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Chinese State Media Prompts Amazon to Close Store

Chinese State Media Prompts Amazon to Close Store

Today in international tech news: China's state-run media turns on Amazon; Turkey blocks Twitter after vowing to not block Twitter after vowing to block Twitter; the Mt. Gox saga gets weirder; and Megaupload loses a bid to access U.S. extradition evidence.

By David Vranicar
03/21/14 10:32 AM PT

China's state media seems to have the ear of U.S. tech companies.

Amazon's China unit closed down a third-party store after state media criticized Amazon for selling fake cosmetics. Amazon's China unit took the accusations seriously, it said, promising to "strengthen the process of scrutiny."

The fake-product accusations were floated on China Central Television, which is the same outlet that railed against Apple a year ago. (For that hit job, CCTV also appeared to have hired celebrities to pimp their report on social media and join in the Apple-bashing.)

Within a few weeks, Apple had issued an apology to all Chinese consumers and vowed to do better.

[Source: Reuters]

Turkey's Social Media Crackdown Intensifies

Turkey reportedly has restricted access to Twitter, as people attempting to access the site are greeted not with 140-character snippets but rather a message from the nation's telecommunications regulator.

The block presumably stems from Prime Minister's Recep Tayyip Erdogan's avid hatred of social media. In the past, he has referred to Twitter as a "scourge," and declared that he would "not allow this nation to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or whatever."

The rhetoric hasn't gotten much more civil: "I don't care what the international community says at all. Everyone will see the power of the Turkish Republic," Erdogan said Thursday.

While Erdogan is a card-carrying hater of Twitter, Turkey's president, Abdullag Gul, is not. Earlier this month, he said that blocking social media was "out of the question." Not so, apparently.

[Source: BBC]

Mt. Gox Saga Weirdens

Mt. Gox claims to have found 200,000 bitcoins.

Once the world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox recently shuttered because of what it claimed was a massive cybertheft. More than US$400 million worth of bitcoins were in Mt. Gox's coffers at the time of the alleged theft, which left more than a few people fuming over their losses -- and wondering what exactly happened to their cyberdough. (One such person inspired a U.S. judge to freeze the assets of Mt. Gox headman Mark Karpeles.)

The reappearing bitcoins were discovered in e-wallets that had been set up before June 2011, according to Mt. Gox.

The discovery of these 200,000 bitcoins means that Mt. Gox lost only about $375 million.

[Source: BBC via Tech In Asia]

Kim Dotcom Loses Bid to See Evidence

New Zealand's Supreme Court ruled that U.S. prosecutors do not have to provide defendants full copies of documents related to their extradition request of Kim Dotcom and three of his Megaupload colleagues.

As part of its extradition request, U.S. authorities must summarize evidence that lends credence to its case against Megaupload, the since-seized file-sharing site founded by Dotcom. The Supreme Court Ruling ensures that the U.S. can submit only the summaries, and isn't compelled to provide "copies of all documents it summarizes."

A New Zealand District Court had granted the Megaupload team's request to see said documents; that ruling subsequently was upheld by the High Court. The Court of Appeal, however, reversed the decision, and the Supreme Court now has upheld that reversal.

The U.S. claims Megaupload cost copyright holders hundreds of millions -- and pocketed $175 million himself -- as the platform became ground zero for online file-sharing. Dotcom never condoned file-sharing, he maintained, and therefore isn't culpable for what mischievous file-sharers did on Megaupload.

[Source: PC World]


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. You can also connect with him on Google+.


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