New Regulations Pave the Way for Self Driving Cars on the Road

The development of self-driving cars promises to offer consumers an exciting future, now, regulators in the sprawling metropolis known as California have published draft proposals aimed at paving the way for consumers to legally use self-driving cars on the road.

Included within the recommendations from the Department of Motor Vehicles is the stipulation that a fully licensed human driver must be present behind the wheel in case the technology fails or decides to drive into the nearest hedge. I understand the fully licensed bit, but I would have thought the whole point of a self-driving car is for people to easily travel from A – B in the car. The new regulations also stipulate that users must undergo “special training” and manufacturers must monitor the cars use.

Technology giant Google has experimented to the point whereby a vehicle does not even need a steering wheel or pedals, this sounds impressive, albeit slightly dangerous, for the foreseeable future at least. So much so that the DMV recommends all self-driving vehicles to be equipped with traditional controls. The draft regulations also provide requirements for self-driving cars to be protected from cyber attacks; it will be interesting to see how manufacturers respond to this considering very little is immune from hacks in the digital age.

Many fans and experts alike envisage a future whereby a driving licence is obsolete and even non-drivers are able to metaphorically drive, sounds good until you factor in the many issues including longer traffic jams as more people are able to use a vehicle, only time will tell as to the path with which this new breed of tech will follow.

Image courtesy of marketinginautomotive

EU lawmakers Propose Banning Under 16s From The Internet Without Parental Consent

Well this is, err, something, reports are circulating that under 16s could technically be banned from online services that include Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat unless they get permission from a parent. This quirk of fate if you will is all down to proposed new EU data protection rules which look set to be agreed.

So, how did we get to this? Well, new regulations would make it illegal for companies to handle data from anyone 15 years or younger without parental consent. These proposals open up a can of worms for various social media companies who have based their business models on targeting a younger audience with their products with hopes of an increased adoption of services.

The “ban” would leave millions of kids and teenagers having to ask their parents for permission to use internet services including email accounts, social media platforms and the downloading of apps. Somewhat understandably US tech groups are aiming to amend such a proposal through intense lobbying.

The proposal of new data protection regulations is much more stringent and companies must comply or face fines up to 4% of their global turnover, which could result in a massive bill for the biggest of online giants.

On the flip side, a petition has been launched by “The Diana Award Youth Boardwho state that “We don’t believe young people should be required to seek their parents’ consent every time they use a new app or website.”

It is certainly bizarre and impossible to police against, it will be compelling to see the outcome of these proposed regulations.

Image courtesy of mashable

TripAdvisor Fined in Italy Due to Misleading Reviews

TripAdvisor has received a hefty fine from the Italian government for misleading reviews. The popular website must pay $611,842 to the The Italian Competition Authority. The authority said that the website failed to implement sufficient measures to prevent fake reviews while advertising the site as a source of “authentic and genuine” assessments from people who have actually visited the places in question.

“Our systems and procedures are extremely efficient in protecting consumers from a small minority of people who try to con our system.” – TripAdvisor.

Even though the ruling was the result of a lengthy investigation, TripAdvisor has declared that it will appeal the ruling. They currently have 3 months to implement changes to their website in accordance with the Italian regulators.

Source: BBC News Via: The Next Web

Leave a Bad Review, Get Fined £100

A British couple have been ‘fined’ £100 after leaving a bad review on TripAdvisor about a hotel they visited.

Tony and Jan Jenkinson visited the hotel in Blackpool for one night and were unimpressed with their stay. Like many of us, they vented their frustration on TripAdvisor, only to find that £100 had later been taken from their credit card. It turned out that the hotel had been using the line “for every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review” in their small print, something the Jenkinson’s didn’t read.

It’s not yet clear if the hotel in question, the Broadway Hotel, has done this to any guests previously, but that still does not take away from this shocking tactic to prevent bad reviews. Trading Standards are investigating and have suggested that it may be illegal. Councillor John McCreesh, cabinet member for trading standards told the BBC, “Hotel owners should focus on getting their service right rather than shutting down aggrieved customers with threats and fines.”

Source: BBC News

Worldwide Bitcoin Regulations Still Unclear, Law Library of Congress Survey Reports

There were many questions on how can the Bitcoin be taxed, having more and more countries coming up with different ways on how the cryptocurrency could be treated. While countries such as Germany do not consider Bitcoin a legal tender and cannot be considered as taxable income, Canada was pro-taxing Bitcoin incomes.

“At the moment, we’re studying Bitcoin and we have no plan to issue a regulation on it,” a spokesperson for the Bank of Indonesia told the Jakarta Globe in December.

Law Library of Congress has surveyed 40 jurisdictions and the European Union to see what laws have been implemented for the Bitcoin all around the world. They found that China has declared it illegal to use Bitcoin as a currency, while Brazil has successfully adopted and made regulations for it, having been adopted under Law No. 12,865. And while the U.S. is the place where most Bitcoin makers and users are, the New York State Department of Financial Services are said to be in talks to consider Bitcoin-specific regulations.

While we see most countries accepting or letting Bitcoin have its way for the moment ( and of course China that bans just about anything that looks democratic ), the U.S. might be preparing something to take a bite out of every profit made through Bitcoin, especially having more and more companies starting to accept cryptocurrency payments.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information