Obama Would Veto ‘Anti-Net Neutrality Bill”

The power to veto something is a strong one, and many governments have the power in place for specific reasons. Though rarely used it can often be what makes or breaks a law or new piece of legislation. In this case, the White House has stated that it would veto the ‘No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act’ on the grounds that it is very anti-net neutrality.

H.R. 2666 would appear at first glance to support the concept of net neutrality, with its author Adam Kinzinger, the republican representative for Illinois, saying that regulating broadband rates would create “significant uncertainty for ISPs” while also discouraging “investment and unique pricing structures or service plans”.

The sly part of the new bill, which the Electronic frontier foundation spotted, was that the FCC would have to stop summoning companies to explain a new trend of data exception schemes. These schemes like the T-mobile binge service, see companies making deals with certain providers and then not counting their content towards your data usage. Unlimited videos from certain sites? Sure, but videos on every site will be throttled.

In the White Houses letter, they state that the bill “would restrict the FCC’s ability to take enforcement actions to protect consumers on issues where the FCC has received numerous consumer complaints.” The White House then continues to say that the bill would also cause issues in the future as it ” could limit the Commission’s ability to address new practices and adapt its rules for a dynamic, fast-changing online marketplace”.

The letter finishes by saying that “if the President were presented with H.R. 2666, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”.

FAA Has Almost 300,000 Drone Owners Registered in the First Month

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received a lot of hassle when it made its announcement last year when it announced plans to require drone owners to register their craft, both those purchased previously and those which they purchase in future. Even with all this hassle though they’ve seen quite a few drone owners register in the first month.

In a statement, over the first 30 days since the online registration system went online they’ve had nearly 300,000 people register their “small unmanned aircrafts”. If you own a craft between 0.55lbs and 500lbs you are required to register it, with registration required before you are allowed to fly the craft outside.

During the first 30 days, it was free to register, however, there is now a $5 cost for registration. If you purchased your drone before December 21st, 2015, you are required to have registered your drone by the 19th February, with all registrations lasting three years.

With everything from shooting down your neighbours drones and cutting off power in Hollywood, drones have proven to be difficult, with worst case scenarios ending in injuries. Some groups have gone so far as to create anti-drone technology or even an anti-drone police force. With these measures in mind, paying $5 to register your craft isn’t all that bad is it?

CryptoWall 4 Is Being Distributed Via a New Campaign

There has been a huge explosion of online ransomware within the last year or two which has seen a huge number of consumer’s, unfortunately, falling victim to this ever present and growing technique. Now, there is a new technique which is being served to consumers via the PopAds network and it contains the Magnitude exploit kit via pop-under ads.

For those who are unfamiliar with a Pop-under ad, this is a type of online advertisement that appears behind the main browser window and remains open until the user manually closes it. Consumers who failed to update their version of Flash Player (which we are constantly being informed to do) were immediately infected with the CryptoWall ransomware.

The infection campaign began around the 1st January 2016 with ads being placed within avenues that included both NSFW and also video streaming sites. Below is an image to convey the geographic location of infections that have been caused by this new technique, as you can see, Spain is in the lead with 14.3% with the Netherlands, France and Poland that are next and are level with 11.4% each. The spread of countries according to this data is mostly within Europe, although an exception to this is South Korea.


Once a user has been infected they will typically see a CryptoWall ransom page window that will state the following as conveyed by the image below, it is a bit of an insult to say “Congratulations, you have become a part of  large community Cryptowall” Users will need to pay a ransom as is commonly associated with these typical types of ransomware infections.

These cases highlight the need for a strong and reliable backup system which will help to mitigate in the event that your hard drive is encrypted, also, it is always essential to keep your browser, plugins and various system updates current for your OS. If you wish to add further defenses then it may be worthwhile to either disable or uninstall Flash Player as well as running an up to date Anti-Virus and Malware scanner.

These types of infections will become more and more advanced and also very common in 2016 and vigilance is required by users in order to help to avoid such attacks.

