Finland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and the U.S. had wireless broadband penetration of more than 100 percent as of December 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday. That means there was more than one wireless broadband subscription per person, usually because consumers have more than one mobile device that can go online. The U.S. just barely crossed the bar, while Finland led the group with more than 123 percent penetration.
Across all 37 OECD countries, wireless broadband penetration rose to 72.4 percent as total subscriptions grew 14.6 percent. The group spans North America, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe, as well as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Mexico and Chile. It’s sometimes treated as a barometer of the developed world.
Wired broadband subscriptions also grew in 2013, reaching an average of 27 percent penetration. That means there was just over one wired subscription per four people: Wired broadband services, such as cable and DSL (digital subscriber line), typically are shared. Switzerland led in that category with 44.9 percent penetration, followed by the Netherlands and Denmark. The U.S. had just under 30 wired subscriptions per 100 people, while Turkey came in last with just over 11.
DSL still makes up a majority of wired broadband subscriptions, at 51.5 percent, followed by cable with 31.2 percent. Fiber-optic grew to a 16.7 percent share, gradually replacing DSL services. Fiber more than doubled its share of the market in the U.K. and also gained strongly in Spain, Turkey and France. While those countries still have relatively low fiber penetration, Japan and Korea continued to lead the OECD for that technology. Nearly 70 percent of all wired broadband in Japan goes over fiber, and almost 65 percent in Korea.
The OECD has compiled some of its broadband statistics on a portal page. For all the technologies it tracks, the group uses a generous definition of broadband as a service capable of at least 256K bits per second downstream.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, the country’s Federal Cartel Office would be given powers to curtail Google’s influence, were it decided that it had got too big for its boots.
A document obtained by the newspaper says that under the new rules, technology companies would be treated and regulated like utilities such as electricity and water and subject to the same anti-competitive pricing laws governing their advertising.
Proposals to legislate the internet as a utility are at the heart of the debate that’s under way in the US right now, where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is coming under increasing pressure to classify ISPs as “Title II” utilities in order to protect net neutrality.
In Europe, a commitment to net neutrality is already in place, and any German legislation would only serve to further solidify the country’s commitment to avoiding technology strangleholds.
Full details of the 30-page document are yet to be released, with varying reports of its potential impact, ranging from “last resort” to “all out regulation”.
The German government has always been militant in matters of data protection. In 2013, it warned consumers against using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system due to perceived security risks, suggesting that it provided a back door for the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Of course, this might have had something to do with the fact that German chancellor Angela Merkel was one of the first high-profile victims of NSA surveillance, with some reports saying that the NSA hacked her mobile phone for over a decade.
The U.S. government made approximately 150,000 requests for customer information from Verizon Communications in the first half of 2014, most of them subpoenas, the country’s largest wireless carrier has reported.
The report is the second summary of government requests Verizon has publicly issued since shareholders pressured the company to divulge information it shared with the government in December.
The government issued 72,342 subpoenas, half of which request subscriber information on a given phone number or IP address, while others ask for transactional information, like the phone numbers a customer has called, according to Verizon.
Verizon also received over 37,000 court orders, including 714 wiretaps, which give access to the content of communications and over 3,000 pen registers and trap and trace orders, which give the government real-time access to outgoing and incoming phone numbers, respectively.
“We repeat our call for governments around the world to make public the number of demands they make for customer data from telecom and Internet companies,” Randal Milch, Verizon’s general counsel, wrote in a company blog.
The report included limited information on international requests. France led all foreign countries listed in the report in customer information point requests, which include phone numbers or IP addresses used to identify a customer, with 762 requests.
German monthly Magazine Manager cited people familiar with the matter as saying the talks were far advanced but no deal had been clinched and that Netflix was also in touch with other German telecoms groups.
Netflix in May unveiled plans to launch in both Germany and France this year, in the biggest test so far of its global expansion strategy.
Manager Magazine said Deutsche Telekom was open to accommodate Netflix’s expansion even though the service would compete with the German company’s own web-based TV offering called “Entertain”.
Deutsche Telekom declined to comment.
Netflix, whose internet-based delivery of movies and TV series such as “House of Cards” has disrupted pay-TV markets in the United States and elsewhere, wants to grow its international business to reach new customers and increase its buying clout with content providers.
It is already in more than 40 countries, mostly in Latin America, and has entered Britain, Ireland, the Nordics and the Netherlands in the past two years.
In Germany, it would compete with Amazon’s Prime Instant Video, ProSiebenSat.1′s Maxdome, Sky Deutschland’s Snap and Vivendi’s Watchever.
