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European Parliament may propose Google break-up in draft resolution
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:05:25 -0500

People pose with laptops in front of projection of Google logo in this picture illustration taken in Zenica(Reuters) - The European Parliament is preparing a non-binding resolution that proposes splitting Google Inc's search engine operations in Europe from the rest of its business as one possible option to rein in the Internet company’s dominance in the search market.

Any new U.S. Internet rules must withstand lawsuits: FCC chief
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:31:51 -0500

Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the FCC on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Marina Lopes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators expect Internet service providers to sue the government over any changes in the way they are regulated and must reevaluate any proposals to make sure they stand up in court, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a meeting on Friday. Last week U.S. President Barack Obama said Internet service providers should be regulated more like public utilities to make sure they grant equal access to all content providers. ...

European Parliament proposing Internet search-service unbundling
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:14:48 -0500

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The European Parliament is preparing to call for the separation of search engines from other commercial services to ensure a level playing field for the Internet industry, according to a draft motion seen by Reuters on Friday, presenting a threat to leading search engine Google Inc. The draft motion does not mention any specific search engines, though Google is by far the dominant search provider in Europe. Earlier on Friday, the Financial Times cited a draft motion as calling for a break-up of Google. ...

Amazon plans ad-supported video streaming service: NY post
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 10:53:10 -0500

A zoomed illustration image of a man looking at a computer monitor showing the logo of Amazon is seen in Vienna(Reuters) - Online retailer Amazon.com Inc will release a new ad-supported video streaming service early next year, the New York Post reported, citing sources. The service will be separate from the company's $99-a-year Prime membership, which includes a video service, the Post reported. The Post did not say if the new service would be free or chargeable. Amazon's Prime service costs $99 a year. Amazon was not immediately available for comment. The new service will compete directly with Hulu and Netflix Inc, whose charges start at $7.99 a month for customers in the United States. ...

NSA chief warns Chinese cyber attacks could shut U.S. infrastructure
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 03:41:02 -0500

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael Rogers testifies before a House (Select) Intelligence Committee hearingBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China and "probably one or two" other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Thursday. Testifying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on cyber threats, Rogers said digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform "reconnaissance" missions to determine how the networks are put together. ...

Mobile phones 'game changers' in securing children's rights: UNICEF
Fri, 21 Nov 2014 02:45:45 -0500

By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Mobile phones and other technological innovations can be "game changers" in securing children’s rights, the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said at the launch of its first crowd-sourced report on Thursday. UNICEF's flagship annual report State of the World's Children showcases cutting-edge innovations for children, from urine-powered generators to mobile phone-generated birth certificates, and invites readers to share their own ideas. ...

Obama's immigration tweaks leave Big Tech wanting more
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 22:08:41 -0500

U.S. President Obama pauses during a ceremony honoring the National Medal of Technology and Innovation awardees at the White House in WashingtonBy Noel Randewich and Roberta Rampton SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to make life a little easier for some foreign tech workers, but Silicon Valley representatives are disappointed his immigration rule changes will not satisfy longstanding demands for more visas and faster green cards. In a speech on Thursday, Obama outlined plans to use executive authority to help millions of undocumented people. He also announced minor adjustments to cut red tape for visa holders and their families, including letting spouses of certain H-1B visa holders get work permits. ...

UK Labour's Emily Thornberry quits over Rochester tweet: Sky News
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:33:27 -0500

(Reuters) - Emily Thornberry, UK Labour party's spokeswoman on judicial affairs, has resigned from the shadow cabinet over a tweet she sent during a special election in the southeast English constituency of Rochester and Strood, according to Sky News. Emily Thornberry, who is the MP for Islington South and Finsbury in London, stirred up a controversy when she posted a picture on the social media website of a house draped with three England flags with a white van parked in the drive. The caption, "Image from Rochester," was seen by some as contemptuous of working-class voters. (http://bit. ...

