France Sanctions Clearview AI €20M for Violating GDPR Rules

Clearview AI, the New York-based facial recognition firm that is targeting 100 billion facial images in its database by the close of 2022, has been fined €20 million ($19.7 million) by France’s data protection authority, the CNIL, for what the agency says is the illegal collection and processing of personal biometric data belonging to French citizens. The fine comes after the CNIL last year ordered Clearview to cease data collection and delete its existing database, instructions the company reportedly ignored. This is Clearview’s third breach of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) pertaining to France. Continue reading France Sanctions Clearview AI €20M for Violating GDPR Rules

Netflix Reportedly Bumping Up Ad-Tier Launch to November

Netflix has reportedly moved the timeline for launching its ad-supported subscription tier to November 1 in an effort to get to market before the December 8 debut of the Disney+ tier with advertising. Over the summer, Netflix told investors it planned to launch the lower-priced alternative tier “around the early part of 2023,” a strategy that appears to have shifted, with a Q4 rollout that is expected to include the U.S., Canada, Germany, France and the UK. The streamer is also said to be discussing a pricey $65 CPM rate per thousand impressions. Netflix characterized the conjecture as “speculation.” Continue reading Netflix Reportedly Bumping Up Ad-Tier Launch to November

YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

YouTube is launching an online streaming video store and is in talks with entertainment companies to engage their participation. Internally referred to as a “channel store,” it could reportedly be open for business as early as this fall. Currently, subscribers who pay $64.99-a-month for the YouTube TV package of cable channels can add services such as HBO Max. The new marketplace would let consumers add streaming services a la carte via the main YouTube app. YouTube, a division of Alphabet-owned Google, will be competing with platforms including Amazon, Apple and Roku, which all have hubs that sell streaming video services. Continue reading YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

The business-oriented Magic Leap 2 AR headsets will debut in three models on September 30 in global territories including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Magic Leap 2 Base starts at $3,299. There is a midrange Magic Leap 2 Developer Pro, working up to the Magic Leap 2 Enterprise, which sells for $4,999. Smaller and lighter than its 2018 predecessor, Magic Leap 2 comes with a hip-worn AMD processor, offers a wide field of view, and has a dimmer that can be applied to background visuals to make virtual objects pop. In the U.S., Magic Leap 2 will be available through IT solutions reseller Insight.  Continue reading Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

Snapchat+ Subscription Tier Launches in Limited Territories

Snap Inc. is beginning the rollout of Snapchat+,  a subscription tier promising “exclusive, experimental and prerelease features” as well as priority support for a monthly fee of $3.99. Targeting “our most passionate users,” Snapchat+ will be available at launch in the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with plans for further expansion as the tier evolves. The Snapchat+ launch follows similar moves by Twitter, with Twitter Blue, and Meta Platforms, with Facebook Subscriptions as social platforms seek to supplement advertising with additional revenue streams. Continue reading Snapchat+ Subscription Tier Launches in Limited Territories

TikTok Expected to Triple Ad Revenue to $12 Billion in 2022

TikTok had its first official presence at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity on the French Riviera, where the ByteDance mobile video platform competed with the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Activision Blizzard, Spotify, Reddit and Meta Platforms for the attention of the world’s biggest brands and top advertising agencies. Touting its viral appeal and popularity among key demographics including Gen Z, millennials and social influencers, the company hosted a cabana on the beach with dedicated space to make TikTok videos, held meetings in a nearby suite and participated onstage at the Palais des Festivals. Continue reading TikTok Expected to Triple Ad Revenue to $12 Billion in 2022

Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Google News is trying to keep peace with publishers while adding functionality to its feed with a revamped desktop that lets users customize up to three topics on the home screen. For example, Local News, World News and Top Picks can be set to display across three-columns. Meanwhile, the global payment battle between content providers and Alphabet’s aggregator has achieved closure in France, where the competition authority said a settlement has been reached after a two-year legal battle and a $525 million fine. Terms include a pledge from Google to give news providers estimates of indirect revenue generated from news content that appears in its search results. Continue reading Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

The U.S. and European Union are seeking to establish joint policies that advance cooperation and democratic approaches to trade, technology, and security on both sides of the Atlantic. The second meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) — May 15-16 in Saclay, near Paris — emphasized how Washington, Brussels and other free-market democracies should develop a joint response to the challenges presented by dictatorships and their controlled economies. In addition to semiconductor supply chain issues, topics including China’s digital clout, export controls for technology IP and human rights were discussed. Continue reading The U.S. and European Union Strategize Global Tech Policies

