Google Shames Unencrypted Websites, Airlines Ban Exploding Samsungs… [Tech News Digest]
Google is cracking down on unencrypted websites, airlines ground the Galaxy Note 7, the social network that upholds free speech, The Last Guardian gets delayed, and iPhone owners fail to recognize their own handsets.
Google Chrome Demands Encryption
Google is cracking down on websites that don’t offer encryption. Right now, websites which only offer HTTP connections (and not HTTPS connections ) are marked as neutral in terms of security. However, starting with Chrome 56, due to launch in January 2017, Google will ramp up its fight against non-secure connections.
As Google’s Emily Schechter explains in a Google Security Blog post, “Chrome currently indicates HTTP connections with a neutral indicator. This doesn’t reflect the true lack of security for HTTP connections. When you load a website over HTTP, someone else on the network can look at or modify the site before it gets to you.”
To fix this, Google will ramp up pressure on sites which don’t comply. Websites which require users to enter their credit card information or passwords are first on the chopping block for obvious reasons. And from Chrome 56 onwards any of these websites which don’t offer HTTPS will be labelled as “not secure”.
Eventually all websites failing to offer encrypted connections to their users will be tagged as “not secure” and get a juicy red warning triangle pinned besides their domain name. This is a good move, as unsecured HTTP connections make users more vulnerable to being spied on or attacked with malware .
Many Airlines Ban the Galaxy Note 7
Airlines the world over are banning Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners from using their handsets during flights. This is as a result of dozens of Galaxy Note 7 devices exploding because of faulty batteries. Samsung has issued a worldwide recall , but in the meantime, airlines are being forced to take necessary precautions.
According to Business Insider, airlines including American Airlines, United, Delta, JetBlue, KLM, Lufthansa, Air France, Emirates, and Qantas. All of these airlines, and many more besides, are asking passengers to switch off their Note 7 devices while on board, to not charge them, and to avoid packing them in checked luggage.
Even the Federal Aviation Authority has got involved, warning, “In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.”
The Galaxy Note 7 recall is going to cost Samsung dear, and not only in terms of cold, hard cash. As well as the $1 billion bill the Korean company is facing, there is bound to be a follow-on effect of customers leaving for pastures new. And with Apple having now unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus , there’s some worthy competition.
Gab.ai Promises Free Speech
There has been a persistent tug of war raging of late between free speech advocates and those who want to enjoy a filtered internet experience. Social networks have particularly struggled to straddle the fine line between censorship and free speech , with Facebook and Twitter being criticized by both sides.
However, a new social network is promising to take a stance on the issue and remain resolute in the face of condemnation. Its name is Gab.ai, and it’s strongly in the freedom-of-speech-trumps-everything-camp. This angle is working too, with Gab.ai, founded by Andrew Torba, a Silicon Valley-based Donald Trump fan, adding thousands of users.
Torba recently explained to BuzzFeed his reasons for starting Gab.ai, saying, “What makes the entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly qualified to tell us what is ‘news’ and what is ‘trending’ and to define what ‘harassment’ means?” It didn’t feel right to me, and I wanted to change it, and give people something that would be fair and just.”
Right now Gab.ai is a small and insignificant social network enjoying a similar surge in interest as Ello did when it launched . Its users are likely to be alt-right conservatives sick of needing to censor themselves for fear of offending anyone and everyone . But it will be interesting to see whether Gab.ai can break the mold by actually challenging the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
The Last Guardian Has Been Delayed
The Last Guardian, a PlayStation 4 exclusive from Fumito Ueda, the genius behind Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, has been delayed until December. While delays are becoming standard practice for the biggest video games, this is just the latest in a series of delays for the much anticipated game.
The Last Guardian, one of our essential PS4 games to play in 2016 , has been in development since 2007, and was originally announced in 2009 with a release planned for 2011. Numerous delays later, the game was then slated for an October 2016 release. Unfortunately, even that proved ambitious, and The Last Guardian has now slipped to December.
Sony Computer Entertainment President Shuhei Yoshida explained the delay on the PlayStation Blog, saying:
“A delay is a difficult decision, particularly with this game, but we have encountered more bugs than anticipated while in the final stages of development. To ensure that The Last Guardian delivers on the experience that the game’s creators have envisioned, we need to take the extra time to work on those issues.”
Jimmy Kimmel Pranks Dumb iPhone Users
And finally, not all iPhone users are dumb, but enough of them are to fill four minutes of Jimmy Kimmel Live! On the day Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 , Kimmel’s researchers fooled passers-by into thinking they could get a hands-on with the new device. However, the “iPhone 7” was actually their own phone given a quick makeover.
The stupidity on display here is stunning. I know all iPhones looks very similar, and that this is especially true of the recent generations, but still. I’m guessing the case these researchers used somehow hid the headphone jack too, as its presence would be an immediate giveaway that this wasn’t an iPhone 7.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you applaud Google’s crackdown on unencrypted websites? Do you own a Galaxy Note 7? If so, are you planning to carry on using it? Are you interested in joining a social network which values free speech? Are you planning on buying The Last Guardian? Would you know the visual differences between the iPhone 7 and an older model?
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. Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr