Sick of getting your view blocked at live shows by people holding up their phones? Apple was granted a patent yesterday for technology that can disable those cameras — at least in specific places.
The system mapped out in this patent would use infrared emitters to temporarily deactivate the photo and video capabilities on devices like mobile phones, laptops, stand-alone video or still cameras or any other "electronic device with an image sensor." Venues, or those in charge of a given space, could post an infrared emitter to temporarily, and remotely, disable those recording functions on devices within the emission range.
Within its patent application, Apple specifically laid out the technology's use in the context of musicians and a live concert venue.
There are many ways in which the raw technology could make its way into the marketplace, but it's easy to imagine how the technology, by itself, could be used to limit free expression. For instance, blockers could be installed in public spaces or in other places where visitors may want to snap a picture or record video. That could give governments, the military or police an easy means to shut down activists. On a less grave note, it could also be a vehicle for certain organizations — museums, for example — to maximize sales of their images, by preventing visitors from simply snapping their own.
It's not all ominous, however. Another potential use detailed in the Apple patent lays out how this technology could provide a multimedia-rich experience to a user, in much the same way that a QR code on a commercial product works: Metadata could deliver detailed descriptions, hyperlinks, video and audio narratives and other materials to the person using the phone. (Unlike artists at a concert or actors on a screen, however, an object like the "Aztec water jug" used as the example in Apple's patent could never claim royalties or other payments.)
But it's a sign of the times that stakeholders like movie distributors and theaters, concert venues, presenting organizations and record companies, along with musicians, may increasingly look to technology to enact policy, rather than work out the issues by legal or social contracts with the public.
Musicians and promoters have already been responding to fans taking pictures and filming videos at their shows in a variety of ways. Venues often post signs and inform the audience about such prohibitions, but increasingly, performers are taking matters into their own hands. Last month, a clip of Adele went viral in which the superstar English singer stopped mid-show to ask a woman in the audience — very politely — to take down a tripod. "Can you stop filming me with a video camera? Because I'm really here in real life," the superstar English singer requested, adding, "I'd really like you to enjoy my show because there's lots of people outside that couldn't come in."
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Automated Insights, the Durham-based producer of computer-generated written content, has expanded its relationship with the Associated Press to include coverage of minor league baseball games.
The AP announced Thursday that it is now using robo-stories automatically created byAutomated Insights’ patented Wordsmith technology for minor league games that the news organization didn’t previously cover. Games of all Triple-A, Double-A and Class A teams – 142 in all – will be covered.
The stories also will appear on the official website of Minor League Baseball, MiLB.com, and on the minor league teams’ websites.
For Automated Insights, “it’s both a good financial deal and we’ll get our name out there on lots of pieces of content associated with AP and MLB,” Robbie Allen, the company’s founder and CEO, said in an interview.
Since 2014, Automated Insights has generated more than 3,500 corporate earnings reports for the AP each quarter.
The earnings stories are generated from data supplied by Zacks Investment Research. The minor league stories will be generated from data supplied by MLB Advanced Media, the official statistician of Minor League Baseball.
In its announcement, the AP also said it is looking at other ways it can use Automated Insights’ technology.
“We continue to explore things with the AP to find areas where there’s data sets that we could leverage to produce stories at a scale that they’re not able to do, and at a cost-efficiency that they’re not able to achieve,” Allen said.
Read more here: www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article86710567.html
Imagine you receive an email at work announcing you're getting raise.
To get it in your next paycheck, you simply have to click a link, then enter your employee ID number, your date of birth, and your home zip code.
Roughly one quarter of 5,000 employees of Atlantic Health System who received that message opened that enticing email recently, and two-thirds of those who opened the email went on to provide the information required for the raise, according to a company email which was forwarded to NJ Advance Media anonymously.
It turned out to be a computer security test run by the hospital system on its own employees.
Not everyone is happy about the test. One anonymous employee described it as the company lying to employees about a pay increase in order to conduct its test, and said employees were "angered" by the deception.
A spokesman for the five-hospital system apologized for dangling the prospect of a raise in front of employees – but not for conducting the security test itself.
Read more here: www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2016/06/in_security_test_hospital_phishes_its_own_employee.html
A Google security researcher has found high severity vulnerabilities in enterprise and consumer products from antivirus vendor Symantec that could be easily be exploited by hackers to take control of computers.
Symantec released patches for the affected products, but while some products were updated automatically, some affected enterprise products could require manual intervention.
