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Spotify Tests Selling Concert Tickets Directly To Fans

Slashdot - Enj, 11/08/2022 - 2:45pd
As first reported by Music Ally, Spotify is testing a new website to sell tickets directly to fans, "rather than just linking to external ticketing firms." From the report: For now, this is strictly a test rather than a full commercial launch. It kicks off [August 10] with a small number of artists, with pre-sale tickets available to fans through Spotify's app and a newly-launched tickets.spotify.com website. The test is happening in the US, with Annie DiRusso, Tokimonsta, Osees, Dirty Honey, Limbeck, Crows and Four Years Strong the first artists confirmed for the initiative. The tickets will come from those artists' pre-sale allocations for upcoming concerts. Don't get carried away with any 'Spotify takes on Ticketmaster' hyperbole just yet. The company is making it very clear that this is just a test for now, and that it's focused on pre-sales rather than primary ticketing. [...] The theory behind the test kicking off this week is to find out whether Spotify can both widen its involvement in pre-sales while selling the tickets directly. We would expect that to include a share of the revenues, although Spotify declined to give any details of the business model. There's another obvious motivation behind the test. Pre-sales of their own allocations can be an important income stream for artists, so if Spotify can help them do it, that could be a reputation-booster at a time of renewed debate (alright: big arguments) about musicians' streaming royalties. If Spotify can also become one of the ways artists ensure their tickets go to genuine fans rather than touts -- resales are not allowed in the test -- that could also be positive. And in this case, Spotify has the data to prove whether ticket buyers are genuine fans: their listening history. Important caveat: there's no suggestion at this point that Spotify will use this data as a barrier to purchase, in a 'you can't buy this artist's pre-sale ticket because you haven't streamed them enough' way. We're imagining something else: options for artists to promote their native-Spotify pre-sales to their biggest listeners in the cities / regions where the concerts are happening.

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Twitch Founder Justin Kan: Web3 Games Don't Need To Lure Players With Profit

Slashdot - Enj, 11/08/2022 - 2:02pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Top crypto VCs are constantly touting the potential of video games as one of the most compelling use cases for blockchain technology. [...] TechCrunch talked to Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch and more recently, Solana-based gaming NFT marketplace Fractal, to get his thoughts on what it will take for this subsector of web3 to live up to the hype. Kan said that web3 gaming has a long way to go -- while there are about 3 billion gamers in the world, including those who play mobile games, he noted, far fewer have bought or interacted with any sort of blockchain-based gaming asset. Kan sees this gap as an opportunity for blockchain technology to fundamentally change how video game studios operate. "I think the idea of creating digital assets, and then taxing everyone for all the transactions around them is a good model," Kan said. In some ways, web3 gaming was been built in response to the success of games such as Fortnite that were able to unlock a lucrative monetization path for gaming studios through micro-transactions from users buying custom items such as outfits and weapons. Web3 game developers hope to take that vision a step further by enabling players to take those custom digital assets between different games, turning gaming into an interoperable, immersive ecosystem, Kan explained. Kan has made around 10 angel investments in web3 gaming startups, including in the studio behind NFT-based shooter game BR1: Infinite Royale, he said. Still, he admitted that building this interoperable ecosystem, which he sees as the future of video games overall, doesn't technically require blockchain technology at all. "Blockchain is just the way that it's going to happen, I think, because there's a lot of cultural momentum around people equating blockchain with openness and trusting things that are decentralized on the blockchain." [T]he appeal of an open gaming ecosystem is more about the principle of the matter than it is about making a living. "I actually think that people equate NFTs and games with this play-to-earn model where people are making money and doing their job [by gaming], and I think that's completely unnecessary," Kan said. "Having digital assets in your game can work and be valuable, even if nobody is making money and there's no speculative appreciation or price appreciation on your assets," he added. It's common for popular games to attract new development on top of their existing intellectual property. Kan shared the example of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), a video game in which custom "skins" have sold for as much as $150,000 each. "I funded a company that builds on top of the CSGO skins," he said. "CSGO changed the rules about what was allowed and actually confiscated over a million dollars just from this company -- so yeah, I don't want to build on top of these non-open platforms anymore." "Kan sees blockchain-based games as just a 'more economically immersive' version of the marketplaces that already exist in video games," adds TechCrunch. "He doesn't think users will flock to blockchain gaming just to make money, though." "I think that web3 games are just being more open and saying, instead of this being a black market, we're going to make this a real market and people's economic participation is going to vary to different levels. There's gonna be people who only play the game and never buy things with money. There's gonna be some people who are making some side money because they're really good at the game, and they're getting some things in the game they're selling [or trading]." He added: "In order for this market to actually be big, it's going to require normal people who want to play games for fun to play these games. That doesn't exist yet. I think most of the market today is people who are crypto-native."

