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What the FLoC? Browser makers queue up to decry Google's latest ad-targeting initiative as invasive tracking

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 20:33
'Federated Learning of Cohorts' groups users together and is already being tested in Chrome

Google's FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) mechanism for ad personalisation, currently being trialled in the Chrome browser, has been rejected as privacy-invasive tracking by other browser makers including Vivaldi and Brave.…

Categories: Technology

Israel May Have Destroyed Iranian Centrifuges Simply by Cutting Power

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 20:21
An anonymous reader shares a report: The explosion and blackout at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran over the weekend raised the specter of past sabotage -- including the Stuxnet cyberattack that took out some of Natanz's centrifuges between 2007 and 2010 as well as an explosion and fire that occurred there last July -- destroying about three-fourths of a newly opened plant for the assembly of centrifuges. Government officials and news reports gave conflicting accounts of what caused the latest blasts, the extent of damage, and Iran's capacity to quickly recover. Initial reports said there was no harm to the Natanz facility, but Iranian officials later acknowledged damage to its centrifuges. And while media accounts have suggested saboteurs focused on taking out the facility's electric supply, David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., believes the aim was to destroy centrifuges. Power is easy to restore even when electrical equipment is damaged, allowing enrichment work to quickly resume. But an abrupt blackout that also takes out backup power would have destroyed some centrifuges, Albright says, since they need to be powered down slowly. Failure to do so leads to vibrations that can cause centrifuge rotors and bellows to become damaged and in some cases disintegrate, which is what Albright suspects occurred.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Huawei tells the FCC it can't force US carriers to scrap its gear – that's Congress's job

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 19:45
We're sure the comms watchdog will take that on board

Huawei has argued that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cannot force US carriers to remove its equipment from their networks, and can only reimburse those that voluntarily choose to do so.…

Categories: Technology

Gensler Confirmed as Top Wall Street Cop, Bringing New Era of Tough Scrutiny

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 19:41
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, putting in place a battle-tested Wall Street watchdog at a moment when Democrats are looking to rein in financial market risk. From a report: The Senate confirmed Gensler in a 53-45 vote. The MIT professor and former Goldman Sachs partner is returning to government after serving as a top regulator in the Obama administration, when he cracked down on big bank trading activities that fueled the 2008 global financial crisis. Gensler will lead work on sweeping new federal regulations that would require companies to disclose their contributions and exposure to climate change, which is poised to trigger a huge lobbying fight and is already stirring deep partisan tensions. The effort will be in focus next week when President Joe Biden holds an international climate summit. And following four years of light-touch regulation under Trump, Democrats are urging the SEC to step up oversight of major financial firms after a series of high-profile market snafus this year. In recent days, for example, international banks with operations in the U.S. suffered billions of dollars in losses after a little-known investment fund collapsed and sent shockwaves through the markets.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

Coinbase Opens at $102 Billion Valuation on First Day of Public Trading

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 19:04
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase opened trading on Wednesday at $381 per share, giving it a fully diluted market value of around $102 billion. From a report: This is a slight premium to the most recent private trades for Coinbase stock, and more than 50% higher than the reference price set last night by the Nasdaq. Coinbase's public listing has been among the most anticipated in recent years, with expectations it will garner a massive market cap. Further reading: Coinbase's blockbuster debut is a 'watershed' for crypto -- but there are risks ahead.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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EU Commission To End AstraZeneca and J&J Vaccine Contracts at Expiry

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 18:20
The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported on Wednesday, citing a source from the Italian health ministry. Reuters: "The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry," the newspaper reported. It added that Brussels would rather focus on COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer's and Moderna's. A spokesman for the EU Commission said it was keeping all options open to be prepared for the next stages of the pandemic, for 2022 and beyond.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Chrome and Chromium updated after yet another exploit is found in browser's V8 JavaScript engine

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 18:02
JS component seems to be focus of researchers and miscreants alike

Google has announced new updates to Chrome 89 following the discovery of yet another live exploit for a vulnerability in the V8 JavaScript engine.…

