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Updated: 59 min 8 sec ago

Senator Posts Cryptocurrency Bill On GitHub, Chaos Ensues

1 hour 14 min ago
On Wednesday, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) posted her upcoming cryptocurrency regulation bill on GitHub. What she got in return were eight pull requests and lots of trolling. The Verge reports: As of press time, Github users have commented on 24 issues in the bill and made eight pull requests -- some of which have proposed meaningful additions to the bill. One user asked the senators to "increase the value of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies with a tax on mining." Another thread raised concerns about algorithmic backing of stablecoins. However, the more common response has been trolling. One flagged issue is titled, "You Know You Can Find Someone To Do Findom Using Google, Right." Another is titled only with the eggplant emoji. In a related thread, a user commented, "Feds are not looking post floppa," accompanied by a picture of a popular Russian caracal who has gained an internet following under the name "Big Floppa." The trolling also extends to commit requests, where one user proposed replacing the bill with the source code of the popular first-person shooter Doom. "This bill would do far more to benefit everyday Americans if its text was replaced with the source code of Doom," reads a comment responding to the request. "Devs should merge asap."

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Bungie Slaps YouTube Takedown Impersonator With $7.6 Million Lawsuit

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 23:25
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PC Gamer: Back in March, a wave of bizarre copyright strikes rocked the Destiny 2 community. Not only did it affect some of the game's biggest content creators, but also videos on Bungie's own YouTube channel. It turned out none of them had actually come from the developer but a "bad actor" impersonating two employees from the CSC, Bungie's IP protection agency of choice. Now, that person has allegedly been identified and Bungie's suing them for a whopping $7.6 million. Ouch. Nicholas 'Lord Nazo' Minor is accused of fraudulently firing off 96 separate DMCA takedown notices throughout mid-March (thanks, TheGamePost). According to the lawsuit (PDF), Minor was issued legitimate copyright strikes in both December 2021 and March 2022 for uploading the OST for Destiny's The Taken King and The Witch Queen expansions. During that period, Minor is said to have created two separate email addresses impersonating CSC employees. He then used those email addresses to issue the false takedown notices. The lawsuit goes on to say that during the whole kerfuffle, Minor was "taking part in the community discussion of 'Bungie's' takedowns, spreading disinformation" as well as trying to file a counterclaim with YouTube, saying the legitimate takedowns on his channel were included in the wave of fraudulent ones. Bungie claims that the situation caused "significant reputational and economic damage," with the publisher having to "devote significant internal resources to addressing it and helping its players restore their videos and channels." It claims its "entitled to damages and injunctive relief, including enhanced statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the works implicated in the Fraudulent Takedown Notice that willfully infringed Bungie's registered copyrights, totaling $7,650,000."

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Female Scientists Less Likely To Be Given Authorship Credits, Analysis Finds

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 22:45
Female scientists are less likely to receive authorship credit or to be named on patents related to the work they do compared with their male counterparts -- including in fields such as healthcare, where women dominate -- data suggests. From a report: This gender gap may help to explain well-documented disparities in the apparent contributions of male and female scientists -- such as that of Rosalind Franklin, whose pivotal contribution to the discovery of the structure of DNA initially went unrecognised because she was not cited on the core Nature article by James Watson and Francis Crick. "We have known for a long time that women publish and patent at a lower rate than men. But, because previous data never showed who participated in research, no one knew why," said Prof Julia Lane at New York University in the US, who led the new research. Lane and her colleagues analysed administrative data on research projects conducted at 52 US colleges and universities between 2013 and 2016. They matched information about 128,859 scientists to 39,426 journal articles and 7,675 patents, looking at which people who worked on individual projects received credit and which did not.

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Mark Zuckerberg is More Interested in the Metaverse Than Election Integrity

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 22:05
Mark Zuckerberg's intense focus on the metaverse has replaced securing elections as the Meta CEO's top concern, four Meta employees with knowledge of the situation told The New York Times. From a report: Zuckerberg has been public with his desire to transform Meta -- formerly known as Facebook -- into a metaverse company, ploughing billions of dollars into developing metaverse technology. The New York Times reports Meta's core election team has shrunk significantly since 2020. With the US midterms approaching, a reduced election team at Meta could mean less enforcement against misinformation. Whereas it used to comprise over 300 people, now 60 people spend their time focused on election security and some additional employees divide their time between elections and other projects, sources told The Times.

