By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The government will call Mark Zuckerberg to testify against an upstate New York man accused of trying to cheat the billionaire founder of Facebook Inc out of half his stake in the social media company, a federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. Zuckerberg is expected to be a key witness against Paul Ceglia, who is charged with forging a 2003 contract with Zuckerberg that purportedly entitled him to half of Facebook. “It's a witness that the government 100 percent knows it will be calling at trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Frey said at a court hearing before U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in New York federal court. The charges stem in part from a 2010 civil lawsuit Ceglia filed against Zuckerberg and Facebook in Buffalo, New York, claiming the two men signed a contract when Zuckerberg was a freshman at Harvard University that gave Ceglia half of a planned social networking website.
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian government on Tuesday invited remote communities across the country that don't have high-speed Internet access to make a claim on some of the C$305 million ($284 million) it plans to spend over the next three years to upgrade access. The government's Connecting Canadians plan aims to deliver high-speed Internet - judged to be speeds faster than 5 megabits per second (5 Mbps) - to 280,000 households that it says sit below that line. The plan "will still leave many Canadians struggling to catch up with our global counterparts when it comes to broadband access, reliability, and speed," said Steve Anderson, executive director of OpenMedia.ca. The country's telecom regulator wrote to telecom companies BCE Inc, Telus Corp, and Manitoba Telecom Services last month, concerned they would miss an end-August deadline to complete remote access projects already underway.
By Joseph Menn SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More than 30 financial institutions in six countries have been defrauded by sophisticated criminal software that convinces bank customers to install rogue smartphone programs, a major security company reported on Tuesday. Though many of the elements of the malicious software, including the interception of one-time passwords sent to phones, have been used elsewhere, the latest criminal campaign is unusual in that it combines many different techniques and leaves few traces. Researchers at Trend Micro Inc, which dubbed the campaign Emmental after the Swiss cheese, said they were working with European police and major banks on the continent that were early victims. Banks in Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan have all been hit, with damages somewhere in the millions of dollars, said Trend Micro Chief Cyber security Officer Tom Kellermann.
Microblog posts about a New York Times article on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's [IPO-BABA.N] close ties to descendants of China's leaders have been removed by censors, a censorship monitoring group said on Tuesday. Alibaba has been in the spotlight as it prepares its stock market listing - potentially the largest ever tech debut in the United States - particularly over its complicated web of affiliations and corporate governance. One censored post on the Weibo Corp microblog included a Chinese version of the New York Times piece, with the comment, "It's not only Yahoo and SoftBank behind Alibaba," Weiboscope, a University of Hong Kong project that publishes and analyses censored posts, said. Yahoo Inc, with a 22.5 percent stake in Alibaba, and SoftBank Corp with a 34.3 percent ownership are Alibaba's two biggest shareholders.
(Reuters) - Lions Gate Entertainment Corp will provide extra content through apps for dystopian thriller "Divergent" and other films to Comcast Corp customers who purchase digital versions of the film through Xfinity On Demand, the companies announced on Tuesday. The "Divergent" app will be available starting Tuesday on mobile devices and later on TV through Comcast's X1 set-top box. Lions Gate also plans to release bonus app content for future films with digital purchases through Xfinity, the companies said.
By Danilo Masoni MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's data protection regulator has given Google 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation that is part of a European drive to reform the internet giant's privacy practices. Regulators in several European nations including Italy began a joint inquiry last year after Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. In a statement on Monday, the Italian watchdog said Google's disclosure to users on how their data was being treated remained inadequate, despite the company having taken steps to abide by local law. The watchdog gave the group 18 months to comply fully and indicated a series of measures Google must put into practice.
The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device - such as a smartphone or tablet - has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and by 2018 is likely to account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped that year, according to data firm IDC. Chinese e-commerce is dominated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd [IPO-BABA.N], which is preparing for a mammoth initial public offering widely expected to take place in September.
UK lender Nationwide Building Society's customers were unable to access online banking and a mobile banking app on Sunday after a scheduled overnight maintenance overran. Nationwide spokeswoman Michelle Slade said that the online bank and mobile banking app were now back up and running. "Unfortunately our overnight planned maintenance has overrun and is affecting customers accessing our online bank and mobile banking app," the customer-owned lender's spokeswoman said. The customers of Britain's third-biggest provider of mortgage and savings products complained of the online banking glitch on social networking site Twitter.
By Jim Finkle NEW YORK (Reuters) - Edward Snowden, a former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of major U.S. surveillance programs, called on supporters at a hacking conference to spur development of easy-to-use technologies to subvert government surveillance programs around the globe. Snowden, who addressed conference attendees on Saturday via video link from Moscow, said he intends to devote much of his time to promoting such technologies, including ones that allow people to communicate anonymously and encrypt their messages. He escaped the United States after leaking documents that detailed massive U.S. surveillance programs at home and abroad - revelations that outraged some Americans and sparked protests from countries around the globe. At the HOPE hacking conference, several talks detailed approaches for thwarting government surveillance, including a system known as SecureDrop that is designed to allow people to anonymously leak documents to journalists. The conference featured about 100 presentations on topics ranging from surveillance to hacking elevators and home routers.
