Piracy

Pirate Bay Browser Streaming Technology Is a Security and Privacy Nightmare (softpedia.com) 70

An anonymous reader writes: Last week the Pirate Bay added support for streaming video torrents inside the browser in real-time. Kickass Torrents followed the next week. The technology they used is called Torrents Time. A security researcher has discovered that this technology which is a mix of client and server side code is actually a security and user privacy disaster. Attackers can carry out XSS attacks on TPB and KAT, the app runs on Mac as root, attackers can hijack downloads and force malicious code on the user's PC, and advertisers can collect info on any user that has Torrents Time installed.
Movies

The Pirate Bay Now Let You Stream Movies and TV, Not Just Download 125

An anonymous reader writes: On Tuesday, a new simple solution for streaming torrents directly in your browser showed up on the Web. By Friday, infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay had already adopted it. The Pirate Bay now features "Stream It!" links next to all its video torrents. As a result, you can play movies, TV shows, and any other video content directly in the same window you use to browse the torrent site.
DRM

In Japan, a Battle Brewing Over the Right To Record 4k and 8k Broadcasts (itmedia.co.jp) 105

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese broadcasters have indicated that 4k and 8k broadcasts may have recording disabled via a 'do not copy' flag [via Google Translate], which receivers would be expected to obey. Now the Internet Users Association (MIAU) and Shufuren (Housewives Federation) have submitted documentation opposing the ban. The document points out that the ban will only inconvenience the majority of the general audience, while inevitably failing to prevent unauthorized copying by anyone determined to circumvent the protection.
Businesses

Senators Blast Comcast, Other Cable Firms For "Unfair Billing Practices" (arstechnica.com) 176

An anonymous reader writes: Six Democratic US senators [Wednesday] criticized Comcast and other TV and broadband providers for charging erroneous fees, such as cable modem rental fees billed to customers who bought their own modems. The senators have written a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler asking the commission to 'stop unfair billing practices.'.....Last year, more than 30 percent of complaints to the FCC about Internet service and 38 percent of complaints about TV service were about billing...
Piracy

Torrents Time Lets Anyone Launch Their Own Web Version of Popcorn Time 144

An anonymous reader writes: Popcorn Time, an app for streaming video torrents, just got its own web version: Popcorn Time Online. Unlike other attempts to bring Popcorn Time into the browser, this one is powered by a tool called Torrents Time, which delivers the movies and TV shows via an embedded torrent client. Oh, and the developers have released the code so that anyone can create their own version. If Popcorn Time is Hollywood's worst nightmare, Torrents Time is trying to make sure Hollywood can't wake up.
Communications

Receiving Real-Time Imagery From Russia's Meteor-M N2 Satellite 26

An anonymous reader writes: The Meteor-M N2 is a low orbit Russian weather satellite which broadcasts live weather satellite images, similar to the APT images produced by the NOAA satellites. But Meteor digital images are however much better as they are transmitted as a digital signal with an image resolution 12x greater than the aging analog NOAA APT signals. Radio enthusiasts are receiving images with hacked cheap digital TV dongles. There is even the AMIGOS project which stands for Amateur Meteor Images Global Observation System: users around the world can contribute Meteor images through the internet to create worldwide real-time coverage.
Crime

San Francisco Bay Area In Superbowl Surveillance Mode (wired.com) 95

An anonymous reader links to Wired's description of a surveillance society in miniature assembling right now in San Francisco: Super Bowl 50 will be big in every way. A hundred million people will watch the game on TV. Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities. And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.
Previous year's Superbowl security measures have included WMD sensors, database-backed facial recognition, and gamma-ray vehicle scanners. Given the fears and cautions in the air about this year's contest, it's easy to guess that the scanning and sensing will be even more prevalent this time.
Businesses

Price Dispute Means 800k Customers Lose TV Channels In Sweden (telecompaper.com) 164

Z00L00K writes: Due to a conflict between the cable operators and the channel providers, 800,000 to 900,000 customers will lose some of the most-viewed TV channels in Sweden, among them Eurosport, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Additional customers in Norway will also lose channels. This is caused by a considerable hike in price for the channels from the provider Discovery Networks. However the amount of money involved is still kept secret for negotiation and business reasons. "Telenor Broadcast arm Canal Digital said Discovery Networks has told it that it will withdraw its channels from Canal Digital Sweden and sister company Bredbandsbolaget from 01 February. This follows Discovery's attempts to raise prices and pay for a number of channels that viewers had not chosen. This will affect their approximately 800,000 customers while a new contract is negotiated. Telenor Sweden customers will not able to watch Kanal 5 or the other Discovery channels until a deal is reached." Considering that Sweden has a population of almost 10 million the impact is noticeable.
Government

