Does App Store placement still matter?

first_imgDoes App Store placement still matter?A new App Annie report shows daily download gains of between 100 and 500 per cent depending on territoryMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefFriday 6th May 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleApp AnnieAn App Store placement still has a significant impact on downloads, according to a new report from App Annie, ranging from a 80 per cent to a 500 per cent increase depending on the territory.App Annie’s data is taken from iPhone users in five countries at various levels of market maturity: Brazil, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Ultimately, it was the less mature markets that yielded the most positive results from App Store placement. Both the US and the UK App Stores didn’t manage a 100 per cent increase in daily downloads, while the Japanese App Store returned a 150 per cent increase – roughly equivalent to the median 140 per cent increase taken from all five territories. That median figure was dragged up by Brazil, with a 200 per cent increase in daily downloads, and particularly South Korea, which yielded almost 500 per cent more downloads following a placement. According to App Annie, this is likely due to the surge of interest in iOS devices in the country since the launch of iPhone 6. “Users who are new to a platform tend to download more apps than more longer-term users,” the report noted.Over a week-long App Store placement, the trajectory of daily downloads increased sharply towards a peak on Day 3. The descent back to pre-placement levels is comparatively gentle, and games still received more downloads for the three days after the placement finished.However, while placement may still be worth pursuing, the beneficial effect has decreased over time in all five countries. The decline is far more pronounced for non-game apps, though, as this graph demonstrates.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The issue for most developers will be balancing the effort required to get a placement against the likely benefits of receiving one. The companies App Annie talked to about the report emphasised the importance of production values to securing a place on the App Store, but they also regard placement as just one aspect of a broader and more expensive marketing strategy.”All our games have very high production values for each and every specific audience we target, enabling us to broaden the ecosystem,” said Baudouin Corman, general manager of the Americas at Gameloft. “When Apple comes to the same conclusion and brings strong featuring support, there is often an exponential effect. We aim to advertise our games at the same time as featuring.”Chris Heatherly, general manager at Disney Interactive Games, noted that “strong featuring” is no guarantee of success, “but it goes a long way in launching and sustaining a successful app.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesConsumers spend $32b on apps in Q1 2021 – App AnnieTotal consumer spend on gaming hit $22 billion up 32% year-over-yearBy Jeffrey Rousseau A month agoCore gamers generated 66% of mobile revenues in 2020But casual still dominates downloads, as App Annie reports mobile gaming will pass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021By James Batchelor 3 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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Indies on Steam are betting on discoverability

