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      US, UK ink AI pact modeled on intel sharing agreements

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 April - 13:42

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    Enlarge (credit: LagartoFilm/Dreamstime)

    The US and UK have signed a landmark agreement on artificial intelligence, as the allies become the first countries to formally cooperate on how to test and assess risks from emerging AI models.

    The agreement, signed on Monday in Washington by UK science minister Michelle Donelan and US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, lays out how the two governments will pool technical knowledge, information and talent on AI safety.

    The deal represents the first bilateral arrangement on AI safety in the world and comes as governments push for greater regulation of the existential risks from new technology, such as its use in damaging cyber attacks or designing bioweapons.

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      New offer gives Ubisoft, not Microsoft, control of Activision game-streaming rights

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 22 August, 2023 - 14:25 · 1 minute

    Ubisoft could be the new home to Activision's streaming catalog under a new proposal from Microsoft.

    Enlarge / Ubisoft could be the new home to Activision's streaming catalog under a new proposal from Microsoft. (credit: Ubisoft)

    In a major restructuring of its long-proposed acquisition plans for Activision Blizzard , Microsoft has announced that the cloud-streaming rights for current and future Activision titles will be controlled by Ubisoft rather than Microsoft itself. The move is an effort to ameliorate concerns from UK regulators who blocked the proposed acquisition in April over potential impacts on competition in the cloud-gaming space.

    The newly proposed deal covers perpetual, worldwide streaming rights for all current Activision games and those released in the next 15 years, according to an announcement from Microsoft Vice Chair President Brad Smith. Ubisoft will have exclusive control of those streaming rights outside of the European Union, allowing the company to make those games available on its own Ubisoft+ service and to license them out to other cloud-gaming providers (including Microsoft itself). In the EU, Microsoft will pay to license those Activision streaming rights back from Ubisoft to satisfy promises made to the European Commission regarding free licensing to competing cloud-gaming providers.

    In a statement provided to Ars Technica, Ubisoft said the deal would allow Activision titles to be offered via Ubisoft+ Multi Access on PC, Xbox, and Amazon Luna, as well as via Ubisoft+ Classics on PlayStation . "Today’s deal will give players even more opportunities to access and enjoy some of the biggest brands in gaming," said Chris Early, Ubisoft SVP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, in the statement.

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      Activision says UK was “irrational” in blocking Microsoft purchase

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 30 May, 2023 - 16:47 · 1 minute

    A small selection of the characters that would be part of Microsoft if its proposed Activision/Blizzard merger is allowed to go through.

    Enlarge / A small selection of the characters that would be part of Microsoft if its proposed Activision/Blizzard merger is allowed to go through. (credit: Activision Blizzard King)

    Activision isn't pulling any punches in its fight against the UK's regulatory attempts to block its merger with Microsoft . In a "motion to intervene" recently filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (and recently summarized on the tribunal's website ), Activision excoriates the UK's Competition and Markets Authority for a "flawed conclusion" that was variously "unlawful, irrational, and/or disproportionate" and "arrived at in a procedurally unfair manner."

    The appeal takes particular issue with the CMA's focus on cloud gaming in a vacuum, without taking into account competition from "native gaming" via games running on local hardware. The ability to easily switch from one type of game experience to the other means that cloud gaming should not be a "separate product market," Activision argues.

    A source close to Activision's appeals process (who asked for anonymity to speak frankly about the appeal) put a finer point on this argument, saying that cloud gaming is a niche technology and that "most consumers continue to get games by download or physical disc because running the game on their local hardware gives them a much better experience."

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      Two allergic reactions to Pfizer vaccine lead to warning in UK

      Financial Times · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 9 December, 2020 - 17:33

    Margaret Keenan, 90, who was the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine, reacts as she talks with Healthcare assistant Lorraine Hill, while preparing to leave University Hospital Coventry, in Coventry on December 9, 2020, a day after receiving the vaccine.

    Enlarge / Margaret Keenan, 90, who was the first patient in the United Kingdom to receive the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine, reacts as she talks with Healthcare assistant Lorraine Hill, while preparing to leave University Hospital Coventry, in Coventry on December 9, 2020, a day after receiving the vaccine. (credit: Johnny Weeks | Getty Images)

    People with a significant history of allergies should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the UK medical regulator has said, after two NHS staff experienced an adverse reaction.

    June Raine, chief executive for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), told a UK parliamentary committee that the two individuals had the allergic reaction shortly after receiving the vaccine and that the regulator was investigating. Both people had a history of serious allergies and carried adrenalin pens.

    “We know from the very extensive clinical trials that this wasn’t a feature but if we need to strengthen our advice . . . we get that advice to the field immediately,” Dr. Raine said.

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      Pirate Sites Flourish as UK Site Blocking Efforts Die Down, For Now

      Ernesto Van der Sar · news.movim.eu / TorrentFreak · Saturday, 10 October, 2020 - 09:23 · 3 minutes

    uk Website blocking is without a doubt one of the favorite anti-piracy tools of the entertainment industries.

