US Judge Tosses Censorship Claims Against Baidu, China
Today in international tech news: In a departure from the recent norm, the U.S. and China actually agree on something Web-related; Yahoo pays a 17-year-old in London a reported $27 million for his Summly app; and Europe enlists Skype and Spotify to inspire the next generation of web entrepreneurs.
03/26/13 9:29 AM PT
At long last, China and the United States are on the same cyberpage.
A U.S. district judge in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit brought by activists who claimed that Baidu, China's largest search engine, should be punished -- along with China itself -- for censoring them on the Web.
First filed in May 2011, the case involved eight New York writers and video producers who said that Baidu and China violated their First Amendment rights by nixing their political musings from Baidu search results. The plaintiffs pointed out that their content was accessible through search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, as well as YouTube.
The Baidu block, they claimed, cost them millions of dollars in damages.
The arguments found no sympathy in court, as China successfully invoked the Hague Convention, which allows a nation to refuse service which "would infringe its sovereignty or security."
The ruling marks a rare agreement between the U.S. and China, which have been at each others' throats of late when it comes to technology and the Web. Last fall, a U.S. House investigation determined that Chinese telecommunications firms Huawei and ZTE were security threats. Not to be outdone, China then announced that Cisco would be booted from one of China's main networks because of security reasons.
More recently, security firm Mandiant issued a report claiming that the Chinese government carried out unprecedented cyberespionage unprecedented cyber espionage against the U.S. China, in turn, vehemently denied those claims and insisted that it had in fact been victimized by US hackers.
Yahoo Boosts Teen's Allowance For App
This sure beats your normal after-school job.
A teenager from London, Nick D'Aloisio, has sold his app company to Yahoo for roughly US$27 million.
Just over one year ago, D'Aloisio, 17, created Summly, an app that provides summaries of content from websites, with word counts tailored to fit on a smartphone screen. A reported 90 million Summly summaries have been read, and Yahoo apparently wants to garner that traffic.
The teen's payday, however, hasn't ruined his humility. D'Aloisio said that after buying a new computer and new sneakers, he will put the money into a trust fund. He also said that he will stay in London to finish school and because "I couldn't really live on my own out there."
D'Aloisio plans to work at Yahoo's London office during the day -- he'll be the company's youngest employee -- and study at night.
There are conflicting reports about Yahoo's payout. Some believe the price to be $27 million -- 90 percent in cash and 10 percent in Yahoo stock -- while other reports put the sum at closer to $60 million. Yahoo has yet to disclose the amount.
D'Aloisio created his first app five years ago. It was called "Fingermill" -- a virtual treadmill for fingers.
Yahoo will reportedly shut down Summly while its technology is integrated into its business.
[Source: The Guardian]
Europe's Web Entrepreneur Club
The European Commission has enlisted the founders of Europe-born companies like Skype, Spotify and Rovio to create the "Startup Europe Leaders Club," or SELC, which is designed to encourage a new wave of European Web entrepreneurs.
SELC will also include a Startup Europe Partnership, which will hook up would-be entrepreneurs with mentors and so-called EU Crowdfunding Networks.
Spotify was first launched in Sweden, while Skype was created by Estonian developers.