Tech News

New Net Neutrality Rules Passed, Facebook Tackles Suicide [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 27-02-2015

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.


The FCC Preserves Net Neutrality

As expected The FCC Preserves Net Neutrality, Hackers Attack Health Insurer [Tech News Digest] Net Neutrality rules, Anthem suffers health setback, BT buys EE, tweets on Google, Netflix lands in Japan, and the biggest Super Bowl commercials get remade in LEGO. Read More , the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted in favor of new rules aimed at preserving 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 . The new rules reclassify ISPs as common carriers, meaning the FCC now has the authority to regulate them. This should help prevent the emergence of fast lanes for content providers willing to pay broadband providers a premium for preferential treatment.

In the end, the three Democrat commissioners voted in favor of the new rules, while the Republican commissioners voted against the change. Broadband companies, who will now have to put consumers before their personal interests are, unsurprisingly, against these changes, and are likely to challenge them in court.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler strongly defended the new rules, explaining:

“The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field. Think about it. The Internet has replaced the functions of the telephone and the post office. The Internet has redefined commerce, and as the outpouring from four million Americans has demonstrated, the Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression. The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.”

“This proposal has been described by one opponent as ‘a secret plan to regulate the Internet.’ Nonsense. This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concepts: openness, expression, and an absence of gate keepers telling people what they can do, where they can go, and what they can think.”

This may just be the best defense for these new rules we have yet seen, reminding naysayers that enshrining something in law doesn’t automatically make it bad. Most people who understand what’s at stake, and who don’t have a vested interest in killing 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 , believe this is a positive change designed to protect, rather than strangle, freedom.

Facebook Helps Suicidal People

Facebook is significantly updating the system it has in place for dealing with users thought to be contemplating suicide. Any report of “troubling content” will be reviewed by a dedicated team. Support will then be offered both to the person exhibiting signs of depression 7 Online Resources To Help Those Who Are Depressed & Suicidal Even though I am the Managing Editor of MakeUseOf, I have a huge disability in my life which is clinical depression. It started back in 2002, as a depression related to stress in my job,... Read More , and the friend who flagged it up.


It should be noted that Facebook isn’t setting itself up to be the first and only line of defense, reminding people that if they see someone posting a “direct threat of suicide,” they should “contact their local emergency services immediately.” However, this offers another path that could lead to a positive outcome.

Apple Watch Launching on March 9

Apple is officially set to launch the Apple Watch on March 9. The event will take place in San Francisco, with details on pricing and availability for Apple’s smartwatch Apple Reinvents The Watch, Unveils iPhone 6, Offers Free U2 Album, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, other technology news not related to Apple. Honest. Read More guaranteed to be revealed.

Despite the tagline of ‘Spring Forward’ being a clear reference to time, there are rumors that Apple will reveal several other products at the event. CNET imagines we’ll see a bigger iPad, new MacBook Airs, an updated Apple TV set-top box, and possibly even a new iPod.

Fable Legends Goes Free to Play

Microsoft has announced that Fable Legends will be a free-to-play title on Windows 10 and Xbox One (Xbox Live Gold 5 Ways In Which Xbox Live Has Changed Gaming – For Better Or Worse [Opinion] It's difficult to remember a time when games consoles didn't connect to the Internet. I'm now so used to online features being an integral part of the gaming experience, that it's easy to forget that... Read More subscription required). Crucially, gamers will be able to “play through it beginning-to-end without having to spend any money,” and have “access to the entirety of Fable Legends’ storyline and all of the quests we release this year and forever.


These leaves customization options and cosmetic items as the things offered through the in-app purchases What Are In-App Purchases & How Can I Disable Them? [MakeUseOf Explains] "I can’t believe it!" my cousin said to me the other day, "someone’s just bought a $10 in-app purchase on my mother’s phone, and she doesn’t even know what I’m talking about!". Sounds familiar? How... Read More that will be needed to make Fable Legends pay for itself over the longterm. Which isn’t too disagreeable at all. That is so long as the actual game is any good, which we won’t know for several more months.

Google Exec Calls Apple ‘Irresponsible’

Sundar Pichai, Google’s Senior Vice President of Products, has ripped into Apple over its pricing strategy. His counter to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s previous comments regarding the monetization of users came during an interview with Forbes covering a range of different topics.

Pichai said, “Users use our services by choice. These are very loved products. We have many, many products that have more than 1 billion users. They provide a lot of value. And we provide many of these services for free. It’s a bit irresponsible to say everything should be many hundreds of dollars. [as most Apple products are].

