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Google Street View Car Gets in Fender-Bender or 3 in Indonesia

Google Street View Car Gets in Fender-Bender or 3 in Indonesia

Today in international tech news: A Google Street View car reportedly plays bumper cars in Indonesia. Also: A 17-year-old uses Daddy's eBay account to buy a $33,000 server once used by Wikileaks; a Saudi prince vows to keep his Twitter shares after IPO; and China parades an online critic who says he has now seen the light.

By David Vranicar
09/16/13 10:47 AM PT

A Google Street View car dinged a pair of public transport buses and a truck in Bogor, Indonesia.

The Google driver hit one bus and then tried to skedaddle when the driver got angry, police reported.

Alas, the getaway was thwarted when the Street View vehicle hit a second bus -- and then a truck, according to local media.

There are no reports of injuries.

Google confirmed the incident -- or at least that an incident took place, if not the ping-pong scene described by police -- and said it was working with local authorities to address the situation.

There were reports in January that a Street View car killed a donkey. Google denied such a mishap took place.

[Source: BBC]

17-Year-Old Buys Wikileaks Server for $33K

A 17-year-old used his dad's eBay account to bid, successfully, on a server that once hosted Wikileaks.

The dad, as you can imagine, isn't pleased.

Bahnhof, a Swedish ISP that hosted Wikileaks for about eight months starting in 2010, put the server on eBay to raise money for a pair of charities (Reporters Without Borders and the 5th of July Foundation, a digital rights group).

The winning bid was $33,000, but the father in question reportedly contacted Bahnhof to nix the transaction. The "winner" of the server reportedly lives outside Lisbon, Portugal. He says his son is crazy about conspiracy theories, and that a stern talking-to was in the offing.

The kid originally bid $10,200, but followed that up with seven more bids as the price went north.

The server, whose real value is in the neighborhood of $4,000, had been sitting in the bar of a Bahnhof data center in Stockholm. Bahnhof has cleansed the server of information and sold it as a sort of souvenir.

Wikileaks, for its part, said it did not support the sale.

[Source: Wired]

Saudi Prince to Keep Twitter Shares

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire from Saudi Arabia, plans to hang on to his shares of Twitter as the company prepares to go public.

Bin Talal, who is the owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding and the nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, invested $300 million in Twitter in 2011. Twitter is "a very strategic investment," the prince said, and has plenty of room to grow.

Twitter confirmed last week that it has filed for an initial public offering with U.S. regulators.

Although it is banned in some Arab nations, Twitter is available in Saudi Arabia -- and its Saudi user base has been growing rapidly.

[Source: 00000Reuters]

China Parades Online Blogger in Anti-Rumor Campaign

Charles Xue, a Chinese-American venture capitalist known for making controversial remarks online, appeared on Chinese state media Sunday to fess up to spreading irresponsible Internet posts.

Xue, who has 12 million followers on Twitter-ish Sina Weibo, dubbed himself irresponsible and said his musings were "a vent of negative mood." He added that "freedom of speech cannot override the law."

Xue was detained last month and accused of visiting prostitutes.

China recently stiffened penalties for those who meet Beijing's definition of rumormonger. The Supreme Court ruled that any "rumor" that was seen at least 5,000 times, or reposted at least 500 times, would subject the original poster to three years in jail.

[Source: The Guardian]

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.

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