By BeauHD from Slashdot's few-and-far-between department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electronic Frontier Foundation: No one should have to fear losing their internet connection because of unfounded accusations. But some rights holders want to use copyright law to force your Internet service provider (ISP) to cut off your access whenever they say so, and in a case the Washington Post called "the copyright case that should worry all Internet providers," they're hoping the courts will help them. We first wrote about this case -- BMG v. Cox Communications -- when it was filed back in 2014, and last month, EFF, Public Knowledge (PK), and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) urged the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to overturn a ruling that ISP Cox Communications was liable for copyright infringement. EFF, PK and CDT advised the court to consider the importance of Internet access in daily life in determining when copyright law requires an ISP to cut off someone's Internet subscription. The case turns in part on a provision in copyright law that gives internet intermediaries a safe harbor -- legal protection against some copyright infringement lawsuits -- provided they follow certain procedures. Online platforms like Facebook and YouTube, along with other internet intermediaries, have to "reasonably implement" a policy for terminating "subscribers and account holders" that are "repeat infringers" in "appropriate circumstances." But given the importance of Internet access, the circumstances where it's appropriate to cut off a home Internet subscription entirely are few and far between. The law as written is flexible enough that providers can design and implement policies that make sense for the nature of their service and their subscribers' circumstances. A repeat infringer policy for the company that provides your link to the Internet as a whole should take into account the essential nature of internet access and the severe harm caused by disconnection. But music publisher BMG wants to use this provision to force ISPs to become tougher enforcers of copyright law. According to BMG, ISPs should be required both to forward rights holders' threatening demand letters to their subscribers and terminate a subscriber's Internet access whenever rights holders allege that person has repeatedly violated copyright law. A subscriber is a "repeat infringer" and subject to termination, they argue, whenever they say so. Cox's appeal of the ruling raises two very important issues: (1) Who should be considered a "repeat infringer" who should be cut off from the Internet, and (2) whether ISPs must either cede to rights holders' demands or monitor their subscribers' internet habits to avoid liability. Slashdot reader waspleg adds: Two landmark Supreme Court cases, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., and Sony Corp. of America v. Universal Studios made clear that if a service is capable of significant lawful uses, and the provider doesn't actively encourage users to commit copyright infringement, the provider shouldn't be held responsible when someone nonetheless uses the service unlawfully.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's retail-automation department
The Wall Street Journal is reporting (Warning: paywalled; alternate source) that Panasonic is "introducing convenience-store checkout machines that can scan and bag items on their own, joining Amazon.com Inc. in the push for more retail automation." The machines will also tally up the total amount owed at checkout so that all you have to do is pay. TechCrunch reports: Last week, Amazon revealed its own more frictionless convenience store pilot, with a location that lets shoppers simply walk out with whatever they want to purchase, for which they're charged automatically via their Amazon account. The Panasonic system uses tags applied to the goods you pick up to tally the cost as you shop, and then automatically bags your selections via a trap-door in the counter that accepts your basket when you're ready to go. It could help with lines, and could also help address some of the issues with current self-checkout system, which require a user to scan their own items to find out their bill prior to paying. That added step may seem small, but it actually causes a lot of headaches and hangups, especially with shoppers who aren't so comfortable with tech. Panasonic's setup is already in use at a Lawson convenience store near its Osaka HQ, but the broader rollout is still a while off.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's comfort-of-your-couch department
Microsoft has released its Xbox One streaming app to the Oculus Store today, allowing Xbox One owners to stream games to their Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset via a Windows 10 PC. The Verge reports: The app itself looks just like the Windows 10 version of Xbox streaming, with the ability to select different consoles on a network before streams are launched. Microsoft has also added the ability to open the Xbox One guide and control the orientation of games in the virtual environment. If you're interested in streaming Xbox One games to the Oculus Rift then you'll need a Windows PC to take advantage of the streaming, and games will be streamed directly from a console that's powered on and not in use. The Xbox streaming app is available immediately in the Oculus Store. The streaming app is a far cry from full VR gaming, but the app will let you simulate playing games on a large screen in a virtual environment. "Whether you're taking on Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, or any other Xbox One game, you'll be able to play in three different environments from the start -- each titled 'Citadel,' 'Retreat,' and 'Dome,'" reports Windows Central.