The European Central Bank said on Thursday its website had been hacked and some email addresses and other contact information stolen but insisted no market-sensitive data were affected. The hackers broke into a database storing details of people who had registered for ECB conferences, visits and other events, the bank said. "No internal systems or market sensitive data were compromised," the ECB said in a statement. The ECB is currently running a particularly sensitive review of the euro zone's top lenders, collecting streams of data to gauge whether banks have valued loans and other assets correctly, before it starts supervising them.
By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google's handling of "right to be forgotten" requests from European citizens will come under fire from the continent's privacy watchdogs on Thursday, after the search engine restricted the removal of Internet links to European sites only. European data protection authorities are meeting representatives of Google, Microsoft, which operates the Bing search engine, and Yahoo to discuss the implementation of the landmark ruling from Europe's top court upholding people's right to request that outdated links be removed from Internet search results. European Union privacy watchdogs have several concerns on the way the ruling, which has pitted privacy advocates against free speech defenders, is being implemented, particularly by Google, according to a person familiar with the matter.
By Paul Carsten and Michael Martina BEIJING (Reuters) - China's antitrust regulator has confirmed that Qualcomm Inc, one of the world's biggest mobile chipmakers, has a monopoly, the state-run Securities Times newspaper reported on Thursday, as Qualcomm's chief executive held talks in China. The regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), is investigating Qualcomm's local subsidiary after it said in February the U.S. chipmaker was suspected of overcharging and abusing its market position in wireless communication standards, allegations which could see it hit with record fines of more than $1 billion. The Securities Times report, based on unidentified sources it said were close to the NDRC, did not say whether the regulator had determined that Qualcomm had abused its monopoly.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Researchers have found a flaw that could expose the identities of people using a privacy-oriented operating system touted by Edward Snowden, just two days after widely used anonymity service Tor acknowledged a similar problem. The most recent finding concerns a complex, heavily encrypted networking program called the Invisible Internet Project, or I2P. Though a core purpose of I2P is to obscure the Internet Protocol addresses of its roughly 30,000 users, anyone who visits a booby-trapped website could have their true address revealed, making it likely that their name could be exposed as well, according to researchers at Exodus Intelligence. “People shouldn’t trust something wholeheartedly just because Snowden says,” Exodus Vice President Aaron Portnoy told Reuters.
Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill, speaking in Washington on Wednesday, expressed concern about the way apps on smartphones and mobile devices are siphoning sensitive health data, and how some of that information may then be shared with third parties. The debate around the gathering of consumer data is intensifying as Silicon Valley tech companies take a more active interest in mobile health. Apple Inc and Google Inc revealed new health-focused services for apps developers in recent months, dubbed Google Fit and HealthKit. Brill's comments followed a May report in which the FTC revealed the results of a study of mobile health-app developers, which found that a good portion collect consumer health data and give it to third-party entities.
(Reuters) - A player for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers has taken to social media to ask for help in finding a man wanted for stabbing his aunt to death, generating new tips in the case, his family said on Wednesday. Clippers forward Matt Barnes posted pictures of Michael Williams, 51, to his Instagram and Twitter accounts on Tuesday, saying the man was wanted by police in the California capital in connection with the fatal stabbing of his aunt, Tanganyika Williams, 48. On Wednesday, Tanganyika Williams' adult son, David Williams Jr., said that since that message was published, the family has received multiple calls from people who said they had seen Michael Williams in stores around Sacramento. "There are going to be less and less places that this guy is going to have to hide," said David Williams, who is not related to the suspect by blood.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's fast-growing mobile advertising business helped drive a 61 percent increase in revenue during the second quarter, beating Wall Street's financial targets and sending shares to a record-high in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Facebook now counts 1.5 million advertising customers and the company's ad business saw strong growth across all of its geographic regions, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. Investors bid up shares of Facebook roughly 5 percent to $75.13 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, giving the Internet company a roughly $190 billion valuation, putting it on par with IBM Corp. "It might be more expensive from a market cap perspective, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this level of profitability," JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey said. Facebook's operating margin expanded to 48 percent of revenue in the second quarter, up from 31 percent in the year-ago period.
