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    - India's Top Court Refuses To Scrap Aadhaar, the World's Largest Biometric ID Database
    India's top court refused to scrap Aadhaar, the world's largest biometric database, in a ruling announced Wednesday, upholding the validity of the sprawling digital-identity program but also imposing some restrictions on its use and proliferation. Huffington Post reports: The majority judgement of the court read down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act of 2016, holding that private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar numbers from citizens to provide services. The court upheld the validity of linking aadhaar to PAN cards, suggesting that -- should the government wish it -- anyone who pays income tax will have to an aadhaar number anyway. However, the court held the linking of aadhaar numbers to bank accounts, as mandated by an amendment to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002, was unconstitutional. The court also held that educational institutions and bodies like the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) and University Grants Commission (UGC), and schools and colleges, cannot ask for Aadhaar details of potential candidates. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, and Justices AK Sikri and AM Khanwilkar delivered a concurrent majority judgement, while Justices DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan delivered separate opinions. The majority judgement, read out in a packed courthouse by Justice Sikri, relied heavily on the court's landmark 2017 Privacy judgement. "Today the Supreme Court has passed a historic judgement on Aadhaar," said Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan. "They have held several parts of the Aadhaar act to be unconstitutional." The court's decision restricting private companies from demanding Aadhaar numbers, Bhushan said, would come as a relief. The ruling could come as a blow for local companies -- like Jio and Paytm -- that rely heavily (or even exclusively) on technologies such as Aadhaar's eKYC (an Aadhaar-enabled Know Your Customer service) to grow their customer base, analysts say.

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    - Vivaldi 2.0 Desktop Browser Featuring Expanded Customization, Sync Across Devices and Privacy Tools Released [Q&A With Founder]
    Vivaldi announced Wednesday it has released a major update to its namesake desktop web browser, remaining as one of the rare companies that is still attempting to fight Google's monopoly in the space. Major features in Vivaldi 2.0 include: Syncing browsers across computers:Version 2.0 allows users to sync data, including bookmarks, passwords, autofill information, and history. Vivaldi uses its own servers to store the data, which is all encrypted end-to-end. Panels: These are expandable, multi-tasking dashboards that can be opened in the sidebar. Tab management: Additional features are included that allow for better searching through tabs, stacking them, and even renaming them. History: Offers new ways to track your usage, including generating statistics and a visual history feature. Vivaldi was founded by Jon von Tetzchner, who also co-founded Opera and served as its chief executive for a number of years. Jon has been vocal about what many find unfair tactics employed by Google and Microsoft to aggressively expand the user bases of their respective browsers. Slashdot had a chance to speak with Jon recently: Slashdot: One of the biggest complaints that people have about browsers today is just how much memory they consume. Is it a lost-cause? What is Vivaldi doing to address this? Jon: This is very true. Browsers can use a lot of memory. We have worked hard to reduce that load. The most important thing we have done there is the lazy loading of tabs. When you have a lot of tabs, you use a lot of memory, but with Vivaldi, we will only load the tabs once you need them. We also have the ability to hibernate background tabs, by right clicking the tab bar, which will free up a lot of memory. Besides this we are always looking at how to make the browser use less memory and be faster. There is a lot of details there, but with the feedback from our users, we continue to improve every single part of the browser. Slashdot: You are offering a browser, and a web email client and service provider. Is Vivaldi attempting to offer a catalog of services? And if so, what more could we expect from the company in the long-term? Jon: The focus for us is the browser, but we believe the browser should be able to do more than it does today, so we will continue to expand on the features we offer in the browser. We have been open about the fact that we aim to provide an email client in the browser, but that will come in the future, but we are, as you pointed out, providing the free email service. This is in addition to our free blog, forums and sync service. We feel there is a need for these services, free from ads and free from building of super profiles. Our free webmail service is thus without ads and we do not scan mails, except for spam and viruses. We will continue to add services to support the browser or where we feel a service supplements the browser in a good way. Slashdot:: You have been vocal about some of the tactics Google and Microsoft use to promote their own browsers. Following the news cycle, we don't think things have changed much. What's your view on it? Jon: No, sadly things have not changed much. Microsoft continues to push their browser in their operating system, at times taking over the default browser as well. They also block competing browsers on their Windows 10S. Google sadly blocks some competing browsers from using their services, even browsers such as Vivaldi, that is based on Chromium. We need to change our identity when visiting many Google services. I guess my feeling is that those large companies should not and should not need to behave this way. Slashdot: Chrome continues to be a market leader. Firefox, despite some of its recent changes, has lost some of the market. How hard is it for a browser company to survive these days? And why is it important that someone continues to fight back? Jon: We all know that browser choice is a good thing, even more so than for most other products. The browser is your view into the Internet and we all spend a lot of time there. Healthy competition means product innovation and lower prices (this is not only about the price of the product, but also what you have to give up in other ways, such as your private information). Monopolies tend slow down innovation and also there is a tendency for them to use their position in one market to attack another. It is not trivial to compete with these large corporations, but it is something we enjoy. We fight for our users and for the future of the Internet. That is definitely something worth fighting for. Slashdot: Are you folks still working on a mobile browser? Jon: Indeed we are. We aim to get it out there as soon as we can. We are ramping up the team after then 2.0 release to move faster. Further reading: The Next Web, and VentureBeat.

