Tech

Uber rival Ola buys Foodpanda India to get into food deliveries

Ola, the Uber rival in India, is entering the food delivery space after it announced a deal to acquire Foodpanda’s India business from its parent company DeliveryHero. The deal will see Ola scoop up the Foodpanda India business with DeliveryHero taking an undisclosed amount of Ola stock in exchange. Undisclosed all-stock deals are usually indicative of a willingness to sell, and we have heard that DeliveryHero has been shopping its Indian business around. Further: Saurabh Kochhar, who headed Foodpanda India, has also “decided to move on to pursue other opportunities,” according to today’s announcement. Ola founding partner will interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Nonetheless, Ola — which is now at around two million rides per day — is an ideal buyer. The company is in the m...

New AWS Paris region makes it easier for customers to follow France’s data privacy rules

Amazon Web Services launched a new region in Paris today to serve customers in the European Union. This is AWS’ fourth region in the EU after Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. One advantage of the Paris region is that it makes it easier for tech companies in France to comply with its data privacy regulations. The region has three availability zones, which are separate geographic locations with their own infrastructure, including power, cooling, physical security and redundant, ultra-low-latency networks, to minimize the risk of service disruptions. The Paris region also enables AWS customers to store user data in France with the reassurance that it will not be moved unless they do so. France has strict data sovereignty laws, which means it requires tech companies to store data from ...

Kaspersky Lab challenges the U.S. government ban on its products in court

On Monday, Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab announced its intention to push back against the U.S. government’s ban on its software. The ban, which the Department of Homeland Security announced in September, has resulted in a lengthy back-and-forth between Kaspersky and the U.S. government over allegations that the software maker’s products are an asset for Russian espionage efforts. In a federal appeal filed under the Administrative Procedure Act, Kaspersky Lab argued that the Department of Homeland Security acted unconstitutionally, violating the company’s right to due process when it issued Binding Operational Directive 17-01. The directive instructed U.S. government agencies to “remove and discontinue present and future use of [Kaspersky Lab] products,” including its popular ant...

US government says North Korea was behind massive WannaCry cyber attack

The U.S. government has officially blamed North Korea for WannaCry, the massive ransomware attacked that spread across the world disrupting more than 200,0000 businesses from 35 countries this past May. Writing in the New York Times [link subject to a paywall], Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert said for the first time that the North Korean regime is directly to blame for the chaos, which is said to have crippled parts of the UK’s National Health Service among other targets. “It encrypted and rendered useless hundreds of thousands of computers in hospitals, schools, businesses and homes. While victims received ransom demands, paying did not unlock their computers. It was cowardly, costly and careless. The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly respons...

NBCUniversal will start streaming Sunday Night Football on mobile devices next month

NBCUniversal announced today that it has acquired rights from the NFL to stream “Sunday Night Football” through its TV Everywhere app starting with the 2018 season. The news comes just one week after Verizon gave up its exclusive rights to livestream NFL games on mobile devices. NBCUniversal’s deal with the NFL also allows it to extend streaming rights to cable, satellite and telecom partners, as well as virtual multichannel video programming distributors. Mobile streams of Sunday Night Football will include both national and local affiliate advertising. National ads will continue to be sold by NBCUniversal and stream on Verizon and NFL’s own mobile platforms, too, as agreed upon in the new contract Verizon and NFL signed last week. As part of that deal, Verizon lost its exclusive mobile l...

Government requests for Facebook user data continue to increase worldwide

Facebook continues to see increased requests for user data from governments worldwide, according to its latest transparency report. The social network first introduced the reports, which give raw figures on data requests and data granted, in 2013 to help increase visibility on government behavior. Facebook is limited on what information it can share, but sheer numbers show requests hit 78,890 in the first half of 2017, an increase of 33 percent year-on-year and 23 percent on the previous six-month period. The U.S., India, UK, Germany and France were the most active in making data requests, accounting for 41 percent, 12 percent, nine percent, seven percent and six percent of the numbers, respectively. Each of those country’s government had more than 50 percent of requests granted, with the ...

