Facebook To Unmask Anonymous Dutch User Accused of Repeated Defamatory Posts

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Starting today, Facebook users may feel a little less safe posting anonymously. The Court of the Hague in The Netherlands ruled that Meta Ireland must unmask an anonymous user accused of defaming the claimant, a male Facebook user who allegedly manipulated and made secret recordings of women he dated. The anonymous Facebook user posted the allegedly defamatory statements in at least two private Facebook groups dedicated to discussing dating experiences. The claimant could not gain access but was shown screenshots from the groups, one with about 2,600 members and one with around 61,000 members. The claimant argued that his reputation had suffered from the repeated postings that included photos of the man and alleged screenshots of his texts.

The claimant tried to get Meta to remove the posts, but Meta responded with an email saying that it would not do so because “it is not clear to us that the content you reported is unlawful as defamation.” At that point, Meta suggested that the man contact the anonymous user directly to resolve the matter, triggering the lawsuit against Meta. Initially, the claimant asked the court to order Meta to delete the posts, identify the anonymous user, and flag any posts in other private Facebook groups that could defame the claimant. While arguing the case, Meta had defended the anonymous user’s right to freedom of expression, but the court decided that the claimant — whose name is redacted in court documents — deserved an opportunity to challenge the allegedly defamatory statements. Partly for that reason, the court ordered Meta to provide “basic subscriber information” on the anonymous user, including their username, as well as any names, email addresses, or phone numbers associated with their Facebook account. The court did not order Meta to remove the posts or flag any others that may have been shared in private groups, though.

Meta has already agreed to comply with the order, the court’s ruling said. However, if Meta fails to provide the Facebook user’s identifying information, the social media company risks a penalty of approximately $1,200 daily. The maximum fine that Meta could face is less than $130,000. […] Meta’s defense of the anonymous user’s right to free speech failed, the court said, because freedom of speech is not unlimited. “Someone who, without evidence, repeatedly makes serious and clearly traceable accusations, must take into account, partly in the light of the conditions applied by Facebook, that he or she may be confronted with a measure whereby his or her anonymity is lifted,” the court order said. Although the key concern for The Court in the Hague appeared to be that the statements posted anonymously were plausibly defamatory, the order also noted that the content would not have to necessarily be unlawful for Facebook to be ordered to identify the user posting it. “According to settled case law, under certain circumstances Meta has an obligation to provide identifying data, even if the content of the relevant messages is not unmistakably unlawful,” the court order said.

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Source: Slashdot – Facebook To Unmask Anonymous Dutch User Accused of Repeated Defamatory Posts

FBI Ordered to Find Out Which Agency Disobeyed White House in Secret Deal, Finds Out It Was Itself

Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that an unknown federal agency had breached official White House policy and used secretive methods to conduct a business deal with the NSO Group, a blacklisted spyware vendor known for selling powerful surveillance tools. The agency in question not only brazenly…

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Source: Gizmodo – FBI Ordered to Find Out Which Agency Disobeyed White House in Secret Deal, Finds Out It Was Itself

Microsoft Now Offers Xbox Wireless Controller Replacement Parts For DIY Repairs

Microsoft is extending the repairability program it introduced for its Surface PC products to include replacement parts for its Xbox Wireless Controller and Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 products. Neowin reports: The page on the Microsoft Store site shows that replacement parts are available for the top case for both versions of the controller, along with replacement buttons. In addition, Microsoft is selling Replacement Input PCBA boards for those Xbox controllers, along with the Replacement PCBA and Motor Assembly parts as well. The parts do come with a one-year warranty.

In a new support page, Microsoft makes it clear that these parts should only be purchased and used for Xbox controllers that are out of their normal warranty period. On another support page, the company adds: “These types of repairs require moderate technical skill, and are suited for enthusiasts, professionals, or those with prior experience in electronic disassembly. If this is your first attempt at performing a repair, use caution and follow our safety recommendations and step-by-step instructions.”

Microsoft also says that certain tools, which are not directly sold by the company, will be needed to replace and repair the controllers. They include a plastic pry tool, TR8 and T5 Torx screwdriver bits and plastic tweezers. Microsoft does offer PDF files (PDF) and even offers YouTube video tutorials for repairing the Xbox Wireless Controller and the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.

