Here's OpenStack Platform 17 – aka what Red Hat hopes your network operator will one day use

The project with the thumbs up from CERN … and China. Red Hat has released the latest iteration of its OpenStack Platform 17, with a strong slant towards network operators building out modern infrastructure such as that needed to deliver 4G and 5G services.…

Source: LXer – Here’s OpenStack Platform 17 – aka what Red Hat hopes your network operator will one day use

NYPD Considers Using Encryption To Block Public From Radio Scanner Broadcasts

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: The NYPD says it wants to reimagine its current police communication system and transition to encrypted messages by 2024, according to a recent amNY report confirmed by Gizmodo. While law enforcement has spent years fighting to make encryption less accessible for everyday people, police think they need a little more privacy. Critics worry a turn towards encryption by law enforcement could reduce transparency, hamstring the news media, and potentially jeopardize the safety of protestors looking to stay a step ahead.

According to amNY, the NYPD’s new plan would allow law enforcement officers discretion on whether or not to publicly disclose newsworthy incidents. That means the NYPD essentially would get to dictate the truth unchallenged in a number of potentially sensitive local stories. The report suggests police are floating the idea of letting members of the news media monitor certain radio transmissions through an NYPD-controlled mobile app. There’s a catch though. According to the report, the app would send radio information with a delay. Users may also have to pay a subscription fee to use the service, the paper said.

The NYPD confirmed its planning a “systems upgrade” in the coming years in an email to Gizmodo. “The NYPD is undergoing a systems upgrade that is underway and that will be complete after 2024,” a spokesperson for the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information said. “This infrastructure upgrade allows the NYPD to transmit in either an encrypted or non-encrypted format,” the NYPD said. “Some parts of the city have had the necessary equipment installed and the Department will begin testing the technology in these areas later this year. We are currently evaluating encryption best practices and will communicate new policies and procedures as we roll out this upgraded technology.” The spokesperson claimed the department intends to listen to and consider the needs of the news media during the transition process.
“The entire public safety news coverage system depends on scanners, and if scanners and scanner traffic are no longer available to newsrooms then news reporting about crime, fire — it’s going to be very hit or miss,” CaliforniansAware General Counsel Terry Francke told the Reporters Committee in a blog post.

“Cutting off the media from getting emergency transmissions represents the clearest regression of the NYPD policy of transparency in its history,” New York Press Photographers Association President Bruce Cotler said in an interview with amNY. “We believe shutting down radio transmissions is a danger to the public and to the right of the public to know about important events.”

Gizmodo notes that New York joins a growing list of cities considering encrypting radio communications. “Denver, Baltimore, Virginia Beach, Sioux City, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin have all moved to implement the technology in recent years.”

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Source: Slashdot – NYPD Considers Using Encryption To Block Public From Radio Scanner Broadcasts

Tesla shows off underwhelming human robot prototype at AI Day 2022

Elon Musk Unveils Prototype of Humanoid Optimus Robot

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed a prototype of a humanoid robot that he said utilizes the company’s AI software, as well as the sensors that power its advanced driver assist features. The Verge reports: The robot was showcased at Tesla’s AI Day, and reps said it features the same technology used to enable the Full Self-Driving beta in Tesla’s cars. According to Musk, it can do more than what has been shown, but “the first time it walked without a tether was tonight on stage.” Musk said they’re targeting a price of “probably less than $20,000.” The back doors of the stage open to reveal a deconstructed Optimus that walked forward and did a “raise the roof” dance move. Musk would admit after the motion that they wanted to keep it safe and not make too many moves on stage and have it “fall flat on its face.” “It’ll be a fundamental transformation for civilization as we know it.” said Musk.

Afterward, the company showed a few video clips of the robot doing other tasks like picking up boxes. Then Tesla’s team brought out another prototype that has its body fully assembled but not fully functional. […] Future applications could include cooking, gardening, or even “catgirl” sex partners, Musk has said, while also claiming that production could start as soon as next year. Musk says the robot is “the most important product development we’re doing this year,” predicting that it will have the potential to be “more significant than the vehicle business over time.”

