New York approves surcharge for Uber and Lyft rides in Manhattan

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As part of the budget that New York lawmakers passed last Friday, ride-hailing services and taxis face a new fee if they drive in Manhattan. These aren't nickel-and-dime increases, either: Uber, Lyft and the like face a $ 2.75 charge for each ride, ta…
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FCC approves SpaceX plan for satellite-provided internet

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The SpaceX plan for a global wireless internet network provided by 4,425 satellites has been approved by the FCC. The $ 10 billion Starlink proposal calls for the satellites to launch in two phases between 2019 and 2024, then fly between 714 and 823 m…
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FCC approves SpaceX’s ambitious satellite internet plans

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The Federal Communications Commission today granted SpaceX a license to operate an array of broadband internet satellites, marking the first time the government agency has given the green light for a US-licensed low-Earth orbit broadband service. SpaceX co-founder and CEO Elon Musk has been discussing a micro-satellite constellation for providing broadband internet for years, and in 2017 the company began accelerating its efforts by meeting regularly with the FCC and applying for a license that would allow it to operate in an unused portion of the FCC-regulated broadband spectrum. The company plans to call the service Starlink.

Earlier this year, SpaceX launched the first two of its planned 12,000-satellite constellation. It appears…

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FIFA approves use of video referees at 2018 World Cup

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Video assistant referees are about to get their biggest test to date. In the wake of an earlier general approval, the FIFA Council has authorized the use of VARs at the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia. The tool will help refs make decisions on di…
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The National Space Council Approves Four Recommendations for Reform

On Wednesday, the U.S. National Space Council held their second public session since President Donald Trump revived the group in June. During the meeting, they approved four recommendations, and while these recommendations won’t change the commercial space industry in any fundamental or unsurprising way, they could streamline regulatory activities and keep national space ventures moving apace.

The Council’s first approved recommendation asks the Department of Transportation to develop a better system for licensing spacecraft so that a craft can use the same license at multiple launch sites. Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy secretary of transportation, told SpaceNews that such a licensing change is already under review.

The second suggests that the Office of Space Commerce and the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office be consolidated and placed in the office of the Secretary of Commerce. This recommendation also suggests arranging a new scheme to authorize missions. This system would oversee “non-traditional” commercial space activities that may not have a clear regulatory agency under the Outer Space Treaty.

The Council’s third approved recommendation suggests that three groups – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Commerce Department, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – work together to develop “protections for the radiofrequency spectrum facilitating commercial space activities.”

The final recommendation suggests that the Council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, work to develop recommendations for export control reform by the end of 2018. The goal is to address the current system that considers a commercial spacecraft that lands in another country an export.

According to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, this is a primary complaint of space companies. He said the Council’s recommendation will allow the Departments of Commerce, State, and Defense to continue working on the issue, and their efforts could ultimately “enable more commercial activity while protecting national security.”

The recommendations aren’t exactly earth-shattering – or space-shattering – and space companies won’t see big changes anytime soon. Still, the National Space Council does appear to be laying the regulatory groundwork needed to ensure the commercial space industry continues growing. This makes sense given that NASA has plans for a Moon mission in the next few years before looking to Mars and beyond.

The post The National Space Council Approves Four Recommendations for Reform appeared first on Futurism.

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Apple Approves Data Throttling Detection App After Blocking It

Apple has reportedly changed its mind about blocking an iOS app that claims to be able to detect net neutrality violations and data throttling.

The app is called Wehe, and it was created by a Northeastern University researcher named David Choffnes. And while its premise of detecting data throttling seems straightforward, Apple allegedly blocked the app from its iOS App Store, Motherboard reported early Thursday morning.

Why Was Wehe Blocked?

An App Store editor got in contact with Choffnes and told him that his app had “no direct benefits to the user.” The only explanation for the refusal was that the app contained “Objectionable Content” — which Motherboard reports is a catch-all for apps that Apple just simply doesn’t want to approve.

But after Motherboard’s piece, Apple apparently told Choffnes that his iPhone app will be allowed in the App Store after all. Apple asked the researcher to provide technical descriptions of how the app works. After about 18 hours, Wehe was approved for the App Store.

When contacting Choffnes, Apple said that its reviewers have to deal with many fraudulent apps that don’t do what they claim to. “The conversation was very pleasant, but did not provide any insight into the review process (that) led the app to be rejected in the first place,” Choffnes told the publication.

What Does the Wehe App Do?

As for the Wehe app itself, it’s a simple platform that supposedly lets users know if they are being throttled by telecom companies and internet providers. Choffnes said he created the app after years of reverse-engineering ISP data throttling measures. And with the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, the public seems primed for an app like Wehe.

When the app is first opened, users must consent to having their speed data used in Choffnes’ research. But after that, the app tests download speeds from a slew of popular platforms, including YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and Spotify. The app will then let users know if those services are being throttled by their providers.

Net Neutrality Repeal Concerns

That point may prove to be important since the FCC had previously claimed that “consumer backlash” could deter ISPs can taking advantage of net neutrality repeal. Of course, without the tools necessary, it’s basically impossible for users to know whether or not their data is actually being throttled.

Worryingly, while the repeal of net neutrality isn’t slated to actually take place until later this year, Choffnes’ researcher suggests that ISPs already throttle data to a certain degree.

The battle for net neutrality may seem hopeless for many internet users — despite the fact that it’s a conflict that’ll likely soon end up in the courts. But a simple app like Wehe could give outraged consumers a small sense of agency. And while Wehe doesn’t appear to be on the App Store currently, it’s likely to show up soon.

Knowledge is power, as they say, and being able to tell that their data is being throttled is likely to be important to many net neutrality proponents.

iDrop News

Apple Approves App That Detects Net Neutrality Violations With Speed Tests

Apple is not a stranger to getting press after its review process blocks or outright rejects an app. In this particular case, though, there’s a positive turnaround in a pretty short period of time. Continue reading
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FDA approves first shock wave device made to heal wounds

Using "acoustic shock waves" to promote healing isn't just for Overwatch, as Sanuwave has obtained FDA approval for its Dermapace System (Pulsed Acoustic Cellular Expression = PACE). Its approval is specifically to help heal foot ulcers in diabetic p…
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FCC approves Energous WattUp, the first ‘at-a-distance’ wireless charging system

Wireless charging was the hot new thing a few years back, then it faded away a bit. Now, it’s coming back with Apple’s decision to finally adopt one of the existing wireless charging standards. Every phone with wireless charging still needs to be sitting on the charging pad, but that could change soon. Wireless charging startup Energous has announced that its WattUp system has been approved by the FCC, making it the first “at-a-distance” wireless charging tech ready for consumers.

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FCC approves Energous WattUp, the first ‘at-a-distance’ wireless charging system was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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FCC approves first wireless ‘power-at-a-distance’ charging system

Charging your mobile device wirelessly is certainly less of a hassle than plugging it in, but still requires the device be in physical contact with its station to actually work. That's about to change now that the Federal Communications Commission ha…
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