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GitHub Removed Open Source Versions of 'Deepfakes' Porn App DeepNude

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 7:40pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: GitHub recently removed code from its website that used neural networks to algorithmically strip clothing from images of women. The multiple code repositories were spun off from an app called DeepNude, a highly invasive piece of software that was specifically designed to create realistic nude images of women without their consent. The news shows how after DeepNude's creator pulled the plug on his own invention late last month following a media and public backlash, some platforms are now stopping the spread of similar tools. "We do not proactively monitor user-generated content, but we do actively investigate abuse reports. In this case, we disabled the project because we found it to be in violation of our acceptable use policy," a GitHub spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement. "We do not condone using GitHub for posting sexually obscene content and prohibit such conduct in our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines." The "Sexually Obscene" section of GitHub's Community Guidelines states: "Don't post content that is pornographic. This does not mean that all nudity, or all code and content related to sexuality, is prohibited. We recognize that sexuality is a part of life and non-pornographic sexual content may be a part of your project, or may be presented for educational or artistic purposes. We do not allow obscene sexual content or content that may involve the exploitation or sexualization of minors."

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Skype Snap App Remains Hopelessly Outdated

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 7:00pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: The official Skype Snap app for Linux has not been updated in nearly six months, and Microsoft is yet to say why. When introducing the cross-distro build in early 2018, the company said the Skype Snap app would give it the "... ability to push the latest features straight to our users, no matter which device or distribution they happen to use." Clearly, not. Because at the time of writing this post the Skype Snap app sits on version 8.34.0.78, which the Snapcraft store reports was 'last updated' in November 2018. However, the "regular" Linux version available to download from the Skype website is on version 8.47.0.73, released June 2019.

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AT&T Will Automatically Block Fraud Calls For New Customers

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 6:20pm
AT&T will start automatically blocking fraud calls and issuing suspected spam call alerts for new phone customers at no extra cost. "You'll have to opt out if you don't want the company to screen calls this way," reports Engadget. "Existing customers, meanwhile, will see the feature automatically reach their accounts in the 'coming months.'" From the report: If you like the capabilities, you can turn it on right now either by downloading the AT&T Call Protect app or enabling it through your myAT&T account settings. Although AT&T isn't charging extra, the FCC rules don't prevent it or others from using the auto-blocking as an opportunity to raise subscription rates. It may take a while to learn whether or not there are any pitfalls to what otherwise seems like a promising upgrade.

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Firefox 68 Arrives With Darker Reader View, Recommended Extensions, and IT Customizations

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 5:40pm
Mozilla today launched Firefox 68 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Firefox 68 includes a darker reader view, recommended extensions, IT Pro customizations, and more. From a report: As part of this release, Mozilla has curated a list of recommended extensions "that have been thoroughly reviewed for security, usability, and usefulness." You can find the list on the Get Add-ons page in the Firefox Add-ons Manager (about:addons). While Firefox has had dark mode for months, the Reader View's dark contrast only covered the text area. Now, when you change the contrast to dark, all sections of the site (including sidebars and toolbars) will be immersed in dark mode. With Firefox 60, Mozilla introduced an enterprise version of the browser that employers can customize. This let IT professionals configure Firefox for their organization, either using Group Policy on Windows or a JSON file that works across Windows, Mac, and Linux. With Firefox 68, Mozilla has added more enterprise policies -- to configure or remove the new tab page, turn off search suggestions, and so on.

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Mozilla Blocks UAE Bid To Become an Internet Security Guardian After Hacking Reports

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 5:00pm
Firefox browser maker Mozilla is blocking the United Arab Emirates' government from serving as one of its internet security gatekeepers, citing Reuters reports on a UAE cyber espionage program. From a report: Mozilla said in a statement on Tuesday it was rejecting the UAE's bid to become a globally recognized internet security watchdog, empowered to certify the safety of websites for Firefox users. Mozilla said it made the decision because cybersecurity firm DarkMatter would have administered the gatekeeper role and it had been linked by Reuters and other reports to a state-run hacking program. Reuters reported in January that Abu Dhabi-based DarkMatter provided staff for a secret hacking operation, codenamed Project Raven, on behalf of an Emirati intelligence agency. The unit was largely comprised of former U.S. intelligence officials who conducted offensive cyber operations for the UAE government. Former Raven operatives told Reuters that many DarkMatter executives were unaware of the secretive program, which operated from a converted Abu Dhabi mansion away from DarkMatter's headquarters.

