Advertisements

Feminists Complain: If You Sexually Harass Siri on Your iPhone, She Doesn’t Fight Back! 

applesiri1tnw-1200x651

Siri wasn’t programmed to be a Social Justice Warrior. Feminists want to change that.

Hank Berrien reports: A woman writing for Quartz.com laments that bots such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home exhibit signs of submissiveness that not only reflect the feelings of dominance among men but also reinforce the concept that women are made to be submissive.

“People often comment on the sexism inherent in these subservient bots’ female voices, but few have considered the real-life implications of the devices’ lackluster responses to sexual harassment. By letting users verbally abuse these assistants without ramifications, their parent companies are allowing certain behavioral stereotypes to be perpetuated.”

[Also see – Yeah, Siri Was Asking for It by Jonah Goldberg ,at The Corner]

Leah Fessler writes, “People often comment on the sexism inherent in these subservient bots’ female voices, but few have considered the real-life implications of the devices’ lackluster responses to sexual harassment. By letting users verbally abuse these assistants without ramifications, their parent companies are allowing certain behavioral stereotypes to be perpetuated.”

[Read the full story here, at Daily Wire]

Uh-oh.

“By letting users verbally abuse these assistants without ramifications, their parent companies are allowing certain behavioral stereotypes to be perpetuated.”

And this: “Justifications abound for using women’s voices for bots: high-pitched voices are generally easier to hear, especially against background noise; fem-bots reflect historic traditions, such as women-operated telephone operator lines; small speakers don’t reproduce low-pitched voices well. These are all myths. The real reason? Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Home have women’s voices because women’s voices make more money.”

iPhones

“People tend to perceive female voices as helping us solve our problems by ourselves, while they view male voices as authority figures who tell us the answers to our problems.”

And the usual false statistics: “Even if we’re joking, the instinct to harass our bots reflects deeper social issues. In the US, one in five women have been raped in their lifetime, and a similar percentage are sexually assaulted while in college alone; over 90% of victims on college campuses do not report their assault.” Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

The Biggest Threat to U.S. Internet Companies Now

obama_pc_compute

These U.S. regulations stall innovation.

Christopher S. Yoo writes:The decade-long debate over network neutrality reached a moment of truth earlier this month when a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., heard oral arguments in the judicial challenge to the open Internet rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February. Admittedly, the questions that judges ask often provide little guidance as to what they will eventually decide. But both proponents and opponents of network neutrality agree that the FCC had a tough day.

The court focused attention on three aspects of the FCC’s order. First, the judges questioned the agency’s authority to regulate the handling of traffic within fixed-line networks, such as cable modem or DSL systems. Second, they challenged the propriety of the rules mandating network neutrality within wireless networks. Third, they scrutinized the rules governing interconnection, which is how networks exchange traffic with each other.

The judges seemed to challenge the agency hard on the second and third issues, the ones regarding mobile networks and interconnection. Their primary concern focused on certain last-minute changes to the order. Specifically, the judges questioned whether the public was given proper notice of those changes and whether the changes were properly integrated into the overall regulatory scheme. The FCC fared the best on the first issue, but even then it faced tough questions about why the scheme differed so much from the way the rules were initially proposed. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan: Many Infants Use Smartphones, Tablets

baby-ipad

Jun Hongo reports:

…Japan’s internal affairs ministry on Tuesday released the results of its first survey regarding use of information tools by preschoolers, which showed that about one in 10 children had come in contact with devices such as smartphones before celebrating their first birthday.Japan-baby

“The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. “

The study surveyed 1,350 guardians who have preschool children and 400 with children in elementary schools. It asked them whether their child has used communication devices such as smartphones, computers and tablet PCs.

“Of those aged between zero to three using devices, about two-thirds were using a smartphone and more than one-third used a tablet computer.”

The percentage of 1-year-olds who had used an Internet device was 17%, and the number nearly doubled for 2-year-olds, at 31%. The numbers included both cases in which the adult offered the device to the child and when the child chose on its own to use one. Read the rest of this entry »


Behold: Free Wi-Fi at Peak of Mount Fuji

fuji-wifi-wsj

3,776 meter high WiFi: Now you can check your email and post a selfie on Instagram from top of Mount Fuji, for free

Alexander Martin writes: Free Wi-Fi has reached a peak in Japan, the nation’s highest peak in fact.

