Google may watch everyone
The Internet will hold so much digital data in five years that it will be possible to find out what an individual was doing at a specific time and place, an expert said. Nigel Gilbert, a professor heading a Royal Academy of Engineering study into surveillance, said people would be able to sit down and type into Google "what was a particular individual doing at 2:30 yesterday and would get an answer." The answer would come from a range of data, for instance video recordings or databanks which store readings from electronic chips. Such chips embedded in people's clothes could track their movements. He told a privacy conference the Internet would be capable of holding huge amounts of data very cheaply and patterns of information could be extracted very quickly. "Everything can be recorded for ever," he said.
■ Service industry
Investment services boom
Among all the management consulting services in Taiwan, investment consulting services performed the best, largely owing to reviving investor interest in the nation's stock market this year, government officials said. The investment consulting service industry generated total revenue of NT$10.1 billion (US$307 million) for the first eight months of this year, up 29.2 percent year-on-year, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said on Friday. In the first eight months, total revenue of the professional, scientific and technical service industries reached NT$309.23 billion, up 9.3 percent from the same period last year, officials said.
■ Stock markets
LSE proposes Tokyo tie-up
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has proposed an operational tie-up with its Tokyo counterpart, including the cross-listing of exchange-traded funds, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said yesterday. A senior LSE official presented the plan during a visit to the Tokyo Stock Exchange last month, the newspaper said. The proposal also calls for the exchanges to jointly develop a stock-trading system and take measures to stimulate start-up markets, it said. The TSE, which is also in partnership talks with the New York Stock Exchange, has agreed to consider the proposal, the newspaper said.
Wal-Mart slashes prices
Wal-Mart stepped up its discounting on Friday in advance of the holiday season, announcing deep price cuts on almost 100 electronics products that focused on high definition TVs, cellphones and digital cameras. The news came a day after the world's largest retailer announced disappointing sales for last month and a lackluster outlook for this month. In a release on Thursday, Wal-Mart said it planned to "reinforce Wal-Mart's price leadership position" in such areas as toys and electronics.
Toyota expects profit surge
Toyota Motor Corp projects a 17 percent rise in operating profit to a record ¥2.2 trillion (US$18.6 billion) for the year to March next year on brisk sales of fuel-efficient cars and a weaker yen, a report said yesterday. It would be the first time that a Japanese company has posted a ¥2 trillion operating profit, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. Initially, Japan's largest automaker had forecast an operating profit of ¥1.9 trillion, but the weaker yen and robust sales of fuel-efficient cars have helped boost its profit further, the business daily said.