Volvo Is Testing In-Car Delivery System

Do you remember back in April Amazon announced plans to make deliveries to the boot of your car? No? Well, it seems nothing has come of it yet, so Volvo has taken the reigns with Swedish postal company PostNord to offer this system in Sweden.

Try and think of all of the times where you have been at work, out of town or even just so lazy that you didn’t get out of bed to catch that 7:45am delivery. Now try to think of that delivery never being missed again because you can have that packed dropped safely into the boot of your car and locked away until you pick it up. That’s the ideal plan set out by this joint venture of Volvo and PostNord.

The process is simple, you place your order, tell the delivery company your car location and a special uniquely generated entry code for your car and wait for the item to be delivered.

I still have my reservations for this process though, what if you forget about that laptop you left on the back seat or that money in the centre console just ripe for the picking? I know that the selected drivers would have to pass security tests, but still.

Volvo to Accept Blame in Event of an Accident

Well in the case of the autonomous cars anyway. Up until now, the only company to come forward with a fully working prototype is Google and the accidents that occurred were never blamed on the company, rather the external parameters such as traffic and pedestrians. It has now come to light that Swedish-based company Volvo will “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode” and is the route cause of an accident.

This announcement follows the steps taken by Volvo to protect the main software that controls the car by passing it through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This Act prevents occurrences such as vehicular hacking being blamed on the company itself and treated as a criminal offense.

If we remember back a few months, vehicle hacking way a hot news subject with a small team taking it upon themselves to hack multiple cars, including a brand new Jeep.

In the US specifically, the government has allowed monitoring and regulating of autonomous vehicles to be controlled by the individual states, but Volvo is now calling out for a country wide regulation format and this will be discussed further tomorrow at a seminar for self-driving cars.

I can see Volvo is taking a massive step forward by trusting the car’s software and hardware this much and removing the blame from the driver almost entirely. Let’s hope that this allows lawmakers and legal systems to become more lenient with autonomous vehicles operating in each state and each country of the world.

Thank you to Mashable for providing us with this information.

The Pirate Bay Founder Freed From Prison After Three Years

The founder of infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay, Gottfrid Svartholm, has been freed from prison after three years. Svartholm, also known by his nickname Anakata, served his prison time in both Sweden and Denmark on charges related to his activities with The Pirate Bay, but is now a free man. Supporters have long campaigned for Svartholm to be released.

While Svartholm and his family have, understandably, refrained from making an official statement, his mother confirmed Anakata’s release via Twitter:

In 2011, Svartholm was sentenced to one year in prison by Stockholm District Court for his activities related to The Pirate Bay, but he fled to Cambodia. A year later, he was arrested in Cambodia and transferred to Sweden to serve his prison sentence. After serving his sentence, he was then prosecuted for hacking and fraud, charges which Svartholm has always strenuously denied, winning his subsequent appeal in part and was cleared of hacking Nordea Bank.

While serving his second prison sentence in Sweden, Danish authorities launched further legal action against Svartholm in 2013, charging him with compromising the mainframe of IT firm CSC. Svartholm again denied the charges, but was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison and extradited to Denmark to serve his time. Svartholm lost his appeal, but continued to fight against the charge.

Svartholm has been released from prison early for good behaviour during his sentence.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Al Jazeera.

PayPal’s One Touch Feature Expands to Other Non-US Markets

PayPal introduced the One Touch feature last year when it first rolled out to mobile devices in the US. Retailers who already had a PayPal payment feature could switch automatically and allow customers to make payments without the need of entering their passwords again. This was ideal for people who wanted to quickly check out their products, but it was available just for mobile.

A month ago, PayPal launched the feature for the web in the US. This meant that you could log into a website, place everything you wanted in your basket and then quickly make a PayPal One Touch check-out. While no official stats have been disclosed, the feature seems to be so popular that PayPal now wants to make it available in other markets too.

The company said that it will make their One Touch feature for web available for Canada and the UK at first, but more countries are on the list. The mobile version is said to also be live in Australia, France, Italy, Sweden and Spain, with more countries being considered for the near future.

