OPLIN 4cast #426: The next version of HTTP

February 25th, 2015

Hypertext Transfer ProtocolLast week, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) posted a message stating that they had “…approved the following document: ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol version 2’…as Proposed Standard.” While this sounds pretty innocuous and/or cryptic to many of us, this announcement actually marked the official beginning of HTTP/2, the long-awaited successor to HTTP/1.1, the information transfer protocol currently used by the World Wide Web (allowing the hypertext linking between web pages mentioned in last week’s 4cast). While that still may not mean much to most of us, we should all notice that the Web will respond a bit faster in the future than it does now, once HTTP/2 becomes the common standard.

  • The internet is about to get faster — here’s why (Business Insider | Peter Maynard)  “When a web page is requested, the server sends back the page, but must wait for the web browser to parse the page’s HTML and issue further requests for things it finds in the code, such as images. Server push allows the server to send all the resources associated with a page when the page is requested, without waiting. This will cut a lot of the latency associated with web connections. Once web servers and web browsers start implementing HTTP/2 – which could be as soon as a few weeks from now – the web-browsing experience will feel quicker and more responsive.”
  • Everything you need to know about HTTP2 (ReadWrite | Lauren Orsini)  “For the past 16 years, HTTP has basically done the heavy lifting of bringing Web pages to your browser. When you type a URL into your browser bar—readwrite.com, for instance—you’re actually creating an HTTP request to the Web server that instructs it to find and deliver a particular Web page. But HTTP has its limits. Modern Web pages pack in more features than just about anyone imagined back in 1999, making it more resource-intensive than ever just to load them in a browser.”
  • HTTP/2 finished, coming to browsers within weeks (Ars Technica | Peter Bright)  “In HTTP/2, multiple bidirectional streams are multiplexed over a single TCP connection. Each stream can carry a request/response pair, and multiple requests to a server can be made by using multiple streams. However, the streams are all independent; if one stream is slow, the HTTP/2 connection can still be used to transfer data belonging to other streams. Similarly, a client can request a large object and then a small object, and the response to the small object can be given before, or even during, the response to the large object.”
  • Don’t blame yourself for ignoring HTTP/2, the biggest HTTP update in years (VentureBeat | Cullen Macdonald)  “HTTP/2 is for sure going to add to the increase in rate of change for things on the Internet, but it’ll do it without being noticed. It will continue to be incorporated into more websites you visit, and browsers will more fully support the official spec. There won’t ever be an explosion of speed from your phone’s browser where you’ll ask yourself ‘oh! is today HTTP/2 day?!’”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #425: Deep links

February 18th, 2015

hyperlink symbolOne of the fundamental building blocks of the World Wide Web has always been the hyperlink, the code that allows you to jump from web page to web page and back again. These links function because each web page has an address that makes it possible to find the page when wanted, and also makes it possible for search engines to take you to a specific page of information upon request. Mobile apps do not share this basic functionality of the Web, and now that mobile apps occupy a larger and larger portion of the time people spend on the Internet, there is more and more pressure to recreate the Web experience within the mobile experience. “Deep linking” between apps may be one answer.

  • Apps everywhere, but no unifying link (NY Times Technology | Conor Dougherty)  “The app problem traces its origins to 2008, when Apple introduced the App Store for iPhones. Unlike websites, apps were set up to be separate little boxes whose technology prohibited them from interacting with one another. At the time, the idea of a phone full of apps was new enough that most people were not very worried about whether those apps could link to each other. But today, apps have begun to eclipse the web.”
  • Making apps as easy to search as the Web (Re/code | Ina Fried)  “To further complicate matters, it’s not only about the method for linking, it’s also about figuring out the right business opportunity. To search engines like Google that profess to catalog the world’s information, apps have been a threat — silos that need to be opened.”
  • Deep links, extensions turning apps into new mobile Web (MediaPost | Jeremy Shabtai)  “The general idea behind app deep linking is similar to hyperlinks found on the Web. An app is able to link directly to specific content buried within another app, allowing users to jump back-and-forth from one app to another. For example, Google Maps now has a link that takes you directly into the Uber app to call a car. Hitting the ‘back’ button actually navigates you back to the app page you just left. Mobile apps are finally starting to act like the Internet.”
  • Why deep linking matters (Taylor Davidson)  “Without the URL structure of the web, mobile app developers are forced to implement deep linking schemes to build back some of the basic functionality that the open web was originally built upon. Looking further, will deep linking recreate a complete URL structure for apps, or will it merely provide a short-term solution for mobile transactional ads and ecommerce? Even if the answer is only ‘merely’, it should unlock significant ecommerce mobile advertising spending and help lead to a much more diverse set of mobile advertising ad units and experiences.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

