Microsoft does l & # 39; ads in April, this would definitively close the book section of the Microsoft Store. The company had made its foray into eBooks in 2017 as part of a Windows 10 Creators update that was intended to supplement the software available for its Surface line. Relegated to Microsoft's Edge browser, the digital library has never taken off. As of April 2, he stopped all e-book sales. And starting this week, he will remove all books purchased from the libraries of those who bought them.
Other companies have pulled something similar in lower doses. Amazon, overcome a crisis of irony in 2009, memorable missing copies from George Orwell 1984 of Kindles. In the previous year, Walmart had closed its own unfortunate MP3 store, prompting customers to burn their purchases on CDs in order to recover them before offering a download solution. But this is not a tactical strike. There is no backup plan. C & # 39; The langoliers. And because of digital rights management – the mechanism by which platforms retain control over the digital products that they sell – you have no recourse. Microsoft will refund the full price paid to customers, as well as an additional $ 25 if they have made annotations or markups. But that only provides the coldest comfort.
"On the one hand, at least people are not running out of money that they have paid for these books." But consumers are trading money for property because they do not pay for it. they prefer them to money.That's what happens when you buy something, "says Aaron Perzanowski, a professor at the University of Western Ontario Law School and co-author of The end of the property: the movable property in the digital economy. "I do not think it's enough to cover the damage done to consumers."
"That's why we call defective media and DRM media by design."
John Sullivan, Free Software Foundation
Presumably, few people have bought eBooks from Microsoft; That's why he pulls the plug in the first place. But anyone who has done so can now find those same books, buy them again and maybe even find a new device to read them. For some types of readers, including lawyers and academics, annotations and annotations can be worth much more than $ 25. And even if none of this were the case, this decision is made only in principle.
"Once we have completed a transaction, you can not just get it back, even if you give me some money," said John Sullivan, executive director of the nonprofit Free Software Foundation. "It does not respect the freedom of the individual."
A spokesman for Microsoft sent WIRED back to a Frequently Asked Questions page "which states that" your books will be deleted from Microsoft Edge when Microsoft processes refunds ", in" early July ".
The removal of Microsoft's ebooks highlights more than anything the hidden dangers of the DRM system that underlies most digital purchases. Originally conceived as an anti-piracy measure, DRM now works primarily as a way to lock clients into a given ecosystem, rather than read, display or listen to it. their purchases where they wish. This is a cycle that has been going on for decades and shows no signs of slowing down.
"These events continue," said Perzanowski. "When they happen, there is a kind of momentary shock of outrage and frustration, and people get angry, and then they go to their next life, and everyone is up again." surprised and frustrated, but without having the feeling that something must happen to change this dynamic of power. "
One of the reasons DRM persists is that it remains relatively hidden from the consumer. Amazon and others ebook stores offer titles other than DRM but do not specify distinctions. And Perzanowski's research has shown that an "appreciable percentage" of buyers think that clicking the Buy Now button gives them the same property privileges for digital asset loan, donation and more than their own. physical counterparts.
There is no real enforcement mechanism either. The Federal Trade Commission has some authority here; it was only after FTC pressure that Walmart decided not to completely close its DRM servers in 2008. But half-measures like Microsoft's repayment plan seem to be enough to thwart it. Congress could act, but it is the body that codified the application of digital rights management with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.
The issue also extends beyond ebooks and movies. Think about Jibo, the $ 900 robot whose servers are shutting down. Or the Revolv smart home that Google has acquired and close quickly-Separate another FTC Investigation. Even Keurig tried to DRM his coffee pods. It's bad outside.
"That's why we call defective DRM devices and devices by definition, or damaged from the beginning." The whole concept includes self-destruction, "Sullivan says." It's still the most common way to distribute the media. It is always surprising and frustrating that companies continue to clarify things. "
At least, Microsoft can afford to pay its affected customers. The next time a platform bends and takes its ecosystem with it, the affected people might not be so lucky. It may be the real lesson that Microsoft is erasing its ebooks: it's already happened, and it's not enough to prevent it from happening again.
Thursday, in the heart of Silicon Valley, this council sought advice from the public. It has sparked the enthusiasm of many technical leaders, advocacy groups, AI and veterans, among others. Many were wary of the Pentagon's AI ambitions, and urged the board of directors to establish rules that would subject the department's AI projects to extensive scrutiny and control.
"You have the potential for significant benefits, but you also have disadvantages," said Chris Cundy, Stanford's graduate student, one of twenty people who spoke at the "public listening session" held at Stanford by the Defense Innovation Board, an advisory group. established by the Obama administration to foster links between the Pentagon and the technology sector. Members include Google, Facebook and Microsoft executives; the president is the former president of Google, Eric Schmidt.
Although the board reviews Amnesty International's ethics at the request of the Pentagon, the department is under no obligation to act on any recommendation. "They could totally reject it or accept it in part," said Milo Medin, vice president of wireless services for Google and a member of the Defense Innovation Board. The Thursday listening session was held in a tense climate between the Pentagon and Silicon Valley.
Last year thousands of Google employees protested against the company's work on a Pentagon artificial intelligence program called Project Maven, in which the company's expertise in machine learning was put to use detect objects in surveillance imagery drones. Google said it would let the contract expire without trying to renew it. The company also issued guidelines for its use of AI that prohibit projects involving weapons, although Google says that it's going still working with the army.
