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Tag Archives: bbc

UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn proposes a publicly-funded alternative to Facebook

How best to counteract the Facebook effect in political and other discourse? Consider a plan to create an alternative funded by public money. That was the suggestion today put forward by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party in the UK, who proposed the creation of a “British Digital Corporation” (BDC) that would be a sister organization to the BBC (the publicly-funded British Broadcasting Corporation), and would work as both a think-tank to lead on digital policy and technology, as well as become the home of non-profit services to rival those that are for-profit, including a Facebook alternative. “A BDC could use all of our best minds, the latest technology and our existing public assets not only deliver information and entertainment to rival Netflix and Amazon, but also to harness data for the public good,” Corbyn said today, in a speech delivered during the Edinburgh TV festival. “A BDC could develop new technology for online decision making and audience-led commissioning of programmes and even a public social media platform with real privacy and public control over the data that is making Facebook and others so rich.” The full text of his lecture can be found here . The BBC today is largely financed by something called a “TV license”, where people living in the UK pay annual fees for the “right” to receive terrestrial channels. Corbyn suggested that the BDC would be run in a similar way: the government should introduce a digital license fee, he said, to supplement the TV license fee. This would be paid either by way of ISPs (who might pass the cost on to their customers), or by “tech giants”, or perhaps a combination of the two. Poorer households would pay a reduced fee. Corbyn’s comments and ideas come at a time when the we are still getting to the bottom of just what role widely-used social media platforms like Facebook played — if not actively, then passively, as a highly influential social media platforms manipulated by others — to influence the outcome of key democratic processes, such as the Brexit referendum in the UK and the most recent US Presidential election. In that vein, he also suggested a wave of proposals to increase transparency in media communications. They included a Freedom of Information reform that removed ministerial vetoes and expanded it to include cases where private companies are delivering public services; allowing local, investigative and public interest journalism to be taxed as charities; asking “tech giants” to contribute to an independent fund for public interest journalism; and expanding an existing BBC scheme to foster more local journalism (which has really died a death in the UK, as it has in many other places). Digital delivery would, of course, have a big role to play in this. The issue of there being too few for-profit tech companies that control tech services has a precedent in the media industry, something that Corbyn also directly attacked. “We must also break the stranglehold of elite power and billionaire domination over large parts of our media,” he said. “Just three companies control 71% of national newspaper circulation and five companies control 81% of local newspaper circulation.” Corbyn, coming in the wake of moderate leaders like Tony Blair and others in his mold, is one of the more left-wing Labour Party leaders in recent times who has advocated for a much wider set of social services and a move away from for-profit organizations and their encroaching role in how these are delivered.

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UK report highlights changing gadget habits — and our need for an online fix

A look back at the past decade of consumer technology use in the UK has shone a light on changing gadget habits, underlining how Brits have gone from being smartphone dabblers back in 2008 when a top-of-the-range smartphone cost ~£500 to true addicts in today’s £1k+ premium smartphone era. The report also highlights what seems to be, at times, a conflicted relationship between Brits and the Internet. While nine in ten people in the UK have home access to the Internet, here in 2018, some web users report feeling being online is a time-sink or a constraint on their freedom. But even more said they feel lost or bored without it. Over the past decade the Internet looks to have consolidated its grip on the spacetime that boredom occupied for the less connected generations that came before. The overview comes via regulator Ofcom’s 2018 Communications Market report . The full report commenting on key market developments in the country’s communications sector is a meaty, stat and chart-filled read. The regulator has also produced a 30-slide interactive version this year. Commenting on the report findings in a statement, Ian Macrae,  Ofcom ’s director of market intelligence, said: “Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the Internet and new services. Whether it’s working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. “But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they’re not.” We’ve pulled out some highlights from the report below… Less than a fifth (17%) of UK citizens owned a smartphone a decade ago; the figure now stands at 78% — and a full 95% of 16-24 year-olds . So, yeah, kids don’t get called digital natives for nothin’ People in the UK check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day . (‘Digital wellbeing’ tools clearly have their work cut out to kick against this grain… ) Ofcom found that two in five adults (40%) first look at their phone  within five minutes  of waking up (rising to 65% of the under 35s)

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Qualcomm’s Failed NXP Bid Has Cost It $2 Billion – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Qualcomm's Failed NXP Bid Has Cost It $2 Billion Ubergizmo Qualcomm has been trying to acquire NXP Semiconductors, a Dutch company that's best known for Internet of Things and automotive chips, for almost two years. However, the deal had been held up by the Chinese government to the point that it will no ... and more »

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WhatsApp limits message forwarding in bid to reduce spam and misinformation

In a bid to cut down on the spread of false information and spam, WhatsApp recently added labels that indicate when a message has been forwarded. Now the company is sharpening that strategy by imposing limits on how many groups a message can be sent on to. Originally, users could forward messages on to multiple groups, but a new trial will see that forwarding limited to 20 groups worldwide. In India, however, which is WhatsApp’s largest market with 200 million users, the limit will be just five. In addition, a ‘quick forward’ option that allowed users to pass on images and videos to others rapidly is being removed from India. “We believe that these changes — which we’ll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app,” the company said in a blog post . The changes are designed to help reduce the amount of information that goes viral on the service, although clearly this isn’t a move that will end the problem altogether. The change is in  direct response to a series of incidents in India. The BBC recently wrote about an incident which saw one man dead and two others severely beaten after rumors of their efforts to abduct children from a village spread on WhatsApp. Reportedly 17 other people have been killed in the past year under similar circumstances, with police saying false rumors had spread via WhatsApp. In response, WhatsApp — which is of course owned by Facebook — has bought full-page newspaper ads to warn about false information on its service. Beyond concern about firing up vigilantes, the saga may also spill into India’s upcoming national general election next year. Times Internet today reports that Facebook and WhatsApp plan to introduce a fake news verification system that it used recently in Mexico to help combat spam messages and the spreading of incorrect news and information

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Airbus Reveals Early Design Of Its Mars Rover – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Airbus Reveals Early Design Of Its Mars Rover Ubergizmo NASA and the European Space Agency agreed in April this year to find out if it was possible to bring soil samples from Mars back to Earth. To that end, Airbus has been awarded a $5.2 million contract by the European Space Agency to develop a concept ... and more »

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BBC show uses VR for home renovation designs

The BBC is delving further into virtual reality with a property show in which homeowners explore 360-degree renderings of their new-look abodes before they renovate them, Deadline reports. In the BBC Two show, Watch This Space, couples strap on VR he...

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