O2 changes post policy after racist hate mail sent out

BBC TECH - 15 min 56 sec ago
The phone company acts after mail is addressed to "Mr Isis Terroriste" and "Mr Getout Ofengland".

Japan firms slow to get compliant with new EU data privacy rules: Reuters poll

TECHNEWS - 1 hour 54 min ago
TOKYO (Reuters) - Around a quarter of Japanese businesses have made progress on meeting some of the easier requirements under Europe's new data privacy regulations while about another 20 percent plan to do so, a Reuters poll found.

Instagram Announces Video Expansion

VOA TECH - 2 hours 34 min ago
Social media app Instagram announced Wednesday that it would be increasing its time limit for videos posted on its platform from one minute to 10 minutes, as part of a general expansion of the app's video capabilities. The photo-sharing app also announced it would be launching a stand-alone app called IGTV to host these long-form videos. The app will be available this week, according to technology website, The Verge. "When you watch longer video, you need a different context," Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom told The Verge. "We really wanted to separate those two, so you could choose which adventure you wanted to go down." The longer videos will also be available through a tab in the original Instagram application. Accounts with wide audiences will be able to post videos of up to an hour. The update comes as Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1 billion — is looking to compete with fellow video platform YouTube for young users. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Since then, the video-sharing website has ballooned to a user base of 1.8 billion, becoming a platform for aspiring content creators looking to strike it big. Systrom told The Associated Press he hoped his app would gain similar success with the IGTV update. At a release event for the app Wednesday, the company announced IGTV now had over 1 billion users. The IGTV app will function similar to television. Videos will begin playing as soon as the user opens the app and will fill be full-screen vertically — contrasting with YouTube, which requires users to turn their phones horizontally for full-screen capabilities. Facebook announced Tuesday it would be launching a series of interactive shows on its own video outlet, Facebook Watch.

Trump, U.S. lawmakers meet to discuss 'problematic' measure on China's ZTE

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 22:52
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and a group of Republicans from the Senate and House of Representatives met at the White House on Wednesday to discuss their disagreement over how to penalize Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp.

Instagram clocks up one billion users

SKY TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 21:07
Instagram has said it now has more than one billion active users, less than a year after it reported reaching the 800 million mark.

Instagram expands into long videos, will compete with YouTube

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 20:51
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc-owned social network Instagram said on Wednesday it was adding a section dedicated to long-form video, expanding beyond its photo-sharing app roots in a competition among streaming services for consumers' time.

What trade war? FAANGs scale new highs

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 20:50
(Reuters) - Four of the five so-called FAANG stocks – Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and Netflix – surged to all-time highs on Wednesday, with only Apple spoiling a perfect scorecard.

U.S. lawmakers want Google to reconsider links to China's Huawei

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 20:36
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers asked Alphabet Inc's Google on Wednesday to reconsider its work with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], which they described as a security threat.

Instagram expands into long-form video in push for eyeballs

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 20:15
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc-owned social network Instagram said on Wednesday it was adding a section dedicated to long-form video, expanding beyond its photo-sharing app roots in a competition among streaming services for consumers' time.

Doom and gloom in advertising? I don't see it, says IPG boss Roth

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 20:00
CANNES, France (Reuters) - The veteran boss of advertising giant IPG said he does not recognize the talk of "doom and gloom" in his industry, arguing the holding companies are needed more than ever to help clients chart the rapidly changing territory.

Instagram longer videos: How new IGTV feature will work

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 19:50
IGTV allows users to create long-form videos in portrait mode that can be up to an hour long.

Sesame Workshop to create new children's TV shows for Apple

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 19:07
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Apple Inc has ordered multiple live-action and animated series from Emmy award-winning children's television producer Sesame Workshop, a source close to the agreement said on Wednesday.

Tesla accuses former employee of hacking and transferring data

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 19:00
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Inc has sued a former employee claiming that he hacked the electric carmaker's trade secrets and transferred large amounts of company data to third parties, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Nevada on Wednesday.

Tesla sues former worker for hacking

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:24
Tesla says it has suffered "significant" damages as a result of the alleged theft.

Amazon, Buffett, JPMorgan Pick Gawande to Lead Health Firm

VOA TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:17
Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway have picked well-known author and Harvard professor Dr. Atul Gawande to transform the health care they give their employees. The three corporate titans said Wednesday that Gawande will lead an independent company focused on a mission they announced earlier this year: figure out ways to improve a broken and often inefficient system for delivering care. Health care researchers have said any possible solutions produced by this new venture will be felt well beyond the estimated 1 million workers the three companies employ in the United States. Other businesses that provide employee health coverage are eager to find solutions for health care costs that often rise faster than inflation and squeeze their budgets in the process. Berkshire Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has described health costs as a "hungry tapeworm on the American economy." Leaders of the three companies have said little about how their Boston-based venture plans to tackle this problem, but they have noted that it will take time to figure out solutions, a point they emphasized again on Wednesday. "We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert's knowledge, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a prepared statement. "[Gawande] embodies all three, and we're starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor." Employer-sponsored insurance covers about 157 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That's nearly half the total U.S. population and the biggest slice of the country's patchwork health insurance market. Neither companies nor many of their employees are happy with how the system currently works. Employers have reacted in part to rising expenses by raising deductibles and other costs, asking their workers to pay more of the bill and to shop around for better deals. Many patients, especially the sickest, struggle with that. Gawande is surgeon and professor at both Harvard's Medical School and its T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He said in a statement Wednesday that he has devoted his career in public health to building solutions for better care delivery, and that while the current system is broken, "better is possible." The consortium's leaders have said they aren't looking for a quick fix. JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said during an appearance on CNBC earlier this month that fraud in the system, high administrative costs and the overuse and underuse of some drugs are among the many complications that must be improved. The three companies said in late January that their new venture will focus on technology that provides simplified, high-quality and transparent care. Amazon's participation and customer-first focus will be crucial, according to Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit that represents large employers. He noted that employers already offer ways to help patients shop for care or see a doctor remotely through telemedicine. But people don't use this technology unless they need it, so they haven't grown comfortable with it. That could change if they go through a well-known platform like Amazon, which could then reach into its vast trove of customer data to personalize the shopping, Marcotte said. If, for instance, you are a runner considering knee surgery, Amazon could lay out the best or common practices for your condition and maybe show that surgery isn't your only option. "It's not only reaching people in the moment, it's the possibility to reach people with relevant personalized messaging that will engage them," Marcotte said.

