A Government Watchdog May Have Missed Clearview AI Use By Five Federal Agencies

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: A government inquiry into federal agencies’ deployment of facial recognition may have overlooked some organizations’ use of popular biometric identification software Clearview AI, calling into question whether authorities can understand the extent to which the emerging technology has been used by taxpayer-funded entities. In a 92-page report published by the Government Accountability Office on Tuesday, five agencies — the US Capitol Police, the US Probation Office, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Transportation Security Administration, and the Criminal Investigation Division at the Internal Revenue Service — said they didn’t use Clearview AI between April 2018 and March 2020. This, however, contradicts internal Clearview data previously reviewed by BuzzFeed News.

In April, BuzzFeed News revealed that those five agencies were among more than 1,800 US taxpayer-funded entities that had employees who tried or used Clearview AI, based on internal company data. As part of that story, BuzzFeed News published a searchable table disclosing all the federal, state, and city government organizations whose employees are listed in the data as having used the facial recognition software as of February 2020. While the GAO was tasked with “review[ing] federal law enforcement use of facial recognition technology,” the discrepancies between the report, which was based on survey responses and BuzzFeed News’ past reporting, suggest that even the US government may not be equipped to track how its own agencies access to surveillance tools like Clearview. The GAO report surveyed 42 federal agencies in total, 20 of which reported that they either owned their own facial recognition system or used one developed by a third party between April 2018 and March 2020. Ten federal agencies — including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection — said they specifically used Clearview AI.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – A Government Watchdog May Have Missed Clearview AI Use By Five Federal Agencies

Federal judge blocks Florida's social media 'deplatforming' law

Florida’s social media ‘deplatforming’ law that would’ve taken effect on Thursday has been temporarily blocked by a federal court. US District Judge Robert Hinkle has granted a preliminary injunction to stop “the parts of the legislation that are pre-empted or violate the First Amendment” from being enforced, according to AP and The New York Times. The law would give the state the right to fine social media companies like Facebook up to $250,000 a day if they ban or remove the account of a statewide political candidate. They could also be fined up to $25,000 a day for banning a local office candidate.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed the law shortly after Facebook, Instagram and Twitter banned former President Donald Trump. Republican politicians have long accused mainstream social media platforms of having an anti-conservative bias. After the bill successfully went through Florida’s legislative house and senate, DeSantis signed it into law back in May. While the law targets the world’s biggest social networks, the authors made sure Disney+ won’t get caught up in it by making an exemption for theme park owners. As AP notes, the Walt Disney World located outside Orlando is one of the state’s biggest employers. 

The entities that filed the lawsuit to challenge the legislation were NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association — lobbying groups that represent Facebook, Google and other tech giants. Judge Hinkle explained that the plaintiffs would likely win the lawsuit on their claim that the new law violates the First Amendment if the case went to trial.

According to Hinkle:

“The legislation compels providers to host speech that violates their standards — speech they otherwise would not host — and forbids providers from speaking as they otherwise would…

The legislation now at issue was an effort to rein in social-media providers deemed too large and too liberal. Balancing the exchange of ideas among private speakers is not a legitimate governmental interest.”

Source: Engadget – Federal judge blocks Florida’s social media ‘deplatforming’ law

Maine Passes the Strongest State Facial Recognition Ban Yet

The state of Maine now has the most stringent laws regulating government use of facial recognition in the country. The Verge reports: The new law prohibits government use of facial recognition except in specifically outlined situations, with the most broad exception being if police have probable cause that an unidentified person in an image committed a serious crime, or for proactive fraud prevention. Since Maine police will not have access to facial recognition, they will be able to ask the FBI and Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to run these searches.

Crucially, the law plugs loopholes that police have used in the past to gain access to the technology, like informally asking other agencies or third parties to run backchannel searches for them. Logs of all facial recognition searches by the BMV must be created and are designated as public records. The only other state-wide facial recognition law was enacted by Washington in 2020, but many privacy advocates were dissatisfied with the specifics of the law. Maine’s new law also gives citizens the ability to sue the state if they’ve been unlawfully targeted by facial recognition, which was notably absent from Washington’s regulation. If facial recognition searches are performed illegally, they must be deleted and cannot be used as evidence. In response to this new law, the ACLU said: “Maine is showing the rest of the country what it looks like when we the people are in control of our civil rights and civil liberties, not tech companies that stand to profit from widespread government use of face surveillance technology.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Maine Passes the Strongest State Facial Recognition Ban Yet

How a college student founded a free and open source operating system

Jim Hall is best known as the computer programmer who founded the FreeDOS project. Jim began the project in 1994 as a replacement for MS-DOS while he was still a student at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. Jim created FreeDOS in response to Microsoft ending support for MS-DOS in 1994. Recently Jim agreed to an email interview. Correspondent Joshua Allen Holm joined me in posing the following questions to Jim.Don Watkins: What kind of skill set invites you to write your own operating system?read more

Source: LXer – How a college student founded a free and open source operating system

'Great Resignation' Gains Steam As Return-To-Work Plans Take Effect

In what’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” a whopping 95% of workers are now considering changing jobs, and 92% are even willing to switch industries to find the right position, according to a recent report by jobs site Monster.com. CNBC reports: Most say burnout and lack of growth opportunities are what is driving the shift, Monster found. “When we were in the throes of the pandemic, so many people buckled down, now what we’re seeing is a sign of confidence,” said Scott Blumsack, senior vice president of research and insights at Monster. Already, a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department. At the same time, there are more opportunities for job seekers — with the Labor Department reporting a record 9.3 million job openings as of the latest tally. “The number of open jobs is higher than ever before, that’s absolutely contributing to why candidates are putting their toe in the water to see what’s out there,” Blumsack said.

