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  • Alibaba meets with China regulator, controversial report retracted

    Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, gestures during the session 'An Insight, An Idea with Jack Ma' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos(Reuters) - The head of China's commerce regulator met with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd chairman Jack Ma on Friday to discuss combating fake products, the official Xinhua news agency reported, with the two adopting a conciliatory tone after a row over illegal business on the Internet company's platforms. The meeting took place the same day the regulator, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), backtracked on an earlier report that had excoriated the Chinese online commerce company for not doing enough to suppress counterfeiting on its websites. SAIC issued what it called a "white paper" on Wednesday saying many products sold on Alibaba's websites infringed on trademarks, or were banned, substandard or fake. "The most recent SAIC posting speaks for itself.

  • Factbox: Canada security bill's main provisions
    The Canadian government introduced legislation on Friday to counter terrorism in response to attacks in Canada, France and Australia by Islamist militants since last October. The following are the main provisions: CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE - CSIS would have powers to disrupt threats to the security of Canada at home and abroad, not just collect intelligence. PROMOTION OF TERRORISM - It would make it a crime to call for attacks on Canada in general.

  • Hedge funds lose court bid over deal price
    By Tom Hals Wilmington, Del. (Reuters) - Hedge funds lost a court bid to get extra cash for their shares of online family research site Inc, in a ruling involving an increasingly popular hedge fund strategy. A Delaware judge ruled on Friday that a private equity firm paid a fair value of $32 per share in 2012 to acquire and rejected hedge fund claims the price should have been as high as $47 per share. was sold to European private equity firm Permira Advisers. The private equity firm paid 40 percent above the market price for the stock, according to the 56-page opinion from Sam Glasscock, a judge on Delaware's Court of Chancery.

  • Canada security bill provides new powers to combat terror

    Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks at a news conference in Richmond HillBy Andrea Hopkins RICHMOND HILL, Ontario (Reuters) - New anti-terror legislation in Canada would make it a crime to call for attacks on the country and give a much larger role to the government's main spy agency. The bill introduced by the Conservative government on Friday would give the spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the ability to disrupt attacks by interfering with travel plans or communications, for example. The bill, whose passage is assured because the Conservatives have a majority in Parliament, would also make it easier for police to make preventive arrests. "Jihadi terrorism as it is evolving is one of the most dangerous enemies our world has ever faced," Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who faces a general election in October, said at a news conference.

  • Dating site Topface says paid hacker to not sell stolen data
    By Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - Topface, one of the world's largest dating websites, said it has paid a hacker an undisclosed sum to stop trying to sell about 20 million email addresses stolen from the Russian company. Topface Chief Executive Dmitry Filatov said the company located the hacker, who had published ads to sell the data but had not actually sold them. "We have paid him an award for finding a vulnerability and agreed on further cooperation in the field of data security," Filatov said in an email on Friday, declining to disclose the size of the reward.

  • BMW fixes security flaw in its in-car software

    A BMW logo is seen on a car at the Brussels International Auto ShowGerman luxury carmaker BMW has fixed a security flaw that could have allowed hackers to unlock the doors of up to 2.2 million Rolls-Royce, Mini and BMW vehicles, it said on Friday. BMW said officials at German motorist association ADAC had identified the problem, which affected cars equipped with the company's ConnectedDrive software using on-board SIM cards -- the chips used to identify authorized users of mobile devices. BMW drivers can use the software and SIM cards to activate door locking mechanisms, as well as a range of other services including real-time traffic information, online entertainment and air conditioning. The security risk occurred when data was transmitted, BMW said, adding it did not impede the car's critical functions of driving, steering or braking.

  • Google to change privacy policy after investigation by UK data watchdog

    A Google search page is reflected in sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in BrusselsSearch engine Google has agreed to better inform users about how it handles their personal information after an investigation by Britain's data protection regulator found its privacy policy was too vague. The Information Commissioner's Office said in a statement that it required Google to sign a "formal undertaking" that it would make the changes by June 30 and take further steps in the next two years. The ICO investigation stems from a privacy policy implemented by Google in March 2012 that consolidated some 70 existing privacy policies into one and pooled data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google+.

