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Top Stories for the Week of June 21, 2017

  • Episode 509
  • June 21, 2017

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday June 21, 2017

Carrier-locked phones are being outlawed in Canada, and providers must unlock phones for free.

Canada's broadcast regulator has ruled that cellphone networks may no longer charge fees for carrier-unlocking handsets nor sell new phones locked to their network.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) said that as of December 1 of this year, phone sellers will be barred from selling handsets locked to a specific carrier, and all carriers will be required to unlock customer handsets for free.

The change is part of a larger overhaul the CRTC has made to Canada's Wireless Code, a set of consumer rights guidelines the CRTC manages.

In addition to the unlocking rules, the CRTC also mandated that any new charges from overage fees or roaming charges be approved by the primary account holder. This applies mainly to shared family plans, where the parent who owns the account will now need to give permission before racking up additional charges.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Amazon is buying Whole Foods Market.

Online retail giant Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a $13.7bn deal that marks its biggest push into traditional retailing yet.

Amazon, which has long eyed the grocery business, will buy the upmarket supermarket for $42 a share.

Investors greeted the deal as game-changing for the industry, sending shares of rival grocers plunging. But Whole Foods, which had been under pressure, climbed.

Founded in 1978 in Texas, Whole Foods was a pioneer of the move towards natural and organic foods.

It has grown to more than 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK, and employs about 87,000 people.

The takeover deal - the biggest in Amazon's history - is expected to be completed in the second half of the year, pending approval by shareholders and anti-trust regulators.

The takeover also makes Amazon an instant player in the grocery industry, where it has operated at the fringes since launching its food delivery service Amazon Fresh in Seattle in 2007.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Tim Cook has confirmed Apple is working on a self-driving car system.

Apple's chief executive has confirmed it is developing a self-driving car system.

But Tim Cook indicated that it is too soon to say whether it would license the tech to other carmakers or try to build its own vehicles.

His interview with the Bloomberg news agency yielded his most detailed comments about the project to date.

Until now, Apple had avoided publicly discussing its plans, although it had confirmed the scheme in US filings.

Mr Cook told Bloomberg, "We're focusing on autonomous systems and clearly one purpose of autonomous systems is self-driving cars - there are others. And we sort of see it as the the mother of all AI [artificial intelligence] projects.
"It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on."

He goes on to say, "We'll see where it takes us. We're not saying from a product point of view where it will take us, but we are being straightforward that it's a core technology that we view as very important."

He added that the rise of AI, electric vehicles and ride-sharing presented an opportunity.

The publication of the interview coincides with an announcement by General Motors that it has completed production of 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt cars at a factory in Michigan.

Meanwhile, Audi has begun teasing a July reveal of a new car - the A8 - that will introduce semi-autonomous features of its own.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

End-to-end encryption for online services may become law.

A European Parliament committee is proposing that end-to-end encryption be enforced on all forms of digital communications to protect citizens.

The draft legislation seeks to protect sensitive personal data from hacking and government surveillance.

EU citizens are entitled to personal privacy and this extends to online communications, the proposal argues.

A ban on "backdoors" into encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram is also being considered.

Encryption involves digitally scrambling a communication to protect its contents, and then using a digital key to reassemble the data.

End-to-end encryption means the company providing the service does not have access to the key, meaning it cannot "listen in" to what is being shared - giving the sender and recipient added confidence in the privacy of their conversation.

The proposal seeks to amend Article Seven of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights to add online privacy. It will require approval by committee's members, the wider European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before it can be passed into law.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

We finally have a release date for Star Trek: Discovery

The latest chapter in the Star Trek saga finally has its premiere date -- with the 15-episode season set to be released in two chapters.

Star Trek: Discovery will launch on Sunday, September 24 with a broadcast premiere on the CBS in the U.S. and Space Channel in Canada. The series premiere will also be available on-demand on CBS All Access and the second episode of the series will be available on the service that same night immediately following the broadcast premiere.

Star Trek: Discovery will also stream exclusively in Canada on CraveTV, with full scheduling details to be released in the coming weeks.

Not in Canada or the U.S.? Don't worry: Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25.

The first eight episodes will air from September thru November, with the second chapter being released in January 2018.


Sent to us by: Nelson Hudes



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