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Techlife News #377

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United States
Ivan Castilho de Almeida
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52 期号


battle lines forming ahead of a looming us privacy law fight

Consumer advocates and the data-hungry technology industry are drawing early battle lines in advance of an expected fight this year over what kind of federal privacy law the U.S. should have.On Thursday, more than a dozen privacy organizations unveiled a plan that would create a new federal data-protection agency focused on regulating the way businesses and other organizations collect and make use of personal data, even if aggregated or anonymized. The proposal would sideline the Federal Trade Commission, which has limited powers and a mixed record of holding companies to account for privacy problems.On the other side, a think tank backed by Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other major tech companies proposed changes that would still give the industry broad authority to collect and use customer data. The Information Technology…

house republicans question telecoms on location tracking

Several House Republicans asked T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint how they share their users’ cellphone location data, citing a recent report that telecoms are selling that information to shadowy companies without customer knowledge.The lawmakers said Wednesday that they are troubled because it is not the first report of these types of data-sharing practices. They also sent questions to data brokers Zumigo and Microbilt, which were mentioned in last week’s Motherboard report.Democrats have also expressed concern, including calling for investigations and legislation. But Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the chairman of the House energy and commerce committee, said this week that because of the government shutdown, the Federal Communications Commission chairman would not brief House staff on what the agency plans to do about the issue. An FCC spokesman said the…

sinclair debuts streaming service for its local tv stations

Sinclair Broadcast wants to “Stirr” up streaming.The nation’s largest owner of television stations launched a free, ad-supported streaming service Wednesday drawing on local news, sports and other programs from the 191 TV stations it owns in 89 U.S. markets.Sinclair said the motivation behind Stirr is in part to help viewers “access the local news and lifestyle programming that is relevant to their everyday life.”Sinclair was admonished by media watchdogs in April after the sports news service Deadspin pieced together clips of dozens of TV anchors for Sinclair reading from the same script. The script warned viewers about “biased and false news” from other media outlets. At the time, President Donald Trump tweeted his support of the company. Sinclair defended the effort as a way to distinguish its news shows…

space company plans satellite launch from alaska spaceport

An Arizona-based space technology company is planning to launch a microsatellite later this year at the spaceport on Alaska’s Kodiak Island.The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports Vector Launch Inc. announced last week the plan to use its Vector-R launch device at the Pacific Spaceport Complex to deploy a satellite for the Dutch company Hiber.Shaun Coleman, Vector’s chief marketing officer, did not provide a launch date Coleman says the company aims to conduct a launch of its vehicle at the Alaska spaceport before using it to send up the Hiber satellite.The company based in Tucson, Arizona, conducted tests at the facility last year.Vector filed a launch permit for the Vector-R in November, submitting dates for a possible launch that ranged from October 2018 to April 2019.…

netflix has no plans to cut ‘bird box’ scene despite outcry

Netflix’s post-apocalyptic survival film “Bird Box” is drawing criticism for using footage of a real fiery train disaster but the streaming giant has no plans to remove it.The footage concerns a 2013 tragedy in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic when an unattended train carrying crude oil rolled down an incline, came off the tracks and exploded into a massive ball of fire, killing 47 people.Netflix licensed the footage of the disaster from the stock image vendor Pond 5 and used it in “Bird Box” in an early TV news montage to set up its horrific premise. The Sandra Bullock-led thriller is about monstrous entities that compel any human who sees them to quickly try to kill themselves. To survive, they don blindfolds.In a statement, Pond 5 said the footage…

hubble telescope camera back in action after1- week shutdown

The Hubble Space Telescope’s premier camera is back in action, after a shutdown of just over a week.The Space Telescope Science Institute says the camera resumed observations Thursday. It stopped working Jan. 8.The wide field camera shut itself down, sensing a problem with voltage levels. It turns out the levels were normal and the readings were bad. The problem was solved after flight controllers reset the telemetry circuits. The repair effort was unaffected by the partial government shutdown; NASA’s satellite operations are considered high priority.Spacewalking shuttle astronauts installed this camera in 2009. It’s the third and final version of the instrument, and has captured stunning pictures of some of the earliest galaxies.Hubble — which orbits 350 miles (560 kilometers) above Earth — was launched in 1990.…