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Verizon to slow down speeds for some unlimited data subscribers
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:59:38 -0400

Sign of Verizon Wireless is seen at its store in WestminsterBy Marina Lopes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Verizon Communication Inc's high speed wireless customers who subscribe to the company's legacy unlimited data plans might experience slower speeds starting Oct. 1, the company said on Friday. Verizon will slow services for the top 5 percent of data users who are on unlimited plans in places where the network is experiencing high demand, the company announced on its website. The policy is currently in effect for unlimited subscribers on the 3G network, but will be expanded to its 4G, higher speed network in October. Verizon stopped offering unlimited data plans in 2012.


Facebook says SEC's IPO probe ends, extending WhatsApp closing date
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:55:27 -0400

Woman holds a tablet displaying WhatsApp's logo in front of the screen with the Facebook logo in this photo illustration taken in Prague(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dropped its probe into the social networking company over events surrounding its controversial initial public offering. In its quarterly report filed on Thursday, Facebook said the regulator in May "notified us that it had terminated its inquiry and that no enforcement action had been recommended by the SEC." Facebook shares began trading on May 18, 2012, but soon fell below their $38 per share offering price and had lost more than half their value by the middle of August, angering investors. Investors also complained they were not told just prior to the IPO that analysts at Facebook's investment banks were cutting their forecasts after learning of the company's internal projections for advertising revenue. The end of the SEC probe does not affect shareholder litigation against Facebook, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and many banks over the Menlo Park, California-based company's IPO.


Europe debates how far to push 'right to be forgotten'
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:13:09 -0400

A Google search page is seen through a magnifying glass in this photo illustration taken in BrusselsBy Leila Abboud and Julia Fioretti PARIS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European regulators have not yet decided whether to try to force search engines such as Google and Microsoft's Bing to scrub results globally when people invoke their "right to be forgotten" in the region. Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin - who heads France's privacy watchdog and the WP29 group of EU national data protection authorities - said in an interview on Friday that no consensus had yet been reached on what she called a "complicated issue". The European Union's top court ruled in May that search engines must take down certain results shown under a search of a person's name if the information was "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant". Although the "right to be forgotten" existed as a concept in European law, the ruling marked the first time companies like Google have been asked to field such requests from the public.


Amazon's spending spree raises margin concerns
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:27:23 -0400

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos discusses his company's new Fire smartphone in Seattle, WashingtonAmazon.com Inc's heavy investment in content and technology to fight off deep-pocketed rivals is proving to be more costly than many had expected, raising fears that operating earnings will be remain under pressure indefinitely. Amazon's shares fell 12 percent to $314.76 in early trading on Friday, wiping out about $18 billion from its market value. Amazon is engaged in "a massive ecosystem war" with Apple Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter said. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Holdings Group Ltd [IPO-BABA.N] also looms as a threat to Amazon as it expands in the U.S. market, Schachter and others say.


Chubby Checker, HP settle lawsuit over penis-measuring app
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:50:31 -0400

Recording artist Chubby Checker performs before running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 50th Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona BeachThe singer Chubby Checker has settled a lawsuit in which he accused Hewlett-Packard Co of using his trademarked name without permission on a software app that purported to measure the size of a man's penis. HP denied liability in agreeing to settle with Checker, whose given name is Ernest Evans, but agreed not to make future use of his stage name, likeness or related trademarks. In his February 2013 lawsuit against HP and its Palm unit, the singer objected to HP having in October 2006 begun online sales of "The Chubby Checker" app, which purported to let women estimate the size of a man's genitals based on his shoe size. A federal judge last August let Checker pursue part of his case, saying one might infer that HP should have known that "the owner of the Chubby Checker mark would never have consented to license the mark for such a vulgar purpose." HP spokeswoman Sarah Pompei on Friday declined to elaborate on the settlement.


