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Britain and Germany Will Not Ban Huawei, Citing Lack of Spying Evidence

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes from a report via Reuters: Despite persistent U.S. allegations of Chinese state spying, Britain said it is able to manage the security risks of using Huawei telecom equipments and has not seen any evidence of malicious activity by the company, a senior official said on Wednesday. Asked later whether Washington had presented Britain with any evidence to support its allegations, he told reporters: "I would be obliged to report if there was evidence of malevolence [...] by Huawei. And we're yet to have to do that. So I hope that covers it." At the same time, German officials have told The Wall Street Journal that the country has made a "preliminary decision" to allow Huawei to bid on contracts for 5G networking. Catering to the surging populism, the U.S. has accused Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipments, along with European cars, as national security risks, even though the National Security Agency, American's cyber spying agency, was found to have wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel, conducted economic espionage against France, and hacked into Chinese networks. Earlier this week, beleaguered Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei described the continued investigations by the U.S. into the Chinese firm -- including the arrest of his daughter and company CFO, Meng Wanzhou -- as politically motivated.

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Google Is Expected To Reveal Game Streaming Service At GDC In March

Google has sent out invites to this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) press event, where the company is expected to unveil a new game streaming product. ExtremeTech reports: There have been rumors about a Google game stream product or service for several years. Initially, leaks pointed to a hardware platform called Yeti that would stream games to a connected display. In late 2018, Google rolled out a game streaming test called Project Stream. To publicize the demo, it worked with Ubisoft to give everyone free access to the new Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Google wrapped up Project Stream in early 2019, offering players a free copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey as thanks. Of course, you'd need a real gaming PC to run that version. Google's GDC event will take place on March 19th at 10 AM Pacific. All we know for sure is that Google is there to talk about a gaming project. It just seems extremely likely that it will be a new phase for Project Stream. It might remain browser-only, but Google does have a giant network of TV's out there with Chromecast streaming dongles plugged in. If it could leverage those to stream games, it could instantly have as many eyeballs as Sony or Microsoft.

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Vox Lawyers Briefly Censored YouTubers Who Mocked the Verge's Bad PC Build Video

An anonymous reader writes: In case you missed the latest drama to take place in the YouTube tech community, Ars Technica reports how Vox Media attempted to copyright strike two reaction videos that mocked The Verge's terrible PC build guide video that could have ruined a $2,000 system for a beginner PC builder. That effort failed when the tech community sounded the alarms; YouTube removed the copyright strikes and Vox Media had to retract their takedown notice. From the report: "Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized -- and heavily excerpted -- a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright 'strike.' It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three 'strikes' in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform. T.C. Sottek, the Verge's managing editor, blamed lawyers at the Verge's parent company, Vox Media, for the decision. 'The Verge's editorial structure was involved zero percent in the decision to issue a strike,' Sottek said in a direct message. 'Vox Media's legal team did this independently and informed us of it after the fact.' The move sparked an online backlash. Verge editor Nilay Patel (who, full disclosure, was briefly a colleague of mine at The Verge's sister publication Vox.com), says that when he learned about the decision, he asked that the strike be rescinded, leading to the videos being reinstated. Still, Patel defended the lawyers' legal reasoning, arguing that the videos 'crossed the line' into copyright infringement. It's hard to be sure if this is true since there are very few precedents in this area of the law. But the one legal precedent I was able to find suggests the opposite: that this kind of video is solidly within the bounds of copyright's fair use doctrine."

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A Psion Palmtop Successor Has Arrived and It Runs Android and Linux

dryriver writes: A lot of people probably remember the 1990s palmtop computers made by Psion fondly. The clamshell-design palmtops were pocketable, black and white, but had a working stylus and a fantastic tactile foldout QWERTY keyboard that you could type pretty substantial documents on or even write code with. A different company -- Planet Computers -- has now produced a spiritual successor to the old Psion palmtops called the Gemini PDA that is much like an old Psion but with the latest Android smartphone hardware in it and a virtually identical tactile keyboard. It can also dual boot to Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish) alongside Android. The technical specs are a MediaTek deca-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (plus microSD slot), 4G, 802.11c Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, eSIM support, and 4,220mAh battery. The screen measures in at 5.99-inches with a 2,160 x 1,080 (403ppi) resolution. The only thing missing seems to be the stylus -- but perhaps that would have complicated manufacturing of this niche-device in its first production run.

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Are We Ready For 5G Phones?