The sad fact is that products and services need to be paid for one way or another. Apple chooses to charge a premium for hardware, while Google monetizes in other ways. Neither is particularly wrong, and consumers are left to make their own minds up as to which method they prefer.


Toejam & Earl Sequel on Kickstarter

And finally, a new Toejam and Earl game titled Back In The Groove, could be on its way, with the original creators of the game funding a sequel through Kickstarter. The campaign needs to raise $400,000 for this game to happen, with a pledge of $15 more required to receive the game if and when it’s completed.

Initially targeted at PC gamers Switching From Console to PC Gaming: 8 Big Differences Explained Thinking about switching from console to PC? Here are some of the biggest differences between gaming on PC and console. Read More , with versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Toejam and Earl: Back In The Groove will feature retro graphics, randomly generated levels, and an emphasis on co-op play. All of which will no doubt please oldies who remember the series from the early 1990s.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you agree with the new rules regarding net neutrality? Has Facebook got it right on how it tackles suicide? Is Apple as “irresponsible” as Sundar Pichai claims?

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: Andrew Hart via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Facebook, Kickstarter, Net Neutrality.

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  1. Bill Hoffman
    March 1, 2015 at 1:04 am

    Does this mean that Comcast can no longer divide up speeds of net access? Now you pay for 105 MB or a wooping $300.00 a month for 300 MB in a business package. Everyone should
    have access at the same price. When this whole thing started, everyone was connected to the
    net at the same price. Now they make an aweful profit, as only a business could afford their
    prices for faster network access.

    Bill Hoffman

  2. michael clyde
    February 28, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    DAMN, I hate not being able to edit these post, and no I can't spell "proofread"

  3. michael clyde
    February 28, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    How do you put direct pressure on a non publicly elected officials like the FCC? At least if Congress was the governing body we could lean en mass with vote our way or you won't be voting and they 'might' actually stop Mr "I will have the most transparent Presidency there ever was" from doing something underhanded or maybe slow him down a little. But Congress has treated us like mushrooms plenty of times ...

  4. Daryl
    February 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

    What it all boils down to is, "Do I get to keep what I paid for?" When Comcast choked off Netscape, users thought that they were being denied their services that they paid for. Everyone should be able to guess that these services are limited even though the contract reads "unlimited." Every super-highway has limits, especially during rush hour, and the information super-highway's rush hour is during TV prime time. People will experience slow downs because they are accomplishing it themselves. I know that Comcast made Netflix slower for a time in order to try and encourage them to pay a premium for faster lanes, but to have faster lanes, they have to be paid for from somewhere. Either Comcast will get the money from Netflix, who will get it from you, or Comcast will have to get it from you directly. Politically, Comcast is a Licensed oligopoly, protected from much competition; although it is not protected from all. Since it is to a great degree protected, it should be regulated by the FCC. We should stay in contact with the FCC to let them know how things are going. If they get to a point where we feel that they are over-regulating, then we should let them know en-masse, so that they feel enough pressure to reconsider their position. Personally, I wish that there was no regulation, and that innovation was free to happen. I wish that everyone had a right to operate their own lives the way they saw fit. I wish that Comcast had tons of competition and that people could leave them in droves for other providers if they wanted to, but sadly, this is not the condition today. We have to work with what we have.

  5. Will Ferguson
    February 28, 2015 at 4:11 am

    I'm very suspicious of the Net Neutrality ruling. Have not the Fed's always gotten their toe in the door "in our best interests" and then mucked it all up every time? Income taxes were supposed to be temporary! No taxes EVER go down or go away, state or federal. Damn near every political promise is broken. Obama was going to end our Middle East involvement and close Gitmo. This same guy supports the FCC'S ruling. Maybe so he can again make an illegal Executive Order, only this time it might read, "I hereby authorize the FCC to confiscate any pc that is not online with Comcast or ATT. And hence forth Comcast and ATT are the only ISP's authorized to provide Internet service. " It wouldn't surprise me. Something just doesn't smell right. Big Government just got bigger.

  6. Paul Workentine
    February 28, 2015 at 1:18 am

    I would be interested in examples where government regulations led to greater freedom? How would the creation of fast lanes deny service to others? What happened to the idea of you get what you pay for?
    More regulations will lead to higher costs, more paperwork, more bureaucracy, and less freedom.
    Right now, who is being hurt by the status quo?
    As an aside, I agree with the observation. We can disagree with civility. If you need to use foul language or personally insult people, you just proved your position has no facts to back it up.

