Samsung Under the Gun for Alleged Anti-HTC Rumormongering
Today in international tech news: Taiwan investigates rumors that Samsung hired students to write negative online reviews of HTC. Also: Italy drops the hammer on streaming sites; someone builds a $15 million diamond-studded iPhone; Google Fiber meets its match; and UK porn sites defend themselves against malware accusations.
Taiwan authorities have launched a probe into charges that Samsung hired students to post disparaging comments about HTC online.
If the false advertising accusations are upheld, Samsung and its local advertising agent could be on the hook for Tw$25 million, or about US$835,000.
The complaints sprouted earlier this month when Internet users claimed that Samsung had contracted students to write online content attacking HTC and lauding Samsung.
Samsung Taiwan posted to its Facebook page that it regretted "any inconvenience and confusion from the Internet event," adding that it had halted all Internet marketing.
The research firm IDC posits that Samsung has a 30.3 percent share of the global smartphone market, while HTC is at 4.6 percent.
Italy Conducts Enormous Streaming Raid
Acting on orders from the public prosecutor of Rome, Italy has seized numerous domains that were peddling copyrighted content.
All of the targeted sites have been blocked and are inaccessible in Italy. The prosecutor who ordered the seizures has indicated that he wants to extend the case beyond Italy's borders.
[Source: Torrent Freak]
The $15 Million iPhone
After nine weeks and more than $15 million, a Hong Kong businessman now has his custom-made iPhone.
The design work was executed by a Liverpool-based designer, who said that the solid-gold iPhone 5 chassis is adorned with a 26-karat diamond and 600 "flawless white diamonds." The rear logo is designed with 53 diamonds.
The gold weighs more than the phone itself.
[Source: The Register]
Japanese ISP Blows Past Google Fiber
So-net Entertainment, backed by Sony, is offering Internet access plans with 2 Gbps download speeds and 1 Gbps upload speed in Tokyo and a half-dozen surrounding districts.
Such speeds make it twice as fast as the 1 Gbps Google Fiber.
The service, called "Nuro," uses Gigabit-capable Passive Optics Networks that are able to support download speeds up to 2.488 Gbps.
With a two-year contract, the service will cost about $51 per month.
Alas, computers typically can't accept mare than 1 Gbps, which means the full benefit of such a system won't really be so great for individuals. For multiple users on the same network, however, it will be a huge boon.
Baidu Opens 'Deep Learning' Center in California
Baidu, China's top search engine, has opened a research center in Silicon Valley called "The Institute of Deep Learning," or IDL.
The company reportedly will use the facility to explore building computer systems that can learn like people and "simulate the functionality, the power, the intelligence of the human brain," according to Kai Yu, Baidu's speech- and image-recognition search team leader.
Deep learning is becoming a bigger phenomenon. Earlier this year, Google hired Geoffrey Hinton, a deep learning guru, and Apple is already using deep learning techniques with its Siri iPhone voice recognition system.
UK Porn Sites Fight Back
British pornography websites are rebuffing claims that their sites make visitors vulnerable to malicious software.
Popular porn sites Pornhub and xHamster were pinpointed as high risks for users in research by security expert Conrad Longmore, who utilized data compiled by Google.
Pornhub, for its part, said such accusations were "grossly exaggerated," while xHamster said it had systems in place to avoid such malware.