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Facebook Has Struggled To Hire Talent Since the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 4:01pm
An anonymous reader shared a report: Facebook is still reeling from the fallout of its Cambridge Analytica scandal more than a year ago, as multiple former recruiters say candidates are turning down job offers from what was once considered the best place to work in the United States. More than half a dozen recruiters who left Facebook in recent months told CNBC that the tech company experienced a significant decrease in job offer acceptance rates after the March 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. This impact to Facebook's recruiting efforts is important as the company adds thousands of employees each year. [...] Most notably, Facebook saw a sharp increase in students at top universities who are declining the company's job offers. Among top schools, such as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Ivy League universities, Facebook's acceptance rate for full-time positions offered to new graduates has fallen from an average of 85% for the 2017-2018 school year to between 35% and 55% as of December, according to former Facebook recruiters. The biggest decline came from Carnegie Mellon University, where the acceptance rate for new recruits dropped to 35%.

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Ticketmaster Put an End To Screenshots With New Digital Ticket Technology

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 3:21pm
Ticketmaster is turning to new technology to help fight ticket fraud. The ticketing giant today unveiled its next-generation digital tickets, "Safetix," which are tied to the ticket holder's mobile device through an encrypted barcode that automatically refreshes every few seconds. From a report: The tickets will also support NFC technology, allowing fans to enter venues through a "tap and go" experience. The company says ticket holders will later this year be able to add their contactless ticket to Apple Wallet, so they can enter a venue with their iPhone or Apple Watch. This will also involve the use of proximity-based technology which automatically selects the tickets when the phone is held near the ticket reader. Apple and Ticketmaster already tested SafeTix this month during the fintech conference Transact, Ticketmaster says.

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'Game of Thrones' Fan Petition for Final Season Do-Over Snowballs

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 2:41pm
A petition by an angry fan demanding that HBO remake the final season of "Game of Thrones" has now been signed by more than 502,000 people. From a report: Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are the target of the petition, which asserts that the pair, who have shepherded the HBO hit from the beginning, "have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on." The show first moved beyond George R.R. Martin's ongoing book series in the sixth season. The online petition, which was started on Change.org by a user called Dylan D., is titled "Remake 'Game of Thrones' season 8 with competent writers" and states that fans of the smash-hit show deserve "a final season that makes sense." [...] The petition originally began with a target of 15,000 signatures, which was reached on Wednesday. A revised target of 300,000 was surpassed Thursday, and a newly revised target is now aiming at half a million signatures. By 8:30 a.m. ET, the petition had been signed by 350,000 "Game of Thrones" fans, with the number of signatories continuing to grow rapidly. Just two hours later it hit 400,000 and by 02:10 p.m. ET it was up to 502,000.

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Sony and Microsoft Set Rivalry Aside For Streaming Alliance

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 2:00pm
Sony and Microsoft, bitter rivals in the video game console wars, will team up in on-demand gaming to better compete with newcomers like Google as the industry's main battlefield looks poised to shift to the cloud, news outlet Nikkei reported Thursday. From a report: Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on a strategic tie-up. While details have yet to be hammered out, the partnership will center on artificial intelligence and the cloud. The latter category includes plans for joint development of cloud gaming technology. While this market is expected to grow as ultrafast fifth-generation wireless gains traction, such services require much processing power on the provider's end to deliver games with high-quality graphics and minimal lag. Sony and Microsoft plan to leverage the American computing behemoth's data centers for this purpose. The two companies, along with Nintendo, long dominated the gaming landscape. But the rise of mobile gaming has brought competition from such other players as China's Tencent Holdings, which publishes the mobile version of the wildly popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG). Press release: Sony and Microsoft to explore strategic partnership.

