Businesses

EBay Is Shutting Down Its On-Demand Delivery Service 11 11

An anonymous reader writes: It may come as no surprise but eBay made it official in a statement today; they are ending their on-demand delivery service eBay Now. The company also plans to end a number of mobile applications, including eBay Valet, eBay Fashion and eBay Motors. A company statement reads in part: "...today we are retiring the eBay Now service in the U.S., including the local Brooklyn pilot program. Last year, we retired our eBay Now app and brought the program's delivery capabilities and many participating merchants' inventory into our core mobile apps. This significantly reduced our dependency on a separate standalone service. While we saw encouraging results with the eBay Now service, we always intended it as a pilot, and we are now exploring delivery and pick-up/drop-off programs that are relevant to many more of our 25 million sellers, and that cover a wider variety of inventory that consumers tell us they want. We will continue to pilot scheduled delivery in the UK."
Businesses

Trillion-Dollar World Trade Deal Aims To Make IT Products Cheaper 81 81

itwbennett writes: A new (tentative) global trade agreement, struck on Friday at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva, eliminates tariffs on more than 200 kinds of IT products, ranging from smartphones, routers, and ink cartridges to video game consoles and telecommunications satellites. A full list of products covered was published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which called the ITA expansion 'great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from MRI machines to semiconductors to video game consoles.' The deal covers $1.3 trillion worth of global trade, about 7 percent of total trade today. The deal has approval from 49 countries, and is waiting on just a handful more before it becomes official,
HP

HP R&D Starts Enforcing a Business Casual Dress Code 449 449

An anonymous reader writes: HP was once known as a research and technology giant, a company founded in a garage by a pair of engineers and dominated by researchers. Whilst a part of that lives on in Agilent any hope for the rest of the company has now died with the announcement that HP R&D will have to dress in business "smart casual" with T-shirts, baseball caps, short skirts, low cut dresses and sportswear all being banned.
Communications

An Interview With Hacking Team's CEO 80 80

Alastair Stevenson writes: I talked to the leader of the world's most hated surveillance company about its path to recovery and morals, following a massive attack on its systems. CEO David Vincenzetti, as you might expect, thinks that his company "deserves the protection of law and order," and disclaims (also as you'd expect) responsibility for what its clients do with the privacy-unraveling software it provides: Law enforcement must have a way to do what it has always done, that is to track criminals and prevent or prosecute crime. With the development of global terrorism and especially the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist, this requirement is even more important. Hacking Team has helped fight crime by providing a surveillance tool to law enforcement. The company believes this is a small step toward a more secure world for all who wish to used the Internet and digital tools lawfully.
Security

HP: Smartwatches Are a Major Security Risk 98 98

Mickeycaskill writes: Researchers at HP Security discovered "significant vulnerabilities" in every single smartwatch they tested, claiming they pose a major security risk for users. The team is concerned by an apparent lack of authorization and authentication provisions, encrypted firmware updates and protection for personal data. When coupled with poor password choices, HP says wearables are as much a target for cyber criminals as muggers on the street. "As the adoption of smartwatches accelerates, the platform will become vastly more attractive to those who would abuse that access, making it critical that we take precautions when transmitting personal data or connecting smartwatches into corporate networks," said HP's Jason Schmitt.
OS X

A Tweet-Sized Exploit Can Get Root On OS X 10.10 129 129

vivaoporto writes: The Register reports a root-level privilege-escalation exploit that allows one to gain administrator-level privileges on an OS X Yosemite Mac using code so small that fits in a tweet. The security bug, documented by iOS and OS X guru Stefan Esserwhich, can be exploited by malware and attackers to gain total control of the computer. This flaw is present in the latest version of Yosemite, OS X 10.10.4, and the beta, version 10.10.5 but is already fixed in the preview beta of El Capitan (OS X 10.11) Speaking of exploits: Reader trailrunner 7 notes that "HP’s Zero Day Initiative has released four new zero days in Internet Explorer that can lead to remote code execution."
Medicine

