Internet and Society News -- 051110

"Can I Quit Now?"



COMPETITION

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Antitrust suit against NWA reinstated



A federal appeals court Wednesday reinstated a lawsuit by Spirit Airlines
accusing Northwest Airlines of using predatory pricing to drive its smaller
rival out of the market for routes from Detroit to Boston and Philadelphia.








Antitrust Office May Reject Takeover of Bratislava Airport by Vienna



The Slovak Transport Ministry confirmed on Monday the existence of a letter
sent by the Antitrust Office in April 2005 regarding airport privatization. In
this letter, the Antitrust Office expresses its objections towards a possible
takeover of Bratislava Airport by Vienna Airport due to their geographic
proximity. The Antitrust Office warns that it would be problematic to pick a
strategic partner for Bratislava airport, who is directly or indirectly, by
capital or personally, interconnected with a business entity controlling Vienna
Airport, since this would mean a connection of two very close airports, reads
the letter.










When deleting data is not enough



Maintaining privacy in the digital era requires work on many fronts, but one
basic measure is easily overlooked: proper data destruction.









$10.6B Yahoo Bid for AOL Fails



Google, Microsoft stay in bidding for Time Warner's web portal. Time Warner has rejected Yahoo's offer to buy an 80 percent
stake in America Online for $10.6 billion in stock, and is mulling over
competing bids from Google and Microsoft with a decision expected next week,
according to a report published Thursday. Chairman Richard Parsons turned down
Yahoo CEO Terry Semel's offer, which amounted to 20 percent of Yahoo's shares,
the Wall Street Journal reported. With Yahoo's market cap at about $53.2
billion, 20 percent is worth just over $10.6 billion.














MARKETS

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Online music hits a crescendo



AOL buys MusicNow service, MySpace starts a record label and Napster gets a
boost from Samsung.








Singin' the Blus



Sony's high-capacity DVD technology is likely to trump Toshiba's. THE battle
over which technology will be used for a new era of information-rich DVDs is
starting to lean heavily in favour of Sony's Blu-ray standard. This is bad news
for Toshiba, which champions an alternative, also based on blue-laser
technology, called HD-DVD. In recent weeks two big Hollywood studios, Warner
Brothers and Paramount, that had previously plumped exclusively for HD-DVD have
agreed to support Blu-ray as well—citing Blu-ray's wide support and strong
copyright-protection mechanisms. That leaves only Universal Studios solely
committed to HD-DVD, and even it is expected to adopt Blu-ray in addition. But
several other studios including Columbia Tristar and MGM (both owned by Sony)
and Disney have committed exclusively to Blu-ray.










Google's Tough Call



The search giant must decide how to handle the battle over its latest great
idea: Google Print. This could change the internet as we know it.









Some Technologies Will Annoy



Not all of today's most talked-about technologies of the future will be big
tomorrow. Professional futurists share their thoughts on which are likely to
flop or under-deliver.









Microsoft to Buy VoIP Company



Expanding its move into the online telephone business, Microsoft said it has
agreed to buy media-streams.com, a 23-person company in Zurich, Switzerland,
that makes programs that work with Voice over Internet Protocol technology.
Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.










AMD surpasses Intel in U.S. retail stores



Store sales of Advanced Micro Devices chips outpaced those of industry giant
Intel chips in October, researcher says.










Geac agrees to $1 billion takeover



Following a proxy battle, Canadian software company will be bought by U.S.
private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital.










HP, Sun take different paths with thin clients



Server-based thin clients and rack-mounted blade PCs are both designed to
centralize desktop systems management and reduce support needs. But vendors such
as HP and Sun, as well as users, part company over which is the better approach
for IT managers.









Opening the door on a CD-less music label



Warner's all-digital label is run by the man who discovered The Doors. Now he
hopes to pioneer a new kind of record business.









Firefox beta out of the foxhole



Browser's test version offers such features as automatic updates and
improvements designed to speed browser navigation.









Overcoming Fears of Miró and Picasso



The trick to buying art online is to find a trustworthy seller who will
guarantee authenticity and allow you to return a piece.









Sneaking Ads Into Games



Advertisers hope to reach that elusive demographic -- young men between 18
and 34 -- by slipping a few ads into the video games they like to play.