Musk first announced the “Tesla Bot” at last year’s AI Day.

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Source: Slashdot – Elon Musk Unveils Prototype of Humanoid Optimus Robot

Bush-Era Torture Apologist Steps Down From Call Of Duty Publisher

In a past life, Frances Townsend defended the legal basis for the torture method called waterboarding during George W. Bush’s war on terror. In a more recent one, she helped lead Activision Blizzard’s initially tone-deaf response to a major sexual harassment lawsuit by the state of California. Now she’s stepping down…

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Source: Kotaku – Bush-Era Torture Apologist Steps Down From Call Of Duty Publisher

SF To Feds: Cruise Driverless Cars Keep Blocking Our Roads

After years of lobbying the state to increase regulations on autonomous vehicles, San Francisco officials are taking their case to the feds. San Francisco Examiner reports: The directors of The City’s two main transportation agencies outlined their concerns about Cruise’s driverless cars in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding Cruise’s application to deploy a custom-built autonomous vehicle. In it, San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority Director Jeffrey Tumlin and San Francisco County Transportation Authority Director Tilly Chang provide a comprehensive overview of disruptive and unsafe incidents that they say Cruise cars precipitated. The letter, sent on Sept. 21, comes as Cruise’s driverless cars continue to stop in the middle of San Francisco’s streets for extended periods of time, often in groups, blocking traffic until they can be remotely restarted or manually retrieved by Cruise staff. Over the past week, there were at least four such incidents, including one that delayed a couple of KRON4 reporters.

The City’s letter to NHTSA provides specific data on these incidents. Between May 29 and Sept. 5 of this year, 28 incidents of stopped Cruise cars blocking traffic were reported to 911. The City identified an additional 20 such incidents reported on social media over that time period, which does not include the events of the past week. The City estimates that these figures represent “a fraction of actual travel lane road failures,” since most of these events take place late at night, when Cruise offers its driverless ride-hailing service, and when few other people are on the streets. In light of these concerns, The City requests several new regulations on autonomous vehicles from NHTSA.

San Francisco’s letter is in response to a petition by General Motors, Cruise’s parent company, to manufacture and commercially deploy a custom-built autonomous vehicle called the Cruise Origin. It would be roughly the size of an SUV, but with no obvious front and back and no driver’s seat or steering wheel. In their letter on behalf of the entire city government, Tumlin and Chang stress that they “neither support nor oppose the Petition, but document safety hazards and street capacity issues raised by the operation of the Cruise AV on San Francisco streets.” They go on to call for several specific regulations they would like to see imposed on Cruise and Ford’s Argo AI, another company seeking to build and deploy a fully autonomous vehicle. Those recommendations include stringent data reporting requirements and incident reports, limiting the geographic area and the number of vehicles that can be deployed in San Francisco, and enabling first responders to manually turn off the vehicles. “Safety is the guiding principle of everything we do,” Cruise said in a statement regarding these incidents. “That means if our cars encounter a situation where they aren’t able to safely proceed they turn on their hazard lights and we either get them operating again or pick them up as quickly as possible. This could be because of a mechanical issue like a flat tire, a road condition, or a technical problem. We’re working to minimize how often this happens, and apologize to any other impacted drivers.”

