Two senators want answers from the FCC over its ‘manhandling’ of a reporter

Earlier this week, the National Press Club alleged that security guards ‘manhandled’ a journalist after attempting to ask FCC commissioners a question following a press conference. Now, two senators have written a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, asking for a formal explanation.

In the letter, Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) point out that the FCC sets an example when it comes to supporting the first amendment, and that they were disturbed by reports of the incident.

“Yesterday’s incident at the FCC is not an isolated one and seems to be a part of a larger pattern of hostility towards the press characteristic of this Administration,” they wrote. The pair requested a response by Friday, May 26th, asking for Pai’s…

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The Verge – All Posts

Execs from Apple, other tech firms to talk immigration and government modernization at White House meeting

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Immigration policies, government services modernization and integration with cutting edge Silicon Valley initiatives like machine learning are on the docket for next month’s meeting of President Donald Trump’s American Technology Council, according to a report.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

5 Most Important Announcements from Google I/O ’17

Google is currently in the midst of its I/O developers conference, and to kick off the event, CEO Sundar Pichai made a number of exciting announcements at the event’s day one keynote yesterday. While he covered a lot of ground during it, here are the most important highlights and takeaways.

5. Google Photos Enhancements

5 Most Important Announcements from Google I/O '17

Google announced that its Photos app is getting a slew of new sharing options. Through a feature called “Suggested Sharing,” Photos will now automatically recommended that you share photos with people that it identifies in them. You can also create an online family photo album via the new “Shared Libraries” feature. If you’d prefer a physical photo album to a digital one, Google does that now, too. You can create and order printed books of your photos — starting at $ 9.99. Of course, if you’re shilling out money, you only want the best photos. On that note, it was also announced that Photos will soon gain the ability to automatically remove unwanted items in your pictures (such as a fence covering up a baseball game).

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5 questions for IoT about what we could learn from the WannaCry hack


Last Friday here in Europe, we saw over 50,000 companies and over 100 countries hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack. In Germany, digital display boards at Deutsche Bahn train stations were inoperable. In Spain, internal computers were down at telecommunications provider Telefonica. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) was hit, with staff unable to access patient records, some phones down and operations canceled. The attack was halted when cybersecurity experts MalwareTech found and inadvertently activated a “kill switch” in the malicious software, although its…Read More

Connected Devices – ReadWrite

Toshiba may reject $27 billion bid from Foxconn

Foxconn recently submitted a massive $ 27 billion bid for Japanese memory manufacturer Toshiba, but sources are saying the company may have to reject this offer due to opposition from both the U.S. and Japanese governments. Chinese ties to Foxconn are reportedly keeping Toshiba from jumping headfirst into the deal as well as a lengthy period of regulatory approval. Toshiba is left considering a number of other offers from manufacturers like America’s Broadcom, who is pitching a much lower $ 18 billion metric, and Western Digital.

Toshiba is currently facing more than $ 9 billion in losses from its U.S. nuclear division facing bankruptcy, so any offer more than that is likely looking pretty enticing. Another option for the company is to sell various levels of stock to multiple Japanese companies which would give it just $ 4.6 billion to work with, but would also allow it to retain control of operations for the future.

Much of the resistance to Foxconn is related to its recent acquisition of Sharp in 2016, who also supplied parts to Apple. Narrowing down suppliers of one company to two or even one entities can be a pretty dangerous practice, as it means that that supplier has almost total control of what components cost in the market.

Who do you think will ultimately end up purchasing the company? Will they take the $ 4.6 billion deal and retain control while trying to dig their way out of debt?

Let us know your thoughts below.

The post Toshiba may reject $ 27 billion bid from Foxconn appeared first on TabTimes.


YouTube’s paid chats are an abomination from a capitalist dystopia I want no part of

If YouTube comments stink, and they do, then YouTube live stream chats are positively radioactive in their toxicity. You can pick the most innocent of topics, like say kittens napping in a wicker basket on a sunny day, and it won’t take you long to find a prodigiously persistent troll spamming the chat with Nazi insignia, racist abuse, or anything else designed to shock and offend the greatest number of people. So yes, YouTube chats need a remedy, but Google’s Super Chat idea is the worst possible solution to the problem.

