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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Problems with Microsoft’s Windows October 2018 Update aren’t over yet

Microsoft’s Windows 10 October 2018 update is not having a great launch. More than two weeks after its debut and Microsoft is still putting out fires as new bugs are discovered and there’s no sign of its re-release as of yet.

The post Problems with Microsoft’s Windows October 2018 Update aren’t over yet appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends

Ember's Temperature-Regulating Mug Just Keeps Getting Better

Crowdfunding projects often crash and burn. But Ember’s heated travel mug just keeps improving.
Source: Wired

Elon Musk plans to buy another $20 million in Tesla stock

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company’s largest shareholder, intends to buy another $20 million in common stock, a move that appears to be in response to a recent settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a filing Wednesday.

The 8-K document detailed a settlement agreement between Musk, Tesla and the SEC over allegations of securities fraud connected to his August 7 “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private. A federal judge approved the settlement Tuesday.

At the bottom of the 8-K, Tesla outlined Musk’s plans to buy $20 million in stock. The statement read:

Separate and apart from the settlement, Elon has notified Tesla that he intends to purchase from Tesla, and Tesla expects that it will issue and sell to Elon, $20 million of Tesla’s common stock during the next open trading window at the then-current market price.

As part of the settlement, Musk has agreed to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman of the board for at least three years. He will still keep a board seat and has not admitted or denied any of SEC’s allegations.

Tesla will pay a separate $20 million fine. The company also agreed to monitor and pre-approve Musk’s communications through channels such as Twitter and the Tesla blog to determine if any of the information is material, and thereby should be disclosed.

Source: TechCrunch

Crypto Quantique unveils its ‘quantum driven secure chip’ for IoT devices

With Gartner estimating that there will be 150 billion connected devices by 2030 — many of them mission critical, such as powering major national infrastructure — the risk and realisation that these devices aren’t secured properly is leading some cyber security experts to predict that there is a large-scale disaster waiting to happen. And the problem is only getting worse. By some estimates, on average there are 127 new devices connected to the internet every second.

Enter: Crypto Quantique, a startup out of company builder Entrepreneur First that has been patiently toiling away for the last couple of years trying to solve the IoT security problem. Specifically, the company has developed what it claims is “the world’s first quantum driven secure chip (QDSC)” on silicon, which, when combined with cryptographic APIs, it says is capable of providing any connected device with a scalable and easy to implement “end-to-end” security solution.

Moreover, by employing advanced techniques in cryptography and quantum physics, its makers say the Crypto Quantique QDSC is unique to every device and entirely unclonable, which makes it almost impossible to hack. That’s quite a claim.

“There are security complexities in IoT, many stakeholders, including OEMs, manufacturers, integrators and designers are involved in developing and implementing the IoT,” Shahram Mossayebi, co-founder of Crypto Quantique, told me over email. “Each stakeholder is faced with different threat vectors and thus has different security requirements and produces devices based on very different architectures. Currently there is no clear approach to securing the IoT, which is also impacted by the lack of basic security tools that would allow stakeholders to build their own security solutions”.

To that end, he explained that security must start from the device, then travel through the network and finally reach the IoT device’s backend services. In other words, proper end-to-end security is required to protect IoT devices and infrastructure.

At the heart of this is “root of trust” — the ability for a device to authenticate itself and be a trusted member of a network — which, conversely, is also the weakest link. Data traveling throughout the network also needs strong encryption, of course. Finally, with IoT devices being in the billions, there’s an issue of cost: any secure solution can’t be prohibitively expensive to implement on a per device basis or be fragmented across multiple third-party providers.

“We have created a root-of-trust by harnessing quantum processes in semiconductors to generate unique, unclonable and tamper evident cryptographic keys,” says Mossayebi. “We call it quantum driven secure chip (QDSC) and it is the first ever of its kind in the world. Because of the uniqueness and way in which the keys are generated there is no requirement to store the keys on the device because the keys can be retrieved on demand. This eliminates secure storage requirements and leakage of sensitive information.