Labour's Emily Thornberry quits over Rochester tweet - Sky News
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:24:25 -0500

(Reuters) - Emily Thornberry, UK Labour party's spokeswoman on judicial affairs, has resigned from the shadow cabinet over a tweet she sent during a special election in the southeast English constituency of Rochester and Strood, according to Sky News. Emily Thornberry, who is the MP for Islington South and Finsbury in London, stirred up a controversy when she posted a picture on the social media website of a house draped with three England flags with a white van parked in the drive. The caption, "Image from Rochester," was seen by some as contemptuous of working-class voters. (http://bit. ...

U.S. Congress urged to consider sanctions on Chinese cyber-spies
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:45:12 -0500

A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in SingaporeWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers should look into options for punishing cyber-spying and the theft of trade secrets from U.S. companies, a congressional advisory committee on China said on Thursday. Congress should ask U.S. trade officials to report on whether they had power to sanction companies that benefited from stealing trade secrets, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in its annual report to Congress. ...

Girl questioned over Yik Yak threat that closed California school
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:12:52 -0500

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police in Southern California have questioned a girl in connection with at least one threatening post made on social media application Yik Yak that led to a two-day closure of a high school in an affluent oceanside community, officials said. The threats on the smartphone application were made on Monday against Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, just south of Los Angeles, prompting officials to briefly place the campus on lockdown that day and close it on Tuesday and Wednesday. ...

GoDaddy aims to list next year, seeks $4.5 billion valuation: NY Post
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:03:11 -0500

Driver Hinchcliffe of Canada races during the practice session at the Honda Indy in Toronto(Reuters) - GoDaddy Inc is planning an initial public offering early next year that would value the world's biggest provider of web addresses at roughly $4.5 billion, the New York Post said.

Minecraft video game to get Tate art 'worlds'
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:13:17 -0500

By Michael Roddy LONDON (Reuters) - Fans of the hugely successful Minecraft video game will be able to play inside worlds envisioned in art from the collection of the Tate museums in Britain with free-download releases of two 3-D "Tate Worlds" starting on Monday. Players in Minecraft, developed by Swedish company Mojang, can build nearly anything imaginable block by block in a digital world. "Minecraft is a wonderful game which embraces imagination and creativity," Jane Burton, Creative Director of Tate Media, said in a statement on Thursday. ...

China Premier says Qualcomm's 'opportunities greater than challenges'
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:10:52 -0500

WUZHEN China (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc's opportunities in China will be far greater than its challenges, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday as the U.S. mobile chipmaker prepares to face a possible record fine for antitrust violations in the country.

California high school closed for second day over Yik Yak threats
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:21:39 -0500

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A high school in an affluent oceanside community in Southern California was closed for a second day on Wednesday after online threats made on the social media application Yik Yak, which allows users to post anonymously, officials said. The threats arose in a series of Yik Yak posts on Monday targeting Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, just south of Los Angeles, prompting officials to briefly place the campus on lockdown that day and to close it on Tuesday. Police were investigating the social media posts. ...

Hungary tech firm Prezi raises $57 million, eyes acquisitions
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:31:04 -0500

Arvai attends an interview with Reuters in BudapestBy Marton Dunai BUDAPEST (Reuters) - U.S.-Hungarian company Prezi.com, which makes online tools for creating presentations, has raised $57 million in financing from U.S. private equity firm Spectrum Equity and existing investor Accel Partners. Prezi CEO Peter Arvai told Reuters in an interview that the company, which he started five years ago in Hungary and now has 50 million users, will use the money to speed up growth, possibly through acquisitions. The company sells access to cloud-based tools that allow people to prepare visually-rich presentations quickly. ...

Hackers to probe cyber crime defenses at British banks
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:56:13 -0500

By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - In the next few months hackers will try to penetrate the cyber defenses of Britain's major banks and steal information about millions of customers. But for once they'll be welcome. Banks are on red alert after cyber criminals obtained details of 83 million clients from JPMorgan Chase this year and Britain's leading lenders have signed up for tests that let teams of certified hackers attack at will. The cyber war games will mark a major escalation in how banks test defenses in a high-stakes battle with criminals. ...

