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Apple sees steep increase in U.S. national security requests
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Friday issued its twice yearly transparency report on government data requests, showing another sharp increase in US national security-related requests. Apple said it received as many as 16,249 national security requests affecting up to 8,249 accounts during the second half of 2017. The number of requests rose 20 percent compared with the first half of 2017, when Apple received 13,499 such requests. National security requests to Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google rose 36 percent, to almost 51,000.
Tesla agrees to settle class action over Autopilot billed as 'safer'
The lawsuit said Tesla misrepresented on its website that the cars came with capabilities designed to make highway driving safer. Under the proposed agreement, class members, who paid to get the Autopilot upgrade between 2016 and 2017, will receive between $20 and $280 in compensation. Tesla has agreed to place more than $5 million into a settlement fund, which will also cover attorney fees.
New US tariffs a headache for foreign automakers
US President Donald Trump's threat to impose steep tariffs on auto imports will hit foreign automakers that export a large number of vehicles to the US market, but many also manufacture cars domestically. These automakers have invested billions of dollars in their US facilities. Honda is the sole foreign automaker manufacturing a large majority of its locally-sold cars in the United States.
Heightened debate in US as EU privacy rules take effect
Amid a global scramble to comply with new EU data protections laws, the debate on privacy has intensified in the United States with some calling for similar measures for Americans, and others warning the rules could fracture the global internet. Large US tech firms have pledged compliance with the EU rules, and have in many cases promised to extend the same protections worldwide. Some US activists argue that the implementation offers an opportunity to give more privacy and data protection benefits to Americans.
'Smart' gadgets: Ways to minimize privacy and security risks
Revelations that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family's private conversation to an acquaintance shows the risks that come with new technologies. Amazon blamed an unlikely string of events, and the company already has many privacy safeguards built into the device. Just remember to turn it back before you leave, or you defeat the point of having a security camera. The downside is that users are often unaware of all the things their gadgets can do, good or bad.
Tesla flies in new battery production line for Gigafactory
Tesla on Friday declined to comment on whether it has shipped in any new production equipment from Europe. Engineers from Tesla's German engineering arm, Grohmann, are now reworking the battery production line at the Gigafactory near Reno, Nevada, in a bid to free up bottlenecks, the person said. The line will become more automated gradually over time, added the source, who was not authorized to speak for attribution.
Tesla hires new chief financial officer for China
Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) on Friday announced a number of key executive hires including former GE and General Motors executive James Zhou as its China CFO and Neeraj Manrao, a former Apple executive, as director of energy manufacturing. Zhou previously served as CFO for Asia Pacific and India for Ingersoll Rand. We're excited to welcome a group of such talented people as we continue to ramp (up) Model 3, Tesla said in a blog post, adding it would announce more hires in the coming days.
FBI warns Russians hacked hundreds of thousands of routers
The FBI warned on Friday that Russian computer hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or shut down network traffic. The warning followed a court order Wednesday that allowed the FBI to seize a website that the hackers planned to use to give instructions to the routers. Though that cut off malicious communications, it still left the routers infected, and Friday's warning was aimed at cleaning up those machines.
White House has deal to lift sanctions on China's ZTE: report
The White House says it has reached a deal with Chinese telecoms giant ZTE that would lift crippling sanctions slapped on the company, The New York Times reported Friday. Alternatives On Thursday, Ross said that at Trump's request, his department was looking at alternatives to the harsh penalty he choose to impose. Top Republican and Democrat senators have denounced the compromise and one even vowed to block it.
Bayer's Monsanto takeover less lucrative than expected
German pharma and chemicals giant Bayer said Friday that savings from its hoped-for takeover of US seeds and pesticides behemoth Monsanto will be smaller than previously thought. The German firm needs to find some 44 billion euros in new cash-from borrowing and issuing new shares-to fund the $62.5-billion Monsanto takeover, German business daily Handelsblatt calculated Friday. It's manageable if the agrochemical division plus Monsanto turns into the promised cash machine, Handelsblatt judged.
U.S. reached deal to keep Chinese telecom ZTE in business: Congressional aide
The Trump administration told lawmakers that the US government has reached a deal to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp back in business, a senior Congressional aide said on Friday. The deal, communicated to officials on Capitol Hill by the Commerce Department, requires ZTE to pay a substantial fine, place American compliance officers at the company and change its management team, the aide said. The Commerce Department would then lift an order preventing ZTE from buying US products.
A genetic algorithm predicts the vertical growth of cities
Spanish researchers have created an evolutionary genetic algorithm that, on the basis of the historical and economic data of an urban area, can predict what its skyline could look like in the coming years. Scientists have realized that the growth of cities follows patterns similar to those of certain self-organized biological systems. Inspired by nature, they have developed genetic algorithms that predict how the number of skyscrapers and other buildings in an urban area will increase.
FBI says foreign hackers have compromised home router devices
The FBI warned on Friday that foreign cyber criminals had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and small office router devices around the world which direct traffic on the internet by forwarding data packets between computer networks. In a public service announcement, the FBI it has discovered that the foreign cyber criminals used a VPNFilter malware that can collect peoples' information, exploit their devices and also block network traffic.
Dota 2: UK major tournament to 'inspire' fans
Britain's first-ever Dota 2 major tournament wants to offer inspiration to UK fans, organisers say. The event, being held in Birmingham this weekend, see teams from across the world compete for a $1m (750,000) prize pool. James Dean, from event organiser ESL, says: We're hoping the major will offer inspiration to the UK community. He says the event will have a significant impact around the world because it's a major tournament backed by Valve - the makers of the game.
I don't have a laptop: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is an exception. In a recent interview, Dorsey revealed that he does not use a laptop and does everything from his phone, Mashable reported. Dorsey revealed this when he was asked about his own online security practices. By doing so, he is able to focus on that is in front of him instead of everything coming at once on a laptop. For Dorsey, it is the dictation and voice-typing tools which help him use the phone as a laptop.
Fiat Chrysler software fix prompts recall of 4.8 mn vehicles
A software fix to prevent cars from accelerating out of control prompted Fiat Chrysler on Friday to issue a recall for 4.8 million US vehicles. The company will provide owners with a free software fix to prevent the cruise control system from locking up as the car accelerates, preventing the driver from deactivating it. Drivers could override the cruise control in case of a failure either by braking or switching the vehicle into neutral.
London police seize bitcoin worth $667,000 from hacker
London police have seized half a million pounds ($667,000) worth of bitcoin from a prolific computer hacker in a case described as the first of its kind for the 188-year-old department. Once he obtained the data, West would then sell the material to market places on the dark web and convert his profits into bitcoin. The London Metropolitan police discovered evidence of cyberattacks on 17 major firms including Sainsbury's, Asda, the British Cardiovascular Society and the Finnish bitcoin exchange.
Why AI can't solve everything
Instead of supporting AI progress, it actually jeopardises the value of machine intelligence by disregarding important AI safety principles and setting unrealistic expectations about what AI can really do for humanity. Enamoured with the transformative potential of AI, the French president Emmanuel Macron committed to turn France into a global AI hub. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is increasing its AI prowess with a national plan to create a Chinese AI industry worth US$150 billion by 2030.
Failures in power grids: Dynamically induced cascades
Cascading failures, that is, chain reactions of failures of different infrastructures, are the cause of many failures of entire networks, for example, large parts of the European power grids. Overall, our results underline the importance of dynamically induced failures for the adjustment processes of the national power grids of various European countries, says Prof Marc Timme from the Strategic Chair of Network Dynamics at TU Dresden.

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