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Technology 6 September 2021

Internet News: Satellite Broadband Might Bypass Internet Blocking

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Avoiding the roadblocks: A new generation of satellite-based broadband services may be able to skirt Internet-blocking schemes from repressive governments, including the Taliban in Afghanistan, Yahoo Finance suggests. SpaceX’s satellite broadband service offers some potential, although the service still depends on ground stations and cost of the service.

Backing off: Apple has delayed a controversial plan to scan device users’ uploaded photos for child pornography, Vice.com reports. Several groups had protested against the plan, saying it would be an invasion of privacy. Apple has “decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” the company said.

Bad information travels: Misinformation on Facebook got six times more clicks than factual news during the 2020 U.S. election, according to a study from researchers at New York University and the Université Grenoble Alpes in France. However, Facebook has some problems with the research, the Washington Post reports, saying that it measures engagement with content but not actual views.

Less than zero: The EU’s top court has rejected so-called zero-rating schemes, the practice by some mobile carriers to exclude selected content and apps from data caps, TechCrunch reports. The Court of Justice ruled that such plans violate net neutrality regulations by favoring some traffic flows over others. Zero-rating plans are “contrary to the general obligation of equal treatment of traffic, without discrimination or interference, as required by the regulation on open internet access,” the court said.

Privacy problems: In other EU legal news, messaging app WhatsApp has been fined US$267 million for not being transparent enough about the user data it shares, The Independent writes. The EU objected to WhatsApp uploading the phone numbers of non-users if one user has consented to it having access to their contacts, among other things.

The spy in your home: Several lawsuits allege that Siri, Alexa, and the Google assistant are listening even when they’re not supposed to, the Washington Post says. A judge in California has ruled that a lawsuit brought against Apple, alleging that Siri has improperly recorded private conversations, can continue.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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