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technology Archives - LINX

Websites discovered using their users’ computers to mine cryptocurrency

By | General, News

Two websites have been discovered to be using their users’ computers and phones to mine cryptocurrency without their consent in a bid to compensate for the continuing collapse in online advertising revenues.

The two sites, BitTorrent search engine, The Pirate Bay, and US video streaming service, Showtime, have now both removed the mining code from their sites after users noticed its existence. The Pirate Bay admitted the practice in mid-September posting that the code was “just a test” and that it was carried out with a view to removing all adverts from the site. Showtime has yet to answer questions about why it was using the code.

The practice is controversial, and has been compared to running malware on user’s computers, as it slows down user’s machines and can also drain their batteries or greatly increase their electricity bills. Meanwhile, the user receives no benefit as all the revenue generated by the mining is collected by the website. The question is whether users will see this as an acceptable trade-off if sites begin to use it as an alternative solution to online ads.

Internet giants protest over rollback of net neutrality

By | Content Issues, International, News
A large number of internet giants – including Facebook, Google, AirBnB and others – are preparing for a “Day of Protest” on Wednesday 12th July over a ruling by the US communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), that will reverse Obama-era net neutrality rules that prevent the prioritisation (or “throttling”) of data.

These were implemented by classifying ISPs as telecommunications operators regulated under Title II of the US Communications Act.Campaigners fear the decision by the communications regulator will lead to a two-tier internet in which ISPs can determine the download speeds of content. Sean Vitka, a lawyer for pro-net neutrality groups Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, said: “If a new company can’t access companies on the same terms as the incumbents they’re not going to have the chance to thrive.But the NCTA, a trade association for network operators argued that Title II regulation is “a complicated set of rules from the 1930s” and “not remotely connected to net neutrality”.

The FCC implemented net neutrality rules under Title II when the courts found that it had exceeded its authority under Title I when imposing a previous ruleset in 2010.

On Wednesday, several internet companies will be voicing their opposition to the move in a variety of ways, from changing their homepage to black, simulate what internet access is like in a world without net neutrality, displaying messages against the move, and more.

ITU to hold focus group on standard-setting for Blockchain-type technologies

By | General, News

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is to hold a conference from October 17 to October 19 in Geneva, Switzerland on the issue of establishing standards for distributed ledger technologies. The conference, dubbed the ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology, will convene with the aim of “identifying the standardized frameworks needed to support the scaling up of applications and services based on DLT globally.”

Distributed ledger technology is the technology that underpins Bitcoin.

The conference follows considerations by the European Commission to set up a blockchain observatory, showing how fashionable the topic is becoming. Other groups that have considered and are working on standards relating to distributed ledger technology include groups such as Hyperledger and the W3C’s Blockchain Community Group.

The conference demonstrates the ITU’s determination to break into standards-setting for information technologies, rather than remain limited to low-level traditional telecommunications standards. However, nimbler and more inclusive groups, led by industry and the technical community rather than governments, continue to lead the way.

More about the conference can be read here.