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Source: Slashdot – Microsoft Now Offers Xbox Wireless Controller Replacement Parts For DIY Repairs

Google's Jigsaw Was Fighting Toxic Speech With AI. Then the AI Started Talking

tedlistens writes: All large language models are liable to produce toxic and other unwanted outputs, either by themselves or at the encouragement of users. To evaluate and “detoxify” their LLMs, OpenAI, Meta, Anthropic, and others are using Perspective API — a free tool from Google’s Jigsaw unit designed to flag toxic human speech on social media platforms and comment sections. But, as Alex Pasternack reports at Fast Company, researchers and Jigsaw itself acknowledge problems with Perspective and other AI classifiers, and worry that AI developers using them to build LLMs could be inheriting their failures, false positives, and biases. That could, in turn, make the language models more biased or less knowledgeable about minority groups, harming some of the same people the classifiers are meant to help. “Our goal is really around humans talking to humans,” says Jigsaw’s Lucy Vasserman, “so [using Perspective to police AI] is something we kind of have to be a little bit careful about.” “Think of all the problems social media is causing today, especially for political polarization, social fragmentation, disinformation, and mental health,” Eric Schmidt wrote in a recent essay with Jonathan Haidt about the coming harms of generative AI. “Now imagine that within the next 18 months — in time for the next presidential election — some malevolent deity is going to crank up the dials on all of those effects, and then just keep cranking.”

While Jigsaw says the unit is focused on tackling toxicity and hate, misinformation, violent extremism, and repressive censorship, a former Jigsaw employee says they’re concerned that Perspective could only be a stopgap measure for AI safety. “I’m concerned that the safeguards for models are becoming just lip service — that what’s being done is only for the positive publicity that can be generated, rather than trying to make meaningful safeguards,” the ex-employee says.

In closing, the article leaves us with a quote from Vasserman. She says: “I think we are slowly but surely generally coming to a consensus around, these are the different types of problems that you want to be thinking about, and here are some techniques. But I think we’re still — and we’ll always be — far from having it fully solved.”

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Source: Slashdot – Google’s Jigsaw Was Fighting Toxic Speech With AI. Then the AI Started Talking

AWS To Start Charging For Public IPv4 Addresses

Long-time Slashdot reader nairnr shares a report from The Register: Cloud giant AWS will start charging customers for public IPv4 addresses from next year, claiming it is forced to do this because of the increasing scarcity of these and to encourage the use of IPv6 instead. It is now four years since we officially ran out of IPv4 ranges to allocate, and since then, those wanting a new public IPv4 address have had to rely on address ranges being recovered, either from from organizations that close down or those that return addresses they no longer require as they migrate to IPv6.

If Amazon’s cloud division is to be believed, the difficulty in obtaining public IPv4 addresses has seen the cost of acquiring a single address rise by more than 300 percent over the past five years, and as we all know, the business is a little short of cash at the moment, so is having to pass these costs on to users. “This change reflects our own costs and is also intended to encourage you to be a bit more frugal with your use of public IPv4 addresses and to think about accelerating your adoption of IPv6 as a modernization and conservation measure,’ writes AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr, on the company news blog.

The update will come into effect on February 1, 2024, when AWS customers will see a charge of $0.005 (half a cent) per IP address per hour for all public IPv4 addresses. These charges will apparently apply whether the address is attached to a service or not, and like many AWS charges, appear inconsequential at first glance but can mount up over time if a customer is using many of them. These charges will apply to all AWS services including EC2, Relational Database Service (RDS) database instances, Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) nodes, and will apply across all AWS regions, the company said. However, customers will not be charged for IP addresses that they own and bring to AWS using Amazon’s BYOIP feature. AWS offers a free tier for EC2, and this will include 750 hours of public IPv4 address usage per month for the first 12 months, starting from the same date the charges do.

