About 150 Delta flights in the US canceled after systems outage

About 150 flights of Delta Air Lines in the U.S. were canceled and some others were delayed on Sunday on account of an IT systems outage, the airline reported.delta air lines aircraft

Delta said more flight cancellations were expected.

The IT systems outage at Delta is the latest of a number that have affected airline operations recently.

Delta reported earlier that its teams were working to fix quickly a systems outage that has resulted in departure delays and cancellations. It did not provide information on the systems issue that had caused the outage.

“Not all delays and cancellations are being reflected on Delta systems, including delta.com, the Fly Delta App, airport information screens or through our Reservations agents,” the airline said. It reported at 11:45 p.m. EST that a ground stop had been lifted.

The Federal Aviation Administration had earlier reported a ground stop for all Delta mainline and sub-carrier flights to domestic destinations. The agency cited “automation issues” at Delta and said international flights were not affected.

After the lifting of the ground stop, Delta CEO Ed Bastian apologized to customers affected by “this frustrating situation.” On Twitter and other social media, a number of flyers complained about the delays. Airports reported varying duration of delays of flights. At one point, Denver International Airport reported that Delta flights at the airport were “delayed an average of 90 minutes but still moving.”

Delta had reassured users that flights in the air remain unaffected, but added that some customers are experiencing delays upon landing, particularly at Delta’s hub airports. The airline is providing updates on its web site.

The airline faced an outage in August, when it said that a power outage in its operations center in Atlanta had affected its computer systems and operations worldwide, leading to flight delays.

Delta has 830 aircraft of which 644 are owned by the airline, while the rest are leased. It operates more than 15,000 daily flights including those by worldwide alliance partners, and serves 180 million customers each year. Rival United Airlines also reported an outage earlier this month, citing an IT issue.

LG leaks seemingly reveal G6, co-designed Google watches

CNET has released additional information about the G6. This article has been updated to reflect this news.lg g6 leak

With the Mobile World Congress show just about a month away, rumors are starting to ramp up, but we might have already seen the biggest leak of all. With Samsung bowing out of MWC to fine-tune the Galaxy S8 a little longer, the star of this year’s show might very well be the LG G6, and the first purported partial image of the new handset is already in the wild.

The Verge has published what appears to be an official product shot of the G6, and it looks like it’s going to be a stunner. As expected, the handset features narrower bezels than the G5 and a 5.7-inch Quad HD LCD screen with a unique super-wide 2:1 ratio. According to the site, the phone will dispense of the modular chin that the G5 introduced, focusing instead on turning heads with an all-glass design.

Elsewhere, the phone is expected to retain the 3.5mm headphone jack and be waterproof, while retaining the G5’s dual-camera setup and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, since there won’t be room for it on the front. The Verge reports that the G6’s screen-to-bezel ratio “is greater than 90 percent, and though its bottom isn’t shown in the image, it’s only slightly taller than the top bezel.”

In a separate report, CNET claims that in addition to ditching the modular concept for the G6, LG will completely seal the phone as it promotes full water resistance. That also means the battery will not be removable this time around, previously one of the standout features of LG’s flagships. Additionally, the publication confirms that the phone will be powered by the Snapdragon 821 rather than the upcoming 835, which is reportedly launching with the Galaxy S8 in April.

One bright spot for the G6, according to CNET, will be support for Google Assistant, which would make the handset one of the first phones other than the Pixel to include Google’s digital helper. HTC’s U Ultra is including is own assistant called Companion (though the company does have plans to incorporate Google Assistant at some point), and Huawei’s Mate 9 opted to partner with Amazon to include Alexa. CNET also reports that LG will be adding Alexa into the G6 “later this year.”

lg sport style leak

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TechnoBuffalo

The LG watches here match up to the earlier rumors of Sport and Style variants.

Also leaking on the LG front are low-resolution pics of what could very well be the Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches the company co-developed with Google. TechnoBuffalo has published a pair of images that match up pretty well with the rumors so far—two sizes, circular displays, a crown, a bit of chunkiness—but it’s hard to glean much else. It was previously reported that the larger model would feature a 1.38-inch display and sport a 480×480 screen, with the smaller Style having a 1.2-inch, 360×360 display.

