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Fingerprint Cards announces new cost cuts amid weak market, price pressure
June 4, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish biometrics firm Fingerprint Cards on Monday announced a new round of big cost cuts on the back of weak market conditions for capacitive sensors for smartphones and heavy price pressure.

The company said it expected the new cost cuts to yield savings of 350 million crowns ($ 39.8 million) on an annual basis, with full effect at the end of the fourth quarter.

Fingerprint Cards said it will cut around 179 staff, and the restructuring costs are seen at 65 million crowns, which will mainly be taken in the third quarter.

“We are continuing to adapt our operations to the fundamental and rapid change in business conditions, with the objective of returning to profitable growth,” Fingerprint Cards Chief Executive Christian Fredrikson said in a statement.

“The cost reduction measures we are communicating today are important in order to strengthen our competitiveness,” he added.

The company also said it would make an inventory write-down of around 336 million Swedish crowns and a 143 million crown write-off of capitalized research and development (R&D) projects.

During the first quarter of 2018, Fingerprint Cards implemented another cost reduction program, seen generating cost savings of 360 million crowns this year.

Fingerprint Cards’ shares are down 60 percent so far in 2018 year on the back of rapidly falling sales and earnings.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom

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Homeland Security unveils new cyber security strategy amid threats
May 15, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday unveiled a new national strategy for addressing the growing number of cyber security risks as it works to assess them and reduce vulnerabilities.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Department of Homeland Security emblem is pictured at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) located just outside Washington in Arlington, Virginia September 24, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

“The cyber threat landscape is shifting in real-time, and we have reached a historic turning point,” DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement. “It is clear that our cyber adversaries can now threaten the very fabric of our republic itself.”

The announcement comes amid concerns about the security of the 2018 U.S. midterm congressional elections and numerous high-profile hacking of U.S. companies.

“The United States faces threats from a growing set of sophisticated malicious actors who seek to exploit cyberspace. Motivations include espionage, political and ideological interests, and financial gain,” according to the 35-page report reviewed by Reuters before its public release. “Nation-states continue to present a considerable cyber threat. But non-state actors are emerging with capabilities that match those of sophisticated nation-states.”

The report noted that by 2020 more than 20 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet. “The risks introduced by the growing number and variety of such devices are substantial,” it said.

Nielsen said the government “must think beyond the defense of specific assets — and confront systemic risks that affect everyone from tech giants to homeowners.”

The report also noted the 2015 intrusion into a federal agency resulted in the compromise of personnel records of over 4 million federal employees and in total impacted nearly 22 million people.

The DHS report said the agency “must better align our existing law enforcement efforts and resources to address new and emerging challenges in cyberspace, to include the growing use of end-to-end encryption, anonymous networks, online marketplaces, and cryptocurrencies.”

Nielsen will testify Tuesday at a Senate hearing.

In March, Nielsen said the department was prioritizing election cyber security above all other critical infrastructure it protects, such as the financial, energy and communications systems.

U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that Russia will attempt to meddle in the 2018 contests after doing so during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Nielsen said that more than half of U.S. states have signed up for the agency’s cyber scanning services, designed to detect potential weaknesses that could be targeted by hackers.

DHS said in 2016 that 21 states had experienced initial probing of their systems from Russian hackers in 2016 and that a small number of networks were compromised, but that there was no evidence any votes were actually altered.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler

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Toyota pauses self-driving car testing amid Uber accident probe
March 20, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Tuesday it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following an accident in which an Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] self-driving vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.

Visitors look at car models on the Toyota stand during the 88th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed.

Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Apple brings Alibaba-linked payment system into China stores amid market push
February 7, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Apple Inc will accept Chinese mobile payment app Alipay in its local stores, boosting its ties with giant e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd amid a push by the iPhone maker to revive growth in the world’s No.2 economy.

The tie-up will make Alipay, run by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at any physical Apple store worldwide, Ant Financial said in a statement on Wednesday. Apple’s own payment system has had a lukewarm reception in China.

The Cupertino-based firm will accept Alipay payment across its 41 brick-and-mortar retail stores in China, said Ant Financial, which was valued at $ 60 billion in 2016.

Apple, whose China website, iTunes store and App Store have been accepting Alipay for more than a year, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The deal comes as Apple is doubling down on the market and looking to strengthen ties with local Chinese partners and government bodies. The firm’s CEO Tim Cook has made regular recent visits to the country.

