Iran introduced blocks on pornography so aggressive that they broke the internet around the world. The country's censorship laws on adult websites are infamously stringent, and require access pornographic websites to be cut off. But last week the state internet provider did so not only for those in Iran but for people across the world – as far away as Russia and Hong Kong. The strange ban was the result of the way that the internet provider cut off access to those sites. It did so using some of the basic mechanisms of the web – not just stopping people in Iran accessing the websites, but changing the directions that power the internet so that nobody could.
Google just killed the Captcha, perhaps the most obstructive thing on the entire internet. For years, Captcha served as the primary way of telling humans and robots apart on the internet. It made sure that the person looking to access a website was actually a human being – ensuring that robots couldn't be used to send spam or flood a website with requests, for instance. But over time, robots have gradually become too clever for the often simple tests – which early on required people to transcribe hard-to-read text. With that, the technologies have become more complex, too.
A new bill will ban huge swathes of sex acts from UK porn. The Digital Economy Bill looks to ban anything that wouldn't be allowed on a commercially-available DVD. That seems to limit adult content in a number of ways, banning things including female ejaculation and the sight of menstrual blood from all pornographic videos. While there are no strict guidelines as to what acts and images can't be shown on commercial DVDs, adult film producers have found that they have had to cut almost all kinds of non-conventional videos from their films. Such restrictions include the "four-finger rule", for instance, which limits the number of digits that can be placed into any orifice while on video.
Sky is going to let people watch all of its TV channels without a satellite dish for the first time ever. The company is going to let people watch its full TV service through broadband instead of installing an entire satellite dish on their house. The move is apparently an attempt to stop the rate of "churn" at Sky – how many people join the service and then leave. The announcement came as Sky revealed surging numbers of people leaving to competitors like BT – up to 11.6 per cent from 10.2 per cent last year. Those same results showed a 9 per cent fall in earnings because of the increased price of football rights.
The vision of the so-called internet of things -- giving all sorts of physical things a digital makeover -- has been years ahead of reality. But that gap is closing fast. Today, the range of things being computerized and connected to networks is stunning, from watches, appliances and clothing to cars, jet engines and factory equipment. Even roadways and farm fields are being upgraded with digital sensors. In the last two years, the number of internet-of-things devices in the world has surged nearly 70 percent to 6.4 billion, according to Gartner, a research firm.