Technology

Amazon has unveiled a new, improved and cheaper large-screen Fire HD 10 Android tablet, now featuring hands-free Alexa integration, a much better screen and longer battery life. The 2017 Fire HD 10 continues Amazon’s recent moves in tablets, cutting prices, adding features and increasing the durability of its line that is aimed squarely at media consumption rather than content creation or work. The company’s £50 Fire 7 and £80 Fire HD 8 have both become popular thanks to being low cost but feature rich. Eric Saarnio, head of Amazon devices in the EU, said: “We’ve really worked hard to deliver a tablet from the ground up that’s perfect for entertainment. “We’re growing year-on-year in tablet sales because we think we’ve landed on a winning formula, which is a combination of premium tablets at non-premium prices, focusing on entertainment and delivering tablets that the whole family can enjoy. The Fire HD 10 is our latest addition …

A bill to combat sex trafficking that has pitted US lawmakers against Silicon Valley was at the center of debate on Tuesday, as one Republican senator decried the selling of human beings online as “one of the dark sides of the internet”. As the committee on commerce, science and transportation held the first Senate hearing on the bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, proponents of the bill urged tech giants to drop their opposition to legislation that would hold accountable websites that knowingly facilitate online sex trafficking. “Silicon Valley holds itself as being more than just another industry, but rather a movement to make the world a better place,” said Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the bill’s leading Republican co-sponsor. “In so many ways the internet has contributed to our world, but the selling of human beings online is the dark side of the internet. It can’t be the cost of doing business and it …

A bill to combat sex trafficking that has pitted US lawmakers against Silicon Valley was at the center of debate on Tuesday, as one Republican senator decried the selling of human beings online as “one of the dark sides of the internet”. As the committee on commerce, science and transportation held the first Senate hearing on the bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, proponents of the bill urged tech giants to drop their opposition to legislation that would hold accountable websites that knowingly facilitate online sex trafficking. “Silicon Valley holds itself as being more than just another industry, but rather a movement to make the world a better place,” said Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the bill’s leading Republican co-sponsor. “In so many ways the internet has contributed to our world, but the selling of human beings online is the dark side of the internet. It can’t be the cost of doing business and it …

Apple is cutting down on how many cookies advertisers can force on to your devices, with changes coming to iPhones, iPads and Macs. The advertisers, naturally, are not happy. Digital cookies are small text files that can be used to track users as they surf the web, helping to build up a detailed profile of which sites they visit, what they do while they are there, and how long they do it for. It wasn’t always this way. The cookie has humble origins, as a small file that a website could drop on a user’s computer when it needed to remember something specific about them. That could be the contents of a shopping trolley, or the username they used to log in last time they visited the website. A slightly more advanced version of the same thing is still the core way that websites ensure that you are logged in – an authentication cookie is placed …

From their spot on the sidewalk outside San Francisco’s Dolores Park, Miguel Muniz and Juan Anguiano could see children running around the playground and hundreds of hipsters lounging on a grassy hillside amid games of beer pong and men hawking loose joints in mason jars. But the pair of palateros, or ice cream vendors, were hesitant to go to the place near the jungle gym where they would have the best shot at selling $2 ice cream bars. Park rangers would confiscate their carts and give them tickets, they said, if they ventured inside the park’s perimeter. “You can do anything in this park,” Muniz said in Spanish. “You can smoke weed, you can drink liquor, but you can’t sell ice cream.” Amid all the questionably legal behavior in the park, the palateros feel unfairly targeted, though a man selling rum in coconut shells said he too had been ticketed and harassed by park rangers. …

More than two million users of anti-malware tool CCleaner installed a version of the software that had been hacked to include malware, the app’s developer confirmed on Monday. Piriform, the developer of CCleaner now owned by security firm Avast, says that its download servers were compromised at some point between 15 August, when it released version v5.33.6162 of the software, and 12 September, when it updated the servers with a new version. In that period, a trojan was loaded into the download package which sent “non-sensitive data” from infected users’ computers back to a server located in the US. The data, according to Piriform, included “computer name, IP address, list of installed software, list of active software, list of network adapters”. As well as the data leak, however, the infection also resulted in a “second stage payload” being installed on to the affected computer – another piece of malware, which Piriform says was never executed. …

For the second time in as many years, internet advertisers are facing unprecedented disruption to their business model thanks to a new feature in a forthcoming Apple software update. iOS 11, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, will hit users’ phones and tablets on Tuesday. It will include a new default feature for the Safari web browser dubbed “intelligent tracking prevention”, which prevents certain websites from tracking users around the net, in effect blocking those annoying ads that follow you everywhere you visit. The tracking prevention system will also arrive on Apple’s computers 25 September, as part of the High Sierra update to macOS. Safari is used by 14.9% of all internet users, according to data from StatCounter. Six major advertising consortia have already written an open letter to Apple expressing their “deep concern” over the way the change is implemented, and asking the company to “to rethink its plan to …

Airbnb has become the first major company to pledge to keep employing undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” after their work permits expire, defying the Trump administration in what would potentially be a breach of employment law. The plan, revealed in a statement to the Guardian, distinguishes the company from others in Silicon Valley, where the chief executives of corporations like Facebook and Microsoft have denounced Trump’s decision to rescind a program protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation, but declined to offer specifics of how they will resist. The Guardian asked 19 major tech corporations if they would lay off their employees who are Dreamers – immigrants brought to the US as children without documentation – if they lose their work permits because of Trump’s elimination of their legal status. Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas replied in an email: “No. We are 100% committed to protecting Dreamers.” Despite other CEOs’ public promises to support employees targeted by the …

Credit monitoring company Equifax says a breach exposed the social security numbers and other data of about 143 million Americans. After discovering the breach, but before notifying the public, three Equifax senior executives sold shares in the company worth almost $1.8m. Since the public announcement, the company’s share price has tumbled. The Atlanta-based company said Thursday that “criminals” exploited a US website application to access files between mid-May and July of this year. It said consumers’ names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers were exposed. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 US consumers were also accessed. “This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” said the company’s chairman and CEO Richard Smith. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of …

Every time a television station sells a political ad, a record is entered into a public file saying who bought the advertisement and how much money they spent. In contrast, when Facebook or Google sells a political ad, there is no public record of that sale. That situation is of growing concern to politicians and legislators in Washington as digital advertising becomes an increasingly central part of American political campaigns. During the 2016 election, over $1.4bn was spent in online advertising, which represented a 789 percent increase over the 2012 election. Online advertising is expected to become even more important in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. However, while regulations governing television, radio and print ads are long established, there is little oversight in place for digital political ads. Broadcast television and radio stations are legally mandated to record who bought political ads and how muchthey spent. But online, political ad buyers are …

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