Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Now Relaying All FaceTime Calls Due To Lost Patent Dispute

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the call-differently dept.

Apple 179

Em Adespoton writes "Before the VirnetX case, nearly all FaceTime calls were done through a system of direct communication. Essentially, Apple would verify that both parties had valid FaceTime accounts and then allow their two devices to speak directly to each other over the Internet, without any intermediary or 'relay' servers. However, a small number of calls—5 to 10 percent, according to an Apple engineer who testified at trial—were routed through 'relay servers.' At the August 15 hearing, a VirnetX lawyer stated that Apple had logged 'over half a million calls' complaining about the quality of FaceTime [since disabling direct connections]."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

uhuh sure (5, Interesting)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44730719)

Nothing to do with ability to intercept.

Re:uhuh sure (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730741)

Your thought crime has been logged.

NSA bot #43386

Re:uhuh sure (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730807)

Your sarcastic comment regarding civil liberties has been logged.

NSA bot bot #43387.

Re:uhuh sure (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730877)

Two-party communication regarding civil liberties detected. This conspiracy has been flagged for follow-up.
 
NSA bot bot #43385.

Re:uhuh sure (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#44731419)

So does this mean the watchers are watching themselves?

Re:uhuh sure (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731617)

nope.. the two bots are working together to protect us from the terrible secret of space.

Re:uhuh sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730893)

Your logging have been logged, {43386:"195.8.12.44", 43387:"64.4.11.37"}.

Anonymous bot #undef

Re: uhuh sure (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731365)

Unauthorized loggning registered. Sending drones to location of target IP: 127.0.0.1

Re: uhuh sure (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730767)

Uh - US ability to intercept is not restricted to cabled telephony and relays. US intel is not "stupid" except when talking to Congress, which is. Court-ordered Legal Evidence collection is dependent on relay servers.

Re: uhuh sure (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44730933)

Uh - US ability to intercept is not restricted to cabled telephony and relays.

No, but it helps.

Re: uhuh sure (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44731411)

US intel is not "stupid" except when talking to Congress, which is.

This is the same 'US intel' which missed the collapse of the USSR, 9/11, the Boston Bombers, and were totally sure Saddam Hussein had WMDs, right, not another 'US intel' that's actually competent?

As for original comment, intercepting calls is vastly easier when they go to a central server and they have direct access to the decrypted data than when they go peer to peer with encryption.

Re: uhuh sure (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44731525)

US intel is not "stupid" except when talking to Congress, which is.

This is the same 'US intel' which missed the collapse of the USSR, 9/11, the Boston Bombers, and were totally sure Saddam Hussein had WMDs, right, not another 'US intel' that's actually competent?

As for original comment, intercepting calls is vastly easier when they go to a central server and they have direct access to the decrypted data than when they go peer to peer with encryption.

The collapse of the USSR was well known in the press ahead of time. I remember reading predictions a couple months in advance.

The NSA knew about 9/11, they were monitoring those guys, but nobody was listening to them seriously in those days. That's the date they started being taken seriously.

Boston Marathon: I bet they knew something was up with those guys as well, although a quiet plot between brothers is pretty hard to intercept.

Re: uhuh sure (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731649)

"Boston Marathon: I bet they knew something was up with those guys as well, although a quiet plot between brothers is pretty hard to intercept."

Well, the Russian authorities warned the US about them.

Re: uhuh sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731951)

They probably have a list of thousands for each of whom there have been "warnings".

Re: uhuh sure (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732017)

It's a good thing our government doesn't waste resources checking all of them out instead of high priority tasks like groping airline passengers and busting pot dispensaries.

Re: uhuh sure (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about a year ago | (#44732007)

You missed the WMD part - where the CIA said that they had raw intel about it and our "leaders" who wanted a war took it as gospel and ran with it to support their cause. So far as I know CIA never delivered a finished vetted report claiming WMD, I'm pretty sure it would've been "leaked" if such a thing existed.

Considering the lead up to the war I'm quite sure any REAL WMD were shipped off to Syria long before we got there.

Re: uhuh sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731765)

Iraq's WMDs were moved to Syria.