Teradata sues Germany's SAP, alleging it stole trade secrets

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:12
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - SAP SE , Europe's most valuable technology company, was sued on Wednesday by U.S. company Teradata , which accused it of stealing trade secrets, copyright infringement and anti-trust violations.

Altice selling stakes in French, Portuguese telecom towers to cut debt

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 17:58
PARIS (Reuters) - Telecoms and cable group Altice said on Wednesday it had agreed to sell stakes in its towers businesses in France and Portugal, raising a combined 2.5 billion euros ($2.90 billion) which will go toward paying down a hefty debt pile.

Trump to meet lawmakers about 'problematic' ZTE amendment: spokeswoman

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 17:14
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and a group of lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives will meet at the White House on Wednesday to discuss their disagreement over how to penalize Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp , a White House spokeswoman said.

Telecom Italia keen to discuss fiber-to-the-home tie-up with Open Fiber

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 16:52
MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TIM) is keen to discuss combining the Italian phone group's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband assets with those of smaller rival Open Fiber, Chief Executive Amos Genish said on Wednesday.

Trump to meet lawmakers about 'problematic' ZTE measure: White House

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 16:40
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and a group of lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives will meet at the White House on Wednesday to discuss their disagreement over how to penalize Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp , a White House spokeswoman said.

Bosch to invest 17 billion rupees in India over next three years

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 16:16
(Reuters) - German auto parts maker Bosch Group plans to invest 17 billion rupees ($250 million) in India over the next three years to meet growing demand in the domestic automotive market, Chief Executive Officer Volkmar Denner said on Wednesday.

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan name Atul Gawande CEO of healthcare venture

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:51
(Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday named Atul Gawande as the chief executive officer of their health venture.

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan name CEO for healthcare venture

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:45
(Reuters) - Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co on Wednesday named Atul Gawande as the chief executive officer of their health venture.

Telecom Italia keen to discuss fiber-to-the-home tie-up with Open Fiber: CEO

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:27
MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia (TIM) is willing to discuss a combination of the Italian phone group's fiber-to-the-home broadband operations with that of smaller rival Open Fiber, Chief Executive Amos Genish said on Wednesday.

Council demanded payment card details via email

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:12
A London local authority requested security codes among other details be sent via a Word document.

Cryptocurrency firm Tether releases law firm report attesting to U.S. dollar reserves

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 15:04
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Washington-based law firm co-founded by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh has attested that as of June 1 cryptocurrency firm Tether had enough U.S. dollar reserves to back its virtual coins in circulation, according to a report released by Tether on Wednesday.

BT fined for five million spam emails

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:35
BT fined for sending nearly five million emails promoting three charities to customers.

EU Parliament committee votes for tougher EU copyright rules to rein in tech giants

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:24
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other tech giants could face more curbs on their market power after a European Parliament committee voted in favor of tougher copyright rules on Wednesday.

Tesla's Musk says Germany a front runner for Europe Gigafactory

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:18
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - U.S. electric carmaker Tesla favors Germany as the location for its first European Gigafactory, its chief executive said, in what would be the latest move by an outside firm into the European battery market.

'Disastrous' copyright bill vote approved

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:05
Critics call it a "dark day" as an EU committee adopts two controversial changes to copyright law.

Bithumb: Hackers 'rob crypto-exchange of $32m'

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:57
One of the largest crypto-currency exchanges says thieves have seized $31.6m worth of its funds.

Vodafone sets 5G trials in seven of Britain's 10 big cities

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:53
LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone said on Wednesday it will begin testing next-generation 5G mobile networks in seven of Britain's 10 largest cities later in 2018, part of a plan to start limited deployments in dense urban areas in some markets next year.

Billionaire Fredriksen invests in Norway data center, transatlantic cable

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:29
OSLO (Reuters) - Billionaire investor John Fredriksen has agreed to buy a stake in Bulk Infrastructure AS, which plans to build a large data center in his native Norway as well as a transatlantic fiber-optic cable, the company said on Wednesday.

China's Xiaomi targets as much as $6.1 billion in Hong Kong IPO: sources

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:21
HONG KONG (Reuters/IFR) - Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp is planning to raise up to $6.1 billion from a Hong Kong IPO launching this week, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what will be one of the biggest tech floats globally of recent years.

SoftBank's Son to prioritize unicorn hunting as firm shifts focus

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 12:13
TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said on Wednesday he plans to devote the bulk of his time to hunt for technology investments around the world, as part of a major shift in focus at the Japanese tech and telecoms conglomerate.

Toyota captures data goldmine in $1 billion Grab bet

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:52
TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - By pumping $1 billion into ride-hailing firm Grab, Toyota Motor Corp stands to gain a passenger-side view of tens of thousands of cars across Southeast Asia, tracking how fast they drive, how far they travel and the time they spend stuck in traffic.

China's Xiaomi plans to raise up to $6.1 billion in Hong Kong IPO: sources

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 10:23
HONG KONG (Reuters/IFR) - Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is planning to raise up to $6.1 billion from a Hong Kong initial public offering, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Silicon Valley-Style Coding Boot Camp Seeks to Reset Japan Inc.