first_img A year ago I’m really not a fan of those constantly change your release date to get more views how is this ok. To hype people with the intention of knowing its not your actual release date to work the system. Its like saying those that exploit the system are rewarded for it. I tried to ask steam about this issue a long time ago but never got any acknowledgement or response over the matter. Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mark Jackson on 19th July 2019 12:25pm 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Indies on Steam are betting on discoverabilityAfter a year of missteps by Valve, indie devs are cautious about Steam Labs and their future visibility on SteamRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterFriday 19th July 2019Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleValveIt’s been a rough year for indies on Steam.To be fair, many of the 12 indie developers I’ve spoken to over the last six months might gently rap on my window and inform me that, no, it’s been a rough several years for indies on Steam. But the last year has been especially rocky thanks to a series of discoverability and communication missteps that have left many independent developers feeling ignored at best or deliberately hamstrung at worst.For example, a sudden, unexplained change in Steam’s algorithm in October caused sharp traffic drops for many. And just a few weeks ago, confusion about the Steam Summer Sale resulted in indie games being removed en masse from users’ wishlists — a critical feature for indies.That doesn’t touch on several other events from the last year that directly affected — or at least demoralized — smaller developers. Some of these included a threatened takedown of some indie games due to supposed “pornographic content,” a vague new content policy, web API adjustments that hurt Steam Spy and made helpful data less accessible to indies, and new revenue sharing tiers that only benefit games that are already best-sellers.”Steam gives you a bare minimum package now” Tom-Ivar ArntzenIt’s easy to see how all of this in the scope of a year could be disheartening for a small developer, especially one struggling to get noticed on gaming’s largest PC storefront. And most of the developers I spoke with acknowledged that the basic challenge of discoverability when there are just too many video games isn’t Valve’s fault. Valve has the unenviable problem of figuring out how to categorize tens of thousands of games so users can find and buy what they wanted while still giving deserving games necessary visibility.However, many of those same developers also expressed frustration that, while in the early days of Steam Greenlight there were numerous benefits to having a game appear on the platform, those benefits have largely dissolved as the library of games has exploded. They say Steam’s decision to rely on a changing algorithm rather than curation has hindered rather than helped their games, resulting in steep drops in traffic, unpredictable game sales, and an increase in the amount of time and expense needed for marketing that had not been as critical when Steam was a smaller, more curated platform.”Steam gives you a bare minimum package now,” said Tom-Ivar Arntzen of Tinimations, developer of Klang. “It’s not anything at all. When the indie movement started out, that wasn’t the case. If you actually made it to Steam, you got some exposure for that. Being on Steam gave you bragging rights.”Several developers, including Megan Fox of Glass Bottom Games and Emma Maassen of Kitsune Games, told me that many previously successful indie studios are beginning to “hedge” against the probable decrease in attention their new games will receive by planning in advance to put more resources into marketing than were necessary in the past. Maassen remembered forecasting 10,000 unit sales for Kitsune’s MidBoss back in 2017, but it did half that number. At first glance, that might be chalked up to something the studio did wrong, but she said that when she looked at Steam Spy and spoke to other indie developers, they reported a similar halving of visibility for anyone not already at the top during that period.Fox noted that while her upcoming game, Skatebird, looks poised to do quite well for an indie, that’s because of traffic the studio brought in from outside campaigns.”As it stands it’s pretty much all ‘our’ traffic, but with the numbers we’re pushing in, come launch, we’ll most likely be above whatever line it is where Steam’s newer algorithmic stuff kicks in,” she said. “Cool for us, sure, but doesn’t really help anyone else affected.””It’s very demoralizing for small teams to have a graph tell them that a thousand people don’t care about their game anymore” Max CahillLast October’s algorithm shift was the breaking point for many developers to begin voicing their frustrations publicly. Multiple developers I spoke to said that similar sudden drops in traffic with no explanation had happened before, but the one in October seemed to be the most widespread and dramatic. After that blow, it’s no wonder that the Steam Summer Sale’s wishlist misunderstanding went over the way it did. “The major effect I’ve seen is that it’s very demoralizing for small teams to have a graph tell them that a thousand people don’t care about their game anymore, especially during a time that’s supposed to bring them more money,” said Max Cahill, developer of King Arthur’s Gold. “Valve really hasn’t made any real amends to the affected folks as far as I know. They released a clarifying post about how the sale worked but the damage was already done; no one is going to go re-wishlist an indie game that they axed to try to save themselves a few bucks.”Cahill’s lament that Valve hadn’t “made amends” is the other common thread throughout every major incident that had an impact on indies in the last year. A number of developers are fed up with what they see as a lack of communication from the company. Games are warned or removed from Steam, the already-mysterious algorithm is changed, the rules of a promotion aren’t made clear, and they aren’t told what’s happening.One developer who asked to remain anonymous told me they attended a GDC meeting for indie developers to speak to Valve representatives as a sort of “damage control” following the algorithm issues in 2018. However, they said that the meeting ended up being more condescending than anything: “It felt like parents telling kids why they have to eat their vegetables.”At one point during the meeting, developers asked if they could have some kind of guide or checklist of what Steam was looking for in a game for it to be promoted and given more visibility. According to the anonymous developer, Valve’s response was: “If we gave you that checklist, you would use it.”That response might be insulting to some developers, but Jonathan Hanna of SuperSixStudios understands why Valve would resort to it. “Let’s say your game is more discoverable the more you update the game,” he said. “Well, then people are going to put out lots of tiny patches over and over again and no one’s going to benefit from that. Same thing with writing updates. If you write an update often, does that increase your discovery? If people know it does, they’ll just write a bunch of updates to try to get back on Discovery Queue. People are already doing that with release date. You put the release date out and then you’re in Upcoming Games, then right before the release date you change it, and you do it every 30 days. The players aren’t benefiting from that. Steam isn’t benefiting from that. “So I kind of understand. I’m not asking them to give me the algorithm. I just want to know if something changed, and for them to give me a sort of really high-level overview of what gets a game on the Discovery Queue and various other pages and things that can get it discovered by players. But I’d be shocked if they ever shared the exact data. It’s already being abused.””I’d be shocked if they ever shared the exact data. It’s already being abused” Jonathan HannaSome developers are lucky enough to have a Valve representative they can speak to directly, who might be able to provide some of the answers Hanna mentions. But how specifically one gets one of those seems to be a matter of confusion among many I spoke to, and some have never spoken to anyone from the company directly at all. A few developers told me that their posts with concerns on the Steam developer boards are often ignored entirely, and there’s no clear avenue to go down if you need assistance.”We have had no help, no guidance, love or support,” said MidBoss CEO Cade Peterson. “It’s a black box they operate in, and I get that at such a size they are now it’s probably impossible to do more, but every major change they’ve made in the past four to five years has been at the cost of helping developers and pretty much every new change has hurt them.”The picture doesn’t seem optimistic, but there is evidence things may be improving slightly. Some developers saw their traffic return to normal after Valve responded to the issues with the algorithm. Some reported surprise successes during the Steam Summer Sale despite wishlist frustrations. The Epic Games store, though still closed off to most developers, appears to have challenged Steam sufficiently that Valve is re-examining things like revenue share and recommendation. And everyone I talked to was at least cautiously optimistic about a brand new feature announced last week, Steam Labs.Steam Labs is an experimental area on the storefront where Valve is currently testing new discoverability features. There are currently three available to play with, two that involve short trailers and the most interesting of which is a new take on game recommendation that uses machine learning to suggest titles based on what the user has played in the past.The Interactive Recommender is doing okay so far at suggesting new titles, though me being able to play Starbound for 160 hours and Gris for just three might skew its logicThe Interactive Recommender has some drawbacks, such as a potential bias toward genres with longer playtimes and games with high replayability, and the fact that if you’ve left a game idle for hours on end it will skew your data. But in general, indies seem to feel it’s a good first step toward getting visibility, giving users what they want, and being clearer about how those two things happened in the first place.”There are so many awesome games that don’t get to be that ‘next hit’ — they might resonate with a smaller niche of people, they might never quite make it through all the noise, or just have downright bad luck at launch,” said Steve Filby of Motion Twin, when asked about Labs.”So I feel like this tool, which seems to be able to dig down past the big hits and look into the mid-tiers and the super niche games will be really useful for getting those games more attention from potential fans. It doesn’t seem to address the problem of getting your game noticed in the era of 150 games coming to Steam in a week, but at least Valve is aware of a discoverability problem and is trying to address it.” “You don’t fight big powers directly; you cultivate new spaces and make wider bets” Megan FoxPhilip Barclay, executive producer at Sabotage, was slightly more skeptical: “In the end, it really all depends on how good the recommendation algorithm is. Steam does have a huge sample of historical data to work with, but time is too precious for players to give a second chance after a bad, time-consuming game experience. Also, it could be an uphill battle against the recommendation algorithm’s reputation of using cheap upsell tricks that rarely end up in positive purchases experiences.” The indie developers I spoke to earlier in the year about the algorithm issues also circled back and expressed optimism about the features, though they all said that more than anything they just want more clear communication with Valve on when things are changing, and how.”Valve providing a human contact to coach and direct indies with their releases and coordinate a good time, price, and marketing approach would probably be the most practical thing they could do for small teams,” said Cahill. “They are very hands-off even with teams that do have a specific contact; teams that don’t [have a contact] get basically zero guidance on how to perform well on Steam. Having a human in the loop is incredibly important as the general advice isn’t going to work for every game.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Some, including Fox, are encouraging indies not to abandon Steam, but to focus less on trying to make the behemoth shift and more on adapting to the changing indie landscape as a whole.”Most indie devs have zero leverage right now,” she said. “Even if we all left, Steam would function much as it always has, even if they’d miss us on a promotional or emotional level. You don’t fight big powers directly; you cultivate new spaces and make wider bets. In literal terms right now, I mean stuff like itch, GOG, consoles, Game Pass, other stores paying for exclusives, mobile, AR, VR, local arts funding, and that’s just off the top of my head.”You ‘win’ against bigger players by being supported by your own wider community, where the big players need you more than you need them. Then you have leverage.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesWolfire Games files antitrust lawsuit against ValveThe developer argues that Valve uses its dominant position on the PC market to “exploit publishers and consumers”By Marie Dealessandri 12 days agoValve blocks Super Seducer 3 from SteamMultiple product reviews left Valve at “an impasse” with seduction game creator Richard LeRuinaBy Matthew Handrahan A month agoLatest comments (1)Mark Jackson Director of TsukiWarelast_img read more

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Why mental health is still a taboo?

