Tag: rupert murdoch

Murdoch forces worldwide Microsoft Skydrive rebranding

Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB has successfully legalled Microsoft into dropping the name of its cloud service, SkyDrive, over a trademark dispute.

BSkyB runs ‘the Cloud’, a free wi-fi network with hotspots all over the UK. During the case, Sky complained members of the public could find the branding of ‘SkyDrive’ – the cloud storage product – with the British ‘Sky’ brand. Some respondents said “Anything with Sky in seems to remind me of Rupert Murdoch and I don’t like him”, while another said “It’s just SkyDrive so I would assume it is something to do with Sky the company”.

Ultimately BSkyB laid out the more convincing case and Microsoft was ruled against. Sky was only looking to prevent SkyDrive from using that name in Europe, but Microsoft, instead of appealing, has decided it will rebrand the service globally.

In a statement, Microsoft said through its teeth: “We’re glad to have resolution of this naming dispute and will continue to deliver the great service our hundreds of millions of customers expect, providing the best way to always have your files with you”.

BSkyB said it was pleased Microsoft agreed not to appeal the trademark infringement judgment.

Several years ago, BSkyB ordered a VoIP company, Cloudnet Telecommunications, to change its name. BSkyB was furious because Cloudnet was getting better placement on search engines, like Google, and accused the company of trying to pass itself off as the hotspot supplier. It was forced to change its name from Cloudnet to Birchills Telecom.

In another case, the Independent reports, BSkyB took a US company to court over the ‘Sky’ pen – now known to us as Livescribe.

Murdoch’s Revenge?
TechEye hears Sun Microsystems once tried to sue the Sun for similar reasons.

Hacker reveals Miss Scotland hopefuls

Remember when hackers changed The Sun’s online lead story to a yarn about Rupert Murdoch dropping dead? News Group claims they took user data with them too.

News International’s customer data director, Chris Duncan, warned thousands of people that “some customer information from competitions and polls was breached,” writes the Guardian. He told users that no financial or password information had been compromised.

Among the breached data was the Miss Scotland contestant list, as well as a football competition sponsored by Wrigleys. 

Some details have been leaked to Pastebin, including a statement from someone identified only as Batteye. Batteye doesn’t appear related to LulzSec or Anonymous – but then, even LulzSec or Anonymous are not really related to LulzSec or Anonymous. 

The statement welcomes breaching corporate websites to expose how poorly cared-for customer information can be. It ends: “We will begin today be presenting to you, various files obtained from The Sun, a company within the News Corp group. We will continue, then, by exposing the world for what it is; a less than perfect place where we cannot trust those who we ask to protect our information.

“We will continue, until the list has been exhausted, or until the world and man kind realises that we must change how we go on.”

There's better ways to dispose of data than putting laptop in bin

Should anyone who works or worked for News Corp want to destroy data for any reason, they would be better off burning and bashing at a hard drive rather than dropping the electronics in a nearby bin. 

The former chief executive at News International, Rebekah Brooks, who was arrested on Sunday, had a laptop found in a bin near her home. It has been suggested a cleaner thought it was rubbish and accidentally placed the device in the bin, while husband Charlie looked for it with a team of builders.

We have approached a number of experts in cyber security and hard drive data on the best way to dispose of data. 

According to Tom Rattray at Tierra Data’s voicemail, the sure fire way to keep a hard drive’s contents secret means battering the platters.

Mr Rattray told TechEye: “It’s all about perception. To make sure no information is ever retrieved from the hard disk you need to take it out and destroy the platters. This can be done by bashing them out but this is a very public thing to do and it will be noticed.”

“Another thing to do is overwrite every byte of the hard drive through adding more code.”

He tells us: “Let’s say a laptop owner hadn’t done any of the above. Yes, you would need a password and username to get into the PC but that’s easy, and even if he or she had encryption the password probably could have been found on the hard drive anyway.

“If he or she had deleted the files and emptied the recyle bin then of course this could have been recovered, and you don’t need paid-for software to do this, there is lots of open source software that’s available.

“To sum it up you need to destroy the platters in a hard drive to ensure people can’t get to your data.”

Theoretically speaking, if, instead of putting your device in the bin or bashing a hard drive platter off with rocks, there are other ways.

Raj Samani, CTO for EMEA at McAfee, tells TechEye: “If you have super sensitive data there are other options to obliterate the hard drive in a furnace by melting it down and rebuilding it up again.”

