2010年6月22日 星期二

Bat For Theflyonthewall

Google, Twitter Go to Bat For Theflyonthewall


(Reuters) - Google Inc and Twitter Inc have asked an appeals court to overturn a lower court's decision to bar Theflyonthewall.com from issuing immediate news on analyst research from several Wall Street banks, court documents showed.

Theflyonthewall.com posted headlines from research reports and press releases on its website, often before banks could share their recommendations with their clients.

In March, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said Theflyonthewall.com engaged in "systematic misappropriation," essentially getting a "free ride" from its quick publication of upgrades and downgrades that can move stocks higher and lower.

The ruling was made in favor of Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch unit, Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley, which had earlier sought court intervention to ban Theflyonthewall from using their research reports.

However, in a filing with an appeals court late on Monday, Google and Twitter argued that in the age of Internet and instantaneous communication, banning of Theflyonthewall.com's immediate news dissemination was "obsolete."

"News reporting always has been a complex ecosystem, where what is 'news' is often driven by certain influential news organizations, with others republishing or broadcasting those facts -- all to the benefit of the public," the companies said in the filing.

Google and Twitter argued that upholding the district court's decision would give those who obtained the news first strong incentives to block others from obtaining the same information.

The companies also said it was tough to implement "any period of exclusivity" for news.

It would be impossible to craft and enforce a rule restricting the dissemination of readily accessible factual information, the companies said. They requested the court to recognize that "hot news" misappropriation could no longer be practically or fairly applied.

"How, for example, would a court pick a time period during which facts about the recent Times Square bombing attempt would be non-reportable by others?" the companies said in the filing.

The case is IN re: Barclays Capital et al v Theflyonthewall.com, Case No. 10-1372, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Valerie Lee)

2010年6月7日 星期一

Google: “Whack-a-mole is our life”

2010 年06月07日 06:15 AM

Google: “Whack-a-mole is our life”

Eric Schmidt veers between the defensive and the philosophical when describing how Google is coping with the constant eruption of controversy over its handling of privacy, copyright and other tricky public policy issues.

谷歌(Google)对隐私、版权及其它棘手公共政策问题的处理,不断引发争议。对 此,该公司首席执行官埃里克·施密特(Eric Schmidt)有时处于守势,有时又颇为达观。

“Whack-a-mole is our life,” says the youthful-looking 55-year-old chief executive of the world's most powerful and profitable internet company, based in Mountain View, California. “We are simply the symbol of the question of public and private behaviour, and special interests and narrow interests.”

他说:“打地鼠是我们的生活。我们仅仅是公共与私人行为、以及特殊利益和狭隘利益问题 的表征。”今年55岁、但看上去更年轻的他,执掌着总部位于加州山景城(Mountain View)的全球最强大、最赚钱的互联网公司。

In an hour-long interview at Google's London headquarters, Mr Schmidt set out why he believed Google had attracted charges of arrogance and insensitivity, notably in the recent case involving the interception of data collected via its Street View service from unsecured WiFi connections.

在谷歌伦敦总部的一小时采访中,施密特阐述了自己认为谷歌招致“傲慢”及“感觉迟钝” 指责的原因,尤其是最近其街景(Street View)服务从未加密的WiFi连接上截取数据的事件。

“Google is big and Google is disruptive by design. We are trying to do things that are new and when you disrupt things, the people who are being disrupted complain. We are in the information business and everyone has an opinion about information. But the laws [covering these areas] are inconsistent.”

“谷歌规模庞大,而且从设计上就具有‘扰乱性'。我们努力做一些新的事情,而当你扰乱 了现状时,被扰乱的人就会抱怨。我们从事信息业务,每个人对信息都有自己的见解。但(适用于这些领域)的法律缺乏连贯性。”

He adds: “The arrogance comes across because we try to do things for end-users against organised opposition from stakeholders that are unhappy – and they paint us as arrogant. But I am sure that all successful organisations have some arrogance in them.”

他接着表示:“之所以会有‘傲慢'的指控,是因为我们冒着不高兴的利益相关者的有组织 反对,尝试为最终用户提供一些服务——于是他们形容我们傲慢。但我确信,所有成功的组织都会有些傲慢。”

Mr Schmidt – wearing a disarming smile – is politely dismissive of those who say that Google's internal culture is largely to blame for the controversy plaguing the company.

有人说,谷歌内部文化是困扰该公司的争议的主要原因,对此,施密特——面带迷人的微笑 ——礼貌地予以反驳。

Critics say it is disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people, but Mr Schmidt counters that the “launch first, correct later” approach is vital to the ultra-creative and flexible company DNA which has produced the world's most popular search engine, Gmail, and Google Earth which maps the entire planet.

