Category Archives: Companies

(BBC) Huawei risk can be managed, say UK cyber-security chiefs


The Huawei logo outside their research facility in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Image captionHuawei has said it is independent and gives nothing to Beijing, aside from taxes

Any risk posed by involving the Chinese technology giant Huawei in UK telecoms projects can be managed, cyber-security chiefs have determined.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre’s decision undermines US efforts to persuade its allies to ban the firm from 5G communications networks.

The Chinese government is accused of using Huawei as a proxy so it can spy on rival nations.

But Huawei has said it gives nothing to Beijing, aside from taxes.

Australia, New Zealand, and the US have already banned Huawei from supplying equipment for their future fifth generation mobile broadband networks, while Canada is reviewing whether the company’s products present a serious security threat.

Most of the UK’s mobile companies – Vodafone, EE and Three – have been working with Huawei on developing their 5G networks.

They are awaiting on a government review, due in March or April, that will decide whether they can use Huawei technology.

Huawei in numbers

As first reported by the Financial Times, the conclusion by the National Cyber Security Centre – part of the intelligence agency GCHQ – will feed into the review.

The decision has not yet been made public, but the security agency said in a statement it had “a unique oversight and understanding of Huawei engineering and cyber security”.

Huawei booth
Image captionHuawei has denied that it poses any risk to the UK or any other country

BBC business correspondent Rob Young said the National Cyber Security Centre’s conclusion “will carry weight”, but said the review could still rule against Huawei.

In an interview, Huawei’s cyber security chief John Suffolk told the BBC: “We are probably the most open and transparent organisation in the world. We are probably the most poked and prodded organisation too.”

The former UK chief information officer added: “We don’t say ‘believe us’ we say ‘come and check for yourself’, come and do your own testing and come and do your own verification.

“The more people looking, the more people touching, they can provide their own assurance without listening to what Huawei has to say.”

Presentational grey line


Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent

If anybody knows just how Huawei works and the threat it might pose to the UK’s security, it is the National Cyber Security Centre.

This arm of GCHQ has been in charge of an annual examination of the Chinese telecoms giant’s equipment, and expressed concerns in its most recent report – not about secret backdoors, but sloppy cyber-security practices.

The NCSC has also been giving advice to UK mobile operators as they order the equipment for the rollout of their 5G networks later this year.

They feel they have been given the same cautious nod the agency appears to have given the government’s Supply Chain Review: keep Huawei out of the core of your 5G networks, but you are OK to use its equipment at phone masts as part of the mix of suppliers.

Australia and New Zealand have taken a very different view by taking a far harder line against Huawei.

That isn’t because they know something about the Chinese firm which the NCSC has missed.

Their decisions were probably based on an assessment of the political as well as security risk of ignoring the urging from the US to shut Huawei out.

And whatever the NCSC’s advice, similar factors will determine the UK government’s final decision.

Presentational grey line

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which is leading the review into the future of the telecoms industry, said its analysis was “ongoing”.

“No decisions have been taken and any suggestion to the contrary is inaccurate,” they said in a statement.

Asked whether the findings changed her country’s stance towards Huawei, the prime minister of New Zealand – which is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network that includes the UK – said her government would conduct its own assessment.

Jacinda Ardern told reporters: “It is fair to say Five Eyes, of course, share information, but we make our own independent decisions.”

Last year, BT confirmed that it was removing Huawei’s equipment from the EE core network that it owns.

The network provides a communication system being developed for the UK’s emergency services.

Fifth-generation mobile broadband is coming to the UK over the next year or so, promising download and browsing speeds 10 to 20 times faster than those 4G networks can offer.

Media captionWill superfast 5G mobile be worth the money?

The US argues Huawei could use malign software updates to spy on those using 5G.

It points to China’s National Intelligence Law passed in 2017 that says organisations must “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”.

Critics of Huawei also highlight that its founder Ren Zhengfei was a former engineer in the country’s army and joined the Communist Party in 1978.

Huawei recently attracted attention when its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested and accused of breaking American sanctions on Iran.

(Reuters) Elliott proposes ‘superior’ plan for Portuguese utility EDP

(Reuters) Activist investor Elliott said on Thursday it had proposed a “superior” alternative to shareholders in utility EDP-Energias de Portugal (EDP.LS) than a bid from China Three Gorges, including raising 7.6 billion euros from asset sales.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Portuguese utility company EDP – Energias de Portugal is seen at the company’s offices in Oviedo, Spain, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso/File Photo

State-owned CTG, which is already EDP’s largest shareholder with a 23 percent stake, launched a 9 billion euro ($10.13 billion) bid for Portugal’s biggest company in May last year.