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As China Shuts Out the World, Internet Access From Abroad Gets Harder Too

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 21:30
Most internet users trying to get past China's Great Firewall search for a cyber tunnel that will take them outside censorship restrictions to the wider web. From a report: But Vincent Brussee is looking for a way in, so he can better glimpse what life is like under the Communist Party. An analyst with the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin, Brussee frequently scours the Chinese internet for data. His main focus is information that will help him understand China's burgeoning social credit system. But in the last few years, he's noticed that his usual sources have become more unreliable and access tougher to gain. Some government websites fail to load, appearing to block users from specific geographic locations. Other platforms require a Chinese phone number tied to official identification. Files that were available three years ago have started to disappear as Brussee and many like him, including academics and journalists, are finding it increasingly frustrating to penetrate China's cyber world from the outside. "It's making it more difficult to simply understand where China is headed," Brussee said. "A lot of the work we are doing is digging for little scraps of information."

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Online Privacy Bill Clears Early Hurdle in House

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 20:57
Bipartisan legislation to establish broad privacy rights for consumers won approval from a House subcommittee on Thursday, adding to its momentum. From a report: Lawmakers approved the bill, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act, on a voice vote with no dissent. It now moves to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for a vote. The bill still faces a long and potentially difficult path, particularly in the Senate. Rep. Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), the committee chairman and a sponsor of the bill, termed it "a massive step forward." "Every American knows it is long past time for Congress to protect their data privacy and security," he said. "The modern world demands it." Republicans also praised the legislation, while suggesting more changes might be needed. "This bill protects all Americans, regardless of ZIP Code, and provides certainty for businesses so they clearly understand their obligations," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), the committee's top Republican. She said the legislation also would strengthen national security by requiring companies such as TikTok -- owned by Beijing-based ByteDance -- to specify when they are transferring and storing consumers' data in countries such as China.

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The Ohio State University Officially Trademarks the Word 'THE'

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 20:05
schwit1 writes: The Ohio State University has successfully trademarked the word "THE," in a victory for the college and its branding that is sure to produce eye rolls from Michigan fans and other rivals. Stating the full name of the school has become a point of pride for Ohio State's athletes when introducing themselves on television during games. The three-letter article "THE" has also become an important part of the school's merchandise and apparel. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Ohio State's application Tuesday. The trademark applies to T-shirts, baseball caps and hats. "'THE' has been a rallying cry in the Ohio State community for many years," said Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the university. Ohio State registered the word as a trademark to protect the university's brand, Mr. Johnson said. Ohio State's trademark and licensing program makes about $12.5 million annually for the university, which funds student scholarships and university programs, he said. "Universities historically are very particular about their trademarks, and they go to a lot of lengths to enforce their trademarks," said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, who noted Ohio State's trademark application on Twitter. "There is a lot of value in a university's brand."

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Japanese City Worker Loses Flash Drive Containing Personal Details of Every Resident

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 19:36
A city in Japan has been forced to apologise after a contractor admitted he had lost a USB memory stick containing the personal data of almost half a million residents after an alcohol-fuelled night out. From a report: Officials in Amagasaki, western Japan, said the man -- an unnamed employee of a private contractor hired to oversee Covid-19 relief payments to local households -- had taken the flash drive from the city's offices to transfer the data at a call centre in nearby Osaka. After spending Tuesday evening drinking at a restaurant, he realised on his way home that the bag containing the drive was missing, along with the personal details of all 460,000 Amagasaki residents. He reported the loss to police the following morning. The information included the residents' names, addresses and dates of birth, as well as details of their residence tax payments and the bank account numbers of those receiving child benefits and other welfare payments, according to the Asahi Shimbun. All of the information is encrypted and password protected, and there have been no reports of data leaks.

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Microsoft Will Start Banning Players From All Private Minecraft Servers

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 18:49
Since its initial release over a decade ago (and even following Microsoft's 2014 acquisition of developer Mojang), Minecraft has let players create private servers where they're in full control of what behaviors (and players) are allowed. Next week, though, Microsoft is set to roll out a new update that lets it ban a Minecraft player from all online play, including private servers and those hosted on Microsoft's subscription-based Realms plan. From a report: Earlier this week, Microsoft launched a pre-release version of Update 1.19.1 for the Java Edition of Minecraft, which will go live for everyone on Tuesday, June 28. That update will add the ability to report users who abuse the game's chat system and allow for "reported players [to be] be banned from online play and Realms after moderator review." On a recently updated "Why Have I been Banned from Minecraft?" help page, Microsoft notes that banned players will also get a message when they "sign into Minecraft on any platform (non-Java Edition) [aka "Bedrock"]." That message will clarify that "banned players are not allowed to play on servers, join Realms, host or join multiplayer games, or use the marketplace. They are also not allowed to access Minecraft Earth. Xbox players will no longer have access to their worlds [emphasis added]."

