The Almighty Buck

Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister 325

Posted by timothy
from the finger-on-all-the-buttons dept.
eldavojohn writes A turnover in the Greek government resulted from recent snap elections placing SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) in power — just shy of an outright majority by two seats. Atheist, and youngest Prime Minister in Greek history since 1865, Alexis Tsipras has been appointed the new prime minister and begun taking immediate drastic steps against the recent austerity laws put in place by prior administrations. One such step has been to appoint Valve's economist Yanis Varoufakis to position of Finance Minister of Greece. For the past three years Varoufakis has been working at Steam to analyze and improve the Steam Market but now has the opportunity to improve one of the most troubled economies in the world.
Space

Europe and China Will Team Up For a Robotic Space Mission 39

Posted by timothy
from the actually-the-robots-are-pulling-the-strings dept.
Taco Cowboy writes with this excerpt from Space.com: On Monday (Jan. 19), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) issued a call for proposals for a robotic space mission that the two organizations will develop jointly. "The goal of the present Call is to define a scientific space mission to be implemented by ESA and CAS as a cooperative endeavor between the European and Chinese scientific communities," ESA officials wrote in a statement Monday. "The mission selected as an outcome of the present Joint Call will follow a collaborative approach through all the phases: study, definition, implementation, operations and scientific exploitation." The call envisions a low-budget mission, saying that ESA and CAS are each prepared to contribute about 53 million euros (U.S. $61.5 million at current exchange rates). The spacecraft must weigh less than 661 lbs. (300 kilograms) at launch and be designed to operate for at least two to three years, ESA officials wrote in the call for proposals. All proposals are due by March 16, and the peer-review process will start in April. Mission selection is expected to occur in late 2015, followed by six years of development, with a launch in 2021.
EU

TWEETHER Project Promises 10Gbps MmW 92-95GHz Based Wireless Broadband 54

Posted by timothy
from the fater-than-a-station-wagon-full-of-tapes dept.
Mark.JUK writes A new project called TWEETHER, which is funded by Europe's Horizon 2020 programme, has been set up at Lancaster University (England) with the goal of harnessing the millimetre wave (mmW) radio spectrum (specifically 92-95GHz) in order to deploy a new Point to Multipoint wireless broadband technology that could deliver peak capacity of up to 10Gbps (Gigabits per second). The technology will take three years to develop and is expected to help support future 5G based Mobile Broadband networks.
The Internet

Calls For European ISPs To Filter Content Could Be Illegal 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the government-knows-best dept.
jfruh writes Last week, justice ministers from EU countries called for ISPs to censor or block certain content in the "public interest." But a legal analysis shows that such moves could actually violate EU privacy laws, since it would inevitably involve snooping on the content of Internet traffic to see what should be blocked.
Censorship

Several European Countries Lay Groundwork For Heavier Internet Censorhip 319

Posted by timothy
from the were-you-in-a-free-speech-zone-at-the-time? dept.
Gigaom reports that more internet censorship may be on the way, as several European countries' governments do a unity rally of their own, in the wake of the last week's terror attacks in France: The interior ministers of France, Germany, Latvia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the U.K. said in a statement (PDF) that, while the internet must remain “in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law,” ISPs need to help “create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate/possible.” ... It seems, to say the least, an awkward reaction to what was in part a free-speech-related attack — the left-wing Charlie Hebdo has itself frequently been accused of hate speech for its portrayal of Muslims and others. On that front, a German newspaper that reprinted blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in the wake of the attack was firebombed in the early hours of Sunday morning, with no injuries. Others that did the same remain under police guard.
Sony

Sony Thinks You'll Pay $1200 For a Digital Walkman 391

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Walkman is one of the most recognizable pieces of technology from the 1980s. Unfortunately for Sony, it didn't survive the switch to digital, and they discontinued it in 2010. Last year, they quietly reintroduced the Walkman brand as a "high-resolution audio player," supporting lossless codecs and better audio-related hardware. At $300, it seemed a bit pricey. But now, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Sony has loudly introduced its high-end digital Walkman, and somehow decided to price it at an astronomical $1,200.

