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Government

Submission + - Net Neutrality Worth €155 Billion in Europe (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Although the debate on net neutrality is frequently heated it is also often ill-informed and can seem obscure which is why, perhaps, the arguments have often been restricted to a techy minority. A new U.K. report, The Open Internet--Platform for Growth seeks to throw a little light on the issue. It should, however, be noted from the outset that the organizations that commissioned the work, the BBC Blinkbox, Channel 4 television, Skype and Yahoo have all benefited from net neutrality. Nevertheless the points raised are ones that do need to be answered by supporters of Internet traffic discrimination. In the executive summary, the report, produced by Plum Consulting, outlines what it sees as the principles governing the open Internet. The report suggests there is a sort of virtuous circle where consumer demand for Internet access drives investment in enhanced networks, that in turn allows growth in Internet-based applications, which consumers want and therefore drives their demand for access, and so on. "The open Internet has allowed start-ups such as Skype, Yahoo!, Spotify, YouTube, Google and Facebook to scale globally," the report says."
Media

Submission + - Twitter As a Scientific Tool (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Twitter could almost have been created as a tool for scientific analysis. It churns out vast quantities of data in a format that looks perfect for computational crunching. But do tweets reflect what is really going on in the world? The BBC reports on how “engineers” from Texas Rice University monitored tweets during American football games. Professor Lin Zhong said that this tracking revealed what was happening in the game sometimes faster than broadcast media, often registering big events within 20 seconds. This Twitter-following technique, he said, could be applied to anything from monitoring reactions during televised political debates to revealing the location and duration of power cuts. However, other scientists were warning of the potential dangers of focusing too much research on social media and big data analysis techniques."

Submission + - Augmented Reality Aids Cybersquatting (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Layar, based in Amsterdam, is working on products that take augmented reality in a slightly different direction. You can now interact with any object, brand or anything really. It gets pretty complicated but the implications of what AR is doing are quite significant. For those not familiar with Layar, it is a platform that allows anyone to build an AR app. You use your mobile phone's camera to view the world and since your phone knows where you are and what you are looking at.The implications are profound. One of the most interesting apps that someone produced was a virtual tee-shirt shop. It was placed in the 20 most expensive shopping streets in the world, selling t-shirts. Stop and think about that for a minute. He built a virtual shop where a real one already existed. His shop was accessible via a mobile phone, the real one was accessible through, well, being real. That means that real space and virtual space can be owned by different people. There will be lawyers."
Science

Submission + - Moore's Law of Processing Power Is Superseded (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "In 1965, Intel founder Gordon E. Moore predicted computer processing power, measured in terms of the number of transistors which could be placed on a chip, would double roughly every 18 months. But, particularly with the growth in the number of portable computing devices, “Moore’s law” has become increasingly irrelevant. What matters now is power consumption, whether it is cutting the cost of giant data centers or making sure the battery in your laptop, cellphone or tablet lasts all day. Surprisingly, perhaps, the Technology Review published by MIT reports that researchers have found that energy efficiency also doubles roughly every 18 months, an effect it dubs “Koomey’s law” after the leader of the project, Jonathan Koomey, consulting professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University."
Security

Submission + - Cybercrime Victims Number One Million Each Day (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Over one million adults around the world are the victim of cybercrime every day, according to figures published Wednesday. The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 paints a gloomy picture. The company estimates that cybercrime cost online consumers over the 24 countries surveyed a total of $388 billion in just one year. By contrast, according to Adam Palmer, Lead Advisor at Norton Cybersecurity Institute and a former U.S. Navy prosecutor, the entire global trade in cocaine, heroin and marijuana is worth $288 billion. All told, Symantec estimates that there are 431 million victims a year. Your chances of being a victim of cybercrime (44% of people reported being a victim) are substantially greater that being a victim of a physical crime (15%)."
Apple

Submission + - What Happens if Apple Wins EU Tablet Dispute? (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "What is the difference between an air freshener bottle and a tablet computer? Quite a lot, Apple will be hoping, when it returns to court in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Thursday 25 August trying to prove the Samsung Tab 10.1 is a copy of the iPad. The importance of the air freshener bottles is they were the focus of the first Community design case to go all the way through the appeals process. Proctor & Gamble claimed Reckitt Benckiser’s “Air Wick Odour Stop” copied the“Febreze Air Effects” canister. Much to the surprise of many intellectual property (IP) lawyers Procter & Gamble lost the case. “From that point on everybody looked at registered design and thought, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on,” said Alexander Carter Silk, partner and head of the IP, technology and commercial team at law firm Speechly Bircham. So Apple appears to be the first major technology company to use European design law for litigation. But its victory would have wide repercussions."
Advertising

