IN A NUTSHELL 13/2019

WANT TO TEST YOUR SOFTWARE? EMPLOY HACKERS

Richard Zhu and Amat Cama have recently hacked into Tesla’s Model 3 web browser and managed to write a message on the car’s screen. Their achievement did not get them into trouble, though. Quite the contrary, it earned them $375,000 in prize money and the car whose system they broke. The whole situation took place as a part of Pwn20wn, a contest gathering the best hackers in the world. Within the competition the contestants are asked to find bugs in the products of giant companies like Microsoft, Apple or Tesla. The organizers’ approach seems really logical: rather than trying to create 100%-hacker-proof products on their own they invite hackers to give their products a go, offering a lot of money if they are successful in going through security. For all companies letting their products to be tested safety is priority as their clients entrust them with a lot of personal data, including, for example, passwords to bank accounts. In Tesla’s case we may be talking about yet different aspect of safety — imagine an autonomous car being hacked…

WHAT MAKES A PERFECT DAY?

Everyone knows a person who is incredibly productive, organized, creative. When does he/she do all that? You ask yourself a question, perhaps. Mark McLauglin, a neurosurgeon, a father, a coach, a speaker and a writer no doubt falls into this category and now shares his secret to a productive day. He says the key are morning routines of which he lists three: meditation, ”cataloguing” and planning. He starts each day with 10 minutes of meditation to reduce stress and improve well-being. Trick number two is having folders for different taks which are awaiting him. Whenever a new task appears he recognizes if it is an urgent one and puts it in an appropriate folder assigned for a particular day. This way he is not thinking about this task until its time comes. The last piece of advice is planning. Mr McLauglin says you should ever start a day without having a plan for it. You should write down everything you need to do in a day and check your calendar. Going through the day without a plan is, he says, like running a race not knowing the route: you may reach your destination but you will be tired, stressed out and… last.

DEAR UNITED STATES – IT’S DOABLE

If it was ever appropriate to use the term “silver liningwith respect to the Christchurch massacre that took 50 lives on Friday 15 March, that silver lining would have to be this: New Zealand has just changed its gun laws. Effective April 11, all types of semi-automatic guns and assault rifles will be banned. Right now anyone over 18 with [an easily obtainable] gun license could buy them. New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern announced an amnesty period and a buy-back program that allows owners of those weapons to hand them in and receive some money back. People who fail to take advantage of the amnesty and are caught with a banned weapon after it ends face a penalty of up to NZ$ 4000 (approx. PLN 10’000) and three years in jail. Former liberal or left-wing governments attempted to tighten those laws, but they repeatedly failed because of the outcry of hunting community (hunting is extremely popular in NZ) and pro-gun organisations.

OUR INTERNET FREEDOM ISN’T AT STAKE HERE, IS IT?

On 26 March the European Parliament passed (barely, but still) the controversial ACTA 2 copyright directive. Its critics more commonly refer to it as the internet censorship directive, although the law is intended as a step towards a transparent EU digital single market. According to the widely discussed Article 13 of the directive, internet publishers who put out copyrighted content (also one posted by its users as comments) will be held accountable. Critics say that this will directly lead to moderating and censoring of the discussion, as publishers will naturally seek to avoid penalties. Another controversy (Article 11) is the proposal of taxes for sharing links that contain copyrighted material. The good news is that the new laws aren’t going to affect news services less than 3 years old with less than 5 million views and with a turnover smaller than EUR 10 million. Another (potentially) good news is that most EU directives constitute guidelines and foundations for member states, so the final shape of the internet copyright law in Poland will be agreed on by the Polish parliament. In a Nutshell (this week’s edition, anyway) appears to be safe.

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