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Updated: 4 hours 28 min ago

Microsoft Edge Lets Facebook Run Flash Code Behind Users' Backs

4 hours 55 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Edge browser contains a secret whitelist that lets Facebook run Adobe Flash code behind users' backs. The whitelist allows Facebook's Flash content to bypass Edge security features such as the click-to-play policy that normally prevents websites from running Flash code without user approval beforehand. The whitelist isn't new. It existed in Edge before, and prior to February 2018, it included 58 entries, including domains and subdomains for Microsoft's main site, the MSN portal, music streaming service Deezer, Yahoo, and Chinese social network QQ. The list was narrowed down to only two Facebook domains (facebook.com and apps.facebook.com) after a Google security researcher found that the whitelist mechanism had some security issues. The bug report also contains the original version of the whitelist, with all the 58 domains.

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Elon Musk: Bitcoin Structure is Brilliant, But Has Its Cons; Paper Money is Going Away

5 hours 35 min ago
Elon Musk, who among other things, is a pioneer in the payments industry, has weighed in on one of the most divisive topics in finance today: Bitcoin. In a podcast with Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, Musk, the co-founder and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, was asked to "go off topic" and offer up some thoughts on the most famous cryptocurrency. From a report: "I think the bitcoin structure is quite brilliant. But I'm not sure that it would be a good use of Tesla's resources to get involved in crypto," he told Wood. Musk, who founded PayPal, added that the days of paper money are numbered and digital currencies could offer a more efficient solution to shifting value. "Paper money is going away and crypto is a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper, that's for sure, but it has its pros and cons," he said.

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Microsoft Says Discovers Hacking Targeting Democratic Institutions in Europe

6 hours 10 min ago
Microsoft said today it had discovered hacking targeting democratic institutions, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe and plans to offer a cyber security service to several countries to close security gaps. From a report: The hacks occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said. Microsoft said it found out about the hacks through the company's Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Crimes Unit, and the hacks targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia. Hackers in most cases create malicious weblinks and spoofed email addresses that look legitimate, aiming to gain access to employee credentials and deliver malware, the company said.

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Google Says the Built-in Microphone it Never Told Nest Users About Was 'Never Supposed To Be a Secret'

6 hours 44 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant. The problem: Nest users didn't know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with. The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device. On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an "error." "The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs," the spokesperson said. "That was an error on our part."

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Lightsaber Dueling Registered as Official Sport in France

7 hours 35 min ago
It's now easier than ever in France to act out Star Wars fantasies. The country's fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the weapon from George Lucas's space saga the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics. From a report: Of course, the LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate replicas can't slice an opponent in half. But they look and sound remarkably like the blades that Yoda and other characters wield in the blockbuster movies. The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of the reason why the French Fencing Federation is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors. Like virtuous Jedi knights, the federation sees itself as combatting a Dark Side: the sedentary habits of 21st-century life. "With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs," says Serge Aubailly, the federation's secretary general. "That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural." In the past, Zorro, Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers helped lure new practitioners to fencing. Now, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader are joining them. "Cape-and-sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth," Aubailly says. "Lightsaber films have the same impact. Young people want to give it a try."

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CERN's World-First Browser Reborn: Now You Can Browse Like It's 1990

8 hours 15 min ago
A team at Switzerland-based research center CERN has rebuilt WorldWideWeb, the world's first browser created in 1990 for its researchers. From a report: Earlier this month a group of developers and designers convened at CERN, or The European Organization for Nuclear Research, to rebuild WorldWideWeb in celebration of its 30th anniversary. The WorldWideWeb browser was built by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 on a NeXT machine, following his March 1989 proposal for a 'Mesh' or global hypertext system for CERN that he would later call the World Wide Web. The system aimed to address information loss that came with a high turnover and CERN's constantly changing technology. This was an acute problem at CERN that Berners-Lee predicted the world would also face within the next decade. Besides the browser, Berners-Lee developed 'httpd', the first hypertext server software for serving up early webpages. The WorldWideWeb browser simulator is now available online to view in a modern browser. For anyone curious to know how to use it, the developers have provided written instructions and a video demo.

