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Cellebrite Hacking Tools Sold To Bangladesh Police Unit Known For Human Rights Abuses

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 10:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Al Jazeera: Documents obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit (I-Unit) and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reveal how the Bangladesh government spent at least $330,000 on phone-hacking equipment made by an Israeli company, even though the two countries do not have diplomatic relations. Developed by the Cellebrite security firm, UFED is a product that is capable of accessing and extracting data from a wide range of mobile phones. Its ability to hack encrypted phone data has worried civil rights campaigners, who have long called for its use to be more strictly regulated. It is unclear whether UFED was provided to Bangladesh directly by the Israeli company or via a Cellebrite subsidiary based elsewhere in the world, presumably with the intention to mask its origins. The latest documents obtained by I-Unit, which Al Jazeera also found on the Bangladesh home ministry's own website, relate to contracts signed in 2018 and 2019. They are from the Public Security Division, a department in the Ministry of Home Affairs that is in charge of domestic security and whose agencies include the Bangladesh police force and border guards. The paperwork details how nine officers from the country's Criminal Investigations Department were given the approval to travel to Singapore in February 2019 to receive training on UFED to allow them to unlock and extract data from mobile phones. It outlines how the Bangladeshi staff would ultimately qualify as Cellebrite Certified Operators and Cellebrite Certified Physical Analysts. The documents also say the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a paramilitary force that has a well-documented record of abductions, torture and disappearances, would be trained on the usage of Cellebrite's hacking systems under an ongoing project that began in 2019 and is set to be completed in June 2021. The latest revelation that Bangladesh security services are being equipped with highly intrusive devices capable of accessing encrypted phones that contain private messages comes amid growing concerns over the country's human rights record.

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'The New Google Pay Repeats All the Same Mistakes of Google Allo'

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 9:10pm
In regard to the new Google Pay app, "Google is killing one perfectly fine service and replacing it with a worse, less functional service," writes Ars Technica's Ron Amadeo. "The fun, confusing wrinkle here is that the new and old services are both called 'Google Pay.'" From the report: The old Google Pay service that has been around for years is dying. The app will be shut down in the US on April 5, and if you want to continue using New Google Pay, you'll have to go find and download a totally new app. NFC tap-and-pay functionality won't really change once you set up the new app, but the New Google Pay app won't use your Google account for P2P payments anymore. You'll be required to make a new account. You won't be able to send any money to your new contacts until they download the new app and make a new account, too. On top of all that, the Google Pay website will be stripped of all payment functionality in the US on April 5, and New Google Pay won't support doing anything from the web. You won't be able to transfer money, view payment activity, or see your balance from a browser. In addition to less convenient access and forcing users to remake their accounts, New Google Pay is also enticing users to switch with new fees for transfers to debit cards. Old Google Pay did this for free, but New Google Pay now has "a fee of 1.5% or $.31 (whichever is higher), when you transfer out money with a debit card." Google is currently sending out emails to existing users detailing all this. There's also a support page link and a notice at the top of pay.google.com. On the Play Store, Google has already started hiding the old Google Pay app from search results, renamed it "Google Pay (old app)," and updated the app home screen with a message to sign up for the new app.

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MIPS Technologies Joins RISC-V, Moves To Open-Source ISA Standard

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 8:30pm
MIPS Technologies, the company that had been synonymous with the MIPS processor architecture, will now be developing processors based on RISC-V architecture. TuxPhones reports: The MIPS silicon manufacturer is one of the oldest RISC chip manufacturers, used in several systems since the late 80s. Characterized by clean and efficient designs, allowing adaption in varied applications, this company has been considered one of the most innovative in the market during its golden age - to the point that the Windows OS had a MIPS port in the early 90s. However, the company has been struggling with an increasingly lower market share and risked bankruptcy in recent years, ultimately leading to acquisition by start-up Wave Computing, which faced bankruptcy last year. How this company was reborn just weeks ago, exiting the state of bankruptcy, is surprising, but not at all irrational: in its official statement, (the new) MIPS has become a member of RISC-V International, the non-profit organization managing the fully open-hardware ISA, substantially replacing their current architecture with the de facto open chip standard in its entirety. Licensing of the original MIPS architecture to third parties will probably be managed as before, so that the "old" architecture will remain available upon need. This is officially known as the "8th generation" of MIPS chips, indicating a total architectural gap from the previous seven iterations, essentially leaving the old architecture and fully embracing the new one. The Electronic Engineering Journal says it's likely that the new MIPS will continue to honor pre-existing licensing agreements, but it's unclear what level of support the company will offer for older MIPS-based chip designs.