EDP’s board has rejected the 3.26 euros a share offer as too low.

Elliott said it had written to EDP’s board stating that “CTG’s bid in its current form is not in the best interests of EDP stakeholders and would ultimately leave EDP weaker.”

Elliott also said it represented a shareholding in EDP of 2.9 percent, making it one of the utility’s top ten shareholders.

“Over the course of several months we have devoted considerable time and resources to better understanding the challenges and opportunities facing EDP,” Elliott said.

“Our extensive research convinced us that EDP is an attractive company with substantial unrealised potential.”

EDP declined to comment.

Shares in EDP were 1.45 percent higher at 3.227 euros a share in early trade.

CTG’s bid proposal needs regulatory approval in a number of countries, including Brazil, the United States, Portugal and the European Union.

(EUobserver) EU tells tech giants to fight harder against disinformation


  • Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Julian King called on internet platforms to step up efforts against misinformation (Photo: European Commission)

The EU commission on Tuesday (29 January) told US tech giants Facebook, Google, Twitter, Mozilla and advertising businesses to intensify their actions against disinformation campaigns ahead of European elections in May or face regulation.

The commission unveiled its first assessment of reports by internet giants on how they live up to their commitments to the EU’s code of practice on fighting disinformation.

(Economist) Facebook comes under fresh attack for its data-privacy practices


The social media network has endured endless scandals, but deeper problems lurk

JANUARY has been a bad month for Facebook. First came a story showing that the social network has spent years intentionally profiting from, and refusing to refund, accidental purchases made by children. Kids as young as five were spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on Facebook, according to the Centre for Investigative Reporting, an American non-profit organisation, mostly to play games.

Days later, on January 30th, Apple revoked the social network’s developer certificate, a document which lets companies create iPhone apps for internal use, for violating its terms. Facebook had used its certificate to build an app which, once installed, would send all the data on a person’s phone to Facebook, in exchange for $20-a-month, according to a report in TechCrunch. Apple’s revocation broke all of Facebook’s internal apps for Apple phones, including the one which runs the firm’s employee bus program, leaving workers stranded. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said that the app had only collected people’s data with consent; in a separate statement Facebook said that data from children had been collected with the consent of their parents.Get our daily newsletter

This patch of bad news was particularly dense, but its tone has become the norm for Facebook in the past year. Bad news dogged the firm through 2018. It provided personal data on its users to Cambridge Analytica without their consent; more details emerged of how it became a channel for misinformation in America’s presidential election; WhatsApp (which Facebook owns) and Facebook’s News Feed were both used to spread falsehood and rumour in India, Mexico and Myanmar, culminating in lynchings and genocide. None of this was enough to cause serious damage to Facebook’s financial performance. On January 30th Facebook announced record profits for the final quarter of 2018, $6.9bn on $16.9bn in revenue, beating Wall Street predictions.

The firm’s shares rose 12% on the news. No amount of bad press, it seems, can dent one of the greatest money-printing machines ever created (though share prices are still down some 23% from last year’s highs). Facebook’s profit margins remain among the highest in big tech. When the social network does err, it seems not to matter. And yet along with the upbeat financial news came new notes of caution.

First, Facebook announced a change in the way it measures the number of people who use its services. For years it has reported the number of people who use News Feed, at least once a month, logging into the company’s core social network. That number stands at 2.3 billion. Now, said chief financial officer David Wehner, Facebook will start including people who just use WhatsApp and Instagram in its reports, bringing its current total to 2.7 billion users.

Measuring all of its services together signals publicly what has been obvious for some time, that Facebook’s plans for revenue growth now sit firmly with WhatsApp and Instagram. The number of people who use those apps is still growing fast, and they have not yet been as heavily monetised as the News Feed, where user growth is slowing and there is little space to run more ads. To better monetise those 400m WhatsApp and Instagram users who don’t have a Facebook account, the firm proposes to knit the services’ technical infrastructure together. Facebook promises that the content of all messages will be encrypted regardless of the platform, but more information about who is talking to whom, for how long and when, will be hugely valuable for ad targeting. A WhatsApp user will be able message someone who only has a Facebook account. Personal data will flow more easily around the company, with profitable targeted advertising following it.

European privacy regulators are the grit in this plan. No sooner had Facebook’s integration plans been announced than the Irish Data Protection Commissioner was asking it for “an urgent briefing on what is being proposed”, and stating that the integration couldn’t happen in the EU unless it complied with GDPR, Europe’s new privacy law. Many in the European regulatory community see their permissiveness over Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp as a foundational mistake. Five years later, armed with sharper regulatory teeth, they are unlikely to let further unification through easily.

