Oggi e' 23.04.2019
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  • California's Politicians Rush To Gut Internet Privacy Law With Pro-Tech Giant Amendments
    The right for Californians to control the private data that tech companies hold on them may be undermined today at a critical committee hearing in Sacramento. The Register reports: The Privacy And Consumer Protection Committee will hold a special hearing on Tuesday afternoon to discuss and vote on nine proposed amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) -- which was passed last year in the U.S. state but has yet to come into force. Right now, the legislation is undergoing tweaks at the committee stage. Privacy advocates are warning that most of the proposals before the privacy committee are influenced by the very industry that the law was supposed to constrain: big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. In most cases, the amendments seek to add carefully worded exemptions to the law that would benefit business at the cost of consumer rights. But most upsetting to privacy folk is the withdrawal of an amendment by Assembly member Buffy Wicks (D-15th District) that incorporated changes that would enhance consumer data privacy rights. Wicks' proposal would have given consumers more of a say of what is done with their personal data and more power to sue companies that break the rules. But the Assembly member pulled the measure the day before the hearing because it was not going to get the necessary votes. If a measure is voted down it cannot be reintroduced in that legislative session.

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  • Engineers Develop Colorful Printed Patch That Hides People From AI
    A group of engineers from the University of KU Leuven in Belgium have come up with a solution to make users invisible to one specific algorithm. "In a paper shared last week on the preprint server arXiv, these students show how simple printed patterns can fool an AI system that's designed to recognize people in images," reports The Verge. From the report: If you print off one of the students' specially designed patches and hang it around your neck, from an AI's point of view, you may as well have slipped under an invisibility cloak. As the researchers write: "We believe that, if we combine this technique with a sophisticated clothing simulation, we can design a T-shirt print that can make a person virtually invisible for automatic surveillance cameras." In the case of this recent research -- which we spotted via Google researcher David Ha -- some caveats do apply. Most importantly, the adversarial patch developed by the students can only fool one specific algorithm named YOLOv2. It doesn't work against even off-the-shelf computer vision systems developed by Google or other tech companies, and, of course, it doesn't work if a person is looking at the image.

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  • US Farmers Are Being Bled By the Tractor Monopoly
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: As tractors become as complex as Teslas, agricultural equipment manufacturers and their authorized dealerships are using technology as an excuse to force farmers to use the authorized service center -- and only the authorized service center -- for repairs. That's costing farmers -- and independent repair shops -- dearly. John Nauerth III, a farmer in remote Jackson, under pressure to plant, waited a costly "two or three hours" for an authorized dealer to show up at his farm to plug in a computer and diagnose the problem. Worse, the dealer didn't have the repair part -- and independent repair shops, excluded from the repair monopoly, didn't either. "Right now, you're at the mercy of the dealers," Nauerth said. "Good thing is we figured out a way to get it running with a two-by-six piece of plywood." It's not cheap. In Nebraska, an independent mechanic can replace a John Deere Co tractor transmission. But if the farmer wants to drive it out of the mechanic's garage, a Deere technician must be hired for $230, plus $130 per hour, to show up to plug a computer into the tractor to authorize the part, according to Motherboard. Making matters more difficult, equipment manufacturers and dealers have been consolidating for years, reducing the number of techs and increasing the distance they must travel. Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, which supports Minnesota's Fair Repair bill, cited this problem as especially costly. "It can be 50 miles to the nearest dealership," he explained in a phone interview. "If independent repair businesses could do the work, that'd solve a lot of problems, especially in the spring and fall." The report highlights the Minnesota Fair Repair bill that will be debated in the state's House of Representatives in the coming weeks. The Fair Repair legislation is one of many currently in consideration across twenty U.S. states. It "requires that manufacturers of equipment with embedded electronics -- everything from a tractor to an iPhone -- must make available repair manuals, parts and tools to independent repair businesses that it makes available to dealerships and other authorized repair businesses," reports Bloomberg. "It must also provide the means to reset software locks disabled during diagnosis and repair."

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  • Skyscraper's Rooftop Pool Spills Everywhere as Earthquake Rocks Manila
    The Philippines was rocked with a 6.3 earthquake this week that sent buildings swaying and people running for safety. An anonymous reader shares a report: But one of the most bizarre videos of the earthquake so far has to be this footage of water pouring out of a residential skyscraper in Manila's Binondo district. According to local reports, that water is from a penthouse swimming pool. The building, called the Anchor Skysuites, is relatively new and didn't officially open until 2015. It's one of the tallest buildings in the area and is credited as the tallest building in any Chinatown around the world outside of China. The video, credited to Michael Rivo, was just one of many videos capturing the terrifying experience.

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  • Nintendo Squashes Super Mario Commodore 64 Port Which Took Seven Years To Make
    Last week, after seven years of work, Nintendo fan ZeroPaige finally released a working port of Super Mario Bros. for the Commodore 64. The achievement -- and hard graft behind it -- caught the eye of C64 fans, who praised the effort of recreating one of gaming's greatest masterpieces for the much loved home computer. But then -- of course -- Nintendo swung into action. From a report: Four days after its release, Nintendo began taking it down. The file has been removed from the its most prominent hosting sites -- and from the Commodore Computer Club website, where it was hosted.

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  • Microsoft Displays Warning Messages in Windows 7 About the Impending End of Support
    Windows 7 users have started to report the appearance of a pop-up message from Microsoft informing them that support for the operating system is coming to an end. From a report: While this will not come as a surprise to everyone, not all Windows 7 users will be aware that Microsoft is on the verge of dropping the aging OS. We have already seen pop-ups encouraging users to update to Windows 10 but now Microsoft is turning up the pressure, telling Windows 7 users: "After 10 years, support for Windows 7 is nearing the end." People have been reporting that the message started appearing as early as April 18, but not all Windows 7 users are seeing it yet. The message includes a link to a Microsoft website that encourages people to backup their data, buy a modern computer and make the jump to Windows 10.

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  • FAA Paves Way For Alphabet Unit To Make First US Drone Deliveries
    Alphabet's Wing Aviation unit on Tuesday got the okay to start delivering goods by drone in Virginia later this year, making the sister unit of search engine Google the first company to get U.S. air carrier certification, the Federal Aviation Administration said. From a report: This means Wing can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes, which includes flights beyond visual line of site and over people, the FAA and Wing said. Wing Aviation plans to start commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, Virginia later this year. Wing partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech, as one of the participants in the Transportation Department's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.

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