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Updated: 7 hours 44 min ago

SiriusXM is Free Through May 15 To Help With Coronavirus Isolation Boredom

7 hours 57 min ago
Satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced today it's made its 300-plus channel streaming service available for free in North America starting today through May 15.

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Trump Won the Internet. Democrats Are Scrambling to Take It Back.

8 hours 37 min ago
In the era of big data, memes and disinformation, the Democrats are trying to regain their digital edge as the president and his loyalists dictate the terms of debate. From a report: The deceptively edited video that purported to show Joseph R. Biden Jr. endorsing President Trump's re-election bounced relentlessly around the internet, falsely painting the former vice president as too confused to know what office he was running for or whom he was vying to run against. The doctored video didn't originate with one of the extremist sites that trade in left-bashing disinformation. It was posted on Twitter by Mr. Trump's own social media director. [...] The video, based on a speech Mr. Biden gave earlier this month, registered five million views in a day before his campaign responded -- with statements to the press and cable interviews that largely focused on persuading Facebook to follow the example of Twitter, which had labeled the content "manipulated media." A direct social media counterattack, aides said later, would have risked spreading the damage. [...] As Mr. Biden closes in on his party's nomination, that digital mismatch underscores one of the Democrats' biggest general-election challenges: They are up against a political figure who has marshaled all the forces of the modern web to refract reality and savage his opponents. Yet they are starting from a deficit, struggling to regain their once-formidable online edge. Now closing this technological divide has taken on deepening urgency, with public life shut down against the threat of the coronavirus. Already, Mr. Biden's allies have expressed anxiety about his ability to break into the national conversation around the pandemic as it reverberates from the president's daily briefings to social media feeds. If modern politics is increasingly digital politics, today even more so. In the three years since Hillary Clinton's humiliating 2016 defeat, the Democrats have been urgently scrambling to reorder the digital equation, an all-hands-on-deck effort that has drawn a range of new donors, progressive activists and operatives together with veterans of the tech-forward Obama campaigns and the old-line contributors and party regulars of the Bill Clinton era. So far, the Democrats and their allies have produced new apps to organize volunteers and register voters, new media outlets to pump out anti-Trump content and a major new data initiative to drive what the party hopes will be the biggest voter-mobilization effort in its history.

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FBI Re-sends Alert About Supply Chain Attacks For the Third Time in Three Months

9 hours 13 min ago
The FBI has issued an alert on Monday about state-sponsored hackers using the Kwampirs malware to attack supply chain companies and other industry sectors as part of a global hacking campaign. From a report: This marks the third alert about this particular group sent this year, in as many months, after the FBI sent alerts on January 6 and February 5. This time around, the FBI highlighted that some of the group's targets are organizations in the healthcare industry, currently grappling with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Besides sending out a PIN (Private Industry Notification), the FBI has also published two Flash alerts, one containing YARA rules to identify the group's Kwampirs malware on infected networks, and the second containing a technical report, complete with IOCs (indicators of compromise).

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Zoom Meetings Aren't End-to-End Encrypted, Despite Misleading Marketing

9 hours 55 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: Zoom, the video conferencing service whose use has spiked amid the Covid-19 pandemic, claims to implement end-to-end encryption, widely understood as the most private form of internet communication, protecting conversations from all outside parties. In fact, Zoom is using its own definition of the term, one that lets Zoom itself access unencrypted video and audio from meetings. With millions of people around the world working from home in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, business is booming for Zoom, bringing more attention on the company and its privacy practices, including a policy, later updated, that seemed to give the company permission to mine messages and files shared during meetings for the purpose of ad targeting. Still, Zoom offers reliability, ease of use, and at least one very important security assurance: As long as you make sure everyone in a Zoom meeting connects using "computer audio" instead of calling in on a phone, the meeting is secured with end-to-end encryption, at least according to Zoom's website, its security white paper, and the user interface within the app. But despite this misleading marketing, the service actually does not support end-to-end encryption for video and audio content, at least as the term is commonly understood. Instead it offers what is usually called transport encryption. Further reading: Regarding Zoom.

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Comcast Details What the Coronavirus Has Done To Network Traffic

10 hours 37 min ago
Comcast said that internet traffic has risen 32% because of the coronavirus, but the company said it has the capacity to handle peak traffic demands in the U.S. From a report: Tony Werner, Comcast president of technology, said in a press briefing that the company normally adds capacity 12-18 months ahead of time, with typical plans targeting 45% a year increases in traffic. "First and foremost, I think it's important to know that the network is performing well," Werner said. "And people are able to -- both business and customers working from home -- do the things they need to do with a great deal of proficiency." He said the company engineers the networks for "peak traffic" and that traffic is up more than 32% overall as of last week. Some parts of the country are up 60%, including Seattle, San Francisco, and now Chicago. [...] Video conference calls using the voice-over-internet-protocol on Comcast are up 212% since March 1.

