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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: High-Tech

seattlepi.com: Technology News From the Associated Press





 



UK: Attacker used WhatsApp, firm must help police get access

Sun, 26 Mar 2017 17:38:41 UT

British press reports suggest Masood used the messaging service owned by Facebook just minutes before the Wednesday rampage that left three pedestrians and one police officer dead and dozens more wounded. Home Secretary Amber Rudd used appearances on BBC and Sky News to urge WhatsApp and other encrypted services to make their platforms accessible to intelligence services and police trying to carrying out lawful eavesdropping. [...] her call for a "back door" system to allow authorities to retrieve information is likely to meet resistance from the tech industry, which has faced previous law enforcement demands for access to data after major attacks. Rudd said attacks like Masood's would be easier to prevent if authorities could penetrate encrypted services after obtaining warrants similar to the ones used to listen in on telephone calls or — in snail mail days — to steam open letters and read their contents. The Islamic State group, which is losing territory in Iraq and Syria but still has radical followers in other parts of the world, has claimed Masood was a "soldier" carrying out its wishes to attack Western countries.



Vehicle attacks: Easy success for IS, a challenge for police

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:34:11 UT

Experts say attacks in which cars or trucks are driven into popular pedestrian areas present a unique challenge for law enforcement officials as they are nearly impossible to predict and easy to pull off. Four people were killed and dozens wounded Wednesday in London with this tactic — the worst attack on British soil since the transport network bombings on July 7, 2005. Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, says what makes such attacks so frightening is the relatively low barriers to entry. Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence group, says it is almost impossible for law enforcement agencies to stop IS-inspired attacks, especially vehicular-style ones like the one in London. Since 2014, this simple but effective attack has been promoted in IS propaganda online. Two weeks later, an Ohio State University student rammed his car into pedestrians on campus and then got out and started stabbing people with a butcher knife before being gunned down by a police officer. The devastating potential of such violence was dramatically illustrated last summer in the French beach town of Nice when a cargo truck took to the crowds celebrating Bastille Day in an attack that left 86 people dead and hundreds wounded.



Self-driving Uber SUV struck during Arizona accident

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 18:26:28 UT

(AP) — Officials say a self-driving Uber SUV was operating on its own when it was struck by another vehicle making a left turn at an intersection in Arizona, where the company is testing autonomous vehicles. Police in Tempe say the self-driving SUV was obeying the law and the driver in the other car who didn't yield was cited for a moving violation after the Friday night crash.



California air regulators vote to keep tough fuel standards

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:39:12 UT

Environmental groups predict Trump will weaken the standards that were affirmed in the waning days of the Obama administration to control greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. [...] if Trump relaxes the standards, California and the other states likely would keep the 36 mpg rule in place, potentially creating two standards. Since about 40 percent of the nation's vehicles are in states that follow California rules, automakers might conform to them rather than build two different vehicles for the U.S. market.



More big brands pull ads from YouTube in widening boycott

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:15:19 UT

PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores and Starbucks on Friday confirmed that they have also suspended their advertising on YouTube after the Wall Street Journal found Google's automated programs placed their brands on five videos containing racist content. The company has pledged to hire more people to review videos and develop even more sophisticated programs to teach its computers to figure out which clips would be considered to be too despicable for advertising. "The content with which we are being associated is appalling and completely against our company values," Wal-Mart said in a Friday statement. Besides suspending their spending on YouTube, Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and several other companies have said they will stop buying ads that Google places on more than two million other third-party websites.



Trump touts jobs commitment first made in 2015

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 19:19:07 UT

Other major companies including General Motors and Ford have allowed Trump to take credit for job decisions that either pre-date his election or involve market forces outside the administration's direct control. [...] after meeting with Trump in the Oval Office Friday, Rutledge credited the administration's call to reduce regulations and corporate tax rates for contributing to the hiring decision. Venech also said the $25 billion investment was new, although market analysts were expecting the company to spend roughly $30 billion on capital expenditures, such as buying cable boxes and maintaining its network, through 2020.



Apple: Software flaws in latest WikiLeaks docs are all fixed

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:11:30 UT

Security experts say the exploits described in the WikiLeaks documents are plausible, but suggest they pose little threat to typical users. Besides being likely out of date, the techniques also typically require physical access to devices, something the CIA would use only for targeted individuals, not a broader population. The leaks Thursday came about two weeks after WikiLeaks published thousands of alleged CIA documents describing hacking tools it said the government employed to break into computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung. [...] far, we have not received any information from them that isn't in the public domain.