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Disney Raises Streaming Prices After Services Post Big Operating Loss

Slashdot - Enj, 11/08/2022 - 1:20pd
As part of an effort to make its streaming business profitable, Disney announced that the price of ad-free Disney+ will rise 38% to $10.99 -- "a $3 per month increase," reports CNBC. "The price of Hulu without ads will rise by $2 per month, from $12.99 to $14.99, effective as of Oct. 10. Hulu with ads will go up by $1 per month, rising from $6.99 to $7.99." From the report: The price increases reflect the growing operating loss for Disney's streaming services. Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ combined to lose $1.1 billion in the fiscal third quarter, $300 million more than the average analyst estimate, reflecting the higher cost of content on the services. The increased operating loss occurred even while Disney added about 15 million new Disney+ subscribers in the quarter, about 5 million more than analysts estimated. Disney has previously stated it plans to lose money on Disney+ until 2024. Average revenue per user for Disney+ decreased by 5% in the quarter in the U.S. and Canada due to more customers taking cheaper multi-product offerings. Overall, the company's quarterly results, also announced Wednesday, beat analysts' expectations on the top and bottom lines. Disney+ subscriptions rose to 152.1 million during the most recent period, higher than Wall Street's projections of 147 million. In a separate article, CNBC reports that Disney now projects between 215 million and 245 million total Disney+ customers by 2024, "down 15 million on both the low end and high end of the company's previous guidance." Previously, the guidance was between 230 million and 260 million by the end of fiscal 2024. They also reaffirmed its expectation that the streaming service will become profitable by the end of 2024.

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A Fifth of US Teens Use YouTube 'Almost Constantly,' With TikTok Not Far Behind

Slashdot - Enj, 11/08/2022 - 12:40pd
Pew Research has published a new report that examines social media usage trends among US teens. The organization found that a whopping 95 percent of them use YouTube, while 19 percent are on the platform "almost constantly." Engadget reports: Perhaps unsurprisingly, two-thirds (67 percent) said they used TikTok, with 16 percent claiming they are on the app "almost constantly." The third most-popular social media platform among teens is Instagram, per Pew, with 62 percent using it. A tenth say they use it almost all the time -- despite the app occasionally telling them to take a break. A previous poll conducted in 2014-15 found that 52 percent were using Instagram (Pew didn't ask about YouTube usage for that survey and TikTok didn't exist at the time). Snapchat also rose among teens, with 59 percent using it in 2022, compared with 41 percent in the previous poll. Facebook was the top social media app among teens seven years ago, with 71 percent of them using it, but that figure has dropped to 32 percent. Teen adoption of Twitter (down from 33 percent to 23 percent) and Tumblr (14 percent to five percent) has fallen over the same period too. The 2014-15 poll didn't ask about Twitch, WhatsApp or Reddit. These days, a fifth of teens use Twitch, 17 percent are on WhatsApp and 14 percent are accessing Reddit.