Tallying the Mistakes and Malfunctions of Robot Surgeons 64 64

An anonymous reader writes: El Reg reports on a new study (PDF) that looked into malfunction and injury reports for medical procedures that used robot surgeons. From 2007 to 2013, 1.74 million such procedures were carried out, 86% of which were related to urology and gynecology. Of those, the study looked at reports of "adverse events," which were sent to the FDA. In that time period, there were 144 deaths, 1,391 patient injuries, and 8,061 device malfunctions. The malfunctions included "falling of burnt/broken pieces of instruments into the patient (14.7%), electrical arcing of instruments (10.5%), unintended operation of instruments (8.6%), system errors (5%), and video/imaging problems (2.6%)."

The more complicated surgeries involving vital organs were naturally the most dangerous. Head and neck surgeries accounted for 19.7% of all adverse results, and cardiothoracic procedures accounted for 6.4%. The much more common urology and gynecology procedures had adverse event rates of 1.4% and 1.9%. The researchers are quick to note that despite the high number of malfunctions, a vastly higher number of robotic procedures went off without a hitch. They say increased adoption of these techniques will go a long way toward resolving bugs and device failures.
Spam

Gmail Spam Filter Changes Bite Linus Torvalds 136 136

An anonymous reader points out The Register's story that recent changes to the spam filters that Google uses to pare down junk in gmail evidently are a bit overzealous. Linus Torvalds, who famously likes to manage by email, and whose email flow includes a lot of mailing lists, isn't happy with it. Ironically perhaps, it was only last week that the Gmail team blogged that its spam filter's rate of false positives is down to less than 0.05 per cent. In his post, Torvalds said his own experience belies that claim, and that around 30 per cent of the mail in his spam box turned out not to be spam. "It's actually at the point where I'm noticing missing messages in the email conversations I see, because Gmail has been marking emails in the middle of the conversation as spam. Things that people replied to and that contained patches and problem descriptions," Torvalds wrote.
Privacy

Red Star Linux Adds Secret Watermarks To Files 100 100

An anonymous reader writes: ERNW security analyst Florian Grunow says that North Korea's Red Star Linux operating system is tracking users by tagging content with unique hidden tags. He particularizes that files including Word documents and JPEG images connected to but not necessarily executed in Red Star will have a tag introduced into its code that includes a number based on hardware serial numbers. Red Star's development team seems to have created some quite interesting custom additions to Linux kernel and userspace, based on which Grunow has written a technical analysis.
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."
United Kingdom

UK Government Releases Rules To Get Self-Driving Cars Onto Public Roads 157 157

rippeltippel writes: Ars Technica UK reports that the UK government has released the rules to get self-driving cars onto public roads. As the article reports, drivers will be required to have "a high level of knowledge about the technology used" (i.e. they'll be techies) and — most notably — will have to mimic the act of driving, to avoid confusing other drivers. The original PDF can be viewed here.
United Kingdom

UK Pilots Want Lithium Battery Powered Devices In the Cabin 69 69

AmiMoJo writes: The professional association and trade union of UK pilots The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), has asked airlines to require travelers to carry devices that run on lithium-based batteries with them in the passenger cabin instead of in checked luggage. The union hoping to address what it considers a significant potential safety risk, baggage fires going unnoticed in the hold. BALPA explains, "when they short circuit, [they] have a tendency to burst into high intensity fires, which are difficult to extinguish." They further point out, "lithium battery fires have caused at least three cargo aircraft crashes and the UN safety regulator has banned a specific type of lithium battery (lithium metal) from being carried as cargo on passenger aircraft."
Piracy

