Apple pours millions into ad buy featuring band best known for tweaking Spotify

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Variety reports today that Apple selected Vulfpeck, a band “best-known in industry circles for gaming Spotify to raise money for a tour,” to provide the music for a recent Apple Pay commercial — a feat that gave its song $ 22.5 million in paid TV exposure. The selection is said to be part of an Apple shift back towards licensing mu…Read More
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Amazon says it has ‘tens of millions’ of paying Music Unlimited users

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As Spotify goes pubic, it's only natural that competing services might want to tout their own success stories in the streaming business. According to Billboard, Amazon Music reports "tens of millions" of paid customers and that Amazon Music Unlimited…
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Panera Bread left millions of customer records exposed on the web

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Add another big-name brand to the list of those who've left customer data exposed online. Thanks to security researcher Dylan Houlihan, KrebsOnSecurity has discovered that Panera Bread left millions of customer sign-up records (possibly 37 million) i…
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Formally proposed EU tax plan could cost Apple millions

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

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The European Commission has proposed measures to "to ensure that all companies pay fair tax in the EU," a move that will undoubtedly affect Apple.
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Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘open’ to testifying to Congress, fixes will cost ‘many millions’ and he ‘feels really bad’

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In a wide-ranging interview, the Facebook CEO admitted that the social networking giant may have made mistakes in opening up its network so much a decade ago.

While not definitively saying yes, Mark Zuckerberg says he’s “open” to testifying before members of Congress regarding Facebook’s recent privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The data firm, which worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign before the 2016 election, is now embroiled in an ongoing controversy about how it collected user data from the social networking giant without user consent.

In a wide-ranging interview with Recode this afternoon, the Facebook CEO and co-founder said that he would appear before legislators if he was the “right’ one inside the company to give lawmakers information about what happened.

“I’m open to doing that,” he said when asked if he’d testify. “We actually do this fairly regularly … There are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about, and the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all of the information that they need to have.”

“So I’m open to doing it if I’m the right [person],” he added. (Note to Mark: You are the right and only person to speak for Facebook at this point in the controversy.)

The worst-case scenario for Facebook would be increased data regulation, which could cripple Facebook’s advertising business that relies on collecting lots of data from its users. Facebook already lost roughly $ 50 billion in market cap this week alone.

Zuckerberg admitted multiple times throughout the 20-minute interview that Facebook had made major mistakes in the building of its social platform — going as far back as 2007 — that ultimately led to Cambridge Analytica’s ability to misuse the personal profile information of some 50 million users. Unlike in his statement posted to his Facebook page on Wednesday, Zuckerberg even apologized.

“We let the community down and I feel really bad and I’m sorry about that,” he said. Earlier, and in this interview, he had called the mistakes a “breach of trust” with its users.

It’s one that Facebook was clearly responsible for. Zuckerberg reflected on these faults in how Facebook was built in the first place, techniques which it also used to grow enormously. The original mistake, he said, was the decision to open Facebook’s data trove so broadly to third-party developers without proper monitoring, which began in 2007 and was turbocharged with his 2008 launch of single sign-on feature called Facebook Connect. The vision was that people would be able to bring their Facebook identity, as well as their friend network, with them into all of the other apps and services they used online.

That wasn’t what people actually wanted, Zuckerberg said he has now come to realize. “Frankly, I just think I got that wrong,” he said, a sentiment that most Silicon Valley moguls are loath to admit.

“There was this values tension playing out between the value of data portability — being able to take your data and some social data, the ability to create new experiences — on one hand, and privacy on the other hand,” he said. “I was maybe too idealistic on the side of data portability, that it would create more good experiences — and it created some — but I think what the clear feedback from our community was that people value privacy a lot more.”

He also regrets how the company handled the original revelation that Cambridge Analytica had collected Facebook user data back in 2015. At the time, the firm gave Facebook a written statement that any data it had collected was deleted, but now Zuckerberg said he wishes Facebook had actually done its own check to confirm that claim.

“At the time it didn’t seem like we needed to go further on that,” he said. “Given what we know now, we clearly should have followed up, and we’re never going to make that mistake again.”

But Zuckerberg did not give any details about why the company did not do those checks, or about why broader monitoring of third-party developers — who in some cases were given vast troves of user information — was so shoddy.

He said Facebook is now trying to go back and check who has user data, although it’s essentially an effort to put the genie back into the bottle. When asked if he could recover some of the data now, Zuckerberg admitted, “not always.”

