What's Important in the Financial World (11/14/2012)


A Scary Federal Budget Deficit

The federal budget deficit rose 22% in October to $120 billion, compared to the same period last year. Most analysts believe that the figure makes it almost certain that the annual deficit will be more than $1 trillion in the government's current fiscal year. This should scare most politicians into finding a solution to the fiscal cliff dilemma. It certainly has frightened the labor and business leaders who visited the president to express concerns and offer solutions. Some large companies went so far as to say that layoffs were inevitable if no solutions are approved before year's end. Fox News reports:

Tax revenue increased to $184.3 billion - 13 percent greater than the same month last year. Still, spending also rose to $304.3 billion, a 16.4 percent jump. The budget year begins on Oct. 1. Officials said last year's figures were held down by a quirk in the calendar: the first day of October fell on a Saturday, which resulted in some benefits being paid in September 2011.

Government Surveillance via Google

Governments have been using Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) flagship product to spy on people. A nicer way to put that is "government requests" that Google receives as part of the search process. Luckily, Google does not let the government actions remain unseen. The Google Transparency operation has just released data on government use for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2012. According to the report:

This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.

100 Million Dropbox Users

Dropbox, the online storage company that many people think will file for an initial public offering, has hit a member milestone. It has 100 million users. The firm describes itself as "a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them." Nothing is free forever. Dropbox accounts used to store unusually large amounts of data require payment of a fee. Dropbox announced:

Five years pass more quickly than you'd think!

Once upon a time, Dropbox had its humble beginnings in a Boston train station when I forgot my USB stick at home. We're still unsure if it was fate or fluke, but one thing's stayed the same all these years: each of us has a unique reason for using Dropbox.

100 million reasons later, we're still building and improving Dropbox not only for ourselves, but also for all of you and your awesome stories that continue to inspire us.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: featured, GOOG