Germany has the highest number of broadband households in Europe, with 29.1 million in 2013, according to estimates from SNL Kagan.
Cybercriminals have stolen data on more than 600,000 Dominos Pizza Inc customers in Belgium and France, the pizza delivery company said, and an anonymous Twitter user threatened to make the data public unless the company pays a cash ransom.
Customer names, delivery addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and passwords were taken from a server used in an online ordering system that the company is in the process of replacing, Dominos spokesman Chris Brandon said.
He said he did not know if the stolen passwords had been encrypted.
A Tweet directed at Domino’s customers through an account of somebody listed as “Rex Mundi” said hackers would publish the customer data on the Internet unless the company pays 30,000 euros ($40,800), according to an article in The Telegraph.
The Rex Mundi account was later suspended.
Brandon said he was not familiar with the ransom demands, but that the company would not be making any such payment.
Domino’s Vice President of Communications Tim McIntyre said the hacking was “isolated” to independent franchise markets of Belgium and France, where the company’s online ordering system did not collect credit card orders, so no financial data had been taken.
“This does not affect any market outside of France and Belgium,” he said via email. “The site has been secured.”
Domino’s has some 11,000 stores worldwide, including 229 in France, 24 in Belgium and about 5,000 in the United States.
Mike Weatherley, the UK prime minister’s intellectual property (IP) advisor, has said that internet search firms like Google and Bing do some things to hamper copyright infringement, but not enough.
Weatherley has produced recommendations that has won immediate support from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). He said that with ‘piracy’ costing lots of money in lost revenue, outfits like Google should take responsibility for risking UK jobs and shabby economic growth. This is music to the ears of the BPI, which leaped on it.
“Mike Weatherley’s report is a thorough and carefully considered contribution to the policy debate on the need for action to reduce the prominence of illegal websites in search results,” said BPE chief executive Geoff Taylor.
“We agree with his recommendations and invite search engines to work with us without delay to bring them into effect.” Taylor added that while some firms have volunteered to act, Google is dragging its heels.
“Google, which dominates UK search, has paid lip service to the issue but in practice has done little to address the ethical loophole in its algorithm, which directs millions of consumers to sites it clearly knows to be illegal,” Taylor said.
“If search engines will not now work with the creative sector to give effect to these Recommendations, Government should legislate to boost growth in the digital economy and to give consumers confidence they can search for entertainment safely and legally online”.
Weatherley’s report has 10 recommendations and he and the BPI hope that they win favour with the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Sajid Javid.
The government and industry attention is not news to Google, and it has frequently been called on to veer away from its business and towards an industry that keeps Peruvian cocoa farmers busy and the egotistical out of food service roles.
“Search Engines can – and must – use the resources available to them in order to safeguard the UK’s creative industries,” said MP Weatherley in a statement.
“Piracy remains the biggest threat to the growth of digital commerce; if we want the UK to continue to be a leader in creativity and innovation, the UK must also be an international leader of IP rights protection.”
In March the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the US BPI so to speak, accused Google of being a pirate hangout and piracy facilitator, and like Weatherley it favoured a “voluntary agreement with content owners”, that is, presumably in favour of those owners.
Last year the government wagged a finger at Google and said that it really ought to derank websites that media companies do not like and have arranged court orders against.
Then the web firm told The INQUIRER that actually it does a lot to aid the creative industries and very little to support those who infringe copyrights.
“We removed more than 20 million links to pirated content from our search results in the last month alone. But search is not the problem – according to Ofcom just eight per cent of infringers in the UK use Google to find unlicensed film and 13 per cent to find unlicensed music,” said a spokesperson.
“Google works harder than anyone to help the film and music industry protect their content online.”
We have asked it to comment on the Weatherley report.
Vevo, the online music video hub that is a joint venture of two of the world’s biggest music labels, has enjoyed a nearly 50 percent spike in the number of music videos streamed each month from its platform, according to the company’s top executives.
The company, which is controlled by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, hit a monthly average of nearly 6 billion views in December, a 46 percent rise from a year earlier, said Rio Caraeff, the chief executive officer.
About 65 percent of the videos are being watched on mobile phones, according to the company.
“On a global stage, it’s really all about mobile,” Caraeff said in Miami, where he was participating in the Billboard Latin Music Conference. “Mobile and tablet and television are where the majority of the views are happening.”
A growing number of people watch music videos from the platform on smartphones, tablets or web-connected TVs using Apple TV, Roku and XBox devices.
