The UpStream

Facebook Bill Headed to Congress After All

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook Bill Headed to Congress After All

We recently spoke with Avram Piltch, Online Editorial Director for LAPTOP Magazine and host of The Piltch Point, about a rising trend in employment. It turns out, more and more businesses and government agencies are asking for Facebook passwords before hiring new employees. Currently, employment law prevents employers from asking certain questions of their prospects, such as military service history, past employment history, medical background, etc. Their solution is to, instead of asking the questions, get the prospect's Facebook password so they can get the answers without the question.

Obviously, prospects are not happy about this trend. It is tantamount to a home invasion. Employers can find even more information about you, like music choice, sexual orientation, etc, all of which can be used to make decisions based on information they are not allowed to ask about. The US House heard tell of this invasion of privacy and decided to try and pass a law adding social networking passwords to the questions employers cannot ask. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the month, it appeared the law would be defeated.

This week, the law managed to make its way closer to the floor. Hit the break to find out what the sponsors have to say about the bill and what they think it accomplishes.

AT&T, T-Mobile Spectrum Transfer Approved

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Scott Ertz

AT&T, T-Mobile Spectrum Transfer Approved

Over the past year, the FCC has made a lot of questionable decisions. Whether it be denying the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, blocking LightSquared's LTE network, which they had previously approved, or their decision to only fine Google $25,000 for the Street View disaster, they have been ruffling a lot of feathers, including Congress.

This week, they gained a little bit of favor back, at least with the German company Deutsche Telekom, parent of T-Mobile USA. Part of the original exit strategy for the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile was a transfer of a lot of money and a lot of spectrum. While there is no requirement that the FCC approve cash transfer, there is for spectrum transfer.

In an uncharacteristic move, the FCC made their decision quickly. What was the decision and how did T-Mobile respond? Hit the break.

Facebook Buys Microsoft's Acquired Patents from AOL

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Facebook Buys Microsoft's Acquired Patents from AOL

Last month, we talked about AOL wanting to sell off their patent portfolio for a serious cash injection into the business and just two weeks ago, Microsoft scooped up the patents for over $1 billion. It seems that Facebook wanted a piece of the pie.

In an effort to take down the evasive Google, the social networking company struck a deal with Microsoft this week to gain access to their newly-acquired patents. Analysts agree that this is a move to shift the power Google has over the Internet and try to balance the playing field. What better way than for two of the biggest forces on the web to join together?

Spotify and Coca-Cola Working Together in Music-Streaming Harmony

posted Thursday Apr 26, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Spotify and Coca-Cola Working Together in Music-Streaming Harmony

It's been a while since we've talked about Spotify. Since the arrival onshore in July, there's been a lot of activity for the company, both good and bad. For the good, we've seen them work with numerous companies like Ford and their SYNC capabilities, their move to the Windows Phone platform and the company has even welcomed developers to make the successful apps we have on Spotify today. For the bad, a lack of subscription traction, outages that can last up to five hours and artists pulling out over royalty disputes has the company reeling a bit.

This week, Spotify has some news that is going to bring them back into the positive light. The music streaming service will be teaming up with Coca-Cola and its Internet marketing team to bring more users and awareness to the platform.

Qi Wireless Charging Enhanced

posted Sunday Apr 22, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Qi Wireless Charging Enhanced

Since our interview at CES 2012, The Wireless Power Consortium has announced a major update to the Qi standard for wireless charging. The standard, which originally allowed for charging over a 5mm distance, has now been rewritten to allow for a charging distance of 40mm.

This will help create the Utopian charging world that Fulton Innovation and others have hoped for - the ability to charge any device on any surface. This is accomplished by having these charging plates built-in to things like nightstands, desks and tables. Pushing the power more than 5mm is a major component in making that happen.

Qi is currently backed by over 100 major label tech companies and growing at a remarkable rate. Not only do they see this as a replacement for charging cables, or device specific charging, such as with the HP/Palm handsets, but as a replacement for all power.

Hit the break to see our interview with Fulton Innovation at CES 2012 and some of the other creative uses they see for this exciting technology.

Google Responsible for Uploaded Content in Germany

posted Sunday Apr 22, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Google Responsible for Uploaded Content in Germany

Google has had a lot of trouble with YouTube since it was first purchased in 2006. It started with a lawsuit from Viacom and has progressed to RIAA and other content owners, all upset about their protected media being uploaded to the service without their permission. Google has made agreements with nearly everyone, allowing them to follow standard US Internet law, saying that they are not responsible for the content uploaded to their site, but are required to pull anything that is infringement.

Unfortunately for the company, that law does not exist everywhere. In Germany, for instance, a recent court loss states that Google is responsible for the content uploaded to their service, not the users. The royalty collection group, Gema, similar to our RIAA, is obviously very happy about this win. They believe that Google has never done enough to protect copyrighted material.

How did Google respond? Hit the break to find out.

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