What will all that money get you? 128GB of onboard storage and a microSD slot to go with it. There's a large touchscreen, and the device runs Android — but it uses version 4.2 Jelly Bean, which came out in 2012. It also supports Bluetooth and NFC. Sony claims the device has 33 hours of battery life when playing FLAC files, and 60 hours when playing MP3s. They appear to be targeting audiophiles — their press release includes phrasing about how pedestrian MP3 encoding will "compromise the purity of the original signal."
Wikipedia

The Next Big Step For Wikidata: Forming a Hub For Researchers 61

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-they-enjoy-popups-asking-them-for-money dept.
The ed17 writes Wikidata, Wikimedia's free linked database that supplies Wikipedia and its sister projects, is gearing up to submit a grant application to the EU that would expand Wikidata's scope by developing it as a science hub. ... This proposal is significant because no other open collaborative project ... can connect the free databases in the world across disciplinary and linguistic boundaries. ...the project will be capable of providing a unique open service: for the first time, that will allow both citizens and professional scientists from any research or language community to integrate their databases into an open global structure, to publicly annotate, verify, criticize and improve the quality of available data, to define its limits, to contribute to the evolution of its ontology, and to make all this available to everyone, without any restrictions on use and reuse.
Cloud

2015 Means EU Tax Increase On Cloud Storage, E-books and Smartphone Applications 164

Posted by timothy
from the takings-clause dept.
schwit1 writes With the new year, a change in fiscal rules in the European Union is increasing the tax on many purchases of digital content like e-books and smartphone applications. Under the new rules, first approved in 2008, the tax rate on digital services like cloud storage and movie streaming will be determined by where consumers live, and not where the company selling the product has its European headquarters. Tax experts say Europe's revamped rules could add up to an extra $1 billion in annual tax revenue for European governments.
ISS

Life In Space, In More Than 12,000 Photos 24

Posted by timothy
from the ignoring-the-in-flight-movie dept.
CNET is one of many sources carrying the stunning time-lapse photography of astronaut Alexander Gerst. Gerst assembled into a 6-minute movie 12,500 still images taken by cameras set up to document things like ISS docking procedures, but which ended up capturing quite a bit more: Images of auroras abound in the video below, as do spellbinding shots of humming cities at night, storms and flashes of lightning, all captured as the space station sailed overhead, traveling as fast as 17,000 miles per hour. Also keep an eye out for the eye of a tropical storm, a few fascinating docking and detachment operations with visiting spacecraft, as well as a nice token outward-looking time lapse of the Milky Way.
Cloud

Romanian Cybersecurity Law Will Allow Warrantless Access To Data 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-happens-in-romania-stays-in-romania dept.
jfruh writes: The Romanian Parliament has passed a bill that will allow its security services widespread access to data on privately owned services without a warrant, and once the president signs it, it will become law. The law would have widespread impact beyond Romania because the country is a hub for IT outsourcing.
Transportation

Major Security Vulnerabilities Uncovered At Frankfurt Airport 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-many-fluid-ounces-is-that? dept.
jones_supa writes "According to a report published in this Sunday's edition of the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag newspaper, investigators sent by the European Commission found it surprisingly easy to smuggle banned items past security at Frankfurt Airport. It said undercover investigators posing as passengers were able to smuggle weapons or other dangerous items through security every second time they tried to do so. One of the biggest problems was improperly trained staff, who were often not able to recognize dangerous items when viewing the screens they use to look at x-ray images of baggage. The staff is sourced via a privately owned service provider. Germany's Federal Police said they introduced new measures immediately after learning of the security deficits to ensure that passenger safety was guaranteed. Fraport AG, the company that operates the Germany's biggest airport, also took the findings seriously and begun an operation to retrain a total of 2,500 workers."
Programming

New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the broadening-the-base dept.
theodp writes: "CS Principles," explains the intro to a Microsoft Research talk on a new Computer Science Toolkit and Gaming Course, "is a new AP course being piloted across the country and by making it more accessible to students we can help increase diversity in computing." Towards this end, Microsoft has developed "a middle school computing toolkit, and a high school CS Principles & Games course." These two projects were "developed specifically for girls," explains Microsoft, and are part of the corporation's Big Dream Movement for girls, which is partnering with the UN, White House, NSF, EU Commission, and others. One of Microsoft's particular goals is to "reach every individual girl in her house." According to a document on its website, Microsoft Research's other plans for Bridging the Gender Gap in computing include a partnership with the University of Wisconsin "to create a girls-only computer science Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)."
EU

EU May Not Unify Its Data Protection Rules After All 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the that-sounds-super-helpful dept.
jfruh writes: One of the EU's selling points is that it provides a single regulatory apparatus for the entire European market — but this isn't the case for everything. Data protection laws, for instance, provide a confusing thicket of different regulations across the continent, and now, much to the frustration of large American Internet companies, it seems that a plan to consolidate these rules under a single EU agency are coming apart. In other EU news, reader Presto Vivace points out that German Chancellor Angel Merkel has spoken out against net neutrality. She said, "An innovation-friendly internet means that there is a guaranteed reliability for special services. These can only develop when predictable quality standards are available."
Google

Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs 237

Posted by samzenpus
from the breaking-things-up dept.
An anonymous reader is one of many to send word that the European Parliament has voted 384 to 174 in favor of unbundling search engines from other commercial services in order to ensure competition. "The European Parliament has voted in favor of breaking Google up, as a solution to complaints that it favors is own services in search results. Politicians have no power to enforce a break-up, but the landmark vote sends a clear message to European regulators to get tough on the net giant. US politicians and trade bodies have voiced their dismay at the vote. The ultimate decision will rest with EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. She has inherited the anti-competitive case lodged by Google's rivals in 2010. Google has around 90% market share for search in Europe. The Commission has never before ordered the break-up of any company, and many believe it is unlikely to do so now. But politicians are desperate to find a solution to the long-running anti-competitive dispute with Google."
Censorship

Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten 193

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-the-right-to-remember? dept.
mpicpp writes with this news from the BBC: Google is under fresh pressure to expand the 'right to be forgotten' to its international .com search tool. A panel of EU data protection watchdogs said the move was necessary to prevent the law from being circumvented. Google currently de-lists results that appear in the European versions of its search engines, but not the international one. The panel said it would advise member states' data protection agencies of its view in new guidelines. However, a link is provided at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen offering an option to switch to the international .com version. This link does not appear if the users attempted to go to a regional version in the first place. Even so, it means it is possible for people in Europe to easily opt out of the censored lists.
Security

Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies 131

Posted by samzenpus
from the guess-who dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes The Regin malware, whose existence was first reported by the security firm Symantec on Sunday, is among the most sophisticated ever discovered by researchers. Symantec compared Regin to Stuxnet, a state-sponsored malware program developed by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage computers at an Iranian nuclear facility. Sources familiar with internal investigations at Belgacom and the European Union have confirmed to The Intercept that the Regin malware was found on their systems after they were compromised, linking the spy tool to the secret GCHQ and NSA operations.
EU

The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google 334

Posted by Soulskill
from the better-get-on-that-don't-be-evil-stuff-quick dept.
An anonymous reader points out a report at the Financial Times (paywalled) which says the European Parliament is preparing to call for the break-up of Google. According to the draft seen by the FT, a potential solution to ongoing anti-trust concerns with Google is "unbundling search engines from other services." The article notes, "The European parliament has no formal power to split up companies, but has increasing influence on the commission, which initiates all EU legislation. The commission has been investigating concerns over Google’s dominance of online search for five years, with critics arguing that the company’s rankings favour its own services, hitting its rivals’ profits. Unbundling cannot be excluded, said Andreas Schwab, a German MEP who is one of the motion’s backers."
The Internet

Leaked Documents Show EU Council Presidency Wants To Impair Net Neutrality 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the power-to-the-isps dept.
NotInHere writes: The advocacy group "European Digital Rights" (EDRi) reports on leaked documents proposed by the Presidency of the council of the EU (currently held by Italy), which plans to remove vital parts from the telecommunications package that introduced net neutrality. The changes include removing the definition of "net neutrality" and replacing it with a "reference to the objective of net neutrality," which EDRi says will impair any ability to enforce it.

Also, the proposed changes would allow ISPs to "block, slow down, alter, degrade or discriminate" traffic in order to meet "obligations under a contract with an end-user to deliver a service requiring a specific level of quality to that end-user." EDRi writes that "[w]ith all of the talk of the need for a single digital market in Europe, we would have new barriers and new monopolies."

The council of the EU is one of its two legislative chambers. The EU parliament can now object or propose further changes to prevent the modified telecommunications package from passing.
Google

Court Rules Google's Search Results Qualify As Free Speech 137

Posted by timothy
from the hey-man-it's-what-we-feel-about-those-results dept.
wabrandsma writes with this news from Ars Technica: The regulation of Google's search results has come up from time to time over the past decade, and although the idea has gained some traction in Europe (most recently with "right to be forgotten" laws), courts and regulatory bodies in the U.S. have generally agreed that Google's search results are considered free speech. That consensus was upheld last Thursday, when a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Google's right to order its search results as it sees fit.
EU

European Parliament Considers Sharing Passenger Information By Default 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-book dept.
An anonymous reader writes The EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal which was defeated in April of last year has returned to consideration in the European Parliament today. The law would require that airlines provide extensive personal details of anyone flying into or out of Europe. The information would include name, address, phone numbers, credit card information and travel itinerary. Director of Europol Rob Wainwright says that PNR is within the bounds of "reasonable measures" in the struggle against terrorism, and that possible threats against Europe have increased in the more than 12 months since the law was last rejected. Dutch MEP Sophie In't Veld is arguing that the Data Protection Directive should be put into place before any such systematized disclosure be ratified. "They want unlimited powers," she said. "they don't want to be bound by rules or data protection authorities and that's the reality."