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Houseparty App Offers $1M Reward To Unmask Entity Behind Hacking Smear Campaign

11 hours 17 min ago
Houseparty, a video conferencing desktop and mobile application, said it would pay a $1 million bounty to anyone who could unmask the entity behind what the company described as "a paid commercial smear campaign." From a report: The company's apparent anger comes after Houseparty has been at the center of media reports published yesterday by three British tabloids. The Sun, the Express, and Mirror Online reported on Monday on a large number of Houseparty users claiming they had social media accounts hacked and taken over after installing the video conferencing app on their smartphones. Users reported having Netflix, eBay, Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify accounts taken over; however, very few were able to provide details about what really happened. Houseparty officials feel they're now being defamed unjustly in a game of dirty politics.

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Samsung Display To End All LCD Production By End 2020

12 hours 22 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: South Korean panel maker Samsung Display has decided to end all of its production of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels in South Korea and China by end of this year, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. Samsung Display, a unit of South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, said in October that it suspended one of its two LCD production lines at home amid falling demand for LCD panels and a supply glut. 'We will supply LCD orders to our customers by end of this year without any issues', the company said in a statement.

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Ford, GE To Produce 50,000 Ventilators In 100 Days

15 hours 22 min ago
Ford Motor and GE Healthcare plan to produce 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days at a facility in Michigan to assist with the coronavirus pandemic. CNBC reports: Production of the critical care devices is expected to begin with 500 United Auto Workers union members the week of April 20, according to executives at both companies. Ford's Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan will be able to produce 30,000 ventilators a month after early-July, officials said. The companies expect to produce 1,500 by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4, officials said. The design of the ventilator is being licensed by GE Healthcare from Florida-based Airon Corp., a small, privately held company specializing in high-tech pneumatic life support products. The devices are simpler, less complex than GE ventilators Ford previously said it would assist the company in producing at other facilities .

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The ACM Digital Library Is Now Open Access During Coronavirus Pandemic

18 hours 22 min ago
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has made the ACM Digital Library open access to help support the computing community during the coronavirus pandemic. Founded in 1947, the ACM is the world's largest scientific and educational computing society and publishes over 50 journals, including the prestigious Journal of the ACM, and two general magazines for computer professionals, Communications of the ACM and Queue. "We believe that ACM can help support research, discovery and learning during this time of crisis by opening the ACM Digital Library to all," writes ACM President Cherri Pancake in a letter on ACM.org. "For the next three months, there will be no fees assessed for accessing or downloading work published by ACM. We hope this will help researchers, practitioners and students maintain access to our publications as well as increasing visibility and awareness of ACM's journals, proceedings and magazines." The ACM DL will continue to be open through June 30, 2020. "This global health crisis is a unique challenge that has impacted many ACM members," adds Pancake. "We would like to express our concern and support for all who are affected by this outbreak."

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Authors, Publishers Condemn the 'National Emergency Library' As 'Piracy'

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Last week, when the Internet Archive announced its "National Emergency Library," expanding access to more than a million digitized works, the group explained the move as a goodwill gesture in the time of coronavirus. With so many brick-and-mortar libraries forced to close their doors, in other words, the group was opening up its lending program: Now, instead of its usual policy of just one digital copy per reader for a 14-day period, many frustrated readers could borrow copies of the same book during the same time -- and could do so through the end of June or the end of the global pandemic, whichever came sooner. But there's one major issue that several media outlets, including NPR, failed to mention in covering the decision: Many writers and publishers say the website, even before the creation of this National Emergency Library, has been sharing full digital copies of their books without their permission. And over the weekend, dozens of prominent authors, from Colson Whitehead and Neil Gaiman to Alexander Chee, made clear that they were upset with the Internet Archive's model -- and doubly so now, with the expansion of lending services and its timing. "With mean writing incomes of only $20,300 a year prior to the crisis, authors, like others, are now struggling all the more â" from cancelled book tours and loss of freelance work, income supplementing jobs, and speaking engagements," the Authors Guild, a professional group that provides legal assistance to writers, said in a statement released Friday. "And now they are supposed to swallow this new pill, which robs them of their rights to introduce their books to digital formats as many hundreds of midlist authors do when their books go out of print, and which all but guarantees that author incomes and publisher revenues will decline even further." "Acting as a piracy site -- of which there already are too many -- the Internet Archive tramples on authors' rights by giving away their books to the world," the guild added. The Internet Archive pushed back against this characterization with a lengthy rebuttal. Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive said the group "uses the same controls limiting access to these works as the publishers themselves, with encrypted files that are meant to disappear from the user's computer after a brief period," reports NPR. "The copies the group lends, Kahle said, are owned by the Internet Archive -- either through donations, straight-up purchases or collaborations with brick-and-mortar libraries."