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EU Approves Microsoft's $7.5 Billion Bethesda Acquisition

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 7:50pm
The European Commission has approved Microsoft's $7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Doom and Fallout studio Bethesda Softworks. The Verge reports: Microsoft's deal has been approved by the EU without conditions, as it "does not raise serious doubts as to its compatibility with the common market." The acquisition required EU approval before Microsoft could finalize the Bethesda deal and bring future games to its Xbox Game Pass subscription. "The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, given the combined entity's limited market position upstream and the presence of strong downstream competitors in the distribution of video games," says a European Commission statement. "The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure." Once the deal is fully closed, Microsoft's list of first-party studios will jump to 23, following the addition of Bethesda sub-studios like Dishonored developer Arkane, Wolfenstein studio MachineGames, Doom maker id Software, and The Evil Within studio Tango Gameworks. Microsoft appears to be planning to keep Bethesda running separately, with its existing leadership. Microsoft originally announced its plans to acquire Bethesda in September, promising to honor PS5 exclusivity commitments for Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo. Games like The Elder Scrolls: Online will also "continue to be supported exactly as it was." How Microsoft handles future Bethesda titles will come down to a "case-by-case" basis, according to comments from Microsoft's gaming chief Phil Spencer in September.

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Israel, Cyprus and Greece Agree To Link Power Grids Via Subsea Cable

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 7:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Cyprus, Greece and Israel on Monday signed an initial agreement to build the world's longest and deepest underwater power cable that will traverse the Mediterranean seabed at a cost of about $900 million and link their electricity grids. The project, called the Euro-Asia interconnector, will provide a back-up power source in times of emergency, said Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was in Nicosia to sign a memorandum of understanding with his counterparts. Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said it marked "a decisive step towards ending the island's energy isolation, and consequently, our dependence on heavy fuels." The cable will have a capacity of 1,000-2,000 megawatts (MW) and is expected to be completed by 2024, according to Israel's energy ministry. With a length of about 1,500 km and a maximum depth of 2,700 meters, it will be the longest and deepest subsea electricity cable to have ever been constructed, it said. Calling the project a "2,000 mega-watt highway," Pilides said the first stage is expected to be operational within 2025. It will cover three sections of the Mediterranean: some 310 kilometers between Israel and Cyprus, about 900 kilometers between Cyprus and Crete, and about 310 additional kilometers between Crete and mainland Greece. Greek power grid operator IPTO has started construction of the Crete-mainland part, seen concluding by 2023. The Greek operator and Eurasia have been working closely to make sure the two cables link to each other efficiently, an IPTO official said. The European Union has recognized the cable as a "Project of Common Interest", categorizing it as a project it is willing to partly finance.

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OpenAI's State-of-the-Art Machine Vision AI Fooled By Handwritten Notes

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 6:30pm
Researchers from machine learning lab OpenAI have discovered that their state-of-the-art computer vision system can be deceived by tools no more sophisticated than a pen and a pad. The Verge reports: As illustrated in the image above, simply writing down the name of an object and sticking it on another can be enough to trick the software into misidentifying what it sees. "We refer to these attacks as typographic attacks," write OpenAI's researchers in a blog post. "By exploiting the model's ability to read text robustly, we find that even photographs of hand-written text can often fool the model." They note that such attacks are similar to "adversarial images" that can fool commercial machine vision systems, but far simpler to produce. [T]he danger posed by this specific attack is, at least for now, nothing to worry about. The OpenAI software in question is an experimental system named CLIP that isn't deployed in any commercial product. Indeed, the very nature of CLIP's unusual machine learning architecture created the weakness that enables this attack to succeed. CLIP is intended to explore how AI systems might learn to identify objects without close supervision by training on huge databases of image and text pairs. In this case, OpenAI used some 400 million image-text pairs scraped from the internet to train CLIP, which was unveiled in January.

