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ACLU blames carriers is demanding a full investigation of the issue

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took the unusual step of injecting itself into the smartphone discussion, asking the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate America's top carriers over claims of Android abuse.

According to the ACLU, Google Inc. (GOOG) regularly puts out patches and upgrades to its Android operating system -- the world's most used smartphone operating system.    But in its 17-page report, it accuses America's top wireless carriers of recklessly endangering consumers by not rolling out updates fast enough.

The report calls out both of America's top two carriers, AT&T, Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless -- jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD).  But it also accuses Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA of contributing to the problem, as well.

The ACLU wants the FTC to force carriers either to offer customers refunds or to force them to provide warnings that they are inadequately protecting customers.  The advocacy admits that it is unusual for it to look to protect consumers (which is typically the job of other more specialized advocacies), but it said in this case that the security risks from the carrier negligence could be used to justify Orwellian new federal laws -- like the controversial CISPA bill that recently passed the House.

ACLU lawyer Chris Soghoian, who authored and submitted the complaint last Tuesday, comments, "This is part of our attempt to reframe the cybersecurity agenda,.  Before violating anyone's privacy, the government should first be addressing the low-hanging fruit that everyone can agree on."

Android smartphones
The ACLU is targeting America's top carriers for sluggish Android updates.
[Image Source: Android and Me]

While the report may echo the frustrations of many Android users, it was met with scorn and derision by figures in the telecom industry.  Verizon responded that it releases patches and updates "as quickly as possible", but that it must commit "rigorous testing" before any release.  Carriers argue that the nature of Android -- which allows both OEMs and carriers to modify or disable certain functionality (e.g. tethering) -- makes testing a slower and more arduous process.  

They argue that rushed updates could "break" smartphones causing them to gobble data unnecessarily, be unable to run apps, or be unable to make calls.  Indeed this has happened on occasion in the past.

But not everyone is buying that excuse.  Carnegie Mellon Univ. Computer Science Professor Travis Breaux comments, "There are standard practices for testing and evaluating patches.  Microsoft does this all the time."

Sources: ACLU [complaint], AP



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RE: annoyance
By BRB29 on 4/22/2013 6:02:04 PM , Rating: 4
Faster hardware?? maybe at one point but not anymore

Higher quality 4" screen while the rest of the industry moved to 4.6-5.0. And please spare me the "all you need is 4" argument cause it's getting old.

Better build quality? IDK, iphone always feel pretty solid but there's plenty of choices now with solid build. The HTC One i played with actually feels much better than the iphone, has better screen, camera and overall a more exciting product.

better apps? Almost all decent apps are cross platforms. A few unique apps for both platforms but the only time you can say apps is better is when you compare to W8 or Blackberry.

Timely updates? So does google Nexus

Does the iphone5 beat the LG Nexus 4 at anything?


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 6:20:30 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Faster hardware?? maybe at one point but not anymore


Once the GS4 drops it will be beaten. Of course, it remains to be seen how practical performance is and how well the GPU handles its resolution. Videos of the GS4 are all choppy so far (hard to know if it is the hardware or Android itself, we'll see).

quote:
Higher quality 4" screen while the rest of the industry moved to 4.6-5.0. And please spare me the "all you need is 4" argument cause it's getting old.


An sRGB calibrated IPS screen looks much better than an oversaturated AMOLED any day, especially when the best selling high end Android handset uses a cheap pentile matrix. Size is personal preference but 5" phones are too big for single handed operation. If you want a big screen then by all means get one, but display quality in most Android devices is substandard.

quote:
Better build quality? IDK, iphone always feel pretty solid but there's plenty of choices now with solid build. The HTC One i played with actually feels much better than the iphone, has better screen, camera and overall a more exciting product.


The HTC One and DNA both have excellent screens and build quality, I really like them both. Calibration isn't as good as the iPhone's but its good enough, and it blows away Samsung's displays/build quality. No argument there.

quote:
better apps? Almost all decent apps are cross platforms. A few unique apps for both platforms but the only time you can say apps is better is when you compare to W8 or Blackberry.


The best apps I use are platform exclusive. Going to another platform would mean a downgrade in quality or losing it altogether. Even most mainstream cross-platform apps are better on iOS (mainstream stuff like Flipboard or Yelp), and the biggest Android app news is usually when something ancient like Instapaper or Flipboard finally gets an Android port. Even some of Google's iOS apps are better than their Android counterparts (maps, voice search, gmail). And the best GMail client isn't by Google, same with the best Youtube client. They are called Mailbox and Jasmine, and they are both iOS only.

quote:
Timely updates? So does google Nexus


Certainly, and I wish it was like that for all Android devices. Unfortunately the Nexus makes up a single-digit percentage point of all Android devices sold, hardly a relevant data point.

quote:
Does the iphone5 beat the LG Nexus 4 at anything?