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Logitech is Relaunching the MX518 Gaming Mouse

8 hours 59 min ago
From a report: Logitech has announced it is bringing back the "legendary" (the company's word, not mine) MX518 gaming mouse. The announcement says "many consider [it] to be the finest gaming mouse of all time." I am definitely one of those people. Logitech first released the MX518 in 2005, as the successor to the already-pretty-good MX510 gaming mouse released in 2004. The MX518 was around for six years before Logitech tried to replace it with the G400 gaming mouse in 2011. I say "tried" because, well, it just wasn't the same. Logitech has finally admitted as much, after eight years of trying. The company is promising that the reborn MX518 will have the same shape and feel as the original. The materials have been updated, and there's a new "Nightfall" finish but, crucially, it's still an MX518.

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Apple To Target Combining iPhone, iPad and Mac Apps by 2021: Report

9 hours 40 min ago
Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg: Apple wants to make it easier for software coders to create tools, games and other applications for its main devices in one fell swoop -- an overhaul designed to encourage app development and, ultimately, boost revenue. The ultimate goal of the multistep initiative, code-named "Marzipan," is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, said people familiar with the effort. That should spur the creation of new software, increasing the utility of the company's gadgets. Later this year, Apple plans to let developers port their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple's iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don't have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan. In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. Further reading: Tim Cook, in April 2018: Users Don't Want iOS To Merge With MacOS.

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Qualcomm Urges US Regulators To Reverse Course, Ban Some iPhones

10 hours 40 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Qualcomm is urging U.S. trade regulators to reverse a judge's ruling and ban the import of some Apple iPhones in a long-running patent fight between the two companies. Qualcomm is seeking the ban in hopes of dealing Apple a blow before the two begin a major trial in mid-April in San Diego over Qualcomm's patent licensing practices. Qualcomm has sought to apply pressure to Apple with smaller legal challenges ahead of that trial and has won partial iPhone sales bans in China and Germany against Apple, forcing the iPhone maker to ship only phones with Qualcomm chips to some markets. Any possible ban on iPhone imports to the United States could be short-lived because Apple last week for the first time disclosed that it has found a software fix to avoid infringing on one of Qualcomm's patents. Apple asked regulators to give it as much as six months to prove that the fix works. Qualcomm brought a case against Apple at the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2017 alleging that some iPhones violated Qualcomm patents to help smart phones run well without draining their batteries. Qualcomm asked for an import ban on some older iPhone models containing Intel chips. In September, Thomas Pender, an administrative law judge at the ITC, found that Apple violated one of the patents in the case but declined to issue a ban. Pender reasoned that imposing a ban on Intel-chipped iPhones would hand Qualcomm an effective monopoly on the U.S. market for modem chips, which connect smart phones to wireless data networks. Pender's ruling said that preserving competition in the modem chip market was in the public interest as speedier 5G networks come online in the next few years.

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Proposed Bill Would Force Arizonians To Pay $250 To Have Their DNA Added To a Database

13 hours 40 min ago
technology_dude writes: One by one, thresholds are being crossed where the collection and storage of personal data is accepted as routine. Being recorded by cameras at business locations, in public transportation, in schools, churches, and every other place imaginable. Recent headlines include "Singapore Airlines having cameras built into the seat back of personal entertainment systems," and "Arizona considering a bill to force some public workers to give up DNA samples (and even pay for it)." It seems to be a daily occurrence where we have crossed another line in how far we will go to accept massive surveillance as normal. Do we even have a line the sand that we would defend? Do we even see anything wrong with it? Absolute power corrupts absolutely and we continue to give knowledge of our personal lives (power) to others. If we continue down the same path, I suppose we deserve what we get? I want to shout "Stop the train, I want off!" but I fear my plea would be ignored. So who out there is more optimistic than I and can recommend some reading that will give me hope? Bill 1475 was introduced by Republican State Senator David Livingston and would require teachers, police officers, child day care workers, and many others to submit their DNA samples along with fingerprints to be stored in a database maintained by the Department of Public Safety. "While the database would be prohibited from storing criminal or medical records alongside the DNA samples, it would require the samples be accompanied by the person's name, Social Security number, date of birth and last known address," reports Gizmodo. "The living will be required to pay [a $250 processing fee] for this invasion of their privacy, but any dead body that comes through a county medical examiner's office would also be fair game to be entered into the database."

