One of my absolute favorite places to visit to find deals on unlocked phones, get help with technical issues, and provide help to people regarding mobile device issues is Howard Forums. I know Howard Chui personally from years of Mobius events and he is a great guy who gives a lot back to the mobile community. Something is happening over at Howard Forums
right now and I want to support Howard and also let you know about something disturbing that we should all be aware of since it seems a company is going too far.
You can read the story of how a Howard Forums member posted URLs to MobiTV's website that allows you to view their content in a discussion forum. I know that the moderators there and on other sites I visit would never allow someone to keep a post up information that had login and passwords shared, but these URLs are completely unsecured and can be found easily by anyone (they may even be cached in a web search engine). I would never condone sharing login and passwords for premium content that people pay for, but publicly available URLs to content seems to not have that same expectation of protection. It is MobiTV's lack of securing their content that is the problem here and one that would make me a bit nervous if I was one of their customers.
MobiTV sent a cease and desist letter and demanded the links be taken down, but Howard did not believe this was secure and copyrighted material (can URLs really be copyrighted and protected?) so he did not remove the links. The latest news is that MobiTV has contacted his host and is trying to shut down Howard Forums. This cannot happen to this amazing resource and I urge you to Digg this story and help support Howard.
This issue goes beyond just shutting down Howard Forums, but to the point of copyrighted URLs and unsecure access to premium content. It seems to me that MobiTV screwed up with how they setup this service and needs to require a login and password that is tied to each account.
UPDATE: It looks like Howard Forums will be just fine as Howard talked with the president of MobiTV. He stated:
Howard, great catching up today. Again, we're big fans of the sight and our intention was never to bring your entire sight down or to "censor the Internet" like we're being accused. The irony is that is quite the opposite type of company we are and as one of the leaders in new media, we couldn't be more supportive of the rights of sights like yours. Please know that our first priority is always to fix any security issues with our system and we're doing that. Additionally, we also have a responsibility to our content and carrier partners to reduce the impact of any breaches to the system once they occur and that was really the basis for the correspondence you had with our legal team.
I look forward to continuing to find interesting and vibrant insights from HowardForums.
Best regards, Paul Scanlan Cofounder, President
I think Howard would have been fine with removing the URLs if MobiTV had approached him differently to begin with. This issue did bring up an area of concern for MobiTV regarding how their service is accessed and in the end actually ended up exposing the URLs to a much broader audience. I personally would not use the URLs because it is not content that I paid for and I do not feel entitled to the content that others are paying US$10 per month for.