Two Democratic US senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate privacy problems related to Internet-connected televisions.
“Many Internet-connected smart TVs are equipped with sophisticated technologies that can track the content users are watching and then use that information to tailor and deliver targeted advertisements to consumers,” Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote in a letter yesterday to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons.
It would be up to Congress to pass new laws for smart TVs. But the FTC can punish companies for unfair and deceptive business practices. Action was taken against smart TV manufacturer Vizio last year.
Apple has signed Oprah Winfrey to a multiyear deal for new original programs.
Apple is now going head to head with the likes of Netflix and Amazon in a war for consumers’ attention.
“Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world,” the company said in a statement Friday. “Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.”
Apple did not specify whether Winfrey would appear in any of the shows, but she is expected to have an on-screen role as a host and interviewer. The company also declined to discuss financial aspects of the deal.
Apple said the deal will not affect Winfrey’s contract with OWN, the television network she launched in 2011. Winfrey recently extended her contract there through 2025.
Apple, Amazon and Netflix have been competing to lock-in producers, show runners and performers, and paying unprecedented sums to do so. Apple has made deals for more than a dozen shows with big names like Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Durant.
Netflix recently signed former President Barack and former First Lady Michelle Obama in a multiyear deal that will see them producing and starring in original shows. Netflix also has a show hosted by David Letterman that features interviews with the world’s biggest celebrities.
Top Democrats are concerned about the merger, which could potentially violate antitrust laws. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust committee, is concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers, and also commented that this merger was “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media.”
Klobucher has reportedly asked Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chair the antitrust subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee, respectively, to schedule a hearing on the matter.
Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) called for his committee, the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, to take a closer look at the deal as well. “Disney’s proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox threatens to put control of TV, movie, and news content into the hands of a single media giant,” he said.
“If it’s approved,” he continued, “this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.”
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to block the network that The Pirate Bay is using. The bad news is that you’ll need to know the specific URL for other networks.
Coin Hive is attempting to make a reliable mining service that’s simple for webmasters to set up. There are a few ways to block it. The fastest method is to just install No Coin in Chrome. The plug-in was recently put together by a programmer named Rafael Keramidas and for the moment, it only blocks Coin Hive.
But you may not even need a new plug-in because ad blocking software can do it, too. For AdBlock, you can find instructions for your specific browser and system here. Using Chrome as an example, you’d go to your list of extensions > find AdBlock and click options > click the customize tab at the top > click block an ad by its URL > in the text field that appears enter:
Disney will be launching a new, stand-alone ESPN streaming service in 2018. This is wonderful news to those who have left cable behind but still yearn to watch sports. It is also big for ESPN, which has had a rough couple of years. The sports media empire lost 12 million subscribers since its peak in 2011, and the company fired a number of high-profile employees in 2017, including NBA reporters Marc Stein and Chad Ford. Former ESPN writer Bill Simmons claimed that the company was too slow to recognize the importance of digital infrastructure.
The new ESPN service will offer “approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.”
Security consultant Rafael Scheel of Oneconsult AG demonstrated the attack by using a cheap transmitter to embed malicious commands into a rogue TV signal. When that signal is broadcast to devices in the vicinity, it can gain access to the televisions. What can cause the attack is the exploitation of two documented security flaws in the Web browsers that run in the background of the TV models used in the test, both manufactured by Samsung. This can work on other TV sets as well. Once a hacker has control over theSmart TV, the TV could be used to attack further devices in the home network or to spy on the user with the TV’s camera and microphone