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Netflix tests incognito mode to keep your guilty pleasures secret

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: 1 week, 3 days ago

Want to use Netflix on social but scared your friends will see just how much you've watched those embarrassing guilty pleasures? Fear not - the TV and movie streaming service could be planning its very own incognito mode.

 

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Right now the company is in the process of testing the option in all of its market over the next few months, but it's not available to every or even most users. But if it is set to be integrated in Netflix, it'll appear as part of the multiple user profile feature. Not only would the option keep your guilty pleasures safe, but it would also scrub these from contributing towards user recommendations.

 

It's not guaranteed that the feature will become widespread - with new corporate comms and tech director Cliff Edwards saying this depends on the reactions from users. "We may not ever offer it generally," he said, according to GigaOm. "At Netflix we continuously test new things. In this case, we are testing a feature in which a user watching a movie or TV show can choose to view in "Privacy Mode." Choosing that option means the program will not appear in your viewing activity log, nor will it be used to determine recommendations about what you should watch in the future."

British content pirates to receive warnings but no further action

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: 1 week, 3 days ago

Next year, frequent content pirates in Britain are to be sent official warning emails reminding them that downloading copyrighted content on P2P networks is against the law. However, if they're ignored, absolutely nothing will happen.

 

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As part of a new initiative, which was agreed upon by the content industry and all major internet providers in the UK, frequent offenders will be monitored by a third party. Those found to be downloading copyrighted content will receive an educational email, reminding them that their actions are illegal, and providing options for legal alternatives - such as Netflix, Spotify, and Google Music. The process is heavily amended from the initial proposal, listed in 2010's Digital Economy Act, which demanded content pirates had their internet access stripped away. Its new iteration is called the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme and is considerably less stern.

 

The British Phonographic Industry, a lobby group which has been a key player in brokering the deal, said that this initiative is more about realigning people's habits rather than punishment alone - the latter being something the content industry is widely known for pursuing. "It's about persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection," the BPI's chief exec George Taylor told the BBC. "Vcap is not about denying access to the internet, it's about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice."

Google to donate hundreds of thousands to 10 British charities

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: 1 week, 3 days ago

Google is planning on giving 200,000 pounds sterling - nearly 350,000 US dollars - to ten shortlisted British charities it believes can advance the world for the better using technology.

 

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The grants are part of the company's Impact Challenge, which originated in the UK, and has since traveled the world before its return. Of the ten shortlisted projects, four will be given an additional 500,000 pounds, which is over 800,000 dollars. Three will be decided by a panel of experts including Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and Helen Goulden of Nesta's Innovation Lab, while the remaining project will be put to a public vote. Among the proposals are initiatives to assist the vision of the blind and partially sighted with technology from the Royal National Institute of Blind People, a project that aims to aid encourage mental health well-being through gaming called We Are What We Do, and Centrepoint augmenting its work in tackling youth homelessness with big data.

 

Entrepreneur and British TV celebrity from Dragons Den, Peter Jones, is on the panel. "After an inspiring process, we've unearthed ten exceptional projects from ten exceptional charities," he said, according to the Telegraph. "Google's Impact Challenge shows that innovation is crucial to success. You can't stand still."

Europe slams Apple over misleading in-app purchases

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Apps | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

The European Commission has taken Apple to task over in-app purchases, asserting that the Cupertino company has failed to protect consumers from their kids racking up enormous bills in misleading "free" apps.

 

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Following a deluge of complaints across the continent, the Commission approached individual countries to consult on what could be done, before approaching Google and Apple themselves. According to the EC, Google decided on some appropriate changes that are due by September this year. Part of Google's proposals included scrubbing the term "free" from any apps that enabled in-app purchases. But the EC insisted it had not yet heard anything concrete from Apple. "No firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes," the EC said in a statement. "CPC authorities will continue to engage with Apple to ensure that it provides specific details of changes required and put its practices into line with the common position."

 

Apple suggested the protections currently in place are enough as they are. "The parental controls in iOS are strong, intuitive and customizable," a spokesperson told the Irish Independent. "And over the last year we've made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked."

UK government not focused on cybersecurity enough to make a difference

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

The UK government must do more to help educate consumers about cybercriminal behavior, as political leaders haven't carried out much mainstream messaging, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab. Many national governments are struggling with their own security efforts to defend against cybersecurity, so it might be difficult to try to promote initiatives to the public.

 

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"I'd like to see the government doing more to get the message out to mainstream citizens and individuals because that's the bone in which the industry is growing; the individuals with ideas," said David Emmm, Kaspersky security researcher, during a recent tech roundtable. "If you look at it, the recent Cyber Street Wise campaign aside, I don't think the government is doing very much in terms of mainstream messaging and I would certainly like to see it do more."

