NEWS & POLITICS

California Business News and Politics

August 19, 2013

Alibaba buys into California eCommerce company

Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba has continued its relationship with Yahoo and gained another foothold in California with its recent investment in ShopRunner, run by former Yahoo Chief Executive Scott Thompson, Shoprunner is an ecommerce firm based in San Francisco with existing relationships with many major brand names. They are growing fast with orders in 2012 increased two and a half times more than in 2011.

Alibaba, which is planning for an IPO later this year is reportedly paying $75 million for a minority stake in ShopRunner, While Mr. Thompson is no longer at the company, Yahoo owns almost a quarter of Alibaba so some relationship apparently persisted.

This is said to be one of many purchases Alibaba is making in advance of their IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, that is expected value the firm at $60-$100 billion. The move has not been without controversy. A Hong Kong journalist recently quit her job in a controversy over disputed remarks that Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, is said to have made in support of Beijing’s violent crackdown on Tienanmen Square protesters in 1989. Mr. Ma denies he said that but the newspaper is sticking to the story and it apparently caused quite a stir in Hong Kong.

Alibaba began in 1999 as a business-to-business portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. It has since become the biggest eCommerce system in the world, with with sales more then Amazon and eBay combined. The planned IPO will likely secure its position as a global powerhouse in eCommerce for many years to come.

Filed under China, Internet, Mergers and Acquisitions by

August 5, 2013

California Centers for International Trade Development receive Presidential Award

The White House has given an award to the California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) in recognition of their contributions to the increase of U.S. exports.

The Presidential “E” Award was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, to recognize persons, firms, or organizations that contribute significantly to increasing United States exports. The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration manages this award program and has recognized more than 2,500 firms since it began. The award was presented n Washington, D.C. to California Community Colleges Board of Governors member Dr. Debbie Malumed and Jeff Williamson, CITD’s statewide director.

There are nine Centers for International Trade Development across the state. The centers are supported by grants through the Chancellor’s Office’s Workforce and Economic Development division. Programs are in place that provide industry-specific education, training and services contribute to workforce development.

“It is programs such as the CITD that are strengthening the economies of local communities, creating jobs, and contributing to the worldwide demand for ‘Made in the USA’ goods and services.” said U.S. Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank on conferring the award.

For more information on CITD programs please visit their website.

Filed under Economic Development, International Development by

July 31, 2013

Microbusiness is a major job creation engine in California

Small companies in California have had a far greater impact on job creation than previously estimated, and this has been going on for an number of years. According to an analysis issued by Small Business California, businesses with less than five employees, sometimes called “microbusinesses”, were the state’s main engine of job growth between 2003 and 2010. These firms added 719,729 positions over that time period, while all other small businesses lost a combined 460,368 jobs during the same time frame.

California’s microbusinesses added jobs even during the depths of the recent recession, creating 120,818 positions between 2008 and 2010. Larger businesses, including firms with more than 500 workers, lost a combined 1.02 million jobs in those years. The report was based on an analysis of data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy and can be viewed at this link http://www.smallbusinesscalifornia.org/1.pdf

It is possible that the role of microbusiness has been far greater than previously estimated and this should provide some serious food for thought for economic development professionals and those responsible for business policy formation in California.

Filed under California Economy, Small Business by

July 30, 2013

Cisco buys Sourcefire for 2.7 billion in cash

Cisco Systems, the worlds biggest maker of networking equipment has agreed to acquire Sourcefire Inc., a cybersecurity firm, for about $2.7 billion in cash.

Sourcefire, based in Columbia, Maryland, builds security platforms including firewalls, intrusion detectors and malware protection that is used extensively by the U.S. Government and major corporations. The company was founded in 2001 and has grown into a major cybersecurity provider – last year it had revenue of over $200 million.

According to a report in Bloomberg Markets Watchlist, many of Sourcefire’s products are built on Snort, an open-source program developed by Sourcefire founder Martin Roesch. The system is used by most Fortune 100 companies and 30 of the largest U.S. government agencies to detect attempted attacks on their networks. Sourcefire’s business with the U.S. government is a “very valuable” part of the deal and will give Cisco more access to key federal cybersecurity decision-makers, according to Christopher Young, senior vice president of Cisco’s security group.

