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Google is going to automatically enroll 150 million users and two million YouTube creators into using two-factor authentication for their accounts by the end of the year, it announced on Tuesday.

Passwords aren’t good enough on their own, Google’s AbdelKarim Mardini, group product manager working on Chrome, and Guemmy Kim, director at the Account Security and Safety team, explained on Tuesday. These passphrases are often simple and can be easily guessed, or stolen and shared.

Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security by, say, requiring a one-time code to complete your login – this code could be generated by an app on your phone or emailed to you – or a hardware key you insert into your computer. The idea being that if someone learns of or guesses your password, they also need to get something else off you, like your unlocked phone or hardware key.

Google calls this two-step verification (2SV) and it involves being sent a code to type in, using a hardware key, or an app on your phone.

“2SV is strongest when it combines both "something you know" (like a password) and 'something you have' (like your phone or a security key),” Mardini and Kim said.

“And because we know the best way to keep our users safe is to turn on our security protections by default, we have started to automatically configure our users’ accounts into a more secure state. By the end of 2021, we plan to auto-enroll an additional 150 million Google users in 2SV and require two million YouTube creators to turn it on.”

Although Google introduced such authentication about a decade ago, people haven’t really been using it. Google software engineer Grzegorz Milka revealed at Usenix's Enigma security conference in 2018 that less than 10 per cent of the web giant's active user accounts were protected by two-factor authentication.

At the time, Milka told The Register the search giant didn’t want to force it upon its users. “The answer is usability,” he said. “It’s about how many people would we drive out if we force them to use additional security.”

Now Google's being a little more proactive, though it noted not everyone is tech savvy enough to get their heads around 2SV. As such, it is being selective with the accounts it auto-enrolls.

"We also recognize that today’s 2SV options aren’t suitable for everyone," Mardini and Kim said, "so we are working on technologies that provide a convenient, secure authentication experience and reduce the reliance on passwords in the long-term. Right now we are auto-enrolling Google accounts that have the proper backup mechanisms in place to make a seamless transition to 2SV." ®

Google's South Korean operation has decided to comply with the nation's new law that prohibits it from restricting payments to its own Play Store, either to pay for apps or for in-app purchases.

The law was enacted in September and was the world's first such legislation. As such it is of considerable interest, as Google and Apple have both spent years saying that allowing third-party payments would compromise user security. Epic Games, which unilaterally enabled its own payment options for its iOS apps, has framed the issue as one of unfair monopolisation by Apple.

South Korean media have reported that Google country director Kim Kyung-hoon yesterday appeared before the nation's Science, ICT, Broadcasting and Communications Committee and said "While there are areas that are regretful, we respect the law".

Facebook has admitted buggy auditing code was at the core of yesterday's six-hour outage – and revealed a little more about its infrastructure to explain how it vanished from the internet.

In a write-up by infrastructure veep Santosh Janardhan, titled "More details about the October 4 outage," the outrage-monetization giant confirmed early analyses that Facebook yesterday withdrew the border gateway protocol (BGP) routing to its own DNS servers, causing its domain names to fail to resolve.

That led to its websites disappearing, apps stopping, and internal tools and services needed by staff to remedy the situation breaking down as well.

Whistleblower Frances Haugen today urged Congress to regulate Facebook and its algorithms that she said put immense profit before safety and society.

“I am here today because I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, weaken our democracy, and much more,” Haugen, a former program manager at Facebook, said [PDF] at a Senate commerce and science subcommittee hearing.

“The company’s leadership knows ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer and won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed. They cannot solve this crisis without your help.”

D-Wave calls quantum computers "solvers." And as with PCs today, these solvers are going to segmented into fast, faster, and fastest.

The Canadian company already has a relatively fast quantum computing device, and is going to build a faster quantum computer that can handle more complex questions. This superconducting system is designed to use the gate model that is also the tech behind quantum computers made by IBM and Google.

