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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Sonos Amp gets TV-friendly HDMI, beefed-up power, $600 price tag – CNET

BYO AV gear to the Sonos whole-home party.
Source: CNET

Take that, MoviePass: Sinemia offers 3 movies per month for $9.99 – CNET

All of the savings, none of the shenanigans. Plus: Own your own R2-D2 for just $40.
Source: CNET

Cool cars you can’t buy in the US – Roadshow

What do Europe, Japan and South America have that we don’t? Everything from a yakuza’s favorite ride to souped-up supercars.
Source: CNET

Elon Musk astroturfing? SpaceX employees spoke at Boring Company town hall – Roadshow

It could be a conflict of interest if Musk is paying all their salaries.
Source: CNET

3-D Printed Gun Blueprints Are Back, and Only New Laws Can Stop Them

Despite an injunction against sharing the plans online, Cody Wilson is now selling the blueprints directly.
Source: Wired

Oculus, Children's Hospital expand their VR medical training program – CNET

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the VR simulation course is required for residents.
Source: CNET

Valimail offers US election boards, campaigns and voting vendors its email anti-spoofing service for free

Valimail, an enterprise email security firm, announced that it will offer its email protections for free to relevant government workers and campaigns through the 2018 midterms. That offer covers state election boards, voting system vendors and major party U.S. election campaigns, including congressional, statewide and gubernatorial candidates. The company will also offer the same email fraud prevention service, known as Valimail Enforce, to the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee at no cost through the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

“Bad actors are trying to disrupt our elections and sow chaos in our democracy,” Valimail CEO and co-founder Alexander García-Tobar said in a statement. “They are targeting email because it is one of the weakest points in digital communications.”

As Valimail observes, spear phishing attempts in which an attacker tricks their target into opening a malicious email are a particular problem. In a spear phishing attack, a hacker can compromise a target’s login credentials by getting them to click on a fraudulent link or just by pretending to be someone they aren’t and obtaining usernames, passwords and other sensitive information. (The suspected Russian government-affiliated attackers who compromised a Gmail account belonging to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chair John Podesta used spear phishing to achieve their goals.)

Spear phishing attacks often employ email spoofing, a strategy in which the attacker disguises their true identity and makes an email look like it’s coming from a trusted domain. Citing its own research, Valimail notes that 90 percent of cyberattacks originate in spear phishing and two-thirds of those employ a fake “from” address to target potential victims.

Valimail Enforce prevents this kind of attack with an email authentication system that only allows authorized senders to use a domain name. The company’s email authentication service employs standards like SPF, DKIM and DMARC and is Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) authorized, making it easier for government entities to adopt its security tools.

Though no states and campaigns have signed on to the new offering yet, Valimail has been talking with the National Association of State Election Directors and the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency tasked with coordinating security for election systems — now designated as critical infrastructure — among the states. Valimail follows companies like Cloudflare and Synack in offering its services at no cost to help secure election systems.

Due to the state and local-led nature of U.S. elections, it’s very difficult to ensure that security measures can be uniformly implemented and enforced across the board. It’s too late for the patchwork of post-2016 election security efforts to provide any kind of comprehensive assurance for the 2018 midterms, but private tech companies are stepping in to fill some of the gaps. At the very least, getting some security relationships in place and educating state and local officials on potential precautions should be a useful stepping stone to more secure elections by 2020.


Source: TechCrunch

DuckDuckGo gets $10M from Omers for global privacy push

Pro-privacy search engine DuckDuckGo, which offers an alternative to surveillance engines like Google, has quietly picked up $10M in fresh funding from Canadian pension fund Omers’ VC arm. The Globe and Mail reported the news earlier this month.

It’s only the second funding round for the ten year old company — which last picked up $3M in VC all the way back in 2011, according to Crunchbase.

In a blog post announcing the investment, Omers Ventures argues that privacy and security concerns have “risen to the forefront of public consciousness” over the past five years — noting how governments are responding to public demand and data breaches and “starting to take real action”, citing the European Union’s updated privacy framework, GDPR, as one example.

With that conviction in mind, the fund actively pursued an investment in DDG, which has been profitable (via non-tracking advertising) since 2014 so was not in need of a cash injection. And, indeed, initially refused one. But Omers persisted and was able to persuade founder Gabriel Weinberg to take the money to help support growth objectives for DDG, “particularly internationally”, and including in Canada (where the fund is based).

Expanding its privacy and security offerings is another rational for DDG taking the funding.

At the start of this year the company branched out from its core product of private (non-tracking) search — adding a tracker blocker and other privacy and security tools to create a functional bundle to help web users keep their browsing private too.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Weinberg said the focus with Omers is “to figure out how to take that globally as they’re a global pension fund”.