The deal is Cisco’s biggest since its $5 billion acquisition of NDS Group Ltd. last year and is thought to reflect a growing interest for companies that can help guard against computer-based attacks by governments and corporations.

Filed under Information Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions by

November 26, 2012

USAID awards UC Berekley $20 million for Global Development Initiative

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded $20 million to the University California Berkley to fund a new multidisciplinary lab to prepare inventions for the developing world, train development practitioners and innovators, and launch a new field of research called “Development Engineering”. The funding is part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network, a new initiative that was recently launched to leverage faculty and student ingenuity at U.S. and foreign research universities to help fight global poverty, according to a press release from the University.

Berkeley’s new Development Impact Lab (DIL) will be located in the Blum Center for Developing Economies and will utilize mobile technologies to improve health care, expand communications services in remote areas, improve access to safe water and deliver new energy technologies. “We recognized that the Blum Center represented something special: a center for deep analysis and broad engagement that not only generates new ideas, but also tests and applies real-world solutions,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said on campus last month. “In fact, we’ve admired it so much that it is now the model for a network of development laboratories we’re forming across the country”.

Filed under International Development, U.S. Government by

August 26, 2012

Startup California Launches

A new initiative for startup companies has recently launched in California. Startup California is part of the Obama administration “Startup America” initiative, and is being overseen by the private sector component of that initiative “Startup America Partners”. From their press release:

Along with the resources Startup America Partnership offers entrepreneurs nationally, Startup California will focus on breaking down silos across communities and uniting entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other California leaders, to work in concert with a wide range of local and state resources that can dramatically increase the prevalence and success of the California startup ecosystem. Startup California is on a mission to increase the number and scale of new high-growth firms in order to create economic growth, innovation and quality new jobs in the state.

“Startup companies drive the economy, and we think business leaders and policy makers should view these startups as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine – a willingness to experience business danger without compromise. They can alert us to opportunities that can fuel our economy for decades to come. But, they also can highlight looming challenges that stifle growth,” said Ash Kumra, Startup California Champion and Co-Leader.

For more information about Startup America, please visit their website at http://startupcalifornia.org

Filed under Small Business by

April 7, 2010

California Chamber of Commerce funding Republican Attack Ads

The California Chamber of Commerce is apparently continuing its transition from a business association to a political lobbying organization for the Republican party. They are now funding vicious televised attack ads against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, implying that he is somehow responsible now that “California’s lost one million jobs” and the fact that “we’re 200 billion dollars in debt”

The Chamber broke a tradition of non-partisanship dating back more than 100 years when it endorsed Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election. For this, they were rewarded handsomely by the Schwarzenegger administration and were given unprecedented access and influence over our State government, to the detriment of almost everyone else – especially small business. The “job killer” label they put on any legislation they didn’t like, for example, for many years virtually guaranteed a Schwarzenegger veto.

According to several news reports, complaints have now been filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission that say the Chamber didn’t even fund this ad through its own political action committee- since that would have been subject to disclosure regulations, and instead paid for it through their membership dues, to the tune of more than one million dollars! They also noted that Republican candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign manager, former Gov. Pete Wilson, is on the chamber’s board.

The man responsible for turning the California Chamber of Commerce into this overtly partisan political organization is apparently their President and CEO: Allan Zaremberg, He was the Master of Ceremonies at the Republican Primary Gubernatorial Debate in Orange County last month, touting his take on “the importance of a business-friendly governor to California”.

He is also the head of the “California State Protocol Foundation” – a shadowy “non profit organization” has paid for millions of dollars’ worth of Schwarzenegger’s overseas travel and other bills racked up by his office, including the use of private jets. This group claims these payments allow the Governor to meet with foreign dignitaries, “thereby supporting business opportunities between California and their countries” but what they have really done is turn what should have been public interest trade missions into luxury junkets with blatant cronyism. More than anything, this organization has corrupted and perverted California’s international trade and economic development programs, and it is almost unbelievable that they have gotten away with it.

The ad now being run by the California Chamber is stunning in its dishonesty. For example, they attack Brown for having been against Proposition 13, the property tax initiative, not mentioning that they were also opposed to it at the time. The theme of the ad is “enough is enough” and that may very well be the way many in California feel about the California Chamber of Commerce.