The move also comes after Apple announced that it is expanding the Apple Pay feature to the UK, so it’s likely that PayPal wants to join its service with Apple’s own payment feature once it gets released in other countries. Still, I think we will have to wait a bit longer for people to actually get comfortable with paying in stores with their iPhones.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Swedish Man Faces up to Two-Years Prison and Fines for Leaking Music

Premature release of new material, or material never intended for release, is considered some of the most damaging by artists and record labels, and while it can create a buzz, it robs the artists of their choice of when and what to release. Such leaks can happen anywhere in the supply chain and usually they happen at the end, during mass production of the physical disks and close to the release date.

The current case against a Swedish man is a little bit different as the accused man didn’t work in the industry like so many other leakers, but rather hacked the email addresses of major record labels including Sony, Warner, and Universal and obtained unreleased songs. Some of the named artists include Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Mary J Blige.

The accused then sold the stolen tracks to DJs around the world, after which they started to turn up in the public. The FBI got involved in the case and they tracked the money wires and IP tracks to Sweden where the local authorities arrested the 25-year-old man.

The prosecution claims that the man, who denies the charges, made around $12,000 from sales of the tracks. He will go on trial in Sweden next month and will face fines and up to two years in prison. There isn’t really any doubt that the record companies will be back after the trial seeking damages they believe has been done to them.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of RigaPortal

Apple Increases Prices of Its Products in Non-US Countries

While Apple has discounted the price of its Apple TV in North America to $69, the company seems to be doing the exact opposite to a lot of its products around the world. This comes as a result of the US Dollar gaining some ground and becoming stronger in the market.

Apple products which suffered an increase in pricing include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt Display, and are now more expensive in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and other countries to reflect currency adjustments.

For example, the Canadian Apple Store shows an increase in unlocked iPhone 6 from between $749-$969 to $839-$1,099, Thunderbolt Displays from $999 to $1,199, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from between $2,099-$2,699 to $2,449-$3,049. Apple also upped the price on its 15-inch MacBook Pro in France, with the base model now starting at €2,249 up from €1,999, and the higher-spec model up to €2,799 from €2,499.

Apple is said to continue to make the adjustments in order to ensure that its products and services are as consistently priced as possible throughout the world. However, in some cases, international prices will remain higher than North America prices as a ‘safety’ against currency fluctuations.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information

100 Real People to Test Volvo Self-Driving Cars in 2017

Volvo, the Scandinavian automaker, has said that they will begin testing of their first driverless vehicles with real drivers in 2017. Yes, that means anyone, not special scientists or engineers. The tests will also be on public roads as well, in real traffic on the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Volvo is seeing this as an example of their edge over the competition. The head of R&D at Volvo, Peter Martens, poked fun at their German counterparts.

“We do this in real traffic with real customers and real cars,” he said. “It’s relatively easy to put together a mockup or a show car which drives around race circuits with 250 kilometers [per hour] or put living rooms on four wheels and pretend that this is the car interior, how it looks like in 10 years. It’s much more complicated and much more real-life to really put the cars into the traffic where it’s the most complicated situation.”

If Volvo’s plans go ahead, they would mark a significant development in the evolution of driverless cars, marking the first literal public testing programme.

Source: The Verge

Could This be the End for The Pirate Bay?

Police in Sweden have reportedly taken down popular torrent site The Pirate Bay. The site has also been down today, notable as it is seemingly the first time in months users haven’t been able to access it.

TorrentFreak is reporting that Swedish police conducted a raid in Stockholm, “seizing servers, computers, and other equipment”. While there is currently no official confirmation linking this to The Pirate Bay, the fact that the site is down, along with the fact it originates from Sweden, suggests that this may well be to do with it.

The police did however confirm the raid itself and said that it was to do with intellectual property, another indication of its involvement with The Pirate Bay.

“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” 

A number of users have taken to the site isitdownrightnow.com, with some potentially revealing further details on the situation.

‘torr it up all u want, sweden police have shut down the main server. no more PB, methinks.”

Source: TorrentFreak

Swedish ISP Offers Customers Free VPN

Swedish Internet Service Provider Bahnhof is offering to protect its customer’s internet privacy by introducing its own free VPN service, a first for an ISP. Bahnhof have teamed up with digital rights group 5th of July Foundation, who will run the VPN service. Since the foundation is not an ISP, only working on behalf of one, it is under no obligation to store and release customer data. They clarified their position in a blog post on Sunday:

When a Bahnhof customer wants to surf via our servers they connect via PPTP. We at the foundation have no idea about who these customers are. We do not have any information about them, no name or address. We just check whether this (for us) unknown surfer should be permitted to connect via our servers…

The Foundation uses its own hardware and own technicians. Bahnhof has no access to our machines, they have no way of knowing what their customers are doing after handing them over to our servers.