Paramount Global’s Streaming Subs Exceed 62 Million in Q1

Paramount Global’s worldwide streaming subscribers for Paramount+ and Showtime rose to more than 62 million in Q1, driven by Paramount+, which added 6.8 million for a total of close to 40 million, the company said in its earnings report. Paramount+ is poised to add the United Kingdom and South Korea to its global portfolio next month, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish told investors Tuesday. Paramount+ plans to launch in Italy, Germany, France and Austria in the second half of 2022, and in India next year. Pluto TV also grew, launching over 102 new channels internationally, totaling more than 1,000 global channels. Continue reading Paramount Global’s Streaming Subs Exceed 62 Million in Q1

Snap Reveals Director Mode, Drone Camera, Live Nation Deal

Snap announced a multi-year partnership with Live Nation that centers on its augmented reality initiative. Fans attending select Live Nation concerts will be able to access custom AR experiences created on the Snap AR developer platform “with help from Snap’s creative studio Arcadia.” At the Snap Partner Summit the company also unveiled new tools for AR shopping and a Director Mode for creators. A Lens Cloud feature lets clients store AR content on Snap servers for dynamic multi-user distribution. Also unveiled, the new Pixy “flying camera” that makes selfies a breeze. Continue reading Snap Reveals Director Mode, Drone Camera, Live Nation Deal

Gen Z Is Drawn to BeReal, a Photo App with No Ads or Filters

French mobile app BeReal, available for iOS and Android smartphones, has become a hit with Gen Z users. Pitched as an authentic alternative to image-driven social apps like Instagram and TikTok, college students and other young adults have driven what Sensor Tower says are nearly 6.8 million downloads in the past two years. BeReal’s primary feature is it pings all users at the same time, once every 24 hours, prompting them to snap and post a photo. Timing of the prompt changes every day in an effort to catch users at random unprepared moments. Continue reading Gen Z Is Drawn to BeReal, a Photo App with No Ads or Filters

Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

The White House has issued a warning about hackers attempting to disrupt the energy grid and other industrial control systems with “a Swiss Army knife” of custom-coded malicious software. A joint bulletin issued by the FBI, NSA, DHS and Energy Department cautioned businesses to be on the lookout for “advanced persistent threat actors,” or APTAs, a commonly used way to describe state-backed hackers. Specific reference was made to devices from Japanese electronics firm Omron and the French firm Schneider Electric, suppliers of industrial automation equipment. Continue reading Agencies Warn That Hackers Are Targeting Control Systems

Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

Intel unveiled plans to invest an initial $19 billion to construct new leading-edge semiconductor fab mega-sites in Magdeburg, Germany; an R&D and design hub in France; and R&D, manufacturing and foundry facilities in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. The plan could see as much as $88 billion invested “along the entire semiconductor value chain” in the EU over the decade, according to the Santa Clara-based chipmaker, which says it wants to introduce a next-generation chip ecosystem while offsetting reliance on Asia for a more “resilient supply chain.” Continue reading Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

CES: Fittingbox Demonstrates Unexpectedly Useful AR App

Sometimes you see a product idea that is so obvious you wonder why no one created it sooner. French company Fittingbox has developed an augmented reality app and a 3D model database that lets you try on new frames for eyewear without taking off your old glasses, so you can actually see what you look like as you try them on. Diminished reality is a subset of augmented reality focused on removing, rather than adding, elements of what you see and hear. The Fittingbox app uses the selfie camera on a smartphone to scan the face of the customer. It then recognizes and removes the wearer’s glasses from the 3D modeled image. Continue reading CES: Fittingbox Demonstrates Unexpectedly Useful AR App

Twitter Earns Praise for Transparency in Its Research Findings

Twitter has earned praise for transparency after it published “unflattering” research findings. The company analyzed “millions of Tweets” in an attempt to measure how its recommendation algorithms handle political content, and subsequently reported that it amplifies more content from right-wing politicians and media outlets than from left-wing sources. The findings, which were released in late October, were well-received at a time when social platforms are fast to tout positive findings, but quickly discredit critical data, as was the case with Facebook and whistleblower Frances Haugen. Continue reading Twitter Earns Praise for Transparency in Its Research Findings