Microsoft will adopt Chromium's Manifest V3 on Edge, likely killing ad blockers


Author of the uBlock Origin extension, Raymond Hill, told The Register that Microsoft (and Google's) claim that the changes improve privacy is false. "They are not deprecating the Web Request API, they are deprecating the blocking ability of the Web Request API – specifically, the 'webRequestBlocking' permission. The Web Request API will still be available and still be able to provide information about all network requests fired by the browser … as opposed to what those announcements state, the deprecation of the blocking ability of the webRequest API accomplishes nothing privacy-wise for content blockers since they will still require broad hosts permissions."

Hill said that other features such as run-time host permissions (RTHP) and forbidding remote code execution (RCE) are more effective for protecting privacy, but that these are not done with Manifest v3, since RTHP is a browser feature and forbidding RCE "is a store policy issue, not an API one … those Manifest v3 announcements improperly attribute virtues (RTHP and no-RCE) to Manifest v3 which are technically unrelated to Manifest v3."

Hill also quoted the EFF report, which said that "the next time Google [or Microsoft] claims that Manifest V3 will be better for user privacy and security, don’t believe their hype … Manifest V3 will curtail innovation and hurt the privacy and security of Chrome users."

Not surprising, makes investing on NextDNS and/or Pi Hole even more significant giving the devastating changes to ad blockers.

Apple's misleading pricing on the iPhone 12 and 12 mini


Oddly, Apple is playing pricing games with the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12, which were marketed as priced at $699 and $799, respectively. But small print on the company’s website reveals that those numbers are based on “special offers” from Verizon and AT&T, while T-Mobile, Sprint, and unlocked carrier models are $30 more expensive. That means the actual prices are $729 and $829, respectively.

Even Apple can't get their ethics right on this. Plus, no charger on the box and you wonder why I switch primarily to Android phones in the last several years.

Five Eyes governments as well as India and Japan make a new call for backdoors into products that are end-to-end encrypted


The seven governments called for encryption backdoors not only in encrypted instant messaging applications, but also for "device encryption, custom encrypted applications, and encryption across integrated platforms."

Here we go again, can add Japan to this list of nations that want to ban encryption.

Hootsuite has sacked Sam Anderson after she spoken out on the company's hookup with ICE


Sam Anderson said she was let go on Monday, less than two weeks after she spoke out about Hootsuite's three-year contract with ICE, which has since been called off.

"That we are eagerly accepting money from an organization that is allegedly subjecting its female detainees to forced hysterectomies, that has a documented history of locking children in cages, that tears families apart and destroys lives is devastating and disgusting," she wrote at the time.

Last month, CEO Tom Keiser shed some light on the company's original response to employee concerns about the ICE contract, which Anderson said they first learned about in June.

In a written statement, Keiser said the internal strife initially led Hootsuite to form a committee to "consider all points of view" on the deal, but that management decided to press forward with the contract anyway.

Holy Shit!!!

Retaliation folks, disgraceful act. Glad I don't do business with them anymore. Shame since I used to like them back in the Web 2.0 era.

Justices wary of upending tech industry in Google v. Oracle Supreme Court fight


The dispute concerns about 11,500 lines of code that Google used to build its popular Android mobile operating system, which were replicated from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems.

At the end of an hour and a half of arguments, Justice Stephen Breyer, who at one point read aloud some code, seemed to be the only sure vote. The liberal justice appeared to lean toward Google.

Several of the other justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, suggested they were sympathetic to Oracle’s copyright claims.

Still, they appeared reluctant to rule in Oracle’s favor because of arguments made by leading computer scientists and Microsoft, in friend-of-the-court briefs, that doing so could upend the industry.

Several of the court’s conservatives, including Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito, noted that Google’s allies had warned that the “sky will fall” if Oracle won.

The dueling conceptions of the code at issue fueled much of the legal dispute. At stake is not just the $9 billion that Oracle has said that it is owed but also the the law of copyright in the internet era, and which types of code will be subject to protection.

