Category Archives: Media, information, and communication

This is the category for posts that talk about media, information, and communication. This would include topics like social networking, information distribution and availability, new modes of communication, etc.

Aereo Streaming Broadcast Service Under Attack

Aereo, a recent internet start-up that rents roof space on local buildings to place small antenna’s to capture and stream local TV broadcasts to your device’s over the internet has come under attack by major broadcast corporations.  Time reports that the major companies such as NBC are angry that Aereo pays nothing for retransmission fees for the public broadcasts but charges their users $8-12 a month for the service.

According to Time, retransmission fees are a huge business for over-the-air broadcasters.  About $4 billion a year are spent by cable companies to  rebroadcast the streams over their networks in order to offer the services to their customers.  Aereo argues that they don’t rebroadcast in the same way, they just provide an antenna for users to stream shows from over the internet when they don’t have easy access to them.  TV providers argue that they discourage company’s from broadcasting content such as sports on their networks and could hurt business.

While over-the-air broadcasting isn’t as popular as it once was, for people cutting the cable, it is an essential source for news and several popular TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory.  Aereo’s remote DVR service for the streams should be protected, but Time quotes that “The Aereo case puts the cloud at risk because when broadcasters have complained about Aereo, their complaints also describe cloud computing,” (Matt Schruers, Vice President for Law & Policy at the Computer & Communications Industry Association).

Samsung Sues Korean Newspaper Over False Claims

Samsung, the Android phone giant, is suing Korean newspaper ETNews for falsely publishing incorrect information related to the upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone.  According to the news article, Samsung was apparently having trouble with the manufacture of cameras for the S5.  This would mean a push back on the April 11 launch date for the phone (a big prompt for investors to get angry).  This prompted a response from Samsung for the news corporation to retract the statement, which it refused.

Samsung is now suing for $284,000 USD (or 300 million KRW) from the newspaper.  Of course, as pointed out by BGR, we don’t know a lot of details since the site’s translation is horrible.  It released a statement to internet news site TechCrunch to clarify it’s actions related to this case:

“Samsung Electronics sought a correction from ET News following the publication of false claims that can hugely damage our business and brand value. In the interests of providing consumers with accurate information, we made a number of requests for the information to be corrected. Unfortunately this was ignored and we are now taking legal action as a last resort.”

While Samsung’s position on this is understandable, especially on the heels of investor outrage over the low sales figures of the Galaxy S4.  Apple Insider has pointed out that similar happenings have gone on at the launch of every major Apple phone and the company has yet to sue any news outlet for incorrect information.

The War of the Androids

Google vs. Samsung

Samsung owns the vast majority of the market share for Android, 29.6% in fact.  That may not seem like a big number, but it dominates the competitors: in Q4 2013 alone Samsung shipped 86 million phones.  That’s on top of a platform that already owns the vast majority of smartphone OS market share at a good 81%.  This puts Samsung in a very good position to dictate what the current state of Android is….and it’s very far removed from creator Google’s vision.

It starts with Touchwiz as pointed out in a recent Forbes article.  A Samsung technology to provide a new user experience and frontend to Android that replaces or adds many different features to the Android smartphone.  Some good, some bad….while many critics argue that Touchwiz is a terrible and bloated interface, you can’t argue with sales numbers and hardware.  This extended to other Samsung products including it’s popular television sets and a new OS in development at Samsung to replace Android: Tizen.  But that hides the core of the “Android experience” as it’s been dubbed in the media.  And Google wants Samsung to sit down, shut-up and keep licensing Google technology.

This is where Motorola came into play.

Acquiring Motorola for 12.5 billion dollars and then selling it for 2.91 billion on the surface seems like a bad business decision.  And surely enough there were many pundits that made that call.  But what the majority are forgetting are the numerous patents acquired from the sale for mobile technology (around 17,000 to be precise).  This sale occurred in 2011.  A few years later, Google decided to use Motorola to teach Samsung a lesson.

Enter the Motorola Droid RAZR, X and G.  Three popular phones that run almost bare stock Android.  The purpose of these phones were simple, show users what fast, simple Android could do on it’s own.  Google also began focusing more effort on the Nexus line, dropping Samsung as the manufacturer and taking on LG to release the Nexus 4.