What is a Super Chat? It’s a method to amplify the visibility of your chat message on a live stream by making it larger, giving it some color, and pinning it atop the chat window for a period of time. Oh, and it costs…

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The Verge – All Posts

Don’t expect a killer VR app from Google anytime soon

That’s not even really the point, if we listen to Google’s VP of virtual and augmented reality.

Google’s developer conference this year did a lot to temper expectations around its work on virtual and augmented reality.

The company announced a yet-to-ship new virtual reality headset, and you can now watch YouTube’s VR videos in the same virtual space with other users. There’s also Google’s new visual positioning service for indoor mapping. These developments are interesting, but feel incremental.

Even the executive in charge of these efforts, Clay Bavor, on Wednesday penned a Medium post telling readers not to get too anxious in their anticipation for a killer app.

“We’re already at a point where millions of people are beginning to enjoy some of what these new developments can offer, but it’s early days,” he said, using a phrase popular with Google executives trying to rein in expectations.

He called the technologies, which he refers to together as “immersive computing,” as “nascent.” He drew an analogy to the first mobile phones that appeared in the ’80s, decades before smartphones as we know them.

Bavor’s post could be read as defensive. It has the effect of minimizing VR and AR at Google, something counterintuitive for a company that prides itself on creating billion-user apps across disciplines. Minimization seems especially counterintuitive when competitor Facebook has been pretty loud about its own VR efforts, between social VR demonstrations and the high-end Oculus headset.

But that’s not all that’s going on here. His framing is in line with Google’s overarching “AI first” narrative, where the boundaries between individual apps and pieces of hardware are fuzzy and everything feeds into one Google that is everywhere.

Recode – All

Democrats are readying an all-out war to stop the FCC from killing net neutrality rules

Their hope: Generate enough backlash that Republicans cave.

Rep. Frank Pallone is like many Democrats in the U.S. Congress: He’s itching for a fight over net neutrality.

To the New Jersey congressman, the Obama administration “did its job” when it acted in 2015 to stop internet providers from meddling with the way that consumers use the web. The telecom industry didn’t like the rules, of course, but Pallone saw them as the only way to prevent AT&T, Charter, Comcast* and Verizon from blocking or slowing down online content.

So when the Trump administration begins its work Thursday to kill the open-internet protections currently on the government’s books, Pallone and his allies intend to return fire. They’re already pledging to embark on a take-no-prisoners political crusade — one that also threatens to make the internet’s most intractable debate even louder and harder to solve.

“Nobody believes the Republicans [who] are saying they want strong net neutrality, [or] they’re going to come up with a better way,” said Pallone, the top Democrat on the House committee overseeing the FCC, during an interview with Recode. “I’m not interested in this nonsense.”

“It’ll be a campaign issue if they repeal it,” he added. “Our focus now is to say to the FCC, please don’t do this.”

In many ways, net neutrality is the internet’s longest war: So far, it has spanned two decades, four presidents, scores of court challenges and multiple, wonky rulemaking proceedings at the nation’s telecom regulator, the FCC. It has pitted the country’s cable and broadband giants, which abhor regulation, against the likes of Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter and a host of startups that firmly believe net neutrality rules are critical to their existence.

This time, the agency’s new Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, seeks to undo the work of his Democratic predecessor. In 2015, the Obama-era FCC subjected broadband providers to the same sort of utility-like regulations that long have applied to old-school telephone giants. The telecom industry vehemently opposed that approach, as did Pai, who then served as a commissioner. Now that he holds the reins to the FCC, he’s scheduled a vote to begin debating a repeal of the rules on Thursday.

Of course, the legal wrangling won’t end after Pai prevails, and he likely will. Another court challenge appears to await the FCC, for one thing, this time potentially coming from tech companies or consumer advocates who want the existing net neutrality rules to stay put. That’s why Congress is so critical: It could put an end to the bickering. Instead, Democratic and Republican lawmakers aren’t writing some new law — they’re doubling down for a long fight.

