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Thomas Claburn

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Android 8 Oreo emoji

Google's Android 8.0 Oreo has been served

Google on Monday released Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest update to the world's most widely used operating system, as measured by internet usage. First released as a developer preview in March, when the code was designated by the letter "O" instead of a trademarked confection, Google's mobile operating system hasn't piggybacked …
Thomas Claburn, 21 Aug 2017

No, the cops can't get a search warrant to just seize all devices in sight – US appeals court

It's a ruling sending shockwaves through the worlds of privacy, device security, and law enforcement in America. The US Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia on Friday overturned the conviction of a gang member because investigators obtained a search warrant for his devices without probable cause. In other …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Aug 2017
phishing

Berkeley boffins build better spear-phishing black-box bruiser

Security researchers from UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US have come up with a way to mitigate the risk of spear-phishing in corporate environments. In a paper presented at Usenix 2017, titled "Detecting Credential Spearphishing in Enterprise Settings," Grant Ho, Mobin Javed, Vern Paxson, and …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Aug 2017
iPhone 6S battery

What code is running on Apple's Secure Enclave security chip? Now we have a decryption key...

Apple's Secure Enclave, an ARM-based coprocessor used to enhance iOS security, became a bit less secure on Thursday with the publication of a firmware decryption key. The key does not provide access to the Secure Enclave Processor (SEP). Rather, it offers the opportunity to decrypt and explore the otherwise encrypted firmware …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Aug 2017

FYI: Web ad fraud looks really bad. Like, really, really bad. Bigly bad

John Wanamaker, an American department store merchant who died almost a century ago, is noted for saying: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." For those buying online ads, it might just be both halves, due to fraud. "It's about 60 to 100 per cent fraud, with an average of …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Aug 2017
brain

Smyte might brighten fraud plight: How machine-learning can be used to thwart crooks

Analysis Carousell, a mobile-friendly classified ads market, has to deal with fraud. Like other e-commerce sites, it has to deal with miscreants who use software scripts to register masses of new accounts. It also has to handle attempts to trick sellers into refunding overpayments on bad checks. Fraudsters will buy an item for $1,000 …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Aug 2017

Comp sci world shock: Bonn boffin proposes P≠NP proof, preps for prestige, plump prize

Norbert Blum, a computer science professor at the University of Bonn, has proposed a solution to an unsolved math problem that could win him $1m, not to mention professional accolades, if his approach withstands scrutiny. The problem is known as P ≠ NP. It's one of The Clay Mathematics Institute's seven Millennium Prize …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Aug 2017

The future of Python: Concurrency devoured, Node.js next on menu

Analysis The PyBay 2017 conference, held in San Francisco over the weekend, began with a keynote about concurrency. Though hardly a draw for a general interest audience, the topic – an examination of multithreaded and multiprocess programming techniques – turns out to be central to the future of Python. Since 2008, the Python …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Aug 2017
emo illustration

How are you feeling today? Don't tell us, save for it this handy emotion-detection code

Computer eggheads from Italy's University of Bari have developed what they claim is "the first open-source toolkit for emotion recognition from text." Developers of Twitter bots, among others, often employ sentiment analysis to evaluate whether text expresses positive or negative feelings. Google engineer Max Braun, for …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Aug 2017
windows_keep_calm_mug_648

Slurping people's info without a warrant? That's OUR JOB, Google, Facebook et al tell US Supreme Court

A group of technology companies with a fondness for data collection have banded together to ask the US Supreme Court to stop the American government from snooping on cellphones without a warrant. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed on Monday, Airbnb, Apple, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nest …
Thomas Claburn, 15 Aug 2017

US prosecutors demand data to unmask every visitor to anti-Trump protest website

Web hosting biz DreamHost is resisting a US government search warrant to turn over data about everyone who visited a website used to coordinate anti-Trump protests. The website, disruptj20.org, is hosted by DreamHost, and was used to organize inauguration protests on January 20, 2017, in Washington DC, according to court …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Aug 2017
Robot workers photo via shutterstock

Raising minimum wage will raise something else: An army of robots taking away folks' jobs

Raising the minimum wage increases the chance employers will automate low-skill jobs away, according to a paper published this week through National Bureau of Economic Research, a non-profit group of econ wonks. In People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs, Grace Lordan, associate professor in …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Aug 2017
Chorus chatbot diagram

Dismayed by woeful AI chatbots, boffins hired real people – and went back to square one

Analysis Convinced that intelligent conversational assistants like Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple Siri are neither particularly intelligent nor capable of sophisticated conversation, computer boffins last year began testing a crowd-powered assistant embodied by Amazon Mechanical Turk workers. The chatbot, a people-powered …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Aug 2017

