Vladimir Putin’s Russia doesn’t like Facebook and it doesn’t care for gay people, and the government is now attempting to censor both of these things in one fell swoop. Mikhail Marchenko, a Russian senator in the upper house of parliament, has called for his government to investigate whether Facebook emojis depicting two boys and two girls kissing violates the country’s 2013 ban on exposing “homosexual propaganda” to minors, Time reports. Russia’s Roskomnadzor (The Federal Service For Supervision of Communication, Information Technology and Mass Media) is investigating Marchenko’s concerns and is prepared to “take reactive measures,” the site says.
Roskomnadzor has asked the Young Guard, Putin’s main youth group, to form an “expert opinion” on the matter. In turn, Young Guard leader Denis Davydov says he will consult with professional psychologists to determine whether these emojis carry propaganda, according to Time.
There’s no word if Russia takes issue with similar emojis on Twitter or other prominent social networks. The Russian government is particularly miffed at Facebook right now, after one of Putin’s aides was censored on the website when he used an ethnic slur for Ukranians on his personal page. Meanwhile, Roskomnadzor is believed to have shut down more than 10,000 websites, threatened meme creators and censored social media pages. In 2014, it passed a restrictive blogger registration law that ultimately pushed Google and Intel out of the country. Where’s the love, Russia?
Facebook started teasing its internet-beaming planes last year, but now we’re seeing one that it actually built. Pictured above is Aquila, a solar-powered, 140-foot unmanned plane that’s designed to deliver internet connectivity from altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. The UAV, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and weighs roughly 880 pounds, will be able to circle a specific area for up to 90 days when deployed — a feat possible thanks to its dependence on nothing but solar energy. What’s also interesting is how it gets up in the air; Facebook says it uses a balloon to carry Aquila to the aforementioned altitude range, although it’s still unclear how the Federal Aviation Authority plans to control this type of traffic.
Aquila is only part of Facebook’s current strategy to “connect the world,” and its idea is to have a full fleet roaming the skies in the future. Then there’s Internet.org, a project led by the social network that brings free, basic web access to underdeveloped countries — which has faced detractors along the way. Regardless, Facebook is expected to test Aquila in the US later this year, but it is unclear as to when exactly that will be. “We still have a long way to go in this work, but we are excited by our early progress,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We plan to engage with the broader community and share what we’ve learned, so we can all move faster in the development of these technologies.”
Facebook initially rolled out a new account safety feature, dubbed Security Checkup, this May as part of a limited test release. Today, that feature is available for all users. Security Checkup is designed to make finding and enabling Facebook’s multitude of optional security settings much easier. Users will be able to automatically logout of rarely used devices, set alerts for suspicious login activity and reset their password. Even finding the checkup function itself will be a snap as it’s going to be positioned at the top of your feed for the next few weeks.
[Image Credit: shutterstock]
Want to show that the art of sincere, thoughtful communication is dead? You only have to take advantage of a little-known (but recently discovered) Facebook feature. The social network has been quietly rolling out SMS birthday notifications that let you wish a generic “Happy Birthday!” simply by replying “1.” Yes, you too can reduce an important milestone in someone’s life to a single-digit text reply that takes less effort than it does to unlock your phone. It’s true that this could come in handy for the birthdays of Facebook friends you barely know, but we’d say that taking the few seconds extra to write posts on their timelines would be infinitely more considerate — you’re never in that much of a hurry.
[Image credit: Shutterstock / Ruth Black]
Via: The Guardian
Source: The Next Web
Facebook’s authentic name policy was meant to make the social media platform a safe place where “pretending to be anything or anyone isn’t allowed.” But, ironically the policy bred harassment instead of curtailing it. Most recently, Facebook blocked a German user’s account (as it often does) for using an alias, asked her to provide a copy of her ID and swapped her pseudonym with her real name without her consent. The user filed a complaint, claiming she had picked a fictitious name to avoid unwarranted business queries. The Hamburg Data Protection Authority responded and stepped in to protect her privacy rights. According to a Reuters report, the German agency has ordered Facebook to let users pick pseudonyms. The company can no longer control or change the usernames. What’s more, it can’t ask users for their IDs.
Facebook isn’t pleased with the order. So far, the company’s argued the Irish defense. Back in 2011, when a privacy agency in Ireland concluded that the company’s new name policy did not interfere with their laws, it validated the company’s justification that the tool was designed to protect users from online abuse. Ever since, the social media giant reportedly maintained that with a headquarters in Ireland it should only be obligated to abide by Irish laws. With this new order, the commissioner of Hamburg’s Data Protection Authority has taken a stand against that argument. He told Reuters: “For that matter Facebook cannot again argue that only Irish Data Protection law would be applicable … anyone who stands on our pitch also has to play our game.”
Filed under: Facebook
Following the FAA’s recent relaxation of commercial drone flight regulations, Amazon is forging ahead with plans to employ the machines for deliveries. But first, the company has proposed some ground rules to keep the fledgling industry flying safely and out of the way of manned aircraft. Currently the FAA only allows drones to climb to 400 feet and they must remain within the pilot’s line of sight. They also cannot be operated within five miles of an airport. Amazon’s proposal builds off these initial restrictions with faster, long-range drones flying between 200 and 400 feet up. Slower and short-range drones would operate below 200 feet.
