Robotics

Hitchhiking Robot's Cross-Country Trip Ends In Philadelphia

An anonymous reader writes: A hitchhiking robot that successfully traveled across Canada in 26 days last year and parts of Europe, has met its demise in Philly. Created as a "social experiment," hitchBOT started its journey in the U.S. in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on July 17 with its thumb raised up and tape wrapped around its head that read "San Francisco or bust." After about two weeks in the U.S., someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair. "Sadly, sadly it's come to an end," said Frauke Zeller, one of its co-creators. The Independent reports: "The robot was designed to be a talking travel companion and could toss out factoids and carry limited conversation. A GPS in the robot tracked its location, and a camera randomly snapped photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels."
Piracy

Interviews: Kim Dotcom Answers Your Questions 88 88

Kim Dotcom was the founder of Megaupload, its successor Mega, and New Zealand's Internet Party. A while ago you had a chance to ask him about those things as well as the U.S. government charging him with criminal copyright violation and racketeering. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.
United Kingdom

UK Campaign Wants 18-Year-Olds To Be Able To Delete Embarrassing Online Past 316 316

An anonymous reader writes: People should be allowed to delete embarrassing social media posts when they reach adulthood, UK internet rights campaigners are urging. The iRights coalition has set out five rights which young people should expect online, including being able to easily edit or delete content they have created, and to know who is holding or profiting from their information. Highlighting how campaigners believe adults should not have to bear the shame of past immaturity, iRights also wants children to be protected from illegal or distressing pages; to be digitally literate; and be able to make informed and conscious choices.
Security

Your Stolen Identity Goes For $20 On the Internet Black Market 57 57

HughPickens.com writes: Keith Collins writes at Quartz that the going rate for a stolen identity is about twenty bucks on the internet black market. Collins analyzed hundreds of listings for a full set of someone's personal information—identification number, address, birthdate, etc., known as "fullz" that were put up for sale over the past year, using data collected by Grams, a search engine for the dark web. The listings ranged in price from less than $1 to about $450, converted from bitcoin. The median price for someone's identity was $21.35. The most expensive fullz came from a vendor called "OsamaBinFraudin," and listed a premium identity with a high credit score for $454.05. Listings on the lower end were typically less glamorous and included only the basics, like the victim's name, address, social security number, perhaps a mother's maiden name. Marketplaces on the dark web, not unlike eBay, have feedback systems for vendors ("cheap and good A+"), refund policies (usually stating that refunds are not allowed), and even well-labeled sections. "There is no shortage of hackers willing to do about anything, computer related, for money," writes Elizabeth Clarke. "and they are continually finding ways to monetize personal and business data."
Businesses

LinkedIn (Temporarily) Backs Down After Uproar At Contact Export Removal 42 42

Mark Wilson writes: LinkedIn caused a storm a couple of days ago when it removed the option to instantly download contacts. Many users of the professional social network were more than a little irked to discover that while contact exporting was still available, a wait of up to three days had been put in place. Unsurprisingly, users revolted, having been particularly upset by the fact the change was implemented with no warning or announcement. But the company has managed to turn things around by quickly backtracking on its decision after listening to a stream of complaints on Twitter.
Advertising

Google Studies How Bad Interstitials Are On Mobile 257 257

An anonymous reader writes: A Google study of their own Google+ site and app found that 69% of visitors abandoned the page when presented with the app interstitial. Google said it was getting rid of them and asked others to do the same. TechCrunch reports: "It's worth noting that Google's study was small scale, since the company was only looking at how an interstitial promoting the Google+ social service native app performed (and we don't know how many people it surveyed). It may very well be the case that visitors really didn't want the Google+ app specifically — and that Google+ itself is skewing the data. (Sadly Google is not offering comparative stats with, say, the Gmail app interstitial, so we can but speculate.)"
Google

Gmail Messages Can Now Self-Destruct 199 199

New submitter Amarjeet Singh writes: Dmail is a Chrome extension developed by the people behind Delicious, the social bookmarking app/extension. This extension allows you to set a self-destruct timer on your emails. You can use Dmail to send emails from Gmail as usual, but you will now have a button which can set an self destruct timer of an hour, a day or a week. Dmail claims it will also unlock a feature that won't allow forwarding, meaning only the person you sent your message to will be able to see it.
Twitter

Twitter Yanks Tweets That Repeat Copyrighted Joke 141 141

Mark Wilson writes at Beta News: Can a joke be copyrighted? Twitter seems to think so. As spotted by Twitter account Plagiarism is Bad a number of tweets that repeat a particular joke are being hidden from view. The tweets have not been deleted as such, but their text has been replaced with a link to Twitter's Copyright and DMCA policy. Quality of the joke itself aside -- no accounting for taste -- this seems a strange move for a site and service which is largely based around verbatim retransmission of other people's low-character-count declarations, recipes, questions, and Yes, jokes.
Nintendo

Nintendo TVii Service Will Go Dark August 11th 34 34

Kotaku reports that Nintendo has announced it will shutter its Wii U TVii in just a few weeks; after August 11th, the service will be no more. The description that Kotaku offers gives some idea of why: Nintendo TVii promised to turn television watching into a robust social experience, tracking users' favorite shows, making suggestions based on familial preferences, integrating with all of the major streaming video services, programming DVR recordings and acting as a second screen experience on the Wii U game pad. It sounded pretty amazing. It wasn’t really. It was awkward and fumbling and a year later the Xbox One came along with its HDMI pass-through and voice-controlled TV watching and made Nintendo TVii look silly."
The Internet

Secret Service Agents Stake Out the Ugliest Corners of the Internet 169 169

HughPickens.com writes: Josephine Wolff reports at The Atlantic that Secret Service Internet Threat Desk is a group of agents tasked with identifying and assessing online threats to the president and his family. The first part of this mission — finding threats — is in many ways made easier by the Internet: all you have to do is search! Pulling up every tweet which uses the words "Obama" and "assassinate" takes mere seconds, and the Secret Service has tried to make it easier for people to draw threats to its attention by setting up its own Twitter handle, @secretservice, for users to report threatening messages to. The difficulty is trying to figure out which ones should be taken seriously.