“In addition to building the QDSC, we also provide the cryptographic APIs and manage the end to end security to remove the multiple parties involved in the security chain and provide an all-in-one solution. This means there are no ‘open windows’ in connectivity when it comes to security. Once a QDSC is placed in a device it links directly to the owner system (i.e. public or private cloud) through CQ’s cryptographic APIs, where it is managed automatically and remotely while the device is in the field. This is the most advanced security product for the IoT, enabling new industrial revolutions such as Industry 4.0”.

As I said, big (and very interesting) claims, indeed.

On that note, Mossayebi says Crypto Quantique is aimed at any connected device that needs to stay secure, from traffic lights to a SCADA machine used in critical infrastructure. “Currently, we are working with leaders in different fields such as defence, aerospace, energy, industrial IoT manufacturers and enterprise hardware appliance manufacturers. The applications vary from securing satellites and drones to securing energy grids, sensors in critical infrastructure and data centres,” he says.

Source: TechCrunch

UK health minister sets out tech-first vision for future care provision

The UK’s still fairly new in post minister for health, Matt Hancock, quickly made technology one of his stated priorities. And today he’s put more meat on the bones of his thinking, setting out a vision for transforming, root and branch, how the country’s National Health Service operates to accommodate the plugging in of “healthtech” apps and services — to support tech-enabled “preventative, predictive and personalised care”.

How such a major IT upgrade program would be paid for is not clearly set out in the policy document. But the government writes that it is “committed to working with partners” to deliver on its grand vision.

“Our ultimate objective is the provision of better care and improved health outcomes for people in England,” Hancock writes in the ‘future of healthcare’ policy document. “But this cannot be done without a clear focus on improving the technology used by the 1.4 million NHS staff, 1.5 million-strong social care workforce and those many different groups who deliver and plan health and care services for the public.”

The minister is proposing that NHS digital services and IT systems will have to meet “a clear set of open standards” to ensure interoperability and updatability.

Meaning that existing systems that don’t meet the incoming standards will need to be phased out and ripped out over time.

The tech itself that NHS trusts and clinical commissioners can choose to buy will not be imposed upon them from above. Rather the stated intent is to encourage “competition on user experience and better tools for everyone”, says Hancock.

In a statement, the health and social care secretary said: “The tech revolution is coming to the NHS. These robust standards will ensure that every part of the NHS can use the best technology to improve patient safety, reduce delays and speed up appointments.

“A modern technical architecture for the health and care service has huge potential to deliver better services and to unlock our innovations. We want this approach to empower the country’s best innovators — inside and outside the NHS — and we want to hear from staff, experts and suppliers to ensure our standards will deliver the most advanced health and care service in the world.”

The four stated priorities for achieving the planned transformation are infrastructure (principally but not only related to patient records); digital services; innovation; and skills and culture:

“Our technology infrastructure should allow systems to talk to each other safely and securely, using open standards for data and interoperability so people have confidence that their data is up to date and in the right place, and health and care professionals have access to the information they need to provide care,” the document notes.  

The ‘tech for health’ vision — which lacks any kind of timeframe whatsoever — loops in an assortment of tech-fuelled case studies, from applying AI for faster diagnoses (as DeepMind has been trying) to Amazon Alexa skills being used as a memory aid for social care. And envisages, as a future success metric, that “a healthy person can stay healthy and active (using wearables, diet-tracking apps) and can co-ordinate with their GP or other health professional about targeted preventative care”.

The ‘techiness’ of the vision is unsurprising, given Hancock was previously the UK’s digital minister and has made no secret of his love of apps. Even having an app of his own developed to connect with his constituents (aka the eponymous Matt Hancock App — albeit running into some controversy for problems with the app’s privacy policy).

Hancock has also been a loud advocate for (and a personal user of) London-based digital healthcare startup Babylon Health, whose app initially included an AI diagnostic chatbot, in addition to offering video and text consultations with (human) doctors and specialists.

The company has partnered with the NHS for a triage service, and to offer a digital alternative to a traditional primary care service via an app that offers remote consultations (called GP at Hand).