Let’s hope the next Governor- who ever he or she is, from whatever party, will stop this bullying and political manipulation by the California Chamber of Commerce. The rest of us – especially small business, deserve a seat at the table on California business issues for a change. It seems to me that members of the California Chamber of Commerce should not only resign from this organization, they should also demand a full refund of their membership fees for as many years as they have been members. Regardless of their political party, I’m sure they didn’t sign on for this garbage.

Filed under Business Associations, California Politics, Opinion by

January 24, 2010

Avatar pulled from most theaters in China

The hit movie “Avatar” directed by James Cameron of Fullerton, and distributed by 20th Century Fox, of Los Angeles, is being pulled from most theaters in China, apparently because it is so successful.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times, The movie is no longer being allowed in 2D theaters even though is already the most successful movie of all time in China, having grossed a record $76 million.  The Chinese government only allows 20 foreign movies per year to be shown in China’s theaters. “Avatar,” which opened worldwide in mid-December, was held in Chinese theaters until January because the 2009 quota had already been filled.  The movie is already being widely pirated, with copies available in Beijing’s bootleg DVD stores. 

It seems incredibly strange that the Chinese government should be able to pull one of our most successful products just because it is successful, without any repercussions at all from our government.  Should the U.S. now stop the sale of some manufactured goods from China, as soon as they become successful?

Filed under China, Entertainment Industry, Opinion by

January 18, 2010

China’s Alibaba attacks Yahoo for Google Support

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.  The Alibaba group – owners of the Chinese trade portal Alibaba has strongly criticized Yahoo – its largest shareholder, for siding with Google after a cyber attack on that company.  

As reported in the New York Times, a spokesman for Alibaba, said executives at the company were “angry” because Yahoo appeared to follow Google in suggesting the Chinese government was behind the cyberattacks.  They issued a statement saying that Yahoo was “reckless” in supporting Google because they believed there was a lack of evidence that the attacks were supported by the Chinese government. 

Yahoo is one of the companies that was targeted in the attacks but the company declined to confirm that it was a victim. “The people with knowledge of the situation said that Google contacted Yahoo about the attacks before it publicized them. Google executives were dismayed that other companies were unwilling to publicly acknowledge the attacks, and they were particularly frustrated by Yahoo’s silence” the Times reported. 

Yahoo paid Alibaba $1 billion in 2005 and gave Alibaba control of Yahoo China in exchange for a 40 percent stake in the Chinese company. Yahoo’s investment in Alibaba has paid off in a big way for that company. Alibaba.com, a unit of Alibaba, went public in 2007 with a huge stock offering in Hong Kong and is now valued at $12.5 billion.  Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba is a celebrity in China because of his success in forcing California’s Ebay to leave the Chinese market, and for taking over Yahoo’s China operations, as part of their billion dollar investment in his company. 

This was a huge amount of capital from a California company that was used to make Alibaba fantastically successful. Now that company is turning on very the people who helped it become what it is.  Is this a simple case of “sucking up” to the Chinese authorities?  Jack Ma is said to be famous for that, and some people even believe he is now milking the resources out of Yahoo so it eventually fails in that country. 

In any event, a consensus seems to be forming that this is a free trade issue.  If the Chinese government blocks Google or other American Internet firms – or forces them to leave that country, the the American Goverment should take the same action with Chinese Internet firms – and it seems like a good place to start would be Alibaba.

Filed under China, Information Technology, Internet, Opinion by

January 16, 2010

China says Google censorship will not affect trade – but should it?

China has unilaterally declared that their depute with Google over censorship and strong evidence of government sponsored hacking will not affect U.S. Trade relations, but do they get to make that call?  

“Any decision made by Google will not affect Sino-U.S. trade and economic relations, as the two sides have many ways to communicate and negotiate with each other,” Chinese government spokesman Yao Jian told a news briefing in Beijing.

Well of course the two sides have many ways to communicate with each other – that is not the point. If one party to a trade agreement censors and blocks the content of the other party, then of course it should it should be a trade issue.  In the tit for tat world of diplomacy, if they block the content from one of our companies, then shouldn’t we block one of theirs?

California buys a huge amount of Chinese imports, but they don’t by nearly as many of our exports. One of our strongest industries in the movie industry – but only 20 foreign films are even allowed to be shown in that country each year. The rest of the movies we produce here are simply pirated (i.e. stolen) there, Can you imagine if we said to China, “we will only allow the products from 20 of your manufacturers in our country each year”. Now they are blocking, and possibly even attacking, one of California’s other great industries – Internet services.

