Tag: post

Microsoft does not have to share foreign email but Google does

POSTMANPATA US judge has decided that while Microsoft does not have to share email stored on its foreign servers with police and spies, Google will still have to.

A US judge has ordered Google to comply with search warrants seeking customer emails stored outside the United States.

US Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter ruled that transferring emails from a foreign server so FBI agents could review them locally as part of a domestic fraud probe did not qualify as a seizure.

The judge said this was because there was “no meaningful interference” with the account holder’s “possessory interest” in the data sought.

“Though the retrieval of the electronic data by Google from its multiple data centres abroad has the potential for an invasion of privacy, the actual infringement of privacy occurs at the time of disclosure in the United States,” Rueter wrote.

Google said that the magistrate had departed from precedent, and it will appeal the decision.

The ruling came less than seven months after the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said Microsoft Vole could not be forced to turn over emails stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland that U.S. investigators sought in a narcotics case.

The case was watched closely by the EU which was spoiling for a reason to shut the US out of the European cloud business.


Microsoft wins in mail sharing case

POSTMANPATSoftware king of the world Microsoft will not have to share email which is stored on foreign servers.

A federal appeals court refused to reconsider its landmark decision forbidding the US government from forcing Vole and other companies to turn over customer emails stored on servers outside the United States.

It was a close vote by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, but it let stand a July 14 decision that was a victory for privacy advocates, and for technology companies offering cloud computing and other services worldwide.

The dissenting judges said that decision by a three judge panel could hamstring law enforcement, and called on the US Supreme Court or Congress to reverse it.

Peter Carr, a US Department of Justice spokesman, said: “We are reviewing the decision and its multiple dissenting opinions and considering our options.”

Circuit Judge Susan Carney ruled that Microsoft could not be forced to turn over emails sought for a narcotics case, but stored on a server in Dublin.

Carney said the emails were beyond the reach of domestic search warrants issued under the federal Stored Communications Act, a 1986 law.

Microsoft was thought to be the first US company to challenge a domestic search warrant seeking data held outside the country.

The case attracted significant attention from technology and media companies concerned that a ruling for the government could jeopardize the privacy of customers, and make them less likely to use cloud services if they thought data could be seized.

Dozens of technology and media companies backed Vole including Amazon.com, Apple, CNN, Fox News Network and Verizon Communications, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Judges opposed to the ruling said it should not matter where the emails were stored because Microsoft was a US company. They also said the panel did not properly address the challenges that electronic data storage poses for law enforcement.

The judge expressed hope that the panel’s view of the 1986 law “can be rectified as soon as possible by a higher judicial authority or by the Congress.”

Most emails replied to within a day

POSTMANPATBoffins from Yahoo Labs in California and Spain have discovered that most emails are read within minutes of them being sent.

The researchers looked at more than two million users who exchanged 16 billion emails over the course of several months.

Nearly 90 percent of users replied to their emails within a day, with about half responding in around 47 minutes. The most frequently occurring reply time was just two minutes.

Most email replies were very short: between five and 43 words. Just 30 percent of emails went on for 100 words or more.

As email exchanges progressed, replies came faster although many emailers lost steam by the last exchange, possibly because there was nothing left to say. Email length also grew as the conversation progressed. But at the end, the last reply was very short.

Email sent on the weekend or overnight had shorter replies. But emails sent first thing in the morning were rewarded with faster and longer replies, researchers found.

Teens and youngsters answered their emails faster than any other group — taking just 13 minutes on average to fire off a response of about 17 words. More mature users – those over 51 years of age – took an average of 47 minutes and 40 words before pressing send on their replies.

Men jump on their emails slightly faster than women, taking 24 minutes to respond compared to 28 minutes. Both sent an average of about 30 words per email.

Emails sent to phones were replied to faster than those sent to tablets. Email responses from tablets faster were than on desktops which took an average of 62 minutes.

If you send anything with an Email attachments you can expect the reply to take an hour longer.

People bombarded with 100 emails or more per day only bothered answering about five percent of them, compared to a 25 percent average email response rate for people who had smaller in-boxes to manage.

Young emailers – 25 and under – were better at handling the email avalanche. The more emails they got the faster they replied and the shorter messages they sent.

Canadian Post wants to charge for quotes

The Canadian National Post has been making waves online for charging those media groups $150 for quotes they might list from their stories.

However the rag has failed to see its own gross hypocracy as it seeks to charge for stories written by Chris Selley who writes Full Pundit.

Full Pundit is a daily look at Canadian editorial and opinion columns and bases the column on er stuff he found on the internet.

So if you want to post a quote from Selley or anything else written by the National Post, they are now presented with a pop-up box seeking a licence that starts at $150 for the Internet posting of 100 words with an extra fee of 50 cents for each additional word.

