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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Ride-hailing app Careem reveals data breach affecting 14 million people

Careem, the ride-hailing company based in Dubai, revealed today it was the victim of a cyber breach.

Hackers accessed the names, email addresses, phone numbers and trip data of anyone who signed up for Careem prior to January 14. Careem said there’s no evidence the hackers accessed passwords or credit card information.

While the breach involved access to Careem’s data storage system for 14 million riders and 558,800 drivers, according to Reuters, the company said it hasn’t seen any evidence of fraud or misuse.

Careem said it became aware of the security incident back in January. Since then, Careem said it has conducted an investigation and strengthened its security systems.

The company waited until now to tell people because “we wanted to make sure we had the most accurate information before notifying people,” the company wrote in a blog post.

“We take the protection of our customers and captains’ data very seriously,” the company wrote. “We have a team of leading cybersecurity experts who have been working with external security firms to constantly monitor our systems, build and enhance our security fences, and react immediately to potential threats. In addition, we are working with law enforcement agencies.”

Careem currently operates in 13 countries, which includes 90 cities. Careem says it’s the leading ride-hailing app in MENA, Turkey and Pakistan.

I’ve reached out to Careem and will update this story if I hear back.


Source: TechCrunch

The EU launches investigation into Apple/Shazam deal

The European Union has been eyeing Apple’s plans to buy Shazam for a while now. Back in February, it noted that the deal raised some preliminary competitive concerns. Today, the EU announced that it’s all in, launching an “in-depth” investigation into the deal.

In a press release issued earlier today, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager notes, “The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services. Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won’t face less choice as a result of this proposed merger.”

The releases adds that both Apple Music and Shazam are  both “significant and well known players in the digital music industry that are mainly active in complementary business areas.” Of course, on the face of it, the two offerings fulfill distinctly different functions, one’s a streaming music service and the other’s that thing that makes you awkwardly hold your phone above your head in a noisy bar, because you have to know the name of that Flo Rida jam.

But Apple Music has become the second largest music service in the EU (behind you know who), and the Commission is concerned that the company will use Shazam to continue that growth by directing users to the service through the songs they identify on Shazam. Which, honestly, seems like a no-brainer, should the acquisition go through.

“As a result, competing music streaming services could be put at a competitive disadvantage,” the commission writes. “In addition, while at this stage the Commission does not consider Shazam as a key entry point for music streaming services, it will also further investigate whether Apple Music’s competitors would be harmed if Apple, after the transaction, were to discontinue referrals from the Shazam app to them.”

From the sound of things, it seems likely that, should the deal go through, there will be some stipulations attached, like a prohibition on the aforementioned discount referrals from one service to the other. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.


Source: TechCrunch

DoD clarifies winner-take-all cloud contract

When the Department of Defense announced in March, a 10-year winner-take-all cloud contract that could be worth up to $10 billion, it raised a few eyebrows. Last week, they clarified some of the conditions, and it turns out that much like a modern baseball free agent contract, there are a couple of points where the DoD can opt out of the deal.

In a press conference last week, chief Pentagon spokesperson, Dana W. White, indicated that the original contract award is for just two years. After that there are two additional options for five years and three years. The department can opt out after the first two years if it’s not working out, or seven years if it accepts the second option. Obviously if it takes the final option, that would add up to a full 10 year commitment.

Leigh Madden, who heads up Microsoft’s defense effort says he believes Microsoft can win such a contract, but it isn’t necessarily the best approach for the DoD. “If the DoD goes with a single award path, we are in it to win, but having said that it’s counter to what we are seeing across the globe where 80 percent of customers are adopting a multi-cloud solution,” Madden told TechCrunch.

White indicated that 46 companies have responded to the request for proposal, but it seems clear that there are only a handful of companies that could handle a project of this scope. For starters, we have Amazon and Microsoft along with Google, IBM and Oracle.

That said, White indicated that companies can band together and form a partnership, which means you could see some extremely strange bedfellows trying to form the equivalent of rock supergroup with multiple players coming together to win the deal.

This development certainly opens up some interesting options for the vendors involved and creates a level of competition and alliances, the likes of which the tech industry might have never seen. Whoever gets the contract, they get two years to prove they can do this, then they will be evaluated before getting a shot at the second five year window.


Source: TechCrunch

Bluedot Innovation gets $5.5 million in funding to track smartphone users more precisely

When it comes to the promises of persistent location hyper-awareness, the promises of mobile have largely fallen flat. While this has been a bummer for consumers looking for more contextual services from the apps they have installed, this has also been a pain for marketers keen to get their hands on more quality user data.

Bluedot Innovation wants to tackle this by building out tech that can zero-in on smartphone users’ locations in the background. Bluedot announced today that they have raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by a major toll road company, Transurban. The Melbourne startup has raised $13 million to date.

The startup’s tech focuses on dialing in user location data to just a few meters so that companies utilizing the API can tell whether their marketing efforts are actually turning into consumers visiting physical locations. There are no shortage of players in this space, what makes Bluedot unique, the company insists, is their focus on R&D to develop more precise, low-power solutions that rely on networks a variety of sensors in the phone to deliver data insightful enough that customers can distinguish what users are doing in tighter urban areas and how they’re getting around.