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Raspberry Pi Admits To Faulty USB-C Design On the Pi 4

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 4:20pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Raspberry Pi 4 was announced two weeks ago as a major new upgrade to the line of cheap single-board hobbyist computers. The Pi 4 featured a faster CPU, options for up to 4GB of RAM, and a new, modern USB-C port for power delivery. The Pi 4 was the Raspberry Pi Foundation's first ever USB-C device, and, well, they screwed it up. As detailed by Tyler Ward, the Raspberry Pi 4 has a non-compliant USB-C charging port and doesn't work with as many chargers as it should. Thanks to the open nature of Raspberry Pi (even the schematics are online!), Ward was able to discover that Raspberry Pi just didn't design its USB-C port correctly. Two "CC" pins on a USB-C port are supposed to each get their own 5.1K ohms resistor, but Raspberry Pi came up with its own circuit design that allows them to share a single resistor. This is not a compliant design and breaks compatibility with some of the more powerful USB-C chargers out there. Whether your USB-C charger works with the Pi 4 has to do with whether it uses an "e-marked" cable. E-marked cables are fully featured USB-C cables with chips inside that negotiate power management, accessory modes, data rates, and other communication specs. Since the Pi 4 USB-C port is wired incorrectly, these smart cables will detect the Pi 4 as an "Audio Adaptor Accessory" and refuse to charge them. Usually, e-marked cables are more expensive and come with larger, higher-powered items, like a USB-C laptop. After reports started popping up on the Internet, Raspberry Pi cofounder Eben Upton admitted to TechRepublic that "A smart charger with an e-marked cable will incorrectly identify the Raspberry Pi 4 as an audio adapter accessory and refuse to provide power." Upton went on to say, "I expect this will be fixed in a future board revision, but for now users will need to apply one of the suggested workarounds. It's surprising this didn't show up in our (quite extensive) field testing program."

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Ross Perot, Founder and Former CEO of Electronic Data Systems and Perot Systems, Dies At 89

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 4:00pm
Ross Perot, a self-made billionaire, independent presidential candidate, and philanthropist, has died at the age of 89 after a five-month battle with leukemia. Perot rose to fame after founding his first company, Electronic Data Systems, in 1962 with just $1,000 in savings. More than two decades later, he launched information technology services provider Perot Systems, which was acquired in 2009 by Dell for $3.9 billion. CNBC reports on his political accomplishments: As a disruptive third-party candidate for president, Perot ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and protectionism. He won nearly 19% of the vote in the 1992 race -- by far the biggest slice of the electorate for a third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party in the 1912 election. Perot stood out from the political crowd for his quirks as much as his business credentials and lack of experience in establishment politics. "I don't have any experience in running up a $4 trillion debt. I don't have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else," he said in a 1992 presidential debate. The shifting of U.S. jobs to Mexico created a "giant sucking sound," he famously said during the campaign. Perot was also a bit of a pack rat, collecting everything from whimsical toys to priceless artifacts. Perot owned the only Magna Carta ever allowed to leave Great Britain, which he loaned to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and in 2007, sold it for $20 million.

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WarnerMedia Announces HBO Max, Its Netflix Rival That Will Launch Next Year

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 3:40pm
There's HBO Go, HBO Now, and soon, there will be HBO Max. For WarnerMedia and parent company AT&T, the latter is most important, as it will become the subscription video service that they position against Netflix, Hulu, the upcoming Disney+, Apple's upcoming TV+, and a range of other paid video offerings. From a report: "Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO's excellence and award-winning storytelling, the new service will be 'Maximized' with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia's enormous portfolio of beloved brands and libraries," the company wrote in a press release today. (The emphasis there is from WarnerMedia, of course.) So you'll get all the stuff you'd expect from having HBO -- TV series, on-demand movies, watching some primetime HBO shows live -- plus a huge serving of content from basically every other WarnerMedia property. More relevant to you is that WarnerMedia also confirmed that HBO Max will have exclusive streaming rights to every episode of Friends when it launches in spring 2020; that'll be after the hugely popular sitcom departs Netflix. Friends is set to leave in 2019, so there might be a gap where the show disappears from streaming altogether until HBO Max's debut.