Do you know if there is no communication then there is no respect? If there is no respect then there is no caring. If there is no caring then there is no understanding. If there is no understanding then there is no compassion. If there is no compassion then there is no empathy. If there is no empathy then there is no forgiveness. If there is no forgiveness then there is no kindness. If there is no kindness then there is no honesty. If there is no honesty then there is no love. If there is no love then God doesn’t reside there. If God doesn’t reside there then there is no peace. If there is no peace then there is no happiness. If there is no happiness —-then there IS CONFLICT BECAUSE THERE IS NO COMMUNICATION! We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We need to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—hourly and daily. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfil the task which it constantly sets for each individual. An unresolved issue will be like cancer with the potential to spread into other areas of your relationship, eroding the joy, lightness, love and beauty.See Communication is very necessary. Please talk to someone if you are feeling low and if you have nobody to talk please go to a psychologist or some counsellor who can listen to you without judging ..because there is a solution of every problem..the need is to take positive action for ourself. I request to everyone especially students who came to Kota every year for studies, never took this kind of step in life…Never lose hope. I really feel disheartened being a psychologist when I hear such kind of things.Medicines are not the key of depression you need communication and talk therapies..why our country won’t give that much importance to a psychologist or a counsellor. it’s still a taboo for everyone..and this my biggest anger in today’s time..anyone can go through depression the need is to help them and for that people should be aware of the things. If somebody is taking anti-depressants he/she should go to counsellor also otherwise medicines will create this effect that a person should attempt suicide only!Sushant Singh Rajput must have been facing an immense amount of mental trauma and stress, we can’t even think about what he must be going throughFeels flashy to see the life of a celeb from outsideBut only they know what battles they are fighting in their headsTo anyone who has been going through a difficult timeNo matter what field you are fromPlease have a word with your close onesShare your problems with themLet them know what you are going throughI pray that anyone who is going through such mental trauma heals asap. read more

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Water conversation in the Western Ghats

first_imgAs India celebrates Holi on the spring equinox, the temperature in the sub-continent starts moving upwards. With rising mercury comes the water woes of summers; more so in the internal part of India. In addition to the restoration of forests, our country also needs to identify new avenues of water conservation.Maharashtra has two major eastward flowing rivers – Krishna and Godavari. These rivers are the lifeline of states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. While the rivers provide drinking and irrigation water to many cities on their banks, the Sahyadri range, also known as the Western Ghats, block southwest monsoon rains from reaching the rivers. The average height of Sahyadri is 800-1000 meters and the rain clouds blocked by it flows back into the Arabian sea. We need infrastructure to flow water draining into the Arabian sea to reservoirs of these major rivers.For this purpose, authorities should identify suitable sites on the western side of the ghats. Firstly, a pipeline could be laid to transfer the water from the western side to the eastern side ghats. For instance, the Narmada Shipra river linking is one such example. The project lifts water from the Narmada river using electricity and then transports it to the source of Kshipra over 50 km through pines.In some location, water resources could be diverted using underground tunnels. These tunnels could collect water from the western end and flow it to the eastern side. Suitable locations could be sh shortlisted to minimize the cost of projects. Spiti region in Himachal, for example, hosts such tunnels where water flows through underground tunnels for around 18 km. Even if we do not lay tunnels, underground pipelines could also be used to transfer water.Experiments could be done using Solar energy to convert the water to steam and transfer it over the mountains at a reasonable cost because steam has a natural tendency to move upwards. Concave mirrors could be used for this purpose. Although the volume of water movement that it could support may be small, multiple such projects can be developed.With the looming climate crisis and ever-rising population, India has to develop infrastructure to face the uncertainties. Around one degree of temperature rise is already predicted which can severely impact and destabilise life in the sub-continent. Every quantity of water saved is critical to face the challenges of the future.last_img read more

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New York Attorney General Leticia James announces body camera reforms in response to Daniel Prude’s death

first_imgPrude FamilyBY MEREDITH DELISO AND JULIA JACOBO, ABC News(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — An independent investigation into the government handling of the death of Daniel Prude moved forward on Friday when the Rochester City Council authorized the power to subpoena several city departments, including Mayor Lovely Warren’s office and the Rochester Police Department.The City Council voted 8-0 during a special virtual meeting Friday morning to authorize the subpoenas, which support an “independent investigation into the internal communications, processes and procedures that took place related to the death of Daniel Prude” and grants authority to “investigate all city departments including the right to review records and papers” and issue subpoenas.City Council President Loretta Scott said the investigation would start with the first 911 phone call placed on March 23 regarding Prude, 41, a Black man who died a week after being restrained by Rochester police during a mental health emergency.Andrew G. Celli Jr., an attorney with the New York law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, will lead the independent investigation, which the City Council approved on Tuesday.“[Rochester] is a community that’s asking hard questions and it’s a community that deserves clear answers,” Celli said during a media briefing Friday after the City Council’s vote. “And that’s what I’m committed to do.”The investigation will look to determine “who knew what when” in the death of Prude, Celli said. “There’s really one question here, and that is: Was there a cover-up? That’s a blunt way to put it, but that’s the question we are seeking to answer.”The team plans to gather sworn testimony from witnesses, emails, text messages, memos and other documents as it seeks to determine a timeline of events, examine how city departments communicated with each other behind closed doors, and what city officials said publicly, versus what they knew at the time, Celli said.Celli acknowledged that some of these documents have already been released in a 300-plus-page report commissioned by Rochester Deputy Mayor James Smith, which includes police reports and emails.“We’re going to go much deeper than the deputy mayor did, and we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” Celli said.His team plans to issue subpoenas to four Rochester agencies — the mayor’s office, the police department, the law department and the City Council — by Monday, Celli said. They haven’t decided whose testimony they will take, though Celli said that the mayor is under consideration.The investigation should take about three months, at which point they will release their report to the public, including transcriptions of collected testimonies, Celli said.The intragovernmental study is one of several investigations stemming from Prude’s death, including one from his family, who has alleged an internal cover-up in a federal lawsuit against the city. The state attorney general’s office also has moved to empanel a grand jury, which would determine whether criminal charges should be brought in the case, as part of its investigation.On Monday, Warren announced she would enact several reviews from the deputy mayor’s report. She has called for the City Office of Public Integrity to initiate a thorough investigation to determine if any employees, including herself, violated city policies or ethical standards, and she called on the U.S. attorney general to investigate whether Prude’s civil rights were violated.Earlier this month, police body camera footage was released showing the incident between the officers and Prude. In the video, officers are seen pinning Prude to the ground while a spit bag is on his head, and he eventually appears to go unconscious. Prude died a week later. The Monroe County medical examiner listed his death as a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”Seven officers involved in the incident have been suspended as the state attorney general conducts her investigation. On Monday, Warren also fired Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, two weeks before he was set to retire, amid shakeups in the department.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Dean of Workforce Development and Career & Technical Education

