Trump poised to sign away privacy protections for internet users

President to approve law killing rules meant to prevent internet service providers from selling consumers web browsing and app storage histories to advertisers

President Donald Trump was expected to sign legislation on Wednesday allowing internet service providers to sell the browsing habits of their customers.

The move, which critics charge will fundamentally undermine customer privacy, overrules an Obama-era rule issued last October that was designed to give consumers greater control over how internet service providers( ISPs) could share their information.

Those rules, drawn up by the Federal Communications Commission( FCC ), were scheduled to take effect by the end of 2017 and would have forced ISPs to get peoples permission before selling their data to advertisers and others.

Fifteen Republican transgressed ranks to vote against the controversial measure on Tuesday evening but the House of Representatives voted 215 to 205 to approve a resolution that uses the Congressional Review Act( CRA) to prevent the privacy regulations from taking effect.

The CRA lets an incoming president to overturn previous executive branch regulations and has been used by Trump to repeal a number of Obamas key initiatives.

The repeal reached the presidents desk on Wednesday morning and the White House has signalled Trumps clear intention to sign it.

Without the FCC broadband protections, ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon and AT& T are free to track your browsing behaviour and sell that data on to advertisers without permission. This represents a huge treasure trove of personal data, including your health fears, shopping habits and visits to porn sites. ISPs can find out where you bank, your political views and sexual orientation simply based on the websites you visit. The fact that you are looking at a website at all can also disclose when youre at home and when youre not.

Give me one good reason why Comcast should know what my mothers medical problems are, told congressman Mike Capuano during the hearing before the vote, explaining how he had researched her condition after a trip to the doctor. Just last week I bought underwear on the internet. Why should you know what sizing I take? Or the colour?

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, told: Americans learned last week that agents of Russian intelligence hacked into email accounts to obtain secrets on American companies, government officials and more.

This resolution would not only objective specific requirements you take reasonable measures to protect consumers sensitive info, but prevents the FCC from legislating a similar requirement and leaves no other agency capable of protecting consumers.

But Ajit Pai, Trumps newly appointed head of the FCC, was contended that the Obama era rules were an example of regulatory overreach and that another regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, already polices online privacy rules.

Moving forward, I want the American people to know that the FCC will work with the FTC to ensure that consumers online privacy is protected though a consistent and comprehensive framework. In my view, the most effective ways to achieve that result would be to return jurisdiction over broadband providers privacy practises to the FTC, with its decades of experience and expertise in this area, he said.

Those in favor of repealing the privacy rules argued that it levelled the playing field for internet service providers who want to get into the advertising business like Google and Facebook. According to ISPs, scrapping the rules would allow them to show the user more relevant ad and offers, which would give the companies better return on the investment they have attained in infrastructure. They argue that web browsing history and app utilization should not count as sensitive information.

But privacy advocates and consumer watchdogs instantly joined Democrat in condemning the policy shift.

Today Congress proved once again that they care more about the desire of the corporations that fund their campaigns than they do about the safety and security of their constituents, told Evan Greer, campaign director of digital rights group Fight for the Future.

Gutting these privacy rules wont just allow internet service providers to spy on us and sell our personal information, it will also enable more unconstitutional mass government surveillance, and fundamentally undermine our cybersecurity by making our sensitive personal information vulnerable to hackers, identity thieves, and foreign governments, she added.

Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs at the National Hispanic Media Coalition, called the vote a disturbing rubber stamp from conservative policymakers aimed at dismantling needed consumer protections for corporate profit.

With the approval of the president, corporations will now be handed the ability to share the sensitive, personal information of millions of Americans without their consent and impede the FCCs role as a consumer watchdog far into the future, she said.

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Abortion pill group’s Facebook page deleted over promoting ‘drug use’

Page for Women on Web, which connects doctors with women in places that restrict abortion access, deleted over promotion or encouragement of drug use

Facebook has censored the page of an organization that helps females procure abortion pill, citing its policy against the promotion or encouragement of drug use.