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LinkedIn and the Art of Boastful Self-Promotion

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 3:00pm
Harry Barnes runs a Twitter account called The State of LinkedIn with more than 100,000 followers. On it, he tweets a curated selection of the most egotistical, self-unaware, jargon-ridden posts from LinkedIn members [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report: Recent gems range from the boastful "You call it luck, I call it 80 hours a week", to the baffling "How easy is it to hire me? I interviewed myself", as well as the awful-wonderful morning routine which begins "I wake up. Instantly. From the fogginess of dreams, to the readiness of full consciousness..." Humble brags, including Mr Barnes's favourite, in which a man is pictured playing pool while a supercar just happens to be parked in the background, also feature regularly. Mr Barnes, who has worked in social media but runs the account as a hobby, says the idea is to poke fun at the ridiculous world of workplace self-promotion, rather than individuals. "All the content is sent to me," he says. "I don't trawl LinkedIn looking for it." Mr Barnes is not the only one enjoying the lighter side of LinkedIn. There is also the @CrapOnLinkedIn Twitter feed and parody LinkedIn accounts, such as the "demotivational speaker" Mike Winnet. Unlike other social networks, however, humour is not the norm for LinkedIn, which has always been a more grown-up, professional place. For better or for worse, that may be changing.

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Apple Lowers Prices on the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro and Adds New Features

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 2:20pm
Apple today announced updates to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air price is being lowered to $1,099, but it will be offered to college students for $999. From a report: It will be sold in the same configurations as before, starting with 128GB of storage, but Apple updated the screen with new TrueTone technology. That means it sets the colors on the screen to match the lighting of the room for a more comfortable viewing experience. It also includes the updated keyboard design that Apple first launched in updated MacBook Pros back in May. It should help to prevent some of the sticky key problems experienced in Apple's MacBooks. But this is not the full keyboard refresh that's rumored to ship with an entirely new keyboard configuration. The new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 (or $1,199 for college students.) and includes a quad-core processor in the entry-level model for the first time and improved graphics performance. Like the refresh in May, the entry-level models now also come with new keyboard materials to help prevent sticking keys.

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Logitech Wireless USB Dongles Vulnerable To New Hijacking Flaws

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 1:40pm
A security researcher has publicly disclosed new vulnerabilities in the USB dongles (receivers) used by Logitech wireless keyboards, mice, and presentation clickers. New submitter raikoseagle shares a report: The vulnerabilities allow attackers to sniff on keyboard traffic, but also inject keystrokes (even into dongles not connected to a wireless keyboard) and take over the computer to which a dongle has been connected. When encryption is used to protect the connection between the dongle and its paired device, the vulnerabilities also allow attackers to recover the encryption key. Furthermore, if the USB dongle uses a "key blacklist" to prevent the paired device from injecting keystrokes, the vulnerabilities allow the bypassing of this security protection system. Marcus Mengs, the researcher who discovered these vulnerabilities, said he notified Logitech about his findings, and the vendor plans to patch some of the reported issues, but not all.

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Google Unveils 'Code With Google,' Awards $1 Million To CS Teachers Group

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 9:00am
theodp writes: TechCrunch reports that Google kicked off the 2019 Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Conference in style with the announcement of Code with Google, a new coding resource for teachers which collects Google's own free course curriculum on teaching computer science and coding. Google also announced a $1 million grant to the teachers group alongside the unveiling of Code with Google. To hear Google tell it, Code with Google -- much like bacon -- makes everything better. An English and Language Arts teacher, blogs Google Education VP Maggie Johnson, "didn't know much about computer science, but wanted her students to get familiar with coding because it can help with other skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration. So she tried a [Google] CS First activity where students coded different endings [video] to the story they read in class. Melissa says that, in a short time, 'the kids were problem solving, troubleshooting, and helping one another. It was incredible to hear the conversations about coding and the other concepts we were learning in the room.'" Johnson is also on the Board of tech-bankrolled Code.org, which reported it had spent $91.4 million (thru Dec. 2018) to get CS into K-12 schools (Google is a $3+ million Code.org Gold Sponsor). Not too surprisingly, one of the CSTA 2019 keynotes will be delivered by employees of Platinum Conference Sponsor Google, including a former CSTA Executive Director (CSTA is currently led by Code.org's former Director of State Government Affairs -- it's a small K-12 CS world!).

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Bitcoin Mining On an Apollo Guidance Computer: 10.3 Seconds Per Hash

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 7:00am
Slashdot reader volvox_voxel shares an excerpt from the latest blog post from software engineer Ken Shirriff, who is well known for his work on restoring some of the rarest computing hardware to its working condition: We've been restoring an Apollo Guidance Computer1. Now that we have the world's only working AGC, I decided to write some code for it. Trying to mine Bitcoin on this 1960s computer seemed both pointless and anachronistic, so I had to give it a shot. Implementing the Bitcoin hash algorithm in assembly code on this 15-bit computer was challenging, but I got it to work. Unfortunately, the computer is so slow that it would take about a billion times the age of the universe to successfully mine a Bitcoin block. He wasn't kidding about how long it would take to successfully mine a Bitcoin block. "The Apollo Guidance Computer took 5.15 seconds for one SHA-256 hash," writes Shirriff. "Since Bitcoin uses a double-hash, this results in a hash rate of 10.3 seconds per Bitcoin hash. Currently, the Bitcoin network is performing about 65 EH/s (65 quintillion hashes per second). At this difficulty, it would take the AGC 4x10^23 seconds on average to find a block. Since the universe is only 4.3x10^17 seconds old, it would take the AGC about a billion times the age of the universe to successfully mine a block."

