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ISPs Want More Money Because So Many People Are Streaming Squid Game

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 19:43
ISPs around the world claim the unprecedented bandwidth demands Netflix's Squid Game is placing on their broadband networks means they should be getting more money. From a report: But experts say that's not how telecom networks work, suggesting that already cash-flush telecom giants are just positioning themselves for an underserved hand out. The popular South Korean thriller, a not so thinly-veiled critique of late-stage capitalism, tracks a group of indebted people who compete in deadly children's games for cash. According to Netflix, Squid Game is the most popular show in company history, the number one program in 94 countries, and has been watched by 142 million households. ISPs around the world also claim the show's popularity is driving a massive surge in bandwidth consumption, and they want their cut. In South Korea, Internet service provider SK Broadband sued Netflix earlier this month, claiming that between May and September the ISP's network traffic jumped 24 times to 1.2 trillion bits of data processed every second. This surge is Netflix's fault, the ISP insists, and Netflix should be held financially responsible. In the UK, British Telecom executives have been making similar complaints, insisting that Netflix should be forced to help pay for the surge in network traffic caused by the show. But broadband experts say that's not how broadband networks actually work. "It makes no sense for ISPs to cry victim because they provide a popular service, and are expected to provide it," John Bergmayer, telecom expert at consumer group Public Knowledge told Motherboard. "People subscribe to broadband to do things like stream video, and it's broadband customers who are requesting all these Squid Game streams. They are not somehow imposed on ISPs by Netflix."

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AI isn’t just about disruption. Integration is essential, too

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 19:30
Learn how to take the broad view by tuning into this webcast early next month

Sponsored  We’re used to talking about the disruption AI will inevitably cause. But that disruption is predicated on AI moving into production, and that requires integration into the broader corporate infrastructure.…

Categories: Technology

Epic Games Ends Alternate-Friday Vacation Policy, Angering Staff

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 19:03
Epic Games is ending a pandemic-inspired policy of granting every other Friday off, sparking an uproar among staff. From a report: An internal Slack channel was filled with pleas from employees for the game publisher to reconsider. Several people said the extra vacation days had helped their mental health, allowed them to be better parents and even improved their productivity while working on updates for Fortnite, which is one of world's most popular games. Epic said the policy was always meant to be temporary and that the company's goal was to allow employees and contractors to take paid time off on their own schedules. The company also closes for two-week breaks in the summer and winter. "Right now, we are seeing lots of Fridays off for deep work, and lots of people who must work Fridays anyways," Chief Operating Officer Daniel Vogel wrote in an email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg. "This meant that many people were not benefiting from this policy equally." But in a survey of 581 employees reviewed by Bloomberg, 93% said they had found the alternating Fridays off to be "extremely beneficial" and 61% said they felt worried, guilty or stressed when taking separate vacation days. Almost 90% of employees said they wanted to keep Fridays off as a standard.

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Better late than never: Microsoft rolls out a public preview of E2EE in Teams calls

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 18:28
Only for one-to-one voice and video, mind

Microsoft has finally kicked off the rollout of end-to-end-encryption (E2EE) in its Teams collaboration platform with a public preview of E2EE for one-to-one calls.…

Categories: Technology

Internet Service Providers Collect, Sell Horrifying Amount of Sensitive Data, Government Study Concludes

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 18:25
An anonymous reader shares a report: Over the last few years the justified fixation on the bad behavior of Google, Amazon, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants has let the abuses of the telecom sector fly under the radar. But a new FTC report showcases how when it comes to consumer privacy, broadband providers are every bit as terrible as you thought they were. The new FTC report studied the privacy practices of six unnamed broadband ISPs and their advertising arms, and found that the companies routinely collect an ocean of consumer location, browsing, and behavioral data. They then share this data with dodgy middlemen via elaborate business arrangements that often aren't adequately disclosed to broadband consumers. "Even though several of the ISPs promise not to sell consumers personal data, they allow it to be used, transferred, and monetized by others and hide disclosures about such practices in fine print of their privacy policies," the FTC report said. The FTC also found that while many ISPs provide consumers tools allowing them to opt out of granular data collection, those tools are cumbersome to use -- when they work at all. "Many of the ISPs also claim to offer consumers choices about how their data is used and allow them to access such data," the FTC said. "The FTC found, however, that many of these companies often make it difficult for consumers to exercise such choices and sometimes even nudge them to share even more information." ISPs often provide privacy-specific website portals proclaiming to provide users with a wide variety of opt out options but these choices are often "illusory," the FTC found.