Most notably, the larger Sport model pictured includes a pair of buttons above and below the crown, while the smaller Style watch does not. Previously, it had been reported that the larger model would include cellular connectivity, GPS, and NFC, so the buttons could be used for Android Pay or some other feature not available on the Style.

 While nothing is confirmed, the images here look like LG is going to seriously shake things up with its upcoming releases. While we’ll need to see the watches in person to get a true feel for them, the image of the G6 looks like a massive improvement over last year’s model, and with Samsung pushing its Galaxy S8 launch back, LG could be in a position to capitalize with an early sales boost. That would be good news for the company, as last year’s flagships failed to resonate much with consumers.

This story, “LG leaks seemingly reveal G6, co-designed Google watches” was originally published by Greenbot.

Google Maps now shows how hard it will be to park at your destination

The feature is now available in the full version of the app. This article has been updated to reflect this news.

If you’ve ever taken longer to find a parking spot than you did driving somewhere, Google Maps might be able to help—or at least prepare you for a headache. Thanks to a new feature in the latest version of the app, you’ll now be able to tell how hard it will be to park once you arrive at your destination.google maps parking

The new feature is easy to miss. The next time you pull up driving directions, you’ll see a small circular P icon to the right of your route overview, next to which will show three levels of parking difficulty: Easy, Medium, and Limited. (To make it easier to see at a glance, easy and medium are colored blue while limited is red.) While the feature doesn’t update to show the actual parking situation when you arrive (at least not yet), you can get a slightly longer description when you expand your directions.

The update is currently rolling out in the Google Play store, but if you’re not seeing it, you can sideload the Google-signed APK from APKMirror. Keep in mind that the feature is only available in 25 cities across the U.S: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and the Washington D.C. area.

Parking can be a major headache when driving somewhere new, so we’ll take any information we can get. And with the new Uber integration built right into the app, a red circle could mean the difference between driving or being driven somewhere.

This story, “Google Maps now shows how hard it will be to park at your destination” was originally published by Greenbot.

Huge update brings the new Nvidia Shield TV’s flagship features to the original

A little more than a week ago, Nvidia put its second-generation Shield TV up for sale. On Thursday, the company followed up with a massive software refresh for the original Nvidia Shield that brings many of the new device’s features to the old Nvidia Shield Android TV

Rolling out now, the latest Shield Experience Upgrade brings the headlining feature of 4K high dynamic range support to the first generation device. HDR support works with video streaming on services like Amazon Video and Netflix, as well as with GameStream—the feature that lets you stream a game from your GeForce graphics card-equipped PC to your TV.

The new update also adds a new Nest app, allowing you to view all your Nest Cams at home. Other notable app additions include NFL, Twitter, Vimeo, and Comedy Central.

The underlying OS is also upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat with support for picture-in-picture in compatible apps, a new settings menu, and a recently used apps page.

What the new upgrade doesn’t bring to old Shield devices is the promised smart home hub functions—at least not yet. These features aren’t yet on the second-generation device either so it’s not a suprise.

When smart home functionality does roll out the software will support the Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols. Google Assistant—the same software behind Google Home and built into the Pixel smartphone—is also coming to the Shield, allowing for smart home voice control. One caveat for original Shield device owners: Those features require an always-on microphone and hence, the new Shield TV controller. Still, spending an extra $60 to bring your machine up to par with its successor is not a bad deal.

Trump’s executive order won’t destroy Privacy Shield, says EU

Fears that U.S. President Trump has destroyed the Privacy Shield Transatlantic data transfer agreement with one of the many executive orders he has signed this week are unfounded, the European Commission said Friday.Trump inauguration

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the U.S.,” one of several he has issued since taking office on Jan. 20. Such executive orders are used by U.S presidents to manage the operations of the federal government.

Like the “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” executive order signed the same day, the public safety order seeks to repatriate foreigners who have either entered the U.S. illegally or entered legally but overstayed or otherwise violated the terms of their visas.

To do that, law enforcers need to be able to track the foreigners concerned, but privacy laws can make it difficult for them to obtain the information necessary to identify them.