Next-generation 5G networks are very much in their infancy right now, but that's not stopping smartphone manufacturers from teasing new 5G phones. At Samsung's Galaxy S10 launch event today, Samsung teased the Galaxy S10 5G, a top-tier model of the Galaxy S10 that offers 5G mobile data connectivity. "The device, which has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, will temporarily be a Verizon Wireless exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch," reports The Verge. "It will go on sale sometime 'in the first half of 2019." Late last year, LG confirmed that its first U.S. 5G phone would debut on Sprint "in the first half of 2019," just as Sprint launches its 5G network. At around the same time, Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z3, a phone that only connects to 5G with a MotoMod modular accessory. It too is expected to arrive early this year -- but there's no mention of how much it'll cost. OnePlus, Nokia, and Huawei are also working on 5G phones expected to arrive sometime this year. The question is: are we ready for 5G phones? Three of the four largest carriers in the U.S. have only just started offering 5G service in select cities. Sprint, the fourth largest U.S. telecommunications company, hasn't even reached this step. Just like the first 4G phones to hit the market, these first-of-their-kind 5G devices look to merely symbolize what the next decade of mobile computing has in store.

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Disney, Nestle, and Others Are Pulling YouTube Ads Following Child Exploitation Controversy

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Disney is said to have pulled its advertising spending from YouTube, joining other companies including Nestle, after a blogger detailed how comments on Google's video site were being used to facilitate a "soft-core pedophilia ring." Some of the videos involved ran next to ads placed by Disney and Nestle. All Nestle companies in the U.S. have paused advertising on YouTube, a spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday in an email. Video game maker Epic Games and German packaged food giant Dr. August Oetker KG also said they had postponed YouTube spending after their ads were shown to play before the videos. Disney has also withheld its spending. On Sunday, Matt Watson, a video blogger, posted a 20-minute clip detailing how comments on YouTube were used to identify certain videos in which young girls were in activities that could be construed as sexually suggestive, such as posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics. Watson's video demonstrated how, if users clicked on one of the videos, YouTube's algorithms recommended similar ones. By Wednesday, Watson's video had been viewed more than 1.7 million times. Total ad spending on the videos mentioned was less than $8,000 within the last 60 days, and YouTube plans refunds, the spokeswoman said. Two years ago, Verizon, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and other major companies pulled their ads from YouTube after learning that some of their ads surfaced next to extremist and violent content. Yesterday, YouTube released an updated policy about how it will handle content that "crosses the line" of appropriateness. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments," a spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email.

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Facebook Now Lets Android Users Block Background Collection of Location Data

Facebook has rolled out an update to Android users that gives them a greater degree of control over the sharing of location data with the social network. From a report: Specifically, the update makes it possible to stop Facebook from using tracking your location in the background when you are not using the app. The change brings parity to the iOS and Android Facebook apps. In introducing the new finer-grained controls, Facebook insists that it is "not making any changes to the choices you've previously made nor are we collecting any new information."

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Employees and Contractors Expose Information Online in 98 Percent of Organizations

An anonymous reader shares a report: Employees and contractors are exposing confidential and sensitive information online and in the cloud in some 98 percent of organizations. This is found primarily in Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft SharePoint. This is among the findings of a new report from insider threat specialist Dtex Systems which has analyzed information from work-issued endpoints and more than 300,000 employee and contractor accounts. All of the assessments detected employees and contractors transferring confidential and sensitive data via unencrypted USB drives, personal email accounts, and cloud applications, an increase of 10 percent over 2018. In addition 97 percent of assessments detected employees and contractors who were flight risks, a class of insider threat that often steals data and IP. This is an increase of 59 percent over 2018. 95 percent detected employees and contractors attempting to bypass or circumvent security controls via anonymous browsing, VPN and TOR usage, up 35 percent over 2018.

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Samsung Announces Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10E Smartphones

On the sidelines of the Galaxy Fold announcement, Samsung today also unveiled the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10E -- the latest iteration of its flagship Android offering. The Samsung Galaxy S10 sports a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with Quad HD+ resolution in a 19:9 aspect ratio, whereas the Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch display. Both the handsets are powered by Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 855, coupled with 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128GB to 512GB (1TB on S10 Plus), expandable via microSD of storage. On the photography front, both the handsets have a wide angle 12-megapixel (77-degree), telephoto 12-megapixel (45-degree), and ultra wide 16-megapixel (123-degree) on the back; and 10 megapixels, 8-megapixel RGB depth camera (S10 Plus) upfront. The Galaxy S10 has 3,400mAh battery, whereas the Plus sibling houses a 4,100mAh battery. Both the handsets run Android 9 Pie with Samsung One UI, and support Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, LTE Cat.20, wireless charging. They both have USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. Samsung Galaxy S10E is a lower-cost, smaller variant of the other two phones. It has a 5.8-inch "Dynamic AMOLED" display, Full HD+ resolution in a 19:9 aspect ratio. You can read more about it here. All three phones will be available for preorder starting tomorrow, February 21, and they will start shipping on March 8th. In addition to all four major US carriers, the S10 family will also be available unlocked from Samsung and other retailers, starting at $899.99 for the S10 and $999.99 for the S10 Plus. The S10E starts at $750.

