The Register reports on the absence of security in specification proposals eg allowing a malicious hacker or neighbour to turn off your pacemaker or lock your sauna door and turn up the temperature to 200 degrees
Scientists and robotics experts will gather in London to discuss how humans will incorporate artificial intelligence into their sex lives.
Banned in Malaysia, the 2nd International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots will be hosted by Goldsmiths University, and will gather top scientists in the fields of robotics and human-computer interaction.
Dr. Kate Devlin, event host, told the Daily Mirror:
I think robots could become our lovers in the future. Does love have to be reciprocated in order to be valid?
Our research aims to carve a new narrative, moving away from sex robots purely defined as machines used as sex objects, as substitutes for human partners, made by men, for men, she said. A machine is a blank slate -- it is what we make of it. Why should
a sex robot be binary? What about the potential for therapy? It's time for new approaches to artificial sexuality.
Open to the public, the conference will be held December 19-20.
Google has placed a virtual assistant at the heart of its first voice-activated speaker system. The Home speaker lets artificial
intelligence tool be controlled without use of a touchscreen via an always on microhone. It rivals Amazon's Echo.
The virtual assistant can hold a conversation, in which one question or command builds on the last, rather than dealing with each request in isolation it draws on Google's Knowledge Graph database, which links together information about more 70 billion
facts, and has been in use for four years
However, the US company will have to overcome privacy concerns and convince users that chatting to a virtual assistant has advantages over using individual apps.
Users can, for example, ask for what films are playing at nearby cinemas, and then follow up the reply by saying: We want to bring the kids, to narrow down the selection. Brian Blau, from the consultancy Gartner explained further:
Having a conversation - one where you ask a question and then follow-on questions - is a much more natural way to interact, and you would think that would offer a better user experience. But we haven't had that type of system offered at the mass market
level before, so it's hard to say how well it actually do.
As well as getting answers to questions, the device can control internet-connected lights and other smart home products play music and other services such as setting timers and alarms, creating shopping lists and getting travel updates.
The $129 device is launching in the US next month, and is due to come to the UK next year.
Australian researchers have been looking into the data security for remote controlled sex toys.
Goldfisk and Follower got hold of the schematics for the We Vibe 4 Plus, a U-shaped vibrator that can be controlled via Bluetooth using a remote control or a smartphone app. The wireless functions mean the device's makers had to report its details with
the United States the Federal Communications Commission, and that filing allowed the hackers to figure out a way to crack the device.
It turns out it was fairly easy to hack, and find out what information the We-Vibe collects and transmits to the mobile app. The team managed to decipher the Bluetooth command strings and manipulate the We using a desktop computer. They reported the job
was relatively simple - the Bluetooth data string is only eight bytes long and the first byte controls the device's mode.
The two also found that the makers of the We collect exactly when the device is used, which of the ten vibration modes they are using, and even the temperature of the device. All this data is stored on corporate servers and in the terms and conditions of
the device the manufacturer reserves the right to pass it on to the authorities.
The Register notes that sex toys are illegal in many places - including Alabama, some parts of Georgia, and until recently Texas. Using such devices is a criminal matter and there have been prosecutions.
Opera has become the first major browser to add a free VPN client to its web browser. The VPN offers AES-256 encryption and allows users to browse the Internet privately. In addition, the free VPN also helps to circumvent website blockades.
The company has added a free and unlimited VPN to the developer version of its browser. This means that users can browse the web securely at the flick of a switch .
The VPN connection is provided by the Canadian VPN service SurfEasy, which like many other VPNs keeps no logs. SurfEasy was acquired by Opera last year and VP of Marketing Steve Kelly tells TorrentFreak that privacy and censorship were the main reasons
to add the free VPN to Opera. Kelly said:
Everyone deserves to surf privately online if they want to. Today, it is too difficult to maintain privacy when using the web, and way too many people experience roadblocks online, like blocked content..
By releasing an integrated, free and unlimited VPN in the browser, we make it simple for people to enhance their privacy and access the content they want.
Opera's in-browser VPN uses AES-256 encryption and SurfEasy says that the initial response has been very strong. The network is prepared to handle hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections without any problems.
Messaging app WhatsApp has announced that it has added encryption for all voice calls and file transfers for all users.
It renders messages generally unreadable if they are intercepted, for example by criminals or law enforcement. No doubt if the security services throw all their computing might at a message then they may be able to decrypt it by brute force.
The Facebook-owned company said protecting private communication of its one billion users worldwide was one of its core beliefs . Whatsapp said:
The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.
Users with the latest version of the app were notified about the change when sending messages on Tuesday. The setting is enabled by default.
Users should be aware that snoopers can still see a whole host of non-content data about the communication, such as who was using the app, who was being called, and for how long.
Amnesty International called the move a huge victory for free speech:
Whatsapp's roll out of the Signal Protocol, providing end to end encryption for its one billion users worldwide, is a major boost for people's ability to express themselves and communicate without fear.
This is a huge victory for privacy and free speech, especially for activists and journalists who depend on strong and trustworthy communications to carry out their work without putting their lives at greater risk.
Gregory Dorcel, son of and patron of the brand Marc Dorcel, doubts the potential of virtual reality in the porn industry.
When thinking about applications of virtual reality, the pornography industry arises as obvious. Yet Gregory Dorcel, CEO of the famous French brand, is no longer convinced. Last October, the company produced two films for virtual reality helmets, with
360 videos. The more sober of the two was free, the other sold at 10 euros. Result: 80 000 downloads in the first 15 000 sales for the second. A return of EUR 150 000, for a production that has cost 200,000 due to the complexity of the shoot involving 18
Dorcel noted that his company made a try whilst other were playing a waiting game. He concluded:
I see no market for at least five years. But in five years we will be moved on; maybe holograms?