AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by James Delahunty (May, 2015)

AfterDawn: News

Court tells woman to remove BitTorrent, P2P software

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 11:40

Court tells woman to remove BitTorrent, P2P software An accused Dallas Buyers Club pirate has been told to remove P2P and BitTorrent software in order to avoid a $7,500 fine.

The woman was accused of downloading Dallas Buyers Club illegally using BitTorrent software, along with many thousands of other people targeted who have paid settlements of typically around $3,500.

In an interesting exception in an Oregon court is worth noting, however. A woman was essentially spared having to pay $7,500 in damages to the makers of Dallas Buyers Club as long as she promised not to pirate movies again in the future. She was offered this option due "extenuating circumstances" and "financial hardship."

The judgment was dug up by TorrentFreak.

The lady in the case had to agree to a permanent injunction that included a commitment to "immediately delete all unlicensed video and audio content in her possession and subject to her control, together with any and all BitTorrent clients on any computers(s) she owns or controls together with all other software used to obtain media through the Internet by BitTorrent peer-to-peer transfer or exchange."





AfterDawn: News

Twitter brings Periscope live streaming app to Android

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:56

Twitter brings Periscope live streaming app to Android Twitter's live streaming app Periscope is now available to download for compatible devices from Google Play after previously being available only on iOS.

Twitter bought Periscope earlier this year at a reported cost of $100 million, before relaunching the app for iOS on the App Store. It allows users to livestream to the public or to select users, and lets viewers interact with the broadcaster by sending them love (hearts) by tapping on their mobile screens.

Now Android users can get in on the fun, but only if your device is running Android 4.4 KitKat or newer.

The app is mostly the same as the iOS variant but there are a few noteable differences. For example, if a viewer is distracted by a phone call they have to take, then an alert will be put on the Android home screen after the call ends. Tapping the alert will return the viewer to the broadcast immediately.

It also reportedly gives more control over app notifications than the iOS variant.

Periscope has already been the subject of controversy as some users breached its terms and conditions by rebroadcasting HBO's Game of Thrones, and even the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Junior boxing event earlier this month.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition unveiled

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:28

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition unveiled Samsung announced the new special edition Iron Man Galaxy S6 edge smartphone ahead of its initial release in South Korea.

The smartphone is the result of an ongoing partnership between Samsung Electronics and Marvel. The Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition package is equipped with a vibrant red and gold Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge including 64GB of storage and matching wireless charger, as well as a clear cover that enhances the device's exclusive design.

"We are excited to be able to offer our world-class Galaxy S6 edge smartphone designed especially for Iron Man fans through our continued collaboration with Marvel," said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics.

"The limited edition Iron Man Galaxy S6 edge embodies the power of the iconic Avenger with a dual-curved edge design and advanced features that will provide Marvel fans with the ultimate entertainment experience."

It's initial launch is May 27 in Korea, followed by China and Hong Kong in June.

Here's an official unboxing video:

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Skype in court over user data request

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 10:08

Skype in court over user data request Skype has failed to comply with a request to hand over customer information to authorities to aid in a criminal investigation.

The Microsoft-owned online communications firm has been dragged into court in Belgium after it failed to hand over customer data to authorities to aid a criminal investigation.

A court based in Mechelen, north of Brussels, sought information on messages and calls that were exchanged over the Skype service. All telecoms operators in the country are required to comply with such requests in certain circumstances.

A court spokesman said the question now is whether or not Skype is also a telecoms operator, and if established to be so, it will have to hand over the information and may be fined, according to the Reuters news agency.





AfterDawn: News

Cortana coming to iPhone & Android this year, Microsoft confirms

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 May 2015 9:47

Cortana coming to iPhone & Android this year, Microsoft confirms Microsoft announces Cortana will land on iPhone and Android devices this year, and more goodies coming over the next couple of months.

Cortana on Android and iPhone will be capable of much of the same things as on Windows Phone, including having Cortana remind you to do something, to provide notifications of sports scores, track flight information, and so on. However, because Cortana won't have the same OS-level access on iOS and Android, it won't be able to launch apps on command, and the user won't be able to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying "Hey Cortana".

Changes you make on one device will be reflected when you use Cortana on any device, including iOS and Android.


Microsoft will also soon make the new Phone Companion app available on the Windows 10 Preview. It will help to sync your Windows, iOS or Android phone with your Windows 10 PC.

We can also expect the updated Xbox Music app for Android and iPhone in June or July, which will enable streaming your music files from your OneDrive account.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 10:50

Pirate Bay co-founder to appeal Swedish domain seizure An original founder of the Pirate Bay will challenge the seizure of the piratebay.se and thepiratebay.se domain names, it has been confirmed.

