Weekly News Roundup 18/1/2016

I am back for 2016 and there is already some news to cover.

Netflix getting serious about region blockers, Space X is crashing rockets and it is actually a good thing and the Mobile App curation ball is dropped heavily by Google and Apple with culturally insensitive game getting attention.

g0dzdNetflix has announced recently at CES 2016 that it will be launching in 130 more countries very soon but this is bringing pressure on Netflix from rights holders to do a better job at respecting international borders when it comes to licensing deals.
Currently, a blind eye is being turned to subscribers using VPN and other services designed to defeat geoblocking but Netflix has released a statement that it will be taking steps to counter this technology in an effort to appease rights holders and production houses as these rights holders already have signed lucrative deals with competing broadcasters (eg. HBO and Foxtel’s deal for Game of Thrones in Australia provides exclusive access to Australian Foxtel subscribers).
Some say that this is Netflix biting the hand that feeds but I have a feeling that this may only be a small token gesture to bring rights holders to the table with a feeling that Netflix will do it’s best to respect their rights.
VPN service providers have said however that trying to defeat VPN services are difficult simply due to the fact that blocking based on IP addresses is the most common tool used and is also one of the easier countermeasures to defeat by simply changing the IP address of the VPN exit node.
Good luck Netflix, I hope it works as a PR exercise because I think that is all it will do.

Private Space company SpaceX has crashed a rocket at the end of a successful primary mission and it is a good thing.
All in the name of developing better technology for Space exploration, SpaceX has been working on reusable rocket boosters that can perform a soft landing on a platform. This is a big deal because if rocket boosters can be reused the cost of space launches will be drastically reduced as traditional boosters are single-use deals where the booster falls back to earth and is destroyed during re-entry. A controlled decent means that the SpaceX Falcon 9 boosters can be refuelled and reused promising significant cost savings when launching satellites and other payloads into earth orbit and beyond.
Of course development comes at a cost. After successfully landing a booster at Cape Canaveral in December, the landing site for the most recent mission was a barge in the Pacific Ocean.
The launch went well and after deploying the Jason-3 satellite, the Falcon 9 rocket returned under it’s own power to the landing site where 3 previous attempts failed in variations of spectacular proportions.
It was so, so close with the Falcon 9 actually landing on the platform with what looked to be their first on a small pad that was pitching on the open ocean when the rocket fell to one side and burst into flames. Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies tweeted “At least the pieces were bigger this time.” citing that a landing leg had failed to properly lock into position.
Even with the firey failures of late, SpaceX is still delivering on the important part and has won contracts to haul cargo to the International Space Station.

“Racist” game prompts investigation after public outcry over “Survival” game depicts the killing of Aboriginal Australians.
7092980-3x2-940x627Even after the online protest that prompted Apple and Google to pull the offensive “Survival Island 3: Australia Story 3D” app from their respective stores Communication minister Mitch Fifield has asked for an investigation the circumstances on how such a game was allowed by the tech giants to publish what has been possibly one of the most controversial applications in recent years.
The offensive material in the app depicts the player using clubs to bludgeon Australian Aboriginals to death. The public outcry sparked an online petition with change.org that has seen over 85000 signatures at the time of publishing.
Full story on SBS.com.au here.