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Moon Landing Could Have Infected the Earth With Lunar Germs, Say Astronauts

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 5:00am
PolygamousRanchKid quotes a report from The Independent: A mistake made during the Apollo 11 moon landing could have brought lunar germs to the Earth, astronauts have revealed. When the three astronauts flew to the Moon and back, exactly 50 years ago this month, NASA worked hard to ensure that no bugs were brought back from the lunar surface. All three of the Apollo 11 crew were put into special clothes, scrubbed down and taken to a quarantine facility where they lived until scientists could be sure the Earth would not be contaminated. But interviews from a new documentary -- filmed by PBS and revealed by Space.com -- show that the plan to keep Earth could easily have failed, and that space bugs could have got into the Earth's atmosphere despite Nasa's best efforts. The astronauts noted that Nasa did not think there would be anything alive on the Moon that could be brought back down to the Earth. But the precautions were taken in case there were. "Look at it this way," astronaut Michael Collins said. "Suppose there were germs on the moon. There are germs on the moon, we come back, the command module is full of lunar germs. The command module lands in the Pacific Ocean, and what do they do? Open the hatch. You got to open the hatch! All the damn germs come out!"

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Serious Zoom Security Flaw Could Let Websites Hijack Mac Cameras

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 1:30am
Security researcher Jonathan Leitschuh has publicly disclosed a serious zero-day vulnerability for the Zoom video conference app on Macs that could allow websites to turn on user cameras without permission. The Verge reports: He has demonstrated that any website can open up a video-enabled call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed. That's possible in part because the Zoom app apparently installs a web server on Macs that accepts requests regular browsers wouldn't. In fact, if you uninstall Zoom, that web server persists and can reinstall Zoom without your intervention. Leitschuh details how he responsibly disclosed the vulnerability to Zoom back in late March, giving the company 90 days to solve the problem. According to Leitschuh's account, Zoom doesn't appear to have done enough to resolve the issue. The vulnerability was also disclosed to both the Chromium and Mozilla teams, but since it's not an issue with their browsers, there's not much those developers can do. The report notes that you can "patch" the vulnerability by making sure the Mac app is up to date and also disabling the setting that allows Zoom to turn your camera on when joining a meeting. "Again, simply uninstalling Zoom won't fix this problem, as that web server persists on your Mac," reports The Verge. "Turning off the web server requires running some terminal commands, which can be found at the bottom of the Medium post."

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Indoor Carbon Dioxide Levels Could Be a Health Hazard, Scientists Warn

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Indoor levels of carbon dioxide could be clouding our thinking and may even pose a wider danger to human health, researchers say. The authors of the latest study -- which reviews current evidence on the issue -- say there is a growing body of research suggesting levels of CO2 that can be found in bedrooms, classrooms and offices might have harmful effects on the body, including affecting cognitive performance. "There is enough evidence to be concerned, not enough to be alarmed. But there is no time to waste," said Dr Michael Hernke, a co-author of the study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stressing further research was needed. Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, Hernke and colleagues report that they considered 18 studies of the levels of CO2 humans are exposed to, as well as its health impacts on both humans and animals. Traditionally, the team say, it had been thought that CO2 levels would need to reach a very high concentration of at least 5,000 parts per million (ppm) before they would affect human health. But a growing body of research suggests CO2 levels as low as 1,000ppm could cause health problems, even if exposure only lasts for a few hours. The team say crowded or poorly ventilated classrooms, office environments and bedrooms have all been found to have levels of CO2 that exceed 1,000ppm, and are spaces that people often remain in for many hours at a time. Air-conditioned trains and planes have also been found to exceed 1,000ppm.