Apple is also shifting user data to China-based servers later this month to meet local rules and last year removed dozens of local and foreign VPN apps from its Chinese app store.

Alipay is China’s top mobile payment platform, but faces stiff competition from rival internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd’s payment system that is embedded within its hugely-popular chat app WeChat.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said late on Tuesday that Apple would build its second data center in China in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region after it set up a data center in the southern province of Guizhou last year.

Reporting by Pei Li in BEIJNG and Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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Clean Energy Is a Bright Spot Amid a Dark Tech Cloud
January 1, 2018 6:00 pm|Comments (0)

The mood around tech is dark these days. Social networks are a cesspool of harassment and lies. On-demand firms are producing a bleak economy of gig labor. AI learns to be racist. Is there anyplace where the tech news is radiant with old-fashioned optimism? Where good cheer abounds?

Why, yes, there is: clean energy. It is, in effect, the new Silicon Valley—filled with giddy, breathtaking ingenuity and flat-out good news.

This might seem surprising given the climate-change denialism in Washington. But consider, first, residential solar energy. The price of panels has plummeted in the past decade and is projected to drop another 30 percent by 2022. Why? Clever engineering breakthroughs, like the use of diamond wire to slice silicon wafers into ever-skinnier slabs, producing higher yields with less raw material.

Manufacturing costs are down. According to US government projections, the fastest-growing occupation of the next 10 years will be solar voltaic installer. And you know who switched to solar power last year, because it was so cheap? The Kentucky Coal Museum.

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Tech may have served up Nazis in social media streams, but, hey, it’s also creating microgrids—a locavore equivalent for the solar set. One of these efforts is Brooklyn-based LO3 Energy, a company that makes a paperback-sized device and software that lets owners of solar-equipped homes sell energy to their neighbors—verifying the transactions using the blockchain, to boot. LO3 is testing its system in 60 homes on its Brooklyn grid and hundreds more in other areas.

“Buy energy and you’re buying from your community,” LO3 founder Lawrence Or­sini tells me. His chipsets can also connect to smart appliances, so you could save money by letting his system cycle down your devices when the network is low on power. The company uses internet logic—smart devices that talk to each other over a dumb network—to optimize power consumption on the fly, making local clean energy ever more viable.

But wait, doesn’t blockchain number-crunching use so much electricity it generates wasteful heat? It does. So Orsini invented DareHenry, a rack crammed with six GPUs; while it processes math, phase-­changing goo absorbs the outbound heat and uses it to warm a house. Blockchain cogeneration, people! DareHenry is 4 feet of gorgeous, Victorian­esque steampunk aluminum—so lovely you’d want one to show off to guests.

Solar and blockchain are only the tip of clean tech. Within a few years, we’ll likely see the first home fuel-cell systems, which convert natural gas to electricity. Such systems are “about 80 percent efficient,” marvels Garry Golden, a futurist who has studied clean energy. (He’s also on LO3’s grid, with the rest of his block.)

The point is, clean energy has a utopian spirit that reminds me of the early days of personal computers. The pioneers of the 1970s were crazy hackers, hell-bent on making machines cheap enough for the masses. Everyone thought they were nuts, or small potatoes—yet they revolutionized communication. When I look at Orsini’s ­blockchain-based energy-trading routers, I see the Altair. And there are oodles more inventors like him.

Mind you, early Silicon Valley had something crucial that clean energy now does not: massive federal government support. The military bought tons of microchips, helping to scale up computing. Trump’s band of climate deniers aren’t likely to be buyers of first resort for clean energy, but states can do a lot. California already has, for instance, by creating quotas for renewables. So even if you can’t afford this stuff yourself, you should pressure state and local officials to ramp up their solar energy use. It’ll give us all a boost of much-needed cheer.

Write to [email protected]


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Why Red Hat is misunderstood amid public cloud worries
December 1, 2016 9:00 am|Comments (0)

It’s not too often that a flourishing enterprise technology company grows 18 percent to 22 percent for the last six quarters and be treated like it’s about …


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Why Red Hat is misunderstood amid public cloud worries
November 28, 2016 1:35 am|Comments (0)

It’s not too often that a flourishing enterprise technology company grows 18 percent to 22 percent for the last six quarters and be treated like it’s about …

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