Cable Lobby Steams Up Over FCC Set-Top Box Competition Plan (arstechnica.com) 167

An anonymous reader writes: Cable TV industry lobby groups expressed their displeasure with a Federal Communications Commission plan to bring competition to the set-top box market, which could help consumers watch TV on different devices and thus avoid paying cable box rental fees.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules that would force pay-TV companies to give third parties access to TV content, letting hardware makers build better set-top boxes. Customers would be able to watch all the TV channels they're already paying cable companies for, but on a device that they don't have to rent from them. The rules could also bring TV to tablets and other devices without need for a rented set-top box. The system would essentially replace CableCard with a software-based equivalent.

Media

iTunes Radio Is Now "Apple Music" (and You Need a Subscription) 105

New submitter Kevin by the Beach writes: If you haven't noticed... If you try to play iTunes radio on your devices it is now paywalled (you can get a free three month trial at apple.com/music). The only reason I noticed is that I have an Apple TV which at one time had an iTunes Radio App. That app is no longer. Same is true if you select Music on your iOS devices, if you get to the iTunes Radio menu, you are redirected to sign up for the free trial. This reminds me of why I am forever reluctant to trade the music I have locally (on CDs, hard drives, and a few bits of vinyl I've been unwilling to jettison) for any kind of streaming service, whether it promises perpetuity or good-until-next-payment.
Communications

1 In 3 Home Routers Will Be Used As Public Wi-Fi Hotspots By 2017 172

An anonymous reader writes: Juniper Research predicts that at least 1 in 3 home routers will be used as public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2017, and that the total installed base of such dual-use routers will reach 366 million globally by the end of 2020. Major broadband operators such as BT, UPC and Virgin Media in Europe and several of the biggest cable TV operators in the U.S. such as Comcast and Cablevision have adopted the homespot model as a low-cost way of rapidly expanding their domestic Wi-Fi coverage.
Privacy

DOJ and 4 States Want $24 Billion In Fines From Dish Network For Telemarketing (arstechnica.com) 117

walterbyrd writes: The DOJ as well as Ohio, Illinois, California, and North Carolina say that Dish disregarded federal laws on call etiquette. US lawyers are asking for $900 million in civil penalties, and the four states are asking for $23.5 billion in fines, according to the Denver Post. 'Laws against phoning people on do-not-call lists and using recorded messages allow penalties of up to $16,000 per violation,' the Post added.
Displays

Intel Compute Stick Updated With Cherry Trail Atom, Tested (hothardware.com) 90

MojoKid writes: The original Intel Compute Stick wasn't without issues. Last year's model featured dated 802.11n wireless connectivity and had only a single USB port, which meant using a hub and/or dongles, should you want to connect multiple peripherals to the device or boost its wireless capabilities. The new updated Intel Compute Stick, however, features Intel's newer Cherry Trail Atom platform, with 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi, and USB 3.0. There's still just 2GB of RAM in the device, along with 32GB of storage, but Windows 10 Home also now comes pre-installed. The result is a fully functional PC that won't burn up any benchmarks but offers utility for mainstream computing tasks and is even capable of streaming up to 4K video content. The little device can essentially turn any HDMI-equipped display into a basic PC.
Sci-Fi

CIA: 10 Tips When Investigating a Flying Saucer (cia.gov) 54

coondoggie writes: You may not associate the Central Intelligence Agency with historical UFO investigations, but the agency did have a big role in such investigations many years ago. This week the agency posted an article called 'How to investigate a flying saucer." The release is part of a series of old documents dredged up as a nod to the return of The X-Files to TV this weekend.
Media

