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Google's CEO Thinks Android Users Know How Much Their Phones Are Tracking Them

SlashDot - 2 hours 13 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Google CEO Sundar Pichai thinks Android users have a good understanding of the volume of data Google collects on them, when they agree to use the Android mobile operating system. The exec, who is testifying today in front of the House Judiciary committee for a hearing entitled "Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices," claimed that users are in control of the information Google has on them. "For Google services, you have a choice of what information is collected, and we make it transparent," Pichai said in response to questioning from Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Google's defense on the data collection front is similar to Facebook's -- that is, Pichai responded that Google provides tools that put users in control. But do they actually use them? "It's really important for us that average users are able to understand it," said Pichai, stating that users do understand the user agreement for Android OS. "We actually ... remind users to do a privacy checkup, and we make it very obvious every month. In fact, in the last 28 days, 160 million users went to their My Account settings, where they can clearly see what information we have -- we actually show it back to them. We give clear toggles, by category, where they can decide whether that information is collected, stored, or -- more importantly -- if they decide to stop using it, we work hard to make it possible for users to take their data with them," he said. When asked if Google could improve its user dashboard and tools to better teach people how to protect their privacy, including turning off data collection and location tracking, Pichai said "there's complexity," but it is "something I do think we can do better." He continued: "We want to simplify it, and make it easier for average users to navigate these settings. It's something we are working on."

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Ask Slashdot: Why Don't HDR TVs Have sRGB Or AdobeRGB Ratings?

SlashDot - 2 hours 53 min ago
dryriver writes: As anyone who buys professional computer monitors knows, the dynamic range of the display device you are looking at can be expressed quite usefully in terms of percentage sRGB coverage and percentage AdobeRGB coverage. The higher the percentage for each, the better and wider the dynamic range of the screen panel you are getting. People who work with professional video and photographs typically aim for a display that has 100 percent sRGB coverage and at least 70 to 80 percent AdobeRGB coverage. Laptop review site Notebookcheck for example uses professional optical testing equipment to check whether the advertised sRGB and AdobeRGB percentages and brightness in nits for any laptop display panel hold up in real life. This being the case, why do quote-on-quote "High Dynamic Range" capable TVs -- which seem to be mostly 10 bits per channel to begin with -- not have an sRGB or AdobeRGB rating quoted anywhere in their technical specs? Why don't professional TV reviewers use optical testing equipment that's readily available to measure the real world dynamic range of HDR or non-HDR TVs objectively, in hard numbers? Why do they simply say "the blacks on this TV were deep and pleasing, and the lighter tones were..." when this can be expressed better and more objectively in measured numbers or percentages? Do they think consumers are too unsophisticated to understand a simple number like "this OLED TV achieves a fairly average 66 percent AdobeRGB coverage?"

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Canada Grants Bail For Arrested Huawei CFO Who Faces US Extradition

SlashDot - 3 hours 32 min ago
A judge in Vancouver, British Columbia, has set a $7.5 million U.S. bail for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested last week on suspicion of violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. "The United States had asked the Vancouver court to deny bail for Meng, whose father is a billionaire and a founder of Huawei, calling her a flight risk," reports CNBC. From the report: Canada has been expected to extradite Meng to the United States over charges that the company improperly took payments from Iran in violation of sanctions against the country. Meng's next moves will be closely watched, but it is likely with her corporate and family connections that she will be able to make bail. The $10 million CAD ($7.5 million USD) includes $7 million CAD ($5.2 million USD) cash and $3 million CAD ($2.2 million USD) more from five or more guarantors, presented by Meng and her attorney's as sureties that she would remain in the country. As conditions of the bail agreement, Meng must surrender her passports, wear a GPS tracking device and be accompanied by security detail whenever she leaves her residence.