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Neuroscientists Say They've Found An Entirely New Form of Neural Communication

16 hours 40 min ago
Scientists think they've identified a previously unknown form of neural communication that self-propagates across brain tissue, and can leap wirelessly from neurons in one section of brain tissue to another -- even if they've been surgically severed. The discovery offers some radical new insights about the way neurons might be talking to one another, via a mysterious process unrelated to conventionally understood mechanisms, such as synaptic transmission, axonal transport, and gap junction connections. ScienceAlert reports: "We don't know yet the 'So what?' part of this discovery entirely," says neural and biomedical engineer Dominique Durand from Case Western Reserve University. "But we do know that this seems to be an entirely new form of communication in the brain, so we are very excited about this." To that end, Durand and his team investigated slow periodic activity in vitro, studying the brain waves in This neural activity can actually be modulated - strengthened or blocked - by applying weak electrical fields and could be an analogue form of another cell communication method, called ephaptic coupling. The team's most radical finding was that these electrical fields can activate neurons through a complete gap in severed brain tissue, when the two pieces remain in close physical proximity. slices extracted from decapitated mice. What they found was that slow periodic activity can generate electric fields which in turn activate neighboring cells, constituting a form of neural communication without chemical synaptic transmission or gap junctions. "To ensure that the slice was completely cut, the two pieces of tissue were separated and then rejoined while a clear gap was observed under the surgical microscope," the authors explain in their paper. "The slow hippocampal periodic activity could indeed generate an event on the other side of a complete cut through the whole slice." The findings are reported in The Journal of Physiology.

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FDA Warns Against Using Young Blood As Medical Treatment

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday against using plasma infusions from young blood donors to ward off the effects of normal aging as well as other more serious conditions. Plasma, the liquid portion of the blood, contains proteins that help clot blood. The infusions are promoted to treat a variety of conditions, including normal aging and memory loss as well as serious conditions such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. "There is no proven clinical benefit of infusion of plasma from young donors to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent these conditions, and there are risks associated with the use of any plasma product," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb wrote in a statement Tuesday. "The reported uses of these products should not be assumed to be safe or effective," he added, noting that the FDA "strongly" discourages consumers from using this therapy "outside of clinical trials under appropriate institutional review board and regulatory oversight." Gottlieb said that "a growing number of clinics" are offering plasma from young donors and similar therapies, though he did not name any in particular.

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 Modem Is the 4G/5G Solution We've Been Waiting For

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 9:50pm
Qualcomm has unveiled its latest 5G modem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55. The chip is the company's second-generation 5G modem and successor to the Snapdragon X50 that was announced back in 2017. "Headline features of this new chip include multi-mode 4G and 5G in a single chip, blazing fast 7Gbps speeds, and futureproof support for the 5G Standalone specification," reports Android Authority. From the report: Starting with 5G, the chip supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum, just like its predecessor. Theoretical peak speeds are boosted from 5Gbps to 7Gbps download and up to 3Gbps upload. However, you'll need a perfect alignment of network conditions and capabilities to reach such lofty speeds. More important is the introduction of 5G FDD support. This will be crucial in Europe and other places looking to free up low-frequency spectrum (600 to 900MHz) for 5G. The Snapdragon X55 also introduces 4G/5G spectrum sharing, 100MHz envelope tracking for better power management, and antenna tuning in the sub-6GHz region. All very handy improvements over its first generation 5G modem. Perhaps the biggest point of all is that the X55 also supports the 5G Standalone (SA) specification. First-generation 5G networks and devices are all based on the earlier Non-Standalone (NSA) specification. Eventually, these will transition over to the SA standard. SA ditches the use of LTE networks for backend communication, transitioning over entirely to 5G. This opens up greater networking flexibility with Network Slicing and offers even lower latency for IoT and device-to-device communication. On the 4G side, the Snapdragon X55 supports the Category 22 LTE standard. This allows for peak throughput of 2.5Gbps, making it Qualcomm's most powerful 4G solution to date. The Snapdragon X55 also introduces Full Dimensional MIMO (FD-MIMO) for LTE. This includes 3D beamforming, allowing for improved elevation support to improve spectrum efficiency. Importantly, the Snapdragon X55 is built on a 7nm process rather than 10nm with the X50. The new modem isn't expected to appear in devices until late 2019 at the earliest. Android Authority suggests that the X55 will be featured inside 2019's next-gen Snapdragon 8XX processor, which should be officially announced at the end of the year, close to when Qualcomm expects the first X55 products. "In addition to the new modem, Qualcomm also announced its second-generation mmWave antenna and will be demoing its 5G technologies at MWC," reports Android Authority. "Dubbed the QTM525, the latest antenna module is slightly slimmer than the previous design and can be built into phones thinner than 8mm thick. It now covers 26, 28, and 39GHz mmWave spectrum and Qualcomm continues to suggest that three or four of these will be needed per 5G phone."