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Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 17:58
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. From a report: Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared to a 2019 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics. Parallels also indicates that on an M1 Mac, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5x less energy than on the latest Intel-based MacBook Air. Microsoft does not yet offer a retail version of ARM-based Windows, with the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview available on Microsoft's website for Windows Insider program members. The ability to run macOS Big Sur in a virtual machine is a feature that Parallels hopes to add support for in Parallels Desktop later this year as well.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sweden Drops Russian Hacking Investigation Due To Legal Complications

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 17:03
The Swedish government dropped today its investigation into the 2017 hack of its sports authority, citing legal constraints that would have prevented prosecutors from charging the Russian hackers responsible for the intrusion, which officials claimed were mere pawns operating on behalf of a "foreign power." From a report: This marks the first time that such a legal clause is cited by prosecutors investigating cyber-espionage hacking groups. Today's statement from the Swedish Prosecution Authority also marks the first time that Swedish officials formally blamed the Russian government for the 2017 hack of the Swedish Sports Confederation (SSC). Citing a recently-concluded investigation from the Swedish Security Service, which also involved foreign intelligence services, Swedish prosecutors said that one of Russia's military hacker groups breached its sports body between December 2017 and May 2018 and stole medical records for Swedish athletes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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SAP's operating profits might be down but cloud-fixated ERP biz thinks things are looking up enough to hike full-year guidance

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 17:01
Shrugs off 21% slump – that's just infra shift, share awards

SAP says cloud sales jumped 7 per cent in its Q1 and has upped full-year forecasts on renewed hopes for higher growth, indicating senior execs reckon customers will begin spending in greater numbers this year after projects slowed in pandemic-struck 2020.…

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Biden Rushes To Protect the Power Grid as Hacking Threats Grow

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 16:31
A White House plan to rapidly shore up the security of the U.S. power grid will begin with a 100-day sprint, but take years more to transform utilities' ability to fight off hackers, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing a draft version of the plan confirmed by two people. From the report: The plan is the policy equivalent of a high-wire act: it provides incentives for electric companies to dramatically change the way they protect themselves against cyber-attacks while trying to avoid political tripwires that have stalled previous efforts, the details suggest. Among its core tenets, the Biden administration's so-called "action plan" will incentivize power utilities to install sophisticated new monitoring equipment to more quickly detect hackers, and to share that information widely with the U.S. government. It will ask utilities to identify critical sites which, if attacked, could have an outsized impact across the grid, according to a six-page draft of the plan, which was drawn up by the National Security Council and described in detail to Bloomberg News. And it will expand a partially classified Energy Department program to identify flaws in grid components that could be exploited by the country's cyber-adversaries, including Russia, Iran and China.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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A keyboard? How quaint: Logitech and Baidu link arms to make an AI-enabled, voice-transcribing mouse

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 15:56
Dictates 3 languages, translates into 6, available only in China

Swiss computer peripherals manufacturer Logitech has teamed with Chinese AI and internet company Baidu to make a voice-dictation mouse.…

Categories: Technology

'Master,' 'Slave' and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 15:52
Nearly a year after the Internet Engineering Task Force took up a plan to replace words that could be considered racist, the debate is still raging. The New York Times: What started as an earnest proposal has stalled as members of the task force have debated the history of slavery and the prevalence of racism in tech. Some companies and tech organizations have forged ahead anyway, raising the possibility that important technical terms will have different meanings to different people -- a troubling proposition for an engineering world that needs broad agreement so technologies work together. While the fight over terminology reflects the intractability of racial issues in society, it is also indicative of a peculiar organizational culture that relies on informal consensus to get things done. The Internet Engineering Task Force eschews voting, and it often measures consensus by asking opposing factions of engineers to hum during meetings. The hums are then assessed by volume and ferocity. Vigorous humming, even from only a few people, could indicate strong disagreement, a sign that consensus has not yet been reached. The I.E.T.F. has created rigorous standards for the internet and for itself. Until 2016, it required the documents in which its standards are published to be precisely 72 characters wide and 58 lines long, a format adapted from the era when programmers punched their code into paper cards and fed them into early IBM computers. "We have big fights with each other, but our intent is always to reach consensus," said Vint Cerf, one of the founders of the task force and a vice president at Google. "I think that the spirit of the I.E.T.F. still is that, if we're going to do anything, let's try to do it one way so that we can have a uniform expectation that things will function."

