The United Nations wants you to have unfettered access to the internet, Apple wants you to donate your organs, Facebook ups its language game, Prince gets immortalized online, and speedrunning for charity.
The UN Wants to Protect Your Internets
Many of us rely on the internet to do, well, anything and everything these days. It’s a source for breaking news, for information, for communication, and for entertainment, amongst other things. So, does this reliance on the internet mean access to it should be a basic human right?
Possibly, at least according to the United Nations (UN), which recently adopted a resolution regarding “the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet”. This resolution [PDF link] sets out various commitments pertaining to the upholding of human rights online.
Potentially the most important element is the insistence that member states refrain from “measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online”. Which means not shutting down all or part of the internet when it suits the state to do so.
Other elements of the resolution include guaranteeing the rights of internet users to express themselves freely and investigating any attacks on journalists or bloggers, and adopting a “human rights based approach” to the expansion of internet access, with particular regard to gender and disabilities.
It should be noted that the UN cannot legally enforce this resolution, and it is instead merely a set of guidelines for member states to follow. It also doesn’t mean governments will be forced to provide free internet access for all, but they will be expected to allow everyone to have access to it without state interference.
Apple Encourages Organ Donations
I've had 15 extra years with my grandma bc someone donated their lungs. Donate your organs. They won't do much good for you in the ground.
— Alyssa (@alyssa_yoho) July 4, 2016
Organ transplants are a marvel of modern medicine many of us now take for granted. But we really shouldn’t. Not only is it an amazing achievement to take an organ from one person and put it into the body of another, it’s also at risk from a shortage of suitable organs. Organs that could prolong the lives of multiple people.
We should all arguably donate our organs to others when we die, but many of us never sign up to do so. Which is something Apple is trying to change, by including the option in the iOS 10 Health app. Individual users will be able to sign up to Donate Life America by clicking a button and registering their details with the National Donate Life Registry.
David Fleming, President & CEO of Donate Life America, said:
“On average, one person dies every hour in the United States waiting for an organ transplant because the demand for lifesaving transplants far exceeds the available supply of organs — and one donor can save as many as eight lives. By working with Apple to bring the National Donate Life Registry to the Health app on iPhone, we’re making it easier for people to find out about organ, eye and tissue donation and quickly register. This is a huge step forward that will ultimately help save lives.”
Apple obviously has more interest in the subject of organ donation than most, with its founder and former CEO Steve Jobs having received a liver transplant in 2009. Current CEO Tim Cook famously offered Jobs a portion of his own liver, but Jobs refused the offer. iOS 10 is expected to launch this September alongside a brand new iPhone.
Facebook Becomes Multilingual
#ThatMomentWhen you accidentally change the language on your facebook page and don't remember how… pic.twitter.com/RQEo7sapZZ
— Cindy Moniz (@HelloImCindy) June 25, 2016
Facebook is a truly worldwide phenomenon, with people from all four corners of the globe using the social network. This has inevitably led to users making friends with people from all over the world, which obviously creates something of a language barrier. English may be the default language of the internet (unless it’s GIFs?!), but it’s not universal.
To overcome this problem, Facebook is rolling out the option to translate your status updates into up to 45 different languages. Thanks to a multilingual tool, users will be able to select additional languages from a dropdown menu, and instantly (and automatically) have their post translated into everything from French to Filipino.
The multilingual composer, as the tool is called, is currently being tested by selected users. Initially, only desktop users will be able to compose messages in multiple languages, but all users regardless of platform will be able to read them. It isn’t clear how long it will take Facebook to roll this out to all of its 1.65 billion+ users.
Prince Gets His Own Online Museum
When Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson) died on April 21, it hit a lot of people hard. Not only because he was so young (58) at the time of his death, but because he was one of the most iconic and influential singer-songwriters to have ever lived. He was arguably up there with Michael Jackson and David Bowie.
So, Prince has sadly passed, but he has at least been immortalized on the internet thanks to the Prince Online Museum. This takes the form of an archive of Prince’s former websites from the past 20 years, all presented in reverse chronological order, and featuring a wealth of content for fans to explore.
Sam Jennings, who formerly ran the NPG Music Club for Prince, and the person spearheading the new venture, told Billboard:
“The Museum was built by the people who worked directly with Prince on these projects. We are the originators, we are the experts. It is a labor of love, no money has been exchanged. There will be no downloads sold and no membership fees required.”
An online archive of old websites may seem of trifling concern with everything else going on in the world at the moment, but for fans of the artist, the Prince Online Museum will be a Godsend helping them to relive his greatest moments and to process his untimely death.
Colbert Talks Summer Games Done Quick
And finally, the Games Done Quick initiative sees speedrunners raising money for charity by racing through video games as quickly as possible. For the uninitiated, that’s what speedruns are all about, with talented gamers getting to the end of full games in mere minutes.
This video shows Stephen Colbert promoting Games Done Quick by pitting himself against a champion speedrunner. While Mitch Fowler has to reach the end of Super Mario Bros. 3, Colbert has to cook and then eat a Hot Pocket. Colbert wins, but then so does Games Done Quick.
The Summer Games Done Quick 2016 is raising money for Doctors Without Borders from now until July 9. You can follow all of the action, and/or donate some money, by visiting the GamesDoneQuick Twitch channel. [H/T Geek.com]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Should unfettered access to the internet be a basic human right? Should organ donation after death be opt-out rather than opt-in? Do you have foreign friends on Facebook? What do you think of the Prince Online Museum? Do you have any interest in racing through video games as quickly as possible?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
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