The Irish regulator is already examining Facebook’s compliance with GDPR, having received a number of complaints since GDPR launched in May 2018. Google, Facebook’s brother-in-advertising, had a taste of post-GDPR enforcement earlier this month when the French regulator fined it €50m. There has been no such activity in America, where the regulator with purview over privacy concerns, the Federal Trade Commission, has remained silent. There are political rumblings coming from deep in Washington, though, of bipartisan federal privacy laws that may see the light of day in coming months.

Some may take Facebook’s blockbuster earnings as evidence that criticism of the firm has been overcooked and that Facebook’s errors are not so egregious. There is some truth to this. Facebook became the favoured target of the tech press in 2018, attracting scrutiny above and beyond its peers in Silicon Valley, and headlines that stretch events to their most negative conclusions. And yet to swallow the victimhood narrative whole would be a mistake. Currently, Facebook is surviving its scandals, but storm clouds still hover above it, waiting to burst.

P.O. (Reuters) United Natural Foods sues Goldman Sachs, Bank of America over acquisition advice


The “Vampires of Wall Street”…
You are not telling me that they did something less proper…
What about that small misuse of the Malaysia Sovereign Wealth Fund…?
…Between 5 and 10 billion USD…
Please be so kind and revisit
my P.O. V.V.I. (FT) 1MDB scandal: the Malaysian fraud explained:


The “Vampires of Wall Street” (nickname for Goldman Sachs) at it again…
One of the greatest finantial frauds in history…
USD 4.5 billion allegedly misappropriated from the Malasian State Investment fund.
The incredible number of transfers, and their complexity were designed to make it very difficult to trace the origin of the funds. (US Departement of Justice).
I sincerely hope (but i doubt it will happen) that with this scandal the “vampires” will be stopped for good.
Video not to be missed.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(Reuters) Grocery distributing company United Natural Foods Inc filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch claiming the investment banks put their financial interests ahead of the company’s when they advised it on a multi-billion acquisition last year.

United Natural Foods announced plans to acquire distributor Supervalu in July 2018 in a deal valued at $2.9 billion, according to a joint statement on United’s website.

United claims in the lawsuit, which was filed in New York state court, that Goldman Sachs committed breach of contract and fraud, and that the firm improperly extracted around $200 million for the advisory and financing services it gave United.

Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Nicole Sharp wrote in an emailed statement that the bank believes the claims have no merit, and the bank plans to “vigorously defend ourselves against these accusations.”

Bank of America spokesman Bill Halldin declined to comment.

(Reuters) Mnuchin says Huawei case ‘separate’ from U.S.-China trade talks


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday he expected to see significant progress in trade talks with Chinese officials this week and that U.S. charges against telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd were a separate issue.

“Those are separate issues, and that’s a separate dialogue,” Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business Network. “So those are not part of trade discussions. Forced technology issues are part of trade discussions, but any issues as it relates to violations of U.S. law or U.S. sanctions are going through a separate track.”

China’s Vice Premier Liu He is leading a delegation for high-level trade and economic talks in Washington this week, including a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Monday, the United States announced criminal charges against Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou and the Chinese technology firm. But Mnuchin said he did not expect the issue to be part of the economic talks.

Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested in Canada in December and is fighting extradition to the United States.

Mnuchin said the U.S. security concerns raised by the Huawei case were separate from the conversation on trade and forced technology.

“There are two different issues. One is an issue of state subsidies” regarding Beijing’s subsidies, he said. The other, he added, was a national security issue focused on U.S. infrastructure and cybersecurity.

“These are separate issues and shouldn’t be confused,” Mnuchin said.

(JN) Correios espanhóis anunciam entrada no mercado português de entrega de encomendas


A companhia estatal Correos promete entregar encomendas em toda a Península Ibérica no prazo máximo de 24 horas.

A Correos, empresa de correios detida a 100% pelo Estado espanhol, anunciou esta terça-feira que vai iniciar um processo de internacionalização e entrar no mercado de serviços financeiros.

A internacionalização vai começar por Portugal e, nesta primeira fase, tem também o sudeste asiático como objetivo.

A entrada no mercado português será no setor da entrega de encomendas, com um prazo máximo de 24 horas em Portugal e Espanha. A Correos será assim mais uma concorrente dos CTT no mercado nacional, onde já estão presentes vários “players”.

Na Ásia a companhia pretende construir um centro logístico.