Image courtesy of ssri

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AT&T Will No Longer Let You Pay A Fraction Of Your Phones Cost Upfront

First it was pay as you go, with people topping up an amount and fearing that text telling them that they would soon be unable to text. Then came the contracts, offering you the ability to pay a monthly fee in order to get a set amount of minutes and texts before being charged additional amounts. The third stage to this evolution was phone subsidies, similar to contracts but at a greater cost, these contracts came with a mobile phone offering you the chance to get the latest phone at a slightly higher cost but with monthly payments. An alternative to this third method was to pay a small fraction upfront for your device while you had a contract. Seems like AT&T is just one of many looking to stop this process.

By paying a fraction of the price upfront, you could walk away with a brand new model on a contract, however if you wished to leave the contract or upgrade to a new model and keep the original handset you were expected to pay for the remainder of the phone.

With companies like T-mobile and Verizon Wireless already stopping the up-front payment method AT&T customers will either have to bring their own phone, pay full price upfront or pay monthly for the device in a separate device payment plan.

French Uber Drivers Launch Rival App

Uber is known for a lot of things, from their drivers employment stance ranging from contractors to employee’s being charged with crimes. One of the more recent decisions they’ve had to face with was the decision to cut fares across Paris. Some drivers have had enough though and have created their own app in order to compete with the taxi app.

VTC Cab is an app created by former uber drivers to complete with the popular app. The app is available on the Google Play store and now iTunes, and shares some similarities with the Uber app. Users can hail cars and rate their drivers, but VTC Cab also allows you to place orders for a taxi in advance and works on a different model to Uber. Instead of the commission taking a cut of the raised funds there is a membership fee.

Instead of the 20% that Uber takes off all trips, VTC Cab will only charge its drivers a monthly fee of €250 (around £180), meaning that anything after that initial fee is theirs to keep. Mohammed Radi, the app’s founder, also stated that they will offer a customer service phone line, instead of following the email based system other app-based taxi services use.

Do you use Uber? Do you drive for an Uber-type service? What are your thoughts on a flat fee per month instead of a commission?

YouTube Plans to Introduce a New Paid Subscription Service

There have been rumours of YouTube working on introducing a new paid subscription service for some time now, but there hasn’t been anything concrete until now. The streaming service looks to add a monthly subscription that would allow users to watch videos without ads, having the revenue split between YouTube and content creators.

The paid subscription service aims to boost revenue for both YouTube and content creators alike after CPM rates have dropped this year. Aside from the latter, a lot of people are using AdBlock nowadays and that significantly reduces the money income for those who are making a living from YouTube.

There have been no subscription fees detailed just yet, but notifications have been sent out to content creators regarding the upcoming changes. The move seems to come after it was revealed that while the streaming service has an enormous pool of users, it is not making any profit at all.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

Trollface Meme Creator Actually Makes Money off His Creation

Trollface meme creator, Carlos Ramirez, now 24 years old, explained how he arrived to create one of the Internet’s legends and how he makes money off his creation (though not a lot).

Ramirez stated that he created the Trollface meme while (attempting) to study for a college paper, having posted it on 4chan. The first ever Trollface was created in MS Paint and posted in the video game board section of the site.

“I didn’t really have any intention to share it,” Ramirez stated.”I just posted it on their video game board and I went to sleep. I woke up the next morning and saw it re-posted in a number of other threads.”

From there onward, it went on having the success it currently displays all over the Internet. In 2010, his mother encouraged him to take claim of his creation and filed a patent with the US Copyright Office, displayed in the image below.

Since then, Ramirez stated he made over $100,000 in licensing fees, settlements, and other payouts associated with Trollface. The latest is the game Meme Run, which is an endless runner filled with various Internet jokes. The developer, Ninja Pig Studios, released the game on PC and Mac for free, but Nintendo saw fit to charge for it on its console, having a price tag of $4.99 on eShop.

This was a thing Ramirez couldn’t ignore, having big name companies charge money for his patented creation without giving him a cut. He has been in contact with the developer, who states he cannot reveal the sales figure for the title due to a non-disclosure agreement signed with Nintendo.

Meme Run was eventually taken down from eShop and the company refused to comment on whether or not it was aware of the patented artwork, but given that Nintento is not your ordinary indie game company, its legal department should have undoubtedly had the knowledge of the patent being out there.

Ramirez says the Trollface nowadays is reeling in only a few thousand dollar every now and then, but he continues to enforce his ownership on the copyright.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information