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Regarding Beehaw defederating from lemmy.world and sh.itjust.works, this post goes into detail on the why and the philosophy behind that decision. Additionally, there is an update specific to sh.itjust.works here.

For now, let's talk about what federation is and what defederation means for members of Beehaw or the above two communities interacting with each other, as well as the broader fediverse.

Federation is not something new on the internet. Most users use federated services every day (for instance, the url used to access instances uses a federated service known as DNS, and email is another system that functions through federation.) Just like those services, you elect to use a service provider that allows you to communicate with the rest of the world. That service provider is your window to work with others.

When you federate, you mutually agree to share your content. This means that posting something to a site can be seen by another and all comments are shared. Even users from other sites can post to your site.

Now when you defederate, this results in content to be no longer shared. It didn't reverse any previous sharing or posts, it just stops the information from flowing with the selected instance. This only impacts the site's that are called out.

What this means to you is when a user within one instance (e.g. Beehaw) that's chosen to defederate with another (e.g. lemmy.world), they can no longer interact with content on another instance, and vice versa. Other instances can still see the content of both servers as though nothing has happened.

  • A user is not limited to how many instances they can join (technically at least - some instance have more stringent requirements for joining than others do)
  • A user can interact with Lemmy content without being a user of any Lemmy instance - e.g. Mastodon (UI for doing so is limited, but it is still possible.)

Considering the above, it is important to understand just how much autonomy we, as users have. For example, as the larger instances are flooded with users and their respective admins and mods try to keep up, many, smaller instances not only thrive, but emerge, regularly (and even single user instances - I have one for just myself!) The act of defederation does not serve to lock individual users out of anything as there are multiple avenues to constantly maintain access to, if you want it, the entirety of the unfiltered fediverse.

On that last point, another consideration at the individual level is - what do you want out of Lemmy? Do you want to find and connect with like-minded people, share information, and connect at a social and community level? Do you want to casually browse content and not really interact with anyone? These questions and the questions that they lead to are critical. There is no direct benefit to being on the biggest instance. In fact, as we all deal with this mass influx, figure out what that means for our own instances and interactions with others, I would argue that a smaller instance is actually much better suited for those who just want to casually browse everything.

Lastly, and tangential, another concern I have seen related to this conversation is people feeling afraid of being locked out of the content and conversation from the "main" communities around big topics starting to form across the Lemmiverse (think memes, gaming, tech, politics, news, etc.) Over time, certain communities will certainly become a default for some people just given the community size (there will always be a biggest or most active - it's just a numbers game.) This, again though, all comes down to personal preference and what each individual is looking to get from their Lemmy experience. While there may, eventually, be a “main” sub for (again, by the numbers), there will also always be quite a few other options for targeted discussions on , within different communities, on different instances, each with their own culture and vibe. This can certainly feel overwhelming and daunting (and at the moment, honestly it is.) Reddit and other non-federated platforms provided the illusion of choice, but this is what actual choice looks and feels like.

[edit: grammar and spelling]

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hey everyone. if you want to post links or discuss the Reddit blackout, its aftermath, and what's happening going forward, please localize it to this thread in order to keep things tidy! thanks! we'll see if we need to cycle the thread again before the end of this week, but i don't know that we'll need to

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Hopefully I'm posting this in the right place, but I see Reddit developments as Tech news right now.

Wanted to share a website that is tracking Subreddits that have/will be going dark. It even has a sound notification for when they change their status.

Edit: Adding the stream https://www.twitch.tv/reddark_247

Double Edit: Data visualization https://blackout.photon-reddit.com/

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Archived link

- Chinese dissidents living in the EU fear that the People's Republic of China may abuse this agreement - Use of Chinese technology companies could complicate Hungary's relations with NATO

The investigative portal VSquare reports that in accordance with the agreement between China and Hungary, surveillance cameras with facial recognition software will be installed in the European country. The website claims that using this technology could complicate Hungary's relations with NATO allies.

At the beginning of March, the media reported on the agreement between the ministries of interior affairs Hungarian and China, which allows Chinese police patrols in Hungary. The government in Budapest then announced that the aim of the cooperation was to improve safety in places visited by tourists from the People's Republic of China.

On Thursday, the VSquare portal reported that during the visit of the leader of communist China, Xi Jinping, to Budapest in early May, an agreement was also to be reached on the deployment of cameras with advanced artificial intelligence functions, including facial recognition, in Hungary.

Use of technology 'may complicate Hungary's relations with NATO allies'

“Even if the equipment is allegedly intended to monitor Chinese investments, institutions and personnel, the potential involvement of Chinese technology companies, some of which have ties to the People's Liberation Army or Chinese intelligence and are subject to Western sanctions, could complicate Hungary's relations with NATO allies.” writes VSquare.

