YouTube says it will redirect people searching for “violent extremist propaganda” and offer them videos that denounce terrorism.
People searching for certain terms relating to the so-called Islamic State group will be offered playlists of videos “debunking its mythology”.
YouTube said it wanted to help prevent people being radicalised.
The company told the BBC that uploading IS propaganda was already against its terms and conditions.
In a blog post, the video-streaming giant said it was implementing ideas from the Redirect Method, a campaign that tries to steer the IS audience towards videos that debunk the group’s recruitment tactics.
The themed video playlists challenge claims by the so-called Islamic State group that it provides good governance, is a strong military force, and that world powers are conspiring to harm Muslims.
Rather than producing new material, the playlists contain videos already uploaded to YouTube that present an opposing point of view, such as:
testimony from people who have left IS, describing what life in the group was really like
footage of a suffering elderly lady confronting two IS fighters and telling them to “return to the way of God”
speeches by imams denouncing violence and extremism
footage from inside IS-controlled areas, showing the reality of life there
The Redirect Method says pre-existing videos, rather than specially commissioned content, are more effective because they are seen to be more trustworthy.
“Media created by governments or Western news outlets can be rejected on face value, for a perception of promoting an anti-Muslim agenda,” the organisation says in its methodology.
It said videos uploaded by the public “would not be be rejected outright by our target audience”.
YouTube told the BBC that it would begin redirecting users searching for particular terms in English, but would later add other languages including Arabic.
Algorithms will help determine whether other search keywords need to be included in the scheme, and the company will monitor whether people are engaging with the curated playlists.
While anybody searching for terrorist propaganda would be redirected, including academics and journalists, YouTube said such content was already against its terms and conditions and was removed when discovered.
The UK government has announced plans to introduce drone registration and safety awareness courses for owners of the small unmanned aircraft.
It will affect anyone who owns a drone which weighs more than 250 grams (8oz).
Drone maker DJI said it was in favour of the measures.
There is no time frame or firm plans as to how the new rules will be enforced and the Department of Transport admitted that “the nuts and bolts still have to be ironed out”.
The drone safety awareness test will involve potential flyers having to “prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations”, it said.
The plans also include the extension of geo-fencing, in which no-fly zones are programmed into drones using GPS co-ordinates, around areas such as prisons and airports.
‘Protect the public’
“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones,” said Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan.
“Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.
“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.”
“Registration has its place. I would argue it will focus the mind of the flyer – but I don’t think you can say it’s going to be a magic solution,” said Dr Alan McKenna, law lecturer at the University of Kent.
“There will be people who will simply not be on the system, that’s inevitable.”
Dr McKenna said there were also issues around how a drone’s owner could be identified by police and whether personal liability insurance should also be a legal requirement in the event of an accident.
DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg said the plans sounded like “reasonable common sense”.
“The fact is that there are multiple users of the airspace and the public should have access to the air – we firmly believe that – but you need systems to make sure everybody can do it safely,” he said.
“In all of these issues the question is, where is the reasonable middle ground? Banning drones is unreasonable, having no rules is also unreasonable.
“We’re encouraged that [the British government] seems to be recognising the value drones provide and looking for reasonable solutions.”
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The value of the virtual currency Bitcoin has always been volatile.
Even so, there has been particular turbulence in recent days as fears of a “civil war” among its adherents first grew and then subsided, although they have not gone away altogether.
On Sunday, the value of one bitcoin dropped to about $1,863 (£1,430) before bouncing back to $2,402 on Wednesday, according to data from the news site CoinDesk – still some way off a June high of $3,019.
The issue is that Bitcoin’s underlying technology has an in-built constraint: the ledger of past transactions, known as the blockchain, can have only 1MB of data added to it every 10 minutes.
To understand why, it’s helpful to first understand how Bitcoin works.
To authenticate Bitcoin transactions, a procedure called “mining” takes place, which involves volunteers’ computers racing to solve difficult mathematical problems.
For each problem solved, one block of bitcoins is processed. As a reward, the successful miners are given newly generated bitcoins.
An updated copy of the blockchain database is then copied to all the computers involved in the validation process, which are referred to as “nodes”.
