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Submission + - Google and Yahoo Clash With 'Blunt' Ad-Blocking Company (

An anonymous reader writes: Google and Yahoo have accused ad-blocking software Shine of destroying the relationship between advertisers and consumers, after an executive from the company called its solution a "nuclear weapon" threatening the industry.

In a heated debate at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Tuesday, executives from Google and Yahoo clashed with Shine's chief marketing officer (CMO) over ad-blocking.

Ad blocking software use grew 41 percent in the 12 months to August 2015 and there are now 198 million active adblock users around the world, according PageFair. Ad blocking was estimated to cost advertisers $22 billion last year.

"Shine is the single biggest threat in the history of's a stellar opportunity to reset the relationship with consumers," Roi Carthy (CMO) of Shine Technologies said.

"We are not against advertising...there's a misconception that Shine is against advertising...we do believe new rules of engagement need to come about."

Read More from CNBC: Time Inc. Considering Buying Yahoo's Core Business: Bloomberg

Carthy claimed that consumers were being "abused" by advertising technology.

In a survey conducted by Adobe of 260 adults, 42 percent of people said they feel ad-blocking improves the performance of their computer. The survey also found that marketers have not worked out mobile advertising either, with many ads using too much data to load, thereby slowing down a device.

The rise of the blocking software has caused backlash from advertisers and particularly companies like Google and Yahoo which rely heavily on revenues from advertising.

Benjamin Faes, managing director of media and platforms at Google, called Shine's technology a "blunt" solution that punishes users and good advertisers.

"Blocking all ads I think it's diminishing my experience of advertising and in that case we see an issue for the user themselves. More and more publishers just can't afford to give their content for free...a user with an ad-blocker will keep running on websites who ask the user to pay for content then they unblock the ad-blocker and then see all bad ads anyway," Faes said during the panel.

"I just don't want to ruin that ecosystem...I'm really concerned by this black-and-white think," the Google executive added, suggesting that there needs to be a more nuanced approach to the issue.

Ad-blocking has gained the support of some major technology giants, however. Last year, Apple announced that Safari on iOS 9 would have ad-blocking capabilities. Meanwhile, Shine has struck key deals with mobile operators.

Caribbean carrier Digicel announced last year it would roll out Shine's ad blocking software across its networks. And European carrier Three said it would also implement the technology this year.

But Yahoo said that said the solution would punish good advertising and ruin the relationship between consumer and advertiser.

Read More from CNBC: Google is Sinking Into an Antitrust Quagmire

"You're blocking at a network level, but actually at a publisher or property level some (ads) are very good and if you block everyone you completely destroy the value exchange and the ecosystem," Nick Hugh, nullhacks, vice-president and general manager of advertising for EMEA at Yahoo said.

In a tense exchange between the executives, Carthy stepped up the rhetoric, claiming tech companies were using "military grade" tracking targeting and profiling of users and his solution is sending "a very clear signal" that this was not right. He said shine wanted "new rules of engagement" between consumers and advertisers.

Carthy did not stop there, likening Shine to a "nuclear weapon" facing the advertising industry, a remark Yahoo's Hugh dismissed as "a bit dramatic."

The trio did not resolve their differences but Google and Yahoo both talked about what they are doing to combat the rise of ad-blocking. Google said that its "Accelerated Mobile Pages" feature — which allows people to create stripped down web pages to load faster — will help advertisers get their ads seen more.

Submission + - Constitutional Court in Slovakia bans wholesale online metadata retention (

SlovakWakko writes: A recent change to the Telecommunications Act in Slovakia ordered Slovak ISPs to store 6 months-worth of various metadata for all forms of on-line communication, including users' location and personal data. Now the Slovak Constitutional Court (a court which decides on the adherence of anything and everything to the Constitution of the Slovak Republic) has decided that this order is not in accordance with the constitution. This decision follows last year's decision by the European Court of Justice which has killed similar EC directive on data retention. (original source in Slovak only)

Submission + - Disney replaces longtime IT staff with H-1B workers (

Lucas123 writes: Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, the partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press. One of the briefing documents obtained after the meeting stated, "H-1B workers complement — instead of displace — U.S. Workers." Last October, however, Disney laid off at least 135 IT staff (though employees say it was hundreds more), many of them longtime workers. Disney then replaced them with H-1B contractors that company said could better "focus on future innovation and new capabilities." The fired workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," one former employee said. Disney officials promised new job opportunities as a result of the restructuring, but the former staff interviewed by Computerworld said they knew of few co-workers who had landed one of the new jobs. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney. Ten U.S. senators are currently seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. Kim Berry, president of the Programmer's Guild, said Congress should protect American workers by mandating that positions can only be filled by H-1B workers when no qualified American — at any wage — can be found to fill the position."