It is not at all disrespectful to China to expect our government to respond to blocking and censorship with reciprocal actions that affect Chinese companies. That is how a mature trade relationship works. Mr. Yao Jian has it wrong. This is exactly the kind of thing that should affect trade and economic relations – this is a trade issue.

UPDATE: Evidence that the Obama Administration may be looking at these blocking and censorship issues from a more sensible “fair trade” perspective, might be found in a speech Secretary of State Clinton plans to give on the issue on Thursday. From a column by Andrew Ross in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

“The Internet is integral to the international trading system,” said Ed Black, CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, who is scheduled to meet with Clinton on the matter this week. “China cannot limit the free flow of information and still comply with its international trade obligations.” “You can’t lecture the Chinese on human rights,” said another industry executive. “You won’t get anywhere with that. So, it’s best to treat it as a trade issue.”

Should the administration go that route, it will enlarge the can of U.S.-China worms already growing around the latter’s increasingly protectionist economic policies. “Greater control of the Internet is part of a wholesale tightening up of the Chinese economy,” said an executive with a high-tech trade organization that is also due to meet with Clinton. “It’s about protecting domestic industries and pushing indigenous innovation. But they’re doing it in blatantly discriminatory, brazenly unfair ways.”

Filed under China, Hollywood, Internet, Opinion by

January 12, 2010

California Budget – the five percent solution

This is from Governor Schwarzenegger’s press release about his proposed budget:

To achieve $1.4 billion in General Fund savings, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed 15 percent reduction in state personnel costs achieved by modifying employee compensation and reducing our workforce budget … as follows:
   *   Employees will be required to contribute an additional five percent towards their retirement costs;
    * An across the board five percent reduction in all salaries;
    * A five percent reduction in the cost of the state workforce payroll implemented by executive order S-01-10 requiring all department directors to reduce their payrolls by five percent.

This sounds a little too incremental for me.  Certainly most State employees can take a five percent hit – they have pretty good jobs, but this isn’t getting to the root of the problem.   What about eliminating Civil Service postions all together?   Put government workers under employment contracts instead – even generous ones.  Then they could stop paying pensions as well, something none of the rest of us get. 

Filed under California Government, Opinion by

October 6, 2009

Apple leaves U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Apple Inc. has quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because the group has been too critical of proposed steps to cut pollution. This seems like a good move. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents many of the really huge Corporations in the U.S., but has never shown any real interest in small business concerns, or in the rest of our society for that matter. As reported in San Francisco Business Times:

The Cupertino computer and popular electronics business is just one of several businesses, including Nike Inc. and PG&E Corp., that have criticized the chamber’s stance. Nike resigned from the chamber’s board of directors but stayed as a member of the group. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce criticized proposed “cap-and-trade” legislation passed by the House of Representatives and due to come before the Senate. Apple’s vice president of worldwide government affairs, Catherine Novelli, sent a letter to Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the chamber, in which she said, “We would prefer that the Chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue.”

Filed under Business Associations, Energy Industry, Environment and Climate, Opinion by

May 18, 2009

Economist magazine calls California “ungovernable”

The respected publication “The Economist” has called California “the ungovernable State”. They certainly have a point- the Goverment here is a total mess, and voters are in a foul mood about tomorrow’s special election – and they should be, our government has failed us, and has many, many structural problems, but our leaders have failed us also. We have a government with absolutely no foresight, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, our part-time Governor, deserves his share of the blame. With all of California’s problems, our “lack of leadership” is certainly the most serious. Here are an excerpt and the full article can be read here:

ON MAY 19th Californians will go to the polls to vote on six ballot measures that are as important as they are confusing. If these measures fail, America’s biggest state will enter a full-blown financial crisis… A good outcome is no longer possible. California now has the worst bond rating among the 50 states. Income-tax receipts are coming in far below expectations. On May 11th Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor, sent a letter to the legislature warning it that, by his latest estimates, the state will face a budget gap of $15.4 billion if the ballot measures pass, $21.3 billion if they fail. Prisoners will have to be released, firefighters fired, and other services cut or eliminated. One way or the other, on May 20th Californians will have to begin discussing how to fix their broken state.

