Monthly Archives: January 2007

Skype security FUD

There’s an article in Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet titled “Your boss can spy on your Skype session“.

From the article:

Andy Swärd discovered the security hole by accident. He was logged into the same Skype account on two computers and noticed that his chat messages showed up on both computers.

– Today it’s usual for companies to assign their employees Skype accounts. This means that your boss and your colleagues can monitor what you’re doing at work, he says.

IT and security “expert” Joakim von Braun is quoted in the article as saying: “Skype really should have better security for chats”.

This is an amazing discovery! I’ve been using this Skype feature for quite some time and never realized it’s actually a security hole… but then again, I’m not a security “expert”.

PS: Did you know that if someone has your email password, they can read your email?

iHandcuffs

Arstechnica published an article earlier this week titled “Why DRM’s best friend might just be Apple Inc.“. Every time someone points out that Apple is a supporter of DRM, the Mac faithful come out of the woodworks to promote the delusion that Apple does not really support DRM and that they’re simply forced to use DRM by the record labels and studios. This of course flies in the face of reality:

  • Apple is refusing to open up FairPlay to other companies.
  • Apple is applying FairPlay to files from record labels that do not require DRM.

From a NYTimes story today titled “Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs“:

Among the artists who can be found at eMusic are Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne, who are represented by Nettwerk Music Group, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. All Nettwerk releases are available at eMusic without copy protection.

But when the same tracks are sold by the iTunes Music Store, Apple insists on attaching FairPlay copy protection that limits their use to only one portable player, the iPod. Terry McBride, Nettwerk’s chief executive, said that the artists initially required Apple to use copy protection, but that this was no longer the case. At this point, he said, copy protection serves only Apple’s interests .

Josh Bernoff, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, agreed, saying copy protection “just locks people into Apple.” He said he had recently asked Apple when the company would remove copy protection and was told, “We see no need to do so.”

Apple’s statement is a detailed treatise on the subject, compared with what I received when I asked the company last week whether it would offer tracks without copy protection if the publisher did not insist on it: the Apple spokesman took my query and never got back to me.

From a 2004 blog post by Fred von Lohmann at the EFF titled “FairPlay: Another Anticompetitive Use of DRM“:

On a panel a few weeks ago, I asked the head lawyer for Apple’s iTunes Music Store whether Apple would, if it could, drop the FairPlay DRM from tracks purchased at the Music Store. He said “no.” I was puzzled, because I assumed that the DRM obligation was imposed by the major labels on a grudging Apple.

When will the Mac faithful stop deluding themselves?

iPhone

I’ve known that the iPhone was coming since my trip to Cupertino in January last year (didn’t know any details though) and now it’s finally announced.

Cons:

  • Battery is not removable (AFAIK).
  • No 3G. It’s being released in June 2007 and no 3G… Web browsing over EDGE is not a pleasant experience.
  • Closed – no SDK for 3rd party development.
  • In the US, a 2 year Cingular contract will be required.
  • No access to the iTunes Store from the phone and no syncing over WiFi.
  • Camera is only 2 megapixels.

Other than that, I can’t wait to try one. Hopefully the lack of tactile feedback is not going to be an issue.