Bad Apple: China Investigating Alleged Supplier Pollution

In what amounts to a serious environmental breach or a continuation of China’s anti-Apple PR blitz — or both — Chinese regulators are scrutinizing a pair of Apple suppliers in China over pollution allegations.

The factories in question, located in Kunshan, an electronics manufacturing hotbed about 40 miles west of Shanghai, are reportedly dumping large amounts of heavy metals into local rivers. The plants are owned by Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group and UniMicron Technology. Pollution or no, both plants are among Apple’s 2013 suppliers.

Foxconn is best known for allegedworker rights abuses, which have been cited as reasons for riots and suicides at Foxconn factories.

Foxconn complies with environmental regulations, it said in a statement.

UniMicron conducts daily water inspections to prevent pollution, the company maintained.

This may be part of a so-calledPR war (or “smear campaign,” if you prefer) China launched against Apple in March, when the company was featured in a state-run television special documenting its substandard service in China.

The anti-Apple bent of Chinese media has continued despite an official apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook, and despite Apple’s pledge to help victims of a recent earthquake. Indeed, the earthquake pledge has been used against Apple: There is no proof of any assistance to victims, The People’s Daily has claimed.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

Wall Street Blocked in China

The Wall Street Journal’s Chinese language website has been blocked in China since August 2.

It is not clear why the site finds itself behind the Great Firewall, but it appears to have riled up someone. The English language version of the company’s website is unblocked, for what it’s worth.

The New York Times and Bloomberg have also drawn the ire of China’s Internet censors, each having been blocked at times last year.

[Source:, via the Epoch Times]

Latvia Resisting US Extradition Request for Cyberthief

Latvia is not complying with the request to extradite a man who, according to U.S. authorities, wrote a computer virus used to steal millions of dollars.

Deniss Calovskis is believed to be one of the creators of the “Gozi” virus, but Latvian courts have already twice reject U.S. extradition requests. Now the country’s foreign minister said he has Calovskis’ back because, otherwise, the bandit would face a jail term that was not commensurate with the crimes committed. If convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 60 years in prison.

Gozi reportedly infected more than a million computers and stole data that was used to mine bank accounts.

A Romanian and Russian were named as coconspirators. The Russian has been in a U.S. prison since 2011, while extradition proceedings against the Romanian are awaiting appeal.

[Source: BBC]

Twitter Amends Abuse Policy in UK

Twitter announced over the weekend that it has updated its rules to reaffirm its intolerance of abusive online behavior.

The announcement no doubt stems from an uproar last week, when stories broke that a prominent women’s rights advocate had been threatened via Twitter. The woman, Caroline Criado-Perez, reportedly told Twitter of the abuse, and the company told her to inform law enforcement officials.

This was interpreted by some as a rather apathetic response, which generated blowback against Twitter.

Twitter reminded users that an embedded “report” button was available on Apple devices, which allows users to report abuse directly without having to go through a help center. This button will be made available on and on Android devices next month.

[Source: Twitter, via CNN]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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