Ride app Uber gets respite in German city of Hamburg
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:34:55 -0400

Transportation app Uber driver Shuki Zanna waits for rides in his limousine in Beverly HillsUber, whose smartphone app summons rides at the touch of a button, won a new lease of life in the German city of Hamburg on Friday when a court suspended a ban imposed by local regulators. Hamburg traffic authorities told Uber earlier this week to stop operating in the northern port city on the grounds that its drivers lacked passenger transport licenses, one of a number of challenges to the San Francisco-based company from regulators and traditional taxi services across the globe. Uber retaliated with a complaint against the ban and a Hamburg court on Friday allowed it to continue operations while the court deliberates on the merits of the case. Uber said in a statement on Friday it welcomed the court's decision.


Amazon spending more than $100 million on original content in third-quarter
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:22:35 -0400

By Deepa Seetharaman SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc is spending more than $100 million on original video content in the third quarter, considerably higher than its spending a year ago and in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak said on Thursday. The largest U.S. online retailer, which also reported a larger-than-expected second-quarter loss Thursday, is beefing up its digital content. Szkutak told analysts during a call that members of Amazon's Prime membership program are increasingly streaming free videos online.

Amazon's heavy investing eats into bottom line, shares drop
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:46:51 -0400

A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in GoldenBy Deepa Seetharaman SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc posted a much larger-than-expected loss in the second quarter as it continues its rapid pace of investment in new businesses such as digital content and consumer electronics. Amazon's stock price has dropped 10 percent so far in 2014, with investors leery of betting on its long-term growth at the expense of little to no profit. Amazon is investing heavily in new businesses and hardware products, as it prepares to take on major tech rivals from Apple Inc and Google Inc to Netflix. Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak said Amazon had a "tremendous amount of opportunities" and its investments were "certainly impacting short-term results." The company is spending more than $100 million on original video content in the third quarter, a substantial increase compared to last year and the second quarter, Szkutak said.


Amazon's 'Fire' smartphone contains chips from Qualcomm, Samsung, NXP
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:29:03 -0400

An Amazon Fire smartphone is seen opened up during a teardown procedure in a handout picture provided by iFixitBy Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's new "Fire" smartphone contains chips from Qualcomm Inc, NXP Semiconductors NV, and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, according to repair and teardown specialists iFixit, which pried one open on Thursday. The Fire phone also houses chips from Synaptics Inc and Skyworks Solutions Inc, said the repair outfit, which made a name for itself taking apart devices like Apple Inc's iPhone and identifying its internal components.


Website lets donors pay Detroit residents' overdue water bills
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:30:33 -0400

People hold a banner against the mass water shut-offs to Detroit citizens behind in their payments, during a protest in downtown DetroitBy Aaron Foley DETROIT (Reuters) - Widespread water shutoffs in Detroit have led to the creation of a website that allows donors to anonymously pay the overdue bills of residents in the bankrupt city, a site organizer said on Thursday. Recent efforts by the cash-strapped municipal water authority to collect tens of millions of dollars in overdue bills has attracted international attention and critics say the disconnections are inhumane and unfair to the poor. The donor site, DetroitWaterProject.org, was born from a Twitter conversation between programmer Tiffani Bell of Fayetteville, North Carolina and designer Kristy Tillman of Boston who were concerned about the water issue, Bell said in an email. Customers with delinquent bills share their account information with the site, where they are matched with donors.


Zillow in talks to buy rival real-estate website Trulia: Source
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:10:10 -0400

(Reuters) - U.S. real estate website operator Zillow Inc Z.O is in advanced talks to buy smaller rival Trulia Inc TRLA.N, according to people familiar with the matter. Trulia shares jumped as much as 40.5 percent to $57 on Thursday, valuing the company at $2.10 billion, after Bloomberg News reported Zillow may reach a deal to buy the company as soon as next week. The stock ended up 32 percent at $53.74 on the New York Stock Exchange. The proposed acquisition would allow the company to corner a larger share of online spending on real estate listings and advertising.

