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Why Netflix, Other Streaming Players Fighting Password Sharing

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The site promised some tempting deals.

A seller offered 10-day access to Netflix in Ultra HD for just $1—much less than the regular $19.99 per month cost of a Netflix Premium account.

Another seller has requested access to HBO Max, home of critically acclaimed shows like “Mare of Easttown” and “Succession,” for just $1.09 a month, compared to its $14.99 monthly price.

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Someone else was offering a Disney+ subscription (usually $7.99 a month) for 90 cents.

Satisfied customers shared enthusiastic comments: “Five stars again”, “Excellent”, “Everything is good. I am satisfied, keep going man.”

As competition for customers intensifies among streaming services, so has online marketplaces where passwords are being sold illegally and cheaply, according to the companies that manage digital content protection for Hollywood studios.

Such illicit markets have emerged in response to the popularity of password-sharing – which has become a growing annoyance for broadcast creators who rely on subscription revenue to fund the rising cost of content production.

The losses are huge. Sharing account and piracy cost streaming and pay-TV providers $9.1 billion in lost revenue in 2019. This is expected to grow to $12.5 billion in lost revenue by 2024, according to Parks Associates and market research.

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Some experts say these estimates are conservative. A Citi analyst estimated that streaming services lose approximately $25 billion annually due to password sharing, with Netflix accounting for 25% of that amount.

said Ken Gerstein, vice president of sales at NAGRA, a Swiss company that advises broadcast regulators and others on anti-piracy measures. “But there comes a point where competition starts to limit growth…and we see a tipping point that’s starting to have such an impact on subscriber growth that it’s forcing live streamers to start taking action.”

Last month, Netflix took a big step to eliminate password sharing between people who don’t live in the same home. The Los Gatos, California-based streaming company said it is testing features that would allow its subscribers in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru to add up to users outside of their household for an additional $2 or $3 per account.

While Netflix’s subscription plans are popular, there has been confusion among consumers about when they can be shared, executives say.

“As a result, accounts are shared between families – affecting our ability to invest in great new TV shows and movies for our members,” said Chengyi Long, director of product innovation at Netflix, Wrote in a blog post Last month.

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She added that the company will monitor the tests before they are rolled out to other countries.

Last year, Netflix too directed test During the login process that would remind some non-paying viewers that if they don’t live in the same house as the account holder, they’ll need to get their Netflix subscription.

For many years, Netflix and other operators didn’t seem to bother with password sharing – they seemed to condone it. In 2017, the famous company tweeted that “Love is sharing a password.”

But the company’s tolerance for this practice has changed as the company faces more pressure Increase its subscriber base and enhance profitability in the face of increasing competition.

The announcement came after Netflix said it expects slower subscriber growth. The streamer expects it Add 2.5 million subscribers In the first quarter, compared to 4 million subscribers in the previous year.

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“There is a lot of pressure out there to figure out what to do about existing users and existing subscribers to maximize the financial health of how to take advantage of this base,” said Paul Erickson, director of research at Parks Associates.

Hackers have taken advantage of the unofficial sharing of passwords by selling individual credentials in marketplaces like those seen by The Times or by creating their own streaming service and illegally stealing popular shows from platforms like Netflix and Disney+.

At the same time, password sharing has taken off during the pandemic as consumers are spending more time on streaming shows at home.

“We have seen an increase over the past few years, especially under COVID, because more people have been subscribing to streaming services versus traditional pay TV,” Gerstein said. “One of the behaviors we saw was that as subscriptions piled up, it started to become costly to consumers, and hackers saw an opportunity to steal credentials or hijack credentials.”

Many streaming services, such as Netflix and HBO Max, have guidelines that identify each household account, meaning people who live in the same residence. But some consumers have a broader definition of family—relatives who don’t live in the same house or friends who want to watch the sci-fi series Stranger Things without paying a full monthly subscription.

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People who tend to share passwords are between the ages of 18 and 24, according to a study by the Advertising Research Foundation that surveyed 10,400 adults. Industry experts said that younger consumers may be more cash-strapped and looking for ways to save money from paying for multiple streaming services, despite exposing themselves to security risks, especially if they use the same password for other services such as a bank account.

ARF’s chief research officer, Paul Donato, said the number of people sharing passwords to Netflix and Disney+ tends to be higher than other services, such as ESPN+, because they provide content to a general audience and attract families. Donato said Netflix is ​​also more expensive compared to the $6.99 monthly ESPN+ plan.