Netflix's Doomed Battle Against VPNs Begins (venturebeat.com) 159

An anonymous reader writes: Australian unblocking service uFlix recently announced that Netflix has begun implementing its plans to block users who take advantage of web proxies and VPNs to get around location restrictions on content. Shortly afterward, the service rolled out a fix to restore service, despite Netflix's efforts. The article makes the case that Netflix is probably just fine with this: "Netflix, ultimately, is caught between a rock and a hard place. The company has gone on record many times criticizing the way content licensing deals are negotiated globally. Of course, Netflix would love to be able offer a consistent library of content around the world. But it also has to stay on-side with those who hold the rights to the content, otherwise they may threaten to pull shows and movies altogether. The result is that Netflix is going through the motions of blocking VPNs, even though it understand perfectly well that these measures are doomed to fail."
Facebook

Nielsen Adds Facebook To Social TV Ratings (hollywoodreporter.com) 28

New submitter AnneMackay451 writes with news that the Nielsen media audience measuring company will now include social media buzz into its ratings. From the article: "Nielsen wants to know what TV shows are getting the biggest buzz on Facebook. The measurement firm is expanding its Twitter TV Ratings to include data from Facebook and, eventually, Instagram. The new reports are being rebranded as Nielsen's Social Content Ratings. The new ratings will measure online buzz about TV programs and streaming originals when they launch later this year. Social conversations will be measured both during a show's airtime and 24-hours-a-day."
Television

Tension Escalates Between Netflix and Its TV Foes (nytimes.com) 302

An anonymous reader writes: Viewership numbers are vital within the TV industry. For years, the networks have relied upon ratings to make money — higher numbers mean higher ad revenue. The most important part of the ratings system is that individual networks can't just claim whatever viewership they want; third-party companies like Nielsen control the stats. But Netflix doesn't operate by the same rulebook, and this is frustrating the networks. Execs from Netflix and various networks have started arguing about it, both at an industry event this weekend, and in media interviews. NBC had hired a firm to estimate Netflix's viewership numbers, because Netflix won't release them. Netflix says the estimate is laughably wrong, but has also suggested shows fare better on their platform than on cable or broadcast television. If true, it gives them leverage to recruit more and better talent to produce such shows. But it's impossible to refute without numbers, and the networks are increasingly annoyed they can't do that. NBC thinks the media tends to give Netflix a pass on these statements. FX chief John Landgraf said, "[Netflix's Ted Sarandos] shouldn't say something is successful in quantitative terms unless you're willing to provide data and a methodology behind those statements. You can't have it both ways."
The Courts

Police Department Charging TV News Network $36,000 For Body Cam Footage (arstechnica.com) 186

An anonymous reader writes with news that the NYPD charged a local television station $36k to view police body camera footage. Ars reports: "As body cams continue to flourish in police departments across the nation, an ongoing debate has ensued about how much, if any, of that footage should be made public under state open-access laws. An overlooked twist to that debate, however, has now become front and center: How much should the public have to pay for the footage if the police agree to release it? News network NY1, a Time Warner Cable News operation, was billed $36,000 by the NYPD for roughly 190 hours of footage it requested under the state's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Now the network is suing (PDF) the police department in New York state court, complaining that the price tag is too steep. The network said the bill runs 'counter to both the public policy of openness underlying FOIL, as well as the purported transparency supposedly fostered by the BWC (body worn camera) program itself.'"
Television

Matt Groening In Talks With Netflix For Animated Series (variety.com) 103

An anonymous reader writes: Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," is reportedly in talks with Netflix about creating a new animated series. According to Variety, details about the new show are still being kept secret, but it would involve a contract for two seasons of 10 episodes apiece. This would be Groening's first major new project since Futurama premiered in 1999.
The Media

Explaining the Lack of Quality Journalism In the Internet Age (gawker.com) 311

schnell writes: While many lament the seeming lack of quality, in-depth journalism today, a Gawker article argues that the inescapable problem is that you need a paying (in some form) audience (of a large enough size) to do it. There are plenty of free "news" sources to be found online, especially blogs simply regurgitating and putting a spin on wire news reports. But as the article notes, "The audience for quality prestige content is small. Even smaller than the actual output of quality prestige content, which itself is smaller than most media outlets like to imagine." Even highly respected news sources like the New York Times are resorting to wine clubs, and the Washington Post is giving free subscriptions to Amazon Prime members to drive more corporate synergy and revenue. Rich parent companies are giving up on boutique, high-quality, niche journalism projects like ESPN's Grantland and Al Jazeera America because there simply aren't enough TV viewers/online ad clickers to pay the bills. So how do we reconcile our collectively-stated desire for high quality journalism with our (seeming) collective unwillingness to pay for it?

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