“Temos o objetivo de constituir a rede de distribuição [de entrega de encomendas] em 24 horas mais eficiente da Península Ibérica. O que também nos abre a porta aos países de língua portuguesa”, disse o presidente da Correos, Juan Manuel Serrano, num encontro com a imprensa em Madrid. Para uma fase posterior fica a entrada na América Latina.

“Agora só operamos em território nacional e para construir a nossa posição é necessário ir além forneiras. Precisamos de crescer internacionalmente e o Sudeste asiático é o principal ponto de origem de encomendas a nível mundial, com um volume cada vez maior”, acrescentou, citado pelo CincoDias e pelo Expansión.  

Ao contrário dos CTT, a Correos é uma empresa estatal e não está presente no setor financeiro. Algo que a empresa espanhola quer mudar, apontando a oferta de serviços financeiros nos seus perto de 2.400 pontos de venda como uma das formas de melhorar o seu negócio.

A Correos estima que tenha fechado o exercício de 2018 com prejuízos de 150 milhões de euros, prevendo reduzir este valor para 7,4 milhões de euros no final deste ano.

(TheStreet) U.S. Unveils Criminal Charges Against China’s Huawei Technologies


The indictments accuse the telecommunications equipment giant of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and stealing trade secrets.N

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed two indictments on Monday afternoon accusing China’s Huawei Technologies of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and stealing trade secrets, Reuters and the Wall St. Journal reported.

The move complicates China-U.S. trade talks that are set to resume this week.

The company’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, who’s also the daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested in Canada last month at the request of the U.S. on charges she misled authorities about its business in Iran in order to get around the sanctions. The U.S is seeking to extradite her to face charges in the U.S. 

The indictments against Huawei, several of its subsidiaries and its CFO accuse it of bank and wire fraud, obstruction of justice and conspiring to steal trade secrets from U.S. telecom T-Mobile U.S. (TMUS – Get Report) , according to Reuters. 

Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications equipment firm and second-largest maker of cell phones. Last year, the Trump administration signed a law banning U.S. government agencies from using Huawei technology, and the U.S. is trying to get other countries to enact similar bans on the grounds that Huawei could use its equipment for espionage. Polish authorities recently arrested a Huawei executive and accused him of spying for China.

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(EuroNews) Germany bans Iranian airline, Mahan Air, from its airports


Germany bans Iranian airline, Mahan Air, from its airports

Germany has banned Iranian airline, Mahan Air from operating in the country’s airports.

Following heavy US pressure on Berlin to act, the foreign ministry announced the measure, saying Iran has been transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones.

The move was necessary to protect Germany’s “foreign and security policy interests”, said foreign ministry spokesman Christofer Burger.

Officials at the Federal Aviation Office (LBA) sent Tehran-based Mahan Air a notification “ordering the immediate suspension of its authorisation to operate passenger flights from and to Germany” from Monday, a transport ministry spokeswoman added.

Mahan, Iran’s second-largest carrier after Iran Air, flies four services a week between Tehran and the German cities of Düsseldorf and Munich.

It was blacklisted by the US in 2011, as Washington said the carrier was providing technical and material support to an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards known as the Quds Force.

Mahan Air in Tehran said it could not comment immediately on the ban.

The measure does not signal plans for the reimposition of broader sanctions against Iran, said a German government source.

Mahan Air, established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline, has the country’s largest fleet of aircraft and has flights to a number of European countries, including France, Italy, Spain, and Greece.

European countries have been under sustained U.S. pressure to reimpose sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump last year pulled Washington out of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty it had reached with Tehran under his predecessor Barack Obama.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert denied that the decision to ban Mahan air was the result of US pressure.

“The German decision is based on considerations of our security needs,” he said.

“It cannot be ruled out that this airline could also transport cargo to Germany that threatens our security. This is based on knowledge of past terrorist activities by Iran in Europe,” he added.

Along with Iran, the other signatories to the non-proliferation deal – Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – are still trying to keep it alive.

(JN) A história da Rolls-Royce que atingiu um recorde de vendas aos 115 anos


A Rolls-Royce bateu o recorde de vendas em 2018, no ano em que “apagou” 115 velas. A marca que é sinónimo de luxo e poder vendeu 4.107 automóveis no ano passado a clientes em mais de 50 países. A última vez que um veículo da marca foi vendido em Portugal foi em 2006.

RollsRolls-Royce34Assine 1mês/1€Ler mais tardeImprimirNegóciosjng@negocios.pt20 de janeiro de 2019 às 16:00

A Rolls-Royce celebrou da melhor forma o seu 115º aniversário. A icónica marca associada ao luxo e poder fixou um novo recorde de vendas: 4.107 automóveis entregues a clientes espalhados por mais de meia centena de países, indicou a marca em comunicado.

