Weekly Update: 2019-12-29 to 2020-01-04

Major US Companies Breached, Robbed, and Spied on by Chinese Hackers

We will look back on the wholesale theft of US intellectual property as one of, if not the, key drivers for China’s dominance in the future.

via slashdot

Trump Signs Traced Act Into Law in Bid To Help Put an End To Robocalls

With any luck 2020 will be the year we finally put an end to robocalls. Hopefully I’m not being overly optimistic.

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US Retailers Rush To Comply With California Privacy Law

This should be an indication of the type of federal legislation that will be required in the future.

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Huawei’s Revenue Hits Record $122B in 2019 Despite U.S. Sanctions

What would the revenue have been without US sanctions? Until China can learn to play nice (eg - technology transfer, stealing IP) we should continue with the most aggressive possible actions.

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Syd Mead, Visionary 'Blade Runner' Artist and Futurist, Dies at 86

I didn’t realize how broad his impact was, not just Blade Runner but Tron, Aliens and even Star Trek.

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Chinese Scientist Who Edited Babies' Genes Sentenced To Prison

Three years and a 3 million yuan (USD$430,000) fine. I’m not clear on exactly what the charges were:

The court found that He and the two others had forged ethical review documents and used “impersonating and concealing tactics” on unsuspecting doctors to complete their experiment, said the report.

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Tech Startups Face New Investor Mandate: Profits Over Discounts

I really enjoyed having rides subsidized by companies like Lyft. I wonder how much longer that can go on. My assumption was they just wanted to buy marketshare until there were driverless cars, at which point their primary cost (labor) disappeared.

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In 1994 A 12-Year-Old Programmed a Videogame. It Turned Up on Twitch Monday

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Minimum Age Limit for Buying Tobacco Products and E-Cigarettes Raised to 21 in the U.S.

I have to admit I did not see this coming.

How Apple — and Millennials — Stopped the Rise of eBooks

I guess the type of people who read books are the type of people who want a physical book. Or at least 80% of them.

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CNBC Reports Open Source Software Has Essentially 'Taken Over the World'

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Huawei Denies Receiving Billions in Financial Aid From Chinese Government

Least shocking news of the week, and given the absurd response from China makes it obvious how true it is.

"Once again, the WSJ has published untruths about Huawei based on false information. This time, wild accusations about Huawei’s finances ignore our 30 years of dedicated investments in R&D that have driven innovation and the tech industry as a whole," the company said. Huawei also said that it reserved the right to take legal action against the WSJ for "a number of disingenuous and irresponsible articles."

I’m sure they will file that lawsuit any minute.

Tuvalu is a Tiny Island Nation of 11,000 People. Licensing of Its .tv Domain Contributes 1/12th To Its Annual Gross National Income

Compulsory public education has brought the nation’s adult literacy rate up to nearly 99 percent, and the World Bank classifies Tuvalu as an upper-middle-income economy, with its territorial fishing rights accounting for the biggest chunk of its GNI at an estimated $19 million in license fees in 2018. But another sizable portion stems directly from its licensing of its .tv URL suffix, thanks to the recent surge in streaming sites. As sites utilizing .tv grow in prominence, Tuvalu’s domain on the web may eventually supersede that of its seas.

via slashdot

Happy Birthday to Linus! 50 years old on 12/28/2019

It’s hard to overstate what a profound effect linux and ultimately open source has had on my life and my career. And as profound as the impact of linux was, it is hard to believe that he could also produce something as successful as git has become.

You can’t stop a shaken beer can from fizzing over by tapping it, study finds

I have to admit I’m guilty of this, but I at least have the presence of mind of wondering to myself how this could possibly work while doing it.

One-Quarter of World’s Pigs Died In a Year Due To Swine Fever In China

China consumes 74 million tonnes of pork, which is twice as much as the United States but obviously lower per capita.

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FDA Bans Production, Sale of Fruit- and Mint-Flavored Vape Pods

I wonder how much of vaping was really driven by flavors? I think to argue against the ban you have to 1) agree that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking and 2) this will reduce the number of adults who will vape instead of smoke.

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Company Shuts Down Because of Ransomware, Leaves 300 Without Jobs Just Before Holidays

Telemarketing company, part of me thinks …​ "good" ?

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Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn Flees from Japan to Lebanon

Did not see this coming! This is certainly getting interesting.

This Conversation Between A Passenger And An Airline Should Absolutely Terrify You

TLDR: U.S.Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a picture of you, you scan your face, that image is sent to CBP which then verifies who you are. This is …​ horrifying? Where is CBP getting these photos?

Turns out CBP’s website has the answer:

Just before entry or exit, each international traveler’s photo is taken, either by CBP-owned cameras or equipment provided by the airlines, airport authority, or cruise line. CBP’s biometric matching service, the Traveler Verification Service (TVS), compares the new photo with DHS holdings, which include images from photographs taken by CBP during the entry inspection, photographs from U.S. passports, U.S. visas and other travel documents, as well as photographs from previous DHS encounters. See the most recent TVS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for more information.

This is shocking and will not end well.

Good news, I guess, is:

While U.S. Citizens who are entering or exiting the country are generally required to be in possession of a valid U.S. passport, CBP does not require U.S. Citizens or exempt aliens[1] to have their pictures taken. Travelers who do not wish to participate in this facial comparison process may notify a CBP Officer or an airline, airport or cruise line representative in order to seek an alternative means of verifying their identities and documents. CBP discards all photos of U.S. Citizens within 12 hours of identity verification.

I’m willing to bet that within the next few years this will no longer be optional.

The World’s Internet Registries Demand ICANN’s Records on .org Registry Transfer

This is getting interesting.

via slashdot