Google Inc is a minority stakeholder in New York-based Vevo, which was founded in 2009. Universal Music is a unit of Vivendi SA, and Sony Entertainment is part of Sony Corp.
The online music video service started out distributing videos to AOL and Google’s YouTube, creating revenue from a portion of the advertising revenue it generated.
Of the approximately 6 billion music videos streamed each month, 5 billion occur outside the United States, Caraeff said. The top countries include the UK and Germany. Vevo offers its own service in more than 13 countries and will soon roll out in Mexico.
The most watched video ever is teen pop star Justin Bieber’s “Baby” with over 1 billion streams, according to the company. Last year, Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” topped Vevo’s list of the most viewed videos.
Caraeff said the company is holding conversations with potential investors as it seeks to expand. He declined to say who the company has spoken with. The Wall Street Journal has reported Vevo held talks with financial services firm Guggenheim Partners.
“We are continuing to speak to investors as we try to find the right partners to grow the business more rapidly than we’ve been able to do so far,” Caraeff said. “We’re still very active in that process.”
Last week, Vevo, which provides some of the most popular content on YouTube, expanded its content partnership with Yahoo in a deal that brings Vevo’s music videos and other programming to Yahoo’s video channel, Yahoo Screen, in the United States and Canada.
The partnership is expected to soon extend to Britain, Germany, Spain, France and Italy as well as the Yahoo Screen mobile app.
Android based mobile phones from all manufacturers make up nearly 80% of all smartphones recently sold worldwide, but Apple’s iPhone and iPad still dominate when it comes to Web browsing in the U.S. and other highly developed countries.
In the U.S., about 62% of all mobile Web browsing in the last year came from iOS smartphones and tablets, according to dotMobi, a Web consulting and Web data measurement firm. The company measured billions of Web sites visited by smartphones and tablets in 101 countries, including the most developed ones.
Overall, iOS devices were used most often for browsing in 34 of the 101 countries measured; Android dominated in 67 nations.
The percentage of mobile users browsing the Web with iOS devices was higher in several nations than in the U.S. In the UK and France, that figure was 65%; in Japan, 68%; in Canada, 73%; and in Australia, 74%.
Meanwhile, Android smartphones and tablets are used more often for browsing in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, including Spain (56%) and Germany and India (both at 58%). Macedonia was strongest for Android usage, at nearly 91%, while South Korea — home of big Android device maker Samsung — had 74% of users browsing with Android.
Eileen O’Sullivan, the chief operating officer of dotMobi, said that Apple still maintains a stronghold across major markets in the world, but added, “its dominance is not guaranteed.” She said that while Apple is still considered an “aspirational brand,” its relatively high prices compared to Android smartphones and tablets could cost it market share in the countries where it leads.
All of dotMobi’s data is freely available on the Web, but users must register to see it.
The company provides maps that rank browsing by OS, even a specific device, and clicking on a country will show the percentage of use for that device in that country. For the U.S., Apple’s 62% share of Web browsing by iPhone and iPad compares to about 19% for Samsung devices and less than 4% each for Motorola, LG HTC, BlackBerry, Nokia and others.
In China, nearly 49.5% of Web browsing is done via iOS devices, with the remainder shared by Android devices from various brands, including Samsung (11%), HTC (9%), Huawei (6%) and Lenovo (3%).
Apple Inc said it would offer an iPad 4 tablet to replace the mid-range iPad 2 at the same price and the company also debuted a cheaper, lower capacity version of its plastic-backed iPhone 5C in Australia, China and some European countries.
The iPad 4 is available at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + cellular model at the four major U.S. carriers – AT&T Inc, Sprint Corp, T-Mobile US Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.
The fourth-generation iPad, which has a 9.7-inch Retina display and supports 4G carriers worldwide, was launched in 2012, while the iPad 2 was launched in 2011.
Apple discontinued the iPad 4 last year when it launched its current flagship tablet, the iPad Air. The company had cut the price of iPad 2 to $399 in 2012.
Tablets based on Apple’s iOS platform held 36 percent share of the market in 2013, trailing those based on Google Inc’s Android software that had 62 percent share, according to research firm Gartner.
Apple also launched on Tuesday an 8GB iPhone 5C priced at 429 pounds ($710), 40 pounds cheaper than the 16GB version, according to the company’s UK website.
The 8GB iPhone 5C will also be available in France and Germany.
“We believe this newly configured device will have a lower gross margin as we estimate the difference in cost to Apple for the 8GB of NAND is $5 to $10,” Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross wrote in a research note.