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Border Agents Fail To Delete Personal Data of Travelers After Electronic Searches, Watchdog Says

SlashDot - 4 hours 13 min ago
The Department of Homeland Security's internal watchdog, known as the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the majority of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents fail to delete the personal data they collect from travelers' devices. Last year alone, border agents searched through the electronic devices of more than 29,000 travelers coming into the country. "CBP officers sometimes upload personal data from those devices to Homeland Security servers by first transferring that data onto USB drives -- drives that are supposed to be deleted after every use," Gizmodo reports. From the report: Customs officials can conduct two kinds of electronic device searches at the border for anyone entering the country. The first is called a "basic" or "manual" search and involves the officer visually going through your phone, your computer or your tablet without transferring any data. The second is called an "advanced search" and allows the officer to transfer data from your device to DHS servers for inspection by running that data through its own software. Both searches are legal and don't require a warrant or even probable cause -- at least they don't according to DHS. It's that second kind of search, the "advanced" kind, where CBP has really been messing up and regularly leaving the personal data of travelers on USB drives. According to the new report [PDF]: "[The Office of the Inspector General] physically inspected thumb drives at five ports of entry. At three of the five ports, we found thumb drives that contained information copied from past advanced searches, meaning the information had not been deleted after the searches were completed. Based on our physical inspection, as well as the lack of a written policy, it appears [Office of Field Operations] has not universally implemented the requirement to delete copied information, increasing the risk of unauthorized disclosure of travelers' data should thumb drives be lost or stolen." The report also found that Customs officers "regularly failed to disconnect devices from the internet, potentially tainting any findings stored locally on the device." It also found that the officers had "inadequate supervision" to make sure they were following the rules. There's also a number of concerning redactions. For example, everything from what happens during an advanced search after someone crosses the border to the reason officials are allowed to conduct an advanced search at all has been redacted.

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Verizon Admits Defeat With $4.6 Billion AOL-Yahoo Writedown

SlashDot - 4 hours 51 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Verizon is conceding defeat on its crusade to turn a patchwork of dot-com-era businesses into a thriving online operation. The wireless carrier slashed the value of its AOL and Yahoo acquisitions by $4.6 billion, an acknowledgment that tough competition for digital advertising is leading to shortfalls in revenue and profit. The move will erase almost half the value of the division it had been calling Oath, which houses AOL, Yahoo and other businesses like the Huffington Post. The revision of the Oath division's accounting leaves its goodwill balance -- a measure of the intangible value of an acquisition -- at about $200 million, Verizon said in a filing Tuesday. The unit still has about $5 billion of assets remaining. Verizon also announced yesterday that 10,400 employees are taking buyouts to leave the company. The cuts are "part of an effort to trim the telecom giant's workforce ahead of its push toward 5G," TechCrunch reported.

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Comcast Rejected by Small Town -- Residents Vote For Municipal Fiber Instead

SlashDot - 6 hours 13 min ago
A small Massachusetts town has rejected an offer from Comcast and instead plans to build a municipal fiber broadband network. From a report: Comcast offered to bring cable Internet to up to 96 percent of households in Charlemont in exchange for the town paying $462,123 plus interest toward infrastructure costs over 15 years. But Charlemont residents rejected the Comcast offer in a vote at a special town meeting Thursday. "The Comcast proposal would have saved the town about $1 million, but it would not be a town-owned broadband network," the Greenfield Recorder reported Friday. "The defeated measure means that Charlemont will likely go forward with a $1.4 million municipal town network, as was approved by annual town meeting voters in 2015." About 160 residents voted, with 56 percent rejecting the Comcast offer, according to news reports.

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Facebook is Starting To Test Search Ads in its Search Results and Marketplace

SlashDot - 6 hours 53 min ago
It's an ad duopoly battle. From a report: Facebook is starting to test search ads in its search results and Marketplace, directly competing with Google's AdWords. Facebook first tried Sponsored Results back in 2012 but eventually shut down the product in 2013. Now it's going to let a small set of automotive, retail, and ecommerce industry advertisers show users ads on the search results page on mobile in the US and Canada. They'll be repurposed News Feed ads featuring a headline, image, copy text, and a link in the static image or carousel format that can point users to external websites. Facebook declined to share screenshots as it says the exact design is still evolving. Facebook may expand search ads to more countries based on the test's performance.

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