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Google's Leaked EU Proposal Goes Over Like Lead Balloon
November 7, 2013
Google's rivals are none too impressed with the company's most recent round of proposals designed to appease antitrust concerns and end what is now a 3-year-old case with the European Commission. Google's previous stab at concessions was roundly rejected in April because the changes did next to nothing to rectify Google's abuse of its dominant market position, according to rival companies.
When Film Distribution Fails, Piracy Wins
November 2, 2013
Last month, researchers at George Mason University's Mercatus Center launched a website, PiracyData.org, to determine whether or not there are legal alternatives for viewing the world's most pirated movies. The researchers will quantify the validity -- or invalidity -- of copyright holders' claims that pirates are thieving material that is indeed available elsewhere.
Canadian ATM Turns Bitcoins Into Cash
October 30, 2013
In Vancouver, B.C., three entrepreneurs opened what appears to be the world's first ATM that is able to exchange Bitcoins for official currencies. The machine looks like a normal ATM and resides in a popular coffee shop. It exchanges Canadian dollars for Bitcoins, the virtual and controversial online currency. The transactions can go either way -- cash to Bitcoin, or Bitcoin to cash.
Swedish Judge Not Very Perturbed by Teen's Porn-sploitation Stunt
October 23, 2013
A Swedish court reduced the fine for a teenage boy who uploaded a pornographic video of his unwitting then-girlfriend. The original fine was going to be about US$20,000 but was reduced to less than $4,000 after the ruling. Notably, the court justified its decision by asserting that young people are "so open" about their sexual behavior that such a large fine was unjustified.
Huawei: No One Bothers Us for Data
October 18, 2013
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, long suspected of being in cahoots with Beijing authorities, said Friday that no government has ever asked it to divulge information about citizens. Translation: Anyone concerned about government meddling should be more concerned with Washington's connections to U.S. companies than Beijing's connection to Huawei. It called for global standards on security.
Russian 'Pirates' Offer Hobbled NASA a Helping Tech Hand
October 8, 2013
Russia's Pirate Party wrote a letter to NASA offering to host the agency's website, which is currently out of commission because of the government shutdown. The Pirate Party -- a minority political movement in many European countries predicated on privacy and transparency -- informed NASA that it could use the party's dedicated servers until the U.S. government got off the ground.
European Lawmakers Push for Universal Chargers
September 27, 2013
Members of the European Parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee voted unanimously Thursday in favor of a new law mandating universal chargers for mobile devices. In addition to convenience -- German parliamentarian Barbara Weiler called the current situation "cable chaos" -- the measure is motivated by a desire to curb electronic waste.
UK Parliament Blasts Google Over Piracy
September 26, 2013
Departing from the normal routine of chiding Google over taxes, British parliament is trying its hand at chiding Google over piracy. A select committee accused Google of apathetically failing to curb piracy. The chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale, said that MPs were "unimpressed by Google's continued failure to stop" displaying search results for illegal content.
Brazilian Prez Rebukes US Over NSA
September 25, 2013
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff gave a speech in which she -- well, maybe it's best to just let her say it. "What we have before us, Mr. President, is a serious case of violation of human rights and civil liberties," Rousseff said, addressing the UN General Assembly. The U.S. and NSA were responsible for "invasion and capture of confidential secret information," she asserted.
NSA Backdoors Could Cost US Companies Billions in Business Abroad
September 12, 2013
The National Security Agency's efforts to include "backdoors" in U.S. companies' security products, networks and devices -- thereby making it easier for the NSA to snoop around -- could hurt business abroad. Specifically, foreign countries could come to view U.S. firms' relationship with Washington much the same way that the U.S. views Chinese companies' relationship with Beijing.
Yahoo China's Days May Be Numbered
September 3, 2013
Yahoo China ceased providing news and community services Sunday, a move experts say signals that Yahoo is pulling the plug on its Chinese service. People attempting to access Yahoo China are now automatically redirected to now.taobao.com, a public welfare site run by China-based Alibaba Group, which operated Yahoo China and used to own a large stake in Yahoo.
Legal Piracy: Antigua's Desperate, Fearless Ultimatum
August 17, 2013
About six years ago, the World Trade Organization sided with the itty-bitty Caribbean island of Antigua on its claim that the United States' ban on overseas remote gaming violated international trade agreements. The WTO upheld its ruling last winter, confirming once and for all that the island could suspend its obligations to certain U.S. intellectual property rights.
Al-Qaeda Mocked After Seeking Suggestions on Twitter
August 15, 2013
A recent tweet from Al-Qaeda asking for ideas on the "development of jihadist media" set off a deluge of responses mocking the extremist group. Terrorism expert J.M. Berger, who has more than 13,000 followers, tweeted about Al-Qaeda's call for ideas along with the Islamic hashtag the group wanted to use. After that, the trolls took over.
Finnish Vote Imminent on Crowdsourced Copyright Law
July 24, 2013
Lawmakers in Finland will vote on a crowdsourced legislative proposal that, if approved, would change the nation's copyright laws. Last year, Finland's constitution was modified to allow citizens to submit proposals to Parliament, so long as said proposals obtained 50,000 supporters within six months. One of the proposals to garner the requisite support is the "Common Sense in Copyright Act."
Facebook's Latest Mobile Strategy: Dumbphones
July 23, 2013
In a nod to developing nations like India and Brazil, Facebook will unveil plans for "Facebook for Every Phone," which is designed to make Facebook accessible on technologically humble feature phones. Facebook, which already boasts more than 1.1 billion users, now wants to target the 100 million people worldwide who access the site on feature phones.
Alibaba Chief Advocates Tough Love - Like Tiananmen Square
July 18, 2013
Jack Ma, the billionaire founder and executive chairman of Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group, said that China's move to violently squelch Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989 was "the most correct decision," adding that "a leader needs to make this kind of decision." The remarks -- made in May and posted online over the weekend -- have drawn criticism from Chinese netizens.
