December 2014

By J.R. Wu TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwanese regulators cleared on Tuesday China's Xiaomi Inc and other smartphone brands of breaching local data protection laws after national security concerns triggered the government to launch a probe in September. The National Communications Commission, in a report concluding the investigation, said all the 12 brands it had tested, which include handsets sold by Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp, did not violate the laws. …

By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) – Google Inc's Gmail was blocked in China after months of disruptions to the world's biggest email service, with an anti-censorship advocate suggesting the Great Firewall was to blame. Large numbers of Gmail web addresses were cut off in China on Friday, said GreatFire.org, a China-based freedom of speech advocacy group. Users said the service was still down on Monday. “I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google's presence in China and even weaken its market overseas,” said a member of GreatFire.org, who uses a pseudonym. …

By Jack Kim SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea called U.S. President Barack Obama a “monkey” and blamed Washington on Saturday for Internet outages that it has experienced during a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of the film studio Sony Pictures. The National Defence Commission, the North's ruling body, chaired by state leader Kim Jong Un, said Obama was responsible for Sony's belated decision to release the action comedy “The Interview”, which depicts a plot to assassinate Kim. …

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp's Xbox Live and Sony Corp's PlayStation Networks experienced user connection problems on Christmas Day, for which a hacker group claimed responsibility. The group, called Lizard Squad, could not be reached for comment, and the companies did not give a reason for the connectivity issues. Both companies expected heavy use as people who received Microsoft Xbox players or Sony PlayStations on Christmas tried to hook up. …

By Eric Kelsey and Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sony Pictures will make its controversial comedy, “The Interview,” available starting on Wednesday through online video platforms run by Google Inc , Microsoft Corp and Sony itself, the studio said. Sony, which just last week canceled the release of the comedy – about two TV talk show hosts who are sent to North Korea to assassinate its leader Kim Jong Un – is now looking for ways to widen its distribution beyond a small group of some 200 independent theaters. …

By Jack Kim and Lesley Wroughton SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea, at the center of a confrontation with the United States over the hacking of Sony Pictures, experienced a complete Internet outage for hours before links were restored on Tuesday, a U.S. company that monitors Internet infrastructure said. New Hampshire-based Dyn said the reason for the outage was not known but could range from technological glitches to a hacking attack. Several U.S. officials close to the investigations of the attack on Sony Pictures said the U.S. …

By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama moved to prevent U.S. anger at North Korea from spiraling out of control on Sunday by saying the massive hacking of Sony Pictures was not an act of war but instead was cyber-vandalism. Washington's long-standing dispute with North Korea, which for years has centered on its nuclear weapons program, has entered new territory with the accusation that Pyongyang carried out an assault on a major Hollywood entertainment company. …

By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama vowed on Friday to respond to a devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures that he blamed on North Korea, and scolded the Hollywood studio for caving in to what he described as a foreign dictator imposing censorship in America. Obama said the cyber attack caused a lot of damage to Sony but that the company should not have let itself be intimidated into halting the public release of “The Interview,” a lampoon portraying the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. …

By Dan Levine SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) – Google will try to persuade a U.S. judge on Thursday to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit over its Android smartphone operating system, as the Internet search company faces increased regulatory pressure from European authorities. The hearing in San Jose, California, federal court is over the lawsuit filed by two smartphone consumers who say Google Inc requires Android handset manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to restrict competing apps like Microsoft Corp's Bing search, partly by making Google's own apps the default. …

By David Ingram (Reuters) – Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc has been sued in a class action by two people who described themselves as former employees and accused the company of failing to protect employee data. The lawsuit against Sony Corp's Hollywood movie studio, filed on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles, alleged that Sony failed to both secure its computer network and to stop hackers. The plaintiffs are asking for compensation for any damages as well as credit monitoring services, identity theft insurance and other assistance for themselves and any former or current U.S. …