  • China's new tech rules play to local firms' strengths
    By Gerry Shih, Michael Martina and Joseph Menn BEIJING/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Draft Chinese government regulation would force technology vendors to meet stringent security tests before they can sell to China's banks, an acceleration of efforts to curb the country's reliance on foreign technology that has drawn a sharp response from U.S. business groups. Western companies say the rules have not yet been formally adopted, and some said they believed Beijing would retreat on some of the most onerous ideas, including demanding that firms' proprietary source code be reviewable. On Wednesday, 18 American business groups urged Beijing to postpone rolling out the regulation, which they argued were motivated by protectionism as well as security concerns that intensified in the wake of disclosures of U.S. spying techniques by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

  • Tencent inks exclusive online partnership for NBA games in China
    By Gerry Shih BEIJING (Reuters) - The National Basketball Association and Tencent Holdings Ltd said Friday the Shenzhen-based Internet giant will be the only company in China to stream the league's online content. The exclusive, five-year deal will allow Tencent to offer for the first time in China the NBA's League Pass package, which allows subscribers to watch a full season's worth of games live and on-demand. NBA live games and content will be available to stream through Tencent websites and apps including, Tencent's News app and Weixin, the popular messaging app also known as WeChat. China has been one of the NBA's most successful overseas markets since the league entered the basketball-crazed nation in 1987.

  • Opposition blogger may have 'outed' Putin's daughter

    Russia's President Putin writes in a visitors' book after a seminar with regional leaders at the Sberbank's Corporative University in the village of Anosino, outside MoscowBy Maria Tsvetkova MOSCOW (Reuters) - One of Vladimir Putin's main opponents may have broken a taboo by publishing what he says is the pseudonym used by one the Russian president's daughters to stay out of the spotlight. Putin has made his and his family's private life little less than a state secret, keeping his rarely-photographed daughters Yekaterina, 28, and Maria, 29, out of sight and managing his divorce with the minimum fuss. A separate report on Wednesday by RBC, an independent multi-media holding, stated Tikhonova was among those heading a $1.7 billion project to build new University facilities but it did not make any connection between her and Putin. Navalny wrote on his Facebook page: "RBC (they are cool!) yesterday found Putin's daughter in the Scientific Council of Moscow State University." A source close to Moscow State University confirmed Tikhonova was Putin's daughter, telling Reuters on condition of anonymity: "Yes, it is her." Tikhonova could not be reached for comment.

  • Spotify expresses interest to raise $500 million: WSJ

    Headsets hang in front of a screen displaying a Spotify logo on it, in Zenica(Reuters) - Online music streaming service Spotify is working with Goldman Sachs for a new round of private fundraising which could potentially put off the initial public offering for another year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Spotify is talking with investors who are known to buy into companies before a IPO, including mutual fund T. Rowe Price Group, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. The company was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. Representatives at Goldman Sachs and T. Rowe Price declined to comment.

  • Google fourth-quarter revenue misses Wall Street target

    People pose with laptops in front of projection of Google logo in this picture illustration taken in ZenicaBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's revenue grew 15 percent in the fourth quarter but fell short of Wall Street's target on declining online ad prices and unfavorable foreign exchange rates. Shares of Google edged up 0.1 percent to $510.66 in extended trading after an initial dip on the news. Google's advertising revenue has come under pressure as more consumers access its online services on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, where ad rates are typically lower. The growing popularity of mobile devices has made No. 1 social network Facebook Inc a greater threat in the battle for advertisers.

