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Tag Archives: irish

Pointy raises $12M Series B to help bricks and mortar retailers fight Amazon

Pointy ​,​ the​ ​startup​ ​that​ offers tech to help ​bricks and mortar​ ​retailers put their stock online so that it can be discovered via search engines, has picked up $12 million in new funding. The Series B round is led Polaris Partners and Vulcan Capital, and brings total funding for the Irish company to $19 million. Founded on the premise that people often resort to e-commerce behemoths like Amazon because they can’t find the same item locally, Pointy has developed a hardware and cloud software solution that makes it easy to create a bespoke website as means of making local stock discoverable online. Specifically, the ​”Pointy​ ​box”​ hardware ​gadget connects to a store’s barcode scanner and automatically puts scanned items on a Pointy-powered website for the store. Store pages are then optimised for search engines, so that when you search for products locally — say your favourite artisan beer — a Pointy-powered result shows up and encourages you to visit the store and make a purchase. In other words, this is about helping local retailers drive more footfall, but with very little additional overhead. Pointy CEO and co-founder Mark Cummins says the Series B round will be used by the startup to accelerate growth and build on an increased uptake by U.S. retailers. It currently counts 5,500 retailers using Pointy in total, with 70 percent from the U.S, and the remaining in Canada, U.K. and Ireland.

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Facebook under fresh political pressure as UK watchdog calls for “ethical pause” of ad ops

The UK’s privacy watchdog revealed yesterday that it intends to fine Facebook the maximum possible  (£500k) under the country’s 1998 data protection regime for breaches related to the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal. But that’s just the tip of the regulatory missiles now being directed at the platform and its ad-targeting methods — and indeed, at the wider big data economy’s corrosive undermining of individuals’ rights. Alongside yesterday’s  update on its investigation into the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a policy  report  — entitled Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence — in which it sets out a series of policy recommendations related to how personal information is used in modern political campaigns. In the report it calls directly for an “ethical pause” around the use of microtargeting ad tools for political campaigning — to “allow the key players — government, parliament, regulators, political parties, online platforms and citizens — to reflect on their responsibilities in respect of the use of personal information in the era of big data before there is a greater expansion in the use of new technologies”. The watchdog writes emphasis ours: Rapid social and technological developments in the use of big data mean that there is limited knowledge of – or transparency around – the ‘behind the scenes’ data processing techniques (including algorithms, analysis, data matching and profiling) being used by organisations and businesses to micro-target individuals. What is clear is that these tools can have a significant impact on people’s privacy. It is important that there is greater and genuine transparency about the use of such techniques to ensure that people have control over their own data and that the law is upheld. When the purpose for using these techniques is related to the democratic process, the case for high standards of transparency is very strong. Engagement with the electorate is vital to the democratic process; it is therefore understandable that political campaigns are exploring the potential of advanced data analysis tools to help win votes. The public have the right to expect that this takes place in accordance with the law as it relates to data protection and electronic marketing. Without a high level of transparency – and therefore trust amongst citizens that their data is being used appropriately – we are at risk of developing a system of voter surveillance by default

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German law requiring social media companies to take down hate speech within 24 hours prompts far right claims of lack of clarity, chilled speech, and…

Linda Kinstler / The Atlantic : German law requiring social media companies to take down hate speech within 24 hours prompts far right claims of lack of clarity, chilled speech, and censorship   —  The new year was just a day old when Alice Weidel, the 38-year-old co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) …

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Inside Facebook’s deletion center in Berlin, where 1,200 people review posts violating firm’s rules or German law, and decide what is free speech or…

Katrin Bennhold / New York Times : Inside Facebook's deletion center in Berlin, where 1,200 people review posts violating firm's rules or German law, and decide what is free speech or hate speech   —  A country taps its past as it leads the way on one of the most pressing issues facing modern democracies: how to regulate the world's biggest social network.

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Interviews with experts and defectors detail North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, whose hackers are estimated to have stolen $650M+ (Patrick…

Patrick Winn / GlobalPost Investigations : Interviews with experts and defectors detail North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau, whose hackers are estimated to have stolen $650M+   —  The Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's equivalent to the CIA, has trained up the world's greatest bank-robbing crews.

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Majority of European Parliament members are pushing for Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony, due to be given in a private session on Tuesday, to be streamed…

Mehreen Khan / Financial Times : Majority of European Parliament members are pushing for Mark Zuckerberg's testimony, due to be given in a private session on Tuesday, to be streamed live   —  MEPs have revolted against plans for Mark Zuckerberg to attend a closed-door grilling in the European Parliament next week …

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Bank of America begins rolling out its AI-powered assistant, Erica, which will help its 25M mobile clients do banking tasks by voice, text, and…

Stephanie Condon / ZDNet : Bank of America begins rolling out its AI-powered assistant, Erica, which will help its 25M mobile clients do banking tasks by voice, text, and gestures   —  The virtual assistant will be available to Bank of America's 25 million mobile clients  —  Bank of America on Friday officially introduced Erica …

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A history of the music industry’s first efforts at creating music streaming services after Napster and why they failed given the importance of…

Ernie Smith / Motherboard : A history of the music industry's first efforts at creating music streaming services after Napster and why they failed given the importance of streaming now   —  Lessons from the music industry's initial consumer-hostile reaction to the Napster saga.  Going from $16 CDs to unlimited streaming is really hard.

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Interviews with pioneers of AI and PM Justin Trudeau about the history of neural networks and how the Canadian government brought the AI researchers…

Ashlee Vance / Bloomberg : Interviews with pioneers of AI and PM Justin Trudeau about the history of neural networks and how the Canadian government brought the AI researchers together   —  Over the past five years, artificial intelligence has gone from perennial vaporware to one of the technology industry's brightest hopes.

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Sources: Walmart has quietly launched Jetblack, members-only personal shopping and concierge service, now in beta in Manhattan (Jason Del Rey/Recode)

Jason Del Rey / Recode : Sources: Walmart has quietly launched Jetblack, members-only personal shopping and concierge service, now in beta in Manhattan   —  The initiative, led by Rent the Runway's co-founder Jenny Fleiss, is being tested in Manhattan.  —  Code Eight, a stealthy personal-shopping startup incubated inside …

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