“Chinese dissidents living in the EU fear that the People's Republic of China may abuse this agreement,” the portal adds. According to the German daily “Die Welt”, which reported in March about possible Chinese police patrols in Hungary, Beijing wants to control its citizens around the world, now gaining access to dissidents in one of the EU countries.

Hungary has the best relations with China among all EU countries; these were tightened during Xi's last visit. China is investing billions of euros in the electric car sector in Hungary and also expects the country to influence other EU countries in terms of policy towards the People's Republic of China.

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Archived link

The China-linked threat actor known as Sharp Panda has expanded their targeting to include governmental organizations in Africa and the Caribbean as part of an ongoing cyber espionage campaign.

"The campaign adopts Cobalt Strike Beacon as the payload, enabling backdoor functionalities like C2 communication and command execution while minimizing the exposure of their custom tools," Check Point said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "This refined approach suggests a deeper understanding of their targets."

The Israeli cybersecurity firm is tracking the activity under a new name Sharp Dragon, describing the adversary as careful in its targeting, while at the same time broadening its reconnaissance efforts.

The adversary first came to light in June 2021, when it was detected targeting a Southeast Asian government to deploy a backdoor on Windows systems dubbed VictoryDLL.

Subsequent attacks mounted by Sharp Dragon have set their sights on high-profile government entities in Southeast Asia to deliver the Soul modular malware framework, which is then used to receive additional components from an actor-controlled server to facilitate information gathering.

Evidence suggests the Soul backdoor has been in the works since October 2017, adopting features from Gh0st RAT – malware commonly associated with a diverse range of Chinese threat actors – and other publicly available tools.

Another set of attacks attributed to the threat actors has targeted high-level government officials from G20 nations as recently as June 2023, indicating continued focus on governmental bodies for information gathering.

Key to Sharp Panda's operations is the exploitation of 1-day security flaws (e.g., CVE-2023-0669) to infiltrate infrastructure for later use as command-and-control (C2) servers. Another notable aspect is the use of the legitimate adversary simulation framework Cobalt Strike over custom backdoors.

What's more, the latest set of attacks aimed at governments in Africa and the Caribbean demonstrate an expansion of their original attack goals, with the modus operandi involving utilizing compromised high-profile email accounts in Southeast Asia to send out phishing emails to infect new targets in the two regions.

These messages bear malicious attachments that leverage the Royal Road Rich Text Format (RTF) weaponizer to drop a downloader named 5.t that's responsible for conducting reconnaissance and launching Cobalt Strike Beacon, allowing the attackers to gather information about the target environment.

The use of Cobalt Strike as a backdoor not only minimizes the exposure of custom tools but also suggests a "refined approach to target assessment," Check Point added.

In a sign that the threat actor is continuously refining its tactics, recent attack sequences have been observed using executables disguised as documents to kick-off the infection, as opposed to relying on a Word document utilizing a remote template to download an RTF file weaponized with Royal Road.

"Sharp Dragon's strategic expansion towards Africa and the Caribbean signifies a broader effort by Chinese cyber actors to enhance their presence and influence in these regions."

The findings come the same day Palo Alto Networks uncovered details of a campaign codenamed Operation Diplomatic Specter that has been targeting diplomatic missions and governments in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia since at least late 2022. The attacks have been linked to a Chinese threat actor dubbed TGR-STA-0043 (formerly CL-STA-0043).

The sustained strategic intrusions by Chinese threat actors in Africa against key industrial sectors, such as telecom service providers, financial institutions, and governmental bodies, align with the nation's technological agenda in the region, tying into its Digital Silk Road (DSR) project announced in 2015.

"These attacks conspicuously align with China's broader soft power and technological agenda in the region, focusing on critical areas such as the telecommunication sector, financial institutions, and governmental bodies," SentinelOne security researcher Tom Hegel previously noted in September 2023.

The development also follows a report from Google-owned Mandiant that highlighted China's use of proxy networks referred to as operational relay box networks (ORBs) to obscure their origins when carrying out espionage operations and achieve higher success rates in gaining and maintaining access to high-value networks.

"Building networks of compromised devices allows ORB network administrators to easily grow the size of their ORB network with little effort and create a constantly evolving mesh network that can be used to conceal espionage operations," Mandiant researcher Michael Raggi said.

One such network ORB3 (aka SPACEHOP) is said to have been leveraged by multiple China-nexus threat actors, including APT5 and APT15, while another network named FLORAHOX – which comprises devices recruited by the router implant FLOWERWATER – has been put to use by APT31.

"Use of ORB networks to proxy traffic in a compromised network is not a new tactic, nor is it unique to China-nexus cyber espionage actors," Raggi said. "We have tracked China-nexus cyber espionage using these tactics as part of a broader evolution toward more purposeful, stealthy, and effective operations."

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Was wondering what the hell was going on this morning.

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Here is the study: Power Hungry Processing: Watts Driving the Cost of AI Deployment?

There’s a big problem with generative AI, says Sasha Luccioni at Hugging Face, a machine-learning company. Generative AI is an energy hog.