So if you want to use this Selley quote which was a quote from John Graham in the Globe on the death of Chavez you have to pay the Post $150 and not the writer.

“Illiteracy has all but disappeared. … Education and free health care are almost universally available. … Improving the quality of life for millions at the bottom levels of society is no small achievement. He also imparted to these millions a sense of dignity about themselves and pride in their leader’s often bombastic rhetoric.”

Now we have not paid either. This is because demands for dosh for using text this way are illegal in most of the known world. To make doubly sure we cut and pasted the quote of the quote from a Michael Geist blog at the Huffington Post. If we are wrong with our legal view point there will be a long line of hacks in front of us.

Our guess is that the National Post is trying it on. Last year, the Federal Court of Canada decided that several paragraphs from a National Post column did not constitute copying a substantial part of the work.

So far the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that copying full articles in some circumstances may be allowed.

What appears to have happened is that the National Post started using iCopyright as its licensing service. But this outfit has printed a fair use statement which claims that fair use may not apply to money making work that may generate revenues, is not highly creative, was available under licence, is something more than a footnote, or is posted to the Web. Geist who is a legal expert says this is rubbish.

We will copy readers in if this copy of a copy of a copy of quote gets a bill from iCopyright. 

Foxconn in bribery scandal

Hon Hai Group Chairman Terry Gou has promised to aggressively investigate claims that Foxconn had been bribing suppliers.

According to the China Post, he has named James Lee, a general manager in charge of ethics and business violations within the group, to look into the situation.

Curiously this is not really news. Lee was informed several months ago that executives on the group’s Surface Mount Technology (SMT) committee had been bribing suppliers for ages.

Informers attached suspicious accounting records to support their accusations, and Lee immediately told Gou. Why it took so long for Gou to order an investigation which Lee had already carried out is anyone’s guess, but the Post said that the new internal investigation could be completed within one or two weeks.

What appears to have happened is that Foxconn has set up several committees to integrate new technologies within its various businesses.

The SMT committee was told to sign contracts for equipment used by the company’s business groups. Apparently it saw its chance to make a bit of cash on the side and took bribes from those suppliers.

So far, upper management has not been named and shamed and it appears to be all Hon Hai procurement executives involved.

That does not mean that Gou is attempting anything like a whitewash. One of the things that really does get his goat is procurement executives with shonky morals, mostly because bribes like this tend to result in the company getting rubbish gear.

Hon Hai said that its supply chain involving Taiwanese businesses in China, its personnel in China, and its business development are normal and have not been affected by the allegations.

The statement said that, based on Gou’s instructions, the company will not only try to find out who was involved and why the bribery occurred, but will also examine its internal practices to prevent the same thing from happening again. 

Google tries to patent the post

While Google has been given a good kicking by the patent troll Apple, it seems that the “do no evil” outfit has been doing some dodgy patenting of its own.

If Google gets to keep Patent 7,996,328 it will effectively own the postal service.

According to the abstract, Google has patented a service which helps customers buy from merchants. A shipper identifies a consignment using a shipment identifier. In the old days this was called addressing the envelope but just has a few modern electronic tags added.

The abstract goes on: “The broker uses the shipment identifier to obtain the status information for the shipment from the shipper. The broker analyses the status information in combination with other information to calculate an estimate of the time that the shipment will arrive at the customer’s address.”

So then the broker sends an electronic message, such as an email or text message, to the customer to tell them when the mail is going to show up. The customer can thus arrange for someone to be at the shipping address to receive the shipment at the estimated arrival time.

We will only really find out if Google is going to be successful with this patent if it uses it against another company. With the battle for the defence of Android, we suspect the outfit is looking for any weapon it can find. 

NSA to shield Google

Google and the shady, ever-so secret National Security Agency (NSA) are forging iron bonds to protect the world’s dominant internet company from the sinister workings of eastern fiends. US newspaper The Washington Post reports both entities are working on an agreement which would aid Google in analysing the recent China-based attacks it suffered.

Google Mail accounts of Chinese dissidents were targeted and hacked a fortnight ago, Google said it would withdraw from China and not censor its search results anymore, ignoring Great Leader’s orders.

NSA sealNeither Google nor None-Such Agency have commented on the report, yet the Washington Post seems to have trustworthy sources close to the proceedings. Apparently both parties are working out how to share data and with each other, without comprimising Google’s policies on the one hand and privacy on the other hand.

Any sharing of data is bound to get privacy advocates up in arms and will garner criticism. Finding a perfect balance between concerns and security is a highly sensitive matter, as any concerns in regards to the anonymity of Google users would damage the company.

An agreement would allow the NSA to cooperate with Google to check for flaws and vulnerabilities and if Google has the proper defenses installed. The NSA would also assess the capabilities of the enemy, helping Google prepare itself for future breaches.