Submission + - Digital Tech and the Re-Birth of Product Placement (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "When you think of product placement on television you tend to think of cumbersome 1950s examples where the actor would cheesily turn to camera and hold up say a bar of soap—where do you think the sobriquet soap opera came from—to deliver his line. Perhaps to save all of us the artistic murder, the practice was prohibited in Europe, but recently the prohibition has been relaxed and a U.K. start up is offering digital producers the chance to inject products realistically in post production with full directorial control. The problem with existing physical product placement is that there are no clear business plans, and the process is incredibly slow. In Europe, legal constraints prohibit directors from re-writing scripts to include products, so any placement has to be done at the creative stage. “This means 9-12 months to get the result from the idea of introducing a brand into a show to broadcast,” says Mark Popkiewicz, CEO of MirriAd.
For three of its four years, says Mr. Popkiewicz, the company was building and perfecting the technology that allows it to process, in quicker than real time, video to identify opportunities to inject products after shooting, and the parallel technology to scan the product and inject it into the video unobtrusively. The key to success is two fold: artistically how well the products blend into the movie, and commercially, how successful it is for the advertisers."

Google

Submission + - Google to Buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Google Inc. agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. for about $12.5 billion in cash, a move that would make Google more competitive in the mobile-computing market. The deal, which comes just eight months after the split of Motorola Inc., would give Google control of Motorola Mobility's attractive patent portfolio after the Internet giant recently missed out on a bid for Nortel Networks Corp.'s portfolio. Google, which owns the fast-growing Android operating system used in millions of mobile phones, has a thin portfolio of wireless and telecommunications patents. Motorola Mobility shares soared 60% to $39.24 premarket, approaching the offer price of $40 a share, which is a 63% premium to Friday close. Google shares were down 3.2% to $546.50 premarket Monday.
Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business that will remain a licensee of Android. Google also said Android will remain an open platform. Google expects to complete the transaction by early 2012, and it has been approved by the boards of both companies."

Blackberry

Submission + - U.K. Riot Plans To Control Social Media Won't Work (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "U.K. government proposals to prevent individual users accessing social media during periods of civil disorder were not technically viable and would be legally highly problematic. “It is all bluff,” said BT’s former CTO. Facebook, Twitter and specifically Research In Motion’s messenger service, BBM, have been blamed for helping to fuel the violence that has plagued several British cities this week. Speaking to an emergency session of the House of Commons Thursday, the U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron told MPs: "when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality. I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers." Nick Tyler, senior associate at Reed Smith’s London office, said attempts to block individuals from accessing particular websites could fall foul of both article 8 and 10 of the Human Rights Act. “It would go to the heart of democracy and liberal society,” he said. “There is a confusion here between preventative measures, stopping people from doing things, and investigative matters, investigating things once they have done it. “I would say it would be very difficult to use the law to stop people from accessing these sites. The government would have to do the sort of thing China did during the Olympics,” he said."
Government

DHS Creating Database of Secret Watchlists 158

schwit1 writes "Homeland Security plans to operate a massive new database of names, photos, birthdays and biometrics called Watchlist Service, duplicated from the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database, which has proven not to be accurate many times in the past. DHS wants to exempt the Watchlist Service from Privacy Act provisions, meaning you will never know if you are wrongfully listed. Privacy groups worried about inaccurate info and mission creep have filed a protest, arguing the Privacy Act says DHS must notify subject of government surveillance. DHS has admitted that it 'does not control the accuracy of the information in system of records' and that 'individuals do not have an opportunity to decline to provide information.' Additionally, the DHS Watchlist Service attempts to circumvent privacy protections established by the Privacy Act. Who's watching the watchers?"