Women on Web, which is based in Amsterdam, helps connect women with physicians who can provide abortion pill if they live in countries where abortion access is restricted. It is a sister organization to Women on Waves, which provides abortions and other reproductive health services on a ship in international waters.

Women on Waves announced that the page had been unpublished on its own Facebook account, writing: Girls on Web offer life-saving information to thousands of women worldwide. Its Facebook page publishes news, scientific information and the protocols of the World Health Organization and Women on Web has answered over half a million emails with women who needed scientific, accurate information essential for their health and life.

We expect Facebook will[ undo] this action soon enough, as access to information is a human right.

This is the second censorship row between Facebook and Women on Web. In January 2012, Facebook deleted the specific characteristics photograph of different groups founder and director, Dr Rebecca Gomperts. The image contained instructions for inducing an abortion using Misoprostol. Gomperts was locked out of her account for two days after re-posting the image, but Facebook subsequently apologized and reinstated both the image and her account.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for commentary.

With virtually 2bn users, the social media site plays a crucial role in circulating news and info around the world. But Facebook has struggled to meet competing demands to allow for the free flow of information while cracking down on graphic material( such as the livestreamed murder of a newborn in Thailand in April ).

In 2016, the company faced international censure over its decision to censor the iconic Vietnam War photo of a naked girl fleeing a Napalm attack. Facebook subsequently altered its policy to allow for editorial decisions about newsworthiness.

On 3 May, amid criticism over its handling of graphic videos, Facebook announced that it would hire 3, 000 more content reviewers. Such content reviewers are tasked with applying the companys community standards, often with uneven outcomes.

Facebooks has faced particular difficulty enforcing its rules for regulated goods prescription drugs, marijuana, firearms, and ammunition. The company bars attempts by private individuals to buy, sell, or trade such items, but has struggled to halt gun sales.

The company has cracked down aggressively on pages related to legal medical marijuana, however. In 2015, the site temporarily banned business publication Crains for promoting a cover story about medical marijuana.

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There’s a search for a fifth meat- and 19 other things podcasts taught us in 2016

Whether its asking what happens when you watch Sex and the City 2 more than 50 times or which Oscar has won an Oscar, theres no question a podcast somewhere hasnt answered

1 Richard Ayoade employed a ThunderCats duvet cover until he was in his late 20 s

Where we learned it The Adam Buxton podcast

Adam Buxtons life-affirming, jingle-packed ramble chats with his celebrity guests are a constant delight. In this two-parter, the multi-talented Ayoade went into everything from the high levels of pillows to the reaction to his notoriously awkward interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy. As funny as the pod is, you are able to learn a lot, too from Buxtons honest discussions of sorrow when his daddy died to how upsetting Sara Pascoe observes it when people attain clicky sticky noises with their mouths.

Other lessons from this podcast Louis Theroux does a fine rendition of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Ellie Violet Bramley

Journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell. Photo: Anne Bailey

2 One of the biggest automobile recollects in history may have been caused by drivers pressing the incorrect pedal

Where we learned it Malcolm Gladwells Revisionist History

If you are familiar with Gladwells run, then Revisionist History is both a treat and familiar province. The New Yorker novelist often takes assumptions and things we might think to be true and unravels them to end up in a different place wholly. In his bestseller Blink, he explained why it might not have been so unusual that an unarmed man was shot 41 times by New York police. In the best episode of Revisionist History, Gladwell appeared back at Toyotas sudden unintended acceleration phenomenon, which led to a gigantic penalty for the car maker. The conclusion after we listen to a 911 call in which a man is driven to his death by a car that wont slow down was not that the cars accelerators were sticking, but that drivers unfamiliar with certain automobiles were having a brain malfunction that meant the latter are physically unable to differentiate between the brake and the accelerator.