For the past decade, D-Wave has been selling quantum-annealing systems, which can be used to solve small problems. Gate-model computers, like the one now promised by D-Wave, are theoretically proven to be better for more substantial work, the manufacturer's executives said at their Qubits conference, which was live-streamed.

Sponsored If you’re running a traditional on-prem relational database, you know that its care and feeding takes up an inordinate amount of your budget and your team’s time.

That’s time and budget you might want to devote to examining the cloud, even to embarking on full scale digital transformation. But for now, you tell yourself, nothing is more valuable than your company’s data so it makes sense to stick with that muscle-bound, on-prem solution.

Which is ironic, as that traditional on-prem database isn’t just holding back your transition to the cloud. It’s holding you back from exploiting new ways of interrogating your existing data, never mind taking advantage of new forms of data, meaning it is actually the very thing that is holding you back from fully realizing the transformative, latent value or your organisation’s data.

Microsoft has released Windows 11, a refreshed version of the operating system with internal improvements but tarnished by onerous system requirements and usability shortcomings.

Windows 11 is the operating system that Microsoft once hinted it might never release, saying back in 2015: "With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We'll deliver new features when they're ready, not waiting for the next major release. We think of Windows as a Service."

OVHcloud, the French cloud services provider, has trimmed roughly €50m off its IPO target as it seeks a capital injection from the financial markets.

The company, which saw fire engulf its Strasbourg operations on 10 March, has said it plans to raise €350m (around $406m) in its stock market debut, down from the "€400m" figure it floated in September.

OVH claims it is the fifth largest cloud provider in Europe and has frequently talked up the demand for data sovereignty by European clients, a regulatory concern for many orgs concerned about the impact of data protection laws on the dominant US cloud firms.

Google Cloud's UK and Ireland boss Pip White has quit to return to Salesforce and take control of the EMEA operations at collaboration division Slack.

White was in place for just 15 months at Google, after being brought in by former Google Cloud Platform veep Chris Ciauri as one the generals for country operations in the region – he himself left the Chocolate Factory earlier this year.

It seems the lure to exit Google and become senior veep and GM for EMEA at Slack was too tempting for tech sales veteran White to turn down.

Updated The Telegraph newspaper managed to leak 10TB of subscriber data and server logs after leaving an Elasticsearch cluster unsecured for most of September, according to the researcher who found it online.

The blunder was uncovered by well-known security researcher Bob Diachenko, who said that the cluster had been freely accessible "without a password or any other authentication required to access it."

After sampling the database to determine its owner, Diachenko saw the personal details of at least 1,200 Telegraph subscribers along with a substantial quantity of internal server logs, he told The Register.

Microsoft has launched a new operating system today, but whether you'll be able to run it is open to question. As is if you'll want to run it.

The Redmond-based Windows flinger has a problematic history with Windows releases. The century opened with Windows XP, shipped in 2001, which seemed OK. Then came Vista, in 2007, which was not. Then Windows 7 turned up in '09 to undo the Vista badness. And yeah, the users were happy. Right up until the monstrosity of Windows 8 was released (only partially rectified in Windows 8.1).

As of yesterday there was Windows 10, which has evolved into a pretty good platform over the years.

VMworld VMware will move its whole stack to the Arm architecture, as part of a new offering aimed at what it's labelled "edge-native apps".

VMware's concept doesn't diverge markedly from previous theories about why the edge matters, namely that sometimes it makes sense to run a workload close to where data is produced or consumed. The virtualization giant has taken that a little further, however, defining a "near edge" location as being the place for workloads that run "anywhere between the cloud and the remote customer location and delivered as a service."

The "far edge" is for workloads "placed at a remote customer location at the closest proximity to the endpoints."

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Review Of French Report On Clergy Abuse – OpEd

Al Jazeera English 05 October, 2021 - 11:05pm

A Journal of Analysis and News

By William Donohue

There are many media reports on the release of a report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France that are misleading, incomplete or simply wrong. While the full report is not yet available in English, I have read the Summary of the Final Report, “Sexual Violence in the Catholic Church.”

