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Updated: 52 min 11 sec ago

Why So Much Coverage Of Amazon Prime Day? The Incentives, Of Course

7/13/2016 12:45pm
Olivia Solon, writing for The Guardian: In July 2015, Amazon declared its own annual holiday: Amazon Prime Day. The retail giant promised deals on a wide range of products for customers signed up to its membership program, Amazon Prime. This is the second Amazon Prime Day, and it's pretty hard to miss. At the time of writing, the #PrimeDay hashtag was one of Twitter's top 10 worldwide trends. Media outlets including the Daily Mail, USA Today, the Telegraph, PC World and CNet are publishing numerous stories about the discounts on offer, and urging readers to sign up for an Amazon Prime trial. What many of those readers won't realise is that publishers are financially incentivised by Amazon to write about Prime Day. By signing up to the retail giant's affiliate programme, Amazon Associates, publishers can earn commissions from linking to products on Amazon.com.In some other news, Amazon announced on Wednesday that the self-created holiday was its biggest sales day ever, with worldwide orders rising more than 60% compared with the previous Prime Day.

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Google Will Let You Share Movies, Apps, and Music You Buy With Up To Six People

7/13/2016 12:00pm
Google reportedly plans to introduce Google Play Family Library plan later this month which will enable users to share their Android apps, games, and media purchases with five different people. The feature, which is similar to Apple's Family Sharing plan, is something that many will find super useful. If nothing, you can split the cost of an app or a music album with your friends. CNET reports:It works like this. Everyone in the group will be able to access every single app, video and book that's available to the [primary] account holder. If you decide to let the kids run wild on your media collection, you can even remove specific titles from the library to keep it more kid-friendly, or hide certain artists you might not want to share with others. You don't have to pay extra to sign up for the Google Play Family Library, but you will need a credit card saved to the account for future purchases. To avoid any financial snafus that might come with multiple account users, Google will send a receipt so there aren't any unpleasant (or expensive) surprises.

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Streamers Get Best Of Both Worlds With Xbox Live Support For PC Twitch Streaming

7/13/2016 11:20am
An anonymous reader shares a Neowin article: Microsoft is making life easier for Twitch streamers who rely on capture cards to stream Xbox One games, by adding support for capture cards on Xbox Live. Up until now if you wanted to stream an Xbox One game, you had a couple of choices: either rely on the Twitch app and benefit from Xbox Live integration, but make do with lower-quality graphics; or rely on a capture card and stream from your PC, but lose the Xbox Live features. Now Microsoft is giving its users the best of both worlds, by working together with Twitch to support streaming from PCs via capture cards , like an Elgato, but also using Xbox Live features. All streamers need to do to take advantage of this is connect their Twitch account with Xbox Live.

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Microsoft Finally Releases New Skype App For Linux

7/13/2016 10:40am
Four months after Linux users complained about issues with Skype app -- an update in March apparently broke the instant message and video calling app -- Microsoft announced a few minutes ago the launch of the Alpha version of a new Skype app for Linux, a move that "reaffirms the company's commitment to the Linux community." The blog post adds that there will be a two-hour Q&A session todat at 7AM PDT between Linux users and engineering team to welcome the new app. The alpha version uses the "latest, fastest and most responsive Skype UI." The company also says that users on Skype for Linux 4.3.37 will no longer be able to use the app to make or receive any calls -- so you really need to use this new app. In the blog post, Microsoft also adds that anyone with a Chromebook and Chrome for Linux can now visit web.skype.com to make one-to-one and group voice calls on top of text messaging feature. It is also an alpha version of Skype -- and is built on top of WebRTC standard.

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YouTube Says Content Owners Made $1B Last Year -- So Music Labels Should Stop Complaining

7/13/2016 10:02am
Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode: Here's the latest salvo in the back and forth between YouTube and the music industry: A report from Google that says its video site's copyright software has allowed content owners to generate $1 billion in the last year or so. Or, in other words: Hey, music guys! Stop moaning about money -- we're making plenty of it for you. Google's formal message comes via "How Google Fights Piracy," a 62-page mega-pamphlet it is releasing today. Google adds that its Content ID tool, which lets copyright owners "claim" their videos that users upload to YouTube so that ad money can be made off it, has garnered $2 billion since 2007. This is Google's response to a growing concern from the music industry that YouTube doesn't pay well, its Content ID isn't a solution, and that the video platform is built on stolen material.

