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AT&T Gives Icy Appraisal of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

AT&T Gives Icy Appraisal of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Today in international tech news: AT&T blogs in support of gay athletes and disses Russia's homosexual propaganda laws. Also: In a bizarre role reversal, British authorities DDoS Anonymous and LulzSec; earnings report shows just how much Grand Theft Auto V cleaned up last year; and Sony reportedly wants to help create a new company to cleanse itself of its PC business.

By David Vranicar TechNewsWorld ECT News Network
02/05/14 10:00 AM PT

Joining athletes and activists, AT&T has rebuked Russia's less-than-progressive stance on homosexuality ahead of this month's Sochi Winter Games.

AT&T, the U.S.'s second-largest wireless character, penned a blog post -- titled, "A Time for Pride and Equality" -- in which it declared its "pride in America and everything for which it stands." The company got more specific in the ensuing paragraphs, expressing its opposition to a Russian law "that bans 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.'"

The Human Rights Campaign, the U.S.' largest LGBT advocacy group, has implored International Olympic Committee sponsors to protest Russia's ban on homosexual "propaganda." AT&T is not, in fact, an IOC sponsor, but the company hopped on board anyhow.

President Obama selected gay athletes to represent the U.S. in the Sochi opening and closing ceremonies, including tennis legend Billie Jean King and ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow.

[Sources: AT&T and Bloomberg]

Bizarro Hacking: UK Attacks Anonymous, LulzSec

A secret British spy unit is fighting fire with fire -- or hacking with hacking, as it were -- by carrying out cyberattacks on hacktivist groups Anonymous and LulzSec.

The unit, part of Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, used denial of service attacks -- the same sort of tactic preferred by groups like Anonymous -- to get at the hacktivists. This is believed to be the first time that a Western government has been implicated in such a scheme.

These GCHQ revelations come from documents obtained from you-know-who's trove of leaks.

To its credit, the GCHQ wing responsible for the DDoS attacks is believed to have helped imprison a hacktivist who stole data from PayPal, and it helped identify hackers who went after government sites.

[Source: NBC News via The Next Web]

GTA V Cleaned Up Last Year

Confirming what already was suspected, Take Two Interactive announced that Grand Theft Auto V, the latest in the series of revered -- and in some quarters reviled -- Grand Theft Auto videogames, sold 32.5 million copies between its September launch and the end of the year.

Take Two owns Rockstar Games, the outfit that produces GTA.

GTA was a smash right out of the gate. It quickly eclipsed US$1 billion in sales, helping Take Two's net revenue to increase to $1.86 billion for the third fiscal quarter of 2013 -- up from $416 million the year before.

Production costs of GTA reportedly soared north of $250 million, but the game certainly did better than break even.

[Source: The Guardian]

Sony May Dump Its PC Biz

Sony is pursuing a sale of its floundering PC business to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, according to the Nikkei.

The plan, which would price Sony's PC business at up to $490 million, calls for the creation of a new company, in which Sony would then have a minority stake.

Reports surfaced over the weekend that Sony and Chinese technology company Lenovo were discussing a joint venture to take over Sony's red ink-drenched Vaio PC business overseas. Sony said that the stories were inaccurate, but did acknowledge that it was exploring options. This could be one such option.

[Source: Reuters]

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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