Orange, which has the largest stake in French online video portal Dailymotion, is reportedly in talks with Microsoft over a potential partnership. Regulators in France nixed a previous attempt to sell the service to Yahoo, but this doesn’t appear to be a sale attempt – according to the Wall Street Journal, Orange wants an “industrial” partnership with Microsoft that would leave the telco in charge while expanding Dailymotion further into the U.S. market. Orange CEO Stephane Richard told the publication that talks are ongoing, but a deal is no certainty.
The two-week delay is apparently down to technicalities over translations, but those opposed to anti-neutrality amendments made by some in the committee say it will give everyone a chance to better examine the details of the text. Read more »
Good news for privacy fans: the Blackphone is pretty decently-priced if you take into account the extensive bundled security services, and Deutsche Telekom is making a real effort to put privacy-enhancing tools in its users’ hands. Read more »
China’s Sina, proprietor of the highly popular Weibo, is reportedly preparing to float the microblogging platform as a spinoff on the New York Stock Exchange. According to a Financial Times piece on Monday, Weibo may be worth over $4 billion at the moment, and Sina has hired Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to manage the flotation. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that has an 18 percent stake in Weibo, is apparently also planning an IPO, and the country’s Tencent, which produces the WeChat app that rivals both WhatsApp and Weibo, is also doing well for itself at the moment.
Whether it jumped or was pushed, the wounded exchange has not been the best advertisement for Bitcoin of late. Read more »
Meet Zero Site, a new concept for street lighting that includes a tiny mobile base station. Launched along with an innovative financing scheme, there are huge benefits to be had for municipalities, carriers and mobile users alike — but possible risks, too. Read more »
Google has bought London security startup spider.io, which deals in detecting ad fraud. Founder Douglas de Jager and his small team specialize in combating scams like hidden display ad inventory and click fraud botnets — swarms of computers that have been quietly co-opted by hackers to generate masses of click-throughs on website ads, driving revenue to the website owner without driving customers to the advertiser. Google said it will put the spider.io technology to use in its video and display ad products to give advertisers and publishers “a clearer, cleaner picture of what campaigns and media are truly delivering strong results.”
The operating system will run on some devices in the Nexus, Samsung Galaxy and Sony Xperia lines, and before that comes out a Sailfish launcher will be made available so users can get used to the UI. Read more »
The carrier group is being unusually smart about taking on the threat of rivals like WhatsApp and Viber, offering one major thing they don’t: the ability to communicate outside the walled garden. Read more »
While discussing plans for the mobile flavor of Ubuntu, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth made a very interesting aside remark about Apple in a conference call on Wednesday. Read more »
Meizu and BQ, which you will be forgiven for not recognizing, will be the first manufacturers to release Ubuntu mobile devices, and Canonical claims bigger names will follow in 2015. Read more »
The strategic partnership is important for Silent Circle, as it promises to make the encrypted Skype rival much more usable by widening its pool of users. Read more »
My Face Privacy, made by the Israeli software developer CallingID, gives users a way to keep on top of the privacy settings of services like Facebook and LinkedIn, and now Google+ too. There really shouldn’t be a market for this, but there is. Read more »
Yandex.Kit, for which there are already two takers, includes rivals to Google Maps, Play Store, Chrome and more. Read more »
The company, which sells Google Apps-rivalling software to telcos and hosting outfits (and offers it all free to the open source crowd), has unveiled OX Drive and a new communications app based on WebRTC technology. Read more »
The data-wranglers’ seed funding should help the U.K.’s SplashMaps, which makes fabric maps for outdoor enthusiasts using OpenStreetMap and other open data, go international. Read more »
The British signals intelligence agency GCHQ used its tapping of the internet’s backbone to monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site, including Americans, according to a document leaked by Edward Snowden and published in The Intercept. The program, codenamed ANTICRISIS GIRL, was not the first in which GCHQ targeted activists online – it also allegedly waged war on Anonymous using criminal-style denial-of-service attacks. Other documents showed how NSA officials contemplated designating WikiLeaks as a “malicious foreign actor”, which would have permitted the surveillance of U.S. citizens connected with the whistleblower group, and also spying on The Pirate Bay.
It’s not just overbearing web giants and mighty broadband mergers that threaten to destroy competition — there’s also a case for seeing the surveillance state as a potential monopolistic blocker in the marketplace of ideas. Read more »
The outfit has apologized for freezing withdrawals and says it now has a workaround to avoid the “malleability issue” that makes certain implementations of Bitcoin services open to fraud. Read more »
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has for the first time thrown her weight behind plans, initially suggested by telcos, for a “communication network inside Europe” that can keep data safe from prying U.S. eyes. Read more »
Microsoft will continue to allow PC manufacturers to make and sell Windows 7 business machines beyond the original 31 October cut-off date. The change of plan, spotted by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, suggests Microsoft hasn’t seen sufficient enthusiasm from the business sector for its Windows 8 operating system (although a Microsoft exec denied this interpretation, telling Foley the company just wants to continue catering to businesses that are still deploying Windows 7). However, it should still be impossible to find a new Windows 7 consumer PC soon after the end of October.