Back in October, Bahnhof’s CEO John Karlung made it clear that his company would be resisting Sweden’s new data retention law, initially refusing to release customer data to law enforcement authorities. On Sunday, the company changed their strategy, agreeing to comply with customer data requests, but while offering Bahnhof’s customers with the option of anonymising their data through a new gratis VPN service.

Source: GIGAOM

Gamer Waits in Queue for Game24 Event and Receives Amazing Prize

With the Nvidia GAME24 event kicking off all around the world, something magical has happened for one lucky gamer in Stockholm, Sweden. Much like anticipating fans of the new iPhone 6 have been doing, he decided to queue for the event which starts later on tonight. The staff at Nvidia noticed this, especially as winter is drawing closer and he has a whopping 13+ hours to wait.

Nvidia took the above picture and uploaded it to the Nvidia United Kingdom official Facebook page with the following caption:

“Meet the first person in our #GAME24 queue in Stockholm, ready for tonight’s event! We LOVE this dedication. To make sure he survives the 13+ hour wait, we’ll fill him up with some snacks during the day”

On top of this, we’ve had a word with Jen Andersson; PR Manager Northern Europe, who told us the following:

“We absolutely LOVE our fans and this shows true dedication. To wait for over 13 hours for the love of PC gaming is truly incredible. Thankfully, the sun is shining and together with a GeForce GTX 980, he’ll feel that it was worth the wait, I’m sure!”

At the time of writing this, the beloved fan has no idea that a brand spanking new GeForce GTX 980 will be landing in his lap later on today, but we can already tell that he will be overjoyed. If you know him, maybe keep quiet as to not ruin the surprise for him.

Nvidia are clearly pulling out all of the stops for this launch, as some industry pals of mine have already won various prizes including GTX 980’s and a Nvidia Shield gaming tablet at the California event several hours ago.

Have you ever queued for anything as long as this guy, and been rewarded for it? Let us know in the comments below.

Pirate Bay Co-Founder Peter Sunde Has Been Arrested In Sweden

The Pirate Bay co-counder Peter Sunde has been arrested in his home country, Sweden, after a police raid took place on a farm in Skåne Tonganoxie. Peter Sunde has been wanted by Interpol since 2012 over copyright infringement violations related to the Pirate Bay website.

This arrest of Peter Sunde means that only the third co-founder Fredrik Neij is currently a “free man”, the other Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Swartholm Warg has been in prison since late 2012 when he was arrested by Cambodian police and extradited to Sweden to face his 8-month prison sentence for copyright crimes related to the Pirate Bay. In June 2013 Gottfrid Swartholm was also sentenced to an additional two years in prison for Swedish hacking crimes and once that sentence is finished he could be extradited to Denmark where he faces similar charges.

It is expected Peter Sunde will have to serve his 8 month jail sentence in Sweden and could also be subject to large fines.

Source: Expressen, Via: AfterDawn

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Nokia Lumia 800 Survives A 3 Month Long Bath In Swedish Lake

We’ve all heard the joke online at some point that getting hit by the indestructible Nokia 3310’s will do some serious damage, but in the recent technological surge of smartphones that myth was busted by the flimsiness of the screens, cases and basically everything else in regards to your £500 phone.

Nokia recently had an unexpected PR heaven moment when a Nokia Lumia 800, submerged under water for more than 3 months was found and in full working condition!

Roger Nilsson, a citizen of Sweden, found the phone between two rocks covered in mud, slime and a whole host of other nasty things that probably shouldn’t be soaking into the electrical circuits of your phone. Hilariously, the Nokia Lumia 800 doesn’t have a rating or special mention of any water resistance and is typically susceptible to water as any other smartphone is. Most smartphones are typically able to stay alive full submerged under water (without too much pressure) for around 30 minutes, meaning that this weird turn of events has put those claims to shame.

After posting a picture of the phone on Facebook, Roger Nilsson took apart the phone into single components, dried them off and put the phone on the radiator to dry out the excess water. After around a day or so, Nilsson tested the phone for its functionality and found that the phone’s core functions (texting, calls etc) all worked as usual, the camera was in fully working condition and the battery lasted for 2 days, as expected.

