Tech News

Net Neutrality Is Still an Issue, Spotify Spams Twitter, & More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 14-04-2015

Net Neutrality nonsense, Spotify spams Twitter, Amazon X-Ray Fire, Sprint Direct 2 You, online Ikea weddings, and proof that even chimpanzees hate drones.


Net Neutrality in the U.S. & India

It seems that the battle to protect net neutrality How the Web Won on Net Neutrality: 5 Key Moments It does looks like net neutrality will reign, at least for a while. Let's take a look back at some of the most important moments in this battle. Read More is far from over. The United States’ efforts to enshrine the ideal into law is facing threats from lawsuits, while India is just now embarking on its own national debate as to the merits or otherwise of this default position.

In the U.S., the new rules as set out by the Federal Communications Commission New Net Neutrality Rules Passed, Facebook Tackles Suicide [Tech News Digest] New net neutrality rules, Facebook prevents suicide, Apple Watch is launching soon, play Fable for free, Google hates Apple, and the Toejam & Earl sequel hits Kickstarter. Read More (FCC) have now been published in the Federal Register. Which means they’ll take effect in 60 days (on June 12) unless a court issues an injunction against that happening.

Lo and behold, the first lawsuit has been issued, with a consortium of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) calling itself USTelecom fighting the bad fight within minutes of the rules being published. More lawsuits will follow, and the whole thing could devolve into a neverending nightmare in which the only thing guaranteed to happen is that lawyers will get richer.

Meanwhile, in India, the debate over net neutrality has been brought to the fore by Airtel Zero, a plan to offer access to certain apps and websites free to consumers, with the companies themselves picking up the bill. Which clearly goes against the idea of a level playing field for all.

Hundreds of thousands of people have now sent emails to the telecoms regulator asking for action to stop Airtel Zero from happening. The campaign was fueled in part by the video embedded above, as produced by comedy collective All India Bakchod (AIB).


Which side do you fight for in the battle over net neutrality What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? A significant number see Net Neutrality as essential to the survival of the Internet. In this article, we're going to look at why Net Neutrality matters, and why we should fight to protect it. Read More ? Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the issue in the comments section below.

Spotify Launches Spam Campaign

Spotify Spotify Music Streaming: The Unofficial Guide Spotify is the biggest music streaming service around. If you're not sure how to use it, this guide will walk you through the service, as well as offer some crucial top tips. Read More is rolling out a new feature which some people are complaining is nothing but spam. Tweet the Beat displays a pop-up ad to users asking them to send a tweet to Rihanna telling her what they think of her new song, B**** Better Have My Money. The tweet comes ready-written as a thank you note praising the song.

A Spotify spokesperson told The Verge, “What you’re seeing is a new feature called Tweet the Beat which lets listeners express love and appreciation towards the artists they follow or listen to often, and has been designed as a great way for fans to get closer to their favourite artists.”

The first problem with Tweet the Beat is it’s asking users to essentially spam their Twitter followers, and with praise for an artist who is already insanely popular. What’s more, those who pay a subscription fee to remove the ads are still being subjected to this, which is wholly unacceptable.


We can only imagine this is a direct response to Jay Z relaunching Tidal Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Jay Z recently relaunched Tidal, the music streaming service he acquired for $56 million. Tidal has 99 problems, and the pitch is one. Read More , which, while likely to fail miserably, means Spotify needs to up its game. Rihanna has already released one song exclusively on Tidal, so this seems to be an attempt to stop her from abandoning Spotify altogether Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify In the past week Taylor Swift has pulled her music from Spotify, inspired countless song-pun laden headlines and reignited the debate about streaming music services. Read More .

Amazon Launches X-Ray on Fire TV

Amazon is bringing its much-lauded X-Ray feature to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. X-Ray for Movie and TV, to give it its full and rather clumsy title, adds optional contextual information over the top of movies and television shows. It’s all powered by IMDb The IMDb App For iOS Is A Moviegoer’s Best Friend For The Latest In Movies, TV, & Celebrity Info Is IMDb our portal into Hollywood? By the seventh month of this year, the IMDb mobile app for iOS and Android had logged 40 million downloads. So, it could very well be. IMDb is the... Read More , which Amazon acquired in 1998.

X-Ray was first launched on the Kindle Fire in 2012, with the Fire Phone Amazon Fire Phone Reviews, Microsoft Focuses On Windows 9, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, a security vulnerability in Tor is kept secret, William Shatner boldly goes where no celebrity has gone before by reviewing Facebook Mentions, and Japan dreams of a 2020 Olympic Games for robots. Read More having been added since. And now it’s available for the Fire TV via an over-the-air software update. Unfortunately, but wholly unsurprisingly, it only works with Amazon Instant Video. Leaving Netflix The Ultimate Netflix Guide: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Netflix This guide offers everything you need to know about using Netflix. Whether you're a new subscriber or an established fan of the best streaming service out there. Read More fans wanting.

