Jail Time For Trolls, Microsoft Releasing Smartwatch, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, Snapchat ads, Facebook censures DEA, the Android Lollipop Easter egg, and Titan City in Minecraft.
Trolls Face Longer Prison Sentences
Internet trolls who post abusive or threatening messages online could be sentenced to two years in prison, at least in the UK. This is due to planned changes to British laws which would see serious cases of cyber-bullying passed onto the crown courts, with the defendants facing a maximum of 24 months in jail.
The maximum sentence meted out for verbally abusing someone on the Web is currently six months, but a number of high-profile cases have led the British Government to crack down on those responsible. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the Mail on Sunday that this showed a commitment to “take a stand against a baying cyber-mob.”
Trolls are clearly a scourge of modern life, but the problem is determining the difference between a nasty comment designed to entertain and a serious threat to someone’s well-being. Tone is a tricky thing to filter on the Internet, so jailing someone for two years for what could have been a throwaway comment is sure to be controversial. Let us know your views on the subject in the comments below.
Microsoft Planning Fitness Wearable
Microsoft to introduce a wearable nobody wants to buy, to add to its phones & tablets nobody wants to buy http://t.co/eFBkvdYJPj
— Señor Dr Majorly PhD (@majorlyp) October 20, 2014
Microsoft is planning to launch its own smartwatch in the next few weeks, at least according to Forbes. The usual “sources close to the project” claim Microsoft’s first wearable device will be focused on fitness, work across a range of mobile platforms, and boast a two-day battery life.
With Google and Apple having both shown off their wearable plans — with Android Wear and Apple Watch , respectively — now would be the ideal time for Microsoft to strike. Focusing on health and fitness apps is de rigueur, while the extended battery life and cross-platform status are both big positives.
However, this is still set to be Microsoft hardware, and the company has had mixed fortunes when it has ventured into the hardware business. This could be to the Apple Watch as the Zune was to the iPod. Still, we’ll know more if and when these rumors morph into fact. If they ever do.
Snapchat Now Has Ads
Snapchat is now going to implement Ads, reaching MILLIONS of user base at once. No wonder they are valued at $18B
— Juel (@KidJuel) October 20, 2014
Snapchat has added advertising to the service for the first time since launch. The first ad spotted by Buzzfeed was a video trailer for horror flick Ouija, which appeared in the ‘Recent Updates’ section of the app over the weekend.
Snapchat warned this was coming with a blog post on Friday revealing that ads were imminent. The company is at least honest about its motives, stating, “we need to make money.” However, the talk of delivering ads the way they used to be “before they got creepy and targeted,” prompted some heavy criticism. And rightly so.
Facebook Goes To War With The DEA
Facebook has officially censured the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over claims the latter created and operated a fake profile on the social network. Facebook sent a letter to the DEA making its position on this clear, calling it a “knowing and serious breach of Facebook’s terms and policies.”
It was recently revealed that a DEA agent pretended to be a woman named Sondra Arquiett in order to communicate with people suspected of criminal activity. Creating a fake Facebook account is against the company’s terms and conditions, and in the letter Facebook insists it has “long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies.” That’s fighting talk.
Discovering The Android Lollipop Easter Egg
Out goes the dumb bird avoiding pipes stolen from Super Mario, and in comes the Android robot traversing a world of lollipops. Let’s just hope this survives from the Android L Developer Preview to the final version of Android 5.0.
Student Builds Titan City In Minecraft
And finally, an art student named Duncan Parcells has created a gigantic modern city within the world of Minecraft . His magnificent metropolis took two years to build and comprises of 4.5 million blocks.
Titan City is still a work in progress, and with Parcells having switched from Xbox 360 to PC, it could expand more quickly from here on in than it has done previously. Which is mightily impressive. [H/T Reddit]
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Do online trolls deserve prison sentences? Are you interested in a Microsoft smartwatch? Are you annoyed at the introduction of ads to Snapchat?
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 Credit: Woodleywonderworks via Flickr