Clearly the growing popularity of these phones and the market share of Motorola under Google was threatening to Samsung.  So they decided to cut a deal in which they would license Google technology for 10 years.  Effectively cutting off Tizen and with promises that Samsung would stop cutting out stock Android apps for it’s own Touchwiz interface.

The next day, Lenovo bought Motorola from Google for 2.91 billion dollars.

TPP and What Could Come From It

TPP stands for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. Many people draw similar to this international trade agreement to the controversial NAFTA agreement. NAFTA was known to provide little benefit to signatories Mexico and Canada, but assisted major US corporations greatly. Much of the negotiation behind TPP has been dealt in secrecy, from even the majority of Congress, and have been conducted by the White House and lobbyists. Sen. Wyden, who is the chairman of the International Trade subcommittee, stated, “The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations – like Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America – are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement.” A good portion of the public was kept in the dark about these negotiations until portions of the treaty’s draft have been leaked through Wikileaks, in November of 2013. TPP is major agreement with many different provisions, however, what is subjectively most concerning is how it would affect ISPs, intellectual property, and all Internet users.

The major points of concern behind TPP:

-The TPP will alter existing US intellectual property laws.

-Copyright holders now have control over temporary copies, holding ISPs responsible for cached versions of files, despite the difficulty in controlling those.

-Copyright holders do not have to prove irreparable harm in court.

-Using software to bypass a software lock, even for what is currently legal use, could now be criminalized

-TPP’s intellectual property laws are also of concern in the medical field, particularly those developing pharmaceuticals and medical technology.

-Signatories of these treaties will have intellectual property laws similar, and consequently just as strict, to the US’s legal code

This is just a brief summary of what could stem from TPP, however, I am interested in hearing your opinions on the subject. If there is any information I got wrong or missed, please feel free to contribute that as well.


Russia Today:

Wikileaks TPP:

Electronic Frontier Foundation:

Here is an infographic I found, however I cannot vouch for its accuracy.




European Countries Not Putting up with Google’s Privacy Policies

This article expresses that the six largest European markets (France, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany) have announced to take joint legal action against Google over their privacy policies. This action was taken after Google’s decision last year to consolidate more than seventy privacy policy into a single one, and after they decided to change their terms of service agreement. Google did not comply with EU data protection authorities’ recommendations, and did not follow up after a meeting with representatives of the six nations, leading to an investigation on Google by these nations. This could lead to fines for Google and/or possibly the banning of Google services in these countries until changes are made.


I think this article really goes to show that people aren’t going to tolerate Google’s abuse of information gathering. I also think it is good that these countries are calling attention to these abuses, as I don’t think many average users of Google services know how much data they are giving away. Although Google may be fined by these countries, I don’t think they will impact Google so much. From what I understand, the fines that could be imposed would barely be able to put a dent in Google’s economic infrastructure. I think the greatest impact that these nations could have on Google will stem from the public awareness that they are raising and the possible bans that could be put in place. I think if they go through with the ban in those markets, we could very well see a much more “tame” Google in terms of the user’s privacy. I think it is good that these countries are doing this because Google needs to be brought back down to Earth before they go overboard and severely damage the privacy of every individual.

WordPress Has Become a Big Target for Hackers

This article describes how WordPress has become a huge target for massive brute force attacks, due to many WordPress users not using strong credentials.  Recently, sites using WordPress have been subjected to attacks by botnets of massive proportions. This is due to many administrators just making their username “admin” and using a simple password such as “123456”, therefore making it easy for a botnet to log into many administrator accounts by using a brute force method of attack on many websites. Solutions to this problem are simple: all WordPress users have to do is change their username and password, if they are simple/not strong, and implement a form of two-factor authentication. The problem with this though, is that many people overlook the importance of internet security and just assume “oh, well that would never happen to me.”


I think this article shows that it is vital that it is made aware that basic security is very important and should not be disregarded. I believe that many people hosting these websites have little knowledge of internet security and need to be informed of its importance before they are hijacked and end up unknowingly contributing to a botnet that could adversely affect many people. This is a simple problem that requires a simple solution, but a solution cannot be formed if people do not know of the problem in the first place. Hopefully the blog’s administrator account credentials are not “admin” and “123456”…

I Do Not Like Richard Stallman

I attended Richard Stallman’s guest lecture the other night, and I can honestly say that I definitely do not care for him as a person and I think his movement is far too radical, to the point that I think it can be considered an extremest movement.

