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February 21, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Feb. 21, 2013

U.S. to Crack Down on State-Sponsored Cyber-Crime

The Obama administration is promising be more forceful in its protection of U.S. businesses and economic security from cyber-crime.

Attorney General Eric Holder, during a Feb. 20 press conference to announce the government’s strategy, said the U.S. will work with like-minded governments to turn up the heat on the perpetrators, increase criminal prosecutions and begin a 120-day review to determine if new legislation is needed.

Although Holder did not name China as a threat, he said those responsible for rampant cyber crime include “individuals, companies and even countries that are eager to tilt the playing field to their advantage.”

“There are only two categories of companies affected by trade-secret theft: those that know they’ve been compromised and those that don’t know it yet,”  Holder was quoted by The Wall Street Journal. “A hacker in China can acquire source code from a software company in Virginia without leaving his or her desk.”

The government’s tough new stance comes a day after a report by American security firm Mandiant Corp. accused China of sponsoring cybercrime against U.S. businesses and defense contractors.

Twitter Launches Ads API

Twitter is making it easier for brands to advertise on its social networking site.

The company has launched an ad API that will enable marketers to run ad campaigns through its partners, eliminating the need to buy them through Twitter. Marketers will then be able to integrate them into their existing cross-channel advertising strategies.

“Equally important, users will continue to see the most relevant Promoted Tweets from advertisers,” Twitter product manager April Underwood said on the firm’s advertising blog.

“With the Ads API, marketers now have more tools in their arsenal to help them deliver the right message, to the right audience, on the desktop and on mobile devices — all at scale.”

Twitter has been testing the system since January with a handful of partners: Adobe, HootSuite, Salesforce, SHIFT and TGB Digital.

Twitter said it choose these companies to partner with because “they offer products that address some of the most pressing needs of marketers.”

The social media site is currently evaluating the next group of partners to join the program. Those interested in getting on board can apply here.

“This is just the start of our efforts that will give advertisers more choice — and for our partners who are ad tool providers, the Ads API represents a new way for their expertise to meet the needs of their clients,” Underwood said.

FCC Approves Move to Allocate More Wi-Fi Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken the first steps to unleash more wireless spectrum to increase Wi-Fi data speeds and reduce congestion at Wi-Fi hot spots such as hotels and airports.

The FCC approved a proposal to make up to 195 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available to unlicensed wireless devices — a 35 percent increase.

It also approved a proposal to create a more flexible regulatory environment, and to streamline existing rules and equipment authorization procedures for devices throughout this band.

This means Wi-Fi users will eventually have faster uploads and downloads in hotspots.

The vote by the five-member council Feb. 20 means the proposal is now open for public comment. Once the time has elapsed for public feedback, the FCC must then write up the official regulations before voting on them again.