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US Judge Throws Out Cell Phone 'Stingray' Evidence For The First Time

7/13/2016 9:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: For the first time, a federal judge has suppressed evidence obtained without a warrant by U.S. law enforcement using a stingray, a surveillance device that can trick suspects' cell phones into revealing their locations. U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan on Tuesday ruled that defendant Raymond Lambis' rights were violated when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration used such a device without a warrant to find his Washington Heights apartment. Stingrays, also known as "cell site simulators," mimic cell phone towers in order to force cell phones in the area to transmit "pings" back to the devices, enabling law enforcement to track a suspect's phone and pinpoint its location. The DEA had used a stingray to identify Lambis' apartment as the most likely location of a cell phone identified during a drug-trafficking probe. Pauley said doing so constituted an unreasonable search. The ruling marked the first time a federal judge had suppressed evidence obtained using a stingray, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which like other privacy advocacy groups has criticized law enforcement's use of such devices. "Absent a search warrant, the government may not turn a citizen's cell phone into a tracking device," Pauley wrote. FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin suggests in a report via Motherboard that decrypting encrypted data fundamentally alters it, therefore contaminating it as forensic evidence.

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FBI Closes D.B. Cooper Investigation After 45 Years

7/13/2016 6:00am
An anonymous reader writes: The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it is no longer investigating the unsolved mystery of D.B. Cooper. The bureau said Tuesday that it's "exhaustively reviewed all credible leads" during its 45-year investigation and has redirected those resources to other priorities. The investigation was of a man calling himself Dan Cooper (the media mistakenly called him D.B. Cooper and it stuck) who hijacked a Boeing 727 headed for Seattle after boarding at Portland International Airport on November 24, 1971. In Seattle, he claimed he had an explosive device and demanded parachutes and $200,000 in ransom money. After releasing the 36 passengers from the plane and receiving four parachutes and $200,000 in cash, Cooper ordered several of the crew members who were kept on board to fly to Mexico City. Shortly after returning to the air, Cooper jumped from the back of the plane and landed somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. No trace of Cooper was found, but several bundles of cash were found in 1980. The FBI says it has conducted searches, collected all available evidence and interviewed all identifiable witnesses, but none have resulted in identifying the hijacker.

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NASA's Juno Spacecraft Sends First Images From Jupiter

7/13/2016 3:00am
An anonymous reader writes: After its patriotic arrival at Jupiter on July 4th, the Juno spacecraft has sent its first images of the planet back to earth via the JunoCam. The visible-light camera aboard Juno was first turned on roughly six days ago after Juno placed itself into orbit. "This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles." The color image, which was obtained on July 10th when the spacecraft was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter, shows atmospheric features on Jupiter, including the famous Great Red Spot, and three of the massive planet's four largest moons -- Io, Europa and Ganymede. "JunoCam will continue to take images as we go around in this first orbit," said Candy Hansen, Juno co-investigator from the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona. "The first high-resolution images of the planet will be taken on August 27 when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter."

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Mozilla Will Ship Its First Rust Component In Firefox 48

7/12/2016 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: Mozilla announced today plans to ship its first ever Rust code with the production releases of Firefox. The first ever Rust components will arrive in Firefox 48, scheduled for release on August 2, 2016. After teasing Rust features last year, the Mozilla Foundation announced today that Firefox 48 would contain a new media stack component that's entirely coded in Rust. The first Firefox component to feature Rust code was not chosen at random because media components often execute malicious code when parsing multimedia files. "This makes a memory-safe programming language like Rust a compelling addition to Mozilla's tool-chest for protecting against potentially malicious media content on the Web," says Dave Herman, Director of Strategy at Mozilla Research. During tests of this Rust-based media component in Firefox's unstable builds, Mozilla says that after one billion uses they have yet to see a crash or issue in the Rust media component. Last month, Mozilla released the first versions of Servo, a minimal browser created in Rust code alone. At around the same time, Microsoft open-sourced Checked C, an extension to the C programming language that brings new features to address a series of security-related issues.

