University of Michigan Study Advocates Ban of Facial Recognition in Schools Slashdotby msmash on education at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 11:35 pm)

University of Michigan researchers recently published a study showing facial recognition technology in schools has limited efficacy and presents a number of serious problems. From a report: The research was led by Shobita Parthasarathy, director of the university's Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) program, and finds the technology isn't just ill-suited to security purposes, it can actively promote racial discrimination, normalize surveillance, and erode privacy while marginalizing gender nonconforming students. The study follows the New York legislature's passage of a moratorium on the use of facial recognition and other forms of biometric identification in schools until 2022. The bill, a response to the Lockport City School District launching a facial recognition system, was among the first in the nation to explicitly regulate or ban use of the technology in schools. That development came after companies including Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft halted or ended the sale of facial recognition products in response to the first wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S.

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Scribd Acquires Presentation-Sharing Service SlideShare from LinkedIn Slashdotby msmash on business at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 11:05 pm)

SlideShare has a new owner, with LinkedIn selling the presentation-sharing service to Scribd for an undisclosed price. From a report: According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24. Scribd CEO Trip Adler argued that the companies have very similar roots, both of them focused on content- and document-sharing. "The two products always had kind of similar missions," Adler said. "The difference was, [SlideShare] focused on more on PowerPoint presentations and business users, while we focused more on PDFs and Word docs and long-form written content, more on the more general consumer." Over time, the companies diverged even further, with SlideShare acquired by LinkedIn in 2012, and LinkedIn itself acquired by Microsoft in 2016.

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Twitter's Reply-Limiting Feature is Now Available To Everyone Slashdotby msmash on social at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 10:35 pm)

Twitter is making one of its boldest experiments official. After months of testing, the company is bringing its reply-limiting feature, which allows users to control who can reply to their tweets, to all users. From a report: With the update, which is rolling out now to Twitter's apps and website, users can choose who can reply to tweets before they send them. The options are everyone, people you follow, and people you mention. If you choose people you mention, but don't mention anyone in the tweet, it effectively means no one can reply. The settings don't affect the ability to retweet or quote tweet. The change is one of many experiments Twitter's run in recent years in order to improve "conversational health," on its platform. Though limits on replies has been controversial among some users, Twitter has said it's meant to improve some of the less-than desirable dynamics on Twitter, such as ratios and, of course, the infamous reply guys.

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Google Beats Song Lyric Scraping Lawsuit Slashdotby msmash on business at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 9:35 pm)

Genius Media Group was pretty clever when it used digital watermarks to show that Google had been copying its huge collection of song lyrics. One of those watermarks spelled "redhanded" in Morse code. That Google was caught lifting another site's song lyrics made international news -- and even merited a mention during Congress' Big Tech hearing late last month. But was Google's scraping illegal? On Monday, a New York federal judge dismissed claims by Genius. From a report: Genius doesn't own copyrights to the song lyrics. Those rights belong to publishers and songwriters. Genius does have a license to the song lyrics in question. Additionally, Genius spends a lot of time and millions of dollars facilitating collaborative lyric transcription. Can't it protect its sweat? Genius believed so. Genius prohibits its users from transmitting its transcriptions for commercial purpose. Google breached the Terms of Service, claimed a complaint filed in New York state court. After the case was filed last December, Google had it removed to federal court on the basis that Genius' state claims were preempted. As federal court provides the exclusive jurisdiction for copyright controversies, the initial question in this case was whether Genius was doing anything more than disguising copyright claims. That's the subject of a new 36-page opinion from U.S. District Court Judge Margo Brodie. There's little doubt that the transcribed song lyrics fit within the types of works protected by the Copyright Act and thus satisfy subject matter of a preempted claim. However, under precedent, state contract claims over what's typically regarded as intellectual property can nevertheless survive so long as there's an "extra element" at play. That could be contractual obligations that are qualitatively different from a copyright claim. Here, Brodie rejects the proposition that Genius' attempt to guard against scraping for profit constitutes an extra element.