Overseas tourists conquering the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776 meters, can now use mobile devices to share their experience via social networking websites or, if so inclined, check their work emails.

Mobile carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. have both set up free Wi-Fi hotspots for foreign visitors at the highest spot in Japan. The services, launched last week, will be available until September when the climbing season ends.

Docomo’s service “is aimed at attracting more overseas visitors to Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, home to Mount Fuji,” the company said in a statement.

Instructions for using the Docomo service are available on fliers at the mountain’s main climbing routes. The KDDI service requires the downloading of an app in advance. Read the rest of this entry »


More Power Please: Wi-Fi That Charges Your Gadgets Is Closer Than You Think

batterylife-ft-582x388

 writes: It’s easy to take Wi-Fi for granted (as long as you have the password). But what if it did more than facilitate your Pinterest habit? What if instead of just connecting your devices to the Internet, it charged them as well, no wires required?

That’s the promise of new research from a team at the University of Washington, which has developed what it’s calling a “power over Wi-Fi” system that can recharge batteries through the air, from up to 28 feet away.

“If we wanted to just blast as much power as we possibly can, that would kill your Wi-Fi, because you’d have power on the channel all the time. We optimized the router so that we can deliver what seems like, to the sensor, constant power without impacting your Wi-Fi too much.”

— Bryce Kellogg, a researcher on the project.

The system comprises just two components; an access point (a router), and custom-built sensors. “The goal of the sensors is to harvest RF (radio frequency) power and convert it into DC power,” explains Vamsi Talla, a researcher on the project. “The second piece, the access point, there we actually developed a custom solution on it, just a software modification that would enable the access point to act both as a good power delivery source and, simultaneously, also as a good Wi-Fi router.” In other words, it achieves power over Wi-Fi in a way that both works with pre-existing hardware, and doesn’t interfere with your Internet connection one bit.

n-WOMAN-IPHONE-IN-BED-large570

“Instead of having continuous power on one of your Wi-Fi channels, we split it among your three non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels. That allows us to deliver about the same amount of power without impacting any one channel very much.”

Those are two important distinctions. As Popular Science notes, Energous already sells a device that transmits power through the air through RF signals. It requires entirely new, dedicated hardware, though, and loses the Wi-Fi aspect. The UW research, meanwhile, can coexist with traditional Wi-Fi routers, pushing both data and energy simultaneously. Or, more accurately, efficiently harnessing the energy that your router already puts out. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Ex-Boyfriend Accused of Hiding Spy Camera in Woman’s Bedroom

liberals-in-shock-590  reports:A Cheney man is accused of entering his ex-girlfriend’s Liberty Lake home last month, burning several items and secretly installing a wireless camera to spy on her in her bedroom.

“It was streaming live…It was very well hidden.”

— Liberty Lake police Chief Brian Asmus

The ex-girlfriend called Liberty Lake police on March 27 to report coming home to find several items that Jeremy F. Alvis, 41, had given her while they were dating burned in the backyard fire pit. Other items he had purchased for her were piled on her bed with his photo placed above them, according to court records.

“The woman called police again March 31 to report finding a camera hidden in a light fixture above her bed. She said she was suspicious that Alvis was spying on her and asked a friend with computer skills to check her home.”

Alvis is facing charges of residential burglary, malicious mischief and voyeurism in connection with the incident. He was released on his own recognizance after a brief court appearance Wednesday. His attorney, Mark Hodgson, said in court that the allegations were “salacious” and his client has no criminal history. State records indicate that Alvis is the owner of Vertical Works LLC, a landscaping company, and applied for a marijuana producer license with the state Liquor Control Board. That application still is pending.

“The friend found evidence that a device was hooked up to her home computer’s Wi-Fi.”

The ex-girlfriend told police that Alvis had a key to her home and when she asked for it back after they broke up he claimed to have lost it. A neighbor told police that he saw Alvis leave the home March 27 carrying a mattress pad that was missing from the bed, according to court documents. Read the rest of this entry »


Mattel’s New ‘Eavesdropping’ WiFi Barbie Arouses Privacy Concerns, ‘Seriously Creepy’

Check In Barbie

The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web

An advocacy group protested on Wednesday a so-called “eavesdropping” Barbie, which records creepy-barbiechildren’s speech and sends that data over the Web.