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AppLovin Offers To Buy Unity Software For $17.5B in All-Stock Deal

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 5:20md
Mobile app marketing company AppLovin on Tuesday made a $17.54 billion all-stock offer to buy online gaming business Unity Software. From a report: Palo Alto-based AppLovin said the deal would have an enterprise value of about $20 billion, an 18% premium on San Francisco-based Unity's Monday closing price. AppLovin said in a news release that its offer would create a company with a combined market cap of about $35 billion. The non-binding offer appears to be aimed at warding off potential damage to AppLovin's business by a plan Unity announced about a month ago to buy Israel-based app monetization company ironSource for $4.4 billion. A number of Unity shareholders and game developers have reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with the IronSource deal, which may help AppLovin win support for its offer. While Unity investors would hold 55% of shares in the combined company, AppLovin's would have 51% of the voting power. Unity chief John Riccitiello would be CEO under the proposal and AppLovin chief Adam Foroughi would be chief operating officer. A Unity spokesperson acknowledged the offer in a neutral statement the company issued on Tuesday morning, saying, "We have received the offer from AppLovin and our board will thoroughly evaluate it."

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How Russia Took Over Ukraine's Internet in Occupied Territories

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 4:45md
Several weeks after taking over Ukraine's southern port city of Kherson, Russian soldiers arrived at the offices of local internet service providers and ordered them to give up control of their networks. From a report: "They came to them and put guns to their head and just said, 'Do this,'" said Maxim Smelyanets, who owns an internet provider that operates in the area and is based in Kyiv. "They did that step by step for each company." Russian authorities then rerouted mobile and internet data from Kherson through Russian networks, government and industry officials said. They blocked access to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as to Ukrainian news websites and other sources of independent information. Then they shut off Ukrainian cellular networks, forcing Kherson's residents to use Russian mobile service providers instead. What happened in Kherson is playing out in other parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine. After more than five months of war, Russia controls large sections of eastern and southern Ukraine. Bombings have leveled cities and villages; civilians have been detained, tortured and killed; and supplies of food and medicine are running low, according to witnesses interviewed by The New York Times and human rights groups. Ukrainians in those regions have access only to Russian state television and radio. To cap off that control, Russia has also begun occupying the cyberspace of parts of those areas. That has cleaved off Ukrainians in Russia-occupied Kherson, Melitopol and Mariupol from the rest of the country, limiting access to news about the war and communication with loved ones. In some territories, the internet and cellular networks have been shut down altogether.

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Tornado Cash Co-founder Reports Being Kicked Off GitHub as Industry Reacts To Sanctions

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 4:00md
Roman Semenov, one of the co-founders of Tornado Cash, has reported his account was suspended at the developer platform, GitHub, following the United States Treasury Department's sanctioning of the privacy protocol. From a report: In a Monday tweet, Semenov said that despite not being individually named as a Specially Designated National, or SDN, of Treasuryâ(TM)s Office of Foreign Asset Control, he seemed to be facing repercussions from the Treasury alleging Tornado Cash had laundered more than $7 billion worth of cryptocurrency. As SDNs, identified firms and individuals have their assets blocked and "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them." Being identified as an SDN would seemingly include any contact for business purposes, which could extend to associations on GitHub. According to a joint statement from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council and Office of Foreign Asset Control, prohibited transactions could be interpreted to include "downloading a software patch from a sanctioned entity." Semenov called the move to suspend his account "a bit illogical." However, U.S. residents have been effectively barred from using the crypto mixer, given its alleged failure "to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks," according to Brian Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

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Excel Esports On ESPN Show World the Pain of Format Errors

