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Hashtag Trending – Pirating streams a felony in the US; Siri, where’s my car; RIP Eric Engstrom – IT World Canada

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Pirated streamed content will soon become a felony in the U.S., Apple is working on a new autonomous vehicle, and Eric Engstrom the champion of Windows Gaming and Direct X passes away.

It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Tuesday Wednesday 23, and I’m your host Baneet Braich.

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Pirating Streamed Content to Become Felony from technology

Pirated streamed content will soon become a felony in the U.S. thanks to a new Bill. Under the new bill, any person that pirates video streams of copyrighted work will have committed a felony act and be subject to either fines or imprisonment. The previous penalty for pirating streaming content was a misdemeanour. The bill targets large scale, criminal and for-profit streaming services. However, it does not address non-commercial activities or individuals who access the pirated streams knowingly or unknowingly. This bill was passed considering how people’s viewing habits have changed since COVID-19 touched down, leaving them with more time to view content.

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Hey Siri, start my car. That’s right – Apple is working on a new self-driving vehicle with “breakthrough” battery technology by 2024, according to Reuters. However, the tech giant refused to discuss the new vehicle. Anonymous sources say it’s a mass-market vehicle, with “radically” cheaper battery, and lidar sensors, which give self-driving cars a three-dimensional road view. [LinkedIn]

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Creator of DirectX, Eric Engstrom, passes away at 55 from technology

And lastly, some heavy news to report as Eric Engstrom, the Pioneer Of Windows Gaming And DirectX, has passed away at 55 due to an injury. He will be remembered for his contributions to DirectX where the API made gaming on Microsoft’s Windows OS the top choice for PC Gaming. DirectX is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable a computer to recognize and run games that can tap that computer’s graphics capabilities. This also paved the way for what we now know as Microsoft’s Xbox consoles. Rest in Peace Eric, you brought people joy in both the real and virtual world.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. And remember, over the next couple of weeks, we want you to tell us what you think is this year’s biggest Canadian tech story. Let us know on Twitter @ITWorldCa, or leave a comment on the show notes for this episode at ITWorldCanada.com. Respondents will be entered into a draw for a chance to win an IT World Canada mug in the New Year!

I’m Baneet Braich thanks for listening.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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