EU Paid For Report That Said Piracy Isn't Harmful -- And Tried To Hide Findings

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 10:40pm
According to Julia Reda's blog, the only Pirate in the EU Parliament, the European Commission in 2014 paid the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys 360,000 euros (about $428,000) to research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content. The final report was finished in May 2015, but was never published because the report concluded that piracy isn't harmful. The Next Web reports: The 300-page report seems to suggest that there's no evidence that supports the idea that piracy has a negative effect on sales of copyrighted content (with some exceptions for recently released blockbusters). The report states: "In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect. An exception is the displacement of recent top films. The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally." On her blog, Julia Reda says that a report like this is fundamental to discussions about copyright policies -- where the general assumption is usually that piracy has a negative effect on rightsholders' revenues. She also criticizes the Commissions reluctance to publish the report and says it probably wouldn't have released it for several more years if it wasn't for the access to documents request she filed in July. As for why the Commission hadn't published the report earlier, Reda says: "all available evidence suggests that the Commission actively chose to ignore the study except for the part that suited their agenda: In an academic article published in 2016, two European Commission officials reported a link between lost sales for blockbusters and illegal downloads of those films. They failed to disclose, however, that the study this was based on also looked at music, ebooks and games, where it found no such connection. On the contrary, in the case of video games, the study found the opposite link, indicating a positive influence of illegal game downloads on legal sales. That demonstrates that the study wasn't forgotten by the Commission altogether..."

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Categories: Science

Distrustful US Allies Force Spy Agency To Back Down In Encryption Fight

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 10:00pm
schwit1 shares a report from Reuters: An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies. In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them. The NSA has now agreed to drop all but the most powerful versions of the techniques -- those least likely to be vulnerable to hacks -- to address the concerns.

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Categories: Science

Firefox For iOS Gets Tracking Protection, Firefox Focus For Android Gets Tabs

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 9:20pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today released Firefox 9.0 for iOS and updated Firefox Focus for Android. The iOS browser is getting tracking protection, improved sync, and iOS 11 compatibility. The Android privacy browser is getting tabs. You can download the former from Apple's App Store and the latter from Google Play. This is the first time Firefox has offered tracking protection on iOS, and Nick Nguyen, vice president of product at Mozilla, notes that it's finally possible "thanks to changes by Apple to enable the option for 3rd party browsers." This essentially means iPhone and iPad users with Firefox and iOS 11 will have automatic ad and content blocking in Private Browsing mode, and the option to turn it on in regular browsing. This is the same feature that's available in Firefox for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as the same ad blocking technology used in Firefox Focus for Android and iOS.

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Categories: Science

Facebook's Election Ad Overhaul Takes Crucial First Steps

Wired News - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:54pm
In the face of brewing backlash, Facebook is redesigning its election integrity processes and sharing (some) information with Congress.
Categories: Science

Security Researchers Warn that Third-Party GO Keyboard App is Spying on Millions of Android Users

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:30pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Security researchers from Adguard have issued a warning that the popular GO Keyboard app is spying on users. Produced by Chinese developers GOMO Dev Team, GO Keyboard was found to be transmitting personal information about users back to remote servers, as well as "using a prohibited technique to download dangerous executable code." Adguard made the discovery while conducting research into the traffic consumption and unwanted behavior of various Android keyboards. The AdGuard for Android app makes it possible to see exactly what traffic an app is generating, and it showed that GO Keyboard was making worrying connections, making use of trackers, and sharing personal information. Adguard notes that there are two versions of the keyboard in Google Play which it claims have more than 200 million users in total.

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Categories: Science

Preterm children have more medical sleep problems but fall asleep more independently

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:13pm
A new study suggests that while healthy preterm children have more medical sleep problems than full-term children, they are more likely to fall asleep independently.
Categories: Science

New technique accurately digitizes transparent objects

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
A new imaging technique makes it possible to precisely digitize clear objects and their surroundings, an achievement that has eluded current state-of-the-art 3-D rendering methods.
Categories: Science

Strong alcohol policies help reduce alcohol-involved homicides

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
Stronger alcohol policies, including taxes and sales restrictions, have been shown to reduce the likelihood of alcohol involvement among homicide victims, according to a new study.
Categories: Science

Babies can learn that hard work pays off

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
A new study reveals babies as young as 15 months can learn the value of hard work. Researchers found babies who watched an adult struggle to reach two different goals before succeeding tried harder at their own difficult task than babies who saw an adult succeed effortlessly.
Categories: Science

Ozark grasslands experience major increase in trees and shrubs

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
Woody vegetation, such as trees and shrubs, has increased dramatically in Ozark grasslands over the past 75 years, according to a study. If these ecosystems continue to favor woody vegetation, will it be possible to maintain open grasslands for the foreseeable future?
Categories: Science