Angie's List Inc, which operates a website that allows users to review local businesses, forecast quarterly revenue below estimates and reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss as it spent more to sign up customers. Angie's List, which competes with Yelp Inc and HomeAdvisor Inc, said it expects revenue of $80.5 million-$82.5 million for the third quarter ending September. Analysts on average were expecting $86.63 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Angie's List's "big deals" product, which offers emailed discounts to members, lagged expectations and weighed on the revenue forecast, Barrington Research Associates analyst Jeff Houston said. The company, named after co-founder Angie Hicks, also forecast marketing expenses of $20 million-$23 million.
By Karen Freifeld NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police have arrested seven people on charges they were tied to an international ring that defrauded eBay Inc's StubHub online ticketing service of some $1.6 million, the latest in a string of high-profile cybercrime busts in recent months. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr announced the arrests on Wednesday. They were charged with involvement in a cybercrime ring that used stolen credit card numbers to purchase thousands of tickets to events, including concerts of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z as well as games for sports teams including the Boston Red Sox and New York Giants, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. StubHub's head of global communications, Glenn Lehrman, told Reuters his firm has been working with law enforcement around the world for the last year on the case.
(Reuters) - Online travel research company TripAdvisor Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, sending its shares down 9 percent in extended trading. Total selling and marketing costs rose 53 percent to $127 million in the second quarter ended June 30. Net income rose to $68 million, or 47 cents per share, from $67 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier. (http://bit.ly/1A7iLn8) Excluding items, TripAdvisor earned 55 cents per share, 6 cents below what analysts on average had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. ...
By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. communications regulators on Wednesday reminded Internet service providers to promise consumers only the speed and quality of service that they actually deliver, or face penalties. In an advisory, the Federal Communications Commission urged both fixed and wireless Internet service providers (ISPs) to comply with regulations that say the companies must be clear and accurate in the information they tell consumers about their broadband services. The warning shot to ISPs, such as Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc, comes as the agency crafts new "net neutrality" rules that guide how broadband providers manage web traffic on their networks. The transparency regulations are the only part of the previous "net neutrality" rules set in 2011 that were struck down in court in January.
New York (Reuters) - Six people were indicted in New York for involvement in a global cybercrime ring that took over more than 1,000 accounts of eBay Inc's StubHub online ticket reselling service, according to a statement released by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. Cybercriminals are believed to have defrauded StubHub of $1 million, the statement said, citing City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard. (Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York. Writing by Jim Finkle in Boston; Editing by Chris Reese)
The Israeli military said on Wednesday it had detained several soldiers and a civilian on suspicion of leaking Gaza casualty figures over social media before families of the dead or wounded could be formally informed. A week into ground fighting with Hamas that has killed at least 32 soldiers, some Israelis complain of first learning their relatives were dead through WhatsApp, or of being misled by erroneous messages into believing they were among the toll. "Notifying a family of a soldier or officer who was killed in action is one of the most sensitive and well-planned procedures that exists in the military, as befits such a serious moment," the military said in a statement announcing the arrests following an investigation that it described has having employed "both open-source and undercover means". The army has revised its own official information regarding a soldier it initially reported as killed in Gaza on Sunday, but later designated as missing in action.
By Jan Schwartz and Maria Sheahan HAMBURG/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Hamburg has told Uber, a U.S. car service whose smartphone app summons rides at the touch of a button, to stop operating in the German city, adding to resistance the company has faced globally from local regulators and taxi drivers. San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc, valued at $18.2 billion in a fundraising last month just four years since its 2010 launch, has touched a raw nerve by threatening to open up a traditionally tightly controlled and licensed market. Uber customers order and pay for a taxi with its application on their smartphones. Instead of having taxis prowl city streets looking for customers, Uber allows smartphone users to summon a nearby car to pick them up.
(Reuters) - Computer systems containing the Wall Street Journal's news graphics were hacked by outside parties, according to the paper's publisher Dow Jones & Co. The systems have been taken offline to prevent the spread of attacks, but Journal officials have not found any damage to the graphics, the newspaper said citing people at the Wall Street Journal familiar with the matter. A hacker who goes by the Twitter handle of w0rm allegedly posted tweets and screenshots claiming to have hacked the Journal's website and offered to sell user information and credentials needed to control the server. Representatives for Dow Jones were not immediately available for comment.
