Companies Prep for Brunt of California Consumer Privacy Act

Beginning January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will allow that state’s residents to find out exactly what personal data companies hold about them — and ask them to delete such information. Consumers will also have the option of opting out of allowing their personal information to be sold. The legislation — which was designed to make Amazon, Facebook, Google and others more transparent — will impact a wide range of companies, large and small, including airlines, banks, retailers and restaurants. Continue reading Companies Prep for Brunt of California Consumer Privacy Act

Grand Jury Indicts Two Streaming Sites for Pirated Content

Beginning in 2007, the Las Vegas, Nevada-based Jetflicks debuted a streaming service that provided commercial-free popular TV shows the day after they aired, most recently charging $9.99 per month. That’s until an undercover FBI agent helped make a bust of the streaming service that enabled piracy. Last week, a grand jury indicted eight people for allegedly operating two of the biggest illegal streaming sites in the country. Jetflicks claims it had 37,000+ subscribers and hosted 183,000 TV episodes. Continue reading Grand Jury Indicts Two Streaming Sites for Pirated Content

PayPal Monetizing Venmo, Which Now Has 40 Million Users

PayPal Holdings’ Q1 earnings report revealed that 40 million people used its digital money transfer service Venmo in the last year, making it one of the most popular financial apps in the United States. Venmo is also growing dramatically in overall volume with the total number of payments made on its platform skyrocketing 73 percent to $21.3 billion in Q1 2019. Most Venmo transactions are between two people, with the company swallowing the processing fee. But PayPal prizes the app since a younger, more active cohort favors it. Continue reading PayPal Monetizing Venmo, Which Now Has 40 Million Users

Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

Apple is preparing for a major iPhone operating system update, iOS 11.3, and it will include some important new features. Chief among those is Business Chat, which lets users communicate directly with businesses via the iMessage app. At launch, Business Chat will allow communications with a select group of companies including Wells Fargo, Lowe’s, Hilton and Discover. Also new with iOS 11.3 is version 1.5 of the company’s virtual reality developers’ kit ARKit, four Animoji, and new features that display battery health. Continue reading Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

Apple, Microsoft, Uber Turn to New Data Privacy Technology

Apple instituted a privacy technology, called differential privacy, that enables its software to understand users without spying on their activities. Now, Microsoft and Uber are also trying out the same technology. While differential privacy reportedly can keep data anonymous, experts warn that it’s becoming easier than ever to identify people from anonymous data sets. That includes biometrics; Citigroup has abandoned a project begun in 2015 to allow customers to scan their irises to access their accounts at an ATM. Continue reading Apple, Microsoft, Uber Turn to New Data Privacy Technology

Twitter Reveals Plans to Attract More Users, Draw Ad Revenue

President Donald Trump’s frequent use of Twitter has increased that platform’s visibility. That is potentially drawing in new “passive, non-tweeting” users, which may, in turn, result in more much-needed advertising revenue. But even as usage increases, the company still struggles to burnish its financial profile. To improve its fortunes, Twitter says it plans to tweak its advertising strategies, focus more on video and expand its data licensing business, by which companies pay to mine billions of daily tweets. Continue reading Twitter Reveals Plans to Attract More Users, Draw Ad Revenue

Banks Make Move to Real-Time Person-to-Person Payments

J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other banks just introduced real-time person-to-person payments — something PayPal’s Venmo has done for years — to their five year-old joint effort clearXchange. Previously, clearXchange could take up to three days to transfer money. PayPal upped its game, by signing a deal with Visa to let Venmo and PayPal app users instantly access monies they receive. PayPal and the banks collect no fees on these transactions, which they regard as a gateway to other, paid services. Continue reading Banks Make Move to Real-Time Person-to-Person Payments

Wells Fargo Bets on Biometric Security to Replace Passwords

If Wells Fargo is right, the traditional password will be gone in five years. To prepare, the company has been mentoring startup EyeVerify in an accelerator program since 2014. This July, Wells Fargo will debut EyeVerify’s software to corporate clients. Those executives authorized to use commercial bank accounts will be able to use their iPhone camera to take a selfie, and the Eyeprint ID software built into the bank’s mobile app will read their eyes’ veins and other markers to match with a stored template. Continue reading Wells Fargo Bets on Biometric Security to Replace Passwords

Bigger is Better for New iPhones: Online Orders Top 4 Million

The global trend in smartphones is larger screens, and it looks like consumers are already responding to the larger sizes of the new iPhones. Apple announced yesterday that early orders for the iPhone 6 (4.7 inches diagonally) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inches) have exceeded four million in the first 24 hours of availability via online ordering. That figure is about double the number of early orders the company received online for the 4-inch iPhone 5 two years ago. The new iPhones will hit store shelves this Friday. Continue reading Bigger is Better for New iPhones: Online Orders Top 4 Million

Will Online Services and Apps Replace Local Bank Branches?

More banking is done digitally today and new financial services are emerging from a variety of companies. Banks themselves are using third-party services for their customers. Banks may have a diminishing role in consumers’ financial lives, giving rise to companies that provide banking and other management services. Critics say banks are slow to innovate, while others suggest they are taking a careful, combined approach with physical and digital services. Continue reading Will Online Services and Apps Replace Local Bank Branches?