A US judge has dismissed an Oracle fraud claim against HP in the companies’ ongoing legal battle over the Itanium platform.
Last year, Oracle discontinued its software support for Itanium chips, alleging that Intel had made it clear the microprocessors’ time was nearly up and that it would now be focusing on its x86 chips.
HP, whose Integrity servers run on Itanium, said Oracle’s decision was “anti-customer” and claimed that Oracle wouldn’t even issue bug fixes for existing software. The firm took its former partner to court in California in June last year.
Oracle retaliated in December, counter-suing HP for seven different offences, including alleged fraud, defamation, intentional interference with contractual relations and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, among others.
Oracle alleged that HP had acted fraudulently by withholding information when the two firms entered into the infamous Hurd Agreement, the settlement reached after HP sued Oracle for hiring its ex-CEO Mark Hurd.
Oracle said that HP knew at that time that it was planning to hire ex-SAP CEO Leo Apotheker and Oracle’s former president and chief operation officer Ray Lane, neither of whom were the best of friends with Oracle. The firm also alleged that HP hired Lane and Apotheker “because it wanted to change direction and become more of an enterprise software company like Oracle”.
On top of that, Oracle claimed that HP was secretly paying Intel $88m a year to “artificially continue the Itanium chip’s lifespan and represent to the public its long term commitment”.
Oracle said it never would have entered into the Hurd Agreement, the very document that contains the contentious paragraph on Oracle’s continued partnership with HP, if it had known about these issues.
However, Judge James Kleinberg dismissed this fraud claim, saying in the court ruling (uploaded to Scribd): “The alleged fraud did not prevent Oracle from participating in the negotiations or deprive Oracle of the opportunity to negotiate.”
HP said in a canned statement that it was “pleased” the court had come down on its side.
However, both firms were claiming a win over the fact that the court also decided against bids from both companies to seal documents, which they said contained sensitive business information.
“We look forward to seeing the facts made public that demonstrate how Oracle’s March 2011 announcement to no longer develop software for Itanium servers was part of a calculated business strategy to drive hardware sales from Itanium to inferior Sun servers,” HP said.
While Oracle released a statement that ignored the fraud claim and focused on “HP’s attempt to keep the truth about Itanium’s death from customers”.
“Oracle is delighted that the Superior Court of the State of California, Santa Clara County, has rejected HP’s attempt to hide the truth about Itanium’s certain end of life from its customers, partners and own employees. We look forward to seeing all of the facts made public that demonstrate how HP has known for years that Itanium is end of life,” it said. ®
30 January 2012
Last updated at 20:21
Israel handles over 1,000 attacks every minute, government advisors said
Israel, Finland and Sweden are seen as leading the way in “cyber-readiness”, according to a major new security report.
The McAfee-backed cyberdefence survey deemed China, Brazil and Mexico as being among the least able to defend themselves against emerging attacks.
The rank is based on leading experts’ perception of a nation’s defences.
The report concluded that greater sharing of information globally is necessary to keep ahead of threats.
It also suggests giving more power to law enforcement to fight cross-border crime.
The UK, with a grading of four out of five, ranks favourably in the survey – along with the USA, Germany, Spain and France.
The rankings are based on the perceived quality of a country’s cyber-readiness – the ability to cope with a range of threats and attacks.
“The subjectiveness of the report is its biggest strength,” explained Raj Samani, McAfee’s chief technology officer.
“What it does is give the perception of cyber-readiness by those individuals who kind of understand and work in cyber security on a day-in, day-out basis.”
A five-point scale was used to rank countries – none of which achieved a perfect rating. Graphic provided by McAfee
A good score depends on having basic measures like adequate firewalls and antivirus protection, and more complex matters including well-informed governance and education.
Sweden, Finland and Israel all impressed the report’s experts – despite the fact that the latter receives reportedly over 1,000 cyber attacks every minute.
Isaac Ben-Israel, senior security advisor to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is quoted in the report as saying: “The hacktivist group Anonymous carries out lots of attacks but they don’t cause much damage. The real threat is from states and major crime organisations.”
He added that the country has set up a cyber-taskforce responsible for assessing threats to key infrastructure such power production and water supplies.