Thanks to IndiaTimes for the information.

21 Countries And Rising Have Joined Anti-NSA UN Resolution Discussions

RT reports that 21 countries have joined in draft discussions at the UN for an anti-NSA resolution to be passed. In the discussions are the following nations: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela. The resolution seeks to condemn indiscriminate and extra-territorial surveillance and rectify that with independent oversight of all electronic monitoring.

The resolution was proposed earlier this week by Germany and Brazil, two of the largest and most vocal critics of the USA’s global spying operations. While the document does not single out the USA or NSA specifically, the rhetoric is clearly a direct attack on the NSA’s exposed global surveillance practices.

The draft resolutions states that UN members are “deeply concerned at human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of extra-territorial surveillance or interception of communications in foreign jurisdictions.” and that “illegal surveillance of private communications and the indiscriminate interception of personal data of citizens constitutes a highly intrusive act that violates the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society.”

Image courtesy of Joshua Lott / Getty Images / AFP

Swedish Politicians Express Concern Over Reports Of Connections With NSA

RT reports that Swedish politicians have come forward to express concerns over public allegations that the Swedish government has been cooperating extensively with the NSA and GCHQ. Sweden’s Green Party IT policy spokeswoman stated that:

“It’s a very serious matter if Sweden is indeed involved in American surveillance programs. I’m very concerned about the information that came up in the hearing.”

Sweden is reported to have provided the USA’s NSA and the UK’s GCHQ (pictured above) with access to Baltic underwater internet cables. The allegations put the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) at the heart of the scandal and unsurprisingly they declined to comment.

Sweden’s Democracy Minister, Birgitta Ohlsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), also commented on the new revelations stating that:

“I absolutely think this is not good. I’ve also been engaged in issues related to personal privacy and transparency in Sweden and I think in all countries, including Sweden, the EU, and the United States…that things have gone too far.”

Sweden’s Defense Minister Karin Enström stated that such cooperations with other countries are “critical for our security” with rules thatbalance security and privacy interests.” 

“Intelligence operations occur within a framework with clear legislation, with strict controls, and under parliamentary oversight” Read part of Enström’s public statement.

Image courtesy of Reuters / Nigel Roddis

Xbox One Delayed To 2014 For Eight European Countries

Microsoft has officially confirmed that eight European countries will get the console late, in 2014.  The eight countries who will experience a delay in the product’s arrival are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. That said in November the Xbox One is still expected to arrive on time in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand.

Microsoft stated that: “We understand this will be disappointing news for our fans in the impacted countries, and we are doing everything we can to bring Xbox One to you as soon as possible next year.”

Those in the affected countries will be compensated with a free game if they had already pre-ordered an Xbox One before this announcement.  Microsoft did not disclose why they were experiencing delays in those countries but you can probably safely assume it is because Microsoft wants to focus its demand on the biggest markets first. Microsoft also didn’t state when in 2014 the delayed arrival would be for the affected countries, they merely disclosed “as soon as possible”.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Pirate Party Report Swedish IT Minister For Copyright Infringements

While politicians and MPs are quick to bash consumers and websites for issues over copyright infringements it seems the Pirate Party are serving up Swedish MPs a dose of their own medicine. The Swedish Pirate Party has reported the Swedish IT minister to the police for a violation of copyright law. The IT minister, Anna-Karin Hatt, is accused of sharing copyrighted images via her Instagram without the copyright holder’s permission.

“When not even the Swedish IT Minister complies with copyright law online, one can hardly expect ordinary Internet users to feel compelled to follow such an outdated law,” says Torbjörn Wester, Pirate Party spokesperson. 

The IT Minister is accused of sharing Motion Pictures artwork from The Lord of the Rings, Monty Python and The Da Vinci Code. While the Pirate Party reported such violations to the police it is likely they will be ignored. While you may think what the Swedish IT Minister has done isn’t bad at all, the fact the Swedish government are pushing for copyright laws that make such activities illegal is a big issue for internet users. If Swedish MPs can’t even avoid the copyright traps they’ve created then what hope is there for the rest of the population?