That’s why Trump ordered U.S. government agencies to “ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”

There has been concern that the president’s move would have an impact on Privacy Shield. Guaranteeing privacy rights for foreigners’ data processed in the U.S. was one of the requirements the European Union imposed on the U.S. when negotiating Privacy Shield, the agreement that allows businesses to transfer the personal information of EU citizens to the U.S. for processing. Such transfers are forbidden by EU privacy law unless the destination country provides privacy protection at least equal to that required in under EU law.

One EU legislator who had fought for the protections enshrined in Privacy Shield immediately criticized the president’s public safety order.  Member of the European Parliament Jan Philipp Albrecht feared the order would undermine Privacy Shield and another EU-U.S. privacy agreement, the so-called Umbrella Agreement, which is due to take effect next Wednesday.

“If this is true @EU_Commission has to immediately suspend #PrivacyShield & sanction the US for breaking EU-US umbrella agreement,” tweeted Albrecht.

But the fears of Albrecht and others are unfounded, said a Commission spokeswoman. Privacy Shield protects data of EU citizens that is transferred to the U.S. but does not cover the privacy of data gathered in the U.S.

“The U.S. Privacy Act has never offered data protection rights to Europeans,” she said. Privacy Shield does not rely on the Privacy Act, which covers data held by U.S. agencies, not by private companies.

Otherwise, the Umbrella Agreement that MEP Albrecht referred to covers the exchange of personal information between U.S. and EU law enforcers during the course of their investigations. However, it depends on a law that appears to exclude Europeans from Trump’s executive order.

“To finalize this agreement the U.S. Congress adopted a new law last year, the U.S. Judicial Redress Act, which extends the benefits of the U.S. Privacy Act to Europeans and gives them access to U.S. courts,” the Commission spokeswoman said.

And since Trump only asked agencies to exclude Europeans from the Privacy Act “to the extent consistent with applicable law,” it seems that the protections of the Judicial Redress Act still apply.

The Commission remains vigilant. “We will continue to monitor the implementation of both instruments and are following closely any changes in the U.S. that might have an effect on European’s data protection rights,” the spokeswoman said.

Cisco starts patching critical flaw in WebEx browser extension

Cisco Systems has started to patch a critical vulnerability in its WebEx collaboration and conferencing browser extension that could allow attackers to remotely execute malicious code on computers.chromelogo

The company released a patched version of the extension—1.0.7—for Google Chrome on Thursday and is working on similar patches for the Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox versions.

The vulnerability was found by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy and stemmed from the fact that the WebEx extension exposed functionality to any website that had “cwcsf-nativemsg-iframe-43c85c0d-d633-af5e-c056-32dc7efc570b.html” in its URL or inside an iframe. Some of that WebEx functionality allowed for the execution of arbitrary code on computers.

Cisco tried to fix the problem in version 1.0.5 by restricting the sensitive features only to the *.webex.com or *.webex.com.cn domains. That didn’t solve the problem completely because any cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability on those domains could be used to bypass the restrictions.

XSS is one of the most common types of vulnerabilities on the web and webex.com has more than 500 defined subdomains. Chances are high that multiple XSS flaws exist those websites and, in fact, Ormandy found one and proved a bypass of the initial patch.

Cisco added further restrictions in version 1.0.7 of the WebEx extension that appears to block all known bypass methods.

“It looks like they correctly handle Mac and Windows, and have also added some verification on GpcInitCall/GpcExitCall/etc so that functions have to match a RegEx,” Ormandy said. “This looks like a huge improvement.”

Ormandy added that he doesn’t currently know of any way to defeat the new patch, so users should upgrade to the latest version as soon as possible.

The Chrome WebEx extension alone has around 20 million active users, so the risk of attacks is high, especially since details of this vulnerability have been public for days. IE and Firefox users who have the extension installed should disable it until a fixed version is released for those browsers.

You can now make smart gadgets and IoT devices that use Bluetooth 5

In a few months, Bluetooth 5 will finally arrive in smartphones and tablets. But you can already test the technology on developer boards being shipped by hardware makers.launchxl cc2640r2 launchxl cc2640r2

Bluetooth 5 is a major step ahead for the venerable technology, which was introduced in 1999 to hook up devices wirelessly. It is two times faster than predecessor Bluetooth 4.2, has four times longer range, and boasts cool new connectivity features.