Before the public had a say on Thursday, Chuck Allen, one of the Pentagon's top lawyers, introduced Maven as an asset, claiming that artificial intelligence makes commanders more efficient and can also protect human rights. "Military benefits are also humanitarian benefits in many cases, including reducing the risk of harm to civilians," he said.
Many people who spoke after the debate were more concerned that AI could be a violation of human rights.
Herb Lin, a Stanford professor, urged the Pentagon to adopt artificial intelligence systems with caution, as humans tend to over-trust computer judgments. In fact, he said, battlefield AI systems could fail unexpectedly, because current technology is inflexible and only works under tight, stable conditions.
Mira Lane, Director of Ethics and Society at Microsoft, has taken up this warning. She also feared that the United States would feel compelled to change its ethical limits if less respectful human rights countries installed themselves with AI systems that decided themselves when to kill. . "If our opponents build autonomous weapons, we will have to react," she said.
Marta Kosmyna, head of Silicon Valley for the "Stop Killer Robots" campaign, expressed similar concerns. The group wants a global ban on fully autonomous weapons, an idea that has received support from thousands of AI experts, including Alphabet and Facebook employees.
The Ministry of Defense has been linked since 2012 to an internal policy requiring a "human in the shot" whenever the deadly force is used. In United Nations discussions, the United States has argued against proposals for similar rules at the international level, arguing that existing agreements such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions are a sufficient means of defeating new means. to kill people.
Kosmyna said, calling on the United States to use its influence to steer the world towards new AI-specific restrictions, such restrictions could force the United States to change its position simply because it is not the same. an opponent did it.
Veterans who spoke Thursday were more supportive of the Pentagon's all-in-one AI strategy. Bow Rodgers, who has been awarded Bronze Star in Vietnam and is now investing in veteran-based startups, urged the Pentagon to prioritize AI projects likely to reduce friend fire incidents. "It must be on top," he said.
Peter Dixon, an Iraqi and Afghan naval officer, spoke of situations in which unrestrained air-raid calls by local troops taking heavy fire were refused as US commanders feared civilians would be injured. Improved surveillance tools for AI could help, I say. "It's important to keep in mind the benefits that this presents on the battlefield as opposed to the simple risk that it goes awry," said Dixon.
The Defense Innovation Board is expecting to vote this fall on a document combining principles likely to guide the use of artificial intelligence and general guidance at the Pentagon. It will also address the increased use of AI by pedestrians under study within the department, such as health care, logistics, recruitment and forecasting of aircraft maintenance issues.
"Everyone is focused on the end of the stick, but there are so many other applications that we need to think about," said Heather Roff, research analyst at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory. who helps the board of directors in the project.
The council also takes into account comments from technical leaders, academics and activists. On Friday, he planned a private meeting of Stanford professors, Google employees, venture capitalists and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Lucy Suchman, a professor at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, was eager to attend this meeting, but pessimistic about the long-term results of the Pentagon's ethics project. She expects that any document culminating in more than a simple public relations exercise relies on the meaningful control of a powerful new technology – a charge also in line with Google's guidelines on the law. ; IA. "It's ethical," she says.
Follow @https: //twitter.com/PCMag
When companies deploy Windows 10 to tens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees, default security is very important. That's why Microsoft provides Windows security baseline, consisting of a group of Microsoft-recommended configuration settings that can be relied upon to provide a more secure operating system.
As part of the reference, in the past Microsoft had defined a 60-day password expiration policy that required each user to change their password every two months (unless an organization changed the configuration). As Ars Technica ReportsWith the release of Windows 10 v1903, the expiration of the password is removed from the baseline as it affects security.
Microsoft explains in its last basic security project for Windows "When humans are forced to change their passwords, all too often they slightly and predictably modify their existing passwords and / or forget their new passwords … The periodic expiration of the password is a defense only against the password (or hash) will be stolen during its validity interval and will be used by an unauthorized entity.If a password has never been stolen, it will not be stolen. it's not necessary to have it expire. "
Microsoft also points out that if a password is stolen, the thief has 60 days to use it based on this expiration policy, which gives him ample time to enter a system and cause chaos. So, at all levels, the expiration of the password simply does not work, which is why it disappears.
Passwords must always respect a minimum length, be complex enough not to be easily guessed, have never been used and stored securely. It may be that individual organizations apply their own expiry policy, but it seems likely that the demand for a new password every few months will have far fewer workers in the future, this which is good for their health and safety.
This article was originally published on PCMag
Each product here is independently selected by Mashable's reporters. If you buy something, we can earn an affiliate commission that helps us support our work.
Microsoft is now part of an exclusive club: one trillion dollar companies.
On Thursday, the company's stock price opened at $ 130 per share, bringing its total market capitalization (the price of all its shares combined) to more than $ 1 trillion. This is the third company to break through Applewho hit the mark in August 2018, and Amazon, which received this rating in September 2018.
The increase in value comes thanks to impressive results report the company posted Wednesday. Microsoft's three divisions – IT hardware, software, cloud, and enterprise services – weigh heavily. Microsoft 's business figure for the quarter grew 14% over last year, for a quarterly total business turnover of $ 30.6 billion.
Stock prices fluctuate often – Apple and Amazon have both lost their price, and the value of Microsoft was already just under $ 1 trillion from 10.30 ET. The valuation of one trillion dollars is more a step of breathtaking confidence in these giants of technology.