Tech News

Obama Favors Net Neutrality, Microsoft Scans Your Emails, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 07-08-2014

Also, Google makes it easier to unsubscribe from emails, Microsoft is losing big money on its tablets, AOL dial-up is still a thing, an argument over who owns a monkey selfie, and The Nostalgia Machine audibly takes you back in time.


Obama Comes Out For Net Neutrality

The issue of 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 in the United States is still rumbling on, with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently deciding its stance on the matter Killing Net Neutrality, Google Play PayPal, Hunting For Code, VR For Chickens [Tech News Digest] FCC is killing net neutrality, Google works on a "right to be forgotten" tool, PayPal comes to Google Play, Microsoft launches Code Hunt, Outlook gets new features, Nescafe jars gain 3D-printed alarm clock lids, and... Read More . If it comes down on one side of the issue then the framework for an open Internet will be preserved, if it comes down on the other side then a nightmare of fast and slow lanes for different companies and individuals will be realized.

President Obama has previously been rather vague and noncommittal on the issue, but according to the Washington Post, that all changed when he had the following to say during a summit for African leaders recently held in Washington D.C.:

One of the issues around net neutrality is whether you are creating different rates or charges for different content providers. That’s the big controversy here. So you have big, wealthy media companies who might be willing to pay more and also charge more for spectrum, more bandwidth on the Internet so they can stream movies faster. I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users. You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed.

That’s unequivocal support for the core tenet of net neutrality, which, if ISPs get their way Is Internet Freedom Under Threat From Internet Service Providers? [MUO Debates] Imagine a world where the content you are allowed to view on the Internet is tightly controlled by your Internet service provider. On MUO Debates, we explore and question this reality. Read More , will disappear to be replaced with fast lanes open only to those willing to pay for the privilege.

So, the FCC now knows Obama’s opinion on the matter, as well as the opinions of millions of ordinary Americans, most of whom want to keep the Internet open to all. This is surely a no-brainer.


Microsoft Is Scanning Your Online Images

You’ll be pleased to discover it isn’t just Google scanning your emails Google Is Reading Your Emails, Hotel Tackles Negative Reviews, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, in-flight cellphone calls may be banned, Windows XP is hanging on for dear life, Flappy Bird returns, an update on HitchBOT, and how iCEnhancer 3.0 makes GTA IV look better than GTA V. Read More for evidence of illegal activity; Microsoft is doing exactly the same thing. In the same way Google tipped off the authorities about child pornography allegedly being shared via Gmail, Microsoft did the same when it discovered abuse images allegedly being stored on OneDrive.

Microsoft’s Terms of Service explicitly state that the company will use “automated technologies to detect child pornography or abusive behaviour that might harm the system, our customers, or others.” However, regardless of the vile nature of the images being shared, this still raises questions over the right to privacy when using cloud services.

Unsubscribing From Emails Just Got Easier

Google has added an Unsubscribe button to the top of certain emails received in Gmail. The dedicated button will appear on emails with an already existing Unsubscribe option sent to the Promotions, Social, and Forums tabs. This should make it a lot easier to unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists, potentially making room in your inbox for the daily MakeUseOf newsletter!

Microsoft Counts Cost Of Its Surface Tablet

Microsoft has lost an incredible $1.7 billion on its Surface tablets Microsoft Surface Tablet Review and Giveaway Read More . This is as a direct result of trying to compete with Apple and Google on the tablet front, but these figures suggest Microsoft would have been better off surrendering the sector to its rivals.


The losses on Surface are dropping, from $1.049 billion in 2013 to $680 million in 2014, but Microsoft clearly still has a long way to go before the Surface is profitable. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro 3 is due to launch in 25 new countries from Aug. 28. Perhaps Malaysia and Finland can solve Microsoft’s Surface problems. /sarcasm

2 Million People Still Pay For AOL Dial-Up

It has been revealed that 2.34 million people are still paying AOL for dial-up Internet services. Some of these people are probably stuck using dial-up thanks to broadband not being available in their area, but it’s assumed most of these 2.34 million people are paying for a service they no longer need. Possibly out of sheer ignorance.

The Strange Case Of The Monkey Selfie

Who owns the copyright on a selfie taken by a monkey using a photographer’s camera without permission? No one seems sure. The photographer claims he owns it, Wikimedia 7 Amazing, Yet Overlooked, Wikimedia Projects You Should Check Out Read More claims no one can legitimately claim ownership, and the monkey is totally oblivious to the row.

This will probably end up in a court case, but until then the photo is considered in the public domain. Which the monkey clearly finds hilarious.


