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Spectre posterDaniel Craig's 007 outfit mines the past. MGM

The first teaser trailer for the new James Bond film "Spectre" has arrived and it's surprisingly low-key. There are no explosions, car chases, train chases, motorcycle chases or foot chases on offer. It only hints at violence, culminating in a single gunshot at the end.

The trailer carries a dark, ominous feeling throughout, but gives very little away. Assuming you skipped reading the leaked "Spectre" script from the 2014 Sony hack, most of what we know about the new film can be boiled down to this summary from 007.com: "In SPECTRE, a cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE."

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I can't honestly claim to know a whole lot about e-cigarettes. That's because when I was still smoking, I smoked the old fashioned kind of cigarettes. You know, the ones made from tobacco, that cured acne, and that made my breath smell as cool and fabulous as a pub toilet. Plus, everyone was doing it and my lungs weren't going to give themselves cancer, so you know. But, even knowing little about e-cigarettes, I know enough to know that they aren't ale houses located in Riverdale, New Jersey. This is a conclusion that the lawyers over at Lorillard, makers of "blu" e-cigarettes, think is likely to escape the larger population, as they have decided to file a trademark dispute against Blu Alehouse over its name and logo.

The lawsuit filed by Lorillard Technologies Inc. centers on a logo that NJ Ale House LLC is using at its Blu Alehouse in Riverdale, N.J., Law360 reported. According to the news website, the logo features "the word 'blu' surrounded by smoke or flames." The subsidiary of Greensboro-based Lorillard (NYSE: LO) claims that the logo is too much like the branding for blu eCigs.
Let's leave everything else aside for a moment and simply take a look at the two logos to see if they look substantially similar on their own. First is the logo of Blu Alehouse. Note that this logo normally appears alongside the full name of the establishment.
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And now the logo for blu Cigarettes.
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Neither logo is particularly complicated, but even failing to correct for the simplicity of the designs, the two logos are distinctly different. If both logos didn't incorporate the word "blu" in them, there would be absolutely nothing to argue about here. And, again, that's strictly taking the logos into account with no other context. Because once we use the likelihood of customer confusion and the markets of competition tests, I'm failing to see how this wasn't tossed immediately upon a judge's review. An ale house isn't competing with cigarettes in any way. Add to that that it would be quite difficult for even the most moronic and hurried citizens to mistake the two companies for each other, what with the ale house's logo typically appearing alongside other signage that identifies itself as an ale house.

Strangely, an actual judge reviewing the claim thought differently.

U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty found that Lorillard — along with another subsidiary, LOEC Inc. — made "plausible claims for trademark infringement and unfair competition," and he ruled that the case could go on, Law360 reported.
How is the claim of unfair competition even possible? The two companies aren't competing with each other at all. The only mention of competition in the court filing by Lorillard is over the fact that sometimes they advertise their cigarettes at drinking establishments.
LTI and LOEC allege that Blu Alehouse bar and restaurant is directed at a similar consumer base as LTI and LOEC's BLU products because BLU products are promoted at bars, restaurants, and lounges.
But that doesn't actually put the companies in competition with one another. That would be like Budweiser claiming that Big Buds Magazine, here to serve all of your marijuana information needs, infringed on Budweiser marks because they occasionally sell beer to high people. Why should that matter at all?

Hopefully as this case moves forward, a more sensible conclusion is reached.

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Who On Earth Would Attack Github for Its Anti-Great Firewall Projects?

Github is getting hammered by a huge distributed-denial-of-service attack. Looks like it pissed off the wrong pro-censorship group: The attack is aimed at two popular projects, Great Fire and CN-NY Times, that help Chinese citizens get around their government's restrictive online censors to access blocked content.

Who does that??

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Ellen Pao Loses 3 of 4 Claims in Blockbuster Gender Discrimination Suit

Ellen Pao, the former Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers junior partner who sued the high-powered Silicon Valley venture capital firm for gender discrimination after she was allegedly sexually harassed, targeted for revenge by a former lover, and passed over for a promotion, lost on three of the suit's four counts Friday.

It initially appeared she'd lost on the fourth count as well, but the vote was 8-4, which is not a sufficient majority. The judge sent the jury back for further deliberation.

