Posts Tagged: "Internet"

What the Patent Office Refuses to Understand

This new post-prosecution pilot program feels a lot like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. Unless and until the Patent Office does something about recalcitrant patent examiners this effort may wind up being much ado about nothing… If you look at Art Unit 3622, which handles applications dealing with incentive programs and coupons, and compare it with Art Unit 3688 and Art Unit 3682, both of which also handle patent applications relating to incentive programs and coupons, you see the same alarming trend. These three Art Units that handle the same type of patent application yet have allowance rates of 9.5%, 29.2% and 63.2%. Something seems seriously wrong and is screaming for investigation.

Internet retail juggernaut Amazon.com increases dominance of consumer electronics

The Internet retail juggernaut that is Amazon.com continues to get stronger and it’s doing so in a way that should worry other players in the consumer electronics sector. In late June, a Deutsche Bank analyst note was issued pointing out the magnitude of Amazon’s increased dominance of consumer electronics. In 2015 there was an increase of $5.6 billion in the consumer electronics sector and Amazon was responsible for $5.1 billion of that increase. That corresponds to a 90 percent share of the 2015 increase in the consumer electronics sector. Deutsche Bank’s Mike Baker also noted that Amazon now commands a 17 percent share of the consumer electronics market, which puts them in second-place behind only Best Buy

Facebook’s suicide prevention tools are a useful step towards protecting mental health

In an attempt to use the forces of social media for good, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) announced in the middle of June that it would be rolling out suicide prevention tools to users all over the world. The tools have been developed in partnership with the suicide prevention groups Forefront, Save.org and Lifeline. The tools allow Facebook users who see a disturbing post from another user to quickly flag that post for review by a global community operations team. When the user who posted the flagged content signs back into Facebook, he or she is presented with a menu of choices which include the option to talk to a friend, contact a hotline, receive suggestions for self-support or simply to skip directly to their Facebook feed.

2016 Internet Policy Platform repeats some net neutrality bad habits

There has been a rising tide of voices seeking to ensure that the Internet remains open to alternative viewpoints with easy access to all for years to come. In recent years, these groups have sought political avenues for ensuring that their ideals become the law of the land. For instance, many thousands of American citizens have supported net neutrality rules implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), rules which have recently been upheld by a federal appellate court this June. Now, a consortium of civil rights and open technology groups are trying to make open Internet concepts an issue on the political trail leading up to the election of the next U.S. President.

Clinton tech agenda supports STEM education, infrastructure upgrades for Internet access

Clinton’s tech agenda revolves around five main points that she hopes will lead to American dominance in research and development as well as overall innovation. First, she’s pledged to devote resources to educational innovations that will position U.S. workers well for the well-paying tech jobs of today and the near future. Second, she’s pushing for major infrastructure upgrades that she argues will bring broadband Internet access to a much wider audience. Her third point focuses on protecting American tech export interests to countries abroad. Her fourth agenda point discusses a framework by which concepts of the open Internet as well as personal privacy can be balanced. Finally, her fifth point hones in on the ways that technology can make government agencies more efficient and effective.

FCC’s Tom Wheeler looks to extend his chokehold on ISPs with broadband privacy rules

ISPs have increasingly come under the focus of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the agency’s chairman, Tom Wheeler. The FCC is fresh from a major victory on its net neutrality rules which were recently upheld by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. That victory has now placed some momentum on data privacy rules proposed this March by the FCC, rules which would further protect ISP consumers by ensuring that their ISP sees as little of their data as possible. Some industry analysts believe that the FCC will continue to take action, the proposed broadband privacy rules being one part of that action. Other rules proposed by the FCC would open up set-top boxes to third-party cable providers as well as prevent zero-rating of data services, which allows consumers to access dedicated apps without being charged for data.

Questions linger on Twitter’s plans to incorporate SoundCloud after $70 million investment

The recent Twitter investment has much to do with the SoundCloud Go premium subscription service launched in late March of this year. The premium service, which costs $9.99 per month, gives users ad-free access to 125 million songs available from 12 million creators. The service also enables offline listening of tracks and access to the SoundCloud music database on mobile or personal computer platforms. There have been questions by analysts regarding how Twitter plans to incorporate SoundCloud profitably into its own social media platform. One major issue for the social media company is its current inability to increase the pace of users on its platform.