“Every time you query the model, the whole thing gets activated, so it’s wildly inefficient from a computational perspective,” she says.

Take the Large Language Models (LLMs) at the heart of many Generative AI systems. They have been trained on vast stores of written information, which helps them to churn out text in response to practically any query.

“When you use Generative AI… it’s generating content from scratch, it’s essentially making up answers,” Dr Luccioni explains. That means the computer has to work pretty hard.

A Generative AI system might use around 33 times more energy than machines running task-specific software, according to a recent study by Dr Luccioni and colleagues. The work has been peer-reviewed but is yet to be published in a journal.

It’s not your personal computer that uses all this energy, though. Or your smartphone. The computations we increasingly rely on happen in giant data centres that are, for most people, out of sight and out of mind.

“The cloud,” says Dr Luccioni. “You don’t think about these huge boxes of metal that heat up and use so much energy.”

The world’s data centres are using ever more electricity. In 2022, they gobbled up 460 terawatt hours of electricity, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects this to double in just four years. Data centres could be using a total of 1,000 terawatts hours annually by 2026. “This demand is roughly equivalent to the electricity consumption of Japan,” says the IEA. Japan has a population of 125 million people.

At data centres, huge volumes of information are stored for retrieval anywhere in the world – everything from your emails to Hollywood movies. The computers in those faceless buildings also power AI and cryptocurrency. They underpin life as we know it.

But some countries know all too well how energy hungry these facilities are. There is currently a moratorium preventing the construction of new data centres in Dublin. Nearly a fifth of Ireland’s electricity is used up by data centres, and this figure is expected to grow significantly in the next few years – meanwhile Irish households are reducing their consumption.

The boss of National Grid said in a speech in March that data centre electricity demand in the UK will rise six-fold in just 10 years, fuelled largely by the rise of AI. National Grid expects that the energy required for electrifying transport and heat will be much larger in total, however.

Utilities firms in the US are beginning to feel the pressure, says Chris Seiple at Wood Mackenzie, a consultancy.

“They’re getting hit with data centre demands at the exact same time as we have a renaissance taking place – thanks to government policy – in domestic manufacturing,” he explains. Lawmakers in some states are now rethinking tax breaks offered to data centre developers because of the sheer strain these facilities are putting on local energy infrastructure, according to reports in the US.

Mr Seiple says there is a “land grab” going on for data centre locations near to power stations or renewable energy hubs: “Iowa is a hotbed of data centre development, there’s a lot of wind generation there.”

Some data centres can afford to go to more remote locations these days because latency – the delay, usually measured in milliseconds, between sending information out from a data centre and the user receiving it – is not a major concern for increasingly popular Generative AI systems. In the past, data centres handling emergency communications or financial trading algorithms, for example, have been sited within or very near to large population centres, for the absolute best response times.

There is little doubt that the energy demands of data centres will rise in the coming years, but there is huge uncertainty over how much, stresses Mr Seiple.

Part of that uncertainty is down to the fact that the hardware behind generative AI is evolving all the time.

Tony Grayson is general manager at Compass Quantum, a data-centre business, and he points to Nvidia’s recently launched Grace Blackwell supercomputer chips (named after a computer scientist and a mathematician), which are designed specifically to power high-end processes including generative AI, quantum computing and computer-aided drug design.

Nvidia says that, in the future, a company could train AIs several times larger than the largest AI systems currently available in 90 days using 8,000 of the previous generation of Nvidia chips. This would need a 15 megawatt electricity supply.

But the same work could be carried out in the same time by just 2,000 Grace Blackwell chips, and they would need a four megawatt supply, according to Nvidia.

That still ends up as 8.6 gigawatt hours of electricity consumed – roughly the same amount that the entire city of Belfast uses in a week.

“The performance is going up so much that your overall energy savings are big,” says Mr Grayson. But he agrees that power demands are shaping where data centre operators site their facilities: “People are going to where cheap power’s at.”

Dr Luccioni notes that the energy and resources required to manufacture the latest computer chips are significant.

Still, it is true that data centres have got more energy efficient over time, argues Dale Sartor, a consultant and affiliate of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US. Their efficiency is often measured in terms of power usage effectiveness, or PUE. The lower the number, the better. State-of-the-art data centres have a PUE of around 1.1, he notes.

These facilities do still create significant amounts of waste heat and Europe is ahead of the US in finding ways of using that waste heat – such as warming up swimming pools – says Mr Sartor.

Bruce Owen, UK managing director at Equinix, a data centre firm, says, “I still think that the demand is going to grow further than that efficiency gain that we see.” He predicts that more data centres will be built with on-site power-generating facilities included. Equinix was denied planning permission for a gas-powered data centre in Dublin last year.

Mr Sartor adds that costs may ultimately determine whether Generative AI is worth it for certain applications: “If the old way is cheaper and easier then there’s not going to be much of a market for the new way.”

