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Latest update : 2012-12-04

World leaders gather in Dubai to assess future of internet

World leaders gather in Dubai to assess the future of the Internet. Meanwhile, a New York police officer’s act of generosity becomes an online sensation. And the video game character Super Mario goes out and about in the real world.

World leaders gather in Dubai to assess Internet’s future

The UN’s International Telecommunications Union began its World Conference in Dubai on Monday. Regulators from the 193 member states have until December 14th to agree on the proposals to adopt in a new UN Internet regulation treaty. As Hamadoun Touré, the Malian secretary general of the ITU explains, current regulations date back to 1988 and with the advent of the Internet are no longer relevant.

And the conference is set to be dominated by talks on Internet governance. According to the site Wcitleaks, which has released confidential working papers relating to the summit, Russia would like member states to be given more power, so they can manage the Internet on their own territory, as they see fit. A proposal aimed at challenging the United States’ control over the Internet; it controls amongst other things the handing out of Internet domain names.

And there’s another battle on the horizon, concerning a suggestion made by European operators, represented by the group Etno. They would like to see web giants pay a fee for the bandwidth they are using, to ensure quality streamed video content for example; they want to apply the principle of sending party network pays. The operators say the extra funds are vital if they are to invest in network infrastructure.

But numerous NGOs and major players in the Internet industry, like Google for example, feel these proposals will contribute to the fragmentation of the Internet and will open the door for governments to tighten online censorship. So the American giant has launched a campaign urging web users to oppose this new treaty, describing it as a danger to freedom of online expression and access to Internet content. 

Photo of NYPD cop giving boots to homeless man goes viral

It was mid-November when New York police officer Lawrence DePrimo, gave a pair of boots to a barefooted homeless man he saw in the street : an act of generosity that could have gone unnoticed had it not been for a passing tourist who immortalized the moment with her mobile phone. She posted the pic to the New York Police Department’s Facebook page last week, touching the hearts of countless web users.

Many have taken to the net to express their admiration. In just a few days, the photo of the homeless man and DePrimo has been “liked” around 600 000 times, shared over 215 000 times, and prompted over 46 000 comments on Facebook.

The excitement generated by the shot soon spread to the rest of the web. The police officer’s act of kindness has become one of the most popular topics on the Reddit forum for example. A great many web users have hailed his gesture and hope it will inspire others to show similar solidarity and generosity with those in need.

But not everyone feels this way. Some web users are wondering if the publication of the famous photo is in fact a well put together marketing stunt orchestrated by the NYPD. Others are questioning whether or not the event actually took place, as the homeless man is no longer wearing the boots he was given…

Now trending on social networks

President Barack Obama has personally asked American web users to use the Twitter hashtag "#My2k" to contact their members of Congress and ask them to extend the tax cuts for the middle class before the end of the year. Yes, according to the White House occupant, if a tax agreement isn’t reached soon, then American households will be paying on average, an extra 2000 dollars of taxes a year. And so to avoid this happening, he wants citizens to tell their representatives, what this amount of money means to them and what they could do with it…

Interactive homicide map in New York City

The New York Times has posted this interactive map on its website, charting all the homicides reported in New York City between 2003 and 2011. It provides a great deal of stats as well as information on the victims and the perpetrators of these murders. It’s extremely interesting reading; we learn for example that the average annual number of homicides in NYC over this period was 494, a figure that has rapidly declined since 2009.

Video of the day

Well known video game character, Super Mario, out and about in the real world… This video, entitled “Super Mario beads 3” was made by two Swedes Marcus and Hanes Knutsson, and shows the world’s most famous plumber taking on all sorts … in the supermarket, and also in the countryside. The clip is proving pretty popular online as in less than a week it’s already racked up around 1 million views.

By Electron Libre

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