I think what Richard Stallman is shooting for is a worthwhile goal, but his way of trying to get there is ridiculous. He cannot truly expect that I am going to quit using cellphones and delete my Facebook because they may invade my privacy a little and can be used to track me. In fact, I promote that. I hope they can use these technologies to track down the coward who blew up the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Without these technologies, it is possible that this shithead may get away with it. Once again, I promote free software, but I do not promote Richard Stallman’s way of getting there.

I also felt that everytime someone asked him a question or exclaimed a criticism he took it as an attack on his movement and in turn, behaved like an asshole. I think he had a very condescending tone toward all of us and behaved very unprofessionally. It’s like he felt so highly of himself and we were all just a bunch of idiots who needed to see that his way of doing things is the only way of doing things; in his eyes we have to change completely and he/his movement are perfect and there is no room for improvement.  In a way, I see him as a bit of a hypocrite. In the same way that Apple ropes in their users, Richard Stallman is trying to rope us into his. If we don’t see things his way we are “unethical” or “evil.” I think he bullies people into his movement with name-calling like that.

Also, here is a video of Stallman eating something off of his foot. It’s gross/funny, but when regular people see this I think it definitely turns them off to his movement and furthers the notion that he is a wacko. Free Software deserves a more professional and appealing leader  —

Skip to 1:52 for the foot-crud feast

^^If you are a Stallmanite I cannot recommend that you watch this video as it was recorded and released in a non-free format. For the rest of you, enjoy the show.

Printer Unique Identification Technology

According to this article the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been aware of and alerting the public to unique printer identification or “printer dots” since about 2004. It goes on to state that the companies who have implemented this have done so of free will and in collusion with the United States government. The EFF has kindly provided a list of printers that have been tested for “anomalous yellow dots” that indicate unique identification. This article explains what the results mean and how they were obtained as to expose their methodology to as much scrutiny as possible. According to this document obtained by the EFF through a Freedom of Information Act request Canon, Brother, Casio, Hewlett-Packard, Konica, Minolta, Mita, Ricoh, Sharp, and Xerox are complicit in these acts.

The implementation of a tracking device, especially without informing the citizen/consumer of its existence, is very troubling because it directly violates the right to anonymous, free speech, a pillar of our cultural identity. A more troubling idea is that not only can the government read and interrupt this data, but so can anybody with the knowledge to do so which includes _AT LEAST_ the a handful of people in each of the above mentioned companies. This also opens the door for a person or persons to forge a paper from another persons printer and use it against them while being much harder to detect or disprove.

Interestingly enough act utilitarianism could plausibly used to justify this, especially since most people are ignorant of this fact, but the more applicable idea of moral rights theory is in a strange stalemate depending on who is asked. Founding father Ben Franklin stated “[s]ell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power,” or more colloquially, “[h]e who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

Are the freedoms sacrificed worth the security gained?

Globalization and Technology

I came across this article on BBC business news section and surprisingly, it is related to our reading for Monday;  the article talks about the next phase of technology and globalization. Speaking from experience as a foreigner, technology has changed the way the world communicate, i can Skype, Facebook chat with my cousins in the most remote village in The Gambia. The article divided the effects of technology and globalization into three sections.

Most businesses operate on a rationality concept- getting more done and spending less. According to the article, except for the jobs that require complex knowledge and expertise, many middle skilled jobs will be at risk of been outsourced. I am not okay with this part of technology and globalization because not every person can become an engineer, a lawyer or a doctors; if semi-skilled jobs are outsourced, it may become hard for people who do not have complex expertise to find decent jobs.

Another highlight the article talked about is external competition. One of the  crucial reason people the outside world are lured to the West is access to better education. With Educational platforms like MIT’s OpenCourseWare, Open Yale, and iTunes U, high quality education can be acquired by students living in some remote parts of the world. I think this is a good move, because it will minimize immigration and open the world to people who may not have to chance to travel to the West.

