Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Social media ads to hit $50 billion by 2019

Social media ads to hit $50 billion by 2019 -Zenith

December 4, 2016

LONDON (Reuters) - The amount of money spent on advertising on social media is set to catch up with newspaper ad revenues by 2020, a leading forecaster said on Monday.

The rapid expansion of social media platforms on mobile devices, as well as faster internet connectivity and more sophisticated technology, has triggered a huge shift in the way many people get their news.

Advertising agency Zenith Optimedia, owned by France's Publicis, predicts global advertising expenditure on social media will account for 20 percent of all internet advertising in 2019, hitting $50 billion and coming in just one percent smaller than newspaper ads. It expects social media to overtake newspapers comfortably by 2020.

"Social media and online video are driving continued growth in global ad spend, despite political threats to the economy," Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith, said.

The media industry has been convulsed by the rapid shift in advertising trends in recent years, with firms moving their ad budgets from traditional sources such as newspapers to websites found on computers and mobile phones.

Marketers are increasingly directing their spending to social media sites where ads blend into users' newsfeeds on platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat proving more effective than interruptive banner formats.

Zenith's report forecasts that global advertising expenditure will grow 4.4 percent in 2017, the same rate as in 2016, which it said would be a strong performance given that big events like the Olympic Games, Britain's EU referendum and the U.S. presidential election boosted advertising this year.

Online video advertising is also rapidly growing and set to total $35.4 billion across the world by 2019, fractionally ahead of the amount spent on radio advertising but still far less than television.

Global spending on advertising has been stable since 2010 the report showed, although growth has declined in the Middle East and North Africa. It was expected to continue to grow strongly in China and much of Asia.

(Reporting by Adela Suliman; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Supreme Court throws out Apple’s $399M win in Samsung patent fight

Supreme Court throws out Apple’s $399M win in Samsung patent fight

Samsung scores unanimous verdict in Supreme Court battle with Apple

By REX CRUM PUBLISHED: December 6, 2016 at 9:38 am | UPDATED: December 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

CUPERTINO — In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s $399 million judgment against Samsung for violating patents involving Apple’s iPhone.

The decision overturns a victory that Apple had won in the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The case will now go back to that court for any further proceedings, including determining what, if any, lower penalties Samsung may have to pay Apple.

Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Hewlett Packard Enterprise had urged the Supreme Court to take up Samsung’s appeal of its patent loss to Apple, warning that the outcome against Samsung “will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies” because of the implications of how patent law is applied to technology products such as smartphones.

It was the first time the Supreme Court made a ruling on a product design since 1885, when it heard a case involving carpet designs. Case Collard, an intellectual property lawyer in Denver with the law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said the 8-0 court opinion, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, may end up being historical in its reach.

“The Supreme Court’s decision brings damages law for design patents into accord with the damages law for utility patents,” Collard said. “No longer can a patent holder get all of the profits from the sales of a product infringing a design patent. Instead, they may recover the profits attributable to the infringing feature.”

Sotomayor wrote that the lower court went too far in its ruling when it declared Samsung had to pay fines based on the entire iPhone, instead of just the components that may have been copied when Samsung was designing its smartphones. One of the central arguments in the case was the use of the term “article of manufacture,” and how it applied to the parts used to make a smartphone.

The lower court had ruled that the “article of manufacture” was the entire phone in question, and, thus, based Samsung’s penalties on the profits it made from the sale of its phones. But Sotomayor said such a description was applied too broadly in this case and that the “article” could be just one part of the phone.

“The term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product whether sold separately or not,” Sotomayor wrote in her 11-page opinion.

Samsung didn’t return a request for comment. Apple said in a statement that the case had “always been about Samsung’s blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute.”

Apple added, “We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world’s most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right.”

Rob Enderle, director of technology research firm the Enderle Group, said the court’s ruling “is pro-competition and pro-development and anti-patent troll” because the earlier ruling would have put any firm found compromising on a single patent in a complex technology device potentially liable for all the profits from the sale of that product.