At the other end of the security scale, Mexico ranked as least prepared to cope with the cyber threat – a situation which is blamed on the country’s authorities needing to overwhelmingly focus on the country’s gang and drugs problems.
China is regarded by some Western observers as an aggressor in cyberspace.
But one expert Peiran Wang said the country was itself vulnerable because it lacked a joined up strategy.
Mexico’s drug problems means available resource is put into real world policing – and not on cybercrime
“The Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of State Security and even the military are involved and they don’t communicate well,” said Peiran Wang, a visiting scholar at Brussels’ Free University.
In the UK, the report praised a £650m investment programme in cyber security.
However, the Home Office’s plans were criticised by information security expert Peter Sommer.
“A great deal depends on co-operation from the private sector, which controls about 80% of the critical national infrastructure.
“Over half of the new funding will go to the ‘secret vote’, the intelligence agencies, where value for money will be difficult to investigate. I would have preferred more emphasis on public education – helping potential victims help themselves.”
Among the report’s conclusions is the recommendation that greater efforts be made to improve cross-border law enforcement.
“Cybercriminals route their connection through multiple different countries,” said Mr Samani.
“If criminals are particularly clever, they go through countries where they know there isn’t any co-operation.”
In the UK, millions has been pledged by foreign secretary William Hague to fight cyber issues
“The bad guys share information – we need to do the same as well.”
Dr Joss Wright from the Oxford Internet Institute welcomed the report’s findings. However, he had serious doubts over the feasibility of its suggestions.
“They’re recommendations that people have been saying for maybe 10 years,” he told the BBC.
“I would love to see good information sharing – but when you’re talking about national security, there’s a culture of not sharing.
“They’re not suddenly going to change 70, 100, 1000 years of military thinking.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/technology-16787509
As if you haven’t heard, Apple posted its Q4 earnings last week. I’ll spare you my own encomium and refer you to these links:
- Despite its title, Business Insider’s list of Facts About Apple’s Business That Will Blow Your Mind contains little or no hype.
- TechCrunch provides context for Apple’s “massive numbers”.
- Brian Hall offers his trademark combination of eloquent and factual commentary while arguing that We’re Not Talking Enough About Apple or About iPhone.
- And this list wouldn’t be complete without Horace Dediu’s keen insight: Apple’s Fourth quarter 2011 Growth Scorecard.
For complete numbers, you can go to SEC filings 8-K and 10-Q. If you have the time and inclination, I recommend a walk through the MDA (Management Discussion Analysis) in the 10-Q. Never boring, it’s filled with meaningful details and decently written — I couldn’t find a single instance of whereas, forthwith, or insofar.
With this out of the way, a few thoughts and questions are prompted by the earnings release fever:
What happened to the “Android Is Winning” meme?
Google’s Trojan Horse has made tremendous headway, powering more than 50% of all smartphones worldwide. It’s a technically robust product (comrades of mine from a previous OS war work on Android, so I could be biased) and the “free and open” pitch works wonders with handset manufacturers.
Rev 1.0 of the meme held no hope for Apple: Android will kill iOS just like Windows crushed the Mac. (We’ll deal with the Windows v Mac part in a moment.) But where’s the evidence Android is in any way ”killing” the iPhone? It’s certainly not happening in the US: The iPhone Accounted for 80 Percent of ATT Smartphone Sales Last Quarter; for Verizon the portion was closer to 70%. Apple sold 62m iOS devices last quarter; reports of Apple’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated. (The actual numbers might include some statistical double dipping due to activations, but that applies equally to all brands so the picture remains the same.)
In the meantime, an ABI Research study shows Android is losing market share. As with all research, we’ll keep the usual caveats in mind … and wait for the next study.
Let’s not forget the usual litany: Ah, yes, this is great, but Apple’s success can’t last. Some day, they’ll ship a dud; their arrogance will blind them; the toxic waste of success will kill them.
Sure, we all die. But when?
And aren’t those supposed to defeat Apple exposed to the same hubris, creeping mediocrity and belief in their own BS?
Another question: Where are Nokia, Motorola, RIM? The short answer: They’re all hurting:
- Nokia just posted a steep loss for the quarter, its smartphone revenue declined by 38%.
- Motorola (in the Android camp and soon part of Google) posted an $80M quarterly loss, selling only 200,000 tablets and 5.3M smartphones.
