Tech

- Australia's number two telecommunications company, Optus, said on Saturday it was contacting customers about a cyberattack that accessed personal details of up to 10 million customers, in one of Australia's biggest cybersecurity breaches. Chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said on Friday she was angry and sorry that an offshore-based entity had broken into the company's database of customer information, accessing home addresses, drivers licence and passport numbers of the equivalent to 40% of Australia's population. In an update on Saturday, the company, owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, said it was contacting "all customers to notify them of the previously announced cyberattack’s impact, if any, on their personal details". "We will begin with customers whose ID document number may have been compromised, all of whom will be notified by today. We will notify customers who have had no impacts last," it said in a statement. "No...
- Voyager Digital Ltd Chief Financial Officer Ashwin Prithipaul is preparing to step down from his role within months of his appointment at the crypto lender that filed for bankruptcy in July. The company said on Friday the finance head would resign after a "transition period" to pursue other opportunities, and that Chief Executive Officer Stephen Ehrlich will head the role in the interim. Crypto lenders such as Voyager boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing depositors with high interest rates and easy access to loans rarely offered by traditional banks. But inflation and subsequent rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve led to a wide sell-off in the alternative asset class that dealt a heavy blow to several companies in the sector. Digital asset exchange Coinbase Global Inc and crypto lender BlockFi have been forced to cut jobs, while Singapore-based crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has filed for bankruptcy....
By Steve Scherer OTTAWA - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday agreed to deepen cooperation on critical minerals used in electric vehicles (EVs) batteries as both countries seek to cut emissions to fight climate change. Yoon visited London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, and then New York in his first U.S. trip to attend the U.N. General Assembly, before arriving in Canada on Thursday. On Friday, Yoon met Trudeau in Ottawa, and then they both spoke to reporters. "Yoon and I discussed ways to collaborate in a variety of areas, including essential minerals, batteries for electric vehicles, and emerging technologies, including AI (artificial intelligence)," Trudeau told reporters. Canada has many of the critical minerals - like lithium, cobalt and nickel - that are now used to make batteries for EVs, and the government is in the process of seeking to help producers and p...
- SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that he would activate the firm's satellite internet service, Starlink, in response to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's tweet that the United States took action "to advance internet freedom and the free flow of information" to Iranians. The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday issued guidance expanding internet services available to Iranians despite U.S. sanctions on the country, amid protests around Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman in custody. A Treasury official briefing reporters earlier on Friday said Starlink's commercial-grade system, which would involve sending hardware into Iran, would not be covered by the general license. "That would be something that they would need to write into Treasury for," the official said. Musk could not be reached for comments or clarification regarding Starlink's clearance to operate in Iran. Iranians have been pr...
(This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine) By Alexander Marrow KAZAN, Russia - The reach of Russia's alternative to the SWIFT international messaging system has grown at record pace this year, the central bank said on Friday, as Moscow ramps up efforts to resolve financial shortcomings wrought by sanctions. Sweeping Western sanctions on many of Russia's top banks in the wake of Russia sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine have sorely limited lenders' access to the global financial system. SWIFT underpins financial transactions globally. Alla Bakina, director of the central bank's national payment system department, said 50 new entities had joined Russia's alternative system this year, taking the total number to 440, of which more than 100 are non-residents. "The System for Transfer of Financial Messages has shown expansion thi...
By Hannah Lang - Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has no plans to delist tokens the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has labeled as securities, or to register with the agency as a market intermediary, said incoming chief executive officer Dave Ripley on Thursday. The stance of the San Francisco-based platform, which says it has more than nine million clients, underscores the challenges the securities regulator is facing in its effort to rein in the crypto industry. Kraken, which made news earlier this year when it denied requests to block the digital wallet addresses of Russian users following the invasion of Ukraine, has long championed the libertarian values associated with cryptocurrency. Its new CEO has promised to stay the course on the company's culture. Kraken announced on Wednesday that its often-controversial co-founder Jesse Powell would step down and that Ripley, Kraken's chief operating officer, will ass...
By Supantha Mukherjee STOCKHOLM - Ericsson said on Friday it is only providing software and technical support to Russian clients and has not sold any telecommunications equipment to mobile operators there since the Ukraine war started, after Swedish media reported the company had continued its exports. Shares of the company fell 4.6% in morning trading. Ericsson suspended its business in Russia in April and said in August that it would exit the country in the coming months. It recorded a charge of 900 million Swedish crowns ($81 million) and made 400 employees redundant in the country as it winds down operations. "Compliant with the sanctions we provide the software and technical assistance for those products that we have shipped prior to the invasion making it possible to withdraw while fulfilling contractual obligations," a spokesman said. "When the sanctions were announced we stopped shipments to customers...