Government, Industry Join in Paying Lip Service to Piracy Fight
July 16, 2013
The White House and eight companies including Google and Microsoft announced a joint effort to mobilize against online piracy and counterfeiting Monday with the help of a set of best practices developed in conjunction with the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The effort is designed to limit the revenue gained from displaying ads on sites that offer pirated materials or counterfeit goods.
If You Search, Advertise on, Invest in, or Have Kids Who Use Google, You Must See This
July 1, 2013
I have a fascination with litigation. One of my early career choices was to become an attorney, and I was actually mentored for a time by a judge. Over the years, I've spent a lot of time engaged in litigation or covering it. I just watched a presentation by the National Association of Attorneys General, and these top law enforcers painted Google as a criminal organization.
Google Takes Heat for Illegal Rx Drug Sales Online
June 19, 2013
Mississippi AG Jim Hood has called on his counterparts in other states to join him in confronting Google for not doing enough to prevent illegal online activities including the sale of prescription drugs by rogue pharmacies. Hood invited Google CEO Larry Page to discuss his concerns but did not receive a response, he said. Consequently, the state had no choice but to issue subpoenas.
From the Inevitable Files: Lawmakers Scrutinize Snowden-China Connections
June 14, 2013
Well, this was bound to happen. U.S. lawmakers said Thursday that the House Intelligence Committee -- the same House Intelligence Committee that trashed Chinese telecommunications companies last year -- will conduct a "thorough scrub" of connections between China and Eric Snowden. Snowden -- a "traitor," according to Committee chairman Mike Rogers, R.-Mich. -- is now believed to be in Hong Kong.
Iceland Won't Grant Snowden Asylum - Until He Gets There
June 12, 2013
As far as Iceland goes, Edward Snowden may be left out in the cold. Snowden, the whistleblower who made international headlines after leaking secrets about the U.S. National Security Agency's PRISM program, is believed to currently be in Hong Kong. Given Hong Kong's history of extraditing people to the United States, speculation has turned to where Snowden might go after Hong Kong.
London Police Now Pen Pals With BitTorrent Operators
June 5, 2013
Britain's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has begun sending letters to people it suspects of operating websites that provide access to unauthorized content for "criminal gain." The letters state that law enforcement authorities are working with the government and "industry bodies" and go on to say that operators of copyright-happy sites are in breach of the Serious Crimes Act.
SAP Seeks Autistic Employees
May 23, 2013
German software heavyweight SAP plans to recruit hundreds of people with autism in a quest to staff employees who "think differently." Autism affects people's ability to communicate and interact socially but has the knock-on effect of creating repetitive -- to the point of obsessive -- behavior. This makes autistic people particularly adept at analyzing data and picking up on details.
Amid Threats From Anonymous, Guantanamo WiFi Shut Down
May 22, 2013
Despite cries from the Left, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still up and running. The same, however, can't be said for Guantanamo's WiFi. The U.S. military turned off wireless Internet service at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base amid threats from the hacker collective Anonymous. Officials have also nixed access to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, a spokesperson for the prison said.
Chinese Army Ends 3-Month Hacking Hiatus
May 20, 2013
After a three-month lull, China's People's Liberation Army has resumed hack attacks against United States companies and government agencies. Despite a ballyhooed February report from private security firm Mandiant, and despite public complaints from the Pentagon, Unit 61398, the PLA group made famous by the report, is again back to its hacking ways.
Chinese Authorities Net 11 in Piracy Bust
May 8, 2013
Police in Beijing arrested 11 suspects believed to be involved with a major high-definition downloading ring. The website, silu.com, was running what has been called an "unprecedented" operation. It reportedly boasted more than 400,000 registered members and offered under-the-table downloads for nearly 19,000 films and TV series.
Samsung Under the Gun for Alleged Anti-HTC Rumormongering
April 17, 2013
Taiwan authorities have launched a probe into charges that Samsung hired students to post disparaging comments about HTC online. If the false advertising accusations are upheld, Samsung and its local advertising agent could be on the hook for about $835,000. The complaints sprouted earlier this month when Internet users claimed that Samsung had contracted students to write online content attacking HTC and lauding Samsung.
Iran To Launch 'Islamic Google Earth'
April 11, 2013
Iran -- long irked by Google's mapping systems -- said that it will launch its own 3D mapping service, one liberated from the geographical inaccuracies and "Zionist" bent of Google Earth. The system will be an "Islamic Google Earth," according to Mohammad Hassan Nami, Iran's minister for information and communications technology.
Competitors Ask EU to Rein In Google
April 10, 2013
Microsoft and Nokia are part of the coalition of companies that filed a complaint with EU antitrust regulators claiming that Google is using its Android mobile operating system to promote its own products and services. Made public Tuesday by lobbying group FairSearch, the action comes as European regulators are reportedly near a settlement with Google over concerns that it has abused its search dominance.
Pirate Bay Proxy Operator's Bank Account Seized
April 4, 2013
The Netherlands has had the damnedest time blocking The Pirate Bay. Taking a cue from the UK, as well as from Belgium and others, the Netherlands ruled last May that Dutch Internet service providers must block The Pirate Bay. Alas, the ruling didn't quite do the trick, as people began offering proxies that afforded users circuitous routes to the piracy hotbed.
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What's your alarm level over cyberattacks on the Internet's infrastructure?
Red: A deadly cyberwar will occur -- It's when, not if.
Orange: A big one could be costly and threaten public safety.
Yellow: We need to improve cybersecurity at a faster pace.
Blue: Regional outages will become more frequent and more annoying.
Green: There's no way anyone could take out the entire Internet.