“Both tactically and strategically this ruling is good for Samsung,” Enderle said.

The case centered around three iPhone patents for how icon layouts appear on the device’s screen, the design appearance of the front of the phone and the rounded rectangular shape of the front of the iPhone. The five-year-long battle stemmed from Apple’s allegations that Samsung had copied iPhone-related designs for use in its Galaxy and other smartphones.

In Apple’s lower-court win, the judgment called for Samsung to pay damages that were based upon the total profits Samsung had earned on the products in question. Samsung was originally hit with a $1.05 billion verdict in 2012 for violating not just Apple patents, but trademarks, too. The trademark damages were eventually thrown out on appeal, leaving Samsung with a fine of $548 million, which it paid in December 2015. However, Samsung took the case to the Supreme Court in an effort to get back $399 million of that penalty which the company viewed as excessive.

“This is a tricky case,” said Tim Bajarin, president of tech research firm Creative Strategies. “There are many broad issues that still haven’t been resolved. There are serious dollar amounts involved, and if the decision gets narrowed, it could have ramifications regarding intellectual property ownership.”

The case being sent back down the lower court is viewed as a huge win for Samsung, as any further penalties will certainly be less than the $399 million amount the Supreme Court rejected. Bajarin said there is no chance that Apple will drop the case because “both sides have too much skin in this to leave behind.”

Apple shares rose 0.7 percent to close Tuesday at $109.92.

App lets you scan people's Faces and reveal everything about them

Augmented reality app lets you scan people's FACES and reveal everything about them

Blippar will let you scan a person's face in real life, on TV or in print to unlock their profile

10:17, 6 DEC 2016 UPDATED 16:20, 6 DEC 2016

Blippar is an app that uses your smartphone's camera to reveal more about the world through augmented reality .

Today, the company behind the app has announced that facial recognition will be introduced so you can scan other people and reveal their profile.

It's billed as the world's first facial recognition for phones.

The profiles are strictly an opt-in only experience, meaning members of the public have to go through a process to get their faces recognised and turned on before they become “blippable”.

They can switch their profiles ‘on’ and ‘off’ as they wish.

The app can also be used to scan faces on TV or in print - meaning you could look up a particular actor or musician.

"Over 70,000 public figures will be automatically discoverable with information drawn from publicly accessible sources unless they choose to set up their own AR Face profile, giving them control of the information communicated," said Blippar in a press release.

"Users can add personalized content to express their personality in the form of photos, favourite music and current AR mood," the company said.

"As well as discovering who is your celebrity look alike is, there is also an option to build connections between yourself and the millions of objects, concepts and entities that exist in Blippar’s knowledge graph."

Users are becoming more familiar with augmented reality following the success of Pokemon Go in the summer.

Facial recognition is also being explored in various different areas.

For example, Jaguar Land Rover is developing technology that uses facial recognition and gait analysis to unlock car doors.

Cameras mounted under the windows of the doors would capture both video and still images of someone walking and standing by the car.

But it remains to be seen how people deal with having their faces scanned by other smartphone users.

You can download Blippar for both iOS and Android if you want to try it yourself.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Web giants to cooperate on removal of extremist content

By Julia Fioretti December 5, 2016

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Web giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft will step up efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.

The companies will share 'hashes' - unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos - of extremist content they have removed from their websites to enable their peers to identify the same content on their platforms.

"We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online," the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tech companies have long resisted outside intervention in how their sites should be policed, but have come under increasing pressure from Western governments to do more to remove extremist content following a wave of militant attacks.

YouTube and Facebook have begun to use hashes to automatically remove extremist content.

But many providers have relied until now mainly on users to flag content that violates terms of service. Flagged material is then individually reviewed by human editors who delete postings found to be in violation.

Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts between February and August this year and has expanded the teams reviewing reports of extremist content.