  1. Mobile deep linking: Should you care? (Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management, March 2014, p19 | Much Speers)
  2. Facebook new ‘App Links’ mean no more switching from apps to Web browsers. (International Business Times, 5/3/2014)
  3. Branch announces funding for next generation deep linking technology. (PR Newswire US, 9/23/2014)

OPLIN 4cast #424: Trashing Flash

February 11th, 2015

Adobe Flash logoOnce upon a time, Adobe Flash was a feature of many websites and Internet ads that used animated graphics to catch the attention of site users. And quite a few Ohio public library websites still require Flash Player to view or listen to some of their site content. Now, however, a lot of websites are shying away from Flash, for a variety of reasons that have been summarized on the Occupy Flash website. In the past few weeks, there have been some serious security issues with Flash, and YouTube announced a move away from Flash technology to HTML5 for delivering Internet video, adding impetus to the calls for the demise of Flash. Here’s a sampling of some recent stories.

  • As Flash 0day exploits reach new level of meanness, what are users to do? (Ars Technica | Dan Goodin)  “The breakneck pace of the exploits is creating fatigue among end users, and one presumes, among engineers inside Adobe. No sooner is one patch rolled out than an exploit targeting a new vulnerability becomes available. What’s more, research from Cisco Systems found the recent Flash exploits were being served on more than 1,800 domains.”
  • Steve Jobs gets vindicated one last time (BGR | Brad Reed)  “Why is this a vindication for Steve Jobs, you ask? Because five years ago Jobs penned a long missive about Flash in which he explained why Adobe’s online video rendering technology had no place on iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. It wasn’t just one thing about Flash that Jobs didn’t like — it was everything. He found that Flash was far too power hungry for mobile devices, it didn’t deliver reliable performance and was prone to crashes, and it also had ‘one of the worst security records’ around back in 2010.”
  • Will YouTube HTML5 transition mean the end of Flash security issues? (TechTarget | Sharon Shea)  “Adobe released a further statement on the issue, touching on Flash’s significance and the company’s stance behind HTML5. ‘Flash is an important technology for media and content companies worldwide, with over 1.5 billion downloads and updates for the Flash Player every month,’ Adobe said. ‘At the same time, Adobe is a pioneer in the delivery of HTML5 development tools and a positive contributor to the HTML standard. Flash and HTML will continue to coexist and Adobe is committed to support and advancing both technologies.’”
  • Time to die: Let’s resolve to get rid of Flash already (ReadWrite | Yael Grauer)  “If you need Flash for work, or are addicted to DailyMotion, or can’t deal with Facebook and Amazon refreshing pages too slowly, another option is to use an extension like FlashBlock. This allows you to limit your Flash usage to the sites you select. While you’ll still be somewhat vulnerable if a popular site is infected with malicious advertising, it’ll lower your risk.”

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OPLIN 4cast #423: Power to the (wireless) people

February 4th, 2015

revolution fistSo you have public Wi-Fi in your library, and your users are thankful. But how about power for recharging their wireless devices? Do they have to carry a cord and sit by the wall so they can plug in? Restaurants and coffee shops, the other popular places for public Wi-Fi, are increasingly providing wireless recharging stations at their tables, so users can simply lay their smartphones on a charging pad and load up on power. But nothing new is ever simple, and there are competing technologies for wireless charging at the moment. Recent news may make the choice of charging equipment a little easier for everyone.

  • Alliance for Wireless Power merges with Power Matters Alliance to push wireless charging standard (FierceWireless | Mike Dano)  “The A4WP was founded in 2012 to push the Rezence-branded technology for magnetic resonance wireless charging, and it counts Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung and others as members. The PMA was founded in 2012 to push its inductive charging technology, and its backers include AT&T, Duracell, Powermat Technologies and Starbucks, which has added PMA-capable chargers into some of its coffee stores. The groups said they would now jointly push wireless charging due to the merger, but that both technologies would continue to be available so that members could use whichever made the most sense.”
  • Alliance for Wireless Power and Power Matters Alliance agree to merge (Chip Design | press release)  “Consumers will gain access to an exciting and enhanced battery charging and power management experience sooner across the full spectrum of devices in daily use. Mobile network operators and commercial and retail brands can commit to the necessary investment confident of stable, long-term evolution and management of innovative wireless charging technologies.”
  • Two rival groups pushing wireless charging declare peace (Wall Street Journal Digits | Don Clark)  “The two groups had already made signals that they were moving closer together. Meanwhile, the third group—called the Wireless Power Consortium—claims 200 members including Philips and Microsoft. It supports a standard called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), which it says combines elements of both inductive and resonance technology. Most Windows Phone handsets, and some Android smartphones are currently Qi compatible.”
  • Key wireless charging groups A4WP, PMA agree to merge (CNET | Roger Cheng)  “The two groups believe the merger will close by the middle of 2015, and plan to chose a new name for the combined group. The WPC, meanwhile, said the merger wouldn’t have an effect on its efforts to bring wireless charging capabilities to the consumer. ‘The two groups are filling gaps with technology the other didn’t have, and they have been behind in rolling out commercial products,’ said John Perzow, vice president of market development for the WPC.”