To help fix what has been broken — Facebook’s famous former motto was “move fast and break things” — Zuckerberg announced earlier today that Facebook will start to investigate if other developers abused its policies in the same way Cambridge Analytica did.

That won’t be easy, Zuckerberg acknowledged.

“The data isn’t on our servers, so it would require us sending out forensic auditors to different apps,” he explained. “We do know all the apps that registered for Facebook, and all the people who were on Facebook who registered for those apps, and have a log of the different data requests that the developers made. So we can get a sense of — what are the reputable companies? What are companies that were doing unusual things?”

Facebook, he said, will try to flag suspect behavior for a deeper dive. “Anyone who either has a ton of data or was doing something unusual, we’re going to take the next step of having them go through an audit,” Zuckerberg said.

How big could the problem be? Pretty big, apparently. Zuckerberg estimated that this process will take months, cost “many millions of dollars,” and include at least basic analysis of the data collection from tens of thousands of apps.

“The conversation we were having internally on this is: Are there enough people who are trained auditors in the world to do the number of audits that we’re going to need quickly?” he said.

Still, in keeping with Facebook’s — and his own — values of trying to remain a neutral platform in an increasingly fractured world, Zuckerberg also reiterated his concern about having too much of his own personal ideology influencing Facebook’s rules and regulations.

“A lot of the most sensitive issues that we face today are conflicts between real values, right? Freedom of speech, and hate speech and offensive content. Where is the line?” he said, sounding more like an ethics student than the billionaire CEO of one of the world’s most valuable and influential companies.

“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

“[The] thing is like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?,” Zuckerberg said. “I guess I have to, because of [where we are] now, but I’d rather not.”

Now, of course, he might have to.

(Note: Recode will post the entire transcript as soon as it is ready.)


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IoT in Agtech: Australia invests millions in robots, digital farming

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Farmers in the Australian state of Victoria have been promised a $ 15 million financial and technological boost that is expected to be “a game-changer” for the agricultural sector.

The funding is intended to help farmers deploy robotics, wireless networks, sensors, and analytics solutions to capitalise on the enormous potential of connected technologies to make agriculture smarter and more efficient.

Read more: Brexit: Robots could fill gaps in UK farm labour market

With rising labour costs, and with utilities and supplies bills soaring, farmers are increasingly looking at how emerging technologies can help sustain their businesses. However, many come with heavy upfront costs: networks need to be installed and expensive hardware needs to be purchased.

From harvesting robots to drone-assisted aerial surveys and field sensors, the vision of the connected farm is an appealing one. But getting to that stage can require a joint effort, often between one farm and another, but also between the state and agricultural communities.

The Victoria government has announced $ 15 million of IoT-focused funding, and trials will begin in the regions of Maffra, Birchip, Serpentine, and Tatura in July. The state previously made a $ 12 million investment into IoT and agtech as part of a demonstration trial in 2016-17.

Connecting Victoria’s farms

According to a statement from the Victoria government, the funding will be put towards a range of digital innovations. These include robotics, and the development of IoT networks, wireless technology, biotechnology, and virtual fencing.

Read more: Agtech start-up Arable to measure crops and weather with IoT

Sensors and IoT networks will be installed for both farmer and public access. These will provide insights on weather and soil conditions, creating benefits across the dairy, grain, sheep, and horticulture sectors.

Farms right across the state will install sensors and connected devices as part of the project. The data generated will be uploaded to a central system for analysis, and be accessible via a software platform that will enable farmers throughout the region to make more informed decisions.

Read more: Italian start-up Evja launches smart agriculture platform for salad growers

Victoria’s minister for agriculture, Jaala Pulford, said: “Victoria is the agtech hub of Australia, and with this investment, we are looking at being a world leader. Our farmers deserve the very best tools to get the job done and digital innovation is at the heart of this. We’re proud to play our part in making this a reality.”

Jaala Pulford, Victoria’s agriculture minister

“This Internet of Things Demonstration Trial is an important step in maximising technology to help provide Victorian agriculture with a competitive advantage on a global scale,” she added.

Read more: Harvesting robot to save big slice of farming market

Internet of Business says

Despite being one of the oldest industries, farming is at the forefront of IoT, robotics, and big data applications. The reasons are manifold, and include the challenges of seasonal labour, soaring costs, climate change, unpredictable weather, changing consumer demands, and international competition.

The IoT’s mix of smart hardware, AI, sensors, and data analytics mean that farmers can gain real insights into how efficiently and sustainably their farms are operating, gather data over time – and in real time – and ensure that crops and livestock are developing in ideal conditions and are being properly fed and watered.