Face ao ano anterior, as vendas aumentaram 22,1%, o que se traduziu em mais 745 veículos vendidos, com os EUA a manterem-se como o principal mercado para a marca de luxo, sendo responsável por 30% das vendas, enquanto a China vai ganhando peso.

Segundo os dados da Associação Automóvel de Portugal (ACAP), o último Rolls-Royce vendido em Portugal remonta a 2006.

O CEO da Rolls-Royce, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, considerou que “2018 foi um ano de grande sucesso e de recorde. Crescemos em todas as regiões”. Citado em comunicado da marca, o responsável disse ainda estar “confiante que 2019 será um ano de ainda maior sucesso”.


Homem rico, homem pobre

A história da Rolls-Royce começa a escrever-se em 1903, mas a união entre Charles Stewart Rolls e Henry Royce surgiu no ano seguinte.

Os fundadores da icónica marca dificilmente poderiam ter origens mais distintas. Charles Rolls, nascido em 1877, provinha de uma família nobre inglesa e frequentou a prestigiada escola de Eton e licenciou-se em engenharia na Universidade de Cambridge.

Rolls viria a criar um dos primeiros concessionários automóveis do Reino Unido, importando e vendendo automóveis Peugeot e Minerva.

Já Henry Royce, nascido em 1863, trabalhou ainda criança a vender jornais e a entregar telegramas. Aos 14 anos, Henry foi estagiar para uma companhia ferroviária como aprendiz de um dos engenheiros mais notáveis da época.

No final de 1903, Royce construiu o seu primeiro motor a gasolina e, em abril de 1904, conduziu o primeiro automóvel Royce, com 10 cavalos de potência.

Foi então que Henry Edmunds, acionista na empresa de Royce e amigo de Charles Rolls, organizou um encontro entre Royce e Rolls. Após testar o automóvel fabricado por Royce, Rolls propôs criar uma empresa para vender os veículos. O nome? Rolls-Royce.

O hífen em Rolls-Royce

Mas há outro nome marcante na história inicial da Rolls-Royce: Claude Johnson. Antigo sócio de Rolls, Johnson foi responsável pela publicidade e construiu uma imagem de fiabilidade da marca, associada a um motor silencioso e com um excelente desempenho.

Segundo o site oficial da marca, a importância de Claude Johnson para o crescimento da Rolls-Royce foi de tal modo reconhecida que este era referido como sendo o hífen no nome da marca.

Recordes, aviões, realeza e mudança de donos

Em 1907, o modelo Silver Ghost foi considerado o melhor automóvel do mundo.

Nos anos 20 do século passado, a Rolls-Royce entrou no mundo da aeronáutica. Os motores criados pela empresa viriam a equipar aviões como o Spitfire e Hurricane.

Na década seguinte, a Rolls-Royce consolidou-se e conseguiu vários recordes de velocidade. Em 1938, o Thunderbolt, equipado com dois motores Rolls-Royce para aviões, fixou o recorde mundial em 575,3 quilómetros por hora.

Nos anos 50, a marca fundada por Charles Rolls e Henry Royce tornou-se a preferida da família real britânica, que até então favorecia a alemã Daimler. A então princesa Isabel recebeu o primeiro Phantom IV, em 1950. Este modelo, concebido apenas para casas reais e chefes de Estado é um dos Rolls-Royce mais raros do mundo, tendo sido produzidas apenas 18 unidades.

A década de 60 viu a marca ganhar um novo público, tornando-se um dos modelos mais populares entre estrelas de cinema, ídolos do rock e celebridades.

A empresa de defesa Vickers comprou a Rolls-Royce Motors em 1980, produzindo os automóveis da Rolls-Royce e da Bentley. A empresa entrou na Bolsa de Londres em 1985.

Nos anos 90, o Grupo BMW comprou os direitos de produção dos veículos da Rolls-Royce.

A verdade é que, mais de cem anos após ter nascido, a Rolls-Royce continua a ser uma das marcas mais luxuosas do mundo. E nem a subida das vendas, para mais de quatro mil unidades no ano passado, tornam os “Rolls” um automóvel comum.

(BBC) Germany ‘considers ban on Huawei’ amid global backlash


Visitors try out the Honor 7 smartphone at the Huawei stand at the 2015 IFA consumer electronics and appliances trade fair on September 4, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

Germany is considering ways to block Huawei from its next generation mobile phone network, according to reports.

Berlin is exploring stricter security requirements which may prevent Huawei products being used in its 5G network.