Re:uhuh sure (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#44731199)

There will always be a possibility of intercept as long as Apple keeps the source code secre and prevents you from rebuilding and installing the software on the mobile computer. You would have to use free software on hardware controlled by you in order to avoid it.

Re:uhuh sure (2)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44731603)

Also, you'd need your own internet.

Re:uhuh sure (4, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44731449)

This is marked troll, but consider that Skype has been taken from a distributed system to a system with a central server farm in Redmond.

Totally more inefficient for users (relaying makes Skype suck more), but much more efficient for TLAs.

And considering recent events (and events over the past 20 years, really) it's common sense.

--
BMO

Re:uhuh sure (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#44731715)

The 'common sense' for the wannabe tyrants is not the 'common sense' for the liberties of the rest of us.

Re:uhuh sure (1)

matthewv789 (1803086) | about a year ago | (#44731859)

Furthermore, despite relaying through central servers, they have not used that capability AT ALL to help users of Skype.

If both you and the person you are talking to are not online at the same time, your message will not be delivered to that user. If they're offline, your message to them will be "pending". If you then go offline, then they come online, they still won't see the message, and the next time you come online it will still be "pending". - which is what you'd expect from direct, peer-to-peer communication.

So this routing through central servers does NOTHING to help users of the system, though it so easily could have by forwarding the stored message when one or the other user is online, not requiring both to be online at the same time to relay the messages.

This re-architecture solely to facilitate spying on users (particularly without telling them you're doing that and why), without taking the golden and possibly rather trivial opportunity to help improve the service, instead maintaining the ILLUSION of hard-to-intercept peer-to-peer behavior, is PURE EVIL.

Re:uhuh sure (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44731495)

Nothing to do with ability to intercept.

Wait, why was parent marked troll?

In the case of Skype the very FIRST thing Microsoft did (was forced to do) was bring all call routing back through their own servers

How do you know the patent troll in this case wasn't funded by the NSA to force the very same thing on Apple? By forcing Apple to route all sessions through their already compromised data centers, the ability for the government to monitor the calls is restored, and Apple doesn't have to admit anything. Apple already appears on the leaked Prism source chart [theguardian.com] . So forcing all facetime sessions to go through already compromised data centers would be a high priority for the NSA.

I don't think you can dismiss out of hand the possibility that this was a planned outcome.

Re:uhuh sure (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about a year ago | (#44732039)

Not far fetched IMO, Skype used to be far more secure. Relaying most certainly gives a central monitoring point.

Govt agencies have apparently complained that iMessage's encryption stops them, does FaceTime enjoy the same sort of crypto? I've only recently used FaceTime and found it's performance acceptable but I too cannot help but wonder.

Something I noted... (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year ago | (#44730765)

Well, I noted that some "patent expert" didn't report this at all, despite being one who is self proclaimed as following and reporting on patent issues. I am sure if this involved Google/Motorola or Android, this "expert" would have lots to report on the issue. I will abbreviate his name as FM. Is there a trend?

Re:Something I noted... (2)

Thantik (1207112) | about a year ago | (#44730869)

Nobody really cites him anymore as a legitimate resource ever since he was outed as an Oracle paid shill. His focus isn't so much on praising Apple as much as it is shining negative light on Google. Seeing as this has basically nothing to do with Google, he likely simply didn't have anything to say, because he's not getting paid to say it.

Re:Something I noted... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730929)

Who are you talking about?

Re:Something I noted... (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44731015)

If you're not joking or trolling, that would be Florian Müller. (Not giving him a free link, either--use the Google if you want or need to know more.)

Re:Something I noted... (1, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44731369)

Curious, I see everyone calling him a paid shill. However, I haven't seen any evidence that he actually does that? He presents his source materials for his analysis.

How is he a shill? Just because he needs to make a living and gets paid by Oracle - and publicly announces that he does get paid by Oracle?

Re:Something I noted... (3, Interesting)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#44731399)

Look at the proceedings of the Oracle x Google case about the Java patents. Oracle listed him as a paid source.

