73rd Engineering Emmy Honorees Include Dolby and Hastings

The Television Academy has announced the companies and individuals that will be honored at the 73rd Engineering Emmy Awards, among them Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, recipient of the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dolby Laboratories, honored with the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award. The awards honor individuals, companies or organizations for developments in broadcast technology. The latest honorees — ranging from creators of high-end special effects tools to systems that help maintain distancing protocols — will be recognized at a live ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles Hotel on October 21. Continue reading 73rd Engineering Emmy Honorees Include Dolby and Hastings

Comcast Launches Sky Glass Smart TV with Streaming in UK

Comcast’s European subscription service Sky has officially launched its anticipated smart TV set, Sky Glass, which allows customers to stream Sky and other content services over the Internet without a set-top box or satellite dish. Sky was acquired in 2018 by Philadelphia-based Comcast, which paid $39 billion for the European pay TV service. Sky Glass is currently available in 43-, 55- and 65-inch sizes in five colors — white, pink, green, blue and black. The televisions will be sold in the United Kingdom beginning October 18 with launches to other European markets starting next year. Continue reading Comcast Launches Sky Glass Smart TV with Streaming in UK

European Parliament Recommends Ban of Facial Recognition

The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution that calls for banning law enforcement’s use of biometric surveillance, including facial recognition. The vote signals what Parliament is willing to adopt as part of the Artificial Intelligence Act being developed by the European Commission. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) advocate for a permanent ban on automated recognition of individuals in public spaces in addition to the use of private facial recognition databases such as those developed by companies including New York-based Clearview AI.  Continue reading European Parliament Recommends Ban of Facial Recognition

EU Report Tracks Decline in Voluntary Hate-Speech Removal

A voluntary hate-speech removal agreement among tech platforms in the European Union is trending in the opposite direction, according to the sixth evaluation report of the EU’s Code of Conduct, which produced a mixed picture. Social networks reviewing 81 percent of notifications within 24 hours removed an average of 62.5 percent of content flagged as hate speech, which is lower than the averages recorded in 2019 and 2020, according to the European Commission. The self-regulation policy was begun in 2016 with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube agreeing to remove speech that falls outside their community guidelines in under 24 hours.  Continue reading EU Report Tracks Decline in Voluntary Hate-Speech Removal

UK Broadcasters Unite in Offensive Against Streaming Giants

The growth of streaming TV means it’s getting harder for networks to get their top shows noticed on welcome screens that feature services aggregated by the makers of the television, set-top box or dongle, but UK broadcasters are fighting back. A consortium of interests including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and ViacomCBS’s Channel 5 are banding together to create a shared program service designed to better-position them against U.S. tech giants and new local TV laws currently in the works. The effort is being mounted through Digital UK, owned by the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. Continue reading UK Broadcasters Unite in Offensive Against Streaming Giants

Department of Justice Launches a Cryptocurrency Crime Unit

The U.S. Department of Justice has formed the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to investigate the use of cryptocurrency for criminal purposes. The new unit will examine cases involving virtual currency exchanges and money laundering. Members will also investigate so-called “mixing and tumbling” services, which involve charging a fee to send cryptocurrency to an address while obscuring the source of funds. The group, which include experts from the offices of U.S. Attorneys, will also work on tracing and recovery of assets lost to fraud, hacking or ransomware extortion. Continue reading Department of Justice Launches a Cryptocurrency Crime Unit

Twitch Hack Leaks App Code, Revenue from Streaming Stars

Video game streaming platform Twitch has suffered a data breach resulting in information about the revenue earned by the biggest game streamers leaked to online chat forum 4chan. “Find out how much your favorite streamer is really making!” the hacker wrote in a 4chan data dump labeled “part one.” The perpetrator claimed to have additional information about Twitch’s creator payouts, source code and internal security tools and creator payouts. Without confirming what data was taken, Twitch confirmed the breach, writing on Twitter, “Our teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this.” Continue reading Twitch Hack Leaks App Code, Revenue from Streaming Stars

Facebook Whistleblower Fuels Interest in Tougher Tech Laws

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s Senate testimony Tuesday appears to have fueled congressional desire to pass new regulations on Big Tech. At a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online,” the inquiry expanded well beyond teens’ mental health, ranging from obsequious algorithms to Chinese surveillance of Uyghur populations, COVID-19 vaccine disinformation and speech leading to January’s Capitol insurrection. Calling Facebook “morally bankrupt,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) said “Big Tech is facing its Big Tobacco moment,” and urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify. Continue reading Facebook Whistleblower Fuels Interest in Tougher Tech Laws