Each company will decide what image and video hashes to add to the database and matching content will not be automatically removed, they said.

The database will be up and running in early 2017 and more companies could be brought into the partnership.

The European Union set up an EU Internet Forum last year bringing together the internet companies, interior ministers and the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to find ways of removing extremist content.

The Forum will meet again on Thursday, when ministers are expected to ask the companies about their efforts and helping to provide evidence to convict foreign fighters.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; editing by John Stonestreet)

BMW traps alleged thief by remotely locking him in car

BMW traps alleged thief by remotely locking him in car

Stealer's Wheel? Seattle police department quotes "Watchmen" movie in a recap of the recent arrest.
Tech Culture

by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper December 4, 2016 5:00 PM PST

It's maybe the most satisfying arrest we can imagine.

Seattle police caught an alleged car thief by enlisting the help of car maker BMW to both track and then remotely lock the luckless criminal in the very car he was trying to steal.

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, deputy director of communications for the Seattle Police Department, posted a witty summary of the event on the SPD's blog on Wednesday. Turns out if you're inside a stolen car, it's perhaps not the best time to take a nap.

"A car thief awoke from a sound slumber Sunday morning (Nov. 27) to find he had been remotely locked inside a stolen BMW, just as Seattle police officers were bearing down on him," Spangenthal-Lee wrote. The suspect found a key fob mistakenly left inside the BMW by a friend who'd borrowed the car from the owner and the alleged crime was on.

But technology triumphed. When the owner, who'd just gotten married a day earlier, discovered the theft, the police contacted BMW corporate, who tracked the car to Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood. The car was parked, still running, with the snoozing suspect fast asleep behind the wheel.

"BMW employees were able to remotely lock the car's doors, trapping the suspect inside, presumably while hissing something terrifying like 'I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me' into the car's sound system," Spangenthal-Lee wrote. (Yes, that's a line from "Watchmen.")

The 38-year-old suspect, who was carrying a small amount of methamphetamine, was booked into the King County Jail for auto theft and drug possession, police said.

That's a pretty entertainingly written item for a cop blotter, and it's not the first time Seattle PD has strived to make their police reports entertaining. In 2012, Spangenthal-Lee made headlines with "Marijawhatnow?", a guide to legal pot use in the city.

Sunday, December 4, 2016



By Lulu Chang — September 8, 2016 7:40 AM

Not all weapons have a trigger, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. No, we’re not talking about bombs, but rather about Google’s new strategy to use its highly targeted advertising system in the battle against the Islamic State (IS). Anthony House, the senior manager for public policy and communications at Google, revealed plans to show users anti-radicalization links in response to terrorism-related searches back in February, and now, the program has grown ever more robust.

For the last year, Jigsaw, a tech incubator and think tank under Google’s wing, has been hard at work on a program known as the Redirect Method. Its goal is to combine Google’s search advertising algorithms and YouTube’s video platform to blast IS recruits with targeted ads, discouraging them for joining the extremist group.

In essence, ads that link to anti-IS videos are placed in Google results that Jigsaw believes are often accessed by potential terrorism recruits. These videos include content like negative experiences from ex-extremists and imams accusing IS of bastardizing Islam.

Earlier in 2016, Jigsaw ran a pilot program to test the Redirect Method, and found that of the 300,000 people who ultimately landed on anti-IS YouTube channels, “Searchers actually clicked on Jigsaw’s three or four times more often than a typical ad campaign,” as Wired reports. “Those who clicked spent more than twice as long viewing the most effective playlists than the best estimates of how long people view YouTube as a whole.”

So now, Jigsaw has plans to test the program again in North America, and it will target not only potential IS recruits, but white supremacists as well.

“This came out of an observation that there’s a lot of online demand for IS material, but there are also a lot of credible organic voices online debunking their narratives,” Yasmin Green, Jigsaw’s head of research and development, told Wired. “The Redirect Method is at its heart a targeted advertising campaign: Let’s take these individuals who are vulnerable to [this] recruitment messaging and instead show them information that refutes it.”

