‘Black box’ no more: This system can spot the bias in those algorithms

Between recent controversies over Facebook's Trending Topics feature and the U.S. legal system's "risk assessment" scores in dealing with criminal defendants, there's probably never been broader interest in the mysterious algorithms that are making decisions about our lives.

That mystery may not last much longer. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University announced this week that they've developed a method to help uncover the biases that can be encoded in those decision-making tools.

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Senators want warrant protections for US email stored overseas

A new bill in Congress would require U.S. law enforcement agencies to obtain court-ordered warrants before demanding the emails of the country's residents when they are stored overseas.

The International Communications Privacy Act, introduced Wednesday by three senators, would close a loophole that allows law enforcement agencies to request emails and other electronic documents without warrants. 

Congress has been working since 2010 to rework the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a law that sets down rules for law enforcement access to electronic communications, but the focus has been on requiring warrants for emails and other communications stored in the cloud for longer than 180 days.

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Celebrity hacker Guccifer’s confession gives us all a lesson in security

The activity of Romanian hacker Guccifer, who has admitted to compromising almost 100 email and social media accounts belonging to U.S. government officials, politicians, and other high-profile individuals, is the latest proof that humans are the weakest link in computer security.

Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, is not a hacker in the technical sense of the word. He’s a social engineer: a clever and persistent individual with a lot of patience who a Romanian prosecutor once described as “the obsessive-compulsive type.” By his own admission, Lazar has no programming skills. He didn’t find vulnerabilities or write exploits. Instead, he’s good at investigating, finding information online and making connections.

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How to get Windows 7’s Start menu in Windows 10

John David Galt wants to “get rid of all those tiles, and go back to the cascading Start menus Windows XP had.” I’ll cover going back to the Windows 7 Start menu, as well.

No one would be happy if next year’s cars all came with the gas pedal on the left and the brake on the right. Yet Microsoft clearly has no compunction about regularly changing its user interface. (To be fair, a new Windows Start menu isn’t likely to result in highway collisions.)

I personally like the Windows 10 Start menu (although I’d like it even more if it had collapsible groups and jump lists on the tiles). But if you pine for an earlier menu design, read on.

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