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Nuance ends development of the Swype keyboard apps

Nuance ends development of the Swype keyboard apps The party is over for third party keyboards. But hey, it was fun while it lasted. Nuance, the company that acquired veteran swipe-to-type keyboard maker Swype — all the way back in 2011, shelling out a cool $100M — has ended development of its Swype+Dragon dictation Android and iOS apps. The news was reported earlier by the Xda developer blog, which spotted a Reddit post by a user and says it got confirmation from Nuance that development for both the Android and iOS apps…

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Uber parks its service in Morocco

Uber parks its service in Morocco Uber is pulling the brakes on its service in Morocco, which will cease on February 23, as it waits for local regulators to accommodate app-based ride-hailing. The company announced the move on its country blog yesterday, writing that it has “not had any clarity” on how its service can be integrated into the existing transport model since it launched in the market three years ago. “[T]he current regulatory uncertainty does not allow us to provide a safe and reliable experience that meets the requirements…

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Facebook’s tracking of non-users ruled illegal again

Facebook’s tracking of non-users ruled illegal again Another blow for Facebook in Europe: Judges in Belgium have once again ruled the company broke privacy laws by deploying technology such as cookies and social plug-ins to track Internet users across the web. Facebook uses data it collects in this way to sell targeted advertising. The social media giant failed to make it sufficiently clear how people’s digital activity was being recorded, the court ruled. Facebook faces fines of up to €100 million (~$124M), at a rate of €250,000 per day, if it…

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Fake news is an existential crisis for social media 

Fake news is an existential crisis for social media  The funny thing about fake news is how mind-numbingly boring it can be. Not the fakes themselves — they’re constructed to be catnip clickbait to stoke the fires of rage of their intended targets. Be they gun owners. People of color. Racists. Republican voters. And so on. The really tedious stuff is all the also incomplete, equally self-serving pronouncements that surround ‘fake news’. Some very visibly, a lot a lot less so. Such as Russia painting the election interference narrative as…

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UK accuses Russia of 2017’s NotPetya ransomware attacks

UK accuses Russia of 2017’s NotPetya ransomware attacks The UK government has directly accused Russia of being behind the so called NotPetya ransomware attack last year — which quickly spread around the globe, including affecting businesses in Spain, France and India, demanding payment in Bitcoin to unlock infected machines. It initially appeared to be targeted at Ukrainian networks. “We have entered a new era of warfare, witnessing a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber-attacks,” UK defense secretary Gavin Williamson is quoted as saying (via The Guardian)….

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London sets out safety-first plan for regulating ride-sharing

London sets out safety-first plan for regulating ride-sharing After London sent ripple’s of shock through Silicon Valley last year, by denying Uber a renewal of its private hire vehicle license, the city’s transport regulator is doubling down on its scrutiny of the impact of app-based ride operators. Today it’s published a policy statement setting out its intentions for adapting transport regulations to fit the fast-changing private hire vehicle sector. And chief among its stated priorities is the safety and welfare of passengers and drivers. “Safety will be a particular focus in…

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Sony now has a Koov robotics learning kit for US classrooms

Sony now has a Koov robotics learning kit for US classrooms After soft-launching a blocks-based educational robotics kit in the US last summer to gauge local interest, Sony has judged the reception for its Koov kit warm enough to fire a fully fledged educator offering into the US market. The Koov Educator Kid goes up for pre-order today, with an estimated shipping date of March 25. The $520 price-tag puts it at the pricier end of the spectrum so far as STEM-targeted learn-to-code gizmos generally go. (And there are a lot of…

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HTC’s smartphone chief and ex-CFO, Chialin Chang, resigns

HTC’s smartphone chief and ex-CFO, Chialin Chang, resigns HTC’s smartphone and connected devices president and former CFO, Chialin Chang, has resigned. The move, spotted earlier by Engadget, was announced today and is effective immediately. Chang joined the company in 2012 as CFO. He also previously ran HTC’s global sales business. Before eventually becoming president of smartphones and connected devices in 2016. HTC’s investor note specifies Chang is leaving for “personal career plan” reasons, and local press in Taiwan is reporting that Chang intends to set up his own AI startup….

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German court finds fault with Facebook’s default privacy settings

German court finds fault with Facebook’s default privacy settings A court in Germany has ruled that Facebook’s default privacy settings and some of its terms and conditions breached local laws. The court passed judgement late last month but the verdict was only made public this week. The legal challenge, which dates back to 2015, was filed by a local consumer rights association, the vzbv. It successfully argued Facebook’s default privacy settings breach local consent rules by not providing clear enough information for the company to gather ‘informed consent’ from users when…

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Unacast bags $17.5M to do more with location data

Unacast bags .5M to do more with location data Location tracking can seem pretty creepy if you’re the consumer being watched. But there’s big and growing business in tracking human movement and behavior, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones. To wit: Unacast, a location data startup from Norway, has today announced a $17.5 million Series B round — to fuel expansion, including into his home turf of Europe. The round has been led by White Star Capital, with European telco Telia joining as a strategic investor. Existing investors Open Ocean…

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