The Report found that over a 70-year period, 1950-2020, approximately 3,000 molesters allegedly abused an estimated 216,000 minors. Contrary to some news stories, not all were priests: one-third of the offenses were committed by those who worked in Catholic schools, youth programs, and other agencies.

No one would know anything about this had it not been for French bishops asking the French government to conduct such a probe. That was three years ago. The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church was launched to do the investigation with no strings attached. There was no budget—the Church paid for everything—and full access to Church archives was allowed.

Before proceeding, there is no institution in France, or anywhere else, that has asked the government to probe sexual misconduct among its employees. None.

Some aspects of the methodology are sound, but not all are. While the credentials of those who did the report are not in question, the fact that the Commission was entirely staffed by 21 volunteers is problematic: self-selection raises serious questions about bias. How do we know that those who chose to be on the Commission were not tainted by an animus against the Church? After all, news reports on anti-Catholicism in France are not hard to find. This possibility was not even mentioned in the Report.

To cull its findings, surveys were taken of the Catholic population, including anonymous online ones. Granting anonymity may be attractive to respondents, but it has obvious drawbacks. Worse, the use of a hotline is clearly unscientific: there was no screening of accusers. How do we know that this didn’t play into the hands of the 6,500 persons who called in saying that either they, or someone whom they know, was abused. No attempt to validate these accusations was made.

Even the survey that was conducted of 28,000 persons over the age of 18 raises issues. Self-reporting has its methodological limitations. In this regard, what is particularly damaging is the constant use of the word “victims.” It should read “alleged victims.” Again, no screening was done to validate the accusations.

The Report found that 2.5 percent of the French clergy and lay Catholics working for the Church since 1950 were accused of sexually abusing minors; this makes up less than four percent of all such abuse in France. Most of the abuse took place between 1950 and 1968; the 1960s was the heyday of the sexual revolution.

The Report found that 80 percent of the victims were boys, so this rules out heterosexual priests. At one point it says that most of the victims were “pre-adolescent boys,” but nowhere does it define when adolescence begins.

This is not unimportant. The Report’s finding that 8 in 10 cases of abuse were male-on-male sex cannot escape the conclusion that homosexuals were the offenders.

Indeed, Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the Commission, admitted as much when he said, “we can say with a high degree of certainty that within the Catholic Church, the abuses mainly concerned men and not women, unlike society.” His use of the word “men” is telling.

The Report contains pages of recommendations. Some are quite good; others are banal. The authors should have been more careful not to intrude into the internal affairs of the Church, such as making suggestions on how to deal with Confession. Just as clueless, the Report concludes that “the paradoxical obsession with Catholic morality on issues of sexuality could be counterproductive in the fight against sex abuse.”

It is not the Church that is obsessed with sex—it is those who work in the media and education that have sex on their brain. No matter, the Commission just doesn’t get it. To wit, if Catholic sexual ethics had been exercised by those who abused minors, there would have been no scandal.

The real paradox is the sight of French authorities and elites lecturing the Catholic Church on the sexual abuse of minors. No country in the world harbors more intellectuals who have justified man-boy sex than in France. Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir were not only sexually promiscuous in their own lives, they, and many other left-wing writers, have long advocated eliminating laws  barring sex between adults and children.

Author Gabriel Matzneff is a hero to French intellectuals. He is a well-known sexual predator who molested boys and girls as young as 8-years-old, and he did so for decades, garnering the applause of the literati.

In short, the French need to clean up their own house before pointing fingers at anyone else. As even the Report notes, the Church has made great progress handling this problem. It is now time for French intellectuals to take their cues from the Catholic Church and stop idolizing molesters in their midst.

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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(RFE/RL) — Romanian lawmakers from across the political spectrum have voted overwhelmingly to topple Prime Minister Florin Citu’s center-right minority

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Review Of French Report On Clergy Abuse – OpEd

KPBS 05 October, 2021 - 11:05pm

A Journal of Analysis and News

By William Donohue

There are many media reports on the release of a report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France that are misleading, incomplete or simply wrong. While the full report is not yet available in English, I have read the Summary of the Final Report, “Sexual Violence in the Catholic Church.”