Bitcoin originally did not have the 1MB/10min blockchain limit, but the feature was added to help defend the technology against denial of service (DoS) attacks, which might overwhelm the blockchain by flooding it with tiny transactions.
Mining, by the way, has become a big business in its own right, with some companies investing in huge “farms” of computers dedicated to the activity. Several of the biggest are based in China.
So, why not just raise the limit?
Many of the miners have, in fact, favoured the so-called Bitcoin Unlimited solution.
They said that allowing them to increase the 1MB block size would speed up transactions and reduce transactions fees.
But this could also make mining more expensive, and impractical for small “mom and pop” operations, leaving it under the control of a handful of large corporations.
That is because more processing power would be needed to verify transactions.
Furthermore, additional data bandwidth and storage space would be needed to transmit and store the blockchain, since it would become much bigger.
Critics also say the move would make Bitcoin more vulnerable to hackers.
Moreover, some people are concerned that giving the miners power to vary the block size might undermine the principle of Bitcoin being decentralised, with no equivalent to a central bank running the show.
What is the rival plan?
Some software developers have favoured reorganising the format of Bitcoin transactions to make the blockchain more efficient.
Specifically, they propose relocating ” transaction signatures” – which unlock bitcoins so they can be spent – from within the blockchain to a separate file transmitted alongside it.
Doing so should make it possible to process transactions at double the current rate.
And as an added benefit, “node” computers could save on storage space by opting not to keep records of the oldest signatures.
This scheme is known as Segregated Witness, or Segwit.
However, critics say it would deliver only a temporary respite while adding an extra level of complexity.
Is compromise possible?
It appears so.
A middle-ground solution – called Segwit2x – aims to start sending signature data separately from the blockchain later this week and then to double the block size limit to 2MB in three months’ time.
An initiative called Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 (BIP 91) states that if 80% of the mining effort adopts the new blockchain software involved and uses it consistently between 21 July and 31 July, then the wider community should accept this as the solution.
The good news for those who like the idea is that close to 90% of miners appear to back the effort, according to Coin Dance, a Bitcoin-related statistics site.
Other plans exist to try again after August if the target is missed.
But a risk remains that if use of Segwit2x software never reaches the required threshold or that hardcore opponents refuse to buckle, then it could result in two different versions of the blockchain, and in effect two types of Bitcoin.
Such as schism could help rival cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, prosper and ultimately doom Bitcoin altogether.
One expert, however, said he believed that was an unlikely outcome.
“The vast majority of people in the Bitcoin community are opposed to splitting Bitcoin into two competing cryptocurrencies,” said Dr Garrick Hileman, research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.
“Such a move would weaken Bitcoin’s network effect advantage and sow confusion.
“It is much more likely that people who are dissatisfied with Bitcoin’s direction will simply move on to something else, which is what we’ve seen in the past.”
A British magazine is directing readers to copyright-infringing software, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) has said.
Kodi is a free, legal media player for computers but software add-ons that in some cases make it possible to download pirated content.
The Complete Guide to Kodi magazine instructs readers on how to download such add-ons.
Dennis Publishing has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.
The magazine is available at a number of retailers, including WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon and was spotted on sale by cyber-security researcher Kevin Beaumont.
It repeatedly warns readers of the dangers of accessing pirated content online, but one article lists a series of software packages alongside screenshots promoting “free TV”, “popular albums” and “world sport”.
“Check before you stream and use them at your own risk,” the guide says, before adding that readers to stay “on the right side of the law”.
A spokesman for Fact said the body was working with the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) as it made enquiries.
“We are fully aware of this magazine and have already been in communication with Dennis Publishing regarding our concerns that it signposts consumers to copyright infringing add-ons,” said Kieron Sharp, chief executive of Fact.
“[...] it is concerning that the magazine’s content provides information to consumers on add-ons that would potentially allow criminality to take place,” he added.
Two of the largest dark web marketplaces have been shut down following a “landmark” international law enforcement investigation.
The AlphaBay and Hansa sites had been associated with the trade in illicit items such as drugs, weapons, malware and stolen data.
According to Europol, there were more than 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on AlphaBay.
Hansa was seized and covertly monitored for a month before being deactivated.
