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Showing posts from September, 2012
Google's world wide web wars
The giant of search engines has seen off its commercial rivals. Now it's locked in a series of increasingly fierce fights with assorted national governments.
By Peter Popham  SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2012 We use its technology dozens of times a day with scarcely a thought. But what is Google? Is it just a search engine? Is it a publisher, or merely a platform, an intermediary? A content kleptomaniac and parasite – in Rupert Murdoch's famous characterisation – or simply a stunning, hydra-headed incarnation of the zeitgeist? Google is a stunningly resourceful and ingenious servant – but is it on the way to becoming our master?
It was 14 years ago this month that Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company, and they show no signs of slowing down. At the headquarters in Mountain View, California this week, State Governor Jerry Brown signed a law allowing the company's driverless cars on to California's roads, following Nevada and Florida. &quo…
Google Brazil president faces arrest order
25 SEPTEMBER 2012
A user checks a Google website in a cybercafe in Brasilia. A Brazilian court said Tuesday that an arrest order was issued against Google Brazil's president over his refusal to remove YouTube videos that "slander" a mayoral candidate.
AFP - A Brazilian court said Tuesday that an arrest order was issued against Google Brazil's president over his refusal to remove YouTube videos that "slander" a mayoral candidate.
Electoral authorities in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul said Fabio Jose Silva Coelho committed the crime of "disobedience" by not pulling two videos that "slander, insult and defame" Campo Grande candidate Alcides Bernal.
http://www.france24.com/en/20120925-google-brazil-president-faces-arrest-order
More countries restrict Internet to stifle critics: report Reuters – 11 hours ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Government restrictions on the Internet have risen over the past year around the world as regimes use violence against bloggers and turn to censorship and arrest to squelch calls for reform, a new report from a U.S. advocacy group has found.
Pakistan, Bahrain and Ethiopia saw the biggest rollbacks in Internet freedom since January 2011 and were among the 20 countries out of 47 assessed by Freedom House that declined in their rankings.
In contrast Tunisia, Libya and Burma, all countries that have seen dramatic political opening or regime changes, improved over previous years along with 14 other countries, the U.S. group, which advocates democracy and open societies, said.
The report was released the day that Vietnam handed out stiff jail terms to three high-profile bloggers for their bold criticism of government handling of land rights issues and corruption.
Estonia topped the list of cou…
Report: Riots break out at Foxconn factory in China
Follow @NBCNewsWorld By Ed Flanagan, NBC News
Reports early Monday from China suggest that a mass disturbance or riots may have broken out at a Foxconn factory in the Chinese city of Taiyuan.
It is still unclear what exactly happened, but posts on China’s popular twitter-like service, Weibo, from users in the area show photographs and video of large numbers of police in and around the factory – many in riot gear – blocking off throngs of people.
Other photos show debris strewn around the Foxconn compound and in one case, an overturned guard tower. According to popular tech blog engadget, the disturbance kicked off after Foxconn security guards allegedly hit a worker around 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Censors in China have reportedly already started deleting pictures from the scene.
This is not the first time that Foxconn has had problems with its Taiyuan facility, which is reportedly responsible for the fabrication of the back plate of the immensely …
U.S. Postal Service Hopes To Deliver More Junk Mail
September 20, 2012 9:07 PM
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Eighty-four billion pieces of junk mail were delivered to our doors last year – music to the ears of the U.S. Postal Service.
“We certainly have to fill in the void when it comes to revenue,” says the agency’s Tad Kelley
There’s been a huge recession-related decline in the volume of first class mail. The postal service hasn’t relied directly on taxpayer dollars since the early 80′s.
Cutting costs only goes so far in easing serious budget deficits, so the USPS is looking to junk mail as a rescue remedy to add more revenues.
“We’re talking about a national program where a company can take a look at direct mail from a 30-state or more perspective and say, ‘Can I reach more customers?’” Kelley said.
The postal service is planning to woo businesses and direct marketers with rebates and discounts to increase advertising mail.
Marketing studies do appear to back the idea that “junk mail” actually works…
Wal-Mart, Apple, Amazon and Google: In corporate battles, customers may be casualties
By Craig Timberg, Friday, September 21, 8:50 AM
What do the Washington Monument and Amazon’s Kindle Fire have in common?
Decisions by some of America’s biggest companies — acting in their own interests, not those of their customers — have made both harder to find.
Jia Lynn Yang SEP 20
Report shows companies use loopholes to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes on overseas profits.
Those hoping to locate the Washington Monument lost out in Apple’s rush to launch its own mapping app and banish the remarkably accurate, detailed one long provided for free by Google.
The list of mapping errors discovered as the new iPhone 5 hit the streets goes beyond the misplaced marker honoring the first U.S. president. Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) also was in the wrong place. So was an Apple store in Sydney. London’s Paddington Station, meanwhile, was missing entirely, according to a handy co…
Apple's home-grown Maps leaves users lost
By Poornima Gupta SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:49am IST
(Reuters) - An entire city is in the ocean, a farm has been labeled as an airport, highways end in the middle of nowhere and a hospital now covers the center of British city Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace.