The study said that 36% of Netflix subscribers share their password with at least one relative outside their family, while 13% share their password with a friend outside their family.

In comparison, 32% of Disney+ subscribers share their password with a relative outside of their family, followed by 13% who share it with at least one friend they don’t live with, according to the study. That’s compared to just 16% of ESPN+ subscribers sharing their password with a relative who didn’t live with them and 7% with a friend, according to the study.

“ESPN is very targeted, it has to be into sports, while Netflix is ​​more general, pretty much covering all genres,” Donato added.

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Although some analysts praised Netflix’s crackdown on password-sharing as a necessary step, some consumers rejected it, citing rising costs. In January, Netflix raised the cost of some of its plans, Including its premium monthly plan from $2 to $19.99.

It’s not clear if other streaming services will follow Netflix’s password sharing procedures. Disney+ and HBO Max declined the permit, while Apple TV+ and Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

One method that streamers use to limit password sharing is two-factor authentication. So when a user logs into their account on a new device, it will prompt a separate code prompt that can be sent to the account holder’s cell phone. If a person no longer lives at home – say an ex-friend – they are unlikely to contact the account holder to claim the code.

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If customers are sharing their passwords with people outside their homes, the streaming service likely already knows, said Jonathan Friend, chief product officer of Birmingham-based Friend MTS, which provides content protection services. Streaming services can detect patterns, such as when a customer is logging in from multiple sites.

“The streaming companies are a very sophisticated, technology service provider,” Friend said. “So it’s fair to say that the majority of these platforms will know what’s going on.”



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Meet the trio of artists suing AI image generators

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The lawsuit claims that Stable Diffusion was trained on billions of images removed from the Internet without consent, including those owned by this trio of artists. If products and services supported by generative AI products are allowed to run, a press release from Savari SaysThe expected result is that they will replace the same artists whose plagiarized works are supported by these AI products with whom they compete.

Ortiz, a concept illustrator who has worked on video games such as World of Warcraft And Hollywood movies like jurassic world And Dr. StrangeShe told BuzzFeed News that art is her “happy place”. She added that she is obsessed with technology.

In early 2021, Ortiz stumbled upon DiscoDiffusion, a former text-to-image AI creator, and discovered that the tool was capable of creating images in her style and those of other artists she knew. “It felt invasive in a way I’d never experienced before,” she said.

Concerned, she began organizing town halls around the topic with the Concept Artists Association, an organization for artists in the entertainment industry on whose board she sits. She also reached out to machine learning experts to better understand the technology and connect with other artists. In November, she saw newsletter of the co-pilot suit and contacted Savery about filing a suit of her own. The company agreed.

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In December, Ortiz saw McKiernan’s tweet spread about generative AI, and an opinion piece by Andersen books in the New York Times about how alt-right members of 4chan used generative AI tools to create pro-Nazi-style comic strips. I reached out to the two of them immediately, and they both agreed to be a part of the lawsuit with her.

“Artists have a right to say what happens to their hard-earned work,” Andersen told BuzzFeed News via email. “It is clear from the way the AI ​​generators were deployed that there was no regard for the artists, our wishes or our rights, and that it was our only option to listen to them.”

Concept Artists Association offline Fundraising To hire a lobbyist to protect creators from the march of generative AI.

“It’s gross to me,” Ortiz said of AI-powered apps and services that stream art instantly based on a text message. They trained these models through our work. They have taken away our right to decide whether or not we want to be a part of this.”

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Hiltzik: Rodney Brooks is fighting the tech hype machine

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Rodney Brooks knows the difference between true technological advances and unfounded hype.

One of the world’s most accomplished experts in robotics and artificial intelligence, Brooks is the co-founder of IRobot, maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. the co-founder and chief technology officer of RobustAI, which makes robots for factories and warehouses; He is the former director of the Computer and Artificial Intelligence Laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

So when, in 2018, Australian-born Brooks encountered a wave of unwarranted optimism about self-driving cars — “People were saying outrageous things, like, Oh, my teenage son will never have to learn to drive” — he took it as a personal challenge. In response, he compiled List of predictions On self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, robotics and space travel, he promised to review them every year until January 1, 2050, when he would have turned 95 if he was still alive.

I don’t think we’re limited in our ability to build humanoid robots, after all. But whether we have any idea how to do it now or if all the methods we think will work are remotely correct is entirely up for grabs.