first_imgSUMMARY OF FUNCTION:Under the direction of the Associate Vice President forWorkforce Development, the Dean of Workforce Development &Career and Technical Education provides administrative supervisionand oversight for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs andresearches the viability of latest programs and theirimplementation. Provides leadership in teaching excellence andstudent learning with the goal of student success and continuousimprovement of CTE programs. Manages, coordinates, develops, andexecutes a variety of projects related to CTE and relatedinnovative programs. Responsible for all administrative, academic,and fiscal matters of assigned programs. Recruit new faculty.Assists AVP in administering the district’s Carl D. Perkins Careerand Technical Education (CTE) Improvement Act grant and othergrants as assigned; manages use of funds and services; monitorsprograms for effectiveness; and ensures adherence to federal andstate regulations in the use of funds. Emphasis will be placed onthe growth potential of occupational/vocational programs,apprenticeships, articulation agreements and dual enrollment witharea high schools as well as establishing partnerships withbusiness and industry.TYPICAL DUTIES:Serves students. Develops, recommends, and monitors Perkinsgrant funded budgets working with AVP; efficiently managesresources/budgets and maximizes financial resources based onapproved funding. Ensures that program and financial reportsare accurately prepared, reviewed and submitted on a timely basisfor Perkins and other grant programs.Works cooperatively with Career and Technical Education directorsand managers to coordinate programs and services to meet studentneeds. Resolves conflicts within all areas of responsibilityincluding but not limited to Career and Technical Education andAcademic sections.Provides leadership and coordination in support of career,technical and emerging occupational education programs andservices. Conducts needs assessments, market surveys and otherresearch to identify viable and sustainable courses, programs andmajors not currently offered. Works collaboratively with AVP,directors, faculty and other relevant staff or external agencies toimplement quality programs into the curriculum.In consultation with the Associate Vice President of WorkforceDevelopment, oversees and participates in the improvement ofinstruction process for full and part-time CTE faculty. Responds toCTE student concerns and inquires. Advises the Associate VicePresident of Workforce Development of short-term and long-termimpacts of new program offerings. Researches the necessary skillsneeded for emerging job classifications which are prominentthroughout the campus service area. Works with and establishespartnerships with regional trade associations, economic developmentagencies, business/industry to identify emerging skills and hiringtrends. Works collaboratively with relevant programs and faculty todevelop partnerships and linkages with business, industry, andcommunity in the procurement of internship opportunities.Promotes a culture predicated on leadership development,student-success, data-driven decision making, programmaticexcellence, and customer service; Works with the other members ofthe Instructional Leadership Team and other areas to promote andensure student success among all instructional programs;Develops strategies for improved recruiting, marketing, andoutreach for programs and works with appropriate college personnelto implement these strategies; Serves on various college committeesas appointed; Teaches a minimum one course within the scope of anacademic year.With the input of industry partners, supports and promotescurriculum development by faculty to respond to student andcommunity needs, including establishment and use of learningoutcomes at the course and programmatic level, and ensures theassessment of said outcomes. Develops and maintains relationshipswith four-year colleges and universities, K-12, regionaloccupational education institutions, and appropriatecommunity-based organizations related to CTE. Support andfacilitate all the Prior Learning Assessment for Career andTechnical Education and other programs in a collegeenvironment.Remains current on legislation and regulations affecting assignedPerkins grant to adjust programs and/or services to assurecompliance. Represents the District in professional development andadvocacy settings at the local, state and federal levels.Support and participate in strategic initiatives and perform otherduties as assigned.QUALIFICATIONS:Required: Master’s Degree from an accredited institution in Business,Education, Public Administration, or a related field.Four years of progressive responsibility and experience inmanagement, program development, and private industry.Demonstrated success with Career and Technical Education.Demonstrated success with Workforce Development programs.Demonstrated success in working collaboratively with people ofdiverse backgrounds.Excellent written and oral communication skills.Demonstrated administrative and budget experience.Demonstrated experience in leadership and management.Supervisory experience required.OrBachelor’s Degree in Business, Education, PublicAdministration, or a related field.Six years of progressive responsibility and experience inmanagement, program development, and private industry.Demonstrated success with Career and Technical Education.Demonstrated success with Workforce Development programs.Demonstrated success in working collaboratively with people ofdiverse backgrounds.Excellent written and oral communication skills.Demonstrated administrative and budget experience.Demonstrated experience in leadership and managementSupervisory experience required.Preferred: More than six (6) years of progressive responsibility inWorkforce Development, Small Business Development, and Career andTechnical Education.Grant writing and management.Seven (7) or more years of supervisory experience.Work Schedule:Exempt position, 12 months, Monday-Thursday, 7:00am-5:00pm. Mayincluded some Fridays, evenings and weekends.CLOSING DATE:Position will close at 5:00 pm on Sunday, April 4, 2021. Firstreview of applications will begin on April 5, 2021. Position mayreopen if suitable candidate is not found.ADDRESS INQUIRIES TO:Arizona Western CollegeHuman ResourcesPhone: (928) 344-7505 / FAX: (928) 317-6001 / TTY: (928)344-7629Email: [email protected] PROCEDURE:The following materials must be uploaded at the time ofapplication. Any materials submitted via e-mail, fax, or mail willnot be accepted. Applications missing any of the below requirementswill be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.1. Completed Application2. Unofficial College/University Transcripts3. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (no more than 3 pages)4. Cover letter/Letter of Interestlast_img read more

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Assistant Professor Visual Art