  • Amazon sales rise in holiday quarter, shares jump

    A zoomed image of a computer screen showing the Amazon logo is seen in ViennaBy Deepa Seetharaman SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc reported stronger than expected earnings on Thursday as North American sales surged during the crucial holiday quarter, sending its shares up 9 percent. The online commerce giant, which gets about a third of its revenue from October to December, reported earnings of 45 cents a share, trouncing Wall Street's average prediction for 17 cents. The sharply higher profit was a welcome surprise for Wall Street, which has clamored for Amazon to come to grips with its growing investments in everything from Hollywood-style television productions, and cloud computing and consumer devices with mixed success. In a conference call with reporters, Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak said Amazon is putting "a lot more energy around making sure we get great productivity around our various fixed and variable assets." Even so, few analysts expect Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will rein in his spending significantly this year, especially as Amazon beefs up its $99-a-year Prime membership program, which offers standard two-day shipping, streaming video and unlimited photo storage among other perks.

  • U.S. insurance regulators aim to improve consumer cybersecurity protections
    (Reuters) - The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has created a cybersecurity task force to increase protection of consumer information collected by insurers and held by state insurance departments as well as to monitor the cyber insurance market. The NAIC is the group through which state insurance regulators coordinate regulatory oversight for areas including health, life, property and other types of insurance. Cybersecurity has become a bigger issue for insurers this year amid several high profile hacking incidents at retailers such as Home Depot, Sony Corp and at one of the nation's largest hospital chains, Community Health Systems Inc. The hospital incident was blamed on a cyber attack from China and the healthcare sector, including its insurers, was put on watch by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last year against attacks.

  • Revenge porn website permanently barred by FTC
    By Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The owner of a "revenge porn site,", has agreed to not publish any nude pictures without the consent of the subject and to destroy his collection, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday. Craig Brittain, who opened his website in 2011 and closed it in 2013 after a blast of publicity, had solicited pictures of women he met on sites such as Craigslist, the FTC said in its complaint. Brittain offered bounties for nude pictures of certain women requested by users of his website, and then charged women to have their pictures removed. He made about $12,000 while the site was up and running, according to the FTC complaint.

  • U.S. consistently raised concerns with China on IT rules: trade office
    The United States administration has consistently pressed China about the impact of regulations on U.S. information technology firms, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said on Thursday.

  • 'Humans of New York' blog raises over $1 million for Brooklyn school
    The popular photo blog "Humans of New York" said it had raised more than $1 million by Thursday to pay for college trips and tuition for middle-school students in one of the city's most crime-ridden neighborhoods. The fundraising idea was triggered by a viral response to the blog,, after it posted the photo of a student at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, who called the school principal the most influential person in his life. The student was identified only as Vidal, age 13, and he was shown in a photograph by blog founder Brandon Stanton with a pursed smile and wooly black hoodie, accompanied by a quote about his principal, Nadia Lopez. "And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter." The blog, on which Stanton posts pictures, quotes and short stories about people he meets in New York City, has nearly 12 million Facebook followers.

  • Need for speed: US regulators raise bar for broadband Internet
    By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday raised the standard for high-speed Internet, voting that only connections with download speeds of 25 megabits per second or faster will qualify as broadband, meaning fewer parts of the United States have broadband access. The change in the Federal Communications Commission's definition of broadband, previously a download speed of at least 4 megabits per second (Mbps), means nearly a fifth of Americans and more than half of those living in rural areas lack access to high-speed Internet. The change, opposed by Internet service providers and Republican FCC commissioners, is not expected to immediately influence how competitive the FCC formally views the broadband market. The new definition is also likely to give new ammunition to critics of the pending $45 billion merger of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc as cable companies emerge as the dominant competitors to offer such speeds.

  • Alibaba says SAIC report flawed, preparing formal complaint

    A cleaner waters the flowers below a logo of Alibaba (China) Technology Co. Ltd at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of HangzhouSHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese regulator's report that criticized Alibaba Group Holding Ltd for failing to do enough to stamp out illegal business on its platforms was flawed and the company is preparing a formal complaint, Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai said on Thursday. Tsai said Alibaba first saw the White Paper from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) when it was made public on Wednesday. He also said the company never requested that the SAIC delay the publication of information in the report, which summarized a July meeting between the company and SAIC.

