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Bitcoin

EU Plans To Create Database of Bitcoin Users With Identities and Wallet Addresses (softpedia.com) 128

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "The European Commission is proposing the creation of a database that will hold information on users of virtual currencies," reports Softpedia. "The database will record data on the user's real world identity, along with all associated wallet addresses." The database will be made available to financial investigation agencies in order to track down users behind suspicious operations. The creation of this database is part of a regulatory push that the EU got rolling after the Paris November 2015 terror attacks, and which it officially put forward in February 2016, and later approved at the start of July 2016. Legally, this is an attempt to reform the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD). The current draft is available here. The current AMLD draft reads: "The report shall be accompanied, if necessary, by appropriate proposals, including, where appropriate, with respect to virtual currencies, empowerments to set-up and maintain a central database registering users' identities and wallet addresses accessible to FIUs, as well as self-declaration forms for the use of virtual currency users."
Social Networks

Twitter, a 10-Year-Old Company, Is Still Explaining What Twitter Is (theverge.com) 106

Twitter investors have long expressed their concerns about the rate at which Twitter is growing. The social networking website has seen platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat born into existence and quickly overtake it in terms of user base and engagement level. One of the reasons why Twitter hasn't grown as rapidly is because of a confusion among many -- including what we can say, Twitter itself -- about what exactly is this platform for. The Verge reports: Twitter came into our lives in 2006, and after a decade of existence, most people still have no idea what Twitter even is. Ninety percent of respondents to a Twitter-organized questionnaire say they recognize the brand, but most "didn't know or simply misunderstood" what it was for. Most people also thought having an account meant they had to tweet every day. As Twitter said in a blog post about these findings: "We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do!" Over the years, Twitter has changed the way it acknowledges itself before people. It was once known as a social networking website, but not long ago the company marketed itself as a "news" service. Vanity Fair adds: The campaign, which launches today, is all about what's happening -- what's trending, what games are going on, what news events are breaking, what are people talking about, live, right now. A video at the center of the campaign cycles through footage of Black Lives Matters protests, athletes competing in the Olympics and a woman playing Pokemon Go, Lin-Manuel Miranda on stage at Hamilton, and Donald Trump stumping at a campaign rally. "We see it as a focus and an emphasis on what Twitter has always been about," Leslie Berland, Twitter's chief marketing officer, told The Hive. "We can see what's happening as it's happening, with all the live commentary that makes Twitter so special."
Republicans

Avast Suckers GOP Delegates Into Connecting To Insecure Wi-Fi Hotspots (theregister.co.uk) 109

Avast conned more than 1,200 people into connecting to fake wi-fi hotspots set up near the Republican convention and the Cleveland airport, using common network names like "Google Starbucks" and "Xfinitywifi" as well as "I vote Trump! free Internet". An anonymous reader quotes this report from The Register: With mobile devices often set to connect to known SSIDs automatically, users can overlook the networks to which they are connecting... Some 68.3 percent of users' identities were exposed when they connected, and 44.5 per cent of Wi-Fi users checked their emails or chatted via messenger apps... In its day-long experiment Avast saw more than 1.6Gbps transferred from more than 1,200 users.
Avast didn't store the data they collected, but they did report statistics on which sites were accessed most frequently. "5.1 percent played Pokemon Go, while 0.7 percent used dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, Match and Meetup, and 0.24 percent visited pornography sites like Pornhub."
Communications

Tinder Scam Promises Account Verification, But Actually Sells Porn (csoonline.com) 29

itwbennett writes: Tinder users should be on the lookout for Tinder profiles asking them to get "verified" and then sending them a link to a site called "Tinder Safe Dating." The service asks for credit card information, saying this will verify the user's age. Once payment information has been captured, the user is then signed up for a free trial of porn, which will end up costing $118.76 per month unless the service is cancelled. In Tinder's safety guidelines, the company warns users to avoid messages that contain links to third-party websites or ask money for an address.
Communications

McDonald's 'Make Burger History' Site Hijacked With Offensive Burger Ideas (stuff.co.nz) 192