Many countries have pushed against the involvement of the Chinese technology firm in their 5G networks over security concerns.

The networks represent the next big wave of mobile infrastructure.

The Chinese company, one of the world’s biggest producers of telecoms equipment, has faced resistance from foreign governments over the risk that its technology could be used for espionage.

Huawei has denied claims it poses a spying risk.

In a statement, the firm said it sees “no rational reason why it should be excluded from building 5G infrastructure in Germany, or indeed in any country in the world.”

Germany’s interior ministry had previously said it opposes banning any suppliers from its 5G network.

But it may consider stricter security requirements and other ways to exclude Huawei, according to reports.

Such a move would bring it in line with other Western countries.

The US, Australia and New Zealand have all blocked local firms from using Huawei to provide the technology for next-generation 5G mobile networks.

The UK has raised concerns with Huawei, and Canada is also reviewing its relationship with the firm.

Last month BT said it would not use Huawei’s equipment for its 5G mobile network when it is rolled out in the UK.

On Thursday, China’s ambassador to Canada warned of “repercussions” if the country banned the company from its 5G network.

The two countries are embroiled in a diplomatic row.

A court in China this month sentenced a Canadian to death for drug smuggling in a ruling that comes after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, a top official at Huawei and its founder’s daughter, on a request from the US.

The US is also reportedly investigating Huawei for “stealing trade secrets” from US businesses, and has accused it of contravening sanctions by lying about its business in Iran.

(ZH) Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results To Program Users’ Behavior


In a new leak that can be accurately labeled “the smoking gun,” Google has been busted manipulating search results on YouTube in order to manipulate social behaviors and control minds. An internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals that Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform.

According to Breitbart, the existence of the blacklist (terms Google considered sensitive) was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source. Some of the blacklisted terms included “abortion,” and terms related to the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist and communist, David Hogg.

In the leaked discussion thread, Breitbart further reported that a Google site reliability engineer hinted at the existence of more search blacklists, according to the source. “We have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate,” said the employee. “Hopefully this isn’t surprising or particularly controversial.”

According to the source, the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”

The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.

“The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,” wrote the employee. “And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.” –Breitbart

The manual (human) adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform  contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month. Pichai actually said that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.” A Google employee in the discussion thread drew attention to Pichai’s claim, noting that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”

And it cannot get more dystopian than that. Hitler insured his propaganda minister was able to manipulate the minds of many during his reign as a tyrant. Journalists in America are now no better and they are using Google to alter the minds and morals of otherwise good people. We live in strange and disturbing times.

(BBG) BlackRock to Cut 500 Jobs, 3% of Staff, Amid Market Turmoil


By Annie MassaJanuary 10, 2019, 3:45 PM GMT Updated on January 10, 2019, 5:07 PM GMT

  •  President Rob Kapito cites market uncertainty for move
  •  Firm joins several asset managers who have trimmed jobs

PauseUnmuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:00Loaded: 0%Progress: 0% FullscreenBlackRock to Cut 3% of Global WorkforceBlackRock is cutting three percent of its global workforce. Bloomberg’s Annie Massa reports.LISTEN TO ARTICLE 2:26SHARE THIS ARTICLE Share Tweet Post EmailIn this articleBLKBLACKROCK INC399.50USD-0.69-0.17%STTSTATE ST CORP66.51USD-0.27-0.40%

BlackRock Inc. is cutting 3 percent of its global workforce, the largest reduction in its headcount since 2016.

The world’s largest asset manager will dismiss about 500 employees in the weeks ahead, according to an internal memo viewed by Bloomberg News. The memo didn’t specify which businesses will be most affected.

Asset managers are under pressure as volatility roils markets and investors pile into low fee funds. The industry is also deploying technology across its businesses to reduce costs. State Street Corp., the giant custody bank and asset manager, trimmed its senior management ranks by 15 percent starting Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. AQR Capital Management, the quant manager, is also cutting jobs after a dismal performance in 2018.

“Market uncertainty is growing, investor preferences are evolving and the ecosystem in which we operate is becoming increasingly complex,” Rob Kapito, BlackRock’s president, said in the memo.

The firm is seeking to “move decisively to refocus our resources where the impact will be greatest” and to operate more efficiently, Kapito wrote. BlackRock had about 14,900 employees as of September.

Big Promotion

The announcement came just a day after the firm disclosed a major executive change. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink promoted Mark Wiedman, the head of BlackRock’s powerhouse exchange-traded funds business, to a new global strategy role. Fink said more leadership changes were coming.

When BlackRock reported third-quarter earnings in October, long-term net inflows were at their lowest point since 2016. Fink said the firm was “not particularly happy” with the results. At the time, he attributed the weakness to geopolitical upheaval prompting investors to shed riskier positions.