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US Telecom Operators Say They've (Mostly) Stopped Selling Your Location Data To Shady Middlemen

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 1:20pm
In a collection of letters published by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on Thursday, representatives of T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all said they had ceased or significantly curtailed the sale of their customers' location data to companies whose shady practices brought to light triggered alarms among privacy advocates and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. From a report: The companies were responding to questions from Rosenworcel prompted by news reports that location data originating with America's largest telecoms was being acquired and sold downstream by bounty hunters and others without the consent of the companies themselves or their customers. The New York Times, for instance, reported last year that law enforcement officials had also purchased access to location data, circumvented the usual need for a warrant. On Wednesday, House lawmakers grilled the FCC's chairman, Ajit Pai, for details about the status of the commission's nearly year-long investigation into the malpractice. After two hours, it adjourned with no new information. In a May 15 letter, AT&T said that as of March 29 it was no longer sharing its customers' data with location aggregators. Sprint said in its letter that it is now only sharing location data with one location aggregator and two customers "with a public interest," a roadside assistance company and another that facilities compliance with state lottery requirements. T-Mobile said that, as of February 8, it had "terminated all service provider access to location data" under its aggregator program, and that, as of March 9, it had terminated all existing aggregator contracts. "Except for four roadside assistance companies," Verizon terminated its location aggregator program as of November 2018, the company said. It added that the four remaining contracts were terminated by the end of March.

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Hackers Can Fake Radio Signals To Hijack Aircraft Landing Systems, Warn Researchers

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:40pm
Hackers could hijack the systems used to guide planes by compromising and spoofing the radio signals that are used during landing. From a report: That's according to a team of researchers at Northeastern University in Boston, who have detailed their research in a recently published white paper. "Modern aircraft heavily rely on several wireless technologies for communications, control, and navigation. Researchers demonstrated vulnerabilities in many aviation systems," said the academics. "However, the resilience of the aircraft landing systems to adversarial wireless attacks have not yet been studied in the open literature, despite their criticality and the increasing availability of low-cost software-defined radio (SDR) platforms." After analysing the instrument system waveforms, the researchers found that hackers can spoof such radio signals using commercially available tools. With them, attackers are able to cause last-minute go-around decisions and even make the plane miss its landing zone in low-visibility scenarios.

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Google's New Plan To Push Google Pay in India: Cashback Incentives in Android Apps

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:00pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Google is gunning for India's payment companies. The U.S. search giant entered India's payment space in 2017, and now it is hatching an initiative that could boost usage of its Google Pay service by tying it tightly to Android apps in the country. The company has built an in-app engagement rewards platform that promises to help developers and businesses retain users and drive engagement on their apps, two sources familiar with the matter said. It plans to formally launch the project through partners using an SDK later this year, TechCrunch understands. Sitting at the core of this new play is Google Pay, which will be used for transactions between businesses and users, thereby expanding the reach of Google's payment service. Internally dubbed as Project Cruiser, the initiative has been in works since last year and it is led by Google's Next Billion Users team, sources said. Executives from the company have reached out to several businesses in India in recent months to coax them into coming on board, they added. The platform, if incorporated by developers into their apps, will allow app developers to incentivize users to perform certain actions in their app in a "scalable" fashion. For example, placing their first order, invite friends or adding a payment method, will all result in users earning a small sum of money.

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A Report From the AMP Advisory Committee Meeting

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 11:20am
Programmer Terence Eden doesn't like Google's AMP. He thinks Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages are a bad idea, poorly executed, and almost-certainly anti-competitive. So, he decided to join the AC (Advisory Committee) for AMP, he said, adding that he did not want Google to be surrounded with sycophants and yes-men. Here are some recommendations he has made: 1. Publish all user research: Don't allow new components to be created without a clear user story and research to support them. 2. Accessibly audit: Don't validate pages which can't pass an automated a11y test. 3. Stop the forced bundling: Let users opt-out of seeing AMP pages. Don't require AMP for prominent placement. Stop discriminating against non-Google browsers. 4. Reconsider AMP4Email : Lots of concerns from smaller email providers. Security and archiving concerns. Work with the ecosystem rather than imposing.

