Michigan State University Online Master's Programs in Engineering

Welcome to the August 9, 2019 edition of ACM TechNews, providing timely information for IT professionals three times a week.

ACM TechNews mobile apps are available for Android phones and tablets (click here) and for iPhones (click here) and iPads (click here).

To view "Headlines At A Glance," hit the link labeled "Click here to view this online" found at the top of the page in the html version. The online version now has a button at the top labeled "Show Headlines."
Users Can Sue Facebook Over Facial-Recognition Software, Court Rules
National Public Radio
Sasha Ingber
August 8, 2019

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that Illinois-based Facebook users can sue the social network for using facial recognition software. Those Facebook users have accused the company of violating Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act with its tag suggestions feature, which can analyze persons' facial details from uploaded photos. The 9th Circuit judges wrote, "Once a face template of an individual is created, Facebook can use it to identify that individual in any of the other hundreds of millions of photos uploaded to Facebook each day, as well as determine when the individual was present at a specific location." The American Civil Liberties Union said this is the first decision by a U.S. appellate court to address privacy concerns presented by the technology.

Full Article

female minority high school students Boost in High School Students Taking Advanced Computer Science Could Change Face of Tech
Government Technology-Center for Digital Education
Christina Gardner-McCune
August 7, 2019

Data from the College Board shows that more girls and minority high school students are taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course, with the number of black enrollees increasing 121% since its 2016 launch. The number of Hispanic/Latino students who have taken the course has climbed 125% since its inception, while the number of female AP CSP students has increased 136% since 2016. The University of Florida's Christina Gardner-McCune said growth in CS student diversity "in turn will help diversify the tech industry."

Full Article
ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science 2019 Fellowships Announced
August 7, 2019

The ACM Special Interest Group on High-Performance Computing (SIGHPC) has named six students to receive this year's ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science Fellowships. Each student will receive $15,000 annually for five years, which they can use to support their studies anywhere in the world. All of this year's winners are women; four are underrepresented minorities in their country of study, and one is deaf. Said 2019 fellowship chair John West, “SIGHPC continues to believe that if we are going to broaden the range of expertise and ideas that form the foundation of our field, it is critical to focus on students and the early career stage. Our partnership with Intel allows us to do just that, and we are grateful for their substantial commitment to this effort.”

Full Article

underwater sea life The Latest Thing in VR? A Face Mask That Makes It Feel Like You're Underwater
Fast Company
Katharine Schwab
August 7, 2019

Researchers at the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan have developed a haptic virtual reality (VR) device that can simulate the sensation of being underwater. A user wearing LiquidMask under a VR headset can see a virtual underwater environment. The device pumps liquid around the mask to provide a sensation of moving through water, and can adjust the liquid's temperature to simulate cool or warm sensations. The amount of liquid also can be increased to simulate increases in pressure. Because the device provides temperature sensations, it also could be used for applications such as games in which temperature is a factor.

Full Article

Moscow Kremlin Wall and towers Russian Hackers Infiltrating Companies via Office Printer
Technology Review
August 5, 2019

Microsoft warns that hackers associated with Russian spy agencies are exploiting Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, including Internet-linked office printers, to infiltrate corporate networks. The hackers are connected to Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, and allegedly are responsible for the 2016 breach of the Democratic National Committee. Microsoft said it observed multiple instances of one of the hackers accessing networks through IoT devices deployed with default passwords, or that lacked the latest security update. Said Microsoft, "A simple network scan to look for other insecure devices allowed them to discover and move across the network in search of higher-privileged accounts that would grant access to higher-value data."

Full Article

A series of smartphones showing the kinds of customized health reports generated after facial scans. 'Blood Pressure Video Selfies' Could Be Used to Monitor Patients
The Daily Mail
Sam Blanchard
August 6, 2019

A study by scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada found two-minute-long smartphone videos of patients' faces can be used to take blood-pressure readings of those individuals that are 96% accurate. The iPhone technique was tested on 1,328 patients with normal blood pressure. The technique detects light reflected from subdermal facial blood vessels to measure blood flow. Smartphone cameras are sufficiently sensitive to perceive the color of this reflected light, and software can track blood flow around the face. The British Heart Foundation's Metin Avkiran said, "This innovative research is a powerful example of how data from mobile technology can be harnessed and analyzed by modern machine learning methods to potentially transform cardiovascular care."