Government requests for Facebook user data continue to increase worldwide

Facebook continues to see increased requests for user data from governments worldwide, according to its latest transparency report. The social network first introduced the reports, which give raw figures on data requests and data granted, in 2013 to help increase visibility on government behavior. Facebook is limited on what information it can share, but sheer numbers show requests hit 78,890 in the first half of 2017, an increase of 33 percent year-on-year and 23 percent on the previous six-month period. The U.S., India, UK, Germany and France were the most active in making data requests, accounting for 41 percent, 12 percent, nine percent, seven percent and six percent of the numbers, respectively. Each of those country’s government had more than 50 percent of requests granted, with the ...

The FCC disproved its own claim that net neutrality was an Obama plot

Among the many incorrect claims made by the FCC in promotion of its order eliminating 2015’s net neutrality rule was the idea that the Obama administration had exerted major influence to make that rule happen. While it’s true that President Obama publicly stated his support for the idea, the FCC’s own internal investigation found no evidence that he had done anything but that. The investigation, summarized in a document obtained by Motherboard via FOIA request, was conducted by the FCC’s Office of Inspector General at the request of some Members of Congress. The investigators looked at some 600,000 emails from all five commissioners, dating from the period of the 2015 order’s development, looking for anything that might indicate the shadowy hand of the Executive branch. That is, after all,...

The FCC disproved its own claim that net neutrality was an Obama plot

Among the many incorrect claims made by the FCC in promotion of its order eliminating 2015’s net neutrality rule was the idea that the Obama administration had exerted major influence to make that rule happen. While it’s true that President Obama publicly stated his support for the idea, the FCC’s own internal investigation found no evidence that he had done anything but that. The investigation, summarized in a document obtained by Motherboard via FOIA request, was conducted by the FCC’s Office of Inspector General at the request of some Members of Congress. The investigators looked at some 600,000 emails from all five commissioners, dating from the period of the 2015 order’s development, looking for anything that might indicate the shadowy hand of the Executive branch. That is, after all,...

Partnering with Techstars and Ecolab, ag giant Cargill returns to tech investing

The world’s largest private agricultural company, Cargill, is returning to tech investment alongside the environmental treatment company Ecolab and Techstars to launch a new accelerator program in Minnesota. It’s been about two years since the agricultural giant Cargill wound down its private equity, hedge fund and venture capital operations with the spin out of its Black River Asset Management subsidiary. In that time the company launched an internal strategy called Cargill Digital Labs to work on applying information technology to the whole “farm to fork” supply chain. Now the company is casting its eye beyond in-house development to invest in technology companies in the food and agriculture space as a backer of Techstars’ newest accelerator program. The move into investment comes at a t...

Partnering with Techstars and Ecolab, ag giant Cargill returns to tech investing

The world’s largest private agricultural company, Cargill, is returning to tech investment alongside the environmental treatment company Ecolab and Techstars to launch a new accelerator program in Minnesota. It’s been about two years since the agricultural giant Cargill wound down its private equity, hedge fund and venture capital operations with the spin out of its Black River Asset Management subsidiary. In that time the company launched an internal strategy called Cargill Digital Labs to work on applying information technology to the whole “farm to fork” supply chain. Now the company is casting its eye beyond in-house development to invest in technology companies in the food and agriculture space as a backer of Techstars’ newest accelerator program. The move into investment comes at a t...

30 years of Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy XII After a long break and what many would call “Development Hell,” Final Fantasy XII emerged in glory, combining excellent visual design, writing, and voice acting with truly new gameplay ideas that to this day are original and well thought of. XII was more like an MMO in its hub-and-field structure and lack of dedicated battle screens, which initially put people off. But beneath that superficial similarity was an amazingly versatile system for controlling your team (the Gambit system, which let you essentially program the characters) and hid a great deal of compelling content. Technical limitations and an unwise shifting of sidekicks Vaan and Penelo to the fore were really the only shortcomings of this excellent game. As Balthier repeatedly points out, he’s the main charact...