Fredrik Neij will appeal the Swedish court's ruling that ordered the two domain names to be seized by the Swedish government. Neij is not interested in the domain names himself though, instead he has concerns with how the court came to the decision to order the seizure.

The court had identified Fredrik Neij as the holder of the two domain names, even though they are held under a third party's name. Since Neij has been prohibited under threats of sizeable fines not to be associated with the operation of the Pirate Bay, and he is due to be released from prison soon, being identified as being the holder of the Pirate Bay domains by a court of law could complicate things.

"The prosecution has alleged two things. One is that crimes have been committed via The Pirate Bay. Fredrik Neij really has no views on this. The second is that he is involved in The Pirate Bay operation," said lawyer Jonas Nilsson.

With Neij's release on the horizon, it is in his self-interest to reject any determination by a court of law that he is in any way involved with the administration of the Pirate Bay.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:29

Netflix bills customers multiple times in error A Netflix billing glitch has resulted in some customers reporting that their accounts were charged the monthly fee for the service multiple times in a single day.

The error seems to be limited to customers in Australia and New Zealand. One customer reported that he had been charged 11 times on Sunday by Netflix, before going into redraw.

Another customer in New Zealand tweeted that, "Netflix just charged me my monthly fee of $12.99 FOUR TIMES IN ONE DAY," adding that "And they're trying to charge me again but it won't let them because they've taken all the f***ing money out of my account."

Netflix said the problem has only affected a small number of its users in the region.

"While no extra money was withdrawn from users' accounts, it may take several days for the authorisations to drop from users' bank accounts," Neflix said in a statement.

"Members may contact Netflix customer service if they have additional issues. We regret any inconvenience related to the problem."





AfterDawn: News

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:26

Fake Minecraft 'scareware' apps found on Google Play Useless 'Minecraft' apps promising cheats and other materials on the Google Play store were actually laced with scareware warnings about non-existent viruses.

Over 600,000 Android users installed at least one of the malicious apps. The goal of the apps is to get an unsuspecting user to sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80EUR per week.

ESET reported its discovery last week on its blog, detailing over 30 different apps that had managed to get through Google's malware filter, Bouncer. They were uploaded to the market over the past 9 months from different developer accounts, though they all likely come from the same source.

"According to public data from the Google Play store, several of them were installed between 100.000 500.000 times and the total number of installations of all 33 scareware applications lies between 660.000 and 2.800.000," ESET Malware Researcher, Lukas Stefanko, writes.

The apps have pretty much no functionality. Instead, any interaction with the apps just brought up warnings about dangerous virus infections. Eventually, the app would prepare a text message in the phone's default SMS application, appearing to be a code to activate an antivirus product. In reality, if the user sends it, they will sign up for a premium SMS service at a cost of 4.80 EUR per week.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 May 2015 6:19

Teen pleads guilty to harassing, swatting gamers An eight-hour long "swatting" live stream on YouTube leads police to a 17 year old, later charged with extortion, criminal harassment, making false police reports and more.

The Canadian cannot be named due to his age, but reports say he identified as part of the group Lizard Squad. He was accused of harassing targets he found on League of Legends and on Twitter, usually because they wouldn't accept his friend request.

Victims had their personal information, including financial records, posted online. The worst of all offences he admitted to was swatting, in which a false report would be made to police with the goal of getting a heavily armed response unit to show up the victim's location.

In one case, a University of Arizona student dropped out after multiple cases of swatting against her and her family.

The teen was eventually tracked down by police after tips were received about an 8 hour long YouTube live stream in which he had multiple people swatted.

He faces sentencing on June 29.

NOTE: Image accompanying the article is a screenshot of swatting occurring during a live stream. It is not linked to this particular case.





AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii 'likely' started home fire, investigators say

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 5:16

Nintendo Wii 'likely' started home fire, investigators say A fire that damaged an RV home and burned up much of its owners possessions earlier this week was likely started by an Nintendo Wii console, according to fire investigators in Colorado Springs.

A news report by a local NBC news channel KOAA 5 quoted the fire department as saying all other possible sources of ignition for the blaze had been ruled out. "I got a phone call from the neighbors saying my camper was on fire," Trevor Pellegrin said.

"When I opened the door, I got thrown back by thick black smoke and flames."

The roof was damaged by the flames, as well as clothes that ignited and the man's television had started to melt. The Wii console was rendered a charred ugly mess. Luckily, Pellegrin managed to save some of his personal items but lost a lot to the fire.

The Wii console was switched off, but still plugged into an electrical outlet when he left. Typically games consoles are left plugged in by owners 24/7.

On very rare occasions, home entertainment electronics are linked to fires, but it's often a case of an overloaded electrical outlet or problems with wiring.


