By: Telegraph Reporter
By : Karl Bode of Motherboard
A new study shows that after years of declines, BitTorrent usage and piracy is on the rise again. The culprit: an increase in exclusivity deals that force subscribers to hunt and peck among a myriad of streaming services to actually find the content they’re looking for.
Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report offers some interesting insight into user video habits and the internet, such as the fact that more than 50 percent of internet traffic is now encrypted, video now accounts for 58 percent of all global traffic, and Netflix alone now comprises 15 percent of all internet downstream data consumed.
But there’s another interesting tidbit buried in the firm’s report: after years of steady decline, BitTorrent usage is once again growing.
According to Sandvine, file-sharing accounts for 3 percent of global downstream and 22 percent of upstream traffic, with 97% of that traffic in turn being BitTorrent. While BitTorrent is often used to distribute ordinary files, it remains the choice du jour for those looking to distribute and trade copyrighted content online, made easier via media PCs running Kodi and select plugins.
Back in 2011, Sandvine stated that BitTorrent accounted for 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed broadband networks in North America. By 2015, BitTorrent’s share of upstream traffic on these networks had dipped to 26.83 percent, largely thanks to the rise in quality, inexpensive streaming alternatives to piracy.
But Sandvine notes that trend is now reversing slightly, with BitTorrent’s traffic share once again growing worldwide. That’s especially true in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, where BitTorrent now accounts for 32% of all upstream network traffic.
One major reason for BitTorrent’s rising popularity? Annoying exclusivity streaming deals.
By: Adam Forest of Independent
Doctors in the US state of Minnesota implanted a remote-controlled electrode in the patient’s back to stimulate surviving nerves in his spinal cord.
Thanks to the groundbreaking surgery, Jered Chinnock, from Tomah, Wisconsin, was able to stand up and walk just over 100 metres – the length of an American football – while pushing a front-wheeled walker.
It was the first time Mr Chinnock had walked by himself since his accident on the slopes five years ago.
“It’s very exciting, but still very early in the research stage,” said neurosurgeon Dr Kendall Lee, who co-led the team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“The reason why this is important is because the patient’s own mind, thought, was able to drive movement in his legs. Just as important is that we were able to get him to stand independently and take his own steps.”
Mr Chinnock said: “The walking side of it isn’t something where I just leave my wheelchair behind and away I go.”
But the Wisconsin man said he was hopeful that he might one day be able to “leave the wheelchair behind, even if it is to walk to the refrigerator.”
Dr Lee explained that as soon as the remote-controlled electrode was turned off, Mr Chinnock became paralysed again.
The innovative technique used by the Mayo Clinic team, which was reported in the journal Nature Medicine, involved inserting an electrode in the epidural space – the fat-filled hollow region surrounding the spinal cord.
By: Chris Isidore of CNN
SiriusXM is buying Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal.
The deal will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company, the companies said early Monday.
SiriusXM (SIRI) has 36 million subscribers in North America. It was formed with the merger of the Sirius and XM satellite radio services in 2008.
Sirius had paid Howard Stern hundreds of millions of dollars to lure him from traditional radio in 2006. SiriusXM has built a stable of stars with exclusive programming to go along with its lineup of music, news, talk and sports.
Pandora (P), a groundbreaking streaming music service founded in 2000, has more than 70 million active users. It faces intense competition from Spotify (SPOT), from music services offered by Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), and from Jay-Z’s Tidal, which is partly owned by Sprint (S).
Pandora’s ability to stay an independent company was very much in doubt. SiriusXM had already invested $480 million to buy 19% of Pandora’s stock last year, and it was widely reported to be looking at a full purchase.
Soon after that investment was announced, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren lost his positions as CEO and board member, and Michael Herring lost his job as president.
Pandora stock, which was down 35% for the year when they left, has nearly doubled since then, partly in anticipation of a purchase. The company still lost $221 million in the first half of the year, although that was down 43% from the first half of 2017.
By: Jeff Lagerquist of Yahoo
Canadian officials are considering how to take aim at the massive U.S. pharmaceutical industry in the event of a full-blown trade war with the United States, according to an Ottawa-based law professor with knowledge of the situation.
The plan would target valuable U.S. patents, granting Canada’s generic pharmaceutical firms the right to copy, sell and potentially export American drugs.
Amir Attaran, a biomedical scientist and University of Ottawa law professor, said the move would stun Wall Street and the White
House, while mobilizing the powerful U.S.
pharmaceutical lobby behind Canada’s cause.
“Canadian officials are aware of and studying the proposal in case the United States decides to impose a major retaliation on Canada,” he told Yahoo Canada Finance on Tuesday. “I’m positive it’s being considered.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland travelled back to Washington to resume NAFTA negotiations on Wednesday. U.S. officials have demanded a deal by Oct. 1., upping the pressure to resolve long-held sticking points such as the dispute resolution mechanism, cultural protections, and the supply-managed dairy industry.
Attaran spelled out how Canada could employ a pharma-based retaliation strategy in a magazine column in June. He declined to disclose who in the federal government is now considering the plan, saying only that it is not the officials negotiating the trade deal with the U.S.
Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
“I think one plausible reaction for the Canadian government would be to say if the Americans operate radically outside of NAFTA, as by penalizing our car industry, we will pursue their pharmaceutical industry’s interests,” Attaran said. “At that point, you have exited the negotiating model of resolving our differences, and you are resorting to brute force.”
The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America was the fourth largest U.S. lobby group in 2017, spending nearly US$26 million that year, according to the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics. The Washington D.C.-based trade group’s members include drug industry giants Pfizer, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson.
Attaran said a threat by Canada to suspend U.S. patents on Canadian soil would be impossible for those companies to ignore.
“Pharma would be putting in phone calls out to everyone in Congress whom they made campaign donations to. And that is nearly everyone,” he said. “Pharma spends more on lobbying than banking and defence combined, and each of those are a huge lobby.”
By: Michael Sheetz of CNBC
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next generation rocket, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.
Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.
The trip is expected to launch in 2023.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,” said Maezawa, one of the richest people in Japan, who made his fortune as the founder of online retailers Start Today and Zozotown.
SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead and on Monday confirmed that Maezawa is “the same person” who was announced before, just with a larger group now onboard.
BFR is a massive, 35-story tall rocket designed to launch and land like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but also carrying dozens of people on board instead of just satellites. Musk confirmed BFR’s “design has been changed,” after receiving questions about new renders of the rocket posted online.
By: Ray Downs of UPI
New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against Google, Twitter and several app developers for illegally collecting data from children under the age of 13 without parental consent.
New Mexico Attorney General Balderas said the companies are violating the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law, by collecting and selling the data on children.
The lawsuit comes after a University of California, Berkeley study analyzed nearly 6,000 children’s apps and found that the majority of them appeared to violate COPPA.
“These apps can track where children live, play, and go to school with incredible precision,” Balderas said. “These multi-million-dollar tech companies partnering with app developers are taking advantage of New Mexican children, and the unacceptable risk of data breach and access from third parties who seek to exploit and harm our children will not be tolerated in New Mexico.”
In addition to Google and Twitter, the lawsuit alleges Tiny Lab Productions, MoPub, AerServ, InMobi PTE, AppLovin and IronSource of collecting data on children.
Google spokesman Aaron Stein told The New York Times that it is the responsibility of app developers to disclose if their products are primarily for children, and that apps in the store’s family section “must comply with more stringent policies.”
By: Zoë Bernard of Business Insider
For Amazon’s online sellers, a negative product review can be extremely damaging to businesses selling their products on the retail giant’s site.
In order to quash bad feedback, some sellers are offering Amazon employees bribes to obtain bad reviewers’ email addresses or to erase the negative review from the site entirely, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, this practice is especially common in China, where small business owners sometimes pay Amazon employees around $300 for each bad review they take down.
These services are reportedly overseen by brokers who use the Chinese messaging service WeChat to connect sellers with Amazon employees.
Sellers can even contact brokers to get proprietary information on sales volume and data relating to shoppers’ online spending habits in order to boost sales, the sources said.
Amazon policies prohibit disclosing this information, and the online retail giant has launched an internal investigation to determine which employees are violating the company’s policies.
In a statement to Business Insider, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company holds employees to a “high ethical standard” and that anyone violating these codes “faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.”
“In addition,” they wrote, “we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action.”
By: Harriet Agerholm of The Independent
The UK government’s mass surveillance programme violated human rights and had “no real safeguards”, the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) has said in a landmark ruling.
The Strasbourg court said British intelligence agencies’ interception regime violated the right to a private and family life, since there was “insufficient oversight” over which communications were chosen for examination.
Not enough protection was given to journalistic sources by the government’s mass information collection programme, violating the right to freedom of expression, it also said.
But the court ruled that sharing the information with foreign governments did not violate either the right to a private and family life, or to free speech.
The case, brought by a group of charities including human rights groups Big Brother Watch and Amnesty International, centred on complaints about powers given to security services under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa).
It is the first major challenge to the legality of the UK’s bulk collection of communications and follows revelations that both the US and British governments were gathering communications on a “population-level”.
By: Ryan Browne
European parliamentarians have passed a controversial overhaul of copyright law that could force tech giants to install filters that prevent copyright-protected content from being uploaded.
The copyright reform was passed with 438 votes in favor, 226 against and 39 abstentions.
But critics say such a law would normalize censorship and restrict internet freedom, preventing users from being able to post content ranging from memes to links to articles from news outlets.
The controversy mainly surrounds two sections of the law — Articles 11 and 13.
Article 11 would grant press publications copyright over the sharing of their content online, meaning they would be able to charge services like Google News for aggregating their stories. Critics have dubbed this as an effective “link tax,” but proponents say hyperlinks will be exempt.
Meanwhile, Article 13 calls for “effective content recognition” technology to filter out copyright-protected content. Detractors hold that this part of the law could threaten social media users’ ability to share anything from internet memes to snippets of music and film.
Member of the European Parliament Axel Voss — a key supporter of the directive — said parliament had addressed concerns raised by activists, citing amendments including the exclusion of “small and micro platforms or aggregators” from the scope of legislation.