Spanish Woman's Twitter Musings Lead to Terror-Related Conviction
Today in international tech news: Some ill-conceived tweets from a young woman in Spain lead to an unprecedented terror conviction. Also: A Canadian court rules that an ISP must divulge downloaders' details; scientists say a gem from Australia is 4.4 billion years old; South Korea wants better cyberweaponry; Britain wants better Wikipedia profiles for women scientists; and Huawei wants the U.S.
02/24/14 9:30 AM PT
Twenty-one-year-old Spaniard Alba González Camacho was convicted of inciting terrorism thanks to some ill-conceived tweets about a far-left terrorist organization. She became the first person in Spain to be convicted of such charges for Twitter posts.
Among her missteps, González Camacho implored the terror group "Grapo" to murder politicians. Grapo was responsible for more than 80 killings, mostly in the 1970s and 80s. The group has been more or less dormant since then, but a Spanish judge said that González Camacho's tweets were nonetheless "highly radicalized and violent."
To that end: One of the tweets called for the murder of Mariano Rajoy, the nation's conservative prime minister. Another tweet compared the nation's justice minister to a Nazi.
González Camacho was sentenced to a year in prison but will skirt jail time thanks to a plea bargain.
[Source: 00000The New York Times]
Canadian Court Orders ISP to Fork Over Downloaders' Info
A federal court in Canada has ordered Canadian Internet service provider TekSavvy Solutions to divulge the names and addresses of customers suspected of illegally downloading films.
A lawyer for the company, James Zibarras, said that Voltage is "not going to seek [file-sharers'] firstborns," but declined to say exactly how Voltage will pursue copyright infringers.
[Source: The Globe and Mail]
Gem From Australia Is Really, Really Old
Scientists have determined that a small gem -- a zircon crystal -- found on a Western Australia sheep farm is 4.4 billion years old, making it the oldest known chunk of Earth.
The finding suggests that the Earth's crust formed relatively soon after the planet's formation. Soon, of course, is relative: Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, meaning a 4.4 billion-year-old rock formed 100 million years later.
In order to peg the zircon fragment's age, scientists used a technique to determine the radioactive decay of uranium, as well as a method called "atom-probe tomography."
The zircon was first extracted in 2001.
South Korea Wants Better Cyberweapons
South Korea will develop cyberattack tools that will enable it to cripple North Korean nuclear facilities.
The country hopes to create weapons similar to Stuxnet, a virus used to muck up Iranian nuclear enrichment plants a few years back.
Women and Wikipedia
In light of the upcoming International Women's Day, Britain's Royal Society is teaming up with the Royal Academy of Engineering to organize an "edit-athon" during which volunteers will take to Wikipedia and tout the achievements of women in science and engineering.
The effort is designed to raise the profile of women in scientific fields, and to get more women involved in writing on Wikipedia.
Studies suggest that just 9 percent of Wikipedia editors are female.
[Source: The Guardian]
Huawei Eyeing US Smartphone Market
Chinese telecommunications company Huawei has renewed its interest in penetrating the U.S. market -- not as a telecom provider, but as a smartphone manufacturer.
Huawei, which Congress tabbed as a security threat in 2012, became the world's third-largest smartphone manufacturer last year, trailing Samsung and Apple. Huawei's reasonably priced phones have caught on in China and elsewhere.
Huawei has yet to make a dent in the U.S., but it thinks that can change because of changes in how U.S. operators sell phones.
Traditionally, operators have bought phones in bulk from manufacturers like Apple and then flipped them -- heavily subsidized -- to customers in exchange for signing long-term contracts.
T-Mobile USA punted on this model last year, citing customers' frustration with long-term deals, and Huawei thinks that more operators will follow suit.