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Source: Slashdot – SF To Feds: Cruise Driverless Cars Keep Blocking Our Roads

Tesla debuts an actual, mechanical prototype of its Optimus robot

It seems like just yesterday that Elon Musk ushered a gig worker in a spandex suit onto the Tesla AI Day 2021 stage and told us it was an robot — or at least probably would be one eventually. In the intervening 13 months, the company has apparently been hard at work, replacing the squishy bits from what crowd saw on stage with proper electronics and mechanizations. At this year’s AI Day on Friday, Tesla unveiled the next iteration of its Optimus robotics platform and, well, at least there isn’t still a person on the inside? 

tesla bot

Tesla CEO Elon Musk debuted the “first” Optimus (again, skinny guy in a leotard, not an actual machine) in August of last year and, true to his nature, and proceeded to set out a series of increasingly incredible claims about the platform’s future capabilities — just like how the Cybertruck will have unbreakable windows. As Musk explained at the time, the Optimus will operate an AI similar to the company’s Autopilot system (the one that keeps chasing stationary ambulances) and be capable of working safely around humans without extensive prior training. 

Additionally, the Tesla Bot would understand complex verbal commands, Musk assured the assembled crowd, it would have “human-level hands,” be able to both move at 5 MPH and carry up to 45 pounds despite standing under 6-feet tall and weighing 125 pounds. And, most incredibly, Tesla would have a working prototype for all of that by 2022, which brings us to today.

production  tesla bot

Kicking off the event, CEO Elon Musk was quickly joined on stage by an early development platform prototype of the robot — the very first time one of the test units had walked unassisted by an umbilical tether. Lacking any exterior panelling to reveal the Tesla-designed actuators inside, the robot moved at a halting and ponderous pace, not unlike early Asimos and certainly a far cry from the deft acrobatics that Boston Robotics Atlas exhibits. “We had that within six months, built, working on software integration hardware and upgrades, over the months spent inspecting and working. 

The Tesla team also rolled out a further developed, but still tethered iteration as well, pictured above. “it wasn’t quite ready to walk,” Musk said, “but I think we’ll walk in a few weeks. We wanted to show you the robot that’s actually really close to what is going to production.” 

“Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible,” Musk said. “And we’ve also designed it using the same discipline that we use in designing the car, which is to say… to make the robot at an high volume at low cost with higher reliability.” He estimates that they could cost under $20,000 when built at volume. 

The Optimus will be equipped with a 2.3 kWh battery pack which integrates the various power control systems into a single PCB. That should be sufficient to get the robot through a full day of work, per Tesla’s engineering team which joined Musk on stage during the event. 

“Humans are also pretty efficient at somethings but not so efficient at other times,” a member of the engineering team explained. While humans can sustain themselves on small amounts of food, we cannot halt our metabolisms when not working. “On the robot platform, what we’re going to do is we’re going to minimize that. Idle power consumption, drop it as low as possible,” a member of the engineering team explained. The team also plans to strip as much complexity and mass as possible from the robot’s arms and legs. “We’re going to reduce our part count and our power consumption of every element possible. We’re going to do things like reduce the sensing and the wiring at our extremities,” the engineering team said.


Source: Engadget – Tesla debuts an actual, mechanical prototype of its Optimus robot

Two-Year Internet Outage In Ethiopia Continues

Zecharias Zelalem writes via Reuters: Few have been spared the effects of a nearly two-year internet and phone shutdown in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, which has been cut off since fighting erupted between Tigrayan rebels and government forces in November 2020. The conflict resumed last month after a months-long humanitarian truce, dashing hopes for communications to be restored. Even the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who hails from Tigray, said he had been unable to reach his relatives back home, or send them money. “I don’t know even who is dead or who is alive,” Tedros told a recent news conference in London.

As fighting continues in Tigray and elsewhere in Ethiopia, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says shutdowns are needed to curb violence, but critics accuse authorities of using the internet as a weapon of war. “Access to communications and other basic services, and most importantly humanitarian assistance, is explicitly used as a bargaining chip by the Ethiopian government,” said Goitom Gebreluel, a political analyst specialising in Horn of Africa affairs. “It is used as leverage against both Tigray and the international community.” In Ethiopia, sporadic internet and phone blackouts have been used as “a weapon to control and censor information,” the group said, making it difficult for journalists and activists to document alleged rights crimes, and for aid to be delivered.

