Taco Bell is Looking at a Chat Bot to Take Your Orders

During those late nights when you just feel like a quick bite to eat and your favourite show before hitting the hay, we all feel like quickly ordering something in and enjoying the greasy food before the days over. Taco Bell are currently testing a new way for you to order, the TacoBot.

The TacoBot is designed to be a chat AI, designed to help you not only figure out what you really want but then to place your order. Just like having an instant messaging conversation, you could soon be ordering and asking questions about the menu rather than browsing and debating every single option you can’t get.

The TacoBot is currently in a closed beta, with select companies giving it a try and making sure that you can’t break the system and end up with a chicken taco rather than a bean burrito.

Place your order via the chat bot and select your pick up location to enjoy fast food on the go. With autonomous delivery robots now offering you pizza to your door without a driver, you may even be able to get your food  delivered by a drone in the near future, leaving only the cooking up to a person.

What do you think? Would you prefer to select items off a menu or is a chat bot a nice way to order? How would you feel if you could text or email your order to the chat bot? Walking home from work? a quick text and the foods ready for you to pick up before you’ve even left the office.

FBI Doesn’t Want To Tell How It Tracked People Across The Tor Network

The FBI are known for their digital prowess, although they may require some help when it comes to breaking into an iPhone. One of their most recent successes was the tracking of people using the Tor network, but after a judge ruled that the defendants representatives needed to know how he was identified the FBI has declined to say how they tracked people across the Tor network.

The ruling was provided by the Judge overlooking the case and was provided so that the defendants experts could check that the method used to identify the client was both within the FBI’s authority and also properly identified the client amongst the thousands of users of the Tor network.

The Tor network is a system (also known as the Onion Router) which people can use to hide their true identity by encrypting their traffic and bouncing it around the world in a series of steps. The network is also known for hiding a selection of “secret” websites that can only be accessed from within the network.

The FBI claim that they have already provided enough details for the defence to figure out if they went beyond their authority. FBI Agent Daniel Alfin, states in the court papers filed by the DOJ in the case, as saying “knowing how someone unlocked the front door provides no information about what that person did after entering the house”. While a valid argument, one would also argue that if someone breaks into your house, stealing something from your house and gaining access were both things you need to be made aware, not just one of the two.

Apple To Fight Government On Creating iPhone Backdoor

We reported earlier that Apple had been ordered to not unlock a phone, something they have constantly stated they could not do, but instead create the means for the government to access it. It would seem Apple were as happy to hear about this as we were and are looking to fight them about creating a backdoor into their iPhones.

In our story so far, Apple are not unknown for facing court trials that have tried to make them unlock an iPhone, even after cases have ended. The latest court case tried to do just that, but instead of asking for a way to the phone, Judge Sheri Pym has used the All Writs Act to demand that Apple creates a backdoor to enable the FBI to unlock the iPhone in a court case. The All Writs Act is an 18th-century piece of legislation which says if the government asks you to jump, you jump.

In Tom Cook’s letter to their customers, he clearly expresses what they are asking for and why he believes it is outrageous that they can do this. Before we see his response though the following extract from the court order shows just what they are requesting.

“Apple’s reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware.”

What they end up saying is that Apple will have to remove the passcodes that protect the iPhone, enabling the FBI to try every single passcode possible. This is often known as a “brute force hack”, a method where every possible combination is used in order to try gain access to something, similar to how you could spin the dials on a combination lock to open up your luggage on holiday.

Tom Cook’s understanding of it is that the FBI want them to create a new version of their iOS for the phone, bypassing all their security features when it was installed on to the phone. While they say it will only be used in this one case, Cook explains that this cannot be guaranteed and would only seek to put more iPhones at risk.

With the request essentially being an order it’s being called a “frightful precedent” that a judge could request the removal of key security features. Given their history with hacking, it may come as no surprise that people aren’t too keen to give the keys to the kingdom to government agencies.

Twitter is Trialing Timelines Listed in a Non-Chronological Order

Since the appointment of Twitter’s new CEO, Jack Dorsey, there has been a number of polarizing changes to the user-interface. For example, Twitter recently dropped the star icon to favourite tweets and replaced it with a like button. In the grand scheme of things, this seems like a fairly pointless exercise and doesn’t really alter the experience. Nevertheless, this small change made people quite vociferous although they adjusted to it quickly once the initial outrage had subsided. This is nothing though compared to the latest attempt to change the user feed and list tweets in a non-chronological order. A Twitter spokesperson said in an e-mail to Motherboard.com, that the order changes are:

“..an experiment. We’re continuing to explore ways to surface the best content for people using Twitter.”

