Tag: usa

Ireland refers Facebook to an EU court

European flagThe data protection commissioner for Ireland said yesterday that it was asking an EU court to investigate whether Facebook is breaking EU law by shipping data to the United States.

Data privacy rules in the European Union are strict and companies based in the trade area have to obey the rules or face fines and other penalties.

The European Court of Justice stopped an agreement between the EU and the USA which let US companies freely ship data it collects in Europe.

But Facebook isn’t apparently upset by the plans and is confident it won’t face sanctions from the court.

The Court of Justice stopped the EU-USA agreement, called Safe Harbour, because it feared surveillance from the Americans.

The EU and the USA are working frantically to open up a new scheme called the Privacy Shield which could be signed as early as next month.

But this new agreement may also face sanctions from the European Court of Justice, according to reports.

ZTE appeals import ban after lobbying failure

zte-corporationZTE is to appeal a US import ban on its products after an attempt at lobbying US politicians failed.

The US Commerce Department imposed restrictions on US suppliers providing crucial components to ZTE for alleged Iran sanctions violations, a move likely to disrupt its global supply chain.

A US Commerce Department official said he and ZTE Corp are in ongoing discussions,. These discussions have been constructive, and they will continue to seek a resolution.

In statements following the imposition of the restrictions, ZTE said it was “actively facilitating communications with the U.S. governmental department to search for a solution.”

Since coming under fire in 2012 for alleged deals with sanctions-hit Iran and possible links to the Chinese government and military, ZTE has ramped up its spending on Washington lobbyists.

It spent $5.1 million in the last four years, up from $212,000 in 2011, as it sought to assuage national security concerns, according to publicly available lobbying records maintained by Congress.

ZTE lobbyists contacted lawmakers in both houses of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce, the State Department and the National Security Agency to discuss matters such as cyber security, supply chains and trade relations, according to the lobby documents.

ZTE used at least five lobbying firms, and former US officials such as ex-Nebraska congressman Jon Lynn Christensen.

Christensen met with US Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce and lawmakers to provide “education regarding supply-chain security” and “cyber security issues,” the lobby disclosure documents show.

It seems that the efforts failed to convince lawmakers mostly because they are a “Communist Chinese company” who does what every their government says.  Rather than being a capitalist company which tells the government how to behave.


Internet of things to become a trillion dollar business

internet of thingsAsia Pacific will lead the drive to widespread adoption of the internet of things (IoT), with a report estimated that spending will hit $1.3 trillion in 2019.

IDC said that represents a CAGR of 17 percent, with worldwide spending accounting for a not insignificant $698.6 billion this year.

Over 40 percent of the spend comes from Asia Pacific, followed by North America and Western Europe.

Part of the reason Asia Pacific is so buoyant is because in some countries IT infrastructure isn’t fully developed, meaning it’s easier to implement IoT technology.

Manufacturing and transportation represented the biggest spenders of IoT tech, with totals of $165.6 billion and $78.7 billion respectively.

Other sectors rapidly implementing the tech are insurance, healthcare and domestic implements, IDC said.

LED lighting market takes off

LA lighting systemLED lighting will generate revenues of $25.7 billion this year but that’s only the start.

Market research firm Trendforce said that it will be worth $30.5 billion and while it accounts for 31 percent of the lighting market in 2015, that share will rise to 36 percent next year.

Joanne Wu, a research manager at Trendforce, said sharp price drops have hit the market for replacement LED light bulbs. So the companies are targeting large enterprises and commercial customers for growth.

Demand in the USA is particularly strong, said Wu, particularly in lighting for industry, horticulture and the maritime market.

New applications for LED lights include so called smart lighting and light communication.

India, she said, plans to buy 200 million LED light bulbs by the end of 2016.

Photovoltaic module production to go through the roof

Solar farm in Arizona - Wikimedia CommonsProduction of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules will soar during the first half of 2016.

That, said IHS Technology, is because of installation deadlines, the end of solar tax credits and demand from the two biggest markets for PV, the USA and China.

IHS said that PV installs will increase by 33 percent this year, reaching 58.7 gigawatts (GW).