VOA TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 09:42
Barely six months after inaugurating a tiny software-coding boot camp in a basement in Tokyo, Silicon Valley transplant Kani Munidasa stood before some of Japan's top business leaders in February with a warning: software was threatening their future. A Sri Lankan native with a Japanese mother and wife, Munidasa was speaking at the invitation of Nobuyuki Idei, a former chief executive of Sony. Idei had offered to become an adviser to the boot camp, called Code Chrysalis, whose mission of bringing Japan's software engineering up to global standards and helping its companies transform aligned with his own. "Idei-san told me, 'Tell it as it is; don't sugar-coat anything. They need to hear that change has to happen,'" Munidasa said, recalling how he showed up at the executives' meeting in a T-shirt and hoodie. Long known as a "monozukuri" - or manufacturing - powerhouse, Japan is in danger of getting left behind as artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning sweep through industries from cars to banking, Idei and others say. Japanese companies have traditionally treated software as a means to cut costs rather than add value, and code-writers as second-class citizens. Entry-level software engineers in Japan make about $40,000 on average - less than half their U.S. counterparts. Programs like Code Chrysalis are trying to change that by injecting Silicon Valley training methods into Japan's slow-to-change corporate culture. Coding, "soft skills" like public speaking and even physical fitness are all on the agenda. Since Code Chrysalis opened last July, a dozen students have graduated from its 12-week course, with six more in the pipeline. The camp currently accepts up to eight applicants per session. For the students, the benefits are clear: their salaries increased by an average of nearly 80 percent after graduation, according to Code Chrysalis. Japanese companies are desperate for skilled developers, with top IT recruiter Computer Futures seeing 2.3 job openings for every applicant so far this year, and most positions being filled by foreigners. Educators and industry leaders hope programs such as Code Chrysalis will be transformative for Japan. "Even if the numbers are small, I think (Code Chrysalis) can have a big impact," Idei told Reuters, noting that Japan had focused too much on "physical goods" in the post-Internet age. "The United States has Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon," said Idei, now CEO of his consultancy, Quantum Leaps. "China's got Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. Japan doesn't have a single platform company. That's the No. 1 difference." A textbook problem Japan's English-language education, notoriously focused on standardised testing, has hindered the development of good programmers, industry insiders say. Without a good grasp of the language, programmers are always a step behind, waiting for translations to access cutting-edge tools and methods. Toyota is making English the common language for the 1,000 software engineers it plans to employ at a new automated-driving unit launching in Tokyo next month. James Kuffner, CEO of the unit, Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD), said Japan's computer science education was also overly based on textbook learning. Recalling the "horrible and boring" lectures he sat through at the prestigious University of Tokyo as a post-doctoral research fellow in 1999, Kuffner said the classes did little to prepare students for the real world. Coding boot camps are a step in the right direction, he said. "I want to figure out a way to fix the education system because it's also important for our company," said Kuffner, who still serves as an adjunct associate professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. "I would love to make a university where (everything) you did was project-based." Rebooting the system Munidasa and his co-founder, Yan Fan, tailored their course around project-based learning, teaching exclusively in English. Just one other English-language coding boot camp exists in Japan, run by French chain Le Wagon since late 2016, with 75 graduates so far. That program, which costs 790,000 yen ($7,200) for a nine-week course, targets beginners looking for a job in software development, who want to freelance, or who are launching their own start-ups. "The positioning is very different because we work with beginners to bring them to a junior-developer level," said Paul Gaumer, co-founder of Le Wagon Japan. Munidasa and Fan's program, which is aimed at higher-level training, has so far rejected nearly 80 percent of applicants, some of whom couldn't meet the English requirement. To help, they added a four-week English-communication course. During Code Chrysalis' 1.03 million yen ($9,390), full-time course, students learn to become "full-stack" engineers, covering servers, user interfaces, and everything in between. Beyond coding, they get unconventional instruction: voice training from an opera singer, squats challenges, and assignments requiring intense teamwork. Baby steps Code Chrysalis has already caught the attention of some big Japanese firms, including information technology giant NTT Data. Its applied software engineering centre is using Code Chrysalis for part of its training and has placed an engineer in the current cohort. "Our customers are increasingly looking for faster and cheaper software development, and we need to be able to meet those demands," said human resources manager Kotaro Kimura. Masataka Shintoku, an engineer in NTT Data's sales and planning group who found Code Chrysalis on his own and graduated in March, says he's already putting his new skills to work. "I'm now able to create an app on my own and show prospective clients what we can do," he said. Kuffner said he hopes to emulate the storied Toyota Production System to create the software world's "best process for writing bug-free software" as automated cars incorporate millions of lines of code. "Japanese people are hard-working, very dedicated," he said. "I have no question in my mind that with the right training they could be some of the best software engineers in the world."

ZTE's Hong Kong shares rise after clarification of U.S. bill impact

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 07:48
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shares of China's ZTE Corp rose as much as 18 percent in Hong Kong on Wednesday as the impact of a U.S. Senate bill that threatens to restore penalties on the company became clearer.

ZTE shares rise in Hong Kong after clarification of U.S. bill impact

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 07:22
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shares of China's ZTE Corp rose as much as 18 percent in Hong Kong on Wednesday as the impact of a U.S. Senate bill that threatens to restore penalties on the company became clearer.

South Korea's Bithumb loses $32 million in digital money heist, bitcoin falls

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 06:08
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb said 35 billion won ($31.5 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen by hackers, the second local exchange targeted in just over a week as cyber thieves exposed the high risks of trading the digital asset.

Hackers hit South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, bitcoin falls

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 04:43
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb said 35 billion won ($31.5 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen by hackers, the second local exchange to suffer the fate in just over a week as cyber thieves exposed high risks of trading the digital asset.

South Korea cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb says hacked, $32 million in coins stolen

TECHNEWS - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 04:36
SEOUL (Reuters) - Seoul-based virtual currency exchange Bithumb has been hacked and 35 billion won ($31.51 million) worth of virtual currency held at the exchange stolen, the exchange said on Wednesday.

Motorists in Crime-ridden Caracas Seek Safety Through 'Buddy' App

VOA TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 04:30
Two men on motorbikes approached a broken-down vehicle in Caracas one day earlier this month in what could have been a nightmare scenario in one of the world's most dangerous cities where roadside robberies and murders are an everyday occurrence. The men took up positions either side of the green four-wheel-drive vehicle, with a 33-year-old female schoolteacher behind the wheel, and guarded it until a tow truck arrived two hours later to cart it off to a garage. The two guards are employees of a new mobile application called "Pana" - "Buddy" in Venezuelan slang - which dispatches security crews to stranded drivers who request help. It's a reflection of how Venezuelans are turning to technology to overcome the dangers and nuisances of living in the crisis-hit country. Mobile payment apps, for example, attract customers who do not have enough paper money, which is in short supply due to hyperinflation. Domingo Coronil who started Pana with his brother Juan Cristobal last September said they have carried out more than 5,000 successful driver rescues on the streets of the capital. "People's reactions have been amazing. Some start crying, while others take selfies," the 46-year-old security consultant said in an interview. Violence in Venezuela has shot up during the oil-wealthy country's spiral into a five-year economic crisis and political meltdown. Many Caracas residents refuse to go out at night due to security fears, and wealthier Venezuelans often travel in bullet-proof cars with bodyguards. There were almost 27,000 violent deaths in the country last year, with Venezuela having the second highest murder rate in the world after El Salvador, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, a local crime monitoring group. National homicide rates rose each year from 67 murders per 100,000 people in 2011 to 92 in 2016, before dipping to 89 last year, according to the group. The homicide rate in Caracas alone was 104 per 100,000 people in 2017, the group said. New York, in contrast, had a homicide rate of 3 per 100,000 last year and most European cities had less than 1. A recent Gallup study placed Venezuela at the bottom of its 2018 Law and Order index, with 42 percent of surveyed Venezuelans reporting they had been robbed the previous year and one-quarter saying they had been assaulted. "The fear people have isn't you'll be robbed in your car, but that you'll be killed or kidnapped," said Roberto Briceno Leon, the observatory's director. Venezuelan authorities say nongovernmental groups inflate crime figures to create paranoia and tarnish President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government. But even the most recent official national murder rate - 58 per 100,000 inhabitants for 2015 - was still among the world's highest. About 700 people have joined Pana because of the high crime rate, Coronil said, each paying an annual fee of 4,800,000 bolivars, or about $2 to $4 on the black market, to request help as many times as they want at any hour day or night. The company receives a customer's geo-locations at its headquarters and dispatches two of its 28 security guards to the breakdown. Coronil hopes to expand coverage to roads outside Caracas and offer corporate plans. Vanessa Mikuski, the schoolteacher in the van, tapped the button in Pana's smartphone app when her car broke down without warning that June morning in the east of Caracas. A friend had recommended she download it last year. The two Pana security guards, who were not armed and wear jackets with the app's logo, kept pedestrians and drivers away while Mikuski waited and arranged for her children to be picked up from school. "You feel much more secure ... And at that price, it's great," she said.