Here we can see the random order and time stamps for each individual tweet:

I honestly cannot understand the logic of listing tweets in such a jumbled manner. The chronological system works perfectly because you can easily scroll through missed tweets and check the latest updates extremely quickly. If this is introduced, it will become very difficult to find a specific tweet. Clearly, it’s only an experiment at this time and being applied to a small number of accounts. However, it’s a terrible idea and should be scrapped.

National Security Letters Are Starting To Be Exposed

Security and secrecy are commonplace these days, with hacks and threats all around the world coming together in the digital world. Not only does our information being accessible from all over the world pose a danger, but we also have the threat that even the people we trust, the very organisation that pertain to protect us, can get to this information. One way of doing this within the U.S. has been the National security letter, but finally some light is being shed on what these actually contain.

National Security Letters (NSL) is a tool which means that federal investigators can request a person’s information from any organisation it deems necessary, your doctors or car dealer, your bank or your even your work. The problem people have had with these documents is that all they need to be considered valid is an agent’s signature saying it was relevant to a case. This meant there was no legal process, no Judge’s or legal oversight.

What made the NSL even more fighting was that it came with a built-in gag order, making it illegal to even state you had been issued one to disclose information. Citing the first amendment the federal Judge in a case of a small ISP being requested information from an NSL, as shown in the court document here, show that the list is quite extensive.

Your name and “related subscriber information”, account number, addresses and phone numbers, screen names and billing information, even your IP’s and “any other information which you consider to be electronic communication transactional record”. While some of these may seem completely irrelevant it even includes to things ordered or shipped relating to the account.

Nicholas Merill, the president of Calyx Internet Access in New York back in 2004, has been fighting the gag order contained within the NSL for 11 years in an attempt to reveal the information the FBI was seeking.

The gag orders have since been lessened, as stated by the Director of National Intelligence, the gag orders will be terminated after three years unless a special agent and case agent can determine and provide in writing why the gag order is required for an extended period.

It’s scary just how much information they could legally obtain, without any legal restrictions or oversight.

Domino’s Will Deliver Your Pizza Freshly Warm With New Car

Domino’s have never been a company to shy away from looking at new technology to help improve the takeaway delivery. Two years ago it was suspected that you soon might have a drone deliver your pizza, more recently they even looked at how they might be able to use Twitter to let you order a pizza with a tweet. What could come next you may ask? They seem to be going back to basics, the good old-fashioned car, but with a serious twist.

Introducing the Domino’s DXP, the specialist Dominos pizza delivery vehicle. Let’s start with why this isn’t just another ordinary delivery vehicle, first up is the obvious addition of an oven, designed to keep your pizza hot at 140 Fahrenheit (a toasty 60-degree celsius). As if that wasn’t enough, the car’s got rid of all the additional seating, leaving only the driver and a selection of holders for your drinks, dips and desserts, this means that your food is safe and secure while your drinks won’t bubble over the second they are opened.

We’ve had ice cream trucks for years, but this is the first time a company has gone so far as to design and build a custom set of cars for your take away. After five years of development, the car could soon be finding its way to you but with only 97 available in the US, just how long till the vehicle makes its way overseas?

For more information check out Dominos DXP presentation here.

North Dakota Police Will Utilize Weaponised Drones

Drones used to be a thing of the future, small robotic creatures that would fly around and swarm the skies. They would be included in Hollywood blockbusters such as Terminator and even the ones where they help us survive such as in Transformers. With devices that can seek and destroy from ground level to your forty story apartment, they were quickly developed and created for everyday tasks. Now with thanks to a lobbyist from Dakota the first drones with weaponry might soon see deployment.

With recent years, fears over drones carrying weapons are known to have caused a ruckus in many circles, with people like Steven Hawking requesting that drones avoid automation in order to reduce the threat from them. The Rick Becker’s bill would have seen that all drones in Dakota could not be equipped with weaponry, but an amendment by Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association, has banned the drones from carrying anything deemed a lethal weapon. This means that less lethal tactics such as pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons and even Tasers could soon see deployment at the bottom of a drone.