Other lessons from this podcast American colleges with the nicest canteens are the worst selections for poor students; if you want to score the most free-throws in basketball, do them underarm. Will Dean

3 One day, everyone in Sweden switched to driving on the opposite side of the road

Where we learned it 99% Invisible

You neednt be an architecture or design fanatic to enjoy Roman Marss gentle unpicking of how the world around us came to look and function as it does. As well as narratives about the origins of the inflatable humen they have outside automobile traders in the US, and why they used to publicize missing children on milk cartons, you can learn about Hgertrafikomlggningen , or H-day 3 September 1967 when everyone in Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to the right.

Other lessons from this podcast Californias Salton Sea was formed by mistake; 20 years ago, the world became obsessed with a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. Leah Harper

4 Having your own podcast wont win you an election

Where we learned it With Her

How do we know that Hillary Clinton enjoyed a Cuban sandwich and a beer at the end of a day on the road? Well, she had her own campaign podcast, about the little details of being on the road. In the first episode, Max Linsky, of the podcast Longform, talked to her in Miami about what she was going to have for dinner that evening. As the first presidential candidate to have a campaign podcast, Clinton tried to harness the power of the medium to show a more personable side of herself. Suffice to say, it didnthave the desired effect.

Other lessons from this podcast Clinton is a TED talks fan and has to ration her Elena Ferrante novels. EVB

The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

5 Theres more than one way of motivating your marketings force

Where we learned it My Dad Wrote a Porno

Pots-and-pans sales supremo Belinda Blumenthal can find lust in any situation even when she is lost in an ornamental labyrinth. The superstar of the erotic fiction written by comedian Jamie Mortons father has taught the world that a regional sales meeting has just as much potential for naked fun as a business trip to Amsterdam. Other things she has appropriated into her libidinous realm include a charity tombola, Herb Alpert, a chalet, a pomegranate, a horsebox and any sentence involving the words further access. What she has taught listeners about her ridiculously sexy life is a possibility unsavoury, but via Mortons podcast it has brought a whole lot of mirth.

Other lessons from this podcast There is such a thing as a vaginal eyelid; never read erotic fiction written by your papa. Hannah Verdier

6 Sacha Baron Cohen has been known to use a getaway car

Where we learned it WTF

Marc Marons WTF can be off-putting: the hosts 15 -minute opening monologue and guitar jams are often enough to deter new listeners. But when it comes to teasing out colourful details from the careers of some of Hollywoods funniest and finest, Maron is the master. Grimsby may have bombed in the cinemas, but it was worth it for the interview Baron Cohen did with Maron to promote the cinema. The best bits were the details of the logistical difficulties of inducing Brno, from how a redneck fighting crowd were deceived into watching a homoerotic cavort to how Baron Cohen managed to escape Kansas police after being caught with, among other things, a pedal-powered sex machine in a hotel room.( He had a auto waiting outside with the engine running .)

Other lessons from this podcast Asking what peoples mothers were like rarely gets a dull answer; if you have the US president over to record in your garage, youd better have nice neighbours; William Friedkin is the best storyteller in Hollywood. WD

Alix Fox looks into peoples sexuality lives. Photograph: Ken McKay/ Rex/ Shutterstock

7 Having two vaginas doesnt mean you can have vaginal sexuality with two men at the same time

Where we learned it Close Encounters from the Guardian

Alix Fox pries into the complicated and fascinating lives of people for whom sexuality is not always altogether straightforward, from a polyamorous couple to a man paralysed from the waist down just before his honeymoon. An extraordinary interview with double-barrelled Hazel, who talked openly about the effects her condition has had on her and may have on her if she wants to have infants is the standout so far.

Other lessons from this podcast Russian-doll-style dildos can cure vaginismus; having cold feet can help to delay an orgasm. LH

8 The search for a fifth meat continues

Where we learned it The Beef and Dairy Network podcast

The centuries-old assumption that there are only four meats beef, lamb, pork and chicken is disintegrating after unconfirmed reports that the European Space Agency has identified a mysterious fifth meat. The Beef and Dairy Network podcast, produced by comedian Ben Partridge, is the No 1 podcast for those involved or only interested in the production of beef animals and dairy herds. Featuring guest appearances from agricultural experts such as Josie Long, and attracting fans including Miranda Sawyer, it is a surreal beefstravaganza.