Re:Something I noted... (1)

Thantik (1207112) | about a year ago | (#44731403)

He didn't publicly announce it. It was found out after years of him hiding it due to the lawsuit between Oracle and Google.

Re:Something I noted... (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44731465)

In school, when I do my homework, I had to present my work, step by step, and cite my sources.

He appears to do that in his blog posts. So are you saying that he is a factual shill?

And I thought it was a few months, not a few years (I didn't follow it that closely).

Re:Something I noted... (1)

Thantik (1207112) | about a year ago | (#44731487)

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill [wikipedia.org]

" A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization. "

Yes, he is a factual shill...by definition.

Re:Something I noted... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44731579)

Of course the guy is a shill. He was being paid by Oracle to write pro-Oracle commentary. Worse, it's not even the first time he did it. Remember all the nonsense he posted on the SCO vs. Linux battles? The guy is a dishonorable piece of shit.

Re:Something I noted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732045)

The guy is a dishonorable piece of shit.

Yeah, you're one to talk.

Re:Something I noted... (3, Interesting)

Stumbles (602007) | about a year ago | (#44731481)

He is a shill because for a very very long time he bashed many companies along with PJ over at Groklaw while PRETENDING to be "fair and balanced", etc , etc. Anyone with a modicum of comprehension skills could easily tell from his writings he was being paid, yet for the longest time he denied such a thing. In others words just to be clear: he was lying out his ass about his motivations. Then again there wasn't a single bit of his "legal" analysis that prove to be correct or true. Which no doubt is why he had a bone to pick with PJ because she would shred his analysis and to boot she was right. So no he isn't a shill because he is paid by Oracle, he is one for hiding it and then when it became clear he needed to, owned up to it.

If you haven't seen any evidence, then you have not actually done any looking.

Anyway, I cannot see why anyone would put any stock in anything he has to say.

Re:Something I noted... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#44731795)

There was no evidence for a long time, though, and the people are very easily led to smearing others who disagree with their opinions.

The thing that really erased all semblance of credibility from him is when he was revealed to be on Oracle's payroll throughout the Oracle v. Google case which he covered extensively (and almost invariably rooted in favor of Oracle, strangely enough!). Never once did he put a disclaimer saying he had ties with Oracle; instead, he actively denied it. THAT is inexcusable and irrefutable and entirely invalidates any sort of opinion he may have had or will have.

Re:Something I noted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732031)

Yeah.. but PJ? She/He/It works for IBM. Some idiots believe the cover story about some paralegal chick that suddenly turned militant-FOSS activist. I mean, have you read her story [groklaw.net] ? Phony baloney. I'm not saying Florian is any better. If you ask me they're both turds floating in the same cesspool.

Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44730771)

Welcome to the Business States of America.

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

mc6809e (214243) | about a year ago | (#44730849)

Welcome to the Business States of America.

Hardly. As far as I can tell, VirnetX is basically a combination of academics and lawyers that won against a real business like Apple.

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730957)

So business should just be able to use someone else's research as they see fit?

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

mc6809e (214243) | about a year ago | (#44731017)

So business should just be able to use someone else's research as they see fit?

Perhaps business does its own research.

There are many problems that have obvious solutions no matter who does the research. Some solutions are inevitable. They aren't supposed to be patented.

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (2)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#44731175)

There are many problems that have obvious solutions no matter who does the research. Some solutions are inevitable. They aren't supposed to be patented.

Inevitable discovery is a defense, a way of overturning a patent. But people often overestimate what's inevitable. Many good ideas aren't discovered for generations even though all the pieces were in place.

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (3, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | about a year ago | (#44731279)

Inevitable discovery is a defense, a way of overturning a patent. But people often overestimate what's inevitable. Many good ideas aren't discovered for generations even though all the pieces were in place.

I've got nothing against patenting good ideas, but the techniques described in the patents involved seem inevitable to me.

But then again juries don't usually include computer engineers so everything computer seems like magic to them.

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | about a year ago | (#44731183)

Very well said! The volume of obvious solutions that are patented is ridiculous!

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731625)

like chamfered rectangles?