More info: www.koaa.com
Video report: www.kktv.com

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

U.S. ISP ordered to identify BitTorrent users

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 5:14

U.S. ISP ordered to identify BitTorrent users A court in the United States has ordered an Internet Service Provider to produce personal details of account holders linked to IP addresses allegedly used to pirate music using BitTorrent software.

Cox Communications must identify the account holders behind the "Top 250" IP addresses from a total of more than 150,000 IP addresses. BMG and Round Hill Music sued Cox last year claiming that the ISP had forfeited protection under the DMCA's safe harbor provisions by failing to disconnect repeat infringers.





AfterDawn: News

Android reset flaw affects 500 million+ devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 5:13

Android reset flaw affects 500 million+ devices The factory reset option in the Android mobile operating system may not be as reliable as you'd think, according to new research.

Using the factory reset is common when giving away / selling an old smartphone or tablet, clearing out personal information so the new owner can start afresh, and the previous owner can rest assured that all personal information is wiped.

But.. what if the data is not wiped properly? A study from Cambridge University has raised doubts about the reliability of this function across Android hardware. It focused on tests performed on 21 devices from five manufacturers, running different versions of the popular operating system.

Unfortunately, the researchers could successfully recover partial data after the factory reset was carried out. Even with Full Disk Encryption, some data recovery was still achieved.

In 80 percent of the devices, the researchers could recover the master token required to access Google services. They could also recover login information for other services, as well as images, videos, contacts and so on.

There are a variety of reasons for the problem, with one being manufacturers failing to include adequate drivers that would be needed to properly erase the internal memory, or removable flash memory of a device.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google: Why we send piracy settlement letters to Fiber users

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 2:21

Google: Why we send piracy settlement letters to Fiber users Google forwards anti-piracy notices and settlement demand letters to Google Fiber subscribers, even though other Internet Service Providers in the U.S. choose now to, and here's why.

The search giant claims that it sends users the information as part of its commitment to transparency. Other ISPs don't forward settlement demand notices to their subscribers, since the offences referenced are still only allegations.

Google's decision to forward these notices to subscribers of its super-fast Fiber broadband raised a few eyebrows.

"When Google Fiber receives a copyright complaint about an account, we pass along all of the information we receive to the account holder so that they're aware of it and can determine the response that's best for their situation," a Google spokesperson said, reports TorrentFreak.

The spokesperson did go on to say that Google believes there are "better options" to fighting piracy than targeting individual users.

Firms such as CEG-TEK attempt to monetize the notice systems in place in the U.S. and other regions by demanding settlements from Internet users for alleged incidents of copyright infringement. Some ISPs feel that it is better not to forward these demands to their customers.





AfterDawn: News

Adult Dating Site hacked, sensitive user information leaked

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 2:17

Adult Dating Site hacked, sensitive user information leaked Earlier this week, it was reported that adult dating website Adult Friend Finder had been compromised and sensitive information on nearly 4 million users was stolen.

The data breach was reported by Channel Four in the UK.

Adult Friend Finder claims to have around 64 million users around the globe. In this leak, leaked information includes IP addresses, e-mail addresses, dates of birth, post codes and even seuxal preferences and other sensitive information.

Worse, data that was leaked even included information from accounts that had been deleted from the service by user request.

Shortly after the data breach, affected users were targeted with spam and malware-laced e-mails. There are also concerns that leaked information may be used for blackmail purposes.

"We have already begun working closely with law enforcement and have launched a comprehensive investigation with the help of leading third-party forensics expert, Mandiant," the firm said earlier this week.





AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay loses another domain name

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 May 2015 2:11

Pirate Bay loses another domain name The Pirate Bay has lost another domain name just days after a Swedish court ordered the seizure of piratebay.se and the piratebay.se.

In response, the Pirate Bay registered SIX new domain names ending in .GS, .LA, .VG,. AM, .MN and .GD. The new logo on the evasive torrent site features a Lernaean Hydra - a mythical monster from Greek mythology that sports multiple heads - and the new domain names.

It then went on to troll Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad for wasting time and public money in pursuing its two Swedish domain names.





AfterDawn: News

Google: Why 'Security Questions' suck for security

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 May 2015 12:36

Google: Why 'Security Questions' suck for security After some really interesting research results, Google is raising awareness about how unreliable "Security Questions" are for legitimate login authentication, password recovery and more.

Providers of Internet services have long asked their users to provide answers to questions about themselves which may be used for identity verification later. Typically, these questions are asked if a login is suspicious (unfamiliar location etc.) or as a layer of a password recovery process.

It turns out that this is an extremely unreliable layer of security. Hundreds of millions of secret question and answer combinations were analysed by Google, with the goal of (among other things) determining how likely it would have been for an attacker to guess the answers correctly.





AfterDawn: News

Racism and the White House: What happened with Google Maps this week?