By Deepa Seetharaman NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc launched a $9.99-per-month subscription service on Friday that lets customers read as much as they choose from its library of more than 600,000 digital books. Subscribers to the Kindle Unlimited service can read e-books, including "The Hunger Games" and "Life of Pi," on Amazon's Kindle e-reader or any device with a Kindle app. The launch of Kindle Unlimited comes as Amazon remains mired in a months-long contract dispute with the No. 4 U.S. publisher Hachette Book Group, owned by France's Lagardere, over how to price e-books. Amazon is also in talks about digital book pricing with Simon & Schuster, owned by CBS Corp. Amazon's move to offer the Kindle Unlimited service reflects consumers' growing preference toward subscription-based models for consuming digital media, such as Netflix Inc for movies and television shows and Spotify for music.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge in New York has granted prosecutors access to a Gmail user's emails as part of a criminal probe, a decision that could fan the debate over how aggressively the government may pursue data if doing so may invade people's privacy. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said Friday he had authorized a warrant to be served on Google Inc for the emails of an unnamed individual who is the target of a money laundering investigation. Gorenstein said his decision ran counter to several other judges' rulings in similar cases that sweeping warrants give the government improper access to too many emails, not just relevant ones. Google did not respond to a request for comment.
By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. companies, consumer advocates and citizens submitted more than 1 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission, drawing contentious divisions on the issue of net neutrality as the first deadline to comment approached Friday. The FCC will continue collecting comments, made in response to these first submissions, until Sept. 10 as it weighs how best to regulate the way Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic crossing their networks. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules in April after a federal court struck down the FCC's previous version of such rules in January. The FCC's draft rules propose banning ISPs from blocking users' access to websites or applications but allowing some "commercially reasonable" deals between content providers and ISPs to prioritize delivery of some web traffic.
By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Apple has provided no concrete and immediate solutions to tackle the problem of adults and children racking up credit card bills by making "in-app" purchases on tablets and mobile phones, the European Commission said on Friday. Apple said it would address the concerns brought up by the Commission, although it gave no time frame for when it might make the changes, the EU executive said.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's reshuffle of its senior ranks underscores the Internet company’s evolving business ambitions, analysts say. Three years after co-founder Larry Page took the reins back as chief executive officer, his team of lieutenants is clearly undergoing a refresh. On Thursday, Google announced the surprise departure of its veteran business chief Nikesh Arora, who will become Vice Chairman of SoftBank Corp. Arora represents the latest in a string of personnel changes within Google’s top ranks over the past 16 months, affecting major divisions from Youtube to its popular Android mobile software. They included the departed Vic Gundotra, who oversaw the Google+ social network;
(Reuters) - Twitter Inc, which has been struggling to revive flagging user growth, is expected to introduce new metrics to show that its microblogging service has a wider audience who may not necessarily be logged in to their accounts, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company, which went public in November, is expected to launch four new metrics when it reports second-quarter earnings on July 29, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Twitter currently measure its reach using traditional metrics such as monthly active users, monthly unique visitors and timeline views. Twitter has reported lackluster user and usage growth for the last couple of quarters and its stock price has nearly halved in the last six months.
By Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's chief business officer, one of Chief Executive Officer Larry Page's key lieutenants and the company's main liaison to Wall Street, is leaving the Internet search company, the latest high-ranking executive to depart. Nikesh Arora, who joined Google nearly a decade ago, will move to Japan's SoftBank Corp as vice chairman, according to a post by Page on the Google+ social network. Omid Kordestani, who has led sales teams at Google for years, will take over in the interim, marking the latest change to Google's senior leadership in past months. Android operating software boss Andy Rubin stepped aside last year, and Salar Kamangar, head of the YouTube video website, was succeeded in February by longtime Google ad executive Susan Wojcicki.
By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella kicked off one of the largest layoffs in tech history on Thursday, hoping to reshape the aging PC industry titan into a nimbler rival to Apple and Google, and jolt a culture at the company that is used to protecting its existing Windows and Office franchises. Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it will slash up to 18,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, over the next 12 months as it almost halves the size of its newly acquired Nokia phone business and tries to become a cloud-computing and mobile-friendly software company. Beyond the Nokia reductions, Nadella gave few clues about where the ax will fall or what areas will receive more funding. Nadella said he will answer questions from employees at a town hall meeting at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, on Friday and flesh out his plans publicly after Microsoft's quarterly earnings report on July 22.