Tag: internet

George Soros buys Google and Israeli internet company Comverse Tech

George Soros, who made $1 billion shorting the British pound in 1992, closed his $25.5 billion fund to outsiders in July 2011 and returned almost $1 billion to clients. Over its 26-year life, his Quantum Fund was the best-performing fund in history. His firm now focuses solely on managing his and his family’s assets. In the fourth quarter, Soros drastically increased his stake in Google (GOOG) and announced a large stake in Comverse Technology Inc. (CMVT). Soros increased his fund’s weighting in tech stocks almost 17% to become 23.7% of his portfolio in the fourth quarter.

Google (GOOG)

Soros had been trading shares of Google since prior to 2007 but had completely sold out in the second quarter of 2011. He then bought 1,126 shares in the third quarter of 2011 at about $550 per share. In the fourth quarter, he bought his largest stake to date — 258,900 shares at about $592, for a total investment of $154 million. Google is now his fifth largest holding, with 7.3% of his portfolio.

Google, once known for being a search engine giant, has grown to become the largest maker of smartphone software. But its Android platform lost market share in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, 50 percent of phones sold ran on the Android operating system, compared to 30.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, but down from 52.5% in the third quarter. Smartphone sales overall increased 47.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the fourth quarter of 2010.

The U.N. threat to internet freedom

By ROBERT M. MCDOWELL On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.

If successful, these new regulatory proposals would upend the Internet’s flourishing regime, which has been in place since 1988. That year, delegates from 114 countries gathered in Australia to agree to a treaty that set the stage for dramatic liberalization of international telecommunications. This insulated the Internet from economic and technical regulation and quickly became the greatest deregulatory success story of all time.

Since the Net’s inception, engineers, academics, user groups and others have convened in bottom-up nongovernmental organizations to keep it operating and thriving through what is known as a “multi-stakeholder” governance model. This consensus-driven private-sector approach has been the key to the Net’s phenomenal success.

Dead sea scrolls go online

Israel’s national museum, international web giant Google make world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls available online 2,000 years after they were written, decades after being found in desert caves

Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls are available online.

Israel’s national museum and the international web giant Google are behind the project, which put five scrolls online Monday. The scrolls include the biblical Book of Isaiah.

Watch Dead Sea Scrolls:

Google’s technology allows surfers to search the scrolls for specific passages and translate them into English.

The scrolls available online were purchased by Israeli researchers between 1947 and 1967. They were originally found by Bedouin shepherds in the Judean Desert.

America outlines global plan for cyperspace

LOLITA C. BALDOR and DARLENE SUPERVILLE The Obama administration laid out plans Monday to work aggressively with other nations to make the Internet more secure, enable law enforcement to work closely on cybercrime and ensure that citizens everywhere have the freedom to express themselves online.

And in the strongest terms to date, the White House made it clear the U.S. will use its military might to strike back if it comes under a cyberattack that threatens national security.

Coming on the heels of populist rebellions in the Middle East, the broad policy stresses Internet freedom, and calls on other nations to give citizens the ability to shop, communicate and express themselves freely online.

Cyber defense force is being created by Israel

by Chana Ya’ar

Israel is establishing a cadre of IDF professionals to contend with the threat of Internet terrorism.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, a task force has been created to develop a cyber defense force.

The government is hoping to expand Israel’s reach in the field of cyber defense, thereby expanding the country’s reputation as a global center of knowledge in this area.

The plan includes a five-year budget with investments in academic research and development, creation of a computer center at an Israeli university, academic centers of excellence, incentives to bring Israeli intellectuals home, increase the number of students in the field and an upgrade in university research infrastructures.

Internet police

By Mike Luery
With California deep in debt, a controversial plan has emerged that calls for private vendors to monitor what you buy on the Internet.

The Board of Equalization (BOE) says it could raise a billion dollars a year in previously uncollected use taxes, but critics call it haunting to hire “Internet Police”.

One of those critics is Monique Bell, who started My Kid Sister Clothing Company, three years ago in Stockton.

Internet is world’s ‘greatest spying machine

Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks, speaking to…

Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks, has warned that the Internet was the “greatest spying machine the world has ever seen” and an obstacle to free speech. Speaking to students at Britain’s prestigious Cambridge University on Tuesday, the former computer hacker claimed that the Internet, particularly social networking sites such as Facebook, gave governments greater scope for snooping.

“There was actually a Facebook revolt in Cairo three or four years ago,” Assange explained.

“It was very small… After it, Facebook was used to round up all the principal participants and they were then beaten, interrogated and incarcerated.

“So while the Internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing… it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen,” he added.

U.S. Jewish man gets 15 years in jail for work with Cuba’s Jews

by Maayana Miskin

Jewish-American contractor Alan Gross has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Cuba for helping Cuban Jews connect to the Internet. Gross was convicted of “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state.”

Gross, 61, has already been in prison for 15 months. His attorneys said they would look into the possibility of appeal. His family has appealed for his release on humanitarian grounds, due to the fact that both his mother and his daughter are suffering from cancer, and that Gross himself has become ill in prison. Jewish leaders have called for his release as well

Egypt demonstrates how to silence the internet

“If you have a relatively diverse telecoms market and a very much meshed Internet topology then it’s much more difficult to do than if you have the traditional telecoms structure of two decades ago and they control all the international connections. Obviously that creates a choke point,”
The move by Egyptian authorities to seal off the country almost entirely from the Internet shows how easily a state can isolate its people when telecoms providers are few and compliant. Egyptian demonstrators hold up placards during a protest in central Cairo to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and calling for reforms.

In an attempt to stop the frenzied online spread of dissent against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, not only Facebook and Twitter but the entire Internet was shut down overnight, leaving some 20 million users stranded.

Hundreds of service providers offer connections in Egypt, but just four own the infrastructure – Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya [VOD-LN 177.414 -0.90 (-0.5%)], Telecom Egypt and Etisalat Misr.

Daniel Karrenberg, chief scientist at RIPE NCC, a European not-for-profit Internet infrastructure forum, says immature markets with few providers can achieve such shutdowns relatively easily.

Is internet access is a civil right?

‎By Michelle Malkin
When bureaucrats talk about increasing our “access” to x, y or z, what they’re really talking about is increasing exponentially their control over our lives. As it is with the government health care takeover, so it is with the newly approved government plan to “increase” Internet “access.” Call it Webcare.

By a vote of 3-2, the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday adopted a controversial scheme to ensure “net neutrality” by turning unaccountable Democratic appointees into meddling online traffic cops. The panel will devise convoluted rules governing Internet service providers, bandwidth use, content, prices and even disclosure details on Internet speeds.

The “neutrality” is brazenly undermined by preferential treatment toward wireless broadband networks. Moreover, the FCC’s scheme is widely opposed by Congress — and has already been rejected once in the courts. Demonized industry critics have warned that the regulations will stifle innovation and result in less access, not more.