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Some of China's '996' Tech Tribe Quit, Seek Less Stress

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:40am
An increasingly growing number of millennials in China are beginning to question the value of working long hours in the tech sector and deviate from the longstanding 996 work environment (working 9am to 9pm for six days a week) that many local companies religiously follow. From a report: In April, protests from tech employees against excessive overtime surfaced online, sparking an equal pushback from industry magnates such as billionaire Jack Ma of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The protests point to a mindset shift in the tech industry, whose penchant for long hours has been praised by Western executives as a reason for China's economic rise. But the shift could also have a cost for tech firms, venture capitalists and analysts say. According to job-hunting site Maimai, the tech sector was the only industry out of thirteen surveyed to see more people leave than join between October 2018 and February 2019. "One of the highest costs in an organization is high employee turnover. A culture that is less focused on hours put in, may also become more effective if the focus is turned to output versus input," said Rui Ma, a San Francisco-based investor who has funded startups in China and North America. For some companies and employees, working 996 became a badge of honor and Silicon Valley heavyweights such as Sequoia Capital's Mike Moritz highlighted it as a competitive advantage over the United States. But a 996 backlash surfaced publicly in April, when a group of programmers launched an online protest against the practice. Supporters published a crowdsourced list of companies that engage in long overtime hours, which included big tech names such as Baidu, Tencent Holdings, and delivery service app Ele.me. The protest prompted a public debate about work hours in China's tech industry, and spurred reactions from at least 10 Chinese tech moguls, including Ma, who initially defended the practice. Chinese state media said 996 violated the country's labor laws, which mandate an average working week of 44 hours.

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GozNym Cyber-Crime Gang Which Stole Millions Busted

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 10:00am
An international crime gang which used malware to steal $100m from more than 40,000 victims has been dismantled. From a report: A complex police operation conducted investigations in the US, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts. The gang was put together from criminals who advertised their skills on online forums. The details of the operation were revealed at the headquarters of the European police agency Europol in The Hague. It said that the investigation was unprecedented, especially in terms of cross-border co-operation.

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Steam Link Finally Comes To iOS, One Year After Apple Initially Rejected It

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 6:00am
Valve's Steam Link app, which brings streaming games to your mobile device, is now available as a free download for iOS and Apple TV. The iOS launch comes nearly one year after Apple rejected the app due to "business conflicts." GameSpot reports: The Steam Link app promises to bring "desktop gaming to your iPhone or iPad." Users can pair a Steam controller or any MFI (Made-for-iPhone/iPad) controller to play games over a network connection provided they are on the same local network. The Steam Link app is effectively a replacement for the physical Steam Link device that Steam discontinued in 2018. Steam Link is already available on Android. As the Verge notes in their report, the biggest difference between the iOS and Android versions is that the iOS Steam Link app "doesn't allow users to purchase games from the Steam store, unlike on Android." You can download Steam Link from iTunes here.

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City Residents Live With Mental Illness At Higher Rates Than General Population

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 3:00am
Dating back to the 1930s, researchers have discovered that mental illnesses are more common in densely populated cities than in greener and more rural areas, but it wasn't until recently that scientists have started to seriously study the mechanisms through which exposure to various environmental stressors could be wounding our mental health. Popular Science reports: Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, and his research partner Matilda van den Bosch, an environmental health researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, recently reviewed the scientific evidence for these and a number of other physical stressors to find out whether they contribute to depression. The pair searched for studies concerning a wide range of substances and situations that people might run across in everyday life. They discovered that while many of these factors were particularly abundant in cities, they weren't limited to urban environments. For example, air pollution isn't only found within city borders. Another potential danger was pesticides, which farm workers in particular come into contact with. Still, a key part of improving our collective mental health will be making our cities more livable, says Meyer-Lindenberg. He and van den Bosch published their findings this year in the journal Annual Review of Public Health. More than half the world's population already lives in cities and this number is expected to rise to nearly 70 percent by 2050. In their review, Meyer-Lindenberg and van den Bosch found that some potential threats had been examined more thoroughly than others. For some, including pollen, there wasn't enough information yet to show a convincing link to depression. However, the team did find a number of studies suggesting that heavy metals like lead, pesticides, common chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA), and noise pollution may contribute to depression, although further research is still needed to confirm that this is the case. Even more compelling was the evidence condemning air pollution. In addition to causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems that kill millions of people each year, this particular menace raises our risk for a number of psychiatric problems. Poor air quality has been associated with depression, anxiety, and psychotic experiences such as paranoia and hearing voices. Obviously if you live in a city, these studies don't mean that you will develop depression or anxiety. Rather, they suggest that hazards like air pollution and pesticides will increase a person's overall risk, especially for those who are already vulnerable for other reasons. "For people in poor communities, though, the impact is likely especially potent; not only does financial stress contribute to depression, but low-income neighborhoods face disproportionately high levels of air and noise pollution and lead exposure," the report adds. It goes on to say that people can fight back by spending more time in nature, which has been shown to calm activity in several brain regions involved in rumination, the tendency to obsess over one's mistakes and troubles that is a common feature of disorders like depression and anxiety.