- As for RIM, we know they’re in a tailspin. RIM just kicked Messrs. Lazaridis and Balsillie upstairs and got itself a new CEO (actually, a recycled co-COO). Last year, RIM’s share of the US smartphone market fell from 19.7% to 16.6%. (I don’t know how market research firms justify the digit after the decimal point…)
And there’s more: It now looks like Nokia has taken the lead in a race to the bottom. According to Forbes, Nokia’s “feature phones” (aka “dumbphones”), make more money than mid-market Androids.
Nokia‘s $40 feature phones are vastly more profitable than Sony Ericsson‘s $200 Android models. This is not how the smartphone revolution was supposed to turn out.
This would explain why Nokia acquired Smarterphone AS, a Swedish company specialising in “highly advanced functionality on very moderate hardware.” Goodbye Symbian and Meego, hello Windows Phone and Smarterphone. This is going to be interesting.
Speaking of Microsoft, the Redmond company stubbornly refuses to recognise that it’s a Post-PC world. Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s articulate chief propagandist, contends that we’ve entered the “PC-Plus” era: The PC still holds center stage, and is enhanced by these new “companion devices’”.
With 15 million iPads and large numbers of Kindle Fires and other tablets, Microsoft’s PC For Ever cant is wearing thin. In 2012, Apple will sell between 50m and 60m tablets; we can assume that total industry sales will be in the neighborhood of 100m units. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, openly admits that the iPad cannibalizes Mac sales – and quickly points out that there’s much more to cannibalize on the Windows side.
Last quarter, the Windows business declined by some 6%. Worldwide PC sales were, at best, stagnant; if we remove the nicely growing Mac business from global numbers, Windows PC units actually declined by 8.5%. One you’re over the hill, you pick up speed …
But this shouldn’t be news. Read Paul Robinson’s comment on a Fraser Speirs’ blog post:
There will still be computers and laptops but we will return to a time when they are bought by programmers, hobbyists and tinkerers. Everyone else will buy a ‘computing device’ of some sort and be all the happier for it.
This was written exactly two years ago, on January 29th, 2010. The iPad had just been announced — and criticized for [insert your favorite faults here]. Fraser’s own post, aptly titled Future Shock, deserves to be read in its entirety. I’ll quote two choice morsels:
For years we’ve all held to the belief that computing had to be made simpler for the ‘average person’. I find it difficult to come to any conclusion other than that we have totally failed in this effort.
Secretly, I suspect, we technologists quite liked the idea that Normals would be dependent on us for our technological shamanism. Those incantations that only we can perform to heal their computers, those oracular proclamations that we make over the future and the blessings we bestow on purchasing choices.
If the iPad and its successor devices free these people to focus on what they do best, it will dramatically change people’s perceptions of computing from something to fear to something to engage enthusiastically with. I find it hard to believe that the loss of background processing isn’t a price worth paying to have a computer that isn’t frightening anymore.
In the meantime, Adobe and Microsoft will continue to stamp their feet and whine.
Microsoft isn’t stupid. They’re just saying what they have to say for today’s business. We’ll see how their PC-Plus story evolves when their ARM-based Windows 8 tablets ship later this year.
Third and last for today: Macintosh.
Although it now plays third fiddle to its iPhone and iPad siblings, the “historic” Macintosh looks hale: +26% in units, +22% in revenue. That’s $6.6B with an operating margin in the 25% range. Compare this to HP, the world’s largest PC maker. In its last reported quarter, HP booked about $10B of PC revenue, with a 6% margin.
The Mac has lost the pole position before: In 2006, Apple saw $7.4B in Macintosh revenue versus $7.7B for the iPod. Right before the iPhone introduction, Apple’s halo product was its music player.
Now, Apple is the iOS company. While the Mac first donated its software DNA to iOS, in the latest OS X Lion we witness the iPadification of the elder.
So far, my experience of OS X Lion is mixed. Is it because the gene splicing is still in transition? Or maybe simply Apple committed its elite troops to the iOS front, leaving things half-done on the Mac…
I’ll leave that discussion for another Monday Note.
Article source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/30/apple-iphone
30 January 2012
Last updated at 15:08
Visitors to megaupload.com are now presented with a message from US law enforcement
US prosecutors have said that data belonging to Megaupload users and stored by third parties could be deleted as soon as Thursday.
