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Policy

After June fires, energy group says hydrogen is future’s fuel

Enlarge / A hydrogen filling station. Peter Gercke/picture alliance via Getty Images Hydrogen fuel facilities experienced two fires this month in Santa Clara, Calif., and in Norway. But despite these setbacks, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report on Friday saying that the fuel is an important potential part of a low-carbon future. The …

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Porn trolling mastermind Paul Hansmeier gets 14 years in prison

Enlarge / Justice. Brian Turner / Flickr A federal judge in Minneapolis has sentenced Paul Hansmeier to 14 years in prison for an elaborate fraud scheme that involved uploading pornographic videos to file-sharing networks and then threatening to sue people who downloaded them. “It is almost incalculable how much your abuse of trust has harmed …

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Cable companies can save money now that DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade is mostly done

Enlarge / A Comcast van in Sunnyvale, California, in November 2018. Getty Images | Andrei Stanescu Cable-company spending on network equipment is dropping as major providers like Comcast and Charter finish up their nationwide DOCSIS 3.1 rollouts. Equipment vendors that sell to cable companies such as Arris/CommScope and Casa Systems are reporting drops in cable-related …

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Researchers discover “Fishwrap” influence campaign recycling old terror news

Enlarge / Old news, new fish. Rick Barrentine/Getty Images Researchers at Recorded Future have uncovered what appears to be a new, growing social media-based influence operation involving more than 215 social media accounts. While relatively small in comparison to influence and disinformation operations run by the Russia-affiliated Internet Research Agency (IRA), the campaign is notable …

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Congress drops proposal to ban the IRS from competing with Turbotax

Enlarge Kimberly White/Getty Images for TurboTax Lawmakers are planning to drop a proposal to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from offering a free online tax-filing option, Politico and Pro Publica report. The provision was included in the Taxpayer First Act, which passed the House in April but has not passed the Senate. It was backed by …

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Comcast broke law 445,000 times in scheme to inflate bills, judge finds

Enlarge / A Comcast van in Sunnyvale, California, in November 2018. Getty Images | Andrei Stanescu Comcast yesterday was ordered to refund nearly 50,000 customers and pay a $9.1 million fine when a judge ruled that it violated Washington state consumer protection law hundreds of thousands of times. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued …

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YouTube bans neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denial videos in push against hate speech

Enlarge YouTube / Getty / Aurich Lawson YouTube today expanded its hate-speech policy to ban more white supremacist videos, such as those that promote Nazi ideology. The site is also banning hoax videos that deny the existence of the Holocaust and other well-documented violent events. The move will likely result in bans for many white …

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Verizon avoided a decade’s worth of taxes—a new law could make it pay up

Enlarge / A Verizon logo at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Getty Images | David Ramos Verizon has avoided paying local taxes on telecom equipment in many New Jersey municipalities over the past decade, but a proposed state law would force the company to pay back taxes for …

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Congressional hearings signal growing antitrust problems for big tech

Enlarge / The European Commission is investigating potentially false claims that Facebook cannot merge user information from the messaging network WhatsApp, which it acquired in 2014. Warsaw, Poland, on December 21, 2016. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NurPhoto | Getty Images The House Antitrust Subcommittee will conduct a series of hearings on the …

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Baltimore ransomware perp pinky-swears he didn’t use NSA exploit

Enlarge / Oh, Baltimore. Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images Over the past few weeks, a Twitter account that has since been confirmed by researchers to be that of the operator of the ransomware that took down Baltimore City’s networks May 4 has posted taunts of Baltimore City officials and documents demonstrating that at least some data was …

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