UK Privacy and Apps Under Threat

Let me just jump on my soapbox for a minute with regards to this subject, according to reports, the newly elected Conservative Government wants to again reintroduce the Snoopers Charter, sorry, I mean the new fangled “Investigatory Powers Bill” which if enacted would allow the government and security services for example M15 access to everyone’s communications.

To add insult to injury the plans would also make end to end encrypted apps for example Snapchat and WhatsApp technically illegal, unless a backdoor is installed or communications are handed over. All in the name of terrorism and extremists, now I am not being flippant and I am aware that groups such as IS exist, but I do not believe everyone’s communications should be spied upon.

This bill if passed would also require all ISP (Internet Service Providers) to retain all information on every citizens browsing habits, sites which are looked at and information which is sent, with the aim of making this information available to the security services.

So what do the tech experts believe? They have stated that these laws are draconian, anti free speech and would put the whole Internet at risk from hackers. Who would be able to crack any backdoor laid before them by the powers that be. Opposition includes Tim Cook who is the boss of Apple who said citizens should be entitled to a private life; academics from MIT and the UK have both dismissed these proposals as a disaster.

So what can we do about it? The only thing as citizens we can do, make our voices heard, I believe there should be a limit to what governments can collect, innocent people should not be spied upon in their own homes, I do think we need to track for example suspected terrorists movements, but I think in order to be under surveillance, you need evidence and a court of law to approve this, not simply cart blanch can we have your data and monitor everyone.

The mantra for governments is quite clear, “let us spy on you or you can only use certain communication tools approved by the state”. I think it would be impossible to ravage the internet of encryption, but I do think this bill is designed and will be able to collect more information on everyone.

I have started a petition on this over at change.org if you are interested in checking It out, link is below, will it work?  Hell I will be damned if I am going to lie down quietly and let the state turn into a whole new animal which polices everyone, which notion is brought to you by the good folks in China, North Korea and Russia among many.

Petition at Change.org

Thanks to BBC News, Huffington post  (who plan to encrypt their website further) and Facebook trends

Image Courtesy of automation

 

 

Unhappy Gamers Start Petition Against Paid Content in Steam Workshop

Valve is doing a lot of restructuring in Steam at the moment. First there was the added limitation for people who haven’t spent any money on the service and yesterday they announced that it now was possible for modders to set their own price for their work and sell it in the Steam Workshop instead of just sharing their work as it was up until now.

But it looks like a lot of users aren’t happy with this new addition to Steam and a user named Cyand Wondel started a petition on change.org to stop it again. The petition was started about 12 hours ago and over 15 thousand have already signed the petition out of the 25 thousand petition goal.

The comments people give on why they are signing the petition all look very similar, a fear that this could ruin a great modding community on Steam:

“This has the potential of ruining the mod community, it has to be stopped.”

“This should have never happened in the first place Valve. I mean no 1 would pay for this, they are not DLC’s they are mods and they are supposed to be free.”

“Many of the mods currently being sold require the Skyrim Script Extender and that team of people won’t be seeing a single penny from this the way you have it set up. Also modding is a hobby, not a career. You will ruin the modding community by going about this in the fashion that you are”

In short, the fear is that this could ruin the modding community as it is, by turning it into a marketplace rather than just a forum for sharing your own creations with fellow gamers and get some feedback on items that you’ve put so much work into.

But it isn’t an entirely new scheme from Valve, just an extension. People have already been able to sell items for Valve’s own games and it is estimated that 1500 users have made a total of about $57 million in these games over the previous three years.

What’s your take on Valve’s newest initiative, do you think it’s a good or bad thing?

Target & Kmart Australia Remove GTA V From Their Shelves After Massive Petition

Earlier this week, Target announced it was pulling Grand Theft Auto V from its shelves after it had reviewed the game’s content – obviously a year too late. Well, after this event, Kmart Australia decided it would follow suite, announcing it too had removed GTA V from its shelves.

Kmart spoke with Kotaku, where they said “Following a significant review of all content in Grand Theft Auto games, Kmart has taken the decision to remove this product immediately.” They added “Kmart apologises for not being closer to the content of this game.” Officials over at the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association were asked for their comment, to which they replied:

“Over the past few decades videogames have taken their place alongside film, literature and television as a medium capable of entertaining all ages, including the ability to sustain complex and mature themes for an adult audience that rival similar works in other media. As a result, IGEA are surprised by the recent removal of a popular R18 game from retail shelves given the average age of a gamer in this country is 32. Games should not be treated any differently than books, music, television, or movies rated R18.  IGEA’s members are proud of their compliance with the National Classification Scheme and believe that consumers, which includes parents and caregivers, should be allowed to make informed decisions for themselves.”

Why did Target remove GTA V from its shelves in the first place? Over 44,000 signatures were acquired by survivors of violence, including sex workers, who wanted to see Target remove the game. The Change.org petition writes  that Grand Theft Auto V “encourages players to murder women for entertainment.” The petition continues “The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking. Please Target – we appeal to you as women survivors of violence, including women who experienced violence in the sex industry, to immediately withdraw Grand Theft Auto V from sale.”

Source: Polygon.

Petition to Make Link a Young Black Female in next Zelda Game

A new petition which seeks supports to change Link into a black female for the next Wii U release in the Zelda series. The campaign only recently launched on Change.org and doesn’t seem to be getting too much support at this time, but it does raise some interesting thoughts. I mean, would a games developer ever bow to pressure to make such a big change to a gaming icon? After all, the gaming community did manage to make EA re-do the end of one of their games, and it really can’t be too difficult to include a race selection, even in many iconic franchises.

“For too many years have the black community been underrespresented [sic] in the video game industry,” Watabe wrote on Change.org. “Nintendo went too far this time when they chose to make the new Link white and white only. We need to end this injustice, equality has sadly still not been truly achieved.”

Gaming is a medium that can change and can give users more options, more so than any other kind of media. Personally I wouldn’t mind if Link had a gender and race swap or not, but having this kind of option in more games couldn’t do any harm.

Thank you Stevivor for providing us with this information.