first_imgAssistant Professor Visual ArtID: 1418Department: College of Visual and Performing ArtsType:Post Date: 10/23/2020Position Available Date: N/ADescriptionThe University of Mary Hardin Baylor’s College of Visual andPerforming Arts seeks qualified faculty for its Art Departmentbeginning Fall 2021, at the rank of Assistant Professor. This is afull-time non-tenure track position that includes teachingresponsibilities and also duties as Art Studio Technician andGallery Director. UMHB seeks faculty who are active Christians anddedicated teacher-scholars to prepare students for leadership,service, and faith-informed discernment in a global society.The Art Department offers BFA and BA undergraduate degree programsthat include Majors in Studio Art, Graphic Design, and ArtEducation.UMHB is conveniently located in Belton, an historic town of 22,000in the heart of central Texas. Nearby cities are Temple (5 miles),Waco (45 miles), Austin (65 miles), San Antonio (130 miles) andDallas/Ft. Worth (130 miles). Excellent schools, abundant culturaland recreational opportunities, and a high quality of life arehallmarks of the local community.Faculty Responsibilities: Activities required ofall faculty include exemplary teaching, curriculum development,student advising; professional attainment; and service todepartment, college, university, and the community.Specific Responsibilities: Teach undergraduatecourses in Foundations and Sculpture; serve as Art StudioTechnician; serve as the Gallery Director for the university’sBaugh Center for the Visual Arts. The teaching load will typicallybe two Art courses each long semester (fall and spring).Responsibilities as Art Studio Technician and Gallery Director willspan both the academic year and additional weeks during the summer(accordingly, the faculty contract will be a 10-month term ratherthan the typical 9-month term).Qualifications: Master of Fine Art instudio art is required; must have broad-based skills in diversestudio practices, including at a minimum ceramics, sculpture,printmaking, and painting. Must possess demonstrated competency inart studio safety practices and protocols. Excellent teaching andcommunication skills, a dedication to professional attainment, andcommitment to quality improvement are essential. Must be an activeand committed Christian. Salaries andBenefits:Competitive salary commensurate with experience, excellent benefitsincluding medical and dental insurance, retirement plan with matchand UMHB tuition benefits for employees and their dependents.Application Deadline:Position will remain open until filled.To Apply:Please click the “Apply Now” link to apply for this position.Please submit a cover letter, CV, transcript copies, and evidenceof quality teaching performance with your online application.Your letter of interest should also respond to UMHB’smission and values, found at http://about.umhb.edu/our-mission.In addition, include in one page or less, a description of your ownChristian beliefs and commitments.Review of applications will begin immediately and continue untilposition is filled.For information regarding employment at the University ofMary Hardin-Baylor, please visit our Careers Site. To apply, visit https://umhb.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a2zc18o9eceq$GUID$last_img read more

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UNBEATABLE ORLEN ARENA: Coralles saves point against Veszprem

first_imgShareTweetShareShareEmailCommentsRodrigo Coralles is a hero of Plock! The Spanish goalkeeper saved 7-meter shot of Veszprem’s star Momir Ilic only few seconds before the final whistle to earn a point for his team and continue “tradition” which began last year with draw of two teams at “Orlen Arena”.Orlen Wisła Płock – Telekom Veszprem 28:28 (13:14)Orlen Wisła: Corrales – Kwiatkowski, Daszek, Duarte 3, Wiśniewski, Ghionea, Rocha 5, T. Gębala, Ivić 8, Tarabochia 3, Pusica 1, Mihić 3, De Toledo 1, Żytnikow 4.Veszprem: Alilović – Schuch, Ilić 2, Palmarsson 8, Gajić, Nilsson 1, Kopljar 2, Marguc 1, Rodriguez, Ancsin 2, Terzić, Blagotinsek, Sulić 7, Fekete 1, Lekai 4.STANDINGS: 8. Kadetten Schaffhausen300377:92(-15)0 5. Bjerringbro-Silkeborg210144:49(-5)2 7. Orlen Wisla Plock301281:89(-8)1 4. SG Flensburg-Handewitt311176:71(5)3 5. THW Kiel210153:53(0)2 HUNGARIAN CUP: Veszprém defeated Szeged in the great battle German trio and Wisla Plock for EHF European League 2021 trophy Related Items:Orlen Wisla Plock, Rodrigo Coralles, Telekom Veszprem ShareTweetShareShareEmail Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Comment Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Recommended for you Telekom Veszprem announce 2021/2022 squad 2. Paris Saint-Germain Handba…320195:83(12)4 2. Telekom Veszprém312084:80(4)4 Click to comment 1. FC Barcelona Lassa330082:75(7)6last_img read more

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Deal on cartel-busting close

first_imgShe added that bilateral agreements to boost cooperation on anti-trust issues were more likely to succeed in the short term than efforts to increase the World Trade Organisation’s influence: a move supported by Van Miert.“It’s my impression that the idea that the WTO should be the competent authority is not shared by the US,” she said. “The idea would be fraught with problems. It would pit countries that bust cartels against ones which actively encourage them. It is just not ready. We want to see improvements in the next two or three years, not when the Messiah comes.” “In the future, if we have a case against companies in the US, we can ask the US to investigate the issue for us. At the same time, the Americans can also ask us to investigate cases for them,” he said. “It also means we can take coordinated action when we both have an interest.”This aspect of the deal will herald the possibility of concerted anti-trust probes. They could include the famous ‘dawn raids’ which cartel offices carry out on unwary companies in order to obtain information about anti-competitive behaviour.However, officials emphasise that the deal will not cover merger investigations such as those involving British Airways and American Airlines.Top US trade sources welcomed the move to increase cooperation between competition authorities.Paula Stern, an economist in charge of a special White House committee looking at international competition cooperation, said the accord was a “very important step”.Stern, who also advises the Transatlantic Business Dialogue between EU and US business leaders, said the deal would help to end the delays which result from lack of cooperation on competition issues, and was “very much in line with the TABD’s line of thinking”. Diplomatic sources say the two trading powers are poised to sign a ground-breaking ‘positive comity’ agreement, thrashed out in principle last year, to boost cooperation in anti-trust probes into firms in each other’s market-places.Under the deal, one set of anti-trust officials either in the EU or US will be allowed to defer or suspend its own enforcement activities, giving the lead to its counterpart on the other side of the Atlantic.This will happen when anti-competitive behaviour by firms based in the US affects consumers and other firms in the EU market and vice versa, explained a spokesman for Competition Commissioner Karel van Miert.last_img read more

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How Silicon Valley became a den of spies

