TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
There's a new bill running around in the UK and it is akin the US Patriot Act. This bill, if passed, would give the Government Communication Headquarters, or GCHQ, the ability to access phone calls, text messages, emails, and online activity of any citizen without a warrant. The actual contents of the emails and messages would be off-limits, but this is still a gross violation of privacy.
I know we live in an age where privacy doesn't exactly mean much to anyone anymore, but at least with Facebook, we get to choose what to share with the world. This new bill would share the recipients, time, duration and frequency of conversations, plus a list of websites being visited with the government without the need for a warrant.
A similar bill was tried in 2009, but they made the decision to drop it after the massive public outcry. The public was not to happy about having their privacy violated anymore than it already was. The question is, will it pass? It most likely will have a similar outcry to the 2009 attempt, but Britain might still try to pass it. It's estimated at costing $2 billion, and that was in the 2009 attempt. Hopefully it's cost prohibitive enough so that it doesn't get passed.
We live at a scary time in the world where more and more of our lives are being put online in the form of communications and such. We have to take a stand at every chance to protect our rights and privacy.
It looks like life is starting to get fair for the inventors of the technology that everyone uses daily around the world. Yes, I'm talking about the inventors of the Wireless LAN. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) patented the technology in the 1990s, and has used that patent to sue companies without a license since 2005.
Back in 2009, CSIRO recovered AUD$205 million (US$212 million) after suing and settling with 14 companies. They have continued to sue and settle with an additional 23 companies in which they have just received another AUD$220 million as payment. "It was important that Australia protect its intellectual property, and that those major companies who are selling billions of devices pay for the technology that they were using," Australian Minister for Science and Research Chris Evans said.
"CSIRO's commercial and legal teams on both sides of the Pacific have worked very hard over the past several years to gain a reasonable return and I would like to pay particular tribute to them for their extraordinary efforts," Nigel Poole, a senior executive at CSIRO, said. But, some credit also goes to the inventors. They had to solve the problem of the radio waves bouncing off of indoor surfaces and creating echos. They did just that and beat many of the major communications companies that were trying to do the same.
Apple has, until now, only given developers 60-percent of the revenue from iAd clicks. But, just now, Apple have increased this from 60- to 70-percent. This isn't a big change in the short-term, but in the long-term it means fatter profits for developers who rely on the iAd platform for their income.
Apple notes the change in their updated developer agreement:
(a) Apple Campaigns. Developer shall receive seventy percent (70%) of the Net Advertising Revenue derived from the sale of advertising on the Developer's Mobile Properties ("Developer Revenue Share") net of any applicable taxes as provided in Section 6 of this Agreement. The Developer Revenue Share percentage may be adjusted from time to time at Apple's sole discretion. Notice of material changes to the Revenue Share percentage will be posted on the Company Portal. "Net Advertising Revenue" is defined as gross advertising revenue recognized through the delivery of ads by Apple less: a) any allowances actually made or taken for returns, credits, cash discounts and promotional allowances; and, b) Agency and agent fees, discounts, commissions and referral fees.
U.K. 'to announce' real-time phone, e-mail, and Web traffic monitoring, the Queencould announce it in early-May
The U.K. has always been a strange place in terms of security policy and the amount of CCTV cameras per citizen, but this is just going a step too far. If you aren't already aware, the U.S. and various security agencies (namely the NSA) already monitor online chatter in real-time, but they just don't admit it freely. The U.K. government is at least putting the news out there.
Under new U.K. legislation, Internet service and broadband providers will be obligated to pass personal browsing, e-mail and call data to the intelligence services for real-time processing. Shocking, isn't it? These new "Internet firms" could also include things outside the basic three options listed above, such as social networks and search engines. This would mean everything you type into Google, Facebook, Twitter and more would be accessed, in real-time.
Access to ISP logs will be opened up to the government on-demand. Scared yet? Currently, the 'third' U.K. intelligence service, GCHQ, which is a signals and electronics station based in Cheltenham, process call, web and e-mail data, but not the contents of the data itself. ISPs, on the other hand, do process this data within their facilities and datacenters. The new legislation would force ISPs to 'mirror' all traffic through GCHQ allowing for more detailed inspection on a law enforcement level to quickly process information as it happens.
A recent security breach within Global Payments is getting bad, with up to 1.5 million VISA and Mastercard accounts being compromised. While credit card numbers may have been compromised, no customer names, addresses or Social Security numbers were accessed, according to a statement from Global Payments. The company believes the breach was isolated to just North America.
At the moment, the company doesn't know whether there have been any fraudulent charges made on the stolen card details. The company process payments from credit, debit, and gift cards between merchants and banks. Global Payments believe that the incident may have been contained, but are still working with third parties to investigate the incident, and to hopefully minimize the impact to customers.