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 3:00md
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: If you watched ESPN2 during its stint last weekend as "ESPN8: The Ocho," you may have seen some odd, meme-friendly competitions, including corgi racing, precision paper airplane tossing, and slippery stair climbing. Or you might have seen "Excel Esports: All-Star Battle," a tournament in which an unexpected full-column Flash Fill is announced like a 50-yard Hail Mary. It's just the latest mainstream acknowledgment of Excel as a viable, if quirky, esport, complete with down-to-the-wire tension and surprising comebacks. [...] Featured in this all-star battle was 2021 FMWC World Cup winner Diarmuid Early, an FMWC grandmaster from Ireland who claims 10,000 hours in Excel. (He would be Lambda if he were a function, he said.) The winner of the first championship in 2020, Joseph Lau (28,600 hours, Isological), also competed, along with six other highly ranked function warriors. Diarmuid took a commanding lead in the first slot-like task, racking up more points more quickly in a first round than anyone has in an FMWC competition. Others faced the kinds of challenges that regular users see in less combative Excel work. Polish competitor Gabriela Stroj told the hosts that "one stupid error" -- leaving a formula linked to the wrong sheet -- likely cost her hundreds of points. David Brown from the US said that his major problem was pasting from his 32-bit Windows-based Excel to the official online Excel answer sheets, which left his formulas treated as text. The top four of the eight competitors moved on to round 2, simulating a yacht regatta in Excel. Diarmuid and third-ranked Andrew Ngai made it through. The two competed on creating a score-tracking mechanic for an entirely Excel-based retro-style 2D platformer, "Modelario." Ngai eked out the win, although with only 411 of a total 1,000 possible points. Ngai's reward for a more than two-hour cell-based marathon: a trip to Tucson, Arizona, for the FMWC finals. You can watch the full two-hour-and-48-minute all-star battle, which ESPN edited down to 30 minutes, here. You can also try the Excel tasks used in last weekend's battle yourself, as the organizers (the Financial Modeling World Cup) made all three of them available to download.

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KDE Kicks Off August With More Desktop Bug Fixes

LinuxSecurity.com - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 1:00md
KDE developers have started the month of August to a lot of fixes and polishing for the Plasma desktop.

GwisinLocker A New Ransomware Encrypts Windows and Linux ESXi Servers

LinuxSecurity.com - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 1:00md
A new ransomware family has been discovered, which targets specifically Linux-based systems using a range of encryption methods. GwisinLocker is the malware responsible for the attack.

The Story Behind the Linux Security Quick Reference Guide

LinuxSecurity.com - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 1:00md
A memoir written by Dave Wreski, Guardian Digital CEO, Founder of LinuxSecurity.com and author of the Linux Security Quick Reference Guide and Linux Security HOWTO .

Live-Action Pac-Man Movie In the Works

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 12:00md
A live-action film based on PAC-MAN is in the works from Bandai Namco Entertainment -- the company behind PAC-MAN -- and Wayfarer Studios, the production company founded by Justin Baldoni and Steve Sarowitz. The Hollywood Reporter reports: First introduced in the U.S. in 1980 -- and originally called Puck Man in Japan -- PAC-MAN became a coin-operated staple. The game is set in mazes where Pac-Man has to eat pellets while being pursued by colorful ghosts as the mazes get progressively more difficult. The game begat merchandise, several sequel games like Ms. PAC-MAN, as well as two television series, including a Hanna-Barbera produced ABC series and a Disney XD take. The project will be based on an original idea from Chuck Williams (Sonic the Hedgehog) of Lightbeam Entertainment. Baldoni, Manu Gargi and Andrew Calof will produce on behalf of Wayfarer Studios, with Tracy Ryerson developing; Williams and Tim Kwok will produce on behalf of Lightbeam.