Submission + - Ham Radio Fills Communication Gaps in Nepal Rescue Effort (

itwbennett writes: Amateur radio has stepped in to fill communication gaps in Nepal, which is struggling with power outages and a flaky Internet after a devastating earthquake on Saturday killed over 5,000 people. Though 99 persons have ham licenses in Kathmandu, about eight use high-frequency (HF) radios that can transmit long distances, while another 30 have very high frequency and ultra high frequency sets for local traffic, said Satish Kharel, a lawyer in Kathmandu, who uses the ham call signal 9N1AA. The hobbyist radio operators are working round-the-clock to help people get in touch with relatives, pass on information and alert about developing crises.

Submission + - Windows XP support deal not renewed by government, leaves PCs open to attack (

girlmad writes: The government's one-year £5.5m Windows XP support deal with Microsoft has not been extended, sources have told V3, despite thousands of computers across Whitehall still running the ancient software, leaving them wide open to cyber attacks. It's still unclear when all government machines will be migrated to a newer OS.

Submission + - Why the FCC will probably ignore the public on network neutrality ( 1

walterbyrd writes: The rulemaking process does not function like a popular democracy. In other words, you can't expect that the comment you submit opposing a particular regulation will function like a vote. Rulemaking is more akin to a court proceeding. Changes require systematic, reliable evidence, not emotional expressions . . .

In the wake of more than 3 million comments in the present open Internet proceeding-which at first blush appear overwhelmingly in favor of network neutrality-the current Commission is poised to make history in two ways: its decision on net neutrality, and its acknowledgment of public perspectives. It can continue to shrink the comments of ordinary Americans to a summary count and thank-you for their participation. Or, it can opt for a different path.

Submission + - Court rules Nokia must pay damages to buyers of faulty phones in Mexico (

An anonymous reader writes: Nokia must pay damages to consumers in Mexico who reported malfunctioning handsets, following a court ruling for a trial that has lasted four years.
The case was brought to court by Mexican watchdog Profeco in 2010, before the Finnish manufacturer was acquired by Microsoft – that deal was only completed earlier this year. Profeco added that the court has ordered Nokia to either replace the faulty handsets and/or reimburse their cost. On top of that, Nokia must also pay compensation totalling at least 20 percent of the damages resulting from malfunctioning.
Customers that had been affected by faulty Nokia equipment would be able to seek damages even if they had not yet presented complaints.

Submission + - Apple needs to get it together (

An anonymous reader writes: A Daily Dot article calling out Apple for its numerous mistakes over the last few months.

A quote from the piece: "The world's largest company cannot simultaneously be one of the most mistake-prone. It isn't good for Apple, or for the technology industry. For Apple to continue this streak of clumsiness is simply unacceptable by its internal standards, and by the standards the public has placed on the company."

Submission + - Stop starting school days so early, doctors say (

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. high schools and middle schools should start classes later in the morning to allow kids some much-needed sleep, a leading group of pediatricians is urging.

Ideally, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, the first bell should ring at 8:30 a.m. or later — which is the case at only 15 percent of U.S. high schools right now.

At the very least, classes should start no earlier than 8 a.m., said Dr. Judith Owens, the lead author of a new academy policy statement on school start times.

The recommendations, published in the academy's journal Pediatrics, are based on research showing that U.S. kids are sleep-deprived, which has consequences for their health, school performance and safety.

"This is an important issue," said Dr. Marcel Deray, a Florida sleep specialist who wasn't involved in the recommendations.

