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Cloud

Microsoft Overhauls SharePoint To Compete With Slack In The Mobile Era (theverge.com) 2

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft is overhauling SharePoint today, and introducing iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile apps. The iOS SharePoint app will arrive by the end of June, with the Android and Windows 10 Mobile versions due for release later this year. All of the mobile apps are designed to make SharePoint more accessible on the go, allowing users to access things like corporate intranet sites and content. Alongside the new apps, Microsoft is also providing access to SharePoint Online document libraries in OneDrive mobile apps, and the ability to copy from OneDrive to SharePoint. Microsoft plans to synchronize SharePoint Online document libraries with the new OneDrive sync client by the end of the year, and integrate SharePoint sites with Office 365 Groups. Microsoft's new Flow service, which lets you automate tasks, will also be integrated into SharePoint by the end of the year.
Media

YouTube To Launch 'Unplugged' Online TV Service In 2017 (bloomberg.com) 40

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: YouTube is working on a paid subscription service called Unplugged that would offer customers a bundle of cable TV channels streamed over the Internet, people familiar with the plan said. The project, for which YouTube has already overhauled its technical architecture, is one of the online video giant's biggest priorities and is slated to debut as soon as 2017, one of the people said. YouTube executives have discussed these plans with most major media companies, including Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp., but have yet to secure any rights, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. There are reportedly several different ways YouTube could package TV channels in the service. "In one scenario, it would build a bundle of channels with the four U.S. broadcast networks and a smattering of popular cable channels, a concept known in the industry as a skinny bundle," reports Bloomberg. "YouTube has also discussed offering a collection of less-watched TV channels and creating smaller groups of channels around themes. A YouTube Unplugged comedy bundle might include three or four TV channels such as Comedy Central, while a lifestyle bundle might include the Style Network." Apparently, sources familiar with the matter said YouTube would charge one subscription for the main bundle, and extra, smaller monthly fees for said theme-based groups.
Google

Google Encrypts All Blogspot Domains With HTTPS 29

Reader Mickeycaskill writes: Google is continuing its crusade to encrypt the web by enabling an HTTPS version of every single domain hosted on Blogspot. The search giant started the rollout last September, but as an opt-in service. Now users can opt to visit an HTTPS version of a site without its participation, while administrators can turn on an automatic redirect so all visitors are sent to the encrypted version. "HTTPS is fundamental to internet security; it protects the integrity and confidentiality of data sent between websites and visitors' browsers," said Milanda Perera, security software engineer at Google. Google already encrypts its search results, Google Drive and Gmail, while it also ranks HTTPS-enabled sites higher in the search. Blogspot rival WordPress began rolling out HTTPS in 2014.
Java

No One Should Have To Use Proprietary Software To Communicate With Their Government (fsf.org) 109

Donald Robertson, writing for Free Software Foundation: Proprietary JavaScript is a threat to all users on the Web. When minified, the code can hide all sorts of nasty items, like spyware and other security risks. [...] On March 1st, 2016, the Copyright Office announced a call for comments on an update to their technology infrastructure. We submitted a comment urging them to institute a policy that requires all software they develop and distribute to be free software. Further, we also urged them to not require people to run proprietary software in order to communicate or submit comments to them. Unfortunately, once again, the Copyright Office requires the use of proprietary JavaScript in order to submit the comment and they are only accepting comments online unless a person lacks computer or Internet access. [...] The most absurd part of all this is that other government agencies, while still using Regulations.gov, are perfectly capable of offering alternatives to submission.
Security

Aging and Bloated OpenSSL Is Purged of 2 High-Severity Bugs (arstechnica.com) 39

An anonymous reader cites a story on Ars Technica: Maintainers of the OpenSSL cryptographic library have patched high-severity holes that could make it possible for attackers to decrypt login credentials or execute malicious code on Web servers. The updates were released Tuesday morning for both versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 of OpenSSL, which a large portion of the Internet relies on to cryptographically protect sensitive Web and e-mail traffic using the transport layer security protocol. OpenSSL advisories labeled the severity of both vulnerabilities "high," meaning the updates fixing them should be installed as soon as possible. The fixes bring the latest supported versions to 1.0.1t and 1.0.2h. The decryption vulnerability is the result of what cryptographers call a padding oracle weakness, which allows attackers to repeatedly probe an encrypted payload for clues about the plaintext content inside. According to TLS expert Filippo Valsorda, the bug allows for only 16 bytes of encrypted traffic to be recovered, and even then only when an end user sends it repeatedly.
IBM