Dr Luccioni stresses, though, that people will need to clearly understand how the options in front of them differ in terms of energy efficiency. She is working on a project to develop energy ratings for AI.

“Instead of picking this GPT-derivative model that is very clunky and uses a lot of energy, you can pick this A+ energy star model that will be a lot more lightweight and efficient,” she says.

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ASML Holding NV and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. have ways to disable the world’s most sophisticated chipmaking machines in the event that China invades Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials from the US government have privately expressed concerns to both their Dutch and Taiwanese counterparts about what happens if Chinese aggression escalates into an attack on the island responsible for producing the vast majority of the world’s advanced semiconductors, two of the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

ASML reassured officials about its ability to remotely disable the machines when the Dutch government met with the company on the threat, two others said. The Netherlands has run simulations on a possible invasion in order to better assess the risks, they added.

Spokespeople for ASML, TSMC and the Dutch trade ministry declined to comment. Spokespeople for the White House National Security Council, US Department of Defense and US Department of Commerce didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment.

The remote shut-off applies to Netherlands-based ASML’s line of extreme ultraviolet machines, known within the industry as EUVs, for which TSMC is its single biggest client. EUVs harness high-frequency light waves to print the smallest microchip transistors in existence — creating chips that have artificial-intelligence uses as well as more sensitive military applications.

China has long claimed that the island of Taiwan is its territory, with President Xi Jinping both advocating for peaceful unification and refusing to rule out a military intervention. While US officials have warned that China is seeking the capability to invade Taiwan by 2027, Taiwanese officials have downplayed the threat of an imminent invasion and officials in Beijing have said the American warnings of a timeline are baseless. The People’s Liberation Army isn’t massing troops on the coast and Xi has been primarily focused on steadying China’s economy to hit long-term development goals. Global Chip War

About the size of a city bus, an EUV requires regular servicing and updates. As part of that, the company can remotely force a shut-off which would act as a kill switch, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Veldhoven-based company is the world’s only manufacturer of these machines, which sell for more than €200 million ($217 million) apiece.

ASML’s technology has long been subject to government interventions aimed at preventing it from falling into the wrong hands. The Netherlands prohibits the company from selling EUV machines to China, for instance, because of US fears they could lend its rival an edge in the global chip war.

It was at the behest of the US that the Dutch began this year to halt exports of ASML’s next-most sophisticated chipmaking machines. Even before that ban took effect, US officials had asked ASML to cancel some previously scheduled shipments to Chinese customers, Bloomberg News reported.

The company expects as much as 15% of this year’s sales to China will be affected by the latest export-control measures.

Evidence suggests the restrictions may have come too late to stem Chinese advances. Huawei Technologies Co. last year produced a smartphone to rival Apple Inc.’s iPhone using chips made with older ASML printers in combination with tools from two US suppliers, Bloomberg News reported in October after conducting a break-down of the phone.

Beijing has made technological self-sufficiency a national priority and Huawei’s efforts to advance domestic chip design and manufacture have received government backing.

The Biden administration is also looking to boost semiconductor production on American soil, promising $39 billion in grants to chipmakers to hedge against any future supply-chain disruption.

The stakes are high, with around 90% of the world’s most advanced chips made in Taiwan. On May 20, Taiwan inaugurated Lai Ching-te as president in the global chip hub, putting in power a man Beijing has branded an “instigator of war.”

Read More: Taiwan’s New President Calls On China to End Threat of War

The EUV machine has helped turn ASML into Europe’s most valuable tech stock with a market capitalization topping $370 billion — more than double that of its client Intel Corp.

ASML has shipped more than 200 of these machines to clients outside China since they were first developed in 2016, with TSMC snatching up more of them than any other chipmaker.

EUVs require such frequent upkeep that without ASML’s spare parts they quickly stop working, the people said. On-site maintenance of the EUVs poses a challenge because they’re housed in clean rooms that require engineers to wear special suits to avoid contamination.

ASML offers certain customers joint service contracts where they do some of the routine maintenance themselves, allowing clients like TSMC to access their own machines’ system. ASML says it can’t access its customers’ proprietary data.

TSMC Chairman Mark Liu hinted in a September interview with CNN that any invader of Taiwan would find his company’s chipmaking machines out of order.

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Under the slogan ‘Think of the children’, the European Commission tried to introduce total surveillance of all EU citizens. When the scandal was revealed, it turned out that American tech companies and security services had been involved in the bill, generally known as ‘Chat Control’ – and that the whole thing had been directed by completely different interests. Now comes the next attempt.

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archive.is link needed

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- Attacks against water provider’s websites aren’t new, but now attackers are increasingly targeting utilities’ operations

- Officials did not say how many cyber incidents have occurred in recent years, and the number of attacks known to be successful so far is few

- Experts believe attackers to have been infiltrating critical infrastructure for years planting malware that could be triggered to disrupt basic services

- Drinking water and wastewater systems are seen as an attractive target for cyberattacks because they are a lifeline critical infrastructure sector but often lack the resources and technical capacity to adopt rigorous cybersecurity practices--

Cyberattacks against water utilities across the country are becoming more frequent and more severe, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned Monday as it issued an enforcement alert urging water systems to take immediate actions to protect the nation’s drinking water.