The article finally talked about emergence of Transnationals. To summarize the last part of the article  it simple said that technology will continue to re-balance the world by creating leaders form different parts of the world. what i understand from this is that in the near future, ones look  may not judge his origin and the American for example will have a prefix, say a Chinese American.

In most aspects, I am in support of the rising trend of technology and globalization,  because i think it will help bring light the many different cultures and people of the world on some kind of similar platform, what do you think?

Documentary explores 3D printed guns

I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked about this but I recently stumbled on a documentary about the potential of printing assault rifles and high capacity magazines that I don’t believe we’ve talked about yet.

The documentary found here takes a realistic view on the potential of the new and rapidly developing technology. The documentary focus on a 25-year old who is advocating the creation and open distribution of CAD blueprints for various weapon parts and demonstrates their functionality. His main argument is that gun control and bans are futile and pointless due to the availability of new these new technologies(internet + 3D printing). The self-described crypto anarchist uses his own website, along with friends in the field, to host and create new and better pieces available to the open public. Anyone with internet can access these files and anyone with a 3D printer can create these objects. There is a chilling resemblance between his methods of addressing a situation and that of firesheeps’s. He has also recently been approved for a federal firearms license. This means that he will be able to sell his printed guns, as well as host blueprint of the files via his website. No one can predict the impact of this new technology but everyone agrees it is getting easier and cheaper to do. It’s only a matter of time until 3D printers become common household items.

Obviously new technologies bring change but what is the potential for this new technology? Do you think the danger lies with the ability to create a gun at home, the open source nature of the blueprints or both?

Do you agree with Cody’s methods of spreading awareness or do you think he is going too far?




As technology increases and people get smarter, there will always be a new technology or service that pushes the limits of what is “acceptable” in society. Today, I was reading an article about an new app called Koozoo. Basically, it allows people to stream live video from a phone to anyone using the Koozoo app. Other people can also “tune in” to a video feed to watch what is being broadcasted. Sounds intriguing, right? The creator of Koozoo based this app upon an old website that had a live video stream of a bar in Michigan that people could log onto in order to see if the bar was busy that day or something. Koozoo seeks to be similar, but less complicated doing so. They want you to take an old smartphone (“There are billions of dollars of smartphones sitting in sock drawers all over the world”), download the app, and set up a live stream of whatever using that phone. It could be a stream of a city intersection, the outside of a library, whatever. They just want it to be a stream of a public place.

The cool thing about Koozoo is that a 24/7 feed is not actually being streamed, but your phone is actually taking a picture every few minutes to use as a thumbnail, then takes a live feed once someone “tunes in.” The stream is geo-tagged so people know where it originates from. Also, no audio is streamed, only the video itself. However, I believe that Koozoo is already doomed to privacy struggles. In Koozoo’s terms of service it states that only public spaces can be streamed. Koozoo’s founders said “unless a front yard is obscured in some way, it is visible to the general public.” According to this rule, if people can see my backyard from the street, they can stream me swimming.. This would be considered a public spot, and could be streamed. Koozoo says that they are going to be working hard to make sure that only acceptable content is streamed, but how successful will they be? Already, it sounds like privacy can be infringed here and Koozoo will not have a problem with it. What do you think? Is Koozoo a bad idea that will cause privacy concerns, or will it be a beneficial app?

RIAA and Google

The RIAA has released a report stating that Google’s efforts to limit the rankings of serial offenders of digital piracy has not been very effective at all. The RIAA says that 98% of the time popular pirating websites show up well in the top 10 with Amazon anchoring the end of this list around half the time.

The RIAA began their research in December limiting their searches to the name of the artist, the name of the track followed by either mp3 or download. The study finds that less than half of the top ten websites that pop up have recieved more than 1,000 copyright removal requests by January. In conclusion the RIAA is saying that Google has not demoted (or effectively demoted) any of the top pirating websites that frequently popped up during the RIAA research.

The article goes on to say that Google needs to try to work out deals with record producers and other content producers in order to stock up on its Google Play storefront, but says that if these companies aren’t comfortable with the efforts that Google is taking to limiting the search results of pirating websites (or limit pirated material currently on its own YouTube), they may have a hard time gathering this content.

So what does this mean for the future of search engines and the way we look for content in our everyday lives? What will this mean for Google in the long run?