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Walmart Shoppers Can Now Buy Bitcoin at 200 Kiosks in Its Stores

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 17:43
Walmart has started a pilot program in which shoppers can buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores. From a report: The test with Coinstar, which is known for the machines that let customers exchange U.S. coins for paper bills or gift cards, began earlier this month, Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman said Thursday. The pilot includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. That's part of a broader initiative by Coinstar, which has teamed up with a cryptocurrency cash exchange called Coinme to offer Bitcoin at more than 8,000 kiosks. The pilot includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. "Bitcoin ATMs have been around for a while, including in many supermarkets," said Sam Doctor, chief strategy officer and head of research at BitOoda, a regulated crypto brokerage. "Walmart expands Bitcoin access to more people, though, and gives it further legitimacy among skeptics, should they roll it out beyond an initial pilot." Walmart is testing the service weeks after a high-profile hoax in which a fake press release said the retailer would start letting customers pay with a cryptocurrency called Litecoin. While that announcement was false, Walmart is assessing the future of crypto in its operations. It advertised a job in August to develop "the digital currency strategy and product roadmap" while identifying "crypto-related investment and partnerships."

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Recycled Cobalt Strike key pairs show many crooks are using same cloned installation

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 17:32
Researcher spots RSA tell-tale lurking in plain sight on VirusTotal

Around 1,500 Cobalt Strike beacons uploaded to VirusTotal were reusing the same RSA keys from a cracked version of the software, according to a security researcher who pored through the malware repository.…

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Police Can't Demand You Reveal Your Phone Passcode and Then Tell a Jury You Refused

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 17:08
EFF: The Utah Supreme Court is the latest stop in EFF's roving campaign to establish your Fifth Amendment right to refuse to provide your password to law enforcement. Yesterday, along with the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in State v. Valdez, arguing that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination prevents the police from forcing suspects to reveal the contents of their minds. That includes revealing a memorized passcode or directly entering the passcode to unlock a device. In Valdez, the defendant was charged with kidnapping his ex-girlfriend after arranging a meeting under false pretenses. During his arrest, police found a cell phone in Valdez's pocket that they wanted to search for evidence that he set up the meeting, but Valdez refused to tell them the passcode. Unlike many other cases raising these issues, however, the police didn't bother seeking a court order to compel Valdez to reveal his passcode. Instead, during trial, the prosecution offered testimony and argument about his refusal. The defense argued that this violated the defendant's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, which also prevents the state from commenting on his silence. The court of appeals agreed, and now the state has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

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India Crosses the Milestone of 1 Billion COVID-19 Vaccinations

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 16:33
India has administered 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Thursday, passing a milestone for the South Asian country where the delta variant fueled its first crushing surge earlier this year. From a report: About 75% of India's total eligible adult population have received at least one dose, while around 30% are fully immunized. The country of nearly 1.4 billion people is the second to exceed a billion cumulative doses after the most populous country China did so in June. Coronavirus cases have fallen sharply in India since the devastating months at the start of the year when the highly transmissible delta variant, first detected in the country a year ago, was infecting hundreds of thousands daily, sending COVID-19 patients into overwhelmed hospitals and filling cremation grounds. Officials have bolstered the vaccination campaign in recent months, which experts say have helped control the outbreak since. The country began its drive in January. Still, there remains a worrying gap between those who have received one shot and those fully immunized. Ramping up the second dose is "an important priority," V K Paul, the head of the country's COVID-19 taskforce, said at a briefing last week.