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Blockchain Startup Harmony Says $100 Million Was Stolen From Its Service

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 18:00
A popular product on the Harmony network was exploited for over $100 million in cryptocurrencies in what is one of the biggest crypto hacks in recent weeks. From a report: "The Harmony team has identified a theft occurring this morning on the Horizon bridge amounting to approx. $100MM," the network's developers said in a tweet. "We have begun working with national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the domestic intelligence and legal enforcement agency of the U.S., and cybersecurity firms have joined the search for the attacker, they said in a subsequent tweet. Harmony's native ONE token slumped on news of the exploit, taking its decline in the past 24 hours to more than 12%.

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Years After Brigham-Harvard Scandal, US Pours Millions Into Tainted Stem-Cell Field

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 17:20
Faked heart studies by a once-obscure scientist duped the U.S. government and medical establishment for years. Washington is still paying for it. From a Reuters investigation: Mario Ricciardi, a young Italian molecular biologist, was thrilled when he was selected to work with one of Harvard Medical School's most successful stem cell researchers. His new boss, Dr. Piero Anversa, had become famous within the field for his bold findings in 2001 that adult stem cells had special abilities to regenerate hearts or even cure heart disease, the leading cause of U.S. deaths . Millions in U.S. government grants poured into Anversa's lab at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Top journals published his papers. And the American Heart Association (AHA) proclaimed him a "research pioneer." "He was like a god," recalled Ricciardi, now 39, one of several scientists to speak out for the first time about their experiences in Anversa's lab. Within a year of Ricciardi's arrival in 2011, they grew suspicious, the scientists recalled. They couldn't replicate the seminal findings of their celebrated boss and became concerned that data and images of cells were being manipulated. Anversa and his deputy gruffly dismissed their questions, they said. They took their concerns to Brigham officials, telling them that Anversa's blockbuster results appeared to have been faked. "The science just wasn't there," Ricciardi said. After an investigation lasting almost six years, Brigham and Harvard wrote in a two-paragraph statement that they had found "falsified and/or fabricated data" in 31 papers authored by Anversa and his collaborators. In April 2017, the U.S. Justice Department separately concluded in a civil settlement with Brigham that Anversa's lab relied on "the fabrication of data and images" in seeking government grants and engaged in "reckless or deliberately misleading record-keeping." Yet federal money has continued to flow to test the proposition advanced by Anversa -- that adult stem cells can regenerate or heal hearts. Over two decades, federal and private grants have streamed into research labs despite allegations of fraud and fabrication against Anversa and others in the field, Reuters found. Meanwhile, no scientist has credibly established that Anversa's regeneration hypothesis holds true in humans, according to researchers and a review of medical literature.

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Software Maker Zendesk To Be Bought by Investor Group in $9.5 Billion Cash Deal

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 16:42
Software maker Zendesk agreed to be acquired by a group of buyout firms led by Hellman & Friedman and Permira for about $9.5 billion. From a report: The all-cash transaction offers shareholders $77.50 a share, a premium of 34% over Zendesk's closing stock price on Thursday, the company said in a statement on Friday. The stock jumped about 29% to $74.75 on the news. Including debt, the deal is valued at about $10.2 billion. The announcement comes after Zendesk said earlier this month that it would remain independent after failing to find a potential buyer. The San Francisco-based company said June 9 that it would no longer seek to sell itself after a strategic review that reached out to 16 potential strategic partners and 10 financial sponsors. Ultimately, "no actionable proposals were submitted," Zendesk said in a statement, and final bidders cited "adverse market conditions and financing difficulties at the end of the process."

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Five Planets Take Center Stage as They Align in the Night Sky

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 16:03
A rare, five-planet alignment will peak on June 24, allowing a spectacular viewing of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as they line up in planetary order. From a report: The event began at the beginning of June and has continued to get brighter and easier to see as the month has progressed, according to Diana Hannikainen, observing editor of Sky & Telescope. A waning crescent moon will be joining the party between Venus and Mars on Friday, adding another celestial object to the lineup. The moon will represent the Earth's relative position in the alignment, meaning this is where our planet will appear in the planetary order. This rare phenomenon has not occurred since December 2004, and this year, the distance between Mercury and Saturn will be smaller, according to Sky & Telescope.

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Microsoft Prepares To Forget About Windows 8.1 With End of Support Notifications

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 14:30
Microsoft is preparing to send reminders to Windows 8.1 users that support will end on January 10th 2023. The software giant will start sending notifications to existing Windows 8.1 devices next month, as a first reminder leading up to the January 2023 support cutoff. From a report: The notifications will be similar to ones Microsoft has used in the past to remind Windows 7 users about end of support dates. Microsoft originally sunset Windows 8 support in 2016, but the Windows 8.1 update will cease support fully in January 2023. Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1, so businesses won't be able to pay for additional security patches and will have to upgrade or accept the risk of running software without security updates.