Creating effective algorithms to search and demote websites that violate copyright law doesn’t seem to be working. Could this lead to changing the way Google does business in the long run?

I’m sure there are companies that will limit your online presence for a fee, and if there aren’t any that could be a big money making business in the future. Could these types of organizations sprout up to fight against websites that promote illegal material?

Here is the link to the article on Slashdot.

UK Anonymous Hackers Get Jail Time

Even though I have just written a post, I came across this article and I am completely mind blown. Anonymous, probably the most popular and well known hacker group in the world, is basically an independent hacker organization that seems to run on their own morals. Basically, they want an open internet, and they stand for a lot of other things, but they are famous for hacking into websites and exposing people’s sensitive information. They are known for launching DoS (denial-of-service) attacks on websites to shut them down, most notable being the FBI’s website, Government websites in the UK, and GoDaddy domains, among others. They have threatened Governments around the world, criminal organizations, even religious groups. Recently they attacked the Westboro Baptist Church, a religious group that acts as a hate group that had plans to picket the memorial service for the Sandy Hook Elementary School, by launching a DoS attack on their website to shut it down, exposed sensitive information of the WBC members (addresses, full names), and even hacked a member’s Twitter page. Anonymous seems to live above the law, and is very successful at it too.

The reason for such a length summary of Anonymous is because of what this article means. Four members of Anonymous have been arrested in the UK for attacks on websites as part of actions carried our by Anonymous. Guess what the longest prison sentence received was? 18 months. Honestly I am confused. These members launched DoS attacks on websites owned by Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, and the British Recorded Music Industry, and are receiving pretty lenient sentences, considering what Anonymous has done in the past. Anonymous’ actions have put many people’s lives in danger, security at risk, and ruined people’s lives, as in the case of Michael Nodianos, who even though was in the wrong for saying what he said about a rape victim in the video, the video surely was not intended to be made public and has made it dangerous for Nodianos to even walk around in public in Ohio. Why is it that some members of the secret Anonymous organization have been found out and given such lenient prison terms, when they can get out sooner than 1.5 years and continue working for Anonymous?

Sony Fined For PlayStation Network Breach

Officials at Sony woke up today to a very interesting problem. According to this  article from Ars Technica, Sony is being fined $395,000 by a UK government body for the security breach that was suffered by users of PlayStation network back in 2011. At first, this doesn’t seem fair to Sony. People/Organizations should not have to be punished for being hacked. However, the UK argues that Sony, being such a huge corporation, should have been able to prevent this from happening. Back in 2011 when the network was breached, user’s dates of birth, names, email addresses, home addresses, passwords, and possibly credit card information were gleaned from Sony. The breach was so bad that Sony engineers had to shut down PlayStation network for three weeks in order to rebuild it. According to the Information Commissioner’s office (the body suing Sony), the network breach “could have been prevented if the software had been up-to-date, while technical developments also meant passwords were not secure.” They believe that Sony could have prevented all of this sensitive information from being leaked if their software had been current and secure. How have they deduced this? The IFO says a “data controller failed to take the action required [redacted] to address the vulnerability even though appropriate updates were available.”

Unsurprisingly, Sony disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal, even though $395,000 is pocket change to the corporation. The most interesting thing about this situation is that nothing has been said about the 77 million users who were afflicted by the security breach. The IFO has not said anything about what their plans are for the money if they win the case in court, but would the users get some of that money? It does not sound like it. In 2011, Sony offered an incentive to all PlayStation network users for suffering the security breach, but that incentive is nothing compared to the bank cards and addresses that were leaked, possibly causing people to lose their hard-earned money.

Government pulls data from Google

Slash Gear released an article today about Government data requests to Google. This is an interesting piece especially on the discussion of privacy.  You sign a privacy agreement with online companies such as Google, but apparently it takes one government order to disregard those details.

The news starts by explaining that the data requests made by government entities has increased since last year.  The governing authorities are able to collect information by the ironically named Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EPCA).  The article shows charts of how it has increased over the years.  One other interesting piece is that Google did not make reporting data on compliance prior to 7/1/11.  I feel that it is unfortunate that any data the government requests they are able to receive, but when we want to request data from the government, it’s can be a very difficult inquiry.