“Microsoft Pluton Hardware Security Coming to Our CPUs”: AMD, Intel, Qualcomm

Pioneered in both Xbox consoles and Microsoft’s Azure Sphere ecosystem, the Pluton Security Processor enables a full-stack chip-to-cloud security akin to a Trusted Platform Module (TPM).

Though there’s not timeline set by either one company, I find it very interesting that Xbox and cloud services led to the development of a security solution that’s apparently good enough that Intel, AMD and Qualcomm can’t or just won’t ignore. DRM worries aside, this seems like a necessary step for the PC market, even more so considering A Series Apple chips have used the so-called “Secure Enclave” for years, later bringing it to the Mac with the T1 and T2 chips, before making it a part of the M1 SoC.

Does Tor provide more benefit or harm? New paper says it depends

Specifically, the fraction of Tor users globally accessing hidden sites is 6.7, a relatively small proportion. Those users, however, aren’t evenly distributed geographically. In countries with regimes rated “not free” by this scoring from an organization called Freedom House, access to hidden services was just 4.8 percent. In “free” countries, the proportion jumped to 7.8 percent.

Now “hidden sites” doesn’t automatically mean “illegal sites” so the percentage of Tor users involved in illegal activities must be lower to some degree. But let’s say it’s not. Let’s say all 6.7% is living the web outlaw life. This means that 93.3% of Tor users do nothing illegal.

And yet:

Leaving the Tor network up and free from law enforcement investigation is likely to lead to direct and indirect harms that result from the system being used by those engaged in child exploitation, drug exchange, and the sale of firearms, although these harms are of course highly heterogeneous in terms of their potential negative social impacts and some, such as personal drug use, might also have predominantly individual costs in some cases.

Meaning security for 93.3% may have to pared back in order to deal with that 6.7%. Does this sound like a fair and sensible trade to you? I wonder.

EU Study: More People Consume Legally But Stubborn Pirates Remain

Staying on that theme about the magic of perspective, let’s check some findings on piracy.

One of the key findings is that online piracy is a relative fringe activity. Of all respondents, only 8% said they downloaded or streamed content from illegal online sources intentionally over the past year. That’s down two percentage points compared to earlier years.

Surely the legal fight against piracy must have contributed to the drop to an extend. That aside, the percentage is so small it makes you wonder if the legal battle is even worth its fees, despite the corporate narratives of immense amount of (theoretical) revenue being lost to piracy.

In this study, 59% of the self-proclaimed pirates used legal services, compared to 42% for the European average. This means that legal and illegal consumption are complementary and that pirates are paying customers too.

Which also means some pirates see value in some services and not enough in others. Maybe, just maybe, this is what the corporate fight should be focusing on, especially if pirates are demonstrably willing to pay for legal access, despite their pirating activity.

How common pirates are differs greatly from country to country. In Greece, Poland and Italy the proportion is relatively low at 4% but in Luxembourg and Slovenia, it’s much higher with 18% and 17% respectively, which are significant increases compared to 2017.

To my fellow Greeks. I think we’ve all been believing piracy in Greece to be considerably higher. We’re not giving us enough credit. We might be cheap at times but, apparently, not as cheap as Luxembourgers. We’ve been duped.

Twitch removes ‘blind playthrough’ tag after feedback over ableist language

But let’s cap things off with some proper nonsense. Seeing the industry focus on accessibility, as demonstrated by Microsoft’s efforts in hardware and software, by Ubisoft’s latest productions and the amazing work done by Naughty Dog for The Last Of Us Part II is something ti applaud and, yes, something to even award.

Having corporations, like Twitch, cave in at everything that rubs a vocal minority the wrong way, without a care in the world about the logic behind a move or the rule of law should not be applauded.

“You can still use the ‘first playthrough’ or opt to use it in combination with ‘no spoilers’ for the same sentiment,” Wayne tweeted.

“First playthrough” isn’t a solution as it provides less clarity than “blind playthrough” but that’s what you get when the aim is to appease instead of really help. You can’t say “first playthrough” to someone and be sure it’s understood as “I have no idea what I’m getting into”. It may be that way, it may not. We can only be sure that it’s a first playthrough. Even “no spoilers” (which is supposed to be information, not a sentiment) is idiotic. Who’s that for? Does it mean the streamer will avoid showing spoilers or is it just a way to announce to the world that said streamer hasn’t come across any spoilers prior to playing? Maybe it’s a warning for viewer to no share spoilers in comments?

If I had to do away with “blind playthrough”, using “no idea” instead might have come to mind indeed as a funny, yes, but more practical alternative.

Steve Spohn of AbleGamers, with which I find myself agreeing more often than not made a public assertion that boggles the mind.

“Just as we used to say ‘gay’ when something was bad, using disability terms as an alternative word for a negative situation or feeling is common in today’s language,” he wrote. […] “But just as we stopped saying gay to mean bad, we can stop saying these words too. Think about the words you choose.” […]He continued: “‘Blind playthrough’ or ‘going in blind’ can easily be replaced by saying ‘no spoilers playthrough’ or ‘undiscovered’ or ‘first’ (if it is your first).

Only thing is, “blind playthrough” doesn’t mean “bad playthrough”. “Blind” isn’t a disability term used as an alternative word for a negative situation. Unless getting a game on day one and firing it up with no prior knowledge of what it’s like is a negative situation. If that’s the case, maybe we should also ban pre-orders. Just to avoid a negative situation.