Yahoo! has snapped up video streaming startup and Google+ Hangout rival OnTheAir, as CEO Marissa Mayer continues to cherry-pick tech to make the company more competitive against her former employer Google. OnTheAir works as an ad-hoc webcast and video chat service, allowing for impromptu broadcasts with dynamic switching between participants, similar to the Google+ Hangouts On Air feature.
Yesterday, Google announced that it will begin using copyright takedown notices to influence where sites show up in search results. The general idea behind it is that if a site has a lot of takedown notices (made under DMCA), it risks being demoted in search rankings. Obviously, this new decision has won the hearts of copyright advocates like the MPAA and the RIAA, but it's making those who would keep the Internet free and open a little uneasy.
Wikipedia has been around for a long time been and is one of the most popular places for people to learn about all sorts of subject matters. While the content is suspect at times, Wikipedia is generally a friend of students and anyone else searching out information on a particular topic. Last night Wikipedia was off-line for several hours, and the reason for the outage is now known.
It's typically a rare thing when video games and politics collide, but in 2012 we're seeing it happen on an increasingly frequent basis. Earlier this year many video game companies came out against SOPA and PIPA, and now Electronic Arts has announced that it has joined the coalition of US businesses that stand against the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA, as many of you probably already know, is a law that was enacted in 1996 which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Now, Electronic Arts is asking that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals "find portions of the Act unconstitutional."
ACTA, the controversial anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, has been rejected by the European Parliament by a staggering majority. The law was smacked down by a 478 to 39 vote, and has now been completely killed in Europe. Internet activists rallied against ACTA when it was seen to be a legislative act that was far too broad, with criminal sanctions also found in the trade agreement.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has joined a high-profile campaign protesting against copyright law, branding US attempts to extradite a UK student accused of infringement "censorship." Wales began a Change.org petition calling for the UK Home Secretary to step in and prevent the extradition, which he describes as America "trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil."
This week you'll find that no greater defense against those that would have their evil way with the web can be found than the "Bat-Signal for the Interet" as teased by Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian. This fellow is one of several internet activists working together to protest web-containing bills such as SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA, three of the more famous bits of legislation to have popped up in Washington and abroad this past several months. To defend said internet, Ohanian and friends will be working in what they call the "Internet Defense League" with which they intend to be taken entirely seriously.
As you read this, tens of thousands of brokers and investors are scraping together every loose penny they can find to get a chunk of Facebook's initial public offering. But one technology investor won't be joining them: Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit.com and current NYC-based angel investor. He's not concerned with bubbles or percentages, just with Facebook's corporate culture: he objects to the fact that the social networking giant supports the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA.
Google has opened up its Hangouts On Air video streaming system on Google+ to all of the social network's users, having trialled the live broadcast system with select celebrities and news organizations. Set to roll out gradually to the entire user-base over "the next few weeks" - so as to avoid bringing the system to its knees - the service basically turns Google+ into a personal TV channel, with support for unlimited viewers.
There's no way the bill currently going through Washington by the name of CISPA, just passed by the House of Representatives, will be allowed to be passed into law if the Obama administration's claim today holds true. CISPA can be metaphorically represented by a bar of soap created by government agencies claiming to open lines of communication between large internet companies with clean intent, but as you'll find if you read any of our past posts on CISPA you'll know - the main ingredient here is acid for privacy. The bill uses broad terms like Internet Security and the safety of children to push the abilities of the government to capture any information on web-browsing citizens they like, essentially whenever they like - and the White House this week is voicing opposition.