The initial bill was created to force police to obtain a warrant before using a drone to collect evidence while also banning weaponising the free flying devices. With this sudden escalation, all eyes will be on the Dakota police and how they choose to deploy drones with anything other than a camera.

Thank you The Daily Beast for the information.

Image courtesy of Gary Friedman (Los Angeles Times).

Google Wants to Bring Order to Drone Airspace

Drones are becoming more popular than ever, but flying them around now poses a bit of a risk. This is why Google wants to bring order to low altitude airspace, namely the airspace below 500ft, so its Wing drones may be able to fly safely and avoid collisions.

Google proposed that all people operating a drone should send their location info back to the airspace access and collision avoidance. In doing so, air traffic control authorities then could pass on the information to private airspace service providers. This is how Dave Vos, head of the Wing project at Google, said it sees the future of drone control.

Vos said that private airspace control companies, which he calls ASPs, can manage these low airspace requests from anyone willing to fly drones around. In his vision, ASPs should be given a brief flight plan of drones who request take-off, which are evaluated based on other drone flight paths. The ASPs can then determine if flight path changes need to be made to avoid collision, or even deny requests based on how congested the traffic is in the area.

At this point, low altitude airspace is mostly left unregulated, so everyone with a drone or any other sort of flying contraption can make use of them. However, with Google, Amazon and other big companies starting to take an interest in drones and how they can use them in their daily business activities, low altitude airspace needs some sort of traffic management system.

But this also means that most people who want to fly their drone in parks or above their house will most likely be denied to do so once regulations are in place. So how comfortable are you with this decision? Do you think that a low altitude airspace management system is needed? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Windows 10 Pre-Order Available at Major E-tailer

With Windows 10 nearly upon us, we’ve managed to get some inside knowledge that Microsoft have given the go ahead for retailers to accept pre-orders. While we’re unsure if this is limited to the UK at the moment, we can only assume that this would be a worldwide marketing push.

Scan Computers informed us that Microsoft had given them the go ahead and can only assume that other retailers will be following suit shortly after.

If you are in the UK, you’ll find all you need to know on the following link where you can choose between the home and pro editions and of course whether you want 32-bit or 64-bit.

Pre-Order here!

Scan Computers have also got a Windows 10 landing page live which can be found here.

Will you be buying Windows 10? Will you be pre-ordering it, or will you wait to see what the verdict is after others take the plunge?

 

‘Tweet-A-Pizza’ Coming to Domino’s This Month

Do you fancy Domino’s pizza and use Twitter on a regular basis? Then you will be happy to hear that the company is looking into techy ways of attracting customers and will add a ‘tweet-a-pizza’ system starting from May 20th in the US.

What all of this means is that users who have a Twitter account will be able to order a pizza just by tweeting the pizza emoji to @Dominos. This will place Domino’s ahead of all other major restaurant industry companies just by adding a way for customers to order their pizza through social media.

However, the decision was no taken on a whim. Statistics show that the company already has more than 50% of its sales taking place digitally, so it was only logical to add such a feature and make it the next big thing. Through this move, Domino’s is likely to take advantage of the publicity and boldness to further increase its sales in the following months.

Twitter has a lot to gain from this as well. Other companies are already using the “Buy Now” service on tweets to promote and sell their products and Twitter can only benefit from all of this by offering their users a way to buy stuff in their social media environment, while also making more profit out of it.

While Domino’s looks to be expanding its technology and offering more purchase options to customers, we are likely to see more companies take the same approach in the near future. Domino’s also mentions that it is already looking into expanding the purchase option to Facebook and Instagram in the future. So what do you think? Would you ‘tweet-a-pizza’ from Domino’s?

Thank you USA Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Huffington Post

Google Recommends Pizza, Will You Order?

Fast Food seems to keep getting quicker, going from one-minute meals in the microwave to weekly delivered healthy meals food and the internet have been constantly going hand in hand. It looks like it may go one step further though and combine ordering your meals with something as simple as a google search.

When searching for nearby restaurants, an option to “place an order” will be available.  After selecting a delivery service, you will get taken to their website to place an order. The scheme is being trailed in the US with six different providers, but they are keen to add more in the future. With everything from MyPizza.com, Delivery.com and Eat24 offering their support for the scheme it is only a matter of time before other companies join in this scheme, and hopefully before a similar scheme is introduced in other countries.

With Google already the go-to place for many for web searches and getting information and images, how long do people think it will be until you can get a google food? Go onto the website, search for a particular type of food in your area and get options from all of their websites offering you their food on a single page?