IBM Gives Everyone Access To Its Five-Qubit Quantum Computer (fortune.com) 73

An anonymous reader writes: IBM said on Wednesday that it's giving everyone access to one of its quantum computing processors, which can be used to crunch large amounts of data. Anyone can apply through IBM Research's website to test the processor, however, IBM will determine how much access people will have to the processor depending on their technology background -- specifically how knowledgeable they are about quantum technology. With the project being "broadly accessible," IBM hopes more people will be interested in the technology, said Jerry Chow, manager of IBM's experimental quantum computing group. Users can interact with the quantum processor through the Internet, even though the chip is stored at IBM's research center in Yorktown Heights, New York, in a complex refrigeration system that keeps the chip cooled near absolute zero.
Communications

Ellen Pao Launches Advocacy Group To Improve Diversity In The Tech Industry (theverge.com) 249

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Ellen Pao, a former Silicon Valley venture capitalist, today announced the launch of Project Include, an advocacy group aimed at improving diversity in the technology industry. The group was started by Pao and fellow female engineers and executives, including members of Slack, Pinterest, and other Bay Area VC firms. The initiative will focus on providing startups and established tech companies with information on making hiring more inclusive, improving retention, and examining bias in the workplace. Pao became embroiled in one of the most divisive debates in tech last year after suing her former employer, VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, for gender discrimination. She lost at trial and, later, stepped down from her position as interim CEO of Reddit following a severe harassment campaign. Project Include is also accepting as many as 18 startups, who can apply to receive recommendations through a program called Start-Up Include.
Facebook

A Small Group of Journalists Control and Decide What Should Trend On Facebook (gizmodo.com) 87

An anonymous reader writes: According to five former members of Facebook's trending news team, "news curators" as they're known internally, Zuckerberg and company take a downright dim view of the media industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders. After doing a tour in Facebook's news trenches, almost all of them came to believe that they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook's algorithm." "We choose what's trending," said one former news curator. From personal experience I can share a similar incident. An Indian outlet extensively wrote about flaws in Facebook's Free Basics. Few days later, "Ban [that outlet's name]" was trending on Facebook. Clicking on it, for the first few hours, literally didn't return any relevant result, as nobody was talking about it, and no media outlet had written about it. It was after more than a day or so after this fabricated item kept trending that some other outlets started to write about it. (That's common in the media industry: writing about trending topics.) In the past, we've also seen Facebook employees ask whether the company should do anything to stop Donald Trump from becoming the president.
The Almighty Buck

Should You Pay Sales Tax on Internet Purchases? South Dakota Law Could Be The Test (pcworld.com) 332

An anonymous reader shares a PCWorld report: A new South Dakota law may end up determining whether most U.S. residents are required to pay sales taxes on their Internet purchases. The South Dakota law, passed by the Legislature there in March, requires many out-of-state online and catalog retailers to collect the state's sales tax from customers. The law is shaping up to be a legal test case challenging a 25-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits states from levying sales taxes on remote purchases. Unless courts overturn the South Dakota law, it will embolden other states to pass similar Internet sales tax rules, critics said. The law could "set the course for enormous tax and administrative burdens on businesses across the country," Steve DelBianco, executive director of e-commerce trade group NetChoice, said in a statement. If dozens of states adopt Internet sales taxes, online sellers could face audits and changing tax rules in thousands of taxing jurisdictions nationwide. Even with software that could make tax calculations easier, that would be a burden, NetChoice says. And online shoppers could end up paying up to 10 percent more for many products.
Advertising

China Probes Baidu Over False Medical Ads After Student Dies (bloomberg.com) 41

hackingbear writes: China's Internet regulator said on Monday it will send a team to investigate Baidu Inc over the death of a university student who used the Chinese search engine to look for treatment for his rare cancer, and to find an experimental treatment offered by the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps, which eventually proved ineffective. Before dying, Wei accused Baidu online of promoting false medical information, as well as the hospital for misleading advertising in claiming a high success rate for the treatment, state radio said. The post attracted a large public outcry. Baidu says around one quarter of its revenues come from medical and health-care advertisers.
Chrome

Chrome Overtakes Internet Explorer For Most Popular Desktop Browser (thurrott.com) 126

Google Chrome is now the most widely used desktop browser. According to the latest figures from marketing and research firm Net Applications (which looked into data from over 40,000 websites), in April, Chrome captured 41.66 percent of the market, surpassing Internet Explorer which now sits at 41.35 percent. Brad Sams writes:This growth by Chrome should not be too surprising as Microsoft has left Internet Explorer behind for Edge but unfortunately, the Edge browser available to the vast majority of Windows 10 users is a sub-par experience as it lacks basic features like extensions. This is a big milestone for Google as their browser faced and uphill battle against Internet Explorer when it was introduced back in 2008.Also read: Windows Desktop Market Share Drops Below 90%
Bitcoin

