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Facebook is Trying to Block Schrems II Privacy Referral to EU Top Court

Posted: 01 May 2018 08:37 AM PDT

Facebook is trying to block Schrems II privacy referral to EU top court. In an attempt to get Ireland's Supreme Court to decide about accepting their appeal, their lawyer has asked for the referral to the EU court to be delayed while at the same time asking for an unusal accelerated referral to Ireland's Supreme Court.

Facebook's lawyers are attempting to block a High Court decision in Ireland, where its international business is headquartered, to refer a long-running legal challenge to the bloc's top court.

[...] The case relates to a complaint filed by privacy campaigner and lawyer Max Schrems regarding a transfer mechanism that's currently used by thousands of companies to authorize flows of personal data on EU citizens to the US for processing. Though Schrems was actually challenging the use of so-called Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) by Facebook, specifically, when he updated an earlier complaint on the same core data transfer issue — which relates to US government mass surveillance practices, as revealed by the 2013 Snowden disclosures — with Ireland's data watchdog.

Also at Reuters : Facebook bids to keep data privacy case from EU's top court.

Earlier on SN:
High Court Sets Out 11 Questions for ECJ on EU-US Data Transfers
Austria Resident Max Schrems is Organizing a Privacy-Oriented Class-Action Suit Against Facebook
EU Top Court Rules Safe Harbour Treaty Invalid

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Gmail Users Can Now Send Self-Destructing Emails

Posted: 01 May 2018 07:02 AM PDT

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Google will slowly be rolling out a number of changes for consumer Gmail users and G Suite users. Some of the changes improve usability and productivity, while others are meant to maximize data and user protection. Some of the new security options should help enterprise users meed GDPR compliance needs.

[...] Gmail confidential mode will allow users to:

  • Set expiration dates for emails or revoke previously sent messages
  • Secure access to the contents of emails by requiring recipients to enter a password
  • Restrict the recipients' ability to forward, copy, download or print emails.

These things will be possible because these emails will not be actually downloaded in the recipients' inbox, but will be placed on a separate page/window where their content can be viewed, and the email will show that page.

Guess I'll be switching to ProtonMail for my webmail needs, which, granted, are few.

Source: https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2018/04/26/gmail-self-destructing-emails/

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UC San Diego to Treat Autism Using Cannabidiol

Posted: 01 May 2018 05:34 AM PDT

UC San Diego to use controversial marijuana compound to treat severe autism

UC San Diego will try to alleviate severe autism in children by giving them a non-psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, a project funded by the biggest private donation ever made in the U.S. for such research.

The $4.7 million study involves the controversial compound cannabidiol, or CBD, which is widely marketed nationwide as something of a miracle drug, capable of treating everything from cancer to post-traumatic stress disorder.

[...] UC San Diego dealt with the issue by asking the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation of Lindon, Utah, for $4.7 million to study whether CBD can ease the most severe symptoms of autism, including seizures, self-injuring behavior, and crippling anxiety. The foundation agreed, and it is urging the federal government to remove marijuana from its list of Schedule 1 drugs so that cannabis can be widely studied.

Related: 4/20: The Mary Jane Majority
US experts back marijuana-based drug for childhood seizures

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Apple Reportedly Working on Combination VR-AR Headset

Posted: 01 May 2018 03:56 AM PDT

Apple is reportedly working on an untethered VR-AR headset that would feature an 8K resolution per eye:

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a pair of augmented reality glasses, but a report today suggests that they're looking to compete with Google, Microsoft and Facebook in the virtual reality space as well.

CNET reports that Apple has its eye set on the 2020 release of a wireless headset that combines AR and VR technologies. The report also gives specific details for the project internally referred to as T288. Namely, sources told CNET that the headset will have an 8K display for each eye and will connect wirelessly to a dedicated "box."

One of the general assumptions many in the market had been operating under was that Apple might "skip" entertainment-focused VR altogether in favor of approaching the lifestyle-focused AR technologies that put a digital layer between users and the real world.

Apple may use its own MicroLED displays for headsets. Apple also has a patent for an eye-tracking system that could be used in a headset.