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Scientists Create World's First Living Organism With Fully Redesigned DNA

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have created the world's first living organism that has a fully synthetic and radically altered DNA code. In a two-year effort, researchers at the laboratory of molecular biology, at Cambridge University, read and redesigned the DNA of the bacterium Escherichia coli (E coli), before creating cells with a synthetic version of the altered genome. The artificial genome holds 4m base pairs, the units of the genetic code spelled out by the letters G, A, T and C. Printed in full on A4 sheets, it runs to 970 pages, making the genome the largest by far that scientists have ever built. The DNA coiled up inside a cell holds the instructions it needs to function. When the cell needs more protein to grow, for example, it reads the DNA that encodes the right protein. The DNA letters are read in trios called codons, such as TCG and TCA. The Cambridge team set out to redesign the E coli genome by removing some of its superfluous codons. Working on a computer, the scientists went through the bug's DNA. Whenever they came across TCG, a codon that makes an amino acid called serine, they rewrote it as AGC, which does the same job. They replaced two more codons in a similar way. More than 18,000 edits later, the scientists had removed every occurrence of the three codons from the bug's genome. The redesigned genetic code was then chemically synthesized and, piece by piece, added to E coli where it replaced the organism's natural genome. The result, reported in Nature, is a microbe with a completely synthetic and radically altered DNA code. Known as Syn61, the bug is a little longer than normal, and grows more slowly, but survives nonetheless.

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Tesla's Solar Factory Is Exporting Most of Its Cells

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 10:10pm
Most of the solar cells Tesla is producing at its Gigafactory in upstate New York "are being sold overseas instead of being used in the company's trademark 'Solar Roof' as originally intended," reports Reuters. "The exporting underscores the depth of Tesla's troubles in the U.S. solar business, which the electric car maker entered in 2016 with its controversial $2.6 billion purchase of SolarCity." From the report: Tesla has only sporadically purchased solar cells produced by its partner in the factory, Panasonic Corp, according to a Buffalo solar factory employee speaking on condition of anonymity. The rest are going largely to foreign buyers, according to a Panasonic letter to U.S. Customs officials reviewed by Reuters. When the two firms announced the partnership in 2016, the companies said they would collaborate on cell and module production and Tesla would make a long-term commitment to buy the cells from Panasonic. Cells are components that convert the sun's light into electricity; they are combined to make solar panels. The situation raises new questions about the viability of cash-strapped Tesla's solar business. Musk once called the deal a "no brainer" - but some investors panned it as a bailout of an affiliated firm at the expense of Tesla shareholders. Before the merger, Musk had served as chairman of SolarCity's board of directors, and his cousin, Lyndon Rive, was the company's CEO. [...] Panasonic also produces traditional solar panels at the Buffalo plant for Tesla, but has been selling many of them to other buyers since at least last year due to low demand from the California car company, Reuters reported in August 2018. Tesla last month reported a 36 percent slide in its overall solar sales in the first quarter, adding to previous big drops since the SolarCity acquisition.