The Secret Service categorizes all threats, online and offline alike, into one of three categories. Class 3 threats are considered the most serious, and require agents to interview the individual who issued the threat and any acquaintances to determine whether that person really has the capability to carry out the threat. Class 2 threats are considered to be serious but issued by people incapable of actually follow up on their intentions, either because they are in jail or located at a great distance from the president. And Class 1 threats are those that may seem serious at first, but are determined not to be. The overall number of threats directed at the first family that require investigation has stayed relatively steady at about 10 per day — except for the period when Obama was first elected, when the Secret Service had to follow up on roughly 50 threats per day. "That includes threats on Twitter," says Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service. "It makes no difference to [the Secret Service] how a threat is communicated. They can't take that chance of assuming that because it's on Twitter it's less serious."
Mars

Interviews: Shaun Moss Answers Your Questions About Mars and Space Exploration 48 48

Recently the founder of the Mars Settlement Research Organization and author of The International Mars Research Station Shaun Moss agreed to sit down and answer any questions you had about space exploration and colonizing Mars. Below you will find his answers to your questions.

Video Job Hunting Tips For the IT Pro

Martha Heller, an IT executive recruiter, offers up career advice for IT professionals at the recent IT Roadmap in Boston. Should executives job jump or build tenure? How much social media should they do? Heller offers up her suggestions in this video.
Facebook

New Facebook Video Controls Let You Limit Viewing By Gender and Age 90 90

Mark Wilson writes: Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers — including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender. A social network might not be the first place you would think of to try to keep something private, but a new 'secret video' option makes it possible to restrict access to those people who have a direct link. Other new options include the ability to prevent embedding on other sites, but it is the audience restriction settings that are particularly interesting. For a long time Facebook has been about reaching out to as many people as possible in one hit — particularly in the case of pages, which are likely to be used for the promotion of businesses and services. But now the social giant provides tools to limit one's audience. It's fairly easy to understand the reasons for implementing age restrictions on video (although there is obviously scope for abuse), but the reasons for gender-based restrictions are less clear.
Shark

Since Receiving Satellite Tags, Some Sharks Have Become Stars of Social Media 31 31

Lucas123 writes: A research project that tags the world's most dangerous sharks with four different tracking devices and then offers all the data to the public has taken off, garnering hundreds of thousands of users; one shark even has more then 80,000 followers on Twitter. OCEARCH, a non-profit shark tracking project, has tagged about 130 sharks, from great whites and tigers to hammerheads and makos, and open sourced the data in the hope that it will create citizen scientists who will follow the animals and care about what happens to them. To further personify the apex predators, the researchers at OCEARCH have also given the sharks names such as Katharine and Mary Lee, two sharks that are more than 14 feet long and weight more than a ton. OCEARCH's shark tracker has garnered 10 times the traffic it had last year, and it's expected to grow 20 times more by the end of this year. Along with data from satellite, acoustic and accelerometer tags, the project expects to begin using big data analytics to offer more granular data about the animals and their lives to scientists and the public at large.
Advertising

FTC Accuses LifeLock of False Advertising Again 54 54

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember LifeLock — it's the identity protection company whose CEO published his social security number and dared people to steal his identity. Predictably, 13 different people succeeded. LifeLock was later sued for deceptive marketing practices, and eventually settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $12 million. Part of that settlement, of course, required that they refrain from misrepresenting their services in the future. Now, the FTC is taking action against them again, saying they failed to live up to that promise. The FTC claims (PDF) LifeLock falsely advertised that it "protected consumers' sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions" and also failed build systems to protect the data they held.
Google

Google+ Photos To Shut Down August 1 152 152

An anonymous reader writes: Now that Google Photos exists separately from Google+, the company is shutting down the Google+ version of Photos starting on August 1. The Android version will be the first to go, followed shortly thereafter by the iOS and web versions. Fortune calls the old Photos app "a relic of the times when the search giant thought its social network Google Plus could become a huge hit."
Transportation

Ford's New Smart Headlights For Tracking Objects At Night 192 192

An anonymous reader writes: Headlights have been around since the 1880's, and while the source of their light has changed over the years, their functionality has remained virtually the same, until now. Ford has unveiled a new advanced illumination system that should make driving your car at night a lot safer. The new headlight system uses a standard and infrared camera to detect objects near the road. The new technology can locate and track up to eight people or animals up to 12 meters. Ford reports: "Building upon Adaptive Front Lighting System and Traffic Sign Recognition, the system interprets traffic signs to better illuminate hazards that are not in the direction of travel, and uses GPS information for enhanced lighting when encountering bends and dips on a chosen route. Where GPS information is not available, a video camera detects lane markings and predicts the road’s curvature. When next the driver uses the same road again, the headlights adapt to the course of the road automatically. We expect this technology to be available for customers in the near term."
Communications

Reddit Will 'Hide' Vile Content After Policy Change 164 164

AmiMoJo writes: It will be more difficult to find "abhorrent" content posted to community news site Reddit, the site has announced. It stopped short of banning the material outright and instead will require users to log-in to access it. The company reiterated its existing complete bans of illegal content, including child abuse images and so-called "revenge porn." Chief executive and co-founder Steve Huffman told users: "We've spent the last few days here discussing, and agree that an approach like this allows us as a company to repudiate content we don't want to associate with the business, but gives individuals freedom to consume it if they choose."