"I see a lot of teenagers who are tired and have problems in school because they have to get up so early," said Deray, who directs the Sleep Disorders Center at Miami Children's Hospital. "Some kids are getting up at 5 a.m., 6 a.m."

Many people think the answer is for kids to just get to bed earlier, Owens noted. But it's not that easy, she said, because biology has other plans.

Around puberty, the body's natural sleep-wake cycle shifts, and it's actually hard for teenagers to fall asleep earlier than 11 p.m.

"Teenagers' bodies release melatonin later than (adults') do," Deray explained, referring to a hormone the brain secretes in the evening to induce drowsiness.

"The other issue," Owens said, "is that teenagers' sleep needs are greater than many people think. They need nine to nine-and-a-half hours."

Yet, 43 percent of U.S. public high schools start classes before 8 a.m., according to the U.S. Department of Education. Middle schools, meanwhile, typically start classes at 8 a.m. — with about 20 percent starting earlier than that.

Submission + - Email Is Not Going Anywhere (

An anonymous reader writes: It seems the latest trend sweeping the online world is the idea that email is on its way out. Kids are eschewing email for any of the hundreds of different instant messaging services, and startups are targeting email as a system they can "disrupt." Alexis C. Madrigal argues that attempts to move past email are shortsighted and faddish, as none of the alternatives give as much power to the user. "Email is actually a tremendous, decentralized, open platform on which new, innovative things can and have been built. In that way, email represents a different model from the closed ecosystems we see proliferating across our computers and devices. Email is a refugee from the open, interoperable, less-controlled 'web we lost.' It's an exciting landscape of freedom amidst the walled gardens of social networking and messaging services." Madrigal does believe that email will gradually lose some of its current uses as new technologies spring up and mature, butt the core functionality is here to stay.

Submission + - Wikileaks took advice from media outlets ( 1

formfeed writes: According to the AP (through Google News), Wikileaks isn't just sitting on the recent material so they can release it bit by bit to the press, as many people implied. On the contrary, it's quite the other way around: "only after considering advice from five news organizations with which it chose to share all of the material" are they releasing it themselves. These Newspapers "have been advising WikiLeaks on which documents to release publicly and what redactions to make to those documents"

AP questions whether Wikileaks will follow these redactions, but nevertheless seems quite impressed by this "extraordinary collaboration between some of the world's most respected media outlets and the WikiLeaks organization"


Submission + - Paid Developers Power the Linux Kernel

Hugh Pickens writes: "Believe it or not, there is still this illusion that Linux and open-source software is written by counter-culture, C++ programming cultists living in their parent basements or huddled together in Cambridge, Mass. group-houses. Now Cnet reports that the Linux Foundation has found that "over 70% of all [Linux] kernel development is demonstrably done by developers who are being paid for their work." That Linux is primarily developed by paid developers should come as no surprise considering that Linux enables many companies--hardware, software, and online services--to be more competitive in their markets and to find new ways to generate revenue. "What’s important about how Linux and open-source software is created isn’t the side issues of politics or how its developers are perceived; it’s that its fundamental methodology produces better software," writes Stephen Vaughan-Nichols. "That’s why businesses invest in Linux’s development. Linux works. If it didn’t, big business wouldn’t bother with it.""

Verizon Charged Marine's Widow an Early Termination Fee Screenshot-sm 489

In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half a brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said."

Submission + - Iceland internet bill to be the world's most free (

linzeal writes: " If all goes well, Iceland may be about to make history. No, I don't mean the refusal of the populace to get saddled with Iceland'(TM)s $5 billion bad “Icesave” bank debt. Rather, I'm referring to the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative [IMMI], which combines the world'(TM)s best legislation to protect press and information freedom into one path-breaking information freedom bill for Iceland. " Link to Wikileak's Coverage.

Submission + - Obama Backs MPAA, RIAA, and ACTA 1

boarder8925 writes: "In a move sure to surprise no one, Obama has come out on the side of the MPAA/RIAA and has backed the ACTA: "We're going to aggressively protect our intellectual property," Obama said in his speech, "Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people [...] It is essential to our prosperity and it will only become more so in this century. But it's only a competitive advantage if our companies know that someone else can't just steal that idea and duplicate it with cheaper inputs and labor.""

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