PETE, YOUR CONSUMER PROTECTION PAL

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Microsoft patches may break Web sites



Web sites that use certain custom applications won't display as expected in
Internet Explorer after installing two Microsoft security updates.








Anti-Piracy Software Study Triggers Uproar



Privacy and security experts charged that the technology built into many of
Sony BMG's music CDs since March is unnecessarily invasive and exposes users to
threats from hackers and virus writers.














INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

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Setback in Court for BlackBerry Maker



A federal judge in Virginia said that it was "highly unlikely" he would delay
a patent case against the maker of the BlackBerry device.









Linux backers form patent-sharing firm



Aiming to avoid royalty disputes, IBM, Sony, Philips, Red Hat and Novell
create a company called Open Invention Network.










Qualcomm Files Lawsuit Against Nokia



Qualcomm Inc. is suing Nokia Corp. for alleged patent infringement, firing
back quickly in a widening dispute over next-generation wireless technologies
one week after Nokia and five other companies filed an antitrust complaint
against Qualcomm in Europe. The suit, filed Friday by Qualcomm in a federal
court in San Diego, charges that Nokia cell phones sold in the United States
infringe on 11 patents for improving wireless Internet access and data
transmission on the dominant cellular standard _ GSM, or Global System for
Mobile.










Grokster Goes Down



In a surprise move, the company settles a piracy lawsuit by taking down its
file-sharing service. A new fee-based version of its software will be available
from a new parent company.








High court won't hear programmer's appeal



He alleged copyright infringement when a former employer altered source code
he had written.














PRIVACY AND INFORMATION SECURITY

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No Fed Security Laws, Hurrah!!



Congress isn't likely to pass tough data-security laws any time soon -- and
that's a good thing, consumer advocates say.








Sony copy protection software raises security, privacy concerns



Sony BMG is using the same techniques as spyware and virus writers to try to
protect unauthorized copying of its music CDs -- a move that has angered some
privacy advocates.









Verizon moves to thwart ID theft by Fla. investigative firm



Verizon Wireless has filed a lawsuit accusing Global Information Group, a
Florida investigative firm, of making thousands of attempts to gather
confidential information without authorization.








FTC Shuts Down Spyware Operation



Outfit Used Unsuspecting Bloggers to Spread its Malicious Code. An operation
that uses the lure of free lyric files, browser upgrades, and ring tones to
download spyware and adware on consumers’ computers has been ordered to halt its
illegal downloads by a U.S. District Court at the request of the Federal Trade
Commission.















OH MY

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History's Worst Software Bugs



Coding errors have sparked explosions, crippled
interplanetary probes -- even killed people. Here's our pick for the 10 worst
bugs ever, but the judging wasn't easy. First of a three-part series by Simson
Garfinkel.















SPANKERS

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Rove's Future Role Is Debated



White House May Seek Fresh Start In Wake of Leak. Top White House aides are
privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that
President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest
political strategist remains in the administration. If Rove stays, which
colleagues say remains his intention, he may at a minimum have to issue a formal
apology for misleading colleagues and the public about his role in conversations
that led to the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, according to senior
Republican sources familiar with White House deliberations.








'Can I quit now?' FEMA chief wrote as Katrina raged



A Louisiana congressman says e-mails written by the government's emergency
response chief as Hurricane Katrina raged show a lack of concern for the
unfolding tragedy and a failure in leadership. Rep. Charlie Melancon, whose
district south of New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane, posted a sampling
of e-mails written by Federal Emergency Management chief Michael Brown on his
Web site on Wednesday.








GOP leaders urge probe into secret prisons leak



Republican congressional leaders said Tuesday they are asking committees to
investigate the possible leak of classified information about secret U.S.
prisons for suspected terrorists overseas. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said the disclosure, first reported last week in
The Washington Post, could damage national security.







IRS Investigates Church Over 2004 Anti - Bush Sermon



The Internal Revenue Service has threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status
of a Los Angeles Episcopal church because a priest implied to parishioners
before the 2004 presidential election that Jesus would not have voted for George
W. Bush. Officials at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena said on Monday
they would fight the IRS action, which is based on regulations forbidding
churches from taking sides in political campaigns if they want to retain their
tax-exempt status.








Judge puts Michigan's video game law on hold



Preliminary injunction prevents Michigan from enforcing a new law aimed at
banning sales of violent video games to minors.










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