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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 12/31/2010

The Circuit: VoIP to be banned in China, Clearwire chairman calls it quits, MySpace layoffs likely

By Hayley Tsukayama

LEADING THE DAY: China has moved to ban all VoIP services except two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom, likely making Internet telephony services such as Skype illegal to use. The Telegraph reported that some Chinese Twitter users were reporting they could not download the Skype client, though it was running fine in Shanghai. Skype issued a statement saying that "users in China currently can access Skype via Tom Online, our partner," and refused to comment on speculation that it will be banned.

Experts whom the Telegraph spoke to said it would be difficult to enforce the ban and unlikely that such a ban could truly shut down the use of Skype in China. Professor Kan Kaili at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications said, "Skype is the market leader, but there is also MSN and Gmail Talk. The children of Chinese government officials, who are studying abroad, use these services to call home, so I do not think anyone is going to cut the lines. Even if they take a strict approach, such as getting local operators to block the broadband services of people who use Skype, people will still find a way around it."

Clearwire Chairman stepping down: From Bloomberg, Clearwire Chairman Craig McCaw will step down today. McCaw announced his decision in a filing on Thursday. In an e-mailed statement, McCaw said that Clearwire will continue its efforts to create a nationwide 4G network.

"Today, with a 4G network covering one-third of the U.S. population and serving nearly 3 million customers, including those from some of the leading names in telecommunications, Clearwire is well on its way to realizing that vision," he said in an e-mailed statement.

Bloomberg reports that stakeholder Eagle River Holdings LLC, which nominated McCaw for the position, plans to name ICO Global Communications Holdings Ltd. and former Clearwire co-chairman Brian Wolff to the position.

Myspace could layoff 50 percent of workforce: Network Effect reported Friday that multiple sources at Myspace are saying the company could be for sale and might lay off up to 50 percent of its workforce. The social network, which underwent a major redesign six weeks ago, has not yet decided what employee cuts to make, though the entire Myspace staff was given the last week of December off in a cost-cutting move.

One rumor is that Zynga, which makes games such as Cityville and Farmville for Facebook, could buy Myspace from News Corp. The two companies have discussed forming a closer relationship in the past, though those talks did not result in any agreement.

Turning away from the TSA: Listening to privacy concerns, several U.S. airports are hiring private companies to manage their airport security staffing rather than employing members from the embattled Transportation Security Agency. The Washington Post reported Friday that 16 airports, including San Francisco's and Kansas City's international airports, have switched to contracted security personnel since 2002. Several others are considering a move, and one Orlando airport has approved a switch but is still looking for the right company. The change is not about money, but rather about customer service, as complaints about TSA agents' behavior and procedures grow.

Phone firms back universal charger in Europe: Fourteen phone firms, including Nokia, Research In Motion, Apple and Samsung, have agreed to specifications from the European Commission to base all phone chargers on micro-USB technology. As the BBC reported Thursday, the specifications only apply to smartphone chargers, as the commission said smartphones are likely to be the most popular type of phone in Europe within the next two years.

Cable system in trouble long before WikiLeaks: Also from The Washington Post, an examination of the State Department's Net-Centric Diplomacy system, which was hacked by WikiLeaks in November. The article outlines how user error and limited oversight started to pose unforeseen risks to national security as the system became more bloated and unwieldy.

FCC spokeswoman leaving: Federal Communications Commission spokeswoman Jen Howard announced she will be leaving her post after a year and a half. She will be taking a senior communications role at the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her last day at the FCC will be Jan. 14.

Correction: An earlier version of The Circuit incorrectly identified Craig McCaw as the CEO of Clearwire. He is the chairman.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | December 31, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Clearwire, International, Privacy, Sprint Nextel  
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Next: The Circuit: Goldman backs Facebook, Google to take on Apple, Apple to take on Netflix


Craig McCaw is the Chairman of the board of Clearwire, not CEO.
Bill Morrow is their CEO and remains so.

Posted by: kaduffey | December 31, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

China will do what China wants ....... not what we might want.

They export we buy, we try to export to China and they say no. That is the trade treaty in a few words.

Posted by: bkarpus | December 31, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"U.S. investigators suspect that Bradley Manning, an Army private stationed in the Persian Gulf, downloaded the 250,000 State Department cables to compact discs from a computer terminal in Kuwait. He then allegedly provided the files to WikiLeaks, which shared them with newspapers and posted hundreds of them online. "


"Also from The Washington Post, an examination of the State Department's Net-Centric Diplomacy system, which was hacked by WikiLeaks in November."

According to the Washington Post the State Department was not hacked by wikileaks. Bradley Manning, who at the time had authorized access, stole these documents and gave them to wikileaks. By no known conventions can it accurately be stated that wikileaks "hacked" anything. In fact anyone who makes a living writing about technology has an obligation to be aware of the distinction.

I am not defending wikileaks. However journalists have an obligation to their readers to report accurately. Ms Kang, on what do you base your claim that wikileaks hacked the State Department network?

Posted by: veritasinmedium | January 1, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Listen up! It's "micro-USB", not "mini-USB". Your source has it right, so this is plain careless. Don't you read your stuff before posting?

You also need more context. Both you and the BBC write as if this is something new. My HTC phone has a micro-USB charger, and it can also charge from the USB port on a computer. What is really new here? A formal agreement to keep doing what some of them are already doing?

Posted by: SoloOwl | January 1, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The Internet has given people the freedom to question and disagree with government decisions, but the public must be careful that those rights are not taken away under the guise of porn censorship. The government spy who monitors what porn sites you download, could also watch what type of political articles you read.