But the app has also faced criticism from healthcare professionals. The AI chatbot component specifically has been attacked by doctors for offering incorrect and potentially dangerous diagnosis advice to patients. This summer Babylon pulled the AI element out of the app, leaving the bot to serve unintelligent triage advice — such as by suggesting people go straight to A&E even with just a headache. (Thereby, said its critics, piling pressure on already over-stretched NHS hospital services.)

All of which underlines some of the pitfalls of scrambling too quickly to squash innovation and healthcare together.

The demographic cherrypicking that can come inherently bundled with digital healthcare apps which are most likely to appeal to younger users (who have fewer complex health problems) is another key criticism of some of these shiny, modern services — with the argument being they impact non-digital NHS primary care services by saddling the bricks-and-mortar bits with more older, sicker patients to care for while the apps siphon off (and monetize) mostly the well, tech-savvy young.

Hancock’s pro-tech vision for upgrading the UK’s healthcare service doesn’t really engage with that critique of modern tech services having a potentially unequal impact on a free-at-the-point-of-use, taxpayer-funded health service.

Rather, in a section on “inclusion”, the vision document talks about the need to “design for, and with, people with different physical, mental health, social, cultural and learning needs, and for people with low digital literacy or those less able to access technology”. But without saying exactly how that might be achieved, given the overarching thrust being to reconfigure the NHS to be mobile-first, tech-enabled and tech-fuelled. 

“Different people may need different services and some people will never use digital services themselves directly but will benefit from others using digital services and freeing resources to help them,” runs the patter. “We must acknowledge that those with the greatest health needs are also the most at risk of being left behind and build digital services with this in mind, ensuring the highest levels of accessibility wherever possible.”

So the risk is being acknowledged — yet in a manner and context that suggests it’s simultaneously being dismissed, or elbowed out of the way, in the push for technology-enabled progress.

Hancock also appears willing to tolerate some iterative tech missteps — again towards a ‘greater good’ of modernizing the tech used to deliver NHS services so it can be continuously responsive to user needs, via updates and modular plugins, all greased by patient data being made reliably available via the envisaged transformation.

Though there is a bit of a cautionary caveat for healthcare startups like Babylon too. At least if they make actual clinical claims, with the document noting that: “We must be careful to ensure that we follow clinical trials where the new technology is clinical but also to ensure we have appropriate assurance processes that recognise when an innovation can be adopted faster. We must learn to adopt, iterate and continuously improve innovations, and support those who are working this way.”

Another more obvious contradiction is Hancock’s claim that “privacy and security” is one of four guiding principles for the vision (alongside “user need; interoperability and openness; and inclusion”), yet this is rubbing up against active engagement with the idea of sensitive social care data being processed by and hosted by a commercial ecommerce giant like Amazon, for example.

The need for patient trust and buy in gets more than passing mention, though. And there’s a pledge to introduce “a healthtech regulatory sandbox working with the ICO, National Data Guardian, NICE and other regulators” to provide support and an easier entry route for developers wanting to build health apps to sell in to the NHS, with the government also saying it will take other steps to “simplify the landscape for innovators”.

“If data is to be used effectively to support better health and care outcomes, it is essential that the public has trust and confidence in us and can see robust data governance, strong safeguards and strict penalties in place for misuse,” the policy document notes. 

Balancing support for data-based digital innovation, including where data-thirsty technologies like AI are concerned, with respect for the privacy of people’s highly sensitive health data will be a tricky act for the government to steer, though. Perhaps especially given Hancock is so keenly rushing to embrace the market.

“We need to build nationally only those few services that the market can’t provide and that must be done once and for everyone, such as a secure login and granular access to date,” runs the ministerial line. “This may mean some programmes need to be stopped.”

Although he also writes that there is a “huge role” for the NHS, care providers and commissioners to “develop solutions and co-create them with industry”.

Some of our user needs are unique, like carers in a particular geographical location or patients using assistive technologies. Or sometimes we can beat something to market because we know what we need and are motivated to solve the problem first.

