Turkey PM, Prez Go Round and Round About Social Media
Today in international tech news: Turkey's president and prime minister aren't quite on the same page regarding the nation's social media policies. Also: Europe warns about public WiFi hackery; a Texas-based hardware company may have lost 20 employees in presumed Malaysia Airlines crash; Mt. Gox's CEO's blog is hacked; and Google is expanding Chromecast to new markets.
Turkey's prime minister and president are spewing conflicting talking points on the nation's stance toward social media.
It turns out the one who is getting nailed on social media is the one who wants more restrictions.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week vowed to restrict social media after this month's local elections. Mere hours later, however, Turkey President Abdullah Gul reassured the nation that such a move was "out of the question."
Turkey last month passed a law enabling the government to block what it deemed to be objectionable websites, a move that drew international criticism, including from the European Union, which Turkey has expressed an interest in joining.
Erdogan seems unfazed by the criticism, declaring on a television broadcast that "we will not allow this nation to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or whatever."
In what is surely just a coincidence, Erdogan is in the midst of a corruption scandal that is widely discussed on social media.
Thousands of people in the cities of Ankara and Istanbul have publicly protested the recent Web restrictions.
[Source: The New York Times]
Europe Warns on Public WiFi Hotspots
Troels Oerting, the head of Europol's cybercrime center, warned that sensitive information should not be transmitted via public WiFi hotspots, citing hackers.
The advice was prompted by a growing number of cyberattacks that utilize public WiFi, Oerting said. He specifically mentioned "information, identity or passwords, and money" as common targets of public WiFi thievery.
The European Parliament shut down its WiFi system in November, after an attack was discovered.
Of course, it's not just hackers who use public WiFi to snoop around. Canadian authorities were outed for using airport WiFi systems to track people's wireless devices in the country.
Freescale Mourning After Presumed Plane Crash
Twenty employees of Freescale Semiconductor, a Texas-based hardware manufacturer, were on the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared over the weekend and is presumed to have crashed.
The employees were doing sophisticated work, according to Mitch Haws, the company's vice president of global communications and investor relations.
"It's definitely a loss for the company," he said.
The 20 individuals -- 12 of whom were from Malaysia and eight from China -- were among the 239 people on board the flight. The employees reportedly were in Asia to make the company's chip facilities in Tianjin, China, and Kuala Lumpur more efficient.
The flight was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
"We extend our condolences to the families and coworkers of the @Freescale employees aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370," Freescale competitor Texas Instruments tweeted on Saturday.
Mt. Gox CEO's Blog Hacked, Info Displayed
Hackers got into the blog of Mark Karpeles, the CEO of the recently bankrupted bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, and cried shenanigans on his explanation of the company's demise.
Mt. Gox was wiped clean because of a huge cybertheft, Karpeles has claimed. However, information posted on Karpeles' blog, MagicalTux.net, purports to show that the CEO kept some of the dough for himself. Hackers posted a zip file that they claim contains incriminating data from Mt. Gox's servers.
Google Launching Chromecast Abroad
Google will launch Chromecast, a doohickey ("dongle," in technical terms) that syncs TVs with mobile devices and computers, in "many" countries over the next couple weeks.
The announcement came at the annual conference/festival SXSW.
Google released Chromecast last July, and while Google is evasive about specific sales numbers, people have purchased "millions," according to a company spokesperson.
Chromecast costs US$35.
[Source: The Next Web]