'Labyrinth' chip could help monitor aggressive cancer stem cells

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
Inspired by the Labyrinth of Greek mythology, a new chip etched with fluid channels sends blood samples through a hydrodynamic maze to separate out rare circulating cancer cells into a relatively clean stream for analysis. It is already in use in a breast cancer clinical trial.
Categories: Science

New hope for people with fibromyalgia

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
A novel psychological therapy that encourages addressing emotional experiences related to trauma, conflict and relationship problems has been found helpful for people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.
Categories: Science

Unique gene therapy prevents, reverses multiple sclerosis in animal model

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
Multiple sclerosis can be inhibited or reversed using a novel gene therapy technique that stops the disease's immune response in mouse models, researchers have found.
Categories: Science

Into more thin air: Exploring the adaptation extremes of human high altitude sickness and fitness

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 8:12pm
Many research groups have explored human adaptation to high altitude living among three major far-flung global populations: Tibetans, Ethiopians and Peruvians. But few have simultaneously explored the other extreme---maladaptation----in the form of chronic mountain sickness (CMS). Now, in the largest whole genome study of its kind, an international research team led by University of California San Diego's Chairman of Pediatrics, Dr. Gabriel Haddad, has expanded on their recent study of understanding both adaptation extremes in a Peruvian population.
Categories: Science

Facebook Will Share Copies of Political Ads Purchased by Russian Sources With the US Congress

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 7:50pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: Facebook will turn over copies of political ads purchased by Russian sources to congressional lawmakers, who are investigating the country's potential interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Initially, Facebook had only released those ads -- 3,000 of them, valued at about $100,000 -- to Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is spearheading the government's probe into Russia's actions. Facebook had withheld those details from House and Senate leaders, citing privacy concerns. But the move drew sharp rebukes from the likes of Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has charged in recent days that Facebook may not have done enough to scan its systems for potential Russian influence and to ensure that such foreign purchases -- otherwise illegal under U.S. law -- don't happen again. "After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators," wrote Colin Stretch, the company's general counsel. "We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election."

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Categories: Science

After Harvey, What Will Happen to Houston’s Oil Industry?

Wired News - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 6:46pm
Hurricane Harvey pummeled the country’s energy infrastructure, and there are few incentives in place to promote renewables.
Categories: Science

Corporations Just Quietly Changed How the Web Works

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 6:45pm
Adrianne Jeffries, a reporter at The Outline, writes on W3C's announcement from earlier this week: The trouble with DRM is that it's sort of ineffective. It tends to make things inconvenient for people who legitimately bought a song or movie while failing to stop piracy. Some rights holders, like Ubisoft, have come around to the idea that DRM is counterproductive. Steve Jobs famously wrote about the inanity of DRM in 2007. But other rights holders, like Netflix, are doubling down. The prevailing winds at the consortium concluded that DRM is now a fact of life, and so it would be be better to at least make the experience a bit smoother for users. If the consortium didn't work with companies like Netflix, Berners-Lee wrote in a blog post, those companies would just stop delivering video over the web and force people into their own proprietary apps. The idea that the best stuff on the internet will be hidden behind walls in apps rather than accessible through any browser is the mortal fear for open web lovers; it's like replacing one library with many stores that each only carry books for one publisher. "It is important to support EME as providing a relatively safe online environment in which to watch a movie, as well as the most convenient," Berners-Lee wrote, "and one which makes it a part of the interconnected discourse of humanity." Mozilla, the nonprofit that makes the browser Firefox, similarly held its nose and cooperated on the EME standard. "It doesn't strike the correct balance between protecting individual people and protecting digital content," it said in a blog post. "The content providers require that a key part of the system be closed source, something that goes against Mozilla's fundamental approach. We very much want to see a different system. Unfortunately, Mozilla alone cannot change the industry on DRM at this point."

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Categories: Science

Dancing electrons lose the race

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 6:13pm
Ultrashort pulses of light were employed by physicists to start a race between electrons emitted from different initial states in a solid material. Timing this race revealed an unexpected result: the fastest electrons arrived in last place.
Categories: Science

Synthetic molecule 'kicks and kills' some persistent HIV in mice

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 6:13pm
Scientists have designed a synthetic molecule that can reactivate dormant human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in mice and lead to the death of some of the infected cells, according to a new study.
Categories: Science

Japanese encephalitis vaccine cuts disease rate in Nepal

Science Daily - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 6:13pm
From 2006 through 2011, Nepal conducted a mass immunization campaign against Japanese encephalitis -- a mosquito-borne viral disease. Now, investigators have reported that the vaccination effort prevented thousands of cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) and cut JE rates in Nepal by at least 78 percent.
Categories: Science