Feeds

Schmoozing the Reds: AOL's secret China plans revealed

Biggest security hole on planet not MS app after all...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

A pile of internal AOL documents currently doing the rounds reveals the company's plans for a $200 million joint venture in mainland China with local giant Legend. Humorously the documents also reveal news-massaging plans, including giving the story "under tight embargo, to one or two key news outlets - maybe New York Times and Wall Street Journal."

The press releases in The Register's warez media pack are as yet undated, but the likelihood is that the grand unveiling will happen soon. The loves are having daily conference calls in the run-up to the announcement, which will run approximately as follows.

Senior execs from Legend and AOL will do lunch prior to the announcement, "to foster friendship and goodwill." Shortly after 4pm Beijing time, when the Hong Kong exchange has closed, "Chairman Liu and an AOL senior executive (TBD)" will make "opening celebratory remarks" (good lunch then). After key local and HK hacks have had their one to one opportunities with Michael Lynton and Mr Yang, they will likely not have the opportunity to go to the "Evening VIP event."

Sheesh, they feed the story to the WSJ (Far East edition hacks note - to the US edition) and the NYT first, then they drag you out at short notice to wave Powerpoints at you, then you're not important again.

The "celebratory event" will be "cocktails, dinner or both," and will be "targeted to key ministers, business leaders and other VIPs." Invites will go out under Legend's name only, a week in advance "to minimize the chance of a media leak."

The guest list is currently in progress: "Clearly we would have your team work with Legend to ensure our key constituencies are included in that list as well. Legend has suggested that Chairman Liu invite his top ten or so ministerial friends by way of a personal letter of invitation. Legend have agreed to forward us this list in advance."

We at The Register are certainly looking forward to receiving the list of AOL's "key constituencies" and Chairman Liu's "top ten or so ministerial friends."

Here's another good bit: "1) Key Political Outreach We understand you have outlined a comprehensive outreach program to key political figures in both the US and China. When do you plan on implementing such a program and who will the outreach be to? We should also discuss the potential for a media leak prior to the announcement as a result."

Obviously AOL setting up shop in the Red Menace will have a certain political sensitivity to it, so it's pretty important to get those key figures in the US and China onside. We, like the author (Dori Salcido, director of international communications), wonder who these figures might be with eager anticipation.

And the announcement itself? Dull stuff, really. The jv will be a 52-48 split, with AOL getting the 48, and it'll develop consumer interactive services for the Chinese market. Legend already does these, and as it's also the biggest PC manufacturer in China, with associated bundled ISP services, one is led inexorably to the conclusion that AOL is giving it money for seats.

The Q&A FAQ (oh yes, we've got that as well) is even duller, but bearing in mind how bravely (ahem) AOL has defended freedom of speech in the past, we think you might care to cast your eyes over the question 19 collection, dealing with local law, freedom of speech, privacy, all of the hot button stuff. It's long, but it's fun, in a weasel sort of way:

19Q. Is AOL concerned about complying with the content restrictions in China? Aren't they more rigorous than the restrictions in other countries where AOL offers services?

It is our policy to abide by the laws of the countries in which we offer services. We will work closely with government officials and our partner in China to understand and comply with the regulations that govern online services in China.

19Qa. Does this mean you will cooperate with the government in maintaining and making available users' records?

It is our policy to abide by the laws of the countries in which we offer services. We will work closely with government officials and our partner in China to understand and comply with the regulations that govern online services in China.

19Qb. Aren't you concerned that you will be endangering your members? What if the Chinese government asks you for information relating to dissident activity?

It is our policy to abide by the laws of the countries in which we offer services. We believe that it is constructive and valuable to both China and the world as a whole to engage with China and encourage the growth of the interactive medium there.

19Qc. Protecting members' privacy is one of the AOL cornerstones worldwide - how can AOL enforce its member privacy standards in China?

AOL is committed to enforcing privacy standards that comply with the laws of each country in which we operate, and China is no exception. We will work closely with government officials and our potential partner in China to understand and comply with the regulations that govern online services in China.

There, doesn't that make you proud to be American? If you are, that is... ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.