Well, well, well; it looks like Apple has been caught altering the data that Siri returns to their users when asked specific questions. Last week it was reported that when users asked Siri “What is the best smartphone” it replied with the answer The Nokia Lumia 900. Now Apple has previously stated that the information from Siri all comes from WolframAlpha “computational knowledge engine” (pronounce that search engine) and they have no power to alter the data that Siri sends.
The Megaupload case has become an embarrassment for the US Government, but because of their close ties to the MPAA, RIAA and the entertainment industry as a whole they are not able to bow out gracefully at this point. It also seems that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is not going to let them bow out. Instead he has launched a website that is dedicated to “the war for the Internet”. This term is one that has been used in the past to refer to laws like SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP, CISPA and many, many more. It is a very interesting battle that is only in its infancy right now and unless things change quickly will only get worse.
Judge Lucy Koh has apparently decided the fate of the Samsung V Apple case all on her own. In fact she has even ordered evidence to be destroyed. Now correct me if I am wrong, but why on earth would ANY judge interested in making a sound and fair decision ask for evidence to be destroyed. The only reason I can think of is that Luck Koh knows that the evidence is valid and would hurt Apple significantly during this trial. It is apparently also something that Samsung knows as well. Samsung are the ones that leaked this rejected evidence to the press. The move was partly to prove the point that Apple borrowed from Sony for the iPhone design and also to show Judge Koh’s bias in the trial.
Remember the original trial for the “criminal” copyright infringement case against The Pirate Bay (TPB) and some of the shady things that went on behind the scenes? Well now we find that the copyright industry is doing it again, this time with the legal proceedings that just arranged for all links, proxies and any other references to The Pirate Bay banned in the Netherlands. This is actually popping up right after we talked about the methods the industry will go to just to maintain control.
Not that long ago I received an email from a reader that asked a simple and valid question; “why do you care about what Apple and Samsung are doing?” Like we said; a simple and valid question, but not one that is simple to answer. The obvious although inaccurate answer is that it is news and it is news about the consumer electronic world. However, that answer (as we just said) is not the whole truth, it is not even close to the whole truth. The reason it is so difficult to answer is that the real reason has nothing to do with Apple or Samsung. The real reason boils down to a few simple concepts; control, innovation and competition.
We have been critical of Judge Lucy Koh for seemingly biased views towards Apple in many of the patent cases that have crossed her bench. Most recently we were appalled to see her go from a stance of not enough evidence of irreparable harm to a full preliminary ban on sales of the Galaxy Tab. This has prompted more than one person to complain and also to question her ability to properly discharge her duties. Apparently more than a few people are feeling the same way as a petition to have her “impeached” and removed from her position.
We have always been a supporter of certain Internet freedoms as well as individual privacy (no surprise there huh). Bills like PIPA and SOPA showed us a glaring issue with the existing level of knowledge currently held by the people that make our laws (and not just in the US). This is not a big shocker to most people either. It is fairly common knowledge that our law makers get into office based on little more than a popularity contest that is held every few years. Once in office they are like the gullible kid in school that gets talked into things, by the “cool kids”, but in this case the cool kids are lobbyists and are not looking for a laugh they are looking to improve their control and profit.
The MPAA, RIAA and in fact the entire copyright industry is a very interesting organization. On the one hand they fit an almost textbook definition of a Cartel (According to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act) but have been allowed to exist and act with impunity for many years. They have a revolving door with Government agencies in the US where many of their executives have come from our law making bodies or former executives now have positions inside those bodies. Their history of unethical and borderline illegal (many times actually illegal) actions has become the stuff of legend across many internet sites. Yet still they persist in trying to portray themselves as the victim in the cases that they are perusing around the globe.
The system of Copyright, Patents and Trademarks has a long history in the US and around the world. Originally the system was developed to protect the individual inventor or artists. It allows them to benefit from their work or inventions for a limited period of time as a form of compensation for bringing a new technology or art to the world. This system worked very well when it was individuals who were seeking the protection. Patent laws at the time also required that the inventor be able to demonstrate their inventions before the patents were granted.
Facebook has not always been on the side of user privacy. In fact they have gotten into hot water about many of the features that they want to, and indeed have implemented. These are features like auto-tagging and facial recognition, the use of user pictures for their targeted ads. Storing user information after the user deletes it and even keeping deleted profiles after the user leaves Facebook. Now in what could be a PR move (and probably is) or could really be their concern over a new issue Facebook is telling users not to disclose their Facebook account passwords to employers, potential employers or during interviews.