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Microsoft investor urges shareholders to vote for a deep dive into pay gap and harassment policies

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 16:30
More transparency and reporting needed, says Arunja Capital

Accusations of harassment and concerns over pay gaps continue to dog Microsoft as shareholders were urged by investor Arunja Capital to vote for the software giant to release transparency reports.…

Categories: Technology

With Coercion and Black Boxes, Russia Installs a Digital Iron Curtain

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 15:46
Russia's boldest moves to censor the internet began in the most mundane of ways -- with a series of bureaucratic emails and forms. From a report: The messages, sent by Russia's powerful internet regulator, demanded technical details -- like traffic numbers, equipment specifications and connection speeds -- from companies that provide internet and telecommunications services across the country. Then the black boxes arrived. The telecom companies had no choice but to step aside as government-approved technicians installed the equipment alongside their own computer systems and servers. Sometimes caged behind lock and key, the new gear linked back to a command center in Moscow, giving authorities startling new powers to block, filter and slow down websites that they did not want the Russian public to see. The process, underway since 2019, represents the start of perhaps the world's most ambitious digital censorship effort outside of China. Under President Vladimir V. Putin, who once called the internet a "C.I.A. project" and views the web as a threat to his power, the Russian government is attempting to bring the countryâ(TM)s once open and freewheeling internet to heel. The gear has been tucked inside the equipment rooms of Russia's largest telecom and internet service providers, including Rostelecom, MTS, MegaFon and Vympelcom, a senior Russian lawmaker revealed this year. It affects the vast majority of the country's more than 120 million wireless and home internet users, according to researchers and activists. The world got its first glimpse of Russia's new tools in action when Twitter was slowed to a crawl in the country this spring. It was the first time the filtering system had been put to work, researchers and activists said. Other sites have since been blocked, including several linked to the jailed opposition leader Alexei A. Navalny.

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Categories: Technology

US drops tariff threat against nations who dished out digital taxes to American tech giants as OECD members hash out new deal

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 15:37
15% tax minimum to hit tech firms

The US government and administrations in Europe have come to an agreement that will drop the threat of tariffs in response to policies on digital services taxes (DSTs).…

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Apple's Safari Browser Runs the Risk of Becoming the New Internet Explorer -- Holding the Web Back for everyone

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 15:00
Scott Gilbertson, writing for The Register: The legacy of Internet Explorer 6 haunts web developer nightmares to this day. Microsoft's browser of yore made their lives miserable and it's only slightly hyperbolic to say it very nearly destroyed the entire internet. It really was that bad, kids. It made us walk to school in the snow. Uphill. Both ways. You wouldn't understand. Or maybe you would. Today developers who want to use "cutting-edge" web APIs find themselves resorting to the same kind of browser-specific workarounds, but this time the browser dragging things down comes from Apple. Apple's Safari lags considerably behind its peers in supporting web features. Whether it's far enough behind to be considered "the new IE" is debatable and may say more about the shadow IE still casts across the web than it does about Safari. But Safari -- or more specifically the WebKit engine that powers it -- is well behind the competition. According to the Web Platform Tests dashboard, Chrome-based browsers support 94 per cent of the test suite, and Firefox pulls off 91 per cent, but Safari only manages 71 per cent. On the desktop this doesn't matter all that much because users can always switch to Google Chrome (or even better, Vivaldi). On iOS devices, however, that's not possible. According to Apple's App Store rules: "apps that browse the web must use the appropriate WebKit framework and WebKit Javascript." Every iPhone user is a Safari/WebKit user whether they use Safari or Chrome. Apple has a browser monopoly on iOS, which is something Microsoft was never able to achieve with IE. In Windows you could at least install Firefox. If you do that on iOS it might say Firefox, but you're still using WebKit. The reality is if you have an iOS device, you use Safari and are bound by its limitations. Another thing web developers find distressing is Apple's slow development cycle. Apple updates Safari roughly every six months at best. Blink-based browsers update every six weeks (soon every four), Firefox releases every four weeks, and Brave releases every three. This means that not only is Apple slow to add new features, but its development cycle means that even simple bug fixes have to wait a long time before they actually land on users' devices. Safari workarounds are not quick fixes. If your website is affected by a Safari bug, you can expect to wait up to a year before the problem is solved. One theme that emerges when you dig into the Web Platform Tests data on Safari's shortcomings is that even where WebKit has implemented a feature, it's often not complete.