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Epic Plans More Exclusives For Its Games Store

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 9:30pm
DarkRookie2 shares a report from Ars Technica: If you thought Epic was done adding to the growing pile of PC games exclusively available on its own Games Store, well... I'd like to know where you got that impression. In any case, you should think again, because Epic has announced it will "reveal brand-new material for several games, including some exclusives, coming to the Epic Games store" at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Epic also confirmed the platform's first storewide sale will be announced in the coming days. "That confirmation came after a few eagle-eyed Fortnite players noticed a news-feed ad for the 'Epic Games Store Mega Sale' when launching the game," reports Ars Technica. The message promised that users could "Sign up for 2FA in order to get $10 to spend in the store."

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Trump Signs Executive Order Barring US Companies From Using Huawei Gear

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 8:50pm
schwit1 shares a report from Reuters: President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China's Huawei. The executive order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States. The order directs the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement within 150 days. The order, which has been under review for more than a year, is aimed at protecting the supply chain from "foreign adversaries to the nation's information and communications technology and services supply chain," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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Internet Meme Pioneer YTMND Shuts Down

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 8:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PC Magazine: You're the Man Now Dog, a pioneer in the internet meme space, has shut down. The online community at YTMND.com allowed users to upload an image or a GIF and pair it with audio for hilarious results. Traffic to the website, however, dried up years ago with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In 2016, site creator Max Goldberg said YTMND would likely shut down soon due to declining ad revenue and his ill health. "It seems like the internet has moved on," Goldberg told Gizmodo at the time. The dates back to 2001 when Goldberg paired a looping audio clip of Sean Connery uttering the line "You're the man now, dog!" with some text and placed it all on a webpage, Yourethemannowdog.com.

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Division 2 Multiplayer and Single-Player Campaign Broken By Latest Update

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 7:30pm
Longtime Slashdot reader Andy Smith writes: Gamers enjoying the single-player campaign in The Division 2 have been bitten by a bug in the latest update that spawned a range of server connection issues. While you might expect this to affect only multiplayer games, The Division 2 controversially requires a continuous server connection for the single-player campaign to work. Since Tuesday, campaign players have reported being kicked out of the game and losing their items, skills, and mission progress. Not surprisingly, developer Massive has been inundated with complaints . The company said: "We are aware of the connectivity issues some players are experiencing. We are investigating and working on a solution."

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Close To 735K Fraudulently Obtained IP Addresses Have Been Uncovered and Revoked

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 6:50pm
The American Registry for Internet Numbers, Ltd. (ARIN) has won a legal case against an elaborate multi-year scheme to defraud the Internet community of approximately 735,000 IPv4 addresses, the organization has revealed. An anonymous reader writes: While the specifics of the findings are not released, John Curran, ARIN President and CEO said the fraud was detected as a result of an internal due diligence process. ARIN is a nonprofit member-based organization responsible for distributing Internet number resources in the US, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean. The emerging IPv4 address transfer market and increasing demand have resulted in more attempts to obtain IPv4 addresses fraudulently. This is the first arbitration ever brought under an ARIN Registration Services Agreement, and related proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. ARIN was able to prove an intricate scheme to fraudulently obtained resources that included many falsely notarized officer attestations sent to ARIN.

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White House Launches Tool To Report Political Bias On Social Media Sites

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 6:10pm
On Wednesday, the White House launched a new tool for people to use if they feel they've been wrongly censored, banned, or suspended on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. "No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump," the site reads. The Verge reports: The tool asks users for screenshots and links regarding specific enforcement actions, specifying Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube as platforms of interest. (None of the companies immediately responded to a request for comment.) The tool also collects significant personal information from the user, and near the end invites users to opt into email newsletters from President Trump, "so we can update you without relying on platforms like Facebook and Twitter." A separate question points users to an extensive user agreement, and makes clear that "you understand this form is for information gathering only."

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