The Nostalgia Machine Takes You Back


And finally, as we get older we tend to reject new music in favor of that which we loved years ago. Your parents did it, and you’ll do it too. Which is where The Nostalgia Machine proves invaluable, compiling the best music videos released in any year of your choosing.

If you start with the year you were born and work your way forwards to the present day you’ll see how your tastes have changed as you’ve aged. Which is both fantastically fascinating and mildly depressing in equal measure.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Are you pleased President Obama is for net neutrality? Are you shocked to discover Microsoft is scanning your online photos? What’s your immediate reaction to those 2 million people still paying for AOL dial-up?


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: Highways Agency via Flickr

Related topics: Gmail, Microsoft, Net Neutrality, Windows Tablet.

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  1. Howard Pearce
    August 11, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Dave, to repeat from your statements before ..... you claim not to support censorship ... but how unfortunate that freedom of speech and press includes not only prohibiting censorship but also prohibiting mandated printing too ! ALL mandates on what to print or what not to print are prohibited !

    If I am not mistaken Net Neutrality requires (MANDATES) ISP's to "print" ALL sites !! I call that a mandate, don't you ? Imagine Press Neutrality that required the press to print ALL news of the day.

    When you stop supporting laws or regulations that mandate what people print or not print, then I will consider stopping my criticisms.

    The truth of my statement that neither you not makeuseof support freedom of the press or speech is that you both naively confuse it with mere censorship and not other state mandated printing or speech or network traffic ! The fact that these mandates by the state will support some noble goal of neutrality is totally irrelevant

  2. Howard Pearce
    August 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    lol, I will comment on any topic that makeuseof strays out of its sphere of expertise to recommend legal actions that ultimately rely of the threat of physical force by the state to enforce.

    If makeuseof would take responsibility for backing these threats WITH the law or policies it supports, I may not comment as much. I support all the threats that go with the laws I support !

    I fully understand that your trust in the state extends to believing that the state will enforce the law as you envision it. I also understand that you wish to divorce yourself from the concepts of Speech Neutrality and Press Neutrality as they don't suit your purposes ... the most of which is your false belief to supporting freedom of press and speech.

    The simple fact is that whom your law applies to within the sphere on the internet whether merely ISP's or everyone is irrelevant.

    • Dave P
      August 10, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      Once again you've completely ignored someone trying to fill you in on the facts about net neutrality.

      1. Net neutrality is well within our "sphere of expertise."

      2.. Net neutrality already exists. If the state doesn't intervene then things will remain as they are, which is ISPs not allowed to give VIP treatment to the services that agree to pay them. So if you're against the state interfering, you should support net neutrality.

      3. This has nothing to do with "trust in the state." It's about a desire to see the Internet remain free rather than be subjected to being carved up by the ISPs so that some rich asshole can get even richer.

      4. This has nothing whatsoever in common with "Speech Neutrality" or "Press Neutrality" because the content is not at risk of being censored. You seem to be confused by the use of the word "neutrality" when applied to the Internet.

      It's hard to address your other points as they make no sense. Where is the "threat of physical force?"

      Please do your research on net neutrality before spreading this misinformation.

  3. Howard Pearce
    August 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    "If it comes down on one side of the issue then the framework for an open Internet will be preserved"

    Nothing could be further from the truth anymore than a Press Neutrality Act or Speech Neutrality Act would lead to "open speech" or an "open press". What will happen is that the state will impose its view of what constitutes neutrality onto the internet which is a sure way of ending any openness it currently has. Diversity is an important feature to all communications; neutrality will obviously seek to end that. Of course diversity means that not everything that takes place in our communications will suit everyone all the time.

    Speech, Press, the Net are all part of larger concept called Freedom of Communication which is certainly likely to end once people start turning control of their communications over to the state.

    • Dave P
      August 10, 2014 at 12:10 am

      Howard, I've recently realized you only comment on articles talking about net neutrality and are completely opposed to it. Unfortunately, you are completely ignorant over what net neutrality actually means, and keep banging the same drum regardless of how many people tell you've got the completely wrong end of the stick.

      As many people, including myself, have tried to explain to you, net neutrality has nothing whatsoever to do with censorship or the state somehow taking control of the Internet.

      Net neutrality exists RIGHT NOW, but the ISPs want to change that in order to be able start offering fast lanes for the companies willing to pay the asking price.

      What advocates for net neutrality want is things to remain as they are, which is an open Internet where all traffic is guaranteed the same treatment. I'm not sure where you got it from that this has anything to do with content, but it doesn't.

      Either you're very misinformed and unwilling to listen to those who know what they're talking about, or you're being paid to lobby against net neutrality by someone who has a vested interest in it being wiped out.

      Feel free to tell us which of the two is accurate.