Real talk: Machine learning is not there yet. Some assembly required

Despite the vendor-driven hype, machine learning is not a miracle cure for businesses. In fact, it's something of a problem child, one that requires quite a bit of handholding and coddling. In a paper published this week, Ilias Flaounas, senior data scientist at developer tools biz Atlassian, argues that companies should be …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Aug 2017
instart logic screenshot

Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

Analysis Netizens may choose to block unwanted content – such as intrusive and misbehaving ads – but some advertising companies do not to accept that choice. Instart Logic describes itself as a content delivery service and much of that content happens to be advertising. The California-based biz is determined to help its clients present …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Aug 2017

Kalanick stations! Ex-Uber CEO sued for fraud by soured sugar daddy

Benchmark Capital on Thursday filed a lawsuit against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick alleging fraud and contract violations. The complaint, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, claims that Kalanick tried to pack the taxi app maker's board with allies "to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his …
Thomas Claburn, 10 Aug 2017
bitcoen screenshot

At last, a kosher cryptocurrency: BitCoen

Viacheslav Semenchuk, a Russian entrepreneur, has just launched a cryptocurrency for Jews. Similar in concept to Bitcoin, it is called BitCoen, "the first Kosher cryptocurrency," as described on the company's Russian website. In the US, Coen and its variant Cohen are common surnames in the Jewish community; in Hebrew, they …
Thomas Claburn, 10 Aug 2017

Favored Swift plans to settle down next year: ABI stability incoming

The Apple-supported open-source Swift programming language is set to stabilize in late 2018, with the release of version 5. The fifth iteration of Swift, outlined on Tuesday in a roadmap published by Ted Kremenek, senior manager of languages and runtimes at Apple, aims to deliver application binary interface (ABI) stability …
Thomas Claburn, 09 Aug 2017
Bitcoin, photo via Shutterstock

For fork's sake! Bitcoin Core braces for another cryptocurrency split

Bitcoin faces the possibility of yet another fork, a divergence anticipated by a code change proposal accepted by the developers of the Bitcoin Core client software. A week ago, Bitcoin split in two: legacy Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, an alternative cryptocurrency. Holders of existing Bitcoin saw a windfall, the option to …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Aug 2017
osu javascript

Watch this nanochip reprogram cells to fix damaged body tissue

Video Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a nanochip contact patch that can reprogram nearby cells, to help repair damaged or aging organs, blood vessels, or nerve cells. The bio-boffins have successfully used the device, which is about the size of a smartwatch screen, to turn skin cells into vascular cells in a …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Aug 2017

Tech giants warp eco standards to greenwash electronics, rake in cash

Analysis The makers of high-tech hardware have subverted green manufacturing standards to line their pockets while making their products look more environmentally responsible. A report released last week by Repair.org, an organization that advocates for the right to repair technology products, says electronic device manufacturers …
Thomas Claburn, 08 Aug 2017

Hotspot Shield VPN throws your privacy in the fire, injects ads, JS into browsers – claim

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a digital rights advocacy group, on Monday urged US federal trade authorities to investigate VPN provider AnchorFree for deceptive and unfair trade practices. AnchorFree claims its Hotspot Shield VPN app protects netizens from online tracking, but, according to a complaint filed …
Thomas Claburn, 07 Aug 2017

Send mixed messages: Mozilla wants you to try its encrypted file sharing

Mozilla has just rolled out an experimental service called Send that allows users to make an encrypted copy of a local file, store it on a remote server, and share it with a single recipient. And once shared, the encrypted data gets deleted from the server. Send solves what used to be a common problem, sending a large file …
Thomas Claburn, 05 Aug 2017

Apple signals it's willing to let next-gen web apps compete with iOS apps

Analysis About a week after Philadelphia-based web developer Greg Blass pilloried Apple in a widely discussed online post for hindering web development by refusing to embrace Service Workers, the WebKit team, stewards of the open-source layout engine powering Apple's Safari browser, began doing just that. Service Workers, an API for …
Thomas Claburn, 04 Aug 2017

To truly stay anonymous online, make sure your writing is as dull as the dullest conference call you can imagine

To publish online and remain anonymous, boffins from Bulgaria and Qatar advise being mediocre. And if you can't manage that on your own, they have a technique to make your prose less scintillating. Distinctive writing tends to point to a specific author. That's what stylometry, the study of linguistic patterns, aims to reveal …
Thomas Claburn, 04 Aug 2017

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