• U.S. looking for intellectual property offenders

    The Trade Act of 1974 mandate that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) “identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection”; the USTR has just called for public comments to point out foreign governments that have not lived up to their obligations to protect U.S. intellectual property rights; last year, the USTR investigated 77 U.S. trading partners for possible intellectual property rights violations, resulting in 45 countries being placed on either the Priority Watch List or the Watch List for their weak intellectual property rights protection regime

  • Google to pull out of China following government-sponsored cyberattacks

    In order to operate in China, Google agreed to implement stringent government-dictated censorship as to what Chinese consumers can – and cannot – find when doing Google searches; Google’s compliance with Chinese censorship was harshly criticized by human rights and freedom-of-speech organizations, but Google responded that this was the cost of doing business in China; the Chinese government’s hacking of Gmail accounts in order to monitor political dissidents proved to much for Google, though, and the company is now set to end its operations in China

  • Google’s decision a rare show of defiance in China

    Google’s decision to leave China is a rare show of defiance in a market where the government punishes those who do not play by the rules; in industries from automaking to fast food, companies have been forced to allow communist authorities to influence — and sometimes dictate — their choice of local partners, where to operate, and what products to sell; many high-tech companies operating in China are forced to open their intellectual property and industrial secrets to their Chinese competitors – or to Chinese government officials, who pass on that property to Chinese companies – allowing these Chinese companies to reverse engineer and copy Western companies’ products and solutions; Western companies have struggled to make headway against intense competition from Chinese rivals – rivals who enjoy the fact that the Chinese government writes rules which tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies

  • French court says “pourquoi pas?” to work-place smut

    French court rules that Peugeot was wrong to fire an employee who used his work PC to download pornography; the court said that the mere act of downloading smut is not enough to have an employee fired; the hold for the company, the court said Peugot had to show that that the downloading impacted on performance because the employee was busy doing things he should not during his working day, or that the downloads were so big that they interfered with the proper functioning of the system, or came with viruses attached, or that the content was itself illegal (featuring child abuse)

  • Budget cuts more than $600 million from Bioshield program

    Randall Larsen, executive director of the congressionally chartered Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism: “Using Bioshield funds for flu preparedness and other issues not associated with national security will severely diminish the nation’s efforts to prepare for WMD events and will leave the nation less, not more, prepared”

  • Islamic suicide bombing in historical perspective

    The suicide bombing campaign by al Qaeda and its Sunni Arab allies in Iraq is second only to the Japanese Kamikaze campaign during the closing stages of the Second World in the number of suicide bombers it employed; the Islamic suicide bombers, though, managed to kill more people; the Kamikaze sank 34 U.A. and Allied ships and damage 368 others; about 4,900 Allied sailors died; the Islamic suicide bombers in Iraq killed 216 U.S. military personnel, 2,500 Iraqi troops and police, and more than 10,000 Iraqi civilian

  • Declassified report details intelligence failures leading up to failed terrorist attack

    The report criticizes the U.S. counterterrorism (CT)community for not connecting the dots related to the Christmas Day plot; “Unfortunately, despite several opportunities that might have allowed the CT community to put these pieces together in this case, and despite the tireless effort and best intentions of individuals at every level of the CT community, that was not done”

  • FTC to examine cloud computing privacy concerns

    The FTC says it wants to examine potential threats to consumer privacy and data security posed by cloud computing services; David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection: “The ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities in ways not originally intended or understood by consumers”

  • China offers Internet pirates bulletproof havens for illegal file sharing

    Most bulletproof hosts which allow music, video, and software to be illegally shared online are located in China, where criminals are able to take advantage of low costs and legal loopholes to avoid prosecution; despite officials in Beijing talking in tough terms about computer crime — hacking potentially carries a death sentence in China — the authorities rarely cooperate with other countries to take action against hi-tech criminals; as a result, just a handful of firms in China are responsible for hosting thousands of criminal enterprises online; one example: more than 22,000 Web sites which sent pharmaceutical spam were hosted by six bulletproof servers in China

  • Solid Oak sues China, Lenovo for stealing Green Dam code

    The Chinese government wanted to install a Green Dam around the computers used by Chinese – officially for the purpose of preventing the spread of pornography and other unseemly digital contents; the plan was abandoned after it became clear that the true purpose was to control the spread of political contents and help the government better monitor political dissent; U.S. software security firm charges that in the process of creating the dam, the Chinese government and Chinese companies – but also several non-Chinese companies which stood to gain from participating in the scheme — stole its code; it mow demands $2.2 billion in compensation

  • Boston mayor wants to block Yemeni tankers from Boston Harbor

    Yemen is disintegrating, and jihadists are moving in; the mayor of Boston says it is unsafe to allow tankers delivering liquefied natural gas from Yemen into Boston Harbor; “They cannot be coming into a harbor like Boston, where there is less than 50 feet between the tankers and residential areas,’ the mayor says of Yemeni tankers’

  • Holiday cheer from – and for – those on the frontline

    Tech. Sgt. Nathan Gallahan posts holiday greetings from Afghanistan; what do U.S. soldiers carry with them in the war zone? “The only possessions these soldiers had were what they could carry on their back and holiday cards from school children from across our beautiful nation”

  • Delays in delivery of bunker-busting weapons to U.S. Air Force

    The 14-ton steel pencil – aka God’s Rods — is the ideal weapon for destroying Iran’s underground nuclear weapons facilities; marrying the bunker-busting ordnance to the bat-winged B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber would mean a smaller strike force and fewer casualties in the event of a military action against Iran; it is reported that there are delays in delivering the bombs

  • India, Israel discuss counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, arms delivery

    India and Israel both face Islamic militants and nuclear-armed, or would-be nuclear armed, adversaries; the defense and intelligence cooperation between the two countries has been steadily growing, and is now in the open

  • 46 out of 56 U.S. states and territories not in compliance with REAL ID

    The original deadline for compliance with the Real ID Act was May 2008; 56 U.S. states and territories were not in compliance as of that date, so DHS extended the deadline to 1 January 2010; as the deadline approached, DHS realized that 46 of the 56 states and territories were not in compliance, so the deadline has been extended yet again, to April 2011; as of October 2009, 25 states have approved either resolutions or binding legislation not to participate in the program