Thank you Google+ for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Google.

Amazon Experimenting With Fitting 3D Printers in Delivery Vehicles

Amazon is pretty much doing everything it can to get goods to you as quickly as possible. From Amazon Prime next day delivery to their conceptual Prime Air drone service. It’s almost like they’re working towards having no time between clicking the buy button and receiving your goods.

Well now the company has got one step closer to that goal, by filling a patent for a system that would produce the goods in the delivery van while on the way to your house. The application details that Amazon’s delivery trucks,  or “mobile manufacturing hubs,” would contain 3D printers that could physically manufacture the items you ordered. They say that the concept could mean “time delays between receiving an order and shipping the item to the customer may reduce customer satisfaction and affect revenues generated.”

Such a system is purely conceptual at the moment, but could mean delivery of goods in significantly less time than ever before. Perhaps Amazon should try and get the drones in the air first though.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Refuse to Give Emails Despite Court Order

Microsoft executives have obviously been listening to too much N.W.A (NSFW – some bad language) recently. Although ordered by the federal court, they are refusing to hand over overseas-held email data to the feds.

Microsoft have stated that they will continue to hold on to this information as it waits for the case to wind through the appeals process, until this happens it’s unlikely to see them budge.

On Friday they released a statement:

“Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal, everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen.” Windows IT Pro

Thus, the judge has ordered Microsoft and it’s prosecutors to advise her on the plan going ahead before next Friday, the 5th of September.

Stay tuned for further information.

Image courtesy of Creative Digital Group

Halo and Destiny Developer Forced to Pay Former Destiny Composer $95,000

Bungie, Halo and Destiny’s developer, is stated to be forced to pay $95,019 / £56,000 to a former composer by the name of Marty O’Donnell. This is what an US court has decided after Bungie lost a court case with the composer.

It is said that O’Donnell sued Bungie after he has been kicked out from the company back in May, where he responded through a tweet that he had been “terminated… without a cause”. His work can be heard in the Halo series, early Bungie titles such as Myth and Myth 2, as well as in the most recent titles, namely Destiny.

The 14-years old Bungie veteran is said to have been paid-out a sum to “cover unpaid work, outstanding vacation time and a substantial amount of damages”, according to VentureBeat. Bungie is said to have stated that during his ‘departure’, he and the studio parted as ‘friends’, even though his departure raised a lot of questions since it was during the final six months of Destiny’s development stage.

“At Bungie we don’t take that kind of thing lightly,” chief operating officer Pete Parsons previously told Eurogamer. “We don’t make those decisions lightly. We’re a team that’s committed to making an amazing game set in an amazing universe. At this time we won’t be commenting any further on it.”

O’Donnell stated that he has filed the court order due to the fact that he has not received an explanation for his ‘early retirement’ from the company. The court appears to have decided in his favor due to Bungie’s employment rules on honoring unused vacation time, paid time off and other benefits.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

Microsoft Says “NO” to FBI Request Regarding Customer Data

Microsoft reportedly revealed to the public that its privacy policy has priority and it is not willing to make any exceptions. Such is the case where the company allegedly received a letter from the FBI, a so-called National Security Letter or NSL, stating to release some confidential information about one of Microsoft’s enterprise clients.

For those who are unaware, an NSL comes with a ‘gagging order’, meaning that Microsoft could not reveal the existence of the letter to the customer at hand. However, Microsoft does have some pretty strong policies guarding customer data, emphasised in winning top marks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s ‘Who Has Your Back’ report.

“EFF believes that National Security Letters (NSLs) – secretive FBI orders for user data accompanied by a gag provision – are a violation of the Constitution,” the EFF stated. “We think it is vital that companies are as forthcoming as legally allowable about these national security requests to help shed light on government abuses of contested surveillance powers.” they added.

The letter has been withdrawn prior to Microsoft filing a challenge to the order in Seattle’s Federal Court. However, this is not a win for Microsoft and even though the FBI will not comment or confirm the accusations, the secret service will still get the information through lawful means rather than just ‘asking nicely’ for it.

Furthermore, by backing off, the FBI has also avoided a high-profile court case at a rather inconvenient time. Having an open court ‘war’ with a well-resourced company such as Microsoft would have consumed both time and resources from both parties and could have also ended with Microsoft winning the ‘battle’, having the FBI to blame by using unconstitutional methods of acquiring private customer information.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information