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Tuesday invited remote communities across the country that lack high-speed Internet access to make a claim on some of the C$305 million ($284 million) it plans to spend over the next three years to upgrade access. The government's Connecting Canadians plan aims to deliver high-speed Internet - judged to be speeds faster than 5 megabits per second (5 Mbps) - to 280,000 households that it says sit below that line. The plan "will still leave many Canadians struggling to catch up with our global counterparts when it comes to broadband access, reliability, and speed," said Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca. The country's telecom regulator wrote to BCE Inc, Telus Corp, and Manitoba Telecom Services last month, concerned they would miss an end-August deadline to complete remote access projects already underway.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The government will call Mark Zuckerberg to testify against an upstate New York man accused of trying to cheat the billionaire founder of Facebook Inc out of half his stake in the social media company, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. Zuckerberg is expected to be a key witness against Paul Ceglia, who is charged with forging a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that purportedly entitled him to half of Facebook. “It's a witness that the government 100 percent knows it will be calling at trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Frey said at a court hearing before U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in New York federal court. The charges stem in part from a 2010 civil lawsuit Ceglia filed against Zuckerberg and Facebook in Buffalo, New York, claiming the two men signed a contract when Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University that gave Ceglia half of a planned social networking website.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More than 30 financial institutions in six countries have been defrauded by sophisticated criminal software that convinces bank customers to install rogue smartphone programs, a major security company reported on Tuesday. Though many of the elements of the malicious software, including the interception of one-time passwords sent to phones, have been used elsewhere, the latest criminal campaign is unusual in that it combines many different techniques and leaves few traces. Researchers at Trend Micro Inc, which dubbed the campaign Emmental after the Swiss cheese, said they were working with European police and major banks on the continent that were early victims. Banks in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan have all been hit, with damages somewhere in the millions of dollars, said Trend Micro Chief Cyber security Officer Tom Kellermann.
Microblog posts about a New York Times article on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's [IPO-BABA.N] close ties to descendants of China's leaders have been removed by censors, a censorship monitoring group said on Tuesday. Alibaba has been in the spotlight as it prepares its stock market listing - potentially the largest ever tech debut in the United States - particularly over its complicated web of affiliations and corporate governance. One censored post on the Weibo Corp microblog included a Chinese version of the New York Times piece, with the comment, "It's not only Yahoo and SoftBank behind Alibaba," Weiboscope, a University of Hong Kong project that publishes and analyses censored posts, said. Yahoo Inc, with a 22.5 percent stake in Alibaba, and SoftBank Corp with a 34.3 percent ownership are Alibaba's two biggest shareholders.
(Reuters) - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp will provide extra content through apps for dystopian thriller "Divergent" and other films to Comcast Corp customers who purchase digital versions of the film through Xfinity On Demand, the companies announced on Tuesday. The "Divergent" app will be available starting Tuesday on mobile devices and later on TV through Comcast's X1 set-top box. Lions Gate also plans to release bonus app content for future films with digital purchases through Xfinity, the companies said.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A highly anticipated talk on how to identify users of the Internet privacy service Tor was withdrawn from the upcoming Black Hat security conference, a spokeswoman for the event said on Monday. The talk was canceled at the request of attorneys for Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where the speakers work as researchers, the spokeswoman, Meredith Corley, told Reuters. The Black Hat conference, one of the longest-running and best-attended security trade shows in the world, is scheduled for Las Vegas August 6-7. Corley said a Carnegie Mellon attorney informed Black Hat that one of the speakers could not give the Tor talk because the materials he would discuss have not been approved for public release by the university or the Software Engineering Institute (SEI).
By Danilo Masoni MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's data protection regulator has given Google 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation that is part of a European drive to reform the internet giant's privacy practices. Regulators in several European nations including Italy began a joint inquiry last year after Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. In a statement on Monday, the Italian watchdog said Google's disclosure to users on how their data was being treated remained inadequate, despite the company having taken steps to abide by local law. The watchdog gave the group 18 months to comply fully and indicated a series of measures Google must put into practice.
By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Illinois woman made police work easy when she allegedly stole a colorful, leopard-pattern dress from a small boutique, then posted a picture of herself wearing it on Facebook, police said on Monday. Danielle Saxton, 27, of West Frankfort allegedly took a dress and other items from Morties Boutique on July 11, and was spotted walking away from the store by the owner's son, said owner Gay Williams Morton and police. The store described the stolen items on Facebook. News travels fast in the small southern Illinois town, and within about two hours, someone sent a link to Saxton's Facebook post, where she'd posted a "selfie" with the message "Love my dress," Morton said.