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China Has Abandoned a Cybersecurity Truce With the US, Report Says

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 9:10pm
Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike says China has largely abandoned a hacking truce negotiated by Barack Obama as President Trump embarked on a trade war with Beijing last year. "A slowdown in Chinese hacking following the cybersecurity agreement Obama's administration secured in 2015 appears to have been reversed, the firm said in a report released Tuesday that reviewed cyber activity by U.S. adversaries in 2018," reports Bloomberg. From the report: The report comes as the Trump administration seeks to reach a trade deal with China, including provisions on intellectual property theft, ahead of a March 1 deadline. Trump has said he may extend that deadline and hold off on increasing tariffs on Chinese imports if there's progress in the talks. China's hacking targets in 2018 included telecommunications systems in the U.S. and Asia, according to Crowdstrike. Groups linked to Iran and Russia also appeared to target telecommunications, a sector that yields "the most bang for your buck" for hackers due to the large number of users that can be accessed after breaching a single network, Meyers said. The findings align with concern in the U.S. about telecommunications security as the country transitions to the next generation of mobile networks and the Trump administration seeks to secure so-called 5G technology from foreign intelligence gathering. The administration has expressed particular concern about the spread of products made by the Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co. The report also mentions the increased cyber activity in other parts of the world. "Iran focused much of its cyber activity on Middle Eastern and North African countries while Russia engaged in intelligence collection and information operations worldwide," the report says. "North Korea deployed hackers for financial gain and intelligence collection, while China targeted sectors including technology, manufacturing and hospitality."

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'Samsung's One UI Is the Best Software It's Ever Put On a Smartphone'

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 8:30pm
In preparation for the Galaxy S10 launch event tomorrow, The Verge's Dieter Bohn writes about the new "One UI" software that will run on these new phones. After testing the software on a Galaxy S9 for the past week, Bohn says he really likes it, adding that it's better in some ways than the software found on Google's Pixel 3. "If it weren't for the fact that I don't yet trust Samsung to deliver major software updates quickly, I would be shouting about One UI from the rooftops," writes Bohn. "As it is, I just want to point out that it's time for us to stop instinctively turning our noses up at Samsung's version of Android." From the report: I can't go quite so far as to say that everything has changed forever when it comes to Samsung's customizations. There are still multiple versions of some apps because both Google and Samsung insist on having their software present. Samsung phones also have a reputation for getting a little laggy (the technical term is cruft) over time, and I don't know yet whether One UI and Android 9 will suffer the same fate. But I do know that one week in, this OS actually feels intentional and designed instead of just having a bunch of features tacked on. Historically, we've thought of all those customizations as unnecessary add-ons. But that's not quite right anymore -- customizing AOSP is necessary these days. Instead, we should judge a Samsung phone on its own merits as a phone, not as stuff bolted on to some idealized "pure" version of the phone that can't really exist anymore. One UI consists of four key parts. One is the basic update to Android 9 Pie, which means you'll get a ton of small features for free. Second, there is a generalized update to the look and feel -- everything is just a little cleaner and more tasteful than before. Samsung has realized that neon is only cool in small doses. Third, because this is Samsung, there are just a million features hidden in every corner of the OS. Some of them -- like a dark mode -- are genuinely useful. Others will remind people of the bad old days of TouchWiz. But overall Samsung is doing a better job of surfacing them progressively as you use the phone, instead of asking you to wade though arcane and opaquely named settings screens in the first 15 minutes of using the phone. The last big feature to talk about in One UI is the first one most people will notice: big, giant header text inside apps. When you open up an app like Messages or Settings you'll see the name of the app in a field of white (or black, in dark mode) that takes up the entire top half of the screen. When you scroll, though, the giant header shrinks down and you have a full screen of content. The last big feature to talk about in One UI is the first one most people will notice: big, giant header text inside apps. When you open up an app like Messages or Settings you'll see the name of the app in a field of white (or black, in dark mode) that takes up the entire top half of the screen. When you scroll, though, the giant header shrinks down and you have a full screen of content.