About 70% of utilities inspected by federal officials over the last year violated standards meant to prevent breaches or other intrusions, the agency said. Officials urged even small water systems to improve protections against hacks. Recent cyberattacks by groups affiliated with Russia and Iran have targeted smaller communities.

Some water systems are falling short in basic ways, the alert said, including failure to change default passwords or cut off system access to former employees. Because water utilities often rely on computer software to operate treatment plants and distribution systems, protecting information technology and process controls is crucial, the EPA said. Possible impacts of cyberattacks include interruptions to water treatment and storage; damage to pumps and valves; and alteration of chemical levels to hazardous amounts, the agency said.

“In many cases, systems are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is to have completed a risk assessment of their vulnerabilities that includes cybersecurity and to make sure that plan is available and informing the way they do business,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe.

Attempts by private groups or individuals to get into a water provider’s network and take down or deface websites aren’t new. More recently, however, attackers haven’t just gone after websites, they’ve targeted utilities’ operations instead.

Recent attacks are not just by private entities. Some recent hacks of water utilities are linked to geopolitical rivals, and could lead to the disruption of the supply of safe water to homes and businesses.

EPA did not say how many cyber incidents have occurred in recent years, and the number of attacks known to be successful so far is few.

McCabe named China, Russia and Iran as the countries that are “actively seeking the capability to disable U.S. critical infrastructure, including water and wastewater.”

Late last year, an Iranian-linked group called “Cyber Av3ngers” targeted multiple organizations including a small Pennsylvania town’s water provider, forcing it to switch from a remote pump to manual operations. They were going after an Israeli-made device used by the utility in the wake of Israel’s war against Hamas.

Earlier this year, a Russian-linked “hacktivist” tried to disrupt operations at several Texas utilities.

A cyber group linked to China and known as Volt Typhoon has compromised information technology of multiple critical infrastructure systems, including drinking water, in the United States and its territories, U.S. officials said. Cybersecurity experts believe the China-aligned group is positioning itself for potential cyberattacks in the event of armed conflict or rising geopolitical tensions.

“By working behind the scenes with these hacktivist groups, now these (nation states) have plausible deniability and they can let these groups carry out destructive attacks. And that to me is a game-changer,” said Dawn Cappelli, a cybersecurity expert with the industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos Inc.

The world’s cyberpowers are believed to have been infiltrating rivals’ critical infrastructure for years planting malware that could be triggered to disrupt basic services.

The enforcement alert is meant to emphasize the seriousness of cyberthreats and inform utilities the EPA will continue its inspections and pursue civil or criminal penalties if they find serious problems.

“We want to make sure that we get the word out to people that ‘Hey, we are finding a lot of problems here,’ ” McCabe said.

Preventing attacks against water providers is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to combat threats against critical infrastructure. In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect U.S. ports. Health care systems have been attacked. The White House has pushed electric utilities to increase their defenses, too. EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan have asked states to come up with a plan to combat cyberattacks on drinking water systems.

“Drinking water and wastewater systems are an attractive target for cyberattacks because they are a lifeline critical infrastructure sector but often lack the resources and technical capacity to adopt rigorous cybersecurity practices,” Regan and Sullivan wrote in a March 18 letter to all 50 U.S. governors.

Some of the fixes are straightforward, McCabe said. Water providers, for example, shouldn’t use default passwords. They need to develop a risk assessment plan that addresses cybersecurity and set up backup systems. The EPA says they will train water utilities that need help for free. Larger utilities usually have more resources and the expertise to defend against attacks.

“In an ideal world … we would like everybody to have a baseline level of cybersecurity and be able to confirm that they have that,” said Alan Roberson, executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators. “But that’s a long ways away.”

Some barriers are foundational. The water sector is highly fragmented. There are roughly 50,000 community water providers, most of which serve small towns. Modest staffing and anemic budgets in many places make it hard enough to maintain the basics — providing clean water and keeping up with the latest regulations.

“Certainly, cybersecurity is part of that, but that’s never been their primary expertise. So, now you’re asking a water utility to develop this whole new sort of department” to handle cyberthreats, said Amy Hardberger, a water expert at Texas Tech University.

The EPA has faced setbacks. States periodically review the performance of water providers. In March 2023, the EPA instructed states to add cybersecurity evaluations to those reviews. If they found problems, the state was supposed to force improvements.

But Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa, joined by the American Water Works Association and another water industry group, challenged the instructions in court on the grounds that EPA didn’t have the authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act. After a court setback, the EPA withdrew its requirements but urged states to take voluntary actions anyway.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires certain water providers to develop plans for some threats and certify they’ve done so. But its power is limited.