  • Intel says corporations buying more high-end PCs

    The sign hanging outside the Intel booth is seen at the International Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las VegasBy Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Companies replacing older PCs are increasingly choosing ones with high-end features aimed at improved security and employee efficiency, according to a senior Intel Corp executive. Intel's "vPro" processors account for a fifth of the chipmaker's corporate PC business and that proportion is growing, Tom Garrison, Intel’s vice president and general manager of business client platforms, recently told Reuters. With a recovery in the PC industry driven in part by consumers buying cheap, low-end laptops, corporations buying top-tier devices for their workers are an important sweet spot for Intel and manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Shipments of Intel's vPro processors, which are more profitable for the Santa Clara, California, company than many of its other PC chips, are increasing compared with overall demand for desktop and laptop computers, he said.

  • HBO tech executives leave ahead of Internet launch as network's strategy changes
    By Liana B. Baker NEW YORK (Reuters) - Time Warner's TWX.N HBO is preparing to sell a standalone service over the Internet for the first time, in one of the most closely watched moves in pay TV history. Otto Berkes, who was previously a Microsoft executive, resigned from the CTO position in December, only a matter of months before HBO is expected to start selling the new product, and two senior vice presidents on the technology team, Mark Thomas and Drew Angeloff, are also leaving, sources familiar with the situation said. The original plan discussed by the network's top executives was to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to develop a sophisticated streaming platform that would make HBO, one of the best-known premium channels in the United States, capable of challenging streaming video services from Netflix NFLX.O and Amazon AMZN.O head on. Berkes, who was also a cofounder of Xbox, was a key part of that ambitious project - he had been hired by HBO in 2011 to set up a new office in Seattle, initially hiring 80 engineers with plans to grow much bigger.

  • Naver misses estimates as chat app Line's revenue disappoints

    The logo of free messaging app Line is pictured on a smartphone in this photo illustration taken in TokyoBy Joyce Lee SEOUL (Reuters) - Naver Corp said quarterly profit climbed 30 percent but it fell short of estimates on weaker sales of a hit game for its messaging app Line, sending shares in the South Korean web portal firm tumbling. The popular Japan-based messaging app unit Line Corp [IPO-LINE.T] is Naver's main earnings driver but its share price made little progress in 2014, and investors are keen to see the progress of new taxi and payment services and whether Line can come up with more hit games.

  • U.S. businesses urge China to postpone new cybersecurity policies
    U.S. business lobbies have called for "urgent discussions" with the Chinese government over new cybersecurity regulations that would force technology vendors to Chinese banks to hand over secret source code and adopt Chinese encryption algorithms. In a letter to China's top cybersecurity policy group dated Jan. 28, the American Chamber of Commerce in China and 17 other U.S. business lobbies urged Beijing to postpone the implementation of the new policies. U.S. tech vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft Corp are facing increased pressure from Chinese authorities to accept rigorous security checks before their products may be purchased by China's sprawling, state-run financial institutions.

  • U.S. net neutrality rules expected to cover interconnection deals

    Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on oversight of the FCC on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Alina Selyukh and Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. "net neutrality" rules are expected to regulate for the first time deals in which content companies such as Netflix Inc pay broadband providers to connect with their networks for smooth downloads, according to people familiar with the plan. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler next week will reveal the latest draft of new rules that would guide how Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast Corp manage traffic on their networks, aiming to ensure all web content is treated equally. The new draft is expected to expand the authority of the FCC to previously unregulated traffic exchange deals, known as interconnection agreements, according to two sources who spoke anonymously because the plan has not been made public.

  • Facebook's new challenge: sell Wall Street on spending
    By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's big spending plans are facing a tough reception on Wall Street. Facebook shares fell about 2 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday, after the company beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter revenue target and discussed aggressive 2015 spending plans. "Expectations for Facebook are already very high and perhaps some commentary around aggressive investments can spook investors a bit," said Colin Sebastian, a Robert W. Baird & Co analyst. Facebook said on Wednesday that 2015 capital expenditures will range from $2.7 billion to $3.2 billion, a sharp increase from $1.83 billion in 2014.

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