Calling the Barbie “creepy,” Camapign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a petition Wednesday urging the doll’s maker, Mattel to stop the doll from being sold, the Washington Post reports.

The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web, which leaves kids vulnerable to stealth advertising tactics, the group said.

[See more in the Washington Post]

Chief executive Oren Jacob of ToyTalk, the San Francisco-based startup that created the technology in the doll, told the Journal that the captured audio files is “never used for anything to do with marketing or publicity or any of that stuff. Not at all.” Instead, the technology is used to improve speech recognition, Jacob said.

Children press a button to chat with Hello Barbie, which “listens” to their speech and sends the audio recording over a WiFi connection to ToyTalk’s cloud-based servers, where that speech is recognized and processed. The Barbie can then make a response….(read more)

barbie3

“Eavesdropping Barbie” could easily lead to more troubling edtions of the popular toy. Next: ‘Serial Killer Barbie”?

TIME


A Wireless Sensor That Locks Your Mac When You Walk Away

 Sesame-mac-wired

 writes: Security is boring—particularly when it works properly.

The new Sesame 2 key fob is a dead-simple security solution for your Mac that’s exactly the right kind of boring. It automatically locks your computer when you walk away from it. Also, not as boring, it allows for some customizable actions including two-factor authentication.

The small device fastens to your keychain or slips into your change pocket and pairs to your Mac over Bluetooth. It can determine your physical distance from your machine, and when you wander too far away from your Mac, it can force the screen to lock, requiring a login to access the desktop again.

Sesame-2-660x439

When you return, it can either unlock your computer automatically or, if you have the optional Two-Factor Authentication mode enabled, require both the system password and the Sesame 2 to unlock the computer.

Atama originally put out its first Sesame Bluetooth key last year. This new version, the Sesame 2, is now available on the London-based company’s website for $39, or at Apple Stores and Amazon in the U.K. for £39.

The distance that triggers a screen lock is somewhat customizable—users can choose between “Near” and “Far” locking distances. While there’s some fluctuation in actual distance because of varying real-world conditions, the “Near” option typically locks your Mac once you step 20-25 feet away from it. Read the rest of this entry »


Rise of the Robot Security Guards

ROBOTS_B_400

Knightscope is preparing to roll out human-size robot patrols

Rachel Metz reports: As the sun set on a warm November afternoon, a quartet of five-foot-tall, 300-pound shiny white robots patrolled in front of Building 1 on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. Looking like a crew of slick Daleks imbued with the grace of Fred Astaire, they whirred quietly knightscopex299across the concrete in different directions, stopping and turning in place so as to avoid running into trash cans, walls, and other obstacles.

The robots managed to appear both cute and intimidating. This friendly-but-not-too-friendly presence is meant to serve them well in jobs like monitoring corporate and college campuses, shopping malls, and schools.

Knightscope, a startup based in Mountain View, California, has been busy designing, building, and testing the robot, known as the K5, since 2013. Seven have been built so far, and the company plans to deploy four before the end of the year at an as-yet-unnamed technology company in the area. The robots are designed to detect anomalous behavior, such as someone walking through a building at night, and report back to a remote security center. Read the rest of this entry »


Wireless Power from Across the Room

Charge it: An iPhone in an Energous case gets a charge from the transmitter in the background.

Charge it: An iPhone in an Energous case gets a charge from the transmitter in the background.

For MIT Technology ReviewRachel Metz writes: “Do you want us to charge your phone?” George Holmes asks. Normally, that would be an odd question. But Holmes is the vice president of sales and marketing for Energous, a company that is developing technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.

Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch browsing Instagram, or top off your phone while buying a coffee or playing Candy Crush in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup calledWitricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.

For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage, which means it’s not very good-looking. But it works, and during a visit to my San Francisco office, Holmes wants to show it off. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Mutliple State Exchanges Vulnerable to Wi-Fi Attack

This, from NRO. Boldly-featured on Drudge right now, too, here’s video:

Multiple state-run health-care exchanges are vulnerable to a type of Wi-Fi attack that can allow hackers to intercept usernames and passwords, KSTP, a Minnesota ABC affiliate, reports.

