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Current Affairs Posts - Page 2

Google to donate hundreds of thousands to 10 British charities

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."

British teen saved from drowning by posting emergency SOS to Facebook

A teenager's life seems to have been saved by posting an emergency SOS status update to Facebook as his boat capsized off the British coast.

 

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An unnamed 18-year-old man sent an update to Facebook as he was stranded just off Cornwall last Thursday. His mother saw the post and immediately alerted the authorities, when the Brixham Coastguard began their search. "This young man was extremely lucky to be found when he was," coastguard watch manager Andy Huber said. "He told lifeboat crews he had been in the water for two hours."

 

Apparently the teenager was trying to swim back to shore without the aid of any buoyancy equipment or a lifejacket. The coastguard warned that anyone heading into water should carry a specialist radio, a charged mobile phone, an emergency beacon and distress flares.

North Korea makes the World Cup final, kinda

For those who have been watching every match of the World Cup, you might not know who made the final... well, North Korea did. Yes, North Korea has made the final of the World Cup, according to the country, which has told its citizens over a newscast that the country has been kicking some serious ass at the event.

 

 

An unverified video was posted to YouTube channel Korea News Backup, which has other state-run media posted to it, showing a newscaster reporting that North Korea has been very successful at the World Cup. The newscast says that the country led by its Dear Leader has won its match against Japan 7-0, won the US with 4-0 and China too with 2-0. Even though none of these countries made any of the final matches.

 

So while this might be news for you, don't be thinking its Germany vs. Argentina, because that's hogwash. North Korea are playing in that match, but probably only because they have the smarts to land a man on the Sun.

Continue reading 'North Korea makes the World Cup final, kinda' (full post)

Celebrity houses have just been scrubbed from Google Street View

A smattering of household name celebs, like Iraq war mastermind Tony Blair and a man from Wings called Paul McCartney, have had their houses removed from Google's Street View.

 

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Prospective criminals scouting street view for potential targets will now know for certain if they've stumbled on a property of interest because it'll be blurred or digitally altered in a similar way that licence plates and faces already are on the service. One public figure who's had his house altered is Fred Goodwin, the former chief of failed banking group RBS, which had to be nationalized after an enormous crisis.

 

At the moment it's unclear whether or not the alterations have been made at the request of the celebrities. However it comes shortly after the implementation of a controversial EU ruling - the right to be forgotten - which has already led to censorship of reputable international news sites like the BBC and the Guardian, as well as the Mail Online. Barbara Streisand famously tried to force images of her property from the internet, resulting in the naming of a new phenomena - the Streisand Effect - which sees attempts at censorship leading to the exact opposite.

Google's EU right to be forgotten starts censoring UK news

When Europe ruled Google had to enforce the "right to be forgotten" it wasn't entirely clear what that meant, but the first indicators have started. The search giant has been bogged down with search removal requests, and now articles from respected international newspapers are being removed.

 

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The Daily Mail, the BBC, and the Guardian have all received notice of removal emails from Google, which asserted that some articles would no longer be listed through search. In these cases, according to the Age, the rulings seem to be siding with a disgraced football referee, Dougie McDonald, and an investment banker, Stan O'Neal, who was involved in the global financial crisis. Guardian media columnist Roy Greenslade has also had some of his articles removed from the listings.

 

Britain's Daily Mail has published a scathing critique of Google's actions, comparing the moves as being similar to "burning books in a library". "These examples show what a nonsense the right to be forgotten is, it is the equivalent of going into libraries and burning books you don't like," MailOnline's publisher Martin Clarke said. "MailOnline intends to regularly publish lists of articles deleted from Google's European search results so people can keep track of what has been deleted. There is no suggestion any of these articles are inaccurate."

Iraq lifts 17 day ban on social media but stays quiet on why

Iraq has lifted a 17 day ban on social media, which was put in place amid a crisis that saw armed militants seize key territories in the country.

 

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The ban was in response to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant - ISIL - which declared a caliphate over the weekend. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has reportedly been utilizing social media to push out its message.

 

State telecoms company ITPC and the Ministry of Communications are staying quiet on the reasons for lifting the social media ban. But access to some websites are still blocked, including Al Jazeera and Saudi Arabia's TV station, Al Arabiya. Additionally, the Iraq is now also allowing renewed access to VPNs, and mobile data can be used again outside conflict areas, according to Reuters.

Continue reading 'Iraq lifts 17 day ban on social media but stays quiet on why' (full post)

UK privacy chief warns wearables must comply with data law

Britain's privacy regulator has warned that wearable tech must comply with existing privacy laws, in the wake of a Google Glass soft launch in the UK.

 

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Andrew Paterson, senior officer at the Information Commissioner's Office, said in a blog post that there's a danger wearable tech could intrude on the privacy rights of everyday citizens. He asserted that there's a debate to be had surrounding how comfortable the public feels with pervasive wearable devices that are always connected and capable of filming at any time.

 

"If you are using a wearable technology for your own use then you are unlikely to be breaching the [UK Data Protection] Act," Paterson wrote. "This is because the Act includes an exemption for the collection of personal information for domestic purposes. But if you were to one day decide that you'd like to start using this information for other purposes, for example to support a local campaign, then this exemption would no longer apply."

Continue reading 'UK privacy chief warns wearables must comply with data law' (full post)

Dodgy USB charger suspected of killing a woman in Australia

The Australian State of New South Wales' Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, has issued a statement to Australian's warning them to not purchase chargers that don't feature the required certification marks, after "the recent death of a consumer where an unapproved USB charger was potentially implicated".

 

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One store in Sydney, New South Wales has had their chargers, travel adapters and power boards removed by the Fair Trading agency. Stowe's warning however, came after "a young woman wearing headphones and holding her laptop was found dead with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution". Fair Trading's advice is to not purchase non-standard adapters, informing consumers to make sure the chargers they buy meet standards and have "insulation on the pins of the plug".

 

The agency also tells consumers that "As a general safety rule, consumers should not use any devices while they are plugged in and charging". While this news is from Australia, the warning should apply to all consumers, all across the world.

Julian Assange could make London Fashion Week runway debut this year

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is going to take a break from releasing classified documents to make his modelling debut for London Fashion Week.

 

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Assange will walk a runway at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been granted asylum for the last two years, for Ben Westwood, the son of Dame Vivienne Westwood. It's rumoured that the show will also include celebrity guests like George Clooney and Clooney's lawyer fiancee, who has worked on Assange's defence team.

 

Westwood told the Telegraph that the point is not exactly to launch Assange's career as a model, but to promote him. It won't be a formal event, but more of a "dress up, mill about and have a drink" kind of affair. "The point is to promote Julian Assange," Westwood said.

Continue reading 'Julian Assange could make London Fashion Week runway debut this year' (full post)

Almost half of UK cop calls involve social media complaints

British police are having to spend more and more time investigating abuse online, a chief constable has claimed.

 

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Speaking with the BBC, the College of Policing's Alex Marshall said that as people have moved their shopping and communications online, so too have threats, insults and abuse. "I see that it won't be long before pretty much investigation that the police conduct will have an online element to it," Marshall said. He added that a typical day will see a dozen inbound phone calls, and at least half of them will involve "antisocial behavior or abuse or threats of assault" that "may well relate to social media,Facebook, Twitter or other forms."

 

Another officer, Det Con Roger Pegram of the Greater Manchester Police, said that it's not so much the nature of the offences that are changing - just the medium of deliver. "You don't need to actually front someone up face-to-face to threaten them," Pegram said. "This can all be done from the comfort of your own home, a coffee shop with wi-fi, and these people can commit crime anywhere to anybody."

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