批评人士称,谷歌与普通人的关切存在脱节,但施密特反驳说,“先推出、再改正”的做 法,对注重创造性与灵活性的公司DNA至关重要。这种DNA带来了世界上最受欢迎的搜索引擎、Gmail、以及提供整个地球地图的谷歌地球(Google Earth)。

His remedy is to protect the company's freewheeling culture, while adopting a rigorous policy of owning up to mistakes and correcting them. That might mean more lawyers and more privacy briefings, but the engineers must be given space to work their software magic. “In the eyes of sophisticated people, we gain trust by being transparent.”

施密特给出的药方是:保护公司无拘无束的文化、同时执行严格的承认错误并改正的政策。 这可能意味着增加律师及隐私问题培训,但工程师必须得到施展自己软件才能的空间。“在成熟人士眼里,我们通过透明获得信任。”

Mr Schmidt is also at pains to separate the controversy over Street View from the spasm of criticism over privacy settings for Buzz, Google's answer to Facebook and other social networking sites.

施密特还尽力将围绕街景的争议,与针对Buzz隐私设置的批评声浪分离开来。Buzz 是谷歌推出的类似于Facebook及其它社交网站的社交网络产品。

In the first case, an engineer, who is now the subject of an internal investigation at the company, inserted a vital piece of code into Street View software systems, “in clear violation” of operating procedures but undetected by colleagues. The latter case involved a “testing failure” in which engineers only trialled Buzz internally and did not take into account how it would be viewed by the general public. The privacy settings – which critics said exposed personal information about users without their permission – were corrected within four days.

在前一个事件中,一名工程师在街景软件系统中插入了一个重要编码,此举“明显违反”了 操作程序,但没有被同事察觉。如今,该工程师正在接受公司的内部调查。后一个事件涉及“测试失败”,即谷歌工程师仅在内部测试了Buzz,而没有考虑公众 会如何看待这个产品。批评人士指责该产品的隐私设置未获得用户批准,就泄露用户的个人信息,后来该设置不到四天就得到了修正。

By contrast, Mr Schmidt shows no contrition when responding to the recent court ruling in Italy convicting three top Google executives of criminal wrongdoing after its YouTube video website showed footage of a disabled boy being bullied by classmates.

相比之下,对于最近意大利法庭以谷歌YouTube视频网站播放一名残疾男孩遭同学欺 负为由,裁定谷歌三名高管犯下刑事不法行为,施密特没有任何悔意。

“The judge was flat wrong. So let's pick at random three people and shoot them. It's bullshit. It offends me and it offends the company.

“法官绝对不称职,随机挑选三个人,然后枪毙他们。这完全是瞎扯。这冒犯了我,也冒犯 了我们公司。”

“But this is not an indictment of Italy,” says Mr Google, who earlier noted that Europe is a highly profitable market for the company.

“但这并不是说整个意大利有错,”施密特表示。早些时候,他曾表示欧洲是谷歌利润率较 高的市场。

There is a sense at the top of Google that the world is definitely becoming a less friendly place for internet companies. The shift goes beyond the issue of privacy or the company's recent decision to withdraw from China on the grounds of censorship.

谷歌高层有一个感觉:世界肯定在向对互联网公司不友好的方向转变。这种转变超越隐私问 题、或者该公司最近以审查制度为由而作出的退出中国内地的决定。

As Rachel Whetstone, Google's head of communications and policy, notes: “In the last 25 years, regulation of the internet has been very benign. That is changing.”

正如谷歌传播与政策负责人雷切尔·惠特斯通(Rachel Whetstone)指出的:“过去25年里,互联网监管一直非常温和。如今这正在发生改变。”

For Google, the shift poses a huge challenge because of its own relentless drive to innovate and produce new products in real time. “I want to have checks and balances. But it would be terrible to put a chilling effect on creativity. We have to find a way to continue to be creative with some more oversight.”

对于谷歌而言,这种转变带来了巨大挑战,因为该公司一直不遗余力地创新,不断创造新的 产品。“我想获得制衡。但给创造性泼冷水将非常可怕。我们必须找到一种方式,一方面继续创新,另一方面施加更多的监督。”

As the interview draws to a close, Mr Schmidt is asked when Google's own internal investigation into the Street View privacy blunder will be complete and whether the company will make its findings public.

在采访快结束时,我们问了施密特一个问题:谷歌对街景隐私问题的内部调查将何时结束, 是否会将调查结果公诸于众。

Mr Schmidt turns to Ms Whetstone. “What do you want to do?”


Democracy, it seems, is alive and well in Mountain View.