The British government makes spying legal, Black Friday now lasts for two months, Tesla limits Autopilot, buy TV shows from the BBC Store, and every James Bond gadget ever shown on screen.
The Brits Get New Surveillance Laws
The British Government is pushing its Snoopers’ Charter through parliament once again, with the Investigatory Powers Bill enshrining into law the ability of the police and intelligence services to spy on British citizens. The Home Secretary Theresa May is insisting this is a watered-down version of the bill, but it still gives governmental agencies the power to spy on individuals at will.
If passed into law, the Investigatory Powers Bill would require ISPs and other tech companies to keep a record of the Internet activity of everybody in the UK. This would includes a list of every website visited within the past 12 months. The police will be able to access these records at will without obtaining a search warrant.
As outrageous as this proposed Snoopers Charter is, it really just creates a legal framework for the kind of spying activities governments around the world are doing on their own citizens. As Edward Snowden and others revealed, both the NSA (National Security Agency) and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) have been spying on individuals for many years, often without any actual evidence of wrongdoing.
Is it me or is George Orwell’s 1984 edging closer by the day?
Black Friday Has Already Begun
Retailers are increasingly desperate to persuade us all to spend our hard-earned money on stuff we don’t need and barely even want. Which is why Black Friday has arrived early this year. The main culprit for this madness? Amazon, which has launched its Black Friday Deals a full three weeks ahead of the actual day.
Amazon has already extended Black Friday from being a one-day event to a week-long event, but the online retailer is now pushing a “Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week” which essentially turns Black Friday into Black November. There may well be some deals worth nabbing, but our advice is not to fall for this malevolent marketing.
Tesla Limits Autopilot Features
Tesla is taking notice of the danger it has created (for drivers, other road users AND pedestrians) by pushing out Autopilot to its fleet of expensive cars. A total of around 60,000 cars now have the Autopilot feature, which opens up the possibility of a lot of avoidable accidents.
Tesla’s Autopilot has been released into the wild as a beta, which essentially means it isn’t ready for mainstream use. Tesla drivers have proved the point by testing the effectiveness of Autopilot, and posting scary videos of the results on YouTube. There have, as a result, been calls for Tesla to act.
According to The Verge, during the company’s latest earnings call Q&A [PDF link], CEO Elon Musk stated that Tesla will be putting in “some additional constraints” around the feature in order to “minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it”. What that means isn’t yet clear, but at least Tesla is listening to concerns. Which is a start.
BBC Store Lets You Buy Shows
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has launched BBC Store, where you can buy and download the best TV shows from the BBC’s extensive archives. BBC Store is designed to sit alongside BBC iPlayer, which will still stream new shows for 30 days after broadcast.
According to Engadget, at launch an impressive 7,000 hours of programming is available, with classics such as Dad’s Army and Morecambe and Wise being made available digitally for the first time. You can buy single episodes, whole seasons, or multiple seasons of the same show. There’s also a series pass which adds new episodes as they’re released.
A single episode of your favorite BBC TV show will cost £1.89 (US$3), with a six-episode series costing £7.99 (US$12). BBC Store is currently only available on the Web, with dedicated apps for Android, iOS, smart TVs, set-top boxes, and games consoles all in the works.
Every James Bond Gadget Ever
And finally, the new James Bond film, Spectre, is being released in theaters tomorrow, and Bond is bound to be seen using a new collection of gadgets. After all, Q is back, and Q is the person responsible for keeping Bond alive against all the odds over the years, thanks to technology.
This video is a supercut showing all of the gadgets James Bond has used since Dr. No in 1962 right up to the present day. We have our own ideas on the best Bond gadgets of all time, but seeing every single one the super-spy has ever used is still entertaining. [H/T Geekologie]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you support governments spying on their citizens in order to maintain law and order? Will you be partaking in Black Friday this year, whether online or offline? What should Tesla do about its Autopilot? Will you be buying shows from BBC Store? What’s your favorite James Bond gadget of all time?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Jennifer Graevell via Flickr