However, there are less radical methods for wiping data.

“A recent survey showed that PCs on eBay and those sent away to foreign countries had in fact still contained banking information of celebrities as well as that of the public. These PCs had apparently been cleared by so called hard drive deletion companies,” he told us.

“In order to ensure your information is deleted or kept safe properly there are a few things to consider. Firstly just relying on the password and username isn’t enough. Also, hitting delete and emptying the recycling bin isn’t going to help.

“A lot of systems now have encryption, which goes someway to making a PC and data on a hard drive secure as you can set it to scrub data if passwords are entered wrong after a certain number of times. 

“Companies out there also offer to securely scrub your PC’s hard drive through software. 

“When I wiped my data I used software and then did it again with another piece just to be sure. It comes down to how much of a risk you’re willing to take.

“Another thing to consider is what the device is.

“10,000 mobile phones are stolen in London each month according to the Met Police and there could be data on that, similarly with paper files as well as USB sticks.

“It’s important to secure any device you have. Not just to delete your hard drive.”

* Meanwhile, Sabu, of LulzSec, claims the password to Rebakah Brooks’ News International email account was the same as The Sun’s tip-off line, according to JGC.org, highlighting the importance of a secure password.

Rupert Murdoch alive and well despite Sun hack

The buzz at Wapping is that there’s only one thing that will take the phone hacking scandal off the front pages, and that would be the death of either Margaret Thatcher, the Queen, or both.

But the death of Rupert Murdoch would also change the nature of the game and last night hacker outfit Lulz re-engineered the front page of the Sun to report that he had been found dead in his garden.

He wasn’t found dead in his garden and instead will give evidence to a committee in the House of Commons today, along with his son James Murdoch and ginger-haired hackette Rebekah Brooks.

MPs, long the target of tabloid journalists, will have their chance to get their own back today by asking difficult questions of Murdoch, Murdoch and Brooks.

Meanwhile, David Cameron is scooting back from a trade visit to South Africa to show that while two senior coppers and Rebekah Wade has resigned, he has no intention of doing so himself.

The Sun hacked amidst NOTW whistleblower mystery death

Visitors to The Sun, or The Current Bun, will have noticed something bizarre while trying to fill their heads with the paper’s reaction to Sean Hoare’s mystery death.

Could it be the disbanded LulzSec? Anonymous? SwagSec? MurdochSec? MurdochSex? Whoever it is, the front page has automatically been redirecting to the URL new-times.co.uk. Here’s a screen grab of the faux article:

The page now displays an error.

First confirmed sighting of iPad 2 in the wild

It appears that a working model of the hotly anticipated successor to the iPad has been spotted during the launch of the Murdoch-backed iPad rag The Daily.

There have been rumours circulating for some time about what form the iPad 2 will take and when it will grace us with its presence, with the latest guess being that the new tablet device will be announced in the next couple of months.

So far all that is known about what the much hyped iPad 2 will feature is the addition of the widely discussed front-facing camera, which seems about as much of a revolutionary ‘game-changer’ as when Gillette added a fourth blade to its flagship razor.

According to Reuters’ sources, which confirmed the existence of the new model, there are of course likely to be more improvements when finally released.

However with a raft of impressive tablets being released this year Apple may have to pull off something a lot more spectacular than a new camera if it is seeking to replicate the success of the all conquering original incarnation, which accounted for a staggering $8 billion in sales last year.

Google and Apple go at it on the future of news

The war on the future of news reporting continues to find its place on the digital battleground with Apple and Murdoch signing on for a not-so-civil partnership. Google has been testing the waters in Italy with a pay-as-you-go paywall for some time now – but according to reports it has been stepping up its game against Apple, saying: “Hey, we’ve got mobile devices too!”

Google is doing the rounds trying to nick and create new partners for its own “digital newsstand,” reports the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.  The WSJ suggests Google is “chasing Apple” which already has a slew of titles available for its costly thin rectangle, the iPad, but the truth is sales have been slipping over 2010. Both rags and mags were hit. 

Details of Google’s foray into the world of printed news are thin on the ground. In fact, some speaking to the WSJ have doubts it’ll appear at all. We’d be surprised. A monopoly on the news is a valuable thing and already publishers are chasing their own tails in search of extra hits from Google’s engine and that mysteriously coded algorithm behind news dot google. 

