Tech wrap: New effort underway in Internet piracy fight

July 8, 2011

Can slower Internet speeds convince consumers to stop pirating copyrighted material online? That’s the assumption behind a new anti-piracy effort launched this week by a coalition of Internet service providers and groups representing movie studios and record labels.

Under the new initiative,  AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon have agreed to send customers email or pop-up alerts if it is suspected that their account is being used to download or share copyrighted material illegally. Should suspected illegal activity persist, providers might temporarily slow Internet speeds or redirect their browser to a specific Web page until the customer contacts the company.  Time’s Techland blog calls the effort “fairly reasonable” but points out that “it’s only a matter of time before someone is falsely accused of copyright infringement and throttled accordingly.” Users accused can seek an independent review of whether they acted illegally.

A major hedge fund dumped its stake in Yahoo after an ownership dispute earlier this year cut the value of the Internet giant’s China holdings. Back in May, Yahoo revealed that Alibaba Group, its Chinese unit, had transferred ownership of its valuable online payments business Alipay to a company owned by Jack Ma, Alipay’s CEO. “This isn’t what we signed up for,” Greenlight Capital’s head David Einhorn wrote in a letter to investors. “We exited with a modest loss.”

Seems Google wants to play nice when it comes to social networking. Chairman Eric Schmidt told journalists at the Allen & Co. media retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho that he is leaving the door open to more co-operation with social networking giants Facebook and Twitter as his company rolls out its own alternative, Google+. Trumpeting the new network’s early success, Schmidt said he would “love to have deeper integration with Twitter and Facebook.” In separate news, it’s been confirmed that Schmidt will testify at a September hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee.

Apple promised a fix to a security flaw in its mobile operating software that could open iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users up to attacks by hackers. The security hole was deemed serious enough that it would allow someone to steal data off the device, a German security firm warned this week. Apple said its fix will be rolled out in an upcoming software update.

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