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Google and Facebook Might Be Tracking Your Porn History, Researchers Warn
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Researchers at Microsoft, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 22,484 porn sites and found that 93% leak user data to a third party. Normally, for extra protection when surfing the web, a user might turn to incognito mode. But, the researchers said, incognito mode only ensures that your browsing history is not stored on your computer. CNET reports: According to a study released Monday, Google was the No. 1 third-party company. The research found that Google, or one of its subsidiaries like the advertising platform DoubleClick, had trackers on 74% of the pornography sites examined. Facebook had trackers on 10% of the sites. "In the U.S., many advertising and video hosting platforms forbid 'adult' content. For example, Google's YouTube is the largest video host in the world, but does not allow pornography," the researchers wrote. "However, Google has no policies forbidding websites from using their code hosting (Google APIs) or audience measurement tools (Google Analytics). Thus, Google refuses to host porn, but has no limits on observing the porn consumption of users, often without their knowledge."

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Google Glass May Have an Afterlife As a Device To Teach Autistic Children
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

While Google stopped selling its augmented-reality glasses to customers due to privacy concerns, Google Glass lived on as something to be used by researchers and businesses. The New York Times reports of a new effort from Stanford researchers to use Google Glass to help autistic children understand emotions and engage in more direct ways with those around them. The glasses could also be used to measure changes in behavior, something that has historically been difficult to do. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares an excerpt from the report: When Esaie Prickett sat down in the living room with his mother, father and four older brothers, he was the only one wearing Google Glass. As Esaie, who was 10 at the time and is 12 now, gazed through the computerized glasses, his family made faces -- happy, sad, surprised, angry, bored -- and he tried to identify each emotion. In an instant, the glasses told him whether he was right or wrong, flashing tiny digital icons that only he could see. Esaie was 6 when he and his family learned he had autism. The technology he was using while sitting in the living room was meant to help him learn how to recognize emotions and make eye contact with those around him. The glasses would verify his choices only if he looked directly at a face. He and his family tested the technology for several weeks as part of a clinical trial run by researchers at Stanford University in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently detailed in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, the trial fits into a growing effort to build new technologies for children on the autism spectrum, including interactive robots and computerized eyewear.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Startup Aims To Tackle Grid Storage Problem With New Porous Silicon Battery
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

New submitter symgym writes: Recently out of stealth mode is a new battery technology that's printed on silicon wafers (36 million "micro-batteries" machined into 12-inch silicon wafers). It can scale from small devices to large-scale grid storage and promises four times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries for half the price. There should also be no issues with fires caused by dendrite formation. "When you use porous silicon, you get about 70 times the surface area compared to a traditional lithium battery... [and] there's millions of cells in a wafer," says Christine Hallquist of Cross Border Power, the startup that plans to commercialize the battery design developed by Washington-based company XNRGI. "It completely eliminates the problem of dendrite formation." If all of this is true, it's a massive disruptive invention. Hallquist also notes that the new batteries are 100% recyclable. "At the end of the life of this product, you bring the wafers back in, you clean the wafer off, you reclaim the lithium and other materials. And it's essentially brand new. So we're 100 percent recyclable." "Hallquist says the battery banks that Cross Border Power plans to sell to utility companies as soon as next year will be installed in standard computer server racks," reports IEEE Spectrum. "One shipping container worth of those racks (totaling 40 racks in all) will offer 4 megawatts (MW) of battery storage capacity, she says. Contrast this, she adds, to a comparable set of rack-storage lithium ion batteries which would typically only yield 1 MW in a shipping container."

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Chuck Schumer Asks FBI To Investigate FaceApp
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the FBI to investigate FaceApp after privacy concerns have been raised about the Russian company which developed the app. In a letter posted on Twitter, Mr Schumer called it "deeply disturbing" that personal data of U.S. citizens could go to a "hostile foreign power." The BBC reports: Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, says it does not permanently store images, and does not collect troves of data -- only uploading specific photos selected by users for editing. "Even though the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia," a company statement reported by news site TechCrunch said. Mr Schumer however has asked that the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate FaceApp. "I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it," his letter reads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft's Q4 Earnings and 2020 Expectations Are Through the Roof
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Slashdot reader John Nautu shares a report from Windows Report: Microsoft released their Q4 earnings and it's (almost) all good news. The giant registered amazing growth on all departments, increasing its share price by one third. It was a record fiscal year for Microsoft, and the numbers exceeded all expectations: - Revenue was $33.7 billion and increased 12% - Operating income was $12.4 billion and increased 20% - Net income was $13.2 billion GAAP and $10.6 billion non-GAAP, and increased 49% and 21%, respectively - Diluted earnings per share was $1.71 GAAP and $1.37 non-GAAP, and increased 50% and 21%, respectively - GAAP results include a $2.6 billion net income tax benefit explained in the Non-GAAP Definition section below Of course, Microsoft's partnership with many industry leading companies also played a role in the constant development and improvement of their products. Despite Azure leading the way, Office 365, Windows, and Microsoft Teams also contributed to the growth. [Teams recently overtook Slack with 13 million daily users.] It's not all good news though. The Verge notes that the company's gaming business has stalled. "Gaming revenue declined by 10 percent this quarter, alongside Xbox software and services revenue decline of 3 percent." Ryan Duguid, Chief Evangelist at Nintex, said the company is planning some big things for next year: "In 2020, we expect to see Microsoft double down in three key areas to further differentiate from the leading tech giants: AI and ML (across the entire platform), data (infinitely expandable, cost-effective, and supportive of ODI), and modern workplace (productivity software)." In after-hours trading, Microsoft shares gained more than 1%. "The closing price gave Microsoft a market capitalization of $1.045 trillion, the only U.S. company worth more than $1 trillion," reports MarketWatch.

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