Major U.S. tech firms press Congress for internet surveillance reforms

Facebook (FB.O), Amazon (AMZN.O) and more than two dozen other U.S. technology companies pressed Congress on Friday to make changes to a broad internet surveillance law, saying they were necessary to improve privacy protections and increase government transparency. The request marks the first significant public effort by Silicon Valley to wade into what is expected to be a contentious debate later the year over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, parts of which will expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress reauthorizes them. Of particular concern to the technology industry and privacy advocates is Section 702, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to vacuum up vast amounts of communications from foreigners but also incidentally collects some data belonging to Americans that can be searched by analysts without a warrant.

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Major U.S. tech firms press Congress for internet surveillance reforms

Apple strategy in ‘smart home’ race threatened by Amazon

By Stephen Nellis SAN FRANCISCO – In less than a year, Amazon's combination of the Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant has come close to delivering on the elusive promise of easy-to-use technology that can control gadgets in the home with a few spoken words. Amazon is pursuing an open-systems approach that allows quick development of many features, while Apple is taking a slower route, asserting more control over the technology in order to assure security and ease-of-use. The strategic importance of the “connected home” niche looms large: Amazon wants a way to own its customer interactions -mainly shopping online – without an Apple phone or a Google Web browser as an intermediary.

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Apple strategy in ‘smart home’ race threatened by Amazon

Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap

By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton will step down to become chairman of the board of messaging app owner Snap Inc, a move that puts an experienced Hollywood executive in a prominent role as the technology company prepares for an initial public offering. Lynton will give up his current position at Sony's movie and television unit on Feb. 2 but remain as co-CEO for six months to help find a successor, Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp said in a statement on Friday. Lynton was an early investor in the company co-founded by 26-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel, and has served on its board for nearly four years.

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Sony Entertainment CEO exiting for a top role at Snap

EU to propose minimum spectrum license duration of 25 years

By Julia Fioretti BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission is to propose that telecom spectrum licenses are granted for a minimum of 25 years to increase investment certainty for operators, under a reform of the bloc's telecoms rules, according to an EU document seen by Reuters. The European Union executive will publish its proposal next month and expects it to be endorsed in 2018. The European Commission has sought for years to coordinate how national governments allocate blocks of airwaves to mobile operators such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and EE in a bid to create a single European telecoms market.

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EU to propose minimum spectrum license duration of 25 years

Audi vehicles to talk to U.S. traffic signals in first for industry

By Alexandria Sage SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – German carmaker Audi is rolling out technology that will allow its vehicles in the United States to communicate with traffic signals, allowing for a more stress-free ride in what it says is the car industry's first commercial use of the nascent technology. Audi of America, which is owned by Volkswagen , said select 2017 Q7 and A4 models built after June 1, 2016 will be equipped with its vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. Known in the industry as “V-to-I,” the technology allows traffic signals and other infrastructure to exchange safety and other operational data wirelessly to vehicles over the cloud.

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Audi vehicles to talk to U.S. traffic signals in first for industry

Apple CEO touts future technology amid iPhone worries

As iPhone sales declined for the second straight quarter, Apple CEO Tim Cook peeled back the curtain ever so slightly on its work in artificial intelligence and augmented reality, aiming to reassure investors that the company is ready to ride the next wave of technology. Raving about hit smartphone game Pokemon GO, Cook stressed that Apple is “high on [augmented reality] for the long-run” and investing heavily. Augmented reality, in which computer-generated content is overlaid on the real world, is one of the latest fixations in the technology business, with Pokemon GO among the first applications to catch on.

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Apple CEO touts future technology amid iPhone worries

Apple sells more iPhones than expected, shares jump after hours

Apple Inc sold more iPhones than Wall Street expected in the third quarter and estimated its revenue in the current period would top many analysts' targets, soothing fears that demand for the company's most important product had hit a wall. IPhone sales dropped for the second straight quarter, pushing down Apple's total revenue 14.6 percent in the fiscal third quarter, ended June 25. Demand for Apple's phones has waned in China, partly because of economic uncertainty there, and has also slowed in more mature markets as people tend to hold on to their phones for longer.

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Apple sells more iPhones than expected, shares jump after hours

‘Hyperloop’ sled speeds through U.S. desert via electromagnets

By Rory Carroll NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Reuters) – A car-sized sled powered by electromagnets rocketed to more than 100 miles (160 kph) an hour through the Nevada desert on Wednesday in what the Los Angeles company developing the technology said was the first successful test of a futurist transit system called hyperloop. Hyperloop One is among several companies competing to bring to life a technical vision by Elon Musk, the founder of rocket maker SpaceX and electric car company Tesla Motors, who suggested sending pods holding passengers and cargo inside giant vacuum tubes between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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‘Hyperloop’ sled speeds through U.S. desert via electromagnets

House blocks Google-hosted apps, Yahoo Mail over security fears

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives' information technology team has blocked the congressional chamber from accessing software applications hosted on a Google cloud service in an attempt to prevent possible hacking campaigns against lawmakers and their staff, according to two congressional sources. The move came just days after Yahoo Mail was also blacklisted due to fears of ransomware infiltration. Devices connected to the House’s Internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cables have been barred from accessing the apps hosted by Google’s developer platform after the FBI notified Congress of a potential security vulnerability, the sources said.

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House blocks Google-hosted apps, Yahoo Mail over security fears

Nasdaq says to develop blockchain services in Estonia

By John McCrank NEW YORK (Reuters) – Exchange and clearing house operator Nasdaq Inc plans to develop several applications for blockchain, the technology underpinning the digital currency bitcoin, using its Estonian settling and clearing business, a senior Nasdaq executive said on Friday. Nasdaq is on track to roll out the technology on its market for private companies, Nasdaq Private Market, later this year, helping firms keep track of the shares they issue and enabling them to almost instantaneously settle transactions, Nasdaq Co-President, Hans-Ole Jochumsen, said in an interview. The New York-based company is also preparing plans to develop new blockchain applications in Estonia, where Nasdaq owns the Tallinn Stock Exchange, Estonia's only regulated secondary securities market, as well as The Estonia Central Securities Depository (ECSD), he said.

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Nasdaq says to develop blockchain services in Estonia