Google under fire from regulators on EU privacy ruling
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:08:22 -0400

A Google search page is reflected in sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in BrusselsBy Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google's GOOGL.O handling of "right to be forgotten" requests from European citizens came under fire by regulators after the search engine company restricted the removal of Internet links to European sites only, a person familiar with the matter said. Regulators quizzed Google over its decision to remove search results only from its European search engines such as google.co.uk, which means that anyone can easily access the same information by switching to the widely used google.com, said the source, who was present at the meeting. The European Union's top court in May ruled that people have a right to request that years-old personal information that is no longer relevant be removed from Internet search results. Google has so far approved more than half of roughly 90,000 incoming requests, sought additional information in about 15 percent of cases, and rejected around 30 percent of them, according to a source close to the company.


Facebook goes express to mega-cap status - now valued more than AT&T, Coke
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:05 -0400

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Dell laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of ZenicaBy Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the days after its infamously mishandled initial public offering in May 2012, it looked as if Facebook would struggle to become a must-own for fund managers. The gains represent a reversal of fortune for the social media company.


Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after critical tweet
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:51:41 -0400

Southwest Airlines jets wait on the tarmac at Denver International Airport in Denver(Story refiled to correct typographical error on third paragraph) (Reuters) - A Minnesota man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent. Duff Watson said he was flying from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday and tried to board in a spot for frequent flyer privileges he held and take his sons, ages 6 and 9, with him, even though they had a later spot to board the plane. Watson replied that he had boarded early with them before and then sent out a tweet that read "RUDEST AGENT IN DENVER. Once at the gate, the agent said that unless the tweet was deleted, police would be called and the family would not be allowed back onboard.


Facebook shares hit record high as market likes earnings
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:19:56 -0400

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo AltoShares of Facebook Inc hit a record high on Thursday after a surge in mobile advertising revenue helped the world's No. 1 social network trounce analysts' expectations for quarterly profit and revenue. At that price, Facebook's market value is just short of $200 billion, putting the company in position to overtake IBM Corp as the fourth-largest U.S.-listed tech company. The top three are Apple Inc , Google Inc and Microsoft Corp . At $100, Facebook would be valued at more than $250 billion.


ECB says website hacked, no sensitive data affected
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:18:12 -0400

A passerby uses his smartphone to take a picture of the euro sign landmark in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in FrankfurtThe European Central Bank said on Thursday its website had been hacked and some email addresses and other contact information stolen but insisted no market-sensitive data were affected. The hackers broke into a database storing details of people who had registered for ECB conferences, visits and other events, the bank said. "No internal systems or market sensitive data were compromised," the ECB said in a statement. The ECB is currently running a particularly sensitive review of the euro zone's top lenders, collecting streams of data to gauge whether banks have valued loans and other assets correctly, before it starts supervising them.


China regulator determines Qualcomm has monopoly: state-run newspaper
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:51:19 -0400

Visitors walk past the Qualcomm stand at the Mobile World Congress in BarcelonaBy Paul Carsten and Michael Martina BEIJING (Reuters) - China's antitrust regulator has confirmed that Qualcomm Inc, one of the world's biggest mobile chipmakers, has a monopoly, the state-run Securities Times newspaper reported on Thursday, as Qualcomm's chief executive held talks in China. The regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), is investigating Qualcomm's local subsidiary after it said in February the U.S. chipmaker was suspected of overcharging and abusing its market position in wireless communication standards, allegations which could see it hit with record fines of more than $1 billion. The Securities Times report, based on unidentified sources it said were close to the NDRC, did not say whether the regulator had determined that Qualcomm had abused its monopoly.


Flaws could expose users of privacy-protecting software, researchers say
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:19:18 -0400

By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Researchers have found a flaw that could expose the identities of people using a privacy-oriented operating system touted by Edward Snowden, just two days after widely used anonymity service Tor acknowledged a similar problem. The most recent finding concerns a complex, heavily encrypted networking program called the Invisible Internet Project, or I2P. Though a core purpose of I2P is to obscure the Internet Protocol addresses of its roughly 30,000 users, anyone who visits a booby-trapped website could have their true address revealed, making it likely that their name could be exposed as well, according to researchers at Exodus Intelligence. “People shouldn’t trust something wholeheartedly just because Snowden says,” Exodus Vice President Aaron Portnoy told Reuters.