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — In the fall of 1989, during the Cold War’s wan and washed-out final months, the Berlin Wall was crumbling — and so was San Francisco. The powerful Loma Prieta earthquake, the most destructive to hit the region in more than 80 years, felled entire apartment buildings. Freeway overpasses shuddered and collapsed, swallowing cars like a sandpit. Sixty-three people were killed and thousands injured. And local Soviet spies, just like many other denizens of the Bay Area, applied for their share of the nearly $3.5 billion in relief funds allocated by President George H.W. Bush.FBI counterintelligence saw an opening, recalled Rick Smith, who worked on the Bureau’s San Francisco-based Soviet squad from 1972 to 1992. When they discovered that a known Soviet spy, operating under diplomatic cover, had filed a claim, Smith and several other bureau officials posed as federal employees disbursing relief funds to meet with the spy. The goal was to compromise him with repeated payments, then to turn him. “We can offer your full claim,” Smith told the man. “Come meet us again.” He agreed.But the second time, the suspected intel officer wasn’t alone. FBI surveillance teams reported that he was being accompanied by a Russian diplomat known to the FBI as the head of Soviet counterintelligence in San Francisco. The operation, Smith knew, was over — the presence of the Soviet spy boss meant that the FBI’s target had reported the meeting to his superiors — but they had to go through with the meeting anyway. The two Soviet intelligence operatives walked into the office room. The undercover FBI agents, who knew the whole affair had turned farcical, greeted the Soviet counterintelligence chief. “What,” he replied, “You didn’t expect me to come?”We tend to think of espionage in the United States as an East Coast phenomenon: shadowy foreign spies working out of embassies in Washington, or at missions to the United Nations in New York; dead drops in suburban Virginia woodlands, and surreptitious meetings on park benches in Manhattan’s gray dusk.The open, experimental, cosmopolitan work and business culture of Silicon Valley in particular has encouraged a newer, “softer,” “nontraditional” type of espionage.But foreign spies have been showing up uninvited, to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a very long time. According to former U.S. intelligence officials, that’s true today more than ever. In fact, they warn — especially because of increasing Russian and Chinese aggressiveness, and the local concentration of world-leading science and technology firms — there’s a full-on epidemic of espionage on the West Coast right now. And even more worrisome, many of its targets are unprepared to deal with the growing threat.Unlike on the East Coast, foreign intel operations here aren’t as focused on the hunt for diplomatic secrets, political intelligence or war plans. The open, experimental, cosmopolitan work and business culture of Silicon Valley in particular has encouraged a newer, “softer,” “nontraditional” type of espionage, said former intelligence officials — efforts that mostly target trade secrets and technology. “It’s a very subtle form of intelligence collection that is more business connected and oriented,” one told me. But this economic espionage is also ubiquitous. Spies “are very much part of the everyday environment” here, said this person. Another former intelligence official told me that, at one point recently, a full 20 percent of all the FBI’s active counterintelligence-related intellectual property cases had originated in the Bay Area. (The FBI declined to comment for this story.)Political espionage happens here, too. China, for example, is certainly out to steal U.S. technology secrets, noted former intelligence officials, but it also is heavily invested in traditional political intelligence gathering, influence and perception-management operations in California. Former intelligence officials told me that Chinese intelligence once recruited a staff member at a California office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the source reported back to China about local politics. (A spokesperson for Feinstein said the office doesn’t comment on personnel matters or investigations, but noted that no Feinstein staffer in California has ever had a security clearance.) At the Aspen Security Forum last week, FBI director Chris Wray acknowledged the threat Chinese spying in particular poses, saying, “China from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country.” The case of Walter Liew, a Bay Area local who was found guilty in 2014 of selling a highly valuable proprietary pigmentation formula owned by DuPont to a state-owned Chinese conglomerate, is a clearer example.Liew was found guilty of violating the Economic Espionage Act,a landmark 1996 federal law that strengthened penalties for trade theft benefiting a foreign government. San Francisco has played an outsized role in cases involving this law. In fact, the first conviction under the act occurred in San Francisco, in 2006; as did the first sentencing under the law, in 2008; as did the first jury conviction  — of Liew himself — in 2014. All three cases involved China.The Chinese have pursued this strategy “brilliantly” for years, said Puckett. “They put all their efforts into espionage, and get everything for free.”Chinese cyberespionage operations have also targeted a number of Silicon Valley-based technology giants. During a number of attacks, two former intelligence officials told me, Chinese intelligence immediately sought the files of U.S. companies’ legal counsel or other legal documentation, to access Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants or National Security Letters previously issued to these institutions. In other words, the paramount Chinese interest was finding out the extent of the U.S. officials’ knowledge about China’s own intelligence operatives — and in adjusting their behavior accordingly. “If in fact the person in question was Chinese intelligence,” said this former official, “they could then alter their approach.” This strategy began being observed during a hack of Google, said two former officials, that occurred about a decade ago.Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow | Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesWhile China and Russia demand the lion’s share of counterintelligence resources in the Bay Area, a number of friendly intelligence services are also active in Silicon Valley, said former intelligence officials. South Korea, according to one, has become “formidable” in the realm of economic espionage, with particular sophistication in cyberespionage. U.S. officials have had to issue “stern warnings” to South Korea to “stop hacking” within the United States, said this person. (The South Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to requests for comment.)Israel is also active in the Bay Area — but it’s complicated. According to one former intelligence official, Israel has “a culture that facilitates and encourages acquisition of targeted companies” — in other words, it will use information it has gathered locally to cajole or incentivize private Israeli firms to purchase specific start-ups or other Silicon Valley-based tech companies. Throughout the 2000s, said former officials, French intelligence employed a similar strategy. And if California is elevated among Chinese interests, San Francisco is like “nirvana” to the MSS, said one former official, because of the potential to target community leaders and local politicians who may later become mayors, governors or congressmen. Their efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated.An Uber self-driving car in San Francisco | Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSometimes these recruitment efforts have been successful. According to four former intelligence officials, in the 2000s, a staffer in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Francisco field office was reporting back to the MSS. While this person, who was a liaison to the local Chinese community, was fired, charges were never filed against him. (One former official reasoned this was because the staffer was providing political intelligence and not classified information — making prosecution far more difficult.) The suspected informant was “run” by officials based at China’s San Francisco Consulate, said another former intelligence official. The spy’s handler “probably got an award back in China” for his work, noted this former official, dryly.Or take the case of Rose Pak. Pak, who died in September 2016, was for decades one of San Francisco’s preeminent political power brokers. Though she never held elective office, she was famous for making and unmaking mayors, city councilmen (or “supervisors,” as they’re known in San Francisco), and pushing city contracts to her allies and constituents in Chinatown.According to four former intelligence officials, there were widespread concerns that Pak had been co-opted by Chinese intelligence, and was wielding influence over San Francisco politics in ways purposefully beneficial to the Chinese government. Another worry, U.S. officials said, was Pak’s role in organizing numerous junkets to China, sometimes led by Pak in person and attended (often multiple times) by many prominent Bay Area politicians, including former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who died while in office in 2017. Political junkets are used by Chinese intelligence for surveillance (“every single