By Arshad Mohammed, Matt Spetalnick and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is considering sanctions against both Russian and Chinese individuals and companies for cyber attacks against U.S. commercial targets, several U.S. officials said on Monday. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no final decision had been made on imposing sanctions, which could strain relations with Russia further and, if they came soon, cast a pall over a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September. It did not mention Russia.
Hundreds of thousands of people signed up for infidelity website Ashley Madison in the last week, parent company Avid Life Media said on Monday, even after hackers leaked data about millions of its clients. "Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated," the company said in a statement. "Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing." On Aug. 18, hackers who claimed to be unhappy with Avid Life's business practices released Ashley Madison customer data.
Images of Kanye West's face on Mount Rushmore and a potential White House takeover by the Kardashian reality TV clan fired up social media on Monday, a day after the rapper virtually hijacked a rambunctious MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) show as he declared he planned to run for U.S. president in 2020. West, who is married to Kim Kardashian, sparked dozens of satirical memes on social media after his rambling, 13-minute speech on Sunday - when he admitted he had "rolled up a little something earlier in the night - while accepting the Video Vanguard award for lifetime achievement. Although most viewers saw West's presidential declaration as a joke, a Maryland college student on Monday filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to set up a political action committee called Ready for Kanye.
The White House is considering applying sanctions against companies and individuals in China it believes have benefited from Chinese hacking of U.S. trade secrets, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The newspaper, citing several unidentified Obama administration officials, said a final determination on whether to issue the sanctions was expected soon, possibly as early as the next two weeks. Suspicions that Chinese hackers were behind a series of data breaches in the United States have been an irritant in relations between the world's two largest economies as President Xi Jinping prepares to make his first visit to the United States next month.
(Reuters) - Major films such as Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z, and Transformers: Age of Extinction will move to online video service Hulu from Netflix starting in October when cable network Epix switches streaming partners. Hulu and Epix said on Sunday they had signed a multi-year deal that would bring Epix films to Hulu from Oct. 1. Netflix Inc said earlier on Sunday it had decided not to renew its agreement with Epix when it expires at the end of September as it focuses more on original programming and exclusive rights to movies, and less on non-exclusive content.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - PayPal Holdings Inc , the e-commerce group trading sharply off its recent offering price, could rise 40 percent to $46 a share if it succeeds with investments tied to payments systems innovation, the Aug. 31 edition of Barron's said. Spun off in July by auctioneer eBay Inc , PayPal is now clear to do deals with big vendors like Staples and move into back office operations and other services, according to Barron's. PayPal shares last week traded at $34.60, or over $4 less than its offering price in July, Barron's said. ...
By Julia Fioretti , Brussels (Reuters) - - The European Commission will launch a study in September of the ride-hailing app Uber in an effort to settle legal disputes that have pitched the U.S. start-up against conventional taxis across Europe, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday. Since opening in Paris in 2011, San Francisco-based Uber has run into vehement opposition from taxi drivers, who complain it competes unfairly by bypassing local laws on licensing and safety. Uber has responded by submitting complaints to the European Commission against German and Spanish court bans, as well as a new French law on taxis.
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Florida man accused of running an unlicensed bitcoin exchange and who is among five defendants linked to last summer's massive data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co is in talks to resolve his criminal case, according to court papers filed Friday. In a court filing in federal court in Manhattan, a prosecutor said Yuri Lebedev, one of two men charged with operating the bitcoin exchange service, was in discussions "regarding a possible disposition of this case." The filing used language that is usually indicative of plea talks, though cases in some instances can be resolved with deferred prosecution agreements or with charges being dropped. Eun Young Choi, a prosecutor under Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara who made the submission, said negotiations were not yet complete and sought an extension until Sept. 28 for when a grand jury would need to indict Lebedev.
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - The chief executive of infidelity website Ashley Madison's parent company Avid Life Media has left, just over a week after hackers leaked data about millions of its clients in a massive cyber assault. Avid Life said on Friday the departure of Noel Biderman was by "mutual agreement" and its existing senior management team would take over until a new CEO is appointed. On Aug. 18, hackers who claimed to be unhappy with its business practices released the Ashley Madison customer data, and police probing the breach said it had sparked extortion attempts and at least two unconfirmed suicides.
By Liisa Tuhkanen LONDON (Reuters) - The often touted but regularly delayed stock-market listing of Rovio, creator of the hugely popular "Angry Birds" mobile game, could be even more distant after this week's warning of lower earnings and a planned cull of more than a third of its staff. While the mobile games market as a whole is thriving and looks set to grow to more than $35 billion in 2017, according to research firm Newzoo, Rovio's woes typify the difficulty established players have in changing with the times. "They lost their moment ... You need to list when your games are working well," said Thomas Alzuyeta, analyst at Gilbert Dupont, noting a drop in interest in the game franchise that debuted in 2009.