D-Wave Plans a Commercial Gate-Model Quantum Computer

D-Wave Systems, which in 2011 became the first company to bring a working quantum computer to market, is diversifying beyond the quantum annealing approach that has been its bread and butter and entering the superconducting gate-model sector that will put it in direct competition with IBM. The Canadian company announced at its Qubits conference that it plans to make its first gate model commercially available in 2023 or 2024. While quantum annealing works well for certain specialized functions, gate-model quantum computing is considered more broadly applicable, in areas like materials science and pharmaceutical research. Continue reading D-Wave Plans a Commercial Gate-Model Quantum Computer

Amazon Achieves Success in Gaming with MMO ‘New World’

After some false starts, Amazon has released its first hit original video game production, “New World,” and company CEO Andy Jassy is predicting games could become the biggest category in entertainment programming. The new MMORPG, fraught with archers and axe wielders colonizing a fantastical land, scored one of Steam’s biggest launches with more than one million players logging on for launch day last week. The momentum hasn’t slowed down, with more than 277,000 gameplay viewers on Amazon’s live streaming service Twitch and over 700,000 concurrent players on Steam. Continue reading Amazon Achieves Success in Gaming with MMO ‘New World’

Clearview Facial Recognition Adds Deblur and Mask Removal

Undeterred by lawsuits and demands to stop scraping social media, facial recognition firm Clearview AI is plowing ahead with efforts to expand its database and introduce new tools. Company co-founder and CEO Hoan Ton-That said Clearview has collected more than 10 billion images from social media and the Internet, while the company is adding new tools to help users, often law enforcement, obtain matches. Most recently, the company developed a deblur tool in addition to mask removal, which uses machine learning to recreate the covered part of a person’s face. However, use of such tools raises concerns that individuals could be wrongly identified or biases could result. Continue reading Clearview Facial Recognition Adds Deblur and Mask Removal

TikTok Parent ByteDance Planning Global Shopping Platform

China’s ByteDance is preparing to launch a global shopping platform to compete with Amazon and Alibaba’s AliExpress, according to Business Insider, which gleaned the plan through the company’s job postings. Unclear is whether the retail app would be rolled out as a separate service or integrated into ByteDance’s popular TikTok, which in August added integration with Shopify. It is speculated the new service will specialize in selling products made in China to international buyers. The move follows Amazon’s removal of thousands of third-party Chinese sellers it alleged were using fake reviews and violating its rules. Continue reading TikTok Parent ByteDance Planning Global Shopping Platform

Facebook Rolls Out Its ‘Reels’ Video Format for Mobile Users

Facebook is rolling out its short-form video feature, Reels, to all iOS and Android users in the U.S. Intended to counter the increasingly popular TikTok, creators can use Reels to generate within Facebook content of up to 30 seconds using in-app editing tools for music, audio, AR filters and other effects. The feature was deployed in beta last month. Instagram introduced its own version of Reels last year, allowing videos of up to 60 seconds. Facebook also debuted a bonus program to pay creators for Reels views as part of its previously announced initiative to pay creators $1 billion through 2022. Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Its ‘Reels’ Video Format for Mobile Users

Tech Unites Behind Trusted Cloud Principles, Best Practices

A juggernaut of the largest tech titans has joined forces to create Trusted Cloud Principles, a united front in the face of diversified international regulations on everything from how data is stored to dealing with increasing demands from law enforcement. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Atlassian, Cisco, IBM, Salesforce and SAP have united in the initiative, which they say seeks to protect customer rights. Meanwhile, a group of leading tech companies has also teamed up to develop a framework of best practices for implementing cloud services with a focus on protecting data. Continue reading Tech Unites Behind Trusted Cloud Principles, Best Practices

ViacomCBS and VideoAmp to Develop TV Measurement Tool

ViacomCBS is teaming up with software and data company VideoAmp to develop a new advertising tracking and audience-measurement tool for linear and digital television programming. The move comes as networks and other content providers express increasing dissatisfaction over the methodologies of longtime industry measurement stalwart Nielsen, which media outlets claim has failed to accurately gauge viewers who have shifted from linear viewing to streaming on demand. Last month, Nielsen’s accreditation was suspended by the Media Rating Council. Continue reading ViacomCBS and VideoAmp to Develop TV Measurement Tool