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Tag Archives: intelligence

EU parliament calls for Privacy Shield to be pulled until US complies

The European Parliament has been making its presence felt today. As well as reopening democratic debate around a controversial digital copyright reform proposal by voting against it being fast-tracked , MEPs have adopted a resolution calling for the suspension of the EU-US Privacy Shield. The parliamentarians’ view is that the data transfer mechanism does not provide the necessary ‘essentially equivalent’ data protection for EU citizens — and should therefore be suspended until US authorities come into compliance. The resolution states that the parliament: Takes the view that the current Privacy Shield arrangement does not provide the adequate level of protection required by Union data protection law and the EU Charter as interpreted by the European Court of Justice; Considers that, unless the US is fully compliant by 1 September 2018, the Commission has failed to act in accordance with Article 45(5) GDPR; calls therefore on the Commission to suspend the Privacy Shield until the US authorities comply with its terms The mechanism is currently used by more than 3,300 organizations to authorize transfers of personal data from the EU to the US, including the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter, to name just a few of the well-known tech names making use of the framework to authorize EU to US personal data transfers. Just adopted: @Europarl_EN "takes the view that the current #PrivacyShield arrangement does not provide the adequate level of protection", "calls therefore on the Commission to suspend the Privacy Shield until the US authorities comply" https://t.co/6uq26t8zKr #EUdataP — Ralf Bendrath (@bendrath) July 5, 2018 European Parliament calls on the @EU_Commission to suspend the #PrivacyShield , unless the US is fully compliant by 1 September. European citizens need a solution that is legally watertight! — Sophie in 't Veld (@SophieintVeld) July 5, 2018 #Dataprotection : MEPs call for the suspension of the EU-US #PrivacyShield if US fails to comply in full by 1 September in a resolution adopted today | @Claude_Moraes | Press release: https://t.co/LultcStBWv — LIBE Committee Press (@EP_Justice) July 5, 2018 The EU-US Privacy Shield is not yet two years old but has always been controversial , given the mass surveillance/Snowden disclosure-related reasons for the demise of its predecessor ( Safe Harbor ). Privacy Shield has looked especially precarious since the election of a US president with an openly  privacy-hostile, anti-foreigner agenda . And reforms to US laws that EU lawmakers had hoped would be enacted have not come to pass. On the contrary, US lawmakers dug in entirely on warrantless surveillance  (aka Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), giving it six more years — and offering nothing in the way of the sought for reforms. In today’s resolution the parliament writes that it “regrets that the US did not seize the opportunity of the recent reauthorisation of FISA Section 702 to include the safeguards provided in PPD 28 ” — referring to an Obama era Presidential Policy Directive that backed extending privacy protections to non-US nationals (when a very different US president wrote that US signals intelligence activities “must take into account that all persons should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their nationality or wherever they might reside, and that all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information”). EU lawmakers have always wanted a more formal, robust and lasting commitment than a PPD, though, and privacy provisions for foreigners’ data being included in FISA was their preferred outcome.  S afe to say, Trump has not picked up that baton

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Tact $27M Series C attracts Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce

It’s not often you can get three cloud giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce to agree on much of anything, but today they were all part of a $27 million Series C investment in Tact.ai , a startup that has been trying to change the way sales people interact with information in CRM systems using voice. Amazon Alexa Fund, Salesforce Ventures and M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) joined Comcast Ventures as strategic investors in the company this round. Traditional VCs Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Upfront Ventures also participated. Tact has now raised over $53 million, according to Crunchbase. Amazon is of course deeply invested in voice interfaces and has recognized what Tact is trying to do in an enterprise setting with this investment. In fact, Tact was one of the first services to launch as part of  Alexa for Business  last fall. “Just as people were quick to adopt voice technology in the home, we see an enormous opportunity for voice services in the enterprise,” Paul Bernard, Director of the Amazon Alexa Fund said. He sees Tact on the forefront of that movement. As though to prove Amazon’s point, the company also announced a product enhancement to improve the voice experience in the car. The feature dubbed ‘Voice Intelligence’ acts like a car-based virtual assistant. Sales people spend much of their time in the car, and the tool can not only give them the basics about the next meeting, it can also provide details about the deal and other relevant information, such as recently filed service tickets. All of this info can arm the salesperson for a potentially more effective meeting, Tact CEO Chuck Ganapathi explained. “We want sales professionals who are on the road, keeping their eyes on the road ahead, so we are pushing information to them and initiating a conversation, which is exactly what a human assistant would do,” he said. Ganapathi understands the limitations of CRM tools perhaps better than anyone. That’s because before he started Tact, he had been helping build them for more than 20 years — first custom systems with Ernst and Young, then on prem with Siebel Systems and finally with Salesforce in the cloud

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Tact $27 M Series C attracts Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce

It’s not often you can get three cloud giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce to agree on much of anything, but today they were all part of a $27 million Series C investment in Tact.AI , a startup that has been trying to change the way sales people interact with information in CRM systems using voice. Amazon Alexa Fund, Salesforce Ventures and M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) joined Comcast Ventures as strategic investors in the company this round. Traditional VCs Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Upfront Ventures also participated. Tact has now raised over $53 million, according to Crunchbase. Amazon is of course deeply invested in voice interfaces and has recognized what Tact is trying to do in an enterprise setting with this investment. In fact, Tact was one of the first services to launch as part of  Alexa for Business  last fall. “Just as people were quick to adopt voice technology in the home, we see an enormous opportunity for voice services in the enterprise,” Paul Bernard, Director of the Amazon Alexa Fund said. He sees Tact on the forefront of that movement. As though to prove Amazon’s point, the company also announced a product enhancement to improve the voice experience in the car. The feature dubbed ‘Voice Intelligence’ acts like a car-based virtual assistant. Sales people spend much of their time in the car, and the tool can not only give them the basics about the next meeting, it can also provide details about the deal and other relevant information, such as recently filed service tickets. All of this info can arm the salesperson for a potentially more effective meeting, Tact CEO Chuck Ganapathi explained.

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Parrot ANAFI Drone Launched

The Parrot ANAFI is a flying 4K HDR camera with a zoom lens that accompanies you every-time. ANAFI can be pre-ordered now and will be in store from July 1st, 2018 for 699€ / $699 / £649.

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Rental property site Spotahome raises $40M led by Kleiner Perkins; founded in 2014, Spotahome has about 50K properties listed in 33 European cities…

Jeremy Kahn / Bloomberg : Rental property site Spotahome raises $40M led by Kleiner Perkins; founded in 2014, Spotahome has about 50K properties listed in 33 European cities   —  - Silicon Valley VC Kleiner Perkins leads funding for startup  — Company offers software for landlords as well as home listings

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Rental property site Spotahome raises $40M Series B led by Kleiner Perkins; founded in 2014, Spotahome has about 50K properties listed in 33 European…

Jeremy Kahn / Bloomberg : Rental property site Spotahome raises $40M Series B led by Kleiner Perkins; founded in 2014, Spotahome has about 50K properties listed in 33 European cities   —  - Silicon Valley VC Kleiner Perkins leads funding for startup  — Company offers software for landlords as well as home listings

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Source: Uber plans to spend up to $500M on a global marketing campaign this year, as part of an effort to repair the company’s image after last year’s…

Priya Anand / The Information : Source: Uber plans to spend up to $500M on a global marketing campaign this year, as part of an effort to repair the company's image after last year's scandals   —  Uber plans to spend up to $500 million on a global marketing effort this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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Facebook shared data with Chinese telecom Huawei, raising US government security concerns

Concerns around Facebook’s recently revealed data sharing relationship with some device makers just took a turn for the worse. The practice, first revealed over the weekend, is now confirmed to have included relationships with Chinese companies Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL, according to The New York Times . Given that the U.S. government has longstanding national security concerns over Huawei , Facebook’s newly revealed data deal with the Chinese company has raised some eyebrows in Congress. “Concerns about Huawei aren’t new – they were widely publicized beginning in 2012, when the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a well-read report on the close relationships between the Chinese Communist Party and equipment makers like Huawei,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner said of the revelation. Warner serves as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “The news that Facebook provided privileged access to Facebook’s API to Chinese device makers like Huawei and TCL raises legitimate concerns, and I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.” In that report , the House Intelligence Committee wrote that “Huawei did not fully cooperate with the investigation and was unwilling to explain its relationship with the Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party, while credible evidence exists that it fails to comply with U.S. laws” and that Huawei’s history indicated that it likely had ties to the Chinese military. Earlier in the day, the Senate Commerce Committee addressed a letter to Facebook over the broader issue of these manufacturer relationships and questioning Facebook’s assertion that the shared data was not abused. As the New York Times reports, these relationships date back “at least 2010” — the relative dark ages of Facebook’s mobile strategy. It does not appear that ZTE had a similar agreement with Facebook. View this document on Scribd Facebook has disputed the characterization of these relationships as a privacy scandal, emphasizing that it imposed tight restrictions on this class of device integration. These integrations are very different from our public APIs — the goal was to recreate Facebook-like experiences on these devices, and they were tightly controlled

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Weights & Biases raises $5M to build development tools for machine learning