By Erik Kirschbaum BERLIN (Reuters) - Facebook will have to abide by German laws banning racist sentiment even if it might be allowed in the United States under freedom of speech, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with Reuters. Maas, who has accused Facebook of doing too little to thwart racist and hate posts on its social media platform, said that Germany has zero tolerance for such expression and expects the U.S.-based company to be more vigilant. "One thing is clear: if Facebook wants to do business in Germany, then it must abide by German laws," Maas told Reuters.
Russia's biggest mobile phone operator MTS said on Friday it had teamed up with Google Inc to help grow the use of mobile Internet and will get a share of the search site's advertising revenues in Russia. Under a strategic agreement, MTS will feature Google's voice search in its ad campaigns and retail stores, and a relevant application will be pre-installed on the main screen of Google's Android-based smartphones sold in the MTS retail chain. "MTS will share with Google the cost of mobile Internet promotion and get money from Google's search services under a revenue-sharing scheme," an MTS spokesman said.
By Simon Jessop and Ross Kerber LONDON/BOSTON (Reuters) - Investors are being poorly served by a haphazard approach from fund managers to the growing threat of cyber crime damaging the companies in which they invest, with a lack of clarity from the businesses themselves compounding the problem. Banks have led the way in developing cyber defenses and some top fund managers have ramped up pressure on companies to do more, but the broader picture is less encouraging. "I don't see any visible stand asset managers are taking, like they do on other social responsibility items," said Malcolm Harkins, information security chief at U.S. cyber security start-up Cylance Inc. The soft underbelly of companies outside the banking sector was exposed again this month when hackers leaked details of nearly 37 million clients of Ashley Madison.
By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The father of a Virginia journalist killed in an on-air shooting said on Thursday he would become a crusader for gun control, but analysts said there was little likelihood of legislation on the federal level any time soon, despite changes in some states. Two journalists, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of Roanoke CBS affiliate WDBJ7, were shot during a live interview on Wednesday by a disgruntled former station employee who later killed himself. Parker's father, Andy Parker, urged state and federal lawmakers to take action on gun control, especially to keep firearms out of the hands of people who were mentally unstable.
Google Inc has rejected EU antitrust charges that it abused its market power, exposing the company to the risk of a hefty fine if it does not alter its business practices. The company's comments came after the European Commission in April accused it of distorting internet search results to favor its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers. "Economic data spanning more than a decade, an array of documents and statements from complainants all confirm that product search is robustly competitive," Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, wrote in a blog on Thursday.
Malaysia will block websites attempting to spread information about a two-day rally due to be staged in three cities this weekend by a pro-democracy group demanding Prime Minister Najib Razak's resignation. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said in a post on its official Facebook page on Thursday that it would block websites that "promote, spread information and encourage people to participate" in the protest organized by the civil society group Bersih. Najib has been embroiled in a political storm amid allegations of graft and financial mismanagement at debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), whose advisory board he chairs.
By Gary Robertson MONETA, Va. (Reuters) - Two television journalists were shot to death during a live broadcast in Virginia on Wednesday, slain by a former employee of the TV station and who called himself a "powder keg" of anger over what he saw as racial discrimination at work and elsewhere in the United States. The suspect, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, shot himself as police pursued him on a Virginia highway hours after the shooting. Flanagan, who was African-American, died later at a hospital, police said.
Hollywood studios are going to ever more creative lengths to attract attention in a jam-packed entertainment market where social media plays a key role in promoting content. For Matt Damon's October film "The Martian," in which an astronaut is stranded on Mars, 20th Century Fox Studios hosted a media day last week at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California just to promote a trailer. Journalists got a sneak peek at the first 50 minutes of the film, toured the lab and interviewed Damon at its Mission Control which is usually reserved for scientists working on operations such as landing the Curiosity rover on Mars in 2012.
By Yasmeen Abutaleb SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is testing a personal digital assistant called "M" within its Messenger service that can answer questions with live human help and perform tasks such as buying gifts online and booking restaurants. M is "powered by artificial intelligence that's trained and supervised by people," David Marcus, vice president of Messaging products, wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday. Rival services like Apple Inc's Siri, Google Inc's Google Now and Microsoft Corp's Cortana rely entirely on technology to answer questions.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama will "no doubt" raise concerns about China's cyber security behavior when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month. Obama will host Xi at the White House in September for a state visit. The United States has alleged Chinese hackers have stolen information from U.S. computer servers. (Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Bill Trott)
By Adrian Croft BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona's new mayor is picking a fight with home rental websites as she tries to crack down on uncontrolled tourism that she fears could drive out poor residents and spoil the Catalan capital's charm. Ada Colau is threatening to fine firms like Airbnb and Booking.com if they market apartments from tourists without a number showing that they are on the Catalan tourism register. "Everybody must comply with the same game rules," Colau told Reuters in Barcelona's city hall.