Twitter Breaks the Cycle
Today in international tech news: Twitter traffic gets the blame for Olympic cyclists' transmitters not sending signals, which forced one TV commentator to use his watch to estimate times. Also, Bloomberg is still in Internet timeout over its report on a Chinese politician's wealth; Korea is hit with anther round of hacking; Google admits to hoarding info in the UK, and more.
07/30/12 8:52 AM PT
Olympic spectators using Twitter disrupted TV coverage of last weekend's cycling road races, organizers told The Guardian.
During broadcasts, television viewers were not given information about timing and positions of the racers. The International Olympic Committee said that fans who were using Twitter disrupted the transmission of race information, forcing BBC commentator Chris Boardman to use his watch to estimate times.
Information is typically sent from competitors' bikes to organizers via small GPS transmitters on their bikes.
IOC communications director Mark Adams said that one of the networks designed to transmit information had become "oversubscribed." He stopped short of telling spectators to quit tweeting, but did suggest, in the softest of tones, that people only send urgent updates.
London 2012 had billed itself as the "first social media Olympics," and while that may be true, there have been some social media snafus. There has been some speculation that Twitter crashed last Thursday because of an excess of Olympic-related traffic, while rehearsal footage of the opening ceremony also found its way to YouTube prior to the big show -- directly contradicting the ceremony director's plea to "#savethesurprise."
China Unrelenting on Bloomberg Block
Chinese state censors continue to block Bloomberg's news website, apparently because of a June 29 report about the family wealth of Xi Jinping, who is expected to be China's next president, according to The Financial Times.
Despite China's history of censoring Western press, FT calls the month-long Bloomberg blackout "unusually harsh."
The duration of the blackout is reportedly a sign that Beijing officials were outraged at the initial story, which reported that Xi's extended family had enormous investments and stakes in various companies. These companies -- which include a technology company and a rare earth minerals company -- could theoretically gain from certain governmental decisions, investments or subsidies.
Bloomberg is the only mainstream, English-language website to be blocked for more than a few days since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, according to the FT.
Millions of Koreans Have Data Hacked
Personal data for millions of KT mobile phone subscribers has been hacked, according to Reuters.
Police said that data of about 8.6 million KT customers -- more than half the company's 16 million customers -- were hacked by two computer programmers. The information obtained by the hackers included names, resident registration numbers and contact details, according to the report.
KT, South Korea's second-largest wireless provider, apologized on Sunday.
Korea has experienced a string of hacks in the past year. Last November, more than 13 million subscribers of Nexon Korea, a game developer, were targeted in a hacking attack, according to Reuters. A few months prior, information for some 30 million users of an internal portal and blogging site run by Korea's top mobile service provider, SK Comms, was reportedly hacked from China.
Google Admits to Hoarding Info
Google admitted to not deleting personal data obtained while accumulating images and other data for Street View, according to the BBC.
The data should have been erased about 18 months ago as part of a 2010 deal agreed to by Google. Google declared that it had destroyed the data by December of 2010, according to the BBC, but the company recently contacted the UK's Information Commissioner to say that it had not been deleted after all.
Australia Explores Price Discrepancies
Australia's parliamentary committee is looking at nation's prices for tech products, according to The Age.
Tech products are generally more expensive in Australia than elsewhere. Choice, a consumer group, issued a report stating that there was an approximately 50 percent price difference between Australia and the U.S. on identical items, such as games, software, music downloads and others. Some specific culprits named by Choice are iTunes, Nintendo Wii games and Dell computers.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Information Industry Association responded that "spot comparisons" can be mislead because of a variety of factors, such as tariffs, wages, workers' comp and others.