In Tigray’s regional capital, Mekelle, emergency workarounds such as satellite phones have become a vital tool for aid agency operations. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also maintains a satellite phone service for local residents — giving them a way to get a message to loved ones. So far this year, the ICRC has facilitated some 116,000 phone calls and oral messages “between family members separated by conflict and violence,” said spokesperson Alyona Synenko. With almost half of the region’s six million people in severe need of food, the shutdown as well as road blockades have hampered humanitarian aid deliveries, according to the U.N. World Food Program. The lack of mobile phone networks has also “crippled both the emergency and regular health monitoring systems,” a WHO spokesperson said in emailed remarks. The only way to communicate is “via paper reports that need to be delivered by hand. All meetings have to be held in person.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Two-Year Internet Outage In Ethiopia Continues

House Democrats Debut New Bill To Limit US Police Use of Facial Recognition

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Dubbed the Facial Recognition Act, the bill would compel law enforcement to obtain a judge-authorized warrant before using facial recognition. By adding the warrant requirement, law enforcement would first have to show a court it has probable cause that a person has committed a serious crime, rather than allowing largely unrestricted use of facial recognition under the existing legal regime. The bill also puts other limits on what law enforcement can use facial recognition for, such as immigration enforcement or peaceful protests, or using a facial recognition match as the sole basis for establishing probable cause for someone’s arrest.

If passed, the bill would also require law enforcement to annually test and audit their facial recognition systems, and provide detailed reports of how facial recognition systems are used in prosecutions. It would also require police departments and agencies to purge databases of photos of children who were subsequently released without charge, whose charges were dismissed or were acquitted. […] The bill has so far received glowing support from privacy advocates, rights groups and law enforcement-adjacent groups and organizations alike. Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at Boston University, praised the bill for strengthening baseline rules and protections across the U.S. “without preempting more stringent limitations elsewhere.”

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Source: Slashdot – House Democrats Debut New Bill To Limit US Police Use of Facial Recognition

Red Hat Advances Enterprise Linux with Improved Podman Containers

Linux vendor Red Hat announced this week the beta release of the latest update for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) platform with the 8.7 and 9.1 milestones. Both RHEL 8.7 and 9.1 add new features and capabilities designed to help organizations more effectively use Podman containers.

The post Red Hat Advances Enterprise Linux with Improved Podman Containers appeared first on Linux Today.

Source: Linux Today – Red Hat Advances Enterprise Linux with Improved Podman Containers

Games Are Starting To Require a Phone Number To Play

According to Polyon, players will be required to link a phone number to their accounts if they want to play Overwatch 2. “The same two-factor step, called SMS Protect, will also be used on all Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 accounts when that game launches, and new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare accounts,” the report adds. From the report: Blizzard Entertainment announced SMS Protect and other safety measures ahead of Overwatch 2’s release. Blizzard said it implemented these controls because it wanted to “protect the integrity of gameplay and promote positive behavior in Overwatch 2.” Overwatch 2 is free to play, unlike its predecessor. Without SMS Protect, Blizzard reasoned that there is no barrier to toxic players or trolls creating a new account if an existing one is sanctioned. SMS Protect, therefore, ties that account to something valuable — in this case a player’s mobile phone.

SMS Protect is a security feature that has two purposes: to keep players accountable for what Blizzard calls “disruptive behavior,” and to protect accounts if they’re hacked. It requires all Overwatch 2 players to attach a unique phone number to their account. Blizzard said SMS Protect will target cheaters and harassers; if an account is banned, it’ll be harder for them to return to Overwatch 2. You can’t just enter any old phone number — you actually have to have access to a phone receiving texts to that number to get into your account.

