Tech Digest daily roundup: Streaming services to face tighter regulation


Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ could face tighter regulation in the UK under government proposals. Traditional broadcasters like the BBC and ITV have to comply with regulator Ofcom’s code covering issues like harm, offence, accuracy and impartiality. But most streaming platforms do not. The government has announced a review into whether to strengthen the rules. Meanwhile, ministers have also confirmed a consultation into whether to privatise Channel 4. The broadcaster is currently funded by adverts but is publicly-owned. BBC

Tim Berners-Lee has defended his decision to auction an NFT (non-fungible token) representing the source code to the web, comparing the sale to an autographed book or a speaking tour. The creator of the world wide web announced his decision to create and sell the digital asset through Sotheby’s auction house last week. In the auction, which begins on Wednesday and will run for one week, collectors will have the chance to bid on a bundle of items, including the 10,000 lines of the source code to the original web browser, a digital poster created by Berners-Lee representing the code, a letter from him, and an animated video showing the code being entered. “This is totally aligned with the values of the web,” Berners-Lee told the Guardian. Guardian

Apple has launched a passionate defence of its App Store security policies amid ongoing questions about fair competition and concerns over Apple’s control of its app marketplace. The UK competition regulator and the EU are both currently investigating the tech giant over a number of concerns, including its terms and conditions for app developers, which have been criticised as anti-competitive and unfair. But Apple says loosening its rules would make users less safe. The iPhone maker has published a new document detailing its approach to safety and security on the App Store, and defended its “walled garden” approach which only allows apps to be downloaded on to the iPhone directly from the company’s official App Store, in contrast to rival platforms such as Android. Yahoo!

 One of Rembrandt van Rijn’s biggest paintings just got a bit bigger. A marriage of art and artificial intelligence has enabled Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to recreate parts of the iconic “Night Watch” painting that were snipped off 70 years after Rembrandt finished it. The printed strips now hang flush to the edges of the 1642 painting in the museum’s Honor Gallery. Their addition restores to the work the off-center focal point that that rebellious Golden Age master Rembrandt originally intended. “It can breathe now,” museum director Taco Dibbits told The Associated Press on Wednesday. AP News

More than 22,500 people have applied to become the European Space Agency’s (ESA) next astronauts. This includes 1,979 British applicants and 270 applications from Irish candidates. During ESA’s last call for astronauts in 2008, the number of applicants who provided a medical certificate and finalised their online application form was 8,413. Between four and six career astronauts will join the ESA workforce as permanent staff members, and there will be a reserve of up to 20 people who will not immediately be hired by the agency but will remain with their current employers until a flight opportunity is identified for them. In the latest recruitment round, 257 people applied for the newly-established parastronaut vacancy. Around 5,400 (24%) of all applicants identify as female – compared to a figure of 15.5% in 2008. The 2021 astronaut selection is the first time ESA has issued a vacancy for an astronaut with a physical disability. Yahoo!

Under-18s worried that nude pictures and videos may end up online can now report the material using a new tool to stop it being uploaded in future. Young people can flag such content with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) charity via a tool on the NSPCC’s Childline website before they have appeared online. The Report Remove Tool has been described by the IWF as a “world first”. IWF analysts will then review the content and create a unique digital fingerprint known as a hash, before sharing it with tech companies to help prevent it from being uploaded and shared. Images and videos that have already appeared online can also be reported by sharing the URL, with analysts then assessing the material and working to remove it if it breaks the law. Sky News 


Chris Price
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