Across Asia's Borders, Trafficking Survivors Dial in for Justice

VOA TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 02:03
When Neha Maldar testified against the traffickers who enslaved her as a sex worker in India, she spoke from the safety of her own country, Bangladesh, via videoconferencing, a technology that could revolutionize the pursuit of justice in such cases. The men in the western city of Mumbai appeared via video link more than 2,000 km (1,243 miles) west of Maldar as she sat in a government office in Jessore, a major regional hub for sex trafficking, 50 km from Bangladesh's border with India. "I saw the people who had trafficked me on the screen and I wasn't scared to identify them," Maldar, who now runs a beauty parlor from her home near Jessore, told Reuters. "I was determined to see them behind bars." "I told them how I was beaten for refusing to work in the brothel in the beginning and how the money I made was taken away," she said, adding that she had lied to Indian authorities about her situation after being rescued, out of fear. Thousands of people from Bangladesh and Nepal — mainly poor, rural women and children — are lured to India each year by traffickers who promise good jobs but sell them into prostitution or domestic servitude, anti-slavery activists say. Activists hope the safe, convenient technology could boost convictions. A Bangladeshi sex trafficker was jailed for the first time in 2016 on the strength of a victim's testimony to a court in Mumbai via video link from Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital. Convictions for cross-border trafficking in the region are rare as most victims choose not to pursue cases that have traditionally required them to testify in Indian courts, which meant staying in a shelter for the duration of the trial. "They have always wanted to go back home, to their families," said Shiny Padiyara, a legal counsel at the Indian charity Rescue Foundation that has facilitated videoconferencing cases and runs shelters for trafficking victims. "And most never return to testify." But videoconferencing is making it easier to pursue justice. Survivors have given statements, identified their traffickers, and been cross examined in at least 10 other ongoing international cases in Bangladesh, advocates said. "Enabling victims to testify via video conference will lead to a possible decrease in acquittal rates for want of prime witnesses," said Adrian Phillips of Justice and Care, a charity that supports the use of video testimony to help secure justice. Even then, it is tough. During Maldar's three-hour deposition, she withstood a tough cross-examination, showed identity documents to prove her age and countered allegations by the defense lawyer that she was lying about her identity. 'Unpardonable' Tara Khokon Miya is preparing her 27-year-old daughter to testify against the men who trafficked her to India from Dhaka, where she had been working in a garment factory. "I almost lost my daughter forever," she said, sitting in her home in Magura, less than 50 km from Jessore, describing how she disappeared after work and was taken to a brothel in India, and raped and beaten for almost a year before being rescued. "What the traffickers did to my daughter was unpardonable," Miya said, wiping her tears. "We seek justice. I nurtured her in my womb and can't describe what it felt like to not know about her whereabouts." The trial has been ongoing since 2013 when the young woman, who declined to be named, was repatriated. The charity Rights Jessore is helping the family through the process, by providing counseling and rehearsing cross-examination. "The best thing is her father will be by her side when she talks in court," Miya said, finally breaking into a smile. India signed a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh in 2015 to ensure faster trafficking investigations and prosecutions, and with Nepal in 2017, and laid down basic procedures to encourage the use of videoconferencing in court proceedings. "The procedure is very transparent," said judge K M Mamun Uzzaman at Jessore courthouse, which often converts its conference hall into a courtroom for videoconferencing cases to protect survivors' privacy. "I'm usually present and victims are able to testify confidently ... it is easy and cost effective for us," he said. "But the biggest beneficiaries are the survivors." The future Videoconferencing in Bangladesh has been plagued by technical glitches such as power cuts and poor connections. "Sometimes the internet connection is weak or it gets disconnected during the testimony," said Binoy Krishna Mallick head of Rights Jessore, a pioneer in using this technology to encourage trafficking survivors to pursue justice. "But these are just teething troubles." The bigger challenge, activists say, is to ensure survivors remain committed to the trial despite delays caused by a backlog of cases and witnesses' failure to appear to testify. Swati Chauhan, one of the first judges to experiment with video testimony in 2010, is convinced that technology can eliminate many of these hurdles. "Victims go through a lot of trauma, so it is natural that they don't want to confront their trafficker in a court — but that doesn't mean they don't want the trafficker to be punished," she said. "A videoconference requires meticulous planning and it is not easy coordinating between departments and countries. But it is the future for many seeking justice."

Scan on Exit: Can Blockchain Save Moldova's Children from Traffickers?

