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Media Bits and Bytes - Hall of Shame edition

Microsoft/Google war; Wiretapping Act extended; Content made to order for advertisers; PBS Nova’s drone cover-up; Telecommunication Companies Hall of Shame Awards; Disabled sue for web shopping access; Web search and email scanning expanded; MIT asked to release all Aaron Swartz documents; Cable news is unbearably white

Microsoft and Google’s Pathetic, Revealing and Frightening War

By Alfredo Lopez
February 28, 2013

If you’re using Windows, your computer lives MicroSoft. If you don’t, you use a MicroSoft product (like Word or some smaller program you don’t notice on your desktop) or someone sends you stuff using one. You can’t escape MicrosSoft if you use a computer.

Google is to your Internet life what Microsoft is to your workspace. Even if you don’t use its increasingly popular Gmail program, you have used Google Search at some point. So prominent is our use of this resource that, in English, “google it” is now an accepted phrase. No, there is no Google-less life in this country.

So a marketing duel between these two fills the air with the very loud clanging of the very large swords.

President and Congress Extend FISA Wiretapping Act to 2017 [Updated]

By Bill Chappell
December 28, 2012

Fortune Writes Articles Exclusively for Advertisers

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By Lucia Moses
March 6, 2013

Advertisers looking to escape the dreaded advertorial trap and give consumers content they'll actually read has helped create the boom in native advertising or branded content. At the same time, publishers continue to seek ways to make their editorial work harder for them.

Fortune is rolling out a new response to this dilemma in the form of a program called Fortune TOC—Trusted Original Content. Similar to licensed editorial content, TOC involves creating original, Fortune-branded editorial content (articles, video, newsletters) exclusively for marketers to distribute on their own platforms. The publisher has set a price range from $250,000 to $1 million.

Nova faulted for failing to disclose funder’s interest in drones

By Elizabeth Jensen
March 18, 2013

A recent Nova documentary about unmanned aerial drones sparked a flurry of complaints from viewers upset by what the program’s producers didn’t say about development of the technology for military and other purposes: that Lockheed Martin, series underwriter and one of the country’s largest military contractors, is a developer of drone technology.

Viewers who watched the program on shortly after the broadcast wouldn’t have heard of the company’s sponsorship because PBS strips underwriting credits from programs streamed online.

AT&T wins Telco Hall of Shame Network Interference award

By Jeff Landale
February 28, 2013

After two weeks of voting, the “winner” the Telco Hall of Shame Network Interference Award is AT&T, who was nominated for being BFF’s with the NSA.   

The US-based telecommunications company won with nearly a quarter of the the vote, followed by another American telco, Verizon, with 17%.

Finnish-German Nokia Siemens Networks led the polls early in the voting, followed by the UK’s Vodafone, but were quickly overtaken by the US telcos when the two companies publicly announced their support for the proposed privacy-invasive cybercrime bill CISPA.   

Disabled Sue Over Web Shopping

By Joe Palazzolo

March 21, 2013
Wall Street Journal

Advocates for disabled Americans have declared that companies have a legal obligation to make their websites as accessible as their stores, and they've filed suits across the country to force them to install the digital version of wheelchair ramps and self-opening doors.

U.S. cyber plan calls for private-sector scans of Net

By Joseph Menn and Deborah Charles
March 21, 2013

The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country's private, civilian-run infrastructure.

As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.

Air late Internet activist’s case file, father asks

By Katherine Landergan
March 19, 2013
Boston Globe

The father of the late internet activist Aaron Swartz called on MIT Tuesday to release documents related to the federal case against his son, while lamenting that hackers have repeatedly tried to harm computer networks in his son’s memory. Robert Swartz said MIT should make public all internal documents related to the case against his son, who committed suicide in January while facing felony charges that he had hacked ¬into the JSTOR archive system on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s network.

Robert Swartz’s demand appeared to go further than a vow earlier Tuesday by MIT’s president, who said the university would provide internal documents in the federal case after personal and security infor¬mation was removed. “We believe they should release all the documents related to this case and related to Aaron, whether or not those are given to the government,” Swartz said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon.

CNN, MSNBC Criticized Over Lack Of Diversity In Recent Reshuffles

By Jack Mirkinson
March 22, 2013
The Huffington Post

Several commentators have recently noticed that, for all of the turnover in cable news these days, one thing is constant: the faces being shuffled around all seem to be white.

CNN chief Jeff Zucker recently toasted Jake Tapper, who has just started his show on the network, as "the face of the new CNN."

Richard Prince, the veteran journalist and longtime campaigner for diversity in the media, took to his "Journal-isms" column and wondered, "Why Is the Network's 'Face' Invariably White?" Television critic Eric Deggans also chimed in with a column entitled, "Cable News Is Still Unbearably White."