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Samsung Announces the Galaxy Fold, a Phone That Opens Into a Tablet

At an event today, Samsung unveiled its foldable smartphone. It's called the Galaxy Fold, and it sports dual screens: one that folds in half like a notebook, and another that works just like any other. From a report: The roughly 200-gram Galaxy Fold flips open in portrait orientation, and the inside is coated with a film that gives it a photopaper-like appearance. It's got a protective polymer consisting of a cover window, a shock-absorbent film, and a polarizer that's 45 percent slimmer than the company's previous thinnest, along with a flexible layer and backplane. Samsung says the tech -- dubbed Infinity Flex Display -- took seven years to develop. Thanks to a highly durable adhesive, the Fold's 7.3-inch primary screen and "sophisticated" hinge system with interlocking gears can undergo "hundreds of thousands" of flexes without sustaining damage, Samsung says. The 4.6-inch secondary screen doesn't bend, and that's by design -- it puts apps at your fingertips when the Fold's folded in half. [...] It's available in both an LTE and 5G version, starting at an eye-popping $1,980. April 26 is the launch date.

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Microsoft Edge Lets Facebook Run Flash Code Behind Users' Backs

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Edge browser contains a secret whitelist that lets Facebook run Adobe Flash code behind users' backs. The whitelist allows Facebook's Flash content to bypass Edge security features such as the click-to-play policy that normally prevents websites from running Flash code without user approval beforehand. The whitelist isn't new. It existed in Edge before, and prior to February 2018, it included 58 entries, including domains and subdomains for Microsoft's main site, the MSN portal, music streaming service Deezer, Yahoo, and Chinese social network QQ. The list was narrowed down to only two Facebook domains (facebook.com and apps.facebook.com) after a Google security researcher found that the whitelist mechanism had some security issues. The bug report also contains the original version of the whitelist, with all the 58 domains.

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Elon Musk: Bitcoin Structure is Brilliant, But Has Its Cons; Paper Money is Going Away

Elon Musk, who among other things, is a pioneer in the payments industry, has weighed in on one of the most divisive topics in finance today: Bitcoin. In a podcast with Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, Musk, the co-founder and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, was asked to "go off topic" and offer up some thoughts on the most famous cryptocurrency. From a report: "I think the bitcoin structure is quite brilliant. But I'm not sure that it would be a good use of Tesla's resources to get involved in crypto," he told Wood. Musk, who founded PayPal, added that the days of paper money are numbered and digital currencies could offer a more efficient solution to shifting value. "Paper money is going away and crypto is a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper, that's for sure, but it has its pros and cons," he said.

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Microsoft Says Discovers Hacking Targeting Democratic Institutions in Europe

Microsoft said today it had discovered hacking targeting democratic institutions, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe and plans to offer a cyber security service to several countries to close security gaps. From a report: The hacks occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said. Microsoft said it found out about the hacks through the company's Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Crimes Unit, and the hacks targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia. Hackers in most cases create malicious weblinks and spoofed email addresses that look legitimate, aiming to gain access to employee credentials and deliver malware, the company said.

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Google Says the Built-in Microphone it Never Told Nest Users About Was 'Never Supposed To Be a Secret'

An anonymous reader shares a report: In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant. The problem: Nest users didn't know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with. The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device. On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an "error." "The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs," the spokesperson said. "That was an error on our part."

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Lightsaber Dueling Registered as Official Sport in France

It's now easier than ever in France to act out Star Wars fantasies. The country's fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the weapon from George Lucas's space saga the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics. From a report: Of course, the LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate replicas can't slice an opponent in half. But they look and sound remarkably like the blades that Yoda and other characters wield in the blockbuster movies. The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of the reason why the French Fencing Federation is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors. Like virtuous Jedi knights, the federation sees itself as combatting a Dark Side: the sedentary habits of 21st-century life. "With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs," says Serge Aubailly, the federation's secretary general. "That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural." In the past, Zorro, Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers helped lure new practitioners to fencing. Now, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader are joining them. "Cape-and-sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth," Aubailly says. "Lightsaber films have the same impact. Young people want to give it a try."

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