Rain Forest 1, Amazon 0
Today in international tech news: Amazon (the company) appears to have lost its top-level domain application to Amazon (the forest). Also: another iPhone-related electrocution in China; the UK -- like the U.S. before it -- is probing Huawei on security concerns; and a couple in Malaysia who blogged about sex have been charged with sedition -- but not for their blog.
07/19/13 10:17 AM PT
A group of countries in Latin America seems to have successfully blocked online retail giant Amazon from using ".amazon" as an Internet address suffix.
A committee from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees top-level domain names, recommended that .amazon be precluded from the list of possible top-level domains.
ICANN announced in 2011 that it would expand the possibilities for top-level domains to include ".cooking," say, or ".sports." ICANN also said Chinese characters were welcome. This set off a wave of applications, including for .amazon.
A group of countries that included Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, however, sent a letter to ICANN urging it to reject the .amazon request because the word "represents important territories of some of our countries." (The group also objected to clothing company Patagonia's request to register .patagonia, a region in South America; that application has since been withdrawn.)
The Amazon group, however, isn't out of the woods -- or forest -- yet. The committee that recommended that .amazon be blocked can still be overruled by the ICANN board.
[Source: The New York Times]
Another iPhone Electrocution Case in China
Less than a week after reports that a Chinese woman was electrocuted by her iPhone and less than two weeks after news that an exploding iPhone nearly a killed a Chinese man in his sleep, new reports have surfaced that a 30-year-old man is in a coma in a Beijing hospital after being electrocuted while charging his iPhone 4.
The man, Wu Jiantong, is reportedly breathing without assistance and undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
Wu's sister was quoted by Chinese media saying that her brother screamed, "I'm being electrocuted" while trying to charge his phone.
Conspiracy theorists skeptical about China's iPhone casualty rate could question whether or not recent reports are part of Beijing's well-documented PR campaign against Apple. It could also be worth asking if counterfeit Apple products -- a huge business in China -- are to blame. So-called third-party chargers have been identified as possible culprits in the case of the 30-year-old man in Beijing and the fatal electrocution of a 23-year-old woman in northwest China.
UK Launching Its Own Probe Into Huawei
Sir Kim Darroch, Britain's national security adviser, will launch a review of the operations at Huawei's cybersecurity evaluation center in Oxfordshire, England.
The review follows a parliamentary report that raised concerns about the Chinese telecommunications firm.
The U.S. has its own suspicions about Huawei, which was founded by a former member of the Chinese military.
[Source: The Guardian]
Malaysian Bloggers Charged With Sedition
Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, a couple in Malaysia who co-authored a sexually explicit blog, have been charged with sedition after posting a Facebook photo showing the couple eating pork during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Malaysia is nearly two-thirds Muslim, ergo the outrage over eating pork during the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims are forbidden to eat pork to begin with, and doing so during Ramadan -- which is supposed to be a time for sun-up-to-sun-down fasting and increased devotion to Islamic principles -- is an even greater no-no.
Thus was the couple charged with publishing "seditious" content. They have pleaded not guilty but will remain in jail at least until their Aug. 23 court date. If found guilty, they will face up to three years in jail.
The couple apologized after causing their stir, but apparently to no avail. Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak said that this "insolent and impudent act ... insulted Islam," adding that such behavior can "jeopardize the community."