Growth will slow to 12 percent in 2016.

But there’s no good news on pricing in the US market. Trade disputes mean that prices won’t fall there in the first half of the year.

The demand from China and the USA means there will be shortages in the first quarter of 2016.

Average selling prices will fall in the second half of next year, IHS predicts.

EU-USA data deal a way away

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongThe European Commission said today that it will probably come to a deal with the USA over data transfer within about three months.

A European Union recently ruled the existing “safe harbour” agreement was out of order after whistleblowers like Edward Snowden (left) revealed that the US government was using it to spy on all sorts of things European, including Angela Merkel.

US espionage agencies also picked up information about European citizens from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other companies.

There’s a hiatus between now and then which are causing bsuinesses on both side of the pond to lose business.

But companies can transfer European data to the USA by using standard contracts and asking people for their consent.

The USA resisted European demands that it restricted targeting people in Europe to carefully targeted cases.

EU court cans US data deal

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongThe Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has decided that an arrangement between thousands of companies to shift data to the USA is invalud.

Large companies including IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others use the deal, set up between the USA and the European Commission 15 years ago.

The deal called, the Safe Harbour agreement is now invalid.

The ruling strikes at the heart of commerce between the USA and the EU, and follows revelations  by NSA contracted Edward Snowden (pictured) about the US Prism programme that allowed security authorities to snoop on individuals’ private data.

While details are still sketchy, it appears that different data authorities in the different countries might have to make decisions about data transfers in their own territories.

The case started after a complaint by an Austrian law student that wanted a decision on whether Facebook transferring European users’ data to servers based in the States was licit.

Brits lead way on watching less TV

old-school-tvA survey from IHS looked at major European TV viewing habits and found that Brits watch less conventional TV than ever before.

IHS surveyed people in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Europeans watch far less TV than the USA, with Americans averaging nearly six hours every day. The data is based in viewing habits in 2014, contrasted with 2013.

In contrast, British people watch less than three hours a day, but have shifted to catch up and recorded programmes.

The French spend 216 minutes watching broadcast TV a day but the speed of online growth is slower than in the UK.

In Germany, traditional broadcasting remains strong, while in Italy people watch more broadcast than before. The Spanish watched an average of 242 minutes of TV every day, but online video viewing has grown by 24 percent.

American people watch 531 minutes of TV a day and IHS believes that while Europeans turn on the radio for background noise, US citizens would rather switch on the telly.

US considers Russian internet sanctions

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsThe US government is likely to impose sanctions against Russian and Chinese firms and individuals for hacking into US businesses.

According to Reuters, in what it describes as an exclusive report, that could well affect a future visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping to the USA this month, and would also put Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nose further out of joint.

The Chinese government vigorously denies it is responsible for cyber attacks – it’s been accused by the USA of doing so many times over the last few years.

The USA has the power to take action against alien hackers that lay their cyber hands of US computer systems.

An official speaking to Reuters under terms of anonymity has suggested that sanctions would stop them from using the USA financial system – a blow to any business.

The fact that officials have been leaking their plans to act against China will very likely mean that president Xi Jinping will get pretty huffy when he sits down with president Obama at a black tie dinner in Washington DC.

Solar panels set to become cheaper

Solar farm in Arizona - Wikimedia CommonsIndia is now the fastest growing photovoltaic (PV) market, knocking Britain into fourth place.

That’s according to a Trendforce Energy Trend report, which said that the Chinese PV industry exported 12GW of modules during the first half of this year, of which 6GW went to Japan, the US and India.

International disputes over PV production will not stop both China and Taiwan to create additional manufacturing capacity for modules.

China had been hit by tariff impositions and that’s caused retaliation from the country, which has imposed high tariffs on US and European polysilicon companies.

American and European companies are likely to reduce their capacities because of the import barriers China has placed on them.

Many companies, said Energy Trend, are looking to establish PV production facilities in India as it is such a bouyant market.

The competitive nature of the market is, the analysts warn, likely to cause consolidation and strategic alliances in the short term.

Here’s Trendforce Energy Trend’s map of Chinese module exports.

Chinese PV exports first half of 2015