It is certainly creepy, and though the company’s assertion that all is well because the data is anonymized may follow along with best practices from other adtech startups, allowing an app to track you at all times is a lot of information to be handing out.

Bluedot had initially focused its efforts entirely on developing a service that could make mobile payments for toll roads, the idea being that rather than having to install something on your windshield, you could just download an app, allow persistent location access and whenever you drive through a tollway that had been mapped within the app, you would make a payment without any friction.

The startup’s ambitions have certainly expanded since then, particularly through a partnership with Salesforce, though given the fact that this round was led by a toll road company it suffices to say that this use case is still firmly within their sights. In November, the startup released the LinktGO app with Transurban, which allows Australian users to make toll road payments from their phone.

The startup says its using this latest fund raise to build out its U.S. office in San Francisco and its Melbourne HQ where it plans to double its current staff of 30 employees.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Deliv now offers same-day delivery for Shopify retailers

Deliv, which partners with retailers like Macy’s, Best Buy and Petsmart to offer same-day delivery, is enabling Shopify retailers to offer scheduled, same-day delivery to customers.

This is thanks to a partnership with Zapiet, a store pickup and local delivery plug-in for Shopify. Zapiet helps Shopify retailers manage store inventories and configure the confines of the deliveries. This greater expansion into small businesses comes a couple of months after Deliv launched DeIiv RX for same-day delivery of prescriptions.

“Part of our business model is we are an assets-free logistics company,” Deliv CEO Daphne Carmeli told TechCrunch. “When it comes to storage, the retailers are one place of where storage is.”

For the retailers without storage of their own, Deliv partners with third parties like on-demand fulfillment startup Darkstore and others. When it comes to actual deliveries, Deliv relies on 1099 contractors. Across all of its 35 markets, Deliv has a network of tens of thousands of delivery drivers on board.

“If you think about us in the world of driving, think of us as the airport shuttle versus the taxi,” Carmeli said. “By definition, if we’re focused on scheduled deliveries, our focus and technology is about adding as many stops to our routes as possible.”

This comes shortly after UberRUSH announced it would be shutting down nationwide.

“It wasn’t a surprise to us,” Carmeli said. “Moving people and moving packages are entirely different and requires very different things.”


Source: TechCrunch

Augmented Reality Is Transforming Museums

There are lots of possibilities when it comes to bringing AR into museums like MoMA—but will they embrace them?
Source: Wired

Glowforge opens public orders for its desktop 3D laser cutter

Hardware startup Glowforge, which makes a desktop laser cutter and engraver for home or office use, has finally opened up sales to the general public.

The maker-targeted device, which can ‘print’ (read: engrave/laser cut) a variety of materials including leather, wood, acrylic, glass, and even the metal surface of a Macbook, starts at $2,495 for the entry level machine, rising to a full $5,995 for the pro model — which is billed as faster, able to print larger items, and capable of running for longer periods.

With a starter price-tag of $2.5k Glowforge is clearly not for everyone. Though arguably it does offer more creative bang for your buck than, say, the equally expensive Skydio face-tracking selfie drone. But horses for courses, and all that.

The Seattle-based startup has also topped up with $10M more in VC funding, according GeekWire, from existing investors True Ventures and Foundry Group — who also backed its $22M Series B, in mid 2016, and an earlier $9M Series A.

Glowforge has raised just over $60M at this point, according to Crunchbase, including pulling in almost $30M in pre-sales via a crowdfunding campaign back in 2015. We first covered the hardware startup ahead of that, when it announced its Series A.

Safe to say, it’s been a long journey to turn the founders’ novel idea and prototype into a market-ready and robust laser cutter — and get that into all its backers’ hands.

It’s also clearly been a frustrating process at times. But Glowforge now at least appears confident it can fulfill orders in a timely fashion — it’s offering a May 3 shipping date to new buyers (within the US).

That said, it does not look like all original backers have had their device shipped though.

According to founder Dan Shapiro’s comments to GeekWire, there are some backers who still haven’t got their device — for a few different reasons. “There’s some folks who haven’t replied, asked us not to send it yet, or live in a country that’s awaiting regulatory approval,” he told it.

A quasi-optional air filter component for the Glowforge — which costs an additional $995 — also isn’t shipping until November. (A note on the website says the machine can be used without it, though in that case it warns the placement of the machine “needs a window or 4″ dryer hose”.)

 


Source: TechCrunch

Facebook says you aren't the product, social media is – CNET

The social network’s vice president of ads seeks to answer the “hard question” of how much data the company has on its 2 billion users and how it’s used.
Source: CNET

Net neutrality is officially dead. Now what? – CNET

The FCC has taken the final step in erasing the 2015 rules protecting the internet. Here’s what you need to know.
Source: CNET

EV fast chargers might be coming to a Target near you – Roadshow

It’s part of Electrify America’s first major investment in American EV infrastructure.
Source: CNET

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