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nickel-and-dime department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Comcast's latest price hikes include a significant increase in the company's widely despised "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" fees. The Broadcast TV fee is moving from $5 a month to $7 a month, while the Regional Sports Network fee is rising from $3 a month to $5 a month, according to notices sent to customers in several cities. Combined, that's a change from $8 to $12 a month, giving Comcast an extra $48 a year from each customer that has to pay the fees. Comcast began charging these fees a few years ago, which have risen quickly. Just over a year ago, Comcast raised the Broadcast TV fee from $3 to $5 and the Regional Sports fee from $1 to $3. The two fees have thus gone from $4 to $12, combined, in little more than a year. Comcast customers recently sued the company, saying that Comcast falsely advertises lower-than-actual prices and then raises rates by tacking on these two fees. Comcast falsely portrays these fees as being required by the government, the proposed class action lawsuit said. Charter is facing a similar lawsuit. Comcast says the fees recover a portion of the price it pays broadcast networks and regional sports networks to air their content. But paying for programming is simply part of the cost of doing business as a cable TV provider, and programming costs have always been passed on to consumers in their cable TV bills. By charging fees separately from basic rates, "Comcast has found a way to secretly and repeatedly increase the monthly price it charges for its channel packages" even when customers are supposed to be getting a flat rate during a contract term, the lawsuit said. The Broadcast TV fee was introduced in 2014, initially as $1.50 a month, and the Regional Sports fee was added in 2015 at $1 a month. Comcast charges the sports fee even though it owns many of the regional sports networks that broadcast sporting events in local markets. The price increases were reported by TVPredictions and DSLReports, and customers have been posting letters they received from Comcast detailing the price changes.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's he-is-sorry department
The most anxious day of Reddit CEO Steve Huffman's life, he says, was showing up to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving this year. The week before, he had thrown the company into a minor political crisis. From a CNBC report: After weeks being antagonized by the users of Reddit communities like /r/The_Donald and /r/pizzagate, Huffman had covertly edited messages posted by other users that were critical of him, to instead be critical of those communities' leaders. On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Huffman said he conceived this as a prank, "in the spirit of fun." "I figured, I'm just going to mess with these bullies, and I actually have the capability of messing with them, so I'll do so," Huffman said. "I wanted to do something. I didn't do the right thing, but that was my mentality." Huffman says the aftermath of this "prank," users questioning whether their posts had ever been edited without their consent in the past, was "devastating," and that he knows it will take time to rebuild trust within the community. At an all-hands staff meeting on that anxious Monday, he apologized directly to Reddit's staff and said he wanted them all to be proud to work there.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's my-app,-my-rules department
Uber employees are able to customer trip information, and many of them are using it to spy on ex-girlfriends and celebrities like Beyonce, according to a former employee. From a report on BusinessInsider: A new piece out from Reveal's Will Evans details Uber's history with security and privacy. The story cites the experience of Ward Spangenberg, Uber's former forensic investigator who was fired from the company last February. Spangenberg is suing Uber for, among other things, wrongful termination, defamation, and age discrimination. In a stunning October court declaration, Spangenberg alleges that Uber employees freely accessed trip information about celebrities and politicians and helped each other spy on ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends by tracking where and when they travelled. Spangenberg, who worked at Uber for 11 months, said the company's lack of security violated consumer privacy and data protection regulations.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's understanding-people department
An anonymous reader writes: You'd think striking it suddenly rich would be the ultimate ticket to freedom. Without money worries, the world would be your oyster. Perhaps you'd champion a worthy cause, or indulge a sporting passion, but work? Surely not. However, remaining gainfully employed after sudden wealth is more common than you'd think. After all, there are numerous high-profile billionaires who haven't called it quits despite possessing the luxury to retire, including some of the world's top chief executives, such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. But it turns out, the suddenly rich who aren't running companies are also loathe to quit, even though they have plenty of money. That could be, in part, because the link between salary and job satisfaction is very weak. According to a meta-analysis by University of Florida business school professor Timothy Judge and other researchers, there's less than a 2% overlap between the two factors. In the long run, we derive job satisfaction from non-monetary sources, which include positive peer relationships, the ability to work on meaningful projects and even leadership opportunities.