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Supreme Court Won't Hear a Lawsuit Over Defamatory Yelp Reviews

Slashdot - 37 min 13 sec ago
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case regarding whether Yelp is culpable for removing defamatory reviews from its site, resolving a case that could have affected web platforms' legal protections. Today's list of Supreme Court orders denies a complaint brought by Dawn Hassell, an attorney who requested that Yelp take down false, negative reviews about her practice. This means that a California Supreme Court decision will stand, and Yelp isn't liable for the reviews. The Verge reports: Hassell v. Bird was filed in 2016 as a complaint against one of Hassell's former clients, not Yelp. However, Yelp protested a court order to remove the reviews, arguing that it was protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. (Yelp has said it independently removes reviews it finds to be defamatory since they violate its terms of service.) Lower courts disagreed, but in mid-2018, the California Supreme Court ruled in Yelp's favor. Then, the firm of Charles Harder -- a member of President Donald Trump's legal team who's known for high-profile defamation lawsuits -- petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a complaint against Yelp. Yelp praised the California Supreme Court's decision last year, calling it a win for "those of us who value sharing one another's opinions and experiences" on the internet. It commended today's decision as well. "We are happy to see the Supreme Court has ended Hassell's efforts to sidestep the law to compel Yelp to remove online reviews. This takes away a tool that could have been easily abused by litigants to obtain easy removal of entirely truthful consumer opinions," a spokesperson told The Verge.

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Digitimes: AirPods 2 launching in first half of this year, redesigned to support ‘health monitoring’ features

9to5Mac - 1 hour 17 min ago

The AirPods continue to be a smash hit sensation for Apple. However, having launched more than 2 years ago at this point, the focus in the tech community has moved to expectations as to when the AirPods 2 will come out, the first hardware update to Apple’s wireless earbuds.

A report from Digitimes today says Apple will release AirPods 2 within the first six months of 2019. Moreover, it claims that the earbuds will be redesigned to support health monitoring functions.

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Carbon Capture System Turns CO2 Into Electricity and Hydrogen Fuel

Slashdot - 3 hours 37 min ago
Researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and Georgia Tech have developed a new system that absorbs carbon dioxide and produces electricity and useable hydrogen fuel. New Atlas reports: The new device, which the team calls a Hybrid Na-CO2 System, is basically a big liquid battery. A sodium metal anode is placed in an organic electrolyte, while the cathode is contained in an aqueous solution. The two liquids are separated by a sodium Super Ionic Conductor (NASICON) membrane. When CO2 is injected into the aqueous electrolyte, it reacts with the cathode, turning the solution more acidic, which in turn generates electricity and creates hydrogen. In tests, the team reported a CO2 conversion efficiency of 50 percent, and the system was stable enough to run for over 1,000 hours without causing any damage to the electrodes. Unlike other designs, it doesn't release any CO2 as a gas during normal operation -- instead, the remaining half of the CO2 was recovered from the electrolyte as plain old baking soda. The research was published in the journal iScience.

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Baker-Watts - 5 hours 35 min ago
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Oceans Are Getting Louder, Posing Potential Threats To Marine Life

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: Slow-moving, hulking ships crisscross miles of ocean in a lawn mower pattern, wielding an array of 12 to 48 air guns blasting pressurized air repeatedly into the depths of the ocean. The sound waves hit the sea floor, penetrating miles into it, and bounce back to the surface, where they are picked up by hydrophones. The acoustic patterns form a three-dimensional map of where oil and gas most likely lie. The seismic air guns probably produce the loudest noise that humans use regularly underwater, and it is about to become far louder in the Atlantic. As part of the Trump administration's plans to allow offshore drilling for gas and oil exploration, five companies have been given permits to carry out seismic mapping with the air guns all along the Eastern Seaboard, from Central Florida to the Northeast, for the first time in three decades. The surveys haven't started yet in the Atlantic, but now that the ban on offshore drilling has been lifted, companies can be granted access to explore regions along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. And air guns are now the most common method companies use to map the ocean floor. Some scientists say the noises from air guns, ship sonar and general tanker traffic can cause the gradual or even outright death of sea creatures, from the giants to the tiniest — whales, dolphins, fish, squid, octopuses and even plankton. Other effects include impairing animals' hearing, brain hemorrhaging and the drowning out of communication sounds important for survival, experts say. So great is the growing din in the world's oceans that experts fear it is fundamentally disrupting the marine ecosystem, diminishing populations of some species as the noise levels disturb feeding, reproduction and social behavior. A 2017 study, for example, found that a loud blast, softer than the sound of a seismic air gun, killed nearly two-thirds of the zooplankton in three-quarters of a mile on either side. Tiny organisms at the bottom of the food chain, zooplankton provide a food source for everything from great whales to shrimp. Krill, a tiny crustacean vital to whales and other animals, were especially hard hit, according to one study.