China says controls on Internet needed to maintain stability
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:08:42 -0500

Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Jacobs sits next to Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Ma during a meeting at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen townBy Paul Carsten WUZHEN China (Reuters) - Chinese officials called on Wednesday for controls on the Internet to preserve stability, saying its model for cyberspace regulation can be the framework for spawning commercial successes like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The comments, made at the start of the World Internet Conference (WIC), show China is unlikely to loosen its tight grip on the medium even as it has begun a transformation of its economic model. ...

Eleven kindergarten children killed in China bus crash
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 05:12:53 -0500

Relatives of kindergarten children, who died after the van they were travelling in ran into a truck, cry in PenglaiBEIJING (Reuters) - Eleven kindergarten children were killed when their packed bus crashed into a truck in eastern China, state media reported on Tuesday, in the latest of a series of accidents that have sparked anger over unsafe school transport. The collision took place around 8 a.m. when the truck collided with the minibus carrying 14 children in the eastern province of Shandong, the official Xinhua news agency said. The bus driver was also killed. Local police said the bus was overloaded at the time, Xinhua reported. It was meant to carry eight passengers. ...

Netflix to launch in Australia, New Zealand in March
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 23:33:39 -0500

The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, CaliforniaBy Byron Kaye SYDNEY (Reuters) - Online movie streaming giant Netflix Inc said it will launch its service in Australia and New Zealand in March, fuelling pricing pressure on domestic broadcasters and media firms already fighting hard for home entertainment viewers. In a statement, Netflix said it will sell content in the region for streaming on televisions, tablets, smartphones, computers and Internet-connected game consoles. Netflix will disclose pricing later, and didn't say much it will invest nor how many subscribers it hopes to attract. ...

Police launch porn probe over Oregon teen sex videos
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:00:51 -0500

By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - Police in Oregon are investigating reports that high school students videotaped peers engaging in sexual activity and distributed the footage via social media in a case that could lead to child pornography charges, authorities said on Tuesday. Portland police Sergeant Pete Simpson said a small group of students were involved in the case, but he declined to say how many or elaborate on the content of the videos. It was also not clear whether the teens depicted in the footage consented to being filmed. ...

Boeing eyes revamp of cyber business to focus on key areas
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:33:20 -0500

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in ChicagoBy Andrea Shalal EL SEGUNDO Calif. (Reuters) - Boeing Co said this week it is reevaluating its cybersecurity business and could divest or reassign some units as it focuses more on a few critical areas, including classified work it is doing for some U.S. government agencies. Boeing, the Pentagon's No. 2 supplier and the world's largest aerospace company, bought a handful of cybersecurity companies several years ago, but the market has not proven to be as promising as once expected. ...

Uber exec suggests 'digging up dirt' on media critics: BuzzFeed
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:54:24 -0500

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign(Reuters) - A senior executive at U.S. ride-sharing company Uber suggested that the company should spend a million dollars to hire a team of opposition researchers to "dig up dirt" on its critics in the media, BuzzFeed reported. The comments, BuzzFeed said, came from Emil Michael, Uber's senior vice president for business, during a private dinner in New York last week. He later said he believed the conversation was off the record, according to the social news and entertainment website. ...

Southern California high school closed over online threats
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:39:20 -0500

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A high school in a Southern California beach town was closed on Tuesday over threats made on the social media application Yik Yak, which allows users to post anonymously, officials said. Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, an affluent oceanside community just south of Los Angeles, was briefly on lockdown on Monday over an online threat, said the city's schools superintendent, Michael Matthews. ...

Top German spy says Berlin under cyber attack from other states
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:07:20 -0500

Maassen attends a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre in BerlinBERLIN (Reuters) - German government and business computers are coming under increasing cyber attack every day from other states' spy agencies, especially those of Russia and China, Germany's domestic intelligence (BfV) chief said on Tuesday. Addressing a cybersecurity conference in Berlin, Hans Georg Maassen said that of an estimated 3,000 daily attacks by hackers or criminals on German government systems, around five were the handiwork of intelligence services. The latter are so sophisticated that they can easily be overlooked, he added. ...