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OPLIN 4cast #422: Hollywood pirates

January 28th, 2015

pirate flagIt’s a little less than four weeks until the Oscar awards are handed out, so that means it’s time for…piracy! Posting pirated movies on the Internet, that is. Every year, the “screener” DVDs of nominated movies that are sent to Oscar voters find their way onto the web for illegal downloading. Screeners often are versions of the movie that have not yet been through the final processing to enhance the imaging, but are good enough for voters to rate the movie. But while movie piracy in general is on the increase, if takedown notices are any indication, a strange thing may be happening with screeners: Some of them may not be good enough for the discriminating pirate any more.

  • 95% of Oscar contenders leaked on pirate sites already (TorrentFreak | Ernesto Van Der Sar)  “What stands out immediately is how widely available the films are. Of all 2015 nominees, except documentary and foreign films, 34 of the 36 films (95%) are present on pirate sites. Only the animated feature film ‘Song of The Sea’ and best original song nominee ‘Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me’ have yet to appear online. The films that are available don’t all come in perfect quality of course. ‘Beyond the Lights,’ for example, only leaked in a CAM (camcorded) version. Most, however, are available in relatively decent screener, DVDRip or comparable quality.”
  • The cat-and-mouse game between online pirates and the Academy Awards (Allvoices | Joe Kukura)  “The vulnerable spot in the Academy ecosystem does appear to be the academy’s own voters. The voters, many of whom employ a large personal staff because they are rich and famous Hollywood people, are either complacent, unaware or in on the job. The common perceptions is that stars’ personal staff are making the copies, though this has never been verified. But it’s not as if the Academy Awards voters’ homes are being broken into and their screener DVDs stolen. Voters’ DVDs are being copied on purpose by non-intruders.”
  • High number of Oscar screeners hit pirate sites (Consumerist | Chris Morran)  “It’s not known which roommate of which member of which guild stole his friend’s DVDs and shared them with the world, but TorrentFreak reports that nearly all of the above screeners (with the exception of The Hobbit and Big Hero 6) originated from the same source. Lending credence to the notion that this is some amateur who decided to share this content with the world, TorrentFreak says that the encoding of the files being shared via BitTorrent is ‘choppy,’ implying that it’s an inexperienced pirate who ripped these files.”
  • Pirating the 2015 Oscars: HD edition (The Message | Andy Baio)  “If you’re the first to release a highly-prized film in a high-quality release, you win bragging rights over every other group. A release that’s lower quality than one already leaked by someone else? Completely worthless. A cam isn’t great, but a telesync is better. A telecine is marginally better than a telesync, but a watermarked screener? Much, much better. But here’s the thing: screeners are stuck in the last decade. While we’re all streaming HD movies from iTunes or Netflix, the movie studios almost universally send screeners by mail on DVDs, which is forever stuck in low-resolution standard-definition quality.”

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OPLIN 4cast #421: Inside the Dark Side

January 21st, 2015

lizardThree months ago we posted a 4cast about the availability of cheap Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on the Internet, mentioning as well that OPLIN has a system in place to protect libraries from such attacks. Over the Christmas holidays, DDoS attacks on the Xbox Live and PlayStation networks got a lot of attention in the media, and shortly after that the “Lizard Squad” group that claimed credit for those attacks announced the availability of their own inexpensive DDoS service for hire. Now, thanks in large part to security researcher Brian Krebs, that service is falling apart and providing an interesting glimpse into the dark side of the Internet.