Only a minority of Californians bother to vote, and those voters tend to be older, whiter and richer than the state’s younger, browner and poorer population… Those voters, moreover, have over time “self-sorted” themselves into highly partisan districts: loony left in Berkeley or Santa Monica, for instance; rabid right in Orange County or parts of the Central Valley. Politicians have done the rest by gerrymandering bizarre boundaries around their supporters. The result is that elections are won during the Republican or Democratic primaries, rather than in run-offs between the two parties.
Representative democracy is only one half of California’s peculiar governance system. The other half, direct democracy, fails just as badly. California is one of 24 states that allow referendums, recalls and voter initiatives. But it is the only state that does not allow its legislature to override successful initiatives (called “propositions”) and has no sunset clauses that let them expire. It also uses initiatives far more, and more irresponsibly, than any other state.

Filed under California Politics, Governor Schwarzenegger, Opinion by

March 26, 2009

Huge demand for California bonds

The Sacramento business journal is reporting “huge” demands for California bonds: Investors were more enthusiastic about buying California debt than expected, putting in orders for $6.54 billion in general obligation bonds in a sale by the state Treasurer’s Office that ended Tuesday State officials had expected to sell $4 billion. The extra cash will allow officials to restart more stalled projects that were halted in December due to the state’s cash crisis. Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s office said there was “huge” demand from both individual investors and institutional buyers such as mutual funds. Officials have not determined which of 5,300 halted projects should be allowed to proceed. Until this sale, the tight credit market and the state’s prolonged budget crisis kept California out of the bond market for nine months.

Filed under Agriculture and Food, California Economy, California Government, Mergers and Acquisitions by

Yasheng Group seeking stock exchange listing

Agricultural holding company Yasheng Group reported a $76 million profit for 2008 as part of its goal to be listed on a major U.S. stock exchange, according to a report in the San Francisco Business Times. Yasheng Group is a Redwood City holding company focused on agriculture in China. It has about 15,000 workers. It owns seven agricultural businesses in China that grow products such as onions, potatoes, apples, alfalfa, flax, beets, wheat, apricots, sunflowers, beer barley and cumin. As part of its move towards a major stockmarket listing, Yasheng published its financial results for 2006 and 2007 in January. More on Yasheng Group seeking stock exchange listing

Filed under Agriculture and Food, China, Mergers and Acquisitions by

March 12, 2009

San Francisco Chamber on anti-”anti-junket” junket

Fifty members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have taken a business trip to Washington D.C. to protest the “anti-junket” attitudes that have gripped Congress and the public after several incidents of abuses by bailed out financial firms. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Big business is cutting back on convention travel these days, afraid of being branded as lavish spenders in a down economy. And that’s having a real impact on cities like San Francisco, where conventions and business meetings have a huge impact on our economy. That’s the message a delegation of the city’s civic leaders will deliver to Congress today, specifically asking the Northern California congressional delegation to help tone down the criticism of such business meetings. The San Francisco officials are concerned that businesses that otherwise would send employees to meetings and spend appropriate sums on food and entertainment will increasingly cancel meetings out of fear they will be singled out on Capitol Hill and by the public as overindulgent. “They don’t want to be on the front page of the newspaper or on the 11 o’clock news, seen as frivolously spending money even though it is for legitimate purposes,” said Joe McInerney, the president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, based in Washington. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce-led delegation, consisting of some 50 participants, is in Washington to ask members to keep in mind the economic contribution of travel and tourism while they negotiate proposed restrictions on recipients of federal emergency funds. They do not want legitimate business travel chilled because of extravagant spending by others… “We do not want to support irresponsible extravagance, but we also do not want to discourage business from holding conventions and meetings so they can spend appropriately on entertainment in San Francisco,” said Steve Falk, the chamber president. Among those suffering the consequences of a falloff in business are service employees, he said. “While we understand the need for transparency, we want to make sure that legislation (covering emergency fund recipients) does not have the unintended consequences of impacting negatively on the hospitality workforce,” said Mariann Costello, vice president of Scoma’s restaurant in San Francisco, who is among the chamber delegation.

