iFive: CIA War Lawsuit, Apple’s Media Focus, Twitter’s Adverts, Windows Phone Dates, Hurt Locker Anti-Pirate Setback

It’s just another manic Monday. But before you throw yourself into the joys of work, and those early week emails, here’s the early news, digested for your convenience.

Put down your coffee and croissant and join me in an little refrain: “Happy birthday to Google, happy birthday to Google…” Okay, stop there–Google’s doing its own celebration of its twelfth birthday (from the date of its official inauguration) with a slightly ominous Google doodle birthday cake, so it doesn’t need any help.


1. The CIA, of all bodies, is facing a lawsuit that exposes its poor methods as well as money-grabbing among its contractors. The accusation is that “illegal, inaccurate” code dubbed Geospatial was purchased to act as the targeting software for armed unmanned aircraft used in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the CIA in full knowledge that the code they’d bought was reverse-engineered from a different company’s accurate, correct system, and produced inaccurate targeting information that was up to 40 feet wrong. Specifically Netezza–the company IBM is currently buying–is accused of badly copying code from another firm, IISi, and the CIA is accused of knowingly accepting it for use in weapons-hot drone missions that could easily have killed innocent civilians as well as wasting money by missing the intended insurgent targets.

2. A yearlong Pew Research technology study, out today, shows Apple commanding 15.1% of the media’s attention in articles; Google has 11.4% of articles written about it; and Microsoft has a tiny 3% of share of articles. The beef is this is an “inordinate amount” of coverage for Apple, (a not-so-subtle) dig about Apple fanboyism in the press–but the study ran from June 2009 to June 2010, during which Apple released the decades-anticipated iPad, the new iPhone, and revamped iPod and Mac lineups. Google’s biggest news during this period was Twitter integration for more real-time searches. So the stats make sense. Microsoft did release Windows 7 in this time, but earned only 1% of articles for it. Which does prove one thing: Microsoft’s big media star has faded, and people (in the media and reading the media) now see it as just a commodity, not exciting enough to care about.

3. Twitter is about to take the next step in monetizing its business, and expand its in-stream promoted tweets advertising system. As of November, the special “paid-for” tweets will be not only viewable on Twitter’s home page, but throughout the huge number of third-party apps that access Twitter via its APIs. They’ll also show up in search engines more frequently, and combined the effort will make the adds have a much greater reach–delivering more bang for the buck for ad partners like Coca-cola. Or, given the ads greater spread, Twitter could charge a premium for them, and start making some serious money. Whatever happens, it looks like ads are going to penetrate deeper into another sphere of your daily life.

4. Microsoft fans have been scouring the tech news for any hint as to when the anticipated Windows Phone 7 Series release will occur, bringing MS’s new weapon to bear in the battle against the iPhone. No one knows if the move will even be successful, given the iPhone’s dominance and Android’s insurgence, but MS is pressing ahead anyway … except it’s not telling anyone when. Previous rumors had suggested dates in October, with the 11th being a favorite. But new information suggests a November 8th launch date. The source is Paul Thurrott, well-known MS pundit, so perhaps its worth paying attention to his words.

5. Hooray for the intricacies of law! Not a refrain you’ll hear often, but a South Dakota federal judge earns it because he’s quashed some of the ridiculously over-enthusiastic Hurt Locker pirating subpoena effort, which is targeting tens of thousands of individuals. Local ISP Midcontinent had received a subpoena requesting data on infringing users, but went to court to have it killed. Among the reasons: No money was involved to compensate Midcontinent for the effort needed to comply, and the legal document was sent by fax from out of state.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.


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