Technology and Telecommunications

NY Regulator Grants Virtual Currency License to BitPay

NY Regulator Grants Virtual Currency License to BitPay

Bitcoin payments processor BitPay was granted this week a virtual currency license by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS). As the first virtual currency wholesale payments processor to be given such a license, BitPay is now authorized to offer clearing and settlement services to merchants accepting or issuing payments in Bitcoin. The company says that businesses around the world have already signed up with them to accept bitcoin payments. This includes companies such as Microsoft, Newegg, Namecheap, Gyft, Takeaway, and Virgin Galactic.   Source: Reuters

Cuba Rolls Out Mobile Internet to Select Users

Cuba Rolls Out Mobile Internet to Select Users

Communist-run Cuba is initially rolling out mobile internet to select users in its effort to develop the country’s connectivity. The program, which may provide nationwide mobile internet by the year’s end, prioritized journalists at state-run news outlets. President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that the connectivity provided by the country’s telecoms monopoly should boost the economy and help citizens defend their revolution. However, analysts pointed out that broader web access will ultimately weaken the government’s control on information received by Cubans in the one-party island state that has a monopoly on the media.   Source: Reuters  

ZTE Stock Surges After US Lifts Ban

ZTE Stock Surges After US Lifts Ban

Stocks of Chinese telecoms giant ZTE climbed 17% after it was confirmed that the US supplier ban imposed on it had been lifted. However, analysts warned that the company’s business in the country is still largely uncertain due to a number of major challenges. Nikhil Batra, senior research manager at consultancy IDC, says that the company will have to rethink its overall design strategy as it will have to find substitutes for suppliers such as Avnet, Qualcomm, Broadcom etc to reduce its reliance. Aside from the $1 billion penalty ZTE had to pay the US Treasury, Batra says the company […]

Facebook to Hire Ex-Google Engineer for Chip Building Efforts

Facebook to Hire Ex-Google Engineer for Chip Building Efforts

Facebook is reportedly hiring former Google engineer Shahriar Rabii to lead the social network’s efforts in building its own chips. Rabii has also been offered a VP position and will be working under Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s head of VR and AR. According to Bloomberg, the Menlo Park tech giant started forming its own chip team earlier this year. It is said that the company’s work on semiconductors may be used for a variety of different efforts, from information processing for its vast data centers to its work in artificial intelligence. Facebook’s foray into chip making will give it independence from […]

“Tech Abuse” List Published Online

“Tech Abuse” List Published Online

A “tech abuse” list which aims to provide help to victims of harassment using smart home devices was recently published online by a UK team including researchers from Privacy International and University College London. Largely aimed at women, the list offers guidance to those who are being subjected to “technology-facilitated abuse”, like the remote altering of temperature controls or door locks to cause confusion and fear. Security researcher Ken Munro explained that in some abuse cases, the only way to lock out a former partner’s access was to replace the gadget entirely. He advised that it was important to review […]

Alphabet to Push Transportation Efforts with Deals, Internal Projects

Alphabet to Push Transportation Efforts with Deals, Internal Projects

It was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has recently been increasing its involvement in various transportation projects such electric scooters, self-driving vehicles, and flying cars. The Financial Times reported earlier this week that Alphabet even invested in an electric-scooter startup called Lime, with its venture capital arm, GV, leading the startup’s funding round. Mike Ramsey, a Gartner research director, further revealed that Alphabet is already a powerhouse in the space. Alphabet was already the most active corporate investor in 2017 with more than 100 deals both through direct investments and its three venture funding arms, GV, CapitalG, and […]

Singapore Wants Fines for Grab, Uber for Harming Competition

Singapore Wants Fines for Grab, Uber for Harming Competition

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) revealed this week that it wants to fine Grab and Uber, saying that the merger of the two ride-hailing firms resulted in reduced competition. The CCCS proposed several remedies, such as the sale of their car-leasing business. However, the reversal of the merger, should both companies not be able to fulfill the remedies, may no longer be an option as Uber had already exited the market. The commission said last Thursday that Uber and Grab need to be penalized since they carried out the deal despite knowing the anticipated potential competition concerns. […]

“Phantom Bookings” Hit Singapore’s Ryde Technologies

“Phantom Bookings” Hit Singapore’s Ryde Technologies

A Singaporean ride-hailing firm was recently reported to have been plagued by thousands of bogus bookings which cost their drivers approximately $50,000. Ryde Technologies, who already reported the incident to local authorities, said the manipulation not only cost their partners to lose money on fuel, but also restricted them from taking on more jobs. The company revealed that around 2000 fake bookings were made by some 300 fake accounts. It was noted that Uber had also been hit by a similar incident in the past.   Source: BBC

ZTE Unveils New Board to Lift US Ban

ZTE Unveils New Board to Lift US Ban

Chinese telecom giant ZTE revealed this week a new board in fulfillment to an agreement it entered with the US government to lift the ban on its business in the country. According to exchange filings last Friday, Li Zixue was elected as the company’s new chairman, while the old board and senior management, headed by Chairman Yin Yimin, have submitted their resignation on June 29. Even though the company had already paid a $1 billion penalty and put $400 million in an escrow account as part of the deal, the U.S. Department of Commerce still has to work out the […]

Facebook Shelves Flying Internet Plan

Facebook Shelves Flying Internet Plan

Facebook confirmed this week that it will no longer be continuing work on Project Aquila and will be closing down its facility in Bridgwater, UK. First announced in 2014, the project sought to beam down internet connectivity via drones. However, Facebook was not able to achieve the same success in terms of flight times as its main competitor Google. Instead, the social network will be partnering with firms such as Airbus to develop projects that will bring connectivity to more people around the world. Source: BBC

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