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Facebook ‘Supreme Court’ to begin work before US Presidential vote

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By Leo KelionTechnology desk editorPublishedduration37 minutes agoimage copyrightGetty Images/Facebookimage captionHelle Thorning-Schmidt and 19 other influential figures will act as independent arbiters of Facebook and InstagramFacebook’s Oversight Board is “opening its doors to business” in mid-October.Users will be able to file appeals against posts the firm has removed from its platforms, and the board can overrule decisions made by Facebook’s moderators and executives, including chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.The timing means that some rulings could relate to the US Presidential election, which is on 3 November.But one member of the board told the BBC it expected to act slowly at first.”In principle, we will be able to look at issues arising connected to the election and also after the election,” Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Denmark, explained.”But if Facebook takes something down or leaves something up the day after the election, there won’t be a ruling the day after.”That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to take principled decisions and deliberate properly.”Earlier this week, Facebook’s global affairs chief Nick Clegg told the Financial Times that if there was an “extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances” following a contested election result, it would act aggressively to “significantly restrict the circulation of content on our platform”.In theory, the 20-person panel – which has been likened to the US Supreme Court – could force the firm to reverse some of its judgements.Ms Thorning-Schmidt said that the board had the capacity to examine “expedited cases” but preferred not to do so in its early days.’Give us two years’Facebook first announced its plans to set up the Oversight Board a year ago, and it has taken until now to select its members and arrange how it will work in practice.The members will be paid an undisclosed sum, but are intended to serve as an independent body, and will decide which cases to look into.Their work will cover Facebook’s main platform as well as the photo-centric app Instagram, which the company owns.In addition to user complaints, the board can also examine issues that the company has raised itself.Facebook has said it expects cases to be resolved within 90 days, including any action it is told to take.The panel’s decisions are supposed to be binding and set a precedent for subsequent moderation decisions.Critics of the scheme have suggested it is a “fig leaf” designed to help Facebook avoid being regulated by others.But Ms Thorning-Schmidt said it was too early to write it off.”It would be much better if the global community in the UN [United Nations] could come up with a content moderation system that could look into all social media platforms, but that is not going to happen,” she said.”So this is the second best.”Give us two years to try to prove that it is better to have this board than not to have this board.”The following interview with Ms Thorning-Schmidt has been edited for brevity and clarity.Has Facebook already consulted the board about its plans to deal with election-related posts?It’s very important to keep a distance between the Oversight Board and Facebook. So we don’t have much to do with Facebook right now. And they don’t consult us on what they should be doing. And we don’t think they should consult us.And just to be clear – in the days after the election, you might ask for a removed post to be put back up on Facebook or Instagram?Yes, it is it is an option. But we are focused on quality rather than speed. Facebook has been criticised for moving fast and breaking things. We want to move slowly and try to create something which is sustainable in the long run. So if Facebook takes down something right after the election, or leaves something up, there won’t be a ruling the day after from the Oversight Board.In theory, the Oversight Board has the right to overrule Mark Zuckerberg himself. But since he still controls the majority of Facebook’s voting shares, isn’t there a risk he in turn overrules whatever you decided?It was very, very clear to us when we were appointed that we will work with transparency and independence. If Facebook doesn’t follow our decisions, it won’t last very long. The obligation from Facebook, including, of course Mark Zuckerberg, is to follow our decisions. So that is the red line for us and not up for discussion.image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionMark Zuckerberg has a disproportionate share of Facebook’s voting rights given that he owns a 13% stakePresumably that means you’d resign?I don’t think we should talk about these issues. We want to give this a serious go. I’m urging everyone to look at the Oversight Board and not make the perfect the enemy of the good. This is the best we have these days to try to regulate content on social media. I have not seen any other ways of doing this. And we are all committed to given this giving this a real chance.Facebook’s not been short of controversies over recent years. There’s been Cambridge Analytica, hate speech directed at the Rohingyas in Myanmar, a decision not to take down posts from Holocaust deniers, and a decision to take a less interventionist stance on some of President Trump’s posts than Twitter has done. Which of these or other cases do you think might have turned out differently had the Oversight Board already existed?I understand that you want to discuss current examples. And I do find that fascinating as well. But I also think it would be wrong for a board member to go into concrete issues because it would pre-empt our decisions later on. There’s been some quite horrific examples in the past, and there will probably be more horrific examples in the future. I have no doubt that the board will look into fact-checking and whether there was real harm caused by content that was left up for too long, which they should have taken down.Some critics are concerned that this is still a form of self-regulation, and what is needed is external intervention by politicians and official watchdogs.I think these big tech firms, social media platforms, need regulation in many areas. There is a need for regulation in terms of tax issues. And there’s probably also a need for regulation in terms of data protection and how long you keep data. I’ve argued very adamantly for a duty of care for Facebook and other social media providers. But the board is not taking the place of regulation. Perhaps rather the opposite. The more rulings and decisions we make, the more it will become clear that we need a better conversation about content, and perhaps also more regulation around content.
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Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale: Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy F41, More Receive Price Discounts

Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, and Galaxy Watch are available on discounted prices under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The sale is currently live for Flipkart Plus members. Flipkart is also set to offer a Rs. 1,000 prepaid discount along with a 10 percent instant discount for SBI customers purchasing…

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Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, and Galaxy Watch are available on discounted prices under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The sale is currently live for Flipkart Plus members. Flipkart is also set to offer a Rs. 1,000 prepaid discount along with a 10 percent instant discount for SBI customers purchasing the newly launched Galaxy F41. Separately, Samsung is hosting a festive season sale through its online store in India to offer deals and discounts on various accessories, wearables, and smart TVs.Discounts on Samsung phonesFlipkart is offering the Samsung Galaxy S20+ at a discounted price of Rs. 49,999 as a part of its Big Billion Days sale. It’s a discount of Rs. 28,000 on its current price of Rs. 77,999. If you’re looking for a Galaxy Note model, Flipkart also has the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ at Rs. 54,999, down from its retail price of Rs. 85,000.Flipkart will also sell the Samsung Galaxy F41 during the sale. As mentioned, customers will get an additional Rs. 1,000 discount on prepaid transactions and SBI customers can avail another 10 percent discount on it.Discounts on Samsung Galaxy Watch and Tablet A 8.0In addition to smartphones, Flipkart’s sale brings the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Wi-Fi only at Rs. 8,999 that normally retails at Rs. 9,999. Customers can also pick the Samsung Galaxy Watch 46mm Bluetooth variant at Rs. 11,990 — a discount of Rs. 8,000 on the current price of Rs. 19,990.Flipkart also has a Smart Upgrade Plan that lets customers purchase Samsung premium phones by paying 70 percent of their price. After a 12-month period, they will have the option to either upgrade to a new phone via Flipkart and return the initial phone purchased, or pay the 30 percent balance.The Flipkart Big Billion Days sale is currently live only for Flipkart Plus members. However, it will be available for regular customers starting Friday and will go on until October 21.Samsung is also hosting the festive sale through its online store in India that brings up to 40 percent discount on the Galaxy S20+, up to 60 percent discount on wireless chargers and JBL speakers, and up to 45 percent discount on various smart TVs including The Frame. There will also be up to 12.5 percent cashback for HDFC, ICICI, and SBI bank customers.The Samsung sale is live and will go on till November 16.Flipkart, Amazon have excellent iPhone 11, Galaxy S20+ sale offers, but will they have enough stock? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

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United States charges six Russian intelligence operatives with hacking

October 20, 2020 by Joseph Fitsanakis THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of Justice has unsealed charges against six members of Russia’s military intelligence agency for allegedly engaging in worldwide computer hacking against several countries. The charges, announced in Pittsburgh on Monday, represent in a rare move that targets specific intelligence operatives and identifies them by name…

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October 20, 2020
by Joseph Fitsanakis

THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of Justice has unsealed charges against six members of Russia’s military intelligence agency for allegedly engaging in worldwide computer hacking against several countries. The charges, announced in Pittsburgh on Monday, represent in a rare move that targets specific intelligence operatives and identifies them by name and visually. According to the US government, the six Russian operatives were instrumental in some of the most destructive and costly cyber-attacks that have taken place worldwide in the past five years.

The indictment alleges that the six Russian intelligence operatives were members of a hacker group named “Sandworm Team” and “Voodoo Bear” by cybersecurity experts. In reality, however, they were —and probably still are— employees of Unit 74455 of the Russian Armed Forces’ Main Intelligence Directorate, known as GRU. Their cyber-attacks employed the full resources of the GRU, according to the indictment. They were thus “highly advanced”, and were carried out in direct support of “Russian economic and national objectives”. At times, the group allegedly tried to hide its tracks and connections to the Russian government, by making it seem like its cyber-attacks were carried out by Chinese- and North Korean-linked hackers. However, according to the US government, its operations and targets were carried out “for the strategic benefit of Russia”.

The hacker group has been active since the end of 2015, and is alleged to have continued its operations until at least October of 2019. Alleged attacks include a major assault on the power grid of Ukraine in December of 2015, which left hundreds of thousands without electricity and heat. Other alleged attacks targeted the government of Georgia and the French national elections of 2017. The charges include alleged attacks on Western chemical laboratories that examined the toxic substance used in 2018 against former GRU officer Sergei Skripal in England.

Finally, some of the group’s alleged efforts centered on sabotaging the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Russian athletes were barred from the games, after the Russian government was accused of participating in wholesale doping of its Olympic team. Notably, none of the attacks connected with the group’s operations appeared to have directly targeted the United States —though some of the viruses that were allegedly unleashed by the group affected some American companies.

► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 October 2020 | Permalink

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Best coffee maker for 2020: Bonavita, Ninja, Oxo, Bunn and more – CNET

It’s hard to brew tasty coffee. Coffee grounds need to hit hot water for an optimal length of time. That water must be within a precise temperature range too. Only a handful of drip coffee makers can pull off this sort of alchemy. And the ones that don’t (which is the vast majority) serve pots that taste…

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It’s hard to brew tasty coffee. Coffee grounds need to hit hot water for an optimal length of time. That water must be within a precise temperature range too. Only a handful of drip coffee makers can pull off this sort of alchemy. And the ones that don’t (which is the vast majority) serve pots that taste truly awful.We’ve found some noteworthy exceptions on the market, so whether you want to brew perfect lattes, make iced coffee or turn coffee beans into the ideal cup of fresh coffee, you don’t need to spend a mint to get the best coffee maker. You can drop almost $500 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that’s as beautiful as it is capable, or on a programmable commercial coffee maker. But all it takes is $15 to get Oxo’s superb Single Serve Pour Over funnel.

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And there are plenty of compelling choices in between for a coffee lover’s brew. One is our Editors’ Choice winner, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup, our pick for best all-around automatic brewer. Another is the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer, which uses an ancient technique to achieve outstanding and dramatic results. No matter your budget, there’s a coffee machine on this list that’ll fit your drip needs perfectly and be the best coffee maker for you. We’ll periodically update the list with new products as we test them. We promise, you’ll never have to drink coffee from pods or an ancient coffee pot again.

Brian Bennett/CNET

The Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker delivers SCA Golden Cup-rated coffee that tastes just as good coffee from our previous favorite, the Bonavita Connoisseur, but Oxo’s new brewer is more thoughtfully designed. This drip machine also comes with a special single cup filter basket for Kalita Wave filters. The Oxo Brew is compact, stylish, and also sturdy, plus it comes with a thermal carafe that doesn’t drip or spill. 

Read our Oxo 8 Cup Coffee Maker review.

Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this coffee maker. The Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker with its stainless steel-lined thermal carafe whips up a large coffee pot of joe at astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of tasty drip to drink.

Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It’s hard to find a coffee maker that beats the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer’s unique combination of spectacle and quality. It makes a coffee pot of distinctly rich, deep and seductively flavorful coffee. Its vintage brewing process, based on vapor pressure and vacuum suction, is also mesmerizing to watch. No paper filters needed as the Siphon Brewer comes with a reusable stainless steel filter.

Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe and reusable filter) offers an uncanny degree of flexibility, making it the best coffee maker for those who don’t always want the same cup. It can create everything from solid drip, to perfect cold brew, to iced coffee, to latte-style drinks with its milk frother, and it will adjust the temperature according to your choice. Its thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot up to two hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in multiple sizes, from small cups all the way up to full carafes.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Cold brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo’s cold brew coffee maker takes much of the headache out of the process. This Oxo Brew coffee maker saturates coffee grounds evenly and lets you drain cold brewed coffee from them into its glass carafe with relative ease.

Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Delicious coffee and great tasting drip from a product that costs just $15? It sounds unlikely but that’s just what the affordable Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over offers. It only makes coffee one drink at a time and requires you to provide the hot water. That said, the simple brewer transforms the otherwise complex task of pour-over into one that’s easy, clean and almost foolproof.

Read our Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over Coffee Maker review.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Judging by the Ratio Eight appliance, the people at Ratio believe that a coffee maker should be beautiful as well as functional. Starting at $495, each brewer is crafted from a selection of premium materials like walnut, mahogany and glass. (Both the water reservoir and carafe are made from hand-blown glass.) Their sturdy aluminum bases are available in numerous finishes as well. And yes, the Ratio Eight with its glass carafe also makes excellent drip.  

Read our Ratio Eight review.

Megan Wollerton/CNET

Dutch company Technivorm has sold exceptionally good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster KBT 741 drip coffee machine sports a design with clean lines and sharp angles that harkens back to 1968, the year the first Moccamaster hit stores. Retro design aside, the Moccamaster KBT 741 consistently puts out perfect freshly brewed coffee that will satisfy coffee connoisseurs. Its stainless steel thermal carafe also keeps its contents hot a full six hours.

Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review.

A note on testing coffee makers Evaluating the performance of a coffee maker is trickier than it might sound. The first step is to know what good drip coffee actually is. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, there are criteria critical to brewing quality java. Mainly these are brewing time and water temperature. Hot water should come into contact with grounds for no less than four minutes and no longer than eight. Additionally, the ideal water temperature range is between 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92C) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96C). To confirm how each coffee maker meets that challenge, we log the length of their brew cycles. We also employ thermocouple heat sensors connected to industrial-grade data loggers. That enables us to record the temperature within the coffee grounds while brewing is underway. We measure the temperature inside the brewing chamber of every coffee maker we test.
Brian Bennett/CNET
After brewing coffee, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given we factor in the amount of water and freshly ground coffee used, that data lets us calculate the Total Dissolved Solids percentage of each brew. From there we arrive at the extraction percentage. The ideal range is commonly thought to be between 18 and 20%. We also back up measured data with a good, old fashioned taste test. If the taste of a cup of coffee is bitter, there’s a good chance it was over extracted during the drip. On the opposite end, an under extracted cup of coffee will typically taste weak — it can even taste sour or have the flavor of soggy peanuts. And to be certain, we brew identical test runs a minimum of three times to achieve average results. More coffee recommendations

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