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VPN Provider Removes Russian Presence After Servers Seized

7/12/2016 9:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: VPN provider Private Internet Access has pulled out of Russia in the wake of new internet surveillance legislation in the country. The company claims that some of its Russian servers were seized by the government as punishment for not complying with the rules, which ask providers to log and hold all Russian internet traffic and session data for up to a year. Upon learning of the federal action, the company immediately removed its Russian availability and announced that it would no longer be operating in the region. "We believe that due to the enforcement regime surrounding this new law, some of our Russian Servers (RU) were recently seized by Russian Authorities, without notice or any type of due process," wrote Private Internet Access in a blog post. The company advises users to update their desktop clients. They also noted that its manual configurations now support the "strongest new encryption algorithms including AES-256, SHA-256, and RSA-4096." Putin has given Federal Security Agents two weeks to produce "encryption keys" for the internet.

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Sega Saturn's DRM Cracked Almost 23 Years After Launch

7/12/2016 8:50pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Gamasutra: The Sega Saturn's DRM has finally been cracked after it hit store shelves nearly 23 years ago in November 1994. Engineer James Laird-Wah first set forth to break through the console's copy protection in an attempt to harness its chiptune capabilities. Laird-Wah has, however, developed a way to run games and other software from a USB stick in the process. Since disc drive failure is a common fault with the game console, his method circumvents the disc drive altogether, instead reworking the Video CD Slot so it can take games stored on a USB stick and run them directly through the Saturn's CD Block. "This is now at the point where, not only can it boot and run games, I've finished just recently putting in audio support, so it can play audio tracks," explained Laird-Wah, speaking to YouTuber debuglive. "For the time being, I possess the only Saturn in the world that's capable of writing files to a USB stick. There's actually, for developers of home-brew, the ability to read and write files on the USB stick that's attached to the device.

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Leaky Database Leaves Oklahoma Police, Bank Vulnerable To Intruders

7/12/2016 8:10pm
blottsie quotes a report from The Daily Dot: A leaky database has exposed the physical security of multiple Oklahoma Department of Public Safety facilities and at least one Oklahoma bank. The vulnerability -- which has reportedly been fixed -- was revealed on Tuesday by Chris Vickery, a MacKeeper security researcher who this year has revealed numerous data breaches affecting millions of Americans. The misconfigured database, which was managed by a company called Automation Integrated, was exposed for at least a week, according to Vickery, who said he spoke to the company's vice president on Saturday. Reached on Tuesday, however, an Automation Integrated employee said "no one" in the office was aware of the problem. Vickery was able to retrieve images of various doors, locks, RFID access panels, and the controller board of an alarm system all of which could be previously accessed without a username or password. The database also contained "details on the make, model, location, warranty coverage, and even whether or not the unit was still functional," Vickery said. What's worse is that Automated Integration is far from the only company whose database are left exposed online. "I have a constantly fluctuating list of 50 to 100 similar breaches that need to be reported," he said. "This one just happened to involve a security-related company and government buildings, so it got bumped to the top of my list."

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Vulnerability Exploitable Via Printer Protocols Affects All Windows Versions

7/12/2016 7:30pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "Microsoft patched today a critical security vulnerability in the Print Spooler service that allows attackers to take over devices," reports Softpedia. "The vulnerability affects all Windows versions ever released. [Security firm Vectra discovered the vulnerability (CVE-2016-3238), which Microsoft fixed in MS16-087.] At its core, the issue resides in how Windows handles printer driver installations and how end users connect to printers. By default, in corporate networks, network admins allow printers to deliver the necessary drivers to workstations connected to the network. These drivers are silently installed without any user interaction and run under the SYSTEM user, with all the available privileges." An attacker can hack printers and replace these files with his own. The vulnerability is exploitable from both the local network, but also from the internet, thanks to protocols like Internet Printing Protocol or the webPointNPrint. The exploit can be delivered via ads or JavaScript code inside a compromised website. The vulnerability is actually an OS design issue and affects all Windows versions ever released. Microsoft also announced today plans to make its recently renamed Windows 10 Enterprise product available as a subscription for $7 per user per month, or $84 per year.

