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North Korea behind Sony hack, with possible China link: U.S. official
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:24:14 -0500

The logo of Sony Corp and a Christmas tree are reflected on the company's 4K television set at the company's headquarters in TokyoWASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. investigation into the hack of Sony's computer system has determined that North Korea was behind the operation with a possible Chinese link, a U.S. official said on Friday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the conclusion was to be announced later by federal authorities. The probe into the hack found North Korea was behind it and that there may be a Chinese link either through collaboration with Chinese actors or by using Chinese servers to mask the origination of the hack, the official said. (Reporting by Steve Holland)


BlackBerry closes acquisition of Germany's Secusmart
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 07:03:10 -0500

An attendee takes a photo during the launch event for the new Blackberry Classic smartphone in New YorkTORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd said Friday it has completed its acquisition of Secusmart, a privately held firm that specializes in voice and data encryption. Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry agreed to buy the German maker of encryption and anti-eavesdropping services in July, in a move to burnish its credentials with highly security-conscious clients like government ‎agencies. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. ...


Japanese activist challenges secrets law with whistleblower tool
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 06:46:24 -0500

By Teppei Kasai TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese Internet activist and academic is challenging a new state secrets law by setting up a website aimed at making it easier for government officials to leak sensitive information to the media without getting caught. The website, unveiled on Friday, uses an open source platform called GlobaLeaks developed by the Europe-based Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, said Masayuki Hatta, an economics lecturer at Surugadai University. ...

Balotelli fined 25,000 pounds and banned for one game
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:11:59 -0500

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in ManchesterLONDON (Reuters) - Controversial Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli was suspended for one match by the FA on Thursday and fined 25,000 pounds ($39,152) after posting an offensive message on social media. Earlier this month, the Italian showed a picture on his Instagram account containing racist and anti-Semitic connotations. "Mario Balotelli has been fined 25,000 pounds, suspended for one match with immediate effect, subject to appeal, and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted breaching FA rules in relation to social media," the FA said in a statement. ...


Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android - sources
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:09:19 -0500

Google presents self-driving car in Mountain ViewBy Alexei Oreskovic and Ben Klayman SAN FRANCISCO/DETROIT (Reuters) - Google Inc is laying the groundwork for a version of Android that would be built directly into cars, sources said, allowing drivers to enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without even plugging in their smartphones. The move is a major step up from Google's current Android Auto software, which comes with the latest version of its smartphone operating system and requires a phone to be plugged into a compatible car with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps. ...


Top four U.S. wireless carriers increase control of market, review finds
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:05:07 -0500

A cybersecurity expert monitors telecommunications traffic at a network operations center in a Verizon facility in Ashburn, VirginiaWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top four U.S. mobile carriers expanded their control of the U.S. wireless market last year, a federal government report said on Thursday, once again finding the industry is highly concentrated as a result of continuing consolidation. The Federal Communications Commission's annual review of mobile industry competition found the two largest carriers, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, together controlled around 70 percent of both the nationwide market share based on service revenues and the most-prized type of radio airwaves. ...


Security experts fear Sony attack to fuel more company extortion
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:38:38 -0500

By Jennifer Saba NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sony Pictures' decision to shelve the film "The Interview" in the face of cyber attacks has set a worrying precedent and is sending companies scrambling to guard sensitive data, security experts said on Thursday. Sony's capitulation could mean that more businesses will be targeted for cyber warfare and extortion, they said. ...

Journalist sues over arrest at protest in Ferguson, Missouri
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:25:09 -0500

By Daniel Wallis (Reuters) - A Washington-based journalist has sued St. Louis County and one of its police lieutenants, saying his rights were violated when he was arrested while covering protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, court papers showed. Gerald Yingst, a reporter and producer with News2Share, also accuses police of defaming him by announcing his arrest on Twitter and saying he had refused a commander's order to clear the street, damaging his professional reputation. A St. ...