Asked for more detail about the plans, he told TechCrunch: “While we are already global (and have been since launch in 2008), we are now trying to focus more on specific markets: In hiring, better tuning our search engine results for local markets, and expanding the channels we use to market DuckDuckGo to have more of a global focus.”

Hiring international staff will therefore be a big part of DDG’s growth push.

“We are focused on staffing up to continue to deliver the best all-in-one privacy solution (the one we launched at the beginning of the year) and marketing, with a more particular focus on outside of the US,” he also told us.

“Our top markets (in terms of search traffic) outside the US are: DE [Germany], UK, FR [France], CA [Canada], though we have significant growth and presence in most countries in terms of relative search market share.”

Weinberg added that Omers has “a deep personal interest and investment thesis in privacy, and do believe there is an inflection point now”.


Source: TechCrunch

Privacy groups ask senators to confirm US surveillance oversight nominees

A coalition of privacy groups are calling on lawmakers to fill the vacant positions on the government’s surveillance oversight board, which hasn’t fully functioned in almost two years.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, known as PCLOB, is a little-known but important group that helps to ensure that intelligence agencies and executive branch policies are falling within the law. The board’s work allows them to have access to classified programs run by the dozen-plus intelligence agencies and determine if they’re legal and effective, while balancing Americans’ privacy and civil liberties rights.

In its most recent unclassified major report in 2015, PCLOB called for an end of the NSA’s collection of Americans’ phone records.

But the board fell out of quorum when four members left the board last year, leaving just the chairperson. President Obama did not fill the vacancies before he left office, putting PCLOB’s work largely on ice.

A report by The Intercept said, citing obtained emails, that the board was “basically dead,” but things were looking up when President Trump earlier this year picked a bipartisan range of five nominees for the board, including a computer science and policy professor and a former senior Justice Department lawyer named in March. If confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the newly appointed members would put the board back into full swing.

Except the committee has dragged its feet. Hearings have only been heard on three nominees, but a vote has yet to be scheduled.

A total of 31 privacy organizations and rights groups, including the ACLU, Open Technology Institute and the Center for Democracy & Technology signed on to the letter calling on the senate panel to push forward with the hearings and vote on the nominees.

“During the eleven years since Congress created the PCLOB as an independent agency, it has only operated with a quorum for four and one-half years,” the letter said. “Without a quorum, the PCLOB cannot issue oversight reports, provide the agency’s advice, or build upon the agency foundations laid by the original members. It is also critical that the PCLOB operate with a full bipartisan slate of qualified individuals.”

The coalition called the lack of quorum a “lost opportunity to better inform the public and facilitate Congressional action.”

Given the continuing aftermath of the massive leak of classified documents by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the board’s work is more important than ever, the letter said.

Spokespeople for the Senate Judiciary Committee did not respond to a request for comment.


Source: TechCrunch

Bernie Sanders fires back against Amazon, calling subsidy reliance ‘absurd’

Next week, Bernie Sanders will introduce legislation aimed firmly at large companies he believes have taken advantage of “corporate welfare” by underpaying employees. Amazon and Walmart in particular have bore the brunt of the Senator’s criticisms, and the rhetoric has become increasingly heated over the the past few days.

Earlier today, Amazon accused Sanders of issuing “inaccurate and misleading” statements as he called the company out of warehouse conditions. The Vermont senator has since responded with a release, calling Amazon fulfillment center wages “absurd.”

“Thousands of Amazon employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing because their wages are too low,” Sanders says, “including 1 out of 3 of its workers in Arizona and 2,400 in Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to The New Food Economy. Bottom line: the taxpayers of this country should not have to subsidize employees at a company owned by Mr. Bezos who is worth $155 billion. That is absurd.”

In an interview yesterday, Sanders told TechCrunch that the company had not been forthcoming with information about employment. The company shot back, noting that the Senator had yet to take it up on its offer of a warehouse tour.

“In terms of visiting a fulfillment center, last month I was visiting Wisconsin and requested to visit the fulfillment center in Kenosha,” Sanders says. “Unfortunately, Amazon could not accommodate me then. In September, I look forward to visiting the fulfillment center in Chester, Virginia, and working out the details with Amazon. We have heard from workers there, including Navy veteran Seth King, about unsafe working conditions and at least one person has reportedly died at the warehouse.”

Sanders, of course, is far from the first person to raise issue with Amazon fulfillment center conditions. Stories have been floating around from current and former employees for years. CEO Jeff Bezos, who has been front and center in Sanders’ criticism recently told the press, “I am very proud of our working conditions, and I am very proud of the wages that we pay.”


Source: TechCrunch

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