Craig Wright Claims He's Satoshi Nakamoto, the Creator Of Bitcoin 147

Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has put an end to the years-long speculation about the creator of Bitcoin. In an interview with the BBC, The Economist (may have a paywall), and GQ, Wright claimed that he is indeed the person who developed the concepts on which Bitcoin cryptocurrency is built. According to the BBC, Mr. Wright provided "technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator." Wright writes in a blog post: [A]fter many years, and having experienced the ebb and flow of life those years have brought, I think I am finally at peace with what he meant. If I sign Craig Wright, it is not the same as if I sign Craig Wright, Satoshi[...] Since those early days, after distancing myself from the public persona that was Satoshi, I have poured every measure of myself into research. I have been silent, but I have not been absent. I have been engaged with an exceptional group and look forward to sharing our remarkable work when they are ready. Satoshi is dead. But this is only the beginning. According to Wright's website, he is a "computer scientist, businessman and inventor" born in Brisbane, Australia, in October 1970. Some have questioned the authenticity and relevance of the "technical proof" Wright has provided. Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian former hacker and leading internet security blogger, wrote, "I don't believe for a second Wright is Satoshi. I know two people who worked with Wright, characterized him as crazy and schemer/charlatan." Michele Spagnuolo, Information Security Engineer at Google added, "He's not Satoshi. He just reused a signed message (of a Sartre text) by Satoshi with block 9 key as 'proof.'"
Crime

Google Helps Police With Child Porn WebCrawler (siliconbeat.com) 113

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Internet Watch Foundation, "an organization that works with police worldwide to remove images of child sexual abuse from the Internet, has credited Google with helping it develop a 'Web crawler' that finds child pornography." The pilot project makes it easier to identify and remove every copy of specific images online, and the group says "We look forward to the next phase of the Googler in Residence project in 2016." Last year Google also had an engineer working directly with the foundation, and the group's annual report says "This was just one part of the engineering support Google gave us in 2015." [PDF] Their report adds that the new technology "should block thousands of their illegal images from being viewed on the Internet."
Australia

Australia: VPN Users Aren't Breaching Copyright (abc.net.au) 115

Slashdot reader Zanadou writes: The Australian Government Productivity Commission in a draft report recommended that Australian consumers should be able to legally circumvent geoblocking restrictions that have prevented them from using foreign online streaming services like Netflix, and that the Australian Government needs to send a clear message that it is not an infringement of copyright for consumers to be able evade geoblocking technology. Karen Chester, a commissioner with the Productivity Commission, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that geoblocking restrictions have the opposite effect of encouraging internet piracy. "Making copyright material more accessible and more competitively priced online, and not geoblocking, is the best antidote to copyright infringement."

In probably related news, Australia topped the list of countries who illegally downloaded the Game Of Thrones season six premiere, this week.

In January Netflix's chief product officer admitted that the company has no magic solution to subscribers who use VPNs to circumvent geoblocking.
Microsoft

Amazon Beats Microsoft In 'The Battle of Seattle' (usatoday.com) 109

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos earned $5 billion in one afternoon when the company's stock price jumped 9.6%. Amazon reported an actual profit of $513 million (nearly double the amount expected), and next year Amazon's sales are projected by analysts to be 63% higher than Microsoft's, which USA Today calls "a good illustration of how growth in the sector has moved from hardware, software and chip companies to Internet firms selling goods or advertising online... [W]hile Bill Gates helped put Seattle area on the map as a U.S. tech hub, Bezos now runs the largest tech company in the State of Washington, by far, in terms of sales."

Amazon's Echo and Alexa devices are believed to be outselling their Kindles (and Alexa will soon make her first appearance on a non-Amazon device). But Amazon attributed their surprise jump in revenue to a 51% annual increase in the "tens of millions" of subscribers paying for their Amazon Prime shipping service (which in San Francisco now even includes delivery from restaurants), as well as a 64% increase from their AWS cloud service, which recently announced a new automated security assessment tool.