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    - Google Is Using AI To Predict Floods In India, Warn Users
    Google is partnering with the Central Water Commission of India to alert users in the country about impending floods. As The Verge notes, "the service is only available in the Patna region, with the first alert going out earlier this month." From the report: As Google's engineering VP Yossi Matias outlines in a blog post, these predictions are being made using a combination of machine learning, rainfall records, and flood simulations. "A variety of elements -- from historical events, to river level readings, to the terrain and elevation of a specific area -- feed into our models," writes Matias. "With this information, we've created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well."

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    - A 17-Year-Old Has Become Michigan's Leading Right To Repair Advocate
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Surya Raghavendran of Ann Arbor, Michigan isn't your average 17-year-old. Not only does the high school senior run a small business repairing iPhones when he's not in class, but he's raising awareness about people's right to fix their own devices without paying companies like Apple exorbitant fees. "People should be able to choose where they want to get their devices repaired," Raghavendran told me over the phone. "Right to repair will decrease the amount of e-waste and people will retain their devices much longer with suitable repair networks." Raghavendran is doing more than just talking about right to repair, he's become one of the leading advocates for a right to repair law in the state by pushing his lawmakers to introduce legislation that would protect a consumer's right to repair. Raghavendran started researching the laws around repairing electronics, and he joined up with Environment Michigan -- an environmental activist group -- and started going to Lansing, the state capitol, to ask politicians what they were doing to protect people's right to repair their own devices. Raghavendran sent an email to state senator Rebekah Warren who called him in for a meeting and told him to start a petition. Since July, he's been asking for stories from the public about why the right to repair is important. The right to repair fight is happening all across the country at the local level and Raghavendran's petition has drawn support from people like like Nathan Proctor, the Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG. Repair.org, a group pushing for right to repair laws all over the country, has draft legislation it wants to get in front of Michigan's state legislature. Proctor has been working with Raghavendran, Environment Michigan, and Michigan legislators to draft right to repair legislation. Proctor wants to pass a right to repair bill that is similar to the one passed in Massachusetts that forced automotive companies to share diagnostic information with third party repair shops. The law passed in 2012 "set a precedent and the industry rolled out the changes nationally," reports Motherboard.