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FBI Has Collected 430,000 Iris Scans In 'Pilot Program'

7/12/2016 6:50pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: The Verge has obtained documents that reveal the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department has been collecting iris data from at least 200,000 arrestees over the last two and a half years. The department was collecting an average of 189 iris scans each day in the early months of 2016. The activity is part of a larger pilot program organized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Since its launch in 2013, the program has stockpiled iris scans from 434,000 arrestees, an FBI spokesperson confirmed," reports The Verge. Through information-sharing agreements with various other agencies across the country, the new national biometric database stretches the traditional boundaries of a pilot program, and just barely stays out of reach of privacy mandates. The Verge reports: "A 2013 memo signed by representatives from the FBI and California Department of Justice summarizes responsibilities. At that time, according to the memo, the FBI had more than 30,000 images but did not have a way to search through them. The length of the California program was to be kept at one year, and reassessed after, but the documents show the partnership has been renewed every year since. The FBI would not comment on numbers from any particular source. However, 'operations reports' obtained by The Verge through the California Public Records Act requests the catalogue of the program's progress and suggest the state has been a major asset in the construction of the database. A document dated February of this year lists more than a quarter of a million 'enrollments' in the database from the California Department of Justice. In both 2014 and 2015, according to the document, more than 100,000 records were added to the system. Those scans are sent to the FBI by the California Justice Department, which in turn receives them from three counties: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside. Despite its relatively small population, the documents show San Bernardino County made more than 190,000 enrollments alone since 2014, far outpacing Los Angeles and Riverside counties." The pilot program has no privacy impact assessment "because the pilot was conducted with very limited participation for a limited period of time in order to evaluate iris technology," an FBI representative told The Verge. The vast majority of the 430,000 enrollments were added after that determination was made. The bureau is reportedly in the process of creating a privacy impact assessment but there's no word as to when that will be complete. In June, the Government Accountability Office published a report that says the FBI has access to hundreds of millions of photos.

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Honda Unveils First Hybrid Motor Without Heavy Rare Earth Metals

7/12/2016 6:05pm
An anonymous reader writes: Honda has unveiled its new hybrid motor this week that doesn't use heavy rare earth metals like dysprosium and terbium -- though it still does contain neodymium. The motor was co-developed alongside Daido Steel and will use their magnets in replace of the rare earth metals because they cost 10 percent less and weigh 8 percent less. Honda is the first automaker to develop a hybrid motor that doesn't use heavy rare earth metals. The company says the new engines will reduce its reliance on the metals that are primarily supplied by China. They're expected to make their debut in the compact Freed minivan this fall, a vehicle that is already on the road in Asia.

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Linus Torvalds In Sweary Rant About Punctuation In Kernel Comments

7/12/2016 5:25pm
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: Linus Torvalds has unleashed a sweary rant on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, labelling some members "brain-damaged" for their preferred method of punctuating comments. "Can we please get rid of the brain-damaged stupid networking comment syntax style, PLEASE?" the Linux Lord asked last Friday. "If the networking people cannot handle the pure awesomeness that is a balanced and symmetric traditional multi-line C style comments, then instead of the disgusting unbalanced crap that you guys use now, please just go all the way to the C++ mode."Torvalds despises the following two comment-punctuation styles (with his comments):/* This is disgusting drug-induced* crap, and should die */ and:/* This is also very nasty * and visually unbalanced */Torvalds prefers the following two styles:/* This is a comment */ and:/* * This is also a comment, but it can now be cleanly * split over multiple lines */

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NBC Universal Patents a Way To Detect BitTorrent Pirates In Real-Time