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Posted by on in Slashdot

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Posted by on in Slashdot

So a program designed to write fake papers to unmask sham journals and conferences gets used to write fake papers to prop up sham degrees? Some what ironic; although in fairness to the authors of the paper writing program they never intended it to be used in such a manner. It would seem, as Springer acknowledged, that they should do a good peer review; which would eliminate the need to run paper through a hoax detector unless they started getting so many fake papers that their peer review process was overwhelmed. In that case, a first run through a program would be justified. A more subtle point in the article is that claimed publications from some countries, such as China, should be viewed with suspicion.

As a side note, the sham conference industry is interesting. I periodically get, via LinkedIn, invite stop attend an "important conference" and speak and get a "prestigious award" based on my "outstanding accomplishments and renowned expertise" in my field. Funny how, when I send them my speaking fee requirements they never get back to me nor mail me the award as I request if I am unable to make the conference.

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How (and Why) I Stopped Waiting for Others and Started Traveling Solo

Adventuring alone sounds exciting, but it's also scary. Like most people, I’ve done the majority of my traveling with friends and family. That is, until I realized that I had places I wanted to go and no one wanted to go with me. I struck out on my own because my desire to continue traveling was greater than my fear of being alone.

Why I Decided to Go It Alone

How (and Why) I Stopped Waiting for Others and Started Traveling Solo

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Posted by on in RE/Code

Federal regulators are set to vote next month on a plan to allow wireless carriers and companies including Google to share airwaves with the government, in an effort to make more airwaves available for future wireless devices.

It’s a novel new effort by the Federal Communications Commission, which has spent the last several years trying to free up more airwaves for wireless carriers trying to stay ahead of consumer demand, as well as setting aside some frequencies for new Wi-Fi networks. It would open up airwaves now used mostly by military radar systems.

It could be several years before consumers see any changes, but the move could make much more spectrum available for smartphones and future Internet of Things devices. While the airwaves aren’t really suitable for creating new long-range networks, they could be used to create smaller city-wide wireless broadband networks.

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Amid rumors of an Apple branded streaming television service, Comcast asserts it has not engaged in any discussions with the company about licensing NBCUniversal content to air alongside programs from potential partners ABC, CBS, Fox and more.

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In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission regarding its interest in acquiring Time Warner Cable, Comcast said it has not been approached by Apple to discuss bringing NBCUniversal content to the supposed over-the-top service, reports Re/code.

"Not only has NBCUniversal not 'withheld' programming from Apple's new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request," Comcast attorney Francis Buono wrote in a letter to the Commission.

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Posted by on in Verge

Super Mario 64 is still an amazing game, but nearly 20 years after it first launched on the Nintendo 64, it looks pretty dated. But with a little love, it can look amazing. Computer science student Erik Roystan Ross recently decided to remake the first level of the game while experimenting with the Unity game engine, and the results are impressive — the game looks almost as good as more recent games in the series, like Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U. And you can even play the remake in your browser right here — but don't expect to see the rest of the game rendered in HD. "I currently do not have any plans to develop this any further or to resolve any bugs, unless they're horrendously game-breaking and horrendously simple to fix," says Ross.

Super Mario 64 HD remake Super Mario 64 HD remake

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The buzzy collaboration platform Slack has blown up over the last year, with half a million daily users and a $2.8 billion valuation. Now it’s just hit a different milestone for budding startups: Getting humiliated by hackers who defeated its not-quite-ready-for-primetime security protections.

On Friday Slack announced on its corporate blog that it was hacked over the course of four days in February, and that some number of users’ data was compromised. That data included email addresses, usernames, encrypted passwords, and, in some cases, phone numbers and Skype IDs that users had associated with their accounts. The company claims that its passwords were sufficiently scrambled to be unreadable to hackers, but it also admits that it detected “suspicious activity” on a “small number” of Slack user accounts, implying that users’ communications were in at least some cases fully accessed by the intruders.

“We are very aware that our service is essential to many teams. Earning your trust through the operation of a secure service will always be our highest priority,” the company’s blog post from Slack’s VP Anne Toth reads. “We deeply regret this incident and apologize to you, and to everyone who relies on Slack, for the inconvenience.”

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biohacking-eyeball.jpgGabriel Licina has a solution of Chlorin e6, insulin and saline applied to his eyeballs.Science for the Masses

Remember the black oil that used to swim around peoples' eyeballs in "The X-Files"? If you don't, you're kind of lucky. But if you do, would you agree to let a biohacker squirt an inky black substance into your eyes as your eyelids were held open with a speculum? Me neither. But how about if the procedure promised to give you night vision?