Senate votes to kill privacy rules guarding your online info

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:02:43 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The Senate voted to kill Obama-era online privacy regulations , a first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell your browsing habits and other personal information as they expand their own online ad businesses. "Advertisers and marketers are lining up to get access to all the information that's now available about us," said Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, which advocates for tougher internet privacy measures. [...] proponents of the privacy measure argued that the company that sells you your internet connection can see even more about you: every website you visit, every app that sends or receives data, everyone you email and many that you message. The Trump-appointed chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a critic of the broadband privacy rules and has said he wants to roll them back , along with other Obama-era policies meant to protect consumers and promote competition. "At the FCC, consumers are much more protected with strong privacy rules that give (internet service providers) clear rules as to what's fair and what's foul," Dallas Harris, a policy fellow with consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, said last month.



WikiLeaks: CIA hacked Apple devices in ways users can't fix

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:29:03 UT

"The most notable part of this latest WikiLeaks release is that it shows the CIA doing exactly what we pay them to — exploit specific targets with limited attacks to support our national interests," said Rich Mogull, CEO of the security research firm Securosis. The CIA has not commented on the authenticity of this and earlier WikiLeaks revelations, but has previously said it complies with a legal prohibition against electronic surveillance "targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans." The leaks Thursday come about two weeks after WikiLeaks published thousands of alleged CIA documents describing hacking tools it said the government employed to break into computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung. Doing so wipes out all apps and the operating system and installs a clean version; it is an extreme measure sometimes used to deal with technical problems, but is also the sort of step that someone suspicious of surveillance might take when getting a brand new phone. A December 2008 document describes "NightSkies," a tool apparently designed to target the iPhone 3G; the document claims it can retrieve files such as contact lists and call logs and execute other commands.



17,000 AT&T workers will come back on the job Thursday

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:36:23 UT

A Communications Workers of America union local official had said Wednesday that AT&T was asking technicians who install cable to also work outside maintaining phone and cable wires, which is a higher-paid job. AT&T says its agreement with the union "clarified some work processes on assignments for a group of technicians."



ABC News says 3 of its Twitter accounts were hacked

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:50:34 UT

San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. declined to comment, saying that it does not discuss individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. In 2015, Newsweek, The New York Post and UPI's Twitter feed, as well as Twitter and YouTube accounts of the U.S. military's Central Command, were hacked.



Google's YouTube losing major advertisers upset with videos

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:54:26 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — AT&T, Verizon and several other major advertisers are suspending their marketing campaigns on Google's YouTube site after discovering their brands have been appearing alongside videos promoting terrorism and other unsavory subjects. YouTube's popularity stems from its massive and eclectic library of video, spanning everything from polished TV clips to raw diatribes posted by people bashing homosexuals. [...] Google can ensure this won't happen again, we are removing our ads from Google's non-search platforms. In its statement, Verizon said it decided to pull ads from YouTube to protect its website while it investigates the "weak links" among its digital advertising partners.



For some airline passengers, new warnings bring new hurdles

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:50:05 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — As far as the indignities of modern air travel go, the latest ban on laptops and tablets on some international flights falls somewhere between taking off shoes at the security checkpoint and testing baby food and milk for bomb residue. "Why are only Middle Eastern airlines subject to this ban?" asked Kelsey Norman, a doctoral student who plans to fly home Friday to Los Angeles from Beirut — and expects to have to check her laptop, a Kindle tablet and her DSLR camera. New restrictions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibit the transportation in carry-on baggage of laptop computers, tablets, Kindles, some gaming devices, cameras and other electronics larger than a smartphone. People can still bring with them to their seat items like smartphones, duffel bags, coats, small bottles of hand lotion, snacks, earplugs and other small items. Features can be limited for some apps; Microsoft's Office app, for instance, allows users to open only one document at a time. Last fall, Samsung asked users of its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 to "power down and stop using the device" on planes. [...] he worries about laptop lithium-ion batteries — which have been blamed for past aircraft fires — stored in the plane's cargo hold.



UN atomic chief: Iran inspections at risk without more money

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:52:24 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The inspections regime put in place to closely monitor Iran's nuclear activity is in jeopardy unless the U.S. and other nations contribute more money, the head of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday. Yukiya Amano, the agency's director general, said he used his visit to Washington to make the case for an increase to the Trump administration and to U.S. lawmakers who control the federal budget. Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to limits on its ability to enrich uranium and strict monitoring to ensure compliance, in exchange for easing of economic sanctions. Trump, during the presidential campaign, threatened to scuttle the deal or to renegotiate it, and as recently as this week said that "nobody" could figure out why President Barack Obama signed it.



17,000 AT&T workers in California and Nevada go on strike

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:47:11 UT

AT&T is asking technicians who install cable to also work outside maintaining phone and cable wires, which is a higher-paid job, said Sheila Bordeaux, who works in an AT&T call center and is an executive board member of the union local that covers Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Verizon agreed to add new call center jobs and promised raises but also adopted some cheaper health insurance plans.