Also at The Verge, Fortune, and BGR.

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Customer Takes Phone Company to Small Claims Court - WINS!

Posted: 01 May 2018 02:24 AM PDT

CBC reports that a Canadian man has taken the giant Bell Canada corporation to small claims court after they tried to increase his cable and internet prices despite the phone salesperson promising a fixed price for twenty four months.

The sales agent told (David) Ramsay he could get Bell's Fibe TV and internet services "for $112.90 a month for 24 months" and then said he'd get an "email confirmation of everything that was just discussed."

But when the email arrived, it said prices were actually "subject to change" and that Bell was planning to increase its price for internet service by $5, two months later.

Ramsey, who was self represented, argued that he had a verbal contract with Bell. The judge agreed and ordered Bell to pay Ramsay $1,110 to cover the cost of damages, his time, inconvenience and miscellaneous costs. In the lead up to the trial Bell made two attempts to buy him off with offers of $300, then $1000, but insisted on a non-disclosure agreement. Ramsay refused, hoping that a successful case would lead to many other long-suffering Canadians to launch similar suits.

In Canada Bell, Telus, and Rogers control most of the telephone, wireless, and cable markets, as well as most television, radio, and publishing. Canadians pay among the highest prices of any country for what most people consider some of the worst service.

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Twitter Sold Data to Cambridge Analytica-Linked Company

Posted: 01 May 2018 12:52 AM PDT

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317

Twitter is the latest company to face scrutiny for how it protects user data, after disclosing this week that it sold data access to a Cambridge Analytica-linked researcher.

The news comes a month after Facebook came under fire for leaking user data to Cambridge Analytica through a third-party app. A Twitter spokesperson told Threatpost that enterprise company Global Science Research, owned by the same researcher behind Cambridge Analytica, had "one-time API access" to a "random sample of public tweets" in 2015.

"Based on the recent reports, we conducted our own internal review and did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter," the spokesperson told Threatpost. "Unlike many other services, Twitter is public by its nature. People come to Twitter to speak publicly, and public tweets are viewable and searchable by anyone."

Source: https://threatpost.com/twitter-sold-data-to-cambridge-analytica-linked-company/131525/

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Disgraced Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini Publishes Another Stem Cell Paper

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:20 PM PDT

Disgraced surgeon is still publishing on stem cell therapies

Paolo Macchiarini, an Italian surgeon, has been fired from two institutions and faces the retraction of many of his papers after findings of scientific misconduct and ethical lapses in his research—yet this hasn't prevented him from publishing again in a peer-reviewed journal. Despite his circumstances, Macchiarini appears as senior author on a paper published last month investigating the viability of artificial esophagi "seeded" with stem cells, work that appears strikingly similar to the plastic trachea transplants that ultimately left most of his patients dead. The journal's editor says he was unaware of Macchiarini's history before publishing the study.

"I'm really surprised," says cardiothoracic surgeon Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, one of the whistle-blowers who exposed Macchiarini's misconduct at the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm. "I can't understand how a serious editorial board can accept manuscripts from this guy."

Macchiarini was once heralded as a pioneer of regenerative medicine because of his experimental transplants of artificial tracheas that supposedly developed into functional organs when seeded with a patient's stem cells. But his career came crashing down after the Swedish documentary Experimenten showed the poor outcomes of his patients, all but one of whom have now died. (The lone survivor was able to have his implant removed.) Macchiarini was subsequently fired from KI, both the university and a national ethics board found him guilty of scientific misconduct in several papers, and Swedish authorities are now considering whether to reopen a criminal case against him.

In vitro assessment of electrospun polyamide‐6 scaffolds for esophageal tissue engineering (DOI: 10.1002/jbm.b.34116) (DX)

Previously: Nobel Prize for Medicine Judges Asked to Resign for Involvement in Scandal
Thoracic Surgeon Loses Funding After Paper Retraction

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Man Uses Dashcam Footage to Prove His Innocence--Sort of

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 09:48 PM PDT

Associated Press affiliate KTAR-FM reports

[...] after 25-year-old Xavier Moran was involved in a crash on April 5, he told a sheriff's deputy he had been cut off by another driver and could prove it with his dashboard camera. He then signed a consent waiver to search the camera.