Sprint Delivers Direct 2 You

U.S. telecoms company Sprint has launched a new service called Sprint Direct 2 You. The program means eligible customers can have the company deliver a new smartphone, transfer contacts and content from the old device, and offer assistance in getting used to the new device, all without ever having to leave home.


Initially available only in Kansas City, Missouri, but set to be available nationwide by the end of 2015, Direct 2 You is available at no extra charge. Rod Millar, who is in charge of the Direct 2 U program, told Re/Code, “It transforms a pain point into a ‘wow’ moment.” Make of that horrible sentence what you will.

Ikea Introduces Online Weddings

Weddings Weddings Are Stressful: 12 Websites for Stress-Free Planning While wedding planning will never be easy, it certainly doesn't have to be stressful. How much easier wedding planning can be if someone just pointed you to the right tools. Read More can be prohibitively expensive, especially when the guest list is both long and includes people who will have to travel a long way to attend the ceremony. However, Ikea has a solution which means the bride, the groom, and all of the guests can attend the wedding from the comfort of their own homes.

Ikea’s Wedding Online service, currently only available in the company’s native Sweden, lets couples wed online via their webcams. They can choose from a variety of idyllic settings, and the whole thing takes place on the Internet. So, it’s not particularly romantic, but it is cheap. Just like Ikea itself.

Chimpanzees Hate Drones Too

And finally, while we already knew a scary number of people (Americans) hate drones so much their first instinct is to shoot them out of the sky, we now know chimpanzees also hates drones. Or at least this one chimp living at the Royal Burgers’ Zoo in Holland in particular.


He hates the drone flying over his airspace so much he attacks it with the branch from a tree, taking it down without too much trouble. He then investigates it before possibly trying to eat it. And the mystery is solved. [H/T The Telegraph]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

What do you think of the current Net Neutrality debate, either in the United States or India? Is X-Ray a strong enough feature to make you interested in buying an Amazon Fire TV? Should Spotify desist from asking its users to spam Twitter?

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: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Related topics: Amazon Kindle Fire, Drone Technology, Net Neutrality, Spotify.

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  1. A41202813GMAIL
    April 17, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I See Lots Of *People* Happy With The Way Things Are, Because, Sure As Hell, I Am Not.


  2. A41202813GMAIL
    April 15, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    "... I Hate Big Government Monopolies, But I Hate Private Monopolies Even More ...".

    "... I Love Disruptive Technologies - Far Too Many People Have Had A Free Lunch For Far Too Long ...".


    • Howard Pearce
      April 15, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      I'm going to say that is a mistake.

      First because the state monopoly is a coercive one ! That means it uses physical force (even against its own citizens) to maintain that monopoly if it has to ..... as opposed to relying on consumer choice (what little there may be)

      Second but related to the first is the fact that it is the biggest and most powerful monopoly in your country with no one else to answer to.

      Third is the fact that coercive monopolies in the hands of private business are always created by the state itself through laws that determine what businesses can operate in the area.

  3. Evan
    April 15, 2015 at 9:22 am

    The problem is not so much with the idea of net neutrality. It is more with the way Washington implements it. Do we really need the bureaucrats at the FCC reclassifying ISPs, giving themselves a huge amount of power? Do they have to write hundreds of pages of new rules? I would instead like to see fewer rules, and fewer lawsuits, so that it doesn't require an army of lawyers to start an ISP.

    • Howard Pearce
      April 15, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Remember The Fairness Doctrine which was passed to insure us that TV stations would broadcast varying opinions so that it would be fair ? It was pronounced unconstitutional.

      But isn't that how all "good ideas" go in the "implementation". Give the state the power to do "some good things" and they always find a way to do much more or to re-interpret things the way it wants . It's amazing :)

      Either people like Dave Parrack already know this or still try to tell themselves fairy-tales about coercive monopolies like the state.

  4. Howard Pearce
    April 14, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Net Neutrality should still be an issue ... at least for real liberals.
    Like Freedom of Oral Communication (speech) and Freedom of Printed Communication (press), Freedom of Internet Communication should be protected too in order to preserve our liberal civil right of freedom of communication

    Of course those like left-wing fake "liberals" that want to give the state the power to regulate and control our communications through such fascist organizations as the FCC are perfectly happy with the thought that one day the state will simply dictate to its citizens what they can communicate -- so that they communicate in a politically correct way.

    Of course if you believe in freedom of communication, the thought of the state telling ISP's what cites they have to COMMUNICATE would send a shiver up your spine much like telling newspapers what news they have to print !

    • Dave Parrack
      April 14, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      I find it fascinating that after many months and numerous discussions, you still don't understand what net neutrality actually is.

    • Howard Pearce
      April 14, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      I understand what your don't . That ALL our communications are protected as a civil right regardless of whether the constitution specifically states it that way.

      While all you can say apparently is that I don't understand with absolutely not support mentioned for that potion.