FCC Explains How Net Neutrality Will Be Protected Without Net Neutrality Rules

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is still on track to eliminate net neutrality rules this Thursday, but the commission said today that it has a new plan to protect consumers after the repeal. The FCC and Federal Trade Commission released a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) describing how the agencies will work together to make sure ISPs keep their net neutrality promises. After the repeal, there won’t be any rules preventing ISPs from blocking or throttling Internet traffic. ISPs will also be allowed to charge websites and online services for faster and more reliable network access. In short, ISPs will be free to do whatever they want — unless they make specific promises to avoid engaging in specific types of anti-competitive or anti-consumer behavior. When companies make promises and break them, the FTC can punish them for deceiving consumers. That’s what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen are counting on. “Instead of saddling the Internet with heavy-handed regulations, we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors,” Pai said in a joint announcement with the FTC today.

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Source: Slashdot – FCC Explains How Net Neutrality Will Be Protected Without Net Neutrality Rules

Ford exec: Hybrids are better suited for self-driving cars than EVs

Automakers like Nissan and Mercedes-Benz, as well as Lyft, have been bundling their autonomous car experiments into electric vehicles. But Ford will keep one foot in fossil fuels, at least for now. An executive from the company told Automotive News t…

Source: Engadget – Ford exec: Hybrids are better suited for self-driving cars than EVs

In-Store WiFi Provider Used Starbucks Website To Generate Monero Coins

hjf writes: On December 2nd, Twitter user Noah Dinkin tweeted a screenshot that showed that Starbucks’ in-store “free WiFi” is using their captive portal to briefly mine the Monero cryptocurrency during the 10-second delay splash screen. Starbucks has not yet responded to the tweet, and neither has their wifi provider, Fibertel Argentina. While Dinkin mentioned that the culprit behind the scheme could be Starbucks’ in-store wifi provider, it’s possible that a cybercriminal could have hacked their website to place CoinHive code secretly. HackRead notes that “just a few days ago researchers identified more than 5,000 sites that were hijacked to insert CoinHive code, yet Starbucks’ direct involvement is still unclear.” CoinHive is a company that produces a JavaScript miner for the Monero Blockchain that you can embed in your website. Any coins mined by the browser are sent to the owner of the website.

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Source: Slashdot – In-Store WiFi Provider Used Starbucks Website To Generate Monero Coins

American Express will stop requiring signatures for purchases

Mastercard and Discover both announced in recent months that, starting next year, they would no longer require signatures for credit card transactions. Now, the Verge reports, American Express has announced it’s also moving away from signatures. As o…

Source: Engadget – American Express will stop requiring signatures for purchases

AI-Assisted Fake Porn Is Here and We're All Screwed

New submitter samleecole shares a report from Motherboard: There’s a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet. But it’s not really Gadot’s body, and it’s barely her own face. It’s an approximation, face-swapped to look like she’s performing in an existing incest-themed porn video. The video was created with a machine learning algorithm, using easily accessible materials and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together. It’s not going to fool anyone who looks closely. Sometimes the face doesn’t track correctly and there’s an uncanny valley effect at play, but at a glance it seems believable. It’s especially striking considering that it’s allegedly the work of one person — a Redditor who goes by the name ‘deepfakes’ — not a big special effects studio that can digitally recreate a young Princess Leia in Rouge One using CGI. Instead, deepfakes uses open-source machine learning tools like TensorFlow, which Google makes freely available to researchers, graduate students, and anyone with an interest in machine learning. Anyone could do it, and that should make everyone nervous.

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Source: Slashdot – AI-Assisted Fake Porn Is Here and We’re All Screwed

Microsoft’s Q# quantum programming language out now in preview

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft today launched a preview version of a new programming language for quantum computing called Q#. The industry giant also launched a quantum simulator that developers can use to test and debug their quantum algorithms.

The language and simulator were announced in September. The then-unnamed language was intended to bring traditional programming concepts—functions, variables, and branches, along with a syntax-highlighted development environment complete with quantum debugger—to quantum computing, a field that has hitherto built algorithms from wiring up logic gates. Microsoft’s hope is that this selection of tools, along with the training material and documentation, will open up quantum computing to more than just physicists.

Given that quantum computers are still rare, Microsoft has built an as-yet-unnamed quantum simulator to run those quantum programs. The local version, released as part of the preview, can support programs using up to 32 quantum bits (qubits), using some 32GB of RAM. Microsoft is also offering an Azure version of the simulator, scaling up to 40 qubits.

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Source: Ars Technica – Microsoft’s Q# quantum programming language out now in preview

Here's A Cheap And Easy Way To Give Your Old Car A USB Plug That Actually Looks Good

You can buy a USB adapter for your car’s 12 volt cig lighter plug for a couple bucks. But if you spend just a tiny bit more time and money, you can have a charging port that looks clean enough to have come from the factory.