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Stuff.co.nz: McDonald's New Zealand has been left with egg on its face after a raft of bad-taste burger suggestions customers forced it to quickly take down its new design-your-own-burger website. The company launched its "Make Burger History" site this week, as part of a new promotion where customers can "build your own unique burger" and get free fries and a medium soft drink. "Just come in to a participating 'Create Your Taste' McDonald's and order your Creation at the self ordering kiosk," McDonald's promised. But its failure to consider what pranksters might dream up online has left the company red-faced, with the website overrun by racist, homophobic and otherwise offensive suggestions. The page now redirects to the McDonald's homepage. The burger concepts ranged from the mild, such as "Bag of Lettuce" (literally just a pile of lettuce leaves) and "The Carbonator" (seven burger buns, no filling), to X-rated, including "Girth" (a stack of seven undressed burger patties) and "Ron's Creamy Surprise" (a pile of mayonnaise, best left unexplained). But many went totally tasteless, creating burgers with names like "Mosque at Ground-Zero," "Rektal Prolapse" and "Toddler Body Bag," some of which ended up on the website's front page before it was shut down entirely overnight.
Firefox

Firefox To Block Non-Essential Flash Content In August 2016, Require Click-To-Activate In 2017 (mozilla.org) 156

Mozilla has announced that it plans to discontinue support for Flash in Firefox. Starting next month, Firefox will block Flash content "that is not essential to the user experience." Also, starting sometime in 2017, the browser will require click-to-activate approval from users before a website activates the Flash plugin for any content. In a blogpost, the company writes:Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins. This includes audio/video playback and streaming capabilities, clipboard integration, fast 2D and 3D graphics, WebSocket networking, and microphone/camera access. As websites have switched from Flash to other web technologies, the plugin crash rate in Firefox has dropped significantly. [...] We continue to work closely with Adobe to deliver the best possible Flash experience for our users.
Android

Facebook's Android App Can Now Save Offline Videos (ndtv.com) 30

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NDTV: The latest versions of Facebook's Android app now allow users to save videos for offline viewing. The video is saved inside the app in the 'Saved' section, and is not accessible independently to users. Facebook for Android is showing a 'Save video' option in the dropdown menu of a Facebook video post. The videos can be saved and viewed offline for as many times as the user desires and can also be deleted as per his/her wish. The company might not be willing to provide the video file independently to its users in order to encourage sharing over its own social media networking site, however, it is anybody's guess what the actual reason behind this decision is. It seems in line with what companies like Google have been doing with YouTube in developing nations like India, where a save for offline viewing option is present to combat mobile data woes. As per an Android Police report, the option to save videos is currently showing up in versions 85 and 86 (beta) of the Facebook for Android app.
Censorship

Starbucks and McDonald's Announce Porn Blocks On Their Wi-Fi Networks (cnn.com) 284

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN Money: Anti-pornography groups have succeeded in their efforts to get Starbucks and McDonald's to block porn on the chains' Wi-Fi networks..."We had not heard from our customers that this was an issue, but we saw an opportunity that is consistent with our goal of providing an enjoyable experience for families," McDonald's said in a statement... Starbucks said Friday it's will do so the same thing at its company-owned stores around the globe as well. "Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn't involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores," said a Starbucks spokesperson. "In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi..."
Meanwhile, this week, the Republican Party officially added the "public health crisis" of porn to its platform.
Open Source

AT&T Open Sources Its SDN Framework To The Linux Foundation (fiercetelecom.com) 42

An anonymous reader writes "It's no secret that AT&T has been planning to move to a software-defined network for quite a while. Now, they've decided to open-source the whole thing." From Fierce Telecom: AT&T today announced it will release its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform to the wider telecom industry as an open source offering managed by the Linux Foundation. The goal, the company said, is to make ECOMP the telecom industry's standard automation platform for managing virtual network functions and other software-centric network capabilities.
AT&T delivered 8.5 million lines of code to the Linux Foundation on Wednesday, saying "We want to build a community -- where people contribute to the code base and advance the platform..." AT&T said Wednesday they've already received interest from other major telecoms, and "we want this to help align the global industry." While their ultimate goal is to virtualize 75% of their own network by 2020, at least one analyst sees a larger trend where the whole telecom industry collectively bypasses equipment vendors and begins "taking network innovation into its own hands."
It's funny.  Laugh.

