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Flickr Photos Were Used to Train IBM Facial Recognition

IBM, and a number of other researchers and institutions, have made extensive use of a Yahoo!-curated Flickr database for their facial recognition development efforts, and according to a recent report from NBC, this is raising concerns among privacy experts and the subjects within those photos. While IBM says they'll remove photos from the database upon receiving a request, they don't provide an easy way to tell if a particular user's photos are contained within the database, hence NBC has set up a tool to do exactly that. While the report largely focuses on the privacy and social issues surrounding IBM's database, it also touches on another big issue in the world of AI training: licensing. Machine learning algorithms can require huge datasets to effectively train, and many of the images in datasets I've seen are scraped from the web without much thought about their associated restrictions. That's already a legal and ethical issue for researchers, but it becomes even more problematic when those neural networks start showing up in commercial software, which happens more and more every day.

Academics often appeal to the noncommercial nature of their work to bypass questions of copyright. Flickr became an appealing resource for facial recognition researchers because many users published their images under "Creative Commons" licenses, which means that others can reuse their pictures without paying license fees... Experts note that the distinction between the research wings and commercial operations of corporations such as IBM and Facebook is a blurry one. Ultimately, IBM owns any intellectual property developed by its research unit... Holzer was concerned that a company like IBM - even its research division - had used photos he published under a noncommercial license. "Since I assume that IBM is not a charitable organization and at the end of the day wants to make money with this technology, this is clearly a commercial use," he said.

Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 10:57 AM (CDT)

Huawei Caught Using DSLR Shots in P30 Marketing

Some eagle eyed readers over at GSMArena recently discovered that Huawei used professional DLSR shots to market the periscope zoom camera on the Huawei P30. Much like Samsung's fake Galaxy advertisements from last year, the posters weren't marked as DSLR shots at first, and they were clearly implied to be shots from the P30, but the Weibo photos were seemingly updated with disclaimers after various media outlets started catching on. In an official statement, Huawei claims the photos "are only intended to hint at the unique new features."

We've been made aware that there might have been some misunderstanding regarding our recent HUAWEI P30 Series teaser posters. We would like to reiterate that those are, in fact, only teaser posters, and are only intended to hint at the unique new features that will come with the HUAWEI P30 Series. Huawei has acquired the licenses to the original images and the posters are artistic renditions of said features only. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the media for their interest in our posters. We have much to announce in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned!

Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 8:26 AM (CDT)

NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 418.99 Has Been Released

The NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 418.99 has been released and it addresses the following issue: Windows 7x64/8.1x64: Fixes random application crash or TDR introduced in previous GeForce display driver 418.81. The official NVIDIA forum post discussing the driver is here.

The GeForce Hotfix driver is our way to trying to get some of these fixes out to you more quickly. These drivers are basically the same as the previous released version, with a small number of additional targeted fixes. The fixes that make it in are based in part on your feedback in the Driver Feedback threads and partly on how realistic it is for us to quickly address them. These fixes (and many more) will be incorporated into the next official driver release, at which time the Hotfix driver will be taken down.

Posted by cageymaru February 18, 2019 7:29 PM (CST)

Orion Span Wants to Build a Space Hotel

Curbed says the Houston-based startup Orion Span wants to build a fully modular space station that functions as a high end hotel. According to the company's plans, the hotel will be able to host up to 6 people for 12 days at a time. Trips start at a cool $9.5 million per person, but the company says they also accept payments in the forms of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Unfortunately, all the extra traffic seems to have taken Orion Span's website down, and they just took down the video of the hotel's interior, but you can still see some renders of the space station's exterior in the video below:

The Aurora Station hotel is set to launch in late 2021, is looking for investors, and will host its first guests in 2022. If you have the cash-including a refundable $80,000 deposit-and want to live out your astronaut dreams, travelers have to undergo a three-month certification program to prep for space. But that's a small price to pay for adventuring in the final frontier.

Posted by alphaatlas January 29, 2019 12:11 PM (CST)

Screenshot Shows 256GB of RAM in a Threadripper System

While AMD's Threadripper platform technically supports 256GB of RAM spread across 8 slots, there are some practical issues that make building such a system difficult. Most TR4 motherboards officially support 128GB of DDR4, and unregistered 32GB DIMMs aren't widely available yet. But found a screenshot of a Threadripper system that appears to be running 256GB of consumer-grade RAM.
The system in question seems to use SL Link J4BGUS2G8QHBC memory modules, and notes that they have twice the number of memory chips a typical 16GB stick has. But the ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme motherboard apparently has no issue running the high capacity sticks. The sticks are running at a relatively modest 2666Mhz with CL20 timings, but that's supposedly faster that what Threadripper is rated for at such high capacities anyway. While the 32GB sticks Samsung listed last year are still nowhere to be seen, these sticks apparently use Samsung memory ICs. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 22, 2019 10:46 AM (CST)

The Resident Evil 2 "1-Shot Demo" Is Now Available

Capcom has released a timed 30 minute demo for the game Resident Evil 2. Players can die all they want during the demo, but after 30 minutes it is over. Players can get an idea of the game play in the horror title and test the performance of their systems. Capcom warns players of bugs that may occur if they try the "Max" graphics preset. I'm just waiting for the game's release on January 25, 2019.

