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Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

Opinion Algorithms are almost as pervasive in our lives as cars and the internet. And just as these modes and mediums are considered vital to our economy and society, and are therefore regulated, we must ask whether it's time to also regulate algorithms. Let's accept that the rule of law is meant to provide solid ground upon which our …

Apple nabs permit to experiment with self-driving iCars in Cali

Apple is the latest player to enter the race to test out self-driving cars, alongside other big names including Tesla, Uber and Google’s Waymo. It received a permit on Friday from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to toy with autonomous vehicles on the US state's roads. The company is notoriously secretive about …
Katyanna Quach, 15 Apr 2017
NSA

Leaked NSA point-and-pwn hack tools menace Win2k to Windows 8

Updated The Shadow Brokers have leaked more hacking tools stolen from the NSA's Equation Group – this time four-year-old exploits that attempt to hijack venerable Windows systems, from Windows 2000 up to Server 2012 and Windows 7 and 8. The toolkit puts into anyone's hands – from moronic script kiddies to hardened crims – highly …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2017

'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is countersuing a patent troll that wants its name removed from a "stupid patent of the month" blog post. Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA) is incorporated in Australia and exists only to bring patent litigation, making it "a classic patent troll," the EFF claims. GEMSA appeared …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2017

All ready for that Easter holiday? Here's a mild MySQL security bug

A programming blunder has been uncovered in Oracle's MySQL that can potentially leak usernames and passwords to man-in-the-middle eavesdroppers. Known as "The Riddle," the flaw potentially allows a miscreant to intercept and obtain login credentials sent from MySQL clients 5.5 and 5.6 to servers. Apparently, a fix introduced …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2017

Good job, everyone. We're making AI just as tediously racist and sexist as ourselves

Artificial intelligence can inherit the same racial and gender biases as humans do when learning language, according to a paper published in Science. AI and machine learning are hot topics. Algorithms are becoming more advanced, providing us with better internet searching and recommendations to potentially help us diagnose …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Apr 2017
Uber safety marketing

Super Cali goes ballistic, Uber drivers are stocious (allegedly!)

Updated California is probing Uber for allegedly failing to ditch more than 150 sloshed drivers who picked up passengers using its dial-a-ride app. The US state's public utilities commission this week declared it "seeks to investigate and address Rasier’s safety culture and zero-tolerance policies and procedures" – Raiser being Uber's …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2017

Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

The recent explosion in people installing ad blockers for their browsers may have an ironic side effect: identifying them to advertisers. French researchers digging into online privacy issues have built on a 2010 study by the EFF that used people's browser configurations to identify individuals. The researchers account for the …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2017
Bait

Infosys says it'll hand shareholders $2bn

Infosys, Asia's second biggest software exporter, has promised shareholders it will increase its dividends and stock buybacks to $2bn this year. Bloomberg reports that the company will start distributing as much as 70 per cent of its annual free cash flow. Infosys predicts revenue growth of between 6.5 and 8.5 per cent for the …
Gareth Corfield, 14 Apr 2017
Marching, image via Shutterstock

Not even Easter can stop the inexorable march of storage

We have a four-day weekend over Easter here in the UK. If you need a storage news hit as a respite from the chocolate-laden glug-fest then dip into the paragraphs below – and enjoy your Easter break. Databricks Databricks for Data Engineering is Databricks' software optimised for – wait for it – data engineering. We're told …
Chris Mellor, 14 Apr 2017

Deeming Facebook a 'publisher' of users' posts won't tackle paedo or terrorist content

Comment The Times is campaigning to brand Facebook a "publisher" under British law. While an understandable reaction to the horrible content shared by users of the world's most popular social networking website, trying to make it subject to publishing laws would open a whole Pandora's box of trouble. Yesterday the newspaper published …
Gareth Corfield, 14 Apr 2017