FTC commissioner warns on mobile health-data gathering
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:52:18 -0400

Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill, speaking in Washington on Wednesday, expressed concern about the way apps on smartphones and mobile devices are siphoning sensitive health data, and how some of that information may then be shared with third parties. The debate around the gathering of consumer data is intensifying as Silicon Valley tech companies take a more active interest in mobile health. Apple Inc and Google Inc revealed new health-focused services for apps developers in recent months, dubbed Google Fit and HealthKit. Brill's comments followed a May report in which the FTC revealed the results of a study of mobile health-app developers, which found that a good portion collect consumer health data and give it to third-party entities.

LA Clippers player asks followers for help in finding aunt's killer
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 20:22:11 -0400

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder(Reuters) - A player for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers has taken to social media to ask for help in finding a man wanted for stabbing his aunt to death, generating new tips in the case, his family said on Wednesday. Clippers forward Matt Barnes posted pictures of Michael Williams, 51, to his Instagram and Twitter accounts on Tuesday, saying the man was wanted by police in the California capital in connection with the fatal stabbing of his aunt, Tanganyika Williams, 48. On Wednesday, Tanganyika Williams' adult son, David Williams Jr., said that since that message was published, the family has received multiple calls from people who said they had seen Michael Williams in stores around Sacramento. "There are going to be less and less places that this guy is going to have to hide," said David Williams, who is not related to the suspect by blood.


Facebook beats Wall Street targets, stock hits record high
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:56:01 -0400

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo AltoBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's fast-growing mobile advertising business helped drive a 61 percent increase in revenue during the second quarter, beating Wall Street's financial targets and sending shares to a record-high in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Facebook now counts 1.5 million advertising customers and the company's ad business saw strong growth across all of its geographic regions, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. Investors bid up shares of Facebook roughly 5 percent to $75.13 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, giving the Internet company a roughly $190 billion valuation, putting it on par with IBM Corp. "It might be more expensive from a market cap perspective, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this level of profitability," JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey said. Facebook's operating margin expanded to 48 percent of revenue in the second quarter, up from 31 percent in the year-ago period.


Angie's List forecasts revenue below Street
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:20:28 -0400

Angie's List Inc, which operates a website that allows users to review local businesses, forecast quarterly revenue below estimates and reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss as it spent more to sign up customers. Angie's List, which competes with Yelp Inc and HomeAdvisor Inc, said it expects revenue of $80.5 million-$82.5 million for the third quarter ending September. Analysts on average were expecting $86.63 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Angie's List's "big deals" product, which offers emailed discounts to members, lagged expectations and weighed on the revenue forecast, Barrington Research Associates analyst Jeff Houston said. The company, named after co-founder Angie Hicks, also forecast marketing expenses of $20 million-$23 million.

Seven arrests made in $1.6 million StubHub cyberfraud case
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:16:30 -0400

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. speaks during a news conference at his office in midtown Manhattan, New YorkBy Karen Freifeld NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police have arrested seven people on charges they were tied to an international ring that defrauded eBay Inc's StubHub online ticketing service of some $1.6 million, the latest in a string of high-profile cybercrime busts in recent months. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr announced the arrests on Wednesday. They were charged with involvement in a cybercrime ring that used stolen credit card numbers to purchase thousands of tickets to events, including concerts of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z as well as games for sports teams including the Boston Red Sox and New York Giants, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. StubHub's head of global communications, Glenn Lehrman, told Reuters his firm has been working with law enforcement around the world for the last year on the case.