TOS Agreements Require Giving Up First Born -- and Users Gladly Consent 195

An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: A recent study concludes what everybody already knows: nobody reads the lengthy terms of service and privacy policies that bombard Internet users every day. Nobody understands them. They're too long, and they often don't make sense. A study out this month made the point all too clear. Most of the 543 university students involved in the analysis didn't bother to read the terms of service before signing up for a fake social networking site called "NameDrop" that the students believed was real. Those who did glossed over important clauses. The terms of service required them to give up their first born, and if they don't yet have one, they get until 2050 to do so. The privacy policy said that their data would be given to the NSA and employers. Of the few participants who read those clauses, they signed up for the service anyway. "This brings us to the biggest lie on the Internet, which anecdotally, is known as 'I agree to these terms and conditions,'" the study found. The paper is called "The biggest lie on the Internet: Ignoring the privacy policies and terms of service policies of social networking services".This reminds me of a similar thing F-Secure security firm did in 2014. It asked London residents to give them their first child in exchange of free Wi-Fi access. The company, for the record, didn't collect any children.
Programming

Linus Torvalds In Sweary Rant About Punctuation In Kernel Comments (theregister.co.uk) 523

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: Linus Torvalds has unleashed a sweary rant on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, labelling some members "brain-damaged" for their preferred method of punctuating comments. "Can we please get rid of the brain-damaged stupid networking comment syntax style, PLEASE?" the Linux Lord asked last Friday. "If the networking people cannot handle the pure awesomeness that is a balanced and symmetric traditional multi-line C style comments, then instead of the disgusting unbalanced crap that you guys use now, please just go all the way to the C++ mode."Torvalds despises the following two comment-punctuation styles (with his comments):/* This is disgusting drug-induced
* crap, and should die
*/
and:/* This is also very nasty
* and visually unbalanced */
Torvalds prefers the following two styles:/* This is a comment */ and:/*
* This is also a comment, but it can now be cleanly
* split over multiple lines
*/

News

How Technology Disrupted the Truth (theguardian.com) 259

A day after the Brexit, former UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage admitted he had misled the public on a key issue. He admitted that UK's alleged 350M Euro weekly contribution to the EU would not be directed to the National Health Service, and that this commitment was never made official. Journalists worldwide tweeted photos of the campaign ads -- posted in conspicuous places like the sides of buses -- debunking the lie. This incident illustrates the need for more political fact-checking as a public service, to enable the voters to make more informed and rational decisions about matters affecting their daily lives. Fact-checking is supposed to be a part of the normal journalistic process. When gathering information, a journalist should verify its accuracy. The work is then vetted by an editor, a person with more professional experience who may correct or further amend some of the information. A long-form article on The Guardian today underscores the challenges publications worldwide are facing today -- most of them don't have the luxury to afford a fact-checker (let alone a team of fact-checkers), and the advent of social media and forums and our reliance (plenty of people get their news on social media now) have made it increasingly difficult to vet the accuracy of anything that is being published. From The Guardian article:When a fact begins to resemble whatever you feel is true, it becomes very difficult for anyone to tell the difference between facts that are true and "facts" that are not.Global Voices' adds:But the need for fact-checking hasn't gone away. As new technologies have spawned new forms of media which lend themselves to the spread of various kinds of disinformation, this need has in fact grown. Much of the information that's spread online, even by news outlets, is not checked, as outlets simply copy-past -- or in some instances, plagiarize -- "click-worthy" content generated by others. Politicians, especially populists prone to manipulative tactics, have embraced this new media environment by making alliances with tabloid tycoons or by becoming media owners themselves. The other issue is that many people do not care about the source of the information, and it has become increasingly hard to tell whether a news article you saw on your Facebook is credible or not. This, coupled with how social networking websites game the news feed to show you what you are likely to find interesting as opposed to giving you news from trustworthy sources, has made things even worse. As you may remember, Facebook recently noted that it is making changes to algorithms to show you updates from friends instead of news articles from publications you like. The Guardian adds:Algorithms such as the one that powers Facebook's news feed are designed to give us more of what they think we want -- which means that the version of the world we encounter every day in our own personal stream has been invisibly curated to reinforce our pre-existing beliefs. [...] In the news feed on your phone, all stories look the same -- whether they come from a credible source or not. And, increasingly, otherwise-credible sources are also publishing false, misleading, or deliberately outrageous stories.
Facebook