Speed, battery life, LTE, display quality (Anandtech slammed the Nexus 4 display), applications, build quality, etc.


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 6:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
You know what TYP? Enough already...

Your bending of the truth has been documented. http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=30328...

Your technical skills have been shown to be inadequate. Your ability to do a quick search and back up data when you accuse someone of lying shows your innatention to detail and speaks to your lack of scrouples. Your objectivity has been shown to be non-existant and your true motives have been outed.

http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=30371...

Move along now son, the adults are talking.


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 6:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ack... mixed the links. Your lying as is the 2nd link and your other BS was the first.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 7:34:04 PM , Rating: 1
I can almost see your red face and sputtering mouth when you typed those out. Just how flustered were you when you made those angry posts? Chill dude.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 7:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
Someone who has no conception of things like video scalers, the drawbacks of AMOLED pentile matrixes, and the negative impact of fragmentation talking about lack of technical knowledge, a hoot.

As for Mint's post, and I hope he sees this, I didn't catch it but I REALLY wish I did and had responded.

I didn't short AAPL stock but I did short call option spreads that profited when the stock declined, or more importantly the calls didn't expire with any value. Positions like that can profit even if the stock doesn't go down at all, only goes sideways, or even goes up (which it did during my first AAPL position).

Here were my first trades against AAPL. Both were made about 5 weeks before their respective expirations:

Sold August 665/670 call spread for .70, a 16% return in 4 weeks since it expired worthless with the stock at around $650.

Sold September 720/725 call spread for $1, a 20% return in four weeks.

Note that both of those trades against AAPL profited despite the stock going up. This is why I said I had no idea when to short the stock, but I was still able to profit on it stagnating or make an easier profit if it did turn around.

I made two other trades against AAPL on the way down, one in November and another in February, avoiding it in October and January because I generally don't like to trade around earnings. Both were selling call spreads and not shorts on the stock.

Mint's negative post is based on his lack of technical knowledge, much like many of the posts around here.

And since he brought up AMZN, I traded against it twice, once in September (sold 275/280 spread) and again in January (sold 300/305 spread), both 15% returns.

Disagree with my preferences all you want but don't call me a liar, ok?


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 7:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
"Someone who has no conception of things like video scalers, the drawbacks of AMOLED pentile matrixes"

I never said the pentile amoled was a superior screen. I can see pixels on it and I can see that it isnt as sharp as an iPhone5 and I can see that the iPhone5 isnt as sharp as a 5 inch 1080p phone. All I ever said was some people prefer amoled's brightness and black levels over std LCD's better color representation. I also said to ME the GS3's screen is a better screen than iPhone5 all totaled, and most of that was size and res. You of course took off on your usual soapbox as if I was proclaiming to the world that a pentile amoled is better... But that is the part that happens in your head as I never said anything like that. That part doesnt actually speak to your technical skills it speak to your reading comprehension and probably mostly to your need to be up on your soapbox.

"Disagree with my preferences all you want but don't call me a liar, ok?"

Oh, so its OK for you to call me liar, but not in reverse? LOL. Nice. Like I said... Your objectivity has been shown to be non-existent and your true motives have been outed.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 7:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh, so its OK for you to call me liar, but not in reverse?


You know what, fair enough. I have yet to see anyone talk about how they can see the pixels in an iPhone, but you with your super eyesight can. Fine.

However, talking about how I was lying about betting against AAPL when I did five times in the last nine months is complete nonsense.

quote:
your true motives have been outed.


Yes, niche opinions like "Samsung's screens aren't as good as Apple's or HTCs", or "Android updates are held up by carriers and manufacturers", or "fragmentation affects third party support", such nasty motives!

I'm sorry reality has a bias that doesn't appeal to you. To me its all just pros and cons, whatever.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 7:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
I checked my statement again, I actually opened up an additional short position on AAPL for August. I sold an AAPL Aug 660/665 call spread for .70 the day after I opened the 665/670, another 16% return.


RE: annoyance
By BRB29 on 4/22/2013 8:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
WTF?? ok we get it, you made money buying apple stock. No wonder why you defend apple to the bone.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/23/2013 2:30:46 AM , Rating: 2
No, I made money selling call options that profited when Apple didn't go up farther and when it turned down.

The point is the opposite of what you're trying to say. I bet on a slowdown or reversal, thus actually profiting on the reversal that the haters here are enjoying so much. I brought this up when people (like you) were saying that I was tied into the stock, which is silly given that I sought to make money on it not running to $1000.

It was funny then and its funny now.

I've done this with a few other techs too btw, most recently AMZN and the QQQ (selling calls, buying out of the money put spreads).


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 7:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
Also, your cultofmac (lol) link calls for a retina display smartphone resolution of about 900 PPI.

