India is extending its influence over major tech players. Streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and 12 other companies, have signed a self-regulatory code to stay on the good side of India’s regulators. This includes common approaches to age labels and content descriptions as well as a way to report any violations of the system. Streaming services will have to set up complaint departments, internal committees or both to deal with any issues.
The Indian government has been hesitant to censor streaming services and would rather they keep themselves in check. It’s one of several moves the government has made recently to address tech companies’ influence in the country. Last week, it banned more than 100 apps with ties to China, including major game titles like PUBG.
Withings’ ScanWatch is the best hybrid smartwatch I've tried so far
It packs ECG and SpO2 sensors.
Withings’ latest smartwatch is the first to offer a complete suite of health-monitoring tools inside a watch. Announced in January, the ScanWatch replaces the Steel HR as the French company’s new flagship timepiece. Or, it will, since it’s still working its way through the FDA for clearance in the US. While it’s not a radical departure from its predecessor, Dan Cooper has been testing one out, and he’s infatuated. Continue reading.
FCC chairman cited false broadband data in spite of warnings
Officials had worried about the data for years.
The FCC has proposed fining internet provider BarrierFree for providing false subscriber data, but not before it used some of that data to further its own claims.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai used BarrierFree’s data in February 2019 to tout improved rural broadband access, even though his agency had warned of inaccurate data on this subject for years. The FCC repeatedly warned BarrierFree about missing data starting in 2015 and raised concerns about what it received when the company finally sent in the details in March 2018.
BarrierFree subsequently missed a September filing, and Pai was cheerleading the incorrect figures the same day the FCC warned the provider about another deadline. Continue reading.
Amazon foils ’phone tree’ hack
AKA my favorite tech story of 2020 so far.
Amazon appears to have stopped freelance delivery drivers’ workaround that used phones in trees to game delivery route assignments. Contract drivers talking to Bloomberg said they’re now getting more routes even when they’re miles away from the Whole Foods locations that had been hubs for the scheme. The tree-borne phones have vanished along with the people lurking around them, one Chicago driver said.
The tree-phone move reportedly exploited the behavior of the Amazon Flex dispatch system. Rogue drivers synced their phones with those in the trees, helping them snap up deliveries that would otherwise go to competing drivers. The company hasn’t confirmed the move, but told Bloomberg that waiting in the parking lot or using store WiFi was “not an effective way” to claim delivery orders.
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Virgin Galactic's final SpaceShipTwo tests begin October 22nd
Then, Sir Richard Branson is apparently headed into space.
CNBC has discovered that Virgin Galactic will conduct the first of its last two crewed SpaceShipTwo tests on October 22nd using Spaceport America in New Mexico. If all goes well, the tests will be the last before Virgin’s space tourism starts in earnest. It hopes to fly company founder Sir Richard Branson into space sometime in the first quarter of 2021, kicking off the company’s tourist business.
The forthcoming mission will have two test pilots on board, while an already acknowledged second flight will carry four “mission specialists.” The carrier, WhiteKnightTwo, will go through four-hour test flights between October 1st and October 7th.