Y Combinator President Sam Altman: I’m an Optimist, But I’m Not Optimistic About Government

Y Combinator Sam Altman - 16 At Disrupt today, Y Combinator Sam Altman had a somewhat gloomy prediction for attendees and the broader audience following the conference: If the state and federal government “can’t get its act together in time” and find solutions to shifts brought by technology, we’re in serious trouble. Longer term, Altman expressed some concern about the growing divide between rich… Read More

Fingerprint Technology is the Next Privacy Catastrophe

OPMNew fallout today from the gift that keeps on giving, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack. The news reports on this have focused on the standard PII elements along with the salacious possibilities associated with the disclosure information that is collected for security clearance applications.

 

FingerprintAn angle that has not been widely covered is the initial disclosure that 1.1 million fingerprints were also hacked. Today it is being reported that OPM has increased that number to 5.6 million fingerprints.

The nearly universal response to suggestions that people could be at risk is that the fingerprints are encrypted. Fair point, they are.

According to OPM, “federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited.” The office acknowledged, however, that future technologies could take advantage of this information.

The government also said salt and fat were bad, and healthcare costs would go down.

Coincidentally, the NSA put out an advisory last month on Suite B elliptic curve cryptography that is widely used in the government, and is suitable for general national security use. Unlike Suite A, Suite B is widely used and available as a public standard.

According to the NSA, Suite B cryptography is not capable of withstanding advances in quantum computing.

Until this new suite (to replace Suite B) is developed and products are available implementing the quantum resistant suite, we will rely on current algorithms. For those partners and vendors that have not yet made the transition to Suite B elliptic curve algorithms, we recommend not making a significant expenditure to do so at this point but instead to prepare for the upcoming quantum resistant algorithm transition.

Well, this is reassuring… but let’s get back to the issue of fingerprint biometrics. The problem goes to the very nature of the biometric attribute itself, it is literally something about you and it is immutable. When someone hacks your fingerprints they have them forever. Forever.

I do have a horse in this race, having recently joined a speech biometrics company. Active speech verification has vulnerabilities, clearly, but one advantage over competing biometric technologies. In the event of a data breach that gives hackers the voice model data, an organization can simply force a re-enrollment for the participants and the integrity of the system is maintained. It’s the equivalent of forcing a password reset for your voice.

No system is without some vulnerability, but a system that does not provide for a reset capability is one that I have serious reservations about. With Apple TouchID and the upcoming Android M release with fingerprint support, fingerprint technology is mainstreaming. We are entering a period where fingerprint biometric data volume will explode and become an attractive target for hackers.

We’re building a speech verification and authentication service for developers who want to build speech biometrics into their apps using simple and reliable APIs. Sign up for news and launch updates, as well as early access, at knurld.io.

Fingerprint Technology is the Next Privacy Catastrophe

OPMNew fallout today from the gift that keeps on giving, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack. The news reports on this have focused on the standard PII elements along with the salacious possibilities associated with the disclosure information that is collected for security clearance applications.

 

FingerprintAn angle that has not been widely covered is the initial disclosure that 1.1 million fingerprints were also hacked. Today it is being reported that OPM has increased that number to 5.6 million fingerprints.

The nearly universal response to suggestions that people could be at risk is that the fingerprints are encrypted. Fair point, they are.

According to OPM, “federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited.” The office acknowledged, however, that future technologies could take advantage of this information.

The government also said salt and fat were bad, and healthcare costs would go down.

Coincidentally, the NSA put out an advisory last month on Suite B elliptic curve cryptography that is widely used in the government, and is suitable for general national security use. Unlike Suite A, Suite B is widely used and available as a public standard.

According to the NSA, Suite B cryptography is not capable of withstanding advances in quantum computing.

Until this new suite (to replace Suite B) is developed and products are available implementing the quantum resistant suite, we will rely on current algorithms. For those partners and vendors that have not yet made the transition to Suite B elliptic curve algorithms, we recommend not making a significant expenditure to do so at this point but instead to prepare for the upcoming quantum resistant algorithm transition.

Well, this is reassuring… but let’s get back to the issue of fingerprint biometrics. The problem goes to the very nature of the biometric attribute itself, it is literally something about you and it is immutable. When someone hacks your fingerprints they have them forever. Forever.

