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China Grasps for Tighter Grip on the Web

China Grasps for Tighter Grip on the Web

Today in international tech news: China proposes a law that would hold Internet companies -- and not just users -- liable for the publication of inappropriate content. Also: Olympus considers adding another 2,700 to Japan's gruesome job-loss total, the Olympics come to YouTube and more British ISPs block The Pirate Bay.

By David Vranicar
06/08/12 8:44 AM PT

China has proposed a law that would put more responsibility at the feet of Internet companies when it comes to monitoring online content, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The proposal suggests that Chinese authorities are trying to further cleanse social networks and the Internet of information deemed "destabilizing," according to the Journal.

A draft of the new law, released Thursday, revealed two potentially landmark changes. First, users of Internet forums, blogs and microblogs would be required to use legitimate identification when they register for accounts. In addition, the government would be allowed to "punish intermediaries" for facilitating the spread of illegal information.

Last December, the government initiated a real-identification policy in five cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, which together account for some 42 million people. Operators of the country's two biggest microblogs, Sina and Tencent, said that the program slowed user growth, according to the Journal.

The article cites analysts who say that there may be a gap between what the law proposes and what is actually possible at this time.

Apple Could Get Tastier in China

Apple is planning to incorporate Baidu's search engine to its lineup of Web tools for the iPhone, according to Bloomberg.

The addition of Baidu, which is China's biggest search engine, could be announced as soon as next week, according to the article.

Folding Baidu into the iPhone repertoire is in line with new Apple CEO Tim Cook's emphasis on China. In March, Cook visited iPhone manufacturer and met with Chinese government officials.

Last quarter, 20 percent of Apple's sales came from China, and Cook has said that he thinks there is room for growth.

More UK ISPs Block Pirate Bay

British telecommunications company O2 and its subsidiary Be Broadband are the most recent ISPs to block file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, according to ZDNet.

The blocks are in accordance with an April ruling that ordered ISPs in the UK to forbid users access to the site.

Britain's two largest ISPs, BT and TalkTalk, have not yet blocked The Pirate Bay but, like O2, are compelled to do so by the April law.

Virgin Media was the first ISP to comply with the law. Virgin's website was promptly taken down by hacker group Anonymous.

Olympus Set to Nix 2,700 Jobs

Japanese electronics and camera manufacturer Olympus is planning to cut 2,700 jobs, according to The Verge and The Wall Street Journal.

Reuters reported at the end of May that Olympus would lay off 2,500, but that was apparently a bit low. Olympus is reeling from years-long fraud scandal to the tune of US$1.7 billion, according to Reuters.

It's shaping up to be a rough year for Japanese electronics companies. Panasonic is considering the elimination of 7,000 jobs, Sony is getting rid of 10,000 jobs, and chipmaker Renesas could lay off as many as 14,000.

Olympics to Be Streamed on YouTube

The International Olympic Committee will stream this year's Summer Olympics live on YouTube, according to the BBC.

The free coverage will reportedly reach 64 countries and be available in 11 different channels.

Broadcast rights are big business, especially for the Olympics. As such, the YouTube coverage will only be available in countries where digital rights have not already been obtained.

YouTube, which made an earlier foray into live streaming of global events with the wedding of Prince William, didn't comment on the terms of the agreement.

Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com

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