Big Auto look to tech companies to fix cars over the air

Some carmakers, including GM, BMW and Mercedes, already use OTA for entertainment systems


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - As cars increasingly resemble digital devices, a group of technology firms that can send wireless software updates to cars are in hot demand by carmakers scrambling to catch up to Tesla Motors in the arena of over-the-air updates, or OTAs.

Interest in the technology, through which certain car functions can be upgraded much the same way as an iPhone, comes as Tesla is set to deliver an OTA for hands-free cruise control this month, allowing its electric Model S sedans to drive themselves on freeways.

GM to tap into connectivity, expand car sharing services - CEO

GM has moved more aggressively than most rivals to put 4G LTE data connections in its cars


DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra said the automaker plans new efforts to capitalize on the connectivity built into its cars, expanding car sharing services, offering more autonomous driving features and enabling services through smartphone apps.

"Our goal is to disrupt ourselves, and own the customer relationship beyond the car," Barra told Reuters in a recent interview ahead of a meeting with investors and analysts.

EU financial watchdogs zoom in on 'big data' use

Civil liberties groups have expressed concerns over personal privacy breaches


LONDON (Reuters) - European banks and insurers could face new rules to control their use of "big data" to target customers with products after EU watchdogs said they would investigate the area.

Big data refers to companies or other institutions using digital information on consumer behavior from a wide variety of sources, such as their own databases, to make market predictions or spot patterns. The global financial services industry is expected to spend billions of dollars in coming years to improve their analysis capabilities.

Millions of T-Mobile customers exposed in Experian breach

Data included names, addresses, birth dates, SSNs, drivers license and passport numbers


(Reuters) - Experian Plc, the world's biggest consumer credit monitoring firm, on Thursday disclosed a massive data breach that exposed sensitive personal data of some 15 million people who applied for service with T-Mobile US Inc.

Connecticut's attorney general said he will launch an investigation into the breach.

Dish affiliates surrender some spectrum licenses: FCC official

Dish has said it is interested in offering wireless services in addition to its pay-TV business


(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp's affiliates on Thursday surrendered 197 spectrum licenses to the U.S. government after they were held ineligible for $3.3 billion in small-business discounts earlier this year, according to a senior U.S Federal Communications Commission official.

Dish's affiliates, Northstar Wireless LLC and SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC, on Thursday paid a penalty of $413 million for defaulting on the licenses worth $3.3 billion that they decided not to pay for, the official said.

Argentina celebrates second satellite launch, technology milestone

Local construction is a source of national pride and a relatively new industry for the country


BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - With the launch of its second telecommunications satellite made in Argentina on Wednesday, President Cristina Fernandez celebrated the country's technology milestone and wants the South American nation to manufacture eight more over the next 20 years.

Launched from French Guyana atop an Ariane 5 rocket, the satellite will provide telecommunications services across much of the western hemisphere. Argentina last year launched its first satellite which provided country-wide coverage.

Thousands of companies await EU ruling on U.S. data privacy pact

Current law forbids transfer of EU citizens' personal data to countries with low privacy standards


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A ruling due next week from the EU's top court on a long-running transatlantic pact on private data could affect all legal ways of moving such data from Europe to the United States, lawyers say, potentially disrupting the everyday online transactions of thousands of companies.

Under current European privacy laws companies are forbidden from transferring European citizens' personal data to countries deemed to have lower privacy standards - such as the United States.

Court adviser deals major blow to EU-U.S. data share deal

Amid calls for Safe Harbour suspension, US and EU have been in talks for two years


BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A deal easing the transfer of data between the United States and the EU is invalid, an adviser to the European Union's top court said on Wednesday, dealing a blow to a system used by Facebook, Google and thousands of other companies.

The Safe Harbour agreement did not do enough to protect EU citizen's private information when it reached the United States and should have been suspended, Yves Bot, Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said.

Relishing new Wi-Fi, Cuba's young clamor for more

Cuba is connected by only one undersea fiber optic cable originating from Venezuela


HAVANA (Reuters) - Headphone-clad youths pore over phones on a street corner at dusk. A mother holds a laptop on Havana's seafront as her children cackle at seeing family abroad. Surreptitious vendors offer Internet cards at a markup.

Cuba's new Wi-Fi hotspots - 35 nationwide since July with more promised soon - are a sensation in a highly controlled country with one of the world's lowest Internet penetrations.

Yet young Cubans are not satisfied.

They want the Communist government to provide more, cheaper and less restricted Wi-Fi for Cuba's 11 million people.

China's Xiaomi announces telecom carrier service, new flagship handset

Foray into sector could kickstart MVNO industry and provide a boost for Chinese telecom regulators


BEIJING (Reuters) - Xiaomi Inc, China's leading smartphone maker, announced on Tuesday two prepaid wireless plans to mark its debut as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) competing against China's national carriers.

MVNOs, which purchase network capacity from large carriers and resell mobile plans under their own branding, have failed to gain traction in China, where three state-owned giants dominate the telecoms industry.

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