(Reuters) - A highly anticipated talk on how to identify users of the Tor service, widely used to access the Internet anonymously, has been withdrawn from next month's annual Black Hat security conference. Hacking experts disclose vulnerabilities at conferences to alert the public about security flaws, both to pressure developers to fix them and to warn users about products that may not be completely safe. Here are some examples of other hacking talks that have been pulled from conferences over the past decade: 2013 - Three European computer scientists canceled a talk on hacking the locks of luxury cars at a prestigious U.S. academic conference known as USENIX, after Volkswagen AG obtained a restraining order from a British court. 2007 - Security firm IOActive Inc pulled a talk at Black Hat DC on bugs in radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology, saying it was pressured to do so by RFID technology firm HID Global Corp. 2005 - Cisco Systems Inc persuaded security firm Internet Security Systems to pull a discussion on hacking routers by researcher Michael Lynn at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas.
Consumers can experiment with different looks in the apps that act like augmented reality mirrors. With the Beauty Mirror app, which uses filters, people can see how they would look with fewer wrinkles, bigger lips or lifted eyebrows in a real-time photograph or video. “Our idea was to apply a subtle, realistic change to a person’s reflection so that when someone put it on Facebook no one would know it was an altered video,” said Parham Aarabi, the CEO of Toronto-based ModiFace, which created the app. The ability to change 2-D photos before uploading them to Facebook has been really popular, but now people can take video and touch it up using the app too,” he said.
The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device - such as a smartphone or tablet - has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and by 2018 is likely to account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped that year, according to data firm IDC. Chinese e-commerce is dominated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd [IPO-BABA.N], which is preparing for a mammoth initial public offering widely expected to take place in September.
UK lender Nationwide Building Society's customers were unable to access online banking and a mobile banking app on Sunday after a scheduled overnight maintenance overran. Nationwide spokeswoman Michelle Slade said that the online bank and mobile banking app were now back up and running. "Unfortunately our overnight planned maintenance has overrun and is affecting customers accessing our online bank and mobile banking app," the customer-owned lender's spokeswoman said. The customers of Britain's third-biggest provider of mortgage and savings products complained of the online banking glitch on social networking site Twitter.
By Jim Finkle NEW YORK (Reuters) - Edward Snowden, a former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of major U.S. surveillance programs, called on supporters at a hacking conference to spur development of easy-to-use technologies to subvert government surveillance programs around the globe. Snowden, who addressed conference attendees on Saturday via video link from Moscow, said he intends to devote much of his time to promoting such technologies, including ones that allow people to communicate anonymously and encrypt their messages. He escaped the United States after leaking documents that detailed massive U.S. surveillance programs at home and abroad - revelations that outraged some Americans and sparked protests from countries around the globe. At the HOPE hacking conference, several talks detailed approaches for thwarting government surveillance, including a system known as SecureDrop that is designed to allow people to anonymously leak documents to journalists. The conference featured about 100 presentations on topics ranging from surveillance to hacking elevators and home routers.
After getting a drubbing on social media for making statements deemed "insensitive" after the downing of flight MH17, Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) issued a public apology on Saturday and expressed solidarity with families affected by the air tragedy. Hours after the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing 298 people, SIA's Facebook and Twitter updates said its own flights were not using Ukraine airspace. "You better come up with a more considerate, diplomatic and a more sensitive status before you lose customers," said a post by Edwin Lim on SIA's Facebook page. "Very, very inappropriate and disappointing status." SIA, Singapore's best known brand, later also clarified that its flights had been re-routed to alternative paths that were away from Ukrainian airspace after the shooting of MH17.
