Today in Tech News Digest, Kickstarter backers get consumer protection, EFF tests Privacy Badger, the Pirate King of MMA gets sued, Netflix for the blind, Google Now parking, and how to win at Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Consumer Protection For Kickstarter
This is dangerous and could mean the end of crowd funding: http://t.co/VB2M8UKgF2
— Ron Gilbert (@grumpygamer) May 2, 2014
One Kickstarter project manager who failed to deliver is being pursued by the State of Washington. Depending on the outcome of this case, which is using consumer protection laws to seek compensation, the nature of crowdfunding may be affected for better or worse.
The case involves Ed Nash and his company Altius Management. Nash raised over $25,000 from people backing his Kickstarter campaign for Asylum Playing Cards. The campaign ended in October 2012 with delivery estimated in December 2012, but backers never received what they were promised.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against Nash seeking restitution for those consumers who lost money. If the lawsuit is successful it could cost Nash a lot more than the $25,000 raised through the Kickstarter campaign.
Ferguson said in a statement, “Consumers need to be aware that crowdfunding is not without risk. This lawsuit sends a clear message to people seeking the public’s money: Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft. The Attorney General’s Office will hold those accountable who don’t play by the rules.”
This is just one U.S. state and one failed Kickstarter campaign, but it could set a precedent which will change the way crowdfunding operates. Successful Kickstarter campaigns are already expected to deliver as promised, but this would solidify the legal framework in which crowdfunding operates.
EFF Launches Privacy Badger
— anonymoX (@anonymoX) May 5, 2014
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched Privacy Badger, a browser extension which detects and blocks certain types of ads and trackers. The extension, which is currently an alpha release and therefore liable to be buggy, is available for Chrome and Firefox.
Pirate King Of MMA Sued For $32 Million
Seeding the torrents is a highly underrated form of philanthropy.
— Chaoster (@Inglorious_Engg) May 5, 2014
The self-styled “Pirate King Of MMA” is being sued for $32 million by UFC parent company Zuffa. The man, known in pirating circles as Secludedly but now named as 27-year-old Steven A. Messina from Staten Island, New York, is alleged to have uploaded at least 124 UFC events to The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents.
Zuffa is attacking Messina and two unnamed co-defendants with everything it can muster, which is why the damages being sought is such a huge amount of money. This is a reminder that it’s currently illegal to upload copyrighted content to the Internet, and that if you get caught doing so the punishments can be severe.
Zagga Is Netflix For The Blind
A man from Toronto, Canada, is creating a “Netflix for the blind,” and has turned to crowdfunding in order to make his dream become a reality. Kevin Shaw, who has been blind since the age 19, is seeking $50,000 to launch Zagga Entertainment.
Zagga Entertainment is designed to be a Video on Demand (VoD) service offering described video as standard. The platform will be available for a subscription fee of around $8-per-month across a range of devices. That is assuming the Indiegogo campaign is successful and that Shaw delivers on his promises (see above).
Google Now Knows Where You Parked
Anyone tested Google Now’s new parking location feature? Don’t want to switch from brain memory til I’m sure it’s solid, lest I lose my car.
— Jeff Gordon (@urbanstrata) May 1, 2014
Google Now has been updated with some interesting new features. The most intriguing feature means Google’s personal assistant is able to remember where you parked, which could prove invaluable to forgetful people who park in random side streets in big cities. A tiny minority of the population then, but clever nonetheless.
How To Win At Rock, Paper, Scissors
And finally, if you have always wanted to know how to win at Rock, Paper, Scissors, researchers from China think they have figured it all out. You may not win every single time like the cheating robot in the video above, but you should at least inprove your chances of winning.
This method for winning at Rock, Paper, Scissors is called the “win-stay, lose-shift” strategy. Ars Technica pares the strategy down to its basics, while arVix has the full research paper [PDF link]. As it’s confusing I’ll probably stick to choosing at random and losing more often than not as a result.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: THERKD via Flickr