for note taking and document annotation.

    321 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Australian iPhone and iPad Users Waylaid By Ransomware

    DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Multiple iPhone/iPad/Mac users in Australia are reporting their devices being remotely locked and a ransom demand being made to get them unlocked again. However, unlike PC ransomware, the vector of attack here seems to be Apple's iCloud service with the attacker getting to a database of username/password credentials associated with the accounts. It is unclear if the database was one of Apple's or the hacker is simply using the fact that people reuse the same password for multiple accounts and is using data stolen from another source. Apple is yet to respond, but there has already been one report of the issue affecting a user in the UK."

    52 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Severe Vulnerability At eBay's Website

    New submitter Golem.de (3664475) writes with another security problem at eBay: "The German security expert Micheal E. discovered the persistent cross-site scripting vulnerability on eBay's website about two months ago and said he reported it to Ebay immediately. Ebay ceased to answer his emails, after writing that they considered it a mostly harmless error. Micheal E. sent Golem.de a PoC demonstrating that the error that has not yet been fixed. An attacker can manipulate an official auctioning web page and insert Javascript code. By visiting the malicious web page the code is executed by the victim and could potentially be used by the attacker to to execute arbitrary actions in the victim's Ebay account and gain full control over it. There is probably no connection to the huge database theft reported a few days ago. The XSS flaw can only be used to attack one victim at a time."

    60 comments | about a month ago

  • eBay Compromised

    New submitter bobsta22 (583801) writes "eBay has suffered a security compromise requiring them to have all users change their passwords. As yet only a press release. Lets hope there's more juice on this." From the press release: "Cyberattackers compromised a small number of employee log-in credentials, allowing unauthorized access to eBay's corporate network, the company said. ... The database, which was compromised between late February and early March, included eBay customers’ name, encrypted password, email address, physical address, phone number and date of birth. However, the database did not contain financial information or other confidential personal information. The company said that the compromised employee log-in credentials were first detected about two weeks ago."

    193 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Adobe Creative Cloud Is Back

    As reported by TheNextWeb, the extended outage of the authentication mechanism of Adobe's Creative Cloud service has been resolved. From the story: 'According to a series of tweets: 'Adobe ID issue is resolved. We are bringing services back online. We will share more details once we confirm everything is working.' Adobe said further, 'We have restored Adobe login services and all services are now online. We will be sharing a complete update on the outage soon.' and 'We know we let you down. We apologize and are working to ensure it doesn't happen again."' A good time to revisit this prediction from last year about how going to an all-cloud, all-subscription model might hurt customers.

    74 comments | about 2 months ago

  • New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

    angry tapir (1463043) writes "Embracing the widely used JSON data-exchange format, the new version of the PostgreSQL open-source database takes aim at the growing NoSQL market of nonrelational data stores, notably the popular MongoDB. The first beta version of PostgreSQL 9.4, released Thursday, includes a number of new features that address the rapidly growing market for Web applications, many of which require fast storage and retrieval of large amounts of user data."

    162 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

    New submitter danzvash (447536) writes "I'm doing some volunteering for a street kids charity in Senegal, West Africa, and they need a new database to store all their information for the kids, and to help the funding organizations like UNICEF. The charity staff have a few computers running Windows 7. Being a die-hard OSS geek I'm more inclined to knock up a MySQL backend with a Django (or similar) front-end and run the whole thing from a reliable VPS. But it needs to be understandable by the non-geeks in the charity — there is no IT expertise here. Is there anything that can allow me to design and edit databases, tables, and forms but doesn't require an MS license?"

    281 comments | about 2 months ago

  • McAfee Grabbed Data Without Paying, Says Open Source Vulnerability Database

    mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes with this excerpt from The Register: "'Intel security subsidiary McAfee may be in hot water after it allegedly scraped thousands of records from the Open Source Vulnerability Database instead of paying for them. The slurp was said to be conducted using fast scripts that rapidly changed the user agent, and was launched after McAfee formally inquired about purchasing a license to the data.' Law experts say the site's copyright could be breached by individuals merely downloading the information in contravention to the site's policies, and did not require the data to be subsequently disseminated."

    139 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Job Postings For Python, NoSQL, Apache Hadoop Way Up This Year

    Nerval's Lobster writes: "Dice [note: our corporate overlord] collects a ton of data from job postings. Its latest findings? The number of jobs posted for NoSQL experts has risen 54 percent year-over-year, ahead of postings for professionals skilled in so-called 'Big Data' (up 46 percent), Apache Hadoop (43 percent), and Python (16 percent). Employers are also seeking those with expertise in Software-as-a-Service platforms, to the tune of 20 percent more job postings over the past twelve months; in a similar vein, postings for tech professionals with some cloud experience have leapt 27 percent in the same period. Nothing earth-shattering here, but it's perhaps interesting to note that, for all the hype surrounding some of these things, there's actually significant demand behind them."

    52 comments | about 3 months ago

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