Tech News Today 430

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Tech News Today
Episode 430

Tech News Today 430: Preloaded With Love

Anonymous is listening to the FBI, Panasonic and Sharp are hurting, watch those Xooms, and more.

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Top Stories

  • Motorola Mobility Wins Second German Ruling Against Apple
  • Apple: All iPad and iPhone Models Will be Back on Sale Online in Germany Shortly
  • Apple hits Samsung with 278 patent claims in revised Australian lawsuit
  • Samsung 'confident' of favorable EU antitrust ruling on patents
    • The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany found Apple's iCloud service infringed a Motorola patent used to synchronize e-mail accounts. The ruling holds Apple liable for damages, potentially blocks sales of devices including iPhone and iPad in Germany that use iCloud, and allows Motorola Mobility to ask for information about past device sales.
    • Apple spokesperson calls this an "old pager patent" and is appealing.
    • If Motorola seeks to suspend Apple product sales during the appeal, it must post 100M euros ($132M) as collateral. Common in German courts to enforce a ruling during an appeal, amount reflects the losses Apple may suffer while complying with the ruling. If Apple wins appeal, it can seek damages, recover collateral.
    • Second case: Motorola wants to force an injunction it won against Apple in Germany over a cellular-communications patent that forced Apple to take down older iPhones and iPad models including iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and 3G/UMTS-based iPads its online store in Germany overnight. Another court this morning temporarily suspended this injunction. “Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.” AKA FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory)
    • Unclear how long Apple has here, Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents says the suspension could stand throughout the appeals process which could keep products on shelves well over a year.
    • Meanwhile in Australia Apple has expanded its patent lawsuit against Samsung include 278 claims, across 22 patents that cover 10 new products.
    • Originally was 3 patents in question over the GT 10.1, which was returned to shelves in time for the holidays after a judge overturned an Apple injunction against it.
    • Samsung is still trying to secure a ban on Apple’s iPhone 4S and fighting Apple over its 3G patents, requesting that the courts split the hearing into two parts in order to start the case later this month. Apple says that's too soon: case will “become chaotic with witnesses being cross-examined while still preparing evidence for the second component of the case”
    • Samsung has responded to the EU antitrust investigation over whether Samsung enforcing several 3G patents violate an agreement it made to provide the patents to other companies on "fair and reasonable" terms. FRAND again. Statement "upon the scrutiny of the facts, the commission will conclude that Samsung Electronics has acted in compliance with EU competition rules."
  • EU regulators want Google to halt new privacy policy
  • Google declines EU call to freeze new privacy policy
  • Here’s Google’s extensive response to EU requests to “pause” its privacy policy updates
  • Google's response on new privacy policy ticks off congresswoman
    • A group of European regulators - the Article 29 Working Party - has written to Google Inc calling on it to halt the introduction of its new privacy policy, saying it needs to investigate whether the proposals sufficiently protect users' personal data.
    • letter to Google penned by Chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, which constitutes representative from the data protection authority of each EU Member State,
    • Google's response to Article 29 Working Party:
      • "Our approach to privacy has not changed."
      • "We're not collecting any new or additional data about users."
      • "As you will know, we had extensively pre-briefed data protection authorities across the EU prior to the launch of our notification to users on 24 January 2012. At no stage did any EU regulator suggest that any sort of pause would be appropriate."
      • In short, similar things that Google told the US Congress
      • Google reps appeared before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade
      • "At the end of the day, I don't think their answers to us were very forthcoming necessarily in what this really means for the safety of our families and our children," Rep for CA & subommittee head Mary Bono Mack told reporters, according to The Hill.
      • Pablo Chavez, Google's director of public policy, and Michael Yang, a Google senior counsel, tried to walk through the steps that users can follow to manage their privacy settings. But Bono Mack apparently still found the process cumbersome.

