September 11, 2007

Making Money In Surveillance [11:05 am]

An Opportunity for Wall St. in China’s Surveillance Boom - New York Times

Wall Street analysts now follow the growth of companies that install surveillance systems providing Chinese police stations with 24-hour video feeds from nearby Internet cafes. Hedge fund money from the United States has paid for the development of not just better video cameras, but face-recognition software and even newer behavior-recognition software designed to spot the beginnings of a street protest and notify police.

Now, the ties between China’s surveillance sector and American capital markets are starting to draw Washington’s attention.

[...] [Rep. Tom] Lantos called American involvement in the Chinese surveillance industry “an absolutely incredible phenomenon of extreme corporate irresponsibility.”

He said he planned to broaden an existing investigation into “the cooperation of American companies in the Chinese police state.”

Executives of Chinese surveillance companies say they are helping their government reduce street crime, preserve social stability and prevent terrorism. They note that London has a more sophisticated surveillance system, although the Chinese system will soon be far more extensive.

Ropes for sale!

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Still Waiting For An Agreement [9:18 am]

Deals could be close on Internet radiopdf

The music industry and online broadcasters have been duking it out for months over the royalties that should be paid to record labels and artists, but there are signs that the logjam could break as early as this month.

John Simson, the head of SoundExchange, a music industry group that collects royalties from digital broadcasters and distributes them to artists and labels, said he is optimistic about reaching an agreement soon with public radio stations, possibly by the end of September.

Resolving questions over royalties for online broadcasting is critical for the futures of both the music and radio industries as people increasingly use portable listening devices like Apple Inc.’s iPod and desktop computers as a substitute for radio broadcasts. Sales of music CDs have also been tumbling, and record labels are trying hard to find new ways of building revenues and adapting to changing consumer habits.

Wading through the complex issues, however, has taken longer than many had hoped. A lobbying group for the broadcast industry, the National Association of Broadcasters, said it’s disappointed it hasn’t heard back from SoundExchange about its proposals for three months.

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Playing Games [8:51 am]

New U.S. Law Credited in Arrests Abroad

The government’s ability to eavesdrop on terrorism suspects overseas allowed the United States to obtain information that helped lead to the arrests last week of three Islamic militants accused of planning bomb attacks in Germany, Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, told senators on Monday.

But another government official said Mr. McConnell might have misspoken. Mr. McConnell said the information had been obtained under a newly updated and highly contentious wiretapping law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But the official, who has been briefed on the eavesdropping laws and the information given to the Germans, said that those intercepts were recovered last year under the old law. The official asked for anonymity because the information is classified.

*sigh*

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