The Report found that over a 70-year period, 1950-2020, approximately 3,000 molesters allegedly abused an estimated 216,000 minors. Contrary to some news stories, not all were priests: one-third of the offenses were committed by those who worked in Catholic schools, youth programs, and other agencies.

No one would know anything about this had it not been for French bishops asking the French government to conduct such a probe. That was three years ago. The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church was launched to do the investigation with no strings attached. There was no budget—the Church paid for everything—and full access to Church archives was allowed.

Before proceeding, there is no institution in France, or anywhere else, that has asked the government to probe sexual misconduct among its employees. None.

Some aspects of the methodology are sound, but not all are. While the credentials of those who did the report are not in question, the fact that the Commission was entirely staffed by 21 volunteers is problematic: self-selection raises serious questions about bias. How do we know that those who chose to be on the Commission were not tainted by an animus against the Church? After all, news reports on anti-Catholicism in France are not hard to find. This possibility was not even mentioned in the Report.

To cull its findings, surveys were taken of the Catholic population, including anonymous online ones. Granting anonymity may be attractive to respondents, but it has obvious drawbacks. Worse, the use of a hotline is clearly unscientific: there was no screening of accusers. How do we know that this didn’t play into the hands of the 6,500 persons who called in saying that either they, or someone whom they know, was abused. No attempt to validate these accusations was made.

Even the survey that was conducted of 28,000 persons over the age of 18 raises issues. Self-reporting has its methodological limitations. In this regard, what is particularly damaging is the constant use of the word “victims.” It should read “alleged victims.” Again, no screening was done to validate the accusations.

The Report found that 2.5 percent of the French clergy and lay Catholics working for the Church since 1950 were accused of sexually abusing minors; this makes up less than four percent of all such abuse in France. Most of the abuse took place between 1950 and 1968; the 1960s was the heyday of the sexual revolution.

The Report found that 80 percent of the victims were boys, so this rules out heterosexual priests. At one point it says that most of the victims were “pre-adolescent boys,” but nowhere does it define when adolescence begins.

This is not unimportant. The Report’s finding that 8 in 10 cases of abuse were male-on-male sex cannot escape the conclusion that homosexuals were the offenders.

Indeed, Jean-Marc Sauvé, president of the Commission, admitted as much when he said, “we can say with a high degree of certainty that within the Catholic Church, the abuses mainly concerned men and not women, unlike society.” His use of the word “men” is telling.

The Report contains pages of recommendations. Some are quite good; others are banal. The authors should have been more careful not to intrude into the internal affairs of the Church, such as making suggestions on how to deal with Confession. Just as clueless, the Report concludes that “the paradoxical obsession with Catholic morality on issues of sexuality could be counterproductive in the fight against sex abuse.”

It is not the Church that is obsessed with sex—it is those who work in the media and education that have sex on their brain. No matter, the Commission just doesn’t get it. To wit, if Catholic sexual ethics had been exercised by those who abused minors, there would have been no scandal.

The real paradox is the sight of French authorities and elites lecturing the Catholic Church on the sexual abuse of minors. No country in the world harbors more intellectuals who have justified man-boy sex than in France. Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir were not only sexually promiscuous in their own lives, they, and many other left-wing writers, have long advocated eliminating laws  barring sex between adults and children.

Author Gabriel Matzneff is a hero to French intellectuals. He is a well-known sexual predator who molested boys and girls as young as 8-years-old, and he did so for decades, garnering the applause of the literati.

In short, the French need to clean up their own house before pointing fingers at anyone else. As even the Report notes, the Church has made great progress handling this problem. It is now time for French intellectuals to take their cues from the Catholic Church and stop idolizing molesters in their midst.

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

(RFE/RL) — Romanian lawmakers from across the political spectrum have voted overwhelmingly to topple Prime Minister Florin Citu’s center-right minority

Did you enjoy this article? Then please consider donating today to ensure that Eurasia Review can continue to be able to provide similar content.

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