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PayPal To Acquire Cryptocurrency Security Startup Curv

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 5:50pm
PayPal has announced that it plans to acquire Curv, a cryptocurrency startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel. TechCrunch reports: Curv is a cryptocurrency security company that helps you store your crypto assets securely. The company operates a cloud-based service that lets you access your crypto wallets without any hardware device. Curv also lets you set up sophisticated policies so that the new intern cannot withdraw crypto assets without some sort of approval chain. Similarly, you can create allow lists so that regular transactions can go through more easily. Behind the scenes, Curv uses multi-party computation to handle private keys. When you create a wallet, cryptographic secrets are generated on your device and on Curv's servers. Whenever you're trying to initiate a transaction, multiple secrets are used to generate a full public and private key. Secrets are rotated regularly and you can't do anything with just one secret. If somebody steals an unsecured laptop, a hacker cannot access crypto funds with the information stored on this device alone. PayPal says that the Curv team will join the cryptocurrency group within PayPal. Terms of the deal are undisclosed and the transaction should close at some point during the first half of 2021. Calcalist reported that PayPal was paying between $200 million and $300 million for the acquisition. A person close to the company says that the transaction was under $200 million. I guess we'll find out what happened exactly in the next earnings release.

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Tesla Is Plugging a Secret Mega-Battery Into the Texas Grid

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 5:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Elon Musk is getting into the Texas power market, with previously unrevealed construction of a gigantic battery connected to an ailing electric grid that nearly collapsed last month. The move marks Tesla's first major foray into the epicenter of the U.S. energy economy. A Tesla subsidiary registered as Gambit Energy Storage LLC is quietly building a more than 100 megawatt energy storage project in Angleton, Texas, a town roughly 40 miles south of Houston. A battery that size could power about 20,000 homes on a hot summer day. Workers at the site kept equipment under cover and discouraged onlookers, but a Tesla logo could be seen on a worker's hard hat and public documents helped confirm the company's role. Property records on file with Brazoria County show Gambit shares the same address as a Tesla facility near the company's auto plant in Fremont, California. A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lists Gambit as a Tesla subsidiary. According to a document on the city of Angleton's website, the installation will use lithium iron phosphate batteries that are expected to last 10 to 20 years. The document says that it will generate around $1 million in property tax revenue for the city and the site will be unmanned but remotely monitored.

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Waymo Simulated Real-World Crashes To Prove Its Self-Driving Cars Can Prevent Deaths

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 4:30pm
In a bid to prove that its robot drivers are safer than humans, Waymo simulated dozens of real-world fatal crashes that took place in Arizona over nearly a decade. From a report: The Google spinoff discovered that replacing either vehicle in a two-car crash with its robot-guided minivans would nearly eliminate all deaths, according to data it publicized today. The results are meant to bolster Waymo's case that autonomous vehicles operate more safely than human-driven ones. With millions of people dying in auto crashes globally every year, AV operators are increasingly leaning on this safety case to spur regulators to pass legislation allowing more fully autonomous vehicles on the road. But that case has been difficult to prove out, thanks to the very limited number of autonomous vehicles operating on public roads today. To provide more statistical support for its argument, Waymo has turned to counterfactuals, or "what if?" scenarios, meant to showcase how its robot vehicles would react in real-world situations. Last year, the company published 6.1 million miles of driving data in 2019 and 2020, including 18 crashes and 29 near-miss collisions. In those incidents where its safety operators took control of the vehicle to avoid a crash, Waymo's engineers simulated what would have happened had the driver not disengaged the vehicle's self-driving system to generate a counterfactual. The company has also made some of its data available to academic researchers.

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Microsoft-Led Team Retracts Disputed Quantum-Computing Paper

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 3:50pm
A Microsoft-led team of physicists has retracted a high-profile 2018 paper that the company touted as a key breakthrough in the creation of a practical quantum computer, a device that promises vast new computing power by tapping quantum mechanics. From a report: The retracted paper came from a lab headed by Microsoft physicist Leo Kouwenhoven at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It claimed to have found evidence of Majorana particles, long-theorized but never conclusively detected. The elusive entities are at the heart of Microsoft's approach to quantum computing hardware, which lags behind that of others such as IBM and Google. WIRED reported last month that other physicists had questioned the discovery after receiving fuller data from the Delft team. Sergey Frolov, from the University of Pittsburgh, and Vincent Mourik, at University of New South Wales, in Australia, said it appeared that data that cast doubt on the Majorana claim was withheld. Monday, the original authors published a retraction note in the prestigious journal Nature, which published the earlier paper, admitting the whistleblowers were right. Data was "unnecessarily corrected," it says. The note also says that repeating the experiment revealed a miscalibration error that skewed all the original data, making the Majorana sighting a mirage. "We apologize to the community for insufficient scientific rigor in our original manuscript," the researchers wrote. Frolov and Mourik's concerns also triggered an investigation at Delft, which Monday released a report from four physicists not involved in the project. It concludes that the researchers did not intend to mislead but were "caught up in the excitement of the moment," and selected data that fit their own hopes for a major discovery. The report sums up that breach of the norms of the scientific method with a quote from physics Nobel laureate Richard Feynman: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool." The Delft lab released raw data from its 2018 experiment Monday. Frolov and Mourik say that it should also release full data from its Majorana hunting project going back until 2010 for others to analyze.