House Holds Hearing On Future Drones And The U.S. Economy Chip Somodevilla / Getty
Sen. Brian Schatz (seated)

Huddling with reporters in the basement of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz put it plainly: “I just don’t think [Republicans] understand the ferocity of the resistance that they’re about to encounter.”

When the FCC last considered net neutrality, roughly four million comments flooded the agency, many of which urged it to rein in the country’s cable and broadband giants. This time around, lawmakers like Schatz, D-Hawaii, want to supercharge the grassroots outcry. The hope: They can generate an even louder, more aggressive groundswell of opposition, and in the process, imperil Republicans so politically that they have to compromise.

“Part of our approach right now is to educate the public about the need to weigh in,” Schatz explained. Asked about a more peaceful solution in Congress to the fight, he added: “I think the aperture for legislating in this moment is vanishingly narrow.”

One of his allies in the House of Representatives, Rep. Anna Eshoo, said she felt similarly. With legislation, she told Recode, it “doesn’t look like the ingredients are there now.”

Eshoo pointed to the tweets, Facebook posts and other social media backlash that greeted Republicans when they rolled back another effort by the Obama-era FCC: A set of rules that would have required internet providers to seek customers’ permission before selling their web-browsing history to advertisers. In the aftermath of their efforts to repeal online-privacy protections, Eshoo said the political winds have shifted. “People have had it with being rolled over by interests that are absolutely massive and gigantic,” she explained.

Senate Lawmakers Address The Media After Their Weekly Policy Luncheons Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty
Sen. John Thune

In the minds of Republicans, though, it’s Democrats who now need to compromise at a time when their party is not in charge. “I think part of it is their base: Their constituency has to be convinced the FCC is actually going to undo what was done by [Obama’s FCC],” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the leader of a committee that oversees the agency, in an interview with Recode.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, another opponent of the FCC’s rules, similarly chided Democrats. “I think that on issues, on several different fronts, the Democrats are trying to say that they are not going to work with Republicans,” the Tennessee lawmaker said.

“I think as we move forward, they’re going to hear from their constituents just like I have from my constituents,” Blackburn added. She said the internet was “not broken” when the FCC sought to introduce its net neutrality rules in 2015. And Blackburn pointed to a number of folks who have come to her and said they “do not want a ban on paid prioritization.” That’s the idea that internet providers could charge Netflix, Hulu or other web companies for faster delivery of their content — online “fast lanes,” in the words of Democrats, who want clear rules outlawing the practice.

Lacking much negotiating power in Republican-led Washington, though, Democrats are doubling down. Schatz and his colleagues even took to the Senate floor on Wednesday, mounting their latest public stand for net neutrality. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., for one, slammed Pai for his “short-sighted and in this case unworkable approach” to net neutrality. Fellow Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said the Obama administration’s rules were “common sense.”

In the House, Pallone insists that Democrats’ early efforts to rile voters — and convince them to weigh in on one of Washington’s wonkiest debates — has resonated. During a meeting last week with about 50 local Democratic activists in Middletown, New Jersey, the congressman said net neutrality was “the biggest issue they were concerned about.”

Asked whether Congress could come together and fix the problem once and for all, however, Pallone repeatedly demurred. Instead, he said: “I think the Republicans don’t understand how strongly people feel about this issue.”

* Comcast, through its NBCU arm, is an investor in Vox Media, which owns this website.

Recode – All

US & EU decide against banning phones & tablets on flights from Europe

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Officials from the U.S. and the European Union have reportedly decided against a ban on travelers carrying devices like Apple iPads and MacBooks in the cabin while on flights from Europe.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

How to keep AI from killing us all

We’re currently in the final phase of AI development, in which we’ve advanced past teaching computers to follow rules and evaluating the best solutions to problems. With a clearly defined goal and enough data to parse, AI can now learn how to arrive at a solution on its own. That’s both exciting and terrifying all at once, says data scientist and YouTuber Siraj Raval on stage at TNW Conference in Amsterdam. According to him, the danger we now face in the 21st century is that governments and corporations can arm themselves with powerful AI to control societies, and we need…

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