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 11:16

Racism and the White House: What happened with Google Maps this week? Google Maps was at the center of Internet outrage this week with demands for apologies, and heads to roll, in an unfortunate set of circumstances that associated 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with racist search terms.

It emerged that searches of "n****r house" or "n****r king" in Google Maps brought up the home of Barack Obama, and Google very quickly responded with an investigation. In the meantime, the story took off and all eyes were on the Mountain View giant.

It's not as if racism is new to the Internet; let's be honest this place is full of assholes, but for it to appear as a top result in such an important Google service raised questions. How could this happen? How could Google let it happen?

Unsurprisingly, it was down to the aforementioned assholes that roam the digital plains and spread their toxicity wherever they can be seen. It's no secret that Google is constantly probing the web and using that crowdsourced pile of data to drive features of its services.

Yeah, you can already see where this is going!

In online discussions of the White House, racist slurs were used frequently enough for Google's systems to strongly associate them with the location. That crowdsourced data scoured from every corner of the web mixed with some offensive search terms in Google Maps produced a very embarrassing result for Google, and one that was offensive to a lot of people.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Watch Delta Airlines' meme-packed safety video

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 10:00

Watch Delta Airlines' meme-packed safety video Delta Airlines has turned to Internet memes to get you to pay attention to the safety instructions for its aircraft.

The memes will bring back some memories, including that damn dancing baby from the late 90s that caused so much fuss. It also includes nods to Mentos & Coke madness, the Evolution of Dance, Keyboard Cat, Peanut Butter Jelly Time and of course that wide-scale study of human psychology that was the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Oh and of course, no meme video would be complete without a goat screaming when it learns that you can't smoke on and airplane.

Well, cringe or laugh, here it is.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google sending piracy settlement notices to Fiber subscribers?

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 9:53

Google sending piracy settlement notices to Fiber subscribers? Google Fiber subscribers who have used their super-fast Internet service to download and share copyright infringing files could soon hear from the Mountain View giant.

According to TorrentFreak, Google has been sending copyright infringement notices to subscribers whose accounts have been flagged by third parties for piracy activity. Controversially, TF alleges that Google is also forwarding settlement demands from Rightscorp and CEG TEK.

Settlements are offered to Internet users ranging from $20 to $300.

Other ISPs in the United States, including Comcast and Verizon, do not forward such settlement demands to subscribers, given that the subscribers are only alleged to have committed a crime and there's typically no evidence to hold the account hold personally responsible.

Along with the demands from Rightscorp and CEG TEK, Google also warns users that repeated violations of its Terms of Services - which expressly prohibits copyright infringement - can result in remedial action including service termination.

Read more at TorrentFreak





AfterDawn: News

YouTube supports 60fps live streaming in HTML5 player

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 7:43

YouTube supports 60fps live streaming in HTML5 player Smooth! In a move aimed at Amazon's Twitch and others in the growing arena of video game streaming, YouTube now supports 60fps in 1080p.

Google's video giant previously added support for 60fps videos, which was welcomed and embraced by gamers. In HD, the difference between 30fps and 60fps is very noticeable for some fast action content. Now YouTube has added the same support for streaming game footage, using a HTML5 player in compatible browsers.

"When you start a live stream on YouTube at 60fps, we'll transcode your stream into 720p60 and 1080p60, which means silky smooth playback for gaming and other fast-action videos," YouTube's creator blog announced.

"We'll also make your stream available in 30fps on devices where high frame rate viewing is not yet available, while we work to expand support in the coming weeks."

Any app using YouTube's live streaming API can add a new high frame rate flag to enable 60fps streaming.

Additionally, the HTML5 player supports variable speed playback, enabling viewers to skip backwards and then increase the playback rate to 1.5x or 2x to catch up to live.

Twitch - which cost Amazon almost $1 billion to acquire - claims to have reached an average of 100 million viewers per month. Google was considering buying Twitch before Amazon swooped in, and now wants its YouTube platform to eat its audience instead.





AfterDawn: News

Grand Theft Auto developer sues the BBC

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 7:20

Grand Theft Auto developer sues the BBC Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games has filed a lawsuit against the BBC in the UK over a film starring Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.

'Game Changer' is a drama being made about the public and legal spats between Rockstar Games and anti-gaming (disbarred) lawyer Jack Thompson. It stars Daniel Radcliffe as Sam Houser, co-founder and President of Rockstar Games, while the role of Thompson is filled by Bill Paxton.

Rockstar Games confirmed that it has sued the BBC over the upcoming feature, citing its desire to protect its intellectual property and trademarks.

"Take-Two Interactive has filed suit against the BBC for trademark infringement based on their movie currently titled'Game Changer' as it relates to Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto video game series," the firm said in a statement, published by IGN.