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How Streaming Music Could Be Harming the Planet

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 7:50pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Current digital technology gives us flawless music quality without physical deterioration. Music is easy to copy and upload, and can be streamed online without downloading. Since our digital music is less tangible than vinyl or CDs, surely it must be more environmentally friendly? Even though new formats are material-free, that doesn't mean they don't have an environmental impact. The electronic files we download are stored on active, cooled servers. The information is then retrieved and transmitted across the network to a router, which is transferred by wi-fi to our electronic devices. This happens every time we stream a track, which costs energy. Once vinyl or a CD is purchased, it can be played over and over again, the only carbon cost coming from running the record player. However, if we listen to our streamed music using a hi-fi sound system it's estimated to use 107 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, costing about $20 to run. A CD player uses 34.7 kilowatt hours a year and costs about $7 to run. So, which is the greener option? It depends on many things, including how many times you listen to your music. If you only listen to a track a couple of times, then streaming is the best option. If you listen repeatedly, a physical copy is best -- streaming an album over the internet more than 27 times will likely use more energy than it takes to produce and manufacture a CD. If you want to reduce your impact on the environment, then vintage vinyl could be a great physical option. For online music, local storage on phones, computers or local network drives keeps the data closer to the user and will reduce the need for streaming over distance from remote severs across a power-hungry network.

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Grand Canyon Visitors May Have Been Exposed To Radiation For Years

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 7:10pm
joeflies writes: Park safety manager Elston Stephenson provides details about buckets of uranium that exposed visitors to radiation, and the subsequent cover up. The radiation was detected by a teenager that brought a Geiger counter to the building, and was subsequently "cleaned" up by employees equipped with dish washing gloves and a broken mop handle. "If you were in the Museum Collections Building (2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were 'exposed' to uranium by OSHA's definition," Stephenson wrote. "The radiation readings, at first blush, exceeds (sic) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's safe limits. [...] Identifying who was exposed, and your exposure level, gets tricky and is our next important task." Stephenson said he had repeatedly asked National Park executives to inform the public, but never got a response. "According to Stephenson, the uranium specimens had been in a basement at park headquarters for decades and were moved to the museum building when it opened, around 2000," reports AZCentral. "One of the buckets was so full that its lid would not close. Stephenson said the containers were stored next to a taxidermy exhibit, where children on tours sometimes stopped for presentations, sitting next to uranium for 30 minutes or more. By his calculation, those children could have received radiation dosages in excess of federal safety standards within three seconds, and adults could have suffered dangerous exposure in less than a half-minute."

