John Lister

Tue
21
Feb
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Megaupload Boss Loses Extradition Appeal

Controversial file sharing site owner Kim Dotcom has come another step closer to being extradited to the United States. It comes despite a New Zealand court agreeing with one of Dotcom's key arguments against extradition. Dotcom, who changed his ... name from Kim Schmitz, was the man behind one of the biggest alleged piracy websites, "Megaupload." It was a site where users could upload files, either as a form of back-up, or as a way to share files with other people. Not surprisingly, many users found that Megaupload was an excellent way to illegally share copies of copyrighted music ... (view more)

Thu
16
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

Report: You can be Tracked Online, even without IP or Cookies

Researchers have found a way to track web users even if they switch web browsers. It could improve security but also weaken online privacy. The researchers at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania were trying to find ways of improving fingerprinting. ... That's a way to attempt to identify an individual user (or at least their computer) without relying on single identifiers such as login details, browser cookies, or an IP address. Instead, fingerprinting involves taking multiple pieces of information provided by a user's browser such as the browser name, it's version, whether they have an ad blocker ... (view more)

Wed
15
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

IBM's Watson to Tackle Computer Security, Threats

IBM's artificial intelligence system Watson is to lend its hand to security. It will help scour millions of reports to try to learn more about current online threats. The Watson system was originally designed to see if a computer could compete on ... Jeopardy!, the show where contestants are given an answer and have to try to figure out the question. It was considered a challenge for computers because, although they can store a lot of information and process it quickly, they don't always have the human ability to decipher meaning and context. In the event, Watson prevailed against two human ... (view more)

Thu
09
Feb
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Facebook makes it Easier to Help in Crisis, Disaster

Facebook is to make it easier for people to offer practical help after a crisis or natural disaster. It's an update to an existing tool for people to check up on loved ones. When triggered, the "Safety Check" feature will check which Facebook users ... are in the relevant physical area, based on their IP address or the location information on their mobile device. They'll then be asked to choose options of "I'm safe" or "I'm not in the area." Their Facebook friends will then see them listed as safe. The idea is that publicizing somebody as being " ... (view more)

Wed
08
Feb
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Smart TV Maker Spied on Viewing Habits, Sold Data

Vizio is to pay $2.2 million in fines after tracking viewing habits on 11 million smart TVs without their owners' knowledge or permission. They then sold the details, including personal information, to advertisers. As part of a settlement, Vizio has ... now agreed to inform customers about the practice and promises to always get their express consent before tracking any viewing. It will also have to delete much of the data it has already collected. Vizio had relied on the idea that customers retained enough control because there was a setting named "Smart Interactivity" that could ... (view more)

Tue
07
Feb
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Google Fails to Block Email Search Warrant

A US court has ordered Google to hand over emails that it stores on computers in another country. That's a contrast to a previous ruling involving Microsoft, and highlights the complexity of applying national laws to Internet issues. The case ... involves an FBI search warrant that applies to a criminal suspect. Google had refused to comply with the warrant on two grounds: that there wasn't enough evidence for a seizure to overcome the restrictions placed by the constitution, and that the emails were physically stored outside of the US and thus couldn't be covered by a domestic ... (view more)

Thu
02
Feb
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Computer AI Masters Poker

An artificial intelligence program has beaten professional poker players for the first time. It may sound trivial but marks a major advance in technology that could have practical benefits. Computers beat human experts at chess many years ago, and ... last year a computer beat the world champion at the far more complex board game "Go" for the first time. That was significant because the sheer number of possible moves available in Go means ever the most powerful computer can't assess every possible move. Instead the program had to learn to use human tactics such as heuristics (in ... (view more)

Wed
01
Feb
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Hotel Ditches Key Cards After Ransomware Attack

Hackers have forced a hotel to ditch its electronic room key system and return to physical keys. But reports that guests were locked in and out of their room turned out to be overblown. The Seehotel Jaegewirt in Austria has been targeted by at least ... four different attacks on its computer system. The most recent involved the system data being encrypted and the hackers demanding a payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin equivalent to around $1,600. The hotel mentioned the attack in a press release designed to raise awareness and warn other hotels of the need to maintain security. A news agency ... (view more)

Tue
31
Jan
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Internet Piracy Warning Program Ditched

A controversial program of warning letters for suspected copyright infringers has been dropped. The organization behind it says it was a successful education program but critics say it failed to have much impact. The "Copyright Alert System" was set ... up by the Center for Copyright Information, made up of the main producers of TV shows, movies and music in the US. It struck a deal in 2013 with the five largest Internet providers to send up to six warnings to customers after the copyright holders made a complaint of alleged infringement. The precise format was up to the Internet firm, ... (view more)

Thu
26
Jan
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Facebook Revamps Trending Topics List

Facebook is making several changes to its Trending Topics section that, in effect, serves as its news headlines. The changes are designed to make it harder for people to game the system with bogus or intentionally provocative stories. Trending ... Topics is not about the stories that appear in the main news feed. They will continue to be decided by how many of the user's friends post, share or comment on links to the relevant web pages. Instead, Trending Topics is a separate list that appears on the right hand side of the page when users are logged in to the Facebook website. Clicking on the ... (view more)

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