By Gideon Rachman
Google regularly tops the list of companies that students want to work for and, visiting its Silicon Valley campus last week, I could see why. The skies were blue, the temperature was perfect. A group of employees was playing volleyball, while out in the car-park somebody was demonstrating a prototype of a self-driving Google car.
China’s leaders are looking to the internet to offset sagging economic growth.
At the annual meeting on Thursday of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, internet and ecommerce merited a dozen mentions, culminating in Prime Minister Li Keqiang announcing an “internet-plus action plan”.
That, he promised, would “integrate the mobile internet, cloud computing, big data and the internet of things with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of ecommerce, industrial networks, and internet banking, and to guide internet based companies to increase their presence in the international market”.
A handout picture released by Swedish army shows the mystery mini sub
They came, they saw (eventually), and they pledged to conquer if it ever happens again. Read more
Leaked tapes of expletive-filled conversations involving senior Polish ministers are extremely embarrassing to the government in Warsaw and to some of its leading figures, such as Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister (above). And that, presumably, is exactly the intention.
Amidst all the uproar, relatively few people seem to be asking who would have the resources and expertise to expertly bug several Warsaw restaurants – over the course of a year – and then the motivation to release the tapes. The obvious answer, based entirely on circumstantial evidence, would be Russia’s intelligence service. Read more
hitandrun / www.hitandrunmedia.com
By Peter Chapman
With the global youth-to-adult unemployment ratio at its peak, and inequality one of the themes at Davos last week, the FT looks at the questions raised by youth unemployment, as well as solutions to it, in this Special Report.
Will the world’s lack of jobs drive the under-25s to violence and extremism? Do children, meanwhile, make easy targets for the global slave trade, and why is it that teenagers face greater bullying and violence over their sexual orientation?
Business often points the finger at government over the need to tackle the mismatch between qualifications and jobs but could it be doing more to confront the matter itself? Certainly German companies like BMW are bringing the benefit of apprenticeships to US states like South Carolina.
We have examined this and more in our Investing in Young People report.
What do you think must be done to prevent a lost generation of young people? Please share your comments with us below. Read more
Eric Schmidt (c) Getty Images
On Thursday Eric Schmidt gave a fascinating talk on technological innovation, in which he warned that broad range of jobs that once seemed beyond the reach of automation are in danger of being wiped out by technological advances.
I raised two questions to neither of which in my view did I receive a good answer.
First, we see IT everywhere, except in the productivity statistics. It is really quite hard to reconcile the idea of a dramatic technology revolution with stagnant or near-stagnant productivity in high-income countries. Read more
At the end of every year, I attempt a first draft of history by listing what seem to me to be the five most significant events of the past twelve months. Some of my picks for 2013 also featured in 2012. I hope this is not because of intellectual laziness, but simply because the war in Syria, and the turmoil in Egypt remain defining events of our era. I probably should also once again include the tensions between China and Japan – but they are still simmering and have not yet boiled over. So I’ll give the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands a rest this year.
So let me start the list for 2013 with a genuinely new event that has global significance: Read more
Merkel's love for her mobile began early on (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Gaining access to the personal communications of the leader of any country would be a highly valued prize for an intelligence agency.
But accessing chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, as Germany strongly suspects the US has done, was a coup indeed. Read more
“Journalist changes jobs” is not usually the kind of headline that merits much attention. But the news that Glenn Greenwald is moving from The Guardian to a new media venture, funded by a Hawaii-based billionaire with libertarian views, is something that the British and American governments have reason to worry about.
Greenwald is the reporter who has acted as the conduit for Edward Snowden’s leaks about the US National Security Agency. Most of the NSA stories have been published by The Guardian – with the New York Times also publishing a fair amount that the Guardian has shared with it. However, as Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, pointed out recently on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, the Times has actually chosen not to publish some of the Snowden cache, on grounds of national security. As Abramson explained – “Quite a bit has not yet been published… Responsible journalists care, as citizens do, about national security.” The Guardian has also considered national security in choosing what to publish. However, it seems quite likely that Greenwald will be rather less constrained in his use of the Snowden material when he gets going on his new venture. Read more
News that the US government monitors vast amounts of private communications data has divided opinion at home and caused outrage in Europe. But what lengths do other countries go to in order to keep tabs on their citizens?
It has been a requirement since 2009 for communication service providers to hold information about their customers’ use of communications for at least a year. (CSPs are a broad group that can include telephone companies, Skype and search engines).
The spy base at RAF Menwith Hill in north Yorkshire, England (Getty)
The government proposed further legislation that would require CSPs to collect additional information generated by third-party CSPs based outside the UK in order to access services like Gmail. The communications data bill was rejected by the Liberal Democrats, who were concerned that it would infringe civil liberties.
However, a recent terror attack in Woolwich, London, in which an army fusilier was killed in an apparent attack by Islamist extremists, prompted calls for the coalition government to resurrect its proposals. Read more
A suicide is always a tragedy, but that of 26-year-old Aaron Swartz on Friday has reverberated with particular force across the internet. That’s partly because of the enormous sense of waste – he was a tech prodigy, helping develop the code for RSS when he was just 14 – and partly because the internet was Swartz’s home, where he hung out and talked to people and built things that many of us use today. But it’s also because of a looming and controversial court case, which his family believe contributed to his decision to take his own life – and which put him at the frontline of an ongoing battle over how much of the world’s information should be free. Read more