I do have a horse in this race, having recently joined a speech biometrics company. Active speech verification has vulnerabilities, clearly, but one advantage over competing biometric technologies. In the event of a data breach that gives hackers the voice model data, an organization can simply force a re-enrollment for the participants and the integrity of the system is maintained. It’s the equivalent of forcing a password reset for your voice.

No system is without some vulnerability, but a system that does not provide for a reset capability is one that I have serious reservations about. With Apple TouchID and the upcoming Android M release with fingerprint support, fingerprint technology is mainstreaming. We are entering a period where fingerprint biometric data volume will explode and become an attractive target for hackers.

We’re building a speech verification and authentication service for developers who want to build speech biometrics into their apps using simple and reliable APIs. Sign up for news and launch updates, as well as early access, at knurld.io.

The post Fingerprint Technology is the Next Privacy Catastrophe appeared first on Venture Chronicles.

Fingerprint Technology is the Next Privacy Catastrophe

OPMNew fallout today from the gift that keeps on giving, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack. The news reports on this have focused on the standard PII elements along with the salacious possibilities associated with the disclosure information that is collected for security clearance applications.

 

FingerprintAn angle that has not been widely covered is the initial disclosure that 1.1 million fingerprints were also hacked. Today it is being reported that OPM has increased that number to 5.6 million fingerprints.

The nearly universal response to suggestions that people could be at risk is that the fingerprints are encrypted. Fair point, they are.

According to OPM, “federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited.” The office acknowledged, however, that future technologies could take advantage of this information.

The government also said salt and fat were bad, and healthcare costs would go down.

Coincidentally, the NSA put out an advisory last month on Suite B elliptic curve cryptography that is widely used in the government, and is suitable for general national security use. Unlike Suite A, Suite B is widely used and available as a public standard.

According to the NSA, Suite B cryptography is not capable of withstanding advances in quantum computing.

Until this new suite (to replace Suite B) is developed and products are available implementing the quantum resistant suite, we will rely on current algorithms. For those partners and vendors that have not yet made the transition to Suite B elliptic curve algorithms, we recommend not making a significant expenditure to do so at this point but instead to prepare for the upcoming quantum resistant algorithm transition.

Well, this is reassuring… but let’s get back to the issue of fingerprint biometrics. The problem goes to the very nature of the biometric attribute itself, it is literally something about you and it is immutable. When someone hacks your fingerprints they have them forever. Forever.

I do have a horse in this race, having recently joined a speech biometrics company. Active speech verification has vulnerabilities, clearly, but one advantage over competing biometric technologies. In the event of a data breach that gives hackers the voice model data, an organization can simply force a re-enrollment for the participants and the integrity of the system is maintained. It’s the equivalent of forcing a password reset for your voice.

No system is without some vulnerability, but a system that does not provide for a reset capability is one that I have serious reservations about. With Apple TouchID and the upcoming Android M release with fingerprint support, fingerprint technology is mainstreaming. We are entering a period where fingerprint biometric data volume will explode and become an attractive target for hackers.

We’re building a speech verification and authentication service for developers who want to build speech biometrics into their apps using simple and reliable APIs. Sign up for news and launch updates, as well as early access, at knurld.io.

New Google Nexus phones: Leaked images and specs now provide a complete picture

ap_resize2

Google is getting ready to unveil a couple of new Nexus phones next week, and a fuller picture of the new devices has emerged during the past few weeks via a series of leaked photographs.

Both new Nexus phones are shaped like the iPhone if looked at from the front, with the familiar horizontal grill bars at top and bottom of the display. Both phones run Google’s latest mobile operating system, Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). The OS and the phones offer NFC chips and native fingerprint readers which, among other things, will be used to authenticate users for Android Pay mobile payments.

LG 5X

Some glamor shots of one of the phones, the LG 5X, appeared today on Android Police, showing the three color versions that will be available — white, black, and ice blue. The 5X appears to have a smooth plastic back, rounded at the edges.

nexus2cee_wm_5x-2-668x500

Reports say the 5X will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. It will likely have a 5.2-inch 1080p display.

Here’s another image from Android Pit.

lg_nexus_5_2015_leak_androidpit

And FindYogi dug up an early listing of the 5X on Amazon India, listing a full set of (unconfirmed) specs.