TripAdvisor's profit misses estimate as costs climb
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:45:18 -0400

(Reuters) - Online travel research company TripAdvisor Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, sending its shares down 9 percent in extended trading. Total selling and marketing costs rose 53 percent to $127 million in the second quarter ended June 30. Net income rose to $68 million, or 47 cents per share, from $67 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier. (http://bit.ly/1A7iLn8) Excluding items, TripAdvisor earned 55 cents per share, 6 cents below what analysts on average had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. ...

U.S. to Internet providers: We are watching your speed promises
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:55:06 -0400

Tom Wheeler at Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. communications regulators on Wednesday reminded Internet service providers to promise consumers only the speed and quality of service that they actually deliver, or face penalties. In an advisory, the Federal Communications Commission urged both fixed and wireless Internet service providers (ISPs) to comply with regulations that say the companies must be clear and accurate in the information they tell consumers about their broadband services. The warning shot to ISPs, such as Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc, comes as the agency crafts new "net neutrality" rules that guide how broadband providers manage web traffic on their networks. The transparency regulations are the only part of the previous "net neutrality" rules set in 2011 that were struck down in court in January.


Six indicted in New York for involvement in StubHub cyber fraud
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:12:50 -0400

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. speaks during a news conference at his office in midtown Manhattan, New YorkNew York (Reuters) - Six people were indicted in New York for involvement in a global cybercrime ring that took over more than 1,000 accounts of eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket reselling service, according to a statement released by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. Cybercriminals are believed to have defrauded StubHub of $1 million, the statement said, citing City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard. (Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York. Writing by Jim Finkle in Boston; Editing by Chris Reese)


Israel detains soldiers after WhatsApp leaks about Gaza casualties
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:34:37 -0400

The Israeli military said on Wednesday it had detained several soldiers and a civilian on suspicion of leaking Gaza casualty figures over social media before families of the dead or wounded could be formally informed. A week into ground fighting with Hamas that has killed at least 32 soldiers, some Israelis complain of first learning their relatives were dead through WhatsApp, or of being misled by erroneous messages into believing they were among the toll. "Notifying a family of a soldier or officer who was killed in action is one of the most sensitive and well-planned procedures that exists in the military, as befits such a serious moment," the military said in a statement announcing the arrests following an investigation that it described has having employed "both open-source and undercover means". The army has revised its own official information regarding a soldier it initially reported as killed in Gaza on Sunday, but later designated as missing in action.

German city Hamburg seeks to ban Uber ride service
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:05:31 -0400

Transportation app Uber driver Shuki Zanna waits for rides in his limousine in Beverly HillsBy Jan Schwartz and Maria Sheahan HAMBURG/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Hamburg has told Uber, a U.S. car service whose smartphone app summons rides at the touch of a button, to stop operating in the German city, adding to resistance the company has faced globally from local regulators and taxi drivers. San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc, valued at $18.2 billion in a fundraising last month just four years since its 2010 launch, has touched a raw nerve by threatening to open up a traditionally tightly controlled and licensed market. Uber customers order and pay for a taxi with its application on their smartphones. Instead of having taxis prowl city streets looking for customers, Uber allows smartphone users to summon a nearby car to pick them up.


Some WSJ computer systems taken offline after cyber attack: Dow Jones
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:59:11 -0400

(Reuters) - Computer systems containing the Wall Street Journal's news graphics were hacked by outside parties, according to the paper's publisher Dow Jones & Co. The systems have been taken offline to prevent the spread of attacks, but Journal officials have not found any damage to the graphics, the newspaper said citing people at the Wall Street Journal familiar with the matter. A hacker who goes by the Twitter handle of w0rm allegedly posted tweets and screenshots claiming to have hacked the Journal's website and offered to sell user information and credentials needed to control the server. Representatives for Dow Jones were not immediately available for comment.