CEO Paul Garcia said:
We are making rapid progress toward bringing this issue to a close.
Both VISA and Mastercard have sent out notices to their affected customers, and as a result of the breach, VISA removed Global Payments from their list of approved service providers.
We only reported a few weeks ago that GAME had gone into administration, with share prices tanking and job losses on the chopping board. But, in a reverse April Fools Day joke, OpCapita scooped up 333 GAME stores across the UK.
This new agreement secures nearly 3,200 jobs, which is a great thing in this shaky economy. There were also a few employees from head office who were made redundant, that may be re-employed. OpCapita is a private investment firm specializing in retail, they have set up a company called Baker Acquisitions to buy the GAME stores.
Financial terms of the deal haven't been disclosed, but it's being reported that OpCapita will not have to pay much up-front for the business, but will have to absorb a considerable amount of their debt. BBS business editor Robert Peston said on Saturday that the deal had been approved by six banks, led by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who are owed £85m between them.
Managing partner of OpCapita, Henry Jackson, has said:
We strongly believe there is a place on the high street for a video gaming specialist and Game is the leading brand in a £2.8bn market in the UK. We have assembled a strong team of experienced industry operators to implement the programme of operational change that is needed.
Apple vs. Motorola, is has been going on in the U.S. for a while now, but Judge Richard Posner has upheld the majority of a patent central to the case this week. Judge Posner mostly agreed with Apple's interpretation of its touchscreen heuristics patent, limiting complaints mostly to the lack of specificity for certain gestures.
Motorola countered with arguments to invalidate the patent, but were unpersuasive, including an odd insistence that a patent construction claim was only valid at a 27-degree angle of touch that had only been used as an example. Judge Posner wrote:
I reject Motorola's argument (this is the third time they've made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle used as an example by the specification.
This decision will most likely see Motorola violating the patent. Motorola will most likely be found infringing and face the threats of damages and product bans for some of its Android-based devices. Apple hold the patent until 2028, which could mean more problems down the road for other touchscreen-based smart devices.
Remember the speculation that we posted saying that the Samsung Galaxy SIII would be launching today due to that cryptic message? Turns out, we were wrong. But that's OK because Samsung launched something else that is pretty cool. Samsung has teamed up with the UK's Phone 4U to provide a store-within-a-store dedicated retail location for all things Samsung Mobile.
There are several tables that are dedicated to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II. They are devoid of carrier and pricing information to offer just a pure Samsung experience. The rest of the family is distributed around the perimeter of the room. Samsung claimed that entire top floor for their display and they say that the shop is training dedicated Samsung employees to answer questions.
I would have rather seen the Galaxy SIII launch today...I'm in need of a new phone!
Apple and Foxconn are making changes after one of the largest investigations ever conducted of a U.S. company's operations outside of America turned up some major labor law violations. Apple was almost forced into allowing the Fair Labor Association in to conduct a probe by the mounting complaints of Americans who wanted to see better working conditions.
Some of the issues included extreme overtime and unpaid overtime. Foxconn is cutting the maximum working hours from 60 to 49 a week and hiring thousands of new employees to cover the demand. "If Foxconn's labor cost goes up ... that will be an industry-wide phenomenon and then we have to decide how much do we pass on to our customers versus how much cost do we absorb," HP Chief Executive Meg Whitman told Reuters in February.
The cutting of the hours without any sort of pay increase is not something that the workers themselves want, because they need the hours in order to subsist on the low wages. "Until Apple shares a larger proportion of its profits with its supplier factories, workers will receive the same pittance for a salary while working around the clock," Li Qiang, the director of China Labor Watch, said in an emailed statement.
Dell has formally quit pushing smartphones in the United States, a move that is just temporary for the company. Dell confirmed in a statement that they have quit the smartphone market in the US, with Android-based Venue and Windows Phone-based Venue Pro had "run their course".
Dell will have more mobile devices in late-2012, but they would most likely be tablets, and rock Windows 8. Dell still pushes their Venue line in other countries, and also unveiled the Streak Pro 101DL for Japan, Dell's first real high-end smartphone. This isn't the first time Dell have tried, and pulled out of the market.
The company tried to combat Apple's iPod with its DJ line of MP3 players, the Streak 5 was developed to concurrently with Apple's iPad, and the short-lived Streak 7 was intended as a full tablet, and found strong competition with ASUS, Samsung and other Android-based tablets. Dell are hoping Windows 8 can let them unleash a product onto the market, and I have confidence Dell will have a better shot with Windows 8 than they did with Android.