Facebook Lays Out Blueprint For Connecting Hard-To-Reach Rural Areas (cnet.com) 37

Samantha Rhodes, writing for CNET: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took another step in his pet project to bring internet access to every corner of the planet. Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a platform that will give barebones connectivity to far-flung rural communities, called OpenCellular. The social-networking company will provide the skeleton for what you would need to bring cellular access, complete with open-source software that lets potential partners update and tweak the service to meet a community's needs. OpenCellular marks Facebook's latest attempt to push its goal of worldwide access, which aims to connect the last four billion people without internet access and the 10 percent of the population without cellular service. It's a priority for Facebook and Zuckerberg, even if not everyone agrees with their methods. Rather than go at it alone, this new program will rely on partners to run with the blueprints that it has drawn up.
Facebook

Snapchat Introduces Memories: a Searchable, Shareable Archive of Your Snaps (theverge.com) 41

Casey Newton, reporting for The Verge: At a time when its social networking rivals are racing to promote more real-time sharing, Snapchat is turning its attention to the past. The company today introduced Memories, a way of saving and sharing old snaps in a private archive inside the main app. It's a living, social camera roll in which photos and videos can be organized, edited, and shared long after they are taken. The introduction of Memories represents a significant shift for the famously ephemeral Snapchat -- and reflects the app's growing status as the default camera for millions of users.Reporter Alex Kantrowitz says this update "will make Snapchat feel a little less raw and in-the-moment, and a little more polished and, err, stale. That's a big deal." In a post on BuzzFeed News, he says this update will make Snapchat more addictive. He explains why: Posts from Snapchat are regularly repurposed. On any given day, you're likely to encounter saved snaps on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. People post snaps to other networks because they don't want to constrain themselves to one network. But they also post them elsewhere because saving a snap to a camera roll can feel like tossing it into the abyss. Posting a snap to Instagram, however, can give it a sense of permanence and organization. By creating Memories, Snapchat is building its own home for these old snaps. Whether it's the company's intention or not, Memories will create an avenue within Snapchat for people to do what they're doing with snaps outside, namely: save, organize, edit, republish. The likely result: more time inside Snapchat, less in other apps.
Networking

TP-LINK Loses Control of Two Device Configuration Domains (helpnetsecurity.com) 86

Reader Orome1 writes: Security researcher Amitay Dan warns that tplinklogin.net, a domain through which TP-LINK router owners can configure their devices, is no longer owned by the company, and that this fact could be misused by malware peddlers. TP-LINK has confirmed that they no longer own the domain in question, and will not be trying to buy it from the unknown seller for now. Instead, they intend to change the domain in the manuals to a newer one that's already in use.ComputerWorld has more details.
Businesses

Landlords, ISPs Team Up To Rip Off Tenants On Broadband (backchannel.com) 173

"Network operators like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and ATT, in cahoots with [real estate] developers and landlords, routinely use a breathtaking array of kickbacks, lawyerly games of Twister, blunt threats, and downright illegal activities to lock up buildings in exclusive arrangements," reports Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford. itwbennett writes: Eight years ago, the FCC issued an order banning exclusive agreements between landlords and ISPs, but a loophole is being exploited, leaving many tenants in apartment buildings with only one choice of broadband service provider. The loophole works like this: Instead of having an exclusive agreement with one provider, the landlords refuse to let any other companies than their chosen providers access their properties...
"This astounding, enormous, decentralized payola scheme affects millions of American lives," Crawford writes, revealing Comcast's revenue-sharing proposals for property owners and urging cities (and national lawmakers) to require broadband neutrality in residential buildings. Other loopholes are also being exploited, Crawford writes, and "it's why commercial tenants in NYC pay through the nose for awful Internet access service in the fanciest of commercial buildings... We've got to take landlords out of the equation -- all they're doing is looking for payments and deals...and the giant telecom providers in our country are more than happy to pay up."
Networking