Canada launches plan to improve Internet in remote areas
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:56:35 -0400

Semi-retired Morton surfs the Internet while onboard his houseboat docked at Le Port De Plaisance de Lachine, a marina in MontrealBy Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Tuesday invited remote communities across the country that lack high-speed Internet access to make a claim on some of the C$305 million ($284 million) it plans to spend over the next three years to upgrade access. The government's Connecting Canadians plan aims to deliver high-speed Internet - judged to be speeds faster than 5 megabits per second (5 Mbps) - to 280,000 households that it says sit below that line. The plan "will still leave many Canadians struggling to catch up with our global counterparts when it comes to broadband access, reliability, and speed," said Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca. The country's telecom regulator wrote to BCE Inc, Telus Corp, and Manitoba Telecom Services last month, concerned they would miss an end-August deadline to complete remote access projects already underway.


Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify at N.Y. forgery trial: prosecutors
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:26:07 -0400

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook headquarters in Palo AltoBy Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The government will call Mark Zuckerberg to testify against an upstate New York man accused of trying to cheat the billionaire founder of Facebook Inc out of half his stake in the social media company, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. Zuckerberg is expected to be a key witness against Paul Ceglia, who is charged with forging a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that purportedly entitled him to half of Facebook. “It's a witness that the government 100 percent knows it will be calling at trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Frey said at a court hearing before U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in New York federal court. The charges stem in part from a 2010 civil lawsuit Ceglia filed against Zuckerberg and Facebook in Buffalo, New York, claiming the two men signed a contract when Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University that gave Ceglia half of a planned social networking website.


Google must face U.S. privacy lawsuit over commingled user data
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:07:05 -0400

A Google search page is reflected in sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in BrusselsA federal judge rejected Google Inc's bid to dismiss a privacy lawsuit claiming it commingled user data across different products and disclosed that data to advertisers without permission. Saying his decision was a close call, U.S. District Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California, ruled on Monday night that Google must face breach of contract and fraud claims by users of Android-powered devices who had downloaded at least one Android application through Google Play. Other parts of the lawsuit were dismissed, including claims brought on behalf of account users who switched to non-Android devices from Android devices after Google had changed its privacy policy in 2012 to allow the commingling. "Like Rocky rising from Apollo's uppercut in the 14th round, plaintiffs' complaint has sustained much damage but just manages to stand," Grewal wrote in a 28-page decision, referring to the film series starring Sylvester Stallone as the boxer Rocky Balboa.


Over 30 financial institutions defrauded by phone apps used to intercept passwords
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:00:38 -0400

Men pose with Samsung Galaxy S3 Nokia Lumia 820 and iPhone 4 smartphones in photo illustration in ZenicaBy Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More than 30 financial institutions in six countries have been defrauded by sophisticated criminal software that convinces bank customers to install rogue smartphone programs, a major security company reported on Tuesday. Though many of the elements of the malicious software, including the interception of one-time passwords sent to phones, have been used elsewhere, the latest criminal campaign is unusual in that it combines many different techniques and leaves few traces. Researchers at Trend Micro Inc, which dubbed the campaign Emmental after the Swiss cheese, said they were working with European police and major banks on the continent that were early victims. Banks in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan have all been hit, with damages somewhere in the millions of dollars, said Trend Micro Chief Cyber security Officer Tom Kellermann.


Blog posts on article about Alibaba's China leadership links censored
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:22:25 -0400

A man plays snooker in a hall inside Alibaba's headquarters in HangzhouMicroblog posts about a New York Times article on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's [IPO-BABA.N] close ties to descendants of China's leaders have been removed by censors, a censorship monitoring group said on Tuesday. Alibaba has been in the spotlight as it prepares its stock market listing - potentially the largest ever tech debut in the United States - particularly over its complicated web of affiliations and corporate governance. One censored post on the Weibo Corp microblog included a Chinese version of the New York Times piece, with the comment, "It's not only Yahoo and SoftBank behind Alibaba," Weiboscope, a University of Hong Kong project that publishes and analyses censored posts, said. Yahoo Inc, with a 22.5 percent stake in Alibaba, and SoftBank Corp with a 34.3 percent ownership are Alibaba's two biggest shareholders.


