BT Group has confirmed that it is now holding ‘exclusive’ talks with EE and its owners Deutsche Telekom over a possible acquisition. British Telecom Group holds a large number of contracts within the UK and acts as one of the main providers of broadband, TV and phone services to UK households. The once nationalised company employs nearly 90,000 and made £18bn in revenue in 2013 – giving it a primary listing in the FTSE 100 Index.
Have you been pondering about which colour iPhone you’ll want next? Do you think black is in? Well maybe you’ll think differently… Apple is expected to launch a Gold/Champagne iPhone 5S, will you take the plunge? Plus the latest iPhone rumours. Siri gets a bit narked with Glass. As well as Nintendo’s final hurrah. Will you miss Dial Up connections. The buffering awaits…
If you hadn’t heard enough lies, secrets and security bluffs, then hold a moment. It has now been revealed that leading telecommunications firms such as BT and Vodafone, including American Verizon wireless, willingly gave the UK government access to their undersea cables to spy on their customers.
BT and Vodafone handed over information to GCHQ, the UK cyber security centre, regarding users: calls, emails and messages. Some even disclosed Facebook entries; which has now been disclosed in a leaked Edward Snowden document.
The firms gave GCHQ unlimited access to their undersea network of cabling that carries a high percentage of the world’s Internet and phone calls. The Guardian newspaper revealed in June the extent of GCHQ’s ‘snooping’ programme. The project, code and Tempora, allowed them to hack into the fibre optic cables of users phone and broadband lines and store details for up to 30 days. This had been running for 20 months.
Germany’s Süddeutsche newspaper said they had received copies of the top secret PowerPoint that had detailed the firms working exclusively with GCHQ – to help access user data. The documents revealed the identity of firms and related to them in covert names such as: BT (“Remedy”), Verizon Business (“Dacron”), and Vodafone Cable (“Gerontic”). The other firms include Global Crossing (“Pinnage”), Level 3 (“Little”), Viatel (“Vitreous”) and Interoute (“Streetcar”).
It has been known that GCHQ had been tapping data for a long time. They’ve had nearly five years to do so. The security centre not only has a central location but places stations in Cornwall and other coastal resides where the transatlantic cables surface. Allowing them to tap into the Internet of millions and collect metadata as well as easily working with agencies in America, such as the NSA. It was known that GCHQ handles up to 600 million “telephone events” and throughout the 200 fibre optic networks available in the UK – GCHQ can be reading up to 46 at a time.
I say ‘reading’ because it seems that is all it is for these agencies. Now with the information generation it is obviously extremely easy to be watched or be the one watching and governments can’t resist. That said these companies will undoubtedly get stick from campaigners but they inevitably had no choice. In compliance with the 1984 Telecommunications Act, there wasn’t any choice. Although the mass censoring, mass snooping of citizens could arouse debate, but there needs to be a base level of control to ensure protection of lives remains key. What do you think? Is privacy something we have to give up for a safer society? Or are governments snooping in places they shouldn’t?
Online internet pornography is the taboo subject of society today, it brings millions of pounds in revenue and is a increasing market – but today it is becoming less and less acceptable for porn to be part of our society.
From 2014 all ISP’s in the UK will be implementing a filter to protect against online pornography and users will have to opt out rather than in.
This move means anybody in the UK may have parental controls to set the limit of what content they can see online implemented by the UK government and has been hinted at by David Cameron’s PM advisors. David Cameron was reported in the Daily Mail to be concerned at the level of online pornography and has now come under pressure to tackle the issue but would be directly fighting against members of the Conservative party who oppose tighter state control. The PM was worried about his children and if they were to ‘grab the iPad’ and gain access to online ‘filth’.
The announcement was made on the Westminster eForum on Friday following a statement by MP’s:
“Britain will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world, bar none.”
ISP’s are set to bring in time deactivated filtering and email update changes to settings to allow for a flexible filter system. The government was expected to force ISP’s to block porn and public hot spots wont be immune either. Many campaigns have previously tried to implement blocks and this is the governments next step at improving online safety.