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Dutch Museum Says Van Gogh Painting Stolen In Overnight Raid

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 10:10pm
The Singer Laren museum in Laren, east of Amsterdam, says thieves have made off with a prize Vincent van Gogh painting while the institution was closed to the public. artnet News reports: The break-in at the museum happened in the early hours of Monday morning, at around 3:15 a.m. The thieves smashed a large glass door at the front of the museum to access the building. Police reached the scene after the museum's alarm was triggered, but the perpetrators had vanished by the time they arrived, according to a statement from the local authorities. To add insult to injury, [the Dutch master's The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) painting] does not even belong to the museum -- it was on loan from the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands, according to the police. The 1884 work was the only painting by Van Gogh in the Groninger Museum's collection. It was painted when Van Gogh was living in Neunen, where his father was a pastor, between 1883 and 1885, and depicts the ruins of the village church, which the artist could see from his father's house. (The date of the theft also happens to be the artist's birthday: he was born on March 30, 1853.)

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Microsoft Reports a 775 Percent Increase In Usage of Azure Cloud Services

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 9:30pm
Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: This weekend, Microsoft has given an insight into the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on its services. The company says that there has been a huge increase in Teams usage, and there are now over 44 million daily users. In regions where there are isolation and home sheltering orders in place, Microsoft says that there has been a colossal 775 percent increase in usage of its cloud services. While there have not yet been any significant service disruptions, Microsoft says it has plans to increase capacity: "We are expediting the addition of significant new capacity that will be available in the weeks ahead. Concurrently, we monitor support requests and, if needed, encourage customers to consider alternative regions or alternative resource types, depending on their timeline and requirements. If the implementation of these efforts to alleviate demand is not sufficient, customers may experience intermittent deployment related issues. When this does happen, impacted customers will be informed via Azure Service Health."

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Valve Will Delay Some Steam Auto-Updates To Preserve Bandwidth

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 8:50pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Valve announced today that it won't automatically update games in customers' libraries as regularly as before to help preserve bandwidth during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Starting this week, Valve says Steam will only immediately auto-update games you've played in the last three days. Otherwise, Valve says Steam will be spreading out updates over several days. Steam had already been scheduling game updates for "the next off-peak local time period," according to Valve, though if you want to update a game manually, you can still initiate that yourself. Valve already lets you schedule auto-update windows and even self-throttle your connection to Steam if you want to additionally optimize how much of your bandwidth Steam uses at any given time.

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FDA Issues Limited Emergency Use For Two Drugs Used To Treat Malaria

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 8:10pm
knorthern knight shares a report from CNN: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat patients hospitalized with COVID-19. [...] Do the drugs work? In its statement, HHS said: "Anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The safety profile of these drugs has only been studied for FDA approved indications, not COVID-19." The authorization is limited to patients who are currently hospitalized and weigh at least 50kg, or about 110 pounds. Under the emergency use authorization, health care providers must contact their local or state health department to access the drugs. "It would take several months of clinical trials to gauge its effectiveness, but we don't have the luxury of time," adds Slashdot reader knorthern knight. "We do know that it helps some COVID-19 patients, and has been in use for many years to treat malaria and other diseases. So it's not poisonous (and no, don't confuse it with fish tank cleaner)."

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Internet Pioneer Vint Cerf Tests Positive For Covid-19

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 7:30pm
New submitter NoMoreACs shares a report from Gizmodo: Tech pioneer Vint Cerf, one of the co-creators of the modern internet, has tested positive for covid-19, according to a tweet Cerf sent out Monday morning. The 76-year-old tweeted out a clip from HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver about the U.S. response to the global pandemic. "I tested positive for COVID-19 and am recovering," Cerf tweeted. "Listen to what John Oliver has to say about our national response so far." Cerf helped create the modern internet in the 1970s while working at UCLA with other pioneers like Bob Kahn and Leonard Kleinrock. Cerf worked on packet switching for the APRANET under Kleinrock and TCP/IP protocols with ARPA (now DARPA), the plumbing that makes the internet function. DARPA tweeted its support of Cerf, telling him to get well soon.

