By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday approved the strictest-ever rules on Internet providers, who in turn pledged to battle the new restrictions in the courts and Congress, saying they would discourage investment and stifle innovation. Experts expect the industry to seek a stay of the rules, first at the FCC and then in courts, though the chances for success of such an appeal is unclear. It culminated in the FCC receiving a record 4 million comments and a call from President Barack Obama to adopt the strongest rules possible. In the past, broadband was classified as a more lightly regulated "information service," which factored into a federal court's rejection of the FCC's previous set of rules in January 2014.
Google Inc has combined its two European regional divisions as it seeks to meet the challenges of tougher regulation across the continent, a source close to the company said on Thursday. The Internet giant is merging its northern and western European division with the unit covering southern and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, the source said. The shake-up follows a year of setbacks for the company on political and regulatory fronts on issues ranging from antitrust to privacy to how much tax it pays in different European nations, as well as fraught relations with some European industries including media and telecom groups. Google's regional headquarters will remain in Dublin, where it employs thousands of staff, and the reorganization will not result in job losses, the source said.
Chinese computer and smartphone firm Lenovo Group Ltd said its website was hacked on Wednesday, its second security blemish days after the U.S. government advised consumers to remove software called "Superfish" pre-installed on its laptops. Hacking group Lizard Squad claimed credit for the attacks on microblogging service Twitter. Lenovo said attackers breached the domain name system associated with Lenovo and redirected visitors to lenovo.com to another address, while also intercepting internal company emails. Lizard Squad posted an email exchange between Lenovo employees discussing Superfish.
By Brenda Goh SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese government push to promote e-commerce has created a host of online retail rivals for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Amazon.com Inc catering to shoppers' fears about the quality and safety of local everyday goods. Encouraged by tax-relief programmes and other policies that gained traction last year, logistics firms including SF Express and state-owned Sinotrans are seeking to grab a piece of the cross-border e-commerce market which the government estimates to be worth $1 trillion by 2016. "Local e-commerce businesses aren't able to meet the needs of China's consumers who are increasingly buying from abroad," said Masa Ren, vice president of international e-commerce services at SF Express, one of China's biggest logistics firms.
BlackBerry Ltd said on Wednesday that it is working with Google Inc to enable its software to manage and secure some of Google's Android devices, a move that builds on BlackBerry's recent partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. In November, BlackBerry announced partnerships with Samsung and other high-profile technology industry players, broadening the reach of its revamped mobile-device management and security platform. BlackBerry said it is offering a "highly secure mobility solution" for Samsung's Android devices.
Italian authorities are investigating whether Google violated any tax laws in the country, Milan's prosecutor said on Wednesday, adding that talks were under way with the U.S. company over a possible settlement. Officials had started discussions with Google representatives relating to its earnings in Italy in the years from 2008 to 2013, Milan prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said in a statement. Google was considering whether to provide information over revenues it generates in Italy, it added. It did not say when the investigation or the discussion with Google would conclude.
Health insurer Anthem Inc, which earlier this month reported that it was hit by a massive cyberbreach, said on Tuesday that 8.8 million to 18.8 million people who were not its customers could be victims in the attack. Anthem, the country's second-largest health insurer, is part of a national network of independently run Blue Cross Blue Shield plans through which BCBS customers can receive medical services when they are in an area where BCBS is operated by a different company. It is those Blue Cross Blue Shield customers who were potentially affected because their records may be included in the database that was hacked, the company said. Anthem updated the total number of records accessed in the database to 78.8 million customers from its initial estimate of 80 million, which includes 14 million incomplete records that it found.
By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt will meet Europe's antitrust chief next week, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday, a move likely to help regulators decide the next step in a four year-old investigation into the Internet company. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has met more than a dozen Google complainants, including executives from Microsoft and German publisher Axel Springer, in the last few weeks to get feedback. Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment. Google spokesman Al Verney did not immediately respond to an email for comment.
Facebook Inc said on Tuesday that its active advertisers rose to 2 million, a 33 percent increase from the 1.5 million it had in July 2014. The vast majority of the advertisers, defined as those that have placed an ad on the social media platform in the last 30 days, represent small- and medium-sized business owners. "Small business owners are really hard to reach and they are not tech savvy usually," Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview. Facebook also launched a mobile app for advertisers to use to manage their campaigns.
Deutsche Bank will outsource large parts of its wholesale banking IT infrastructure to U.S.-based Hewlett-Packard (HP) in a multibillion-dollar deal that leaves the group's retail operations untouched. Under the 10-year agreement, HP will provide computing capacity and data storage to host Deutsche's operations, the two companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Deutsche will retain activities such as IT architecture and information security. The HP deal will allow the bank to reduce costs and launch new products and services more quickly, Deutsche Bank Chief Operating Officer Henry Ritchotte said in a statement.
By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - There were underpants, Lego statues and a nail-biting finale on the Oscars stage on Sunday, but it was Lady Gaga's "Sound of Music" spectacular that sparked the most chatter on social media. The Oscars lit up digital platforms, with 21 million people logging 58 million interactions about the awards ceremony on Facebook Inc, according to figures from the social networking site on Monday. Lady Gaga performed a medley of hits from "The Sound of Music" and then was joined by Julie Andrews on stage for the 50th anniversary of the musical, which was talked about by 214,000 people per minute globally on Facebook, the company said. According to Nielsen Social, which monitors comments on Twitter Inc, some 60,000 tweets were posted in the minute following Lady Gaga's tribute performance as she was joined by Andrews, making it the most-tweeted moment of the night.
By Warren Strobel WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the National Security Agency refused to comment on Monday on reports that the U.S. government implants spyware on computer hard drives for surveillance purposes, saying "we fully comply with the law." U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers was responding to reports that the NSA had embedded spyware in computers on a vast scale and that along with its British counterpart, had hacked into the world's biggest manufacturer of cellphone SIM cards. Former NSA operatives told Reuters the agency was behind the campaign. Another report, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by the Intercept site, said the U.S. agency and its British counterpart hacked into Gemalto, which produces SIM cards. I don't have time." Even as he declined comment on the reports of aggressive NSA operations, Rogers argued that U.S. intelligence, along with law enforcement agencies, needs the legal means to break strong encryption increasingly built into operating systems such as those of Apple or Google.
By Phil Stewart CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Reuters) - New U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday America had the right "ingredients" of a strategy to combat Islamic State, emerging from talks with top U.S. military and diplomatic leaders without hinting at any fundamental shift in the campaign. After a day of meetings in Kuwait, Carter acknowledged some room for improvement, broadly suggesting some allies could contribute more to the fight and saying the United States needed to be more aggressive on social media combating Islamic State. Our global coalition is up to the task and so (is) American leadership." Carter kicked off the talks addressing the more than two dozen senior American officials he invited to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait as "Team America" in the region. He also received an operational update from Lieutenant General James Terry, the senior U.S. commander of operations against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said internet firms must do more to deal with online extremism after three teenage girls radicalized "in their bedrooms" left London in an apparent bid to travel to Syria. Friends Amira Abase, 15, Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, flew to Turkey last week in what the authorities believe was an attempt to travel to Syria to join the militant Sunni Islamist group Islamic State. News of their actions led to calls from lawmakers for social media companies to do more after it was revealed they had been in contact via Twitter with other women involved with Islamic State.