Overwatch 2 lead software engineer Bill Warnecke told Forbes that, even if accounts are no longer tied to Overwatch’s box price — because the game is now free-to-play — Blizzard still wants players to make an “investment” in upholding a safe game. “The key idea behind SMS Protect is to have an investment on behalf of the owner of that account and add some limitations or restrictions behind how you might have an account,” Warnecke said. “There’s no exclusions or kind of loopholes around the system.” The report notes that Blizzard has refunded one player after they contacted customer support and said they didn’t have a mobile phone, but it’s unclear if this policy will apply more broadly.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Games Are Starting To Require a Phone Number To Play

COVID may have pushed a leading seasonal flu strain to extinction

A bottle of influenza vaccine at a CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic on September 10, 2021, in Miami.

Enlarge / A bottle of influenza vaccine at a CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic on September 10, 2021, in Miami. (credit: Getty | Joe Raedle)

The pandemic coronavirus’ debut wrought universal havoc—not even seasonal flu viruses were spared. Amid travel restrictions, quarantines, closures, physical distancing, masking, enhanced hand washing, and disinfection, the 2020-2021 flu season was all but canceled. That meant not just an unprecedented global decrease in the number of people sick with the flu but also a dramatic collapse in the genetic diversity of circulating flu strains. Many subtypes of the virus all but vanished. But most notably, one entire lineage—one of only four flu groups targeted by seasonal influenza vaccines—went completely dark, seemingly extinct.

Researchers noted the absence last year as the flu was still struggling to recover from its pandemic knockout. But now, the flu has come roaring back and threatens to cause a particularly nasty season in the Northern Hemisphere. Still, the influenza B/Yamagata lineage remains missing, according to a study published this week in the journal Eurosurveillance. It has not been definitively detected since April 2020. And the question of whether it’s truly gone extinct lingers.

What B/Yamagata’s absence might mean for future flu seasons and flu shots also remains an open question. For a quick refresher: Four main types of seasonal flu have been circulating globally among humans in recent years. Two are influenza type A viruses: subtypes of H1N1 viruses and H3N2 viruses. The other two are influenza type B viruses: offshoots of the Victoria and Yamagata lineages. (For a more detailed explanation of influenza, check out our explainer here.) Current quadrivalent vaccines target season-specific versions of each of these four types of flu viruses.

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Source: Ars Technica – COVID may have pushed a leading seasonal flu strain to extinction

15 Self-Contained Card Games That Use Unique Decks

While this originally started as a list of alternative Trading Card Game deck builders, it quickly spun out into a list of games that use unique decks of cards. Some of these are deck builders, where you create a custom deck of cards from a pre-made selection to play against other people (Magic: The Gathering, for…

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Source: Gizmodo – 15 Self-Contained Card Games That Use Unique Decks

Roku Will Now Work With Nielsen To Track Cross-Media Viewership

Today, Nielsen announced that Roku plans to enable four-screen measurement across desktop, mobile, connected TV and traditional TV. This is the first time Roku will use the digital methodology, Nielsen One, the data measurement firm’s cross-media measurement tool, which launches in December. TechCrunch reports: With Nielsen’s forthcoming tool, the firm claims that the company is on track to provide a consistent and comparable cross-media solution. Nielsen also claims that, with Nielsen One, marketers running ads with Roku are guaranteed duplicate copies of repeating data are eliminated.

“Marketers can now better evaluate CTV inventory’s unique reach and frequency in conjunction with their entire Roku buy in a comparable and comprehensive manner, and advertisers can reduce waste and help ensure that relevant ads are delivered to the right audiences across devices. This release brings us one step closer to providing comparable and deduplicated metrics across screens with Nielsen One,” said Kim Gilberti, SVP, Product Management, Nielsen, in a statement.

The data measurement firm wrote in today’s announcement that its relationship with Roku dates back to 2016 when Roku allowed its marketers to measure campaigns with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings measurement. Nielsen announced Nielsen One in 2020. Earlier this year, it was revealed that YouTube would be the first media company to try the new tool. Roku is the second company to enable cross-media measurement.

