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Kim Dotcom: Two-Step Authentication Patent Is Mine

Kim Dotcom: Two-Step Authentication Patent Is Mine

Today in international tech news: Claiming to hold the patent for two-step authentication, Kim Dotcom hints that he might sue companies using it; concern over SoftBank's proposed takeover of Sprint Nextel; top managers are bolting HTC; and more on Apple and Ireland's taxes.

Kim Dotcom, founder of the seized file-sharing site Megaupload, hinted via Twitter that he might sue the slew of companies using two-step authentication, for which Dotcom claims to own the patent.

Dotcom provided a link to a patent that deals with two layers of identification, corroborating his purported ownership. That said, it is hard to know if the patent, which was filed for in 1998 and granted in 2000, would cover the two-step authentication that has become all the rage on the Web.

By requiring a password plus an additional nugget of information, two-step verification is designed to prevent identity theft, phishing and other variety of Internet-based scamming. In response to recent security breaches, Twitter installed such a system this week, while Google, PayPal and others also use it.

Dotcom cited a lack of cash for his litigation threat. U.S. authorities claim he made US$175 million from Megaupload, but his assets have been frozen. What's more, Dotcom claims his legal fees will run in excess of $50 million.

The U.S. is seeking to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, where the German national was arrested on Megaupload-related charges in early 2012.

Dotcom launched a successor to Megupload, called Mega, earlier this year.

[Source: CNET]

Concern About Potential SoftBank Takeover

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York on Thursday asked government regulators to scrutinize ties between SoftBank of Japan -- which is seeking to take over Sprint Nextel -- and Chinese telecommunications equipment makers.

Last year, Congress said that Chinese telecommunications equipment makers Huawei and ZTE posed a potential security threat. This was supported in early 2013 by a report from U.S.-based security firm Mandiant, which said that the Chinese military had engaged in a years-long cyber espionage campaign against the U.S. (After a brief lull, this hacking is now going strong.)

Both SoftBank and Sprint have reportedly assured Congress that they would remove Huawei equipment from their networks.

Dish Network launched a media campaign in Washington that stirs suspicion about a foreign company controlling a major U.S. telecommunications firm.

[Source: The New York Times]

Top Managers Bolting HTC

Key figures have been leaving Taiwan-based phone manufacturer HTC.

The chief product officer, Asian chief executive, director of global communications and a handful of other senior staff have jumped ship in recent months.

The company's revenues for the first four months of the year are less than two-thirds of revenues from the same period last year. First quarter operating profits are down by 99 percent.

HTC's "HTC One" flagship phone has been reviewed favorably, but the company is nonetheless losing ground, particularly to Samsung.

[Source: The Guardian]

More on Apple, Ireland and Taxes

This week, the U.S. Senate asked tough questions about Apple's web of offshore subsidiaries, which some claim have helped the company skirt tens of billions in U.S. taxes.

However, the biggest of all tax loopholes exploited by Apple, in Ireland, is nothing new.

Company executives and Irish officials have said that Apple has operated nearly tax-free in Ireland since 1980. Apple reportedly had a tax holiday for its first 10 years in Ireland, part of a push to bring companies and jobs to the nation's then-floundering economy.

Apple has denied avoiding billion in taxes, adding that the company's configuration helped fund research jobs in the U.S.

[Source: Reuters]


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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