For example, drones can offer multispectral imaging from the air, and direct autonomous farm machinery to areas that need irrigation and fertilisation. Meanwhile, sensor networks in the ground can monitor crop and climate conditions and, via AI, machine learning, and analytics, help farmers to build up a comprehensive and predictive picture of how well the land is performing.

Meanwhile, the same technologies are helping farms move into cities, closer to the mouths that need feeding. High-tech startups such as Aerofarms are using sensors and big data technologies to grow crops indoors, using smart lighting and chemical engineering to create the ideal conditions for crops to flourish.

Read more: Dell takes a fresh look at IoT with Aerofarms

The post IoT in Agtech: Australia invests millions in robots, digital farming appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Meet The Makers: The man who gets millions of Xperia owners out of bed everyday

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No one likes being woken up in the morning, so if you are going to be torn from the sweet embrace of sleep, it needs to be by something that doesn’t make you want to throw your smartphone out of the window.

Did you ever stop to think that it’s actually someone’s job to compose the alarm music that wakes you up? Well, it is and the experts at Xperia have been working on making the process of getting up that little more bearable.

To learn more, we dropped in on Jun-ichi Nagahara who has worked for Sony in Tokyo for 27 years and is a Sound and User Interface Designer, AKA the mastermind behind the music that starts your day, every day.

First off, how does it feel to wake up Xperia users every morning?

It’s an immense responsibility; millions of Xperia users are relying on us to ensure they get out of bed. It’s a job we take very seriously.

What makes a good piece of music to wake up to?

It has to have a good melody-line, it’s the morning so it needs to be quite gentle with a simple arrangement and of course it has to be specially mastered to suit a phone alarm.

How did you decide on the default Xperia alarm tone?

We did lots of ‘Shingi’ (deliberation, discussion) to decide, and, of course, lots and lots of testing.

How have alarms and ringtones developed alongside the progression of smartphones?

For each Xperia generation, there are total design concepts for each new product. We need to consider the new design concept and make sure the sounds fit – all aspects of the phone have to work in harmony, even the alarms.

What alarm tone wakes you up in the morning?

Personally, I use the Xperia default alarm on the Z3 Compact, I use it alongside the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app (available via the Google Play Store, an intelligent alarm clock that analyses your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase.)

Finally, what’s the trick to avoiding the snooze button?

I find putting the phone as far away from the bed as possible does the trick, the other side of the room for example, it just means you have to get up to turn it off. I also like to think that we make good alarm-music that people want to wake up and listen to!

So there you have it, the next time you get aggravated by your alarm, think about how much more annoying if it would be if it wasn’t for the tireless work of Jun-ichi Nagahara to make it that much more bearable.

The post Meet The Makers: The man who gets millions of Xperia owners out of bed everyday appeared first on Sony Xperia Blog.

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Virtualitics Scores Millions in Funding To Unlock Big Data Insights For Global Companies

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MMW learned Wednesday that Virtualitics — a breakthrough pioneer in next generation big data visualization and analytics — has closed a $ 7 million Series B round of equity funding led by Centricus, a global investment platform, and participated by existing investor the Venture Reality Fund (‘The VR Fund’) and other private investors.

The investment brings Virtualitics’ total funding to in excess of $ 11 million in support of its mission to make big data more useful and effective for all enterprises.

Virtualitics technology has been implemented by several major global Fortune 500 businesses across multiple industry sectors, including consumer goods, healthcare, energy and finance.

Michael Amori, Virtualitics Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, commented: “With this funding, we will enter the next phase of Virtualitics’ development and continue to unlock the potential of big data through the power of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. We’ve started enabling some of the world’s leading companies to harness transformative insights that provide real competitive advantage for their businesses, and we will continue to onboard customers throughout the course of the year.”

Ciro Donalek, CTO and Co-Founder, added: “Turning big and complex data into useful insights requires new ways to analyze and interact with it. We’ve solved for this by coupling AI with immersive environments. Moreover, business intelligence platforms need to be 3D and collaborative by design in order to help companies gain a deeper level of understanding in the stories being told by the raw data. This is how we’re approaching big data and helping evolve the next generation of data analytics and intelligence platforms.”

For more information about the Virtualitics solutions, visit www.virtualitics.com.

The post Virtualitics Scores Millions in Funding To Unlock Big Data Insights For Global Companies appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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YouTube reportedly plans to spend ‘hundreds of millions’ on Red originals

While Facebook and Netflix are (reportedly) spending billions on new programming, YouTube is said to be holding its investments at current levels. Google's video wing is only spending "a few hundred million" on original shows for Red this year accord…
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