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White House Lets Huawei Off the Hook

White House Lets Huawei Off the Hook

Today in international tech news: An investigation ordered by the White House doesn't unearth any Huawei-Chinese military connections. Also: The Pirate Bay moves away from servers and into clouds, further insulating itself from potential police raids, China's second-biggest e-commerce company heads overseas, and Amazon talks deal with a Brazilian bookseller.

By David Vranicar
10/18/12 8:56 AM PT

A review of security risks posed by Chinese telecommunications companies, ordered by the White House, turned up no evidence that Huawei had spied on behalf of China.

According to Reuters, the 18-month investigation concluded that Huawei was risky for other reasons, such as being susceptible to hackers. As for a clear connection between Huawei and the Chinese military, however -- long a point of fascination given founder Ren Zhengfei's stint in the Chinese army -- there was no evidence.

That's not to say that the White House-ordered investigation, which analyzed reports of suspicious activity and vetted telecommunications equipment buyers, completely contradicts the congressional report. Just that there was no smoking gun of espionage.

This week's TechNewsWorld podcast looks at U.S. concerns about Chinese telecommunications companies.

Pirate Bay Heads to the Cloud

The Pirate Bay, the world's most popular (and most vilified) file-sharing website, has moved its entire operation from servers to the cloud.

As TorrentFreak reports, the switch, which knocked the site offline for all of five minutes, will cut costs and, perhaps most importantly, make the site even more immune to police raids.

With the omnipresent threat that its servers could be seized, The Pirate Bay's switch provides insulation from authorities.Being in the cloud allows the site to hop borders without any downtime, an unnamed Pirate Bay representative told TorrentFreak. The source added that if one cloud provider either cuts off the site or goes offline, The Pirate Bay can simply buy new virtual servers and hop to the next cloud.

The move to the cloud is the most recent in a string of stories surrounding The Pirate Bay. In September, one of the site's co-founders, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was arrested in Cambodia and later extradited to Sweden, where he faces jail time stemming from Pirate Bay-related copyright infringement. Then, earlier this month, Web host PRQ -- which was also cofounded by Svartholm and which used to host The Pirate Bay -- was raided and taken offline. The Pirate Bay went offline -- and simultaneously came back online -- in unison with PRQ.

Chinese E-commerce Has Amazon-Sized Ambition

360buy.com, China's second-biggest business-to-consumer website by revenue, is set to launch an English-language site this week.

According to The China Daily, 360buy.com wants to employ the same model -- and on the same scale -- as Amazon. 360buy.com vice president Shi Tao said Amazon has long been a "role model" for the company.

360buy.com plans to eventually set up warehouses in other countries, which would enable it to store Chinese products overseas and deliver them quickly to foreign markets. The company's en.360buy.com site currently has a "Coming Soon" message (next to a leggy blonde whose arms are full of presents and shopping goodies).

Tech In Asia says that 360buy.com's expansion will provide a case study for how Chinese Internet companies might fair overseas.

Amazon Heads to...The Amazon

Amazon, the world's top online retailer, has engaged in talks to purchase Brazilian bookseller Saraiva.

Sao Paulo-based Saraiva publishes books and then sells them both online and through a chain of stores.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon could use the deal to expand its operations in Brazil. Tapping into an emerging market like Brazil could be a boon for Amazon, as spending on items such as the Kindle and fulfillment centers have sliced into the company's profitability.


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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