EU leans towards broader net neutrality rules
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:33:10 -0500

By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments are considering less stringent rules on how internet service providers manage traffic on their networks, according to a draft seen by Reuters, a move that could be welcomed by Europe's large telecoms operators. These so-called net neutrality rules are part of the European Commission's proposed overhaul of Europe's telecoms industry to help it to compete against rivals the United States and Asia. Net neutrality is the principle that all content providers should have equal access on networks. ...

U.S. patent office tightens rules for examiners working from home
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:49:49 -0500

By Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has tightened supervision of patent examiners who work full-time from home, an official said on Tuesday, but critics in Congress questioned whether the office was not going far enough to curb abuse. The estimated 5,000 patent examiners who work from home full time must now be available electronically when they are on duty, among other changes, Margaret Focarino, commissioner for patents at the USPTO, said in testimony prepared for a hearing. U.S. ...

Colombia's FARC tweets over seized general, then alleges hacking
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:31:37 -0500

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A tweet from the account of Colombia's Marxist FARC rebel group's peace negotiators said on Tuesday that kidnapped General Ruben Dario Alzate was a "prisoner of war". But in a message from the same account minutes later, the FARC said its Twitter account had been hacked. It did not deny or confirm the general's status. https://twitter.com/FARC_EPaz (Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

IBM launches business e-mail that integrates social media
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:01:51 -0500

The sign at the IBM facility near Boulder, ColaradoBy Marina Lopes WASHINGTON (Reuters) - International Business Machine Corp on Tuesday launched a new e-mail application for businesses that integrates social media, file sharing and analytics to learn a user's behavior and predict interactions with coworkers. The application is part of IBM's attempt to shift its focus to cloud computing and data analytics from the hardware services that had long been the company's bread and butter. ...

House, Senate Democrats seek details from financial firms on data breaches
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:55:06 -0500

Storm clouds approach the US Capitol dome in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leading Democrats in both houses of Congress sent letters on Tuesday to 16 major banks and other financial firms requesting detailed information about recent data breaches and briefings from corporate data security officials. Among the companies targeted in letters sent by Senator Elizabeth Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, were banks, investment firms and other financial service providers. ...

Lufthansa signs $1.25 billion outsourcing deal with IBM
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 03:38:28 -0500

A German airline Lufthansa A380 Airbus aircraft flies over FrankfurtBERLIN (Reuters) - IBM has won an outsourcing contract from Germany's Lufthansa worth 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) that will see the U.S. company take over the airline's information technology infrastructure services division and staff. The move is part of plans by Lufthansa to restructure and cut costs as it seeks to compete with fast-growing rivals in both Europe and the Gulf. Under the seven-year deal, IBM said it will make the airline's IT processes more efficient, such as moving it more toward cloud computing, saving Lufthansa around 70 million euros a year. ...

China blocks websites ahead of high-profile Internet forum: group
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 02:52:38 -0500

A Canadian national flag flies next to a Chinese national flag at Tiananmen Square in BeijingBy Gerry Shih BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government has blocked access to a swathe of websites in what an internet monitoring group said on Tuesday was a blunt censorship campaign days before the country plays host to a major internet industry conference. Greatfire.org, a group that conducts research on Chinese internet censorship, said the Chinese government appears to have targeted a network operated by Edgecast, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc that delivers content and services for web companies, rather than specific web addresses. Greatfire. ...

State Department's unclassified email systems hacked
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:32:01 -0500

File photo of U.S. national flag and its shadow falling on the Harry S. Truman Building at the State Department are seen in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Monday said its unclassified email systems were the victim of a cyber attack in recent weeks, around the same time as White House systems were breached, but no classified data was compromised. The department shut down portions of its unclassified system over the weekend to improve its security but said they should be back online shortly, though it declined to predict when. ...

