Today in Tech News Digest, Dropbox denies DMCA disaster, HTC One M8 benchmarks, BlackBerry blocks sales of Typo, Microsoft stops snooping, Avast launches Grimefighter, and Eat24 breaks up with Facebook.
The Dropbox DMCA Copyright Conundrum
— darrell whitelaw (@darrellwhitelaw) March 30, 2014
One simple tweet (embedded above) was all it took for users of Dropbox to raise concerns over the company’s policy towards the storing and sharing of copyrighted files. However, it turns out this isn’t a new revelation and not an example of the company changing its stance on copyrighted content.
The tweet shows a user barred from sharing a file from a personal folder because of a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request. DMCA takedown requests are common across the Internet, but the concern was that this one suggested Dropbox was digging into users’ personal files in order to find copyrighted content.
Not so. Instead, this occurred as a result of file hashing (explained neatly by TechCrunch), which means the file this user was trying to share has already been blacklisted. Dropbox didn’t need to search his folders to discover the file; it simply matched with one already flagged as copyrighted.
This may seem like a non-story, but it should act as a reminder that sharing copyrighted content via Dropbox is, and always has been, illegal. You can legally store the content in a private folder, but the moment you share it with someone else you’re breaking the law. Whether you’re personally comfortable with doing that is down to personal morality.
HTC Inflates One M8 Benchmarks
HTC recently launched the new One M8 handset to much critical acclaim, but it appears the benchmarking results which saw the phone convincingly beating its rivals weren’t quite as impressive as first thought.
It turns out that HTC has optimized the One M8 so that it performs differently when benchmarking software is detected. This ensures the HTC One shows off its finest features according to the tests being performed.
HTC admitted as much to CNET, but rather than apologize for giving itself an unfair advantage, HTC suggested this is a feature users can enable for themselves.
The company said, “For those with a need for speed, we’ve provided a simple way to unleash this power by introducing a new High Performance Mode in the developer … we believe in offering customer choice, as there may be times when the desire for performance outweighs the need for battery longevity.” Which includes during benchmarking tests, obviously.
Typo iPhone Case Blocked By BlackBerry
BlackBerry has won a preliminary injunction against Typo, the iPhone case that adds a keyboard to your Apple device. BlackBerry is unsurprisingly suing Typo for its “blatant infringement against BlackBerry’s iconic keyboard.”
The preliminary injunction means Typo cannot sell its iPhone cases unless and until the issue of this alleged infringement is resolved. Typo, co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, responded by promising to “continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can’t live without.” Unless they infringe on someone else’s design, clearly.
Microsoft Stops Snooping On Email
Microsoft changes policy to prohibit email searching; Ubuntu stops sending user searches to Amazon. Privacy on the march.
— Parker Higgins (@xor) March 31, 2014
After the outcry over its decision to rifle through a user’s email inbox, Microsoft is changing its privacy policies. In a TechNet blog post, General Counsel Brad Smith promises that, in the case of an allegation of theft from Microsoft, the company will “refer the matter to law enforcement” rather than conduct a search for itself. Which is surely the right and proper way of doing things.
Avast Grimefighter Safeguards Your PC
— avast! Antivirus (@avast_antivirus) March 26, 2014
Antivirus expert Avast has launched Grimefighter, a new tool designed to safeguard your PC. Avast Grimefighter sedates your PC so that it can search through files normally out of reach of most clean-up utilities. Unfortunately, while Grimefighter will conduct a scan for free, actually purging your PC of the “grime” requires cold, hard cash.
Eat24 Breaks Up With Facebook
— Eat24 (@eat24) March 31, 2014
And finally, Facebook is upsetting many brands with the changes it is making to its ‘News Feed’ algorithm. The accusation is that these changes mean brands have to pay in order to reach the number of followers it could once reach for free.
One company is refusing to take this lying down, and is instead threatening to shut its Facebook page by the end of the day (March 31). The blog post detailing the issues is written like a breakup letter, and is worth reading in its entirety.
However, we suspect the threat may be a hollow one. Tomorrow is April Fools’ Day after all.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: GaelX via Flickr