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Intel Delays Groundbreaking Ceremony for Ohio Plant Amid Uncertainty Over Chips Legislation

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 12:37
Intel has told lawmakers and officials that it is delaying indefinitely the groundbreaking ceremony for a planned multibillion-dollar chip-manufacturing facility in Ohio, signaling frustration over uncertainty in Congress about legislation that would provide support for the U.S. chip industry. From a report: The ceremony had been tentatively scheduled for July 22. Intel informed the office of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and members of Ohio's congressional delegation on Wednesday that it was delaying the groundbreaking "due in part to uncertainty around" the chips-related legislation, known as the Bipartisan Innovation Act, according to an email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Intel still plans to build the facility and hasn't pushed back the start of construction, said Intel spokesman Will Moss. Intel, which announced the plant plans in January, said it intended to invest at least $20 billion in the Ohio facility, with construction expected to begin in late 2022 and production to start in 2025. The company said in its announcement that spending on the Ohio project could reach around $100 billion over the next decade, but that the expansion depends in part on progress on the U.S. chips legislation.

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NASA Declares Megarocket Rehearsal Complete, Setting Stage For Inaugural Launch

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 09:00
The fourth and most recent attempt at a full launch rehearsal of NASA's Space Launch System went reasonably well, and despite some lingering issues and uncertainties, the agency is sending the rocket back to the hangar for final preparations in advance of its first flight. That inaugural launch will represent Artemis 1, the first mission in NASA's Artemis lunar program. Gizmodo reports: In a press release today, NASA -- to my surprise -- said it is done testing SLS after reviewing data from the recent launch rehearsal. That another full-blown rehearsal would be required seemed likely to me on account of an unresolved hydrogen leak linked to a faulty quick-connect fitting, which subsequently prevented ground teams from practicing the fully scheduled launch countdown on Monday. The goal was to reach T-10 seconds, but the launch controllers decided to quit the rehearsal at T-29 seconds for safety reasons. "NASA plans to return SLS and Orion to the pad for launch in late August," says the release. "NASA will set a specific target launch date after replacing hardware associated with the leak." Despite the hydrogen leak and the incomplete countdown, Monday's wet dress did appear to go well. The ground teams finally managed to fully load SLS with propellants. Upwards of 755,000 gallons of cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen were supplied to the rocket's two stages, which the teams had failed to do during the first three attempts. What's more, all of the issues experienced during the first three wet dress rehearsals appear to have been resolved. The Orion spacecraft, currently sitting atop the rocket, also performed well during the test. Said Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's exploration systems manager, during a media teleconference on Tuesday: "We think that we had a really successful rehearsal," adding that there is "relative risk" is running a fifth wet dress, with the 322-foot-tall (98-meter) rocket standing fully exposed on the launch pad.

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Solana Launches Web3-Focused Smartphone Saga To Improve Crypto-Mobile Relationship

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 07:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The co-founder and CEO of Solana, Anatoly Yakovenko, had a Steve Jobs moment when he stood in front of an auditorium in New York City and announced the launch of Saga, an Android web3-focused smartphone. "This is something that I fundamentally believe the industry needs to do," Yakovenko said. "We didn't see a single crypto feature at the Apple developer conference 13 years after Bitcoin was alive." People will pull out their laptops in the middle of dates so they don't miss an NFT minting opportunity, Yakovenko joked. "So I think it's time for crypto to go mobile," Yakovenko added. Saga aims to implement digital asset products and services, so users can easily transact with their cryptocurrency through the device, opposed to a laptop browser. In addition to the announcement of Saga, Yakovenko shared the launch of the Solana Mobile Stack, or SMS, which is a web3 layer for Solana built on the phone. SMS will consist of a number of products including a seed vault, a custody solution, a mobile wallet adapter, Solana Pay for Android and its decentralized application (dApp) store. It "provides a new set of libraries for wallets and apps, allowing developers to create rich mobile experiences on Solana," a press release said. A number of crypto companies including FTX, Phantom and Magic Eden will partner with SMS and there is also a $10 million developer fund for people who build apps on it. "The builders are coming and they are higher quality than before," Raj Gokal, COO at Solana Labs said. "They're ready for the next leg of user growth." The $1,000 device will have 512 GB of storage with a 6.67-inch OLED display and is available for preorder with a $100 deposit and deliveries will occur in Q1 2023, Yakovenko said.