Analysts have said earlier that the iPhone 5C, which is about $100 cheaper than the iPhone 5S, was unable to grab market share from rivals offering lower-cost phones based on Android.
Thousands of email users have been hit by a sick cancer email hoax that aims to infect the recipients’ computers with Zeus malware.
The email has already hit thousands of inboxes across the UK, and looks like it was sent by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It features the subject line “Important blood analysis result”.
However, NICE has warned that it did not send the malicious emails, and is urging users not to open them.
NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said, “A spam email purporting to come from NICE is being sent to members of the public regarding cancer test results.
“This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that ‘test results’ indicate they may have cancer. This malicious email is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police.”
The hoax message requests that users download an attachment that purportedly contains the results of the faux blood analysis.
Security analysis firm Appriver has since claimed that the scam email is carrying Zeus malware that if installed will attempt to steal users’ credentials and take over their PCs.
Appriver senior security specialist Fred Touchette warned, “If the attachment is unzipped and executed the user may see a quick error window pop up and then disappear on their screen.
“What they won’t see is the downloader then taking control of their PC. It immediately begins checking to see if it is being analysed, by making long sleep calls, and checking to see if it is running virtually or in a debugger.
“Next it begins to steal browser cookies and MS Outlook passwords from the system registry. The malware in turn posts this data to a server at 188.8.131.52 with the command /ppp/ta.php, and punches a hole in the firewall to listen for further commands on UDP ports 7263 and 4400.”
The measure echoes similar drives around Europe. Publishers in Portugal, France, Belgium and Germany have pushed for compensation in some form or another for links, snippets, headlines and lead paragraphs that appear in news search engines and aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo news.
The search engines draw revenue from advertising placed near news content and media companies have fought for a share of it.
The new rule was introduced in the draft of an intellectual property law that the center-right People’s Party government will present to parliament for approval, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told a weekly news conference.
Under the proposed changes, the search engines would not have to seek permission to publish brief fragments but would have to pay “an equitable remuneration for the use”.
The government did not say how it would be determined which fragments must be paid for and how amounts would be calculated. This has been a matter of fierce debate elsewhere in Europe.
A spokeswoman for Google in Spain said the company could not comment because it had not yet seen the exact wording of the intellectual property reform bill.
The Association of Spanish Newspaper Editors, known by its Spanish-language acronym AEDE, applauded the proposal.
“We are very satisfied with the intellectual property law, which recognizes a long-standing demand from news editors,” said Irene Lanzaco, deputy director of the association.
Spanish media have been hit hard by a prolonged economic recession as advertising spending has plunged. Dozens of newspapers and other media have shut down and 9,500 journalists have been laid off in the last four years.
European countries have taken different approaches to the issue of news content on search engines.
A year ago Google agreed to pay 60 million euros into a special fund to help French media develop their presence on the Internet, but search engines will not pay publishers in France for displaying content.
Germany passed a new copyright law last March that allows media there to charge search engines for using their content, but the original bill was watered down and links and small excerpts of text were exempted.
Spain’s proposed reform on search engines and content is just one element in a major overhaul of intellectual property rules that the government has been working on since last year.
Internet piracy is widespread in Spain, which is considered to be one of Europe’s worst offenders for illegal downloading of music, films and games.
The draft bill approved by the cabinet on Friday envisages speedier processes to shut down piracy sites and establishes sanctions for sites that redirect users to illegal downloading sites, advertisers on piracy websites and companies that process payments to piracy sites.
Now shipping estimates for new orders stretched into April in several foreign markets, including China, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., as first reported by MacGeneration, which is based in France. Soon after, Apple’s U.S. and Canadian online stores followed suit, showing April as the estimated ship date.
Although the Mac Pro — a distinctive-looking black cylinder that’s 10 inches tall and about 7 inches in diameter — went on sale Dec. 19, it almost immediately slipped into back order. The February estimate was later pushed into March before today’s change to April.
The pricey computer starts at $2,999 for the low-end stock configuration and can be tricked out to a top price of $9,599.
At least one analyst predicted that the Mac Pro, while catering to the line’s traditional power users, creative professionals and engineers, would also become a status symbol of sorts for those with the wherewithal to buy one.
The shipping delays continue to hint at low production volumes at the new Apple factory in Austin, Texas, where the computer is assembled. Apple has touted the Mac Pro’s built-in-the-U.S.A. trait, including a rare tweet by CEO Tim Cook at the machine’s launch.