“In those circumstances where industry won’t see the economies of scale they need to invest, we must be empowered to build our own digital services, often running on our data and networks. We will do that according to the government’s Digital Service Standard, and within the minimal rules we set for our infrastructure.”

“We also want to reassure those who are currently building products that we have no intention or desire to close off the market – in fact we want exactly the opposite,” the document also notes. “We want to back innovations that can improve our health and care system, wherever they can be found – and we know that some of the best innovations are being driven by clinicians and staff up and down the country.”

Among the commercial entities currently building products targeted at the NHS is Google -owned DeepMind, which got embroiled in a privacy controversy related to a data governance failure by the NHS Trust it worked with to co-develop an app for the early detection of a kidney condition.

DeepMind’s health data ambitions expand beyond building alert apps or even crafting diagnostic AIs to also wanting to build out and own healthcare app delivery infrastructure (aka, a fast healthcare interoperability resource, or FHIR) — which, in the aforementioned project, was bundled into the app contract with the Royal Free NHS Trust, locking the trust into sending data to DeepMind’s servers by prohibiting it from connecting to other FHIR servers. So not at all a model vision of interoperability.

Earlier this year DeepMind’s own independent reviewer panel warned there was a risk of the company gaining excessive monopoly power. And Hancock’s vision for health tech seems to be proposing to outlaw such contractual lock ins. Though it remains to be seen whether the guiding principle will stand up to the inexorable tech industry lobbying.

We will set national open standards for data, interoperability, privacy and confidentiality, real-time data access, cyber security and access rules,” the vision grandly envisages.

Open standards are not an abstract technical goal. They permit interoperability between different regions and systems but they also, crucially, permit a modular approach to IT in the NHS, where tools can be pulled and replaced with better alternatives as vendors develop better products. This, in turn, will help produce market conditions that drive innovation, in an ecosystem where developers and vendors continuously compete on quality to fill each niche, rather than capturing users.”

Responding to Hancock’s health tech plan, Sam Smith, coordinator of patient data privacy advocacy group medConfidential, told us: “There’s not much detail in here. It’s not so much ‘jam tomorrow’, as ‘jam… sometime’ — there’s no timeline, and jam gets pretty rancid after not very long. He says “these are standards”, but they’re just a vision for standards — all the hard work is left to be done.”

On the privacy plus AI front, Smith also picks up on Hancock’s vision including suggestive support for setting up “data trusts to facilitate the ethical sharing of data between organisations”, with the document reiterating the government’s plan to launch a pilot later this year. 

“Hancock says “we are supportive” of stripping the NHS of its role in oversight of commercial exploitation of data. Who is the “we” in that as it should be a cause for widespread concern. If Matt thinks the NHS will never get data right, what does he know that the public don’t?” said Smith on this.

He also points out at previous grand scheme attempts to overhaul NHS IT — most notably the uncompleted NHS National Programme for IT, which in the early 2000s tried and failed to deliver a top-down digitization of the service — taking a decade and sinking billions in the process.

“The widely criticised National Programme for IT also started out with similar lofty vision,” he noted. “This is yet another political piece saying what “good looks like”, but none of the success criteria are about patients getting better care from the NHS. For that, better technology has to be delivered on a ward, and in a GP surgery, and the many other places that the NHS and social care touch. Reforming procurement and standards do matter, and will help, but it helps in the same way a good accountant helps — and that’s not by having a vision of better accounting.”

On the vision’s timeframe, a Department of Health spokesman told us: “Today marks the beginning of a conversation between technology experts across the NHS, regulatory bodies and industry as we refine the standards and consider timeframes and details. The iterated standards document will be published in December once we receive feedback and the mandate will be rolled out gradually.

“We have been clear that we will phase out any system which does not meet these standards, will not procure systems which do not comply and will look to end contracts with suppliers who do not meet the standards.”

Source: TechCrunch

Lyft hires former United Airlines exec to lead market expansion

Lyft has brought on former United Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Julia Haywood to serve as its VP of Strategy. The plan is for her to own Lyft’s market expansion efforts and accelerate growth.