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DHS Issues Security Alert About Recent DNS Hijacking Attacks

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 21:20
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has published today an "emergency directive" that contains guidance in regards to a recent report detailing a wave of DNS hijacking incidents perpetrated out of Iran. ZDNet reports: The emergency directive [1, 2] orders government agencies to audit DNS records for unauthorized edits, change passwords, and enable multi-factor authentication for all accounts through which DNS records can be managed. The DHS documents also urges government IT personnel to monitor Certificate Transparency (CT) logs for newly-issued TLS certificates that have been issued for government domains, but which have not been requested by government workers. The emergency directive comes after last week, the DHS issued an alert about ongoing DNS hijacking attacks through its US-CERT division. The DHS US-CERT alert was based on a report published last week by U.S. cyber-security firm FireEye. The now infamous report detailed a coordinated hacking campaign during which a cyber-espionage group believed to operate out of Iran had manipulated DNS records for the domains of private companies and government agencies. The purpose of these DNS hijacks was to redirect web traffic meant for companies and agencies' internal email servers towards malicious clones, where the Iranian hackers would record login credentials.

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Viacom acquires completely free, ad-based TV streaming service ‘Pluto TV’

9to5Mac - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 20:45

As the streaming TV market continues to evolve, Viacom today announced that it has acquired streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million. As reported by Variety, the deal is expected to close this quarter.

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Netflix 'Would Lose 57 Percent of Their Subscribers If They Added Commercials'

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 20:40
According to new research from marketing technology firm Audience Project, the majority (57%) of UK customers would stop watching Netflix if commercials were introduced, and even lowering subscriptions would cause a significant drop off of 42%. Here are some of the other key findings: - In the UK, Netflix takes the lion's share of the streaming audience at 70%, followed by BBC iPlayer (61%). Interestingly, YouTube, ITV Player and All4, all of which host ads, saw a decline. - TV is still the preferred streaming device in the UK used by 42% of respondents. - Streaming is on the rise particularly amongst the young, with almost as many 15-25 year olds streaming/downloading (63%) as watching traditional TV (65%) "This is proof, if it were needed, that Netflix is right to focus on growing through its investment in content rather than considering hosting advertising any time soon," Netimperative reports. Martyn Bentley, Commercial Director UK at Audience Project, comments: "Our findings highlight the growing importance of targeting and relevance in advertising. As consumers have increasing choice over whether or not they see ads, both broadcasters and advertisers alike need to work hard to ensure that campaigns enhance experience, rather than detract -- plus it suggests that greater inroads need to be made with Connected TV as a means to help tailor advertising at a granular level."

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Wine 4.0 Released With Vulkan Support, Initial Direct3D 12 and Better HiDPI

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 20:25
Michael Larabel writes via Phoronix: Wine 4.0 is now officially available as the new annual stable release to Wine for running Windows programs and games on Linux and other operating systems. Following seven weekly release candidates, Wine 4.0 was ready to ship today as judged by Wine founder Alexandre Julliard. Wine 4.0 is a big release bringing initial Vulkan graphics API support, Direct3D CSMT is enabled by default, early Direct3D 12 support via VKD3D, continued HiDPI work, various OpenGL improvements, multi-sample D3D texture support, 64-bit improvements, continued Android support, and much more. The release announcement and notes can be read via WineHQ.org. The source can be downloaded here.