“There’s just no authority for (cybersecurity) in the law,” said Roberson.

Kevin Morley, manager of federal relations with the American Water Works Association, said some water utilities have components that are connected to the internet — a common, but significant vulnerability. Overhauling those systems can be a significant and costly job. And without substantial federal funding, water systems struggle to find resources.

The industry group has published guidance for utilities and advocates for establishing a new organization of cybersecurity and water experts that would develop new policies and enforce them, in partnership with the EPA.

“Let’s bring everybody along in a reasonable manner,” Morley said, adding that small and large utilities have different needs and resources.

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BMW, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Volkswagen (VW) used parts made by a supplier on a list of firms banned over alleged links to Chinese forced labour, a US congressional report has said.

At least 8,000 BMW Mini Cooper cars were imported into the US with components from banned Chinese firm Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group (JWD), according to the report by Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden's staff.

"Automakers’ self-policing is clearly not doing the job," the Democrat Senator said.

BMW said it had "strict standards and policies regarding employment practices, human rights, and working conditions, which all our direct suppliers must follow".

It added it had taken steps to "halt the importation of affected products and will be conducting a service action with customer and dealer notification for affected motor vehicles".

Jaguar Land Rover told the BBC it "takes human rights and forced labour issues seriously and has an active ongoing programme of human rights protection and anti-slavery measures".

VW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Wyden also urged the US Customs and Border Protection agency to "supercharge enforcement and crack down on companies that fuel the shameful use of forced labour in China".

The report added Jaguar Land Rover had imported spare parts which included components from JWD after the company was put on the banned list.

JLR said it has now identified and is destroying any stock it holds around the world that include this component.

In February, VW said thousands of its vehicles, including Porsches and Bentleys, had been held by authorities because they had a component in them that breached America's anti-forced labour laws.

VW had voluntarily informed customs officials about the issue, the report said.

Congress passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) into law in 2021.

The legislation is intended to prevent the import of goods from China's north-western Xinjiang region that are believed to have been made by people from the Uyghur minority group in forced labour conditions.

JWD was added to the UFLPA Entity List in December 2023, which means its products are presumed to be made with forced labour.

China has been accused of detaining more than one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang against their will over the past few years.

Authorities have denied all allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

“The so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act by the US is not about forced labor but about creating unemployment. It does not protect human rights but, under the guise of human rights, harms the survival and employment rights of the people in Xinjiang," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

"China strongly condemns and firmly opposes this. We will take measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.”

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Archived link

YouTube has blocked at least three videos that show viewers how to evade military service after it received a request from the Russian authorities, the investigative news outlet Agentstvo reported Monday.

Russia’s state media watchdog Roskomnadzor notified YouTube between December and February that the three videos violated Russia’s law on information technology and information protection, according to screenshots of the YouTube legal support team’s blocking notices.

The website also notified the human rights watchdog OVD-Info that one of its YouTube channels may be blocked after it recently received a complaint from Roskomnadzor. According to an email YouTube forwarded to OVD-Info on May 6, Roskomnadzor restricted access to its channel “Kak Teper?” (“What Now?”), which it said could be restored if the channel “eliminated” unspecified violations.

“As far as we know, this is the first case in Russia when Roskomnadzor is demanding to block the channel in its entirety rather than a specific video,” OVD-Info spokesman Dmitry Anisimov told Agentstvo.

“We’re now in contact with Google and trying to explain that this demand to block our channel is illegal and represents politically motivated censorship,” he added.

Removing content related to human rights at the request of the Russian government and not because it violates Google’s content policies marks a “new trend,” Agentstvo said, citing an unnamed cybersecurity expert.

YouTube has deleted the channels of many pro-Kremlin media organizations since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, sparking accusations of censorship from the Kremlin.

Russia has so far stopped short of banning YouTube like it has banned Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram, along with many independent media outlets.

Before invading Ukraine, Russia threatened to punish Google and other Western tech companies if they failed to delete banned content, including posts supporting the late opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

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- Adverts containing AI-manipulated images were submitted to Facebook by civil and corporate accountability groups - Adverts contained known slurs towards Muslims in India, such as “let’s burn this vermin” and “Hindu blood is spilling, these invaders must be burned” - One advert called for the execution of an opposition leader they falsely claimed wanted to “erase Hindus from India”--

The Facebook and Instagram owner Meta approved a series of AI-manipulated political adverts during India’s election that spread disinformation and incited religious violence, according to a report shared exclusively with the Guardian.

Facebook approved adverts containing known slurs towards Muslims in India, such as “let’s burn this vermin” and “Hindu blood is spilling, these invaders must be burned”, as well as Hindu supremacist language and disinformation about political leaders.

Another approved advert called for the execution of an opposition leader they falsely claimed wanted to “erase Hindus from India”, next to a picture of a Pakistan flag.