It can transfer data at speeds of up to 2Mbps (bits per second) and has a realistic range of 120 meters. The range could be even longer in a clear line of sight, the standards setting organization Bluetooth Special Interest Group said.

That’s good news for those who pair mobile devices or PCs to peripherals like wireless speakers. There will be fewer connection drops.

A Bluetooth device will also transmit data from one device to many, a feature that will be beneficial in smart homes. For example, if a surveillance system detects a thief, it could use Bluetooth 5 to simultaneously activate the safety light and the alarm system.

The new wireless standard can also broadcast richer data, like location information and URLs. That could be useful in retail stores or even self-driving cars, which transfer navigation data.

Bluetooth 5 will reach devices in two to six months, the Bluetooth SIG said in December. Some of the first devices could be smartphones and tablets with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chips, which has Bluetooth 5 in the chipset.

But you can start testing Bluetooth 5 with wireless boards now shipping. The boards will be particularly handy for tinkerers prototyping gadgets or developing internet of things devices for automation or industrial settings.

Wireless boards like Particle and Espressif Systems—which primarily use Wi-Fi—are extremely popular, but other boards with Bluetooth 5 functionality are available or are coming soon.

If you’re developing prototype gadgets, Abelon Systems’ Internet of Things Reference Platform will offer a range of wireless connectivity technology, including support for Bluetooth 5. It will also support ZigBee and the emerging low-bandwidth IoT connectivity technologies like SIGFOX or LoRaWAN. On-board sensors include an accelerometer, gyrometer, and magnetometer, but other sensors could be attached through interfaces. It has the popular I2C and UART connector interfaces. It will ship later this year, and the price wasn’t immediately available.

Nordic’s nRF52840 Preview Development Kit, which is priced between US$40 and $50, is a development board on which small electronics can be developed. The board is compatible with Arduino Uno Revision 3, a popular electronics development environment. It has a 64Mhz Cortex-M4F processor, 1MB of integrated flash storage, and 256KB of RAM. It supports ARM Mbed, a cloud-based development platform. It also has an NFC interface and a wide number of connectors. It also has a USB 2.0 interface.

Texas Instruments was one of the first to jump on the Bluetooth 5 bandwagon, and its $29 Launchpad Board wireless development kit is designed to test Bluetooth 5 applications in IoT settings. The board will be upgradeable to Bluetooth 5 when the full firmware stack is released. It has a 48Mhz ARM Cortex-M3 processor and a set of inputs to connect sensors. It is available on TI’s website.

TV maker Vizio pays $2.2M to settle complaint that it spied on users

Popular smart TV maker Vizio will pay US $2.2 million to settle complaints that it violated customers’ privacy by continuously monitoring their viewing habits without their knowledge.TV maker Vizio will pay $2.2 million to resolve a privacy complaint.

Beginning in February 2014, the California TV maker tracked what TV shows customers were watching on 11 million TV sets sold in the U.S., the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General said in a complaint, released Monday.

Vizio smart TVs captured “second-by-second” information about video displayed, including video from consumer cable service, broadband, set-top boxes, DVDs, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices, according to the complaint.

A stipulated federal court order requires Vizio to prominently disclose and obtain consent for its data collection and sharing practices, and it prohibits the company from misrepresenting the privacy and confidentiality of consumer information it collects. The order also requires Vizio to delete data collected before March 1, 2016.

The settlement will set a new standard for “best industry privacy practices” for smart TVs and other home devices, Vizio said in a statement. Vizio’s data collection program “never paired viewing data with personally identifiable information such as name or contact information,” Jerry Huang, the company’s general counsel, added in the statement.

The FTC’s complaint “made clear that all smart TV makers should get people’s consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information and Vizio now is leading the way,” Huang added.

Vizio added specific demographic information to the viewing data it collected, including gender, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies alleged. Vizio sold this information to third parties, who used it for purposes such as targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint.