The flaws were found by Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google’s Project Zero team who has found similar vulnerabilities in antivirus products from other vendors. They highlight the poor state of software security in the antivirus world, something that has been noted by researchers.
Most of the new flaws found by Ormandy are in the Decomposer component of the Symantec antivirus engine. This component handles the parsing of various file formats, including archive files like RAR and ZIP. Furthermore, the Decomposer runs under the system user, the most privileged account on Windows systems.
Symantec didn’t immediately respond to a request for comments on the vulnerabilties.
Security researchers have criticized antivirus vendors many times for performing risky operations like file parsing with unnecessarily elevated privileges. Historically, such operations have been a source of many arbitrary code execution vulnerabilities in all sorts of applications.
Ormandy found vulnerabilities in the Symantec code used to handle ZIP, RAR, LZH, LHA, CAB, MIME, TNEF and PPT files. Most of these flaws can lead to remote code execution and are wormable, meaning they can be used to create computer worms.
“Because Symantec uses a filter driver to intercept all system I/O [input/output operations], just emailing a file to a victim or sending them a link to an exploit is enough to trigger it—the victim does not need to open the file or interact with it in anyway,” Ormandy said in a blog post.
Red more here: www.pcworld.com/article/3089463/security/wormable-flaws-in-symantec-products-expose-millions-of-computers-to-hacking.html
Artificial intelligence recently won out during simulated aerial combat against U.S. expert tacticians. Importantly, it did so using no more than the processing power available in a tiny, affordable computer (Raspberry Pi) that retails for as little as $35.
June 27, 2016
Artificial intelligence (AI) developed by a University of Cincinnati doctoral graduate was recently assessed by subject-matter expert and retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee — who holds extensive aerial combat experience as an instructor and Air Battle Manager with considerable fighter aircraft expertise — in a high-fidelity air combat simulator.
The artificial intelligence, dubbed ALPHA, was the victor in that simulated scenario, and according to Lee, is “the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI I’ve seen to date.”
Details on ALPHA – a significant breakthrough in the application of what’s called genetic-fuzzy systems are published in the most-recent issue of the Journal of Defense Management, as this application is specifically designed for use with Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) in simulated air-combat missions for research purposes.
The tools used to create ALPHA as well as the ALPHA project have been developed by Psibernetix, Inc., recently founded by UC College of Engineering and Applied Science 2015 doctoral graduate Nick Ernest, now president and CEO of the firm; as well as David Carroll, programming lead, Psibernetix, Inc.; with supporting technologies and research from Gene Lee; Kelly Cohen, UC aerospace professor; Tim Arnett, UC aerospace doctoral student; and Air Force Research Laboratory sponsors.
High pressure and fast pace: An artificial intelligence sparring partner
ALPHA is currently viewed as a research tool for manned and unmanned teaming in a simulation environment. In its earliest iterations, ALPHA consistently outperformed a baseline computer program previously used by the Air Force Research Lab for research. In other words, it defeated other AI opponents.
In fact, it was only after early iterations of ALPHA bested other computer program opponents that Lee then took to manual controls against a more mature version of ALPHA last October. Not only was Lee not able to score a kill against ALPHA after repeated attempts, he was shot out of the air every time during protracted engagements in the simulator.
Since that first human vs. ALPHA encounter in the simulator, this AI has repeatedly bested other experts as well, and is even able to win out against these human experts when its (the ALPHA-controlled) aircraft are deliberately handicapped in terms of speed, turning, missile capability and sensors.
Lee, who has been flying in simulators against AI opponents since the early 1980s, said of that first encounter against ALPHA, “I was surprised at how aware and reactive it was. It seemed to be aware of my intentions and reacting instantly to my changes in flight and my missile deployment. It knew how to defeat the shot I was taking. It moved instantly between defensive and offensive actions as needed.”
He added that with most AIs, “an experienced pilot can beat up on it (the AI) if you know what you’re doing. Sure, you might have gotten shot down once in a while by an AI program when you, as a pilot, were trying something new, but, until now, an AI opponent simply could not keep up with anything like the real pressure and pace of combat-like scenarios.”
But, now, it’s been Lee, who has trained with thousands of U.S. Air Force pilots, flown in several fighter aircraft and graduated from the U.S. Fighter Weapons School (the equivalent of earning an advanced degree in air combat tactics and strategy), as well as other pilots who have been feeling pressured by ALPHA.
And, anymore, when Lee flies against ALPHA in hours-long sessions that mimic real missions, “I go home feeling washed out. I’m tired, drained and mentally exhausted. This may be artificial intelligence, but it represents a real challenge.”