As Covid vaccinations gain steam, so are plans to return to the office, which is driving more workers to consider their options. In a survey of more than 350 CEOs and human resources and finance leaders, 70% said they plan to have employees back in the office by the fall of this year — if not sooner — according to a report by staffing firm LaSalle Network. Of the companies that are planning for office reentry, managing employees who want to continue working remotely is a top concern, LaSalle Network found. “If we see a wave of employees leaving, companies are going to have to figure it out,” Reitan said. The report goes on to cite a separate survey from McKinsey that says 9 out of 10 organizations will now be combining remote and on-site working.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – ‘Great Resignation’ Gains Steam As Return-To-Work Plans Take Effect

Sea of Thieves: A Pirate's Life Has A Very Fun Easter Egg

The whole point of Sea of Thieves: A Pirates Life was that it served as a crossover event between Rare’s pirate game and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series. But tucked away at the end of the expansion is a secret that has nothing to do with Captain Jack Sparrow, or really Sea of Thieves for that matter.

Read more…

Source: Kotaku – Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life Has A Very Fun Easter Egg

Intel's New Optane SSD P5800X Is the Fastest SSD Drive Ever Made

MojoKid writes: Intel recently shifted its storage strategy somewhat and is now catering its flagship Optane SSD P5800X, which was formerly targeted solely at data centers, to workstation users. The Optane SSD P5800X is based on a proprietary PCIe Gen 4×4 native controller and it features Intel’s second-generation Intel Optane memory. In terms of performance, in some of the first benchmark numbers to hit the web, the drive is an absolute beast in the workloads that matter most for the vast majority of workstation users and enthusiasts. Random reads and writes are exceptionally good and access times at low queue depths are best-of-class. The Optane SSD P5800X’s sequential transfers, while strong, aren’t quite on the same level as some of today’s fastest NAND-based PCIe 4 solid state drives, but they do exceed 7GB/s, which is still extremely fast. Overall, it’s essentially the fastest SSD ever made. Endurance is off the charts too. However, all of that SSD horsepower comes at a price though, at a little over $2.50 per Gig and over $2,000 for an 800GB drive. With capacities of 400GB, 800GB and 1.6TB, the new Intel Optane SSD P5800X is shipping and available now.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Intel’s New Optane SSD P5800X Is the Fastest SSD Drive Ever Made

Intel Crocus, Linux 5.13, Other Vendor Happenings Made For An Exciting June

During this past month on Phoronix were 242 original Linux/open-source/hardware related news articles written by your’s truly and another 18 featured Linux hardware reviews / featured benchmark articles. This month also marked Phoronix.com turning seventeen years old for delivering Linux hardware reviews and news…

Source: Phoronix – Intel Crocus, Linux 5.13, Other Vendor Happenings Made For An Exciting June

Federal Judge Puts Hold On Florida's Anti-Deplatforming Law

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday against a Florida law that would fine social media companies $250,000 a day for banning political candidates, saying that the law likely violates tech companies’ first amendment rights.

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – Federal Judge Puts Hold On Florida’s Anti-Deplatforming Law

IBM's 18-Month Company-Wide Email System Migration Has Been a Disaster

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: IBM’s planned company-wide email migration has gone off the rails, leaving many employees unable to use email or schedule calendar events. And this has been going on for several days. Current and former IBMers have confirmed to The Register that the migration, 18 months in the making, has been a disaster. We’ve been told that email service has been intermittent for the past four or five days, and not everyone has been affected in the same way. Lack of access has been shorter for some — one source told us email was back after two days of downtime. Slack is said to be working though Outlook, Verse (IBM’s webmail), and Notes have been unreliable.

“Outlook won’t work with the new system, IBM Notes won’t work and the online email called Verse has now gone down,” a tipster told us. “Everyone has been affected and no fix is in sight.” One source we spoke with laid the blame on IBM CFO James Kavanaugh for cutting costs and not hiring the right people. Over the weekend, a source told us, a blog post to IBM’s internal network w3 said the migration had been planned for 18 months and that everything should go fine provided everyone follows the instructions emailed to them. Evidently, this did not happen. Since then, a banner has gone up on w3 pointing people to a Slack channel for updates on the situation, and IBM’s CIO has posted a note to employees addressing the problems. Presently, the w3 status page returns an error. We’re told that the migration plan followed from IBM’s decision in 2018 to sell various software products, including Notes, to India-based HCL Technologies. Following the sale, Big Blue didn’t want its data on HCL’s servers. “They were transitioning to IBM-owned servers,” one source told us. “That’s where it broke down.” There’s also concern that “disappeared messages may not be restored,” says The Register. “We’ve even heard that IBM employees have been approached by recruiters posing questions like, ‘Why are you still at IBM? They can’t even get email straight.'”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – IBM’s 18-Month Company-Wide Email System Migration Has Been a Disaster

Final Fantasy XIII Mods Make 2009 Game Look Brand New

It’s been a very long time since I’ve checked in on Final Fantasy XIII—like, over a decade—but the game had a PC version released back in 2014, which means modders have had some time to work with it in the meantime. And do incredible things.

Read more…

Source: Kotaku – Final Fantasy XIII Mods Make 2009 Game Look Brand New

The X-Men's Trial of Magneto Begins With Tragedy at the Hellfire Gala

Though the Scarlet Witch hasn’t technically been a mutant for some time now in Marvel’s comics, the Hellfire Gala event and its many invitations to non-mutant guests of the X-Men left little question as to whether the so-called “great pretender” would make an appearance at the function.

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – The X-Men’s Trial of Magneto Begins With Tragedy at the Hellfire Gala