The Great Debate UK

from Breakingviews:

Google cyber-complaint is tip of iceberg

cyran3Google’s cyber-complaint is the tip of an iceberg. Coordinated attacks on IT systems are common, yet companies and governments have kept largely silent. The growth of computer services that rely heavily on the Internet means the stakes are growing higher. That may explain why Google spoke up about recent attempts to steal its intellectual property -- and why the U.S. State Department has also taken China to task.

The scope of the recent attacks points to a complex operation. More than 30 companies were attacked simultaneously through an undiscovered software security hole. The incursions appear to have had the blessing of the Chinese government, if not its direct involvement. It is hard to imagine who else would be interested in the email accounts of political dissidents, which Google claims were targeted.

The concerted assault also bears similarities to one on 100 companies last year, according to security experts at iDefense. So it shouldn’t be dismissed as a one-off or rogue operation.

The amount of information and money at risk from such attacks is growing. An increasing percentage of many companies’ value comprises patents and trade secrets. The theft of physical goods is rarely life-threatening for their manufacturer. A software company, on the other hand, can be destroyed if its secret sauce is stolen.

Apple – stop defacing dictionaries and reread Orwell

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- Mic Wright is Online News Editor at Stuff. The views expressed are his own -

When Amazon got rightly torn to shreds for remotely killing copies of 1984 on the Kindle, I thought it would be the most idiotic tech story of the year. But I was wrong. Apple’s just upped the ante by banning rude words from a dictionary application – stripping us of the virtual equivalent of looking up obscenities in French class.

Ninjawords Dictionary, a dictionary app from the creators of the excellent website of the same name, is available from the iTunes Store for £1.19. When you go to download it you will be faced with a warning that it “might contain material objectionable to children under 17″. Based on conversations I overhear on the train daily, I think that’s unlikely.

from The Great Debate:

China’s Web filtering starts in the West

Eric Auchard-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

The Chinese government has backed away from mandating filtering software on all personal computers in China, in a move that averts a dangerous escalation in its censorship powers.

But however controversial and unworkable China's plan to require Internet filters on PCs proved to be, Western firms have largely themselves to blame for creating and selling such filters in the first place.

from The Great Debate:

Advancing global Internet freedom

Leslie Harris -- Leslie Harris is the president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC. The views expressed are her own. --

In the wake of troubling reports as recently as last year that Western companies were assisting China with Internet censorship and the unmasking of cyber-dissidents, governments around the world seemed poised to regulate the conduct of Internet companies. Lawmakers appear to have stepped back from those efforts, but the challenges of advancing global Internet freedom remain.

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