Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Since 1995, European businesses and organizations have operated under data protection rules specific to an era of much less digital data. To update the rules, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will launch on May 25, 2018, and numerous GDPR experts are ready to profit off of their offer to help businesses get ready. U.K. information commissioner Elizabeth Denham dubs much of the activity as “scaremongering,” saying that companies that complied with the older rules won’t have to deal with major changes. Continue reading Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom’s Offer, But Deal Is Still In Play

Qualcomm turned down Broadcom’s offer to acquire the company for $105 billion, with its board stating that the offer both significantly undervalues the company and could be beset by regulatory issues. Broadcom, which will seek other avenues to make the deal, says it is committed to the acquisition. Should Broadcom acquire Qualcomm, the merger of these two titans of chip manufacturing would create a single behemoth controlling chip production for everything from consumer devices to data centers. Continue reading Qualcomm Rejects Broadcom’s Offer, But Deal Is Still In Play

The Rapid Expansion of Bitcoin Networks Called Off for Now

Bitcoin supporters that wanted to double the number of transactions that run through Bitcoin-supported networks have lost the fight, at least temporarily, to do so. They were opposed by another camp composed of many programmers working on Bitcoin who worried that too rapid expansion would make it easier for a government or company to exert influence over a system prized for being decentralized. Those who wanted to expand Bitcoin wanted to switch to a new software version that would have created a split in the network. Continue reading The Rapid Expansion of Bitcoin Networks Called Off for Now

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt has always wondered what it would be like to apply all his company’s technology to a city. The company’s founders got excited about the idea, and now it’s about to become a reality. Plucked out of half a dozen proposals, Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet subsidiary, will work with Canadian government officials and other technologists to develop 800 acres of waterfront property in Toronto, creating a potential model of the smart city and licensing its technologies to other cities. Continue reading Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Facebook developed mapping technology that has allowed it to create a data map of the human population in 23 countries so far. The map can zero in on any man-made structure as close as five meters, in any country on earth. Facebook says it is using the data to understand how humans are distributed around the planet, and thus be able to determine the best way to provide them with Internet access, via land, air or space. The goal is to create a “multi-pronged” Internet network to serve under-connected populations. Continue reading Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

FTC Approves Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Market

Federal antitrust regulators approved Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market yesterday, shortly after Whole Foods shareholders voted to approve the deal. The $13.4 billion acquisition “will give Amazon a major brick-and-mortar presence with more than 460 stores in a huge retail category where success has eluded the company,” reports The New York Times. “Amazon has run an Internet grocery business, AmazonFresh, for a decade, but it accounts for less than a 2 percent share of total grocery spending in the United States.” The Federal Trade Commission concluded that the proposed merger would not harm competition. Continue reading FTC Approves Amazon’s Acquisition of Whole Foods Market

In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are among those that have raised concerns regarding our pursuit of artificial intelligence, while Musk has recently gone so far to suggest that AI presents “more risk than North Korea” and should be regulated, like “everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc.) that’s a danger to the public.” Our colleague Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s Data & Analytics Project, published a compelling rebuttal on Medium this week, in which he clearly defines “narrow AI” and “artificial general intelligence” in order to provide additional context regarding the evolution of AI applications and their numerous possibilities. Continue reading In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

China Set to Toughen IP Laws in Pursuit of Tech Dominance

China wants to become the most dominant nation in artificial intelligence, and it’s got three advantages that might help that become a reality. In addition to strong government support, which includes a willingness to share data about its citizens, China also has an immense number of engineers to write software and 751 million Internet users who can test out the work they do. As China seeks to gain market share, President Xi Jinping seeks to strengthen intellectual property laws to give its startups an advantage. Continue reading China Set to Toughen IP Laws in Pursuit of Tech Dominance

Facebook Takes New Tack by Approving Social App in China

Facebook has made several efforts over the years to encourage China to lift the 2009 block against its social platform and many of its apps. In May, the company approved a photo-sharing app called Colorful Balloons that doesn’t have the Facebook name attached but is similar in look, function and feel to Facebook’s Moments app. According to an unnamed source, a local Chinese company debuted the app without any hint of a Facebook affiliation. China imposes strict censorship on the Internet, including on news websites and apps. Continue reading Facebook Takes New Tack by Approving Social App in China

SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

SenseTime Co., a Beijing-based startup founded in 2014 that sells its facial recognition systems to the Chinese police, just scored $410 million in new venture capital funding that values the company at more than $1.5 billion. The valuation, which makes the company a unicorn, underscores how such surveillance technologies are increasing in importance. Facial recognition breaks down a face into measurements that create a template, and SenseTime uses artificial intelligence to match faces against those in an image database. Continue reading SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

Katy Perry Is First to Achieve 100 Million Followers on Twitter

Singer Katy Perry, who joined Twitter in early 2009 and just released a new album called “Witness,” has become the first to achieve the 100 million follower milestone on the social platform. “The second most-followed Twitter account belongs to Justin Bieber, who currently has 96.7 million followers,” according to Variety. “Next in line are Barack Obama (90.8 million), Taylor Swift (85.1 million) and Rihanna (74.1 million).” While these figures do not specify the number of spam accounts or bots, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said bogus bots represent less than 5 percent of accounts. Perry also broke her own YouTube record last month when single “Bon Appetit” reached 16.8 million views in just 24 hours. Continue reading Katy Perry Is First to Achieve 100 Million Followers on Twitter

Facebook’s New Mission Statement Emphasizes Global Issues

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg just released a 6,000 word document outlining the company’s new role in “social infrastructure,” to address terrorism, disease, climate change and other global woes. He suggested ways that the 13-year old company can work with governments, nonprofit organizations and other companies. Zuckerberg revealed that the company is building products and developing tools to fight the spread of fake news, and use AI to detect terrorism propaganda as well as promote global political engagement. Continue reading Facebook’s New Mission Statement Emphasizes Global Issues

Yahoo: Second Data Breach Involves 1 Billion User Accounts

In September, Yahoo revealed a 2014 security breach that involved 500,000 of its users’ accounts. Now the company has announced an even larger data breach from 2013 involving more than one billion accounts, including those of more than 150,000 government and military employees. “The two attacks are the largest known security breaches of one company’s computer network,” reports The New York Times. “The newly disclosed 2013 attack involved sensitive user information, including names, telephone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and unencrypted security questions that could be used to reset a password.” Continue reading Yahoo: Second Data Breach Involves 1 Billion User Accounts

Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Former rivals DraftKings and FanDuel announced they plan to merge their daily fantasy sports operations into one company, to be run by DraftKings CEO Jason Robins. FanDuel chief exec Nigel Eccles will become chairman. The board will include three directors each from DraftKings and FanDuel, plus an independent director, while headquarters will be divided between New York and Boston offices. The deal, which aims to increase innovation by freeing up money, is expected to close during the second half of next year. Continue reading Daily Fantasy Sports: FanDuel and DraftKings Agree to Merge

Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

China has adopted a broad and controversial cybersecurity law that places new requirements on tech companies, which foreign businesses fear may be used to negatively affect competition. The law, designed to tighten state control over technology and information while ramping up online security, addresses areas such as data storage, technical support, censorship and government certification of hardware. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The law drew criticism from foreign business groups due to the expansive list of sectors that are defined as part of China’s ‘critical information infrastructure,’ making sectors including telecommunications, energy, transportation, information services and finance subject to security checks.” Continue reading Global Tech Firms Wary of China’s Broad Cybersecurity Law

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