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Source: Slashdot – Roku Will Now Work With Nielsen To Track Cross-Media Viewership

Rights Groups Say Pentagon Buys Way Around Fourth Amendment

Twenty-two civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Demand Progress, and Electronic Frontier Foundation have signed a letter accusing the Pentagon and the executive branch at large of exploiting a legal loophole to surveil Americans absent congressional oversight or approval from the courts.

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Source: Gizmodo – Rights Groups Say Pentagon Buys Way Around Fourth Amendment

Coroner Lists Instagram Algorithm As Contributing Cause of UK Teen's Death

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In a London court this week, coroner Andrew Walker had the difficult task of assessing a question that child safety advocates have been asking for years: How responsible is social media for the content algorithms feed to minors? The case before Walker involved a 14-year-old named Molly Russell, who took her life in 2017 after she viewed thousands of posts on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest promoting self-harm. At one point during the inquest, Walker described the content that Russell liked or saved in the days ahead of her death as so disturbing, the coroner said in court, that he found it “almost impossible to watch.” Today, Walker concluded that Russell’s death couldn’t be ruled a suicide, Bloomberg reports. Instead, he described her cause of death as “an act of self-harm whilst suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content.”

Bloomberg reported that Walker came to this decision based on Russell’s “prolific” use of Instagram — liking, sharing, or saving 16,300 posts in six months before her death — and Pinterest — 5,793 pins over the same amount of time — combined with how the platforms catered content to contribute to Russell’s depressive state. “The platforms operated in such a way using algorithms as to result, in some circumstances, of binge periods of images, video clips and text,” which “romanticized acts of self-harm” and “sought to isolate and discourage discussion with those who may have been able to help,” Walker said.

Following Walker’s ruling, Russell’s family issued a statement provided to Ars, calling it a landmark decision and saying that the court didn’t even review the most disturbing content that Molly encountered. “This past fortnight has been particularly painful for our family,” the Russell family’s statement reads. “We’re missing Molly more agonizingly than usual, but we hope that the scrutiny this case has received will help prevent similar deaths encouraged by the disturbing content that is still to this day available on social media platforms including those run by Meta.” Bloomberg reports that the family’s lawyer, Oliver Sanders, has requested that Walker “send instructions on how to prevent this happening again to Pinterest, Meta, the UK government, and the communications regulator.” In their statement, the family pushed UK regulators to quickly pass and enforce the UK Online Safety Bill, which The New York Times reported could institute “new safeguards for younger users worldwide.” Meta and Pinterest took different approaches to defend their policies. “Pinterest apologized, saying it didn’t have the technology it currently has to more effectively moderate content that Molly was exposed to,” reports Ars. “But Meta’s head of health and well-being, Elizabeth Lagone, frustrated the family by telling the court that the content Molly viewed was considered ‘safe’ by Meta’s standards.”

“We have heard a senior Meta executive describe this deadly stream of content the platform’s algorithms pushed to Molly, as ‘SAFE’ and not contravening the platform’s policies,” the Russell family wrote in their statement. “If this demented trail of life-sucking content was safe, my daughter Molly would probably still be alive.” Russells’ statement continued: “For the first time today, tech platforms have been formally held responsible for the death of a child. In the future, we as a family hope that any other social media companies called upon to assist an inquest follow the example of Pinterest, who have taken steps to learn lessons and have engaged sincerely and respectfully with the inquest process.”

Pinterest told Ars that it is “committed to making ongoing improvements to help ensure that the platform is safe for everyone” and internally “the Coroner’s report will be considered with care.” Since Molly’s death, Pinterest said it has taken steps to improve content moderation, including blocking more than 25,000 self-harm related search terms and, since 2019, has combined “human moderation with automated machine learning technologies to reduce policy-violating content on the platform.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Coroner Lists Instagram Algorithm As Contributing Cause of UK Teen’s Death