Leave it to you to quote cultofmac when it suits your argument, but there is such a thing as diminishing returns.

I can see pixels on an iPad 3/4, I can see pixels on a retina Macbook Pro, but I cannot see them on an iPhone. Curves are perfectly smooth. If you think that more are needed because you're putting your phone up to your eyeball all the time, be my guest. Its all spec sheet wankery past a certain point.


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 7:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
"Also, your cultofmac (lol) link calls for a retina display smartphone resolution of about 900 PPI."

I read it somehere around 450-500ppi as I recall , but whatever. The point I was making is that 300-330ppi@ 12 inches isnt the end all be all of resolution... But by all means, if you cant see a difference between an iPhone5 at 326 and a decent 5 inch 1080p like the DNA at 443 then by all means, save your $$$. I can see it, dont call me a liar over it, I can see it. I see iPhone 5's almost every day. The quality difference at that level is not at all a deal breaker to me, both are fine but I can tell the difference. You called me a liar and I posted links that showed others can see the difference as well. That is all. Bite me.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/10/iphone-4s-retin...

http://wordmunger.com/?p=1348

http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-10...

http://forums.crackberry.com/apple-iphone-ipad-f99...


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 7:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can see it, dont call me a liar over it, I can see it.


I take back that wording then. 300+ PPI is well past the point of diminishing returns, both in terms of clarity and the hardware needed to drive it, but if you can really see aliasing in curves at that resolution then fantastic, you can see it.

Kisses. <3


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/22/2013 7:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
"I take back that wording then. 300+ PPI is well past the point of diminishing returns"

Thank you and I agree. Just saying I can see a difference. Not enough to bend my choice, for me I want more real estate and as far as visual quality, anything above 300 is good enough for me. I just want more space, and on a 5+ inch phone 720p is getting below 300.

"Kisses. <3"

Cool... So long as you realize I am bending over forwards :P


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/22/2013 8:03:45 PM , Rating: 2
Hah, still so mad. ;)

I'll be honest though, that Mint link is the first thing that's gotten me really fired up around here. I wish I could have responded!

There is a HUGE difference between trying to short against a top in a stock price (damn near impossible) and selling call options against a stock that you're betting will expire worthless, plus I sold two more positions once the downturn was in full swing.

Both benefit from downturns, but selling an option has the added leeway of profiting even if a stock goes up a little or goes sideways. This month for instance, you can sell a May call 435/440 spread for 80 cents, about 18% profit. Only problem is that unlike August, AAPL is closer to a near term bottom than a top, plus its earnings this month anyway and I like to stay away from that. A quick move on earnings can force you out of that position at a loss very quickly. Selling a put spread below the current price might actually make sense at this point.


RE: annoyance
By Reclaimer77 on 4/22/2013 8:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
Hey J.P Morgan, should I roll my 401-K into a Roth IRA or...?

lmao j/k. You two continue this same tired crap.

*popcorn*


RE: annoyance
By StormyKnight on 4/22/2013 10:59:41 PM , Rating: 3
Girls, girls. You're both pretty! Can we move on???


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/23/2013 3:06:56 PM , Rating: 2
She started it :P


RE: annoyance
By retrospooty on 4/23/2013 8:44:19 AM , Rating: 2
"Hah, still so mad. ;)"

Nah, that was a friendly KMA, not an angry one LOL.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/23/2013 4:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, hence the winky face. :)


RE: annoyance
By BRB29 on 4/23/2013 9:04:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Once the GS4 drops it will be beaten. Of course, it remains to be seen how practical performance is and how well the GPU handles its resolution. Videos of the GS4 are all choppy so far (hard to know if it is the hardware or Android itself, we'll see).


In CPU performance, many Android already pass the iphone. In GPU performance, the Android phones are now starting to catch up. Nexus 4 and HTC One are 2 examples that CPU performance exceeds iphone5. HTC One looks like GPU performance is on par but does bad in benchmark because its resolution is so much higher.

quote:
An sRGB calibrated IPS screen looks much better than an oversaturated AMOLED any day, especially when the best selling high end Android handset uses a cheap pentile matrix. Size is personal preference but 5" phones are too big for single handed operation. If you want a big screen then by all means get one, but display quality in most Android devices is substandard.


What's the point of having great color accuracy if you're going to put it in a tiny screen. Sorry but I don't want to hold my phone stupid close to read something. The difference between my GNEX 4.65" and iphone 5 4" is huge. It makes reading much much better. It comes down to preference but it's pretty clear people would rather choose the bigger screen since it's the most popular complaint about the iphone right now. 5" is on the large side but with a thin bezel and slim form then it's still very pocketable.

Also, you cannot compare iphones to cheap android phones. Iphones are priced high end. Compare it to high end phones.

quote:
The HTC One and DNA both have excellent screens and build quality, I really like them both. Calibration isn't as good as the iPhone's but its good enough, and it blows away Samsung's displays/build quality. No argument there.