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Source: LifeHacker – Here’s A Cheap And Easy Way To Give Your Old Car A USB Plug That Actually Looks Good

Fake pr0n with AI is Easy Peasy

I would not suggest you clicking this link at work, even though the story at the end of it is actually incredibly interesting. Long story short: It is not a problem to stick someone else’s face on someone else’s body in a pr0n movie. It is far from perfect, but as the creator is quoted as saying, “This is no longer rocket science.” I guess that means we have to get back out the Avatar fleshlight for our next HardForum feature film.



Someone used an algorithm to paste the face of ‘Wonder Woman’ star Gal Gadot onto a porn video, and the implications are terrifying.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Fake pr0n with AI is Easy Peasy

Google’s “AR Stickers” app launches, puts Star Wars characters in your camera

Google’s push to bring Augmented Reality to the masses hit a big milestone today with the launch of the “AR Stickers” app. Google has been doing Augmented Reality for some time now with the hardware-packed Project Tango devices, but AR Stickers is the first app in Google’s new AR strategy, which revolves around ARCore. ARCore is a reworked augmented reality framework that can do many of the Tango AR tricks but without all the extra hardware.

AR Stickers is out now in the Play Store for the Pixel 1 and Pixel 2. The app is a new mode in the Google Camera that allows you to drop various 3D characters into the camera feed. ARCore will map out the nearest horizontal plane, like a floor or table, and ground the characters in real life. You can move the camera around, take pictures, and record video.

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Source: Ars Technica – Google’s “AR Stickers” app launches, puts Star Wars characters in your camera

Apple Buys Shazam To Boost Apple Music

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple agreed to acquire music-identification service Shazam, taking ownership of one of the first apps to demonstrate the power of the iPhone, recognizing songs after hearing just a few bars of a tune. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but a person familiar with the situation said Apple is paying about $400 million for the U.K.-based startup. That would be one of Apple’s largest acquisitions ever, approaching the size of its 1996 purchase of Next Computer Inc. which brought co-founder Steve Jobs back to the company. That transaction would be worth more than $600 million in today’s dollars. The Shazam app uses the microphone on a smartphone or computer to identify almost any song playing nearby, then points users to places they can listen to it in future, such as Apple Music or Google’s YouTube.

“Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users,” Apple said in an emailed statement on Monday. “We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS,” Apple also said. “Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms.” The acquisition would help Apple embed that capability more deeply into its music offerings. The company’s digital assistant Siri gained Shazam integration in 2014, so users could ask it what song is playing in the background.

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Source: Slashdot – Apple Buys Shazam To Boost Apple Music

Keep Your AirPods in Your Ears With This Hack 

Apple’s one-size-fits-all AirPods design may work for most people, but if you have particularly large ears you may be struggling to keep your wireless earbuds secure. Don’t worry, you’re not alone—and one Apple fan found a clever way to fix the problem.

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Source: LifeHacker – Keep Your AirPods in Your Ears With This Hack 

FCC and FTC outline how they’ll cooperate after net neutrality vote

The FCC is scheduled to vote on its proposal to roll back net neutrality protections on December 14th and ahead of that vote, the FCC and FTC have released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding each agency’s role in policing internet service…

Source: Engadget – FCC and FTC outline how they’ll cooperate after net neutrality vote

Google app experiments push the limits of phone photography

Google doesn’t want to limit its photographic prowess to its own phones — it just released an initial batch of “appsperiments” that use the company’s knack for computer vision and other technologies to test the boundaries of phone photography. Stor…

Source: Engadget – Google app experiments push the limits of phone photography

Dutch police retire convocation of drone-catching eagles

Police in the Netherlands may have been a tad too hasty in testing a squadron of drone-catching eagles. NOS has learned that Dutch law enforcement officials are retiring the birds (they’re going to new homes) and winding down the program. Not surpr…

Source: Engadget – Dutch police retire convocation of drone-catching eagles

President Trump Is Sending NASA Back To The Moon

President Trump has formally told NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon. From a report: “The directive I’m signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” he said. Standing at the president’s side as he signed “Space Policy Directive 1” on Monday was Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, one of the last two humans to ever walk on the moon, in a mission that took place 45 years ago this week. Since that time, no human has ventured out beyond low-Earth orbit. NASA doesn’t even have its own space vehicle, having retired the space shuttles in 2011. Americans currently ride up to the international space station in Russian capsules, though private space taxis are expected to start ferrying them up as soon as next year.

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Source: Slashdot – President Trump Is Sending NASA Back To The Moon

How to Use Imgur Snacks, the App's New Stories-Style Feature

Snapchat may have invented the Stories format, but it didn’t take long for the rest of the internet to steal the idea. Now even Imgur, the meme haven originally created as an image-hosting service for Reddit, is offering its own take on Stories with a new feature called Snacks.

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Source: LifeHacker – How to Use Imgur Snacks, the App’s New Stories-Style Feature