Vizio touted its “Smart Interactivity” feature that “enables program offers and suggestions,” but the company failed to inform consumers that the settings also enabled the collection of consumers’ viewing data, the agencies alleged. The data collection was unfair and deceptive, in violation of U.S. and New Jersey consumer protection laws, the agencies said.

Abut $1.5 million of the settlement will go to the FTC and $1 million to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, with $300,000 suspended.

Smart TVs from Samsung and LG Electronics have also been accused of monitoring their users in recent years.

This story was updated to include Vizio’s comments in the fifth to seventh paragraphs.

EU-US Commercial Data Transfer Pact Enters Into Force

EU-US Commercial Data Transfer Pact Enters Into Force

A new commercial data pact between the European Union and the United States entered into force on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty over cross-border data flows, and companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft can sign up from August 1.

The EU-US Privacy Shield will give businesses moving personal data across the Atlantic – from human resources information to people’s browsing histories to hotel bookings – an easy way to do so without falling foul of tough EU data transferral rules.

The previous such framework, Safe Harbour, was struck down by the EU’s top court in October on the grounds that it allowed US agents too much access to Europeans’ data.

Revelations three years ago from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of mass US surveillance practices caused political outrage in Europe and stoked mistrust of big US tech companies.

In the months that followed the EU ruling companies have had to rely on other more cumbersome mechanisms for legally transferring data to the United States.

The Privacy Shield will underpin over $250 billion (roughly Rs. 16,79,226 crores) of transatlantic trade in digital services annually.

Google and Microsoft said they would sign up to the Privacy Shield and would work with European data protection authorities in case of inquiries.

A person familiar with social network Facebook’s thinking said the company had not yet decided whether to sign up.

“It’s too early to say as we haven’t seen the full text yet but like other companies we will be evaluating the text in the coming weeks,” the person said.

The Privacy Shield seeks to strengthen the protection of Europeans whose data is moved to US servers by giving EU citizens greater means to seek redress in case of disputes, including through a new privacy ombudsman within the State Department who will deal with complaints from EU citizens about US spying.

However the framework also faces criticism from privacy advocates for not going far enough in protecting Europeans’ data and is widely expected to be challenged in court.

Max Schrems, the Austrian law student who successfully challenged Safe Harbour, said the Privacy Shield was “little more than a little upgrade to Safe Harbour”. However he added that he did not have plans to challenge it himself for the time being.

“We are confident the framework will withstand further scrutiny,” Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce, told a news conference.

EU data protection authorities, who had demanded improvements to the Privacy Shield in April, said they were analysing the framework and would finalise a position by July 25.

Google Acquires Kifi to Enhance Its Spaces Group Chat App

Google Acquires Kifi to Enhance Its Spaces Group Chat App

  • Kifi is a link management startup
  • Google launched its Spaces group chat app in May
  • The Kifi service will exist for a few more weeks

Google, in an attempt to bolster its Spaces group chat app, has acquired Kifi, a Web management tool. In a Medium post, Kifi made the announcement and confirmed that it will join Google’s Spaces team. “The Kifi team is excited to announce that we’ll be joining Google,” wrote the company in the post.

For those unaware, Kifi was launched a little over two years ago and came with a mission to “connect people with knowledge.” The service allowed teams to organise, share, discuss, and find valued content. The service also integrated the features into various browsers.

“We see a lot of alignment to Google’s mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Our team will be joining the Spaces team at Google to build solutions focused on improving group sharing, conversation, and content finding. Frankly, we’re thrilled they have a bit of “space” for us,” said the Kifi team.

For current Kifi users, the team says service will be fully functional for few more weeks. “The Kifi service will remain fully functional for existing users for a few more weeks. We are no longer accepting new registrations,” added the Kifi team.

The company however pointed out that the Kifi service and data will not become part of Google. After few weeks, Kifi users will be able to “easily export data.”

Launched back in May, Google’s Space was available to users on Android, iOS, desktop, and mobile web. Believed to be Google’s latest take on social app, the Spaces app allowed users share content in groups on any topic. The biggest highlight of Google’s Spaces app is it comes with built-in Google Search, YouTube, and Chrome.