April 13, 2006

Time Serving and Free Riding [6:24 pm]

Net clocks suffering data deluge

Mr Kamp said a new line of products sold by D-Link has the list of the net’s time servers written into the software that keeps the devices running.

Further detective work has revealed the 25 or so D-Link products checking the time using this list.

The data flood is causing Mr Kamp problems because his time server is run on a non-profit basis and is allocated a small amount of bandwidth for the 2,000 or so Danish organisations that use it to tell the time.

The data flood has seen his bandwidth bill rocket and Mr Kamp is contemplating shutting the server down as he cannot afford the continuing costs. Now, up to 90% of his daily traffic comes from D-Link devices.

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Google: “We’re Not Getting Involved” [10:45 am]

Google Chief Rejects Putting Pressure on China

Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, whose company has been sharply criticized for complying with Chinese censorship, said on Wednesday that the company had not lobbied to change the censorship laws and, for now, had no plans to do so.

“I think it’s arrogant for us to walk into a country where we are just beginning operations and tell that country how to run itself,” Mr. Schmidt told reporters from foreign news organizations.

[...] On Wednesday, Mr. Schmidt defended the decision to cooperate with the censors, saying that accepting the restrictions of Chinese law were unavoidable for Google to enter the Chinese market. “We had a choice to enter the country and follow the law,” Mr. Schmidt told the foreign reporters. “Or we had a choice not to enter the country.”

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The Warrantless Monitoring Suit [10:40 am]

Documents Show Link Between AT&T and Agency in Eavesdropping Case

Mark Klein was a veteran AT&T technician in 2002 when he began to see what he thought were suspicious connections between that telecommunications giant and the National Security Agency.

But he kept quiet about it until news broke late last year that President Bush had approved an N.S.A. program to eavesdrop without court warrants on Americans suspected of ties to Al Qaeda.

Now Mr. Klein and a few company documents he saved have emerged as key elements in a class-action lawsuit filed against AT&T on Jan. 31 by a civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The suit accuses the company of helping the security agency invade its customers’ privacy.

From Wired News: AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs

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Chinese Piracy Efforts [7:46 am]

Closure of Shanghai Bazaar Not Expected to Subdue Piracy [pdf]

The most expensive rents in China’s most expensive city aren’t suites on the historic riverfront, the Bund, or boutiques along Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s version of Rodeo Drive. They are flimsy stalls in a large bazaar jammed next to a smelly produce market.

Some of the 800 merchants at Xiangyang Market pay $10,000 a month or more for space no bigger than most American kitchens. Even bare walls behind stores are subleased for thousands of dollars, then converted into makeshift stores.

Customers from across the world come to buy bootlegs of famous brands. Rolex, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc. You name it, they’re all here. The five-acre bazaar is often the first stop on a Shanghai tour group’s itinerary.

[...] But after six years of booming business, in open view of authorities, Xiangyang Market will be closing at the end of June. Shanghai officials recently announced its shutdown, trumpeting it as a big strike in their campaign against piracy.

[...] Few believed piracy was the reason for the shuttering of Xiangyang Market. In fact, the announcement came after the city cut a lucrative deal with a Hong Kong developer who has plans to build apartments and offices on the site.

Even Xue Yong, Xiangyang Market’s vice general manager, couldn’t help but smirk when asked whether the closure was meant to curb counterfeiting.

“You cannot say it’s because of that,” he said as he sat in his third-floor office behind the market.

The story of Xiangyang Market reflects the complex nature of China’s counterfeit trade and how local governments rely on pirate markets to create jobs and revenue.

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