The adverts were created and submitted to Meta’s ad library – the database of all adverts on Facebook and Instagram – by India Civil Watch International (ICWI) and Ekō, a corporate accountability organisation, to test Meta’s mechanisms for detecting and blocking political content that could prove inflammatory or harmful during India’s six-week election.

According to the report, all of the adverts “were created based upon real hate speech and disinformation prevalent in India, underscoring the capacity of social media platforms to amplify existing harmful narratives”.

The adverts were submitted midway through voting, which began in April and would continue in phases until 1 June. The election will decide if the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government will return to power for a third term.

During his decade in power, Modi’s government has pushed a Hindu-first agenda which human rights groups, activists and opponents say has led to the increased persecution and oppression of India’s Muslim minority.

In this election, the BJP has been accused of using anti-Muslim rhetoric and stoking fears of attacks on Hindus, who make up 80% of the population, to garner votes.

During a rally in Rajasthan, Modi referred to Muslims as “infiltrators” who “have more children”, though he later denied this was directed at Muslims and said he had “many Muslim friends”.

The social media site X was recently ordered to remove a BJP campaign video accused of demonising Muslims.

The report researchers submitted 22 adverts in English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Kannada to Meta, of which 14 were approved. A further three were approved after small tweaks were made that did not alter the overall provocative messaging. After they were approved, they were immediately removed by the researchers before publication.

Meta’s systems failed to detect that all of the approved adverts featured AI-manipulated images, despite a public pledge by the company that it was “dedicated” to preventing AI-generated or manipulated content being spread on its platforms during the Indian election.

Five of the adverts were rejected for breaking Meta’s community standards policy on hate speech and violence, including one that featured misinformation about Modi. But the 14 that were approved, which largely targeted Muslims, also “broke Meta’s own policies on hate speech, bullying and harassment, misinformation, and violence and incitement”, according to the report.

Maen Hammad, a campaigner at Ekō, accused Meta of profiting from the proliferation of hate speech. “Supremacists, racists and autocrats know they can use hyper-targeted ads to spread vile hate speech, share images of mosques burning and push violent conspiracy theories – and Meta will gladly take their money, no questions asked,” he said.

Meta also failed to recognise the 14 approved adverts were political or election-related, even though many took aim at political parties and candidates opposing the BJP. Under Meta’s policies, political adverts have to go through a specific authorisation process before approval but only three of the submissions were rejected on this basis.

This meant these adverts could freely violate India’s election rules, which stipulate all political advertising and political promotion is banned in the 48 hours before polling begins and during voting. These adverts were all uploaded to coincide with two phases of election voting.

In response, a Meta spokesperson said people who wanted to run ads about elections or politics “must go through the authorisation process required on our platforms and are responsible for complying with all applicable laws”.

The company added: “When we find content, including ads, that violates our community standards or community guidelines, we remove it, regardless of its creation mechanism. AI-generated content is also eligible to be reviewed and rated by our network of independent factcheckers – once a content is labeled as ‘altered’ we reduce the content’s distribution. We also require advertisers globally to disclose when they use AI or digital methods to create or alter a political or social issue ad in certain cases.”

A previous report by ICWI and Ekō found that “shadow advertisers” aligned to political parties, particularly the BJP, have been paying vast sums to disseminate unauthorised political adverts on platforms during India’s election. Many of these real adverts were found to endorse Islamophobic tropes and Hindu supremacist narratives. Meta denied most of these adverts violated their policies.

Meta has previously been accused of failing to stop the spread of Islamophobic hate speech, calls to violence and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories on its platforms in India. In some cases posts have led to real-life cases of riots and lynchings.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, recently described India’s election as “a huge, huge test for us” and said the company had done “months and months and months of preparation in India”.

Meta said it had expanded its network of local and third-party factcheckers across all platforms, and was working across 20 Indian languages.

Hammad said the report’s findings had exposed the inadequacies of these mechanisms. “This election has shown once more that Meta doesn’t have a plan to address the landslide of hate speech and disinformation on its platform during these critical elections,” he said.

“It can’t even detect a handful of violent AI-generated images. How can we trust them with dozens of other elections worldwide?”

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Online Content Is Disappearing (www.pewresearch.org)
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cross-posted from: https://lemy.lol/post/25166889

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lmao imagine that

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So, I want to add some files to a hidden directory, the only issue is I can't see the directory.

Its a retroarch core that isn't avalibke in-app

How do I force android to show hidden directories? (I don't think root is an option)

It was a matter of wrong core, managed to install it in a public folder, will keep this here in case anyone wants this for future reference

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By Tinglong Dai, Bernard T. Ferrari Professor of Business, Johns Hopkins University

In June 2019, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted: “Trump doesn’t get the basics. He thinks his tariffs are being paid by China. Any freshman econ student could tell you that the American people are paying his tariffs.”