Welcome to the new world of Apple Maps that greeted iPhone and iPad users when they downloaded the highly anticipated update to the consumer giant's mobile software platform, iOS 6.
Apple Inc's home-grown Maps feature was introduced with much fanfare in June by Apple's software chief Scott Forstall and is a direct challenge to the same service offered by ally-turned-rival Google Inc.
But the app is already facing criticism from users globally for a number of geographical errors, missing information and because it lacks features that made Google Maps so popular, including public transit directions, comprehensive traffic data or street view pictures.
Appl…
Twitter gives Occupy protester's tweets to U.S. judge
Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:16pm EDT
* Messages under seal, request for stay set for next week
* Protester arrested on Brooklyn Bridge in October 2011
* Occupy movement set to mark anniversary on Monday
By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Twitter handed tweets from an Occupy Wall Street protester to a New York criminal judge on Friday after months of fighting a subpoena from prosecutors in a closely watched case pitting privacy and free speech advocates against law enforcement.
The company surrendered the micro-blogging posts - an inch-high stack of paper inside a mailing envelope - to Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino. They will remain under seal while a request for a stay by the protester, Malcolm Harris, is heard next week in a higher court.
Harris, 23, was one of hundreds arrested during a mass protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in October 2011. The Manhattan district attorney's office wants the tweets, which are no lo…
China Contractor Again Faces Labor Issue on iPhones
By DAVID BARBOZA and CHARLES DUHIGG Published: September 10, 2012
SHANGHAI — As Apple prepares to unveil the latest iPhone this week, the company’s manufacturing partner in China, Foxconn Technology, is coming under renewed criticism over labor practices after reports that vocational students were being compelled to work at plants making iPhones and their components.
Foxconn has acknowledged using student “interns” on manufacturing lines, but says they are free to leave at any time. But two worker advocacy groups said Monday that they had spoken with students who said they had been forced by their teachers to assemble iPhones at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, in north-central China.
Additionally, last week Chinese state-run news media reported that several vocational schools in the city of Huai’an, in eastern China, required hundreds of students to work on assembly lines at a Foxconn plant to help ease worker shortages. According to one …
Indian PM warns of dangers of social media
08 SEPTEMBER 2012 - 21H27 
AFP - Indian Premier Manmohan Singh warned Saturday over the use of social media to inflame ethnic tensions after online threats and text messages sparked a mass exodus of migrants from southern cities.
The use of "social media to aggravate the communal situation is a new challenge", Singh told a conference of senior police officials in New Delhi.
"We need to fully understand how these new media are used by miscreants... and devise strategies to counter the propaganda that is carried out by these new means," he said.
Tens of thousands of migrant workers and students from India's northeast fled last month from the high-tech centre of Bangalore and other southern cities.
The unprecedented exodus was triggered by inflammatory text messages and videos posted online which warned that Muslims would target them in reprisal for deadly clashes between the tribals and Muslims in remote Assam state.
The gover…
Twitter's Legal Battle: Who Owns Your Tweets? Published: Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | 6:30 PM ET By: Julia Boorstin CNBC Correspondent
Those questions are the focus of a battle Twitter is waging with a New York State judge.
Twitter says that its users own their tweets, and all that personal information. The court says Twitter does, and should hand them over when subpoenaed. This week Twitter has filed an appeal to New York Supreme Court, the second time it’s filed a motion in this case.
Bottom line: Twitter says that it makes it clear in its terms of services that users own their content and they have “a right to fight invalid government requests,” i.e. subpoenas.
Twitter’s appeal argues that users have a property right to the content they post and have a Fourth Amendment privacy right to their accounts. The company says that deleted Tweets are not public, and that Twitter accounts should have the same protection as personal email accounts.
The Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. wrote in an Apr…
Apple Accuses Samsung In Complaint Of Flooding Market By Joel Rosenblatt and Eunkyung Seo - Sep 1, 2012 12:43 AM PT
Apple Inc., accusing Samsung Electronics Co. of flooding the market with “copycat products,” added the Galaxy S III smartphone to a list of products that it says infringe Apple patents.
Apple’s revised a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in San Jose, California, follows a $1.05 billion jury verdict against Samsung on Aug. 24. The jury, in a separate case in the same court, found that Samsung infringed six of seven Apple patents at stake in the trial. In that case, Apple seeks a U.S. sales ban on eight Samsung smartphone models and a tablet computer.
Apple, in yesterday’s filing, alleges Samsung continues to “flood the market with copycat products.” The maker of the iPhone has made similar allegations in the follow-on case before. In yesterday’s filing, Apple said Samsung has sold infringing products through August, including its “current flagship device, the Galaxy …