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MLB Teams Explore Using Cameras To Detect Maskless Fans at Games Slashdotby msmash on technology at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 9:05 pm)

The baseball season has started with eerily empty stadiums, but some teams are exploring high-tech ways to verify that people in the stands are taking health precautions, a possible step toward bringing fans back. From a report: Several Major League Baseball teams have held talks with a California startup called Airspace Systems that develops technology to detect whether people are wearing face masks, the league and the company said. The discussions focus on implementing the systems into cameras around the stadium to identify people without face coverings, with masks dangling from their chins or otherwise worn improperly. [...] A mask requirement at ballparks would likely stoke controversy. Such mandates at stores and on airplanes have resulted in violent confrontations between customers and workers. The use of software to analyze people's behavior on camera is contentious, too. Airspace's system reviews people's faces, but the results aren't personally identifiable, the company said. Still, companies collecting data on their workers or customers in the name of public health should be required to set up privacy guardrails around how the information is used, said Ifeoma Ajunwa, an associate professor at Cornell University who has studied the intersection of law and surveillance.

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Qualcomm Wins US Antitrust Lawsuit Appeal Over Chip Licensing Slashdotby msmash on court at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 8:05 pm)

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling against chip supplier Qualcomm in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission. From a report: The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also vacated an injunction that would have required Qualcomm to change its intellectual property licensing practices. The decision amounted to a near complete victory for the San Diego company, the largest supplier of chips for mobile phones and also a key generator of wireless communications intellectual property and industry standards. Qualcomm was fighting a May 2019 decision by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. That judge sided with antitrust regulators, writing that Qualcomm's practice of requiring phone makers to sign a patent license agreement before selling them chips "strangled competition" and harmed consumers.

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[no title] Scripting News(cached at August 11, 2020, 8:03 pm)

A new Twitter feature lets you decide who can reply to your tweet.
Zoom Sued By Consumer Group For Misrepresenting Its Encryption Protections Slashdotby msmash on encryption at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 7:35 pm)

A consumer advocacy group is suing Zoom and seeking millions of dollars in damages, accusing the company of misleading its users about the strength of its encryption protections. From a report: The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog is also accusing the videoconferencing company of deceiving users about the extent of its links with China and the fact that some calls between people in North America were routed through servers in China. That raises the danger Beijing could steal or demand access to the contents of those calls, according to a copy of the lawsuit, which was shared exclusively with The Cybersecurity 202. Those phony claims "lull[ed] consumers and businesses into a false sense of security" and helped Zoom to soar in popularity during the early months of the pandemic, according the lawsuit, which was filed late yesterday in Washington D.C. Superior Court. The consumer group fears that if Zoom isn't punished, other companies will be incentivized to make false claims about their security and privacy protections to attract users and stand out against competitors.

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Ask Slashdot: Is it Time To Call Time on Time Zones? Slashdotby msmash on internet at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 7:05 pm)

An anonymous reader shares a report [may be paywalled]: Anyone who has struggled to schedule a conference call across multiple time zones should pity the poor residents of Indiana. For decades, the Midwestern US state has been in flux over whether to observe Central or Eastern time. Some counties even switched time zones twice in as many years during the mid-2000s. This situation must be particularly baffling to the people of India and China, whose countries span thousands of miles yet obey a single time zone -- whatever the cost to their citizens' Circadian rhythms. Today's time zones are a 19th-century invention, driven by railway engineers' desire to harmonise schedules across states and countries. Now that we travel at internet speed, the system is breaking down. [...] One of the first modern-day attempts to disrupt time zones came, counter-intuitively, from a watchmaker. In 1998, as dotcom hype was crescendoing, Swatch tried to divide the day into 1,000 ".beats," each lasting one minute and 26.4 seconds. "Internet Time exists so that we do not have to think about time zones," Swatch declared. Swatch no longer produces .beats watches and the idea has been largely forgotten. In 2011, economist Steve Hanke and physicist Richard Conn Henry suggested a slightly less radical version of the same idea. Instead of replacing the current 24-hour system of timekeeping altogether, they argued for replacing the "cacophony of time zones" globally with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), sometimes also known as Greenwich Mean Time. "The readings on the clocks . . . would be the same for all," they wrote, while office hours or shop opening times would be adapted locally. This seems even more feasible today, in a world when the nine to five has been replaced by gig-economy jobs and homeworking parents spend their evenings with laptops on their knees. But such a change to global UTC would create new headaches of co-ordination. We would no longer be able to ask, "What time is it there?" to understand when it might be appropriate to call someone. Assuming our calendars tracked UTC in the same way they do local time today, days of the week would become a confusing concept for many parts of the world. When the clock passes what we now call midnight, Monday would tick into Tuesday at lunchtime in some places and breakfast in others. No amount of fiddling with the numbers on the clock can change the fact most people will want to work when it's light and sleep when it's dark. Your thoughts?