Switch on your smartphone camera and look how fertile I am

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have cheerful sperm. This will come as a great relief to Register readers, I'm sure, but no doubt you're wondering: how do I know? Ah well, I have an app for that. Medical researchers at Harvard have developed an inexpensive smartphone attachment that measures male fertility. You can appreciate how facile it must be to …
Alistair Dabbs, 14 Apr 2017

Sysadmin 'trashed old bosses' Oracle database with ticking logic bomb'

A systems administrator is being sued by his ex-employer, which has accused the IT bod of planting a ticking time-bomb on company's servers to wipe crucial data. Nimesh Patel, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, is alleged to have broken the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespassed, and committed conversion – that's legal jargon for …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2017
patch

Linux remote root bug menace: Make sure your servers, PCs, gizmos, Android kit are patched

A Linux kernel flaw that potentially allows miscreants to remotely control vulnerable servers, desktops, IoT gear, Android handhelds, and more, has been quietly patched. The programming blunder – CVE-2016-10229 – exposes machines and gizmos to attacks via UDP network traffic: any software receiving data using the system call …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2017
AMD_Naples_die_650

Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips

Microsoft has cut software updates and tweaks for computers powered by Intel and AMD's latest-generation processors running old versions of Windows. The Redmond giant is no longer serving software fixes to PCs and other systems that run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on Intel's fresh new Kaby Lake or AMD's hot-off-the-fab Ryzen …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2017

Astro-boffinry breakthrough: Loads of ingredients for life found on Saturn's Enceladus

Pics Tantalizing new evidence of hydrothermal vents on Enceladus and liquid water on Europa have reignited hopes that alien life may exist in our Solar System, NASA announced today. First, some quick facts: Enceladus is Saturn’s sixth largest moon – smaller than Europa and easily identifiable by a bright surface riddled with …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Apr 2017
MOAB

US military makes first drop of Mother-of-All-Bombs on Daesh-bags

Video For the first time, the US has used its largest non-nuclear explosive, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (also known as the Mother Of All Bombs) in Afghanistan. The MOAB is a 10.5-ton bomb containing 18,700 pounds (8,482 kilograms) of high explosive. It was used against a cave and tunnel complex in use by the …
Iain Thomson, 13 Apr 2017

Back to the Future 2: Gasp! America's trade watchdog discovers the risks of 'free' movies

You may want to sit down for this. Did you know that movie files downloaded for free from the internet may contain malware? You did? Well it was news to US trade watchdog the FTC's assistant director Will Maxson, who published a whole blog post about this shocking revelation on Thursday. Will was also shocked to discover it …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2017
Burger King ad

Burger King's 'OK Google' sad ad saga somehow gets worse

Fast food chain Burger King is doubling down on an ad campaign designed to activate the Google Home appliance, even as Google and the public at large object. The 15‑second ad features an actor who says, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" in an attempt to force the Google Home devices of viewers to navigate to the …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2017

Amazon touts Echo voice-recog tech to world's gizmo makers

In an effort to cement its position in the voice recognition market, Amazon has opened up its Alexa technology to third parties. The e-retailer is offering its seven-microphone array and voice processing tech to hardware makers who want to include voice activation in their products, but don't want to spend the enormous time …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2017

Drupal sci-fi sex scandal deepens: Now devs spank Dries over Gor bloke's banishment

Updated Scores of Drupal developers have formed a protest against the exiling of a project veteran who dabbled in kinky sci-fi hanky-panky. An open letter and website called Drupalconfessions.org, signed by 85 devs, calls on Drupal lead Dries Buytaert to end the exclusion of people based on their sexual appetites. The letter comes …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Apr 2017

Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Honda's new electric car, the Clarity, is garnering a lot of attention – for all the wrong reasons. Available later this year, the car is expected to cost the same as the new Chevy Bolt and upcoming Tesla Model 3, but will have just a third of their ranges, managing only 80 miles on a full charge. While that would have been …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2017
Woman stares at laptop screen, shocked. Pic by shutterstock