The company’s shares slid 24 percent last year, the worst performance since 2008. Revenue has also been slowing. Third-quarter revenue fell 1 percent from the previous period. BlackRock is forecast to report a 4 percent decline for the fourth quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company reports earnings next week.

Since 2013, a big round of layoffs has come every three years. The last time the company had cuts of this size was in March 2016, when it slashed 400 jobs. Before that, it cut jobs on a similar scale in 2013 after a reorganization.

(ZH) Cars Will Soon Be Monitoring Their Drivers And Selling The Data They Collect


In case you were wondering, the evolution of the “smart” product (read: a product that invades your privacy and sells the ensuing data) hasn’t skipped the automobile industry. And of course, this means your car will soon be collecting data on you.

A new report by Reuters notes that at CES in Las Vegas this year, start up companies are going to be looking to demonstrate to automakers how their technology gathers data on drivers – all for enhanced safety purposesSure.

Some of the coming technologies include vehicles that generate alerts about things like drowsiness and unfastened seatbelts. The software is being pitched as a way to cut back on distracted driving and increase safety. Oh, and of course, it’ll eventually help automakers and ride hailing companies make money from the data that is generated inside the vehicle.

Full self driving is still years away in the United States, but in-car sensor technology is going to be a crucial part of this burgeoning technological niche.

Obviously, the more sophisticated the monitoring is inside the car, the more likely the vehicle is going to be able to get a driver to retake control, if necessary, and keep all parties safe. The technologies also include artificial intelligence software and in-car monitoring cameras.

Interior facing cameras are currently only available on a couple of vehicles, including Teslas and select vehicles by Mazda and Subaru, among a few others. The data from cameras is run through image recognition software to try and determine whether or not a driver is paying attention, looking at their cell phone, or perhaps even getting sleepy.

Companies like Israel’s Guardian Optical Technologies and eyeSight Technologies, Silicon Valley’s Eyeris Technologies Inc and Sweden’s Smart Eye AB are among those starting to become the main players in the space. Some of these companies have already signed production deals for beyond 2020.

Modar Alaoui, founder and CEO of Eyeris, recently said:

“There’s no doubt this is a hot area”. Guardian Optical CEO Gil Dotan stated: “What automakers want is what either sells cars, or what regulators tell them to do.”

And regulators have embraced things like eye tracking, which is a basic type of technology that allows software to determine whether or not a driver is asleep. European car safety rating program Euro NCAP has even proposed that cars with driver monitoring software should be eligible for higher safety ratings.

But of course, companies are really excited about the revenue possibilities created by the data gathered by this technology. It can create a custom experience for riders and generate higher premiums while allowing partnerships with third parties like retailers.

Mike Ramsey, Gartner’s automotive research director stated: 

“The reason (the camera) is going to sweep across the cabin is not because of distraction … but because of all the side benefits. I promise you that companies that are trying to monetize data from the connected car are investigating ways to use eye-tracking technology.”

But in an age where the backlash to data gathering by companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google has been an extremely incendiary topic, it is not clear that all drivers are going to embrace this technology.

People like Vayyar CEO Raviv Melamed, for instance, still believe that cars are personal space.

“They think they’re in their own living room, they behave like they’re not outside! It’s obvious no one wants a camera,” he concluded.

(CNBC) Shares of NYSE owner fall as Morgan Stanley and Fidelity plan rival exchange


  • Shares of the company that owns the NYSE fall as some of Wall Street’s largest investors near the launch of a new, low-cost exchange.
  • Nine banks, brokerages and other firms including Morgan Stanley and Fidelity plan to launch the exchange early this year.
  • The launch of another stock exchange would come amid a mass migration toward cheap, no-fee investing options and exchanges across Wall Street.
Premium EA: Wall Street NYSE exterior rain gloom dark

A woman carrying an umbrella walks past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.John Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of Intercontinental Exchange — the company that owns the NYSE — fell more than 2 percent Monday as some of Wall Street’s largest financial companies neared the launch of a low-cost rival trading platform.

Shares of Nasdaq also fell more than 2 percent Monday.

The new venue is called Members Exchange, or MEMX. Nine banks, brokerages and other firms including Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments and Citadel Securities will maintain control over MEMX. MEMX investors also include Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS, as well as retail brokers Charles Schwab, E-Trade and TD Ameritrade.