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Popular YouTubers Are Building Their Own Sites

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 3:10pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Whether he's showing off astronomically expensive computer gaming hardware or dumpster-diving for the cheapest PC builds possible, Linus Sebastian's videos always strike a chord, and have made him one of the most popular tech personalities on YouTube. But Google-owned YouTube gets most episodes of Linus Tech Tips a week late. Now, they debut on his own site called Floatplane, which attracts a much smaller crowd. "Google has been very, very good to me," Linus says. "But it's a lot of eggs in one basket." And with a staff of two dozen, he cannot rely on the company to continue being what he calls his "benevolent overlord". He is not the only YouTube star looking for alternatives. For a long time there have been tensions between those creating content on YouTube and the company providing the platform, ranging from disputes about ad revenue, to copyright problems, and even rows about the way videos are recommended to people. Many successful YouTubers are now sizeable companies in their own right, and are seeking to safeguard their futures. For the last few years, Linus and co-worker Luke Lafreniere have been investing in their own platform called Floatplane. The pair stress that it is not -- and never will be -- a YouTube competitor. But they hope to provide a platform for existing video creators with a loyal audience, who might be willing to pay a few dollars a month to directly support the video-makers they love.

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Saudi Arabia's Bold Plan To Rule the $700 Billion Hydrogen Market

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 2:30pm
The kingdom is building a $5 billion plant to make green fuel for export and lessen the country's dependence on petrodollars. From a report: Sun-scorched expanses and steady Red Sea breezes make the northwest tip of Saudi Arabia prime real estate for what the kingdom hopes will become a global hub for green hydrogen. As governments and industries seek less-polluting alternatives to hydrocarbons, the world's biggest crude exporter doesn't want to cede the burgeoning hydrogen business to China, Europe or Australia and lose a potentially massive source of income. So it's building a $5 billion plant powered entirely by sun and wind that will be among the world's biggest green hydrogen makers when it opens in the planned megacity of Neom in 2025. The task of turning a patch of desert the size of Belgium into a metropolis powered by renewable energy falls to Peter Terium, the former chief executive officer of RWE AG, Germany's biggest utility, and clean-energy spinoff Innogy SE. His performance will help determine whether a country dependent on petrodollars can transition into a supplier of non-polluting fuels. "There's nothing I've ever seen or heard of this dimension or challenge," Terium said. "I've been spending the last two years wrapping my mind around 'from scratch,' and now we're very much in execution mode." Hydrogen is morphing from a niche power source -- used in zeppelins, rockets and nuclear weapons == into big business, with the European Union alone committing $500 billion to scale up its infrastructure. Huge obstacles remain to the gas becoming a major part of the energy transition, and skeptics point to Saudi Arabia's weak track record so far capitalizing on what should be a competitive edge in the renewables business, especially solar, where there are many plans but few operational projects. But countries are jostling for position in a future global market, and hydrogen experts list the kingdom as one to watch. The U.K. is hosting 10 projects to heat buildings with the gas, China is deploying fuel-cell buses and commercial vehicles, and Japan is planning to use the gas in steelmaking. U.S. presidential climate envoy John Kerry urged the domestic oil and gas industry to embrace hydrogen's "huge opportunities." That should mean plenty of potential customers for the plant called Helios Green Fuels. Saudi Arabia is setting its sights on becoming the world's largest supplier of hydrogen -- a market that BloombergNEF estimates could be worth as much as $700 billion by 2050. "You're seeing a more diversified portfolio of energy exports that is more resilient," said Shihab Elborai, a Dubai-based partner at consultant Strategy&. "It's diversified against any uncertainties in the rate and timing of the energy transition." Blueprints are being drawn and strategies are being announced, but it's still early days for the industry. Hydrogen is expensive to make without expelling greenhouse gases, difficult to store and highly combustible. Green hydrogen is produced by using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. The current cost of producing a kilogram is a little under $5, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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Fully Vaccinated Individuals Can Socialize Without Masks, Distancing, CDC Says

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 1:30pm
schwit1 writes: Americans who have received the full COVID-19 vaccine can gather with vaccinated grandparents or friends without wearing masks or keeping their distance, according to new CDC guidance announced Monday, and those grandparents can visit with and hug family members that aren't vaccinated as long as they don't have underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk for COVID-19. The new guidance also says that vaccinated individuals don't need to quarantine or get tested if they come in contact with someone positive for COVID-19 and don't have any symptoms.