Cerber surpasses Locky to become dominant ransomware menace

Cerber eclipsed Locky as the most common ransomware pathogen doing the rounds in the first three months of 2017. Cerber's control of the cybercrime market rose from 70 per cent market share in January to 87 per cent in March, according to the latest cybercrime tactics report by Malwarebytes Lab. The success of Cerber is down …
John Leyden, 13 Apr 2017

ZX Spectrum reboot project's Great Ormond Street charity cash questions

Exclusive Tens of thousands of pounds destined for Great Ormond Street Hospital from ZX Spectrum Vega firm Retro Computers Limited appears not to have been paid. Retro Computers Limited (RCL) had promised to pay 10 per cent from proceeds of sales of its Vega console to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, England, under the …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Apr 2017

Embrace our cloud, damn you: Microsoft dangles 40% discount on Azure instances

Microsoft has started offering substantial Windows Server licence discounts as an incentive to embrace its cloud. Redmond has rolled out its Azure Hybrid Use Benefits scheme, which it says can cut up to 40 per cent off the price of Windows Server virtual instances on Azure. Azure Hybrid Use Benefit covers two-processor and 16 …
Andreas Kolbe, 13 Apr 2017
Stardust_Neon_graveyard_Las_Vegas

Tantalising tidbits from XtremIO to be revealed at Vegas expo in May

XtremIO arrays have larger SSDs, better replication and copy data management support coming, according to the Dell World 2017 agenda for its Las Vegas appearance at The Venetian. Previous Dell World events have taken place in Austin, while EMC annual shows have been in Las Vegas. The combined Dell-EMC has outgrown Austin and …
Chris Mellor, 13 Apr 2017

Callisto Group snoopers wreak havoc with leaked HackingTeam spyware

Leaked HackingTeam spyware was used by a cyber-spy group to collect intelligence. The Callisto Group cyber-spies collected intel on foreign and security policy in eastern Europe and the south Caucasus using spyware developed for law enforcement agencies, according to F-Secure Labs. The group – which remains active – has …
John Leyden, 13 Apr 2017
basho logo

NoSQL slinger Basho looks like it's suffering from a case of NoBIZ

NoSQL database supplier Basho is looking for a sale. Basho Technologies provides the Riak KV (key:value) and TS (Time Series) databases to store massive data lakes. It's recently had a focus on the Internet of Things and processing at the edge. We have been hearing that the company has fallen on hard times. It last issued a …
Chris Mellor, 13 Apr 2017
Man ties laces on running shoe pre-jog. Photo by Shutterstock

Free health apps laugh in the face of privacy, sell your wheezing data

Free health tracker apps pose a severe privacy risk, security researchers warn. Developers frequently neglect data protection and, worse, intentionally lure in users with free health gimmicks in order to monetise their data. Other sharp practices uncovered by the researchers include unsecured data transmission and ad tracking …
John Leyden, 13 Apr 2017
Cat in a box, image via Shutterstock

Cloud computing is bigger than AWS and Azure

Research To some, cloud computing is synonymous with so-called ‘public cloud’ services such as AWS and Azure, but this isn’t the view of Reg readers. When 668 of you provided feedback during a recent survey on meeting infrastructure-level needs, the adoption of ‘private cloud’ (defined as ‘cloudy architecture running in your own data …
Dale Vile, 13 Apr 2017

Irish! data! police! are! preparing! to! whack! Yahoo! over! that! hack!