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Nobody really cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto tech platforms' smart speakers, says DCMS Radio Review

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 14:49
UK's anti Amazon and Google war gets a second front

The UK might pass laws forcing smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home devices to broadcast UK DAB radio stations, over government fears that Brits aren't consuming enough of the unloved radio tech.…

Categories: Technology

IPSE: More than a third of freelancers have quit contracting since IR35 reforms

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 14:08
Exodus, movement of the people... to the Middle East or elsewhere

More than a third (35 per cent) of contractors in the UK have become permanent employees, retired, shifted to work overseas or are "simply not working" since IR35 tax legislation was revised earlier this year.…

Categories: Technology

Governments Turn Tables On Ransomware Gang REvil By Pushing It Offline

Slashdot - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 14:00
An anonymous reader shares a report from Reuters: The ransomware group REvil was itself hacked and forced offline this week by a multi-country operation, according to three private sector cyber experts working with the United States and one former official. Former partners and associates of the Russian-led criminal gang were responsible for a May cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that led to widespread gas shortages on the U.S. East Coast. REvil's direct victims include top meatpacker JBS. The crime group's "Happy Blog" website, which had been used to leak victim data and extort companies, is no longer available. Officials said the Colonial attack used encryption software called DarkSide, which was developed by REvil associates. VMWare head of cybersecurity strategy Tom Kellermann said law enforcement and intelligence personnel stopped the group from victimizing additional companies. "The FBI, in conjunction with Cyber Command, the Secret Service and like-minded countries, have truly engaged in significant disruptive actions against these groups," said Kellermann, an adviser to the U.S. Secret Service on cybercrime investigations. "REvil was top of the list." [...] U.S. government attempts to stop REvil, one of the worst of dozens of ransomware gangs that work with hackers to penetrate and paralyze companies around the world, accelerated after the group compromised U.S. software management company Kaseya in July. That breach opened access to hundreds of Kaseya's customers all at once, leading to numerous emergency cyber incident response calls. Following the attack on Kaseya, the FBI obtained a universal decryption key that allowed those infected via Kaseya to recover their files without paying a ransom. But law enforcement officials initially withheld the key for weeks as it quietly pursued REvil's staff, the FBI later acknowledged. According to three people familiar with the matter, law enforcement and intelligence cyber specialists were able to hack REvil's computer network infrastructure, obtaining control of at least some of their servers. After websites that the hacker group used to conduct business went offline in July, the main spokesman for the group, who calls himself "Unknown," vanished from the internet. When gang member 0_neday and others restored those websites from a backup last month, he unknowingly restarted some internal systems that were already controlled by law enforcement. "The REvil ransomware gang restored the infrastructure from the backups under the assumption that they had not been compromised," said Oleg Skulkin, deputy head of the forensics lab at the Russian-led security company Group-IB. "Ironically, the gang's own favorite tactic of compromising the backups was turned against them." Reliable backups are one of the most important defenses against ransomware attacks, but they must be kept unconnected from the main networks or they too can be encrypted by extortionists such as REvil.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Technology

New Relic guzzles down CodeStream to help devs jump straight from app error telemetry to offending code

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 13:15
'I can debug production from the IDE,' said CS boss Peter Pezaris

Observability company New Relic has acquired CodeStream, specialists in developer collaboration, with the aim being to connect observability data with code in the development environment.…

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Analogue tones of a ZX Spectrum Load set to ride again via podcast project

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 12:29
Remember the R Tape Loading Error?

The glory days of audio-cassette loading are set to return in the coming weeks, with retro fans to be treated to a broadcast for them to hit Play and Record to.…

Categories: Technology

Unhappy customers and their own tricks used against them, REvil ransomware gang reportedly pulled offline by 'multi-country' operations

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 11:43
The second vanishing of the cybergang... for now

As we noted a few days back, notorious ransomware gang REvil "disappeared" again this week. Recent reports have now shed light on why that may be.…

Categories: Technology

Apple's Safari browser runs the risk of becoming the new Internet Explorer – holding the web back for everyone

The Register - Fri, 22/10/2021 - 11:05
WebKit engine is well behind the competition

Feature  The legacy of Internet Explorer 6 haunts web developer nightmares to this day. Microsoft's browser of yore made their lives miserable and it's only slightly hyperbolic to say it very nearly destroyed the entire internet. It really was that bad, kids. It made us walk to school in the snow. Uphill. Both ways. You wouldn't understand.…

Categories: Technology

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