When the Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy reviewed the footage, he saw Moran burglarizing a beauty store. Authorities say the video showed Moran taking a baseball bat from the trunk and someone using the bat to break the glass door to the store.

He was arrested [April 10] on burglary charges.

Boing Boing further reports that the guy just can't stay out of trouble.

I first heard the story via NPR's "news" quiz show "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me".

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CRISPR Epigenetic Cholesterol Reduction in Mice

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 08:16 PM PDT

CRISPR study reduces cholesterol in mice without "editing" DNA

Rather than hacking away with genetic scissors, recent work has instead used CRISPR to temporarily turn certain genes on and off through epigenetic modulation. In that vein, the new study developed a CRISPR-Cas9 repressor system that can silence a gene called Pcsk9, which regulates cholesterol levels. The Duke researchers managed to package this system and deliver it into the livers of adult mice.

"We previously used these same types of tools to turn genes on and off in cultured cells, and we wanted to see if we could also deliver them to animal models with an approach that is relevant for gene therapy," says Charles Gersbach, lead researcher on the study. "We wanted to change the genes in a way that would have a therapeutic outcome, and Pcsk9 is a useful proof-of-concept given its role regulating cholesterol levels, which in turn affect health issues like heart disease."

The researchers started with a Cas9 enzyme taken from the bacteria species Staphylococcus aureus, and to keep it from making cuts to the target DNA, they created a "dead" version dubbed dCas9. This was bundled with a KRAB protein that silences gene expression, and the combination was then packaged inside adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors – viruses that are engineered to carry the active ingredients to the right DNA target.

In their tests, the Duke researchers delivered the system to adult mice, where it activated in their livers. Compared to a control group that had simple saline injections, the Pcsk9 genes in the test mice were successfully repressed and the animals' cholesterol levels dropped as a result. Better yet, the effects of a single treatment lasted six months.

RNA-guided transcriptional silencing in vivo with S. aureus CRISPR-Cas9 repressors (open, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04048-4) (DX)

Related: CRISPR Used to Reduce Tissue Inflammation and Damage
CRISPR Used to Epigenetically Treat Diseases in Mice

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University in Melbourne, Australia Evacuated Due to Rotting Fruit

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 06:44 PM PDT

BBC News reports

More than 500 students and teachers were evacuated from a university in Melbourne, Australia, as a result of a smell initially suspected to be gas.

But it turned out the "gas" that students smelt at a Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology library was a rotting durian found in a cupboard.


Durians are a prized fruit in South East Asia with a sweet and creamy flesh, but their smell can take some getting used to.

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Huawei Working on its Own OS to Prepare for "Worst-Case Scenario" of Being Deprived of Android

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 05:12 PM PDT

Huawei may have a backup OS in case it has to drop Android

It'd be hard to blame Huawei executives if they're feeling very nervous lately. The US has created havoc for ZTE by renewing an export ban over trade violations, potentially depriving it of its Android license and leaving it without a platform. How would Huawei avoid a similar fate? Simple: it would use its own operating system instead. South China Morning Post sources have claimed that Huawei has been developing its own mobile operating system (there are reportedly tablet and PC equivalents) ever since it and ZTE faced an American investigation in 2012. It's considered an investment for "worst-case scenarios," the insiders said.

The company hasn't released this OS because it isn't up to Android's level of quality and app support, the sources added.

Huawei hasn't confirmed or denied the software's existence, saying only that it "has no plans" to launch an in-house OS in the "foreseeable future" -- if there is one, there's no rush to use it. There was a purported meeting leak in 2012 that referenced a new platform.

See also: ZTE and the Unknown Unknowns

Related: U.S. Intelligence Agency Heads Warn Against Using Huawei and ZTE Products
Huawei CEO Still Committed to the U.S. Market

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U.S. Military Develops Microwave Weapon

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 03:28 PM PDT

Popular Mechanics reports

Pioneered by the defence department's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWD), the new direct energy weapon has the ability to stop a cart in its tracks without harming the vehicle or its driver.