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    - Humans Are Causing the Earth To Wobble More Than It Should, NASA Finds
    Iwastheone shares a report from BGR: When looking at the Earth from afar it appears to be a perfect sphere, but that actually isn't the case. Because Earth isn't uniform on all sides due to land masses that shift and change over time, our planet actually wobbles a bit when it spins. Now, a new study by researchers with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and several universities and science centers has pinpointed the causes of Earth's imperfect spin, called "polar motion," and they found that humans are contributing to it. The researchers used a wealth of data gathered over 100 years to build mathematical models to trace the causes of the wobble and found that three factors are at play, and mankind is responsible for one of them. Two of the three factors identified by the scientists are glacial rebound and mantle convection. Glacial rebound happens when thick ice sheets physically push down on land masses, compressing them, but then release that pressure upon melting. The land then balloons back up over time, causing Earth's spin to wobble as if slightly off-axis. The effects of the last ice age, which would have compressed a huge amount of land across many continents, is still being felt today in the form of glacial rebound. Mantle convection, the other uncontrollable factor in Earth's wobble, relates to our planet's inner workings. The plates on Earth's surface are in constant flux due to the movement of liquid rock far beneath our feet. The researchers believe these currents also contribute to the planet's imperfect spin. The third and final factor identified by the scientists is the massive loss of ice on Greenland and other areas, which is the direct result of global warming thanks to human activities. The researchers estimate that Greenland has lost roughly 7,500 gigatons, or 7,500,000,000,000 metric tons of ice due to global warming. All that ice loss has happened in the 20th century, and greenhouse gas production has been cited as the primary culprit. Losing all that mass has caused a significant shift on the planet and has contributed to the wobble as well.

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    - Millennials More Likely To Fall For Scams Than Baby Boomers
    A new report from the Better Business Bureau suggests that millennials are now more likely to fall victim to a scam than Baby Boomers. Washington Examiner reports: The Better Business Bureau reports that 69 percent of scam victims are under the age of 45. Young adults heading off to college are especially gullible, the group says. "College students can be easy targets for scammers and identity thieves. They are old enough to have money, young enough to be vulnerable and are likely unsupervised as many are away from home for the first time," writes Heather Massey of the Better Business Bureau. Phishing scams now target cell phones as well as email and social media. "Millennials spend a lot of time on Facebook or other social media sites, where they can target them with these messages," said Jim Hegarty, Better Business Bureau president and CEO. College students also use sensitive information frequently, like student IDs, Social Security numbers, and banking information.

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    - Google Ends Cryptocurrency Ad Ban For Certain Kinds of Ads
    Earlier this year, Google updated its financial services-ad policies to ban any advertising about cryptocurrency-related content, including initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice. Google appears to be reversing course with a new policy starting in October that will allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to buy ads in the U.S. and Japan. Advertising about ICOs, wallets and trading advice are reportedly still not allowed. CNBC reports: Google's updated policy applies to advertisers all over the world, though the ads can only run in the U.S. and Japan, and interested parties will need to apply for certification to serve ads in each country individually. Google's move follows Facebook, which started allowing pre-approved cryptocurrency advertisers in June. Google parent company Alphabet gets roughly 86 percent of its total revenue from advertising. The company booked more than $54 billion in ad revenue in the first half of 2018.

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    - Microsoft To Bring Multi-User Virtualization To Windows, Office With Windows Virtual Desktop Service
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: On Sept. 24, Microsoft announced what it's calling the Windows Virtual Desktop (WMD). WVD will allow users to virtualize Windows 7 and 10, Office 365 ProPlus apps and other third-party applications by running them remotely in Azure virtual machines. Using WMD, customers will be able to provide remote desktop sessions with multiple users logged into the same Windows 10 or Windows Server virtual machine. They also can opt to virtualize the full desktop or individual Microsoft Store and/or line-of-business applications. The WMD service also supports full VDI with Windows 10 and Windows 7, Microsoft officials told Ars Technica. (Those wanting to virtualize Windows 7 after Microsoft support ends in January 2020 will be able to do so for three years without paying for Extended Security Updates.) Licenses for WVD will be provided for no additional cost as part of Windows Enterprise and Education E3 and E5 subscriptions. The aforementioned Windows 10 Enterprise for Virtual Desktops edition won't be released as a separate version of Windows 10 at all. That name is just for licensing purposes, officials said. Microsoft officials said a public preview of WVD will be available later this year, and those interested can request notification of the preview's availability. To use WVD, users need an Azure subscription and will be charged for the storage and compute their virtual machines use. Microsoft also plans to offer WVD via Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers and is working with third parties like Citrix to build on top of WVD, officials said.

