Tech News courtesy of Ars Technica
- Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story
- The new tech making game preservation more authentic and future-proof
- Key Splinter Cell, Far Cry 2 designer returns to Ubisoft after five years
- Nielsen is scanning 1,000 Netflix shows to break the streaming “black box”
- BitTorrent patched against flaw that allowed crippling DoS attacks
- Ashley Madison abusing DMCA “to put genie back in the bottle,” EFF says
- Instagram 7.5 removes ratio restriction, says it’s hip not to be square
- Google rejects antitrust charges, digs in for a long fight
- LTE over Wi-Fi spectrum sets up industry-wide fight over interference
- Invites go out for Apple’s September 9 iPhone event
The Associated Press filed a lawsuit (PDF) this morning, demanding the FBI hand over information about its use of fake news stories. The case stems from a 2007 incident regarding a bomb threat at a school. The FBI created a fake news story with an Associated Press byline, then e-mailed it to a suspect to plant malware on his computer.
The AP sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI last year seeking documents related to the 2014 sting. It also seeks to know how many times the FBI has used such a ruse since 2000. The FBI responded to the AP saying it could take two years or more to gather the information requested. Unsatisfied with the response, the Associated Press has taken the matter to court.
An Electronic Frontier Foundation FOIA request on a different matter revealed the strategy in 2011, but it wasn't made public until last year, when privacy researcher Chris Soghoian saw evidence of the operation in the documents and tweeted about it. That spurred both the AP and The Seattle Times to complain vocally about the FBI's behavior.
For a medium that’s just a little over 40 years old (give or take), it’s kind of incredible just how many truly classic video games are completely out of print. Yes, there is a relative handful of random games available for download through Nintendo’s Virtual Console, Sony’s PlayStation Network, or Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 backwards compatibility. There’s an even smaller subset of games that have gotten the full “HD remake” treatment in recent years, making them once again available on a new generation of consoles.
For the vast majority of video games that exist, though, the only way to legally obtain a copy is to track down original hardware and used software that may not have been produced for decades. Digital Eclipse is looking to change that, using a mix of technology and attention to historical detail to ensure that the classics of gaming remain in circulation in a cost-effective, accurate, and respectful manner.
“Classic games are being devalued in the way they’re released,” Digital Eclipse’s Head of Restoration Frank Cifaldi told Ars in an interview (note: Cifaldi and I used to work together at Gamasutra). “The Virtual Console is a great platform for just buying a game and playing it, [but] I feel as a consumer when I download something like that, ‘OK, you sold me a ROM and an emulator. Is that all you've got for me?’”
Nearly seven years after working as creative director on the critically acclaimed Far Cry 2, and over five years after leaving Ubisoft, Clint Hocking has revealed that he has returned to the French mega-publisher that has given him all of his published game credits.
In a blog post detailing the decision, Hocking notes that he hasn't actually shipped a game since the 2008 release of Far Cry 2 and that he's recently "become anxious and depressed" over that journeyman status. "In the end, for me at least, five years is just too long to be rootless."
Before his departure in 2010, Hocking worked at Ubisoft Montreal for ten years, working on titles primarily in the Splinter Cell series before Far Cry 2. His return to the company is taking place at Ubisoft's Toronto studio, however, where Hocking writes that he's excited to reunite with personal friends who helped found the newer, smaller location. In an interview on the Ubisoft blog, Hocking said he can't go into detail on what he's currently working on at Ubisoft.
The Nielsen ratings company is measuring Netflix watching to inform entertainment studios which of their shows are most popular on Netflix, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Nielsen has been promising to create such a system since last year, and now the company says it's up and running, with viewership of nearly 1,000 Netflix shows being monitored.
The system has been described as using Nielsen meters to listen for audio signals that signal when particular shows are being streamed. The system operates without Netflix's consent or cooperation.
The maintainers of the open BitTorrent protocol for file sharing have fixed a vulnerability that allowed lone attackers with only modest resources to take down large sites using a new form of denial-of-service attack.
The technique was disclosed two weeks ago in a research paper submitted to the 9th Usenix Workshop on Offensive Technologies. By sending vulnerable BitTorrent applications maliciously modified data, attackers could force them to flood a third-party target with data that was 50 to 120 times bigger than the original request. By replacing the attacker's IP address in the malicious user datagram protocol request with the spoofed address of the target, the attacker could cause the data flood to hit the victim's computer.
