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16/12/2019 02:41:11  

An anonymous reader quotes USA Today: Two programmers in Las Vegas recently admitted to running two of the largest illegal television and movie streaming services in the country, according to federal officials... An FBI investigation led officials to Darryl Polo, 36, and Luis Villarino, 40, who have pleaded guilty to copyright infringement charges for operating iStreamItAll, a subscription-based streaming site, and Jetflix, a large illegal TV streaming service, federal officials said Friday. With roughly 118,000 TV episodes and 11,000 movies, iStreamItAll provided members with more content than Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Vudu, according to prosecutors. Polo urged members of iStreamItAll via email to cancel licensed services in favor of pirated content, according to his plea agreement. He also admitted to earning $1 million from his piracy operations, officials said. He also admitted to downloading the content from torrent websites. "Specifically, Polo used sophisticated computer programming to scour global pirate sites for new illegal content; to download, process, and store these works; and then make the shows and movies available on servers in Canada," officials said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

11/12/2019 10:30:19  

The Pirate Bay may be about to fully launch a brand new feature that will let you stream videos in your browser. TorrentFreak reports: As the image below shows, in addition to the familiar magnet and trusted uploader icons displayed alongside video and TV show releases, the site also features a small orange 'B' graphic. In some cases (but currently not all), pressing these buttons when they appear next to a video release diverts users to a new platform called BayStream. Here, the chosen content can be streamed directly in the browser using a YouTube-style player interface. Loading times appear swift when the content is actually available and as the screenshot below shows, the material appears to be sourced, at least in some cases, from torrent releases. The new feature appears to be in its early stages of development and in tests doesn't always perform as planned. In particular, accessing the 'B' links using various Pirate Bay 'proxy' sites can cause them to break with various errors. Nevertheless, when things go to plan (usually when selecting more popular content) the system appears effective. [...] The big question, perhaps, is whether this is a Pirate Bay-operated platform or one run by outsiders. The familiar 'Kopimi' logo at the bottom suggests that it could be someone who supports the 'pirate' movement but anyone can use the image freely, so that's not the best pointer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

08/12/2019 07:30:23  

Democracy is subverted when politicians abuse their own failure to pass strict campaigning laws

If Britain’s politicians believed in defending democracy, there would not be an election on Thursday. Our leaders would have held back until laws controlling propaganda and foreign subversion were in place. They haven’t waited, because they don’t want to protect the integrity of the ballot. With wolfish smiles, they have welcomed the opportunities for spreading fake news that the web has brought them.

As the paper was going to press, the final online advertising blitz had begun. Full Fact, the campaign group that fights the necessary battle to keep public life clean, was monitoring online adverts from the Conservatives saying that the cost of a Corbyn government will be £1.2tn – a figure based on assumptions that are dubious to the point of fatuity – and promising to recruit 50,000 new nurses – a straight lie. Labour was claiming that a Tory trade deal with the US would increase NHS costs by £500m a week – a statement that is as good as a lie, as there is no trade deal to cost – and merrily chirruping that 95% of people won’t have to pay more tax to fund its dazzling spending spree, which, as the Institute of Fiscal Studies points out, isn’t true either.

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17/11/2019 13:27:20  

Christmas with the Essinger clan proves a pleasure and a chore in this ambitious sequel to A Weekend in New York

In Christmas in Austin, novelist Benjamin Markovits rejoins the four Essinger siblings for a yuletide gathering at their parents’ house in Texas. Set two years after we first met the German-American clan (in A Weekend in New York, 2018), resentment and yearning prove hard to hide despite the festivities. Naturally, the novel is glutted with scenes of eating and drinking, but much recent upheaval needs digesting too. Susie is reconsidering an imminent family move to Oxford to support her husband’s career, Nathan is pondering the moral purpose of becoming a federal judge and Jean is worried about introducing her boyfriend (and former boss) whose cancer remission spurred his decision to abandon his family. Yet retired professional tennis player Paul faces the most piquant dilemma because of a recent split from girlfriend Dana (A Weekend in New York centred upon how Paul’s participation in the US Open exacerbated their rift). In the hopes of a reconciliation, matriarch Leisel has also invited Dana and her and Paul’s four-year-old, Cal, but will such a contentious gamble pay off?

Divided simply into sections that cover each day of this week-long get-together, the storytelling is a torrent of complicated behavioural minutiae: “This is how the morning wore on – family as information-producing machine… decision-requiring machine… argument-creating machine…” Yet the family drama is surpassed in ambition by the narration itself as it flits from the mind of one character to the next with a quicksilver ease.

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15/11/2019 17:30:05  

An anonymous reader shares a report: A simple glance at torrent websites shows that plenty of people are stealing from the brand new steaming services -- episodes of The Mandalorian and Dickinson all have hundreds or thousands of seeders and are among the most popular shows on torrent sites. I reached out specifically to Disney, Apple, and Netflix to ask what their policy was on going after pirated content, and haven't heard back, but it's obvious that these companies assume that at least some of their viewers aren't paying the full price for their services. Given that you can watch as many as six simultaneous streams with Apple TV+, and four with Disney+ and the top Netflix package, the more common form of piracy -- password sharing -- is built into the system. But for pirates who don't have any access to the legit services, what makes stealing content particularly appealing in this age is that there are few if any people who face consequences for the crime. Since the discontinuation of the "six strikes" copyright policy in 2017, there's been lax enforcement of copyright laws. Rather than going after individuals for exorbitant fines for downloading a handful of songs like copyright holders did a decade ago, enforcement these days has focused on the providers of pirated content, with the much more efficient goal of taking down entire streaming sites rather than just a few of their visitors. Of course, as the continued resilience of The Pirate Bay shows, the current strategy isn't particularly effective at stopping piracy, either. But it does mean that those who only download already-stolen content are safer than they've ever been.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

14/11/2019 15:26:53  

It is still scaremongering as much as ever, but the party has quietly dropped its notorious ‘tens of thousands’ commitment

What should we make of the Conservatives’ claims this morning that Labour policy would mean net migration would increase by 1.2 trillion over the next five years? Oh, wait. That was their claim about Labour spending plans – in fact, their “research” suggests that migration would rise by a mere 840,000.