Huawei 6P

The other Nexus phone that will be announced is the 5.7-inch Huawei 6P, the larger of the two new Nexus phones. Android Police and others believe the new phone will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC (system-on-a-chip), feature a USB-C port, and come in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.

Design-wise, Huawei build an odd-looking rounded bar around the camera sensor and flash on the back of the phone.

6p

We’ll have full coverage of the September 29 Google event where the new phones will be officially unveiled.

More information:

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New Google Nexus phones: Leaked images and specs now provide a complete picture

ap_resize2

Google is getting ready to unveil a couple of new Nexus phones next week, and a fuller picture of the new devices has emerged during the past few weeks via a series of leaked photographs.

Both new Nexus phones are shaped like the iPhone if looked at from the front, with the familiar horizontal grill bars at top and bottom of the display. Both phones run Google’s latest mobile operating system, Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). The OS and the phones offer NFC chips and native fingerprint readers which, among other things, will be used to authenticate users for Android Pay mobile payments.

LG 5X

Some glamor shots of one of the phones, the LG 5X, appeared today on Android Police, showing the three color versions that will be available — white, black, and ice blue. The 5X appears to have a smooth plastic back, rounded at the edges.

nexus2cee_wm_5x-2-668x500

Reports say the 5X will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor. It will likely have a 5.2-inch 1080p display.

Here’s another image from Android Pit.

lg_nexus_5_2015_leak_androidpit

And FindYogi dug up an early listing of the 5X on Amazon India, listing a full set of (unconfirmed) specs.

Huawei 6P

The other Nexus phone that will be announced is the 5.7-inch Huawei 6P, the larger of the two new Nexus phones. Android Police and others believe the new phone will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC (system-on-a-chip), feature a USB-C port, and come in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.

Design-wise, Huawei build an odd-looking rounded bar around the camera sensor and flash on the back of the phone.

6p

We’ll have full coverage of the September 29 Google event where the new phones will be officially unveiled.

More information:

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Experience ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in a 360-degree first-person video from ILMxLab

You can get a sense of just how large a Star Destroyer is thanks to Facebook's new 360-degree videos.

Lucasfilm’s special-effects department is working on a new frontier of immersive entertainment, and you can get a taste of that on Facebook.

This morning, the Star Wars account on Facebook launched the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Immersive 360 Experience. This is a new kind of video on the social-media website that enables viewers to point a camera around a environment to see a recording in every possible direction. Industrial Light & Magic — the special-effects skunkworks that George Lucas founded to help film the original Star Wars — founded a new division called ILMxLab earlier this year to build this kind of content, and it’s already delivering. While this is part of Facebook’s introduction of 360-degree video, ILMxLab is one of the few companies prepared to take advantage of this technology and to build on for other projects.

You can check out the Star Wars 360-degree video for yourself below — once it’s playing, just click or tap and drag:


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Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we’ll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.

Lucasfilm formed ILMxLab in June with the promise to explore the next generation of storytelling. The division is working on content for virtual reality, augmented reality, real-time cinema, and theme parks. One of its biggest innovations is the capability to produce cinema-level 3D visuals in real-time.

To get an idea of what that means, skip ahead to about 33 seconds in the video below to check out how Lucasfilm can instantly translate the motion of an actor wearing a tracking suit into a 3D video of a stormtrooper:

ILMxLab noted in June that it was working on “several premium” Star Wars-based experience for later this year. That means this 360-degree video is likely just the first. And it’s a sample of what we can expect from the company as virtual-reality headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR hit the market over the next several months.

More information:

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Experience ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in a 360-degree first-person video from ILMxLab

You can get a sense of just how large a Star Destroyer is thanks to Facebook's new 360-degree videos.

Lucasfilm’s special-effects department is working on a new frontier of immersive entertainment, and you can get a taste of that on Facebook.

This morning, the Star Wars account on Facebook launched the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Immersive 360 Experience. This is a new kind of video on the social-media website that enables viewers to point a camera around a environment to see a recording in every possible direction. Industrial Light & Magic — the special-effects skunkworks that George Lucas founded to help film the original Star Wars — founded a new division called ILMxLab earlier this year to build this kind of content, and it’s already delivering. While this is part of Facebook’s introduction of 360-degree video, ILMxLab is one of the few companies prepared to take advantage of this technology and to build on for other projects.