That inducement was strong enough for "grinder" Gabriel Licina of the biohacking site Science for the Masses to undergo a procedure in which a chlorophyll-like substance called Chlorin e6 (Ce6) was squirted onto his eyeballs. Grinders are people willing to alter their bodies through various means in an effort to improve how they function. That doesn't guarantee it's safe, but it's certainly interesting.

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About a month ago we covered the basics of the lawsuit by which the US government was seeking to keep pretty much all of Kim Dotcom's assets, despite the fact that Dotcom himself hasn't been tried -- and, in fact, it hasn't even been determined if he can be extradited to the United States (a country he's never visited). This week, that case took another step, with the judge, Liam O'Grady, who had already ruled that Kim Dotcom could be considered a "fugitive," more or less finalizing the theft of Dotcom's assets by declaring a default judgment in favor of the US. This isn't the end of the process (not by a longshot), but it highlights just how the US government can use some ridiculous procedures to steal millions in assets from someone who hasn't been shown to be guilty of anything.

As we discussed last time, the story of the raid on Kim Dotcom's rented home in New Zealand, the seizure of all of his cars, money, bank accounts, computers, servers, etc. is well known. That was part of a case for which Kim Dotcom was indicted (under what appears to be questionable legal reasoning -- but that's a separate issue). As has been widely reported, that case is still on hold while Dotcom fights extradition from New Zealand. The extradition fight will finally go to a New Zealand court later this summer. Once that's done, if Dotcom loses, he'll be sent to the US, where he'll face a criminal trial based on the indictment.

But this is actually separate from all of that. You see, when the US government grabbed or froze all of Dotcom's assets, they did so using an asset seizure procedure. Asset seizure is allowed in such cases, but the government then has to give that property back. What the government really wanted to do is keep all of Dotcom's tens of millions of dollars worth of assets -- and in order to do that it has to go through a separate process, known as civil asset forfeiture. It's technically a civil (not criminal) case, but (and here's the part that people find most confusing), it's not actually filed against Kim Dotcom at all, but rather against his stuff that the government already seized. Yes, it's technically an entirely separate lawsuit, that was only filed last summer (two and a half years after the government seized all of his stuff and shut down his company), entitled United States Of America v. All Assets Listed In Attachment A, And All Interest, Benefits, And Assets Traceable Thereto. And, as we noted last time, Attachment A is basically all of Kim Dotcom's stuff.

This whole process is known as an "in rem" proceeding -- meaning a lawsuit "against a thing" rather than against a person. And the "case" basically says all this stuff should be "forfeited" to the US government because it's the proceeds of some criminal activity. You would think that in order for such civil asset forfeiture to go forward, you'd then have to show something like a criminal conviction proving that the assets in question were, in fact, tied to criminal activity. You'd be wrong -- as is clear from what happened in this very case. Once the Justice Department effectively filed a lawsuit against "all of Kim Dotcom's money and stuff," Dotcom did what you're supposed to do in that situation and filed a challenge to such a ridiculous situation. And here the DOJ used the fact that Dotcom was fighting extradition to argue that he was a "fugitive." Judge O'Grady agreed with that last month, and that resulted in the decision earlier this week to then declare a "default judgment" in favor of the DOJ, and giving the US government all of Kim Dotcom's stuff.

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google cloud beta logoGoogle has released the beta version of its Cloud Console app for Android on the Google Play store.

The tool allows those who rely on Google's hosting and virtualising service to manage the Google Cloud Platform from an Android smartphone or tablet.

The Google Cloud Platform is a group of cloud-based products that enable developers to create websites, applications and other solutions.

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The Nextdoor App Is Making My Neighborhood Safer

My neighborhood is experiencing a crime wave. Just on my block in the last week, several packages were stolen from doorsteps and tires have been slashed on at least two cars. I found all of this out from an app that's quickly becoming our neighborhood's best security system. "I heard it from Fred two doors down" is being replaced by "I saw it on Nextdoor."

Nextdoor is a location-based social network meant to connect neighbors. By signing up and giving your address, you're placed in a "neighborhood" of users who live in your immediate vicinity. Its intended uses, according to a promotional video, are to borrow a ladder or find a babysitter. In my neighborhood, probably more than half of the Nextdoor posts are about crime.

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TIM COOK, WHOM I HAVE NEVER MET, seems to be a very decent man. He does a lot for charity, he talks a lot of honest sense, and he does a lot for the shareholders of a company called Apple.

