Uber to Pay $148 Million to Settle US Data Breach Cover-Up

Uber to Pay $148 Million to Settle US Data Breach Cover-Up

Uber Technologies will pay $148 million (roughly Rs. 1,000 crores) for failing to disclose a massive data breach in 2016, marking a costly resolution to one of the biggest embarrassments and legal tangles the ride-hailing company has suffered.

The settlement with 50 US states and Washington, DC brings closure to one of several high-stakes legal battles Uber is seeking to resolve before an initial public offering next year, while also delivering a national rebuke against Uber’s history of flouting laws and basic business ethics.

The amount is the largest among attorneys general settlements in privacy cases. By comparison, the multi-state settlement with Target Corp in 2017, over a breach in which 41 million people had their data stolen, was $18.5 million (roughly Rs. 134 crores).

The settlement follows a 10-month investigation into a data breach that exposed personal data from 57 million Uber accounts, including 600,000 driver’s licence numbers. Uber’s new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi disclosed the breach in November, more than a year after the company was hacked under the previous CEO. Khosrowshahi has said the incident should have been disclosed to regulators at the time it was discovered in 2016.

The cover-up, widely seen by states as violating data breach reporting and data security laws, drew the ire of authorities across the United States and also in the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines. About half of the data breach victims lived in the United States.

The settlement terms include changes to Uber’s business practices aimed at preventing future breaches and reforming its corporate culture. Uber will be required to report any data security incidents to states on a quarterly basis for the next two years, and implement a comprehensive information security programme overseen by an executive officer who advises executive staff and Uber’s board of directors.

“We know that earning the trust of our customers and the regulators we work with globally is no easy feat,” said Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West. “We’ll continue to invest in protections to keep our customers and their data safe and secure, and we’re committed to maintaining a constructive and collaborative relationship with governments around the world.”

In November 2016, Uber paid the hackers – who included a 20-year-old Florida man and a hacker in Canada – $100,000 to destroy the stolen data, using its “bug bounty” programme, which is designed to reward security researchers who report flaws in a company’s software. Uber then chose not to report the matter to victims or authorities.

“Uber’s decision to cover up this breach was a blatant violation of the public’s trust,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Consistent with its corporate culture at the time, Uber swept the breach under the rug in deliberate disregard of the law.”

California, one of lead states in the settlement effort, will keep $26 million, to be split between the state Attorney General’s Office and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, a spokeswoman for Becerra’s office said.

Khosrowshahi fired two of Uber’s top security officials when he announced the breach, and other members of that team have since departed. The company recently hired a chief privacy officer and chief security officer.

It still faces lawsuits from riders, drivers and the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles over the data breach.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Stories Set to Get Ads as User Base Touches 300 Million

Facebook Stories Set to Get Ads as User Base Touches 300 Million

Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories now have more than 300 million users, the social networking company announced in post. More importantly, Facebook announced ads are coming to Stories on both its main app and Messenger. This comes about a year after ads were rolled out for Instagram Stories. The company has announced WhatsApp Status, the app’s version of Stories, will be getting ads next year. The Facebook, Messenger and Instagram Stories – along with WhatsApp Status – are clones of Snapchat Stories but have far more users than the pioneer of the feature.

In a post on the Facebook Business page, the company said “To help businesses reach more people, we’re now making Facebook Stories ads available to all advertisers around the world. Soon, you’ll be able to extend the reach [of ads] and improve the performance of your stories ad campaigns in Messenger.”

Facebook Stories ads will support tracking metrics such as reach, brand awareness, video views, app install, conversion, traffic, and lead generation. Brands such as iHeartRadio, Kettle Chips and KFC are among the advertisers who were part of the testing phase for Facebook Stories. The social media company claimed these brands have seen a “lift from their Facebook Stories ad campaigns.”

Citing an Ipsos survey, Facebook said, “More than half of people surveyed said they’re making more online purchases as a result of seeing Stories. In addition, 38 percent of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it, and 34% said they went to a store to look for it.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Apple Music Hits 38 Million Paid Subscribers

Apple Music Hits 38 Million Paid Subscribers

Apple’s streaming music service now has 38 million paid subscribers, up from 36 million in February, the company said on Monday.

Apple is locked in race for subscribers with Amazon.com, Alphabet’s Google and others as streaming music becomes the dominant form of paid music consumption. Apple’s number compares to 71 million premium subscribers at the end of 2017 at industry leader Spotify, which plans to list shares in the coming weeks on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SPOT.

Apple said Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services, disclosed the most recent subscriber number for Apple Music at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Amazon Music Unlimited has 16 million paying subscribers, and Pandora Media has 5.48 million total subscribers. Google does not release paid subscriber numbers for its service, Google Play Music.

Apple, Spotify, Google and other services charge $9.99 (roughly Rs. 650) a month for music. Amazon offers its service to members who already pay for its Prime membership, which includes shipping, video content and other benefits, for $7.99 per month.

In addition to its paid service, Spotify also offers an free ad-supported version to help draw users into the service. Apple Music does not offer an ad-based version and instead uses a three-month free trial to lure customers. Cue said Apple has 8 million subscribers currently in the free trial period, the first time Apple has disclosed the number of trial users.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Tencent Sees Profit on Smartphone Games, WeChat Now Has 980 Million Users

Tencent Sees Profit on Smartphone Games, WeChat Now Has 980 Million Users

Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd on Wednesday posted a 69 percent jump in quarterly net profit, beating expectations, on strong smartphone games revenue.

Net profit for the three months ended September rose to CNY 18 billion ($2.72 billion), China’s largest social media and gaming company said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

This was above an average estimate of CNY 15.18 billion from six analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue rose 61 percent to 65 billion yuan, against an estimate of CNY 60.78 billion.

Monthly active users of the social media mobile app WeChat hit 980 million, up from 963 million three months ago.

Revenue from smartphone games, helped by its popular title Honour of Kings, grew by 84 percent to CNY 18.2 billion in the quarter, Tencent said in the filing.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]