You can check out the Star Wars 360-degree video for yourself below — once it’s playing, just click or tap and drag:


From VentureBeat
Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we’ll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.

Lucasfilm formed ILMxLab in June with the promise to explore the next generation of storytelling. The division is working on content for virtual reality, augmented reality, real-time cinema, and theme parks. One of its biggest innovations is the capability to produce cinema-level 3D visuals in real-time.

To get an idea of what that means, skip ahead to about 33 seconds in the video below to check out how Lucasfilm can instantly translate the motion of an actor wearing a tracking suit into a 3D video of a stormtrooper:

ILMxLab noted in June that it was working on “several premium” Star Wars-based experience for later this year. That means this 360-degree video is likely just the first. And it’s a sample of what we can expect from the company as virtual-reality headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR hit the market over the next several months.

More information:

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Firefox 42 beta arrives with tracking protection, tab audio indicators, and background link opening on Android

firefox-beta_logo

Following the release of Firefox 41 just yesterday, Mozilla today updated the beta version of its browser to version 42 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. This is a massive release, as Mozilla wants its users to test a slew of features, including its new experimental private browsing mode with tracking protection.

The new private browsing mode goes further than just not saving your browsing history (read: porn sites) — the added tracking protection means Firefox also blocks online services that could track you while you’re surfing the web, and it works on all four platforms. The feature is almost like a built-in ad blocker, though it’s probably closer to browser add-ons like Ghostery and Privacy Badger because ads that don’t track you are allowed through.

Here is Mozilla’s thinking behind the feature:

Our hypothesis is that when you open a Private Browsing window in Firefox you’re sending a signal that you want more control over your privacy than current private browsing experiences actually provide. The experimental Private Browsing enhancements ready for testing today actively block website elements that could be used to record user behavior across sites. This includes elements like content, analytics, social and other services that might be collecting data without your knowledge.

The new private browsing mode also has a Control Center with all of Firefox’s site security and privacy controls. To try it out, click the hamburger menu button (three lines in the top right corner), click the New Private Window icon to launch a Private Browsing session, and you’ll see a screen that confirms Tracking Protection is on. Now all you have to do is browse the Web as usual.

3TP

That’s for desktop browsers. On Android, tap the Firefox Menu button (below the screen on some devices, or at the top-right corner of the browser on others) and then tap New Private Tab.

In short, Mozilla is attempting to take browser privacy to the next level. The company is seeing a lot of support from Firefox users, especially those who believed private browsing was already protecting them from third-party tracking on the Internet.


From VentureBeat
Get faster turnaround on creative, more testing, smarter improvements and better results. Learn how to apply agile marketing at our roadshow in SF.

There are also potential performance improvements. A recent paper found that with tracking protection enabled, the top 200 news sites saw a 44 percent median reduction in page load time and 39 percent reduction in data usage.

In August, Mozilla added the new experimental feature to Firefox Developer Edition for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as the Firefox Aurora channel on Android. Now it’s arrived in the beta channel, though Mozilla didn’t say when it expects it to arrive in the stable channel.

Desktop

The other big highlight in Firefox for Windows, Mac, and Linux is the addition of tab audio indicators. We broke the news in July that the feature was coming to Firefox, it came to Firefox Nightly later in the month, and now it’s finally available for beta users.

The feature shows a speaker icon if a tab is producing sound. A single click mutes (speaker icon gets crossed out) or unmutes the given tab. Here is a tab audio indicator and muting in action:

firefox_nightly_mute

The best part is that you can mute a tab without having to switch to it first. As shown in the screenshot above, I was able to click on the speaker icon to mute the YouTube tab without leaving the VentureBeat tab.

This functionality has been available as browser add-ons and extensions for a while, but users want it built into the browser. While Chrome has had audio indicators for more than a year now, it still doesn’t let you easily mute tabs. The option is available in Google’s browser, but it’s not enabled by default (you have to turn on the #enable-tab-audio-muting flag in chrome://flags/).