Snapchat partners with Square for payment service
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:26:25 -0500

A portrait of the Snapchat logo in VenturaSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mobile messaging company Snapchat is launching a new service that lets users send money to each other, in a partnership with online payments company Square. The service, dubbed Snapcash, allows Snapchat users to link their debit cards to their account and quickly send money to a contact by starting a chat on a smartphone, typing in a dollar sign and an amount and hitting a green button, Snapchat explained in a post on its official blog on Monday. ...

Indian retailers hobble online as e-commerce firms race ahead
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:06:08 -0500

Employees of Snapdeal, an Indian online retailer, sort out delivery packages inside their company fulfillment centre in MumbaiBy Nivedita Bhattacharjee MUMBAI (Reuters) - The head of Future Group, one of India's largest and most established retailers, admits he can't keep up with web sites like Snapdeal and Flipkart when it comes to spending money to entice shoppers to buy online. Private investors have poured $2. ...

China's internet TV sites in $1 billion battle for foreign shows
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:03:42 -0500

File photo of people using computers at an Internet cafe in Taiyuan, Shanxi provinceBy Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - China's big internet-TV companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on foreign TV shows and films in a battle to attract users and advertisers, but risk bumping up against regulators protecting the domestic TV and film industry. In less than two years, Sohu.com Inc, Youku Tudou Inc, backed by Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, and Baidu Inc have spent $1 billion on TV series and movies, primarily from the United States, Britain and South Korea. They say they will continue spending, although it could be some time before they turn a profit. ...

U.S. to auction 50,000 bitcoins seized in Silk Road case
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:11:46 -0500

Bitcoin (virtual currency) coins are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in ParisBy Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Marshals Service said Monday it will auction 50,000 bitcoins seized during the prosecution of the alleged owner of Silk Road, an Internet black-market bazaar where authorities say illegal drugs and other goods could be bought. An online auction is scheduled for Dec. 4 for the bitcoins, valued at nearly $19.8 million. It would be the Marshals Service's second such auction following an earlier one in June for almost 30,000 bitcoins seized during the 2013 raid on Silk Road. ...

Facebook service aimed at professionals to launch in a few months: source
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 14:17:40 -0500

People pose with laptops in front of projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken in ZenicaBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's professional version of its social network aimed at businesses will launch in the next few months, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. The world's No.1 Internet social network with 1.35 billion monthly users has been quietly testing a version of its website geared toward workplace collaboration. The service, dubbed Facebook at Work, allows users to exchange messages and share documents using Facebook's scrolling news feed and other familiar features from the consumer version of Facebook. ...

Rocket Internet to launch another 10 start-ups in 2015
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 05:11:50 -0500

The logo of of Rocket Internet, a German venture capital group is pictured in illustration photo in SarajevoBy Emma Thomasson BERLIN (Reuters) - Rocket Internet , the global e-commerce investor, expects to launch at least another 10 start-ups in 2015 and said it would work more closely with Facebook on advertising. Rocket Internet, whose shares have had a bumpy ride since listing last month, said its 12 most successful companies saw average growth in gross merchandise volume -- a measure of sales made through online marketplaces -- of 104 percent in the six months to June 30. It also announced a global agreement with Facebook, which will involve the U.S. ...

Facebook developing a professional website 'Facebook at Work': FT
Sun, 16 Nov 2014 23:30:25 -0500

Electronic cables are silhouetted next to the logo of Facebook in this illustration photo in Sarajevo(Reuters) - Facebook Inc is secretly working on a new website called "Facebook at Work" that would allow users to keep their personal profile separate from their work profile, the Financial Times reported. The new website, that will look very much like Facebook, will compete with professional social network LinkedIn Corp, Google Inc, and Microsoft Corp, the newspaper said. (http://on.ft.com/1vgu64P) Facebook's new site will allow users to chat with colleagues, connect with professional contacts and collaborate over documents, the newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. ...

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