Tag: sharing

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.”

Facebook backtracks on address, phone number sharing

Facebook has decided to backtrack on its sharing of home addresses and mobile numbers with external applications, disabling the feature while it works on making an opt-in permission that is more accessible and transparent.

On Friday the website entered hot water again over yet another privacy breach, sharing private details without express permission. Facebook claimed that it was just making it easier for people to use external services by streamlining the checkout process on a shopping site or sending special deals to mobile phones, for example.

That didn’t sit well with Facebook users, many of whom voiced their concerns over the weekend about their details unwittingly being sent all over the place, and it appears that Facebook has taken the public anger to heart, with a promise to release an updated version of the feature soon with a better approach to privacy.

Douglas Purdy, the Director of Developer Relations at Facebook, said that Facebook agrees with the sentiments expressed by users and will temporarily disable the feature until it has made changes that result in shared details only when the user specifically allows it.

The updated version should be available within a matter of weeks.

Bad-tempered teams do best at mental tasks

Ever wondered why successful writers are such sweet and friendly characters, while successful lawyers and accountants are such grumpy buggers?

Apparently, it’s all to do with the nature of the task; teams who share positive emotions with one another do better at creative tasks, whereas a shared filthy temper enhances analytical skills.

Annefloor Klep of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) says that her results show that managers who want their team to perform better should let employees moan and whinge.

That way, she says, they’ll “solve complicated problems better, share more information with each other and have greater solidarity”.

Klep showed test subjects either cheerful or sad films, and looked afterwards at how her little team worked together on creative or analytical tasks.

Groups who were shown sad films and talked about how miserable they felt before they started their task performed difficult decision-making tasks the best – better than groups who had seen a sad movie but hadn’t been allowed to discuss it.

Sharing your emotions is particularly successful, apparently, if you think you’re in conflict with your colleagues. Giving certain groups the idea that there was a problem with their relationship and then letting them hurl abuse at each other apparently made for a really successful team.

Funny how that never seems to work with The Apprentice, but there you go. 

Sony working on 3D "screen sharing" technology

Sony may be working on “screen sharing” technology that allows different users to share a screen and watch different TV programmes or play different games through 3D glasses, according to information contained in a recently published patent.

The patent, called 3D Shutter Glasses with Mode Switching Based on Orientation to Display Device and numbered 20100177174, was filed on July 14 2009 and details how a shuttered filter in 3D glasses can be used to block out the background images and instead project the video image to the glasses of only that individual, allowing another image to be projected to the person beside them, and so forth, effectively allowing multiple users to do different things with a single screen.

The potential benefits of this are numerous. A couple can watch different TV shows while still laying in each other’s arms. A gamer can play away while his or her friend watches some TV.

Multiple gamers playing the same game could now have individually catered screens projected to their 3D glasses instead of having the TV screen split in two or four, making it much smaller and more difficult to see.

Sound from the different projected screens would not be a problem, however, as the patent includes diagrams for 3D glasses with built-in earphones which will help to personalise the experience.

The problem, however, is that immersion may be lost due to the other person watching something else and responding to it. For example, Person A is watching Schindler’s List while Person B is watching Blackadder. Person B’s laughter is likely to distract and upset Person A and take them out of the moment, ruining everything and appearing very insensitive.

Another issue is the potential isolating factor involved. Instead of people coming together to watch a show or play a game, they are physically in the same room, or on the same sofa, but are mentally and emotionally elsewhere. The communal element of entertainment is destroyed in favour of isolated experiences.

Screen Sharing