Machine learning is one of those buzzwords that nearly every tech company likes to throw around nowadays — but according to Lukas Biewald, it represents a genuinely new approach to programming. “Software has eaten a   lot of the world, and machine learning is eating software,” Biewald said. In his view, there are “fundamental” differences between the two approaches: “One important difference is if all you have is the code you used to train the program, you don’t really know what happened … If I had all the code that was used to train a self-driving car algorithm but I don’t have the data, I don’t know what went down.” Along with Chris Van Pelt, Biewald previously founded CrowdFlower (now known as Figure Eight ), which launched nearly a decade ago at the TechCrunch 50 conference, and which has created tools for training artificial intelligence . Biewald (whom I’ve known since college) and Van Pelt, plus former Google engineer Shawn Lewis, have now started a new company called Weights & Biases to build new tools for machine learning developers. They’ve also raised $5 million in Series A funding from Trinity Ventures and Bloomberg Beta. “Artificial Intelligence has so much potential, but few companies are implementing it yet because the development process is too complicated for all but a small number of highly trained engineers,” said Trinity’s Dan Scholnick, who’s joining the startup’s board of directors. (Scholnick previously backed CrowdFlower.) “W&B aims to dramatically streamline the machine learning software development process so that AI benefits can be unlocked across industries and no longer restricted to the few firms able to hire extremely skilled and extraordinarily expensive AI developers today.” The eventual goal is to create a whole suite of development tools, but Weights & Biases’ first product records and visualizes the process of training a machine learning algorithm. Biewald explained that this makes it possible for developers to go back and see what they were doing, say, a month ago and to share that information with teammates. And it’s already being used by the nonprofit research company OpenAI . Biewald added that when he talked to his friends in the field about their biggest problems, this was the first thing that came up.

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Oxford-based MeVitae wants to scale the hiring process and remove unconscious bias

The HR departments of large companies face a common challenge: how to scale the hiring process when they receive hundreds if not thousands of applicants, and how to remove unconscious bias so the best or most suitable candidates are shortlisted. That’s the specific problem MeVitae , an Oxford-based startup founded by neuroscientist Riham Satti and computer scientist Vivek Doriaiswamy, has set out to solve. Dubbed “Augmented Intelligence,” more broadly the burgeoning company is developing AI technology that uses what Satti describes as “cognitive techniques” designed to compensate for the limitations of humans. The premise — in part backed up by her neuroscience research at Oxford University — is that our brains have limitations that restrict our cognitive ability, including the relatively slow speed when processing information, unconscious biases, and limited memory. Limitations, she says, that machines do not possess. Applying to this to various aspects of recruitment is the startup’s initial bet. Intended to be deployed after a new job opening has been advertised, the MeVitae software plugs into a company’s current Application Tracking System. It then sifts through all of the applications/CVs that have been received and analyses each CV (relative to the job spec) giving it a score. “This is done by analysing every component of a CV (e.g. education, experience etc.) and using the web to reason and validate each score,” explains Satti. The hiring company then receives the ranked and shortlisted applicants within their ATS system, and — crucially — is also able to see a “road map” explaining MeVitae’s reasoning behind each score. In addition, through the use of NLP, MeVitae takes each CV and find parts of it that could result in discrimination (e.g. gender, ethnicity) and redacts this information for an employer i.e. CV blinding. The result is that employers now have ranked and redacted applicant CVs and can quickly shortlist top and diverse talent

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What we can learn from the 3,500 Russian Facebook ads meant to stir up U.S. politics

On Thursday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a massive new trove of Russian government-funded Facebook political ads targeted at American voters. While we’d seen a cross section of the ads before through prior releases from the committee, the breadth of ideological manipulation is on full display across the more than 3,500 newly released ads — and that doesn’t even count still unreleased unpaid content that shared the same divisive aims. Russia sought to weaponize social media to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election. They created fake accounts, pages and communities to push divisive online content and videos, and to mobilize real Americans. Here's how: pic.twitter.com/JqKSm5saAi — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 10, 2018 After viewing the ads, which stretch from 2015 to late 2017, some clear trends emerged. Russia focused on black Americans Many, many of these ads targeted black Americans. From the fairly large sample of ads that we reviewed, black Americans were clearly of particular interest, likely in an effort to escalate latent racial tensions. Many of these ads appeared as memorials for black Americans killed by police officers. Others simply intended to stir up black pride, like one featuring an Angela Davis quote. One ad posted by “Black Matters” was targeted at Ferguson, Missouri residents in June 2015 and only featured the lyrics to Tupac’s “California Love.” Around this time, many ads targeted black Facebook users in Baltimore and the St. Louis area. Some Instagram ads targeted black voters interested in black power, Malcolm X, and the new Black Panther party using Facebook profile information. In the days leading up to November 8, 2016 other ads specifically targeted black Americans with anti-Clinton messaging. Not all posts were divisive (though most were) While most ads played into obvious ideological agendas, those posts were occasionally punctuated by more neutral content. The less controversial or call-to-action style posts were likely designed to buffer the politically divisive content, helping to build out and grow an account over time

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