"The jammer works by targeting the car's engine control unit causing it to reboot over and over, stalling the engine. Like an invisible hand, the microwaves hold the car in place." David Law, who leads JNLWD's technology division, said in March: "Anything that has electronics on it, these high-powered microwaves will affect. As long as the [radio] is on, it holds the vehicle stopped."

[...] "The RFVS system uses high-power magnetron tubes to generate intense RF pulses that interfere with a vehicle's electronics, rendering it temporarily inoperable. The engine cannot be restarted while the RF is on but is readily restarted once the RF is turned off. Thus, the RFVS system allows for the maintenance of a safe keep-out zone in situations that might otherwise require the use of lethal force. The defined measure of success for this system is a demonstrated, effective capability against more than 80% of the candidate target-vehicle-class list, which includes passenger cars and large vehicles."

A video shows demonstrations of the weapon against cars and boats.

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter Begins Mapping the Atmosphere of Mars

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:51 PM PDT

ExoMars returns first images from new orbit

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has returned the first images of the Red Planet from its new orbit.

The spacecraft arrived in a near-circular 400 km altitude orbit a few weeks ago ahead of its primary goal to seek out gases that may be linked to active geological or biological activity on Mars.

[...] The image captures a 40 km-long segment of Korolev Crater located high in the northern hemisphere. The bright material on the rim of the crater is ice.

[...] A long period of data collection will be needed to bring out the details, especially for particularly rare – or not even yet discovered – ingredients in the atmosphere. Trace gases, as hinted at from their name, are only present in very small amounts: that is, less than one percent of the volume of the planet's atmosphere. In particular, the orbiter will seek evidence of methane and other gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological activity. The camera will eventually help characterise features on the surface that may be related to trace gas sources.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Also at Space.com.

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South Korea to Remove Loudspeakers at Border

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:19 PM PDT

"Seoul's Defense Ministry said Monday it will pull back dozens of its frontline loudspeakers on Tuesday.

It says Seoul expects Pyongyang to do the same.

South Korea had turned off its loudspeakers ahead of Friday's summit talks, and North Korea responded by halting its own broadcasts." foxnews.com/world/2018/04/30/latest-s-korea-to-remove-loudspeakers-at-border.html

Seoul had blasted propaganda messages and K-pop songs from border loudspeakers since the North's fourth nuclear test in early 2016. The North quickly matched the South's action with its own border broadcasts.

"South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that President Trump deserves to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in talks to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and end the decades-long war between the North and South.

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Blue Origin Conducts its First Successful Suborbital Test Flight and Landing of 2018

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 10:53 AM PDT

Suborbital test flight moves Blue Origin closer to launching people

The privately-developed New Shepard booster, designed and built by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos's space company Blue Origin, took off from a launch pad in West Texas, briefly flew into space with an instrumented capsule, and returned to a rocket-assisted landing Sunday in another test before humans climb aboard the suborbital spaceship.

[...] A live webcast of the test flight provided by Blue Origin showed the vehicles coasting to an apogee of roughly 351,000 feet, or about 107 kilometers, around four minutes into the mission. The rocket achieved a top speed of around 2,200 mph (3,540 kilometers per hour), according to data released by Blue Origin. Ariane Cornell, who hosted Blue Origin's launch webcast, said engineers intended to "push the envelope" of the New Shepard's capabilities, aiming to reach an altitude of 350,000 feet, around 20,000 feet higher than the rocket's typical target. "That's the altitude we've been targeting for operations," Bezos tweeted after Sunday's flight.

The two vehicles then made their descents, and the New Shepard booster fell back through the atmosphere, deployed an airbrake and reignited its throttleable BE-3 engine to slow its velocity for touchdown. Four landing legs extended from the base of the New Shepard booster just before it settled gently on a landing pad around 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rocket's launch site.

The rocket landed about seven minutes after liftoff, while the crew capsule deployed three parachutes and fired retro-rockets to cushion the craft's landing on the desert floor approximately 10 minutes after launch. A live view from a flying drone captured spectacular views of the capsule's final descent.

Also at TechCrunch.

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