Officials are hopeful that this new plan may provide a clever tool that protects the freedom of the internet while also protecting the livelihoods of the world’s citizens. “We should get the bad stuff down, but it’s also extremely important that people are able to find good information, that when people are feeling isolated, that when they go online, they find a community of hope, not a community of harm,” said House earlier this year.

The Redirect Method helps to provide a sort of alternative narrative to those looking for information about extremism. In a statement, a Google spokesperson further explained, “What was referenced is a pilot Google AdWords Grants program that’s in the works right now with a handful of eligible non-profit organizations. The program enables NGOs to place counter-radicalization ads against search queries of their choosing.”

In addition to the counter-terrorism ads, Google is also ensuring that its subsidiary YouTube makes anti-extremism videos more discoverable, further aiding the overall efforts against IS and similar groups.

The move comes in the midst of an ongoing debate about the role and responsibility that social media groups should accept in responding to the proliferation of extremism. IS is known for leveraging sites like Twitter and Facebook for both recruitment and propaganda purposes, and a recent lawsuit against Twitter suggested that IS has only reached its current level of influence with the (albeit unintentional) help of social media platforms.

And while Google ads may not be a comprehensive solution, it will certainly help when it comes to educating those who might otherwise be interested in joining ISIS or other extremist groups. “These are people making decisions based on partial, bad information,” Green said. “We can affect the problem of foreign fighters joining the Islamic State by arming individuals with more and better information.”

French man sent to prison for visiting pro-ISIS websites

By Brinke Guthrie December 4, 2016

In a ruling that has human rights groups upset, a French man was sentenced to 2 years in prison for repeatedly visiting pro-ISIS websites — even though there no indication that he was planning to stage any type of terrorist attack. The unidentified 32-year-old was convicted in a court in Ard├Ęche this past Tuesday under a controversial new law. According to The Verge, police discovered the man’s browsing history after raiding his house. They found pro-ISIS imagery and execution videos on his phone, PC, and a USB device. His PC sported an ISIS flag as its wallpaper, and the computer password was “13novembrehaha,” a rather pointed reference to the date terrorists killed 130 people in Paris. Police said he had been visiting jihadist websites for 2 years.

Officials came across this man while checking out someone else in the same region, and they’re allowed to conduct warrentless searches and surveillance under French state of emergency laws.

The man defended his surfing habits in court, saying he visited the sites out of curiosity. On FranceBleu, he said “I wanted to tell the difference between real Islam and the false Islam, now I understand.” The Verge also adds that the man’s behavior had recently changed, as he became irritated when discussing religion, and had taken to wearing harem pants and a long beard. In prison since November 25, he will also have to pay a €30,000 fine. (A bit over $31,000 USD.) Prior to this, he wasn’t on the radar of any security agency, and only had some petty crimes in his background.

Patrick Baudouin is the honorary president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). He termed the sentence as “excessive,” and said judicial standards in France have been relaxed as a result of the emphasis on security. “The consultation of a site does not define a person as a terrorist,” he stated.

The conviction is part of a new law that makes the “habitual” viewing of terrorist-themed websites a crime. You get a pass if you’re visiting those websites “in good faith,” for “research, to inform the public, or for judicial purposes.”

France has been locking down certain sections of its internet in order to stem the tide of online radicalization. The country passed a law after the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks that lets the government block sites that promote terrorism, and it doesn’t need a court order to do so. Intelligence services were also given broad surveillance powers under a law that some call a “French Patriot Act.”

The Constitutional Council is the highest court in the land, and it will consider whether the new website law is constitutional within the next 3 months, according to Reuters. Le Parisien says 13 cases have been brought under the law since mid-October.

France has also taken an online offensive, known as #toujourslechoix (“always the choice”). Its purpose is to deter young people — the most impressionable — from joining terrorist causes.