Thursday, November 12, 2015



Link to TechEye

Apple will fight UK encryption law

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 12:32 AM PST

tim-cook-apple-ceoFruity cargo cult Apple has said that it will fight David Cameron's daft law to force it to hand over encryption keys so that the UK government can read fanboy's emails to their mothers saying they will be home late from their paper round.

The cult's Grand Mufti Chief Executive Tim Cook said that Apple was opposed to a new British law it says would create vulnerabilities hackers could exploit.

Britain last week unveiled a draft surveillance bill that would place explicit obligations on service providers to help intercept data and hack suspects’ devices, potentially undermining the end-to-end encryption on Apple’s iMessages.

Cook said the law would mean that Apple would need to create a “back door” in the encryption to comply and that this would expose data to hackers.

“If you leave a back door in the software, there is no such thing as a back door for good guys only. “If there is a back door, anyone can come in the back door.”

“We believe that the safest approach for the world is to encrypt end to end with no back door. We think that protects the most people,” he said

Experts say parts of the new bill goes beyond the powers available to security services in the United States and critics have denounced it as an assault on privacy. The British government says the law is vital to keep the country safe.

The Director of Britain’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ said Cook's claim that the law demanded a ban on encryption, encouraged vulnerabilities and required security products to have “backdoors” to allow monitoring by spies were all myths.

Robert Hannigan said that the law says that information needed for national security and serious crime purposes should not be beyond the lawful, warranted reach of the state when the need arises.

Cook said if Apple’s encryption were undermined, then the “bad guys” the British government is seeking to intercept will simply use alternative encryption tools.

“If you close down the major companies from using encryption, the bad guys aren’t going to stop using encryption. They are just going to go to another source.”

Cook did not specifically say whether or not Apple would cooperate with the British government. But he did say there was some ambiguity in the bill as published, which means that Apple would find a way around it.

Governments bugging Facebook much more

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 12:29 AM PST

bugSocial notworking site Facebook claims that government demands for its user data surged in the first half of 2015.

Facebook’s biannual report is one of the chief indicators of government interest in the company’s data. The social media giant is not allowed to publicise specific requests by law enforcement and spy agencies, but it is allowed to release statistics.

If you are worried about privacy, then the stats make chilling reading. Government requests for account data globally jumped 18 percent in the first half of 2015 to 41,214 accounts, up from 35,051 requests in the second half of 2014.

In the first half of this year, Facebook took down 20,568 posts and other pieces of content that violated local laws, more than doubling the number taken down in the second half of 2014. Such restricted content includes anything from Nazi propaganda in Germany to depictions of violent crimes.

Facebook’s user base has grown explosively to 1.55 billion people, up from 1.4 billion in the second half of last year.

The government often requests basic subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people’s posts online.

The bulk of government requests came from US law enforcement agencies. US agencies requested data from 26,579 accounts – comprising more than 60 percent of requests globally – up from 21,731 accounts in the second half of 2014.

France, Germany and Britain made up a large percentage of the requests and had far more content restricted in 2015. Some of the content taken down in Germany included Holocaust denial, Facebook said.

India and Turkey were responsible for most of the content taken down for violating local laws. India had 15,155 pieces of content restricted – nearly triple the amount in the second half of 2014 – while Turkey had 4,496, up from 3,624.

The number of Facebook users in India is up nearly 70 million since June 2014, to more than 190 million users.

Governments have increasingly relied on Facebook’s user data to help investigate criminal cases, which are responsible for most of the requests, Facebook said.

“Facebook does not provide any government with ‘back doors’ or direct access to people’s data,” Facebook wrote.

Nvidia releases Jetsons for drones and robots

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 12:28 AM PST

what-you-can-learn-from-the-jetsons-about-home-automation-image-0Graphics card maker Nvidia has lifted the kimono on its Jetson TX1 developer kit which it hopes will encourage people to build drones and robots.

The credit card sized TX1 kit is the size of a credit card but has a 1 teraflop of horsepower.

Jesse Clayton, product manager at Nvidia said that robots and drones require autonomous and smoother navigation capabilities, and the TX1 will help.

The TX1 has 256 graphics cores to process images so Robots can recognize objects and avoid collisions using “deep-learning” algorithms and image processing engines.

Clayton said Nvidia was also providing a software development kit for theTX1, including a debugger, compiler, libraries and other tools. The SDK will help programmers load applications that allow robots and drones to be truly autonomous.

