EU Leaders Urge Internet Giants to Fight Online Extremism

EU leaders on Thursday urged Internet firms to do their utmost to combat online extremism promoting attacks or face the possibility of legislation if the industry self-regulation fails.

European Union leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels increased the pressure on US giants like Facebook and Twitter to rein in online propaganda amid a recent spate of terror attacks in Britain, France and Belgium.

“We are calling on social media companies to do whatever is necessary to prevent the spread of terrorist material on the Internet,” European Council President Donald Tusk told a press conference during the EU summit in Brussels.

“In practice, this means developing new tools to detect and remove such material automatically,” Tusk said. “And if need be we are ready to adopt relevant legislation.”

The EU joined forces with US-based Internet firms more than a year ago to combat online extremism, responding to growing alarm in Europe over the use of social media as a recruiting tool, especially by the Islamic State group.

Until now, it has pushed for the industry to regulate itself, but EU officials earlier this month gave mixed reviews to firms like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google’s YouTube.

EU Leaders Urge Internet Giants to Fight Online ExtremismIn its first annual report, the bloc said the four companies are now removing twice as many cases of illegal hate speech and at a faster rate when compared to six months ago.

But EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova called for further progress – particularly from Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron said leaders of the 28 EU countries had discussed at length increasing the efforts to remove online extremist content.

“Opening up the possibility of legislating at the European level is an advance that satisfies me,” Macron told journalists.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told her counterparts the onus must be put on the firms to remove extremist material and said law enforcement should access encrypted communications between suspected terrorists in defined circumstances, a British government official said.

In the last few months, armed jihadists have carried out attacks in London, the northern English city of Manchester, Paris and Brussels.

YouTube Unveils VR180 Format, Reveals Mobile Users Spend an Hour a Day on Average

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at VidCon on Thursday announced an all-new video format VR180 that will make VR content creation slightly easier for creators. Google has also confirmed that the Daydream team is working with several manufacturers to build cameras from the ground up for VR180 video format.

The company says that the new VR180 video will ensure what’s in front of the user is high resolution, and “look great on desktop and on mobile.” YouTube’s main focus is to boost VR with the new video format as it can be seen on phones with regular 2D screens as well as VR headsets like Cardboard, Daydream, and other headsets which show images stereoscopically in 3D. The new video format will enable depth, where “near things look near, and far things appear far,” adds Wojcicki. Additionally, the VR180 format also supports live streaming videos.

Google has named some partners like YI, Lenovo, and LG who are working with the company to bring new cameras priced same as a regular point-and-shoot camera. Videos and live streams will be easy to upload to YouTube from these cameras. Google has revealed that the first cameras will hit shelves this winter. The new format is capable of delivering 3D video while capturing 180 degrees of vision.

YouTube Unveils VR180 Format, Reveals Mobile Users Spend an Hour a Day on AverageGoogle has also opened a VR180 certification program for other manufacturers who want to join. Z Cam will be one of Google’s first partners under the program.

“We want to make VR more accessible and more affordable for viewers and creators. The reality is, filming 360-degree VR videos isn’t easy for most creators and some VR cameras are expensive. That’s why I’m thrilled that YouTube and Daydream have worked together on a new format, VR180, and new cameras, which make it easy and affordable for anyone to make VR videos,” said Wojcicki.

Wojcicki also revealed that now, 1.5 billion logged in viewers visit YouTube every single month and on an average, viewers spent over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone. YouTube also announced an all-new change to YouTube app which will in the coming weeks “dynamically adapt” to whatever size users choose to watch it in. YouTube last month teased the new redesign interface which will come with a Dark theme as well.

The company will soon let user share a video with friends right from YouTube app and this will be available to users in Latin America and the US in couple of weeks.

Google to Stop Scanning Gmail for Creating Targeted Ads

Google said Friday it would stop scanning the contents of Gmail users’ inboxes for ad targeting, moving to end a practice that has fueled privacy concerns since the free email service was launched.

A Google statement said Gmail users would still see “personalised” ads and marketing messages but these would be based on other data, which may include search queries or browsing habits.

Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene said in a blog that the free Gmail service would now follow the same practices as its corporate G Suite Gmail.

“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalisation after this change,” Greene said.

“This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalise ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalisation.”

Privacy activists have long complained that the scanning of email contents amounts to unwarranted “eavesdropping” on users.

Image result for Google to Stop Scanning Gmail for Creating Targeted AdsThe Internet giant earlier this year reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit in the matter, but a federal judge rejected the deal as inadequate.

US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled in March that the settlement was difficult to understand and “does not clearly disclose the fact that Google intercepts, scans and analyzes the contents of emails sent by non-Gmail users to Gmail users for the purposes of creating user profiles of the Gmail users to create targeted advertising.”

Danny Sullivan, founding editor of the online blog Search Engine Land, called the move a “big change” for Gmail, noting that the scanning of email contents “has been the biggest hit against the services since it began.”

But Sullivan wrote on Twitter: “On the other hand, does it reassure consumers to know that Google has better info now about how to target them than by reading their emails?”

Google to Remove Private Medical Records From Search Results

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has quietly started removing a new category of online content – personal medical records – from its search results, a departure from its typically hands-off approach to policing the web.

