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Project Nightingale: Google probed over US patient data deal

BBC Technology News - November 13, 2019 - 12:17pm
Regulator says it will examine the details of Google's deal with a major healthcare firm in the US.

EPA still moving to limit science used to support regulations

Ars Technica - November 13, 2019 - 2:00am

Enlarge / Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler. (credit: Win McNamee / Getty)

Former Texas Congressman Lamar Smith may have retired in January, but his ideas still stalk the halls of the US Environmental Protection Agency. The New York Times reported Monday that the latest incarnation of Smith's quest to change the science the EPA can use for its rule making is moving forward.

Smith had unsuccessfully pushed a bill called the "Secret Science Reform Act," which would have required the EPA to consider only those studies with data that is "publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results." He claimed that opponents of regulations were often unable to audit the science underlying the regulations—although those opponents could, of course, have done their own science.

Limiting science

The scientific community noted that this requirement would have the effect of excluding quite a lot of relevant science published in peer-reviewed journals. In particular, research on the public health impacts of pollutants is only possible through the use of confidential health data. There are systems in place to give researchers controlled access to that data, but releasing it to the public is simply not an option, and doing so very well might violate other federal rules.

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Adobe readies for the age of smart glasses and deepfakes

BBC Technology News - November 13, 2019 - 1:49am
Richard Taylor looks at what is new at the LA Adobe Max Creative Conference for BBC Click.

The world finally has an approved vaccine against Ebola

Ars Technica - November 13, 2019 - 1:12am

Enlarge / A man receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse outside the Afia Himbi Health Center on July 15, 2019, in Goma. (credit: Getty | PAMELA TULIZO )

Regulators in Europe have granted the world's first approval of a vaccine against Ebola—and health officials are wasting no time in rolling it out.

The European Commission announced at the start of the week that it had granted a landmark marketing authorization of Merck's Ebola vaccine Ervebo. The vaccine has been in the works since the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak. It is now being used in the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo based on a "compassionate use" protocol.

The current outbreak in the DRC has killed nearly 2,200 since August 2018, causing nearly 3,300 cases. The outbreak is the second-largest recorded, surpassed only by the 2014 West African outbreak that caused more than 11,000 deaths and 28,000 cases.

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Comic for November 12, 2019

Dilbert - November 13, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

IRS Identifies 'Dozens' of New Crypto, Cybercriminals

Slashdot - November 13, 2019 - 12:15am
Categories: Geek, Opinion

US violated Constitution by searching phones for no good reason, judge rules

Ars Technica - November 13, 2019 - 12:09am

Enlarge / US Customs and Border Protection agents participate in a training exercise at a vehicle entry point along the border with Mexico on November 5, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Andrew Cullen)

The United States government violated the Fourth Amendment with its suspicionless searches of international travelers' phones and laptops, a federal court ruled today.

The ruling came in a case filed "on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at US ports of entry," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said today. The ACLU teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to fight the government on behalf of plaintiffs including 10 US citizens and one lawful permanent resident.

The order from a US District Court in Massachusetts limits what searches can be made by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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How does Plume get all these ISP partnerships? Open source software

Ars Technica - November 12, 2019 - 11:23pm

Yesterday, Charter Communications*—the second-largest ISP in the United States—announced its adoption of the OpenSync software platform for Spectrum's advanced in-home Wi-Fi. This raises a few questions, first of which is "what's OpenSync?"

The short answer is "Plume," which in turn means that Plume now has partnerships with the first- and second-largest ISPs in the United States, as well as the first- and second-largest in Canada—and also with the National Cable Television Collective (NCTC), a membership organization comprising several hundred independent US cable companies.

Earlier this month, we covered the announcement of a Plume partnership with J:COM, Japan's largest ISP. In that coverage, we referenced tighter integration into ISPs' existing infrastructure than better-known mesh alternatives such as Eero, Google (now Nest) Wi-Fi, or Orbi can provide. OpenSync is where that tighter integration comes from.

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Tesla announces its next car factory will be near Berlin

Ars Technica - November 12, 2019 - 10:29pm

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla's next "Gigafactory" will be in the Berlin area, Elon Musk announced at an event in Germany on Tuesday evening. Techcrunch's Kirsten Korosec reports that Musk made the comments during an on-stage conversation with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess at the Golden Steering Wheel awards show.

The original Gigafactory was Tesla's massive battery factory in Nevada. Musk dubbed it a "Gigafactory" because it was designed to produce batteries with gigawatt-hours of storage capacity. Batteries are made in Nevada and then shipped to Tesla's car factory in Fremont, California, for final assembly.

When Tesla built a car manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, the company dubbed that "Gigafactory 3." (Tesla's beleaguered solar panel factory in Buffalo, NY, is Gigafactory 2.) Tesla took a more integrated approach in China, building batteries and cars in the same facility.

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Amazon gains unfair edge by making sellers use its shipping, complaint says

Ars Technica - November 12, 2019 - 10:15pm

Enlarge / The Amazon logo at the entrance of a logistics center in France, July 2019. (credit: Denis Charlet | AFP | Getty )

Amazon has come quite a way from when it was just an online bookstore, but it still operates a booming retail business among all its other ventures. A majority of the retail products sold on Amazon aren't actually sold by Amazon at all but rather by its sprawling network of third-party "marketplace" vendors. The company's relationships with those vendors, foreign and domestic, are at the center of a web of investigations and criticism.

Third-party retailers accounted for about 58% of Amazon's retail activity in 2018, company CEO Jeff Bezos said earlier this year, and they sold a cumulative $160 billion worth of goods. But those goods are sold in a "flea market" environment with minimal quality control, leading to ubiquitous counterfeits or recalled goods available for sale from fly-by-night merchants. If something goes wrong with your sale, getting recourse from these sellers is impossible.

Risky imports

All those kinda shady Amazon listings from companies in China you never heard of? They're not a bug, The Wall Street Journal reports today. They're a feature, present by design.

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