Apple is about to refurbish iTunes‘ back-end to give an enticing helping hand to publishers who have been on the fence about signing up.

It wants to make selling publications and subscriptions over iTunes easier while it will also discretely take in data about consumer buying habits. It wants to share purchase data about publisher’s apps and flog that on to the publishing houses themselves. It’ll have a 30 percent take on subscriptions. 

Whether Apple, Google or a seperate third party take the biscuit with wooing publishers one thing is for certain – it is dangerous territory. Publishers and editors must think of their readers first, and take a stand against the changing agenda of news as dictated by the pushers of products. You wouldn’t let a paper mill run its press releases on the front pages – so why Google, or Apple? 

Really, tablets are a means to an end. But many, including the Financial TImes’ web editor, don’t agree. Robert Shrimsley said late last year: “Apple’s power as a distributor is something we will have to get used to.”

It’s all about tablet computing, according to the manufacturers of tablet computers. They want you to believe it’s a tactile and fun way to read a newspaper without smudging ink over your fingers, and a fresh take on looking at the news. High definition photos, embedded video, etc.

Apple is, obviously, way ahead of the game with the success of the iPad but – as we’ve said before – every electronics manufacturer wants their slate in your home. 

There have been tests into reading habits on tablets and e-readers compared to books and papers. It turns out reading on a shiny, handheld screen marks well on enjoyment. But reading on a screen rather than paper has its downsides – the reader is more likely to scan paragraphs instead of letting it all sink in. Not a bad thing depending on your paper of choice.

Check out Leah Borromeo’s column for us in November 2010. She suggests that the case isn’t that there’s an Apple bias in the media, it’s that “Apple has managed to get the media to buy into the ideal of the Apple.” 

Is the iPad, or Google’s alternative Android offerings, or any other tablet, really the be all and end all of news publishing? Probably not. The internet still hasn’t killed the newspaper.

Or the film industry.

Or the music industry.

It has been something which must be adapted to and worked alongside traditional means and we imagine tablets will be no different. 

*EyeSee First spectacularly shameless plug of 2011 goes to the Wall Street Journal, which, ahem, slates the competition in one paragraph and whores itself in the next.

“Some companies already offer subscriptions through iTunes, but they have largely cobbled them together,” it begins. “Newsweek sells 12 and 24 week subscriptions to the iPad editiong, though Apple handles the transaction and Newsweek doesn’t know who the subscribers are.” 

“The Wall Street Journal sells iPad subscriptions for $3.99 a week.”

Church of England attacks News Corp over BSkyB bid

A fight of truly epic proportions erupted today as the forces of… something or other gather to stop the takeover of the British media from Rupert Murdoch.

The Church of England is the latest in a line of organisations that is making a stand for the sacred values of impartiality and objectivity that are fast ebbing away, while Rupert Murdoch risks the wrath of the Almighty by aiming to unite the country’s media under his rule. 

Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester, a media spokesperson for the CoE, denounced the behaviour of News Corp, claiming that a takeover would mean a serious conflict of interests amongst news suppliers in the UK.

“A News Corporation in full control of BSkyB would combine one of the three significant suppliers of TV news (BBC, ITN and BSkyB), one of the two suppliers of radio news (BBC, BSkyB) and the group with the biggest market share of national press in the UK. It would dominate both the television and newspaper landscape,” said McCulloch.

The statement follows an outcry from a number of organisations, with the BBC, British Telecom and newspapers signing a letter to the Business Secretary, arch-angel Cable, in the hope that he may yet smite down the denizens of News Corp before it is too late.

“Many critics of the bid have highlighted the potential dangers to the integrity of Sky News,” added McCulloch. “If BSkyB comes under the full control of News Corporation…the fear is that even though Sky News would still have to abide by requirements for due impartiality, there would always be the potential for the exercise of subtle editorial influence, not least in the process of selecting which news items are to be covered and which left out.”

“In the case, therefore, that the bid is allowed, the public have a right to expect, at the very minimum, an assurance that the independence and editorial integrity of Sky News will be preserved.”

Murdoch continued in his indomitable march to world domination today with the announcement that he will be joining forces with Apple man Steve Jobs to produce an iPad dedicated newspaper, probably called the Daily.