hotel room is bugged,” one former official told me) and collection purposes, as well as for spotting and assessing potential recruits, said former intel officials. (There is no indication that Pak herself participated in, or had knowledge of, specific intelligence-gathering efforts.) Concerns about Pak’s links to the Chinese Communist Party occasionally percolated into local political debate, but the intelligence community’s identification of Pak as a likely agent of influence for Beijing is being reported here for the first time.Occasionally, Chinese intelligence activities in San Francisco burst into plain view. Consider the story — and it is an incredible one, also told here for the first time — of the 2008 Olympic Torch Run. San Francisco was the only U.S. city to host the Olympic torch as it made its way, tortuously, to Beijing. And Chinese officials were very concerned about disruptions to the run by protesters, as well as in managing the image China projected to the rest of the world in the run-up to the games.Chinese intelligence has long focused on surveilling, and attempting to control, Chinese nationals studying abroad. Russian intelligence has had an intensive interest in San Francisco stretching back to the beginning of the Cold War. In those days, the Russians were primarily gathering information on local military installations, said former officials, including the Presidio, the strategically located former military base set on a wind-swept northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.Since then, Russian operations have become bolder, with one notable exception: the immediate post-Cold War period. “The only time there was a collective sigh regarding Russia, like maybe things have changed, was under Gorbachev,” said LaRae Quy, who worked on Russian and Chinese counterintelligence in the Bay Area from 1985 to 2002. “We even put in a big ‘Going Out Of Business’ sign in the Palo Alto squad room.”But this optimism quickly faded when Putin was elected in 2000, recalled Quy, who retired in 2006. “Russia has been steadily escalating since then.”Intel officials have suspected that Russian spies were enlisting local high-end Russian and Eastern European prostitutes to gather information from (and on) Bay Area tech and venture-capital executives.As the Bay Area transformed itself into a tech hub, Russia adapted its efforts accordingly, with Russian spies increasingly focused on obtaining information on valuable, sensitive or potentially duel-use technologies — those with both civilian and military applications — being developed or financed by companies or venture-capital firms based in the region. Russia’s espionage activities have traditionally been centered on its San Francisco Consulate, which was forcibly closed by the Trump administration in early September 2017.But even with the consulate shuttered, there are alternative vehicles for Russian intelligence-gathering in Silicon Valley. One potential mechanism, said three former intelligence officials, is Rusnano USA, the sole U.S. subsidiary of Rusnano, a Russian government-owned venture capital firm primarily focused on nanotechnology. Rusnano USA, which was founded in 2011, is located in Menlo Park, near Stanford University. “Some of the [potential intelligence-gathering] activities Rusnano USA was involved in were not only related to the acquisition of technology, but also inserting people into venture capital groups, in developing those relationships in Silicon Valley that allowed them to get their tentacles into everything,” one former intelligence official told me. “And Rusnano USA was kind of the mechanism for that.” Making it even more complicated, said multiple former U.S. intel officials, many foreign intel “collectors” in the Bay Area are not spies in the traditional sense of the term. They aren’t based out of embassies or consulates, and may be associated with a state-owned business or research institute rather than an intelligence agency. Chinese officials, in particular, often cajole or outright threaten Chinese nationals (or U.S. citizens with family members in China) working or studying locally to provide them with valuable technological information.Fog overtakes the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images“You get into situations where you have really good, really bright, conscientious people, twisted by their home government,” said a chief security officer at a major cloud storage company whose company maintains sensitive government contracts. U.S.-based Chinese employees of this company have had Chinese government officials attempt to “leverage” these individuals’ family members in China, this person told me. The company now requires employees working on certain projects to be U.S. citizens.And yet, it’s not clear that the Bay Area — historically famous for its liberalism, and now infamous for its madcap capitalism — is prepared to handle this escalation and these new tactics. Tech firms, especially start-ups, lack incentives to report potential espionage to U.S. officials;and businesses and universities are often ignorant about the espionage threat, or so attuned to local political sensitivities they may fear being accused of stereotyping if they attempt to institute more stringent defensive security and screening measures.As Silicon Valley continues to take over the world, the local spy war will only get hotter — and the consequences will resonate far beyond Northern California. This story is based on extensive conversations with more than half a dozen former intelligence community officials with direct knowledge of, or experience with, U.S. counterintelligence activities in the Bay Area. All requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters more openly. A few other individuals, all of whom worked counterintelligence in the Bay Area from the early 1970s through the mid-2000s, agreed to be interviewed on the record.As one former senior intelligence official put it: “San Francisco is a trailblazer — you see the changes there in foreign counterintelligence first. Trends emerge there.” If we want to understand a world where Russian and Chinese are ramping up their spy games against the United States, then we need to pay attention to what’s happening in San Francisco.* * * So they decided to leave nothing to chance. According to three former intelligence officials, Chinese MSS and Ministry of Public Security (MPS) officers flew in to San Francisco from abroad for the occasion, joining suspected MSS officers based in the Bay Area. (At the time, the diplomat responsible for Overseas Chinese Affairs at China’s San Francisco Consulate was a suspected MSS officer, said two of these former officials.) U.S. officials watched as Chinese intelligence officers filmed Tibetan monks on their march across the Golden Gate Bridge, and known Chinese spies surveilled a pro-Tibet rally downtown featuring Desmond Tutu and Richard Gere. Chinese spies also recorded participants in a Falun Gong rally in Union Square, and shot footage of protestors at the torch run itself.Most brazenly, said former intelligence agents, Chinese officials bussed in 6,000-8,000 J-Visa holding students — threatening them with the loss of Chinese government funding — from across California to disrupt Falun Gong, Tibetan, Uighur and pro-democracy protesters. (They even provided these students with a box lunch.) “I’m not sure they would have pulled out these stops in any other city, but San Francisco is special” to China, said a former senior U.S. official.Counterintelligence officers possessed advance knowledge about some aspects of this operation and observed Chinese intelligence officers, who often wore earpieces connected to a radio, managing the movements of counterprotesters, directing blocs of pro-PRC students to intimidate, disrupt and overwhelm anti-Beijing protesters across the parade route. Chinese intelligence officers would “communicate with each other, and say, ‘We’ve got three Tibetan monks about to do a reading on Pier 39 — I need you to move bloc A and bloc B to that location so we can drown them out,’” recalled another former official. “So they’d move these groups around to prevent any protests along the Embarcadero.”“We got pissed off,” said the same former intelligence official, because the Chinese “were interfering with the free expression of opinion” at the torch relay — their operation was, in essence, an effort by a hostile foreign intelligence service to forcibly suppress First Amendment activities in a major American city.A rally in Washington against China’s alleged abuses in Tibet | Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesDisagreements between the FBI and the State Department, which counseled a more restrained approach, prevented U.S. intelligence personnel from interfering directly in Chinese activities during the torch run itself, said this former intel official. (The State Department said it does not comment on intelligence matters.) The same source noted that U.S. intelligence officials did, however, pass information about the torch run to their Australian counterparts — the torch was later scheduled to pass through Canberra — which denied visas to some of the Chinese intelligence officers responsible for the melee in San Francisco.Chinese intelligence has long focused on surveilling, and attempting to control, Chinese nationals studying abroad. One well-documented mechanism for this effort has been the use of Chinese Students and Scholars Associations groups on university campuses. The connectivity between individual campus CSSAs and local Chinese diplomatic facilities varies. Some groups are unreceptive to the intercession or influence of Chinese government officials, but many consider themselves to be under the direct “guidance” of their local consulate or embassy, receiving funds from these institutions. “Intelligence officers in diplomatic facilities are the primary point of contact for students in CSSAs,” said one former official. In an email response, a spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., wrote that “the allegations are totally untrue and downright ridiculous. Israel does not conduct espionage in the United States.” A spokesperson for the French Embassy declined to comment.There is disagreement, however, within the U.S. intelligence community about the amount of resources that should be devoted to what is, in essence, a “soft” form of spying by U.S. allies. “I get they try to get advantages from economic espionage,” said another former senior intelligence official, “but is French espionage worth that much emotional discharge, given what the Russians are up to?”