Egg on Nokia's face, fed govt's ambiguous plan

Monday, 10 September, 2012

Welcome back to the week in IT, in which we take a look at some of the more interesting stories from the last week.

First up we have a story that left a lot of egg on Nokia’s face. At the launch of its new Lumia 920 smartphone, the company played a video demonstration of new optical image stabilisation (OIS) features present on the phone.

The video implies that it was taken using one of the phones by a person on a rickety bicycle - but a reflection of the camera in the video reveals that it was in fact filmed by a larger video camera, from within a van presumably sporting the road-bump-buffering suspension that vans usually come with.

The company later admitted the trickery, apologising, and saying it should have called the video a “representation” of the technology on the phone.

Given that that this mobile manufacturer’s marketing mischief was only revealed through an unlucky reflection in a couple of frames of video, we wonder: how often do tech vendors actually get away with such trickery? What other “representations” have we been fed that we haven’t had reason to question, and therefore taken as legitimate?

Telco data retention proposal

The Australian federal government’s plan to force telcos to store customer traffic records for up to two years again entered the news this last week.

During a speech at an ACCAN (Australian Communications Consumer Action Network) conference, Comms Alliance CEO John Stanton described the government’s proposal as “gloriously ill-defined”.

Stanton said the proposal didn’t specify how much data telcos would need to store during the two-year period. This means ISPs have no real way to tell how much said storage would cost them.

This sentiment was backed by representatives from Optus and Telstra. Other ISPs voiced more concerns about the lack of clarity surrounding the scheme.

This isn’t the first time an Australian government has erred on the side of ambiguity, or shown a lack of understanding of the internet (who can forget Stephen Conroy’s ‘portal moment’).

It’s unlikely to be the last.

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