 

The UK government is on a long list of western nations struggling to improve cybersecurity so attacks can be better defended against. The Cyber Street Wise marketing campaign helped drive interest in larger cities, but wasn't well received by many UK residents located in smaller towns.

Dell embraces bitcoins, accepting the cryptocurrency on its website

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

PC manufacturer Dell is the latest major company to join the bitcoin cryptocurrency bandwagon, with CEO Michael Dell confirming the announcement. Dell has partnered with Coinbase to help process payments, and the cryptocurrency receives a 1 percent processing fee following $1 million in sales.

 

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"We've fostered a close partnership with the Dell team and that's been instrumental in getting the Coinbase integration up and running in such a short timeframe," said Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase co-founder, in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to support the team as they explore other ways to offer even more functionality when it comes to bitcoin payments."

 

The updated Dell 'Terms and Conditions' portion of the website indicates if a customer wants a refund from a bitcoin payment, they will receive a check in U.S. dollars.

Continue reading 'Dell embraces bitcoins, accepting the cryptocurrency on its website' (full post)

Bethesda, id Software unveil newest Doom game at QuakeCon

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

During its annual QuakeCon LAN party and PC video game convention, id Software and Bethesda Software unveiled the newest Doom video game to attendees. Instead of calling the title Doom 4, however, developers decided to just call it Doom - and it will be available for the PC, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 game consoles.

 

 

It has been more than 10 years since the release of Doom 3, and while gamers long expected a fourth title, no one held their breath. The title runs using the id Tech 6 game engine and can run 1080p with 60 fps, described as an "origin game." It appears to be an old school shooter and while it will be graphically pretty, looks like the id team decided to go back to its development roots.

 

The demonstrations during QuakeCon revealed large weapons with major ass-kicking power, and a load of monsters, both big and small, promising to be a rather enjoyable experience.

Continue reading 'Bethesda, id Software unveil newest Doom game at QuakeCon' (full post)

Cybercriminals enjoy targeting Facebook users with phishing attacks

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

One in 10 of all attacks stopped by security company Kaspersky Lab's software are phishing attacks from Facebook accounts, as cybercriminals continue to target the No. 1 social networking website. Despite a drop from 22 percent of all user blocks in 2013 - with the number currently at 11 percent - it is still the second most likely attack source, behind Yahoo.

 

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Many of the phishing messages originate from fake accounts created by cybercriminals, in an effort to compromise as many users as possible. The use of social engineering and phishing tactics to compromise users remains a popular method by cybercriminals - as many people aren't vigilant when clicking links shared by email, social media, or instant messaging.

 

"Fraudsters often lur their victims by promising them interesting content," said Nadezhda Demidova, Kaspersky Lab Web content analyst. "When users follow the link provided, they land on a fake login page that contains a standard message asking them to log in before viewing the page. If users don't become suspicious and enter their credentials, their data will immediately be dispatched to cybercriminals."

Lenovo stops selling small-screen Windows tablets in the U.S. market

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

A lack of interest has forced Chinese vendor Lenovo to stop selling Microsoft Windows-powered tablets with screen sizes 10 inches or smaller in the United States. The decision means the ThinkPad 8 and Miix 2, which have been available for less than one year in the U.S., will be halted for the foreseeable future.

 

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It's an unfortunate issue for Lenovo, the No. 1 global PC manufacturer, as sales simply haven't been strong enough. Lenovo is heavily promoting tablets to consumer and business users, trying to present an appealing alternative to the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab series. The company will still offer the tablets to foreign markets, because demand has been stronger outside of the United States:

 

"In North America, we're seeing stronger interest in the larger screen sizes for Windows tablets and are pleased with initial customer demand for the ThinkPad 10," said Raymond Gorman, Lenovo spokesperson, in a statement to the media. "In other markets, particularly Brazil, China, and Japan, the demand for ThinkPad 8 has been much stronger, so we are adjusting our ThinkPad 8 inventories to meet increasing demand in those markets."

Too many governments 'rubber stamping' mass surveillance, UN says

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

The United States and British governments were left angry and embarrassed after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed mass surveillance programs aimed at citizens and foreign nationals. However, there are other governments accused of "rubber-stamping" mass surveillance programs, according to the UN human rights watchdog.

 

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The constant stream of new revelations shows how disturbingly little we really know about the precise nature of surveillance," said Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Pillay also said Snowden should be appreciated for his decision to publish details regarding NSA and GCHQ spying behaviors.

 

Although many users are upset with government spying, with Pilay's office saying it's "neither necessary nor proportionate," it's a common practice with communications taking place over mobile phones and via the Internet. The more information that is collected, however, the more governments need to try to justify the behavior - and to limit it to avoid too much personal intrusion.

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