Libra Is Challenged by European Commission, U.S. Senators

Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra has faced another setback, this time in the European Union, which plans to introduce legislation to prevent it from competing with Europe’s single currency. European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis, in charge of regulation, said Libra is a systemic risk to the Euro, “both from the perspective of financial stability and the protection of financial investors.” In the U.S., two Democratic senators urged Mastercard, Visa and Stripe to reconsider their support of Libra. Continue reading Libra Is Challenged by European Commission, U.S. Senators

FAA Approves Commercial Delivery For Alphabet’s Drones

Wing Aviation, a unit of Alphabet, received the Federal Aviation Administration’s first authorization to deliver consumer goods via drone. Being first is a coup for Google’s parent company and a harbinger that many other companies — Amazon among them — will soon launch drone delivery services. Not long ago, officials predicted that the FAA wouldn’t implement the first rules for unmanned aircraft delivery until 2020 or 2021. The current FAA permit for Wing Aviation only includes a rural area around Blacksburg, Virginia. Continue reading FAA Approves Commercial Delivery For Alphabet’s Drones

At Davos, a Call for Worldwide Oversight of Tech, Including AI

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several countries’ leaders called for a global regulation of technology. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is chair of the Group of 20 nations (G20) this year, said he would push for an international system to oversee use of data when the group meets for its annual June summit in Osaka. Abe he would like the Osaka G20 to be “the summit that started worldwide data governance,” with a focus on expanding World Trade Organization rules to include data. Continue reading At Davos, a Call for Worldwide Oversight of Tech, Including AI

Google Fined 50 Million Euros Under EU’s New Privacy Laws

Google and Facebook had a rough 2018 regarding data privacy, but the advertisers haven’t abandoned the two tech giants and their profits continue to soar. This year may be even tougher as concern about privacy grows. In fact, French regulators levied a 50 million Euro (about $57 million) fine on Google, for not clearly disclosing how data collected across its sites are used to personalize ads. Experts believe the behavior of big tech companies will be a “major topic” at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Continue reading Google Fined 50 Million Euros Under EU’s New Privacy Laws

DTR and Academics Tackle Faster, Scalable Cryptocurrency

A group of professors from universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley are at work on the Unit-e, a “globally scalable” cryptocurrency that can achieve blazing speeds and retain Bitcoin’s vaunted decentralization. Unit-e will be the first project of the non-profit Distributed Technologies Research (DTR), an academic-formed foundation supported by hedge fund Pantera Capital Management. They hope to design a coin that will process transactions faster than Visa. Continue reading DTR and Academics Tackle Faster, Scalable Cryptocurrency

Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

Get ready for more ads to appear on Twitter. The social platform is introducing sponsored Moments, which will bring brand sponsorship to its Moments publisher feature. Sponsored Moments are collections of tweets that are purposely packaged around an event or theme, such as an awards show or sports championship. Brands can run promoted tweets inside the collection and add branding to the cover image. For example, Bank of America recently sponsored a collection of tweets from Bloomberg about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Continue reading Twitter Pursues Advertising Revenue With Sponsored Moments

CES: Kudelski CEO Brings Content, Data & Security Together

“In a world where everything is digital, the two assets to protect are content and analytics,” said André Kudelski, chairman and CEO of the Kudelski Group, the parent company of NAGRA, during the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES in Las Vegas. In a headliner conversation with Variety New York digital editor Todd Spangler, Kudelski focused on data, security, storage, content delivery and innovation as he addressed fundamental shifts affecting today’s media and entertainment industry. Continue reading CES: Kudelski CEO Brings Content, Data & Security Together

Samsung Begins Installation of ‘Cinema LED’ Movie Screens

After introducing its Samsung Cinema LED during CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Samsung announced that it is debuting the movie theater screen in Europe, with plans for more global markets including the U.S. in 2018. The Samsung Cinema LED screen’s first commercial installation was in South Korea in July, with another in Bangkok, Thailand a few months later. The first European installation will be at Arena Cinemas in Zurich, Switzerland. The screen displays 33.6 x 17.8 feet and supports 4K resolution and high-dynamic range images. Continue reading Samsung Begins Installation of ‘Cinema LED’ Movie Screens

