US Lawmakers Consider Ban On Big Tech Companies Launching Cryptocurrencies https://news.slashdot.org/story/19/07/15/0019215/us-lawmakers-consider-ban-on-big-tech-companies-launching-cryptocurrencies PolygamousRanchKid quotes Reuters: A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters. In a sign of widening scrutiny after Facebook Inc's (FB.O) proposed Libra digital coin aroused widespread objection, the bill proposes a fine of $1 million per day for violation of such rules.... Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to U.S. and global regulations if they wanted to "become a bank." His comments came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook's plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability. The article concedes this proposal "would likely spark opposition" in the House and Senate, but adds that "Nevertheless, the draft proposal sends a strong message to large tech firms increasingly eyeing the financial services space." The draft legislation's title? The "Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act." #crypto #cryptocurrency #bitcoin #news #technology
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Trump Can't Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules https://politics.slashdot.org/story/19/07/09/1722233/trump-cant-block-critics-from-his-twitter-account-appeals-court-rules President Trump has been violating the Constitution by blocking people from following his Twitter account because they criticized or mocked him, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The ruling could have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to the social-media era. From a report: Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts -- and engaging in conversations in the replies to them -- because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled unanimously. Writing for the panel, Judge Barrington D. Parker noted that the conduct of the government and its officials are subject today to a "wide-open, robust debate" that "generates a level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen." The First Amendment prohibits an official who uses a social media account for government purposes from excluding people from an "otherwise open online dialogue" because they say things the official disagrees with, he wrote. #freespeech #twitter #politics #news #technology
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Is Ham Radio a Hobby, a Utility, or Both? A Battle Over Spectrum Heats Up https://tech.slashdot.org/story/19/07/08/1537201/is-ham-radio-a-hobby-a-utility-or-both-a-battle-over-spectrum-heats-up Some think automated radio emails are mucking up the spectrum reserved for amateur radio, while others say these new offerings provide a useful service. Wave723 writes: Like many amateur radio fans his age, Ron Kolarik, 71, still recalls the "pure magic" of his first ham experience nearly 60 years ago. Lately, though, encrypted messages have begun to infiltrate the amateur bands in ways that he says are antithetical to the spirit of this beloved hobby. So Kolarik filed a petition, RM-11831 [PDF], to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposing a rule change to "Reduce Interference and Add Transparency to Digital Data Communications." And as the proposal makes its way through the FCC's process, it has stirred up heated debate that goes straight to the heart of what ham radio is, and ought to be. The core questions: Should amateur radio -- and its precious spectrum -- be protected purely as a hobby, or is it a utility that delivers data traffic? Or is it both? And who gets to decide? Since Kolarik filed his petition in late 2018, this debate has engulfed the ham world. Fierce defenders of both sides have filed passionate letters and comments to the FCC arguing their cases. On one side is Kolarik in Nebraska. In his view, it's all rather simple: "Transparency is a core part of ham radio," he says. "And yet, you can find tons of traffic from automatic[ally controlled digital] stations that are extremely difficult to identify, if you can identify them at all, and they cause interference." The automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS) Kolarik refers to can serve to power services like Winlink, a "global radio email" system. Overseen and operated by licensed volunteers around the globe, Winlink is funded and guided by the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. (ARSFI). The service uses amateur and government radio frequencies around the globe to send email messages by radio. Users initiate the transmission through an Internet connection, or go Internet-free and use smart-network radio relays. On Winlink's website, the service says it provides its licensed users the ability to send email with attachments, plus messages about their positions, and weather and information bulletins. Representatives of the service say it also allows users to participate in emergency and disaster relief communications. But Kolarik's petition argues two points: First, because such messages "are not readily and freely able to be decoded," the FCC should require all digital codes to use protocols that "can be monitored in entirety by third parties with freely available, open-source software." Secondly, he wants the rule change to reduce the interference that he says services like Winlink can create between amateur-to-amateur stations -- by relegating the often-unattended automatic stations to operate solely on narrower sub-bands. Loring Kutchins, the president of ARSFI, says he believes Kolarik's petition is "well intentioned in its basis. But the fundamental conflict is between people who believe amateur radio is about hobby, not about utility. But nowhere do the FCC rules use the word 'hobby.'" #radio #hamradio #technology #news #fcc
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Steve Wozniak Warns People To Get Off of Facebook Due To Privacy Concerns https://apple.slashdot.org/story/19/07/07/2337204/steve-wozniak-warns-people-to-get-off-of-facebook-due-to-privacy-concerns TMZ accosted 68-year-old Steve Wozniak at an airport, according to an article shared by Slashdot reader Iwastheone. TMZ asked Wozniak for his thoughts on whether our devices are listening to us -- and if we're trying to have private conversations, should we be worried? "I'm worried about everything," Wozniak replied. "I don't think we can stop it, though." But, everything about you -- I mean, they can measure your heartbeat with lasers now, they can listen to you with a lot of devices. Who knows if my cellphone's listening right now. Alexa has already been in the news alot. So, I worry, because you're having conversations that you think are private... You're saying words that really shouldn't be listened to, because you don't expect it. But there's almost no way to stop it. People think they have a level of privacy they don't. Why don't they give me a choice? Let me pay a certain amount, and you'll keep my data more secure and private then everybody else handing it to advertisers. Wozniak was also asked if we should "get rid of Facebook and Instagram..." His reply? "There are many different kinds of people, and some the benefits of Facebook are worth the loss of privacy. But to many like myself, my recommendation is -- to most people -- you should figure out a way to get off Facebook." "Steve knows what he's talking about," explains TMZ's write-up of their conversation, adding that "the dude co-founded Apple, and he's very much plugged into Silicon Valley and all aspects of tech." #facebook #privacy #socialmedia #news #technology