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[no title] Scripting News(cached at August 11, 2020, 7:03 pm)

Vision of a future that works better: Journalism is to Trump as the Mac was to mainframe computers.
[no title] Scripting News(cached at August 11, 2020, 7:03 pm)

JavaScript, which I love in the way a hostage loves his or her hostage-taker, fails the test of "Does the code look like what it does." It requires you to stand on your head with every finger in some random orifice to get simple stuff done if it involves any waiting. On the other hand if no waiting is involved, the code is perfectly understandable. If they invented JavaScript in the 70s, in the 80s we'd invent a language the fixes this colossal design error. With all respect to Brendan and his 10-day moon mission project.
New Zealand Reinstates Coronavirus Restrictions After First Locally-Transmitted Case Slashdotby msmash on medicine at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 6:35 pm)

schwit1 shares a report: New Zealand has reintroduced coronavirus restrictions in parts of the country after new locally transmitted cases broke the 102-day streak the country had gone without recording a local infection. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed four new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Tuesday night, and announced that New Zealand's most populous city, Auckland, will temporarily see level three restrictions introduced for three days starting from midday on Wednesday. All four of the cases were found within one household in South Auckland according to New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. He added that none of the new cases had recently traveled outside of New Zealand. "We have been preparing for that time, and that time is now," said Dr Bloomfield adding that the "health system is well prepared." "In line with our precautionary approach we will be asking Aucklanders to take swift actions with us, as of 12 noon tomorrow, Wednesday August 12, we will be moving Auckland to level 3 restrictions," said Ardern.

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[no title] Scripting News(cached at August 11, 2020, 6:33 pm)

Can we have a rebellion in journalism? Secede from Trump's reality, chart a new course for the rest of us. His course doesn't end well as we now know. Waiting for journalism to discover it has this power, they're inching toward it, but too slowly.
Parallels Desktop 16 Supports macOS Big Sur and Smoother PC 3D Graphics Slashdotby msmash on it at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 5:35 pm)

As Apple's Mac computers begin their two-year transition from Intel- to Apple-developed CPUs later this year, one feature that's going away is Boot Camp -- the Mac's ability to boot directly into Windows and run PC apps natively. But Corel's Parallels Desktop will still be there to let Mac users run Windows, and in this year's version 16, it will thankfully be faster, more compatible, and easier to use than ever. From a report: Like Parallels Desktop 15, version 16 is an emulator that allows users to load a complete operating system or individual apps within macOS, treating them as windows within the Mac environment. Once again, high-end Business, mid-range Pro, and regular Standard versions are available. With the latest Business version of Parallels Desktop, an IT department can create, deploy, and remotely manage a profile-customized Windows system that Mac users download in a compact file size and expand on their own machines. A simpler Pro version includes the file-compacting feature used to more easily transfer virtual machines between computers, achieving as much as 20 times compression for Linux installs and 75% faster Linux git status executions. The standard version includes a manual Free Up Disk Space feature with archiving and space reclaiming options.

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Android is Becoming a Worldwide Earthquake Detection Network Slashdotby msmash on google at January 1, 1970, 1:00 am (cached at August 11, 2020, 5:05 pm)

Google is creating a worldwide, Android phone-powered earthquake alert system. The first part of that system is rolling out today. If you opt in, the accelerometer in your Android phone will become one data point for an algorithm designed to detect earthquakes. Eventually, that system will automatically send warnings to people who could be impacted. From a report: It's a feature made possible through Google's strengths: the staggering numbers of Android phones around the world and clever use of algorithms on big data. As with its collaboration with Apple on exposure tracing and other Android features like car crash detection and emergency location services, it shows that there are untapped ways that smartphones could be used for something more important than doomscrolling. Google is rolling out the system in small stages. First, Google is partnering with the United States Geological Survey and the California Office of Emergency Services to send the agencies' earthquake alerts to Android users in that state. Those alerts are generated by the already-existing ShakeAlert system, which uses data generated by traditional seismometers.

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