Google lists the information it removes from its search results on its policy page. On Thursday, the website added the line: “confidential, personal medical records of private people.” A Google spokeswoman on Friday said that such information is only pulled when the company gets specific requests from individuals.

Google to Remove Private Medical Records From Search ResultsPreviously, Google had only removed webpages with identifying financial information, such as credit card numbers, and with content that violates copyright laws. In 2015, Google bent its longstanding laissez-faire policy by adding “revenge porn” to its removal list – sexually explicit images uploaded without consent. The same approach applies with all these categories: Google will remove information after considering specific requests.

Health records can also appear online without consent. In December, a pathology lab in India mistakenly uploaded the records of over 43,000 patients containing sensitive information, including names and blood tests for HIV. The records were indexed in Google’s search results.

Google has also recently adjusted its tightly-held search ranking system to filter misleading articles, or fake news, following criticism for hosting and promoting the content in results.

EU Said to Fine Google With Record Fine This Week

The EU’s powerful antitrust regulator will slap Google with a record fine as early as Tuesday in another European blow against a US tech giant, sources said.

Led by hard-charging European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager, the EU will impose a massive penalty against Google that would break the previous record of EUR 1.06 billion set in 2009 against Intel, the US chipmaker.

More importantly for Google, Brussels will demand that the US tech giant change its business practices to meet the EU’s concerns.

The decision, expected Tuesday or Wednesday, comes a year after Vestager shocked the world and angered the Obama administration with an order that Apple repay EUR 13 billion in back taxes in Ireland.

Sources close to the matter said Google’s fine would range EUR 1.1-2.0 billion. While an EU record, this is well below the maximum possible of about EUR 8.0 billion  or 10 percent of Google’s total revenue last year.

Brussels accuses Google of giving its own online shopping services top priority in search results to the detriment of other price comparison services.

The case is one of three against Google and of several against blockbuster US companies including Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and McDonalds.

In the other Google cases, the EU is examining Google’s AdSense advertising service and its Android mobile phone software.

If confirmed, the fine would come after a long period in which the two sides tried to settle the case amicably.

EU Said to Fine Google With Record Fine This WeekThe cases have stoked tensions with Washington and could now face the wrath of US President Donald Trump, who won office on his “America First” slogan.

“We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and we believe strongly that our innovations in online shopping have been good for shoppers, retailers and competition,” said Mark Jansen, a spokesman for Google.

The European Commission refused to comment.

The Commission, which polices EU competition policy, launched an initial investigation into Google in 2010 following complaints from rivals such as Microsoft and Trip Advisor that it favoured its own shopping services when customers ran searches.

Claims that practices by Google Shopping harm competition “are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics,” Google’s general counsel Kent Walker wrote in response to the EU last year.

Vestager’s predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, made three attempts to resolve the dispute but in each case intense pressure by national governments, rivals and privacy advocates scuppered the effort.

Windows 10 Source Code Leak Confirmed by Microsoft; Data Removed by Beta Archive

Microsoft has found itself in an embarrassing position once again with reports that a massive trove of Windows 10 source code has been leaked online this week. Some system builds related to Microsoft’s USB, storage and Wi-Fi drives were posted to Beta Archive’s FTP site, and the Redmond giant has confirmed that the code, which is part of its Shared Source Kit, is authentic.

According to The Register’s initial report, the data uploaded to the Beta Archive was 32TB in size. However, a counter-report by The Verge suggested that the leak was smaller in size and that much of the data had been made available. The Register also updated its report with a statement provided by Beta Archive, saying that the source code has been removed. The site added it was not pressured by Microsoft to remove the code. However, it’s unclear how many have already downloaded the data.

According to a Beta Archive statement received by The Verge, the source code leaked was in fact only 1.2GB in size and was voluntarily removed by the site. In a statement to The Verge, a Microsoftspokesperson says the entire source code was not stolen, “Our review confirms that these files are actually a portion of the source code from the Shared Source Initiative and is used by OEMs and partners.”

Windows 10 Source Code Leak Confirmed by Microsoft; Data Removed by Beta ArchiveThe Shared Source Kit is shared with Microsoft’s partners, enterprises and licensees through the Shared Source initiative.

Apart from this, Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile Adaption Kit, Windows 10 Creators Update builds, and some ARM-based versions of Windows 10, were also reportedly included in the leak. Furthermore, the leak comes ahead of reports that two men in the UK were arrested over unauthorised access to Microsoft’s network. According the the report, the two men collected confidential Windows 10 builds, but it is unknown as to whether the two cases are linked.

While the leak is now deemed as minor, it is still substantial in that the source code could provide information for security vulnerabilities, which could be used to hack Windows systems around the world. This is something Microsoft would want to avoid post the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Says Excited to Keep Investing in India After Meeting PM Modi

American online retail giant Amazon, which has committed investments to the tune of $5 billion in India, will “keep investing and growing in India”, its chief Jeff Bezos has said.

After his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bezos tweeted: “Terrific meeting with @narendramodi. Always impressed, energized by optimism and invention in India. Excited to keep investing and growing.”