If you use the "Max" graphics preset or set options to a value that your PC spec does not support, you may encounter bugs. If this happens, please select the "Recommended" graphics preset. If cutscenes stutter or if your display flickers, set HDR Mode to Off. In other news, we are happy to announce that both the demo and full game supports 21:9 aspect ratio ultra wide monitors.

Posted by cageymaru January 11, 2019 3:23 PM (CST)

Xivlia Photographs Naked CPUs and GPUs

Hardforum user Xivlia is stripping dead CPUs and GPUs, etching them, and taking some gorgeous die shots. Words don't really do them justice, so just click on some of the shots below, or better yet, see them all in the thread here.

I'm also working on a new PC project that involves these naked CPU/GPU dies.... but for now, take a look at one of my Xeon X7550 undressed!

Posted by alphaatlas December 28, 2018 10:48 PM (CST)

NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 417.58 Has Been Released

The NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix driver version 417.58 has been released and it addresses the following issues: Black screen when resuming from monitor sleep on some DisplayPort monitors. Windows 7: FPS drop when G-sync is used with V-sync in games. Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Fixes occasional application crash in DirectX 12 mode. Fixes black screen on BenQ XL2730 monitor using 144Hz refresh rate. Fixes lockup when resuming from sleep on MSI GT83 notebook.
Posted by cageymaru December 28, 2018 5:43 PM (CST)

Researchers Demonstrate Hot Tub Hack

Some hot tubs have apps that allow users to control the tubs remotely. But security researchers from Pen Test Partners found a small security flaw in one of those implementations... apparently, there is no security. A wifi access point on the tub can be configured to act as a client accessible from the web, and the researchers were able to remotely obtain the MAC addresses of victim's hot tubs with some simple API calls. With very little effort, the researchers were able to identify about 30,000 hot tubs exposed on the web, and manipulate their temperatures or turn blowers and pumps on and off. Thanks to The BBC for reporting the security flaw, and check out a video of the hot tub hack below:

Consumer IoT security is not in a good place. These findings underline that. Worse, the iDigi service is also used to control smart healthcare appliances. Who is to say if those were correctly secured? We emailed Balboa Water Group on 28th November, explaining the flaw and asking for an acknowledgement so that we could start responsible disclosure. We had no reply. We tried again on 30th November, asking for an acknowledgement by 10pm GMT on Friday 3rd December. Again we had no reply. We then asked the BBC if they could use their influence to elicit a response. They kindly obliged and, as if by magic, we had a response from BWG within an hour of the BBC emailing them. BWG explained to the BBC that they had not implemented user accounts for "ease of use", and that the static password was also a conscious choice! BWG also asked for the broadcast to be delayed, for no other reason than they didn't want to take down the API over the holiday season. Hardly compelling. They only took action when their brand was at stake, not their customer's privacy or security, yet were happy to expose users in the meantime...

Posted by alphaatlas December 26, 2018 9:42 AM (CST)

Facebook Reveals Photo API Bug

On their developer website, Facebook revealed a bug in their Photo API that "may have affected people who used Facebook Login and granted permission to third-party apps to access their photos." Facebook claims some "third parties" may have had access to more photos than they were supposed to between September 13 and September 25, 2018, and that the bug may have affected "up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers." While Facebook disclosed the bug today, the company told VentureBeat that "it found the bug on September 25, and that it notified the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) as soon as it established that it was considered a reportable breach" on November 22.

When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline. In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos, such as those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories. The bug also impacted photos that people uploaded to Facebook but chose not to post. For example, if someone uploads a photo to Facebook but doesn't finish posting it - maybe because they've lost reception or walked into a meeting - we store a copy of that photo so the person has it when they come back to the app to complete their post... We're sorry this happened. Early next week we will be rolling out tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug. We will be working with those developers to delete the photos from impacted users. We will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert on Facebook.

Posted by alphaatlas December 14, 2018 11:34 AM (CST)

Samsung Used a DSLR Shot to Fake a "Portrait Mode"

Dunja Djudjic, a writer and photographer for DIY Photography, recently caught Samsung passing one of her DSLR photos off as a shot from a Galaxy smartphone. After creating an account on EyeEm, one of her shots got sold through Getty images, and out of curiosity, she did a reverse image search to see if it ended up anywhere on the web. Much to her surprise, Djudjic found a heavily (and poorly) edited version of herself on Samsung's Galaxy A8 page. Using a different background, the shot seemingly shows off the A8's "background blur" feature, even though it clearly wasn't taken with an A8. As of this post, Samsung has a "* image simulated for demo purpose" disclaimer at the bottom of the page, but the Internet Archive project managed to capture the page yesterday, when that disclaimer didn't exist.

It's undeniable that smartphone cameras are getting better (and there are more and more lenses with every new phone). But, we definitely shouldn't trust the ads showing off their capabilities, or at least take them with a grain of salt. Although, to be honest, I doubt anyone would believe an ad with a Photoshop job this terrible anyway.

Posted by alphaatlas December 05, 2018 9:56 AM (CST)

NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 417.21 Has Been Released

The NVIDIA GeForce Hot Fix driver version 417.21 has been released and it addresses the following issues. Memory Data Rate reporting incorrect value in NVIDIA Control Panel. Microsoft Edge does not respond after playing back video. Can't apply color format after updating to driver 417.01.
Posted by cageymaru November 29, 2018 4:55 PM (CST)