Murdoch and North Korea partner up for games venture

Rupert Murdoch and Kim Jong-Il have teamed up to boost North Korea’s fledgling games industry, one of a few industries most of the world didn’t know it had.

The games were developed by the General Federation of Science and Technology in North Korea, making them a state-run business, but then that’s not much of a surprise in the tightly-controlled environment of North Korea. They were then marketed by Nosotek Joint Venture Company, ending up being published by a subsidiary of News Corp.

The games are far from top-sellers, but they are based on several big name films, including 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski and Men In Black. North Korea developed a mobile bowling game based on the pivotal scenes in Lebowski, while the Men In Black game was called “Alien Assault”.

The choice of games may have no significance, but because it’s a state-run venture we cannot help put wonder if Dear Leader actually likes to be called The Dude instead, or if he believes North Korea’s real threat is from aliens and not Americans.

A big problem arising from the investment, however, is that News Corp may now suffer scrutiny from America and Europe, as it appears Murdoch is actively investing in the country while Obama and others are increasing sanctions. It is not illegal to invest in North Korean companies under United Nations sanctions providing they are not linked with the arms trade, but it is still likely to upset a number of people who might consider it an endorsement of the Pyongyang regime.

“From the government’s point of view, foreign currency is the main reason to nurture and support these activities,” said Andrei Lankov, a scholar on North Korea in Kookmin University, Seoul. “These activities help to fund the regime, but at the same time they bring knowledge of the outside world to people who could effect change.”

This is a very important point, as while the money is undoubtedly going towards Pyongyang’s coffers, the extra exposure with the outside world might be just what is needed to help its beleaguered people.

North Korea has been slowly creeping onto the digital map lately with the establishment of Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube accounts, not to mention the registration of over a thousand IP addresses. However, it still restricts its citizens severely, who only have access to a closed-off state intranet. At least they can do a spot of virtual bowling or alien hunting. That’s something.

Rupert Murdoch writes a letter to himself – the iPad is great!

Rupert Murdoch is talking to himself in his old age, telling himself that his paywalls will work and that he has nothing to worry about with an article appearing in News Corp owned The Australian and syndicated in his own Wall Street Journal quoting himself. iPads are the future. iPads are the future. iPads are the future.

In what is essentially a letter to himself and his staff, he said to The Australian that there are already tens of thousands of downloaded apps for The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Australian on the iPad.  He reckons that bedmates Apple will sell over 40 million iPads by 2012, so there’s a definite market for putting his papers on tablet PCs. Rupes also said he’d be exploring other tablet PCs.

“The argument that information wants to be free is only said by those who want it for free,” Murdoch said of his paywall that recently went live in the UK. However The Digger has put up the rate for the White House to gets its Wall Street Journal subscription to $600,000. Not to do with offsetting lost dosh or anything like that, of course.

Since the iPad’s launch Rupert has made no secret of his love for tablet PCs. He was quoted several months ago saying paid press subcriptions are the way forward compared to Google aggregating and nicking all of his precious news, though in a sense the strict paywall is stopping his UK monopoly from getting his stories to spread virally through social notworking.

Times Tweeters such as columnist Caitlin Moran have microblogged defending the paywall – we’re paraphrasing but to the effect of the great unwashed complaining: “Waah, waah, we can’t get any more free news.”

But Google is trialling a similar service in Italy which has a far more flexible pay option so the Digger may be shaking a fist at ‘Ogle from the Aussie Outback yet.

When the iPad launched in the UK, The Times decided to dedicate half a page splash on page 3 not on the Lahore Mosque attacks at time of print, and not even carrying on its front page lead until pages 8 or 9, but to the iPad’s launch. There was thinly veiled advertising masquerading as copy promising that The Times’ “iPad Edition” would feature “beautiful picture galleries,” “spectacular interactive graphics” and claiming that “in other words, it will be the newspaper, but with even more.”

It then dedicated a double page splash starting page 18, another advert for The Times’ iPad app and a column bylined by Nic Fildes titled “Readers are willing to pay for best news sites,” shamelessly printed just to the right of the app advert.

And so the iPad, applications and News Corp outlets get promotion from one to the other, disguised as copy, in an effort to build up the paywall. News Corp papers are different enough in style for the casual reader to not bat an eyelid, but we have a feeling if James Murdoch wasn’t looking after The Sun on News’ behalf, it would fall over itself to run a man with news empire monopoly in bed with man with technology monopoly shocka.