Government Wiretaps on Cellular Phones Higher Than Ever
Cellular providers are compelled to comply with court orders to release call records, conversation logs, text message reports, and GPS location information to law enforcement officials. In many cases, this information can be critical to apprehending dangerous criminals and ensuring that justice is carried out. However, some recent reports indicate that the government is more subpoena-happy than ever. The government claims a mere 24,270 wiretaps were requested in the last five years, but Sprint, the third-largest cellular provider in the U.S., claims that they alone have received over 50,000 such requests in the same period, to say nothing of the other, larger providers that have likely received more.
San Francisco Spurns Apple Over EPEAT Withdrawal
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) program is a voluntary database of electronic devices that comply with a certain list of eco-friendly criteria. Many schools and other government agencies require that their electronic purchases adhere to EPEAT standards and, when Apple announced that it was removing all of its 39 products from the EPEAT registry last week, the City of San Francisco took notice and announced that they would no longer be using the company’s products in their agencies. While only a tiny percentage of Apple’s revenues come from such agencies, it is too early to speculate whether this trend will adversely affect Apple’s bottom line in any significant way.
Firefox Coming to a Smartphone Near You
Mozilla, a company best known for its award-winning Firefox web browser, has announced plans to release a smartphone operating system in accordance with the company’s usual open source stance. While Mozilla has stated that they do not expect the Firefox OS to rival the robust Android OS on higher-end devices, they suspect that the system will perform well in developing markets where top-of-the-line devices are rare.
Viacom Threatens to Pull Channels from DirecTV
Major media production company Viacom, owner of such popular television stations as Nickelodeon and MTV, has threatened to remove its channels from DirecTV’s listings if the service provider is unable to compromise on their “ancient” contract rates with the company. Viacom has stated that the provider pays substantially less for the channels than its competition and is looking to increase their compensation by up to 30% in the coming months. DirecTV has attempted to compromise with the production company’s demands but at this time no arrangement has been made.
Japanese University Devises Methods to Wireless Charge Electric Vehicles
The Toyohashi University of Technology unveiled a revolutionary system called EVER (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway) that would allow electricity to be wirelessly conducted from electrified panels beneath the surface of the road and into an electric vehicle, essentially allowing the vehicle to recharge while driving and extending its operational range quite drastically. At this stage, the system is capable of conducting only a few dozen watts in such a manner, but the group aims to increase that output by 100 times in order to make the system functional.