Image courtesy of the Pirate Party Sweden, Information via Torrent Freak

New Brand “ID-Cooling” Entering European PC Cooling Market

ID-Cooling are a new brand in Europe founded by “Shenzhen Wan Jing Hua Technology co., Ltd.” of China. They are looking to make an entrance into the European PC hardware market manufacturing cooling products. They apparently have a long history of making business and OEM cooling products, for 10 years. They were present at Computex 2013 and they have announce four series of CPU coolers. Strangely the product segmentations are represented by Scandinavian flags.

  • Finland is graced by high-end cooling – FI series
  • The high/mid-range is under the Swedish banner – SE series
  • Iceland is going to be thin down-draft coolers – IS series
  • And Denmark will represent the traditional “open cooler” style – DK series

Unfortunately they didn’t disclose names and details of products but you can see more at their website here.

Information will come next month when they release their products to the EU market. Hopefully we will be able to bring you guys some reviews and see how this new player on the block performs. There are exciting times in the cooling market as both ID-Cooling and Raijintek are joining the market after public displays at Computex 2013.

Images courtesy of ID-Cooling

UK Restricts US-EU Espionage Talks To NSA and PRISM Only

According to a new report by the Guardian the United Kingdom, with Sweden’s support, is now restricting EU-US discussions with the USA to the NSA and PRISM scandal . Apparently the UK isn’t happy for the USA to continue stalling on the topic and wants the USA to partake in discussions on data privacy and answer questions about the NSA’s PRISM program instead of just talking more broadly about espionage and intelligence.

The UK and Sweden were the only two nations to veto the two broad working groups on espionage and intelligence in favour of a tougher single working group to specifically discuss the NSA’s PRISM program and what that means for Europe. All other European countries voted in favour of the two working groups approach and are not pleased with the UK’s decision. With the UK and Sweden taking a different stance to the rest of Europe it is now up to individual European governments to discuss the issue of intelligence with the USA independently.

A lack of cohesion in the EU has always been a problem when it comes to getting things done and this latest disagreement is no different. The EU has already voted in favour of scrapping a EU-US data sharing deal and France has requested that trade agreement talks between the USA and then EU should be delayed until the NSA spying issue is resolved. We will be sure to bring you the outcome of these crucial talks as they over the next week. These could have major implications for transatlantic cyber-relations between the EU and the USA.

Image courtesy of The People’s Cube

Joystick 5.0 Symphony Concert To Feature Legendary Jason Graves

SCORE Concert Productions, the Malmo Symphony Orchestra and Bandai Namco Partners Sweden have announced that BAFTA award-winning American composer Jason Graves will guest conduct during this year’s JOYSTICK 5.0 concerts in Malmö, Sweden on May 31 and June 1 at the Malmö Concert Hall.

For the fifth incarnation of the immensely popular concert series, the Malmö Symphony Orchestra will perform several pieces by the two-time British Academy award-winning composer Jason Graves. A brand new heroic suite from the critically acclaimed Tomb Raider soundtrack will be conducted by Graves himself. The audience will also experience his chilling music from the sci-fi horror series Dead Space.

I’m not normally one to sit down and listen to video game music at home, I’d rather just play the game and enjoy it there, but I can’t deny that game music scores have offered some truly classic pieces over the last few decades and both Tomb Raider and Dead Space are testament to that, I for one would love to get seat at this show, but Sweden isn’t exactly close to my house.

JOYSTICK producer Orvar Säfström: “Jason Graves is one of the most talented and interesting composers in game music today. We are immensely happy to welcome him to our concert, and even more excited that he will conduct the Malmö Symphony Orchestra himself.”

A classically-trained composer and world percussionist, Jason Graves has conducted and recorded his live orchestral scores at Abbey Road Studios, Air Studios London, Capitol Records, FOX, Paramount Pictures and Skywalker Sound. Graves previously conducted the Tomb Raider “Survivor” Trailer at the Spike TV Video Game Awards in Los Angeles and his music from the original Dead Sapce has been performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Jason’s concerto for string quartet from Dead Space 2, “Lacrimosa” was premiered to a live audience at the SCORE symphony concert in Falun, Sweden earlier this year.

The JOYSTICK and SCORE concerts are exciting musical adventures for both hardcore gamers and orchestra fans. The first JOYSTICK (2006) holds the world record for a video game concert with an audience of 17,000. For more information visit www.scoreconcert.com.