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India's Rocket Fails To Put Satellites In Right Orbit In Debut Launch

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 9:00pd
India's new rocket launched for the first time on Saturday night (Aug. 6) but failed to deliver its satellite payloads into their intended orbit due to a sensor issue. Space.com reports: The 112-foot-tall (34 meters) Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India's southeastern coast on Saturday at 11:48 p.m. EDT (0348 GMT and 9:18 a.m. India Standard Time on Sunday, Aug. 7) with two satellites onboard. The rocket's three solid-fueled stages performed well, but its fourth and final stage, a liquid-fueled "velocity trimming module" (VTM), hit a snag: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials reported a loss of data from the rocket and, just over five hours after liftoff, ISRO announced the mission had failed. "The entire vehicle performance was very good" at the start, but ultimately left the two satellites in the wrong orbit, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath said in a video statement after the launch. "The satellites were placed in an elliptical orbit in place of a circular orbit." Instead of placing the satellites in a circular orbit 221 miles (356 kilometers) above Earth, the rocket left them in an orbit that ranged from 221 miles to as close as 47 miles (76 km). That orbit was not stable, and the satellites have "already come down, and they are not usable," Somanath said. ISRO officials said on Twitter that a sensor failure that was not detected in time to switch to a "salvage action" caused the orbit issue. An investigation into the failure is planned.

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Hacker Finds Kill Switch For Submachine Gun-Wielding Robot Dog

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 5:30pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: In July, a video of a robot dog with a submachine gun strapped to its back terrified the internet. Now a hacker who posts on Twitter as KF@d0tslash and GitHub as MAVProxyUser has discovered that the robot dog contains a kill switch, and it can be accessed through a tiny handheld hacking device. "Good news!" d0tslash said on Twitter. "Remember that robot dog you saw with a gun!? It was made by @UnitreeRobotic. Seems all you need to dump it in the dirt is @flipper_zero. The PDB has a 433mhz backdoor." In the video, d0tslash showed one of the Unitree robot dogs hooked up to a power supply. A hand comes into the frame holding a Flipper Zero, Tamagotchi-like multitool hacking device that can send and receive wireless signals across RFID, Bluetooth, NFC, and other bands. A button is pushed on the Flipper and the robot dog seizes up and falls to the ground. Motherboard reached out to d0tslash to find out how they hacked the robot dog. The power supply in the video is an external power source. "Literally a 24-volt external power supply, so I'm not constantly charging battery while doing dev," d0tslash said. d0tslash got their hands on one of the dogs and started going through the documentation when they discovered something interesting. Every dog ships with a remote cut-off switch attached to its power distribution board, the part of a machine that routes power from the battery to its various systems. The kill switch listens for a particular signal at 433mhz. If it hears the signal, it shuts down the robot. Some of the Unitree robot dogs even ship with the wireless remote that shuts the dog down instantly. d0tslash then used Flipper Zero to emulate the shutdown, copying the signal the robot dog's remote broadcasts over the 433MHz frequency. Anyone with a Flipper Zero or similar device can shut down these robot dogs, thanks to the work d0tslash has shared on Github.

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VR Is As Good As Psychedelics At Helping People Reach Transcendence

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 3:30pd
David Glowacki, an artist and computational molecular physicist, has created a VR experience called Isness-D that aims to recapture a transcendence experience he had when he fell in the mountains fifteen years ago. "[O]n four key indicators used in studies of psychedelics, the program showed the same effect as a medium dose of LSD or psilocybin (the main psychoactive component of 'magic' mushrooms)," reports MIT Technology Review. From the report: Isness-D is designed for groups of four to five people based anywhere in the world. Each participant is represented as a diffuse cloud of smoke with a ball of light right about where a person's heart would be. Participants can partake in an experience called energetic coalescence: they gather in the same spot in the virtual-reality landscape to overlap their diffuse bodies, making it impossible to tell where each person begins and ends. The resulting sense of deep connectedness and ego attenuation mirrors feelings commonly brought about by a psychedelic experience. [...] To create it, Glowacki took aesthetic inspiration from quantum mechanics -- as he puts it, "where the definition of what's matter and what's energy starts to become blurred." For their paper, Glowacki and his collaborators measured the emotional response Isness-D elicited in 75 participants. They based their measurements on four metrics used in psychedelics research -- the MEQ30 (a mystical experience questionnaire), the ego dissolution inventory scale, the "communitas" scale, and the "inclusion of community in self" scale. Communitas is defined as an experience of intense shared humanity that transcends social structure. Participants' responses were then compared with those given in published, double-blind psychedelics studies. For all four metrics, Isness-D elicited responses indistinguishable from those associated with medium doses of psychedelics. On the mystical experience scale, Isness-D participants reported an experience as intense as that elicited by 20 milligrams of psilocybin or 200 micrograms of LSD, and stronger than that induced by microdoses of either substance. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