Users have been unable to access data since the file-sharing service was raided.
The warning was made in a letter filed by the US Attorney’s Office.
Megaupload’s lawyer Ira Rothken told the Associated Press that at least 50 million users had data which could be deleted.
Mr Rothken said that freezing of Megaupload’s funds meant it was unable to pay those who were storing its data.
In the letter US prosecutors said that the data which might be deleted was being held by the storage companies Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications Group.
“It is our understanding that the hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as 2 February,” it said.
The letter explains that in its investigations the US “copied selected data” but did not remove any servers from the premises of either company.
It goes on to note that the data “remains at the premises controlled by, and currently under the control of Carpathia and Cogent.
“Should the defendants wish to obtain independent access… that issue must be resolved directly with Cogent or Carpathia.”
Neither of the two storage companies have responded to emails from the BBC.
However, Megaupload’s lawyer, Mr Rothken told the Associated Press that he was “cautiously optimistic” that a deal could be done to save the data from being wiped.
He said that the information would be needed by the defence.
Megaupload was shut down on 19 January.
It had about 150 million registered users, making it one of the most popular file-sharing services in the world.
US authorities are seeking to extradite founder Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, and three other defendants from New Zealand to the US.
Prosecutors have accused it of costing copyright holders more than $500m (£320m) in lost revenue.
But a number of users have said that they have been unable to access legitimately uploaded material as a result of the legal action.
After the shutdown one user tweeted, “I’m vehemently against copyright infringement: the files I lost were created owned by me for my job.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/technology-16787486
It’s difficult not to mention Google in the same breath as Facebook these days – and that’s especially true when one considers the initial public offering the dominant social network is reportedly planning later this week.
According to Bloomberg, which cites two anonymous sources familiar with the plans, Facebook’s much-anticipated IPO filing could be landing within the next few days.
And the company is betting big on its flotation by mulling over a valuation of $75bn to $100bn.
It was reported in November last year that Facebook was looking to raise up to $10bn in the offering.
The network, which has 800 million users worldwide, halted trading of its shares on secondary markets for three days last week. As noted by Bloomberg, this move does not necessarily indicate that the IPO filing was about to rock up.
However, such trading is sometimes suspended by companies ahead of an IPO offering to stop investors exchanging shares until all of the details about the filing are in the public domain. A short break in trading could also have allowed private outfits to work out how many shareholders they have.
As The Register has previously reported, Mark Zuckerberg’s firm confirmed in January 2011 that it planned to begin filing financial reports “no later than” the end of April this year.
A year ago, the company said it had raised $1.5bn courtesy of the Vampire Squid Goldman Sachs and serial Web2.0 investor Digital Sky Technologies.
Amazingly enough, given that the social network doesn’t manufacture any goods such as Cisco (worth around $115bn) or stacks an array of products high and sells them pretty low like Tesco (valued at roughly $55bn), it’s highly plausible that Facebook has drummed up a further $8.5bn since then to drop on to the IPO offering pile.
For context, in 2004 Google’s initial public offering was given a $1.9bn leg-up and was valued at $23bn on its Wall Street debut. The rest, as they say, was history…
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who admits completely “screwing up” with MySpace when he owned the once popular social network, is less convinced about such a flotation, however.
“Facebook a brilliant achievement, but $75-100bn? Would make Apple look really cheap,” he said. ®
29 January 2012
Last updated at 11:08
Facebook makes most of its money through advertising
Facebook will begin the process of becoming a publicly-listed company this week, valuing the social networking site at between $75bn (£48bn) and $100bn, reports suggest.
The company plans to file papers with the US financial watchdog on Wednesday, according to the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The flotation later this year would raise about $10bn, they reported.
This would be one of the biggest share sales seen on Wall Street.
It would dwarf the $1.9bn raised by Google when it went public in 2004.
It would still, however, be some way short of the $20bn raised by carmaker General Motors in November 2010.
The reports suggest that Morgan Stanley will be the lead underwriter for the sale, with Goldman Sachs also expected to be heavily involved.
Rumours of Facebook’s so-called initial public offering (IPO) have circulated for many months, and the company has maintained it will not comment on the subject.
