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+ - With Hobbit and LoTR in the can, Trolls no longer welcome in New Zealand->

An anonymous reader writes: New Zealand has become the latest country to think bad online manners are amenable to legislation.

The country last night passed a controversial bill, the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, in the hope of stemming “cyber-bullying”.

The bill creates a regime under which digital communications causing “serious emotional distress” are subject to an escalating regime that starts as “negotiation, mediation or persuasion” but reaches up to creating the offences of not complying with an order, and “causing harm by posting digital communication”.

The bill covers posts that are racist, sexist, or show religious intolerance, along with hassling people over disability or sexual orientation.

There's also a new offence of incitement to suicide (three years' jail).

Link to Original Source

+ - Rocket Labs picks New Zealand for its launch site

schwit1 writes: The small sat rocket company Rocket Labs has chosen a location in New Zealand as its future launch site.

Rocket Lab's all-black Electron booster offers launch for less than $5 million. The company, whose investors include Lockheed Martin, is targeting clients such as university programs and small start-ups, Beck said, and it already has 30 potential clients.

The company didn't specify how much it was investing in the site, which is due to be completed in the fourth quarter. New Zealand, which has been used in the past by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, is considered a prime location because rockets launched from that deep in the Southern hemisphere can reach a wide range of Earth orbits. Rocket Lab's remote site on the Kaitorete Spit in the Canterbury region also means it has less air and sea traffic, which translates into more frequent launches and economies of scale, the company said. It also will no longer compete for airspace with the U.S. government.

Rocket Labs will have to actually launch something to really make the competition heat up. This announcement, however, illustrates that in the long run, the United States has some significant disadvantages as a spaceport location.

+ - Now possible to test over 170 models of Android devices from your browser->

An anonymous reader writes: CyberAgent, Inc. (Head office: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; President: Susumu Fujita; listed in the first section of Tokyo Stock Exchange; Stock Code: 4751) has developed “STF-Smartphone Test Farm,” a system for testing all terminals, including the latest model of Android, from a browser, and will make it an open source. This system can be used in both Japanese and English.
Link to Original Source

+ - Supreme Court justices hold stock in tech vendors, other firms->

xantonin writes: "Chief Justice John Roberts owned up to US $750,000 in shares of Time Warner and its subsidiaries at the time the media giant filed a brief in ABC v. Aereo, which broadcasters won 6-3 last June, with Roberts in the majority. Aereo was a start-up offering TV service to subscribers through specialized antenna farms."
Link to Original Source

+ - The plan to bring analytics to eSports->

An anonymous reader writes: We're used to seeing instant replays, halftime analysis and in depth analytics in traditional sports, but now they're coming to eSports too. A new start-up, Dojo Madness, is hoping to bring the same techniques to games like League of Legends and Dota, in the hopes players can learn from their mistakes in a game when shown them. In a new interview, founder and former Electronic Sports League boss Jens Hilgers reveals that the company's main product, Dota training and replay site Bruce.GG, will use machine learning to teach itself what are good and bad plays — and he hopes to bring the tech to other games, like Counter-Strike, too.

"The feedback of the users watching these videos, these input points, are allowing us to determine the relevancy of what we have done and the system will learn from that and get smarter," he says.

Link to Original Source

+ - Aussie ISP bakes in geo-dodging for Netflix, Hulu->

ste7en7 writes: A new Australian ISP is integrating geo-blocking circumvention into its broadband service, allowing customers to access streaming services like Hulu, Netflix USA, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. When Yournet launches in August, customers will be able to sign up for broadband that allows users to instantly change the country they are supposedly surfing from.
Link to Original Source

+ - Can New Chicago Taxes on Netflix, Apple, Spotify Withstand Legal Challenges?->

Mr D from 63 writes: In a tax ruling issued in early June, the city of Chicago expanded its amusement tax to include amusements such as TV shows, movies, videos, music and online games, if they are delivered by electronic means to customers in the city. The ruling became effective July 1.

The initial tax rate is 9% on streaming content. Sales of movies and music and the rest is not taxable, and the tax must be paid whether a customer is paying a subscription charge, a per event fee or some other variation. Chicago expects to collect $12 million a year as a result of the new tax ruling.

Amusement Tax Ruling;

The amusement tax applies to charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in an amusement. This includes not only charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in amusements in person but also charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in amusements that are delivered electronically. Thus:

        a) charges paid for the privilege of watching electronically delivered television shows, movies or videos are subject to the amusement tax, if the shows, movies or videos are delivered to a patron (i.e., customer) in the City (see paragraph 13 below);

        b) charges paid for the privilege of listening to electronically delivered music are subject to the amusement tax, if the music is delivered to a customer in the City;

        c) and charges paid for the privilege of participating in games, on-line or otherwise, are subject to the amusement tax if the games are delivered to a customer in the City.