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NSA Shares Tips On Securing Windows Devices With PowerShell

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: The National Security Agency (NSA) and cybersecurity partner agencies issued an advisory today recommending system administrators to use PowerShell to prevent and detect malicious activity on Windows machines. PowerShell is frequently used in cyberattacks, leveraged mostly in the post-exploitation stage, but the security capabilities embedded in Microsoft's automation and configuration tool can also benefit defenders in their forensics efforts, improve incident response, and to automate repetitive tasks. The NSA and cyber security centers in the U.S. (CISA), New Zealand (NZ NCSC), and the U.K. (NCSC-UK) have created a set of recommendations for using PowerShell to mitigate cyber threats instead of removing or disabling it, which would lower defensive capabilities. Reducing the risk of threat actors abusing PowerShell requires leveraging capabilities in the framework such as PowerShell remoting, which does not expose plain-text credentials when executing commands remotely on Windows hosts. Administrators should be aware that enabling this feature on private networks automatically adds a new rule in Windows Firewall that permits all connections. Customizing Windows Firewall to allow connections only from trusted endpoints and networks helps reduce an attacker's chance for successful lateral movement. For remote connections, the agencies advise using the Secure Shell protocol (SSH), supported in PowerShell 7, to add the convenience and security of public-key authentication: - remote connections don't need HTTPS with SSL certificates - no need for Trusted Hosts, as required when remoting over WinRM outside a domain - secure remote management over SSH without a password for all commands and connections - PowerShell remoting between Windows and Linux hosts Another recommendation is to reduce PowerShell operations with the help of AppLocker or Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC) to set the tool to function in Constrained Language Mode (CLM), thus denying operations outside the policies defined by the administrator. Recording PowerShell activity and monitoring the logs are two recommendations that could help administrators find signs of potential abuse. The NSA and its partners propose turning on features like Deep Script Block Logging (DSBL), Module Logging, and Over-the-Shoulder transcription (OTS). The first two enable building a comprehensive database of logs that can be used to look for suspicious or malicious PowerShell activity, including hidden action and the commands and scripts used in the process. With OTS, administrators get records of every PowerShell input or output, which could help determine an attacker's intentions in the environment. The full document, titled "Keeping PowerShell: Security Measures to Use and Embrace" is available here (PDF).

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Dutch Join Germany, Austria, In Reverting To Coal

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 03:25
The Dutch joined Germany and Austria in reverting to coal power on Monday following an energy crisis provoked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. France 24 reports: The Netherlands said it would lift all restrictions on power stations fired by the fossil fuel, which were previously limited to just over a third of output. Berlin and Vienna made similar announcements on Sunday as Moscow, facing biting sanctions over Ukraine, cuts gas supplies to energy-starved Europe. "The cabinet has decided to immediately withdraw the restriction on production for coal-fired power stations from 2002 to 2024," Dutch climate and energy minister Rob Jetten told journalists in The Hague. The Dutch minister said his country had "prepared this decision with our European colleagues over the past few days." Germany however said it still aimed to close its coal power plants by 2030, in light of the greater emissions of climate-changing CO2 from the fossil fuel. "The 2030 coal exit date is not in doubt at all," economy ministry spokesman Stephan Gabriel Haufe said at a regular news conference. The target was "more important than ever," he added. Austria's government meanwhile announced Sunday that it would reopen a mothballed coal power station because of power shortages arising from reduced deliveries of gas from Russia. The authorities would work with the Verbund group, the country's main electricity supplier, to get the station in the southern city of Mellach back in action, said the Chancellery. The European Commission noted Monday that "some of the existing coal capacities might be used longer than initially expected" because of the new energy landscape in Europe.

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China Bans 31 Live-Streaming Behaviors

Fri, 24/06/2022 - 02:45
Long-time Slashdot reader Mr_Blank shares a report from Gerona: China has enacted new regulation for the live-streaming industry, listing 31 prohibited conducts and raising the bar for influencers to speak out on specific topics, in the government's latest effort to regulate the booming digital economy. The 18-point guideline, released Wednesday by the National Radio and Television Administration and the Department of Culture and Tourism, requires influencers to have relevant qualifications to cover some subjects, including law, finance, medicine and education discuss, although the authorities have not specified the necessary qualifications. The 31 prohibited conducts during live-streaming sessions include posting content that weakens or distorts the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the socialist system, or the country's reform and opening-up. Other prohibited behaviors include using deepfake technologies to manipulate the images of party or state leaders and intentionally 'building up' sensitive issues and attracting public attention. Live streamers are also prohibited from showing an extravagant lifestyle, such as showing luxury products and cash, the policy said. This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post.

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