China Tightens Censorship of Electronic Communications New York Times
If anyone wonders whether the Chinese government has tightened its grip on electronic communications since protests began engulfing the Arab world, Shakespeare may prove instructive. Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiancée over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The second time he said the word “protest,” her phone cut off. He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase on Monday in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in midsentence. A host of evidence over the past several weeks shows that Chinese authorities are more determined than ever to police cellphone calls, electronic messages, e-mail and access to the Internet in order to smother any hint of antigovernment sentiment. In the cat-and-mouse game that characterizes electronic communications here, analysts suggest that the cat is getting bigger, especially since revolts began to ricochet through the Middle East and North Africa, and homegrown efforts to organize protests in China began to circulate on the Internet about a month ago. “The hard-liners have won the field, and now we are seeing exactly how they want to run the place,” said Russell Leigh Moses, a Beijing analyst of China’s leadership. “I think the gloves are coming off.”
UN calls for Syria probe as hundreds protest Al Jazeera
Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the southern Syrian towns of Daraa and Nawa as the United Nations’ human rights chief called for a probe into a weekend crackdown which left six people dead. Daraa, the capital of Daraa governate, has been the site of unprecedented protests since Friday, with demonstrators demanding the end of the government of Bashar al-Assad, the president. “Around 1,000 protesters gathered in and around the Omari mosque shouting anti-regime slogans, amid a heavy security and army presence,” an activist in Daraa, who wished to remain anonymous, said. The activist said the protesters in the town, a traditional home to large tribal families, had formed a human shield around the mosque on Tuesday to prevent security forces from approaching it. An AFP photographer and videographer in Daraa, located 100km south of Damascus, the capital, said their car was stopped in the old town and they were beaten by security forces, who seized their equipment.
100,000 people pressure Apple to shut down ‘Gay Cure’ app Mashable
More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Apple to remove an app from the iTunes store that was created by an anti-gay Christian organization. Exodus International, which according to its website has ministries that “provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality,” released the app on February 15. The app has a 4+ approval rating from the Apple app store, and the organization is quick to point out that this rating is reserved for those apps that “contain no objectionable material.” Gay rights activists obviously disagree. “No objectionable content? We beg to differ,” reads the Change.org petition that was started by non-profit LBGT advocacy organization Truth Wins Out. “Exodus’ message is hateful and bigoted. They claim to offer ‘freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ’ and use scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients.”
Judge orders Jobs to answer iTunes questions Reuters
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who is out on medical leave, has been ordered by a federal magistrate to answer questions from plaintiffs’ lawyers in an antitrust lawsuit related to his company’s iTunes business. U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd, based in San Jose, California, ruled that lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the suit may question Jobs for a total of two hours. He issued the ruling on Monday. Apple could appeal the ruling to a district judge, but it would likely have to make a case that the magistrate “made a big mistake,” said Professor David Levine at University of California Hastings College of the Law.
Piracy: are we being conned? Sydney Morning Herald
The entertainment industry has been warning of its impending demise for years. The entertainment industry has been warning of its impending demise for years. Is piracy really sending the entertainment industry broke or are the claimed hundreds of millions of dollars in annual losses and thousands of job cuts just a load of hogwash? The industry is constantly warning of an impending piracy apocalypse but continues to notch up healthy revenues and record box office takings. From bogus figures to highly exaggerated press releases, analysts and academics claim there is no limit to the hyperbole record labels and movie studios will use in their relentless lobbying campaign. With the industry reeling after repeatedly failing to use the courts to force internet providers to penalise illegal downloaders, it is now trying to persuade the government to implement new legislation that would crack down on internet users. But critics say the industry isn’t playing fair and should refresh its business model for the digital age instead of stretching the truth in order to scare the government into implementing knee-jerk legislation.
Play.com warns of customer e-mail security breach BBC
Play.com has warned its customers to “be vigilant” after a security breach led to some personal information being compromised. The retailer, which sells music, videos and games, blamed another company that it employs to do marketing. It said that no payment details were stolen, but asked users to beware of spam e-mails containing harmful links. The company has apologised saying it had “taken every step to make sure this doesn’t happen again”.
Apple Claims Amazon.com Improperly Using ‘App Store’ Trademark Bloomberg News
Apple Inc. sued Amazon.com Inc., saying the online retailer is using Apple’s “App Store” trademark for a mobile-software developer program. Apple, in a complaint filed March 18 in federal court in northern California, accused Amazon.com of trademark infringement and unfair competition and asked for a judge’s order to prevent the company from using the “App Store” name, as well as for unspecified damages. “Amazon has begun improperly using Apple’s App Store mark in connection with Amazon’s mobile-software developer program,” Apple said in the complaint. Amazon also plans to use the name with a mobile-software download service, the complaint states.
High Court Won’t Review Eminem Royalties Case Court House News
Eminem’s record label failed to convince the Supreme Court on Monday to review a ruling that granted producers affiliated with the rapper significantly higher royalties on songs and albums downloaded from Apple’s iTunes store. The 9th Circuit ruled in September that Universal Music Group’s Aftermath Records had underpaid Em2M LLC and FBT Productions in royalties on Eminem’s downloaded music. FBT had signed Marshall Mathers III, professionally known as Eminem, in 1995 and transferred its exclusive rights to his recordings to Aftermath three years later. Under the transfer agreement, FBT would receive royalties of 12 to 20 percent on the adjusted retail price of all full records sold and 50 percent on licensed master recordings.
Lord Sugar to ‘cure or kill’ YouView Telegraph
Lord Sugar has been hired by the BBC and the other major broadcasters, to “cure or kill” off YouView, the ailing internet-connected set top box venture, according to sources. Lord Sugar has only been in the job of non-executive chairman for two weeks, but has already created a stir with his “hands-on” approach at the 150-strong company based in the BBC’s offices. According to several senior TV executives close to the venture, Lord Sugar has been brought on to “cut throught the nonsense” and get the self-styled “next generation of Freeview”, which has been blighted by persistent delays and cost the BBC approximately £6 million to date, on the shelves on time without incurring any further delay.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
Net access blocked by government restrictions? Use Psiphon from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Go here for details.