  • Lizard kids: A long trail of fail (Krebs on Security | Brian Krebs)  “The Lizard kids only ceased their attack against Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox Live networks last week after MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom offered the group $300,000 worth of vouchers for his service in exchange for ending the assault. And in a development probably that shocks no one, the gang’s members cynically told Dailydot that both attacks were just elaborate commercials for and a run-up to this DDoS-for-hire offering. The group is advertising the new ‘booter service’ via its Twitter account, which has some 132,000+ followers. Subscriptions range from $5.99 per month for the ability to knock a target offline for 100 seconds at a time, to $129.99 monthly for DDoS attacks lasting more than eight hours.”
  • A hacked DDoS-on-demand site offers a look into mind of “booter” users (Ars Technica | Sean Gallagher)  “Things have not gone all that well for LizardSquad since the launch of LizardStresser. Shortly after the service—which uses a botnet of hacked home and institutional routers—was launched, members of LizardSquad started getting arrested. Last week the LizardStresser server was hacked, and its database was dumped and posted to Mega by the former operator of the darknet ‘doxing’ site Doxbin. As a result, the usernames and passwords of LizardSquad’s ‘customers,’ along with logs of the Internet addresses that had been attacked by the router botnet, were laid bare for everyone to see.”
  • Xbox Live destroyers Lizard Squad facing backlash in underground hacker wars (Forbes | Thomas Fox-Brewster)  “Investigative journalist Brian Krebs broke the news that the Lizard Stresser Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) offering, which lets people pay for website takedowns and which the Christmas attacks were supposed to advertise, was breached and the customer database leaked. Forbes has obtained a copy of what appears to be a leaked Lizard Stresser database, though it differs from the one Krebs posted a screenshot of (incredibly, Lizard Squad has been making DMCA requests for links to the leaks to be taken down from Kim Dotcom’s Mega storage service). The link came courtesy of one of the more talkative dark web denizens who goes by the name of ‘nachash’, who once ran the controversial Doxbin site, where personal details of select individuals were posted on the anonymising Tor network.”
  • Lizard Squad’s LizardStresser hacked and customer details made public (The Guardian | Stuart Dredge)  “The news follows several arrests made as police investigate the original PlayStation Network and Xbox Live attacks. On 31 December, a 22 year-old man from Twickenham was arrested by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) on suspicion of fraud by false representation and Computer Misuse Act offences, before being released on bail until 10 March. Then, on 16 January, an 18 year-old man was arrested in Southport on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material, unauthorised access with intent to commit further offences, and threats to kill.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #420: Google Ventures in health tech

January 14th, 2015

Google Ventures logoThere’s an old saying: “Follow the money.” At the end of 2014, a lot of people were following the money invested by Google Ventures, an independent venture capital arm of Google, to try to spot future trends. The firm has been investing in startup companies since 2009, and currently manages about $1.5 billion in such investments. Apparently Google Ventures expects health technology to be the next big thing, because their investments shifted decisively in that direction in 2014. Bill Maris, the president of Google Ventures, gave quite a few interviews after that information was released and shared some interesting thoughts, some of them quoted below.

  • Google Ventures shifts focus to health care (Wall Street Journal Digits blog | Alistair Barr)  “In the last three years, consumer startups went from Google Ventures’ top sector to one of the firm’s least favorite. Health and life-sciences companies received the smallest share in 2012 and the largest this year. Over that period, other venture investors maintained steady interest in these sectors. About 20% of VC money flowed to consumer-services companies, a similar share to health care startups, in the U.S. in each of the past three years according to Dow Jones VentureSource.”
  • For Google Ventures, 2014 yielded 16 exits and a strong focus on life sciences and health tech (VentureBeat | Kia Kokalitcheva)  “Among the year’s standout investments, Maris is particularly excited about Flatiron Health and One Medical. Flatiron Health, in which Google Ventures invested one of its biggest sums at $130 million, gathers and analyzes huge amounts of oncology data to help doctors better treat cancer patients. ‘One in five patients in the U.S. are part of the Flatiron network and they don’t even know it,’ Maris said. One Medical, a popular alternative to traditional doctors’ offices (and all the pain and hassle they entail), is a reimagining of the patient experience given today’s technology, as Maris describes it.”
  • Google Ventures, Microsoft and Vice does deals (Bloomberg View | Katie Brenner)  [Maris interview response] “Right now life sciences companies are becoming IT companies. And you can have a consumer Internet company that has no revenue, that just has users paying nothing for a product. And investors see that product as valuable because it attracts users. They know that ultimately someone will pay. We should think about life sciences startups in the same way. Some of our life sciences companies are building important tech that’s useful to lots of people. They should be valued the same way that tech companies are valued.”
  • The man investing Google’s billions says we shouldn’t be afraid to live forever (The Verge | Ben Popper)  [Maris interview response] “The acceleration we saw in computers from 1960 until now is an acceleration we’re going to see in the life sciences, and that’s why it’s a huge opportunity. And not just for making money. You make a great investment in the consumer internet, maybe you make a lot of money and create something useful, interesting, or fun. But in life sciences you have a chance to be part of something that lets people live longer and healthier and not lose the people they care about. That is really profound.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #419: Electrosensitivity

