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Tag Archives: france

Audit Facebook and overhaul competition law, say MEPs responding to breach scandals

After holding a series of hearings in the wake of the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal this summer, and attending a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg himself in May , the European Union parliament’s civil liberties committee has called for an update to competition rules to reflect what it dubs “the digital reality”, urging EU institutions to look into the “possible monopoly” of big tech social media platforms. Top level EU competition law has not touched on the social media axis of big tech yet, with the Commission concentrating recent attention on mobile chips ( Qualcomm ); and mobile and ecommerce platforms (mostly Google; but Amazon’s use of merchant data is in its sights too); as well as probing Apple’s tax structure in Ireland . But last week Europe’s data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, told us  that closer working between privacy regulators and the EU’s Competition Commission is on the cards, as regional lawmakers look to evolve their oversight frameworks to respond to growing ethical concerns about use and abuse of big data, and indeed to be better positioned to respond to fast-paced technology-fuelled change. Local EU antitrust regulators, including in Germany and France, have also been investigating the Google, Facebook adtech duopoly on several fronts in recent years. The Libe committee’s call is the latest political call to spin up and scale up antitrust effort and attention around social media.  The committee also says it wants to see much greater accountability and transparency on “algorithmic-processed data by any actor, be it private or public” — signalling a belief that  GDPR does not go far enough on that front. Libe committee chair and rapporteur, MEP Claude Moraes, has previously suggested  the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal could help inform and shape an update to Europe’s ePrivacy rules, which  remain at the negotiation stage  with disagreements over scope and proportionality. But every big tech data breach and security scandal lends weight to the argument that stronger privacy rules are indeed required. In yesterday’s resolution, the Libe committee also called for an audit of the advertising industry on social media — echoing a call made by the UK’s data protection watchdog, the ICO, this summer for an ‘ ethical pause ‘ on the use of online ads for political purposes. The ICO made that call right after announcing it planned to issue Facebook with the maximum fine possible under UK data protection law — again for the Cambridge Analytica breach. While the Cambridge Analytica scandal — in which the personal information of as many as 87 million Facebook users was extracted from the platform without the knowledge or consent of every person, and passed to the now defunct political consultancy (which used it to create psychographic profiles of US voters for election campaigning purposes) — has triggered this latest round of political scrutiny of the social media behemoth, last month Facebook revealed another major data breach, affecting at least 50M users  — underlining the ongoing challenge it has to live up to claims of having ‘locked the platform down’. In light of both breaches, the Libe committee has now called for EU bodies to be allowed to fully audit Facebook — to independently assess its data protection and security practices.

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Shadow announces a new box for its cloud gaming service

French startup Blade, the company behind Shadow , is updating its physical box that lets you connect to your cloud computer instance. Shadow Ghost is a tiny device that provides all the ports and wireless technologies that you need to plug to a TV or a monitor and start playing. Shadow has been building a cloud computing service for gamers. For $35 per month, you get a gaming PC in a data center near you. Shadow gives you 8 threads on an Intel Xeon 2620 processor, an Nvidia Quadro P5000 GPU that performs more or less as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It’s a full Windows 10 instance and you can do whatever you want with it. The company started with a dedicated box from day one. The first Shadow box was an oddly-shaped black box with a few USB ports and DisplayPorts. This way, you could replace your PC at home with this box and use the same peripherals. When you turn it on, it feels like you’re booting up your gaming PC, but you’re actually just starting a computer with a low-powered CPU that connects to your gaming PC in the cloud. Over the past few months, Shadow has slowly decorrelated the service from the physical device in your home. When you subscribe, you don’t get a box by default

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Sailthru Named to Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms – PR Newswire (press release)

Sailthru Named to Gartner's 2018 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms PR Newswire (press release) 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Sailthru, the leading personalized marketing automation technology provider for retail and publishing, today announces it has been named to Gartner's inaugural July 2018 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms as a Niche ... and more »

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Femtech hardware startup Elvie inks strategic partnership with UK’s NHS