The biggest challenge is making sure that these machines don’t run into obstacles, airplanes, helicopters or each other. As such Amazon wants every drone to file the UAV equivalent of a flight plan prior to takeoff, just like manned aircraft already do. The drones would also need to maintain an internet connection in case they need to receive emergency instructions (i.e. “Thunderstorm ahead. Land now.”) as well as obstacle avoidance and sensing systems to keep them from crashing into trees, birds, utility poles or just sideswiping one another.
It’s basically a mirror of the current (and exceedingly safe) system employed by the FAA for commercial airliners. What’s more, Amazon wants to create a neutral central computer system to handle all of these flight plans and location data that any participating company could freely access. This access would extend from hobbyists flying homebrew quadcopters to tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook along a tiered flightpath scheme. “It’s completely doable,” Gur Kimchi, Amazon’s VP of drone delivery, told Bloomberg News. “We think it’s something feasible that everyone can rally around.”
[Image Credit: Amazon/Associated Press]
When a loved one passes away, their Facebook profile page can become an important place for friends and family to remember them by. The company already offers memorialized accounts, which shows the word “remembering” next to their name and stops anyone from logging in, but now it’s going a step further with legacy contacts. The feature is rolling out in Europe today after its US debut in February, and allows users to choose a friend or relative to manage their account after they’ve died. Once activated, this person can write a post at the top of their timeline — for instance, to share details about a memorial service — respond to friend requests and update their profile and cover photos. Users can also give legacy accounts permission to download an archive of their profile, including photos and posts, for safe keeping should they wish for their account to be deleted.
[Image credit: shutterstock]
It will be moderated by our own Terrence O’Brien and you’ll get answers directly from the Secretary on our Facebook page. Start thinking about what you’d like to ask him and join us here on this page (where we’ll embed the post once we get started) on Monday. If you can’t make it, drop your question in the thread below. And last but not least, you’ll also want to read Nicole Lee’s piece on the future of the gig economy.
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Filed under: Announcements
Apple and Samsung have been arguing in court over various patent infringements for years now and the proceedings are still apparently ongoing. In the latest development, a number of Silicon Valley’s top firms, including Google, Facebook, HP, Dell and eBay, submitted a “friend of the court” brief on July 1st in support of Samsung, according to a newly sourced document.
For a little background, Samsung was initially order to turn over all of the profits from its Galaxy devices that the court decided were infringing on various Apple intellectual property. Patents ranged from tap-to-zoom, finger scrolling and edge-to-edge glass design, just to name a few.
The original case would have cost Samsung close to $1 billion, but the amount was reduced to $548 million following an appeal. Samsung wants the decision completely reversed.
The document signed by numerous tech giants shows support for Samsung because other companies are worried that the ruling sets a precedent and could have an impact on their own incentives to invest in future research and development. Particularly, that the current ruling could “lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components.”.
“Under the panel’s reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand.“
Essentially, the concern is that expensive and inclusive nature of these type of patent disputes could stifle innovation. Even one small and seemingly insignificant component can apparently lead to all of the profits generated from a bigger product being surrendered.
Apple has reportedly asked for a dismissal of Google’s involvement in the briefing, as its Android operating system powers Samsung’s handsets. We will have to wait and see if the intervention of Silicon Valley’s finest can tip the balance in Samsung’s favour.
Just like Taylor Swift in Bad Blood, Samsung has also found a powerful group of backers in its fight against Apple in court. According to a document unearthed by Inside Sources, Google, Facebook, eBay, Dell, HP and other big tech corporations have submitted a “friend of the court” brief on July 1st, supporting Samsung’s stance. The two companies have been embroiled in legal fisticuffs for years, ever since Apple first filed a lawsuit against Samsung for violating various intellectual properties, such as tap-to-zoom, sinle-finger scrolling and two-finger zooming, as well as edge-to-edge glass design, among other things.
Samsung was eventually ordered to turn over the total profits of the Galaxy devices the court decided were infringing on Apple’s IPs, worth almost $1 billion. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals lowered that amount to $548 million, but the Korean electronics maker is still fighting for the decision to be reversed completely. See, the companies that filed the friend-of-the-court briefing believe that having Samsung turn over the total profits of those devices sets a bad precedent. They think that if the decision is allowed to stand, it “will lead to absurd results.”
Inside Sources quoted this relevant part of the document to illustrate what the companies mean:
Under the panel’s reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand.
Software products and online platforms face similar dangers. A design patent may cover the appearance of a single feature of a graphical user interface, such as the shape of an icon. That feature-a result of a few lines out of millions of code-may appear only during a particular use of the product, on one screen display among hundreds. But the panel’s decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user and it was the thousands of other features, implemented across the remainder of the software, that drove the demand generating those profits.
As for Apple, it has reportedly asked for the dismissal of Google’s involvement in the briefing, since it’s the company behind Android, the platform loaded on most Samsung devices.
[Image credit: Janitors/Flickr]
Via: The Verge
Source: Inside Sources