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Physicist Solves 2,000-Year-Old Optical Problem

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 10:02pm
Mexican physicist Rafael Gonzalez has found the solution to spherical aberration in optical lenses, solving the 2,000-year-old Wasserman-Wolf problem that Isaac Newton himself could not solve. Newton invented a telescope that solved the chromatic aberration, but not the spherical aberration. PetaPixel reports: Fast forward to 2018 when Hector A. Chaparro-Romo, a doctoral student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), who had been trying to solve this problem for 3 years, invited Rafael G. Gonzalez-Acuna, a doctoral student from Tec de Monterrey, to help him solve the problem. At first, Gonzalez did not want to devote resources to what he knew to be a millenary, impossible to solve problem. But upon the insistence of Hector Chaparro, he decided to accept the challenge. After months of working on solving the problem, Rafael Gonzalez recalls, "I remember one morning I was making myself a slice of bread with Nutella, when suddenly, I said out loud: Mothers! It is there!" He then ran to his computer and started programming the idea. When he executed the solution and saw that it worked, he says he jumped all over the place. It is unclear whether he finished eating the Nutella bread. Afterwards, the duo ran a simulation and calculated the efficacy with 500 rays, and the resulting average satisfaction for all examples was 99.9999999999%. Which, of course, is great news for gear reviewers on YouTube, as they will still be able to argue about the 0.0000000001% of sharpness difference among lens brands. Their findings were published in the journal Applied Optics. They also published an article in Applied Optics that gives an analytical solution to the Levi-Civita problem formulated in 1900. "The Levi-Civita problem, which has existed without a solution for over a century, was also considered a mythical problem by the specialized community," reports PetaPixel. "In this [algebraic] equation we describe how the shape of the second aspherical surface of the given lens should be given a first surface, which is provided by the user, as well as the object-image distance," explains Gonzalez. "The second surface is such that it corrects all the aberration generated by the first surface, and the spherical aberration is eliminated."

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Sneaky Chrome Extension Disguises Netflix As a Google Hangout To Help You Slack Off At Work

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 9:25pm
Netflix Hangouts is a new Chrome extension that tries to make it easier to get away with watching Netflix while you're supposed to be working. Just go to the show you want to catch up on during work hours, and press the extension's icon in your Chrome menu to bring up a fake four-person conference call. Then you can sit back and watch the show in the window's bottom right feed while three fake colleagues get down to business. The Verge reports: The extension was developed by Mschf Internet Studios, which has produced a few internet curiosities like this over the years. There was the Slack channel that offered $1,000 in prize money for the first person to correctly guess each word of the day (it was shut down by Slack after just a week), a man who ate various foods as disgusting ice cream toppings, and who could forget Tabagotchi, the lovable virtual avatar that slowly died as you opened more and more tabs? Netflix Hangouts is the latest in a long line of services designed to let you slack off at work.

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Instagram To Notify Users Comments Might Be Offensive Before They Are Posted

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 8:45pm
In an effort to curb cyber bullying, Instagram is rolling out a new AI feature that will automatically detect whether comments are offensive and notify users before they are posted. The Hill reports: In an example included in the company release, Instagram shows a user trying to comment "You are so ugly and stupid." Instagram follows up with a message asking the user "Are you sure you want to post this?" with an "undo" button. "From early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect," Instagram said. To further help protect users from unwanted interactions, Instagram said it will start testing a new "restrict" feature. Restricting a user will make it so the user's comments are only visible to that person; a user will be able to choose whether or not to make that the restricted person's comments available to others by approving them. Restricted users also will not be able to see when an account is active or when a person has read their direct messages.

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Tesco, One of the World's Largest Supermarket Operators, Is Testing Cashierless Stores Solely Dependent On Cameras

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 8:03pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Tesco, one of the world's largest supermarket operators, is one of several grocers testing cashierless stores with cameras that track what shoppers pick (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), so they pay by simply walking out the door. The retailers hope the technology -- similar to that pioneered by Amazon.com Inc. in its Amazon Go stores in the U.S. -- will allow them to cut costs and alleviate lines as they face an evolving threat from the e-commerce giant. Tesco plans to open its self-styled "pick and go" or "frictionless shopping" store to the public next year after testing with employees. Eventually it wants to use the technology, developed by Israeli startup Trigo Vision, in more of its smaller grocery stores. Tesco's 4,000-square-foot test store uses 150 ceiling-mounted cameras to generate a three-dimensional view of products as they are taken off shelves. In its recent demo, Tesco's system detected shoppers as they walked around the store. It also identified a group of products when a person holding them stood in front of a screen, tallying up their total price. Tesco is considering identifying shoppers through an app or loyalty card when they enter the store and then charging their app when they leave. Tesco told investors its method costs one-tenth of systems used by its competitors, partly because it only uses cameras. Amazon Go uses cameras and sensors to track what shoppers pick. Amazon customers scan a QR code at a gate when they enter a store, then walk out when finished. While Tesco will track the movements of their customers, the company says the system used in its trial doesn't recognize faces.

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