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Source: Slashdot – AWS To Start Charging For Public IPv4 Addresses

The US and Europe Are Growing Alarmed By China's Rush Into Legacy Chips

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TIME: U.S. and European officials are growing increasingly concerned about China’s accelerated push into the production of older-generation semiconductors and are debating new strategies to contain the country’s expansion. President Joe Biden implemented broad controls over China’s ability to secure the kind of advanced chips that power artificial-intelligence models and military applications. But Beijing responded by pouring billions into factories for the so-called legacy chips that haven’t been banned. Such chips are still essential throughout the global economy, critical components for everything from smartphones and electric vehicles to military hardware. That’s sparked fresh fears about China’s potential influence and triggered talks of further reining in the Asian nation, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The U.S. is determined to prevent chips from becoming a point of leverage for China, the people said.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo alluded to the problem during a panel discussion last week at the American Enterprise Institute. “The amount of money that China is pouring into subsidizing what will be an excess capacity of mature chips and legacy chips — that’s a problem that we need to be thinking about and working with our allies to get ahead of,” she said. While there’s no timeline for action to be taken and information is still being gathered, all options are on the table, according to a senior Biden administration official. The most advanced semiconductors are those produced using the thinnest etching technology, with 3-nanometers state of the art today. Legacy chips are typically considered those made with 28-nm equipment or above, technology introduced more than a decade ago.

Senior E.U. and U.S. officials are concerned about Beijing’s drive to dominate this market for both economic and security reasons, the people said. They worry Chinese companies could dump their legacy chips on global markets in the future, driving foreign rivals out of business like in the solar industry, they said. Western companies may then become dependent on China for these semiconductors, the people said. Buying such critical tech components from China may create national security risks, especially if the silicon is needed in defense equipment. “The United States and its partners should be on guard to mitigate nonmarket behavior by China’s emerging semiconductor firms,” researchers Robert Daly and Matthew Turpin wrote in a recent essay for the Hoover Institution think tank at Stanford University. “Over time, it could create new U.S. or partner dependencies on China-based supply chains that do not exist today, impinging on U.S. strategic autonomy.”

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Source: Slashdot – The US and Europe Are Growing Alarmed By China’s Rush Into Legacy Chips

Lenovo Is Working On a Windows PC Gaming Handheld Called the 'Legion Go'

According to Windows Central, Lenovo is working on a handheld gaming PC dubbed “Legion Go,” featuring Windows 11 and Ryzen chips. From the report: While details are scant right now, we understand this will sport AMD’s new Phoenix processors, which the chip firm describes as ultra-thin, focused on gaming, AI, and graphics for ultrabooks. The fact the Legion Go will sport Ryzen chips pretty much guarantees that this is a Windows PC gaming handheld, as part of Lenovo’s popular gaming “Legion” brand. As of writing, there’s no information on exactly when this device could become available, or if, indeed, it’ll become available at all.

According to our information, the Legion Go could sport an 8-inch screen, making it larger than the ASUS ROG Ally or the Steam Deck, both of which have a 7-inch display. PC and console games ported to PC are often designed for larger monitors or even TVs, and on smaller screens, UI elements can be difficult to see, especially if the game doesn’t have a UI scaling option. A larger display could give the Legion Go a decent advantage over its competitors if it remains lightweight and balanced, which of course remains to be seen. The AMD Phoenix 7040 series chips are described by the firm as “ultra-thin” for powerful, but elegant ultrabook-style devices. They should lend themselves well to a device like the Legion Go, supporting 15W low-power states for lightweight games and maximized battery life, similar to the Steam Deck and ROG Ally. The Z1 Extreme in the ASUS ROG Ally can perform with a TDP below 15W, however, which could give the ROG Ally some advantages there. There’s every chance the Legion Go could have other configurations we’re unaware of yet, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Source: Slashdot – Lenovo Is Working On a Windows PC Gaming Handheld Called the ‘Legion Go’

Hollywood Pays Tribute to the Late Paul Reubens

One of the most recognizable, versatile, and hilarious performers of our generation passed away this week and the loss is being felt all over the world. Paul Reubens, best known for his iconic character Pee-wee Herman, lost a battle with cancer this week at the age of 70 and his friends in Hollywood have been paying…

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Source: Gizmodo – Hollywood Pays Tribute to the Late Paul Reubens

Mr. Beast Sues Food Company Over His ‘Revolting,’ ‘Inedible’ Burgers

James Donaldson aka Mr. Beast, one of the most popular YouTube stars in the world, is suing the virtual kitchen company he partnered with after fans complained about poor-quality food being delivered to their homes. Mr. Beast says that the company sacrificed quality control in order to expand as quickly as possible.