* * *There’s another big challenge to doing counterintelligence work in the Bay Area, say these officials: getting the cooperation of local private-sector actors, especially in tech. Indeed, said former intelligence officials, not only do many cases of economic espionage not reach the prosecution stage here, they often go unreported entirely.This has been a longstanding source of friction in the Valley. “The biggest problem we had — really, seriously — with a lot of these companies is that they wouldn’t prosecute,” said Larae Quy, the former Palo Alto-based FBI counterintelligence agent who retired in 2006. “They would have an employee sell technology to, say, the Russians or the Chinese, and rather than let their stockholders or investors know about it, they just let it walk. So, we’ve caught the guy, or we have information and we’d like to take it to the next level, and they don’t want to push it because of the bad press that gets out. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world.”Silicon Valley firms continue to downplay, or outright conceal, the extent to which the theft of trade secrets and other acts of economic espionage occur, said multiple former officials. “Coming forward and saying you didn’t have controls in place — that totally impacts shareholder or investor value,” noted one former intelligence official. “Especially when you’re dealing with startups or mid-level companies that are looking for funding, that’s a big deal. You’re basically announcing to the world, especially if you’re potentially going forward with a public trial, that you were not able to protect your information.” But some of these links between these student groups and Chinese officials are covert, and even coercive. In one case in the mid-2000s in the Midwest, a student affiliated with a CSSA reported another Chinese student’s contact with the FBI to an MSS officer operating under diplomatic cover in Chicago, said a former intelligence official. The student was quickly flown out of the country. And, roughly half a decade ago in the Bay Area, counterintelligence officials believed that a graduate student affiliated with the Berkeley CSSA was working for the MSS, and reporting on the activities of other Chinese students on campus, said another former official.* * *When it comes to economic espionage in particular, Chinese intelligence employs a more decentralized strategy than Russia does, former intelligence officials told me. China draws from a much larger population pool to achieve its objectives — using opportunistic businessmen, ardent nationalists, students, travelers and others alike. One former intelligence official likened China’s approach to an “Oklahoma land rush” — an attempt to grab as much targeted proprietary technology or IP as possible, as quickly as possible, through as many channels as possible.Chinese intelligence also undertakes very intentional efforts to recruit insiders placed within organizations whose technologies they are interested in, said the same former intelligence official. “They are very good at softly recruiting people, and taking advantage of vulnerabilities” — including via threats — “and they are very patient in putting different parts of it together. We’ve seen them repeatedly save money and time that the U.S. spends on research and development.”The July 2018 arrest of Silicon Valley-based Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang, who allegedly stole proprietary information about Apple’s self-driving car program to benefit his new employer, a China-based competitor, appears to fit this pattern. (Zhang was charged with theft of trade secrets and has not been accused of any espionage-related crimes. He maintains his innocence.)Chinese cyberespionage operations have also targeted a number of Silicon Valley-based technology giants. Rusnano’s interests, said this former official, have extended to technology with both civilian and potential military applications. U.S. intelligence officials were very concerned about contacts between Rusnano USA employees and suspected Russian intelligence officers based at Russia’s San Francisco Consulate and elsewhere, this person said.“The Russians treated [Rusnano USA] as an intelligence platform, from which they launched operations,” said another former U.S. intelligence official. (Rusnano USA and the Russian Embassy in Washington, did not respond to requests for comment.)If California is elevated among Chinese interests, San Francisco is like “nirvana” to the MSS.Russia also employs older, tried-and-true methods locally. Intel officials have suspected that Russian spies were enlisting local high-end Russian and Eastern European prostitutes, in a classic Russian “honeypot” maneuver, to gather information from (and on) Bay Area tech and venture-capital executives. Sex workers targeting executives at high-end bars and nightclubs such as the Rosewood Sand Hill, an ultra-luxury hotel located near many of Silicon Valley’s top financial firms — infamous for its raucous, hook-up oriented Thursday nights — the Redwood Room, a tony bar located in the Clift Hotel in downtown San Francisco, and other spots have been identified as potentially reporting back to Russian intel officers, said another former official. “If I were a Russian intelligence officer, and I knew that these high-end girls were dragging CEOs of major companies back to their rooms, I’d be paying them for info too,” said this person. “It’s that whole idea of concentric rings: You don’t need to be on the inside, you just need somebody on the inside that you have access to.”* * *Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election has given Putin’s regime an outsized role in the national conversation on espionage. But talk to former intel officials, and many will say that China poses an equal, if not greater, long-term threat. “The Chinese just have vast resources,” said Kathleen Puckett, who worked counterintelligence in the Bay Area from 1979 to 2007. “They have all the time in the world, and all the patience in the world. Which is what you need more than anything.” (China’s Embassy in Washington, did not respond to requests for comment.)Because of California’s economic and political importance, as well as its large, well-established, and influential émigré and Chinese-American communities, the People’s Republic places great weight on its intelligence activities here, said multiple former intelligence officials. Indeed, two told me that California is the only U.S. state to which the Ministry of State Security — China’s main foreign intelligence agency — has had a dedicated unit, focused on political intelligence and influence operations. (China has had a similar unit for Washington.) As Silicon Valley’s global clout grows, so will its magnet-like attraction for the world’s spooks.The open, start-up culture in the Bay Area has also complicated U.S. counterintelligence efforts, said former officials, because Russian and Chinese operatives have an easier time infiltrating organizations without any security systems or hierarchies in place. These services like penetrating young companies and start-ups, noted one former official, because “it’s always better to get in at ground floor” when seeking to pilfer valuable information or technology.The exorbitant cost of living in Silicon Valley, however, means that opportunities for tech employees — and potential spies or co-optees — to “get in at the ground floor” are becoming increasingly uncommon. The tech industry, chasing talent and lower overheard, is now spread more widely across the country than ever before. And this diffusion will create new vulnerabilities. Consequently, places like Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Boulder, Colorado — both midsized cities with thriving tech industries — will likely see an uptick in counterintelligence cases. (One former intelligence official noted that the FBI’s office in Austin, Texas, has built up its counterintelligence capacities.)But spies will never leave Silicon Valley. As the region’s global clout grows, so will its magnet-like attraction for the world’s spooks. As one former U.S. intelligence official put it, spies are pulled toward the Bay Area “like moths to the light.” And the region will help define the struggle for global preeminence — especially between the United States and China — for decades to come.Zach Dorfman is senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.last_img read more

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