The Oracle/Google case that will decide the future of software development has been going on for the last decade has been heard in front of SCOTUS. Here's the report and its a mixed bag…

PS5 X Button Confirm Change Sparks Worries From Asia, Japan Players


As a reminder, while in Europe, American and western PlayStation games in general, X button is used for confirmation, in Japan and Asia it’s the O button instead. On Nintendo consoles too, the A button used for confirm is where PlayStation controllers’ O button would be. This is a culture difference in how in Japan, X (Batsu) is false, while O (Maru) is correct. You can easily notice this for example when characters in anime and manga show their school test results. Meanwhile on Xbox controllers, the A button used for confirm is at the same place as the PlayStation X button, following the western pattern.

Sony Interactive Entertainment public relations explained this is a change happening in all the Asia region including Japan, to solve the discomfort where games use either the X or O button as confirm but the console’s System Menu uses the other button as confirmation.

The PS5 is changing the default control scheme in Japan to the X button to match the rest of the world after decades of the O button as the default. That's going to be a HUGE change in terms of memory.

Palantir and the LAPD: secret partners.


LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV, meaning people with a California driver’s license can be swept into Palantir. It also includes 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas. If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you.

Palantir is no small thing within the LAPD. Almost 5,000 people, more than half of all LAPD officers had accounts on Palantir, according to an “LAPD Palantir Usage Metrics” document. The same document says that in 2016, those officers ran 60,000 searches in support of more than 10,000 cases.

Palantir is a truly evil company.

The EARN IT Act, which would be a huge blow to our privacy, security, and online freedom of expression if it becomes law has also been introduced in the House.


The EARN IT Act would allow all 50 state legislatures, as well as U.S. territories and Washington D.C., to pass laws that would regulate the Internet. By breaking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the EARN IT bill would allow small website owners to be sued or prosecuted under state laws, as long as the prosecution or lawsuit somehow related to crimes against children.

We know how websites will react to this. Once they face prosecution or lawsuits based on other peoples’ speech, they’ll monitor their users, and censor or shut down discussion forums.

The bill also creates an advisory commission on Internet “best practices” that will be dominated by Attorney General William Barr and law enforcement agencies. Barr’s view on Internet “best practices” is well known—he wants to break encryption and let police read every message sent online.

If you're in the US, please contact your Reps!!!!

YouTube celebrates Deaf Awareness Week by killing crowd-sourced captions


YouTube says it's killing crowd-source subtitles due to spam and low usage. "While we hoped Community Contributions would be a wide-scale, community-driven source of quality translations for Creators," the company wrote, "it's rarely used and people continue to report spam and abuse." The community does not seem to agree with this assessment, since a petition immediately popped up asking YouTube to reconsider, and so far a half-million people have signed. "Removing community captions locks so many viewers out of the experience," the petition reads. "Community captions ensured that many videos were accessible that otherwise would not be."

Instead of the free, in-house solution YouTube already built and doesn't want to keep running, the company's shutdown post pushes users to paid, third-party alternatives like YouTube says that because "many of you rely on community captions," (what happened to the low usage?) "YouTube will be covering the cost of a 6 month subscription of for all creators who have used the Community Contribution feature for at least 3 videos in the last 60 days."

This is why we need decentralized alternatives to YouTube more than ever.

Microsoft plans to buy Zenimax Media, Bethesda's parent company for $7.5 billion


Bethesda is the publisher of games like The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout and also has at least two titles slated for debut next year. ZeniMax, based in Rockville, Maryland, owns several other studios across the globe, giving Microsoft’s Xbox business a much-needed infusion of titles and game developers. It’s one of the biggest privately held game companies with 2,300 employees worldwide, Microsoft said. The latest in the Elder Scrolls series has sold more than 20 million copies, making it among the top-selling games of all time.

Microsoft will keep that commitment, Spencer said in an interview. Future games, like Starfield, will be available for Xbox, PC and Microsoft’s Game Pass video-game service. “We’ll take other consoles on a case-by-case basis,” Spencer said.

Microsoft is trying to monopolize the gaming industry over the past couple of years by buying all these companies and it's not going to be good in the long term. I fully expect their IPs to be Xbox and Windows 10 exclusive eventually.

Boy, the US House Antitrust Committee has to be beating themselves for not inviting them like the other Big Four a couple months ago. It's called building a monopoly.