Cable Television Needs You More Than You Need Cable Television

For decades, cable has roped in millions of customers like me with the promise of hundreds of channels and thousands of shows. But in my 15-plus years as a subscriber, there’s one thing I’ve watched most: my bill.

Every month I pay it, and every month I think of cutting the cord. The reason is that there’s never anything good on—unless you’re a fan of The Shawshank Redemption (which is probably on two channels at once), or one of the 19 shows based on storage units. Or pawn shops.

Years of this feeling has brought people like me to a slow boil and caused them to pull the plug on their pay television. In the last quarter, 527,000 subscribers cut the cord. In the three months prior, more than 750,000 people cancelled their accounts—the industry’s worst stretch yet. It seems the only things stopping the rest us from defecting are hassle, uncertainty and incentive.

And tech companies are on the verge of changing that.

Over the past year, streaming video services have become very popular—you’ve probably signed up for a couple yourself. In fact, in the past 12 months, Amazon Prime doubled its subscribers to more than 80 million accounts, even if many of those are just in it for the free shipping. Netflix, meanwhile, has more than 50 million accounts, and it’s not trying to sell you dog treats, batteries, and shampoo on the side. Those numbers are impressive, especially since there are currently 48 million pay television subscribers in the U.S.

Still, Netflix and Amazon, while great, aren’t true television alternatives. From Bosch to Bloodlines, they keep up with (and even outpace) the age-old, network-and-studio system when it comes to original content. But neither offer live programming yet (though Amazon has recently inked deals with the NFL and pro tennis’s ATP World Tour in the U.K.), which is key for news and sports coverage, cable’s biggest selling points.

Live streaming is worth watching

For streaming video to eclipse pay television, it needs to offer live broadcasts, a feat several new online services have recently achieved. They offer a mix of live channels with on-demand content and special features like cloud-based DVRs. So far, these services have received mixed reviews. But they’re still in their early days and worth watching.

For instance, YouTube TV is available in just 15 U.S. cities …read more

Source:: Time – Technology

The Justice Department Demanded a Tech Firm Hand Over Anti-Trump User Data. The Company Said No

Los Angeles-based web host provider DreamHost is pushing back against a federal order to unmask users who visited a website designed to coordinate protests against the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

The Washington Post reports that a Superior Court judge in Washington, D.C. has issued a search warrant demanding more than 1.3 million IP addresses that accessed the site, which would allow the government to identify visitors. DreamHost, which hosts the website, says that’s a bridge too far.

Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost, was quoted by the Post saying the warrant calls for “every single file we have” related to the site, including “tons of data about people who visited it.”

Among the information requested are emails shared between site administrators and people who were interested in attending protests, names, addresses and photographs, the Post reports.

Ghazarian said the order, which was reportedly issued on July 12 and made public by DreamHost Monday, is “pure prosecutorial overreach by a politicized Justice Department” intended to silence critics.

According to the Post, the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington D.C., where the warrant was issued, declined to comment on the request, though prosecutors cited in court documents defended it as constitutional.

[Washington Post]

…read more

Source:: Time – Technology

Google Cancels Web Domain Registration Neo-Nazi Site The Daily Stormer

Alphabet Inc.’s Google yanked its web domain support for The Daily Stormer on Monday three hours after the neo-Nazi website moved to the search engine’s registry system following its rejection from another.

“We are canceling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service,” a Google spokesman said.

The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website, moved its web domain registry to Google after GoDaddy Operating Co. pulled its services on Sunday. GoDaddy cited Daily Stormer’s support of the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend that ended in at least one fatality as violating the company’s terms of service.

Websites are able to automatically register for back-end support using Google’s systems, the company said. After the Daily Stormer signed up, Google determined that the site didn’t meet its rules for web support and advertising, which prohibit content that incites violence.

Google last week was dragged into a fraught political battle when it fired an engineer, James Damore, after he wrote a memo criticizing its diversity policy and arguing that biological differences between men and women explain in part why so few women work in software engineering. That dismissal ignited a strong backlash from commentators on the right, who accused Google of suppressing free speech.

Self-proclaimed members of the “alt-right,” a group that includes some organizers behind the event in Charlottesville, are planning to march on Google corporate campuses Saturday in protest.

…read more

Source:: Time – Technology