The WRT54GL: A 54Mbps Router From 2005 Still Makes Millions For Linksys 180

Jon Brodkin, reporting for Ars Technica:In a time when consumers routinely replace gadgets with new models after just two or three years, some products stand out for being built to last. Witness the Linksys WRT54GL, the famous wireless router that came out in 2005 and is still for sale. At first glance, there seems to be little reason to buy the WRT54GL in the year 2016. It uses the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, which has been surpassed by 802.11n and 802.11ac. It delivers data over the crowded 2.4GHz frequency band and is limited to speeds of 54Mbps. You can buy a new router -- for less money -- and get the benefit of modern standards, expansion into the 5GHz band, and data rates more than 20 times higher. Despite all that, people still buy the WRT54GL in large enough numbers that Linksys continues to earn millions of dollars per year selling an 11-year-old product without ever changing its specs or design.
Security

You Can Now Browse Through 427 Millon Stolen MySpace Passwords (mashable.com) 64

Stan Schroeder, writing for Mashable:An anonymous hacker managed to obtain an enormous number of user credentials in June 2013 from fallen social networking giant MySpace -- some 427 million passwords, belonging to approx. 360 million users. In May 2016, a person started selling that database of passwords on the dark web. Now, the entire database is available online for free. Thomas White, security researcher also known by the moniker "Cthulhu," put the database up for download as a torrent file on his website, here. "The following contains the alleged data breach from Myspace dating back a few years. As always, I do not provide any guarantees with the file and I leave it down to you to use responsibly and for a productive purpose," he wrote. The file is 14.2 GB in size; downloading it might take some time. It is password-protected, but White made the password available on Twitter and his site.
Communications

Netherlands Gets First Nationwide 'Internet of Things' (phys.org) 67

An anonymous reader writes: The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to implement a nationwide long-range (LoRa) network for the Internet of Things, says Dutch telecoms group KPN on Thursday. "As from today the KPN LoRa network is available throughout The Netherlands," KPN said in a statement. Phys.Org reports: "The rollout of a low data rate (LoRa) mobile communications network is critical to connect objects as many may not be able to link up with home or work Wi-Fi networks to gain Internet access. The LoRa network is complementary to KPN's networks for the 2G, 3G and 4G phones. KPN has already reached deals to connect some 1.5 million objects, a number which should steadily grow now that the LoRa network is available across the country. Tests are being carried out at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam -- one of Europe's busiest air hubs -- for baggage handling. Meanwhile in the Utrecht rail station an experiment is under way to allow LoRa to monitor rail switches."
Businesses

Cisco Seen As Trying To 'Slow Down Arista Anyway They Can' With Patent Lawsuits (crn.com) 124

An anonymous reader shares an article by CRN:Partners say Cisco's end game with its patent lawsuits against Arista Networks is simply to slow the fast-growing networking company and stunt any innovation efforts from competitors. "Cisco's goal is to try to slow down Arista and competitors any way they can," said Chris Becerra, president and CEO of Terrapin Systems, a Morgan Hill, Calif.-based Arista partner. "If they don't have the technology to beat them out there, they're going to try to slow them down any way possible." Last week, the San Jose, Calif.-based network giant won three of five patent infringement suits against Santa Clara, Calif.-based Arista dealing with its networking switches. The International Trade Commission recommended a ban on Arista product imports containing the infringing technology. Additionally, the ITC also ruled earlier this year that Arista infringed on several other Cisco patents pertaining to its private VLANS, system database and externally managing router configuration with a centralized database -- recommending a similar ban on Arista imports.For those unfamiliar, Cisco had filed its trade complaint in December 2014, in which it sought a ban on Arista's switches. Arista, which designs and sells multilayer network switches to deliver software-defined networking solutions, was formed by former Cisco employees.

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