According to Mark Lanterman, the CEO and chief technology officer of Computer Forensic Services who ran the simulated attack for KSTP, state-run exchanges in Minnesota, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are vulnerable to it.

Lanterman tested at least a dozen of the state-run exchanges to determine if they had the vulnerability. Kentucky, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, and California did not. HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange, also is not vulnerable to the attack.

Read the rest of this entry »


Advanced Paranoia: Russian newspaper accuses China of spying through kettles

The Russian newspaper reported 'spy' microchips had been found in kettles Photo: Corbis

The Russian newspaper reported ‘spy’ microchips had been found in kettles    Photo: Corbis

Olivia Rosenman reports: The machine boiling the water for that cup of Russian Caravan tea might just be a Trojan horse, according to Russian authorities who claim that kettles imported from China are bugged, using unsecured wifi networks to send data to Chinese servers.

The claim, reported by St Petersburg-based news agency Rosbalt, comes amid a worldwide flurry of finger-pointing about government-sponsored surveillance.

According to the report, which was translated by UK based tech publication The Register, local authorities last week examined kettles and irons and found chips in 20 to 30 appliances imported from China.

Earlier this week reports emerged that Russia has gifted treat bags stuffed with spyware to the world’s leaders at the September Group of 20 summit. Phone chargers and USB thumb drives were revealed to be “suitable for undercover detection of computer data and mobile phones”, according to an investigation ordered by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and reported in Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. Read the rest of this entry »


How a demon iPad stole my summer vacation

Krystal restaurant wi-fi poster in Birmingham,...

photo credit: wikipedia

I plan to remember this year’s vacation season with just two words: Never again.

Never again, that is, will I take all my technology along. The Internet has ruined summer vacations.

When I first visited my in-laws’ cabin in Ontario’s north woods 35 years ago, there was no such thing as broadband Internet. The nearest telephone was a one-mile canoe paddle down the lake, and we were beyond the reach of television. Our media diet consisted of a battery-powered radio. I know I risk sounding like an aging crank, but it was paradise.

Read the rest of this entry »


“You have a smart car; you got a smartphone; well, now we have a smart rifle”

$27,500 smartgun can hit a target over 1,000 yards away

Now everyone can shoot like a trained marksman. For a price.

A Texas-based applied technology firm has launched new smartgun technology that gives novice shooters the chance to participate in “extreme distance hunting.”

TrackingPoint’s new precision guided firearm technology, XactSystem, allows the shooter to lock onto a target before allowing the gun to fire upon the intended target, much like a fighter jet’s “lock-and-launch” technology.

And the firearm can consistently hit a target from over 1,000 yards away, the maker says.

“Think of it like a smart rifle. You have a smart car; you got a smartphone; well, now we have a smart rifle,” CEO Jason Schauble told CNNMoney.

The rifles fitted with the XactSystem technology can accurately shoot from over 1,000 yards, and TrackingPoint claims the company record is shooting a South African wildebeest at 1,103 yards.

The system and bolt-action rifles run from $22,500 to $27,500.

The rifles are WiFi equipped to allow the shooter to record their shot and immediately send it to a tablet or smartphone to view and upload to social media sites.

Schauble told CNN Money this is the first technology of its kind, even within the military, and that his company is planning on selling 500 TrackingPoint rifles this year, mainly to clients who want to hunt big game from long ranges.

With the technology, the shooter “tags” a target using a red button on the trigger guard. After the tag is set, the shooter aims the gun and holds down the trigger. Once the tag and the crosshairs of the scope line up, the gun fires.

“There are a number of people who say the gun shoots itself,” Schauble said. “It doesn’t. The shooter is always in the loop.”

The network tracking scope’s technology takes environmental factors, such as temperature, wind speeds, and gravity, into account to ensure a clean shot.

Some in the security sector, however, have reservations about the long-range rifle.

“There are a handful of snipers who can hit a target at 1,000 yards. But now, anybody can do it,” Rommel Dionisio, a gun industry analyst for Wedbush Securities told CNN Money. “You can put some tremendous capability in the hands of just about anybody, even an untrained shooter.”

via The Daily Caller