11 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

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December 1, 2016 - 2:00am
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Here's An Exclusive $10 Discount For Your Next Prime Pantry Box, Plus Free Shipping

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Amazon’s Prime Pantry service has kicked off the month of December with a pair of special promotions, including a $10 discount exclusive to Kinja Deals readers!

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Live Sports May Be Next Big Thing For Amazon Prime

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Amazon Prime members could soon be getting more bang for their buck when it comes to entertainment, as the e-commerce giant is rumored to be in talks with major sports leagues and television networks to offer live-streaming of sporting events. 

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that Amazon has been in talks with the NBA, MLB, and NFL — as well as smaller leagues for soccer and lacrosse — to obtain rights to stream live games as part of its $99/year Prime subscription service or as an add-on service.

One of the major roadblocks is that many of the rights involved with carrying live sports are already locked up with broadcasters and the leagues each have their own lucrative out-of-market streaming services they sell through pay-TV providers. The biggest prize in streaming sports — NFL Sunday Ticket — is exclusive to AT&T/DirecTV well into the next decade.

In the meantime, sources say the company is also talking directly with traditional TV networks about game rights they have but aren’t actually using. For example, those in the know say Amazon has approached Univision Communication about producing and packaging Mexican soccer league games that don’t air.

Another route the company is taking reportedly involves approaching global leagues, such as Indian Premier League cricket or Russian hockey. This option, the sources say, could give Amazon a toe in the door when it comes to sports, and the ability to tailor service to customers, thus creating a better return on investment.

The WSJ reports that while Amazon isn’t the first company to pursue streaming live games, if it is successful in the venture it could be the first significant interruption of traditional pay TV’s bread-and-butter.

A senior sports executive tells the WSJ that Amazon’s plan could work, as the company appears to be focused on the “long game, while near-term financial returns drive the agenda for most companies.”

Amazon Explores Possible Premium Sports Package With Prime Membership [The Wall Street Journal]





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Bill Outlawing “Gag Clauses” That Punish Customers For Writing Negative Reviews Goes To President

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After more than a year of waiting, Congress has finally okayed a piece of legislation that, if signed by the president, will stop companies from using so-called “non-disparagement” or “gag” clauses to prevent or discourage customers from writing honest reviews.

The Consumer Review Freedom Act gives the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general the authority to take enforcement actions against businesses that attempt to step on customers’ First Amendment rights by requiring that they sign a non-disparagement agreement.

These gag clauses generally threaten to punish the customer with financial penalties if they say anything negative about their experience with the company — even if it’s completely honest. Some companies have gone even further, fining customers for merely saying they intend to write something negative, or even encouraging others to give negative feedback.

Perhaps the most famous of these instances involves online retailer Kleargear, which tried — unsuccessfully — to slap a $3,500 penalty on a customer for complaining online about a transaction gone wrong; a transaction that she says occurred long before Kleargear even had a non-disparagement clause in its user agreement.

More recently, a Texas petsitter sued a couple for $1 million over an unfavorable Yelp review, using a gag clause that was strikingly similar to the one in the Kleargear agreement. That case was dismissed in August.

The Consumer Review Freedom Act was initially passed by the Senate in late 2015, with support from both parties and no need for roll call vote.

An identical bill in the House — the Consumer Review Fairness Act — took a little longer. That bill, in spite of bipartisan support, did not pass until Sept. 2016.

Even though both the House and Senate had passed virtually identical bills, they hadn’t technically signed off on the same bill yet, so lawmakers needed to figure out who would get credit for the bill that eventually ended up on the desk in the Oval Office.

Of course, that process was delayed by the whole election thing, but now that the Senate is back in session they unanimously voted yesterday to send the Consumer Review Freedom Act on to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

“By ending gag clauses, this legislation supports consumer rights and the integrity of critical feedback about products and services sold online,” said Sen. John Thune (SD), sponsor of the Senate version of the bill and Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. “I appreciate the bipartisan efforts of my Senate and House colleagues to get this legislation over the finish line.”





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Senators Make Last-Ditch Attempt To Block Expanded Government Hacking Authority

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There’s a change coming that could arguably make it a lot easier for feds to snoop through your digital stuff, even if you’ve done nothing but been the victim of some malware. If Congress doesn’t act to stop it, that change to Rule 41 becomes effective basically at midnight tonight. So a handful of Senators who want to block it are all but begging their colleagues to act now.

So what is Rule 41? Here’s the TL;DR version: it’s a section of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure that details how legal searches and seizures can be conducted.

The dispute is over some amendments to the rule written by the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the federal court system. In April, the Supreme Court approved those changes, which would allow federal magistrate judges to issue warrants that let law enforcement remotely search through computers outside of the court’s physical jurisdiction, and to seize data on those computers if the device’s location is “concealed through technological means,” or if the computer was part of a botnet used in a cyber attack.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ran a deep-dive explanation of the implications of this change back in April, but in short, critics argue that the changes to Rule 41 drastically expand procedural power (the things law enforcement can legally, regularly do) to access more people’s stuff with less reason.

In May, several senators introduced the SMH Act (yes, really) seeking to limit the Rule 41 changes from going into effect.

“An agency with the record of the Justice Department shouldn’t be able to wave its arms and grant itself entirely new powers,” Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) said at the time. “The American public should understand that these changes won’t just affect criminal … the amendments would also dramatically expand the government’s ability to hack the electronic devices of law-abiding Americans if their devices were affected by a computer attack.”

When the bill was put forward, the Justice Department immediately fired back, saying the lawmakers’ concerns were unfounded.

The bill hasn’t moved yet, but meanwhile, in October, 23 members of Congress followed up with a letter to the DOJ, asking just what it plans to do with the expanded authority Rule 41 will grant it.

The DOJ responded to that letter last week, and some of the Senators who signed on to the original found its response to be lackluster at best.

And that brings us to today. The rule changes go into effect on Dec. 1, which comes in just a handful of hours. The deadline is here, and if anyone in Congress is going to act, it’s now or never.

So some of the Senators that have been raising this issue for months are pushing for now. Wyden, joined by Sens. Chris Coons (DE) and Steve Daines (MT) are asking the Senate immediately to pass or vote on measures that would either block or delay the implementation of the Rule 41 changes.

“By sitting here and doing nothing, the Senate has given consent to this expansion of government hacking and surveillance,” Wyden said in a statement. “Law-abiding Americans are going to ask ‘what were you guys thinking? when the FBI starts hacking victims of a botnet hack. Or when a mass hack goes awry and breaks their device, or an entire hospital system and puts lives at risk.”

“If we fail to act today, these changes to Rule 41 will go into effect tomorrow without any hearing or markup to consider and evaluate the impact of the changes,” Coons added. “While the proposed changes are not necessarily bad or good, they are serious, and they present significant privacy concerns that warrant careful consideration and debate.”

Daines was more concise, saying about it only: “We can’t give unlimited power for unlimited hacking – putting Americans’ civil liberties at risk.”

If Congress does not act before the clock chimes midnight, then the amended Rule 41 will be in effect.





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Newsletter Item for (62217): 15 Computer Sounds That Will Take You Back to the '90s

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15 Old Computer Sounds That Will Take You Right Back

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Modems screeching, ham(p)sters dancing, floppies grinding, AIM buddies leaving, ICQ messages coming in....

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15 Computer Sounds That Will Take You Back to the '90s
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