"While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games. We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Android TV gets HBO, ESPN with Sling TV; 50% discount on Nexus Player on offer

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 6:44

Android TV gets HBO, ESPN with Sling TV; 50% discount on Nexus Player on offer Android TV devices can now get new sports and entertainment content through the Sling TV app, and new customers can get 50% off a Nexus Player for a limited time.

Sling TV will bring Android TV devices - like the Nexus Player - new content from HBO and live Sports for paying customers. For $20 per month, Sling TV delivers 22 channels, featuring content like the NBA Playoffs on ESPN and SportsCenter.

HBO can be added for $15 per month to provide access to Game of Thrones, True Detective and other HBO shows. The upcoming Ballers premieres on June 21 and it can be watched live for subscribers on Sling TV.

Sling TV is also offering a 50% discount on a Nexus Player for those who sign up for three months of service.


Nexus Player & Remote

The Sling TV app is now available in Google Play in the United States for Nexus Player etc.





AfterDawn: News

'Netflix for Pirates': More Popcorn Time blocks ordered by court

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 May 2015 6:19

'Netflix for Pirates': More Popcorn Time blocks ordered by court Controversial 'Netflix for Pirates' services under the Popcorn Time banner are facing further blocking at the hands of a court.

This time the service is being targeted in Israel, where media firms have acquired a court order mandating that Internet Service Providers block access to Popcorn Time websites. The complaint was brought to a court in Tel Aviv by ZIRA, which represents content owners in Israel and elsewhere.

Around the world, Popcorn Time is being fought by targeting the websites that host the applications. Not only are these websites devoid of any copyright infringing material, but they don't even host torrent files or even link to torrent files.

No Legitimate Use

The position of media companies objecting to this "free Netflix" app is that it has no legitimate use. Its sole purpose instead is to act as user-friendly graphical frontend for users to download movies and TV shows using BitTorrent and watch the content as it downloads.

BitTorrent clients on the other hand can be used for legitimate purposes, and so there has been no major push to attack the main websites of Vuze or uTorrent, for example.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Xbox One gets $60 Over-The-Air TV Tuner

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 May 2015 7:01

Xbox One gets $60 Over-The-Air TV Tuner Xbox One gets broadcast TV with an Hauppauge Over-The-Air TV Tuner, delivering subscription-free live TV, 30 minute live TV pause and TV streaming to other devices using the Xbox App on Windows 10.

Redmond's plan to turn the Xbox One into the living room's favorite entertainment hub advanced today with the announcement of an Hauppauge Over-The-Air TV Tuner that will cost $60 for U.S. and Canadian customers. With the tuner, the console can access local broadcast networks and use the live TV content in many different ways.

Users can view live TV on one side of their screen while continuing to game for example, or if you need to go grab something to eat the Xbox One can pause live TV up to 30 minutes. Additionally, live TV can be streamed to other devices in the home either using the Xbox One SmartGlass app on Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android, or the Xbox App on Windows 10 (uninterrupted by gaming activity on Xbox One).

If you are interested in getting the TV Tuner for Xbox One, you should remember that you will also need a HDTV antenna to use with it. Microsoft Stores (including microsoftstore.com and brick and mortar locations) will sell a $99 bundle that includes a Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One and a Mohu Leaf 50 antenna, saving you about $30.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Rand Paul trying to block PATRIOT Act renewal

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 May 2015 5:46

Rand Paul trying to block PATRIOT Act renewal U.S. Senator Rand Paul is currently trying to block the renewal of PATRIOT Act provisions related to the mass collection of phone records in the United States.

The Republican is currently holding the U.S. Senate floor and speaking about the mass collection of telephone call records and other activities in the union. Under the rules, Paul can speak until midnight, which is when a new legislative day will commence.

Paul's twitter account and news outlets are reporting the senator's activity as a filibuster, which is not entirely accurate since he is not actually delaying consideration of a bill. Nevertheless, Paul is using his time on the floor to talk about why it's time to "end NSA spying".



On June 1, provisions of the controversial U.S. PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) will expire. Those provisions are referenced to justify the mass collection of data related to phone calls inside the United States.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Piracy plummets as subscribers receive notices; U.S. to copy controversial system?

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 May 2015 5:12

Piracy plummets as subscribers receive notices; U.S. to copy controversial system? It's time for America to get rid of the Copyright Alert System and replace it with the Canadian alternative responsible for a sharp decrease in piracy, an anti-piracy group has said.

Canadian Internet users that are alleged to have infringed copyright by downloading and sharing media online have begun receiving notices forwarded from their Internet Service Providers. While there are still controversial aspects of the program, a group is calling for the system to be replicated in the United States and to replace the comparably ineffective Copyright Alert System (CAS).

The Internet Security Task Force called last week for the U.S. to adopt a system more like that of the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act, citing data that shows a sizable drop in piracy activity on Canadian ISPs.