7/12/2016 4:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: NBC Universal has been granted a patent, titled "Early detection of high volume peer-to-peer networks in real-time," to try and restrict piracy of its copyrighted content. "Early detection of high volume swarms in a peer-to-peer network, including a data feed of peer-to-peer swarm activity, and an analytics engine processing the data feed and identifying the high volume swarms that have parameters that exceed a threshold. The system can include a pre-processing section for conditioning the swarm data for the analytics section. There can also be a verification section that confirms that the peer download file matches the target file," notes the patent document issued by USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). "The early detection provides for enhanced anti-piracy efforts, improved allocation of network resources, and better business decision-making," it adds. NBC Universal says that the "P2P infrastructure has many advantages" but it has also led to abuses. Piracy is estimated to cost content owners billions of dollars annually. "These costs are typically passed along to the consuming public in terms of increased costs for legitimate purchased works and higher charges for increased deterrents to the piracy," NBC Universal added. The patent NBC Universal received was applied for back in 2009, but only granted last week.

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Researchers Found a Hacking Tool that Targets Energy Grids on the Dark Web

7/12/2016 4:05pm
An anonymous reader writes: A sophisticated piece of government-made malware, designed to do reconnaissance on energy grid's system ahead of an eventual cyberattack on critical infrastructure, was found on a dark web hacking forum. SentinelOne's researchers believe the malware was created by a team of hackers working for a government, likely from eastern Europe, according to a report published on Tuesday. Udi Shamir, chief security officer at SentinelOne, said that it's normal to find reused code and malware on forums because "nobody tries to reinvent the wheel again and again and again." But in this case, "it was very surprising to see such a sophisticated sample" appear in hacking forums, he told Motherboard in a phone interview.

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How Technology Disrupted the Truth

7/12/2016 3:25pm
A day after the Brexit, former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage admitted he had misled the public on a key issue. He admitted that UK's alleged 350M Euro weekly contribution to the EU would not be directed to the National Health Service, and that this commitment was never made official. Journalists worldwide tweeted photos of the campaign ads -- posted in conspicuous places like the sides of buses -- debunking the lie. This incident illustrates the need for more political fact-checking as a public service, to enable the voters to make more informed and rational decisions about matters affecting their daily lives. Fact-checking is supposed to be a part of the normal journalistic process. When gathering information, a journalist should verify its accuracy. The work is then vetted by an editor, a person with more professional experience who may correct or further amend some of the information. A long-form article on The Guardian today underscores the challenges publications worldwide are facing today -- most of them don't have the luxury to afford a fact-checker (let alone a team of fact-checkers), and the advent of social media and forums and our reliance (plenty of people get their news on social media now) have made it increasingly difficult to vet the accuracy of anything that is being published. From The Guardian article:When a fact begins to resemble whatever you feel is true, it becomes very difficult for anyone to tell the difference between facts that are true and "facts" that are not.Global Voices' adds:But the need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-past -- or in some instances, plagiarize -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves. The other issue is that many people do not care about the source of the information, and it has become increasingly hard to tell whether a news article you saw on your Facebook is credible or not. This, coupled with how social networking websites game the news feed to show you what you are likely to find interesting as opposed to giving you news from trustworthy sources, has made things even worse. As you may remember, Facebook recently noted that it is making changes to algorithms to show you updates from friends instead of news articles from publications you like. The Guardian adds:Algorithms such as the one that powers Facebook's news feed are designed to give us more of what they think we want -- which means that the version of the world we encounter every day in our own personal stream has been invisibly curated to reinforce our pre-existing beliefs. [...] In the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same -- whether they come from a credible source or not. And, increasingly, otherwise-credible sources are also publishing false, misleading, or deliberately outrageous stories.

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Cops Warn Pokemon Go Players: Please Don't Trespass To Catch 'em All

7/12/2016 2:40pm
An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report:Law enforcement agencies around the globe are reminding citizens to obey trespassing laws and follow common sense when playing Pokemon Go. The new crazy-popular mobile game has led to some frightening results in recent days, such as the location of a dead body and robberies of players in Missouri. Now, San Francisco Police Department Captain Raj Vaswani warned in one online posting for players to "obey traffic laws, please. Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt," he said. "Do not drive or ride your bike / skateboard / hipster techie device while interacting with the app. Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, set limits on where they can go, so they don't keep going trying to get that Pokemon."

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