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Media: ‘Quad’ Countries to Agree on Secure Microchip Supply Chains

Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia will agree to take steps to build secure semiconductor supply chains when they meet in Washington next week, the Nikkei business daily said Saturday, citing a draft of the joint statement.   U.S. President Joe Biden will host a first in-person summit of leaders of the “Quad” countries, which have sought to boost co-operation to push back against China’s growing assertiveness. The draft says that in order to create robust supply chains, the four countries will ascertain their semiconductor supply capacities …


‘Devious Licks’ Videos of Damage, Thefts Bedevil US Schools 

Kids across the U.S. are posting TikTok videos of themselves vandalizing school bathrooms and stealing soap dispensers and even turf from football fields, bedeviling school administrators seeking to contain the viral internet trend.  The “devious licks” challenge that swept social media this week is plaguing principals and school district administrators who already must navigate a bitter debate over requiring masks to keep COVID-19 in check. Some schools have had to more closely monitor or even shut down bathrooms, where much of the damage is occurring.  No section of the nation …


Navalny App Gone from Google, Apple Stores on Russia Vote Day

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s Smart Voting app disappeared from Apple and Google stores Friday as Russians began voting in a three-day parliamentary election marked by a historic crackdown on the opposition. “Removing the Navalny app from stores is a shameful act of political censorship,” top Navalny ally Ivan Zhdanov said on Twitter. The app promoted an initiative that outlines for Navalny supporters which candidate they should back to unseat Kremlin-aligned politicians. Russia had accused Google and Apple of election interference, demanding this week that they remove the app from their stores.  …


Clive Sinclair, Computing Pioneer, Dies at 81

Sir Clive Sinclair, the British inventor who pioneered the pocket calculator and affordable home computers, died Thursday at age 81. He died at his home in London a decade after being diagnosed with cancer, U.K. media said, prompting tributes from many who fondly recalled their first experience of computing in the early 1980s. He was still working on inventions last week “because that was what he loved doing,” his daughter Belinda Sinclair told the BBC. “He was inventive and imaginative, and for him, it was exciting and an adventure. It …


UN Rights Chief Calls for Moratorium on Artificial Intelligence Systems

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, is calling for a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence systems, which she says pose a serious risk to human rights. The High Commissioner’s report, which will be submitted to the U.N. human rights council, provides an analysis of how advances in digital technologies are affecting people’s human rights.   The report argues that artificial intelligence, or AI, can be a force for good, but also can be overly intrusive and have negative, even catastrophic, effects on people’s right to …


US Accuses Russia of Stonewalling on Cybercrime

U.S. warnings to Russian President Vladimir Putin over shielding cybercriminals holed up in Russia appear to have made little impact, according to top U.S. law enforcement and cyber officials. “There is no indication that the Russian government has taken action to crack down on ransomware actors that are operating in the permissive environment that they’ve created there,” Paul Abbate, deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Tuesday at an intelligence summit just outside Washington.  “We’ve asked for help and cooperation with those who we know are in Russia, who …


Apple Plugs ‘No-Click’ Phone Hack Attributed to Pegasus Spyware

Apple released a critical software patch to fix a security vulnerability that researchers said could allow hackers to directly infect iPhones and other Apple devices without any user action.   Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the security issue was exploited to plant spyware on a Saudi activist’s iPhone. They said they had high confidence that the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire firm, Israel’s NSO Group, was behind that attack.   The previously unknown vulnerability affected all major Apple devices — iPhones, Macs and Apple Watches — the …


First Private All-Civilian Orbital Spaceflight Set for Wednesday 

Four people are set to become the world’s first all-civilian crew to fly into Earth orbit when they blast off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Wednesday as space tourism takes its biggest leap yet.  Weather conditions are 70% favorable for Wednesday night’s scheduled launch of Americans Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Sian Proctor from the U.S. spaceport’s historic Launch Pad 39A, which was used for the Apollo moon missions during the 1960s and 70s.  The four-member crew will fly into space aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft built by SpaceX, the …


Cyber Arms Dealer Exploits New iPhone Software Vulnerability, Watchdog Says

A cyber surveillance company based in Israel developed a tool to break into Apple iPhones with a never-before-seen technique that has been in use since February, internet security watchdog group Citizen Lab said Monday. The discovery is important because of the critical nature of the vulnerability, which requires no user interaction and affects all versions of Apple’s iOS, OSX, and watchOS, except for those updated Monday. The vulnerability developed by the Israeli firm, named NSO Group, defeats security systems designed by Apple in recent years. Apple said it fixed the vulnerability in Monday’s …


Apple Must Loosen App Store Grip, Judge Says; What’s the Impact? 

Apple will be forced to loosen the grip it holds on its App Store payment system, a U.S. federal judge ruled Friday in a closely watched battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games.Though app makers will be able to take steps to skirt the up to 30% commission Apple takes on sales, the tech giant avoided being branded an illegal monopoly in the case.Here are some key questions on the App Store and the impact of the ruling:How does the App Store work?The App Store acts as the lone gateway for …