’s Top 6 Posts for February 2012

by Jeff Wiener on March 5, 2012

1. Examining the Online Surveillance Bill

A new era of online surveillance may be on the horizon in Canada with the tabling of Bill C-30 this month. At its core, the new bill gives police and intelligence agencies the power to access the electronic communications of Canadians and press telecommunications companies for subscriber data without a warrant.

Since then, however, the bill has come under considerable fire not only for its apparent violation of the rights of the public, but because of cost to taxpayers as well. While the considerable public outcry and cost has yet to kill this contentious bill, it has done enough to give federal regulators pause, leaving the bill, for now, caught in legislative limbo

2. Avaya Introduces New Communications Outsourcing Solutions

For years Avaya’s communication solutions have been helping companies increase their overall productivity and reduce the overall cost of business communication, and now the communications giant is planning to go one step further by taking over the complete management of an enterprise’s entire communications platform.

To that end, this past month Avaya launched Avaya Communications Outsourcing Solutions (COS) – a new set of outsourcing services aimed at unified communication, contact centers, data networking, and video communications.  With COS, Avaya will take over the end to end management of a customer’s communications operations, including multi-vendor deployments, thereby helping companies increase their performance, cut costs and accelerate the transformation of their communications environments.

3. Is Microsoft Setting Nokia up for Failure?

With Nokia desperate to make inroads into the lucrative North American mobile market the Finnish company notably struck an agreement with Microsoft to run the latter’s new Windows Phone OS on its new flagship smartphones. The only problem it seems, is Microsoft’s initial marketing strategy for the new Nokia phones, selling them unlocked (without a carrier contract) for a staggering $899.

Admittedly, while the option of not being beholden to a carrier is sure to tempt some, the reality is that the $899 price tag will scare off most, perhaps not only from the Lumia 800 but from Nokia phones altogether. But such an obvious marketing misstep doesn’t usually happen by accident, which has me wondering, is Microsoft purposely setting Nokia up for failure?

4. Watchdog Group Lobbies for “Ethical” iPhone

Following a poignant NY Times expose into the abhorrent working conditions in the Chinese Foxconn factories along Apple’s supply chain—in which an unnamed Apple executive proclaimed that, “Right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China”–one group is calling out for an “ethical” iPhone, one made under fair labour practices.

Ethical watchdog group SumOfUs posted an online petition late last month, demanding that Apple resolve the inhumane working conditions and practices overseas and challenging the tech giant to create the “first ethical iPhone.” In response Apple has since launched an independent audit in an attempt to assuage public concern. More on this to come in March.

5. Facebook’s IPO: By the Numbers

After months of speculation Facebook filed for its initial public offering on in February. The $5 billion IPO filing gave us a unique opportunity to see inside the social networking giant and to examine the numbers behind Mark Zuckerberg’s former dorm room project. More than adding context to Facebook’s market power, the numbers also served to illuminate just how powerful social media is.

Along with the IPO, Zuckerberg released a letter that outlined Facebook’s origins and mission to “make the world more open and connected.”

“Personal relationships are the fundamental unit of our society. Relationships are how we discover new ideas, understand our world and ultimately derive long-term happiness,” wrote Zuckerberg.

Whether or not Zuckerberg’s dream began as a way to make a lot of money, it looks like that’s exactly what’s happened. The numbers behind Facebook as revealed in SEC filings today are quite compelling.

6. White House Develops Online Privacy Blueprint

“The American consumer can’t wait any longer for clear rules of the road that ensure their personal information is safe online,” US President Barrack Obama said in a statement this past month. Following a string of privacy infringement cases, some accidental and some purposeful, the current administration unveiled a blueprint for protecting consumer rights on the Internet, a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (PDF).

While nothing revolutionary, the Bill draws on generally recognized global privacy principles and adapts them to the current commercial Internet ecosystem in an effort to put information control back in the hands of consumers…and not in the hands

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