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44731709)

There is nothing innovative in FaceTime and similar systems that I can see. Handing off video chats to direct connections is an obvious engineering solution; nobody should get a patent on it. Many of the software patents are written by academics with no understanding of engineering or what is actually going on in the real world.

Re:Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730961)

Why does that make them not patent trolls out to make a fast buck? They have a patent on sending peer to peer video an audio between two devices which they are not using? How is that a) not obvious b) not troll behaviour?

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731381)

Because the guys who own the company originally developed the tech for the CIA when they worked for saic. They took the patents to start their own company selling their IP

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731845)

Again, a patent on setting up peer to peer connections... How is this not obvious? And again –a company doing nothing but selling IP –this is the definition of a patent troll –someone who has IP only to extort money out of people with the same idea, not to actually do something useful with it.

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about a year ago | (#44730981)

What? I am eagerly awaiting VirnetX's release of it fabulous point to point video communications software. I mean its sure to be released soon right, right?!

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731209)

What? I am eagerly awaiting VirnetX's release of it fabulous point to point video communications software. I mean its sure to be released soon right, right?!

Sure ... just as soon as some venture capitalists are willing to fund a small company's attempt to compete in the marketplace against a free offering from Apple.

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about a year ago | (#44731321)

You are absolutely correct, but the sad truth is that patent laws only require you to submit a working proof of concept within 18 months after filing. The poc doesnt have to be any good only to show the claim in some working order.

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731875)

Isn't that the point of fighting to get the law changed... The law shouldn't say that you can sit on an invention and extort money out of people doing useful things. It should say that if you want a monopoly on something, you actually have to fucking use it, and do something useful for the world. Not just stifle everyone else doing something useful.

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#44731379)

I eagerly await VirnetX's lawsuits against all the SIP phone manufacturers because, as I understand it, SIP allows two phones to directly talk to each other once initial setup is done...

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731395)

The tech was originally developed for the CIA. These guys bought the patents that they developed from saic, their former employer to license to companies for civilian use

Re: Obvious patents and patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731903)

But... isn't that exactly what we don't want people to do? We don't want people to sit on a patent, only to try and license it out to other people. The monopoly a patent grants you is meant to be to allow you long enough to get into production, and get yourself established in a market. It's not to allow you to just extort money out of other people who want to make progress, while not actually doing anything useful yourself.

We even have a name for people who do nothing with their patents except extort other people for money –they're called patent trolls.

Lost a lawsuit? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730777)

Just ask Obama to overturn the ruling.

Or maybe this man in the middle concession is the price of overturning the import ban?

Re:Lost a lawsuit? (1)

fred911 (83970) | about a year ago | (#44730875)

"Just ask Obama to overturn the ruling."
Requesting the legislative branches not to allocate resources for enforcement is more the current administrations' style.

Re:Lost a lawsuit? (3, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44731245)

"Just ask Obama to overturn the ruling." Requesting the legislative branches not to allocate resources for enforcement is more the current administrations' style.

To be fair, that's easier than trying to get the Legislative Branch to *actually* do something (about anything). According to Slate [slate.com] the 113th Congress has passed only 15 bills this year for Obama to sign while "... more than 4,000 bills have been referred to committee this year, where most will die of starvation."

For comparison's sake, George W. Bush signed 13 bills into law on today's date alone [July 12] in 2005—with a Republican majority in both houses, mind you—but seven of those bills were sponsored by Democrats!

Of course, we only have ourselves to blame for voting all these weasels into office...

Does this affect people in other countries? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730801)

Not all countries suffer from software patents. Does Apple have to relay people connecting within those, too?

Re:Does this affect people in other countries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731207)

Since Apple is based in the US, yes.

Re:Does this affect people in other countries? (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44731509)

Time to open an office in Dublin and move the operations.

Re:Does this affect people in other countries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731459)

The details of the case are locked up pretty well right now. The vague words of this one guy that also owns stock in VimetX really doesn't count for much.

Add to that this quote:

But according to Lease, it has now been revealed that Apple is actually paying $2.4 million per month to run FaceTime calls through relay servers. The payments are mainly to Internet content distribution companies like Akamai, which are transmitting vastly more FaceTime calls.