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DARPA Taps Intel To Help Build the Holy Grail of Encryption

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 12:50pm
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has signed an agreement with Intel to add it to its Data Protection in Virtual Environments project, which aims to create a practically useful form of fully homomorphic encryption. From a report: Fully homomorphic encryption has been described as the "holy grail" of encryption because it allows encrypted data to be used without ever having to decrypt it. Fully homomorphic encryption isn't fantasy -- it already exists and is usable, but it is incredibly impractical. "FHE adoption in the industry has been slow because processing data using fully homomorphic encryption methods on cryptograms is data intensive and incurs a huge 'performance tax' even for simple operations," Intel said in a press release. The potential benefits of fully homomorphic encryption make creating a practical way to use it a cybersecurity imperative. Intel succinctly describes the biggest problem in data security as being caused by "encryption techniques [that] require that data be decrypted for processing. It is during this decrypted state that data can become more vulnerable for misuse." The goal of the Data Protection in Virtual Environments program is to develop an accelerator for fully homomorphic encryption that will make it more practical and scalable, which is where Intel comes in. The chip manufacturer's role in the project will be academic research and the development of an application-specific integrated circuit that will accelerate fully homomorphic encryption processing. Intel said that, when fully realized, its accelerator chip could reduce processing times by five orders of magnitude over existing CPU-driven fully homomorphic encryption systems.

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Intel's Thunderbolt Pushes Into Mainstream as Fast Alternative To USB

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 11:54am
Thunderbolt, Intel's super-speedy connection technology, isn't widely used. But that may change in the coming year, as more computer makers incorporate the USB competitor into their new models. From a report: Intel has hoped Thunderbolt, which debuted in 2011 on Apple's 2011 MacBook Pro, would become commonplace for computer users. A year later, the chipmaker forecast that "most PCs" would have Thunderbolt by 2015 to 2017. Despite the hype, only premium PCs carry the fast connection. To get a boost in adoption, Intel has built Thunderbolt into its newest Core processors, code-named Tiger Lake, which means laptop makers get Thunderbolt without having to pay extra for separate controller chips. Because Intel chips are so widely used, the company says Thunderbolt will now have its moment to shine. "I would expect by 2022 Thunderbolt will be in more than 50% of the PCs sold," said Jason Ziller, who runs Intel's connectivity products, adding that more than half of laptops that ship in the next year will "definitely" carry the technology. Ziller has led Thunderbolt work since before it debuted in Apple's 2011 MacBook Pro laptops almost exactly 10 years ago. PC ports don't capture the imagination the way fast processors or smartphone cameras do. But they're a crucial part of most people's computing experience. Thunderbolt ports provide fast and versatile connections to external storage devices, monitors, network adapters and other peripherals. They can replace ports for HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet and power. The new Thunderbolt 4 lets multiport docks and hubs offer three Thunderbolt ports instead of just one.

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Could Plastic Roads Make for a Smoother Ride?

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 11:10am
From lower carbon emissions to fewer potholes, there are a number of benefits to building a layer of plastic into roads. From a report: On a road into New Delhi, countless cars a day speed over tonnes of plastic bags, bottle tops and discarded polystyrene cups. In a single kilometre, a driver covers one tonne of plastic waste. But far from being an unpleasant journey through a sea of litter, this road is smooth and well-maintained -- in fact the plastic that each driver passes over isn't visible to the naked eye. It is simply a part of the road. This road, stretching from New Delhi to nearby Meerut, was laid using a system developed by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor of chemistry at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in India, which replaces 10% of a road's bitumen with repurposed plastic waste. India has been leading the world in experimenting with plastic-tar roads since the early 2000s. But a growing number of countries are beginning to follow suit. From Ghana to the Netherlands, building plastic into roads and pathways is helping to save carbon emissions, keep plastic from the oceans and landfill, and improve the life-expectancy of the average road. By 2040, there is set to be 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic in the environment globally. India alone already generates more than 3.3 million tonnes of plastic a year -- which was one of the motivators behind Vasudevan's system for incorporating waste into roads. It has the benefit of being a very simple process, requiring little high-tech machinery. First, the shredded plastic waste is scattered onto an aggregate of crushed stones and sand before being heated to about 170C -- hot enough to melt the waste. The melted plastics then coat the aggregate in a thin layer. Then heated bitumen is added on top, which helps to solidify the aggregate, and the mixture is complete. Many different types of plastics can be added to the mix: carrier bags, disposable cups, hard-to-recycle multi-layer films and polyethylene and polypropylene foams have all found their way into India's roads, and they don't have to be sorted or cleaned before shredding.