UK Government Proposes 10-Year Copyright Infringement Jail Term 267 267

An anonymous reader writes: According to a BBC report, the UK government is proposing increasing the jail term for copyright infringement from the current two years to 10 years, which they say would "act as a significant deterrent." "The proposed measures are mainly targeted at the distributors of pirated content — the people creating copies of movies, sometimes before release, and uploading them to be downloaded by thousands upon thousands." Another reader notes a related court ruling in the UK which has once again made it illegal to rip lawfully-acquired CDs and DVDs for personal use. "A judge ruled that the government was wrong legally when it decided not to introduce a compensation scheme for songwriters, musicians, and other rights holders who face losses as a result of their copyright being infringed."
EU

Data Store and Spying Laws Found Illegal By EU Court 64 64

WillAffleckUW writes: The EU High Court found the United Kingdom's data retention (and subsequent storage and analysis) and surveillance laws to be illegal throughout the EU, which subsequently would be an argument in courts in Australia and Canada against their own spy laws. This effectively brings back the rule of law that all EU citizens have a right to privacy that is at the Bill of Rights level, not an easily short-circuited legal basis.

"The judges identified two key problems with the law: that it does not provide for independent court or judicial scrutiny to ensure that only data deemed 'strictly necessary' is examined; and that there is no definition of what constitutes 'serious offenses' in relation to which material can be investigated." It is uncertain that this would apply to U.S. spy laws, as a right of privacy is only inferred by U.S. high courts and is not written into constitutions as it is in the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
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."
The Almighty Buck

Cashless Adoption Growing In Europe 294 294

dkatana writes: Many European cities are moving toward a cashless economy. Some public services are not accepting cash anymore, such as parking meters, buses and transit, and city offices. (If you plan to visit Europe make sure your credit card has a chip, or you won't be able to use self-service machines.) Contactless cards, which allow people to pay easily for small transactions, are also gaining popularity. According to Finextra, a leading financial news service, "contactless is the new normal in Europe, with more than a billion tap-and-go purchases worth €12.6 billion on Visa cards in the last 12 months." In some places, cashless options are being pushed by mistrust of the banking system. At the same time, places like Germany are dead set on keeping cash as the preferred method of payment.
Windows

Windows 10 Home Updates To Be Automatic and Mandatory 627 627

AmiMoJo sends a report stating that Windows 10 Home users don't seem to have any way to disable automatic updates to the operating system. Throughout the testing of the Technical Preview, users noted that this option wasn't available, but it wasn't clear whether that was intended for the full release. Now that the suspected RTM build has been distributed, only two options are available regarding update installation: update then reboot automatically, or update then reboot manually. A quote from the EULA seems to support this: "The Software periodically checks for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them for you. ... By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice."

The article notes, "This has immediately raised concerns. Today, if a Windows user finds that an update breaks something that they need, they can generally refuse that update for an extended period. ... For Windows 10 Home users, this isn't going to be an option. If a future update breaks something essential, the user is going to be out of luck." Windows 10 Pro users will be able to delay updates for some period of time, and Enterprise users will have update functionality similar to that of Windows 8.
Android

Commodore PET Smartphone Comes Loaded With C64 and Amiga Emulators 62 62

Mickeycaskill writes: Commodore is launching an Android-powered smartphone that lets 1980s gaming fans play their favourite retro titles. It runs a custom version of Android 5.0 Lollipop and lets you play both old Commodore 64 and Amiga games with its preinstalled VICE C64 and Uae4All2-SDL Amiga emulators. Configurations vary between 2GB and 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of storage, with a 5.5 inch display and 1.7GHz processor included in all versions. The Catch? It's only available in France, Germany, Italy and Poland to begin with, but other markets are set to follow.
Bug

Toyota Recalls 625,000 Hybrid Vehicles Over Software Glitch 56 56

hypnosec writes: Yesterday we discussed news that over 65,000 Range Rovers were being recalled over a software issue. Not to be outdone, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota on Wednesday recalled 625,000 hybrid vehicles globally to fix a different software defect. The automaker said the defect in question might lead to shut down of the hybrid system while the car is being driven. The recall was due to software settings that could result in "higher thermal stress" in parts of a power converter, potentially causing it to become damaged. Toyota dealers will update the software for both the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU in the involved vehicles.