...perhaps my understanding of CDN's and Akamai is out of date, but AFAIK, they serve up static content. They are very very good at that, but they don't help at all for dynamic content (unless it can be cached for a bit... at which point it's temporarily static). As such, streaming live video through them doesn't make much sense at all.

CDN's *could* be useful for streaming video if the stream was viewed by many people.
a) one stream per Akamia hub that is involved
b) one stream from Akamia to end user for each user near that hub ...but Facetime doesn't need that. It's almost always a one-to-one connection.

Long story short... there was little to trust in the article to begin with, and, for me, this ruined whatever remaining credibility this guy had.

All that said, I do see how using a proxy/relay for this would negatively impact many users... especially those that are on the same ISP in the same area (ex. NYC verizon user -to- NYC verizon user).

What patent? (4, Interesting)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44730805)

What is the patent involved here? Establishing a connection between two entities on an IP network? NAT traversal techniques? Usage of Interactive Connectivity Establishment protocols?

Re:What patent? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44730923)

What is the patent involved here? Establishing a connection between two entities on an IP network? NAT traversal techniques? Usage of Interactive Connectivity Establishment protocols?

Better question: Who cares? The patent system is so hopelessly corrupt it might as well be "Company A wants to extort money from Company B"... and so, a patent is produced, that is vaguely worded and could possibly cover something vaguely related to what Company B does. And then it's elephant mating season, with its attendant judges, teams of lawyers, reporters, etc. ...

I gave up long ago trying to keep up with the news on these things -- is the patent valid? Isn't it? What legal process will happen now? Aww fuck it. You know what; Corporations are like children. They don't play well with others and really need their ass paddled to learn some discipline. Unfortunately, Uncle is drunk off his ass ranting about the war and not watching the kids...

Re:What patent? (4, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44730959)

The technology to establish a connection between two peers for voice or video communication is standardized, in particular by the IETF, and implemented by many vendors.
If there is a patent on that technology, that would put into question hundreds if not thousands of products worldwide.

Re:What patent? (2)

Technician (215283) | about a year ago | (#44731485)

SIP is another standard for VOIP. It works with off the shelf hardware from many vendors as well as softphones.

Re: What patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731829)

FaceTime is based on SIP, with enough proprietary extensions to make it incompatible with SIP devices, like non-standard packetization.

Re:What patent? (5, Informative)

teg (97890) | about a year ago | (#44730949)

What is the patent involved here? Establishing a connection between two entities on an IP network? NAT traversal techniques? Usage of Interactive Connectivity Establishment protocols?

Following links in the article will eventually get you to an article listing the patents [arstechnica.com] .

The disaster of allowing software patents (4, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | about a year ago | (#44731203)

The patents in question describe nothing more than perfectly normal combinations of Internet services that any software engineer who knows basic networking would be expected to create as a matter of course. Combining such services into higher protocols is simply algorithmic construction in network programming.

This patent suit illustrates well the chilling effect that software patents have on our ability to use computers and the Internet to best effect. When you allow software algorithms to be locked away in patents, the ability of engineers to use computers and networks as an enabling technology decreases dramatically, to the extreme detriment of our ability to improve our systems.

Each new software patent just adds further bars to the prison. If this disease isn't stopped soon, the profession is going to be worthless except as a feeding pit for lawyers.

Re:The disaster of allowing software patents (5, Insightful)

gutnor (872759) | about a year ago | (#44731593)

When you allow software algorithms to be locked away in patents

Actually that is not the biggest problem. That would be fair enough if those algorithm required years of R&D. What we are talking about here is stuff that is normal everyday problem to solving for the engineer in charge of developing the feature.

Patent are supposed to expose secrets in exchange for a temporary monopol. However, if nobody look at the patents to find those secrets and yet manage to reinvent them, what exactly is the value of those patent ? If you have a patent system where people need to search for the patent to license after they have made their product, your patent system is broken at a fundamental level.

Re:What patent? (2)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44731259)

What is the patent involved here? Establishing a connection between two entities on an IP network? NAT traversal techniques? Usage of Interactive Connectivity Establishment protocols?

