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Top Stories for the Week of January 6, 2015

  • Episode 381
  • January 6, 2015

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Tuesday January 6, 2015

Internet users in India are having trouble reaching several high-profile sites blocked by their government.

A government block on more than 30 high-profile websites has caused anger across India.

India's Department of Telecoms ordered the blocking of the sites in order to prevent the publicising of "jihadi activities".

After considerable pressure, four of the sites - Weebly, Vimeo, Daily Motion and Github - were unblocked.

Officials said the other sites would have their blocks lifted if they complied with the "law of the land".

The Indian Ministry for Communication and Information Technology said in a statement: "It was stated that Anti National group are using social media for mentoring Indian youths to join the Jihadi activities."

It went on to say that the primary concern was that users posting material on the sites did not require any authentication, and that identities could be hidden.

The four websites that have been unblocked were said to have worked with the Indian government to address concerns - although it is unclear what changes, if any, have been made.

Some users were reporting that they were still unable to reach the apparently unblocked sites.

Pranesh Prakash, from the India-based Centre for Internet and Society, said: "Any intelligent person can see these sites don't incite terrorism."


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Apple is facing a lawsuit for not telling users about the amount of memory required by its flagship operating system.

Apple is facing a sizable lawsuit because iOS 8 eats up too much memory on its devices. While it may sound a little silly, there is understandable reason behind it and it involves Apple's fees for adding more storage through iCloud.

Apple is facing a lawsuit for not telling users about the amount of memory required by its flagship operating system.

The legal complaint revolves around iOS 8 and the amount of memory it reserves for itself on iPods, iPhones and iPads.

The complaint alleges that it takes up so much space that far less than advertised is left for people to store their own data.

Apple has yet to issue any official comment on the lawsuit.

The complaint has been filed in California by Miami residents Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara who say that iOS 8 can occupy up to 23.1% of the memory available on some Apple devices.

In addition, upgrading devices from the earlier iOS 7 to 8 can cause people to lose up to 1.3 gigabytes of memory, said papers filed in support of the legal action.

The amount of memory taken up by iOS 8 can mean users run out of storage and, the pair allege, this is helping Apple force people to sign up for its fee-based iCloud storage system.

The lawsuit is seeking millions of dollars in damages for those using Apple devices facing the storage squeeze.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Netflix is trying hard to prevent its users from using VPN technology to access out-of-country content.

Netflix moves to thwart out-of-country access.

Netflix has taken new steps to make it more difficult for users to access the video-streaming service outside their home countries -- which is a violation of the terms of service.

Netflix says there's nothing new about their strategy, and maintains that it's OK for subscribers to use virtual private networks as long as they can be verified as accessing the service within the country they're authorized for.

In otherwords, if you're in Canada, you can't use a VPN to access Netflix in the United States.

Netflix spokesman Cliff Edwards said there has been no change to Netflix's VPN policy.

An update to Netflix's Android app in the fall included a hard-coded link to Google's DNS servers. As a result, users accessing Netflix through DNS systems that fake their locations found themselves unable to access Netflix without reconfiguring their routers.

Netflix has increasingly been trying to obtain worldwide distribution rights to content -- such as its deal with Warner Bros. for the first season of Gotham, which kicks in after the Batman origin series finishes its broadcast run on Fox in the U.S.


Illegal downloaders in Canada may get a shock in 2015.

Illegal downloaders beware, you may get a shock in 2015.

Canadians accustomed to illegally downloading copyrighted material without facing consequences could be in for a shock this year.
The final piece of the federal Copyright Modernization Act took effect on Thursday, requiring Internet service providers and website hosting companies to relay letters from copyright holders to customers associated with the IP address where the illegal downloading is alleged to have occurred.

While the notices themselves don't carry any immediate legal ramifications, they serve as a warning that a copyright holder has noticed illegal downloading activity at the user's IP address, and could decide to sue.

The law does not include a stipulation that the customer must stop downloading the material or remove it from any websites to which they may have posted, but it does allow a copyright holder to sue individuals. Lawsuits could seek up to $5,000 for downloading copyrighted material for personal use, and up to $20,000 for a download that led to commercial gain.

While the cost of litigation, and the relatively small return, could discourage copyright holders from suing, Internet lawyer Allen Mendelsohn says it could be more worthwhile to sue a large number of people at once.

The hope as the new rule comes into effect is that receiving such a letter would compel the customer to stop downloading copyrighted material.


Intel is working toward eliminating passwords by using your face to log you into your favorite sites.

The first incarnation of Intel Security's take on PasswordBox has been unveiled at CES, and it uses facial recognition to load your passwords for you.

Intel has developed True Key, a new app that uses facial recognition to gain access to websites or devices.

Intel’s True Key was introduced on the weekend at CES, and is the hybrid of their efforts after recently purchasing PasswordBox.

The app is previewing this month with Windows computers and Android phones with facial recognition capabilities, but not on Apple devices.

True Key will solely serve as a password manager for the iPhone and iPad, with facial recognition to be added when the app launches to the general public later this year.

Once downloading the app, users are prompted to register and to take a photo of their face with a smartphone camera or webcam.

The app will then open websites based on the user's face, instead of having to enter in a password.

Intel Security's VP Mark Hocking said the company’s end goal is to eliminate passwords altogether, he said the app won’t eliminate the need for passwords “but it will make it easier, over time. It will be a long time before they’re (passwords) gone.”

Like PasswordBox, True Key will operate on a “freemium” model, enabling you to use the app for up to 15 websites. Users will have to pay $20 a year to use the app for more.


Sony's new Walkman brings incredible sound along with its incredible price tag.

Sony is bringing the Walkman back, but it's only going to appeal to rich audiophiles.

Sony is trying to make the Walkman cool again.

The company unveiled its Walkman NW-ZX2 high-definition music player this week at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

While the device is getting a modern makeover, its no longer the low-cost music player of the past. The new 128 GB Walkman comes with a $1,119.99 price tag.

It may seem like a hefty price for a music player when many of us stream music on smartphones. However, Sony is promising a first class experience that will appeal to audiophiles.

The new Walkman "can reproduce master quality recordings just as the artists originally intended," the company said in a news release.

It also packs plenty of power, giving users up to 60-hours of MP3 listening time and as many as 33-hours of high resolution playback -- all from a single charge.

The Walkman is not yet available for preorders, but Sony said it expects the device will be in consumers' hands sometime during Spring 2015.




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