VOA TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 01:32
Laura was barely 18 when a palm reader told her she could make $180 a month working in beetroot farms in Russia — an attractive sum for a girl struggling to make a living in the town of Drochia, in Moldova's impoverished north. That she had no passport, the fortune teller said, was not a problem. Her future employers would help her cross the border. "They gave me a [fake] birth certificate stating I was 14," Laura, who declined to give her real name, told Reuters in an interview. That was enough to get her through border controls as she traveled by bus with a smuggler posing as one of her parents. It was the beginning of a long tale of exploitation for Laura — one of many such stories in Moldova in eastern Europe, which aims to become the first country in the world to pilot blockchain to tackle decades of widespread human trafficking. Trafficking generates illegal profits of $150 billion a year globally, with about 40 million people estimated to be trapped as modern-day slaves — mostly women and girls — in forced labor and forced marriages, according to leading anti-slavery groups. The digital tool behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin is increasingly being tested for social causes, from Coca-Cola creating a workers' registry to fight forced labor to tracking supply chains, such as cobalt which is often mined by children. Moldova has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in Europe as widespread poverty and unemployment drive many young people, mostly women, to look for work overseas, according to the United Nations migration agency (IOM). Due to the hidden nature of trafficking and the stigma attached, it is unknown how many people in the former Soviet country have been trafficked abroad but IOM has helped some 3,400 victims — 10 percent of whom were children — since 2001. In Russia, Laura was forced to toil long hours, beaten and never paid. After ending up in hospital, she was rescued by a doctor, only to be trafficked again a few years later when an abusive partner sold her into prostitution. She now lives with her daughter in a rehabilitation center in the northern village of Palaria with help from the charity CCF Moldova. "I had a lot of suffering," the 36-year-old said. "I am very afraid of being sold again, afraid about my child." ​Scans and bribes Moldova plans to launch a pilot of its digital identity project this year, working with the Brooklyn-based software company ConsenSys, which won a U.N. competition in March to design an identity system to combat child trafficking. Undocumented children are easy prey for traffickers using fake documents to transport them across borders to work in brothels or to sell their organs, experts say. More than 40,000 Moldovan children have been left behind by parents who have migrated abroad for work, often with little supervision, according to IOM. "A lot of children are staying just with their grandfathers or grandmas, spending [more] time in the streets," said Lilian Levandovschi, head of Moldova's anti-trafficking police unit. Moldova, with a population of 3.5 million, is among the poorest countries in Europe with an average monthly disposable income of 2,250 Moldovan Leu ($135), government data shows. ConsenSys aims to create a secure, digital identity on a blockchain — or decentralized digital ledger shared by a network of computers — for Moldovan children, linking their personal identities with other family members. Moldova has strengthened its anti-trafficking laws since Laura's ordeal and children now need to carry a passport and be accompanied by a parent, or an adult carrying a letter of permission signed by a guardian, to exit the country. With the blockchain system, children attempting to cross the border would be asked to scan their eyes or fingerprints. A phone alert would notify their legal guardians, requiring at least two to approve the crossing, said Robert Greenfield who is managing the ConsenSys project. Any attempt to take a child abroad without their guardians' permission would be permanently recorded on the database, which would detect patterns of behavior to help catch traffickers and could be used as evidence in court. "Nobody can bribe someone to delete that information," said Mariana Dahan, co-founder of World Identity Network (WIN), an initiative promoting digital identities and a partner in the blockchain competition. Corruption and official complicity in trafficking are significant problems in Moldova, according to the U.S. State Department, which last year downgraded it to Tier 2 in a watchlist of those not doing enough to fight modern day slavery. Moldova is eager to prove that it is taking action, as a further demotion could block access to U.S. aid and loans. ​Tricked Many details have yet to be agreed before the blockchain project starts, including funding, populations targeted, the type of biometrical data collected, and where it will be stored. But the scheme is facing resistance from some anti-trafficking groups who say it will not help the majority of victims — children trafficked within Moldova's borders and adults who are tricked when they travel abroad seeking work. "As long as we don't have job opportunities ... trafficking will still remain a problem for Moldova," said IOM's Irina Arap. Minors made up less than 20 percent of 249 domestic and international trafficking victims identified in 2017, said Ecaterina Berejan, head of Moldova's anti-trafficking agency. "For Moldova, this is not a very big problem," she said, referring to cross-border child trafficking, adding that child victims may travel with valid documents as their families are in cahoots with traffickers in some cases. But supporters of the blockchain initiative say low official trafficking figures do not account for undetected cases, and they have a duty to attempt to stay ahead of the criminals. "Many times, authorities are late in using latest technologies," said Mihail Beregoi, state secretary for Moldova's internal affairs ministry. "Usually organized crime uses them first and more successfully. ... Any effort [to] secure at least one child is already worth trying."

Army to 'push limits of innovative warfare'

SKY TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 01:15
The UK must "push the limits of innovative warfare" or risk being left behind amidst a "darkening geopolitical picture", the new head of the Army will warn during his first public speech in the role.

Rural residents hang up on mobile banking, regulator finds

BBC TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 01:02
Fewer than a quarter of those living in rural areas use a smartphone for banking, regulator finds.

IBM Computer Proves Formidable Against 2 Human Debaters

VOA TECH - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 00:39
An argumentative computer proved formidable against two human debaters as IBM gave its first public demonstration of new artificial intelligence technology it's been working on for more than five years. The new skills show that computers are getting better at mastering human language and speech. The computer made its case for government-subsidized space research by pulling in evidence from its huge internal repository of newspapers, journals and other sources. After delivering opening arguments, the computer listened to a professional human debater's counter-argument and spent four minutes rebutting it. The company unveiled its Project Debater in San Francisco on Monday. IBM selected possible topics based on whether they were debatable, but neither the computer nor the human debaters knew the topic in advance. Nonetheless, the computer championed the topic fiercely with just a few awkward gaps in reasoning. "Subsidizing space exploration is like investing in really good tires," argued the computer system, its female voice embodied in a 5-foot-tall machine shaped like a monolith with TV screens on its sides. Such research would enrich the human mind, inspire young people and be a "very sound investment," it said, making it more important even than good roads, schools or health care. After closing arguments, it moved on to a second debate about telemedicine. An IBM research team based in Israel began working on the project not long after IBM's Watson computer beat two human quizmasters on a Jeopardy challenge in 2011. But rather than just scanning a giant trove of data in search of factoids, IBM's latest project taps into several more complex branches of AI. Search engine algorithms used by Google and Microsoft's Bing use similar technology to digest and summarize written content and compose new paragraphs. Voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa rely on listening comprehension to answer questions posed by people. Google recently demonstrated an eerily human-like voice assistant that can call hair salons or restaurants to make appointments. But IBM says it's breaking new ground by creating a system that tackles deeper human practices of rhetoric and analysis, and how they're used to discuss big questions whose answers aren't always clear. "If you think of the rules of debate, they're far more open-ended than the rules of a board game," said Ranit Aharonov, who manages the debater project. IBM doesn't try to declare a winner of the debates, but Noa Ovadia, one of the human debaters, said the computer was a formidable opponent even if it made a few too many blanket statements about space exploration being the pinnacle of human achievement. Ovadia, a national debate champion in Israel, said she was impressed by its fluency in language and ability to construct sentences. She said the computer was able to "get to the bottom line of my arguments" and respond to them. Among several outside experts IBM invited to attend Project Debater's debut was Chris Reed, who directs the Centre for Argument Technology at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Reed said he was impressed by its grasp of "procatalepsis" — a rhetorical technique that involves anticipating an opponent's argument and pre-emptively rebutting it. As expected, the machine tends to be better than humans at bringing in numbers and other detailed supporting evidence. It's also able to latch onto the most salient and attention-getting elements of an argument, and can even deliver some self-referential jokes about being a computer. But it lacks tact, researchers said. Sometimes the jokes don't come out right. And Monday, some of the sources it cited — such as a German official and an Arab sheikh — didn't seem particularly germane. "Humans tend to be better at using more expressive language, more original language," said Dario Gil, IBM's vice president of AI research. "They bring in their own personal experience as a way to illustrate the point. The machine doesn't live in the real world or have a life that it's able to tap into." There are no immediate plans to turn Project Debater into a commercial product, but Gil said it could be useful in the future in helping lawyers or other human workers make informed decisions.