Here is the full Firefox 42 beta changelog:

  • New: Private Browsing with Tracking Protection blocks certain Web elements that could be used to record your behavior across sites
  • New: GTK3 integration (GNU/Linux only)
  • New: Indicator added to tabs that play audio with one-click muting (Adobe Flash supported since version 19)
  • New: Login Manager improvements: Improved heuristics to save usernames and passwords, edit and show all logins in line, Copy/Paste usernames/passwords from the Context menu, migration imports your passwords to Firefox from Windows Chrome and IE; import anytime from the Login Manager
  • New: Control Center that contains site security and privacy controls
  • New: WebRTC improvements: IPV6 support, preferences for controlling ICE candidate generation and IP exposure, Hooks for extensions to allow/deny createOffer/Answer, improved ability for applications to monitor and control which devices are used in getUserMedia
  • Changed: Improved performance on interactive websites that trigger a lot of restyles
  • HTML5: Implemented ES6 Reflect
  • HTML5: Support ImageBitmap and createImageBitmap()
  • HTML5: Ship Push messaging with disabled web notifications from ServiceWorkers
  • Developer: Remote website debugging over Wi-Fi (no USB cable or ADB needed)
  • Developer: Asynchronous call stacks now allow web developers to follow the code flow through setTimeout, DOM event handlers, and Promise handlers.
  • Developer: Configurable Firefox OS Simulator in WebIDE, to simulate reference devices like phones, tablets, even TVs
  • Developer: CSS filter presets in the Inspector
  • Developer: Ability to save filter presets inside CSS Filter Tooltip

As always, there are lots of changes developers should take a closer look at.

Android

While Firefox 42 beta is a bigger release on the desktop, the Android app is still getting some notable improvements. Aside from the new private browsing and tracking protection, the biggest one is probably being able to open links from Android apps in the background.

Here is the full Firefox 42 beta for Android changelog:

  • New: Private Browsing with Tracking Protection blocks certain Web elements that could be used to record your behavior across sites
  • New: Open external URLs from Android apps in the background
  • New: Family-friendly browsing support for Android restricted profiles
  • New: about:logins now lists all saved logins, and allows users to view/edit or delete logins
  • New: Support direct voice input from the URL bar
  • New: Open multiple links without switching apps
  • New: Use “scrollable tabs” for panels navigation
  • Changed: Improved performance on interactive websites that trigger a lot of restyles
  • HTML5: Implemented ES6 Reflect
  • HTML5: Support ImageBitmap and createImageBitmap()
  • Developer: Remote website debugging over Wi-Fi (no USB cable or ADB needed)

Mozilla is planning to release Firefox 42 at the start of November, though not all of these features will make the cut.

More information:

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Facebook now supports 360-degree videos

360 in News Feed

Facebook is rolling out support for 360-degree videos on its social network. The company revealed that web and Android users should begin to see these new video formats within their News Feed soon, but support within its iOS app will be coming soon. The first publishers that will be supporting this include Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, Saturday Night Live, Vice, and Star Wars.

360-in-news-feed

The idea behind 360-degree videos is to help users become immersed in a unique experience. To start things off, the Walt Disney Company released a video that absorbs you into the Star Wars universe leading up to the December release of the series’ newest chapter, The Force Awakens. Others include GoPro and its latest video showcasing sand dune jumping with Ronnie Renner.

“With more than four billion videos viewed daily on Facebook, we have an opportunity to bring the excitement of 360-degree video to a vast new audience,” said GoPro’s Senior Vice President of Entertainment Zander Lurie in a statement. “360-degree video represents a compelling way for GoPro to bring people into new worlds and experiences like never before.”


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If you’re viewing these videos on your desktop, just move your cursor on the player to glance around. However, if you’re on a mobile device, what’s interesting is that you don’t have to move your finger across the screen — it moves as the device moves. So turn to your left and the video will reciprocate that movement to show you what’s in that direction.

While initially available to a select group of publishers, Facebook did say that it will be making this feature available to more people in the future.

Facebook’s foray into this space isn’t surprising and definitely not new. YouTube does support 360-degree videos, but what’s unique about this for Facebook is that it plays well into the teleportation stations that were unveiled at the company’s F8 developer conference earlier this year. In fact, during F8 Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had teased support for these videos was coming. While the initial set of publishers isn’t focused on travel, this immersive video technology could let users become absorbed in the experience and connect with people in other parts of the world or fans of certain topics and issues.

Want to take a look at how 360-degree videos look in the Star Wars universe?

More information:

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