Yes they both have excellent screens and quality because they are all high end phones priced in the same zone. Color accuracy isn't as good but close. Screen size is bigger and higher res. I would prefer the screen on the HTC One over the iphone any day of the week. Even for photography freaks, I would still sacrifice the slight accuracy for much higher res and size.

quote:
The best apps I use are platform exclusive. Going to another platform would mean a downgrade in quality or losing it altogether. Even most mainstream cross-platform apps are better on iOS (mainstream stuff like Flipboard or Yelp), and the biggest Android app news is usually when something ancient like Instapaper or Flipboard finally gets an Android port. Even some of Google's iOS apps are better than their Android counterparts (maps, voice search, gmail). And the best GMail client isn't by Google, same with the best Youtube client. They are called Mailbox and Jasmine, and they are both iOS only.


Gmail apps works great. Has pretty much almost all functions of gmail I need, it's stable and snappy. Mailbox and Jasmine are subjective but they are great too. It's pretty much preference. I hear google maps is better on ios but probably not anything much since it's rock solid in android.
The whole platform exclusive apps you think are better than anything else are just subjective. What are you comparing it to. You are probably just a loyal apple fan and there's nothing wrong with that. I have iphone5 for work and my nexus for personal. I know both very well. I think they're both good phones and apps are almost the same. iphone is more stable because it's not open. That's the only advantage I see most of the time for apple.

quote:
Certainly, and I wish it was like that for all Android devices. Unfortunately the Nexus makes up a single-digit percentage point of all Android devices sold, hardly a relevant data point.


you're right. This is not android's fault, this is the carriers faults. Apple somehow got around that probably because it's not open. But I only care as what i experience as the consumer so iphone wins here.

quote:
Speed, battery life, LTE, display quality (Anandtech slammed the Nexus 4 display), applications, build quality, etc.


Did you even read the article? I just glanced at it again to be sure but he praised the Nexus 4. The only thing he "slammed" the Nexus 4 for is the screen not being calibrated and a little on battery life.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/23/2013 5:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
I look at practical benchmarks, not synthetics. I do the same with my PC and I do the same with phones. AMD CPUs do better than Intels in certain synthetics, but no way I'm getting one based on how much better Intel does in nearly all practical tests.

A higher Geekbench score isn't reflected in faster browser performance or a smoother UI. I don't use things like fill tests for GPU comparisons either, even though those would show the iPhone as 5x faster. It is an irrelevant synthetic benchmark compared to a practical one that shows an entire scene.

As far as size and applications, I completely agree that it all comes down to personal preference. Color aside, I do not case for big 5" phones and the big chassis that come with them. Single-handed operation and pocketability are important to me.

I also completely understand why some people would sacrifice applications for the flexibility of Android and access to bigger hardware. I'm not faulting anyone for preferring that. The only thing I find annoying is when people lose all objectivity and say that the advantages of Android are objective advantages for everyone, and that it has no disadvantages to other platforms, both of which are ridiculous.

All platforms have tradeoffs, I've said that over and over again. Its all about deciding which tradeoffs you want to live with, even if some of those tradeoffs (the more portable iPhone chassis for example) are advantages for some.

I personally would love to see more high end Android devices in normal 4" sizes, not like the crippled GS3 Mini. Right now every high end Android device is around 5", which is limiting given that larger sizes aren't for everyone and they don't sell nearly as well as smaller devices. High end devices like the GS3 and HTC's flagships are a drop in the bucket compared to the iPhone and the numerous lower end (and smaller) Android devices out there.

Maybe size differentiation is how they can separate their high end devices from Apple's but I think it'd be worth a shot given how much people like 4" phones.

quote:
you're right. This is not android's fault, this is the carriers faults. Apple somehow got around that probably because it's not open. But I only care as what i experience as the consumer so iphone wins here.


Yup, and for years I've said that Android's biggest issue was Google giving up too much control to carriers. I wish every Android device was treated like the Nexus, it would address so many issues.

quote:
Did you even read the article? I just glanced at it again to be sure but he praised the Nexus 4. The only thing he "slammed" the Nexus 4 for is the screen not being calibrated and a little on battery life.


Yes, and I specifically said that he was talking about the display, not the phone in general.

Cheers


RE: annoyance
By StevoLincolnite on 4/23/2013 5:16:51 AM , Rating: 2
Mate. You're arguing with an Apple fanatic.

They throw all logic out the window when it comes to that Logo, they have no idea of the alternatives that exist and nor do they really care, they will keep buying Apple and praising Apple.


RE: annoyance
By TakinYourPoints on 4/23/2013 5:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Did you say that Windows 8 has the best Windows UI ever?

Hmm....


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














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