Bezos was among the 20 US business leaders who interacted with Modi as part of a roundtable interaction. Others in the group included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google’s Sunder Pichai, John Chambersfrom Cisco, Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Ajay Banga from MasterCard.

Amazon, which has recently completed four years of operations in India, is locked in an intense battle for leadership with homegrown e-tailer Flipkart.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Says Excited to Keep Investing in India After Meeting PM ModiThe company has been aggressively investing in setting up fulfilment centres across India to ensure speedy delivery to consumers. It has 41 such warehouses across 13 states.

Its seller base in the country has also increased to 2 lakh currently, from 100 in 2013.

Previously, Bezos has said the company will keep investing in the Indian market to strengthen technology and infrastructure.

“Our India team is moving fast and delivering for customers and sellers… It’s still Day 1 for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we’ll keep investing in technology and infrastructure,” Bezos had said.

US Government Websites Restored After Pro-Islamic State Hack

Ohio officials have restored 11 government websites that were hacked with a message purporting to be supportive of the Islamic State terrorist group.

The Department of Administrative Services says affected websites were restored by Monday. They’d been hacked Sunday with a message that included: “I love the Islamic state.”

US Government Websites Restored After Pro-Islamic State HackThe Department of Public Safety says the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security are investigating the hacking.

It affected websites for the governor and his wife, the lieutenant governor and the inspector general, as well as Ohio’s Medicaid and prisons agencies. The list also included sites for Ohio’s casino and facilities commissions, the offices of Health Transformation and Workforce Transformation, and the government streamlining effort LeanOhio.

The same message infiltrated government websites in Brookhaven, New York, and Howard County, Maryland.

Google India to Hold 5,000 Workshops for SMBs Across 50 Cities

Targeting the small and medium business (SMB) enterprises, Google India Private Ltd will hold 5,000 offline workshops over the next three years, a company official said on Tuesday.

Addressing the media in Chennai, Shalini Girish, Director-Marketing Solutions, said the company with its online, offline and mobile training programmes is trying to bridge the digital gap experienced by the SMBs.

Google India to Hold 5,000 Workshops for SMBs Across 50 CitiesShe said the offline training will be conducted jointly with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Over the next three years 5,000 workshops will be held across 50 Indian cities.

According to a study done by Google India and KPMG, digitally engaged SMBs grow twice as fast compared with offline SMBs.

Petya Ransomware Impacts Operations at Mumbai Container Port

The government on Wednesday confirmed that one of the terminals at the JNPT port has been impacted by the new Petya malware attack. “The (shipping) ministry has confirmed that one terminal at JNPT has been affected due to the attack at Maersk’s Hague office,” an official said, adding that the government will share a report or a statement as soon as it comes to this effect. Maersk group confirmed its operations have been hit by the Petya attack, and said it is “assessing and managing” the situation to minimise the impact on its customers and partners.

“We can confirm that on Tuesday, June 27, AP Moller-Maersk was hit as part of a cyber-attack named Petya, affecting multiple sites and select business units,” Maersk said in a tweet. It also said, “We are responding to the situation to contain and limit the impact and uphold operations.”

Operations at the terminal of the nation’s largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) were impacted last night as a fallout of the global ransomware attack, which crippled some central banks and many large corporations in Europe.

AP Moller-Maersk, one of the Petya-affected entities globally, operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.

“We have been informed that the operations at GTI have come to a standstill because their systems are down (due to the malware attack). They are trying to work manually,” a senior JNPT official told PTI last night.

The official explained that JNPT is trying to help the company, but there is little that others can do as the problem is with the systems.

Fearing some clogging up of cargo, additional parking space is being made available, the official said, promising to help in any possible manner.

The Hague-based APM Terminals also operates the Pipavav terminal in Gujarat.

Petya Ransomware Impacts Operations at Mumbai Container PortForeign media reports from the Netherlands capital The Hague quoting the pubcaster RTV Rijnmond said a new ransomware virus called Petya has hit 17 APM terminals, including two in Rotterdam and 15 in other parts of the world.

APM Terminals is a subsidiary of shipping giant Maersk, which has confirmed that it is suffering from a cyber-attack.

“We can confirm that Maersk’s IT systems are down across multiple geographies and business units due to a cyber-attack. We continue to assess the situation. The safety of our employees, our operation and our customers businesses is our top priority. We will update when we have more information,” the spokesperson said in a written statement issued globally.

The current Petya attacks come weeks after the WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected systems of many companies.

Firms that were hit on Wednesday include Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft, global advertising giant WPP Group and multiple institutions in Ukraine, including its central bank and an international airport.

An AFP report quoting the Ukrainian central bank said a cyber-attack hit several lenders in the ex-Soviet republic, hindering operations and leading the regulator to warn other financial institutions to tighten security measures.

The Moscow-based cyber-security firm Group IB traced the origins of the malware and the hackers to a code developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) which was leaked and then used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that caused global disruption last month, according to an AFP report.

The global wire quoted a Ukrainian media company, which was hit, as saying its computers were blocked and it had received a demand for $300 (roughly Rs. 20,000) worth of the Bitcoin crypto-currency to restore access to its files.