ExtraBITS for 18 July 2011
We found a variety of fascinating articles on the Web this week, starting with one that debunks the “nothing to hide” argument against privacy. Also, we found a roundup of the latest iOS device rumors, coverage of how Apple beat out Google for Nortel’s patents, and news of Netflix raising prices, along with David Pogue’s investigation into why Netflix decided to make the change.
Debunking the “Nothing to Hide” Argument Against Privacy — When discussing actions that could violate someone’s privacy, the “nothing to hide” argument is often raised as a reason not to worry. In this excerpt from his book “Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security” in The Chronicle of Higher Education, author Daniel J. Solove points out that there are multiple types of privacy-related problems, and that the “nothing to hide” argument focuses largely on surveillance and disclosure of personal information while ignoring privacy issues related to
aggregation, governmental powers, secondary use, and distortion, among others. It’s an essential read for anyone struggling with the tensions surrounding privacy, security, and commerce.
The Next Web Ponders iOS Device Rumors — The iPhone 5, the iPad HD, a 3G iPod touch… who knows what we’ll see in the future? But if you want to have a sense of what’s being talked about on the rumor sites without the daily soap opera of tracking the latest rumors, Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web has an interesting article that ends up discussing all the rumors about what might be coming down the pike from Apple. Remember, it’s merely rumor and speculation, but it can give you something to consider as you think about what you’d like to see in future
How Apple Beat Out Google for Nortel’s Patents — This piece at TechCrunch is one of those behind-the-scenes stories that’s just a good read — it likely won’t result in anything you’ll ever be able to identify in a product, but it gives you a sense of just how high the stakes are in the technology world right now, and just how significant a role Apple plays. And no, it’s not just an Apple versus Google situation — Apple was actually backing a consortium that included RIM, EMC, Ericsson, Sony, and Microsoft, while Google ended up teaming with Intel. Can’t keep track of the players without a scorecard
Netflix Separates DVD and Streaming Plans, Raising Prices — Netflix has announced that they are splitting their DVD and streaming subscription plans, so the previous $9.99 per month plan for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs (one out at a time) will now become two separate plans, a $7.99 unlimited streaming plan and a $7.99 DVD-only plan (again, one out at a time). So, to retain the previous service level, the price goes from $9.99 to $15.98. The change will happen for existing members on or after 1 September 2011; it goes into place for new members immediately. It seems likely that
the price increase is due to increased licensing costs from the studios, but if so, Netflix is doing a poor job of educating customers as to what the real costs are. Netflix customers are largely irate at the change, especially given the weasel words in the blog post and the erratic choice for streamed movies.
David Pogue Talks with Netflix about Price Increase — Wonder what the real reason was for Netflix’s recent 60-percent price hike? So did David Pogue of the New York Times, and while he didn’t get a good answer, he at least got to talk with a Netflix spokesperson, who confirmed that it had nothing to do with increased fees for streaming but was instead just a matter of needing more revenue for the combined DVD-plus-streaming plan.