Mark Wilson

Firefox 49 for Linux gains plugin-free support for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video

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Another plugin bites the dust. The Windows and macOS versions of Firefox have supported the Widevine video protocol for a little while now, and the upcoming Firefox 49 for Linux gets the same treatment.

What this means is that streaming video services that use the Google-owned protocol -- including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video -- can be watched without the need for plugins.

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New UK taskforce will tackle online abuse and harassment on Twitter, Facebook and beyond

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Online hate crimes are to be targeted in the UK by a new specialist police team. Based in London, the small team of five officers will be tasked with identifying online abuse and helping victims.

In addition to this, the taskforce will use its two-year pilot program to educate and train other police officers and community groups about how to deal with online abuse and harassment, particularly on social media.

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Europe wants to control the likes of WhatsApp and Skype like telcos

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The EU is looking to exert greater control over online messaging tools such as WhatsApp and Skype. Documents seen by the Financial Times suggest that Brussels wants to treat such services more like traditional telecoms companies.

The proposals come amid mounting privacy concerns about data handling, particularly the "security and confidentiality provisions" from companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

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UK law firms will be able to profit from pursuing cyber criminals

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A pilot scheme from the City of London police means that private law firms will be able to profit from the pursuit of suspected cyber criminals. Rather than handling cases of online crime themselves, police will instead pass details on to private agents.

These firms will then able to use civil -- rather than criminal -- courts to seize the profits of cybercrime. It is thought that police forces are spending too much time and money fighting online crime, and that private agencies might be better equipped to deal with the problem.

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If you cheat at Pokémon Go you could be banned... permanently

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The relentless popularity of Pokémon Go continues and shows little sign of abating. Despite the threat of privacy issues and malware, millions of gamers continue in their mission to catch 'em all.

But if you were feeling tempted to use one of the various techniques that have been developed for cheating at the game, you might want to reconsider. Developer Niantic is now handing out permanent bans to cheaters after updating its terms of use.

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Online porn is damaging your sex life

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It may not turn you blind or give your hairy palms, but consuming online porn is leading to an increase in the number of men with sexual health problems.

Sexual therapists warn that growing numbers of men are being addicted to watching online pornography, and this has been linked to an increase in instances of erectile dysfunction in younger men.

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Microsoft is working on a fix for freezing issues with Windows 10 Anniversary Update

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Some users who have installed Windows 10 Anniversary Update on SSDs are experiencing problems with their computers freezing.

Microsoft does not yet have a fix available, but it is aware of the issues and is working to get a patch pushed out to those who have been affected. While there is not a proper fix available at the moment, the company has provided details of a couple of workarounds that should do the job for the time being.

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Alleged Silk Road administrator must be extradited to the US from Ireland

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When the net closed around Silk Road, many thought it spelled the end of the black market trade on the dark web. Of course, this did not turn out to be the case, so hopes were pinned on holding those responsible for the site to account.

The founder of the site has already been charged, and now authorities are after those who acted as admins. One such target is Irishman Gary Davis, and an Irish court has just ruled that he should be extradited to the US to face hacking, drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

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Skype for Windows Phone will stop working in 2017

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With the release of Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft's support for Windows Phone is gradually starting to die off. We already knew that Windows Phone support for Skype was coming to an end, but now we know more.

Microsoft has now announced that as well as ending support for Skype on Windows Phone in October, come 'early 2017' the apps will simply stop working. And it's all thanks to a move to the cloud.

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Fuchsia is Google's latest operating system

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It could be argued that with Android and Chrome OS, Google already has more than its fair share of operating systems; but there's another one in the pipeline.

Very little is known about it at the moment, but Google has a new operating system project underway called Fuchsia. There's a GitHub page up and running, where you can find out about the Fuchsia kernel -- a kernel that is designed with scalability and multi-device, cross-platform compatibility in mind.

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Google Play drops the Google+ account requirement for app reviews

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Google seems to be realizing, at long last, that very, very few people care about Google+. While there have been endless -- as yet unfounded -- rumors that Google's social tool could be killed off, for now the company appears content simply to decouple it from other services.

The latest change means that Android users looking to post reviews on Google Play no longer have to have a Google+ account to do so. Cue general whooping.

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Adblock Plus says open source developers will fight for users' right to block ads on Facebook

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Following on from Facebook's decision to override users' ad blocking tools, Adblock Plus has fired one more shot, saying that it will continue the fight for the right to an ad-free social networking experience.

After finding a way to prevent Facebook blocking ads, which Facebook then bypassed once again, Adblock Plus says that while the game of cat and mouse may continue, it wants to use what it describes as "probably be the last time we talk about it for a while" to say that the open source community will fight the good fight for users.

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Facebook starts to take more notice of your preferences to personalize your newsfeed

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Facebook's constant tinkering with newsfeed algorithms has a tendency to leave people asking what on earth is wrong with a simple chronological display of posts. But the social network -- driven by ads -- feels that it knows better and likes to play with the code that determines what you see.

Having made changes to ensure that you see more posts from the people you know (well, Facebook is supposed to be about friends and family...) the latest change sees the social network aiming to bring you posts that are "more personally informative".

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Ad blockers find a way to circumvent Facebook's ad blocking circumvention

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Facebook's announcement that it would start to punch through ad blockers to make sure everyone sees ads was met with understandable condemnation and consternation. One of the best known ad blockers, Adblock Plus, soundly criticized the move, saying that it was an example of 'cat-and-mouse games'.

And so it begins. Facebook may have said that it will circumvent ad blocking tools, but now ad blockers are fighting back. The open source community has worked is magic and come up with code that circumvents Facebook's circumvention. How meta...

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The discovery of child porn is not enough to justify warrantless email searches

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Child pornography is something that, understandably, raises hackles and many people would argue that anything possible should be done to pursue those believed to be involved. But a court in the District of Kansas has ruled that the discovery of images of child porn is not enough to justify warrantless email searches by agents.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that email attachment images obtained by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) should be dismissed as evidence as they were gathered via what was deemed to be a warrantless search.

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