  7. Wilf Staton
    February 28, 2015 at 12:17 am

    This is all about reducing choice by the conglomerates wanting to control where people go. Why? to fill more their over packed pockets.

    The internet is one of the last bastions of freedom in the media and what do these people want you to do? Direct you to places that they make money from and slow down to a trickle where you really want to go.

    Mind you I think that if net neutrality was overturned there would start a plethora of new avenues opened up by the many of those open source people out there.

  8. Kevin
    February 27, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    What do you mean "prevent the emergence of fast lanes for content providers"? It is already happening!!!

    Howard Pearce - You are an ignorant, uniformed moron! Catch a clue before posting stupid ass remarks that you clearly have no friggen idea about.

    • Howard Pearce
      February 27, 2015 at 11:02 pm


      I know when dummies like have have been beaten ..... all they have to offer is insults over logical arguments.

      Unlike you I support freedom of communication.

    • Howard Pearce
      February 27, 2015 at 11:13 pm


      LOL, I can tell when kiss-state-ass people like you get beat. Rather than offer a contrary opinion or view that disproves mine or offer logical arguments of their own, all you have to offer are elitist insults which I expect from fake "liberals" like you. :)

    • Kevin
      February 28, 2015 at 1:17 am

      So Howard, your idea of freedom is to allow the ISP to dictate to you what you can and cannot see and who gets the speed bumps because they pay the ISP? Sorry but that is not "freedom". I will agree that the potential for abusing this by our wonderful government is possible, but the argument that they just now have more control is an illusion. They have always had this control. I would rather be fighting the government to limit their control rather than some company. I cannot tell you how many times I complained to my congressman about how I was being man handled by my ISP only to be told there was nothing he could do. The bottom line is life is full of choosing your battles and personally I would rather fight government then a corporation. At least I have a fighting chance. So set their in your ignorance and think you have it all figured out, those of us that have studied this and watch this close understand and know we won a victory today.

    • dragonmouth
      February 28, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Howard does not want "the freedom to rob the users blind" to be taken away from the ISPs. The Freedom of Speech that he is so concerned about does not apply to the unwashed masses such as you and me. It only applies to corporate entities that run this country.

    • Melissia Lenox
      March 10, 2015 at 1:38 am


  9. Paul H
    February 27, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    I'm disappointed to see you taking such a one-sided view on this issue. Apparently, in your mind you either support introducing more political-based, bureaucracy into a business model that has worked pretty well for the last 20+ years, or you are a "brain dead" Republican.

    I'm very excited to know that the internet will now be controlled and administered by the same people that bring us the Post Office and the Veterans Administration (not to mention the IRS & NSA). How long do you think it will take before the government start putting lots of new rules into things like: domain name controls; content propriety; forced price controls; political neutrality (like the way NPR is neutral - as long as they support only the Democrats current positions).

    There is little to gain by introducing Government controls over what has been, by all measures, an extremely successful and entrepreneurial effort.

  10. Howard Pearce
    February 27, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Freedom of oral communication is called SPEECH.
    Freedom of printed communication is called PRESS.

    Freedom of internet communication is called DEAD now that all those stupid geeks approved of state-mandated internet neutrality :)

    Next the state will get those dummies to accept Speech Neutrality or Press Neutrality :D

  11. dragonmouth
    February 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    "This should help prevent the emergence of fast lanes for content providers willing to pay broadband providers a premium for preferential treatment."
    This could also prevent the emergence of fast lanes, period. With no monetary gains to be made, broadband providers may not see "fast lanes" as something to spend on. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for net neutrality but let's not kid ourselves. Broadband providers do not like it and their unwillingness to provide "fast lanes" could be their way of getting even.

    "This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech."
    Not to get into a discussion of the First Ammendment but somewhere, somehow ways have been found to prohibit certain kinds of speech. Net Neutrality may not be "a secret plan to regulate the 'Net" but I fear that somewhere, somehow it will lead to de facto regulation. FREE means just that, all free. Not only the parts that the powers that be approve.

    • Howard Pearce
      February 27, 2015 at 9:51 pm


      It was never about whether neutrality was good or not .... it was always about whether state-mandated neutrality (or fairness or social good,etc) was good ..... two entirely different subjects.