January 7th, 2015

caduceus symbolAfter last week’s 4cast about jamming mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, it was interesting to read some recent articles about Green Bank, West Virginia, where the federal government does not allow Wi-Fi — or cell phone towers, or radio, or electromagnetic transmissions of any kind — because the transmissions interfere with the operation of a number of radio telescopes located there. The side effect of this ban has been an influx of people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), and while the medical community disputes the existence of this “Wi-Fi allergy,” such people do have health problems that they sincerely believe are caused by modern technologies.

  • The town without Wi-Fi (Washingtonian | Michael J. Gaynor)  “A few years ago, one disturbed electrosensitive flew into a rage at the local library, decrying the ‘dumb hillbillies’ who surrounded her, as the story goes. She rampaged from the post office to the bank to the auto shop, belligerently screaming before police finally ticketed her and banned her from a couple of public places around town.”
  • “Electrosensitives” flock to Wi-Fi quiet zone as teens set up rogue hotspots (Ars Technica | Jon Brodkin)  “A number of studies have looked at the existence of electrosensitivty. A survey of their results found that people who claim to have this disorder can’t recognize the presence of electromagnetic fields, and studies that showed health effects were either flawed or could not be reproduced. The World Health Organization says that ‘well controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that symptoms were not correlated with EMF exposure.’”
  • Refugees of the modern world (Slate | Joseph Stromberg)  “As such, the best predictor for whether a hypersensitive person will experience symptoms isn’t the presence of radio frequency—it’s the belief that a device is turned on nearby. An elegant demonstration of this on a much larger scale took place in 2010, when residents of the town of Fourways, South Africa, successfully petitioned for a cell signal tower to be taken down because of the sickness caused by its radiation—even though it was later revealed that it hadn’t been switched on during the time of their complaints.”
  • Enter the Quiet Zone: Where cell service, Wi-Fi are banned (NPR All Tech Considered | Elise Hu)  “But keeping the noise down around here is getting harder these days. ‘If you think back to 1956 when this site was first built, there were issues with radio noise, but most of those issues came about through cars and spark plugs and power lines. And now we’re living in a society where everything is wireless,’ [telescope overseer Karen] O’Neil says.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library:

OPLIN 4cast #418: Jamming hotspots, Episode 2

December 31st, 2014

Marriott logoA couple of months ago, we published a 4cast post about “Jamming hotspots” and the big fine the Marriott hotel chain had to pay the Federal Communications Commission after people complained that Marriott was blocking the mobile hotspots those people were trying to set up in convention centers, to bypass the (expensive) Marriott Wi-Fi. Well, the fine is not the end of the story. Marriott and the hotel industry had already formally asked the FCC to change their rules and allow them to block mobile hotspots, and that request has now drawn some significant opposition. As we noted before, all of this could be of interest to technicians responsible for maintaining library Wi-Fi networks.

