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Week in review: Challenging China

New U.S. policy dares companies to challenge repressive governments. Also: Apple event countdown, and NYT's new pay plans.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
3 min read

The Obama administration wants companies doing business overseas to step to the plate in the fight against governments that repress access to the Internet.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tom Krazit/CNET

A little more than a week after Google's blunt declaration about Chinese censorship and illegal electronic intrusions, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled a new U.S. policy that essentially dared U.S. companies to follow Google's lead and put an end to their complicit censorship of Internet content.

Clinton stopped short of actually proposing regulations, or sanctions, on Internet companies that comply with censorship laws. But her tone was clear: it's now the policy of the U.S. government to renounce corporate "engagement," or the belief that by merely being in countries like China, U.S. Internet companies are helping expand access to information.
•  Podcast: Hillary Clinton on Internet freedom

Google's spy case: Not the first, nor the last

Corporate spying is an unfortunate fact of life for U.S. corporations, which have seen a surge in attacks from Chinese perpetrators in the last several years.
•  Google insiders may have helped with attack
•  Google postpones phone launches in China
•  McAfee: A 'watershed moment'
•  Baidu.com sues U.S. domain registrar over hacking

Microsoft fixes 8 IE holes, including one used in attacks

Internet Explorer hole targeted in attacks on Google and others is one of a group of critical holes fixed in cumulative patch released out-of-cycle by Microsoft.
•  Microsoft warns of flaw in 32-bit Windows kernel

More headlines

Apple officially announces January 27 event

After weeks of buzz and speculation, the company formally announces invitation-only event with the invite's teasing message: "Come see our latest creation."
•  Five things to expect at Apple's next event
•  What tops Apple tablet wish list
•  Apple, labels talk music in the cloud
•  Analysts ponder the power inside Apple's tablet

•  Report: Apple tablet is a shared media device

New York Times can't build its pay wall alone

In switching digital content to a metered subscription model, the paper has stated it wants to go it alone--near impossible in a world where distribution is everything.
•  New York Times to charge online readers
•  How much will readers will pay?

Verizon ends service of alleged illegal downloaders

Broadband provider, which has been sending warnings to customers on copyright owners' behalf, says most recipients stop illegally downloading content after one e-mail.
•  More on Verizon and its antipiracy efforts

Facebook's 'Dashboard' will clean up apps soon

In weeks, a redesigned Facebook home page will stratify app activity into its own tab designed for active social gamers. Developers are now invited to test it out.
•  Facebook plugs friends list mobile leak
•  Grounded teen tries Facebook to embarrass parents

Amazon: Kindle app store on the way

Less than a week before Apple is expected to announce a much-anticipated tablet, Amazon takes its first steps toward letting developers build applications for its e-reader.
•  Amazon ups author royalty for Kindle, matching Apple

Off-grid solar to be used in Haiti relief efforts

Off-grid solar products for lighting, water purification, cell phones, and cooking are being donated and shipped as part of relief efforts in Haiti.
•  Using Twitter to help Haiti
•  iPhone app helps man survive Haiti quake

YouTube gets rentals, starting with Sundance films

The popular video provider gets into the rental business with a small selection of titles from the Sundance Film Festival.
•  YouTube does spring cleaning on its watch pages
•  YouTube begins HTML5 rollout

Bill Gates shares his notes

Microsoft's chairman is launching a Web site to offer his thoughts on matters from philanthropy to the climate. In an exclusive interview, Gates talks about the site.
•  Bill Gates joins Twitter

Also of note
•  Meet Marko, the 9-year-old systems engineer
•  Router glitch cripples California DMV network
•  Oracle-Sun deal gets EU approval, finally