Around the IT Industry 9/16-9/20

by Modis on September 20, 2013

Dept. of Commerce Taking Steps to Restore the Right to Unlock Cellphones

When the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was signed into law in 1998, it allowed telecommunications companies to “lock” users’ cellphones into their network so that they could not migrate their device to a competitor’s service.  In 2006, the Library of Congress made an exception to the DMCA that allowed users to freely unlock their phones once again to move devices between providers.  In 2012, that exception was not renewed, and the act of unlocking cellular devices once again became illegal in January 2013.  Now, however, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has submitted a formal application to the FCC to reinstate this exception in the name of free market competition and consumer rights.  While the notion has support in both the White House and Congress, it is unknown at this time what the final outcome will be.

RIAA’s War on Piracy Comes to Browsers

The RIAA has long battled against the rising tide of Internet piracy and now brings its fight to a new stage by proposing a united front with search engines and Internet browsing companies such as Google and Microsoft.  By developing a system through which links can be scanned for copyrighted material at the browser level, the browsers themselves could relay information about those links and the sites they originate from to the RIAA and other entities which could then pursue avenues to remove the content altogether.  Additionally, the proposal would have search engines scrub their databases for “known infringing sites” so that users would not be able to easily access them.

First Look at the new iPhone 5s

With a beefed up processor that supports 64-bit architecture, Apple’s new iPhone 5s improves upon the iPhone 5 in many ways, some more subtle than others.  While the new device boasts browser speeds up to twice as fast as the previous iteration, it may not be enough of a change to motivate owners of the previous generation just yet.  However, the improvements being made in the hardware itself give a good impression of where Apple is planning to go with future iterations of the platform.  You can find an incredibly in-depth analysis of the new features and benchmarks at AnandTech’s blog.

The Rise of the Linux Desktop

With the Linux-based Android operating system currently dominating the mobile device market, it comes as no surprise that Intel has seen a corresponding rise in Linux desktop systems as well.  Google’s Chromebooks, which also operate on a Linux-based platform, are rapidly gaining popularity in the laptop market.  For these reasons, Intel has shifted its focus towards Linux compatibility with its upcoming chipsets and will likely continue to support the system for the foreseeable future.

Google Tosses the Cookies with New Web Tracking System

Google is looking to redefine the business of online advertising with a proposed Internet tracking system called AdID which would replace the Internet browser cookies used today.  “Cookies” are bits of data which are collected about a user’s browsing history, remembering passwords, or other miscellaneous details that can be read by certain systems to develop the user-specific targeted advertising commonly seen on places like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.  With the AdID system, Google would have control over what entities could access the AdID data and, perhaps more importantly, how they could use it.  This would give users a much greater level of Internet security and allow Google to more carefully control the content that reaches users of their Chrome browser.

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