Avast, the multibillion-dollar Czech security company, doesn’t just make money from protecting its 400 million users’ information. It also profits in part because of sales of users’ Web browsing habits and has been doing so since at least 2013.

That’s led to some labelling its tools “spyware,” the very thing Avast is supposed to be protecting users from. Both Mozilla and Opera were concerned enough to remove some Avast tools from their add-on stores earlier this month, though the anti-virus provider says it’s working with Mozilla to get its products back online.

But recently appointed chief executive Ondrej Vlcek tells Forbes there’s no privacy scandal here. All that user information that it sells cannot be traced back to individual users, he asserts.

Source: Forbes

I love the last sentence of this quote. That’s like the surveillance cameras don’t monitor you. They are just monitoring the streets.

Real-time data and analytics and machine learning and AI creates unpreparedness by corporations and Big Tech companies.

Source: cyberscoop

That’s what the bot said, and he seems smarter than the people who use him.

Players trying to launch Tron: Evolution are now met with a message telling them that the ‘serial key has expired’. This applies to the retail version as well as the Steam version which is delisted from the store. Players who previously bought the game from Steam cannot play the game.

Source: PCGamingWiki

I guess, pirates don’t face this issue.

Old and busted: people lose their jobs due to outsourcing production into third-world countries.

New hotness: robots lose their jobs due to outsourcing production into third-world countries.

Adidas plans to close high-tech “robot” factories in Germany and the United States that it launched to bring production closer to customers, saying Monday that deploying some of the technology in Asia would be “more economic and flexible.”

The Adidas factories were part of a drive to meet demand for faster delivery of new styles to its major markets and to counter rising wages in Asia and higher shipping costs. It originally planned a global network of similar factories.

The German sportswear company did not give details on why it was closing the facilities, which have proved expensive and where the technology has been difficult to extend to different products.

Martin Shankland, Adidas’ head of global operations, said the factories had helped the company improve its expertise in innovative manufacturing, but it aimed to apply what it had learned with its suppliers.

Adidas started production of shoes largely by robots at its “Speedfactory” in the southern town of Ansbach near its Bavarian headquarters in 2016 and opened another near Atlanta in 2017.

Founded by German cobbler Adi Dassler in 1949, Adidas has shifted most of its production from Europe to Asia and now relies on more than 1 million workers in contract factories, particularly in China and Vietnam.

However, Adidas said Monday that production at the two factories would be discontinued by April 2020 at the latest as it focuses instead on using the technologies they pioneered to produce shoes at two of its suppliers in Asia.

The suppliers would use the techniques to make a broader range of products with a short production time, not just running shoes, while Adidas will keep testing manufacturing processes at its so-called adiLab site in Scheinfeld, Germany.

It said it would continue to work with Oechsler, the German company that operates the two factories, in other manufacturing areas, such as producing soles for its springy Boost shoes, as well as soles for soccer shoes and advanced 3D-printed soles.

Source: New York Post

Now guess what! On German keyboards the layout of the third and the forth row start with “asdf…” and “yxcv…”. The first row starts with “1234…”. The dash is just to reach “high” security validation. Even without the dash the password would be a valid one.

Light Commands is a vulnerability of MEMS microphones that allows attackers to remotely inject inaudible and invisible commands into voice assistants, such as Google assistant, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Portal, and Apple Siri using light.
In our paper we demonstrate this effect, successfully using light to inject malicious commands into several voice controlled devices such as smart speakers, tablets, and phones across large distances and through glass windows.

Source

Here’s the respective paper: source, local copy

How does this work? The Quran requires that muslims above a certain threshold of wealth give away 2.5% of wealth as charity (“zakat”). In Pakistan, the government automatically taxes citizens above this threshold at the 2.5% level.

The threshold (“nisab”) is historically determined as the price of 612 grams of silver. So each year, the Pakistani government looks at the current price of silver, and taxes everyone who falls above the corresponding threshold.

Individuals who fall *just* below the threshold one year due the changed price of silver suddenly avoid a 2.5% government tax. Those people then increase their private donations to charity.

Many such donations (whether intended or not) go to charities affiliated with terrorist groups. With this additional financing, these groups conduct more attacks:

↑silver price → ↑tax threshold → ↓taxes → ↑charity → ↑terrorist financing → ↑terrorist attacks!

Read the absolutely incredible paper presented at the Stigler Center’s Political Economy of Finance conference in Chicago this weekend, by Nicola Limodio, here.

Source: Ben Marrow

The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which  is to prohibit almost all  transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela.

Executive Order 13884 was issued with no expiration date – the decision to rescind it rests solely with the U.S. Government. We will continue to monitor developments closely and will make every effort to restore services to Venezuela as soon as it is legally permissible to do so.

Source: Adobe

Put your data in the cloud, they said. It’s save and accessible from everywhere, they said.

I’m going to guess that the reason that this machine is brain dead, even though it has its primary power rails, is because … Apple.

Source: YouTube

It died because of improper usage: The user caused the CPU to execute instructions. You’re are not supposed to do that! Macbooks are a piece of art, to show to other people that you have money to just throw away. You’re not supposed to do computing with them. Only nerds do that, with their ugly black Thinkpads.

Some classrooms in China are equipped with AI cameras and brain-wave trackers. While many parents and teachers see them as tools to improve grades, they’ve become some children’s worst nightmare.

Source: WSJ

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    We never asked for this.