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Thieves Knock Off Apple Store in Paris

Thieves Knock Off Apple Store in Paris

Today in international tech news: Thieves nab more than $1 million in merchandise from a Parisian Apple store, a filter fail prompts Pakistan to re-block YouTube, Israel launches a program to train cybersoldiers, and Belgian media band together to build a nationwide user-identification platform.

On New Year's Eve, armed burglars lifted thousands of dollars -- and potentially more than US$1 million -- worth of merchandise from an Apple store in central Paris, according to Reuters.

The hit targeted a flagship Apple store, which carried a full array of products including iPhones, iPads and Macs. Police declined to comment on reports that put the damage at $1.32 million.

The thieves were reportedly masked and escaped in a van. The burglars were "well prepared," a member of the police union UNSA said, adding that most of the city's police were focused on the New Year's Eve shindig taking place at the Champs Elysees.

Pakistan YouTube Filter Fails

Pakistan has once again banned YouTube after a system designed to filter anti-Islam videos proved ineffective, according to The New York Times.

Pakistan's YouTube ban was originally imposed in September 2012 after protests over "The Innocence of Muslims" killed 20 people in Pakistan and caused damage in numerous cities. The video was blamed for inciting violence in other parts of the Muslim world as well.

In late December, Pakistani prime minister Rehman Malik announced on Twitter that the ban would be lifted, adding that Pakistan would utilize "powerful firewall software" to thwart viewing of inappropriate materials.

The ballyhooed software, however, didn't work, which led Pakistan to re-block YouTube -- after all of three minutes.

Israel Pursues 'Digital Iron Dome'

Israel wants to create a "digital Iron Dome" to thwart cyberattacks, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu presided over Monday's launch of a new national program, "Magshimim Le'umit," designed to train youngsters for cyberdefense. The program lasts three years and is geared toward 16- to 18-year-olds.

Belgium to Launch Media ID

Having reached a potentially lucrative deal with Google, Belgian news sites will introduce an industry-wide identity platform in 2013.

Citing a Dutch-language article from Belgium's De Morgen, PaidContent reports that major Flemish- and French-language newspaper and magazine publishers, along with a trio of TV broadcasters, will band together to form "Media ID," which PaidContent describes as a "common platform for user registration and management."

A test launch of Media ID is expected in April, with a full launch in September.

In addition to giving media outlets a way to profile their consumers, Media ID, which was created by a government-funded research institute called "iMinds," will encourage payments from readers and viewers.

China's Pirated App Problem

A website called "KuaiYong," which in Chinese means "use quickly," allows for easy installation of pirated iPhone and iPad apps, according to The Next Web.

KuaiYong has achieved notoriety -- it has recently been featured at Tech In Asia and other sites -- just days after the Dec. 30 closure of Hackulous a popular iOS pirated app community.

KuaiYong figures to fill the void. The site has been around since June 2012, but because it is offered only in Chinese, it was a relative unknown until recently.

KuaiYong works by bypassing Apple's licensing safeguards, allowing it to distribute the same app numerous times, license ID be damned. The service is also noteworthy because it allows pirated apps to be downloaded without having to jailbreak one's device.


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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