“MEMX’s mission is to increase competition, improve operational transparency, further reduce fixed costs, and simplify the execution of equity trading in the U.S.,” according to a press release announcing the exchange. “In addition, MEMX will represent the interests of its founders’ collective client base, comprised of retail and institutional investors on U.S. market structure issues. MEMX will seek to offer a simple trading model with basic order types, the latest technology, and a simple, low-cost fee structure.”

Members of the investor group plan to apply for exchange status with the Securities and Exchange Commission early this year. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the upcoming exchange launch.

In a statement, Nasdaq said: “We welcome competition to our transparent, highly regulated equity markets. However, with more than 40 equity trading venues already in operation in the United States, we are keen to learn more about the value proposition of a new exchange.”

The launch of another stock exchange would come amid a mass migration toward cheap, no-fee investing options and exchanges across Wall Street. Another such company, the IEX Group, emerged in 2016 with a system that slowed down trading in an effort to neutralize the effect of high-frequency trading. Controversial at first, the so-called speed bumps have proliferated among U.S. market sites, though they differ from IEX’s to varying degrees.

The 2-year-old IEX, which was founded in 2012, had its first stock listing as of September.

(ECO) Google mais perto de ser um banco. Já pode emitir cartões e fazer transferências na União Europeia


Com a nova autorização, a gigante tecnológica Google pode gerir cartões de crédito, efetuar transferências de dinheiro ‘online’ de utilizadores ou operações de troca de divisas. 

O Banco Central Irlandês (ICB) autorizou a multinacional Google a operar como uma entidade de pagamento neste país e em toda a União Europeia (UE), confirmaram esta terça-feira fontes oficiais.

A medida, adotada pelo regulador irlandês em 24 de dezembro passado em virtude da Diretiva de Serviços de Pagamento (PSD2), permitirá ao gigante tecnológico ampliar a sua presença no setor financeiro, depois de ter obtido há dois anos uma licença do IBC para gerir dinheiro eletrónico.

Com esta nova autorização, a Google Payment Ireland poderá, por exemplo, gerir cartões de crédito, efetuar transferências de dinheiro ‘online’ de utilizadores ou operações de troca de divisas.Depois da Amazon e Facebook, Google passa a “banco” na UE Ler Mais

Também terá competências para oferecer a clientes análises pormenorizadas dos seus padrões de consumo, com o objetivo de desenhar planos financeiros e orçamentais personalizados a partir da informação de bases de dados.

Ainda que a PSD2 aspire limitar o monopólio dos bancos no sistema de pagamentos na UE, a nova licença estabelece restrições à Google e, como consequência, não poderá captar depósitos, uma atividade ainda reservada às entidades financeiras.

A responsável do comércio da Google na Europa, Florence Diss, declarou recentemente ao diário The Irish Times que a empresa está mais interessada em colaborar com os bancos – em vez de competir – para explorar as oportunidades de negócio que oferece a PSD2.

Além da Google, outras companhias tecnológicas mostraram interesse em experimentar o setor financeiro, como a Amazon, se bem que o processo de aquisição de licenças para operar como um banco tradicional é complexo, referiu o The Irish Times.

Mesmo assim, competem neste terreno um amplo número de fintechs, como a N26, Monzo, Starling, Transferwise ou a Revolut, que obteve recentemente do Banco da Lituânia uma licença para operar como banco.


(Futurism) The reign of the fossil fuel-powered car may be ending.

In a report published on Sunday, several experts told the Financial Times that they believe sales of fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles peaked in 2018, meaning that it’s unlikely that more ICE cars will be sold in any future year— and if they’re correct, this epochal change in the auto industry could majorly benefit the environment.

Going Down

Many experts predicted at the beginning of 2018 that demand for ICE vehicles wouldn’t peak until 2022 at the earliest, according to the FT report. But a combination of several factors — including Brexit, the U.S.-China trade war, and new emissions targets in Europe — has dealt a major blow to global car sales this year.

“When you look at 2018 since the summer, new car sales in all of the important markets are going down,” Axel Schmidt, global automotive lead at Accenture, told FT. “Selling combustion engine cars to customers — this will not grow in the future.”

Even if overall car sales increase in 2019, ICE sales would likely fall thanks to the continued adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

Road To Recovery

This might not be what ICEcar manufacturers want to hear, but it’s excellent news for the environment.

According to energy research group Wood Mackenzie, a mid-sized EV produces 67 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a comparable gasoline-powered ICE vehicle. That figure doesn’t just take into account the emissions produced while the car is in use, either — it includes emissions caused by everything from electricity generation to crude oil refinement.

In 2016, transportation was the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., so if EVs continue to replace ICE cars in this nation and others, the world could significantly cut down on the climate-destroying emissions emanating from its roadways.