Mellanox, Starboard settle on new board members

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:58
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chipmaker Mellanox Technologies Ltd struck a settlement with activist investor Starboard Value LP to appoint new board members and name a director if the company fails to meet certain operating goals.

Walt Disney names creative heads of animation studios

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:17
(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co on Tuesday split the role of its outgoing creative head John Lasseter and appointed two Academy award winners to spearhead its two animation studios.

Silicon Valley-style coding boot camp seeks to reset Japan Inc

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:03
TOKYO (Reuters) - Barely six months after inaugurating a tiny software-coding boot camp in a basement in Tokyo, Silicon Valley transplant Kani Munidasa stood before some of Japan's top business leaders in February with a warning: software was threatening their future.

Mellanox, Starboard select directors to join board: sources

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:26
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mellanox Technologies Ltd, a chipmaker based in Israel and the United States, has picked three directors to join its board as part of a settlement with activist investor Starboard Value LP, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

ZTE and U.S. still working on escrow agreement: U.S. official

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:16
(Reuters) - ZTE Corp and the U.S. government are still working on an escrow agreement that must be completed and funded with $400 million before a ban on the Chinese company can be lifted, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Vault 7: CIA engineer Joshua Schulte charged with data leak

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:06
Software engineer Joshua Schulte released information on how the CIA can take over iPhones.

China-based campaign breached satellite, defense companies: Symantec

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 22:06
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A sophisticated hacking campaign launched from computers in China burrowed deeply into satellite operators, defense contractors and telecommunications companies in the United States and southeast Asia, security researchers at Symantec Corp said on Tuesday.

EU copyright reforms draw fire from internet luminaries as key vote looms

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 20:46
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's attempts to force Google, Microsoft and other tech giants to share revenues with publishers and bear liability for internet content have triggered criticism from internet pioneers ahead of a key vote on Wednesday.

Verizon to stop selling phone location data to third parties

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 20:01
(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc will stop selling its customers' phone location data to third parties after an investigation by a U.S. Senator found law enforcement agencies were able to use the data to track people without their consent.

Facebook expands offerings for video creators to cash in on views

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 19:32
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc launched a matchmaking system Tuesday to cultivate partnerships between advertisers and video creators as the world's largest social media company tries to quickly parallel the variety of commercial opportunities offered by its video rival YouTube.

Facebook ordered to explain deleted profile

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 19:04
The social network has been ordered by a UK judge to reveal who told it to delete the profile of a jazz musician

CrowdStrike raises $200 million, continues to evaluate IPO: CEO

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:56
NEW YORK (Reuters) - CrowdStrike said on Tuesday it has raised $200 million in its latest round of funding, putting the cloud-based cybersecurity company's valuation at more than $3 billion.

Apple CEO to advocate end to 'inhumane' immigrant children separation: Irish Times

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:54
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has described the separation of children from immigrant parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as "inhumane" and promised to be a "constructive voice" in seeking to end the issue, the Irish Times newspaper reported.

Verizon to stop sharing phone-location data to third parties

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:39
(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has decided to stop sharing phone-location data of its customers to third parties, the largest U.S. wireless company said on Tuesday.

ZTE, U.S. suppliers shares tank after Senate puts Trump reprieve in doubt

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:25
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shares of ZTE Corp and its American business partners took a hit on Tuesday after the U.S. Senate's passage of a defense bill set up a potential battle with the White House over whether the Chinese telecoms firm can resume business with U.S. suppliers.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike raises $200 million

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:04
NEW YORK (Reuters) - CrowdStrike said on Tuesday it has raised $200 million in the latest round of funding, putting the cloud-based cybersecurity company's valuation at more than $3 billion.

New 'spider' ETF captures Facebook, AT&T in its web

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 15:06
NEW YORK (Reuters) - State Street Global Advisors said on Tuesday that it had launched an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that will track the recently refreshed communication services sector, which includes telecom and social media firms such as Facebook Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.

The $300 system in the fight against illegal images

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 13:47
The owner of an image hosting platform is fighting back against illegal material with a home-grown solution.

Amazon Echo comes to Marriott hotels

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 13:29
Marriott says digital assistant Alexa will be installed in some of its US properties.

Rare Japanese unicorn Mercari sparkles in market debut, looks to U.S.

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:53
TOKYO (Reuters) - Flea market app operator Mercari Inc's shares surged 77 percent in their Tokyo stock market debut on Tuesday, underscoring strong investor appetite for a rare Japanese unicorn bent on U.S. expansion.

Missing man's police drone rescue in Norfolk 'a miracle'

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:46
Peter Pugh, 75, was found up to his armpits in a muddy creek nearly a day after going missing.

Rich people become cryptocurrency fans, want better advice: survey

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:16
ZURICH (Reuters) - Only around half of millionaires are in tune with their wealth managers and the very rich are increasingly interested in crytocurrency investments, a survey released on Tuesday found.

Amazon's Alexa will now butler at Marriott hotels

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:03
(Reuters) - Inc said on Tuesday that it has partnered with Marriott International Inc to help increase guest access to amenities with Alexa, through its voice-controlled device Echo, in an attempt to expand its presence in the hospitality industry.

Tesla chief Elon Musk accuses worker of sabotage

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 11:28
Tesla chief Elon Musk says an employee carried out "extensive and damaging sabotage".

ZTE shares tank after U.S. Senate puts Trump reprieve in doubt

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:49
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shares of ZTE Corp plummeted on Tuesday after the U.S. Senate's passage of a defense bill set up a potential battle with the White House over whether the Chinese telecoms firm can resume business with its U.S. suppliers.