Free Internet activists are not too happy at the outcome and feel the internet may become the next battleground for child protection – nevertheless 70% of Britons want Google to begin blocking online porn in attempt to safe guard society. TalkTalk has forced users to decide if they wanted access to pornographic content since 2012.
Activists and MP’s have said the move won’t go far enough, and its true. The new filtering will not prevent pornography filmed by users and shared on peer to peer sites being widely available. The Internet is anonymous and efficient and it will be hard for the government to control this. Google JD ISPs will be meeting later this month to discuss child sexual exploitation. Google will be launching next year a system which will block out child abuse pictures that are flagged by international organisations.
With Internet censorship being on the cards at the moment it is very topical for the government to take the moral high ground. But how far will Internet filtering go, it is a necessity to block illegal content but let’s not hope the victim becomes a victim of state control.
UPDATE 15:00: UK ISPs have rejected calls by David Cameron’s adviser to set blocks as default following discussions.
Patent litigation and the battles between super companies have plagued the innovation market for years. In recent months the likes of Google, Apple, Samsung, and Facebook have been subject to childish flings – fighting for the ‘rights’ to own their own intellectual property.
Nevertheless the ongoing battles between the tech giants has caused riffs between communities, users and lawyers. Patents have existed since 500BC when Greek in the city of Sybaris:
“Encouragement was held out to all who should discover any new refinement in luxury, the profits arising from which were secured to the inventor by patent for the space of a year.”
Yet I believe the original intentions and use for patents have been clouded and twisted by companies for financial gain. Today the worry is not merely that a design or invention could be stolen or reused but that market share and profit margins are threatened by similar products. The implementation of patent laws have changed in the last millennium since the Greeks first thought of the idea, at the time no market or competition existed between commercial companies and the frequency of patent applicants would undoubtedly be lower than it is today. Patents today are filed more commonly, financial law and intellectual property solicitors are becoming lucrative business – it seems that everyday a new claim has been made against another company claiming to have “infringed” a patent.
Only this week has Google sued BT over suspected patent infringements – and the laughing matter is, they aren’t even Google’s patents. Their acquisition of Motorola in 2011 led to them gaining nearly 17,000 awarded patents and 7,500 pending patents filed by the start up company. This is a prime example of legal dominance and interference in a market, Google has sought to claim infringement on patents relating to file sharing over the Internet. Ironically again Motorola bought these 4 patents in question from IBM and Fujitisu. Google acquired Motorola for $12.5bn back in 2011 and swiftly after BT issued a patent infringement claim against Google in the Delware lawsuit. Tit-for-tat lawsuits such as these have been seen as tactical play for dominance by large technology companies. Their main goal to claim market share and profit margins. Its obvious when only 5,462 were filed at the height of the technology boom in 2000, but more than 14,200 were submitted last year alone.
Apple and Samsung have been locked in a “patent – war” since the release of the Galaxy S in 2010. Late Co-founder Steve Jobs was prolific for design and perfection his creations and epitome of the “liberal arts” and “humanities” Apple stood for. Yet his outrage at the lookalike release of the Galaxy S fell on deaf ears in the Samsung executive offices and Apples patent case with Samsung continues to this date. As well as the later case against Google for the infringement of Android, Apple would tear the supply chain between Samsung as Apples main iPhone chip supplier. These battles haven’t gone unnoticed by the consumers who buy the end products:
Despite attempts at reform, the patent system is such a mess that the only way to save it is to destroy it
Neither party in these cases can possibly benefit from the financial cost and implications evolved. Which is why patents wars such as these can only be out down to pure greed and scare tactics. Patents battles are only providing a negative outlook on the technology industry, Apple itself once seen as a rebel in the industry, with its radial designs and ideas, has become and enforcer of legal garb. Future start-up company’s and inventors will look twice before developing any product in the future and possibly not at all. This is why patents and their misuse are shackling the creativity of inventors and like minded people. Such a thing should not be accepted in the 21st century, with the resemblance of institutional bullying. Patents exist to protect ideas, forcing others to provide new theories and answers to life long problems. Companies should focus on improving a more open society and nurturing new inventions. Yet their inherent opposite has occurred and without and serious consultation regarding the use of patents we risk alienating new technologies.