Here is a quick round-up of this week’s technology headlines and related stories you may have missed:
- The Sony hacking story continued to unfold. After President Obama said that the United States would respond proportionally to North Korean intrusion into Sony’s networks in a time and manner of its choosing, North Korea unexpectedly lost all Internet connection. While some commentators drew a causal link between both events, there are a number of other reasons that could explain the outage. Taking a step back from the whole Sony incident, David Sanger at the New York Times examines the challenges facing the United States when responding to state-backed cyber activity.
- The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) announced that hackers infiltrated the networks of a German steel mill and caused the damage to the mill’s blast furnace. The BSI said the hack could have been avoided had the industrial control systems that controlled the furnace not been connected to the Internet.
- Facebook was criticized in Russia for removing a page on its website announcing a protest in Moscow organized by Alex Navalny, an opposition activist currently under house arrest. Facebook took down the page at the request of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Internet regulator, which argued that it promoted an "unsanctioned mass event." Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, Russia has tightened its controls on online expression.
- Following up on a story I mentioned two weeks ago, the Irish government backed Microsoft’s claim that the United States cannot compel the software giant to hand over data held on its servers in Ireland without first seeking the Irish government’s permission. Microsoft, with the support of many of the IT industry and now the Irish government, is appealing a July ruling from a U.S. court which compelled it to provide data related to a drug case despite the fact that the data is held outside of the United States.