Fast-forward five years to May 2024, and President Biden has announced a hike in tariffs on a variety of Chinese imports, including a 100% tariff that would significantly increase the price of Chinese-made electric vehicles.

For a nation committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, efforts by the U.S. to block low-cost EVs might seem counterproductive. At a price of around US$12,000, Chinese automaker BYD’s Seagull electric car could quickly expand EV sales if it landed at that price in the U.S., where the cheapest new electric cars cost nearly three times more.

As an expert in global supply chains, however, I believe the Biden tariffs can succeed in giving the U.S. EV industry room to grow. Without the tariffs, U.S. auto sales risk being undercut by Chinese companies, which have much lower production costs due to their manufacturing methods, looser environmental and safety standards, cheaper labor and more generous government EV subsidies.

Tariffs have a troubled history

The U.S. has a long history of tariffs that have failed to achieve their economic goals.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 was meant to protect American jobs by raising tariffs on imported goods. But it backfired by prompting other countries to raise their tariffs, which led to a drop in international trade and deepened the Great Depression.

Biden speaks at a podium with people standing behind him holding United Steelworkers signs.

President George W. Bush’s 2002 steel tariffs also led to higher steel prices, which hurt industries that use steel and cost American manufacturing an estimated 200,000 jobs. The tariffs were lifted after the World Trade Organization ruled against them.

The Obama administration’s tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels in 2012 blocked direct imports but failed to foster a domestic solar panel industry. Today, the U.S. relies heavily on imports from companies operating in Southeast Asia – primarily Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Many of those companies are linked to China.

Why EV tariffs are different this time

Biden’s EV tariffs, however, might defy historical precedent and succeed where the solar tariff failed, for a few key reasons:

1. Timing matters.

When Obama imposed tariffs on solar panels in 2012, nearly half of U.S. installations were already using Chinese-manufactured panels. In contrast, Chinese-made EVs, including models sold in the U.S. by Volvo and Polestar, have negligible U.S. market shares.

Because the U.S. market is not dependent on Chinese-made EVs, the tariffs can be implemented without significant disruption or price increases, giving the domestic industry time to grow and compete more effectively.

By imposing tariffs early, the Biden administration hopes to prevent the U.S. market from becoming saturated with low-price Chinese EVs, which could undercut domestic manufacturers and stifle innovation.

2. Global supply chains are not the same today.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains, such as the risk of disruptions in the availability of critical components and delays in production and shipping. These issues prompted many countries, including the U.S., to reevaluate their dependence on foreign manufacturers for critical goods and to shift toward reshoring – bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. – and strengthening domestic supply chains.

The war in Ukraine has further intensified the separation between U.S.-led and China-led economic orders, a phenomenon I call the “Supply Chain Iron Curtain.”

In a recent McKinsey survey, 67% of executives cited geopolitical risk as the greatest threat to global growth. In this context, EVs and their components, particularly batteries, are key products identified in Biden’s supply chain reviews as critical to the nation’s supply chain resilience.

Ensuring a stable and secure supply of these components through domestic manufacturing can mitigate the risks associated with global supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions.

3. National security concerns are higher.

Unlike solar panels, EVs have direct national security implications. The Biden administration considers Chinese-made EVs a potential cybersecurity threat due to the possibility of embedded software that could be used for surveillance or cyberattacks.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has discussed espionage risks involving the potential for foreign-made EVs to collect sensitive data and transmit it outside the U.S. Officials have raised concerns about the resilience of an EV supply chain dependent on other countries in the event of a geopolitical conflict.

BYD targets EV sales in Mexico

While Biden’s EV tariffs might succeed in keeping Chinese competition out for a while, Chinese EV manufacturers could try to circumvent the tariffs by moving production to countries such as Mexico.

This scenario is similar to past tactics used by Chinese solar panel manufacturers, which relocated production to other Asian countries to avoid U.S. tariffs.

Chinese automaker BYD, the world leader in EV sales, is already exploring establishing a factory in Mexico to produce its new electric truck. Nearly 10% of cars sold in Mexico in 2023 were produced by Chinese automakers.

Given the changing geopolitical reality, Biden’s 100% EV tariffs are likely the beginning of a broader strategy rather than an isolated measure. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai hinted at this during a recent press conference, stating that addressing vehicles made in Mexico would require “a separate pathway” and to “stay tuned” for future actions.

Is Europe next?

For now, given the near absence of Chinese-made EVs in the U.S. auto market, Biden’s EV tariffs are unlikely to have a noticeable short-term impact in the U.S. They could, however, affect decisions in Europe.

The European Union saw Chinese EV imports more than double over a seven-month period in 2023, undercutting European vehicles by offering lower prices. Manufacturers are concerned. When finance ministers from the Group of Seven advanced democracies meet in late May, tariffs will be on the agenda.

Biden’s move might encourage similar protective actions elsewhere, reinforcing the global shift toward securing supply chains and promoting domestic manufacturing.

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