The agency said it believed the bust would lead to hundreds of new investigations in Europe.
“The capability of drug traffickers and other serious criminals around the world has taken a serious hit today,” said Europol’s executive director Rob Wainwright.
It was a “landmark” operation, according to US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) acting director Andrew McCabe.
AlphaBay has been offline since early July, fuelling suspicions among users that a law enforcement crackdown had taken place.
‘You cannot hide’
“We know of several Americans who were killed by drugs on AlphaBay,” said US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“One victim was just 18 years old when in February she overdosed on a powerful synthetic opioid which she had bought on AlphaBay.”
He also said a 13-year-old boy died after overdosing on a synthetic opioid bought by a high school classmate via the site.
Mr Sessions cautioned criminals from thinking that they could evade prosecution by using the dark web: “You cannot hide,” he said, “We will find you.”
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that illegal drugs listed for sale on AlphaBay included heroin and fentanyl.
It added in a court filing that $450m (£347m) was spent via the marketplace between May 2015 and February 2017.
Investigations were led by the FBI, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Dutch National Police.
Police in other countries, including the UK, France and Lithuania, also contributed.
The Dutch National Police took over the Hansa marketplace on 20 June after two men in Germany were arrested and servers in Germany, The Netherlands and Lithuania were seized.
This allowed for “the covert monitoring of criminal activities on the platform” until it was eventually shut down a month later.
Ever since AlphaBay went offline earlier in July, users of the site had discussed potential alternative dark web marketplaces on online forums.
Hansa was frequently mentioned, meaning that the authorities were likely able to uncover new criminal activity on Hansa as users migrated to it from AlphaBay.
“We recorded an eight times increase in the number of human users on Hansa immediately following the takedown of AlphaBay,” said Mr Wainwright.
Analysis: Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter, San Francisco
The significance of today’s announcement will only truly be known over the coming year or more as authorities follow up the “many new leads” they said had been found as a result of infiltrating and shutting down these two enormous networks.
While the sites’ closure is a massive boost, the DoJ and Europol both readily acknowledge that new services will simply pop up to replace them. After all, the closure of previous dark web marketplace Silk Road in 2013 was eventually followed with AlphaBay – bigger, more lucrative and, by the looks of it, more dangerous.
What authorities really want to do is start putting significant numbers of people behind bars.
This huge coordinated action has only resulted in a handful of arrests – and one key suspect apparently took his own life seven days after being brought into custody.
It’s clear such big services require a large, intricate network of criminals – and that’s what authorities are targeting.
Sky has had another TV broadband advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following a complaint from rival Virgin Media.
The advert featured the cast of The Secret Life of Pets, with one dog becoming frustrated with its broadband connectivity.
Virgin Media challenged a claim in the ad that Sky broadband was “super reliable”.
The ASA drew on data from Ofcom to uphold the complaint.
It concluded that the ad could “mislead consumers” because it implied that all of Sky’s broadband packages were super-reliable.
“That is not the case for Sky’s ADSL2+ package,” the ASA said in its summing up.
A similar Sky ad, featuring Lego Batman, was banned for misleadingly claiming to offer the UK’s lowest-priced fibre.
Tit for tat
Complaining about one another’s adverts seems to have become standard practice in the internet service provider world.
In 2016, Virgin Media had a broadband ad featuring Usain Bolt banned over misleading claims about broadband speeds after BT and Sky complained to the ASA.
And a BT advert fronted by actor Ryan Reynolds was banned after Virgin complained that it implied BT’s 52Mbps service was the fastest maximum speed service for the lowest-priced package in the UK.
A spokesman for the ASA said the organisation attempted to dissuade the telecoms industry from “tit for tat complaints” by asking them to provide evidence that they had approached their competitor and tried to resolve the matter between themselves first.
“It is a ferociously competitive sector and a lot of scrutiny is given to competitors’ advertising, but we only act when there is a problem under the rules,” he told the BBC.
Research from anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label suggests social media is making youngsters more anxious.
Forty per cent said they felt bad if nobody liked their selfies and 35% said their confidence was directly linked to the number of followers they had.
Instagram was highlighted as having become the vehicle most used for mean comments.