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Reader MojoKid writes: AMD is announcing a new series of Radeon-branded products today, targeted at machine intelligence and deep learning enterprise applications, called Radeon Instinct. As its name suggests, the new Radeon Instinct line of products are comprised of GPU-based solutions for deep learning, inference and training. The new GPUs are also complemented by a free, open-source library and framework for GPU accelerators, dubbed MIOpen. MIOpen is architected for high-performance machine intelligence applications and is optimized for the deep learning frameworks in AMD's ROCm software suite. The first products in the lineup consist of the Radeon Instinct MI6, the MI8, and the MI25. The 150W Radeon Instinct MI6 accelerator is powered by a Polaris-based GPU, packs 16GB of memory (224GB/s peak bandwidth), and will offer up to 5.7 TFLOPS of peak FP16 performance. Next up in the stack is the Fiji-based Radeon Instinct MI8. Like the Radeon R9 Nano, the Radeon Instinct MI8 features 4GB of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) with peak bandwidth of 512GB/s. The MI8 will offer up to 8.2 TFLOPS of peak FP16 compute performance, with a board power that typical falls below 175W. The Radeon Instinct MI25 accelerator will leverage AMD's next-generation Vega GPU architecture and has a board power of approximately 300W. All of the Radeon Instinct accelerators are passively cooled but when installed into a server chassis you can bet there will be plenty of air flow. Like the recently released Radeon Pro WX series of professional graphics cards for workstations, Radeon Instinct accelerators will be built by AMD. All of the Radeon Instinct cards will also support AMD MultiGPU (MxGPU) hardware virtualization technology.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's piracy-watch department
Jeremy Clarkson's new motoring show has become the most illegally downloaded television programme in history, figures suggest. Amazon paid a reported $160 million for three series of The Grand Tour, which stars former Top Gear presenters Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, after Clarkson was sacked by the BBC in March 2015. From a report on The Guardian: But figures from Muso, data analysts of the piracy market, suggest unprecedented numbers of people are avoiding paying $90 a year to sign up for Amazon's online streaming service, Amazon Prime, and instead downloading the show illegally. The data, shared with the Mail on Sunday, suggests the first episode was downloaded illegally 7.9m times, the second 6.4m times and the third 4.6m times. British viewers made up the largest percentage (13.7%) of the total number of illegal downloads.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's throwing-money-at-it department
And "he's got several billionaire pals on board." An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:
Nearly two dozen of the world's most successful business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists will invest up to $1 billion in a fund led by Microsoft-co-founder Bill Gates that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by financing emerging clean energy technology. The Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund includes John Doerr, chairman of venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla, former energy hedge fund manager John Arnold, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, and SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner...
The new fund, which will have a 20-year lifespan, is designed to be both broad and scientific -- two seemingly contradictory focuses -- in its investment approach. The fund will not be confined to a specific segment of the investment pipeline, which means it will put money into startups at the earliest of stages all the way to companies that have reached commercialization.
Gates said Sunday that "Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's prisoner's-dilemma department
MalwareHunterTeam has discovered "Popcorn Time," a new in-development ransomware with a twist. Gumbercules!! writes:
"With Popcorn Time, not only can a victim pay a ransom to get their files back, but they can also try to infect two other people and have them pay the ransom in order to get a free key," writes Bleeping Computer. Infected victims are given a "referral code" and, if two people are infected by that code and pay up -- the original victim is given their decryption key (potentially).
While encrypting your files, Popcorn Time displays a fake system screen that says "Downloading and installing. Please wait" -- followed by a seven-day countdown clock for the amount of time left to pay its ransom of one bitcoin. That screen claims that the perpetrators are "a group of computer science students from Syria," and that "all the money that we get goes to food, medicine, shelter to our people. We are extremely sorry that we are forcing you to pay but that's the only way that we can keep living."
So what would you do if this ransomware infected your files?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-dead-just-resting department
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership can't go into effect without U.S. approval, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has acknowledged. Yet despite president-elect Trump's promise to withdraw from the agreement -- Friday Japan's parliament voted to approve it. An anonymous reader quotes the Business Times.
Was last Friday's vote simply a Quixotic tribute to a dying cause or -- as some are asking -- does Mr. Abe know something that others don't? They note that he is the only foreign leader to have met with the anointed heir to the U.S. presidency since the election result was announced. What went on in New York's Trump Tower during that "informal" meeting is unknown but some speculate that there may have been some equally informal -- but nonetheless significant -- dealmaking between the two men on the TPP. This seems quite possible, analysts say, because the TPP is of great importance to Japan and to Mr. Abe's grand design for Japan to remain a pivotal Asia-Pacific power.
The EFF has decried "the intense push to ram Internet issues into international law through the TPP," and complained Friday that Japan's newly-passed law "includes the extension of Japan's copyright term from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author, which makes today a very sad day for Japan's public domain."
And in addition, "There remains a risk that other TPP countries such as Singapore -- and even countries that weren't part of the original deal, such as Taiwan -- will soon also bring their domestic legislation into conformity with the requirements of this dead agreement."Read Replies (0)