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    - Xbox Announces Mouse and Keyboard Support
    Xbox's Phil Spencer announced today that mouse and keyboard support is coming to Xbox One. Crytek's Warface will be the first game to test the feature when it becomes available in October via the Xbox Insider Program. IGN reports: The idea behind mouse and keyboard support will be as a tool for developers, so they can choose how they want the control style integrated, if they want it integrated at all. "If you're a dominant FPS player right now on controller and you're worried that all the sudden you're gonna get swamped because a bunch of mouse and keyboard players are gonna get flooded into your game, that's not what we're doing," said Spencer. "We're putting choice into the hands of the developers about the games that they want to bring." We can expect to hear more about mouse and keyboard support during the XO18 fan event in Mexico City on November 10.

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    - Uber Wins Key Ruling In Its Fight Against Treating Drivers As Employees
    A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that drivers "seeking to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors must arbitrate their claims individually, and not pursue class-action lawsuits," reports Reuters. Ars Technica explains the significance of this ruling: Employees are guaranteed to earn federal minimum wage and are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Uber employees, in contrast, are paid by the ride and might earn much less than minimum wage if they drive at a slow time of day. California law also gives employees the right to be reimbursed for expenses they incur on the job, which would be significant for Uber drivers who otherwise are responsible for gas, maintenance, insurance, and other expenses of operating an Uber vehicle. Hence, the question of whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors is a big and important one. It's also a question that isn't addressed at all in Tuesday's ruling, as the courts never get to the substance of the plaintiffs' arguments about employment law. Instead, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit court ruled that the drivers signed away their rights to sue in court when they signed up to be Uber drivers. Uber's agreement with drivers requires that this kind of dispute be handled by private arbitration rather than by a lawsuit in the public courts. The court cited a Supreme Court ruling handed down in May that held that federal labor law did not preempt arbitration agreements. [...] the decision means that each driver's case must be fought on an individual, case-by-case basis. Class-action lawsuits in the federal courts allow plaintiffs to effectively pool their resources. [...] But under arbitration, each driver's case will be considered individually. Most won't have the resources to afford top-tier legal representation, and drivers won't have the inherent leverage that comes from being able to bargain as a group.

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    - Safari's 'Siri Suggested' Search Results Highlighted Conspiracy Theories, Fake News
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: Apple's Safari, one of the internet's most popular web browsers, has been surfacing debunked conspiracies, shock videos, and false information via its "Siri Suggested Websites" feature. Such results raise questions about the company's ability to monitor for low-quality information, and provide another example of the problems platforms run into when relying on algorithms to police the internet. As of yesterday, if you typed "Pizzagate" into Apple's Safari, the browser's "Siri Suggested Website" prominently offered users a link to a YouTube video with the title "PIZZAGATE, BIGGEST SCANDAL EVER!!!" by conspiracy theorist David Seaman (the video doesn't play, since Seaman's channel was taken down for violating YouTube's terms of service). The search results appeared on multiple versions of Safari. Apple removed all examples of the questionable Siri Suggested sites provided to it by BuzzFeed News. [W]hen BuzzFeed News entered incomplete search terms that might suggest contentious or conspiratorial topics (as shown below), the search algorithms directed us toward low-quality websites, message boards, or YouTube conspiracy videos rather than reliable information or debunks about those topics. Meanwhile, Google does not feature such unreliable pages in its top search results. Those suggested results matter since Safari is one of the internet's most popular web browsers -- some estimates suggest it has captured over 10% of the browser market share. The poor suggestions may be a result of a "data void," which is "what happens when a term doesn't have 'natural informative results' and manipulators seize upon it," reports BuzzFeed. "Many of the sites surfaced by the Siri Suggested feature came from conspiracy or junk sites hastily assembled to fill that void." In a statement, Apple said: "Siri Suggested Websites come from content on the web and we provide curation to help avoid inappropriate sites. We also remove any inappropriate suggestions whenever we become aware of them, as we have with these. We will continue to work to provide high-quality results and users can email results they feel are inappropriate to applebot@apple.com."