Read more here: magazine.uc.edu/editors_picks/recent_features/alpha.html
When IBM released its729 Magnetic Tape Unit in 1959, Eisenhower was the sitting president. Alaska and Hawaii had just been admitted to the union as full-fledge states. No human had yet been in space. And debugging computers was very, very different than it is today.
IBM's 729 storage device kept its data on half-inch-wide strips of tape that could be nearly half a mile long, queued up for read-write access by no less than eight internal motors and the help of a few vacuum tubes to cushion rapid jolts that would threaten to snap the ribbons in half. With a cruising speed of 75-inches per second (a little over four miles per hour), machine's reels of tape were cable of a respectable 120 kbit/s data transfer speed, or ten times slower than even a sluggish 3G cellphone connection.
So when the IBM 729 that lives at the the Computer History Museum began having some read-write errors last April, there were any number of things that could be going wrong. Ultimately, the issue came down to a failing "brush block," a small plastic box with metallic brushes designed to make constant contact with a metal disk and conduct electricity to it. Identifying it was one thing. Fixing it was a whole other journey, as documented by CuriousMarc, YouTuber and Astromech engineer:
The construction and replacement of these brushes was surely difficult even back in 1959, but here in 2016 it comes with some new tangles. Coming up with replacement parts required a whole team of enthusiasts to make and spool the appropriate wire from scratch. It was only after that, as CuriousMarc notes in the video's description, that the team could spend some three hours attempting to install them before ultimately coming away successful.
Read more here: www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a21586/debugging-1959-vacuum-tape-drive/
Spy Tech That Reads Your Mind - Leaks, theft, and sabotage by employees have become a major cybersecurity problem
On any given morning at a big national bank or a Silicon Valley software giant or a government agency, a security official could start her day by asking a software program for a report on her organization’s staff. “Okay, as of last night, who were the people who were most disgruntled?” she could ask. “Show me the top 10.”
She would have that capability, says Eric Shaw, a psychologist and longtime consultant to the intelligence community, if she used a software tool he developed for Stroz Friedberg, a cybersecurity firm. The software combs through an organization’s emails and text messages—millions a day, the company says—looking for high usage of words and phrases that language psychologists associate with certain mental states and personality profiles. Ask for a list of staffers who score high for discontent, Shaw says, “and you could look at their names. Or you could look at the top emails themselves.”
Many companies already have the ability to run keyword searches of employees’ emails, looking for worrisome words and phrases like embezzle and I loathe this job. But the Stroz Friedberg software, called Scout, aspires to go a giant step further, detecting indirectly, through unconscious syntactic and grammatical clues, workers’ anger, financial or personal stress, and other tip-offs that an employee might be about to lose it.
To measure employees’ disgruntlement, for instance, it uses an algorithm based on linguistic tells found to connote feelings of victimization, anger, and blame. For instance, unusually frequent use of the word me—several standard deviations above the norm—is associated with feelings of victimization, Shaw says. Why me? How can you do that to me?Anger might be signaled by unusually high use of negatives like no, not, never, and n’t, or of “negative evaluators” like You’re terrible and You’re awful at that. There might be heavy use of “adverbial intensifiers” like very, so, and such a or words rendered in all caps for emphasis: He’s a ZERO.
It’s not illegal to be disgruntled. But today’s frustrated worker could engineer tomorrow’s hundred-million-dollar data breach. Scout is being marketed as a cutting-edge weapon in the growing arsenal that helps corporations combat “insider threat,” the phenomenon of employees going bad. Workers who commit fraud or embezzlement are one example, but so are “bad leavers”—employees or contractors who, when they depart, steal intellectual property or other confidential data, sabotage the information technology system, or threaten to do so unless they’re paid off. Workplace violence is a growing concern too.
Though companies have long been arming themselves against cyberattack by external hackers, often presumed to come from distant lands like Russia and China, they’re increasingly realizing that many assaults are launched from within—by, say, the quiet guy down the hall whose contract wasn’t renewed. The most spectacular examples have been governmental—the massive 2010 data dump of more than 700,000 classified files onto WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning (then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning) and the leaks by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in 2013. While those events were sui generis, they opened the world’s eyes to the breathtaking scope of every organization’s vulnerability.
Read more here: fortune.com/insider-threats-email-scout/
Microsoft today announced that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will launch on August 2. This is one of the biggest Windows 10 updates yet and will include new features for both consumers and enterprises.
As Microsoft also announced today, Windows 10 now runs on 350 million devices and users have spent 135 billion hours using it so far. That’s up from the 300 million devices running Windows 10 the company announced in May.