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Trump Can't Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules https://politics.slashdot.org/story/19/07/09/1722233/trump-cant-block-critics-from-his-twitter-account-appeals-court-rules President Trump has been violating the Constitution by blocking people from following his Twitter account because they criticized or mocked him, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The ruling could have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to the social-media era. From a report: Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts -- and engaging in conversations in the replies to them -- because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled unanimously. Writing for the panel, Judge Barrington D. Parker noted that the conduct of the government and its officials are subject today to a "wide-open, robust debate" that "generates a level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen." The First Amendment prohibits an official who uses a social media account for government purposes from excluding people from an "otherwise open online dialogue" because they say things the official disagrees with, he wrote. #freespeech #twitter #politics #news #technology
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Is Ham Radio a Hobby, a Utility, or Both? A Battle Over Spectrum Heats Up https://tech.slashdot.org/story/19/07/08/1537201/is-ham-radio-a-hobby-a-utility-or-both-a-battle-over-spectrum-heats-up Some think automated radio emails are mucking up the spectrum reserved for amateur radio, while others say these new offerings provide a useful service. Wave723 writes: Like many amateur radio fans his age, Ron Kolarik, 71, still recalls the "pure magic" of his first ham experience nearly 60 years ago. Lately, though, encrypted messages have begun to infiltrate the amateur bands in ways that he says are antithetical to the spirit of this beloved hobby. So Kolarik filed a petition, RM-11831 [PDF], to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposing a rule change to "Reduce Interference and Add Transparency to Digital Data Communications." And as the proposal makes its way through the FCC's process, it has stirred up heated debate that goes straight to the heart of what ham radio is, and ought to be. The core questions: Should amateur radio -- and its precious spectrum -- be protected purely as a hobby, or is it a utility that delivers data traffic? Or is it both? And who gets to decide? Since Kolarik filed his petition in late 2018, this debate has engulfed the ham world. Fierce defenders of both sides have filed passionate letters and comments to the FCC arguing their cases. On one side is Kolarik in Nebraska. In his view, it's all rather simple: "Transparency is a core part of ham radio," he says. "And yet, you can find tons of traffic from automatic[ally controlled digital] stations that are extremely difficult to identify, if you can identify them at all, and they cause interference." The automatically controlled digital stations (ACDS) Kolarik refers to can serve to power services like Winlink, a "global radio email" system. Overseen and operated by licensed volunteers around the globe, Winlink is funded and guided by the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. (ARSFI). The service uses amateur and government radio frequencies around the globe to send email messages by radio. Users initiate the transmission through an Internet connection, or go Internet-free and use smart-network radio relays. On Winlink's website, the service says it provides its licensed users the ability to send email with attachments, plus messages about their positions, and weather and information bulletins. Representatives of the service say it also allows users to participate in emergency and disaster relief communications. But Kolarik's petition argues two points: First, because such messages "are not readily and freely able to be decoded," the FCC should require all digital codes to use protocols that "can be monitored in entirety by third parties with freely available, open-source software." Secondly, he wants the rule change to reduce the interference that he says services like Winlink can create between amateur-to-amateur stations -- by relegating the often-unattended automatic stations to operate solely on narrower sub-bands. Loring Kutchins, the president of ARSFI, says he believes Kolarik's petition is "well intentioned in its basis. But the fundamental conflict is between people who believe amateur radio is about hobby, not about utility. But nowhere do the FCC rules use the word 'hobby.'" #radio #hamradio #technology #news #fcc
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Steve Wozniak Warns People To Get Off of Facebook Due To Privacy Concerns https://apple.slashdot.org/story/19/07/07/2337204/steve-wozniak-warns-people-to-get-off-of-facebook-due-to-privacy-concerns TMZ accosted 68-year-old Steve Wozniak at an airport, according to an article shared by Slashdot reader Iwastheone. TMZ asked Wozniak for his thoughts on whether our devices are listening to us -- and if we're trying to have private conversations, should we be worried? "I'm worried about everything," Wozniak replied. "I don't think we can stop it, though." But, everything about you -- I mean, they can measure your heartbeat with lasers now, they can listen to you with a lot of devices. Who knows if my cellphone's listening right now. Alexa has already been in the news alot. So, I worry, because you're having conversations that you think are private... You're saying words that really shouldn't be listened to, because you don't expect it. But there's almost no way to stop it. People think they have a level of privacy they don't. Why don't they give me a choice? Let me pay a certain amount, and you'll keep my data more secure and private then everybody else handing it to advertisers. Wozniak was also asked if we should "get rid of Facebook and Instagram..." His reply? "There are many different kinds of people, and some the benefits of Facebook are worth the loss of privacy. But to many like myself, my recommendation is -- to most people -- you should figure out a way to get off Facebook." "Steve knows what he's talking about," explains TMZ's write-up of their conversation, adding that "the dude co-founded Apple, and he's very much plugged into Silicon Valley and all aspects of tech." #facebook #privacy #socialmedia #news #technology
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