The software uses Nvidia’s CUDA parallel programming framework, and taps into technologies such as OpenCV, OpenVX and Nvidia’s VisionWorks for image recognition. The board also supports OpenGL and OpenGL ES graphics standards.

The board can connect to more powerful cloud services for post-processing of images, Clayton said.


The TX1 is three times faster than last year’s original Jetson board, which delivered 300 gigaflops of horsepower. It uses the Tegra X1 chip which Nvidia is putting under the bonnets of cars and tablets. They use 64-bit ARM CPUs.Additional specifications include 4GB of DDR4 memory, 16GB of storage, Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The developer board will be available starting on November 16 for $599 through online retailers like Amazon and Newegg, it will be in the shops next year.

CEOs can be replaced by a machine

Posted: 12 Nov 2015 12:25 AM PST

Robby the Robot - Wikimedia CommonsGlobal management consultants McKinsey have warned CEO's that most of their job could be done by a robot.

Apparently CEO's do a lot of redundant stuff which would be better left to robots.

The report said that these redundant tasks include “analyzing reports and data to inform operational decisions; preparing staff assignments; and reviewing status reports,” the report says.

For a while now automation has been the bugbear of lower-wage occupations but it seems that executives who believe they have a job for life are also dreaming.

The report said that 45 per cent of work activities could be automated using already demonstrated technology.

In fact the only areas which are safe are jobs related to creativity and sensing emotions. But by automating the routine elements of the jobs, time could be freed up to allow workers to spend more time on tasks that require creativity and “emotion, the report said.

For example, Interior design is one example of a job that could benefit from this balance of automation and human interpretation. By automating the taking of measurements, designers can spend more time applying their personal creativity to the designs..

But CEO's should let Big Data analyze the reports so the boss has more time to think conceptually or help himself to the drink's cabinet.

One of the sticking points of automation is that machines cannot reach the same “level of human performance” in the case of comprehending normal, spoken language.

If this issue could be fixed then 13 per cent of US work activities could be automated.

However, “it’s no longer the case that only routine, codifiable activities are candidates for automation, and that activities requiring tacit knowledge or experience that is difficult to translate into task specifications are immune to automation,” the report says.

TalkTalk hack costs £35 million

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 07:23 AM PST

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 14.18.56The CEO of TalkTalk said that the hack it suffered recenrly will cost it up to £35 million.

Talking to the BBC, Dido Harding said the one off cost will be between £30 million and £35 million.

Costs included TalkTalk's response to the hack, the extra calls into its call centres and extra IT and technology costs.

The hack has also cost the provider sales because its online sale sites only came back up this week.

But Harding said that despite the hacks the company is in line to meet its targets for its full year financial results.

TalkTalk is offering free upgrades to its customers. It revealed last week that only 157,000 customers had their personal details stolen.

Initially it believed that number could rise into the millions.

Four young men have been arrested as part of a nationwide inquiry into the hack and have been bailed.

Apple to hire more heads in Ireland

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 06:49 AM PST

Old Apple logo - Wikimedia CommonsThe Irish Development Agency (IDA) said that Apple intends to increase its headcount in Ireland by 1,000 jobs.

Apple currently has a headcount of 5,000 in its offices in Cork. The additional jobs are set to be added by the middle of 2017.

The move comes as the European Commission is investigating why Apple has paid so little tax in Ireland. The Commission is expected to rule on the matter after Christmas and could force the Irish government to recover large sums of money.

The IDA's role is to encourage inward investment into Ireland, and it's been pretty successful at doing that with technology companies over the last 20 years, attracting names like Intel, Microsoft, Apple, EMC, Dell and others.

The European Commission is also investigating whether Apple needs to pay more tax in Luxembourg.

TSMC bets on Apple iPhone

Posted: 11 Nov 2015 06:41 AM PST

TSMC fab in Hsinchu - Wikimedia CommonsThe Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has posted robust monthly results and that's largely due to the success of Apple's iPhone 6S machines.

TSMC ia a foundry that produces semiconductors based on designs from its customers and is responsible for making the microprocessors in the Apple iPhones.

While the rest of the semiconductor industry is languishing in the doldrums, TSMC turned in revenues 10 percent higher than the same month.

According to the Taipei Times, Morris Chang, the "father" of the semiconductor foundry business, said that net profits will increase at 10 percent year on year.

Earlier this year, TSMC said it would not spend as much on capital equipment as it had first anticipated – citing soft demand in the overall chip business.

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