U.S. considers 'proportional' response to Sony hacking attack
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:57:42 -0500

By David Brunnstrom and Jim Finkle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday a cyber attack on Sony Pictures was a serious national security matter and the Obama administration was considering a proportional response, although the White House stopped short of blaming North Korea. U.S. government sources said on Wednesday that investigators had determined the attack was "state sponsored" and that North Korea was the government involved. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he was not in a position to say that North Korea was responsible, but the investigation was ...

Washington weighs response to Sony hack; options limited
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:11:17 -0500

A security guard stands at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los AngelesBy David Brunnstrom and Piya Sinha-Roy WASHINGTON/LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Thursday said it was weighing the proportional response to the sophisticated perpetrator of a cyberattack that crippled Sony Pictures, exposed its executives and led to the cancellation of the film "The Interview." Spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House is not in a position to confirm that North Korea is responsible for the hack at Sony, after a U.S. official said Wednesday that Washington may soon formally announce the involvement of the Pyongyang government. ...


New York regulator lays out tweaks to bitcoin rules
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:54:18 -0500

A bitcoin ATM machine is shown at a restaurant in San DiegoWASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York state plans to soften proposed rules for virtual currencies such as bitcoin, its banking regulator said on Thursday, after receiving a round of public comments. Start-up companies dealing in the budding technology could get a two-year partial waiver from complying with the full set of rules to help them continue their business, New York Superintendent of Financial Services Ben Lawsky said. ...


Soccer-Balotelli fined 25,000 pounds and banned for one game
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:52:59 -0500

(Adds Balotelli quotes) LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Controversial Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli was suspended for one match by the FA on Thursday and fined 25,000 pounds ($39,152) after posting an offensive message on social media. Earlier this month, the Italian showed a picture on his Instagram account containing racist and anti-Semitic connotations. "Mario Balotelli has been fined 25,000 pounds, suspended for one match with immediate effect, subject to appeal, and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted breaching FA rules in relation to social media," the FA said in a ...

Soccer-Balotelli fined 25,000 pounds and given one-match ban
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:26:01 -0500

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Controversial Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli was suspended for one match by the FA on Thursday and fined 25,000 pounds ($39,152) after posting an offensive message on social media. Earlier this month, the Italian showed a picture on his Instagram account containing racist and anti-Semitic connotations. "Mario Balotelli has been fined 25,000 pounds, suspended for one match with immediate effect, subject to appeal, and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted breaching FA rules in relation to social media," the FA said in a statement. ...

Ukrainians dig deep to help soldiers on the eastern front
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:13:01 -0500

By Alessandra Prentice KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainians are knitting socks, donating scrap metal and even crowd-funding a tank to keep their woefully underfunded army going as its standoff with pro-Russian rebels in the east drags on toward the new year. Since separatism erupted in Ukraine's east in April, the struggle to equip the army adequately has grown ever more acute as the country teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. Ukrainian citizens have stepped in, donating time or money to help the soldiers in a conflict that has so far killed more than 4,700 soldiers, rebels and civilians. ...

United Nations concerned by 'highly intrusive' digital spying
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:55:30 -0500

A magnifying glass is held in front of a computer screen in this picture illustration taken in BerlinUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations General Assembly expressed concern on Thursday at digital spying and said unlawful or arbitrary mass surveillance and the interception and collection of online data are "highly intrusive acts" that violate privacy rights. The 193-member General Assembly adopted a resolution, drafted by Germany and Brazil, by consensus as a follow-up to a similar text approved last year after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed a spying program by the NSA, sparking international outrage. ...


QSC says mulls sale of DSL network, shares jump
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:56:16 -0500

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German Internet service company QSC said on Thursday it was considering a sale of its DSL network, sparking a 20-percent jump in its shares. Responding to a report in Germany's Manager Magazin, which pointed to bigger peer United Internet as the potential buyer of the network, QSC said that it had been reviewing various options for its network for some time now. "These options also include the potential sale of its DSL network. ...