    The UK has been a leader on this front. Since 2011, the High Court has ordered ISPs to block access to many popular pirate sites.

    While official numbers are lacking, it’s believed that thousands of URLs are currently blocked, targeting sites such as The Pirate Bay, RARBG, Fmovies, NewAlbumReleases, and Team-Xecuter.

    UK Site Blocking Set an Example

    The UK approach has set an example for many other countries and has been used to argue in favor of site blocking measures in other regions including Australia and Canada. More recently, the UK example was highlighted in a US Senate hearing, with Hollywood’s MPA praising its effectiveness .

    “Studies in the UK and Australia have shown that this can lead to statistically significant and meaningful increases in legal online consumption. In that respect, the injunctive remedy in the European Union, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere has been decidedly more effective than the endless cycle of DMCA notice sending,” MPA’s Stan McCoy said.

    The comment was made to support a new push for ‘no-fault’ site-blocking injunctions in the US. The MPA speaks from personal experience here, as it was the driving force behind several UK court orders. That said, McCoy’s testimony leaves out some important context.

    Pirate Sites Flourish

    While the MPA is pushing site blocking in the US, the UK efforts have completely died down. The last blocking request from Hollywood studios dates back roughly years ago. Similarly, there hasn’t been any request from record labels since 2013.

    As a result, new pirate sites, and those that haven’t been blocked, were able to grow their audiences without much trouble. And indeed, if we take a look at the 500 most visited sites in the UK, names including Magnetdl, Filmix, Lookmovie, Rutor, and 9anime show up.

    For a site such as Magnetdl, roughly a quarter of all traffic comes from the UK, where the site isn’t blocked.

    Why No New Requests?

    This begs the question; if site blocking is so extremely effective in curbing piracy, why aren’t there any new requests? We reached out to the MPA’s EMEA office, which was kind enough to comment on the matter but didn’t offer any answers.

    “The MPA EMEA is continuing with site blocking across Europe. Site blocking is a legitimate and effective way of halting the spread of online piracy. Piracy affects everyone involved in the creative process – from the songwriters to authors and the makeup artists, a spokesperson informed us

    “Site blocking builds on years of work, and forms just one pillar of the MPA EMEA’s overall enforcement strategy. Online infringement is complex, and there is no single answer to addressing it.”

    Costs Play a Role

    Reading between the lines it appears that the MPA prefers to focus on other anti-piracy efforts, at least in the UK. This is likely the result of a cost-benefit analysis. Although it wouldn’t be hard to apply for new pirate site blockades, these anti-piracy measures come at a cost.

    Previously, it was estimated that an unopposed application for a section 97A blocking order costs roughly £14,000 per site, while maintaining it costs an additional £3,600 per year. With hundreds of blocked sites, the costs are quite significant, to say the least.

    BPI Will Request Stream Ripper Blocks in 2021

    The music industry may have similar reasons. In recent years they have complained repeatedly about the copyright-infringing nature of YouTube rippers, but there haven’t been any attempts to have these sites blocked. That will change though.

    We reached out to the UK music group BPI which says that it still sees site blocking as a valuable tool. The group hasn’t requested any new blocks in years but it will soon request blocks against stream rippers.

    “There are a range of tools that we use to reduce stream ripping and music piracy in all its forms in the UK. We also expect others who are in positions of responsibility within the digital economy to do more.”

    “Website blocking is an important and very effective part of our tool kit and is used in a proportionate way. BPI intends to seek the High Court’s judgment in relation to stream rippers in 2021,” a BPI spokesperson added.

    While the movie and music industries have other priorities, site-blocking powers are not completely unused. In recent years various sports organizations, including UEFA and the Premier League, have repeatedly requested and renewed IP-address blocks of illegal IPTV services .

    From: TF , for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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      Google faces $3.2B lawsuit over claims it violated children’s privacy

      Kate Cox · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 14 September, 2020 - 17:51

    A sign featuring the YouTube logo, outside the YouTube Space studios in London on June 4, 2019.

    Enlarge / A sign featuring the YouTube logo, outside the YouTube Space studios in London on June 4, 2019. (credit: Olly Curtis | Future | Getty Images )

    A new lawsuit filed in a United Kingdom court alleges that YouTube knowingly violated children's privacy laws in that country and seeks damages in excess of £2.5 billion (about $3.2 billion).

    A tech researcher named Duncan McCann filed the lawsuit in the UK's High Court and is serving as representative claimant in the case—a similar, though not identical, process to a US class-action suit. Foxglove, a UK tech advocacy group, is backing the claim , it said today.

    "YouTube, and its parent company Google, are ignoring laws designed to protect children," Foxglove wrote in a press release. "They know full well that millions of children watch YouTube. They’re making money from unlawfully harvesting data about these young children as they watch YouTube videos—and then running highly targeted adverts, designed to influence vulnerable young minds."

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