The data come from GEK-TEK International, which is a firm based in Los Angeles. GEK-TEK monitors online piracy and its business is to extract fees/settlements from alleged Internet piracy for its clients. It's main clients are Nu Image and Millennium Film and it has around 125 clients in Canada, and no doubt it would like to expand its horizons to more content owners.

Here are the figures attributed to GEK-TEK from Canada:

  • Bell Canada - 69.6% decrease
  • Telus Communications - 54.0% decrease
  • Shaw Communications - 52.1% decrease
  • TekSavvy Solutions - 38.3% decrease
  • Rogers Cable - 14.9% decrease
ISTF wants CAS to be done away with entirely, claiming that it simply doesn't work.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Podcasts, Videos, Running Tracks... Spotify broadens content platform

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 May 2015 4:35

Podcasts, Videos, Running Tracks... Spotify broadens content platform Spotify is broadening its content distribution platform to include support for podcasts and short videos as it stares down rapidly growing competition in the media delivery space.

It's not economically feasible to rely on the volatile music streaming business these days with so many vultures in flight. If you stagnate and stand still you will fade into irrelevancy in an unforgiving market and an every-changing, increasingly demanding digital entertainment space.

Spotify is taking no risks and is squaring up to services like Tidal by adding support for videos and podcasts to its service. It won't be offering what you'd consider "full length episodes" in video, instead subscribers will have access to short videos around 10 minutes or shorter.

With commuters in mind, audio-only streams from video content will also be supported.

Spotify will of course make suggestions of what videos or podcasts you might like, just as it does with music, and content from the likes of ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, Cond Nast Entertainment, ESPN, Fusion, Maker Studios, NBC, TED and Vice Media will be available.

Also announced today is Spotify Running (video below) for those who listen to music when they go for a run. It will match your running tempo (BPM etc.) to music specifically selected for running activity, delivering music in time with your step. Some original tracks will also be available (six at launch).

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

White Xbox One resurfaces in Halo: Master Chief Collection bundle

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 May 2015 4:08

White Xbox One resurfaces in Halo: Master Chief Collection bundle Microsoft is put a white Xbox One console on sale again this month as part of a Special Edition Halo: The Master Chief Collection Bundle.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection features Halo: Combat Evolved, a re-mastered Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4. For a limited time, fans can purchase an Xbox One Special Edition Halo: The Master Chief Collection Bundle, that includes a digital download code for the four Halo titles.

The bundle includes a Cirrus White Xbox One console and wireless controller.

Right now, the bundle is limited to consumers in the United States, with a price tag of $349. It will be available for a limited time at U.S. retailers, so long as supplies last.





AfterDawn: News

Dallas Buyers Club accused pirates to get free legal advice

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 8:34

Dallas Buyers Club accused pirates to get free legal advice An Internet Service Provider is working to get free legal advice for customers who are alleged to have downloaded illegal copies of Dallas Buyers Club.

iiNet is one of several Internet Service Providers in Australia that will have to identify account holders based on IP addresses allegedly used to pirate the film. In total, 4,726 IP addresses were allegedly connected to pirating the film, and a Federal Court has ordered their ISPs to identify the account holders linked to them.

Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures brought the case to court in Australia and ISPs like iiNet resisted calls to identify their customers and provide their personal details. Once the information is handed over, the plaintiffs will be able to make contact with the alleged copyright infringers, but Federal Court Justice Nye Perram has stressed that letters seeking settlement need to be approved by the court, in order to avoid intimidation.

iiNet has provided information for customers who have downloaded Dallas Buyers Club and fear they might be among those identified and pursued for compensation. In the event that a customer receives a letter, iiNet recommends they seek legal advice immediately and makes a big commitment to its customers.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

VIDEO: Bill Gates recommends books to read this summer

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 8:12

VIDEO: Bill Gates recommends books to read this summer Randall Munroe, Richard Dawkins, Eula Biss and more make up Bill Gates' summer recommended reading list!

Bill reads a handful of books every year and reviews them, making recommendations based on his favorite books. This year he has strayed away from heavier topics like macroeconomics and finance, and is focusing on lighter alternatives that will be entertaining, informative and even humorous reads.

Among his recommendations this year is the noted "What If?" by Randall Munroe, which is a thoroughly entertaining read providing scientific answers to really bizarre questions. The book is funny to read, but still scientifically accurate and the reader can learn a bit about interesting topics (DNA, Ballistics, Ocean sciences etc).

Also from Munroe, Bill recommends "XKCD", which is a collection of material from the XKCD blog.

Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins also gets a nod from Gates for his book "The Magic of Reality" which is intended for a younger audience but can still be read and enjoyed by adults. Dawkins is famed for his ability for making Scientific concepts understandable and appealing to the general public, but in recent years has been known more for his stance on religion. Gates doesn't endorse Dawkins' ideas on religion fully, but still credits him as one of the greatest science writers.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google Search gets real-time tweets on mobile

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 7:37

Google Search gets real-time tweets on mobile Google will show real-time tweets in search results provided to mobile devices to keep users up to the moment when searching for topics.