Comcast, Lionsgate add more app content for film buyers
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:06:30 -0400

A Comcast sign is shown in San Francisco(Reuters) - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp will provide extra content through apps for dystopian thriller "Divergent" and other films to Comcast Corp customers who purchase digital versions of the film through Xfinity On Demand, the companies announced on Tuesday. The "Divergent" app will be available starting Tuesday on mobile devices and later on TV through Comcast's X1 set-top box. Lions Gate also plans to release bonus app content for future films with digital purchases through Xfinity, the companies said.


Talk on cracking Internet anonymity service Tor canceled
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:21:26 -0400

By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A highly anticipated talk on how to identify users of the Internet privacy service Tor was withdrawn from the upcoming Black Hat security conference, a spokeswoman for the event said on Monday. The talk was canceled at the request of attorneys for Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where the speakers work as researchers, the spokeswoman, Meredith Corley, told Reuters. The Black Hat conference, one of the longest-running and best-attended security trade shows in the world, is scheduled for Las Vegas August 6-7. Corley said a Carnegie Mellon attorney informed Black Hat that one of the speakers could not give the Tor talk because the materials he would discuss have not been approved for public release by the university or the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).

Italy gives Google 18 months to change data use practices
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:02:55 -0400

A Google logo is seen at the entrance to the company's offices in TorontoBy Danilo Masoni MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's data protection regulator has given Google 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation that is part of a European drive to reform the internet giant's privacy practices. Regulators in several European nations including Italy began a joint inquiry last year after Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. In a statement on Monday, the Italian watchdog said Google's disclosure to users on how their data was being treated remained inadequate, despite the company having taken steps to abide by local law. The watchdog gave the group 18 months to comply fully and indicated a series of measures Google must put into practice.


Facebook 'selfie' leads to shoplifting arrest in Illinois: police
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:43:34 -0400

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Illinois woman made police work easy when she allegedly stole a colorful, leopard-pattern dress from a small boutique, then posted a picture of herself wearing it on Facebook, police said on Monday. Danielle Saxton, 27, of West Frankfort allegedly took a dress and other items from Morties Boutique on July 11, and was spotted walking away from the store by the owner's son, said owner Gay Williams Morton and police. The store described the stolen items on Facebook. News travels fast in the small southern Illinois town, and within about two hours, someone sent a link to Saxton's Facebook post, where she'd posted a "selfie" with the message "Love my dress," Morton said.

Hacking talks axed over the years
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:08:19 -0400

(Reuters) - A highly anticipated talk on how to identify users of the Tor service, widely used to access the Internet anonymously, has been withdrawn from next month's annual Black Hat security conference. Hacking experts disclose vulnerabilities at conferences to alert the public about security flaws, both to pressure developers to fix them and to warn users about products that may not be completely safe. Here are some examples of other hacking talks that have been pulled from conferences over the past decade: 2013 - Three European computer scientists canceled a talk on hacking the locks of luxury cars at a prestigious U.S. academic conference known as USENIX, after Volkswagen AG obtained a restraining order from a British court. 2007 - Security firm IOActive Inc pulled a talk at Black Hat DC on bugs in radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology, saying it was pressured to do so by RFID technology firm HID Global Corp. 2005 - Cisco Systems Inc persuaded security firm Internet Security Systems to pull a discussion on hacking routers by researcher Michael Lynn at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas.

Beauty apps show 'before and after,' glamorize selfies
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:56:45 -0400

Consumers can experiment with different looks in the apps that act like augmented reality mirrors. With the Beauty Mirror app, which uses filters, people can see how they would look with fewer wrinkles, bigger lips or lifted eyebrows in a real-time photograph or video. “Our idea was to apply a subtle, realistic change to a person’s reflection so that when someone put it on Facebook no one would know it was an altered video,” said Parham Aarabi, the CEO of Toronto-based ModiFace, which created the app. The ability to change 2-D photos before uploading them to Facebook has been really popular, but now people can take video and touch it up using the app too,” he said.


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