US Government

Bitcoin: Cryptocurrency scammers sued by US Federal Trade Commission

The Independent

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Washington's consumer watchdog, has filed a lawsuit against two businesses it accuses of operating cryptocurrency pyramid schemes. The FTC is taking action against Bitcoin Funding Team and My7Network over what it defines as "chain referral" scams, in which participants pay upfront entry fees in order to be able to recommend others to follow suit. The companies allegedly promised customers who made an initial investment of just $100 (£71) that they could earn an $80,000 (£56,938) monthly income from doing so - although payouts seldom amounted to anything like that. The two businesses defrauded an estimated 30,000 people worldwide between them, the lawsuit alleges. "Bitcoin Funding Team's structure, which created a continual chain of recruitment and recruitment-related payments, ensured that few participants would obtain the results depicted or projected by the defendants," the FTC's complaint reads.

No 10 'very concerned' over Facebook data breach by Cambridge Analytica

The Guardian

Downing Street expressed its concern for the Facebook data breach that affected tens of millions of people involving the analytics company that worked with Donald Trump's campaign team. No 10 weighed in on the row as almost $20bn (£14bn) was wiped off the social network company's market cap in the first few minutes of trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange, where Facebook opened down more than 3%. After less than two hours trading, the company's losses had multiplied to almost $30bn. Theresa May's spokesman said she backed an investigation by the information commissioner, which was prompted by a whistleblower who told the Observer how Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook profiles to influence voters through "psychographic" targeting. The European parliament president, Antonio Tajani, also said on Monday that the institution would "investigate fully".

ORNL researchers design novel method for energy-efficient deep neural networks


March 14, 2018 – An Oak Ridge National Laboratory method to improve the energy efficiency of scientific artificial intelligence is showing early promise in efforts to parse insights from volumes of cancer data. Researchers are realizing the potential of deep learning to rapidly advance science, but "training" the underlying neural networks with large volumes of data to tackle the task at hand can require large amounts of energy. These networks also require complex connectivity and enormous amounts of storage, both of which further reduce their energy efficiency and potential in real-world applications. To address this issue, ORNL's Mohammed Alawad, Hong-Jun Yoon, and Georgia Tourassi developed a novel method for the development of energy-efficient deep neural networks capable of solving complex science problems. They presented their research at the 2017 IEEE Conference on Big Data in Boston.

Machine Learnings -- Creepy AI surveillance, Strokes, and Gun Control


When the software thinks it has found a blockage -- suggesting the most common form of stroke -- it sends an alert to a brain specialist's smartphone asking them to review the images. The software also flags the specific images it judges to be most important. Mansi says this can save precious time -- and brain -- by bringing in specialists earlier. Usually, the call would only go out after another radiologist had read a patient's scan." Digital cameras brought about a revolution in photography, but until now, it was only a revolution of scale: Thanks to microchips, cameras got smaller and cheaper, and we began carrying them everywhere.

'Star Wars' droids point the way to NASA repair robots

FOX News

NASA's Valkyrie robot holds a little "Star Wars" BB-8. The "Star Wars" robots R2-D2 and BB-8 are the droids that NASA is looking for -- "astromechs" that can help repair spaceships on the fly, a NASA robotics engineer says. Future NASA robots might resemble humanoid droids such as C-3PO and K-2SO from the waist up, but have giant mechanical spidery legs from the waist down, the engineer added in a new piece for the journal Science Robotics. For more than 20 years, NASA has sought to develop robot assistants for astronauts. So far, they have developed three droids.

Cambridge Analytica: Whistleblower suspended from Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram

The Independent

Christopher Wylie, the man at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, has had his account suspended by Facebook. The whistleblower has accused his former employers of harvesting personal information from more than 50m American Facebook users in order to pass it on to third parties affiliated with the Donald Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, enabling them to microtarget potential swing voters with tailored party political advertising. Wylie told The Observer that the start-up he once worked for had used data originally collected from the Facebook pages of paid participants in an academic study and those of their wider friendship networks in order to pass it on to Trump's then-campaign manager Steve Bannon for strategic purposes. The whistleblower joined Twitter in the run-up to the story's publication and tweeted yesterday that Facebook had disabled his account. On something they have known privately for 2 years.

How Cambridge Analytica used your Facebook data to help elect Trump


Donald Trump's improbable rise to the presidency looks dirtier and dirtier. In the latest revelation, Facebook announced on March 18 that University of Cambridge psychology lecturer and St Petersburg university professor Dr Aleksandr Kogan "lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government, and military work around the globe". According to former Cambridge Analytica's parent company SCL employee Christopher Wylie, Kogan provided data on over 50 million Facebook profiles for Cambridge Analytica. Ironically, Wylie, who had nothing in common with his right-wing bosses -- hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and Trump's key adviser Steve Bannon -- was the one who came up with the programming, which enabled Trump's backers to use "Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.

GOP lawmakers suspect privacy breach over Trump campaign consultancy's access to Facebook data on 50 million

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Several U.S. Republican lawmakers expressed concern over privacy violations on Sunday after media reports that a political consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump's campaign gained inappropriate access to 50 million Facebook users' data. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he believed some internet companies have grown too fast to digest their responsibilities and obligations. "So we'll learn more about this in the days to come. But yeah I'm disturbed by that," Rubio told NBC's "Meet the Press." Sen. Rand Paul was asked whether people can trust companies like Facebook in the wake of the report about Cambridge Analytica taking data.

Republican Lawmakers Concerned by Facebook Data Leak

U.S. News

Facebook did not immediately reply when asked on Sunday for a response to the lawmakers' comments. However, in a new statement Sunday, the company said it was conducting a "comprehensive internal and external review" to determine if the user data in question still existed.

Google's Open Source AI Lets Anyone Hunt for Alien Planets At Home


Last December, NASA announced that two new exoplanets had been hiding in plain sight among data from the Kepler space telescope. These two new planets weren't discovered by a human, however. Instead, an exoplanet hunting neural network--a type of machine learning algorithm loosely modeled after the human brain--had discovered the planets by finding subtle patterns in the Kepler data that would've been nearly impossible for a human to see. On Thursday, Christopher Shallue, the lead Google engineer behind the exoplanet AI, announced in a blog post that the company was making the algorithm open source. In other words, anyone can download the code and help hunt for exoplanets in Kepler data.