For those of us who work with numbers for a living, and frequently bemoan the lack of public understanding of key economic and social statistics, the way figures are abused by political parties during election campaigns is deeply depressing. (While not on the same scale as the torrent of unreliable Tory projections, Labour has made some dishonest predictions of its own – such as the claim that a Trump trade deal would cost the NHS £500m a week.)

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14/11/2019 08:26:41  

Filling up your card is almost as addictive as caffeine itself, but a freebie is not always the perk it seems

I am addicted to caffeine, but to my slight shame, I have also become addicted to the coffee chains’ loyalty schemes. As one of Britain’s most accomplished losers-of-things, I have mislaid keys, phones, tablets, laptops, suitcases and, on one occasion, my dad. I have amazingly never once lost my Caffe Nero loyalty card. A fully stamped card was a beautiful thing. How I miss it now they have put the scheme on an app.

You can pay for your coffee with this app and get your stamp automatically. This has the added advantage of you not having to look tragically insistent on having your paper card stamped. And oh, the perks! You get free stamps sometimes, an extra one if you bring your own cup and a whole torrent of stamps if you sign a friend up to the app.

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10/11/2019 08:25:46  

Any woman in the public eye, from journalists to MPs and Meghan Markle, expects to receive a torrent of online abuse. New and more powerful measures are called for to clean up these website messes

When comments first arrived at the bottom of the internet, in their blood-spatter and bile, I wondered what it would mean for young women writing online. I had recently been one, you see, barely a day before. Until comments, angry readers had been obliged to find a bit of paper and a green pen before writing their response to my pieces about the benefits of a tiny handbag, or at least find my email address and then a quiet library in order to set out their ideas about my latent Judaism and love of cash. And then the internet opened and, while some of its corners welcomed passionate discourse, leading to friendships borne of such fetishes as identity politics on The Wire and the propagation of succulents, the spaces under women’s writing wriggled with fury and disgust.

What I thought would happen would be that young women would weigh up the benefits of such a career or hobby, one that invited commentary from a collection of boys that read their thoughts about a new computer game and react by critiquing their breasts, and decide, nah. I thought the advent of comments would signal a loss of female voices online and, undoubtedly, many women went quiet. But many, instead, accepted the abuse as a price of admission, their skin thickening until a daily scream from a stranger in Spain reminding them of their infinite stupidity became as routine as tea.

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05/11/2019 14:25:42  

Thank $DEITY for VPNs and, er, Service Pack 3... yeah, that's it. Service Pack 3!

Who, Me? Welcome to Who, Me?, your Monday morning palate-cleansing confessional after a weekend of not worrying about the antics of users. Pop on the kettle, grab a digestive and… maybe check your bandwidth?…

04/11/2019 08:25:18  

Thank $DEITY for VPNs and, er, Service Pack 3... yeah, that's it. Service Pack 3!

Who, Me? Welcome to Who, Me?, your Monday morning palette-cleansing confessional after a weekend of not worrying about the antics of users. Pop on the kettle, grab a digestive and… maybe check your bandwidth?…

02/11/2019 20:24:12  

A thinktank identified ‘Workington Man’ as a crucial group of voters. But does the Cumbrian town see itself as a bellwether?

Workington Man was having a peaceful smoke outside the Henry Bessemer pub when the word “politics” triggered a furious torrent.

“Politics? You mean Brexit and all that? I’m sick of it, absolutely sick to death. Let them do what they want, I don’t give a shit any more, excuse my language. I’m sick of listening to them, no one gives you a straight yes or no. I know I should vote, but sod that. I can’t be bothered any more,” said Anthony McMillin, 60.

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01/11/2019 13:24:27  

The video-sharing platform beloved by Gen Z is giving new life to some very old tunes – from YMCA to a twee number by a mid-century sister act

Mention of the video-sharing platform TikTok brings to mind two things: a) the endless torrent of spellbindingly inane 15-second clips created by its gargantuan teen userbase, and b) its ironclad ability to make anyone born before the turn of the millennium feel like a bewildered OAP. Yet since the app’s global launch in 2018, TikTok has carved out another reputation: as a musical tastemaker. Forget Spotify algorithms or, shudder, the mass media, nowadays young people are discovering their new favourite tunes layered under bedroom makeup tutorials or films of body-popping GCSE students.

That means TikTok can make unknown tracks go stratospheric; Old Town Road, Lil Nas X’s country-rap smash, owes its success to a cleverly engineered TikTok challenge. Yet the app also uses its hit-making powers to give random songs a second life: decade-old singles, such as Mariah Carey’s Obsessed and Jay Sean’s Ride It, have both enjoyed massive popularity spikes thanks to tie-in TikTok dance challenges.

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