The news that he will retire one day was a terrible shock to me. It came buried away in reports that Cook is planning to donate his huge wealth to charity, something that other CEOs are doing, and was mixed in with some fluff about how great it is to be a good man and to look after people.

Hidden among all this good-vibe, hippy-happy, joy-joy stuff was the bitter pill, the bad oyster in the bunch, the bruised banana. Cook will one day retire from Apple.

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Amazon's unlimited cloud storage service is available to enterprise and consumer users

AMAZON HAS LAUNCHED an unlimited cloud storage service that is available to enterprise and consumer users alike and comes with a free, three-month test drive.

$11.99 a month gets you unlimited photo storage, and 5GB of other files, and if that sounds like too much, $59.99 a year gets you unlimited everything and works out at just $5 a month, or about three quid, making the photo option seem less enticing.

Amazon already offers its Prime customers and Fire tablet owners unlimited photo storage, but this is the first time the scheme has been open to everyone.

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An anonymous reader writes: During the past two days, popular code hosting site GitHub has been under a DDoS attack, which has led to intermittent service interruptions. As blogger Anthr@X reports from traceroute lists, the attack originated from MITM-modified JavaScript files for the Chinese company Baidu's user tracking code, changing the unencrypted content as it passed through the great firewall of China to request the URLs github.com/greatfire/ and github.com/cn-nytimes/. The Chinese government's dislike of widespread VPN usage may have caused it to arrange the attack, where only people accessing Baidu's services from outside the firewall would contribute to the DDoS. This wouldn't have been the first time China arranged this kind of "protest."
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HTC design chief Jonah Becker is leaving the Taiwanese phone maker — the second person in his position to do so in the past year.

Becker assumed the phone design helm last year, following the exit of Scott Croyle, who is now at startup NextBit.

“It’s been an amazing seventeen year journey with One & Co and HTC, but it’s time for a new adventure,” Becker said on Twitter. “Stay tuned for details of what’s next.”

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This Checklist Makes Sure Your Next Meeting is Productive One

No one likes wasting time in meetings, but it happens. To spend your time more efficiently, it helps to have a plan in place. Use this checklist to make sure your next meeting is more productive.

The folks at Harvard Business Review (HBR) created a thorough "Meeting Preparation Checklist" that includes a series questions you should ask before scheduling a meeting. The image above offers a sample of some of these questions.

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The U.K.'s Court of Appeal has denied Google's request to block lawsuits from British consumers over the search giant's disregard for Safari privacy restrictions designed to prevent advertisers from tracking users.

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"These claims raise serious issues which merit a trial," the Court said in its judgement, according to the BBC. "They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature...about and associated with the claimants' internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months. The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused."

The case stems from 2012 allegations that Google intentionally bypassed Safari's default privacy settings, which restrict websites from setting cookies unless the user has interacted with those sites directly. Google skirted this limitation by amending its advertising code to submit an invisible form on behalf of the user — without their consent — thus allowing tracking cookies to be set.

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Posted by on in Wired.com

I’m sorry to say that this will be my last post at Zoologic. It’s been a pleasure bringing you the weirdest and most intriguing animal news, and I’ll miss writing here. I want to thank Wired for providing me with this forum that allowed me to explore the latest in animal behavior and cognition. It’s been a wonderful two years since I published my first post and an experience that I truly cherished.

Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates on my writing elsewhere. You can also subscribe to my website to get notified when I publish a new story.

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Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer turned 40 last month. He (just barely) blew out a row of 40 candles during a mini-celebration at company headquarters, and Mark Zuckerberg posted a video to, yes, Facebook. “Schrep,” as friends and colleagues call him, could share his huffing and puffing with anyone who wasn’t there.

But what he really wants to do is share the moment in three dimensions, not just two. When friends and family view that video over the net, he wants them to step inside Mark Zuckerberg’s conference room as the candles go out, not just watch on a phone.

That was the upshot of Schroepfer’s keynote on Thursday at Facebook’s annual developer conference in San Francisco. Like Zuckerberg the day before, he teased the idea of combining Facebook with the sort of virtual reality offered by Oculus, the startup Zuckerberg and company acquired last year.