Submission + - Nokia's Losses Powers Finland's Start-Up Culture (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "A few weeks ago Microsoft’s European chairman told TechEurope that the average amount of venture capital per head across Europe was just $7. Finland beat that with a single deal. The reported $42 million investment in Angry Birds developer Rovio translates to roughly $8 for each of the 5 million men, women and children in the country.
Finnish blog ArcticStartup has extrapolated figures showing the total average VC investment per capita for the country was $46 in 2010 while for national neighbors Sweden, the figure was about $45. But, in what the blog calls "Arctic Valley", it is Finland that is currently attracting much of the attention.
The question of why this country on the edge of the Arctic Circle should have such active entrepreneurs came up again in a conversation with Wilhelm Taht, the marketing director of Flowd, a social network for musicians and their "super-fans". It is one of several Finnish companies focused on the music business including Steam Republic and Hitlantis. "oeWith Nokia changing gear there is a lot of technical know-how all of a sudden which wasn’t available even two years ago," said Mr.Taht, diplomatically, about the savage job cuts at the struggling mobile phone giant. "oeThere's a culture of technically savvy engineers. Finns are not necessarily very talkative people, but when it comes to what they know about computers and programming it'(TM)s pretty staggering.""

Technology

Submission + - Skype's Magical iPad Disappearing Act (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "One of the frustrations of Apple's FaceTime video calling is it only works over Wi-Fi, not 3G. So there was much excitement when a full-featured version of Skype for the iPad 2 with 3G support appeared in the App Store. And there much disappointment when it disappeared a few hours later with a Tweet from Skype. "oeWe know you’ve been eagerly awaiting Skype for the iPad and apologize for the inconvenience." It seems this may, as well, be a bit of a let-down for conspiracy theorists. With Microsoft in the process of finalizing its purchase of Skype they would have suggested that Apple had pulled the plug on the new app. However it appears it was Skype that made the strategic withdrawal in order to tweak the product for the iPad. There may also be other conspiracies to be pursue."
Security

Submission + - Ex-U.K.Official Gets Huawei Cyber-Security Role (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "BEIJING — Chinese telecommunications-equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. said Monday it has hired a former chief information officer for the U.K. government as a cyber-security official, as the company faces continued scrutiny in developed markets where it aims to expand. Huawei has faced political obstacles to expansion in developed markets, especially in the U.S., over what critics call close ties to the Chinese government — something Huawei denies. John Suffolk, who will report to Huawei's secretive chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, will start as Huawei's first "global cyber security officer" on Oct. 1, the company said."
Software

Submission + - Adobe New HTML5 Design Tool No Threat to Flash (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "It is a reflection of the huge interest in HTML5 as a possible alternative to Flash that Adobe’s launch of a very early preview of a toolkit for professional web developers immediately became a trending topic on Twitter. What has excited people is Adobe’s statement that Edge will, “bring animation, similar to that created in Flash Professional, to websites using standards likes HTML, JavaScript and CSS.” Across the web some headline writers been almost apocalyptic. Beta News, for instance, talks of The Final Days of Flash while SlashGear says, “Adobe Edge HTML5 app could eat Flash from the inside.” Many analysts, however, are more sanguine. “People have shown that you can do animation with HTML5, but it’s not nearly as well realized as with Flash,” said James Governor, an industry analyst at RedMonk. Nor is it the end of the road for Flash developments at Adobe according to Vishal Jain, mobile services analyst at The 451 Group."
Google

Submission + - Google Buys IBM Patents (wsj.com)

pbahra writes: "Google Inc. said Friday that it has purchased technology patents from International Business Machines Corp. as the Web-search giant stocks up on intellectual property to defend itself against lawsuits. "Like many tech companies, at times we'll acquire patents that are relevant to our business," a Google spokesman said in a statement.
The purchase was reported earlier by the blog SEO by the Sea, which said Google in mid-July recorded the acquisition of more than 1,000 patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patents involve the "fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips," computer architecture including servers and routers and online search engines, among other things. SEO stands for search engine optimization, or the practice of structuring websites and content so they rank well on search engines like Google. The Google spokesman declined to comment on the purchase price. It wasn't immediately clear which of the patents might be useful to Google to shield against lawsuits. Google faces patent lawsuits for many of its services, including its Android mobile-device operating system, which has become a bigger target as its world-wide popularity has risen. It is unclear whether any current lawsuits pose a threat to future revenue generated by Google's new technologies."

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