Filed under Business Associations, Travel and Tourism, U.S. Government, U.S. Politics by

November 23, 2008

Silicon Valley Engineers Sentenced For Economic Espionage

Two Engineers from China have been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to economic espionage against the United States. The two men – Fei Ye, a citizen of the U.S., and Ming Zhong, a permanent U.S. resident – were facing a maximum of 30 years in prison after confessing to stealing microprocessor designs from their Silicon Valley employers in 2006. They had planned to smuggle the designs to China to launch a government-sponsored startup company there. Their guilty pleas were the first convictions for the most serious crime under the 1996 Economic Espionage Act. Prosecutors asked for a lenient sentence because the men cooperated with investigators – both apologized in court.

Unlike traditional industrial espionage economic espionage means that someone acted to benefit a foreign government and is a more serious crime. Only a few economic espionage cases have been resulted in convictions, mostlybecause it’s difficult to prove a person was acting to benefit a foreign nation. The case against Ye and Zhong began seven years ago, when they were arrested at San Francisco International Airport while attempting to board a flight to China. Their luggage was allegedly full of sensitive documents on chip designs taken illegally from four Silicon Valley tech firms who had employed the engineers. The companies include NEC Electronics Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Transmeta Corp. and Trident Microsystems Inc. Both had worked at Transmeta and Trident, while Ye had also worked at Sun and NEC. Other documents seized by authorities allegedly demonstrate the engineers were attempting to solicit money from Chinese government agencies to fund a startup firm.

Prosecutors say the documents showed that Ye and Zhong were promoting the startup as something that would elevate China’s chip-making capabilities, however, the documents do not confirm the Chinese government was aware that the chip designs were stolen.

Filed under China, Legal and Criminal Issues by

November 19, 2008

Bank of America donates $900,000 to Bay Area nonprofits

Bank of America has awarded grants totaling $900,000 to Bay Area nonprofits.  As reported in San Francisco Business Times, four organizations won $200,000 unrestricted grants as part of Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative. They are Community Housing Partnership and Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in San Francisco and Urban Gardens and Oakland Ballet Company in the East Bay.  In addition to these large unrestricted funds winners, the bank honored five community leaders in both San Francisco and the East Bay with a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit of the winner’s choosing. The program also honors local high school students, five from both San Francisco and the east Bay with a paid eight-week internship and other leadership training support.  Starting in 2009, the bank has a 10-year goal to give away $2 billion to community nonprofits.

Filed under Banking and Financial Services, Philanthropy by

October 14, 2008

Wine Institute hires international marketing executive

The Wine Institute hired a director of international marketing, according to a report in San Francisco Business Times.  Linsey Simpson Gallagher will fill the new position at the San Francisco-based Wine Institute, created because Joseph Rollo, head of the institute’s international department for 20 years, had seen his work increase dramatically.  Rollo will continue full time work at the Wine Institute under the title director of international trade policy.  Gallagher, who starts Nov. 1, was vice president of her family’s real estate business on the East Coast. She was also marketing manager for E.&J. Gallo Winery and also manager of finance for the NBC Today Show.  Robert Koch is president and CEO of the Wine Institute.

Filed under People on the Move, Wine by

August 15, 2008

California gets most Internet fraud complaints

As reported in Legal Newsline:

Californians are the most frequent victims of Internet crime and
complaints according to a new Federal Trade Commission report that
stems from data provided by the attorney general’s office.

California
collected 8,622 individual complaints on Internet-related fraud in
2007, according to a story first reported by the San Jose Mercury News.
The amount of complaints far exceeds all other states, including
runner-up New York that had slightly more than half the number of
complaints as California.

According to data from the California
attorney general’s office, complaints were filed over a diverse number
of reasons including identity theft, spam, disputes with service
providers and e-mail scams designed to discover personal information.

In
2007, the FTC report said nearly a quarter of a million complaints were
lodged nationwide, the Center for Democracy and Technology said.

Most
states have neglected to bring significant cases as a result of these
complaints, the press release states, with most of the cases brought by
attorneys general focused on sexual enticement of minors and child
pornography.

“These numbers are startling, but they may even
understate the problem,” said Reece Rushing, director of regulatory and
information policy at the Center for American Progress. “Consumers are
often unaware, and thus may not report, when they are victimized by
online threats such as spyware or phishing. We must take action against
these threats to protect consumers and preserve confidence in Internet
commerce.”

Filed under Legal and Criminal Issues by

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