The reported valuation would make Facebook one of the world’s biggest companies by market capitalisation.
“Facebook a brilliant achievement, but $75-$100bn? Would make Apple look really cheap,” said Rupert Murdoch on Twitter.
The company was started by Mark Zuckerberg and fellow students at Harvard University in 2004 and has quickly grown to become one of the world’s most popular websites.
It makes most of its money through advertising.
As a private company, Facebook does not have to publish its accounts, but reports in January last year suggested a document sent by Goldman Sachs to its clients showed the firm made a net profit of $355m on revenues of $1.2bn in the first nine months of 2010.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/business-16779779
Frome Town FC u11′s 3 – 1 Chippenham Town Youth Blue u11′s
From the off Frome put the visitors on the backfoot, and a great lobbed finish from Dylan saw them take the lead in the first five minutes. Further pressure was met by stubborn resistance from the Chippenham defenders, but Sol broke through in the 25 minute to smash the ball past the keeper and put Frome two goals to the good at the break.
The second half was a more even affair, but again Frome applied pressure and when the ball fell to Charlie on the edge of the Chippenham box, the Frome midfielder made no mistake in producing a great strike into the top right of the Chippenham net.
Chippenham hit back shortly after with a headed goal from a corner, but Frome comfortably saw the match out and were unlucky not to extend their advantage.
Well done to the lads, but also to Chippenham who played with great spirit.
Frome Man of the Match went to Charlie.
Come On You Reds!
Jon Rubinstein, late of NeXT, FirePower, Apple, and Palm, has resigned from his position at HP, where he endured the mismanagement and eventual overboarding of Palm’s webOS mobile operating system.
“Jon Rubinstein has fulfilled his commitment to HP,” an HP spokesperson emailed The Reg. “We wish him well.”
Rubinstein told The Verge that he had planned to stay at HP for 12 to 24 months after that troubled company acquired Palm and webOS. He lasted 19 months.
Speaking of his time at Palm before the acquisition, he said, “We ran out of runway, and we ended up at HP and HP wasn’t in good enough shape on its own to be able to support the effort.”
Those 19 months at HP were turbulent, indeed. “I had four CEOs!” Rubinstein said. “Mark [Hurd] acquired us, Cathie Lesjak took over as the interim CEO, then Leo [Apotheker], and now Meg [Whitman].”
After that bumper-car ride, and after the open sourcing of the operating system he shepherded through both Palm and HP, enough was apparently enough for Rubinstein. And, equally apparently, for HP.
Rubinstein’s next step will be to chill. “I’m going to take a break,” he told AllThingsD.
But retirement isn’t in the cards. “I’m going to spend some time with my family and think about what to do next,” he said. “Who knows what I’ll do. Anything’s possible.
Rubinstein’s latest stint at HP wasn’t his first. According to Bloomberg, Rubinstein architected the HP 9000 Series 300 workstation line, and was part of the team that designed the HP 9836.
After another Silicon Valley two-step or two, he then went on to become COO of PowerPC systems designer FirePower, which was acquired by Motorola in the summer of 1996. From there he went to Steve Jobs’ nascent NeXT Computer, which he left a few years before that failing company – and Jobs – were acquired by Apple. Jobs suggested to Apple’s soon-to-be-ex-CEO Gil Amelio that he hire Rubinstein, advice he took.
Next page: Apple, Palm, HP, margaritas
“The Tweets must flow”, Twitter declared a year ago, and quickly became an instrument of fast-moving revolution across the Arab world, coordinating mass protests in Egypt and sidestepping the state censorship in Syria. But, the microblogging site conceded that the tweets would not flow evenly in every country.
The company was accused of censorship by many users and threatened with a one-day boycott on Saturday after announcing that it could remove tweets in certain countries which have “different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression”.
Twitter insisted that it would not use the gagging system in a blanket fashion, but would apply it on a case-by-case basis, as it happens when governments or organisations complain about individual tweets. But the reassurances were not enough to prevent a torrent of outrage from twitter users and freedom of speech campaigners.
Jeff Jarvis, the media commentator, said the move set the microblogging site onto the “slippery slope of censorship”. “I understand why Twitter is doing this – they want to be able to enter more countries and deal with the local laws,” he said. “But, as Google learned in China, when you become the agent of the censor, there are problems there.”
Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and dissident, put it more simply, posting: “If Twitter starts censoring, I’ll stop tweeting”.
In a blog on its website, Twitter argued that the change marked an improvement as previously “the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally”.
“Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country – while keeping it available in the rest of the world,” the blogpost said, citing the prohibition of pro-Nazi content in France and Germany. The company also said that any user whose tweets were withheld would be notified, and stressed that Twitter’s transparency would be maintained by flagging any withheld tweets on an independent website, Chillings Effects, maintained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a group of universities.
The announcement came a day after the first anniversary of the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt, in which Twitter played a prominent role drawing particular criticism from Middle Eastern users. More than half the posts marked with the hashtag #TwitterCensored were in Arabic.
One tweeter from a Gulf Arab state, @abatmeem, parodied the Twitter logo by showing a dead blue bird on its back with feet in the air. “Twitter punctured the silence with its beak, and now it has provoked the tyrants to take revenge,” @abatmeem tweeted. “Sorry Twitter bird, you are no longer that bird that could sing all tunes. You have become a parrot that repeats only what is required of it.”
Other critical tweets showed the blue bird with a red cross or black strip over its beak. Another Arabic tweeter, @alanoud45 demanded: “How much did they pay you, Twitter?”Twitter insists that the system will only formalise a method it already uses, where tweets are blocked or deleted after full judicial process. Being able to limit tweets to particular countries, rather than blocking them altogether, expands its ability to “let tweets flow”.
In theory the system could have been used last year in the UK to block tweets exposing details hidden by superinjunctions about celebrities, or in 2010 when Trafigura used a superinjunction to block the Guardian and BBC from revealing details about a report on activities in Africa. A number of superinjunctions have been abandoned after details leaked on Twitter, to the displeasure of some judges.
Google, Yahoo, eBay and Facebook use similar systems to control what content is shown in which countries.
In China, Google indicates when a search result has been censored. In the same way, blocked tweets will say: “This tweet from [username] is withheld.” The blocking can work at the individual tweet or account level.
The US civil liberties website, Demand Progress, opened a petition declaring: “Twitter’s importance as an open platform has been demonstrated time and again this year. We need you to keep fighting for and enabling freedom of expression – not rationalize away totalitarianism as a legitimate ‘different idea’.”
Some bloggers speculated the announcement could have been linked to a $300m (£191m) )investment in Twitter made in December by Saudi prince, Alwaleed Bin Talal, but that was denied by Twitter’s counsel, Alex Macgillivray.
Jillian York, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that the change was inevitable, given Twitter’s global presence. “This is censorship. There’s no way around that. But alas, Twitter is not above the law,” she wrote.
“Just about every company hosting user-generated content has, at one point or another, gotten an order or government request to take down content,” York argued. “Google lays out its orders in its transparency report. Other companies are less forthright. In any case, Twitter has two options in the event of a request: Fail to comply, and risk being blocked by the government in question, or comply [read: censor] And if they have ‘boots on the ground’, so to speak, in the country in question? No choice.”
More from Twitter itself:
It will give users the option to define their country as “worldwide”, and that “will show all public tweets” (which would include banned ones).
Twitter spokesperson Jodi Olson said: “We want to reach every person on the planet, and to make Twitter available to people everywhere. The distinction is there are countries which Twitter will not operate in as a business.”
Twitter’s funding model is to sell adverts against users’ tweets, and also to let businesses buy “sponsored” tweets and “trends”. By setting up businesses in specific countries, it can sell adverts in those countries for local users. But the service still operates in countries where it does not have its own local operation.
Twitter is not the first internet giant to control the transmission of content in certain countries.
Yahoo Was sued in 2000 by French civil liberties groups over the sale of Nazi memorabilia via its auction facility. Yahoo had blocked the sale but argued that as it is based in California, Yahoo.com was governed by American law. But US courts ruled they had no jurisdiction in France; the French courts could enforce decisions about Yahoo in their territory.
Twitter Until this week, the entire service could be blocked (as happens in China) or tweets and accounts had to be deleted wholesale, across the world. Now the microblogging service Has a system where tweets and accounts can be blocked in particular countries. It will post them on the Chilling Effects website (which records takedown requests). But observers note that it is giving users clues about who and what has been banned – which could make the original discoverable.
