Breakfast Briefing: Galaxy S III ban, zero-day exploits, website scraping scandal

Today in tech news, Apple (unsurprisingly) wants to ban Samsung’s flagship smartphone, zero-day exploit sales cause concern, Tory minister in the spotlight over website scraping tool, ICT inspectors don’t know the subject and IFA blogging scandal hits Samsung.

Breakfast Briefing: Galaxy S III ban, zero-day exploits, website scraping scandal

Apple wants Samsung Galaxy S III banned

Apple is seeking to extend a looming ban of Samsung products to include the Galaxy S III, the Korean handset maker’s flagship Android smartphone, which sold 10m in the first three months after launch.

If you live in the US and have been eyeing an S III, buy one now before the December hearing…

Zero-day market catches government attention

Should security researchers be able to sell zero-day flaws? That’s the question raised by an intriguing piece in the Washington Post, examining the trade in code exploits. Is it a matter of free speech, or regulating weaponry?

Researcher Charlie Miller says it comes down to the bottom line: “My choices basically boiled down to: Do I do the thing that’s good for the most people and not going to get me money at all, or do I sell it to the US government and make $50,000?” One guess as to which route he took…

Tory minister’s Google gouging tool

Housing Minister Grant Shapps and his wife own a business selling a product called TrafficPaymaster, which scrapes web content from other pages in order to run Google ads alongside it – which, as The Guardian points out, is not only against Google’s terms but also plagiarism.

The newspaper reports: “Going under the name Michael Green and casting himself as an internet marketing guru, Shapps in 2007 claimed audiences could ‘make $20,000 in 20 days guaranteed or your money back’ – if they spent $200 buying his bespoke software.”

Shapps told The Guardian he no longer has anything to do with the business, which is registered in his wife’s name.

Samsung “leaves bloggers stranded”

Samsung has been accused of offering Indian bloggers a free ticket to Berlin to review its latest phones – only to threaten to leave them there if they didn’t start demonstrating the products to journalists themselves.

The bloggers’ suspicion was aroused when Samsung asked for their measurements for a set of clothes they would be required to wear, according to a report on The Next Web. When they turned up at the company’s stand, were handed a Samsung uniform and told to start showing off the smartphones, the bloggers walked out. That’s when things got prickly, according to The Next Web’s correspondent.

“We got a call from Samsung India saying ‘You can either be a part of this and wear the uniform, or you’ll have to get your own tickets back home and handle your hotel stay from the moment this call ends’,” one blogger reported.

Samsung has yet to comment on the report, but something doesn’t quite add up. Surely it would be cheaper for Samsung to hire local booth staff than fly them all the way from India to Berlin? This is one to watch.

iTunes collection won’t Die Hard

This one is straight from The Daily Mail, but we so very much want it to be true: Bruce Willis is said to be suing Apple so that he can leave his digital music collection – held in iTunes – to his daughters when he dies, which is not possible under the current terms.

If that’s not true, we hope it’s the plot of his next Die Hard film – Tim Cook would make an excellent villan.

ICT teacher blasts Ofsted inspection

An anonymous ICT teacher has spoken out about the way Ofsted inspections are handled, after a visit to his class two years ago, where he was teaching year five and six students how to make iPhone apps.

The inspector praised the class, but only gave the teacher a “good” mark in subject knowledge. The teacher asked why he didn’t receive an “outstanding” grade and was told: “My subject knowledge isn’t good enough to say whether yours is ‘outstanding’ or not.”

Students shun A-Levels, but not degrees

The number of students taking A-Level computing continues to dive – but it doesn’t seem to have much of a correlation to the number of students taking the subject at degree level, points out computing education researcher Neil Brown.

He’s posted a handy chart showing that the number of students taking computing degrees is triple those that took the subject at A-Level – and, best of all, over the past few years the growth trend has been positive or flat (we’ll take that as a win).

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