By Eric Auchard and David Mardiste TALLINN (Reuters) - The U.S. National Security Agency chief called on Wednesday for an "open, reliable and safe" Internet governed by international rules akin to the Law of the Sea, while deflecting critics who say NSA spying has undermined public trust in the cyberworld. Admiral Michael Rogers spoke a few days after the U.S. Senate rejected a bill to extend spy agencies' bulk collection of Americans' telephone records, putting the program in doubt shortly before its expiry on June 1.
By Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has asked U.S. authorities to help it investigate Axact, a software firm accused of earning millions of dollars from the international sale of bogus university degrees online, officials said on Wednesday. Pakistani police also arrested the head of Axact in the early hours of Wednesday following a raid on the company's diploma printing operations, and registered a criminal case against him, investigators said. The interior ministry wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday seeking assistance.
By Lawrence Hurley and Dan Levine WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Tuesday sided against Google Inc and said the U.S. Supreme Court should not hear the company's appeal in a case against Oracle Corp with wide implications for the technology industry, according to a court filing. The case involves how much copyright protection should extend to the Java programing language. Oracle won a federal appeals court ruling last year that allows it to copyright parts of Java, while Google argues it should be free to use Java without paying a licensing fee.
By Malathi Nayak and Diane Bartz NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Charter Communications Inc, seeking to remake the U.S. cable television industry by acquiring larger rival Time Warner Cable Inc for $56 billion, will try to skirt the regulatory obstacles that helped sink Comcast Corp's earlier bid for Time Warner Cable. The combined company would control a big swath of the cable and Internet markets, marking a huge step toward industry consolidation, long advocated by cable pioneer John Malone, Charter's biggest shareholder. The agreement is the latest example of how cable companies are grappling with declining subscriber numbers as viewers shift to cheaper and more flexible streaming services offered by Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Hulu and others.
By Sami Aboudi DUBAI (Reuters) - A suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia as it presses on with its war against Shi'ite fighters in Yemen has exposed the Sunni kingdom's failure to curb sectarianism at home and prompted fears that such tensions can only get worse. Islamic State, which claimed Friday's attack on a Shi'ite mosque, is trying to stir up sectarian confrontation as a way of hastening the overthrow of the ruling Al Saud, and is keenly aware of the war's potential for pitting Sunni against Shi'ite. Saudi authorities have avoided using openly sectarian terms to describe the Houthis, allies of Iran who adhere to the Zaydi sect of Shi'ite Islam, but many journalists, clerics and social media users have shown no such restraint.
Time Warner Cable Inc is nearing an agreement to be acquired by smaller peer Charter Communications Inc for about $55 billion, combining the second and third largest U.S. cable operators, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. A deal would create a major rival to Comcast Corp, the biggest operator in the U.S. cable and broadband market, and marks a triumph for Charter, which was rejected by Time Warner Cable just last year. The cash-and-stock deal values Time Warner Cable at $195 per share, according to sources, and comes just one month after Comcast dropped its $45.2 billion merger agreement with Time Warner Cable, clinched in February 2014, over antitrust concerns.
Alberta's newly elected government suspended one of its rookie legislators on Friday after offensive pictures she posted on social media before being elected emerged. Sociology student Deborah Drever, 26, was elected for the New Democratic Party in the May 5 election that ended 44 years of Progressive Conservative rule in the province. Drever had already gained notoriety after posting photos on her Facebook account showing her posing beside a marijuana-themed shirt and another showing a manicured hand giving the middle finger to the Canadian flag.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The founder of virtual reality glasses maker Oculus VR Inc, acquired by Facebook Inc for $2 billion, has been accused of taking confidential information he learned while working with another company and passing it off as his own, according to a lawsuit filed this week. The plaintiff, Hawaii-based company Total Recall Technologies, said it hired Oculus founder Palmer Luckey in 2011 to build a prototype head mounted display. Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus last year was its first-ever hardware deal, as the company sought a way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena.
By Maria Tsvetkova and Eric Auchard MOSCOW/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Russia's media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said on Thursday they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules. Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three U.S.-based Internet firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship. "In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation," said Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky. He added that, because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.
Ancestry.com LLC, the world's largest family history website helping users trace their heritage, is exploring a sale that could value it at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter. Permira Advisers LLC, the buyout firm that owns most of privately held Ancestry, has hired investment banks to run an auction for the company, the people said this week. Permira declined to comment, while an Ancestry spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Streaming music service Spotify will soon provide video content from musicians, news organizations and TV networks in a bid to sign up more subscribers, the company said on Wednesday. A new recommendation function, similar to what rival Pandora Media Inc offers, will let people pick channels based on lifestyle activities, like "songs to sing to in the shower," or "100 plus hits form the 1980s," the Stockholm-based company said. In a splashy event in New York, Spotify founder and Chief Executive Daniel Ek highlighted the discovery nature of the revamped platform that he said will deliver more relevant music and content to Spotify users.
Australian telecommunications firm Telstra Corp Ltd said on Wednesday computer systems at its recently acquired undersea cable company Pacnet Ltd had been hacked, potentially exposing sensitive customer information to theft. Telstra said the corporate information technology network of Pacnet, email and other business management systems of the company, had been accessed by an unauthorized third party several weeks before its $550 million takeover of the firm was completed on April 16. Telstra said it didn't know who was behind the hack.
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - The governor of the Japanese island of Okinawa said on Wednesday he will travel to the United States next week to press his demand that a U.S. military base be removed from his island to lighten the burden of a people weary of hosting U.S. troops. Takeshi Onaga, who won election last year as Okinawa governor largely on his stand against U.S. bases, has accused Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of looking down on the island and its people. "Unless we make the alliance something with dignity and pride, with both Japan and America deserving of respect, I don't believe that the economy in Asia will grow more stable," Onaga said.
China will spend more than $182 billion to boost Internet speeds by the end of 2017, a top government body said, as Beijing moves towards a more service-driven economy to boost growth. The State Council said the government will invest more than 430 billion yuan ($69.3 billion) this year on network construction, with at least another 700 billion yuan ($112.8 billion) spent over the following two years. China ranked 82nd in the world for average Internet connection speed, slower than Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, according to cloud computing services provider Akamai's State of the Internet report for the fourth quarter of 2014.
San Francisco may become the second California city in a month to limit length of stays arranged by accommodation services like Airbnb, which matches people wishing to rent out all or part of their homes to temporary guests. A city committee late on Monday advanced a proposal that would limit hosts to renting accommodation to no more than 60 days a year, down from 90 currently. Airbnb has grown quickly and is valued at far more than $10 billion, with analysts assuming it can overcome any major regulatory backlash.