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Source: Kotaku – Mr. Beast Sues Food Company Over His ‘Revolting,’ ‘Inedible’ Burgers

Massachusetts Lawmakers Eye a 'Netflix Tax' To Fund Community TV Channels

A proposed state tax in Massachusetts on streaming video services could increase prices for popular platforms like Netflix and Hulu, as the 5 percent fee would support approximately 200 community access cable channels struggling due to declining cable subscriptions. The Boston Globe reports: In July, the Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology held hearings on legislation filed by Democratic State Representative Joan Meschino and Republican Representative Mathew J. Muratore, both of Plymouth. Their bill would require streaming video companies to pay a 5 percent fee on the gross revenues generated in the state. The estimated $65 million a year raised by the fee would support roughly 200 community access channels, the most in any state. The community channels are run by nonprofit organizations or town governments, and funded by cable TV companies, which are assessed a fee by local governments for the right to run their cables through city property. The cable companies pass the cost on to subscribers.

But subscriptions are plummeting as US consumers abandon pay TV for streaming services. Cable and satellite subscribers now number about 70 million, down more than 25 percent from 95.5 million a decade ago, according to Leichtman Research Group, a New Hampshire research and analysis company specializing in media, entertainment, and broadband industries. “The next three to five years it’s really going to dry up even more so,” said Muratore. Meschino said citizens can’t afford to lose access to community media channels, because so many local newspapers have shut down. “There’s literally no other way to consume that sort of hyperlocal programming,” Meschino said.

About a dozen US states levy sales taxes on consumers’ streaming video bills. But Meschino said that sales tax money goes into each state’s general fund. Instead, she wants the streaming fee to be dedicated entirely to support for community media services, just like the fee paid by traditional cable TV companies. Some or all of the fees would likely be passed on to consumers. Gauthier estimates that a typical household’s costs could rise about $2.40 a month, spread among several streaming networks. “Maybe it’ll be 75 cents for your Amazon,” he said. “Maybe it’ll be 80 cents for your Disney.”

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Source: Slashdot – Massachusetts Lawmakers Eye a ‘Netflix Tax’ To Fund Community TV Channels

End of the line for Russia and Ukraine’s partnership in rocketry

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Source: Ars Technica – End of the line for Russia and Ukraine’s partnership in rocketry

Inkscape 1.3 Released with Better Performance and Dozen of New Features

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor and an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It is a feature-rich and cross-platform SVG editor that is actively evolving.After a year and two months of active development, Inkscape Team has unveiled version 1.3, a major update packed with enhanced performance, new features, and considerable improvements.

Source: LXer – Inkscape 1.3 Released with Better Performance and Dozen of New Features

Amazon Achieved Its 'Fastest Prime Speeds Ever' Last Quarter

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Amazon achieved its “fastest Prime speeds ever” last quarter, the online retail giant announced on Monday. The company says it has delivered more than 1.8 billion units to U.S. Prime members so far this year, nearly four times what it delivered at those speeds by this point in 2019. Across the top 60 largest U.S. metro areas, more than half of Prime member orders arrived the same or next day. Same-day delivery is currently available on millions of items for customers across more than 90 U.S. metro areas, and Amazon plans to double the number of delivery sites in the coming years.

Amazon notes that the average time from picking a customer’s items to positioning the customer’s package on the outbound dock is 11 minutes in same-day facilities, more than an hour faster than its traditional fulfillment centers. For context, same-day facilities are stocked with what customers in those areas are purchasing, while traditional facilities are larger and include a more vast assortment of items. “As we make these changes, we are seeing that they have the added benefit of reducing costs, too,” Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores, wrote in a blog post. “Regionalizing our network reduces miles traveled and handoffs. Since the beginning of this year alone, the distance between our sites and the customer decreased by 15%, with 12% fewer touchpoints within our middle mile network. Improved product placement gets items even closer to customers, making our delivery system more efficient. And our Same-Day Delivery network is not only our fastest way to get products to customers, it is also one of our lowest cost ways.”

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Source: Slashdot – Amazon Achieved Its ‘Fastest Prime Speeds Ever’ Last Quarter