Hello and welcome to yet another exciting edition of This Week in Technology for April 1st, 2013. While the rest of the world launches their most clever hoaxes and “April Fool’s” tricks on this jovial occasion, our staff has been hard at work tracking down the biggest tech stories of the week for your reading pleasure. Across the top headlines this week is growing speculation over Facebook’s Android-based smartphone, Apple apologizing to China, and one of the largest cyber attacks the world has ever seen. Also, the season three premiere of Game of Thrones set an all-time piracy record with over one million illegal downloads shortly after airing this Sunday so it’s certainly been a week for the record books.
Our feature stories this week follow right along those same lines as we discuss reselling digital products, inventing safer ways to log into our favorite websites, and a new robotic garage that doubles as a personal valet service. So without further ado, here’s This Week in Technology for April 1st, 2013-
Earlier this week, a federal judge in New York overheard arguments from Capitol Records and company ReDigi over a new website that allows users to resell digital content that has been legally purchased through stores like iTunes or Amazon. Items like books, music, and video games have been available for direct purchase from consumers on their domain and Capitol Records claims that this action is clearly crossing a copyright boundary. This case has gathered national exposure due to the question of consumer rights and as expected, the ruling heavily favored the plaintiffs.
“The first sale defense does not cover this any more than it covered the sale of cassette recordings of vinyl records in a bygone era,” said Judge Richard J. Sullivan of United States District Court in Manhattan. “While ReDigi 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0 may ultimately be deemed to comply with copyright law, it is clear that ReDigi 1.0 does not.”
ReDigi has issued a statement that they plan to appeal this decision since they stand firm that a purchased item (digital or otherwise) should become the property of the owner and carry full resale rights. Their logic behind their argument is that if a consumer were to purchase a DVD or a hard cover book, for example, then there would not be any question about resale rights. Capitol, on the other hand, alleges that allowing the resale of digital content creates problems since the media would remain “perfect” in quality with a much longer lifespan than traditional means.
Taking a Look at Biometric Passwords
Ramesh Kesanupalli, creator of tech startup Nok Nok Labs, is making a serious push to rid our lives of usernames and passwords completely. Instead, the inspired software engineer suggests that our information would be much more secure if it were accesses through biometric data such as fingerprints, voice commands, or facial recognition. Kesanupalli’s software creates an access point to each user’s biometric information on their digital devices so that websites, programs, and other forms of media can access it.
Kesanupalli shares that this technology would not only minimize cyber-crime in most sectors, but it would virtually eliminate it if the world as a whole embraced it. “They would need to steal your device, and your finger and your eye,” Kesanupalli says. “That’s not a scalable attack.”
In other words, users would visit their favorite social media website and log in by touching their finger to their tablet or letting a camera recognize their face. The problem with this idea, however, is that it would be expensive to implement worldwide plus it would require much more storage compared to a system remembering a simple username and a password.
Welcome to the Robot Garage
Our final news story of the day takes a look at a tech innovation called the Boomerang system, which can park your vehicle in a multilevel structure and track it from drop-off to delivery. While it may not sound that impressive at a glance, the specifics make it appear like something straight out of a Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode. Once a user drives their vehicle into a garage, the Boomerang system uses robotics to lift the vehicle about two inches off the ground and carries it to a movable loading platform that can park the vehicle on one of many levels. The system is accurate up to ¼ of an inch as well so it maximizes parking efficiency while taking the hassle off of the driver.
Even better, the Boomerang system allows customers to pay for their parking (when applicable) over their smartphones and will even let you notify the system when you’re planning to arrive back for your vehicle through a handy app. Expect to see this technology inside parking garages across the country in the very near future.
Well, that’s all we have for This Week in Technology so be sure to check back with us next time for the latest tech talk from around the globe. As always, we appreciate you stopping by.