Robotics and artificial intelligence expert Rodney Brooks

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His goal was to “inject some reality into what I saw as an irrational exuberance.”

Each prediction carries a time frame – maybe something happened on a certain date, not before a certain date, or “not in my life”.

Brooks published his book Fifth Annual scorecard On New Year’s Day. The majority of his predictions were spot on, though this time he admitted he thought he, too, had allowed the hype to make him overly optimistic about some developments.

“My current belief,” he wrote this year, “is that things will go, on the whole, more slowly than I thought five years ago.”

As a veteran technologist, Brooks has insights into what makes ordinary people, or even experts, overly optimistic about new technologies.

People have been “trained by Moore’s Law,” Brooks told me, to expect that technologies will continue to improve at ever faster rates.

His reference is to an observation made in 1965 by semiconductor engineer Gordon Moore that the number of transistors that could be fitted on a microchip doubled approximately every two years. Moore’s observation became a proxy for the idea that computing power will improve exponentially over time.

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This tempts people, even experts, to underestimate the difficulty of reaching a chosen goal, whether it be self-driving cars, self-aware robots, or living on Mars.

He told me, “They don’t understand how hard it is to get there, so they assume it’s just going to keep getting better.”

One such example is self-driving cars, a technology with limitations that ordinary people rarely recognize.

Books about brooks experience with Cruza service that uses self-driving taxis (with no one ever in the front seat) in parts of San Francisco, Phoenix, and Austin, Texas.

In San Francisco, Cruise only operates between 10pm and 5:30am—that is, when traffic is lighter—and only in limited parts of the city and in good weather.

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On his three cruises, Brooks found that vehicles avoided left turns, preferring to make three right turns around a block instead, driving very slowly and once trying to carry him in front of a construction site that would have exposed him to oncoming traffic.

“The result is that it was two times slower than any human-operated transportation service,” Brooks wrote. “It may work in specific geographic areas, but it won’t compete with human-run systems for a long time.” He also said that it is “decades away from profitability”. In his annual scorecard this year, he predicted that “there will be human drivers on our roads for decades to come.”

The annual scorecard is one of several outlets Brooks relies on to mitigate the “irrational exuberance” around technology in general and artificial intelligence in particular. He has been a frequent contributor to IEEE Spectrum, the home member of the leading professional society for electronics engineers.

In an article entitled An inconvenient truth about artificial intelligence In September 2021, for example, he noted that each wave of new developments in AI was accompanied by “breathless predictions about the end of human dominance in intelligence” amid “a tsunami of promise, hype, and lucrative applications.”

In fact, Brooks writes, nearly every successful deployment of AI in the real world has either had a human “somewhere in the loop” or a very low cost of failure. He wrote that the Roomba operates autonomously, but that its more serious failure would involve “losing a piece of land and failing to catch a dust ball”.

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When IRobots were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to disable improvised explosive devices, “a failure there could kill someone, so there was always a human in the loop giving supervisory orders.”

Robots are common today in industry and even around the home, but their capabilities are very limited. Robotic hands with human-like dexterity haven’t advanced much in 40 years, Brooks says. This also applies to independent movement around any home with clutter, furniture and moving objects. “What is easy for humans is still very, very difficult for robots,” he writes.

Rodney Brooks

(Christopher B Michelle)

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For ChatGPT, the creator of AI prose that has garnered a lot of attention from high-tech enthusiasts, along with warnings that it could usher in a new era of machine-driven plagiarism and academic forgery, Brooks argues for caution.

“People are making the same mistake they’ve been making over and over,” he wrote on his scorecard, completely mistaking some new AI demo as a sign that everything in the world has changed. did not happen “.

He writes that ChatGPT repeats patterns in a human prompt, rather than showing any new level of intelligence.

This is not to say that Brooks doubts the eventual creation of “truly artificial intelligence, with cognition and consciousness distinctly similar to our own.” Written in 2008.

He predicts that “the robots that will roam our homes and workplaces…will emerge gradually and symmetrically with our society” even as “a wide range of advanced sensory devices and prosthetics” emerge to enhance and strengthen our bodies: “As our devices become more like us, we will become more like them.” And I am optimistic. I think we’ll all get along.”

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This brings us back to Brooks’ scorecard for 2023. This year, 14 of his original predictions were deemed accurate, whether because they occurred in the time frame he predicted, or because they failed to happen before his deadline.