Stores fight back as Christmas delivery delays hit e-tailers
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:35:53 -0500

Visitors look at Christmas ornaments at a Christmas market in ViennaBy Emma Thomasson and Dominique Vidalon BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) - The Christmas rush is exposing the limitations of internet-only retailers as surging orders cause delivery delays, allowing Europe's shops to fight back with "click and collect" services and more in-store theater. Online retailers such as Amazon have been winning market share from store groups for years, and there are few signs that Europeans are tiring of shopping from their computers and mobile phones. ...


Rise of the car-sharing apps poses threat to auto sector
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:23:49 -0500

City Hall is reflected in the rear window of a Zipcar in San FranciscoBy Atul Prakash and Sudip Kar-Gupta LONDON (Reuters) - The humble smartphone could throw a spanner in the works of the car sector's post-crisis turnaround, with the big manufacturers facing a long-term threat from apps that make it easier and cheaper to share or hire vehicles than to buy them. Investor sentiment is on a knife edge. Car sales are back in recovery mode in most major European markets, yet the fragility of the turnaround could yet be exposed by another economic slowdown while investors have flagged the potential danger posed by web-based services further down the road. ...


GE to launch breakdancing documentary for streaming devices
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:10:42 -0500

The logo of US conglomerate General Electric is pictured at the company's site in BelfortBy Jennifer Saba (Reuters) - U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric Co plans to release its first feature film through video streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV in a marketing effort that raises the bar for sponsored content. "Shake the Dust" is a documentary about breakdancing and how the movement has united people across the world. Executive-produced by the rap star Nas, it will make its debut on December 24 through a partnership with the music video platform Vevo. ...


Amazon confirms rollout of one-hour delivery service
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:10:27 -0500

The planned site of Amazon’s store, on 34th Street, will be the a delivery hub for New York City.Amazon.com introduced Prime Now, a service in Manhattan promising delivery in as soon as one hour.


IBM says cloud business enjoying 'breakthrough year'
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:06:14 -0500

The IBM logo is seen outside the company's offices in Petah TikvaBy Eric Auchard LONDON (Reuters) - IBM aims to expand the number of data centers it offers clients around the world by 25 percent to meet fast-rising demand for internet-based services, after what a company executive said has been a "breakthrough year" in 2014 for its cloud computing business. IBM has quadrupled the number of cloud data facilities it offers around the world to 49 in the past 18 months, responding in part to laws requiring the local retention of data following revelations over U.S. government Web surveillance as well as increased corporate compliance rules. ...


U.S. startup sues France's Orange over social calling app
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:27:23 -0500

By Ankush Sharma (Reuters) - French telecom group Orange SA confirmed on Wednesday that it has been sued in California by San Francisco-based startup Telesocial in an intellectual property case, but said that the startup's claims were unfounded. Orange said Telesocial has already taken the company to two French courts including the Paris Court of Appeal based on the same complaints, but in both cases the claims were rejected. "This reinforces our view that Telesocial's complaints are totally lacking in merit," the group said in an emailed statement. ...

EU markets watchdog says crowdfunding needs regulating
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:50:53 -0500

People walk past the new ECB headquartersBy Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) - New European Union rules are needed to supervise crowdfunding and protect investors who face significant risks from the evolving sector, the bloc's markets watchdog said on Thursday. Crowdfunding, often hosted on online platforms such as Crowdcube, Funding Circle and Kickstarter, allows individuals and small businesses to raise finance from pools of investors who put money into peer-to-peer schemes or securities such as unlisted shares. ...


Australian PM urged to go easy on refugees after Sydney siege
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:33:44 -0500

By Matt Siegel SYDNEY (Reuters) - Human rights groups and some politicians on Thursday urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott not to use a deadly siege in Sydney as a pretext to crack down on refugees after he repeatedly questioned why the attacker had received political asylum and welfare benefits in Australia. Police killed Iranian-born Man Haron Monis when they stormed a cafe early on Tuesday morning to free hostages he'd held at gunpoint for 16 hours. Police are investigating whether two hostages who also died were killed by the self-styled sheikh or were hit in the crossfire. ...

