Day: January 2, 2019

Netflix Blocks Show in Saudi Arabia Critical of Saudi Prince

Netflix has blocked an episode of its show “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” from streaming in Saudi Arabia after the Saudi government complained that the episode — which is critical of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman — violated its cybercrime laws.

In the episode, first shown in October, Mr. Minhaj critiques the United States’ longstanding relationship with Saudi Arabia after the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Now would be a good time to reassess our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Minhaj said, “and I mean that as a Muslim and an American.”

After receiving a takedown request last month from the Saudi government’s Communications and Information Technology Commission, Netflix removed the episode from viewing in Saudi Arabia last week. The news was first reported by The Financial Times.

In a statement, Netflix defended its decision: “We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request — and to comply with local law.”

The episode remains available to Netflix customers elsewhere in the world, and it can also be seen by viewers in Saudi Arabia through the show’s YouTube channel, according to The Financial Times. YouTube did not immediately respond on Tuesday to an email asking whether it had received a complaint from the Saudi government.

The “Patriot Act” episode appears to be the only program that the Saudi government has asked Netflix to block there.

Mr. Minhaj has not commented publicly on the removal of the episode. But in an interview published in The Atlantic last month, Mr. Minhaj spoke of the fear he felt after creating it.

“There was a lot of discussion in my family about not doing it,” he said in the interview. “I’ve just come to personal and spiritual terms with what the repercussions are.”

5G Is Coming This Year. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, will affect how you use smartphones and many other devices. Let’s talk about the essentials.

In 2019, a big technology shift will finally begin. It’s a once-in-a-decade upgrade to our wireless systems that will start reaching mobile phone users in a matter of months. 

But this is not just about faster smartphones. The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks — known as 5G for short — will also affect many other kinds of devices, including industrial robots, security cameras, drones and cars that send traffic data to one another. This new era will leap ahead of current wireless technology, known as 4G, by offering mobile internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds and most likely bring big changes to video games, sports and shopping.

Officials in the United States and China see 5G networks as a competitive edge. The faster networks could help spread the use of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.

Expect to hear more about 5G soon at events like the big consumer electronics trade show CES in January in Las Vegas and MWC Barcelona (formerly the Mobile World Congress) in February in Spain. Wireless service providers including AT&T and Verizon are already talking up 5G. And device makers are previewing gadgets that will work with the technology.

Samsung recently demonstrated prototypes of 5G smartphones that are expected to operate on both Verizon and AT&T networks. Many other manufacturers are racing to follow suit, though Apple is not expected in the initial 5G wave. Analysts predict that iPhones with the new technology won’t arrive until 2020. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Here’s what you need to know.

Strictly speaking, 5G is a set of technical ground rules that define the workings of a cellular network, including the radio frequencies used and how various components like computer chips and antennas handle radio signals and exchange data.

Since the first cellphones were demonstrated in the 1970s, engineers from multiple companies have convened to agree on new sets of specifications for cellular networks, which are designated a new technology generation every decade or so. To get the benefits of 5G, users will have to buy new phones, while carriers will need to install new transmission equipment to offer the faster service. 

The answer depends on where you live, which wireless services you use and when you decide to take the 5G plunge.

Qualcomm, the wireless chip maker, said it had demonstrated peak 5G download speeds of 4.5 gigabits a second, but predicts initial median speeds of about 1.4 gigabits. That translates to roughly 20 times faster than the current 4G experience.

The 5G speeds will be particularly noticeable in higher-quality streaming video. And downloading a typical movie at the median speeds cited by Qualcomm would take 17 seconds with 5G, compared with six minutes for 4G.

Rather than remembering to download a season of a favorite TV show before heading to the airport, for example, you could do it while in line to board a plane, said Justin Denison, a Samsung senior vice president.

No. There’s another kind of speed, a lag known as latency, that may become even more important with 5G.

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/technology/personaltech/5g-what-you-need-to-know.html

In Newly Divided Government, Who Will Control the Political Agenda?

WASHINGTON — America will get its first taste of divided government under President Trump this week when a Democratic House tries to wrest control of the political agenda from Mr. Trump, who appears determined to keep the focus on border security, immigration and his “big, beautiful” wall.

After the midterm elections ushered in the most diverse freshman class in history, House Democrats intend to put a spotlight on the issues that worked well for them during the campaign: diminishing the influence of the wealthy and connected, expanding voting rights, lowering prescription drug costs and passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Mr. Trump, on the defensive and presiding over a federal government that remains partially closed, is trying to stomp on that message. On Tuesday, as the government shutdown was in its 11th day, Mr. Trump invited congressional leaders of both parties to a briefing on border security Wednesday afternoon. White House officials did not say whether Mr. Trump would attend.

It would be the first visit by Democratic leaders to the White House since Dec. 11, when the president told Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.”