Seven per cent of young social network users said they had been bullied on the Facebook-owned photo app.
That compared to a figure of 6% for Facebook itself, 5% for Snapchat and 2% for Twitter and YouTube.
One expert said children were growing up in “a culture of antagonism”.
Instagram said it encouraged users to report bullying content.
“We know that comments posted by other people can have a big impact and that’s why we have recently invested heavily in new technology to help make Instagram a safe and supportive place,” said policy chief Michelle Napchan.
“Using machine learning technology, offensive comments on Instagram are now automatically blocked from appearing on people’s accounts. We also give people the choice to turn off comments altogether, or make their own lists of banned words or emojis.”
The survey, of more than 10,000 young people aged 12 to 20, suggested that cyber-bullying is widespread, with nearly 70% of youngsters admitting to being abusive towards another person online and 17% claiming to have been bullied online.
One in three said they lived in fear of cyber-bullying, with appearance cited as the most likely topic for abuse.
Nearly half (47%) said they wouldn’t discuss bad things in their lives on social media and many offered only an edited version of their lives.
“There is a trend towards people augmenting their personalities online and not showing the reality,” said Ditch the Label’s chief executive Liam Hackett.
Mr Hackett said: “Cyber-bullying continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing young people.
“Not only is the internet redefining the climate of bullying, but also it is having clear impacts upon the identity, behaviours and personality of its young users.”
He called on social networks to put more resources into policing the comments people post online and responding to complaints in a more timely manner.
His views were echoed by Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, who also called for a government ombudsman to be set up to mediate between the social network firms and children who are having problems.
She also called for “compulsory digital citizenship classes” in schools.
The OII research – which concentrated on 15-year-olds – found that, while 30% reported regular bullying, only 3% said it happened both off and online.
The huge variation of findings between surveys is often down to how questions are worded, said Lauren Seager-Smith, chief executive of charity Kidscape,
“This survey paints a bleak picture but there is a great variance in these studies. Part of this is about how you ask the question, who you ask and what age they are.”
She said that she was not surprised by Ditch the Label’s findings.
“We are living in a culture of antagonism. That sadly is the climate our children are growing up in,” she said.
“The jury is out on quite how damaging social media is and whether we all need to spend less time on such networks.”
But, she added, adults also needed to think about their usage.
“Often parents are equally addicted and they have to ask what impact that is having on family life. It could be time for them to say that there is more to life than social networks and the glossy picture of life that it often shows.”
Google is adding a personalised Facebook-style news feed to its homepage – Google.com -to show users content they may be interested in before they search.
It will display news stories, features, videos and music chosen on the basis of previous searches by the same user.
Users will also be able to click a “follow” button on search results to add topics of interest to their feed.
One analyst said the move would help Google compete with rivals.
“Google has a strong incentive to make search as useful as possible,” said Mattia Littunen, a senior research analyst at Enders Analysis.
“Facebook’s news feed is one of its main rivals. It is competing with other ways of accessing content.”
Google has been trialling a simpler version of its news feed in its smartphone app since December, and its full news feed will be added to its smartphone apps in the US first.
But the company has now confirmed it intends to add the feature to Google.com too.
Google is known for its sparse homepage, which, though mostly white space, has, according to analytics firm Alexa Internet, become the world’s most-visited website.
The feed will include news stories from a variety of publishers, to avoid the so-called filter bubble effect, where people follow only content aligned with their pre-existing point of view.
“To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources… and, when available, you’ll be able to fact check,” the company said in a blog post.
The search giant already offers some context-based information in its smartphone search app in the form of Google Now cards, but discontinued its personalised homepage service iGoogle in 2013.
Items in the new personalised feed can be tapped or clicked to launch a Google search for more information.
“Search ads are more lucrative than in-feed ads such as Facebook’s,” said Mr Littunen.
“Google’s business is based on selling advertising, so this gives them more contact points with consumers.”
The company did not divulge whether it would insert advertisements or sponsored posts into the feed, but Mr Littunen suggested the focus of the service was to make Google more useful and drive users to its other services.
“Google has a long term project of anticipating user needs. It’s a move to make sure people aren’t going elsewhere for information,” he told the BBC.