Other lessons from this podcast According to Beef and Dairy Network sponsor Mitchells, 90% of livestock can kick through a ships hull after simply one month of taking hoof-strengthening supplement Steel Hoof Deluxe. EVB

Dont set this cow in your ships hull. Photo: Brian Brown/ Getty Images

9 John Oliver is not dead

Where we learned it The Bugle

For a decade, long-time comedy partners John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman set the world to rights via the medium of their audio newspaper for a visual world. Their riffs on anything from civil liberties( Like puppies, John, we love our own, but we get genuinely vexed when other people civil liberties keep shitting on our lawns) to Texas barbecues( All I know is this, Andy: if I was a cow, and I knew that I could savour like that, Id find it very hard to make a coherent suit for not being immediately killed and slow-cooked) often constructed the present the funniest thing you could get on Wi-Fi. With Oliver having left the Daily Show to front his own depict on HBO, the Bugle went into satirical hibernation. It awoke in mid-October, just in time for a political event so ridiculous that even Zaltzman at his most surreal couldnt have imagined it. The pods Have I Got News for You-style rotating guest co-hosts now include US comics Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu, as well as Brit Nish Kumar and brilliant Indian standup Anuvab Pal. They dont know each other as well as best friends Zaltzman and Oliver, but perhaps the other co-host, Andys sister Helen, could claim an advantage on that front. The Bugle is dead, long live the Bugle.

Other lessons from this podcast Bashar al-Assad bought LMFAOs Im Sexy and I Know It as the Syrian civil war raged. WD

10 A bloke running a driving school in Acton, west London, was also helping to prop up the death penalty in the US

Where we learned it More Perfect

In a residential area of west London, inside a build with a banner that reads Elgone Driving Academy, is a guy in his 50 s who looks a bit like William Hurt and who was the one-man operation helping to provide the narcotics used for capital punishment in the US. That was until a human rights charity alerted the UK government to his pharmaceutical broom closet of death. In the inaugural episode of More Perfect, a Radiolab spin-off looking at how US supreme court cases affect lives miles away from the bench, the presenters investigated those three little words from the US constitution: cruel and unusual.

Other lessons from this podcast An unusual 911 call made in Houston, Texas, in 1998, led to one of the most important LGBTQ rights decisions in the courts history, effectively building homosexual relations a basic civil right. EVB

11 The political insiders term for people panicking about a Trump win was bedwetters

Where we learned it Keepin it 1600

A politics podcast hosted by Barack Obamas former speechwriter and a senior communications adviser ought to scream wonkishness, but Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer may be the two most engaging analysts of a bonkers electoral campaign. Having been at the heart of two US election storms, they alongside other hosts Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor know, inside-out, how this world works and share it. Their near certainty about a Clinton win up to the morning of the election attained 1600 one of the most reassuring political podcasts you could listen to and stimulate their morning-after mea culpa on 9 November all the more extraordinary. Now its genuinely time to wet the bed.

Other lessons from this podcast The Obama team realised it was impossible to refute crazy lies about its candidate after Fox News said in 2008 that the young Obama had been raised a Muslim when the team complained, they were told that it was an amusement demonstrate. WD

12 Billy Joel has really soft hands

Where we learned it Two Dope Queens

Comedians and co-podcast hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams went where two black girls have never gone before a Billy Joel concert. They sneaked in their ros in suntan lotion bottles bought on Amazon the kind that get white daughters, watching the Shins, through Coachella. And, having been given front-row tickets because Billy likes to see pretty females up at the front, they got to shake his baby-soft hands. If thats not informative enough for you, listen to the other episodes of this snort-out-loud-funny podcast from WNYC and hear some of New Yorks best female comedians talking about sex, romance, race, hair journeys and living in the city.