By Deepa Seetharaman NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc launched a $9.99-per-month subscription service on Friday that lets customers read as much as they choose from its library of more than 600,000 digital books. Subscribers to the Kindle Unlimited service can read e-books, including "The Hunger Games" and "Life of Pi," on Amazon's Kindle e-reader or any device with a Kindle app. The launch of Kindle Unlimited comes as Amazon remains mired in a months-long contract dispute with the No. 4 U.S. publisher Hachette Book Group, owned by France's Lagardere, over how to price e-books. Amazon is also in talks about digital book pricing with Simon & Schuster, owned by CBS Corp. Amazon's move to offer the Kindle Unlimited service reflects consumers' growing preference toward subscription-based models for consuming digital media, such as Netflix Inc for movies and television shows and Spotify for music.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge in New York has granted prosecutors access to a Gmail user's emails as part of a criminal probe, a decision that could fan the debate over how aggressively the government may pursue data if doing so may invade people's privacy. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said Friday he had authorized a warrant to be served on Google Inc for the emails of an unnamed individual who is the target of a money laundering investigation. Gorenstein said his decision ran counter to several other judges' rulings in similar cases that sweeping warrants give the government improper access to too many emails, not just relevant ones. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. companies, consumer advocates and citizens submitted more than 1 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission, drawing contentious divisions on the issue of net neutrality as the first deadline to comment approached Friday. The FCC will continue collecting comments, made in response to these first submissions, until Sept. 10 as it weighs how best to regulate the way Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic crossing their networks. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules in April after a federal court struck down the FCC's previous version of such rules in January. The FCC's draft rules propose banning ISPs from blocking users' access to websites or applications but allowing some "commercially reasonable" deals between content providers and ISPs to prioritize delivery of some web traffic.
By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Apple has provided no concrete and immediate solutions to tackle the problem of adults and children racking up credit card bills by making "in-app" purchases on tablets and mobile phones, the European Commission said on Friday. Apple said it would address the concerns brought up by the Commission, although it gave no time frame for when it might make the changes, the EU executive said.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's reshuffle of its senior ranks underscores the Internet company’s evolving business ambitions, analysts say. Three years after co-founder Larry Page took the reins back as chief executive officer, his team of lieutenants is clearly undergoing a refresh. On Thursday, Google announced the surprise departure of its veteran business chief Nikesh Arora, who will become Vice Chairman of SoftBank Corp. Arora represents the latest in a string of personnel changes within Google’s top ranks over the past 16 months, affecting major divisions from Youtube to its popular Android mobile software. They included the departed Vic Gundotra, who oversaw the Google+ social network;
(Reuters) - Twitter Inc, which has been struggling to revive flagging user growth, is expected to introduce new metrics to show that its microblogging service has a wider audience who may not necessarily be logged in to their accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company, which went public in November, is expected to launch four new metrics when it reports second-quarter earnings on July 29, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Twitter currently measure its reach using traditional metrics such as monthly active users, monthly unique visitors and timeline views. Twitter has reported lackluster user and usage growth for the last couple of quarters and its stock price has nearly halved in the last six months.
New Zealand telecommunications network operator Chorus Ltd said on Friday it had agreed a plan with a government agency that would allow the company to be paid earlier for building the government-sponsored ultra fast broadband network. The company, which is building about three-quarters of the national network, said under the conditional deal it could bring forward up to NZ$178 million of payments. Chorus has said that its ability to build the ultra fast broadband network is being diminished by regulator plans to control prices it can charge internet service providers for access to its network.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's chief business officer, one of Chief Executive Officer Larry Page's key lieutenants and the company's main liaison to Wall Street, is leaving the Internet search company, the latest high-ranking executive to depart. Nikesh Arora, who joined Google nearly a decade ago, will move to Japan's SoftBank Corp as vice chairman, according to a post by Page on the Google+ social network. Omid Kordestani, who has led sales teams at Google for years, will take over in the interim, marking the latest change to Google's senior leadership in past months. Android operating software boss Andy Rubin stepped aside last year, and Salar Kamangar, head of the YouTube video website, was succeeded in February by longtime Google ad executive Susan Wojcicki.
By Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michelle Phan has garnered millions of adoring Internet fans for teaching them how to look like Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie or even Barbie, but a popular dance music record label is not one of them. Ultra Records LLC and Ultra International Music Publishing LLC are suing Phan for copyright infringement, alleging she used songs and compilations from some of the world’s biggest dance music DJs and groups in her creative videos without a license.
By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella kicked off one of the largest layoffs in tech history on Thursday, hoping to reshape the aging PC industry titan into a nimbler rival to Apple and Google, and jolt a culture at the company that is used to protecting its existing Windows and Office franchises. Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it will slash up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, over the next 12 months as it almost halves the size of its newly acquired Nokia phone business and tries to become a cloud-computing and mobile-friendly software company. Beyond the Nokia reductions, Nadella gave few clues about where the ax will fall or what areas will receive more funding. Nadella said he will answer questions from employees at a town hall meeting at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, on Friday and flesh out his plans publicly after Microsoft's quarterly earnings report on July 22.