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The Berlin Senate’s State Department for Civil and Regulatory Affairs ordered Uber to stop infringing passenger transportation law with its service. The Senate is concerned for passenger safety with unlicensed drivers as well as insurance to cover the drivers themselves. Uber says they have insurance but they still face €25,000 fines for every ride in violation. Uber also will appeal the decision and believes it can continue service.
NPR reports that the Knight Foundation commissioned data analysis firm Quid to analyze responses to the US FCC’s request for feedback to its proposed Open Internet guidelines. About half the responses were derived from templates which is low compared to the 80% templated response to financial regulation. Two types of responses were not part of organized talking points. One focused on maintaining a diversity of opinion. The other invoked meritocracy and the idea that people should be able to compete equally. Quid was founded by NASA scientist Sean Gourley and former Yelp product manager Bob Goodson.
Robin Williams daughter Zelda announced she was leaving social media for a “good long time” after some users posted offensive images and messages to her in the wake of her father’s death. The Washington Post reports Twitter says they have suspended the offenders, and will not tolerate abuse “of this nature.” Twitter’s VP of trust and safety said the site will further improve policies adding, “This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”
Engadget reports YouTube has refreshed the apps it makes for TV with it’s new Material Design look. It includes features already available on smartphones including a guide that pops up on the left, latest videos from subscriptions and curated channels. The new look is available now on the Xbox One and will roll out to other streaming devices over the next few weeks.
Following in the footsteps of tech luminaries Satya Nadella and Mark Zuckerberg, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller has taken the infamous ice bucket challenge, in which you or someone you know dumps a bucket of ice water on your head in order to raise awareness and money to fight the nerve-disorder ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Schiller then challenged Apple CEO Tim Cook. Don’t forget it’s all meant to help http://alsa.org/
The Wall Street Journal reports that Africell, an African telco run from Lebanon has received approval to move into Uganda where they will take over Oranges former operations. The company has a long road ahead of it to combat giant incumbents like MTN, Vodafone, Safaricom and Bharti Airtel. But Africell is the market leader in Sierra Leone and Gambia and hopes to continue to expand by targeting smaller markets where it can grow fast. Chief Executive Ziad Dalloul noted the carrier has seen boosts in subscriber revenue because data use has been doubling every six months.
News From You
kyro5976 posted the Ars Technica story about Ryan Lackey of CloudFlare and Marc Rogers of Lookout discussing their project called Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty (PORTAL), the a pre-built software image for an inexpensive pocket-sized “travel router”. The idea is to make existing encryption and privacy tools always there so you can’t forget to turn them on. Portal includes the full capabilities of Tor—including pluggable transports that help foil network monitoring tools. The system is only available as a GITHUB download for now but the aim is to make it available in an easier way.
spsheridan passes along a 9 to 5 mac report that Apple has announced it will explicitly prohibit benzene tied to leukemia and n-hexane which may cause nerve damage from its iPhone and iPad assembly process. Chinese and American labor watchdog groups petitioned the company to investigate whether the chemicals were being used. Apple conducted a four-month study, and claims there is no evidence that workers health was being put at risk but they have updated their restrictions to explicitly ban the two chemicals from the final assembly process.
ccastro425 pointed out the Engadget story that a leaked internal memo published by TMO News indicates that starting August 17, T-Mobile USA will start warning customers that use high levels of data on their unlimited LTE plans, that they may be throttled. T-Mobile claims they are targeting customers who have bypassed the default tethering feature or engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing. Users who don’t respond to the warning will have their speeds throttled for the remainder of the billing cycle.
MikePKennedy posted the Verge article that Lenovo now sells more smartphones than PCs. Smartphone sales more than doubled for the company between April and June. Lenovo sold 15.8 million smartphones last quarter compared to 14.5 million PCs.
Plug of the day: Take This
Kung Fu Drafter sent us a note saying “given the tragedy of Robin Williams death and the fact that many of my geekier friends (and myself) deal with depression, I thought I would remind my online friends of the site takethis.org” Take This promotes awareness and education of mental health issues and empathy for those suffering from emotional distress with the goal of eradicating the stigma of mental illness.
They just redesigned the site to make it easier for people, to find information about what they or someone they know might be experiencing. They’ll be at PAX Prime in Seattle with a dedicated space called the AFK Room, where people can take a break and regain their calm.
Share your story, volunteer, or donate at takethis.org.
Pick of the Day: ACLU’s Know Your Rights pamphlet
With the ongoing events in Ferguson, Missouri, today seems like a good time to brush up on your rights as a citizen, or as a visitor to the United States, when it comes to matters of law enforcement. Now you may not be in, or anywhere near Ferguson, Missouri. But you might be at conference someday, or at a sporting event where things get out of hand, or holding a computer in a public place at the wrong time. So Producer Jennie, who has had several disappointing run-ins with various law enforcement agencies in her past life as a news producer, would like you to know that the ACLU has a handy booklet entitled “Know Your Rights” which is downloadable at ACLU.org. Producer Jennie would also like to remind you that in a chaotic unfolding situation, the best thing to do is NOT to yell about knowing your rights to a bunch of upset law enforcement officials, but rather to get to safety as quickly as possible.
You can use your phone to film the police, even if they tell you not to: Read up on those rights and restrictions here:
Friday’s guests: Brian Ibbott and Len Peralta