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Over 100K Cars Shut From North American Production This Week Due To Chip Shortage

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 2:50pd
The ongoing worldwide semiconductor shortage will cause more than 100,000 vehicles to be cut from North American production schedules this week, Automotive News reported Sunday. Over 180,000 vehicles are expected to be dropped globally. CNET reports: The data, which comes from AutoForecast Solutions, says North American factories have been forced to cut nearly 1.06 million vehicles from production schedules this year due to the chip shortage. This puts North America as the most heavily impacted region so far. AFS' data shows nearly 3 million vehicles have been cut so far in 2022, and the agency expects that number to grow to more than 3.8 million by the end of the year. [...] The auto industry may not recover from the chip shortage until 2023 or beyond. Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AFS, affirmed this reasoning earlier this year: "This is not a quickly solvable issue."

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Climate Change Can Make Most Human Diseases Worse

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 2:10pd
Polio is back, monkeypox isn't slowing down, COVID-19 is still around -- and now there's more not-so-good news on the infection front: over 200 human diseases could get worse because of climate change, according to a new study. From a report: Researchers have known for a long time that the changing climate affects disease. Warmer temperatures can make regions newly hospitable to disease-carrying mosquitoes, while floods from more frequent storms can carry bacteria in their surges of water. Most research, though, only focused on a handful of threats or one disease at a time. The new study, published in Nature Climate Change, built a comprehensive map of all of the ways various climate hazards could interact with 375 documented human infectious diseases. The authors reviewed over 77,000 scientific articles about those diseases and climate hazards. They found that, of those 375 diseases, 218 could be aggravated by things like heatwaves, rising sea levels, and wildfires. The study found four main ways climate change exacerbates diseases. First, problems happen when changes cause disease-carrying animals to move closer to people. For example, animal habitats are disrupted by things like wildfires that drive bats and rodents into new areas, increasing the likelihood they'll transmit diseases like Ebola to people. Other research shows that climate change makes viruses more likely to jump from animals to people, as happened with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That phenomenon also likely contributed to the 2016 Zika outbreaks.

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Google Sues Sonos Over Voice Control Technology

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 1:30pd
In two lawsuits (PDF) filed today in California, Google alleges that Sonos' latest voice-assistant technology violates seven patents related to Google Assistant. CNET reports: Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said Sonos has "started an aggressive and misleading campaign against our products, at the expense of our shared customers." As a result, he said, the lawsuits have been filed to "defend our technology and challenge Sonos' clear, continued infringement of our patents." Sonos launched its own voice assistant in June, allowing customers to control their speakers using voice commands starting with the phrase "Hey Sonos." Google said in the lawsuits that it has made its technologies available to users across the globe, "even providing its Google Assistant software to Sonos for many years." The suits also said Google has for years worked with Sonos engineers on the "implementation of voice recognition and voice-activated device controls in Sonos' products." Google requests an unspecified amount of monetary damages and an injunction blocking Sonos' alleged infringement. Last year, the International Trade Commission ruled that Google infringed on five patents owned by Sonos, forcing Google to change the way its smart speakers are set up and controlled. "Google previously sued us all over the world and Sonos has prevailed in every decided case," Eddie Lazarus, Sonos' chief legal officer, told CNET, adding that the new lawsuits "are an intimidation tactic designed to retaliate against Sonos for speaking out against Google's monopolistic practices," which "will not succeed."