“I’m excited to see Julia make a huge impact here at Lyft,” said Jon McNeill, Chief Operating Officer at Lyft. “We are in a period of hypergrowth, and as the complexity of our product offerings and organization increases, Julia’s hands-on approach to tackling challenges is just what we need to best-position us for the future.”

That future likely entails an initial public offering. Just yesterday, news broke that Lyft has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the lead underwriter of its IPO along with Credit Suisse Group and Jeffries Group. According to the WSJ, Lyft’s valuation will exceed $15.1 billion.

Since joining Lyft from Tesla in February, McNeil has made numerous hires to the team, including a handful from Tesla.

In September, Lyft hit one billion rides. Earlier that month, Lyft officially entered the scooter sharing space when it launched electric scooters in Denver, Colo. Lyft has since deployed its scooters in Santa Monica, Calif. as part of the city’s pilot program. Lyft’s entrance into scooters came close after its acquisition of bike-share company Motivate.

Source: TechCrunch

Spotify takes a stake in DistroKid, will support cross-platform music uploads in Spotify for Artists

Spotify has taken a minority stake in music distribution service, DistroKid, a popular tool used by artists for uploading their music across platforms. The company didn’t confirm the size of its stake, only saying that it made a “passive minority investment.” As a result of the deal, Spotify will also upgrade its Spotify for Artists service to include an integration with DistroKid that allows artists to simultaneously upload content to other platforms.

“For the past five years, DistroKid has served as a go-to service for hundreds of thousands independent artists, helping them deliver their tracks to digital music services around the world, and reaching fans however they choose to consume music,” the company announced in a blog post about the deal.

Spotify was already a partner with DistroKid ahead of this news. However, DistroKid’s service currently allows musicians an easy way to get their tunes to Spotify competitors, too, including Apple, Amazon, Google Play, TIDAL, iHeartRadio, YouTube, Pandora, Deezer, and over 150 other music streaming services and stores.

Given DistroKid’s formerly agnostic position in the industry, Spotify’s investment is likely to cause a stir. It’s unclear for now how Spotify rivals will react to the move.

Spotify declined to disclose any financial details, when asked by TechCrunch, but a spokesperson clarified that it did not acquire the company, does not have a board seat, and that DistroKid remains independent. It also said that it has no rights to see the data from other digital service providers and DistroKid will not share confidential information.

Asked if planned to take a cut of sales of DistroKid subscriptions, currently $19.99 per year, Spotify said it doesn’t have that information to offer at this time. “We’ll announce full details when we’re ready to open the integration to artists,” we were told.

It seems, then, that Spotify – for now, at least – largely wanted to solidify its relationship with DistroKid for the purposes of the work it has planned regarding the upcoming technical integrations, in addition to establishing an expanded business relationship in general.

Spotify says it will soon roll out a new tool that will allow musicians to upload to DistroKid through Spotify for Artists.

Launched out of beta last year, Spotify for Artists is the streaming service’s online dashboard that allows musicians and their management teams a way to easily update their profile information, track their streams, and gain insights about their fan bases. In September 2018, Spotify announced a major new feature for the service as well – music uploads. The company said that artists would be able to use a beta upload feature to send their tracks directly to Spotify, as well as edit the metadata around those files, and track the songs’ performance.

DistroKid’s integration will complement this new feature, by offering the ability to upload elsewhere, too.

Spotify did not say when it expects the integrations to go live, only that it would be in the “near future.”


Source: TechCrunch

How to pre-order the iPhone XR – CNET

Preorders start this Friday, Oct. 19.
Source: CNET

Arrowverse's Elseworlds poster reveals crossover clues – CNET

A new poster shows interesting costume choices for Arrow and the Flash.
Source: CNET

Twitter opens huge archive of tweets tied to Russia, Iran misinformation – CNET

See with your own eyes what Twitter calls “nefarious attempts” to wreak havoc on social media.
Source: CNET