Amazon ultimately reported more than twice as much new business as Google and three times as much as Facebook, according to USA Today, which notes that now of all the tech companies, only Apple has more revenue than Amazon, and because of the jump in their stock price, Jeff Bezos is now the fourth-richest person in the world. But with all that money floating around, Seattle tech blogger Jeff Reifman is now wondering why Amazon's local home delivery vehicles in Seattle seem to be operating with out of state plates.
The Almighty Buck

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer In Line For $55M Severance If Fired Within A Year Of Sale (nytimes.com) 181

whoever57 writes: A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Friday revealed that Yahoo's board has agreed to a $55 million severance package for Marissa Mayer if she loses her job within a year of a sale. That's a lot of money for a chief executive who hasn't been able to keep Yahoo's stock from falling. In 2015, the value of Yahoo's stock fell by 33%. Worth noting: most of the money from the severance package is composed of restricted stock units and options -- there's only $3 million in cold hard cash. Also, Yahoo revealed Mayer received a significant pay cut last year. Her "reported pay" was $36 million, but her "realized pay" is closer to $14 million.
Security

Berkeley Researchers Examine Five Worst-Case Security Nightmares (berkeley.edu) 22

An anonymous reader writes: Berkeley researchers have gamed out five worst-case security scenarios at their Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, calling it "a disciplined, imaginative approach to modeling what cybersecurity could mean in the future...to provoke a discussion about what the cybersecurity research and policy communities need to do now in order to be better positioned..." Two of the scenarios are set in 2020 -- one called "The New Normal" imagining a world were users assume their personal information can no longer be kept safe, and another involving the privacy and security implications in a world where hackers lurk undetected on a now-ubiquitous Internet of Things.

"Our goal is to identify emerging issues that will become more important..." they write in an executive summary, including "issues on the table today that may become less salient or critical; and new issues that researchers and decision-makers a few years from now will have wished people in the research and policy communities had noticed -- and begun to act on -- earlier.

Scenario #2 imagines a super-intelligent A.I. which can predict and even manipulate the behavior of individuals, and scenario #3 involves criminals exploiting valuable data sets -- and data scientists -- after an economic collapse.
Security

Slack To Disable Thousands of Logins Leaked on GitHub (detectify.com) 27

An anonymous reader writes: Thursday one technology site reported that thousands of developers building bots for the team-collaboration tool Slack were exposing their login credentials in public GitHub repositories and tickets. "The irony is that a lot of these bots are mostly fun 'weekend projects', reported Detectify. "We saw examples of fit bots, reminding you to stretch throughout the day, quote bots, quoting both Jurassic Park...and Don Quixote...."

Slack responded that they're now actively searching for publicly-posted login credentials, "and when we find any, we revoke the tokens and notify both the users who created them, as well as the owners of affected teams." Detectify notes the lapse in security had occurred at a wide variety of sites, including "Forbes 500 companies, payment providers, multiple internet service providers and health care providers... University classes at some of the world's best-known schools. Newspapers sharing their bots as part of stories. The list goes on and on..."

Communications

Wireless Carriers To Adopt New Real-Time Text Protocol By December 2017 (engadget.com) 28

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The FCC is ready to adopt a proposal that'll bring a new protocol to wireless networks to help people with disabilities communicate. It's called real-time text (RTT) and will be a replacement for the aging teletypewriter devices that let users transmit text conversations over traditional phone lines. According to the FCC's statement, RTT will "allow Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow's communications networks." The big differentiator for RTT over current, commonly-used text-based messaging systems is that RTT messages are sent immediately as they're typed. The RTT technology will let text users communicate with people on voice-based phones and vice versa; it can also work easily in your standard smartphone, eliminating the need for specialized equipment. The proposal calls for RTT to roll out over wireless networks run by "larger carriers" by December of 2017.
Businesses

Cable Industry Threatens To Sue If FCC Tries To Bring Competition To Cable Set Top Boxes (techdirt.com) 100

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Techdirt: Back in February the FCC voted on a new plan to open up the traditional cable box to competition. According to a fact sheet being circulated by the agency (pdf), under the FCC's plan you'd still pay your cable company for the exact same content, cable operators would simply have to design systems -- using standards and copy protection of their choice -- that delivered this content to third-party hardware. The FCC's goal is cheaper, better hardware and a shift away from the insular gatekeeper model the cable box has long protected. Given this would obliterate a $21 billion captive market in set top box rental fees -- and likely direct consumers to more third-party streaming services -- the cable industry has been engaged in an utterly adorable new hissy fit. And now, the industry is also threatening a lawsuit. Former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell is arguing that the FCC has once again overstepped its regulatory authority: "An agency of limited jurisdiction has to act properly within that jurisdiction," Powell said, making it abundantly clear the NCTA does not believe the FCC has not done so in this case. He said that the statute empowers the FCC to create competition in navigation devices, not new services. "Every problem does not empower an FCC-directed solution. The agency is not an agency with unbridled plenary power to roam around markets and decide to go fix inconveniences everywhere they find them irrespective of the bounds of their authority."

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