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Smartphone Lobby Wants Conference for 50,000 People in June

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 10:30am
The global wireless industry is planning to allow tens of thousands of international visitors to congregate for its flagship event in Barcelona in June, more than a year after it was axed due to the pandemic. From a report: The GSMA trade body said everyone present will have to show a negative Covid-19 result to access the Fira Gran Via venue and repeat the test every 72 hours. Rapid testing centers will be made available on site and organizers are considering using hotels for more. Additional measures being put in place for one of Europe's most important business gatherings include a new contact tracing mobile app, real-time occupancy monitoring, improved air conditioning at the venue, and an increased number of on-site medical staff. "We believe that we can have around 45,000 to 50,000 attendees, as of today," Stephanie Lynch-Habib, the GSMA's chief marketing officer, said in an interview on Monday, adding that visitor interest is expected to be strong.

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The iMac Pro Is Being Discontinued

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 9:40am
The iMac Pro is soon to be no more. First noted by 9to5Mac, TechCrunch has since confirmed with Apple that the company will stop selling the all-in-one once the current stock is depleted. From a report: One configuration of the desktop is still available through Apple's site, listed as "While Supplies Last" and priced at $5,000. Some other versions can also still be found from third-party retailers, as well, if you're so inclined.

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Preparing for Retaliation Against Russia, US Confronts Hacking by China

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 9:00am
The proliferation of cyberattacks by rivals is presenting a challenge to the Biden administration as it seeks to deter intrusions on government and corporate systems. From a report: Just as it plans to begin retaliating against Russia for the large-scale hacking of American government agencies and corporations discovered late last year, the Biden administration faces a new cyberattack that raises the question of whether it will have to strike back at another major adversary: China. Taken together, the responses will start to define how President Biden fashions his new administration's response to escalating cyberconflict and whether he can find a way to impose a steeper penalty on rivals who regularly exploit vulnerabilities in government and corporate defenses to spy, steal information and potentially damage critical components of the nation's infrastructure. The first major move is expected over the next three weeks, officials said, with a series of clandestine actions across Russian networks that are intended to be evident to President Vladimir V. Putin and his intelligence services and military but not to the wider world. The officials said the actions would be combined with some kind of economic sanctions -- though there are few truly effective sanctions left to impose -- and an executive order from Mr. Biden to accelerate the hardening of federal government networks after the Russian hacking, which went undetected for months until it was discovered by a private cybersecurity firm. The issue has taken on added urgency at the White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies in recent days after the public exposure of a major breach in Microsoft email systems used by small businesses, local governments and, by some accounts, key military contractors. Microsoft identified the intruders as a state-sponsored Chinese group and moved quickly to issue a patch to allow users of its software to close off the vulnerability. But that touched off a race between those responsible for patching the systems and a raft of new attackers -- including multiple other Chinese hacking groups, according to Microsoft -- who started using the same exploit this week.

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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Use for Backups at Home?

Mon, 03/08/2021 - 6:34am
"I am curious as to what other Slashdotters use for backing up of home machines," asks long-time Slashdot reader serviscope_minor: I moved away from the "bunch of disks with some off site" method. I found most of the methods generally had one or more of the following problems: poor Linux support, weak security (e.g. leaking file names), outrageously expensive, hard to set up, tied to a single storage supplier I don't fully trust, entirely proprietary (which makes me doubt long term stability), lack of file history, reputation for slowness, and so on. My current solution is Unixy: separate tools for separate jobs. Borg for backups to a local machine. Rclone for uploading to business cloud storage, versioned cloud storage to provide resistance against bitrot and other corruption. They're interested in "what other Slashdotters use," as well as "why and what your experience has been given more than superficial testing." So share you own thoughts in the comments. What do you use for backups at home?

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