  • Hotels ask FCC for permission to block guests’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots (PC World | Grant Gross)  “Back in August, Marriott, business partner Ryman Hospitality Properties and trade group the American Hotel and Lodging Association asked the FCC to clarify [pdf] when hotels can block outside Wi-Fi hotspots in order to protect their internal Wi-Fi services. In that petition, the hotel group asked the agency to ‘declare that the operator of a Wi-Fi network does not violate [U.S. law] by using FCC-authorized equipment to monitor and mitigate threats to the security and reliability of its network,’ even when taking action causes interference to mobile devices. The comment period for the petition ended Friday, so now it’s up to the FCC to either agree to Marriott’s petition or disregard it.”
  • Google, Cisco, Microsoft, others weigh in on Marriott’s Wi-Fi network management petition (FierceWirelessTech | Monica Alleven)  “To support their argument, the hotel industry petitioners referred to a number of network management practices at more than 20 public and private universities, many of which use various techniques to ensure network performance. ‘In every single policy cited, the university reserves the right to limit use of its own network,’ Google said in its filing. For instance, Duke University places restrictions on users of excessive bandwidth on its network; Georgetown prohibits the use of its proprietary network for illegally sharing music or consuming excessive amounts of storage. But these types of practices are targeting the university’s own network. ‘None of the schools prohibit students, faculty or guests from accessing other networks not managed by the university itself, as petitioners seek permission to do,’ Google said in the filing.”
  • Google, wireless industry not down with Marriott’s Wi-Fi blocking plan (Re/code | Amy Schatz)  “The wireless industry’s trade group, CTIA, noted that wireless phones or other gadgets that use Wi-Fi have ‘equal rights to use unlicensed spectrum; no single entity may intentionally prevent others from using that spectrum.’ ‘The public is best served by increasing the potential for these networks, not allowing an individual Wi-Fi network manager unilaterally to shut them down,’ CTIA told the FCC. Wi-Fi networks run on unlicensed airwaves, which means that anyone can use them.”
  • Why Google Inc & Microsoft Corporation are fighting Marriott International Inc (Insider Monkey | Solon Harmony B. Dolor)  “In the first place, why should Marriott block people from using their own smartphones (or tablets and dedicated mobile Wi-Fi devices) as Wi-Fi hotspots just so they can turn around and charge $14.95 per day (nearly $20 if you get the ‘enhanced’ Wi-Fi connection option) for internet connectivity? However, it can be safely assumed too that Google Inc and Microsoft Corporation are willing to take on Marriott International Inc because they see that this could be precedent to help them fight other businesses or organizations that plan to do the same. In essence, they are against deterrents to people going online because they want people to continue to use their services.”

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OPLIN 4cast #417: Battling giants

December 24th, 2014

Rock'em Sock'em RobotsHere’s something a little different for you. We’ve noticed quite a few stories lately about big tech companies getting into disputes with big countries and organizations – and we’re not talking about Sony and North Korea, which was more of a sneak attack than a confrontation. Taking these disputes as the theme of this week’s 4cast, we’re highlighting four different stories from one source (Ars Technica) about some big battles currently going on. Depending on how these disputes are resolved, it’s possible that one or both of the parties involved will change their ways, which might also affect us small folk. For now, though, it’s just interesting to watch from the sidelines.

  • Hollywood v. Goliath: Inside the aggressive studio effort to bring Google to heel (Ars Technica | Joe Mullin)  “Attorneys at Sony were on a short list of top Hollywood lawyers frequently updated about the MPAA’s ‘Attorney General Project,’ along with those at Disney, Warner Brothers, 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal, and Paramount. The e-mails show a staggering level of access to, and influence over, elected officials. The MPAA’s single-minded obsession: altering search results and other products (such as ‘autocompleted’ search queries) from Google, a company the movie studios began referring to as ‘Goliath’ in around February 2014. The studios’ goal was to quickly get pirated content off the Web; unhappy about the state of Google’s voluntary compliance with their demands and frustrated in their efforts at passing new federal law such as SOPA and PIPA, the MPAA has turned instead to state law enforcement.”
  • Microsoft tells US: The world’s servers are not yours for the taking (Ars Technica | David Kravets)  “The appeal is of a July court decision demanding that Microsoft hand over e-mail stored on an overseas server as part of a US drug trafficking investigation. Microsoft, which often stores e-mail on servers closest to the account holder, said the e-mail is protected by ‘Irish and European privacy laws.’ But a US judge didn’t agree. ‘It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,’ US District Judge Loretta Preska ruled. The order from the New York judge was stayed pending appeal.”
  • In wake of restrictive data law in Russia, Google pulls its engineers (Ars Technica | Cyrus Farivar)  “The move comes a few months after Russia passed a new law, taking effect in September 2016, that will require data held on Russian citizens to be kept in-country. The Kremlin and the Russian data protection authority known by its local acronym Roskomnadzor have used the law as a way to exert more pressure on Russian companies and foreign companies doing business in Russia, like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others. Many Russia observers note that this law is likely to drive tech companies out of the country.”
  • The predictable result of Spain’s “Google tax”: No more Google News (Ars Technica | Joe Mullin)  “The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport published a response (Spanish) calling the Google News closure a ‘business decision’ and emphasizing that the newspapers’ websites were still available directly, as well as through Google’s regular search. The Spanish ‘Google tax’ effort followed shortly after German publishers gave up their effort to get an 11 percent cut of gross revenue from Google News. Technically, there’s still a ‘Google tax’ in effect in Germany, but it was up to individual publishers to try to collect, and they have generally given up on such efforts.”

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