Social media: the hostage that eluded Sydney siege gunman
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:27:36 -0500

Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis speaks in this still image taken from undated file footageBy Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - One hostage the Sydney siege gunman failed to take this week was social media. After traditional media refused to air or print details of phone calls his hostages made, Man Haron Monis turned to Facebook and YouTube, forcing his captives to use their personal accounts to issue his demands to speak to the prime minister and spread claims that he'd planted bombs around the city. Those messages never went viral. ...


U.S. to announce that North Korea behind Sony hack: CNN
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:20:04 -0500

A security guard stands at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los AngelesBOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. investigators have determined that North Korea is behind the cyber attack on Sony Corp's Hollywood studio and plan to announce their findings on Thursday, CNN reported. (Reporting by Jim Finkle)


BlackBerry woos keyboard loyalists with launch of Classic
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:19:02 -0500

BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen introduces the new Blackberry Classic smartphone during the launch event in New YorkBy John McCrank and Euan Rocha NEW YORK/TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd launched its long-awaited Classic on Wednesday, a smartphone it hopes will help it win back market share and woo those still using older versions of its physical keyboard devices. The Canadian mobile technology company said the new device, which bears striking similarities to its once wildly popular Bold and Curve handsets, boasts a larger screen, longer battery life, an expanded app library with access to offerings from Amazon. ...


Online lender OnDeck Capital's shares soar in debut
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:06:16 -0500

By Neha Dimri (Reuters) - Shares of OnDeck Capital Inc rose as much as 40 percent in their market debut, underscoring investor appetite for startups using technology to disrupt traditional banking. The online lender's shares touched a high of $28 amid heavy trading on Wednesday, valuing the company at about $1.85 billion. The company's successful debut follows that of online loan marketplace LendingClub Corp, whose shares rose as much 67 percent in their debut last week. ...

Divided Kenyans disagree over strategy to end 'terror' attacks
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 10:48:23 -0500

Wanguthi, a Muslim leader, talks to a man near a mosque in Muslim-dominated Eastleigh neighbourhood in Kenya's capital NairobiBy Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Islamist attacks, knee-jerk security responses, corrupt policing and racial profiling are dividing Kenyans increasingly along religious and ethnic lines, experts said. There is fear on all sides - among Christians who pray on Sundays under armed police guard, among Muslims who are vilified on the internet, and among government leaders who have lost face for failing to provide security. ...


Apple says online store in Russia is down due to ruble fluctuations
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 06:44:23 -0500

The Apple logo is illuminated in red at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue to mark World AIDS Day, in the Manhattan borough of New YorkSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple confirmed on Tuesday that it has taken down its online store in Russia due to extreme fluctuations in the value of the rouble. It said in a statement that it is currently reviewing pricing. (Reporting By Christina Farr; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


Uber faces tough rivals, regulatory glare in China
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 06:11:47 -0500

Baidu Inc. Chairman and CEO Li reaches out to shake hands with Uber CEO Kalanick during the Baidu and Uber strategic cooperation and investment signing ceremony in BeijingBy Gerry Shih and Adam Jourdan BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Deep-pocketed Chinese rivals and tough regulators stand in the way of U.S. car-hailing service Uber's plans to conquer one of the world's biggest transportation markets, even after it signed a tieup with domestic internet giant Baidu Inc. The terms of a deal that sees Baidu buy a stake in the fast-growing taxi app operator were not disclosed. Uber, though, is a comparative latecomer in China, where taxi app users are set to triple to 45 million by 2015 compared with 2013, according to Chinese research firm iResearch. ...


Online lender On Deck Capital's IPO priced at $20.00 per share
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:30:41 -0500

(Reuters) - On Deck Capital Inc, an online small-business lender, said its initial public offering was priced at $20 per share, above the expected range of $16-$18. The IPO of 10 million shares raised $200 million and all of the shares are being offered by On Deck Capital. At the offer price, the company's market value is about $1.32 billion. The shares are expected to begin trading on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ONDK". ...

