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AFRICAN AMERICAN (T)

Facebook makes privacy push ahead of strict EU law

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook (FB.O) said on Monday it was publishing its privacy principles for the first time and rolling out educational videos to help users control who has access to their information, as it prepares for the start of a tough new EU data protection law.

The videos will show users how to manage the data that Facebook uses to show them ads, how to delete old posts, and what happens to the data when they delete their account, Erin Egan, chief privacy officer at Facebook, said in a blog post.

Facebook, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, said it had never before published the principles, which are its rules on how the company handles users’ information.

Monday’s announcements are a sign of its efforts to get ready before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters into force on May 25, marking the biggest overhaul of personal data privacy rules since the birth of the internet.

Under GDPR, companies will be required to report data breaches within 72 hours, as well as to allow customers to export their data and delete it.

Facebook’s privacy principles, which are separate from the user terms and conditions that are agreed when someone opens an account, range from giving users control of their privacy, to building privacy features into Facebook products from the outset, to users owning the information they share.

“We recognize that people use Facebook to connect, but not everyone wants to share everything with everyone – including with us. It’s important that you have choices when it comes to how your data is used,” Egan wrote.

Also among the company’s privacy principles are helping users understand how their data is used, keeping that information secure, constantly improving new controls, and being accountable to regulators.

“We put products through rigorous data security testing. We also meet with regulators, legislators and privacy experts around the world to get input on our data practices and policies,” the blog post said.

The company’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced last week that Facebook would be creating a new privacy center which would put the social network’s key privacy settings in one place.

The GDPR drastically increases the level of fines for companies found to be in breach of data protection law, potentially rising as high as 4 percent of global annual turnover or 20 million euros, whichever is higher.

Facebook has faced probes from EU regulators over its use of user data and tracking of online activities.

As of Monday, users will be reminded by their News Feeds to take a “privacy checkup,” Egan wrote in his blog, to ensure they are comfortable about what data they are sharing, and with whom.

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Daniel Wallis



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AFRICAN AMERICAN (T)

Japan to punish hacked cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck on Monday

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s financial regulator plans to slap an administrative punishment on cyrptocurrency exchange operator Coincheck Inc on Monday, the top government spokesman said, after the firm lost 58 billion yen ($534 million) worth of NEM coins to hackers.

Tokyo-based Coincheck on Friday suspended trading in all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin after the theft of NEM coins in one of the biggest-ever losses of digital money to hackers. It said on Sunday it would return about 90 percent with internal funds, though it has yet to figure out how or when.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) will issue a business improvement order to Coincheck later Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Sam Holmes



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AFRICAN AMERICAN (T)

Trump security team sees building U.S. 5G network as option

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s national security team is looking at options to counter the threat of China spying on U.S. phone calls that include the government building a super-fast 5G wireless network, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

The official, confirming the gist of a report from Axios.com, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself.

The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China’s threat to U.S. cyber security and economic security.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a harder line on policies initiated by predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from Beijing’s role in restraining North Korea to Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. strategic industries.

Earlier this month, AT&T (T.N) was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers handsets built by China’s Huawei [HWT.UL] after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators, sources told Reuters.

The U.S. government has also blocked a string of Chinese acquisitions over national security concerns, including Ant Financial’s proposed purchase of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc (MGI.O).

“We want to build a network so the Chinese can’t listen to your calls,” the senior official told Reuters. “We have to have a secure network that doesn’t allow bad actors to get in. We also have to ensure the Chinese don’t take over the market and put every non-5G network out of business.”

Major wireless carriers have spent billions of dollars buying spectrum to launch 5G networks, and it is unclear if the U.S. government would have enough spectrum to build its own 5G network.

Last year, T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) spent $8 billion and Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) $6.2 billion to win the bulk of broadcast airwaves spectrum for sale in a government auction, held by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

U.S. carriers are well into the standard-setting process for 5G, and testing is already under way.

A Verizon (VZ.N) spokesman declined to comment. Representatives for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile (TMUS.O) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Another option includes having a 5G network built by a consortium or wireless carriers, the official said.

“We want to build a secure 5G network and we have to work with industry to figure out the best way to do it,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Axios published documents that it said were from a presentation from a National Security Council official about the 5G issue. If the government built the 5G network, it would rent access to carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, Axios said.

A looming concern laid out in the presentation is China’s growing presence in the manufacture and operation of wireless networks. A concerted government push could help the U.S. compete on that front, according to the presentation.

A 5G network is expected to offer significantly faster speeds, more capacity and shorter response times, which could be utilized for new technologies ranging from self-driving cars to remote surgeries. Telecom companies and their suppliers consider it to be a multibillion-dollar revenue opportunity.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Pete Schroeder; Additional reporting by Suzanne Barlyn and David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Sanders, Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman



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AFRICAN AMERICAN (T)

Most Americans wary of self-driving cars: Reuters/Ipsos poll

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(Reuters) – Two-thirds of Americans are uncomfortable about the idea of riding in self-driving cars, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, underscoring one of many challenges for companies spending billions of dollars on the development of autonomous vehicles.

While 27 percent of respondents said they would feel comfortable riding in a self-driving car, poll data indicated that most people were far more trusting of humans than robots and artificial intelligence under a variety of scenarios.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found a wide disparity of opinion by gender and age, with men generally more comfortable than women about using self-driving vehicles and millennials more comfortable than baby boomers. (tmsnrt.rs/2DD4h4W)

Among men, 38 percent said they would feel comfortable riding in a self-driving car and 55 percent said they would not. Among women, only 16 percent said they would feel comfortable and 77 percent said they would not.

Among those skeptical of driverless cars was California resident Phoebe Barron. “I don’t want to be the first guinea pig,” she said in an interview.

Colorado resident Sonja Coy told Reuters she had a more positive view. Self-driving cars “are a great innovation and technology with a lot of potential,” she said.

“However, I‘m concerned with how liability will fall in the case of accidents, where there are both self-driving and regular cars on the road,” Coy said.

Like most people, she said she had not yet ridden in a self-driving vehicle. Companies testing the vehicles in the United States and elsewhere have provided limited public access so far.

“We’re talking about abstract things that many people have not experienced firsthand,” said Jeremy Carlson, principal automotive analyst with IHS Markit.

Automotive and technology industry executives are pushing U.S. lawmakers to pass legislation that would loosen restrictions on testing and deploying self-driving cars. However, the legislation is currently stalled in the Senate.

In the meantime, companies from General Motors Co to Alphabet Inc’s Waymo are planning to deploy the first wave of self-driving vehicles over the next three years.

Industry officials and analysts have said providing convincing reassurances about safety is an urgent task for advocates of autonomous vehicle technology.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted in mid-January and collected responses from 2,592 adults.

Other recent surveys have also highlighted widespread doubts among U.S. consumers about self-driving cars, in the absence of any direct experience with them.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn in New York; Editing by Tom Brown



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AFRICAN AMERICAN (T)

Trump national security team sees building 5G network as option

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s national security team is looking at options to counter China that include the U.S. government building a super-fast 5G wireless network, a senior administration official said on Sunday.

The official, confirming the gist of a report from Axios.com, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself.

“We want to build a secure 5G network and we have to work with industry to figure out the best way to do it,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney



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