Your microwave, your TV, and almost the entire inventory of Best Buy have one thing in common: they all uses membrane switches for user interaction, and that means these devices are inaccessible for the blind. This project for the Hackaday Prize is going to change that by building a crowdsourced effort to design Braille keypads for…
This week, EFF has been at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s annual Public Forum. Best known to the general public as the locus of anti-globalization protests at its 1999 Ministerial Conference, it’s ironic that the WTO is today the most open and transparent of trade negotiation bodies—an honor it holds mainly because of how closed and opaque the trade negotiations conducted outside the WTO are, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or on its margins, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).
This year’s Public Forum, although notionally focusing on inclusive trade, has featured unprecedented interest in digital trade, with dozens of sessions dealing with this topic. Just a few of them, including the workshop “Boundaries and Best Practices for Inclusive Digital Trade” organized by EFF, have been summarized by the Geneva Internet Platform (you can also read slides from some of our workshop’s presentations below).
This explosion of interest in digital trade represents widespread enthusiasm from WTO members (which are 164 countries of the world) for the organization to take up an expanded work program on e-commerce. Currently this work program at the WTO only contains one item: a moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions. But in a “non-paper” dated July 1 this year, the United States proposed an expanded work program that contains a raft of new measures, some copied and pasted straight out of TISA and the TPP—including a provision on encryption that would allow law enforcement backdoors, a ban on local hosting mandates, and a ban on mandates to disclose source code.
As law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and public health officials work to develop effective crime-prevention strategies, new research from the University of Iowa finds that individuals who report being victims of crime to police are less likely to become future victims of crime than those who do not report their initial experiences.
The UI study examined a nationwide cohort of more than 18,000 people who were victims of crimes such as interpersonal violence—including sexual assault, robbery, threatened rape and threatened assault—and property crimes like theft and burglary. Data were drawn from the National Crime Victimization Survey, a database of non-fatal crime reports, and covered a period from 2008 to 2012.
Overall, the study found that those who filed police reports about their initial experience were 22 percent less likely to experience repeat victimization. Future interpersonal violence victimizations were 20 percent lower, and future thefts were 27 percent lower. Future burglaries did not decline with police reporting.
The researchers suggest the lower overall rate of future victimization may be attributable to increased awareness of victims, police action, and other services that victims receive after reporting their experience to authorities.
A clinic for euthanasia for children could open in the Netherlands within the next 12 months, a leading paediatrician has predicted. Dr Eduard Verhagentold the newspaper AD that Dutch doctors are already investigating end-of-life decisions for children between the ages of 1 and 12.
Although Belgium passed a law last year which allowed people under the age of 18 to ask for euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia was already legal in the Netherlands for children under the age of one, and voluntary euthanasia for children over 12, as long as they had unbearable suffering.
It seems that 5 children between 12 and 18 were euthanized in the period 2002 to 2012. One was 12 years old and the other four were aged 16 and 17.
Researchers in New Zealand say they have restored the first recording of computer-generated music, created in 1951 on a gigantic contraption built by the British computer scientist Alan Turing.
The aural artefact, which paved the way for everything from synthesisers to modern electronica, opens with a staunchly conservative tune – the British national anthem.
Researchers at the University of Canterbury (UC) in Christchurch said it showed Turing – best known as the father of computing who broke the Nazis’ second world war Enigma code – was also a musical innovator.
Holden said that the idea behind this program is to enable Uber to offer customers “as many options as possible to move around.” He believes that VTOL aircraft for commercial use could become a reality within a decade.
Short Bytes: More and more things are getting connected to the internet. Apart from its advantages, it also raises a concern regarding these things becoming prone to hackers. A DARPA-led project HACMS is aimed at developing the formal verification technology. The software is designed in accordance with the formal specifications that make them hack-proof.
The rise of the technology and the internet has been a doorway to sophisticate security breaches. For advanced hackers, jumping into complex systems is like a child’s play. A single bug gets caught in the software code and puff–You have been hacked!So, the matter of concern for the security researchers is the process used to write the software code. In general, programs are written in an informal way and testing is done to get assured that the code is working and producing the desired output.
Last year, an unmanned version of the military helicopter Little Bird was tested by a Red Team of hackers. The task was to take control of the helicopter. The team was granted access to part of Little Bird’s system and it was not a big deal for them to penetrate further into the system. But the real motive was not to test the existing software of the helicopter.
Last year, the U.S. Air Force tried to retire most of its EC-130 Compass Call spy planes, worn from years of flying over Iraq and Afghanistan. Now service officials say replacements are needed urgently — so urgently that they must write a no-bid contract for 10 aircraft whose price tag could top $1.6 billion.
Not so fast, says Congress.
“[T]he Air Force’s proposal to recapitalize the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft using a sole source purchase of ten business class aircraft would not give us any confidence that the Air Force is achieving the maximum value for the American taxpayer,” reads a Senate Armed Services Committee report on the 2017 defense authorization bill.
Built in the 1980s, the 14 Compass Call aircraft are Lockheed Martin C-130 cargo planes packed with special computer equipment and a spiderweb-like antenna that allows the crew to eavesdrop on and attack enemy communications. The planes have been heavily used in the post-9/11 counterinsurgency campaigns.