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AC/DC Finally Brings Its Dirty Deeds to iTunes

AC/DC Finally Brings Its Dirty Deeds to iTunes

Today in international tech news: AC/DC relents on its anti-digital music stance and makes its music available on iTunes. Also: A potential quantum physics-based breakthrough for fiber optic security, Toys "R" Us launches a Chinese website and Kim Dotcom shirks responsibility for illegal file-sharing on his sites.

Legendary Australian rock band AC/DC, which had long been queasy about digital formats, has released its music on Apple's iTunes store.

According to the BBC, AC/DC previously asserted that it wouldn't make individual songs available digitally because each song was part of an album. And the band didn't want to break its art into pieces -- or something.

However, the group has since relented, putting its 16 studio albums, four live albums and three compilations -- which together have sold more than 150 million copies -- up on iTunes.

AC/DC's iTunes concession comes on the heels of the release of a live album, the band's first live recording in 20 years, and in advance of its upcoming 40th anniversary tour, which is planned for 2013.

The Beatles, another digital-music holdout, made its catalog available digitally in 2010.

Potential Fiber-Optic Cable Breakthrough

Scientists at Cambridge University and Toshiba have devised a better, cheaper way to protect information running along high-speed fiber optic cables, according to The New York Times.

The scientists' research involves -- this is about to get dense -- "making infinitesimally short time measurements needed to capture pulses of quantum light" found in the billions of photons that are transmitted via data networks each second. The Times goes on to say that an advanced photodetector can be used "to extract weak photons from the torrents of light pulses" that run across fiber optic cables. This, in turn, will make it possible to safely disseminate secret keys required to scramble data.

The method and research is described in detail in Tuesday's edition of the science journal Physical Review X.

Government communications systems used for national security will likely be the first to use the data-scrambling systems described in the research. However, any information transmitted over the Internet could theoretically benefit, according to The Times.

The security method takes advantage of quantum physics and the quantum law that measuring photons -- in this case, photons that are carrying data over a fiber optic cable -- necessarily disturbs their state.

Toys "R" Us Joins the Great Mall of China

Famed toy store Toys "R" Us has launched a Chinese e-commerce store.

The launch is part of the company's plans to expand its physical stores and online operations in Asia. E-commerce sales in China will hit US$360 billion in 2015, and e-commerce will soon account for 10 percent of all retails sales in China, Toys "R" Us posited, citing the Boston Consulting Group.

In addition to the increased Web presence, Toys "R" Us already operates 30 stores in 21 cities throughout China.

Walmart and eBay are among the U.S. companies also diving headlong into China's e-commerce market.

In 2010 and 2011, Toys "R" Us experienced double-digit growth in its global e-commerce business, including $1 billion in online sales in 2011. To that end, the company also announced a mobile-optimized website and device apps in 11 international markets, including Germany, Japan, Australia, the UK and more.

Kim Dotcom Shirks Responsibility for Piracy

In an interview on New Zealand TV, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom said he isn't responsible for the content -- like, say, copyrighted material -- that is uploaded to his file-sharing platforms.

According to Bloomberg, Dotcom said, "You can't blame me" for what people upload to a website that was "created for online storage."

Dotcom extended this logic further, saying that if Megaupload is illegal -- and the U.S. authorities seeking his extradition certainly seem to think so -- then so are dozens of other websites that facilitate the transfer of user-generated information.


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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