Technology and Telecommunications

Grab Challenges Singapore Watchdog’s Assessment of Uber Buyout

Grab Challenges Singapore Watchdog’s Assessment of Uber Buyout

Grab said last Friday that it disagrees with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore’s assessment of its takeover deal with Uber, calling the watchdog’s decision a “double standard that goes against the spirit of increasing choices for drivers and riders.” The CCCS said in July that the Grab-Uber deal had harmed competition and pushed for the sale of Grab’s car-leasing businesses, as well as removing exclusivity obligations on drivers who use Grab’s ride-hailing platform. The antitrust body also proposed penalties for both firms. It is said that watchdog’s final decision could set a precedent that may affect other markets […]

Popular Wireless Cam Found to be Vulnerable to Hacking

Popular Wireless Cam Found to be Vulnerable to Hacking

A popular brand of wireless security camera, Swann, was recently found to have a vulnerability that could a hacker to hijack it and access its video and audio stream. The flaw, which was discovered after a user accidentally received another user’s recordings. Researchers said that they were able to recreate the vulnerability just by making a minor tweak to Swann’s Security app. The company and its Israeli cloud tech provider OzVision says the issue, which was only present in the SWWHD-Intcam or Swann Smart Security Camera, has already been fixed. However, it is said that the vulnerability may have caused […]

Facebook Aims to Launch Internet Satellite by 2019

Facebook Aims to Launch Internet Satellite by 2019

Facebook recently confirmed to the media that it plans to launch a low orbit internet satellite named Athena in 2019 to offer broadband to unserved and underserved areas around the world. However, it is said that the move might just be something of an experiment as the company has yet to complete its own high-altitude hardware and has already stopped work on its internet drone. It was also pointed out that low Earth orbit satellite internet would require a large cloud of satellites to provide significant coverage, similar to SpaceX’s planned Starlink network. Source: MSN

US Tech Giants Join to Improve Data Mobility

US Tech Giants Join to Improve Data Mobility

It was announced this week that Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have joined in an open-source initiative that would help consumers transfer data in and out of participating platforms and services. The Data Transfer Project, which is built on Facebook’s tool launched earlier this year, will also reduce the infrastructure burden on both service providers and users. This should improve the data portability ecosystem which in turn will increase the number of services offering portability. According to the project’s website, it will help users choose among services that facilitate competition, empower individuals to try new services, and allow them to […]

EU Pushes for Digital Taxes at G20 Meeting

EU Pushes for Digital Taxes at G20 Meeting

European finance leaders last Sunday expressed their support for global tax rules for the digital economy at the G20 meeting in Argentina. However, this has put the EU at odds with their US counterparts. If the proposal of the European Commission pushes through, US tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon may end up footing a large percentage of any bill. It is estimated that around 200 companies would have to pay because of the new tax rules which would roughly amount to annual revenues of about 5 billion euros ($6 billion). Source: Reuters

Softbank’s Chief Exec Criticizes Japan for not Allowing Ride Sharing

Softbank’s Chief Exec Criticizes Japan for not Allowing Ride Sharing

SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son slammed on Thursday the Japanese government’s ride-sharing ban and said the country had fallen behind overseas rivals in areas such as artificial intelligence and fintech. Addressing customers and suppliers at an annual company event, Son remarked that Japan is being “stupid” for making ride-sharing illegal. A spokesman for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport previously pointed out that the government considers ride-sharing problematic since it was unclear who was in charge of maintenance and operation which could cause problems from the points of both safety and user protection.   Source: Reuters  

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 […]

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