The Berlin startup is trying to offer small businesses low-cost analytics for keeping their online customers coming back. Read more »
The Dutch tech giant has come up with a way to use connected lighting as the basis for in-store location-based services, such as finding items and offering highly targeted coupons. Read more »
The latest Snowden revelation suggests that Australia’s spies are committing economic espionage on Americans, for the benefit of the American government. Read more »
The company has made public the full text of proposals it hopes will settle its European antitrust case — which, contrary to what many people seem to think, has not already been settled. Read more »
Remember that wave of fraudulent attacks sweeping the Bitcoin exchanges? It’s still going on, and this time the attackers pilfered an estimated $2.6 million worth of bitcoins from Silk Road 2, the second incarnation of the venerable online drugs-and-hitmen marketplace. In a “I am sweating as I write this” message to the platform’s denizens, Silk Road admin Defcon conceded that everyone’s cash was gone. “I should have taken MtGox and Bitstamp’s lead and disabled withdrawals as soon as the malleability issue was reported,” he sweated. So much for escrow.
Viber users can look forward to welcoming Rakuten’s “Shopping is Entertainment” philosophy into their lives, as the Japanese e-commerce outfit intends to use the messaging platform as a tool for breaking into new markets. Read more »
The app, which will soon be joined by some mysterious hardware, has a solid team behind it that now includes Heroku co-founder Adam Wiggins. Read more »
Dropbox is fighting hard to win the enterprise cloud storage market, and Dennis Woodside may have the experience it needs to head up that effort. Read more »
The European Commission has announced a set of standards for connected car systems, but privacy enthusiasts will be glad to hear such systems won’t be mandated by law, unlike in the U.S. However, practically speaking, connected cars will become the norm. Read more »
The European Parliament is finalizing its report on the NSA surveillance program, and the parliament’s Green faction had proposed an amendment that would give leaker Edward Snowden a guarantee of safety from rendition to the U.S. or prosecution by EU member states, should he choose to leave Russia and come to the EU. However, on Wednesday the parliament’s civil liberties committee will reportedly ditch the amendment, following opposition from both the conservative and socialist blocs. Indeed, the report will apparently not include any demands relating specifically to Snowden’s protection, though it will call for generalized whistleblower protection.
Global debates about internet governance are set to heat up in the coming years, so the European Union has set out its standpoint, with true globalization and human rights being non-negotiable principles. Read more »
If you’re jonesing for a phone that can run either Android or Firefox OS without voiding the guarantee, you don’t have to wait much longer. The plucky Spanish manufacturer Geeksphone said on Tuesday that it will start selling its Intel Atom-based Revolution handset through its online store from 20 February at a cost of €239 ($326) excluding tax, though it’s offering the device at a slightly discounted €222 for a limited period of time. We now also know the built-in storage capacity: 4GB (thankfully there’s also a microSD slot). One reminder: branding issues mean Geeksphone has to call Firefox OS “Boot2Gecko”, which is Mozilla’s old codename for the operating system.
According to Kaspersky Lab, a malware bundle dubbed “The Mask” was used to spy on government institutions, activists and energy companies across 31 countries for years. Here’s what it did, and where it might have come from. Read more »
Israel’s Calcalist says bootstrapped Viber is negotiating a sale worth somewhere between $300 and 400 million — but who’s the mystery suitor? Read more »
The Finnish handset maker Jolla has open-sourced the browser that comes with its Sailfish operating system. The Sailfish browser is built on Mozilla’s Gecko engine and embedded in the Qt application framework using the EmbedLite API. Its open-sourcing means the community can now contribute to its improvement. “Our objective with the project is to make this the first step to get official support from Mozilla Corp. to a mobile browser based on Gecko and embedded in Qt,” Jolla co-founder Stefano Mosconi said in a statement.
The attack, which appears to have been felt particularly hard in Europe, apparently exploited the protocol that maintains the accuracy of computers’ clocks. Read more »
The government of the United Arab Emirates hopes to deliver official documents such as ID cards and driving licenses via drone, Reuters reported on Monday. The quadcopters will apparently carry fingerprint and retina recognition systems in order to ensure the cargo ends up in the right hands. A 6-month trial will be used to assess how the small unmanned vehicles cope with Gulf heat and sand, and if all goes well the system could start rolling out within a year. This is the first case of a government revealing plans to use drones for logistics, as companies such as DHL and Amazon also hope to do.
As part of its ongoing quest to beef up its central and eastern European operations, Deutsche Telekom has bought up the 39.23 percent of shares in T-Mobile Czech Republic that it did not already own. The shares, purchased from a private equity–led consortium, cost the carrier group €800 million (USD $1.1 billion). Deutsche Telekom bought GTS Central Europe in November last year, partly for its fixed-line infrastructure in the Czech Republic, and now that plan is coming together. “T-Mobile Czech Republic is on a clear strategic path to enhance its fixed-line capabilities and foster its market position in B2B,” a Monday statement read.
The first story from Pierre Omidyar-funded The Intercept describes a shift toward relying on signals rather than human intelligence for targeting drone victims, and claims this tactic kills more innocent people. Read more »