January 30, 2008

Consequences of Opening Cellphone Networks? [5:11 pm]

And I’m sure it will be used as an excuse to inhibit the change: Porn to spice up cell phonespdf

Unlike in Europe, mobile porn has yet to take off in North America as carriers have been afraid of offending political and religious groups and parents concerned about children being exposed to adult content.

That may change this year as phone companies plan to loosen control on their networks to allow a wider variety of gadgets and services, while introducing new tools to shield minors. More advanced phones with better Web browsers like Apple Inc’s iPhone also offer higher quality pictures and video.

Note that there are copyright issues, too, of course:

Popular video-sharing site YouTube.com’s plan to expand to about 100 million advanced cell phones may help the cause, even if it means some ClubJenna content — which includes everything from glamour photographs of scantily clad models to hardcore videos — is seen for free on phones. ClubJenna was sold to Playboy Enterprises Inc in 2006.

“It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s giving away content. … On the other hand, it’s expanding the brand,” said [ClubJenna's Jay] Grdina [sic], adding that ClubJenna needs a boost in the U.S. market, where it generates “pretty much zero” mobile revenue compared with “very healthy” revenue in Europe.

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Dahlia Lithwick Calls A Spade A Spade [4:44 pm]

Let’s do away with the legislative fiction of the terrorist alarm clock

It’s true enough that FISA requires a sober update to account for technological changes since it was drafted in 1978, but the PAA wasn’t sober and it wasn’t justified. Now we must also contend with the added insult of the president’s demand for telecom immunity for the companies that allegedly helped him illegally spy on Americans. Hmmm. Don’t punish phone companies for believing our lies almost sounds plausible, so long as the Bush administration remains on the hook for peddling those lies. But that’s not what the White House wants—it wants telecom immunity, plus more government secrecy, plus no oversight. Sens. Feinstein and Feingold, and others, are pushing for amendments that would keep us safe while preventing the Bush administration from slinking away from its surveillance activities.

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