Among them are driverless package delivery services in a major US city, which he predicted won’t happen before 2023; It hasn’t happened yet. In terms of space travel and space tourism, expect a suborbital launch for humans by a private company to happen by 2018; Virgin Atlantic beat the deadline with such a flight on December 13, 2018.

He predicted that spaceflight with a handful of paying customers wouldn’t happen before 2020; regular flights no more than once a week no earlier than 2022 (possibly by 2026); and fly two paying customers around the moon no later than 2020.

All those deadlines have passed, which makes predictions accurate. Only three flights took place with paying customers in 2022, which indicates that there is “a long way to go to get to the sub-weekly flights,” notes Brooks.

Brooks constantly questions the predictions of the most-cited tech entrepreneur, Elon Musk, who Brooks notes “has a pattern of overly optimistic time-frame projections”.

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Brooks notes that lunar orbit for customers pushing in Musk’s SpaceX Falcon Heavy capsule doesn’t seem possible before 2024. Landing the payload on Mars for later use by humans, which Musk predicted would happen by 2022, doesn’t seem to happen before 2026, and even This date is “overly optimistic”.

Musk has yet to deliver on his promise for 2019 That Tesla will put a million automated taxis on the road by 2020 — that is, a fleet of self-driving cars called through an Uber-like Tesla app. “I think the actual number is still firmly zero,” Brooks wrote.

As for Musk’s dream of regular service between two cities on his Hyperloop underground transit system, Brooks puts that in the “not in my life” hole.

Many of Brooks’ predictions remain open, including some relating to the electric vehicle market. In his original forecast, he predicted that electric vehicles would not reach 30% of US auto sales before 2027 or 100% before 2038.

Growth in electric vehicle sales becomes turbocharged in 2022 – increasing 68% in the third quarter over the same quarter a year earlier. If this growth rate continues, electric vehicles will account for 28% of new car sales in 2025.

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This assumes that the driving forces for EV adoption continue. Head wind, however, should not be underestimated. Electric vehicle sales may have spiked due to the massive hike in gasoline prices in 2021 and last year, but that inflationary trend has now disappeared. Battery plants may take longer to come online than expected, which could lead to shortages of these critical components and drive up electric vehicle prices.

“There is clearly something going on,” Brooks wrote, though “the jury is still out” on whether the US will see 30% market share for electric vehicles by 2027.

Brooks does not wish to stifle human aspirations to build robots, artificial intelligence systems, or space exploration.

He told me “I’m a technician”. “I build robots — that’s what I’ve done with my life — and I’ve been a space fan forever. But I don’t think it helps people to be so overly optimistic off the charts” that they ignore difficult problems that stand in the way of progress.

“I don’t think we’re limited in our ability to build humanoid robots, eventually,” he says. “But whether we have any idea how to do it at the moment or whether all of the methods we think will work are just right is entirely up to you.”

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The dream is compared to the dream of medieval alchemists searching for how to turn lead into gold. “You can do that now with a particle accelerator to change atomic structures, but at the time they didn’t even know atomic structure existed. We might as well be at the level of human intelligence, but we have no idea how it works at all.”

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Thousands of fake Twitter accounts have been created in support of Andrew Tate

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His username has long been TateCobratate, while Neo is a reference to the Matrix movie character. Both have long been part of his ideology and he advocates for men to “escape the Matrix”, and he has always promised his followers to teach them how to become a “Top G”.

“If Elon Musk is serious about dealing with fake accounts, bots, and inauthentic behavior, then Twitter must act on Andrew Tate’s network of fake accounts manipulating the Twitter algorithm,” CCDH CEO Imran Ahmed said in a press release.

In the past year, much of Tate’s online presence has come from an affiliate marketing scheme involving Hustlers University, Tate’s discord server. The University offered business classes where students were tasked with editing seditious videos featuring Tate in an effort to get more Heliopolis University buys. This was later closed when the social media platforms started deplatforming Tate.

BuzzFeed News investigation The Hustlers University 2.0 server was found to have more than 200,000 members. At a fee of $49.99 per month, this meant that at least $11 million in membership payments were taken in October 2022 alone.

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Now, Tate has created “The Real World,” a similar set of chat rooms and classes, and there’s a new affiliate marketing bootcamp that’s getting more users on Twitter. CCDH’s graph shows the flow that joined Twitter after enrollment in the new marketing bootcamp began.

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