Other lessons from this podcast Pierce Brosnans volcano thriller Dantes Peak has a lot to tell us about how far we have come since the 90 s; talcum powder is the best method to deal with boob sweat. EVB

13 Tar heroin smells just like capers

Where we learned it Guys We Fucked

Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host the anti-slut-shaming podcast, featuring interviews with everyone from Jon Ronson to Stoya( and, as the title gently indicates, people with whom they have had sexuality ). Their interview with Wendi Kent or, as they call her, White Precious who photographs protesters outside abortion clinics, revealed the reason she can no longer feed capers and what its like to have sex when youre homeless. But its not all heavy-going. The episode titles alone are a treat good luck concealing You didnt go to France because you wanted to masturbate ?, His pubes were haunted? and Period sex: supposes? from fellow commuters.

Other lessons from this podcast DIY HIV tests can be done at home( or on-air) with a mouth swab; comedians on the circuit all hook up with each other. LH

There is such a this as too much SatC2 I mean, you knew that already, right? Photograph: Allstar/ Warner/ Sportsphoto Ltd

14 You can watch Sex and the City 2 too many times

Where we learned it The Worst Idea of All Time

A lot of period, attempt and fund, especially fund, went into making this film, tells Guy Montgomery. Weve just opened up the most disgusting can of worms. Theres no need to watch SatC2 because he and Tim Batt have done it more than 50 periods for the sake of their podcast( they did the same with Grown Ups 2 ). Mirandas nanny Magda is a spy who is gradually poisoning her, Charlotte is the other one and the whole thing is crying out for the kind of dialogue that induced the TV series great.

Other lessons from this podcast We Are Your Friends is next on your hatewatch list. HV

15 You can have a podcast about a podcast

Where we learned it Slates Serial Spoiler Specials

Slates week-by-week analysis of Serial, 2014 s podcast preoccupation, is perfect for when everyone you know is listening far too slowly offering tale recaps, whodunnit theories and criticisms of the host, Sarah Koenig. Not to mention excavating deep down into Reddit rabbit pits about the two cases covered in so far.

Other lessons from this podcast The cow birth in season two can be seen as an agricultural metaphor for the militarys response to Bowe Bergdahls disappearance; its almost impossible to map a timeline via audio. LH

16 Moby is a CD thief

Where we learned it Heavyweight

Jonathan Goldsteins Heavyweight aims to the tell the stories of people whose lives have taken a wrong turning somewhere. One of these was to reunited his 80 -year-old father with his elder friend before it was too late. Another was to reunite his friend Gregor who is haunted by the moment he loaned a box of CDs to a techno-producer friend. The friend, was, of course, Moby, who employed many of them as the basis for his squillion-selling Play. Gregor doesnt want royalties he just wants his CDs back. And Goldstein helps him get them.

Other lessons from this podcast Tracking down your school bullies is an uncomfortable eye-opener( as demonstrated by Julia in episode seven ). HV

17 You can have an -Alist cast in a podcast drama

Where we learned it Homecoming

Although Serial was basically a piece of investigative journalism, its format proved that podcasting didnt need to be limited in its sort. Gimlet Media, a specialist podcasting company, emerged around the same hour as that NPR made and proved its ambitions in the field. Its scripted drama, Homecoming, aimed straight for the stars with a cast including Catherine Keener, Star Wars Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer. The story flips between Keeners characters work at an experimental facility that helps soldiers incorporate back in local communities and her present-day life as a waitress. There are plenty of cliffhangers helping to tell the story of what happened in between.

Other lessons from this podcast You dont mess with David Schwimmer. As Colin Belfast, he oozes rage and has the air of a human on the leading edge. HV

18, 19, 20 France buys in most of its frogs legs only one person called Oscar has won an Oscar Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck are the most reprinted comic book characters( that arent superheroes) of all time

Where we learned it Answer Me This !

Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann( plus Martin the soundman) solve listeners queries on a fortnightly basis with questions ranging from the practical to the ethical to the ridiculous. Suffice to say, you are able to learnt more listening to them while doing the washing up than from Heart FM. You will also learn that drunken voicemails are welcome, especially from Dave from Smethwick and Graham from Canada.( Its Oscar Hammerstein II, by the way .) LH

The Guardian publishes a wide range of award-winning podcasts daily, from Football Weekly to the Guardian Books podcast, all of which are available on our site , iTunes and other leading podcast platforms .

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Facebook break can boost wellbeing, examine suggests

Research procures leaving social network for a week increases life gratification, particularly among heavy users and lurkers

Taking a breaking from Facebook can boost emotional wellbeing and life gratification, with the effects especially pronounced among persons who lurk on the social network without actively engaging with others, a study suggests.

The research by the University of Copenhagen demonstrated the effects of quitting for a week is likewise strong among heavy users and those who jealousy their Facebook friends, is recommended that people who pore irritably over the posts of others may benefit the most.

The reports writer, Morten Tromholt, from the universitys sociology department, said the findings suggested that changes in behaviour for example, heavy users reducing their time spent on Facebook, or lurkers actively engaging could yield positive results.

But he indicated that people could find it difficult to change their behaviour 13% of the studys participants who were supposed to be taking a break admitted to using the social network so quitting may be necessary.

The study, published in the periodical Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, involved 1,095 people, 86% of whom were women. They were haphazardly assigned to two groups: one that continued using Facebook as normal and one that stopped employing the social network for a week.

On average, the participants were aged 34, had 350 Facebook friends and spend just over an hour a day on the social network, which had 1.79 billion monthly active users in the third quarter of this year.

Questionnaires conducted at the beginning and end of the week indicated that taking a breach from the site increased life gratification and positive emotions. The effects of ceasing were found to be greater among heavy users, passive users and the individuals who envied others on the social network. There was no positive effect of taking a break for sunlight users.

Tromholt wrote: To induce things clear, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase ones wellbeing.

And if one tends to feel envy when on Facebook, one should avoid browsing the sections( or specific friends) on Facebook causing this resentment. And if one uses Facebook passively, one should reduce this kind of behaviour.

Due to habits, practicalities it may be difficult to change ones route of using Facebook. If this is the case, one should consider quitting Facebook for good.

Previous analyses have had mixed outcomes on the link between Facebook use and wellbeing. Some garnered similar findings, but others find no link and some found that time spent on the social network can boost wellbeing.

Brenda Wiederhold, the editor-in-chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, told: This study found that lurking on Facebook may cause negative emotions. However, on the bright side previous studies have shown actively connecting with close friends, whether in real life or on Facebook, may actually increase ones sense of wellbeing.

Tromholt suggested that future surveys should investigate the effect of ceasing Facebook for a greater length of day and look at other social networks, including Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

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Cutting-edge theatre: world’s first virtual reality operation runs live

Dr Shafi Ahmed will carry out surgery live-streamed in virtual reality, a move experts hope will build healthcare more equitable and help medical training

This Thursday afternoon, Shafi Ahmed will lean over a patient and begin a delicate operation to remove cancerous tissue from a male patients bowel. He has performed such procedures many times before. But this time it wont be only his surgical squad who are in the room with him the world will be there too.

Showing from 1pm the approximately two-hour long procedure at the Royal London Hospital is the worlds first operation to be streamed live in 360 -degree video, allowing medical students, trainee surgeons and curious members of the public to immerse themselves in the medical event in real time.

A cancer surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, Ahmed believes the approach could attain healthcare more equitable, improving the training of surgeons the world over. With internet connections becoming better, smartphones get ever cheaper and merely a pair of lenses and some cardboard needed to make a virtual reality headset the costs, he says, pale in comparison to the expenditure of students travelling abroad to train. It is actually quite cost effective, he said.

Shot use two 360 -degree cameras and a number of lenses arranged around the theater, the operation can be viewed through the VR in OR app, utilizing a virtual reality headset that is likely to be paired with a smartphone. Those who do not have a headset can watch the video live online.

