26 June 2014

Top Microsoft Lawyer Blasts Secret Surveillance Court -- Unaccountable, Unjust

Microsoft’s Top Lawyer Slams Secret Surveillance Court - Digits - WSJ"The U.S.’s secret surveillance court is unaccountable to the public and not “inclined to promote justice,” Microsoft’s top lawyer said Tuesday. General counsel Brad Smith said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISA Court], which reviews applications and appeals involving U.S. government data-collection efforts in the name of national security, acts unlike most other courts because “only one side gets to tell its story.” The surveillance court also effectively creates law “that the American public is not permitted to read,” Smith said Wednesday in a speech at the Brookings Institution. The 35-year-old court was cast into the spotlight following revelations about National Security Agency’s data-collection programs. The court’s decisions and most documents submitted to the court are secret, which Smith said made it tough for those opposing the government’s data demands to have a fair hearing. “This is not an approach inclined to promote justice,” Smith said, as he showed an image of what he implied was a government document before the surveillance court, with all text blacked out...."

Google I/O 2014 LIVE, June 25-26:

Google Courting Developers as Device Sprawl Spurs Choices - Bloomberg:“....This year at Google I/O, we’re focusing on three key themes: design, develop and distribute -- to help developers build their apps from start to finish, with tools for the entire development cycle,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “Our large, open platforms -- Android and Chrome -- provide the foundation for developers to evolve their offerings for phones, tablets and other new form factors.” Amid the sprawl, Google has put more emphasis on developers at I/O ... In total, there are more than 1 million apps in the Google Play store. Android-based smartphones made up 78 percent of the global industry in 2013, up from 66 percent in 2012, according to Gartner Inc. The No. 2 player was Apple’s iPhone, which had 16 percent, down from 19 percent...."

Google Play Emerges as Powerful Weapon for Internet Giant - WSJ: "....There are now more apps available in the Play store, 1.5 million, than the App Store, 1.2 million, according to market researcher App Annie. App downloads from the Play store surpassed those from the App Store for the first time in 2013. The App Store still generated more than twice as much revenue for developers last year, but that was down from six times as much in 2012. Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora told investors in April that Play store payments to developers quadrupled in 2013 from 2012...."

Microsoft Exchange Online Suffers Service Outage
Microsoft's Exchange Online hosted email service suffered a disruption Tuesday morning, leaving many users without email for much of the morning.

Microsoft's 'First' Android Phone Aims Low
Microsoft on Tuesday revealed the Nokia X2, a smartphone that can officially ... The X2 doesn't use any Google services and instead uses Microsoft's.

Amazon's Fire Phone May Be Too Magical for Its Own Good
After several years of rumors, Amazon finally announced the launch of its very ... In a landscape dominated by Apple, Samsung, Google, and other ...

How Amazon's Product Design Is Governed by the Whims of Jeff Bezos
When Amazon (AMZN) released its new phone last week, one of the most notable ... 

[From POLITICO's Morning Tech]:
Apple Starts Production of BIG iPhone
Bloomberg story on Chinese suppliers' plans to begin mass production of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones: http://bloom.bg/V7CbZt

FCC HIRES INVESTMENT BANKERS TO ADVERTISE INCENTIVE AUCTION. The agency hired New York-based Greenhill & Co. to develop educational material to persuade broadcasters to participate in the auction http://bit.ly/1rrMcLg

AMAZON, WARNER BROS. CLOSE TO RESOLVING PRICING DISPUTE. The e-commerce giant is no longer forcing backorders of Warner Bros. DVDs http://on.wsj.com/V7AoU7

TECH MOGULS BACK MAYDAY SUPERPAC. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson and Paypal exec Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman will work to raise $12 million to support candidates this fall who are willing to fight for campaign finance reform Reuters:http://reut.rs/V7BlM3

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