Yahoo! is set to get a spanking under European Union data protection laws for the biggest of the many megabreaches it copped to last year. The Irish data protection commissioner has stated that a probe by the office into Yahoo!'s megabreach of 2014 – the one in which more than a billion user accounts were affected – has almost …
Heartbeat graph

Graphite core? There are other ways to monitor your operation's heart

The BBC and NHS epitomise enterprise: the BBC has 23,000 staff while the NHS is one of the world's largest employers, with 1.4 million. Their IT estate is vast and central to the delivery of their services. The BBC's iPlayer is on the front line in a world of on-demand TV defined by Netflix, and among its layered infrastructure …
Dave Cartwright, 13 Apr 2017

Three indicted over sex trafficking operation run on Backpage.com

Three people have been indicted for operating a sex trafficking ring through the scandalous classifieds website Backpage.com's adult section. Feng Yang Chen, 41, LiangLiang Guo, 31, and Cheng Qi Li, 28, all of Flushing in New York State, are accused of conspiracy in regards to "an interstate prostitution business". Chen faces …

Financially outgunned in Tosh memory biz sale, WD wheels out contract law artillery

+Comment Broadcom may be better placed financially to bid for Toshiba's memory business because Western Digital is burdened with debt from its $16bn SanDisk acquisition. Knowing this, WD is setting up a contract law barrage. Bloomberg, quoting unnamed sources, says Broadcom has lined up financing from three Japanese banks: Mizuho …
Chris Mellor, 13 Apr 2017
Man with YOLO tattooed on his knuckles prepares to punch the viewer (of the pic). Photo by Shutterstock

Hypervisor kid Jeff Ready: Converged to the core, and NO VMware

Profile Scale Computing CEO Jeff Ready reckons its hyperconverged HC3 software is better than anyone else's because it's integrated into the hypervisor's core and not just another VM. Ready briefed El Reg at a March meeting in London. Scale's HC3 product does not use VMware, being centred on KVM instead. Because storage access is …
Chris Mellor, 13 Apr 2017
Paul Winchell and dummy

Boss swore by 'For Dummies' book about an OS his org didn't run

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Reg’s usually-on-Friday column in which readers share tales of being asked to do nasty jobs at nasty times, often for nasty people. And yes, this is Thursday. But Friday’s a holiday (in some places) and lots of you read On-Call, so they made me do one before I started eating too many chocolate …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Apr 2017

Euro Patent Office reforms hit another stumbling block: Reality

Analysis When he's not ignoring national laws and threatening employees, the president of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoit Battistelli, is on a crusade to make things work faster. Against an ever-more unhappy background of EPO staff and patent examiners, Battistelli has for several years put forward the same defence: he is …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2017

Boffins fabricate the 'most complex bendy microprocessor yet'

A team of engineers from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria has created what they claim is the most complex flat and flexible microprocessor to date – using a molybdenum disulfide semiconductor. In other words, it's a demonstration of a potentially viable alternative to silicon. The keyword here is alternative, as …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Apr 2017

Far out: Dark matter bridges millions of light-years long spotted between galaxies

Pic Astrophysicists have for the first time spotted filaments of dark matter forming bridges between galaxies tens of millions of light-years apart. Dark matter – the ghostly substance that is thought to make up about a quarter of our universe – is strangely hard to find. Some physicists believe dark matter is made up of weakly …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Apr 2017
Venomous snake

Worry not, Python devs – you can program a quantum computer

Australia's Commonwealth Bank has bought a simulated quantum computer that you can program with Python. Yes, that Python – the scripting language created by Guido van Rossum, beloved of web developers and adapted into kiddie-coding tool Scratch. Python may appear an odd choice for a quantum computer, seeing as they're ever-so …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Apr 2017

Tor loses a node in Russia after activist's arrest in Moscow

Russia is shy a Tor exit node, after a university maths teacher was arrested for his involvement in protests in that country. Authorities have reportedly thrown the book at Dmitry Bogatov, accusing him of posting messages calling for mayhem. According to TASS, he’ll be held for two months pending investigation. This report at …
sirens

DTMF replay phreaked out the Dallas tornado alarm, say researchers

Strap yourself into the DeLorean: researchers from Duo reckon the Dallas tornado alarm incident was a case of old-style DTMF phreaking. On Friday night, someone figured out how to activate all 156 of the city's sirens in a stunt hack. It turns out the sirens, from Federal Signal, use one of the oldest signalling techniques …

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