10 must-read articles for 6 May (Wired UK)


Your WIRED.co.uk daily briefing. Today, Periscope says piracy isn’t a problem, new French surveillance laws, flesh-eating penis worms and more.

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1. Periscope says piracy ‘isn’t a problem’

“Nobody wants to watch Game Of Thrones on Periscope,” said co-founder and CEO Kayvon Beykpour (TechCrunch). He claimed the problem was getting more media attention than it warranted. Despite that, dozens of people used Periscope to stream the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, with Periscope removing 30 streams. But Beykpour argued piracy wasn’t a good experience on Periscope and the problem was small.

2. France passes controversial surveillance law

French intelligence agencies are now able to collect vast quantities of internet metadata after the country’s parliament approved new surveillance law (BBC News). The controversial law was adopted by 438 votes to 86 and was drafted in the wake of the attacks on Paris in January, in which 17 people died. The government said the change was needed to keep pace with technology but critics say it is a dangerous expansion of surveillance powers.

3. Skype is too similar to Sky, judge rules

Microsoft is not allowed to trademark the Skype name in Europe after EU judges ruled the name was too similar to that of Sky TV (Reuters). Judges at General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg upheld a complaint by Sky and said consumers could be confused both by the similar logos and names. Microsoft can still use the Skype name but may appeal the trademark decision.

4. Wafer-thin membrane could make planes quieter 

A rubber membrane just 0.25mm thick could significantly reduce airline noise for passengers (CNET). Researchers at North Caroline State University and MIT found that by applying the membrane to a pre-existing honeycomb insulation used in planes they could bounce sound up to 1,000 times without it getting into the cabin. The membrane adds six percent to the overall weight of a plane and would increase fuel costs.

5. Surveillance planes spotted in Baltimore after rioting

Two surveillance planes circled Baltimore during the recent riots, with sources claiming they were operated by the FBI at the request of local police (The Washington Post). Members of the public spotted the planes, which only flew at night, and allegedly used infrared cameras to surveil vast areas of the city. Clivil libertarians have expressed concern that the planes could be used to track people under no suspicion of criminal activity in a huge dragnet.

6. Mourning Dave Goldberg

“Today we will put the love of my life to rest, but only his body,” said Goldberg’s widow, Sheryl Sandberg. “His spirit and soul are still with us.” At his funeral about 1,700 people gathered to remember him, with U2’s Bono performing a rendition of “One” (The New York Times). Goldberg, 47 and chief executive of SurveyMonkey, died on Friday from head injuries after collapsing on a treadmill.


7. Ireland’s data protection watchdog has a new boss

Helen Dixon has a difficult job. She’s the new data protection commissioner for Ireland, tasked with being privacy watchdog for some of the world’s biggest tech companies headquartered in the country (The Wall Street Journal). With a budget of just €3.6m (£2.6m) and a staff of 49, the agency has been criticised for being a soft touch. Dixon says that while most companies are trying to “get compliant” those that monetise data create “a lot of difficult issues” with breaches happening every day.

8. This flesh-eating ‘penis worm’ had terrifying teeth

The creatures, known as priapulids, lived 500 million years ago at a time when most major animal groups first appear in fossil records (The Telegraph). The terrifying critter was able to turn its mouth inside out and use its tooth-coated throat to drag itself around the ancient world and scientists at Cambridge University have been studying its remains to work out how far it spread. The key to tracking it down? Its distinctive teeth, fossils of which are relatively easy to spot.

9. The world’s first road-legal, self-driving big rig

Self-driving cars are ten a penny, but self-driving trucks? Freightliner has revealed its Inspiration Truck, a partially autonomous vehicle that can take over when HGV drivers get tired (The Verge). The truck has already done more than 10,000 miles in testing and is now street-legal, having been granted an autonomous vehicle license by the US state of Nevada.

10. Google: more searches now on mobile than desktop

Long speculated, Google has finally confirmed mobile search has overtaken desktop (Search Engine Land). The company said mobile search had overtaken desktop search (which includes tablets) in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. Google didn’t provide any more details as to when this shift happened or what the percentages are.

Popular on WIRED.co.uk

Sexting could make teens ‘sex offenders’, say campaigners

Teenagers sending consensual, sexually explicit messages are unfairly being labelled sex offenders because of UK laws, say censorship activists. Backlash, a collective of academics and legal experts, is calling for a change to existing laws around creating child pornography, to protect those under 18s engaging in purely consensual activity.

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6 May 2015 | 6:55 am – Source: wired.co.uk

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