China’s biggest startups ditch Oracle and IBM for homemade tech

Spurred by US trade sanctions, more Chinese consumers are turning to home-grown tech companies, rejecting US firms. For years, companies like Oracle and International Business Machines invested heavily to build new markets in China for their industry-leading databases. Now, boosted in part by escalating U.S. tensions, one Chinese upstart is stepping in, winning over tech giants, startups and financial institutions to its enterprise software. Beijing-based PingCAP already counts more than 300 Chinese customers. Many, including food delivery giant Meituan, its bike-sharing service Mobike, video streaming site iQIYI Inc. and smartphone…

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How much is your data worth? New bill would make Google tell you

Legislation would force Facebook, Amazon and other technology giants to reveal the value of the user data they collect. As the United States Congress bears down on big tech companies, two senators want to force giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon to tell users what data they’re collecting from them and how much it is worth. The legislation floated Monday by Senators Mark Warner and Josh Hawley goes to the heart of the tech giants’ lucrative business model: harvesting data from platform users and making it available to advertisers so…

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Slack now valued at more than $19bn in successful IPO

The company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange and expects revenue growth this year, but at a slower pace. A parade of initial public offerings from Silicon Valley this year has garnered a mixed reception from investors. Slack Technologies Inc. took a different route on Thursday, and saw its shares soar as it went public without an IPO. Slack opened at $38.50 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, well above the reference price of $26 that was set for the shares in the direct listing. The stock closed…

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YouTube could remove children’s content from its platform

The Google-owned video service has come under fire for not better protecting its younger users. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the United States Federal Trade Commission is in the late stages of an investigation into how Google’s YouTube website handles children’s videos – a probe prompted by complaints that the company not only failed to protect kids who used the service, but improperly collected their data. The newspaper said that Google faces a possible fine and that YouTube executives have accelerated internal talks about possible changes in how the…

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Florida law opens door to self-driving cars

New legislation allows autonomous vehicles to be tested in the state, though driverless roll-out remains far off. Self-driving vehicles with no human at the wheel will be able to operate in Florida  – once they are finally ready for prime time – under a bill signed on Thursday by Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis said he hopes to use the law to lure companies to test and build the cars. The measure, which takes effect on July 1, also opens the door for on-demand ride companies such as Lyft and Uber…

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Employee activists: Amazon ‘lagging behind’ on climate policy

As 7,900 workers call for carbon plan, tech titan promises – but has yet to deliver – info on greenhouse-gas emissions. Nine of the 10 largest retailers in the world publish details of their emissions footprints through the Carbon Disclosure Project. All except for one. And four of the five big-tech titans – Alphabet, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft – have announced ambitious plans to become fully carbon-neutral. But not Amazon. Though the gargantuan company says it will reveal its carbon usage later this year, shareholders and employees eagerly await specifics…

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Is Huawei bracing for a drop in overseas smartphone sales?

Huawei aims to grab as much as half of the Chinese smartphone market to offset the overseas decline, sources say. Huawei Technologies Co. is preparing for a 40% to 60% drop in international smartphone shipments as the Trump administration’s blacklisting hammers one of the Chinese tech giant’s most important businesses. China’s largest technology company is crunching internal estimates and exploring options including pulling the latest model of its marquee overseas label, the Honor 20, people familiar with the matter say. The device begins selling in parts of Europe June 21…

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The World According to AI

How will Artificial Intelligence be used in the future? Who will it be used by and who will it be used against?   Episode 1: Targeted by Algorithm Artificial intelligence is already here. There’s a lot of debate and hype about AI, and it’s tended to focus on the extreme possibilities of a technology still in its infancy. From self-aware computers and killer robots taking over the world, to a fully-automated world where humans are made redundant by machines, the brave new world of Artificial Intelligence is prophesied by some to…

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Ten states file lawsuit to block Sprint-T-Mobile merger

Lawsuit says reduced competition from Sprint-T-Mobile deal could cost subscribers more than $4.5bn a year. Ten states led by New York and California have filed a lawsuit to stop T-Mobile US Inc’s $26bn purchase of Sprint Corp, warning that consumer prices will jump due to reduced competition. The complaint, announced by the New York attorney general’s office, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Attorneys general from the ten states have been investigating the deal, which would reduce the number of nationwide…

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The next hot tourist destination: The International Space Station

NASA: A dozen private citizens may be able to go to the ISS each year. NASA announced on Friday at the Nasdaq stock exchange that it was opening the International Space Station (ISS) to for-profit activities including marketing, advertising, off-Earth manufacturing – and even tourism. “We’re enabling up to two commercial flights with private astronauts per year,” said NASA’s ISS Deputy Director, Robyn Gatens. “So, depending on how many seats they want to carry, that would be a dozen or so private astronauts potentially per year on the International Space Station.”…

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Some big tech firms cut employees’ access to Huawei: Reuters

Analysts say the new restrictions could slow down the rollout of high-speed 5G mobile phone networks. Some of the world’s biggest tech companies have told their employees to stop talking about technology and technical standards with counterparts at Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in response to the recent blacklisting by the United States of the Chinese tech firm, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters news agency. Chipmakers Intel Corp and Qualcomm Inc, mobile research firm InterDigital Wireless Inc and South Korean carrier LG Uplus have restricted employees from informal…

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United Tech-Raytheon merger set for launch

The tie-up would create the world’s second-largest arms-dealing corporation. Like the Power Rangers’ mechanised dinosaurs coming together to create a huge rocket-toting robot behemoth, two of the defence industry’s biggest names are set for the sector’s biggest-ever merger, building an arms-dealing giant worth an estimated $121bn. United Technologies, the conglomerate that owns businesses making everything from Otis elevators to Chubb door locks, is planning to spin off its non-aerospace companies, then merge its existing aerospace division with Tomahawk-missile-making Raytheon, if United States antitrust regulators approve the deal. It will be…

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Microsoft removes face-recognition database from internet

A collection of 10 million pictures of faces, gathered without consent, has been quietly removed. Microsoft’s database of pictures of 10 million faces, gathered without consent and used to train military and commercial facial recognition software around the world, has been taken offline, the Financial Times has reported. The images had been scraped from search engines and were published as a dataset named MS Celeb in 2016. “The site was intended for academic purposes,” Microsoft said in a statement. “It was run by an employee that is no longer with…

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YouTube ‘prankster’ banned from social media, fined $22,000

Kanghua Ren, known by his fans as ReSet, sentenced to 15 months in jail for humiliating a homeless man in a prank video. Kanghua Ren, who has built an online following by publishing videos on YouTube, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after tricking a homeless man into eating Oreo biscuits filled with toothpaste. Ren, known to his 1.2 million online followers as ReSet, will not be heading to jail, as this was a first offence before the Spanish courts. He will, however, be banned from holding any…

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