No, its "telephony .. over the internet, on a COMPUTER!!1 or smartphone!777"

SIP (2)

Gocho (16619) | about a year ago | (#44730817)

How is this different from canreinvite=yes/no in Asterisk? Doesn't SIP allow for the same thing?

Re:SIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731003)

I was asking myself the same thing. It could related to the fact that video is involved or to the party authentication method relating to the apple identifier but I have no idea.

Digital LMR radio systems (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about a year ago | (#44730873)

We've had to evaluate several systems for possible deployment where I work. Invariably, they want to route all calls through a central server. So if someone on a site a hundred miles away wants to talk to someone on the same site, it routes the call all the way back to a main server, then all the way back to the tower and out over the air. Who gives a crap about delay or user experience any more?

Why do they do this? They say customers are requiring all calls to be logged, and sending all traffic back to the server is the only way to do it.

What freaking customers? The NSA?

I've been obsessed with tech since I was a teenager. I do not like what I see on the horizon. Lucky for me, I got to use the Internet before every keystroke I made was logged.

 

Re:Digital LMR radio systems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730927)

Lucky for me, I got to use the Internet before every keystroke I made was logged.

No, you didn't.

-- The NSA

Re:Digital LMR radio systems (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44730953)

It can just be told to experts in terms of the costs. A huge loop out via a huge US telco can be very a cheap way to get back into a region for that data use without paying full price two regional telcos direct.

Re:Digital LMR radio systems (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about a year ago | (#44730955)

Sarbones-oxley - and similar laws can mean that you are required to log buisness transactions.

Re:Digital LMR radio systems (1)

jjeffries (17675) | about a year ago | (#44731539)

Just because device A can talk to device B, and device A can talk to device C, doesn't mean that device B can talk to device C at all/completely/reliably.

Also, CALEA very well might require this hub-routed functionality.

Re:Digital LMR radio systems (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44731577)

What freaking customers? The NSA?

Umm, yeah. SAIC [wikipedia.org] is a defense contractor, headquartered right in the middle of TLA government land. I wouldn't be surprised if the settlement for infringement is 'we either sue your company into the ground or you route all traffic through a central server with our taps on it'.

Re:Digital LMR radio systems (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#44731797)

"before every keystroke I made was logged" Think so? Maybe think again. The NSA is older than the internet...

Facetime sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44730903)

Apple promised to open Facetime but has yet to do so. You still can't use it without an Apple device.

Patents, opening it will not fix the patents (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year ago | (#44730967)

patents need to be stopped.

Re: Facetime sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731023)

I would assume that this patent has something to do with that.

Re: Facetime sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731839)

When Steve Jobs announced Facetime, he also said it was going to be an open standard. This was news to the Facetime team (I was into the leather scene at the time and hung out with many of them). Anyhow, nobody seems to care. Even the OP AC -- I cross-checked his IP address (I work for Slashdice) and, surprise, surprise, he's associated with samsung.

Karma? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731025)

I hate trolls but I do remember that Steve Jobs promised at launch the FaceTime was going to be an open standard. It obviously didn't happened and as much as I dislike trolls, there may be some measure of cosmic karma involved...

Ongoing? (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year ago | (#44731055)

Both sides in the litigation admit that if Apple routes its FaceTime calls through relay servers, it will avoid infringing the VirnetX patents. Once Apple was found to be infringing—and realized it could end up paying an ongoing royalty for using FaceTime—the company redesigned the system so that all FaceTime calls would rely on relay servers. Lease believes the switch happened in April.

So, from that, it appears that Apple infringed up until April, but no longer does.

Meanwhile, Apple has handed over its customer service logs from April through mid-August to VirnetX's attorneys. At the August 15 hearing, a VirnetX lawyer stated that Apple had logged "over half a million calls" complaining about the quality of FaceTime, according to Lease.

If that's accurate, the data will bolster VirnetX's arguments that its patents are technologically significant, hard to work around, and deserve a high royalty rate.

And if the customers are complaining because it currently uses the sucky work-around, then that also indicates that Apple stopped infringing in April.