Capitol Records v. Vimeo: Courts Should Stop Coddling Bad Actors in Copyright Cases

Just how much knowledge about piracy on its system does an online service provider need before it loses its safe harbor protection, which severely limits its potential liability for copyright infringement, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)? In Capitol Records v. Vimeo, the Second Circuit sets the bar very high, further blurring one of most important lines in copyright law—the line between actual and red flag knowledge—and protecting a not-so-innocent service provider in the process. Worse still, the Second Circuit leaves copyright owners with little chance of a remedy in the face of rampant piracy, even against a service provider that welcomes the infringement.

Appellate court upholds net neutrality rules that will hurt U.S. consumer, stagnate Internet innovation

The reason why net neutrality came up in the American political discourse in late 2014 has much to do with paid prioritization. Paid prioritization is an agreement in which a broadband service provider negotiates an arrangement with a content provider that results in the content provider being given priority access at congested Internet nodes. The Obama administration came out strongly on the topic of paid prioritization, calling for it to be explicitly banned by the FCC. The White House also called for rules preventing ISPs from blocking content or intentionally throttling any kind of data transmission. By the end of September 2014, the FCC had received 3.7 million public comments on the subject of net neutrality.

Social media giants will have issues banning hate speech

Recently, some major American tech companies operating across the globe have publicly announced their agreement to a code of conduct developed by the European Commission and designed to “combat the illegal spread of hate speech online in Europe.” The code of conduct, to which these tech companies have promised the European Commission their online services will adhere, stipulates that the companies have to establish a couple of processes that target the elimination of hate speech.

FCC spectrum auction gets underway, seeks to clear 126 MHz for wireless mobile development

The incentive auction being conducted by the FCC is a two-part process. First, at the end of May, the agency began conducting a reverse auction which sought 126 MHz of relinquished broadcast spectrum rights. In this auction, the FCC offered payment to multiple sellers for relinquishing spectrum and reduced its offer incrementally. A selling price in such an auction is reached when enough prospective sellers drop out as the offered payment is dropped. The second phase of the spectrum auction is a forward auction offering new 600 MHz band flexible-use licenses to broadband providers.

Getty Images targets Google’s image search in EU by filing competition complaint

Google, the Internet software and services arm of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAG:GOOGL), offers a tremendously valuable portal to the wider Internet through its flagship search engine service. One of the more popular aspects of Google’s search engine is the image search features; as of July 2010, Google’s image search was delivering one billion pageviews per day to the company and 10…

Poor management at Facebook leads to allegations of de facto censorship for some conservatives

News that Facebook engaged in suppressing content from conservative groups was first reported by Gizmodo in early May. The online publication reported comments from former Facebook workers who said they were instructed to prevent stories on conservative figures and major conservative events like CPAC from appearing in the website’s Trending News section. Since that news hit, individual Facebook users and organizations alike have come out saying that they had posts banned for no better reason than the fact that they expressed a conservative point of view.

Facebook advertising revenue jumps on mobile advertising revenue surge

Facebook’s mobile advertising numbers were so good that its entire advertising revenue stream surged ahead 57 percent when compared with 2015’s first quarter, up from $3.31 billion to $5.2 billion. Advertising is the major chunk of Facebook’s revenues and the company’s $5.38 billion first quarter revenues were 50 percent greater than its revenues during 2015’s first quarter. It’s also interesting to note that Facebook has increased quarterly research and development expenditures to $1.34 billion in 2016’s first quarter, up from $1.06 billion during last year’s first quarter. Since the beginning of this year, Facebook has received 13 patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office related to advertising; the company has also had another 32 patent applications related to ads published so far this year. A look at the text cluster, made available through Innography’s patent portfolio analysis tools, shows readers that Facebook is designing ad services incorporating social graphs, targeting criteria and media content.

Facebook struggles to stop network use for illicit weapons sales, kidnapping and extortion

America is a leading exporter of not only weapons but also social media services and at least one major provider is finding itself caught in the crosshairs, so to speak. Menlo Park, CA-based Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been singled out in the past for its role in serving as a platform where individuals can conduct illicit sales of firearms. In January 2016, the company announced that private gun sales would be banned on both the flagship social network as well as Instagram, although the ban did not apply to licensed gun dealers conducting sales off of Facebook. It doesn’t appear that those private gun sale bans have had much in the way of any actual effect, unfortunately.

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