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Google Proposes Changes To Chromium Browser That Will Break Content-Blocking Extensions, Including Various Ad Blockers

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 20:00
"Google engineers have proposed changes to the open-source Chromium browser that will break content-blocking extensions, including various ad blockers," reports The Register. "The drafted changes will also limit the capabilities available to extension developers, ostensibly for the sake of speed and safety. Chromium forms the central core of Google Chrome, and, soon, Microsoft Edge." From the report: In a note posted Tuesday to the Chromium bug tracker, Raymond Hill, the developer behind uBlock Origin and uMatrix, said the changes contemplated by the Manifest v3 proposal will ruin his ad and content blocking extensions, and take control of content away from users. Manifest v3 refers to the specification for browser extension manifest files, which enumerate the resources and capabilities available to browser extensions. Google's stated rationale for making the proposed changes is to improve security, privacy and performance, and supposedly to enhance user control. But one way Google would like to achieve these goals involves replacing the webRequest API with a new one, declarativeNetRequest. The webRequest API allows extensions to intercept network requests, so they can be blocked, modified, or redirected. This can cause delays in web page loading because Chrome has to wait for the extension. In the future, webRequest will only be able to read network requests, not modify them. The declarativeNetRequest allows Chrome (rather than the extension itself) to decide how to handle network requests, thereby removing a possible source of bottlenecks and a potentially useful mechanism for changing browser behavior. The report notes that Adblock Plus "should still be available" since "Google and other internet advertising networks apparently pay Adblock Plus to whitelist their online adverts."

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Apple's Security Expert Joined the ACLU To Tackle 'Authoritarian Fever'

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 19:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Apple security expert Jon Callas, who helped build protection for billions of computers and smartphones against criminal hackers and government surveillance, is now taking on government and corporate spying in the policy realm. Jon Callas is an elder statesman in the world of computer security and cryptography. He's been a vanguard in developing security for mobile communications and email as chief technology officer and co-founder of PGP Corporation -- which created Pretty Good Privacy, the first widely available commercial encryption software -- and serving the same roles at Silent Circle and Blackphone, touted as the world's most secure Android phone. As a security architect and analyst for Apple computers -- he served three stints with the tech giant in 1995-1997, 2009-2011, and 2016-2018 -- he has played an integral role in helping to develop and assess security for the Mac and iOS operating systems and various components before their release to the public. His last stretch there as manager of a Red Team (red teams hack systems to expose and fix their vulnerabilities) began just after the FBI tried to force the tech giant to undermine security it had spent years developing for its phones to break into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. But after realizing there's a limit to the privacy and surveillance issues technology companies can address, Callas decided to tackle the issues from the policy side, accepting a two-year position as senior technology fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union. Callas spoke to Motherboard about government backdoors, the need for tech expertise in policymaking, and what he considers the biggest challenge for the security industry.

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Slashdot Asks: Which Mobile Payment Service Is Best For You?

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 18:40
Everyone has a smartphone these days, therefore everyone should have access to at least one mobile payment service -- Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. Personally, I've only used Apple Pay a handful of times because the vast majority of stores I visit don't support it. For me, the biggest problem with mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Google Pay isn't the potential security concerns or inconveniences (having to pull my phone out of my pocket or requiring the merchant to pull out an NFC reader while in a drive-thru) -- it's the lack of compatibility. I want to be able to leave my wallet at home and do all of my shopping with my phone, which is not possible due to the lack of support at most retailers. With that said, the support is improving. Today, Apple announced that Apple Pay is now available at 74 of the top 100 U.S. retailers. Quartz reports: Today (Jan. 22), Apple announced that it has also signed up Taco Bell and Target -- two years ago, Target said it had no plans to adopt Apple Pay -- meaning that 74 of the top 100 U.S. retailers by revenue now accept Apple's digital payment. The company added pharmacy chain CVS, along with 7-Eleven, late last year. They joined other major US retailers that include Best Buy, Starbucks, McDonald's, Walgreens, Costco, and Kohl's. (Some of the biggest holdouts: Walmart and Home Depot.) Do you use mobile payment services? Which service(s) do you use and why?

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Tim Cook mingles with Microsoft’s Satya Nadella at World Economic Forum, touts Apple’s education ambitions

9to5Mac - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 18:21

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Switzerland this week amid the annual World Economic Forum. According to local reports, Tim Cook has mingled with the Armenian prime minister at Davos, as well as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and more. He also offered an interview with Germany publication Bild to talk about Apple’s education goals.

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Google Will Start Retiring Hangouts For G Suite Users In October

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 18:00
In a blog post, Google clarified the timeline of the transition from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet for its paying G Suite customers. "For them, the Hangouts retirement party will start in October of this year," reports TechCrunch. From the report: For consumers, the situation remains unclear, but Google says there will be free versions of Chat and Meet that will become available "following the transition of G Suite customers." As of now, there is no timeline, so for all we know, Hangouts will remain up and running into 2020. As for G Suite users, Google says it will start bringing more features from classic Hangouts to Chat between April and September. Those include integration with Gmail, the ability to talk to external users, improved video calling and making calls with Google Voice.

