China Starts Arm Wrestling Android
Today in international tech news: China writes a white paper saying Android has too much control over smartphones in that country; U.S. researchers aim a radar gun at China's social media; and a New Zealand court rules that Kim Dotcom can sue the agency that spied on him.
Mar 7, 2013 9:02 AM PT
Android -- and, by extension, Google -- has too much control over China's smartphone industry, according to a white paper from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT.
Android is used by handset manufacturers such as Huawei and ZTE, as well as Samsung, which has a solid footprint in China.
The white paper also said that China has the wherewithal to create its own mobile operating system and loosen Google's grip on the industry. The report goes on to assert that Google has discriminated against some local firms by withholding codes, and by using commercial agreements to cripple business development of mobile devices.
Some analysts have posited that the paper foreshadows pending regulations against Android. Given the China/Google backstory, that would surprise no one. China has long crippled Google searches -- after partially punting on Chinese search in 2010, Google has about a 15 percent market share -- while Google claimed in 2011 that Gmail hacking was coming from China.
It has been pointed out, however, that Android has helped Chinese smartphone vendors which, prior to Android, relied on sub-par operating systems.
Radar Gun Zaps Chinese Social Media Censorship
The net police standing guard at China's Great Firewall have a quick trigger.
A recent report suggests that most posts which are deleted from China's Twitter-ish platform, Sina Weibo, are scrubbed away within 30 minutes.
The report focused on about 3,500 users with a history of being censored. About 12 percent of the group's posts were deleted over a 15-day period, amounting to more than 4,500 posts each day. And those that were nixed were nixed rather quickly.
The report suggests that much of the censoring is done by people, not automated programs. According to an estimate from the report, more than 4,000 workers each day would be required to cull through Weibo's 70,000 posts per minute.
The report, The Velocity of Censorship: High-Fidelity Detection of Microblog Post Deletions, was conducted by researchers at Bowdoin College, Rice University and the University of New Mexico, along with an independent researcher.
NZ Court: Kit Dotcom Free To Sue Back
A court in New Zealand has rejected a challenge to a previous ruling, thereby reaffirming that Kim Dotcom can indeed sue the nation's foreign intelligence agency for spying on him.
Working with U.S. authorities, New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau spied on Dotcom. The caveat, however, is that the GCSB can only spy on people who don't have the right to reside in New Zealand. And Dotcom, while originally from Germany, has New Zealand citizenship and is therefore protected from GCSB snooping. The situation prompted the New Zealand prime minister to publicly apologize to Dotcom last year.
Dotcom, the founder of now-seized file-sharing site Megaupload, was arrested in January 2012 in New Zealand. He is currently waiting an extradition hearing that could land him in the U.S., where he is wanted on numerous charges stemming from Megaupload and could face up to 20 years if convicted.
Wednesday's ruling is the latest in a bizarre series of events.