While videos showcasing surgical procedures have been around for years, Ahmed believes the new approach is more than a mere gimmick. The technology, he argues, brings a valuable new feature to education, letting viewers to focus not just on what the surgeon is doing, but also on what other members of the team are up to. There is likely to be noise, there will be the immersive factor so that will add different layers of educational value, he added.

George Hanna, professor of surgical sciences at Imperial College, London is cautiously optimistic about the benefits of the approach. If this technology allows the transfer of knowledge and abilities[ over] a wider range and in an easier route that would be very beneficial.

But he is quick to add that, compared with existing approaches for sharing scenes from the operating theatre, the new technology offers more of an upgrade than a revolution. It is a good video and broad broadcast with interactive[ possibilities ], he told, stressing that the operation itself is real rather than virtual.

It is not the first time that Ahmed has led the style in embracing modern technology in healthcare. As co-founder of the healthcare company Medical Realities( which will be streaming the operation in collaboration Barts Health and 360 -degree video experts Mativision ), he believes virtual reality, augmented reality and games all play a role in training medical students: two years ago he streamed a live operation using the augmented reality system, Google Glass, permitting viewers to ensure the procedure from a surgeons point of view.

But the new 360 -degree video, says Ahmed, offers a new, immersive approach, allowing users to assure beyond what the surgeon is looking at. Among the developments he envisages, Ahmed is keen to add graphics to the raw footage to provide additional information during the operation, as well as taking questions from those viewing the procedure.

[ During an operation] I am teaching people, talking to them, there is communication going on so itll be just an extension of that, he told. Whats more, in three to five years haptic devices could boost the experience further, he added. Companies are genuinely working on various gloves or bodysuits and devices so that it can replicate touch and feel, he told.

Such technologies, said Ahmed could be a boon to health care. But he added, the role of patients in agreeing to take part should not be forgotten. Ultimately, it is about the operation, about[ the patient ], about his cancer care and that has to be the priority for everyone, he said. The fact that patients have agreed to do this before with the Google Glass and again, it is quite reassuring and quite humbling.

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Apple aims to get an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient

Apple has made great strides in health in the last few years and if it gets its style, there will be an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient.

Its already started with a smattering of hospitals around the U.S. including Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego, MetroSouth Medical Center in Chicago and about a year ago at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, I went down to L.A. to take a tour of Cedars-Sinais pilot program permitting patients direct access to their vitals, care team and educational tools through iPads.

Doctors are already hotshot at using mobile devices and many have been using iPads in their practises for a number of years now, but permitting patients access to their own info is still a novel idea in the medical world. Cedars has been somewhat ahead of the curve with the creation of its EHR software My CS-Link, which lets patients to look up their information online, including notes from their doctor.

However, without the iPad, doctors and nurses have to follow a paper trail and then write up duplication information on a white board often found on the back wall up the patients room. Mistakes can happen and, as Cedars-Sinai doctor Shaun Miller told me, the staff often run out of room to write, leading to confusion or a lack of information for the patient.

Cedars employs Epics MyChart software to record vitals and other info on approximately 50 iPads in its heart failure division where patients often have to stay for an extended period of time. One patient, 32 -year-old Awad Lsallum, traveled all the route from Saudi Arabia in hopes of receiving a new heart. To be honest Lsallum did not is felt that impressed with the device. Hed already been at Cedars for a total of 40 days and said he gave the iPad back after a while. But he did sayit was comforting to have the iPad so he knows whats going on.

The program also benefits the care squad. Michelle Williams, a registered nurse at Cedars told TechCrunch the program stimulated it easier for nurses. The nursing staff often get stuck with duplicate work necessitating both training patients on care and checking to see if they have all the necessary information. However, the program offers educational videos on the iPad and a handy way for patients to insure all their information at the same time.