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Categories: Technology

Forging Industrial Grade, Scale Out Ceph Storage

The Next Platform - Wed, 2021-04-14 15:48

As tens of millions of Americans who have received their $1,400 Covid relief checks in recent weeks can attest, getting a little financial boost during stressful and difficult times can go a long way in helping to separate themselves from day-to-day survival and turn some of their attention to longer term plans. …

Forging Industrial Grade, Scale Out Ceph Storage was written by Jeffrey Burt at The Next Platform.

Categories: Technology

Huawei Blames US for Global Chip Supply Crunch

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 15:05
Huawei has blamed the U.S. for the chip crunch rocking the global tech industry, saying Washington's sanctions against Chinese companies have spurred panic buying of semiconductors and other supplies. From a report: "Because of the U.S. sanctions against Huawei, we have seen panic stockpiling among global companies, especially the Chinese ones. In the past, companies were barely stockpiling, but now they are building up three or six months' worth of inventory ... and that has disrupted the whole system," Rotating Chairman Eric Xu said at the company's 18th Huawei Analyst Summit. The U.S. has placed Huawei and other Chinese tech companies on trade blacklists that restrict their access to American technology, citing national security risks. "Clearly the unwarranted U.S. sanctions against Huawei and other [Chinese] companies are creating an industry-wide supply shortage, and this could even trigger a new global economic crisis," Xu added. Xu's remarks come hours before the White House plans to host a summit aimed at addressing the chip shortage, with an emphasis on its impact on the automotive industry. Dozens of executives from U.S., Asian and European tech companies and automakers -- including General Motors, Ford, Google, Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Samsung Electronics, and NXP -- are slated to attend the event. White House officials have already acknowledged that the chip shortage may be difficult to solve in the short term.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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UK watchdog blesses Virgin Media and O2's union, says there's no risk of market distortion or competition loss

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 14:55
Hard luck, BT

The UK's competition watchdog has provisionally cleared the proposed merger of Virgin Media and O2 after concluding it would not materially impact competition (and thus the price and availability of services) in the telecoms wholesale market.…

Categories: Technology

There's no place like GNOME: System 76 introduces COSMIC desktop GUI for its Pop!_OS Linux

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 14:03
Private preview for now, Windows and macOS users sought for testing

System76, a US company which markets laptops, PCs and servers running Linux, is developing a new GNOME-based desktop GUI called COSMIC for its Pop!_OS distribution.…

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Coinbase Sets Direct Listing Reference Price At $250/Share, Valuing the Company At As Much As $65 Billion

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-04-14 14:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Coinbase, the American cryptocurrency trading giant, has set a reference price for its direct listing at $250 per share. According to the company's most recent SEC filing, it has a fully diluted share count of 261.3 million, giving the company a valuation of $65.3 billion. Using a simple share count of 196,760,122 provided in its most recent S-1/A filing, Coinbase would be worth a slimmer $49.2 billion. Regardless of which share count is used to calculate the company's valuation, its new worth is miles above its final private price set in 2018 when the company was worth $8 billion. Around four years ago in 2017 Coinbase was worth just $1.6 billion, according to Crunchbase data. For investors in that round, let alone its earlier fundraises, the valuation implied by a $250 per-share price represents a multiple of around 40x from the price that they paid. "The Coinbase direct listing was turbocharged recently when the company provided a first-look at its Q1 2021 performance," adds TechCrunch. "As TechCrunch reported at the time, the company's recent growth was impressive, with revenue scaling from $585.1 million in Q4 2020, to $1.8 billion in the first three months of this year. The new numbers set an already-hot company's public debut on fire."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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US Homeland Security sued for 'stonewalling' over use of Clearview facial recognition

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 13:15
Potential surveillance nightmare could be unfolding in secret, civil-rights warriors fear

The US Department of Homeland Security and its law enforcement agencies – Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection – have been sued for failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about their use of Clearview AI’s facial-recognition technology.…

Categories: Technology

Element rolls out bridge: Microsoft Teams crosses into Matrix's encrypted comms land

The Register - Wed, 2021-04-14 12:30
For a small fee, of course - and no video or voice yet

Exclusive  Element Matrix Services (EMS) is asking users tied into Microsoft's Teams platform but who "actually want [end-to-end] encrypted secure comms" to take a stroll over a newly built bridge to its own message network.…

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