For example, searching for information on NASA can show the latest tweets from the organization, up to the minute. The same can be said for pop stars and celebrities, or a trend like tweets about the finale of a TV show while it is airing.

This provides organizations and publishers another way to reach a more global audience on topics that are relevant right now.

To start, live tweets are launching on Google.com in English in the Google app (on Android and iOS) and on mobile browsers, rolling out gradually.






AfterDawn: News

Popcorn Time now works in your browser, but for how long?

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 5:49

Popcorn Time now works in your browser, but for how long? A Popcorn Time fork that works in modern web browsers without downloading and installing an additional app has appeared online.

We really don't expect the popcorninyourbrowser.net to last very long if we are honest. Popcorn Time is a very popular torrent-based movie and TV show streaming solution that plays video content as it downloads. Since the original Popcorn Time ceased to be, there have been multiple forks of continued development.

It has captured the attention of Hollywood because it makes viewing the latest movies and TV shows, in HD, very easy using apps that work on Android, Windows and so on. It sports a very simple interface and will do all the torrenting in the background.

The new site has a responsive search that lets the user find popular films, and with a click will attempt to get the film playing. It is described only as a Mashup of YTS and Coinado.io.

Some brief testing we did showed that it does work but seems rather slow. In any case, we can't see it being online - or at least accessible at the current domain - for much longer.





AfterDawn: News

YouTube's Kids app blasted for inappropriate content

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 5:28

YouTube's Kids app blasted for inappropriate content Two groups claiming to represent the interests of children have reported the YouTube Kids App to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming it provides access to inappropriate content.

The two groups - Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy - said they could use the app to find videos that were extremely disturbing and "potentially harmful for young kids to view."

Among the objectionable content, the groups cited explicit sexual language in cartoons; jokes about pedophilia and drug use; activities such as juggling knives, tasting battery acid, and making a noose; and adult discussions about family violence, pornography, and child suicide, according to a Wall Street Journal blog post.

"Google promised parents that YouTube Kids would deliver appropriate content for children, but it has failed to fulfill its promise," said attorney Aaron Mackey.

Google said it works hard to make sure that the videos that can be accessed through the app are as kids-friendly as possible. It uses automatic filters, user feedback and reviews to determine if access to content should be removed.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

YouTube anti-Islam film ban lifted by U.S. court

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 5:13

YouTube anti-Islam film ban lifted by U.S. court A YouTube video blamed for kicking off violence all over the world for perceived offense to Muslims, Islam and the prophet Muhammad should not be banned, a U.S. court has decided.

The "Innocence of Muslims" video was technically a trailer for a longer film that started production as "Desert Warrior". The video caused a surge of violence in some parts of the middle east and the western world for its portrayal of the figure Mohammed from Islam as a fool, a sexual deviant, a delinquent and so on.

Fatwas were issued against the producer of the film, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, and against the cast. What the cast didn't know is dialogue had been dubbed over the film in post-production to add anti-Islamic sentiment.

YouTube voluntarily blocked access to the video in some countries, citing a difficult situation, but it did not remove it in the United States or most of the western world. Google did not find the content of the video in violation to its rules, finding it was about Islam and did not qualify as hate speech against a particular ethnic group.

However, actress Cindy Lee Garcia claimed to have been tricked by the producers of the film and filed a lawsuit against Google seeking to have the footage removed. Garcia had received death threats for her part in the production of the film beforehand, but was relying on a weak copyright claim in order to have the film removed from YouTube, and a district court refused her request.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Ransomware leads to 'animal abuse images' confession

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 4:13

Ransomware leads to 'animal abuse images' confession A man turned himself in to police in the UK to confess to possessing sexual images involving animals after being threatened by ransomware on his PC.

The 61-year old living in Scotland had encountered a run-of-the-mill ransomware infection on his Windows PC in 2013. Unlike more advanced ransomware that uses cryptography to wall off access to files on infected PCs until a ransom is paid, this infection just locked the screen and threw up a phony warning from police.

Such ransomware infections often claim to have detected illegal browsing activity, illegal files such as pornography or copyright infringing content, and threatens to forward the information to authorities unless a ransom is paid. Some even use location information on the PC to pick the relevant police force based on the territory the victim resides in.

In this case, the man in question reportedly paid 100 in ransom to regain access to his files, which actually were never encrypted at all. To his dismay, the access was not restored and fearing he was about to be arrested, he turned himself in to police.