In another segment of the hospital, new parents are utilizing unmodified iPads to FaceTime with their newborns who may be sick or premature. These babies need to be kept isolated from the outside world and the germs that come with it so new mothers arent usually able to see their newborn for a few days after they are born. But, with what the nurses refer to as BabyTime( FaceTime for newborns ), mothers can interact virtually with their little one while they wait.

Other hospitals, including those mentioned above, have espoused Apples tools as well. The trick now is to place these devices into the patients hands something both Apple and Cedars-Sinai seem to be trying to do.

Of course, these devices come with a few security headaches even more so when you open up the information to patients. But despite the worries, Miller welcomes the new technology.

A year in and he says Its a lot easier now to communicate, adding the next step would be opening up APIs and adding data standards so[ the information] is accurate.

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Life in the Peoples Republic of WeChat

Ive had WeChat on my phone since a vacation to Beijing last year, when friends there essentially ordered me to download it. More than 760 million people use it regularly worldwide; its basically how people in China communicate now. Its actually a lot of trouble not to employ WeChat when youre there, and socially weird, like refusing to wear shoes.

In China, 90 percent of internet users connect online through a mobile device, and those people on average spend more than a third of their internet time in WeChat. Its basically a messaging app, but it also serves many of the functions of PayPal, Yelp, Facebook, Uber, Amazon, Expedia, Slack, Spotify, Tinder, and more. People use WeChat to pay rent, situate parking, expend, make a doctors appointment, find a one-night stand, donate to charity. The police in Shenzhen pay rewards through WeChat to people who rat out traffic violatorsthrough WeChat.

Illustrator: Steph Davidson

Its nothing special to look at, as far as smartphone apps go. The first screen that opens is the chat creek; a menu at the bottom get you to other areas, like a WeChat wallet and a moments stream for Facebook-like posts. Companies, media outlets, celebrities, and brands also open official accounts that you can follow to get news and promotions. The design stands out merely for its relative simplicity and pacify; the online mainstream in China is overpopulated with weird click-bait and manic GIFs.

Zhang Xiaolong, WeChats creator and something of a cult figure in China, has called WeChat a lifestyle. I rolled my eyes when I first heard that. Then I went back to Beijing in April.

My colleague Lulu Chen, who encompasses WeChats parent , Tencent, has sent me the phone numbers of some potential contactsbut why bellow when WeChat is so much easier? I use the chat function to set up meetings during my visit. One of my contacts mentions a WeChat convention the day after I arrive, and so, on a Sunday afternoon, I show up at the Design Service Center, an industrial-chic space in the historic city centre. The mob is largely young, a mix of Chinese and expatriate, and the mood is festive. Free wine stands three bottles deep on the bar.

I drift by company displays and find myself at the table for Yoli, a business that offers a sort of velocity dating for English learners: 15 -minute on-demand tutoring conferences with native speakers through WeChat. Two sheets of paper taped to the table each bear a pixelated QR code: Scan one to become a teacher, scan the other to become a student.

The Chinese term for this ritual, sao yi sao , promptly becomes familiar. Everyone and almost everything on WeChat has a QR code, and sao yi sao-ing with your phone is both constant and strangely satisfying. James, a tanned American with unruly blond hair who mans the Yoli table, is here to host a workshop called How We Built a WeChat App& Recovered Our Development Cost Within 24 hrs. He scans my code, which gives him my WeChat profile and also generated by the equivalent of a friend petition; I accept, and we agree to meet during the course of its week, skipping right over the old-fashioned niceties of last names and business cards.

The presentations are about to start, and plane lag is kicking in. I hurry to the coffee counter for an iced Americano. Theres a QR code in a plastic photo frame. The woman ahead of me is scanning it. I try it, andWeChat fail. Ive entered a credit card into WeChat, but it wont work, and my WeChat wallet is empty. I feel distinctly self-conscious fumbling around for yuan. Ive been in WeChat-era China one day, and already cash fund feelings embarrassing.

Shake, which connects the user with a random person to message with .