Backspace: 5 March to 12 March
This week this blog covered several important stories and raised a number of interesting issues:
- Google continued its attempts to capture the Chinese search engine market (as rumours circulated that China was contemplating creating its own internet), settled its lawsuit against Lane’s Gifts, and saw a new competitor, in Microsoft, enter the search engine business. This blog also asked these questions about Google: Can Google commit libel through its search engine results? What are the the potential privacy implications of Google’s Desktop Search software? Does Google’s image search constitute a breach of US copyright laws? We also saw inside the Googleplex.
- Russia was warned that its chances of joining the World Trade Organization this year will fade if the government pushes ahead with new legislation on intellectual property rights
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation started its fight against charging a fee for email, and the New York Times weighed in on the debate by posing the question "Are consumers going to start having to spend a lot more to surf the Web?.
- Privacy concerns about e-commerce surfaced this week with the news that customers of the online payments service iBill had had their personal information released onto the internet.
- Australia was found to be lagging behind other developed nations in terms of broadband internet speed, yet in Great Britain people spend more time on the internet than watching television.
- The Browser from Business 2.0 Magazine reported on a scary reminder of the bubble years, criticism of Microsoft's Origami, how an Intel demo turned into a shouting match, and how a Google acquisition could challenge Microsoft Word.
- Some of the complexities of e-voting were seen in litigation in North Carolina.
- As the US Department of Justice launched in inquiry into allegations of price fixing by top music labels on their charges for digital downloading, other options were being considered around the world. A new online music service aims to offer CDs for $US1 ($1.35) by letting members trade used physical discs and France considered whether to legalise peer-to-peer file-sharing through scheme that allowed internet users to download as much as they want as long they paid a small monthly fee. Meanwhile, it was reported that “radio podcasting is rapidly moving from the realm of hip and hype into serious media”.
- A report by Symantec found that cyber-criminals are focusing less on destroying data and increasingly on attacks designed to silently steal data for profit.
- eBay removed from its website an advertisement for a 1982 BMW that was advertised as once belonging to one of the gunmen in the Columbine High School killings, only to see the seller set up a personal website to solicit bids on the car at http://www.buykleboldsbmw.com/.
- A story involving threats made on a MySpace.com website provoked this question: Is the internet a safe place for children?
- Blackberry settled its patent infringement lawsuit filed by NTP
- Content regulation in China, a theme considered in this blog last week, resurfaced as Microsoft denied that it had any involvement in the arrest of a Chinese journalist on subversion charges. Some of the inherent difficulties in content regulation also made news this week.
- Tuesday’s Australian IT liftout reported on e-healthcare, Google’s profit projections and research by Seccom Networks that suggests up to a third of companies are having information taken from their computers by adware or spyware.
- Finally, these questions about blogs were asked: Why do people read blogs? When bloggers comment on issues, should they disclose any potential conflicts of interest? Who should profit from a blog?