Picking August 2nd as the launch date is a bit of an odd choice, though, given that Microsoft’s free update offer, which allows most current Windows users to update to Windows 10 for free, expires just a few days earlier on July 29th and Microsoft doesn’t seem to have any intention to extend this offer beyond this date. July 29th also marks the one-year anniversary of Windows 10 that gives the update its name.
As Windows senior director Lisa Gurry told me, the company doesn’t want to roll out a major update on the 29th because it’s a Friday and also because the Windows team wanted some extra time to finish the product. She also noted that the expiration date of the offer was communicated for a year now, so Microsoft couldn’t change it anymore. I’m not sure I buy all of that, but the date is now set.
On the enterprise side, the update will include a number of new security features, including advanced threat protection in Windows Defender and the Windows Information Protection Service for ensuring that enterprise data remains secure.
Most of the new features, however, are geared toward consumers. Cortana, for example, will now be able to answer to queries without you having to log in to your computer and can now help you recall your frequent flier number, while Windows Ink allows you to easily write notes, draw sketches, and add sticky notes to documents and web sites (with the help of the updated Edge browser, which is now also more energy efficient than before and offers support for a limited number of third-party extensions).
Gurry also noted that the update includes a number of new features for schools that want to adopt Windows 10 laptops (instead of Chromebooks or iPads, for example). It’s now easier to set up a shared cart of devices, for example, or to configure the laptop for a test-taking session (with copy-and-paste disabled, for example).
Read more here: techcrunch.com/2016/06/29/microsofts-windows-10-anniversary-update-will-arrive-august-2nd/
A judge in Virginia rules that people should have no expectation of privacy on their home PCs because no connected computer "is immune from invasion."A federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that the user of any computer that connects to the Internet should not have an expectation of privacy because computer security is ineffectual at stopping hackers.The June 23 ruling came in one of the many cases resulting from the FBI's infiltration of PlayPen, a hidden service on the Tor network that acted as a hub for child exploitation, and the subsequent prosecution of hundreds of individuals. To identify suspects, the FBI took control of PlayPen for two weeks and used, what it calls, a "network investigative technique," or NIT—a program that runs on a visitor's computer and identifies their Internet address.
Such mass hacking using a single warrant has riled privacy and digital-rights advocates, but Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. upheld the use of the warrant and even stated that the warrant is unnecessary because of the type of crime being investigated and because users should have no "objectively reasonable expectation of privacy."
Even using countermeasures, such as the Tor network, does not mean that the user should expect their location or their activities to remain private, according to the judge.
It is clear to the Court that Defendant took great strides to hide his IP address via his use of the Tor network," the judge wrote in the ruling. "However, the court FINDS that any such subjective expectation of privacy—if one even existed in this case—is not objectively reasonable."
Other courts have found the opposite. The Ninth Circuit, for example, held in 2007 that just connecting a computer to the network does not undermine a user's "subjective expectation of privacy and an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in his personal computer."
Yet there has been a dramatic shift in the public's reasonable expectation of privacy because people do expect to be able to defend their computers against attack, Judge Morgan argued.
Read more here: www.eweek.com/security/home-computers-connected-to-the-internet-arent-private-court-rules.html
N THE AGE of big data analytics, the proprietary algorithms web sites use to determine what data to display to visitors have the potential to illegally discriminate against users. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to employment and real estate sites, which could prevent users from having a fair crack at jobs and housing simply by failing to display certain listings to them based on their race or gender.
But four academic researchers who specialize in uncovering algorithmic discrimination say that a decades-old federal anti-hacking statute is preventing them from doing work to detect such discrimination. They say a provision of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could be used to criminally prosecute them for research that involves scraping publicly available data from these sites or creating anonymous user accounts on them, if the sites’s terms of service prohibit this activity.
The researchers, along with First Look Media Works, which publishes The Intercept, filed a lawsuit today against the Justice Department, asserting that opening fake profiles to pose as job and housing seekers constitutes speech and expressive activity that is protected under the First Amendment. They further argue that because sites can change their terms of service at any time without informing visitors, this can suddenly turn any speech or activity on the site into a criminal act—a violation, they say, of the Fifth Amendment right to due process, which requires proper notice to the public of what constitutes criminal behavior.
They’re asking the US District Court in the District of Columbia to enjoin the government from enforcing what they say is an unconstitutional provision that prevents them from doing meaningful research.
Read more here: www.wired.com/2016/06/researchers-sue-government-computer-hacking-law/