Link to Original Source

+ - Mozilla accidentally exposes the T-shirt sizes of its developers->

BrianFagioli writes: In mid-March, Mozilla had a contest, where it asked developers to come up with a t-shirt design. In mid-June, a winner was chosen and the developers were invited to reserve a t-shirt online using Google Form. Unfortunately, someone at Mozilla pulled a boner, and the t-shirt sizes of 70 developers were made public. Oh, the humanity!
Link to Original Source

+ - Google: Stop Making Apps! (A Love Letter)

An anonymous reader writes: Seasoned Silicon Valley software executive and investor Domenic Merenda has written a love letter to Google, and it's filled with "tough" love. The main thesis is that Google, as a company, should stop making apps, and instead focus on using its enormous data assets to make meaningful connections between people and facilitate organic engagement within a rich ecosystem. Interestingly, the article cites Wikipedia's information that Google maintains over 70 apps on the Android platform alone.
Communications

UK Government Illegally Spied On Amnesty International 65 65

Mark Wilson writes with this excerpt from a story at Beta News: A court has revealed that the UK intelligence agency, GCHQ, illegally spied on human rights organization Amnesty International. It is an allegation that the agency had previously denied, but an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal backtracked on a judgement made in June which said no such spying had taken place.

The email was sent to Amnesty International yesterday, and while it conceded that the organization was indeed the subject of surveillance, no explanation has been offered. It is now clear that, for some reason, communications by Amnesty International were illegally intercepted, stored, and examined. What is not clear is when the spying happened, what data was collected and, more importantly, why it happened.

+ - UK government illegally spied on Amnesty International->

Mark Wilson writes: A court has revealed that the UK intelligence agency, GCHQ, illegally spied on human rights organization Amnesty International. It is an allegation that the agency had previously denied, but an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal backtracked on a judgement made in June which said no such spying had taken place.

The email was sent to Amnesty International yesterday, and while it conceded that the organization was indeed the subject of surveillance, no explanation has been offered. It is now clear that, for some reason, communications by Amnesty International were illegally intercepted, stored, and examined. What is not clear is when the spying happened, what data was collected and, more importantly, why it happened.

Link to Original Source
Google

Google Hangouts and SMS Integration: A Mess, For Now 49 49

Android Headlines reports that a bug in the Google Hangouts app is causing confusion for users who would like to send and receive SMS messages. According to the article, [S]ome users are reporting an issue that is preventing the merging of SMS messages with Hangouts. The exact nature of what is causing this error is still unknown, as Google has not divulged any concrete information. They did state though that they are working on a fix and will have it ready for release as soon as they figure out what is going on. On this front, I wish there were a good roadmap for all the overlapping and sometimes circular-seeming options for Google's various flavors of VoiP and messaging. Between Google Voice, Google Plus, Messenger (not Facebook's Messenger), Gmail, and now Google Fi, it's hard to tell quite where the there begins. After setting up a new phone through Google Fi, I find that the very pleasant full-screen text-message window I used to like with Google Voice is now one I can't figure out how to reach, and the screen directs me to use Hangouts instead.
Microsoft

Microsoft Research Open Sources WorldWide Telescope 18 18

kfogel writes: Microsoft Research has open sourced WorldWide Telescope, releasing it under the MIT license and donating the code to the .NET Foundation. The code is up on GitHub at github.com/WorldWideTelescope, and there are demos and more details at WorldWideTelescope.org. Go forth and explore!
Encryption

Cameron Asserts UK Gov't Will Leave No "Safe Space" For Private Communications 163 163

An anonymous reader writes with the story from Ars Technica that UK prime minister David Cameron "has re-iterated that the UK government does not intend to "'eave a safe space — a new means of communication — for terrorists to communicate with each other.'" That statement came Monday, as a response to Conservative MP David Bellingham, "who asked [Cameron, on the floor of the House of Commons] whether he agreed that the 'time has come for companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to accept and understand that their current privacy policies are completely unsustainable?' To which Cameron replied: 'we must look at all the new media being produced and ensure that, in every case, we are able, in extremis and on the signature of a warrant, to get to the bottom of what is going on.'" This sounds like the UK government is declaring a blustery war on encryption, and it might not need too much war: some companies can be persuaded (or would be eager) to cooperate with the government in handing over all kinds of information. However, the bluster part may leave even the fiercest surveillance mostly show: as Ars writer Glyn Moody asks, what about circumstances "where companies can't hand over keys, or where there is no company involved, as with GnuPG, the open source implementation of the OpenPGP encryption system?" Or Tor?

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