Google Is able to ban content by country: in China it would note when a set of search results had been censored (at the government’s order). In Germany and France, searches are filtered.
Facebook Can restrict access to content based on who is viewing it: if it’s legal in one country but not in another, Facebook can prevent its viewing in the latter.
eBay In 2000 the auction site changed its policy after public pressure so that Nazi goods and memorabilia cannot not be traded.
27 January 2012
Last updated at 22:04
Some analysts have linked Facebook’s spam crackdown to an imminent stock flotation
Facebook is suing a marketing firm, accusing it of “spreading spam through misleading and deceptive tactics”.
Adscend Media is alleged to have carried out “clickjacking”.
The practice involves placing posts on the social network which include code that causes the links to appear on the users’ homepages as a “liked” item without their permission. The links are designed to take users to other sites.
Adscend Media said it “vehemently denied” the “false claims”.
Facebook likened its security efforts to an “arms race” and said that it was committed to pursuing “bad actors”.
“Facebook’s security professionals have made tremendous strides against this particular form of attack and we are intent on eradicating it completely,” said Craig Clark, the firm’s lead litigation counsel.
“We will continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure that scammers do not profit from misusing Facebook’s services.”
Washington State also filed a related lawsuit. Its lawyers said that they believed that this was the first time any state had gone to court to combat spam on the social network.
“We don’t ‘like’ schemes that illegally trick Facebook users into giving up personal information or paying for unwanted subscription services through spam,” said the state’s attorney general, Rob McKenna.
Mr McKenna’s office said that Adscend Media had earned as much $1.2m (£766,000) a month from the practice.
However, the accused firm released a statement on Friday evening which said: “At no time did we engage in the activity alleged in the complaints.
“Adscend Media strictly complies with its legal obligations under federal and state law. We are undertaking an investigation to determine whether any of Adscend Media’s affiliates engaged in the activity alleged by the Attorney General’s office and Facebook.
“If they did, we are fully certain that the activity was conducted without the company’s knowledge.”
The firm’s lawyer went on to accuse the Washington State authorities of being “irresponsible”.
“We find it deeply troubling that the Attorney General’s office made a public spectacle of these serious allegations without first questioning the company as part of its investigatory process and, even more inexplicably, without notifying the company that the complaint was being filed,” said Mark Rosenberg.
He added that Adscend Media was now prepared to pursue a defamation action against those “responsible for tarnishing the reputation of the company”.
Facebook has posted an article about the case in which it explained that it believed the “scam” had worked by exploiting a vulnerability in people’s internet browsers that allowed its ‘Like’ button to be hidden.
“Once the ‘Like’ button is made invisible, scammers can overlay pictures and other content, to trick the user to click on the invisible ‘Like’ button,” it said.
“First, Facebook users are encouraged to click the ‘Like’ button on the scammers’ Facebook Pages, which then alerts their friends to the existence of the page. Then they are told that they cannot access the content unless they complete an online survey or advertising offer.”
It said one case had involved a link promising to show a man who had taken a picture of his face every day over eight years.
Facebook said that the content often had not existed, and users had been directed to third-party sites. It alleged that “the scammers receive money for each misdirected user”.
Facebook said that less than 4% of the content shared on its site was currently spam.
The internet security firm, Sophos, acknowledged that the network was trying to combat the problem, but suggested further steps should be taken.
“Facebook tried to introduce anti-clickjacking technology to fight the problem, but it was never entirely satisfactory,” said the Sophos’s senior technology consultant Graham Cluley.
“What would have been good would have been if Facebook had introduced a ‘confirmation’ dialog every time a user ‘likes’ a page on a third-party website. That way, the clickjackers would have been able to trick you into clicking like but you would still have had to confirm that you really wanted to share the message with your online friends.
“In the run-up to IPO [initial public offering], we’re sure to see Facebook doing more to present itself as company that is fighting security threats like this.”
This is the second time this month that Facebook has accused a group of illegal activity on its site. Last week it named several Russia-based suspects who it said were responsible for a malware attack known as the “Koobface worm”.
Multiple reports suggest that the network may float its stock within the next four months. Bloomberg says the firm may sell a minority stake for $10bn, valuing the firm at 10 times the price.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/technology-16755434