Discussion Stories

  • Panasonic heading for record $10 billiion annual loss
  • Sharp Forecasts Record $3.8 Billion Loss on TVs, Write-Off
  • Exclusive: Sony Has Quietly Cut 100 U.S. Jobs Over Last Several Weeks
    • Japan's Panasonic Corp warned of a record annual $10.2 billion net loss
    • almost all due to restructuring charges and writedowns for its Sanyo Electric unit (acq'd by Panasonic in 2009).
    • Panasonic trimmed its forecast for the number of flat-screen TVs it will sell by 1 million to 18 million sets.
    • Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo dismissed any suggestion he will ditch the TV business.
  • Sharp:
    • Sharp Corp. forecast its worst annual loss since it was founded a century ago, on slumping prices for its Aquos televisions, an economic slowdown and a tax charge.
    • net loss in the year ending March 31 may be 290 billion yen ($3.8 billion), the Japanese electronics maker said in a statement today, reversing an earlier forecast for a profit of 6 billion yen
    • Sharp said it will halve the output at its largest TV panel factory in Sakai city, Osaka prefecture.
    • Yesterday, Sony announced a loss from selling TVs for an 8th consecutive year.
    • AllThingsD Reports that Sony cut 100 jobs in the US
    • Sources say the moves have been in the works for months and is part of a broader effort by Sony Electronics chief Phil Molyneux to reshape operations here.
    • Part of a "Fit for the Future" program aimed at improving profitability, and getting consumer loyalty via revamped stores and putting its workers inside third-party retailers.
  • Refurbished Motorola Xooms came with private data from previous owners
    • Moto provided Xooms to last fall, and of the thousands sold, 100 were shipped out to new owners with information the previous owners had left on them, including passwords, account information, photos, and documents.
    • Of the 6,200 tablets sold, Motorola announced, 100 were not fully scrubbed of data left on them by previous owners.
    • Motorola is offering any customers who bought and returned the tablet from a number of retailers (, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale, eBay, Office Max, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, or Staples) between March and October 2011 two years of membership to Experian's Protect My ID credit monitoring service.
  • New Ting cell phone service turns contracts on their head
  • Tucows launches Ting: cellular service with a conscience
    • Ting just launched yesterday, it's an MVNO running on the Sprint network. You pay separately for each voice minute, message, and megabyte.
    • At the end of the month, Ting credits whatever you don't use, and charges for any extras beyond the plan (but at a higher rate) with no additional penalty fee.
    • Plans: Talk, text, and data bundles range from "XS," where you pay nothing until your bill comes in, to "XXL," which covers 3,000 minutes of talk time, 6,000 text messages, and 3G of data over 3G and 4G.
    • Phone selection: a number of Android smartphones and feature phones, including the Motorola Photon 4G, LG Optimus S, and HTC Detail, a variant of the HTC Evo 4G.
    • Phones must be unsubsidized and you can't use a Sprint phone on Ting.

News Fuse



  • On Monday, February 6th, Lillyhammer - a Netflix original program debuts. All episodes should be available at the same time.



"Re. Google Android 'bouncer' (TNT #429)

I don't know about Android's Dalvik Virtual Machine, but bytecode destined for the Java Virtual Machine has to be highly deterministic. In layman's terms: it's possible to predict things like how data structures will be accessed, and how the 'stack' holding local data will resize between entering and exiting each code portion. (Indeed, by default, the JVM actually traces all potential paths through web applets before they run, to guard against unauthorised activity.) This predictability makes it easier to understand how an app is using data; for example, to assert that a given network message contains data originating from a key press. Of course, this doesn't betray the intent of the behaviour -- broadcasting keypresses might be fine for an instant messaging app, but deeply suspicious for a screen saver. One assumes the app's marketplace category might determine what counts as dubious, and what does not(?)

So, unlike some software platforms, Java makes it that bit easier to do analysis of code behaviour using software alone -- potentially!! -- but the Bouncer still has to guess whether the intent is malicious. Perhaps that's why Google's blog made reference to previous known app malware..?  :)

Simon Liverpool, UK"



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Production Information

  • Edited by: Jason
  • Notes:
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