Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:
- China was allegedly behind the denial of service attack that knocked social coding website Github offline as well as the anti-censorship website GreatFire.org. While a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson didn’t explicitly deny that China was responsible when questioned, she noted that it was "odd" that every time a U.S. website is inaccessible, China gets the blame. In other China-related news, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox will stop trusting security certificates issued by the Chinese Internet Network Information Centre, a Chinese government-affiliated body. Ars has the details.
- President Obama signed an executive order that allows the U.S. Department of the Treasury to sanction individuals or entities involved in “significant malicious cyber-enabled activities.” The sanctions, which could involve travel bans to the United States or the seizure of funds, would be levied against those who engage in attacks that disrupt or destroy critical infrastructure networks, or who steal intellectual property or trade secrets. State-owned enterprises or entities that benefit from cyber espionage could also be the target of sanctions. Reaction to the order has been largely positive, though it remains to be seen how it will be implemented. You can find my thoughts on the order here.
- Yahoo Japan is following the European Union’s lead by starting to provide Japanese users with the option of being forgotten online. Similar to the European Court of Justice’s right to be forgotten decision, users will be able to request that information on them be removed from the search engine. Unlike in the EU however, Yahoo Japan is voluntarily providing the service to users, instead of implementing it as a result of a judicial decision. Yahoo is big in Japan, making it one of the few places where Yahoo dominates its other search competitors. Japan is now the second jurisdiction in the world that has a right to be forgotten scheme.
- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) generic top-level domain (gTLD) program is causing more headaches. In February, ICANN approved the creation of the .sucks domain to the chagrin of trademark holders fearing their brands could be tarnished with the use of the domain (think coca-cola.sucks or walmart.sucks). The registry that owns the rights to the domain, Vox Populi, announced that it will be providing trademark owners first dibs on .sucks domains to protect their brand. However, instead of charging trademark holders a minimal sum as is generally the case with new domain offerings, Vox Populi is charging them $2,500 a year. Trademark holders are calling the move extortionist, but Vox Populi claims that its pricing aims to strike a balance between rights holders and free speech. If you want to know more about the .sucks controversy, Canada’s CBC radio program Day 6 has a great explainer.