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    - Across The Arctic, Lakes Are Leaking Dangerous Greenhouse Gases
    An anonymous reader shares a report: Set against the austere peaks of the Western Brooks Range, the lake, about 20 football fields in size, looked like it was boiling. Its waters hissed, bubbled and popped as a powerful greenhouse gas escaped from the lake bed. Some bubbles grew as big as grapefruits, visibly lifting the water's surface several inches and carrying up bits of mud from below. This was methane. As the permafrost thaws across the fast-warming Arctic, it releases carbon dioxide, the top planet-warming greenhouse gas, from the soil into the air. Sometimes, that thaw spurs the growth of lakes in the soft, sunken ground, and these deep-thawing bodies of water tend to unleash the harder-hitting methane gas. But not this much of it. This lake, which Katey Walter Anthony, an ecologist who has studied 300 lakes across the tundras of the Arctic, dubbed Esieh Lake, looked different. And the volume of gas wafting from it could deliver the climate system another blow if lakes like this turn out to be widespread. The first time Walter Anthony saw Esieh Lake, she was afraid it might explode -- and she is no stranger to the danger, or the theatrics, of methane. In 2010, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks posted a video of the media-savvy ecologist standing on the frozen surface of an Arctic lake, then lighting a methane stream on fire to create a tower of flame as tall as she is. It got nearly half a million views on YouTube. So now, in the Arctic's August warmth, she had come back to this isolated spot with a small research team, along with her husband and two young sons, to see what secrets Esieh Lake might yield. Was it simply a bizarre anomaly? Or was it a sign that the thawing Arctic had begun to release an ancient source of methane that could worsen climate change? One thing she was sure of: If the warming Arctic releases more planet-warming methane, that could lead to... more warming. Scientists call this a feedback loop.

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    - Firefox Monitor Will Inform You of Data Breaches
    Earlier this year, Mozilla announced Firefox Monitor, a service that will inform you if your online accounts were hacked in a recent data breach. It's now available to general public. A report adds: For the new security-focused tool, Mozilla partnered with Troy Hunt, the renowned security expert behind Have I Been Pwned? (HIBP), which is a database of data breaches that allows anyone to discover whether one of their online accounts has been compromised. The first iteration of Firefox Monitor is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of HIBP. After you enter your email address and hit the scan button, you're told which online services have leaked your personal details (if any). You can also sign up to be notified of any future data breaches involving one or more of your email addresses.

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    - Fedora 29 Beta Now Available For Download With Improved Raspberry Pi Support
    The Fedora Project announced Tuesday the beta availability of Fedora 29 -- the latest version of the free and open-source Fedora OS. From a report: It features updated packages, improved support for Raspberry Pi, and more. "Highlighting Fedora 29 Beta is the addition of modularity across all Fedora editions. First delivered in Fedora 28 Server, modularity enables multiple versions of the same software (like Node.js) to be selected on a per-system basis, with parallel installation done through containers. This can provide some users the ability to use tried-and-true versions of software while enabling other users to work with just-released innovation without impacting the overall stability of the Fedora operating system," says Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader. Miller further says, "The importance of ARM to IoT has not been lost on Fedora, and Fedora 29 Beta aims to make the Fedora operating system a home for both ARM and IoT. These features start with enhanced ZRAM support for swap on ARMv7 and aarch64, which can improve the performance and reliability of Fedora 29 Beta on ARM Single Board Computers, like the Raspberry Pi. These devices are used by 'makers' and in developmental IoT solutions."

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    - Myst, One of the Most Influential Games Ever, Turns 25
    harrymcc writes: On September 24, 1993, Myst debuted as a CD-ROM game for the Mac. The mysterious, puzzle-laden adventure went on to become the best-selling game title of its era, inspiring a devoted following and multiple sequels. But for all the people who loved Myst, it was disrespected by many in the gaming industry, who found it less engaging than previous adventures and even blamed it for killing of the earlier genre of more action-packed adventuring. Over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards provides an appreciation of Myst but also talks to game designers about the game's still-complex legacy.

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