Shortages of the Mac Pro will not materially affect Apple’s bottom line, as the Mac division accounted for just 11% of the company’s revenue for the December quarter. The Mac Pro, while expensive, will make up only a fraction of the unit sales of the line overall, which last quarter reached 4.8 million, the majority of those notebooks from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro families.
But the extended shortages mean that the revenue the Mac Pro produces is being pushed from the current quarter into the calendar’s second. They also are reminiscent of the fiasco Apple created in late 2012 and early 2013, when it announced a redesigned iMac without an inventory even as it pulled the older models from its stores.
The shortages also spurred profit takers to list their new Mac Pro systems on eBay at prices significantly higher than list.
Mac Pro prices on the auction and sales website today were as high as $6,250 for a configuration that Apple sells for $3,999, a 56% markup. Another of the several listings asked $4,499 for a system that runs $2,999 from Apple, a 50% profit for the seller.
EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that there need to be tougher penalties as part of plans to reform the data protection laws in Europe, otherwise firms will continue to ride roughshod over the laws as they exist. She noted that while both French and Spanish authorities have fined Google, the amounts represented too small a fraction of the company’s income to stop the US giant.
“People need to see that their rights are enforced in a meaningful way. If a company has broken the rules and failed to mend its ways, this should have serious consequences,” she said.
Under the new proposals, Google would have faced a far harsher penalty that would make it think twice before ignoring data protection laws. It would have faced a fine of €731 million ($1bn). A sum much harder to brush off. Reding added, though, that a stronger regime for data protection would not just be a fear tactic to scare businesses into shape, but it would also help provide them with a competitive edge over rivals.
“Our reform will thus not only open the market to companies, it will also help them to conquer this market by helping to build citizens’ confidence. And what is more, strong data protection rules will also give companies with serious privacy policies a competitive edge,” she said.
Data protection reforms within the EU have been debated for some time, but an agreement between nations has yet to be reached. The UK is concerned that overly proscriptive laws could damage the economy. Proposals were meant to be in place by 2015 but that date might slip back if member states cannot agree.
Last Friday, Fox-IT, a Delft, Netherlands-based computer security firm, wrote in a blog that attackers had inserted malicious ads served by ads.yahoo.com.
In a recently released statement, a Yahoo spokesman, said: “On Friday, January 3 on our European sites, we served some advertisements that did not meet our editorial guidelines, specifically they spread malware.” Yahoo said it promptly removed the bad ads, and that users of Mac computers and mobile devices were not affected.
Malware is software used to disrupt a computer’s operations, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.
Fox-IT estimated that on Friday, the malware was being delivered to approximately 300,000 users per hour, leading to about 27,000 infections per hour. The countries with the most affected users were Romania, Britain, and France.
“It is unclear which specific group is behind this attack, but the attackers are clearly financially motivated and seem to offer services to other actors,” Fox-IT wrote in the January 3 blog post.
Google revoked the certificates for users of its Chrome browser last Saturday after a four-day investigation. Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software followed suit on Monday.
In a security advisory, Microsoft said it had released an update to most versions of Windows — including Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 — that revoked the pertinent certificates. Unlike other browser makers, Microsoft records trusted digital certificates in Windows, not in its Internet Explorer (IE) browser.
However, the third of Windows PC owners still running the 12-year-old Windows XP have been left out in the cold. “No update is available at this time for customers running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003,” Microsoft said in its advisory.
Google’s discovery also prompted Mozilla to annul the rogue certificates. The revocations will be included with Firefox 26, according to a blog post by Mozilla.
Opera Software blacklisted the certificates in older versions of its Opera browser. The Norwegian company’s newest, Opera 12, did not require an update because that version did not automatically trust ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information), the French Network and Information Security Agency whose intermediate CA issued the original unauthorized certificate.
According to ANSSI, the certificates were signed by DGTrésor, France’s Department of the Treasury. ANSSI described the gaffe as “human error … during a process aimed at strengthening the overall IT security of the French Ministry of Finance.”
According to Google and Mozilla, ANSSI found that a secondary certificate was installed on a network monitoring device, and able to sniff local traffic to and from third-party sites. Microsoft warned that, “An attacker could use these certificates to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks” against a large number of Google-owned domains, includinggoogle.com and youtube.com.
The browser makers’ fast response was in contrast to similar incidents in the past, when certificate invalidation took longer. An intermediate certificate issued by Turkish CA Turktrust in mid-2011 and installed on a firewall appliance in December 2012 was not revoked by Microsoft and others until early January 2013.