IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 1 February
Social networking attacks soar | Pepsi to spend USD20m on e-marketing
The Irish Times reports that Caribbean mobile operator Digicel has lost an appeal against a ruling made in favour of Cable & Wireless-owned Lime. The UK's House of Lords shot down the appeal by Digicel against a ruling by Jamaica's Office of Utilities Regulation relating to charges the company was imposing on Lime for calls from that operator to the Digicel network. The ruling means that Lime, which competes with Digicel in a number of markets, can keep JMD340 million (EUR2.7 million), which Digicel was originally ordered to pay to its rival.
The Irish Independent notes that Fagan's pub in Drumcondra, Dublin, showed the world's first live 3D TV sports broadcast at the weekend. The pub, along with eight British bars, made history, being among the first premises to show a football game using the latest polarised 3D method. The feature works by two separate camera shots being shown together on screen, while viewers wear special glasses that criss-cross the images so they look like they're "popping out" of the television set.
The paper also notes that Google's opposition to internet censorship in China was left off the table at the World Economic Forum because China did not want it discussed. Davos participants debated technological issues, including social networking, but the conflict between China and Google never featured, even in a panel on the global dimensions of China's growth.
According to the Irish Examiner, BSkyB has not ruled out entering the Irish broadband market, but it will keep plans to roll out Sky Broadband here on ice until significant changes are seen in the market. It is understood that Sky is reluctant to launch its broadband offering in Ireland until internet penetration improves and more movement is made by Eircom on local loop unbundling. Communications regulator ComReg estimates that Sky has 590,000 subscribers in Ireland.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Korea Exchange Bank has said the creditors of Hynix Semiconductor have extended the deadline for accepting bids for their stake in the chipmaker to 12 February. Hynix creditors failed to receive any bids for their stake by a 29 January deadline. "KEB has decided to extend the submission date of the acquisition proposal for [Hynix] by another two weeks," KEB said in a statement. It also said it expects companies to participate "actively" in the bidding process.
The paper also says that Toshiba's net loss for its fiscal third quarter narrowed from a year earlier. The Japanese chip company said its memory chip business recovered sharply on the back of demand for mobile gadgets and higher memory prices. Group net loss shrank to JPY10.63 billion (USD118.3 million) in the three months ended December, from a JPY121.14 billion loss a year earlier. Toshiba posted an operating profit of JPY10.22 billion for the quarter, a turnaround from a JPY157.68 billion loss the previous year. Revenue rose 6.1 percent to JPY1.578 trillion, up from JPY1.488 trillion a year earlier.
According to the Financial Times, there was a 70 percent increase in attacks and spam directed at users of social networking sites over the past year. About 57 percent of users say they have received spam via social networking sites, a 71 percent rise on 2008, according to a study by IT security firm Sophos. Around 36 percent of users say they have received malware through the sites, a 70 percent rise. Security experts say hack attacks on social networks could be particularly dangerous because people are not on guard against them.
In other social networking news, Pepsi plans to spend USD20 million on a digital marketing campaign that includes a heavy presence on Facebook. For the first time in 23 years, there will not be an ad for Pepsi during the Super Bowl next weekend. "We're living in a new age with consumers," said Ralph Santana, vice-president of marketing for PepsiCo North America. "They are looking for more of a two-way dialogue, story-telling and word of mouth. Mediums like the digital space are much more conducive towards that."
The Sunday Tribune says that the emergency task force put together by the Government is looking at the possibility using text messages to alert the public in case of a potential national disaster. Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan confirmed that the task force met mobile operators at the height of the water supply crisis to see if text messages could be sent out to people, urging them to conserve water supplies. However, technology issues need to be addressed, and the task force is in talks with operators to see if problems can be overcome.
The Sunday Business Post writes that Irish App Store developers have already begun to plan applications for the iPad, Apple's newest device. The device was launched last week by Apple and will automatically run the existing 140,000 applications built for the iPhone that Apple sells in the App Store. The paper says that developers are confident the device will be a hit with consumers.
The same paper writes that the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) has won control of more than 1,500 web domain names from a German man, after the World Intellectual property Organisation ruled in its favour. The WIPO has the power to transfer domain names when the owner has no rights to the name, has registered it in bad faith or where the name is the same or very similar to a brand. The body transferred 1,519 names to IHG from Daniel Kirchhof after it decided he had no legitimate right to the names. Many of the web domains linked to sites with booking engines with rooms at IHG hotels and other accommodation providers.
The paper also reports that an Irish blogger has allegedly paid out USD140,000 in damages for a libel action settlement, according to Forbes magazine. The article does not name the blogger involved in the confidential settlement, but quotes the Forbes article by columnist Trevor Butterworth as saying the Irish media was "abuzz" about the incident.
The Sunday Times has more detail on the same story. It says a blogger under the name Ardmayle agreed a EUR100,000 settlement after allegedly libelling civil servant Niall O Donnchu and his girlfriend Laura Barnes. The settlement came after a blog post about the sale in 2005 of a cache of James Joyce papers to the State by Barnes prior to her relationship with O Donnchu, an assistant secretary in the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism. The post was removed and an apology was issued, but both Barnes and O Donnchu took separate legal proceedings.
The same paper reports that the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency (ICLA) is seeking to have Irish books included in the Google book settlement, after Irish writers and publishers said they could miss out on royalties. The settlement was agreed after the Authors' Guild in America challenged a Google decision to scan millions of books without permission, saying it was a "massive copyright infringement". Hundreds of books by Irish writers were digitised as part of the project and were originally included in the settlement, which was then altered to include only titles published in the UK, Australia and Canada or registered with the US Copyright Office. The ICLA has written to a New York judge asking him to extend the settlement to cover all Irish works.
The paper also reports that the bill for Government websites was EUR1.6 million last year, with EUR250,000 spent on a database to translate place names into Irish and EUR10,000 on a site to mark Africa Day. The Department of Transport spent EUR550,000 on its sites, with EUR500,000 invested in motortax.ie and motortrans.ie. It said costs would be reduced this year. The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, which has the logainm.ie place names database, said its investment was considered good value for money, with more than 2 million hits recorded. Its total bill was EUR325,000. Meanwhile, the Defence Forces' website Military.ie cost EUR36,000 and recorded only 17,000 visits. The high bill was blamed on security requirements.
The paper also reports on new research which found that children spend an average of seven hours a day using smartphones, iPods, TVs and video games. The research, which was carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation in the US, found some children are consuming electronic media up to 10 hours a day because they are using multiple devices at once. One expert called on parents to limit the amount of time young children spend consuming electronic media, warning that they are not communicating or interacting with people in person. However other experts quoted by the paper say what children are using the devices for is often quite creative.
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