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Hollywood Tries To Cripple Several Alleged Pirate TV Services In One Lawsuit

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 6:30pm
The major Hollywood movie studios last week filed a copyright infringement suit against Omniverse One World Television Inc., which provides streaming video to several online TV services. Omniverse claims to have legal rights to the content, but the studios say it doesn't. Ars Technica reports: The complaint was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. The studios previously used lawsuits to shut down the maker of a streaming device called the Dragon Box and another called TickBox. The studios' new lawsuit says that Omniverse supplied content to Dragon Box and to other alleged pirate services that are still operating. Services using Omniverse content are advertised as "Powered by Omniverse." Besides Dragon Box, they include "SkyStream TV, Flixon TV, and Silicon Dust's HDHomeRun Service," according to the lawsuit. SkyStream, for example, offers more than 70 live TV channels for $35 a month, while pricier packages, according to the complaint, also include premium channels such as HBO. SkyStream's website says its service "is delivered In Cooperation with Omniverse One World Television." According to its website, Omniverse "partners with key distributors across the USA to empower end users with the ability to view their favorite TV channels with no contracts, no credit checks, and no long-term obligations." [T]he movie studios' lawsuit alleges that Omniverse has no rights to distribute their video content. While Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube TV, and other legitimate streaming services purchase rights to the content, Omniverse has not, the lawsuit said. The complaint asks for an injunction shutting the company down and damages of up to $150,000 for each infringed work. "Defendant Jason DeMeo and his company, Omniverse, stream Plaintiffs' copyrighted movies and television shows without authorization to an already large, and rapidly growing, number of end users," the lawsuit said. "Defendants are not, however, just an infringing, consumer-facing service, akin to Dragon Box. Defendants operate at a higher level in the supply chain of infringing content -- recruiting numerous downstream services like Dragon Box into the illicit market and providing them with access to unauthorized streams of copyrighted content. Defendants function as a 'hub' of sorts, with the enlisted downstream services as the 'spokes.' Omniverse's offering is illegal, it is growing, and it undermines the legitimate market for licensed services."

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The US Cannot Crush Us, Says Huawei Founder

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 5:50pm
The founder of Huawei has said there is "no way the US can crush" the company, in an interview with the BBC. From the report: Ren Zhengfei, founder and president of Huawei, described the arrest of his daughter Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, as politically motivated. The US is pursuing criminal charges against Huawei and Ms Meng, including money laundering, bank fraud and stealing trade secrets. Huawei denies any wrongdoing. Mr Ren spoke to the BBC's Karishma Vaswani in his first international broadcast interview since Ms Meng was arrested -- and dismissed the pressure from the US. "There's no way the US can crush us," he said. "The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit." However, he acknowledged that the potential loss of custom could have a significant impact. [...] Mr Ren warned that "the world cannot leave us because we are more advanced". "If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn't represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world."

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House Opens Inquiry Into Proposed US Nuclear Venture In Saudi Arabia

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 5:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: President Trump's former national security adviser and other White House officials pushed a venture to bring nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over repeated legal and ethical warnings that potential conflicts of interest around the plan could put American security at risk, concluded a new report from House Democrats released on Tuesday. The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee outlined actions taken in the early weeks of the Trump administration to secure government backing to have American companies build dozens of nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia, potentially at the risk of spreading nuclear weapons technology. But House Democrats said there was evidence that as recently as last week, the White House was still considering the proposal. Claims presented by whistle-blowers and White House documents obtained by the committee show that the company backing the nuclear plan, IP3 International, and its allies in the White House were working so closely that the company sent a draft memo to the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, to circulate just days after the inauguration. Mr. Flynn had worked on the plan for IP3 during the Trump campaign and transition, the Democrats said, and continued to advocate for it in the White House. Even after Mr. Flynn left the White House in February 2017, officials on the National Security Council pushed ahead, the Democrats said, ignoring advice from the N.S.C.'s ethics counsel and other lawyers to cease all work on the plan because of potentially illegal conflicts. At a March 2017 meeting, a National Security Council aide tried to revive the IP3 plan "so that Jared Kushner can present it to the President for approval," the Democratic report said, a reference to Mr. Trump's son-in-law and top adviser. The draft memo also referenced another close Trump associate, Thomas J. Barrack, who served as chairman of the president's inaugural committee. It said that Mr. Trump had appointed Mr. Barrack as a special representative to implement the plan, which it called "the Middle East Marshall Plan." The memo also directed agencies to support Mr. Barrack's efforts.

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