Elvie , a femtech hardware startup whose first product is a sleek  smart pelvic floor exerciser , has inked a strategic partnership with the UK’s National Health Service that will make the device available nationwide through the country’s free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare service so at no direct cost to the patient. It’s a major win for the startup that was co-founded in 2013 by CEO  Tania Boler and Jawbone founder, Alexander Asseily, with the aim of building smart technology that focuses on women’s issues — an overlooked and underserved category in the gadget space. Boler’s background before starting Elvie (née Chiaro) including working for the U.N. on global sex education curriculums. But her interest in pelvic floor health, and the inspiration for starting Elvie, began after she had a baby herself and found there was more support for women in France than the U.K. when it came to taking care of their bodies after giving birth. With the NHS partnership, which is the startup’s first national reimbursement partnership (and therefore, as a spokeswoman puts it, has “the potential to be transformative” for the still young company), Elvie is emphasizing the opportunity for its connected tech to help reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence, including those suffered by new mums or in cases of stress-related urinary incontinence. The Elvie kegel trainer is designed to make pelvic floor exercising fun and easy for women, with real-time feedback delivered via an app that also gamifies the activity, guiding users through exercises intended to strengthen their pelvic floor and thus help reduce urinary incontinence symptoms. The device can also alert users when they are contracting incorrectly. Elvie cites research suggesting the NHS spends £233M annually on incontinence, claiming also that around a third of women and up to 70% of expectant and new mums currently suffer from urinary incontinence. In 70 per cent of stress urinary incontinence cases it suggests symptoms can be reduced or eliminated via pelvic floor muscle training.

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After going public in July, Navya nabs $34M from the European Investment Bank for its self-driving bus

While automakers and startups continue to hone the technology for self-driving cars for individuals, a second track of development in the area of autonomous buses is also taking shape. Today, Navya , a French company that has been a leader in developing autonomous shuttles, announced that it has raised an additional €30 million ($34 million) from the European Investment Bank to continue building out its business. The investment comes on the heels of another significant financial event in the life of the company. On July 24 , Navya (first founded in 2014) went public on the Euronext exchange in Paris and raised €38 million ($44 million). It’s had a somewhat lacklustre early performance: the company’s market cap is currently at €188.8 million , compared to a debut at €190 million. The company has in total raised €80 million this year, it said. “Navya thus has extensive resources to strengthen its technological leadership, to expand its sales and marketing teams and to invest in strategic adjacent markets, while pursuing further international expansion,” the company said of the financing round. The EIB has backed a number of other fast-moving startups in Europe, including the payments startup iZettle , which later got acquired by PayPal. Its funding for Navya will come in two tranches of €15 million, with the second dependent on the company meeting (unspecified) targets. The opportunities (and challenges) in fully autonomous cars are vast, and we are still likely many years away from seeing a full-scale roll of them anytime soon, as carmakers and their partners continue to work on safer and more accurate AI systems to run them on the seemingly endless number of permutations of roads, routes and driving scenarios; and that is before you consider the best usage models to underpin these businesses.

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Cisco is buying Duo Security, a vendor of cloud-based two-factor authentication services, for $2.35B in cash (Matt Burns/TechCrunch)

Matt Burns / TechCrunch : Cisco is buying Duo Security, a vendor of cloud-based two-factor authentication services, for $2.35B in cash   —  Cisco today announced its intent to buy Ann Arbor, MI-based security firm, Duo Security.  Under the terms of agreement, Cisco is paying $2.35 billion in cash and assumed equity awards for Duo.

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Researchers outline the evolution and capabilities of SamSam ransomware, which was responsible for attacks against Atlanta’s digital infrastructure…

Matt Burgess / WIRED UK : Researchers outline the evolution and capabilities of SamSam ransomware, which was responsible for attacks against Atlanta's digital infrastructure this year   —  The creators of the SamSam ransomware are making $300,000 a month and are getting more sophisticated.  And nobody can work out who they are

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A federal jury in California orders Apple to pay $145.1M in damages to Canadian intellectual property company WiLan for infringing on two wireless…

Chance Miller / 9to5Mac : A federal jury in California orders Apple to pay $145.1M in damages to Canadian intellectual property company WiLan for infringing on two wireless patents   —  According to a report from Reuters this evening, a federal jury in California has found Apple guilty of infringing on two patents held …

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Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab raises $1B from investors including OppenheimerFunds and Lightspeed, just over a month after raising $1B…

Yoolim Lee / Bloomberg : Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab raises $1B from investors including OppenheimerFunds and Lightspeed, just over a month after raising $1B from Toyota   —  - OppenheimerFunds, Ping An Capital, Lightspeed joined round  — Funding comes after Grab secured $1 billion from Toyota

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