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LG Is Ditching 'G' Series Branding On Future Smartphones

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 6:50pm
LG is ditching the "G" series branding on future smartphones. The company released the LG Optimus G1 Pro in 2013 and went on to release a new "G" series flagship smartphone every year since, with the most recent being the LG G8X ThinQ. 9to5Google reports: The Korea Herald and Naver have reported over the weekend that LG has decided to stop using the G series branding on future smartphones. Instead, LG would use separate names for each smartphone model with the names "focused on each model's design or special feature." Apparently, a goal for LG is to bring back the success of its "Chocolate" phones from the 2000s. Those devices had a different name for every model focusing on a specific design or software feature. Apparently, this change would take effect starting with the device we previously knew as the "LG G9 ThinQ." It's unclear what that device will be called at this point, but the device is rumored to be less of a flagship, using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 765 instead of the more powerful Snapdragon 865. While this branding decision was reportedly made public in Korea, LG's PR isn't confirming it globally yet.

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Trump Administration, In Biggest Environmental Rollback, To Announce Auto Pollution Rules

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 6:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to announce its final rule to roll back Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards, relaxing efforts to limit climate-warming tailpipe pollution and virtually undoing the government's biggest effort to combat climate change. The new rule, written by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, would allow vehicles on American roads to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the cars than they would have under the Obama standards and hundreds of millions of tons more than will be emitted under standards being implemented in Europe and Asia. Trump administration officials have raced to complete the auto rule by this spring, even as the White House is consumed with responding to the coronavirus crisis. President Trump is expected to extol the rule, which will stand as one of the most consequential regulatory rollbacks of his administration, as a needed salve for an economy crippled by the pandemic. [...] The new rule, which is expected to be implemented by late spring, will roll back a 2012 rule that required automakers' fleets to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, the fleets would have to average about 40 miles per gallon. To meet the new number, fuel economy standards would have to rise by about 1.5 percent a year, compared to the 5 percent annual increase required by the Obama rule. The industry has said it would increase fuel economy standards by about 2.4 percent a year without any regulation. The new standard would lead to nearly a billion more tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide released and the consumption of about 80 billion more gallons of gasoline over the lifetime of the vehicles built during the terms of the rule, according to a recent draft of the plan. The report says about 20 states are expect to sue the Trump administration to undo the rule in a case expected to be resolved by the Supreme Court in the coming years.

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Researchers Develop Faster Way To Replace Bad Data With Accurate Information

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 5:30pm
sandbagger writes: Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Army Research Office have demonstrated a new model of how competing pieces of information spread in online social networks and the Internet of Things (IoT). The findings could be used to disseminate accurate information more quickly, displacing false information about anything from computer security to public health. "Whether in the IoT or on social networks, there are many circumstances where old information is circulating and could cause problems -- whether it's old security data or a misleading rumor," says Wenye Wang, co-author of a paper on the work and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State. "Our work here includes a new model and related analysis of how new data can displace old data in these networks." "Ultimately, our work can be used to determine the best places to inject new data into a network so that the old data can be eliminated faster," says Jie Wang, a postdoctoral researcher at NC State and first author of the paper. In their paper, the researchers show that a network's size plays a significant role in how quickly "good" information can displace "bad" information. However, a large network is not necessarily better or worse than a small one. Instead, the speed at which good data travels is primarily affected by the network's structure.

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Amazon, Instacart Grocery Delivery Workers Strike For Coronavirus Protection And Pay

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 4:51pm
Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, N.Y., and Instacart's grocery delivery workers nationwide plan to walk off their jobs on Monday. From the report: They are demanding stepped-up protection and pay as they continue to work while much of the country is asked to isolate as a safeguard against the coronavirus. The strikes come as both Amazon and Instacart have said they plan to hire tens of thousands of new workers. Online shopping and grocery home delivery are skyrocketing as much of the nation hunkers down and people stay at home, following orders and recommendations from the federal and local governments. This has put a spotlight on workers who shop, pack and deliver these high-demand supplies. Companies refer to the workers as "heroes," but workers say their employers aren't doing enough to keep them safe.

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2019 Saw Over 60 Gigawatts of Wind Power Installed

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 4:09pm
The Global Wind Energy Council, an industry trade organization, released its review of the market in 2019. During the past year, wind power saw its second-largest amount of new installed capacity ever, with over 60GW going in. From a report: But the news going forward is a bit more uncertain, with the report predicting that after years of double-digit growth, the industry would see things tail off into steady-but-unspectacular territory. And that prediction was made before many key markets started dealing with the coronavirus. Wind power is now one of the cheapest options for generating electricity. In many areas of the globe, building and maintaining wind power is cheaper per unit of power than it is to fuel a previously constructed fossil fuel plant. While offshore wind remains more expensive, its prices have dropped dramatically over the last several years, and it is rapidly approaching price parity with fossil fuels.

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