Exclusive: China's Xiaomi cuts valuation after pulling mainland offering: sources

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:16
HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters/IFR) - Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has lowered its likely valuation to between $55 billion and $70 billion following its decision to delay its mainland share offering until after its Hong Kong IPO, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

China's Xiaomi cuts valuation to $55 billion-$70 billion: sources

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:40
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters/IFR) - Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has lowered its likely valuation to between $55 billion and $70 billion following its decision to delay its mainland share offering until after its Hong Kong IPO, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Rare Japanese unicorn Mercari closes up 77 percent in market debut

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 08:10
TOKYO (Reuters) - Flea market app operator Mercari Inc's shares surged 77 percent in their Tokyo stock market debut on Tuesday, underscoring strong investor appetite for a rare Japanese unicorn bent on U.S. expansion.

Rare Japanese unicorn Mercari surges as much as 100 percent in debut

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 06:11
TOKYO (Reuters) - Flea market app operator Mercari Inc's shares surged 100 percent in their Tokyo stock market debut on Tuesday, hitting their daily limit high, underscoring strong investor appetite for a rare Japanese unicorn bent on U.S. expansion.

Australian court fines Apple $6.7 million over iPhone 'bricking' case

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 05:25
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian court fined U.S. electronics giant Apple Inc A$9 million ($6.7 million) on Tuesday after a regulator accused it of using a software update to disable iPhones which had cracked screens fixed by third parties.

Will Norway's electric plane take off?

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 05:18
A battery-powered plane that could mean guilt-free travel is part of a plan to tackle climate change.

ZTE plummets after U.S. Senate puts Trump reprieve in doubt

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 05:11
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shares of ZTE Corp plunged on Tuesday after the U.S. Senate's passage of a defense bill set up a potential battle with the White House over whether the Chinese telecoms firm can resume business with its U.S. suppliers.

Mercari, a rare Japanese unicorn, soars 76 percent in debut

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 04:43
TOKYO (Reuters) - Flea market app operator Mercari Inc's shares surged 76 percent in their Tokyo stock market debut on Tuesday morning, underscoring strong investor appetite for a rare Japanese unicorn.

CEO Musk emails staff alleging employee 'sabotage'

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 04:34
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday in an email to staff that an unnamed Tesla employee had conducted "extensive and damaging sabotage" to the company's operations including allegedly making unspecified code changes to its manufacturing operating system and sending what the email said was sensitive Tesla data to unnamed third parties.

Apple fined for misleading customers in Australia

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 04:33
The company breached consumer law by refusing to fix devices once serviced by third parties.

China's Xiaomi pulls mainland CDR offering until after HK IPO

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 04:23
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese smartphone marker Xiaomi will postpone its application for a mainland share offering until after it completes a separate listing in Hong Kong, the firm said on Tuesday, casting a pall on Beijing's drive to lure tech giants back home.

Intel has paths around Trump's China tariffs, analysts say

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 04:13
(Reuters) - Intel Corp, the world's biggest chipmaker by revenue and a prominent U.S. manufacturer, could avoid the most severe effects of a new list of Chinese tariffs proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump by shifting its production among its facilities, analysts said Monday.

ZTE shares plunge after Senate bill passage sets up battle with Trump

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 03:56
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Shares of ZTE Corp plunged on Tuesday after the U.S. Senate's passage of a defense bill set up a potential battle with the White House over whether the Chinese telecoms firm can resume business with its U.S. suppliers.

WHO Lists Compulsive Video Gaming As Mental Health Problem

VOA TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 03:53
Parents suspicious that their children may be addicted to video games now have support from health authorities. The World Health Organization has listed "gaming disorder" as a new mental health problem on its 11th edition of  International Classification of Diseases, released on Monday. But as VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, not all psychologists agree that compulsive gaming should be on that list.

China's Xiaomi to postpone its mainland CDR offering

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 03:10
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Xiaomi Corp [XTC.UL] said on Tuesday it will postpone its mainland share offering until after it completes its listing in Hong Kong.

Trump told Apple CEO iPhones will be spared from China tariffs: NYT

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 02:57
(Reuters) - President Donald Trump told Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook that the U.S. government would not levy tariffs on iPhones assembled in China, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing a source familiar with the negotiations.

Beijing subway to get 'bio-ID' tracking systems: China Daily

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 02:50
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Chinese capital, Beijing, is looking at introducing "bio-recognition technology", including palm scanners and facial recognition cameras, to speed up passenger flow through subway stations at peak times, state media reported on Tuesday.

Norway Tests Tiny Electric Plane, Sees Passenger Flights by 2025

VOA TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 02:00
Norway tested a two-seater electric plane on Monday and predicted a start to passenger flights by 2025 if new aviation technologies match a green shift that has made Norwegians the world's top buyers of electric cars. Transport Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Dag Falk-Petersen, head of state-run Avinor which runs most of Norway's airports, took a few minutes' flight around Oslo airport in an Alpha Electro G2 plane, built by Pipistrel in Slovenia. "This is ... a first example that we are moving fast forward" towards greener aviation, Solvik-Olsen told Reuters. "We do have to make sure it is safe - people won't fly if they don't trust it." He said plane makers such as Boeing and Airbus were developing electric aircraft and that battery prices were tumbling, making it feasible to reach a government goal of making all domestic flights in Norway electric by 2040. Asked when passenger flights in electric planes could start, Falk-Petersen, the pilot, said: "My best guess is before 2025 ... It should all be electrified by 2040." The two said the plane, with a takeoff weight of 570 kg (1255 lb), was cramped and buffeted by winds but far quieter than a conventional plane run on fossil fuels. Norway tops the world league for per capita sales of electric cars such as Teslas, Nissan Leafs or Volkswagen Golfs, backed by incentives such as big tax breaks, free parking and exemptions from road tolls. In May 2018, 56 percent of all cars sold in Norway were either pure electric or hybrids against 46 percent in the same month of 2017, according to official statistics. Norway, a mountainous country of five million people where fjords and remote islands mean many short-hop routes of less than 200 kms, would be ideal for electric planes, Solvik-Olsen said. Also, 98 percent of electricity in Norway is generated from clean hydro power. Some opposition politicians said the government needed to do far more to meet green commitments in the 200-nation Paris climate agreement. "This is a start ... but we have to make jet fuel a lot more expensive," said Arild Hermstad, a leader of the Green Party. The first electric planes flew across the English Channel in July 2015, including an Airbus E-Fan. French aviator Louis Bleriot who was first to fly across the Channel, in 1909, in a fossil-fuel powered plane. Electric planes so far have big problems of weight, with bulky batteries and limited ranges. Both Falk-Petersen and Solvik-Olsen said they had been on strict diets before the flight. "My wife is happy about it," Solvik-Olsen said.

