Pirate Bay Cofounder Lands in Cambodian Brig
Today in international tech news: Cambodian authorities do what Swedish authorities couldn't: detain Pirate Bay cofounder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg. Also: Chinese search engine Baidu launches a mobile app; Samsung looks into child labor at a China supplier; the UK busts the makers of a fraudulent -- and expensive -- mobile app.
Sep 4, 2012 10:12 AM PT
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, the 27-year-old Swedish cofounder of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, was under arrest Sunday in Cambodia, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Svartholm, who was arrested for his alleged role in the illegal use of information technology, was supposed to begin a prison sentence in Sweden months ago. Cambodian authorities are working with Swedish authorities, and there is a chance that Svartholm will be deported to Sweden to serve his jail sentence, according to the Journal.
Svartholm's pending time behind bars dates back to 2009, when he and three Pirate Bay cofounders were found guilty of copyright infringement. That ruling was upheld in 2010 , although the four men received reduced sentences -- save Svartholm, who had already fled the country.
The Pirate Bay remains one of the Internet's eminent file-sharing sites despite repeated efforts to prevent users from accessing it. The UK, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands are a few of the many countries that have ordered their domestic Internet service providers to block the site. Such efforts have been largely circumvented with amended URLs and proxy servers.
Baidu Searches for Mobile Market
Baidu, China's top search engine, introduced a mobile browser Monday in an effort to tap into China's enormous and fast-growing smartphone market, according to Reuters.
The Baidu Mobile Browser -- targeted at the estimated 388 million Chinese who access the Web from phones -- will enter an already crowded field that includes UCWeb's UC Browser, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari.
Baidu, however, could have a leg up: Baidu's browser is 20 percent faster than its rivals, according to data cited in the Reuters article, and it allows users to access apps and high-definition video without having to download additional software.
It is important for Baidu to establish its mobile presence. The company's revenue comes overwhelmingly from users searching on laptops and desktops, but those platforms are fading as Chinese Internet users increasingly move to mobile devices.
Baidu's goal is that 80 percent of China's Android devices will have downloaded the Baidu Mobile Browser by the end of the year.
Samsung Investigates Chinese Labor
While finding no underage labor, Samsung Electronics announced that its inspection into a supplier's factory revealed unsafe work practices and inadequate management, according to PC World.
The findings were disconcerting enough to warrant upcoming inspections at an additional 105 Chinese suppliers.
Samsung's inspection was prompted by a report last month that the company's HEG Electronics suppliers were using underage labor. Chinese authorities conducted their own investigation and found no child labor, but that didn't satisfy everyone.
HEG seemed to have rectified the underage worker problem, but Samsung nonetheless reported that its inspection turned up poor health and safety standards, including the failure to give workers access to a medical clinic. Samsung also alleged that workers were working too much overtime.
The shortcomings led to Samsung's announcement that its contract with HEG "will be immediately severed" should improvements not be made.
UK Fines Russian Company Over Bunk App
Connect, a Russian company responsible for an app that conned users into mysterious charges, has been fined Pounds 50,000, or about US$79,000, by British regulators, according to the BBC.
When installed, the shady Android app cued the phone to send a text message to a premium-rate number. The phone owner then received an auto-reply messages that cost more than $15.
The terms and conditions information for the app did say that "charges of about [Pounds] 5" would be incurred. Regulators have ordered the company to reimburse all affected users within three months.