Full Article

An aerial view of a street showing a bicyclist in the crossway. San Diego's Connected Streetlights Learn to Spot Bicycles
IEEE Spectrum
Tekla S. Perry
August 7, 2019

The smart streetlight network of the city of San Diego, CA, now tracks bicycles. The city has 3,200 smart streetlights, each of which monitors an area roughly 36 meters by 54 meters. When launched last year, the network tracked only cars in order to determine where to place stop signs and how to time traffic signals. Since then, the city has added pedestrian traffic data into the system, and now has updated the network to count bicycles and record their movements. The system relies on machine learning to distinguish a bicycle from a car, a person, or another object. Unfortunately, the bike-counting software counts some bicycles that are not being ridden, such as those in bike racks or in the back of pickup trucks.

Full Article

Graph of somatic changes over time NIH Researchers Uncover Role of Repetitive DNA, Protein Sequences in Tumor Evolution
National Institutes of Health
August 7, 2019

Researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NLM) partnered with academia to develop a technique for quantifying the repeat instability genetic mutation involved in tumor evolution. The team measured variations in the repeat content of gene and protein sequences, and applied computational methodologies they had developed to compare sequences from cancerous tissues with those from non-cancerous tissues. The healthy tissue exhibited repetitive-sequence patterns similar to those in tumors, with implications for using repeat sequences for early cancer diagnosis. Said NLM director Patricia Flatley Brennan, "Collaborative research such as this, where our computational biologists and data scientists work together with others on discoveries, could make a difference in life-threatening diseases such as cancer."

Full Article

A drone containing laboratory samples flies in front of crane during a trial flight. Switzerland Strives to Be Global Leader in Opening Skies for Drones
The Wall Street Journal
Andy Pasztor
August 6, 2019

The Swiss government is working to develop a system to handle ever-increasing aerial drone traffic, with the ultimate goal of allowing such unmanned aircraft to operate in more of the country's airspace. Swiss officials are working with the local drone industry, as well as with U.S.-based drone services startup AirMap, to develop steps to move toward integrating manned and unmanned aircraft that can fly and safely exist in the same airspace. Going forward, controllers at some sites will be able to track some drones on a dashboard next to their existing radar screens, and drone operators will have access to automated flight-plan approvals and updated data about nearby helicopters and piloted planes.

Full Article
New Windows Malware Sets Up Proxies on Your PC to Relay Malicious Traffic
Catalin Cimpanu
August 2, 2019

A new malware strain that installs a proxy on infected computers is now being advertised to other malware authors on underground cybercrime forums, according to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. The SystemBC malware is an on-demand proxy component that malware operators can integrate and deploy on compromised computers alongside another malware. SystemBC creates a SOCKS5 proxy server through which other malware can create a tunnel to bypass local firewalls, avoid Internet content filters, or connect to its command-and-control server without revealing its actual IP address. The malware also creates challenges for defenders relying on network edge detections to intercept and mitigate threats like banking trojans, according to the Proofpoint researchers.

Full Article

An Optimus car parked on a Brooklyn street. Driverless Cars Arrive in New York City
The New York Times
Winnie Hu
August 6, 2019

A fleet of six driverless cars have started shuttling people around a loop that is just over one mile long at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The autonomous vehicles will run seven days a week to meet passengers going to and from a recently opened ferry landing. The six electric Polaris vehicles are equipped with laser scanners, cameras, and a sophisticated computer system. The cars are operated by Optimus Ride, a startup that has provided more than 20,000 autonomous vehicle rides since its founding in 2015. Optimus Ride passengers are always accompanied by a team of two people—a safety driver and a software operator—who can take over the vehicle’s controls if necessary.

Full Article

Two rooftops identified by the DeepRoof system, designed to evaluate roofs with the most potential to produce solar power. To Encourage Solar Power, Researchers Develop Method to Automatically Estimate Rooftop Potential
UMass Amherst News
August 7, 2019

University of Massachusetts, Amherst researchers have proposed a method combining machine learning techniques and satellite imagery to assess rooftops for their solar power potential. The DeepRoof solution is an alternative to expensive LiDAR data-dependent automated tools. DeepRoof employs recent computer vision innovations, which in combination with satellite images can rate roofs' solar panel potential with 91% accuracy. The tool takes into account roof geometries, nearby structures, and trees that could impact solar potential. DeepRoof also is scalable, allowing automatic analysis of satellite images of a complete city, to detect all rooftops with solar potential.

Full Article
Data Cleaning
University of Wisconsin - Applied Computing Degree

Association for Computing Machinery

1601 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10019-7434

ACM Media Sales

If you are interested in advertising in ACM TechNews or other ACM publications, please contact ACM Media Sales or (212) 626-0686, or visit ACM Media for more information.

To submit feedback about ACM TechNews, contact: [email protected]