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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 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
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.

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).

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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