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US Will Seek Extradition of Huawei CFO From Canada

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 17:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it will pursue the extradition of the chief financial officer of China's Huawei, arrested in Canada in December. The United States has accused Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou of misrepresenting the company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite U.S. sanctions. The arrest soured relations between Canada and China, with China subsequently detaining two Canadian citizens and sentencing a third to death. The United States must file a formal request for extradition by Jan. 30. Once a formal request is received, a Canadian court has 30 days to determine whether there is enough evidence to support extradition and the Canadian minister of justice must issue a formal order. Canada has not asked the United States to abandon its bid to have Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou extradited, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S./Canada Extradition Treaty," Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate Canada's continuing support of our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law." Slashdot reader AmiMoJo shares a separate report from the BBC: The chairman of Chinese tech giant Huawei has warned his company could shift away from the U.S. and the U.K. if it continues to face restrictions. Huawei has been under scrutiny by Western governments, which fear its products could be used for spying. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Mr Liang Hua said his firm might transfer technology to countries "where we are welcomed." Huawei makes smartphones but is also a world leader in telecoms infrastructure, in particular the next generation of mobile phone networks, known as 5G.

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Popular cord-cutting live TV app ‘Channels’ is now permanently free on iOS, originally $14.99

9to5Mac - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:54

Popular live TV app Channels is getting a price cut on iOS, its developers announced today. The app, which allows HDHomeRun tuner users to view live TV on their iOS devices, was previously priced at $14.99, but is now available for free.

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'I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible.'

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:41
Kashmir Hill, a reporter at Gizmodo, spent weeks trying to avoid and block Amazon -- and every service that is owned by Amazon or uses Amazon's web services (AWS). She went to great lengths such as getting her own custom-built VPN. Turns out, it is impossible to keep Amazon off your life. An excerpt from the report: Launched in 2006, AWS has taken over vast swaths of the internet. My VPN winds up blocking over 23 million IP addresses controlled by Amazon, resulting in various unexpected casualties, from Motherboard and Fortune to the U.S. Government Accountability Office's website. (Government agencies love AWS, which is likely why Amazon, soon to be a corporate Cerberus with three "headquarters," chose Arlington, Virginia, in the D.C. suburbs, as one of them.) Many of the smartphone apps I rely on also stop working during the block.

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Google Considering Pulling News Service From Europe

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 16:02
Google is considering pulling its Google News service from Europe as regulators work toward a controversial copyright law. From a report: The European Union's Copyright Directive will give publishers the right to demand money from Alphabet, Facebook and other web platforms when fragments of their articles show up in news search results, or are shared by users. The law was supposed to be finalized this week but was delayed by disagreement among member states. Google News might quit the continent in response to the directive, said Jennifer Bernal, Google's public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The internet company has various options, and a decision to pull out would be based on a close reading of the rules and taken reluctantly, she said. "The council needs more time to reflect in order to reach a solid position" on the directive, said a representative of Romania, current head of the European Council, which represents the 28 member nations.

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Apple Pay picks up new bank partners across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US

9to5Mac - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:34

Target and Taco Bell aren’t the only new partners for Apple Pay this week. Apple has also updated its running list of bank partners from around the world with lots of new entries.

This includes CommBank in Australia which is one of the major banks in the country. CommBank announced last month that support would arrive sometime this month. These are the latest across the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand:

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Apple Releases macOS 10.14.3, iOS 12.1.3, watchOS 5.1.3, and tvOS 12.1.2

Slashdot - Tue, 01/22/2019 - 15:22
Apple today pushed software updates for a range of its computing platforms. They are all minor releases that simply offer a few bug fixes and security updates, with no new features -- and there are no new features in any of the beta releases for these versions of the operating systems, either. From a report: iOS 12.1.3 fixes a scrolling bug in Messages, an iPad Pro-specific audio bug, and a graphical error in some photos, and it addresses some CarPlay disconnects experienced by owners of the three new iPhone models released in late 2018. It also fixes two minor bugs related to the company's HomePod smart speaker.

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