SHANGHAI - Five Chinese tech-focused ETFs launched on Friday, testing investor appetite for chipmakers, new materials producers and machine tool manufacturers amid an escalating Sino-U.S. tech war, and a global rout in tech shares. The new batch of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were given regulatory approval at record pace over the weekend, in an apparent effort by authorities to bolster battered tech stocks ahead of the politically key Communist Party Congress next month. The approval took two days versus weeks for other funds, according to regulatory filings.Two of the ETFs will invest money into the stocks of the 50 biggest chipmakers listed on Shanghai's STAR Market, including Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) and Montage Technology Co. Two others will put money into the biggest makers of key strategic materials listed on STAR, such as Western Superconducting Technologies Co and Ningbo Ronbay New Energy Technology Co. Another new ETF will...
SYDNEY - Australian No. 2 telco Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, said it will contact up to 10 million customers whose personal details were taken in a "sophisticated" hack, but added no corporate clients were compromised. Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said she was angry and sorry that an offshore-based entity had broke into the company's database of customer information, accessing home addresses, drivers licence and passport numbers in one of the country's biggest cybersecurity breaches. As many as 9.8 million accounts may be compromised, equivalent to 40% of Australia's population, but "that is the absolute worst case scenario (and) we have reason to believe that the number is actually smaller than that", Bayer Rosmarin said. Bayer Rosmarin said corporate customers appeared unaffected and there was no indication the intruder took customer bank account details or passwords. Police and cybersecurity authoriti...
By Jane Lanhee Lee and Akash Sriram - U.S. chip maker Qualcomm Inc on Thursday said its automotive business "pipeline" increased to $30 billion, up more than $10 billion since its third quarter results were announced in late July. The jump in future business was thanks to its Snapdragon Digital Chassis product used by car makers and their suppliers, said Qualcomm at its Automotive Investor Day. The Snapdragon Digital Chassis can provide assisted and autonomous driving technology as well as in-car infotainment and cloud connectivity. With electric vehicles and autonomous features increasing in cars, the number of chips used by automakers are surging and the automotive market has been a key growth area for chipmakers. Earlier this week, chipmaker Nvidia Corp also unveiled a new automotive central computer called DRIVE Thor to provide autonomous and assisted driving as well as in-car digital entertainment and services....
By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS - EU data protection watchdog EDPS has asked Europe's top court to scrap amended rules allowing Europol to retroactively legalise its processing of personal data of people with no links to criminal activity, saying the rules undermine its authority. EDPS (European Data Protection Supervisor), which ensures that EU institutions and bodies comply with the bloc's privacy rules, took its grievance to the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Sept. 16. At issue are two amendments to rules governing Europol agreed by EU countries and EU lawmakers which came into force on June 28. Prior to the changes, Europol was required to check within six months whether personal data it collected was linked to criminal activity and to erase it by Jan. 4, 2023 if there was no such connection. The amendments mean it can continue to hold data that has not yet been erased....
- Meta Platforms Inc's WhatsApp said on Thursday that it was working to keep users in Iran connected after the country restricted access to the app and social media platform Instagram. WhatsApp "will do anything" within its technical capacity to keep the service accessible and that it was not blocking Iranian phone numbers, the messaging service said in a tweet. (https://bit.ly/3LP2mhX) Iran on Wednesday restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the last remaining social networks in the country, amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody, according to residents and internet watchdog NetBlocks. Last week's death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran for "unsuitable attire", has unleashed anger over issues including freedom in the Islamic Republic and an economy reeling from sanctions. Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles...
- Faraday Future Intelligent Electric said on Thursday a "misinformation campaign" has affected its fundraising efforts as the startup looks to start production of its FF 91 luxury electric car. "Threats that began with lawsuits have escalated to threats of physical violence and even death threats," the company said, adding it was working with law enforcement to investigate. Late last month, some Faraday Future employees wrote to the board and shareholders seeking the removal of executive chairperson Susan Swenson, suspecting she had organized attempts to "push the company into bankruptcy and restructuring". The Los Angeles, California-based company said a law firm hired to conduct a "thorough independent external investigation" found the "allegations" were without merit. Earlier this week, FF Top Holding - a shareholder with 36% voting rights in the company - filed a lawsuit against the startup seeking the removal of Swenso...
