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Lawsuit accuses Google of bias against women in pay, promotions

Three female former employees of Alphabet Inc's Google filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing the tech company of discriminating against women in pay and promotions.
The proposed class action lawsuit, filed in California state court in San Francisco, comes as Google faces an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor into sex bias in pay practices.
The lawsuit appears to be the first to make class action sex bias claims against Google, but is only the latest instance of a major tech company being accused of discriminating against women.
The Department of Labor sued Oracle America Inc in January, claiming it paid white men more than women and minorities with similar jobs. Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc are facing sex bias lawsuits, and Qualcomm Inc last year settled claims for $19.5 million.
Meanwhile, Uber Technologies Inc in June said it would make a series of changes after a former engineer in a blog post accused the ride-hailing service of condoning rampa…
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IBM makes breakthrough in race to commercialise quantum computers.

Researchers at International Business Machines Corp have developed a new approach for simulating molecules on a quantum computer. 
The breakthrough, outlined in a research paper to be published in the scientific journal Nature on Sept 14, uses a technique that could eventually allow quantum computers to solve difficult problems in chemistry and electro-magnetism that cannot be solved by even the most powerful supercomputers today. 
In the experiments described in the paper, IBM researchers used a quantum computer to derive the lowest energy state of a molecule of beryllium hydride. Knowing the energy state of a molecule is a key to understanding chemical reactions. 
In the case of beryllium hydride, a supercomputer can solve this problem, but the standard techniques for doing so cannot be used for large molecules because the number of variables exceeds the computational power of even these machines. 
The IBM researchers created a new algorithm specifically designed t…

Analysts sceptical iPhone X’s Face ID will be foolproof.

Apple is placing a bold bet that your face can securely unlock your phone, but experts are sceptical that it will be foolproof from the get-go. 
The iPhone X, out in November, will rely on facial recognition technology called Face ID. Apple, which is known for discarding technologies more aggressively than rivals, dumped its well-tested Touch ID fingerprint system that has been available in iPhones since 2013. 
While Face ID appears to be more sophisticated than the biometric systems used in competing devices like Samsung's Galaxy S8 phones, experts say the iPhone X will have to prove it won't be fooled by facial hair, makeup, glasses, masks, skin tones or poor lighting. 
Apple's bet goes beyond just unlocking phones. On Tuesday, Apple executive Phil Schiller said Face ID could also be used for purchases on an iPhone. 
There are enough unanswered questions to make Premkumar Natarajan, a biometrics industry expert and Apple stockholder, decide to wait until …

Google 'Translate' app offers offline translations, conversation mode

Google on Wednesday announced updates to its "Translate" app that would enable users in Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu languages to use offline translations and instant visual translation in their preferred language.

Google "Translate" has also added support for conversation mode feature -- that lets users have a bilingual conversation with someone, simply by talking to "Translate" app -- in regional languages such as Bengali and Tamil.

To activate the feature, users should tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the "Translate" app will automatically recognise which of the two languages are being spoken, enabling a smooth conversation, the company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the offline support enables users (of Indian languages) to translate a word or sentence even when they are not connected to the Internet. To use offline translations, the u…

Facebook removes Instant Articles from Messenger

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has removed its self-hosted, fast-loading article format Instant Articles meant for mobile from the Messenger app.

The feature was originally designed to run in the News Feed in the Facebook core app and will continue to do so, Tech Crunch reported late Tuesday.

"As we continue to refine and improve Instant Articles and in order to have the greatest impact on people and publishers, we are focusing our investment in Instant Articles in the Facebook core app and are no longer offering Instant Articles in Messenger," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Instant Articles was an article format launched in 2015 to speed up page load time in the Facebook core app by ten times compared to the mobile web and was later expanded to Messenger.


Several high profile publications and publishers either pulled, scaled back or never participated in Instant Articles in the first place because of the lack of monetization on the platform. …

US government has banned use of Kaspersky anti-virus software in its offices

WASHINGTON: The US government banned the use of Kaspersky security software in federal offices Wednesday, saying the Russian company has risky ties to Russian intelligence that threaten US national security.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke ordered all government offices to remove and replace any of the company's popular anti-hacker software in use within 90 days.

"The department is concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies," Duke said in a statement.
"The risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates US national security," Duke said.

The move comes amid heightened strains between Russia and the US over Moscow's alleged interference in last year's US presi…

Hackers attacking US and European energy firms could sabotage power grids

A hacking campaign is targeting the energy sector in Europe and the US to potentially sabotage national power grids, a cybersecurity firm has warned.
The group, dubbed “Dragonfly” by researchers at Symantec, has been in operation since at least 2011 but went dark in 2014 after it was first exposed, secretly placing backdoors in the industrial control systems of power plants across the US and Europe.
Now, Symantec reports, the group has resumed operations, apparently working since late 2015 to investigate and penetrate energy facilities in at least three countries: the US, Turkey and Switzerland.
“The Dragonfly group appears to be interested in both learning how energy facilities operate and also gaining access to operational systems themselves, to the extent that the group now potentially has the ability to sabotage or gain control of these systems should it decide to do so,” the cybersecurity firm warns.
Dragonfly’s methods are varied, but all its attacks seem to be focus…