He admitted to possessing hundreds of images of animals of a sexual nature, including horses, dogs and pigs, although he maintained that he never actually looked at them after downloading them.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay domain seizure ordered by Swedish court

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 May 2015 3:54

Pirate Bay domain seizure ordered by Swedish court Notorious Pirate ship sets sail for new shores after a Swedish court ordered the seizure of both thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se domain names.

Once again the Pirate Bay has been forced into evasive maneuvers to thwart legal efforts to sink it to the bottom of the ocean. This time, the Stockholm District Court ordered the official thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se domain names seized, continuing a cat and mouse game that has been going on for over a decade between the Pirate Bay and... everyone.

(Also Read: Canadian copyright notice program reduces piracy by up to 70%, and is heading for the United States?)

In response, the Pirate Bay now has SIX new domain names ending in .GS, .LA, .VG,. AM, .MN and .GD. The new logo on the evasive torrent site features a Lernaean Hydra - a mythical monster from Greek mythology that sports multiple heads - and the new domain names.

Humble as always, the Pirate Bay team congratulated the prosecutor for wasting time and money on this latest effort to slay the beast.

"Congratulations to Prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad. Two years hard work to get us to change two little letters at a cost of $20,000 per letter," TorrentFreak quotes TPB team.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

ISPs ordered to block Popcorn Time sites

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 May 2015 7:55

ISPs ordered to block Popcorn Time sites A court has ordered Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to websites associated with the Popcorn Time software.

Popcorn Time (and its numerous forks) is a sort of dark rival to Netflix and other legitimate, licensed content streaming services. Essentially, Popcorn Time puts a simple interface over a BitTorrent backend. Once a user picks a movie to watch (and what resolution) it will torrent the content in the background and play it as it downloads.

Now, a UK court has decided that ISPs in the union must block access to five websites associated with Popcorn Time, including popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to.

This order applies to Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, BT and EE, who have previously been forced to block access to a large number of BitTorrent websites. The interesting difference in this case is those sites don't offer torrents or links to any pirated content, but instead offer downloads of Popcorn Time clients.

"It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content," Judge Birss wrote.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Reminder: Xbox 360 multiplayer FREE this weekend

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 May 2015 7:34

Reminder: Xbox 360 multiplayer FREE this weekend Xbox 360 owners can play multiplayer games against their friends for free this weekend, regardless of the region they reside in.

If you are looking for something to do this evening and on Sunday and have an Xbox 360, you can take advantage of free multiplayer this weekend (May 1 - May 3). Multiplayer has been "unlocked" on Xbox Live this weekend for all to enjoy, so you might as well take advantage of it if you don't have a Gold account.

Here's a video Microsoft made to amp you up!





AfterDawn: News

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: illegal streaming targeted in lawsuit

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 May 2015 7:26

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: illegal streaming targeted in lawsuit The most hotly anticipated boxing event in years is only hours away, but legal action against those who plan to stream the fight illegally is already underway.

Boxing fans have been waiting years for this event. Tonight in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will step into the ring and end this argument once and for all, earning astronomical amounts of money each in the process. This PPV event surely will be lucrative.

Not everybody is willing to pay for something they can potentially see for free, however, and earlier this week HBO and ShowTime sought to launch pre-emptive strikes against sites that were planning to stream the fight to viewers for free.

In a complaint filed in a federal court in Florida, they accuse boxinghd.net and sportship.org of advertising the fight with the intent to stream it to fans for free, whilst they profit from advertisements.

"There are no authorized online streams of the Coverage for delivery to United States audiences," the complaint reads. It sought a temporary restraining order against the sites in order to protect the parties from irreparable damage.

It seems to have worked too, as BoxingHD removed references to the event and sportship.org is unreachable at the moment.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

YouTube turns 10; will celebrate throughout May with memorable content

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 May 2015 7:13

YouTube turns 10; will celebrate throughout May with memorable content YouTube is celebrating its tenth birthday this month, and will celebrate the milestone by dipping into its vast collection of content for some of its most memorable moments.

As a reminder that we are all rapidly ageing with no relief in sight, YouTube will blast us with an A-Z selection of memorable content uploaded to the service over the past decade.

"Every day over the next 26 days, we'll take a look back at some of the most memorable moments, from the silly to the profound, that you've shared on YouTube in the last 10 years. It's YouTube from A to Z. Literally." YouTube announced on its blog this week.

On April 23, 2005, the first ever video was uploaded to an largely-unknown private site called YouTube. The 18-second long clip showed elephants at the San Diego zoo. The next month, the little video project went into beta, and became available for use by the wider public later on that year.

Since then of course, YouTube was acquired by Google and has become a household name. It is consulted for almost all types of video content imaginable, from music videos, to comedy, to idiots faceplanting into the turf for our amusement, to conspiracy theories and almost anything else you can think of that isn't pornographic - although the latter has been known to get spammed to YouTube.

Read more...





Latest user comments

News archive