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A Phone Carrier That Doesn't Track Your Browsing Or Location

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 12:50pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: As marketers, data brokers, and tech giants endlessly expand their access to individuals' data and movements across the web, tools like VPNs or cookie blockers can feel increasingly feeble and futile. Short of going totally off the grid forever, there are few options for the average person to meaningfully resist tracking online. Even after coming up with a technical solution last year for how phone carriers could stop automatically collecting users' locations, researchers Barath Raghavan and Paul Schmitt knew it would be challenging to convince telecoms to implement the change. So they decided to be the carrier they wanted to see in the world. The result is a new company, dubbed Invisv, that offers mobile data designed to separate users from specific identifiers so the company can't access or track customers' metadata, location information, or mobile browsing. Launching in beta today for Android, the company's Pretty Good Phone Privacy or PGPP service will replace the mechanism carriers normally use to turn cell phone tower connection data into a trove of information about users' movements. And it will also offer a Relay service that disassociates a user's IP address from their web browsing. PGPP's ability to mask your phone's identity from cell towers comes from a revelation about why cell towers collect the unique identifiers known as IMSI numbers, which can be tracked by both telecoms and other entities that deploy devices known as IMSI catchers, often called stringrays, which mimic a cell tower for surveillance purposes. Raghavan and Schmitt realized that at its core, the only reason carriers need to track IMSI numbers before allowing devices to connect to cell towers for service is so they can run billing checks and confirm that a given SIM card and device are paid up with their carrier. By acting as a carrier themselves, Invisv can implement their PGPP technology that simply generates a "yes" or "no" about whether a device should get service. On the PGPP "Mobile Pro" plan, which costs $90 per month, users get unlimited mobile data in the US and, at launch, unlimited international data in most European Union countries. Users also get 30 random IMSI number changes per month, and the changes can happen automatically (essentially one per day) or on demand whenever the customer wants them. The system is designed to be blinded so neither INVISV nor the cell towers you connect to know which IMSI is yours at any given time. There's also a "Mobile Core" plan for $40 per month that offers eight IMSI number changes per month and 9 GB of high-speed data per month. Both of these plans also include PGPP's Relay service. Similar to Apple's iCloud Private Relay, PGPP's Relay is a method for blocking everyone, from your internet provider or carrier to the websites you visit, from knowing both who you are and what you're looking at online at the same time. Such relays send your browsing data through two way stations that allow you to browse the web like normal while shielding your information from the world. When you navigate to a website, your IP address is visible to the first relay -- in this case, Invisv -- but the information about the page you're trying to load is encrypted. Then the second relay generates and connects an alternate IP address to your request, at which point it is able to decrypt and view the website you're trying to load. The content delivery network Fastly is working with Invisv to provide this second relay. Fastly is also one of the third-party providers for iCloud Private Relay. In this way, each relay knows some of the information about your browsing; the first simply knows that you are using the web, and the second sees the sites you connect to, but not who specifically is browsing there. In addition to being included in the two PGPP data plans, customers can also purchase the Relay service on its own for $5 per month and turn it on while connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi. The carrier is still working to bring its services to Apple's iOS. It's also worth noting that Invisv only offers mobile data; there are no voice calling services.

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7-Eleven Stores In Denmark Closed Due To a Cyberattack

Slashdot - Mar, 09/08/2022 - 12:10pd
7-Eleven stores in Denmark shut down today after a cyberattack disrupted stores' payment and checkout systems throughout the country. Bleeping Computer reports: The attack occurred early this morning, August 8th, with the company posting on Facebook that they were likely "exposed to a hacker attack." The translated statement says that the company has closed all the stores in the country while investigating the security incident: ""Unfortunately, we suspect that we have been exposed to a hacker attack today, Monday 8 August 2022. This means that we cannot use checkouts and/or receive payment. We are therefore keeping the stores closed until we know the extent. We naturally hope that we can open the stores again soon." - 7-Eleven DK." At this time, there are no further details about the attack, including whether ransomware was involved, which has become the most common cyberattack causing wide-scale outages.

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