US Internet Company Refused To Participate In NSA Surveillance, Documents Reveal

Zack Whittaker reports via ZDNet: A U.S. company refused to comply with a top-secret order that compelled it to facilitate government surveillance, according to newly declassified documents. According to the document, the unnamed company’s refusal to participate in the surveillance program was tied to an apparent expansion of the foreign surveillance law, details of which were redacted by the government prior to its release, as it likely remains classified. It’s thought to be only the second instance of an American company refusing to comply with a government surveillance order. The first was Yahoo in 2008. It was threatened with hefty daily fines if it didn’t hand over customer data to the National Security Agency. The law is widely known in national security circles as forming the legal basis authorizing the so-called PRISM surveillance program, which reportedly taps data from nine tech titans including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others. It also permits “upstream” collection from the internet fiber backbones of the internet. Any guesses as to which company it may be? The company was not named in the 2014-dated document, but it’s thought to be an internet provider or a tech company.

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Neuroscientists Weigh In On Elon Musk’s Mysterious ‘Neural Lace’ Company

the_newsbeagle writes: Elon Musk has set out to change the world with SpaceX’s reusable rockets and Tesla’s electric cars, and now he plans to change your brain. His new company, Neuralink, will reportedly build delicate brain implants called “neural lace” to help people with neuropsychiatric disorders and to give healthy people strange new mental abilities. But the news announcements about the company contained scant details about what kind of hardware Neuralink might actually build, and what engineering challenges the company will have to overcome in pursuit of miniaturized and safe brain implants. Here, five neuroscience experts describe those challenges, and give hints on what to expect from Musk’s neural dust. One of the neuroscientists is Mary Lou Jepsen, founder of the Openwater startup, which is looking for ways to develop a noninvasive BCI for imaging and telepathy. Jepsen was also “an engineering executive at Facebook working on its Oculus virtual reality gear; before that she spent three years at Google X, running advanced projects on display technology,” reports IEEE Spectrum. She says that Neuralink will likely face many medical hurdles, even if their process doesn’t require splitting open patients’ skulls. “The approach as I understand it (not much is published) involves implanting silicon particles (so called “neural lace”) into the bloodstream. One concern is that implanting anything in the body can cause unintended consequences,” says Jepsen. “For example, even red blood cells can clog capillaries in the brain when the red blood cells are made more stiff by diseases like malaria. This clogging can reduce or even cut off the flow of oxygen to the parts of the brain. Indeed, clogging of cerebral capillaries has been shown to be a major cause of Alzheimer’s progression. Back to neural lace: One concern I would have is whether the silicon particles could lead to any clogging.”

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Microsoft Could Be First Tech Company To Reach Trillion-Dollar Market Value: Analyst

Microsoft’s $ 26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn could help the Redmond company become the first technology giant to reach a market value of $ 1 trillion, or so thinks a notable analyst. Analyst Michael Markowski believes that Microsoft will be able to leverage LinkedIn to become a leader in social media space and the emerging crowdfunding platform. So much so that it will beat Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook in becoming the first company to hit $ 1 trillion market value. From a report on GeekWire: Here are the market caps of these big tech companies as of Monday morning: Apple: $ 622.6B, Alphabet: $ 549.7B, Microsoft: $ 489.3B, Amazon: $ 358.7B, and Facebook: $ 337.6B. “The public has an insatiable appetite for making small bets and purchasing lottery tickets, etc., that provide the chance to make a big profit,” Markowski wrote. “The millennials will be a good example. Many will want to routinely invest $ 100 or even less into high-risk ventures that could produce returns of 10X to 100X.” Microsoft, through LinkedIn, will be able to take advantage of this trend because it has a monopoly on the business social media sphere. Markowski predicts that all the big tech companies will eventually build services to facilitate crowdfunding investments.

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Phorm, the Deep Packet Inspection Ad-Injector Company, Ceases Trading

Reader mccalli writes: Phorm, a controversial UK deep-packet inspection/ad-injection company discussed on Slashdot many times before, has ceased trading today. Phorm was controversial for, among other things, editing and approving UK government advice on privacy, offering hospitality to the police prior to a decision over prosecution, and being the subject of an EU investigation for its practices and close relationship with the then UK government. The Register has a more editorialized version of the news, but it is fair to say that Phorm will not be mourned by fans of internet privacy.

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Before Google There Was the Chemical Rubber Company

szczys writes: The CRC Handbook is one great example of how access to information has changed over the years. Now, you open up Google and find your answers. In decades past, hard data needed to solve engineering problems was embodied in volumes of text known as Databooks. One of the best known was the Chemical Rubber Company Handbook. Don’t let the name fool you, the CRC Handbook contained traits, properties, equations, and much more on all kinds of materials and techniques for using them. It’s still around today and has one big advantage over our searchable digital lives: you know you can trust the accuracy of the information in those books at face value while online information requires validation.

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HIV Dating Company Accuses Researchers of Hacking Database

itwbennett writes: Slashdot readers will recall the story posted last week about the misconfiguration of the MongoDB database that powers Hzone, a dating app for the HIV-positive, and the ensuing threat of HIV infection the company hurled at DataBreaches.net, who sent the notification. (Hzone later apologized.) But that’s not the end of the story. Among other twists and turns that point to a CEO who was in way over his head, in several emails to Dissent, the admin of DataBreaches.net, Hzone CEO Justin Robert accused Dissent of changing the Hzone user database. But follow-up emails suggest that the company couldn’t tell what was accessed or when, as Robert says Hzone doesn’t have ‘a strong tech team to maintain the site.’

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Microsoft Buys Talko, Another Ray Ozzie Company

alphadogg writes: Every decade or so Microsoft seems to feel the need to buy a Ray Ozzie company. This time it’s Talko, a Boston-based startup dedicated to helping workgroups (or families or other sets of associates) collaborate using their smartphones. Terms were not disclosed but in a blog post, the company said Talko technology, at least part of it, will live on in Skype. If this rings a bell to long-timers it’s because ten years ago Microsoft bought Groove Networks, Ozzie’s then Boston area startup geared for, yes, computer-assisted collaboration.

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Company Testing Standardized Salaries Is Struggling

jmcbain writes: In April 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of online payments company Gravity Payments based in Seattle, announced that all employees would have their salary bumped up to a minimum $ 70,000. Slashdot covered this news. Since that time, however, things have not gone well. Some employees quit because they felt it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Furthermore, after reducing his own salary from $ 1M to $ 70K, Mr. Price is now renting a house ‘to make ends meet’. On an unrelated note, Mr. Price’s brother, who is a co-founder of the company, is suing him.

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