Google Purchases AIMatter to Boost Computer Vision Efforts

Google just acquired AIMatter, a Belarus startup that will boost the tech giant’s efforts in computer vision, the artificial intelligence sector that helps computers process images as well as, or even better, than humans. AIMatter has already built a neural-network-powered AI platform and SDK that quickly processes images on mobile devices, as well as Fabby, a photo/video editing app that has been used as a proof-of-concept. AIMatter has employees in Minsk, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Zurich, Switzerland. Continue reading Google Purchases AIMatter to Boost Computer Vision Efforts

SEC Rules That Blockchain Tokens Are Regulated Securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that blockchain tokens sold through token sales are to be classified as securities, a ruling that was anticipated and that will have a powerful impact on projects looking to fundraise from U.S. investors. The ruling follows an investigation of The DAO, which raised a record-breaking ICO (Initial Coin Offering) last May and then lost one-third of it in a hack. As a result, part of the Ethereum community executed a rollback transaction of the DAO fundraising; The DAO has since been delisted. Continue reading SEC Rules That Blockchain Tokens Are Regulated Securities

Coming This Year: AI, VR, IoT, Robots and Self-Driving Cars

The Internet, digital medical devices, blockchain, gene editing, drones and solar energy all found their tipping point in 2015. What will 2016 bring? Some experts predict we’ll see “the inflexion point” in virtual reality and holodecks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous cars, robots and space exploration. Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt has publicly stated that AI will solve the world’s hard problems, including population growth, climate change, human development and education. Continue reading Coming This Year: AI, VR, IoT, Robots and Self-Driving Cars

New NFL Deal with Live Sports Data Firm Draws Concerns

The National Football League has had a longstanding anti-gambling policy, but its new deal with Switzerland-based Sportradar suggests the league may be changing its tune. According to terms of the deal, Sportradar distributes live data from professional football games, which include everything from scores to a running back’s acceleration rate. Sportradar is already well known in the sports gambling business, and it currently sells its data to fantasy sports sites. Continue reading New NFL Deal with Live Sports Data Firm Draws Concerns

Apple Partners with Luxury Brand Hermès on New Smartwatch

On October 5, the Apple Watch Hermès, priced between $1,000 and $1,500, will go on sale in Apple and Hermès stores in 14 countries including the U.S., China, France and Switzerland. The new watch is Apple’s first partnership with a luxury brand, and also the first time that Apple has permitted another brand’s components — in this case, signature watchbands, clasps and fonts — on one of its products. The Apple Watch Hermès was the most expensive new item at Apple’s recent new product introduction. Continue reading Apple Partners with Luxury Brand Hermès on New Smartwatch

Over 500 FAA Exemptions in 2015 Open U.S. Skies to Drones

In 2015, the FAA granted over 500 exemptions to farmers, railroads, security services and medical facilities that wanted to fly drones. Although FAA rules require all drones to have a human pilot and stay within the operator’s sight, it now plans to make exception to those rules. More drones are likely to fly as competitors come out with more, sometimes less expensive choices. The move also helps the U.S. catch up with drone use in Europe and Canada. Switzerland, for example, began trials of drone-delivered mail. Continue reading Over 500 FAA Exemptions in 2015 Open U.S. Skies to Drones

Luxury Smartwatch to Launch from TAG Heuer, Google and Intel

TAG Heuer announced at Baselworld in Switzerland that it is developing a smartwatch in collaboration with Intel and Google. The announcement was light on specifics regarding features or pricing, but explained that the watch is expected to ship later this year. The watch is also expected to be expensive, based on the companies involved and the language of the announcement. David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear, discussed “fusing beauty with technology” for a “unique blend of emotion and innovation.” Continue reading Luxury Smartwatch to Launch from TAG Heuer, Google and Intel

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