AI for animals

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:52
University researchers are using deep neural networks to study wildlife and enhance conservation.

Intel Tops List of Tech Companies Fighting Forced Labor

VOA TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:21
      Intel topped a list issued on Monday ranking how well technology companies combat the risk of forced labor in their supply chains, overtaking HP and Apple. Most of the top 40 global technology companies assessed in the study by KnowTheChain, an online resource for business, had made progress since the last report was published in 2016. But the study found there was still room for improvement. “The sector needs to advance their efforts further down the supply chain in order to truly protect vulnerable workers,” said Kilian Moote, project director of KnowTheChain, in a statement. Intel, HP and Apple scored the highest on the list, which looked at factors including purchasing practices, monitoring and auditing processes. China-based BOE Technology Group and Taiwan's Largan Precision came bottom. Workers who make the components used by technology companies are often migrants vulnerable to exploitative working conditions, the report said.  About 25 million people globally were estimated to be trapped in forced labor in 2016, according to the International Labor Organization and rights group Walk Free Foundation. Laborers in technology companies’ supply chains are sometimes charged high recruitment fees to get jobs, trapped in debt servitude, or deprived of their passports or other documents, the report said. It highlighted a failure to give workers a voice through grievance mechanisms and tackle exploitative recruiting practices as the main areas of concern across the sector. In recent years modern slavery has increasingly come under the global spotlight, putting ever greater regulatory and consumer pressure on firms to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labor, child labor and other forms of slavery. From cosmetics and clothes to shrimp and smartphones, supply chains are often complex with multiple layers across various countries — whether in sourcing the raw materials or creating the final product — making it hard to identify exploitation. Overall, large technology companies fared better than smaller ones, suggesting a strong link between size and capacity to take action, the report said. Amazon, which ranked 20th, was a notable exception, it said. “Top-ranking brands ... are listening to workers in their supply chains and weeding out unscrupulous recruitment processes,” Phil Bloomer, head of the Business & Human Rights Resource Center, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. A spokesman for Amazon said the report drew from old and incomplete information and failed to take into account recently launched anti-slavery commitments and initiatives. HP said it regularly assessed its supply chain to identify and address any concerns and risks of exploitation. “We strive to ensure that workers in our supply chain have fair treatment, safe working conditions, and freely chosen employment,” said Annukka Dickens, HP's director for human rights and supply chain responsibility. Intel, Apple, BOE Technology and Largan Precision did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tesla's Musk alleges 'extensive' employee sabotage

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:04
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk accused an employee of "extensive and damaging sabotage" to the company's operations in an email sent on Monday to company employees.

'They stuck my face on to a porn clip'

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:03
Indian reporter Rana Ayyub got rape and death threats because of a tweet falsely attributed to her.

Feeling the heat?

BBC TECH - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:01
As demand for air conditioning goes through the roof, what are the implications for our planet?

Senate passes defense bill, battle looms with Trump over China's ZTE

TECHNEWS - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 00:37
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed a $716 billion defense policy bill on Monday, backing President Donald Trump's call for a bigger, stronger military but setting up a potential battle with the White House over Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp.

Google to Invest $550M in China E-commerce Giant

VOA TECH - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 23:45
Google will invest $550 million in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse, part of the U.S. internet giant's efforts to expand its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and battle rivals including The two companies described the investment announced on Monday as one piece of a broader partnership that will include the promotion of products on Google's shopping service. This could help expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia and establish a meaningful presence in U.S. and European markets.'s U.S.-listed shares rose 1.2 percent to $44.10 on the NASDAQ on Monday. Company officials said the agreement initially would not involve any major new Google initiatives in China, where the company's main services are blocked over its refusal to censor search results in line with local laws.'s investors include Chinese social media powerhouse Tencent Holdings, the arch-rival of Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding, and Walmart. The partnership not only lets Google bolster its retail ambitions in China but also allows it to further tighten its relationship with Walmart. Together, the two companies could challenge the dominance of Amazon and Alibaba in key markets around the world, analysts said. In the past year, Google has been partnered with Walmart on multiple fronts. In August 2017, the two companies joined forces to offer hundreds of thousands of Walmart items on Google's voice-controlled Google Assistant platform to counter the dominance of Amazon in the voice shopping market. In March, Reuters reported a new program where Google was teaming up with retailers like Walmart, allowing them to list their products on Google Search, as well as on the Google Express shopping service to better compete with Amazon. Google is also reportedly pursuing picking up a stake in India's Flipkart, where Walmart picked up a 77 percent stake for $16 billion. Google declined to comment on the rumored Flipkart deal. Stepping Up Investments in ASIA Google is stepping up its investments across Asia, where a rapidly growing middle class and a lack of infrastructure in retail, finance and other areas have made it a battleground for U.S. and Chinese internet heavyweights. Google recently took a stake in Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek. The investment is being made by the operating unit of Google rather than one of parent company Alphabet's investment vehicles. Google will get 27.1 million newly issued Class A ordinary shares as part of the deal. This will give them less than a 1 percent stake in JD, a spokesman for JD said. For, the Google deal shows its determination to build a set of global alliances as it seeks to counter Alibaba, which has been more focused on forging domestic retail tie-ups. Japan's SoftBank Group, which is making big internet investments around the globe, is a major investor in Alibaba. Morningstar analyst Chelsey Tam said the investment will help expand into developed markets such as the United States and Europe, where it has lesser exposure compared to Google. "This partnership with Google opens up a broad range of possibilities to offer a superior retail experience to consumers throughout the world," said Jianwen Liao,'s chief strategy officer, in a statement. Company officials said the deal would marry Google's market reach and strength in analytics with's expertise in logistics and inventory management. The investment may give Google access to more consumer data, which can be used to boost usage of Google Shopping, said Morningstar analyst Ali Mogharabi.

U.S. regulator to send observer for Tesla probe of Model S fire

TECHNEWS - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 21:49
(Reuters) - The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will send a technical specialist to observe a Tesla Inc examination into the causes of a battery fire last Friday involving one of the electric automaker's Model S vehicles in California, the agency said on Monday.