Bribery Investigation Rumors Haunt ZTE
Today in international tech news: A report says ZTE is being investigated for bribery in Mongolia; South Korea is training cyberwarriors (young ones); Chromebooks hit new markets; and The Pirate Bay fails to convince a European court that it's protected by free speech.
Chinese telecom ZTE may have ended 2012 in the red, but a new report alleges there was enough in the coffers for bribes.
ZTE's Mongolia office is being investigated for bribery, according to China's IT Business News. The outlet is also reporting that Mongolian anti-corruption officials have already unearthed proof of bribes doled out for that country's national digital education project.
While the IT Business News story is a bit light on sources, it fits with ZTE's recent history. Last month, ZTE was accused of bribing officials in Kenya to win a government contract. In June, ZTE execs were sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of corruption in Algeria.
[Source: Tech In Asia]
South Korea Training Young Cyberwarriors
South Korea is taking a proactive -- and youthful -- approach to bolstering its cyberwar defenses.
A government program, which wrapped up earlier this month, provided specialist training to some of the nation's brightest young computer experts. The training program -- which covered areas such as vulnerability analysis, digital forensics and cloud computing security -- began with 60 students, but the survival-of-the-fittest format whittled them down to 20.
The program was launched in response to growing concerns about the nation's susceptibility to cyberattacks.
Two major attacks, in 2009 and 2011, were blamed on North Korea and have left South Korea wary. The attacks targeted government agencies and financial institutions; they caused network crashes and prevented customers of one bank from using ATMs and credit cards for more than a week.
The graduates of the cybertraining program are not compelled to join the South Korean military, which set up a special cybercommand in 2010. In 2012, the military established a "cyberwarfare school" with Korea University.
Last week, North Korea accused the U.S. and South Korea of extensive cyberattacks.
Chromebooks Hit International Markets
Starting today, Google's Chromebooks will begin rolling out in Germany, Ireland, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and France.
Chromebooks are already gaining a foothold in the U.S. and the UK. It has been one of Amazon's best-selling laptops for the last five months, and has been a hot item at Currys and PC World stores.
The new markets will have Chromebooks made by Acer, HP and Samsung.
Europe Unmoved by Pirate Bay's Free Speech Claim
An appeal from two founders of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay was rejected by the European Court of Human Rights.
Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij argued that their 2012 copyright conviction, handed down in Sweden, violated their right to freedom of speech.
After Sweden's Supreme Court denied an appeal to overturn jail sentences and a multimillion euro fine, Sunde and Neij took their appeal to the ECHR last June, claiming that they had not committed any offenses but had instead merely facilitated the exchange of information.
Alas, the ECHR wasn't having any of it.
ST Ericsson Cutting Losses
ST Ericsson, a mobile chip joint venture between Ericsson and STMicroelectronics, will cut 1,600 jobs in Sweden, Germany, India and China.
The company, which formed in 2008 but has failed to turn a profit, has been looking for a buyer. Cheaper chipmakers in Asia have contributed to the company's inability to gain traction.
Nokia uses ST Ericsson chips, but the phone maker's struggles have compounded the woes at the chip company.
[Source: The Guardian]