U.S. startup sues France's Orange over social calling app: FT
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:05:58 -0500

(Reuters) - French telecom group Orange SA has been sued in California by San Francisco-based startup Telesocial over an application that lets users make phone calls via their Facebook profiles, the Financial Times reported. Telesocial claims that the PartyCall app, launched in November 2012 by Orange, was based on its own code that it shared with the company during negotiation of a deal that the telecom carrier later dropped, the FT said. (http://on.ft. ...

Ex-Sony employees sue, claim company failed to protect data
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:42:46 -0500

By David Ingram (Reuters) - Sony Pictures Entertainment has been sued by two self-described former employees who accuse the movie studio of failing to protect Social Security numbers, healthcare records, salaries and other data from computer hackers who attacked it last month. The proposed class action lawsuit against Sony Corp's studio was filed on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles. It alleges that the company failed to secure its computer network and protect confidential information. ...

Apple says online store in Russia is down due to rouble fluctuations
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:21:34 -0500

The Apple logo is illuminated in red at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue to mark World AIDS Day, in the Manhattan borough of New YorkSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple confirmed on Tuesday that it has taken down its online store in Russia due to extreme fluctuations in the value of the rouble. It said in a statement that it is currently reviewing pricing. (Reporting By Christina Farr; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


Apple wins digital music U.S. antitrust trial
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:13:49 -0500

Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in TokyoBy Dan Levine OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Apple Inc won an antitrust trial on Tuesday when a U.S. jury decided the company did not act improperly when it restricted music purchases for iPod users to Apple's iTunes digital store. The verdict was read in an Oakland, California federal court. The plaintiffs, a group of individuals and businesses who purchased iPods from 2006 to 2009, sought about $350 million in damages from Apple alleging the company unfairly blocked competing device makers. Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said "the jury called it like they saw it. ...


Dotcom darling Lastminute.com changes hands for $120 million
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:11:39 -0500

LONDON (Reuters) - Lastminute.com, a company that came to symbolize the rise and fall of Internet firms in the dotcom bubble, is to be bought by Swiss online travel company Bravofly Rumbo Group, for about $120 million, owner U.S. company Sabre Corp said. In 2000 the group was worth 768 million pounds after a flotation which coincided with the high-water mark of the Internet bubble, when companies in any way related to the web were valued far in excess of typical measures using turnover and earnings. Its IPO came four days after the tech-focused U.S. Nasdaq index peaked at 5,132 points. ...

Women feel no safer in Delhi, two years after notorious gang rape
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:02:36 -0500

A protester lights candles during a candlelight vigil to mark the first anniversary of the Delhi gang rape, in New DelhiBy Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - On a cold, rainy Sunday night, two policemen in khaki uniforms and fluorescent yellow jackets stand among commuters at a bus shelter in the Indian capital, occasionally stepping out to stop passing buses and climbing on board to conduct inspections. A white police car halts to check in with the men stationed at the bus stop. Some minutes after, two other constables walk past on their night patrol which they say runs from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily. The security at this infamous bus stand in Delhi's Munirka district is not surprising. ...


Rocket Internet backs rental start-up looking to replace realtors
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 04:08:03 -0500

The logo of of Rocket Internet, a German venture capital group is pictured in illustration photo in SarajevoBy Eric Auchard LONDON (Reuters) - German ecommerce investor Rocket Internet is backing online apartment rental firm Nestpick as the start-up expands into four European countries, aiming to connect landlords with tenants and put real estate agents out of a job. Nestpick said on Tuesday it was expanding into 14 cities in Britain, France, Italy and Spain, seeking to do for medium-term property rentals what AirBnB has done to transform the market for short-stay rentals for holiday and business travelers. ...


Online ventures target global Muslim consumer market
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:17:46 -0500

Afghan women purchase burqas at a roadside shop in KabulBy Bernardo Vizcaino (Reuters) - From travel guides to shopping portals, new Internet ventures aim to capitalize on the growing "Muslim lifestyle" market, which is expanding beyond food to include areas such as tourism, fashion and credit cards. Excluding food, where "halal" dietary restrictions must be followed, most of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are content to buy the bulk of their goods and services from conventional suppliers. ...



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