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Google has taken another small step to integrating its custom maps feature into its main Maps app. User-created maps can now be viewed in the Android Maps app, but can't, unfortunately, be edited. Creating and editing maps can only be done via the web or in the standalone My Maps app. Here, users can place custom markers, group them into different layers, plot routes, and share maps for collaborative editing. It's not a well-known feature but it's a useful one; handy for planning holidays and business trips.

handy for holidays and business trips

Google's custom maps have always been a bit neglected. The feature has been bounced around from place to place in the company's mapping portfolio, briefly appearing under the title "Google Maps Engine Lite" before being rebranded to My Maps. Now, however, it looks like Google might be slowly integrating custom maps into its primary Maps offering. A safe home at last? Let's see.

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It's another tech-filled week, but this one is just a little more British than usual. International visitor Tom Warren joins Nilay, Dieter, and Sam to discuss the release of the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Facebook's chat ambitions, and the release of Periscope.

Where's the video feed? Sorry, for the time being we're focusing on just making a great audio podcast. We'll still do live video for the recording and we'll make the call on the video feed later, but for now please subscribe to the audio podcast. But if you want to watch the video replay, you can check it out below.

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Just How Long Is NASA's Opportunity Rover Going to Last?

In 2004, NASA landed its Opportunity rover on Mars. Initially intended to run for 90 days, it's now spent 11 years trundling around the planet. At this rate, it'll still be roaming around on the red rust by the time we terraform the place.

Or, as Randall Munroe's moueover text on today's XKCD imagines, it could all end badly:

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CHINESE COMPANY HUAWEI can sleep sound in the knowledge that its kit is considered unthreatening enough to be sold and used in the UK.

The firm is led by an ex-Chinese army man. In the US, where China is a cyber boogeyman, the firm would probably have bargepole status. China is regularly fingered as a source of cyberthreats.

In the UK, Huawei has come in for some delayed scrutiny. Two years ago, when its gear was already in use and deeply entrenched in the UK, someone decided that perhaps it would be a good idea to check the firm out and make sure that it's a suitable partner.

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An anonymous reader sends word that Amazon is now offering unlimited cloud storage plans to compete with Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. "Last year, Amazon gave a boost to its Prime members when it launched a free, unlimited photo storage for them on Cloud Drive. Today, the company is expanding that service as a paid offering to cover other kinds of content, and to users outside of its loyalty program. Unlimited Cloud Storage will let users get either unlimited photo storage or "unlimited everything" — covering all kinds of media from videos and music through to PDF documents — respectively for $11.99 or $59.99 per year."
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WEB WATCHER Akamai has released its latest report on the internet and has tagged China as the most prolific global source of attack traffic, and South Korea as having the best speeds.

The State of the Internet Q4 2014 report [PDF] fingered the glorious Chinese nation as the source of 40 percent of bad traffic. The US comes a distant second with 13 percent.

Akamai said that just under a third of all attacks were directed at Telnet Port 23. Denial of service attacks such as the ones on Facebook and Instagram increased quarter over quarter, and Akamai said that its customers reported 327 incidents during the quarter.

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About a year ago, when we switched to default HTTPS, we pointed out that one of the major reasons why other news sites refused to do the same was that most ad networks would not support HTTPS. In fact, we had to end a number of relationships with ad partners in order to make the move (but we felt it was worth it). In fact, the really crazy part was that many of the ad network partners we spoke to clearly had absolutely no clue about HTTPS, what it was and why it's important. But, over the past year, more and more attention has been placed on the value and importance of encrypting web traffic, so it's great to see that the internet ad industry is starting to wake up to this, even if it's pretty late in the process.

The Internet Advertising Bureau -- the IAB -- the main standards-setting board for the internet ad industry has released a statement saying that it's time for the internet advertising world to embrace HTTPS:

It’s time to talk about security.

In fact, last year was the time to talk about security. From The New York Times to Google, the call went out for websites to encrypt communications with their users, protecting the integrity and privacy of information exchanged in both directions. Even the U.S. government heard this call, and is working to require HTTPS delivery of all publicly accessible Federal websites and web services.

This year, the advertising industry needs to finish catching up. Many ad systems are already supporting HTTPS - a survey of our membership late last year showed nearly 80% of member ad delivery systems supported HTTPS. That’s a good start, but doesn’t reflect the interconnectedness of the industry. A publisher moving to HTTPS delivery needs every tag on page, whether included directly or indirectly, to support HTTPS. That means that in addition to their ad server, the agency ad server, beacons from any data partners, scripts from verification and brand safety tools, and any other system required by the supply chain also needs to support HTTPS.

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