Australia wants to use face recognition for porn age verification

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 28 October 2019
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"Home Affairs is developing a Face Verification Service which matches a person’s photo against images used on one of their evidence of identity documents to help verify their identity," the government agency wrote in a recent regulatory filing. "This could assist in age verification, for example by preventing a minor from using their parent’s driver license to circumvent age verification controls."

"The Face Verification Service is not yet fully operational," the government acknowledges. "Whilst it is intended to be made available to private sector organizations in future, this will be subject to the passage of the Identity-matching Services Bill 2019 which is currently before Parliament."

Sure, there could be nothing wrong with the government being able to monitor which websites you visit.

Tor blimey, Auntie! BBC launches dedicated dark web mirror site

Found on The Register on Sunday, 27 October 2019
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The BBC has launched a .onion version of its news website on the Tor anonymising network aimed at readers based in countries that ban its services.

"Today, the network has thousands of relays run by volunteers and millions of users worldwide. And it is this diversity that keeps Tor users safe."

Noe let's wait for the media to explain how the BBC dared to move to a network which they always call a tool for terrorists and criminals.

Lawmaker Kills Repair Bill Because 'Cellphones Are Throwaways'

Found on Vice on Saturday, 26 October 2019
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The New Hampshire State House rejected the Digital Fair Repair Act earlier this week in part thanks to a representative who seems to think that cell phones are literally garbage that no one should bother repairing.

“In the near future, cellphones are throwaways,” Potucek said, according to New Hampshire Business Review. “Everyone will just get a new one.”

Politicians should be throwaways too. Potucek is such a massive failure that New Hampshire should just get a new and better replacement.

Google Play Removes Perfect Player After “Bogus” Copyright Complaint

Found on Torrentfreak on Friday, 25 October 2019
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This week Google removed the popular IPTV software Perfect Player from its Play Store following a hard-to-fathom copyright complaint. A major pay TV provider claimed it was possible to stream pirate content in the app so it must be illegal. However, the app ships with no links to content whatsoever, so anything infringing must've been added at a later stage.

Perfect Player contains no playlists when supplied directly from Google Play, it’s content-neutral.

With the help of a lawyer, the developer is now filing a DMCA counter-notice with Google Play which will require the pay-TV company to either double down or back off. Unless Google chooses to restore Perfect Player in the meantime, of course.

They should also take down browsers, because they can access illegal websites.

Not LibreOffice too? Beloved open-source suite latest to fall victim to the curse of Catalina

Found on The Register on Thursday, 24 October 2019
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Apple reminded developers earlier this month that apps must be notarized to run on Catalina. "In June, we announced that all Mac software distributed outside the Mac App Store must be notarized by Apple in order to run by default on macOS Catalina. Make sure to test all versions of your software on the macOS Catalina GM seed and submit it to Apple to be notarized."

Although tightening security is a good thing, the greater number of prompts generated by Catalina, aka macOS 10.15, are not only annoying, but also put users at risk of dialog fatigue, where they become so used to giving permission to harmless applications that they also instinctively approve warnings that should not be ignored.

It's almost as if Apple wants to make life for users as painful as possible.

ATTK of the Pwns: Trend Micro's antivirus tools 'will run malware – if its filename is cmd.exe'

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 23 October 2019
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In short, the Trend software can be tricked into executing any old piece of software under the sun, including malware, when it is scanned, provided the filename is cmd.exe or regedit.exe. No, really.

In other words, your Trend antivirus software can be tricked into running a virus. That's… not good. It means if you can save a file on someone's PC as cmd.exe or regedit.exe, via a download or email or something like that, and they're running ATTK, you can now run malicious code on their machine.

That's such a giant bug that it is really surprising that nobody ever noticed it before.

Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 22 October 2019
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The skills or actions posed as simple apps for checking horoscopes, with the exception of one, which masqueraded as a random-number generator. Behind the scenes, these "smart spies," as the researchers call them, surreptitiously eavesdropped on users and phished for their passwords.

The phishing apps follow a slightly different path by responding with an error message that claims the skill or action isn't available in that user's country. They then go silent to give the impression the app is no longer running. After about a minute, the apps use a voice that mimics the ones used by Alexa and Google home to falsely claim a device update is available and prompts the user for a password for it to be installed.

It was only a matter of time. If you think it's a smart idea to place a microphone in your house where random developers around the globe can write applications for, you might want to reconsider your stance.

How moved into the business of U.S. elections

Found on Reuters on Monday, 21 October 2019
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More than 40 states now use one or more of Amazon’s election offerings, according to a presentation given by an Amazon executive this year and seen by Reuters.

While it does not handle voting on election day, AWS - along with a broad network of partners - now runs state and county election websites, stores voter registration rolls and ballot data, facilitates overseas voting by military personnel and helps provide live election-night results, according to company documents and interviews.

More data for profiling.

SpaceX submits paperwork for 30,000 more Starlink satellites

Found on Spacenews on Sunday, 20 October 2019
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SpaceX, which is already planning the world’s largest low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation by far, filed paperwork in recent weeks for up to 30,000 additional Starlink satellites on top of the 12,000 already approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs said in April that approximately 8,500 satellites, probes, landers, crewed spacecraft, cargo craft and space station flight elements have been launched into Earth orbit or beyond since 1957, when Sputnik launched. If SpaceX launches 30,000 Starlink satellites in addition to the 12,000 it already planned, the company will by itself be responsible for about a fivefold increase in the number of spacecraft launched by humanity.

As if there is not already enough junk in orbit.

Banning out-of-hours email 'could harm employee wellbeing'

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 19 October 2019
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University of Sussex researchers found while a ban could help some staff switch off, it could also stop people achieving work goals, causing stress.

"[Blanket bans] would be unlikely to be welcomed by employees who prioritise work performance goals and who would prefer to attend to work outside of hours if it helps them get their tasks completed.

Or maybe work goals are set too high. Faster, faster, faster is not the right way to do business.