Posted by: morristhewise | January 1, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I fully agree people like netflix should pay for the the bandwidth they actually use if it is above the norm which they are, i do understand the need for the cable company's and phone and satellite people having real competition which they can provide to keep prices realistic and competitive.. The other important thing about net neutrality is the fact that anyone can become a gate keeper for information and who see's what if the web is not free and neutral bu law with real teeth punishments for those who would silence questions and legitimate free speech.. They have tried to to wrap the issues into things that are meaningless or easily remedied but the neutrality protects people with free speech or questions right to be accessed by every one on a search engine and the net.. i don't think we want to live in a homogenized lockstep right wing march or left wing march most people are in the middle. and i took plenty of college courses appropriate to reality business wise and other and have plenty of real life experience including taking advanced web design at Florida state and minoring in advertising there while majoring in fine art.. Most people are not aware of the technology available to big sources who control the web pages assembled by dynamic web pages which in essence can show every one a different screen depending upon what they assume the person wants to see. Each pages is sliced into hundreds of pieces with sometimes hundreds of different possibilities for each piece determined by java or other scripts active x controls, and a variety of other methods. There is nothing evil about this but people should know the level of control people can and do have over what they actually are allowed to see. cable companies can now do this with tv showing different commercials and programing to different customers if they wish to try and target an audience for the business advertising. . Also a lot of people are kept artificially captive on huge servers when they sign into huge entities like yahoo or Google or Microsoft , aol and others, and unless they sign out may not may not be seeing the actual internet and get different search result to the only a huge snap shot of what parts look like this is how they achieve the speeds on line much of it is done with smoke and mirrors or old data which makes it run faster but has the effect of potential censorship , gate keeping, and propaganda. theoretically you could show different groups of people different realities customized to what you think they want to see or in bad cases want to control information wise. there is a big difference between understanding the actual possible realities of technology when pushed to it's limits and conspiracy theory's a well informed educated public is the best thing for both business and government in a free society. This has some very important sides which they don't discuss either because of ignorance of the actual technology or reason maybe they could explain.

Posted by: artistkvip1 | January 2, 2011 4:30 AM | Report abuse

sorry for being late with the net neutrality comment but this one is talking about issues of censorship and control which the net neutrality bill addresses but the press and regulators didn't spot lite some of the important ramifications for free speech and censorship and propaganda possibly being substituted in theory for actual free flow of ideas. important stuff maybe in a free society . I would hope we always are more progressive than china on freedoms and rights to be seen and heard and accessed or talked to by voice. I and many other creative intelligent people subscribe to freedom not free-dumb which is what they are trying to offer. In regards to myspace they have used their new format maybe intentionally to silence artist like myself who used their own words and images to make points on other peoples high profile pages by not allowing me to add pictures to comments on the new forum. my other people are allowed to add pictures and images why have I been singled out for the new platform? If it were my-space they would ask me what i wanted before they changed it and if they made improvements they would do the tech work to where it was and addition and all the old functions worked also. I have been very vocal and asked for explications but have received no reply from the myspace people to my querulous and problems. The person with the page should and did have the option to remove or control what is on their page and space what we have now there is maybe illegal censorship because Rupert Murdock and his people do not like the opinions of people like myself who are openly critical or ask real questions in real times or they are too stupid to provide what people actually want. Never under estimate incompetence as a cause in big business..I for one will be glad when myspace goes belly up and is sold to someone who appreciates the creative professional artistic type and does not censor and harass them because of politics or different views or through simple ignorance of what their consumers actually want in a platform. this is after all America. Maybe naturalized citizens like Rupert Murdock should not be allowed to own powerful news and networking sites like not being able to run for president may be in the same category. I do understand big business historical adversarial role with the artist and art . It is perhaps the artist through history that has provided many times in hind site the truth about history and society is not blank walls or meaningless lines and colors it is a reflection of what they see in the times they live in and their very good questions. maybe a concerted willful choice to put money into people with meaningless decorations instead of real art to silence dissent and in many case maybe impede actual progress society wise and business wise by showcasing truth or at least asking questions. In real life the real artist sometimes don't receive the finances they need and deserve artificially excluded maybe in some cases.

Posted by: artistkvip1 | January 2, 2011 4:55 AM | Report abuse

Lady went to China, reports Chinese food was better in NYC than in China. Headed for Rum Cay via Clearwater. Hope they have VoIP. I'm certain they have rum. Uncertain about China!

Posted by: jobandon | January 3, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Over 100 choices
China over one choice and under three. Some choices take more time than others. Set now?

Posted by: jobandon | January 3, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Classic problem at myspace. Too much foreplay, too little sex. Perhaps they are dealing in "futures" without a delivery. The kids are busy watch the kids, who are watching the other kids make mud-pies. It was worth $700 million until it wasn't worth 5 minutes of the day. We'd done a darn sight better, we fired a minute gun, then passed an hour drinking rum. Forgot the financial distress, so pal said facebook is now valued at $200 billion. Will eat Microsoft and develop microbook or facesoft. You got a future in skin care or as an Avon lady. Ding dong. Book publishers are doomed, at least some of them. Use Doomsdaybook. Leaking ain't paying, it's costing. Closed for business is the new new open. When is the U.S. Open?

Posted by: jobandon | January 3, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"I see a number forming through the clouds of skepticism, emanating from those around him! Wait the mists are clearing! The number is..." Madame Zorrina

Play Misty for me. I feel like a kitten stuck in a tree, hanging onto clouds. I'm puzzled. I give up.

Posted by: jobandon | January 3, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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