In a blog post published Thursday, BitTorrent engineers said the vulnerability was the result of a flaw in a reference implementation called libuTP. To fix the weakness, the uTorrent, BitTorrent, and BitTorrent Sync apps will require acknowledgments from connection initiators before providing long responses.
The online exposure of the Ashley Madison cheating sites' membership data has, to say the least, shaken the Internet like a giant earthquake.
Many of the site's members have been unmasked as one of the millions of cheaters searching for an affair. Some have committed suicide. Extortionists have taken advantage of those fearing being named. And now it appears that the site's Canadian owner, Avid Life Media, is misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in a bid to make people unpublish the data that lists millions of Ashley Madison members' e-mail addresses and other information. The problem with this scenario is that such data isn't subject to copyright, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says.
"Ashley Madison’s owners have been sending numerous DMCA takedown notices to platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and others in an attempt to stop the dissemination of millions of names and email addresses of the site’s users...," Mitch Stoltz, an EFF staff attorney, wrote in a recent blog post. "While there’s no doubt that the leak is embarrassing and potentially disastrous for the millions of people who have been revealed as users of a site that promotes marital infidelity, Ashley Madison’s attempts to use the DMCA to put the genie back in the bottle are misguided, and in some cases, may violate the DMCA itself."
If ever a social media service has proven that popularity matters more than functionality, Instagram pulled that off. While smartphone screens, cameras, and LTE access have vastly improved for most users, the image-sharing service had stuck to two archaic standards that turned most photographers' stomachs: a 640x640 resolution limit and a square-ratio restriction.
Complaints about both have raged for long enough that we figured Instagram had no intention of changing its ways, but this summer has seen Instagram address both. First came a silent 1080x1080 resolution upgrade discovered by The Verge in July, and that was followed on Thursday by a feature-change announcement tucked into the app's latest update. Now with the tap of version 7.5's "ratio" button, any previously snapped photo in your device's gallery will appear without an automatic crop to the service's default square ratio.
This change affects both image and video posts, and they'll appear within the updated version of the Instagram app at their full ratio. (Older-version users will see those images auto-shrunken to fit in a square.) There's a catch: those images must be captured by your smartphone's internal camera app. Should users shoot photos or videos within Instagram, however, they'll remain stuck in the square. While the update has gone live at both iOS' App Stores and Android's Google Play Store, we were only able to access the function on iOS as of press time.
Google has responded to European Union regulators' claims that its search results violate antitrust law, saying its search results are focused on "improving quality" and are not anti-competitive.
"Google increases choice for European consumers and offers valuable opportunities for businesses of all sizes," wrote company general counsel Kent Walker in a Google blog post. "Economic data spanning more than a decade, an array of documents, and statements from complainants all confirm that product search is robustly competitive."
The blog post accompanies Google's formal legal response that was filed today. European Union antitrust regulators formally charged Google with anticompetitive conduct in April.
A plan to use Wi-Fi airwaves for cellular service has sparked concerns about interference with existing Wi-Fi networks, causing a fight involving wireless carriers, cable companies, a Wi-Fi industry trade group, Microsoft, and network equipment makers.
Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US plan to boost coverage in their cellular networks by using unlicensed airwaves that also power Wi-Fi equipment. While cellular carriers generally rely upon airwaves to which they have exclusive licenses, a new system called LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) would have the carriers sharing spectrum with Wi-Fi devices on the unlicensed 5GHz band.
Verizon has said it intends to deploy LTE-U in 5GHz in 2016. Before the interference controversy threatened to delay deployments, T-Mobile was expected to use the technology on its smartphones by the end of 2015. Wireless equipment makers like Qualcomm see an opportunity to sell more devices and are integrating LTE-U into their latest technology.
Apple has made it official: the company's next product event happens on September 9 at 10am PT. The event will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, which is larger than the "town hall" event space on Apple's campus in Cupertino. Traditionally, larger spaces usually imply larger, more important announcements.
Apple included a cryptic message with its event invite—"Siri, give us a hint"—but our safe expectations for the event are fairly straightforward. Apple is likely to release "S" versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus designs with faster internals, better cameras, and Force Touch support among a handful of other features. Those phones will arrive alongside iOS 9, which is usually released to existing iDevices a couple of days before the new phones are available.
Aside from the phones, a new Apple TV is said to bring much faster internals along with a redesigned remote control and a new version of the iOS-derived Apple TV OS that supports Siri, more robust search, and a full App Store and SDK for developers. This would be the product's first major update since 2012. What's not clear is how many of these software changes will (or even can) be backported to the current Apple TV, which Apple has been selling for $69 since March of this year.