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve a bill aimed at allowing news organizations to band together to negotiate with Alphabet Inc's Google and Meta's Facebook and win more revenue. It must now go to the Senate for their approval. A similar bill is before the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill is aimed at giving news and broadcast organizations more clout after years of criticism that the big tech companies use their content to attract traffic and ad revenue without fairly compensating the publishers, many of which have struggled to make profits in recent years. Unlike other bills aimed at reining in big tech, some progressive groups oppose this measure, including Public Knowledge, on the grounds that it favors big broadcasters like News Corp, Sinclair and Comcast/NBCU. Also opposing the bill are two technology industry trade groups that Facebook and Google belong to: the Computer &am...
By Sheila Dang and Katie Paul - Twitter Inc plans to provide more data to external researchers who study online misinformation and moderation, the social media company said Thursday, part of what it says is an effort to increase transparency on the platform. The company will also open an application process to allow more people working in academia, civil society and journalism to join the Twitter Moderation Research Consortium, a group that Twitter formed in pilot mode earlier this year and has access to the datasets. While researchers have studied the flow of harmful content on social platforms for years, they have often done so without direct involvement from social media companies. During a briefing with reporters, Twitter said it hopes the data will lead to new types of studies about how efforts to fight online misinformation work. Twitter has already shared datasets with researchers about coordinated effo...
- Shares of retail brokerage Robinhood Markets Inc and market maker Virtu Financial jumped in early trading following a media report that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will stop short of banning payment-for-order-flow (PFOF). The SEC may still enact other changes that make the practice less profitable, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The regulator had mulled over the controversial practice for months that critics believe creates conflicts of interest. (https://bit.ly/3LwinJn) The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Retail brokers route most customer orders via wholesale brokers than exchanges, as wholesalers generally offer a slightly better price. Most retail brokers also accept rebates, or payments, from wholesalers in lieu of orders. Shares of Robinhood Markets Inc, which makes around 75% of its revenue from PFOF, climbed 5%, while Vir...
By Elizabeth Howcroft LONDON - Liverpool football club is deepening its ties with the crypto world by expanding a partnership with French blockchain-based sports startup Sorare, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Sorare, whose online fantasy sports game involves the sale of licensed digital sports cards which players can use to build teams which compete against each other, said it had an exclusive multi-year partnership with Liverpool to create content and experiences for fans. The cards for the game are bought and traded in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a kind of crypto asset which records the ownership status of digital goods on the blockchain. A 2021 deal saw Liverpool cards introduced on the platform and the new deal will see perks such as Liverpool stadium visits, match day experiences, merchandise and video content being offered as prizes for winners of the online game, Sorare said. Sp...
BENGALURU - SoftBank Group-backed Ola is looking to take its e-scooters global, starting with Nepal, as it seeks to tap into a growing international market for electric vehicles The company will expand further into Latin America, ASEAN and the European Union, it said in a statement on Thursday. It has signed a partnership agreement with CG Motors in Nepal to distribute its Ola S1 e-scooters. Ola Electric, valued at $5 billion, has made inroads into India's EV market with over 80,000 electric scooters. The ride-hailing firm said last month it will start producing electric cars in 2024. "Ola is committed to creating the EV paradigm for the rest of the world by building half of the vehicles that the world needs right here in India," its Founder and Chief Executive Officer Bhavish Aggarwal said. Ola had planned to go public in the first half of 2022, but has since postponed the plan, amid a volatility in the m...
MILAN - Italy's Data Protection Agency has asked Facebook to clarify the activities the social media giant has engaged in ahead of Sunday's national elections, it said on Thursday. Tech giant Meta, which owns social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, has launched an information campaign targeting potential Italian voters ahead of a parliamentary election called for Sept. 25. The initiative, which Meta says is aimed at countering interference and removing content that discourages voting, includes collaboration with independent fact-checking organisations and the use of a Virtual Operations Centre to identify potential threats in real-time. Facebook will have to provide "detailed information" on the initiative, on the nature of data processing, as well as on the measures taken to ensure that the initiative is only brought to people who are eighteen or older, the watchdog said. A Meta spokesperson said that the co...
- IT services firm Accenture Plc forecast first-quarter revenue below expectations on Thursday, weighed down by IT spending cuts amid high inflation and forex impact from a stronger dollar. The company forecast current-quarter revenue between $15.20 billion and $15.75 billion, compared with analysts' average estimate of $16.07 billion, according to data from Refinitiv. (Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)...