The judge and lawyers present at the hearing didn't discuss numbers regarding what a reasonable ongoing royalty might be, but VirnetX is asking for royalty payments of more than $700 million for the ongoing use of FaceTime, according to Lease.

... so why would there be ongoing royalties? If you stop using someone's patented improvement and return to using the previous, public domain system, you shouldn't have to keep paying them royalties. This would be like if someone patented a better mousetrap, and then when you stopped using it, they also wanted you to pay a royalty for owning a cat.

Re:Ongoing? (1)

dkf (304284) | about a year ago | (#44731171)

... so why would there be ongoing royalties?

Presumably because the plaintiff believes that their patents are still being infringed. From the wording, I'd guess that whether that is actually true has not been decided yet; just asking for something doesn't mean they'll get it.

("Chocolate ice cream, please." Nope. Doesn't work.)

Re:Ongoing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731405)

In the preliminaries all parties (Apple, VimetX and the Judge) have agreed that using a relay would not infringe of the patens of VimetX.
However VimetX says that because FaceTime once infringed on one of their patents it is forever tainted and therefor ongoing royalties have to paid even when FaceTime is no longer infringing on their patent.

Perhaps Apple can countersue (1, Interesting)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44731077)

If the owner of the patent Facetime is infringing upon uses rounded corners for their office desks.

WTF!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731293)

Direct routing between two computers over the internet is now covered under some douchebags' bogus patent? Common!

Where is the innovation? (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44731547)

Making direct connection between nodes is so fucking obvious. Any kind of service that would benefit from it, the designers would just do it. A patent that covers that in general adds nothing. A patent with some kind of innovative idea in this area might be possible for ways to improve direct communications. But such an innovative patent would not cover the obvious aspect of direct communication.

The problem is not the patent trolls that exploit bugs in the patent system to their own unjustified financial gain. Instead, the problem is the USPTO that issues patents for obvious ideas just because they were able to find someone in their office that could not think up the idea, which appears to be more than 99% of patent applications. This is where the fix needs to happen. Patents must pass the innovation test and USPTO is not even aware how to do this test.

Re:Where is the innovation? (0)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#44731695)

While I believe in general, software patents are bullshit, your claim that making direct connections are easy is bullshit.

Punching holes in NAT is a fucking nightmare, I remember the first time I read about how to do it and it was not a fucking obvious thing to do, it might be today, because papers have been written and the art has gone from black magic to "ah, yeah sure, thats actually neat", but sure as heck wasn't obvious how to get direct connections between to natted clients.

Re:Where is the innovation? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44731881)

Punching holes in NAT is a fucking nightmare

I thought it was just a case of getting both parties to attempt to send packets to each other on an agreed UDP port - that's how I thought Skype did it anyway.

Re:Where is the innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731935)

That's the basic idea, but NATs are complicated and somewhat arbitrary. Skype engineers had to (and continually have to) work around the combinations of dozens of different ways routers might process packets and set up their routing tables, like what algorithms do they use to increment port numbers, etc.

Forcing going through relay servers...NSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731813)

Force going through relay servers... hummm a central point or set of points on which you could wire tap... who would want to do something like that?

Virnet's licensing statement (2)

kfsone (63008) | about a year ago | (#44731961)

Emphasis mine:

"Customers who want to develop their own implementation of the VirnetX patented techniques for supporting secure domain names, or other techniques that are covered by our patent portfolio for establishing secure communication links, will need to purchase a patent license."

Hard not to notice the lack of links for say, SDK documentation, samples, registration -- just a statement that you can email them to ask. There are no demos. Also, they have crawling disabled. So I can't, for example, use webarchive to tell how long they have actually been on the web.

Some problems here... (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about a year ago | (#44732081)

Okay, they have logged over a half million complaints that had something to do with FaceTime. How many did they log prior to this? How large an increase, if any, was this? Were the additional complaints having to do with something specific that leads anyone to believe it had to do with this change? did these complaints start immediately after the change? Simply the fact that a company the size of Apple has logged that many complaints doesn't seem unusual at all, this article lacks a great deal of context around those numbers.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?