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Facebook has been hit with a class action lawsuit in the United States, with the social network being accused of reading users' private messages, without their consent.
On Tuesday, Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled in an Oakland, California court that the social network must face a class action lawsuit for violating its users' privacy by scanning their private messages, so that it could used the gathered data for targeted advertising. Facebook shot back, arguing that their actions are covered by an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act for interceptions by service producers occurring in the ordinary course of business. The court replied, saying that Facebook hadn't explained how this practice fell within the ordinary course of business.
The lawsuit itself was filed two years ago, and it could benefit any user that sent or received linked through private messages. The suit is asking for damages of up to $10,000 per person, and it would also like to see Facebook not scanning private messages going into the future.
Samsung isn't having much luck lately, after firing some of its key executives not too long ago and a huge 60% drop in profits, and citing a decline in sales, the company has closed the doors of its flagship Experience Store in London's Westfield Stratford shopping center.
The store in question was one of the big ones, located in one of the busiest parts of the mall, and was usually the first store in the UK to sell flagship devices like the Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4. In a statement to The Verge, Samsung said that the decision on closing this store would not affect the other Experience Stores across the UK.
Samsung said to The Verge "We remain fully committed to the operation of the remaining nine Samsung Experience Stores across the UK, and wish to reassure our customers that those stores will not be affected by this decision."
The legal battle between Samsung and NVIDIA continues as the US International Trade Commission (ITC) launches an investigation into Samsung claims that NVIDIA is violating its patents. Samsung's lawsuit is a retaliatory move after NVIDIA fired the opening salvo in the legal battle in September. NVIDIA sued both Samsung and Qualcomm for infringing their graphic patents in September. NVIDIA is playing hardball and asking for the ITC to block shipments of several of Samsung's mobile devices in the US, including the Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4.
Samsung is seeking a similar ban on NVIDIA products in the US, but the much smaller NVIDIA seems to have more at stake. NVIDIA's lawsuit against Samsung only touches a small number of Samsung products, but the Samsung lawsuit affects nearly every NVIDIA product, including the Shield, GeForce processors, Tegra mobile chips, Quadro cards, Tesla cards, and Grid computing products. Samsung is accusing NVIDIA and 11 of their partners of violating four of their patents on chips structures, memory arrays and other chip technologies. These battles can take years to play out, and the ITC has already launched an investigation into Samsung regarding NVIDIA's claims.
Movie theater patrons in the UK, a group of 12-year-old girls, faced a major headache when theater management called police over suspected piracy concerns. The children brought their Apple iPhones and iPads into the theater while seeing "The Hunger Games," despite not recording any data, the police were called.
A few members of the group were accused of recording parts of the movie, and the police searched the devices for recordings, but were unable to find anything. The theater allowed them to return to their seats, but they instead decided to wait for their parents to pick them up.
Here is what a mother of one of the girls said following the incident: "Our girls were falsely accused, had the police called on them and then just left in tears. It's outrageous. If they have done this to our children they will do it again."
Sony Pictures will release "The Interview" in any theater willing to show it, starting on Christmas Day, reversing its decision to pull the movie. The company also plans to release the movie digitally, but Sony hasn't offered additional details on how interested viewers will be able to watch the film.
"We have never given up on releasing 'The Interview' and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day," said Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures CEO, in a press statement. "At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience."
Here is what Seth Rogen said (via Twitter): "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"
Apple executives have lashed out at the BBC Panorama report that revealed ongoing poor working conditions for employees at an Apple manufacturing facility in China. The report indicated employees were found to work up to 16 hours per shift, working many consecutive days, and living in harsh environments in their dormitories.
Apple CEO Tim Cook noted educational programs for workers in China, along with improving working conditions, in an open letter to Apple employees working in the UK.
"As you know, Apple is dedicated to the advancement of human rights and equality around the world. We are honest about the challenges we face and we work hard to make sure that people who make our products are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."
Sony is currently removing any trace of The Interview from social networks, with The Interview's Facebook page gone, and the Twitter account isn't far behind that. There were 1800+ tweets on The Interview Twitter account, all of which have been deleted.
This comes after North Korea being blamed as the source of the hack by the US government, but not long after the country asked if the US government would join a joint operation to find out who exactly did this. The FBI and the Obama administration have yet to have replied to North Korea's offer, but I'm sure that can't be too far away now.
It looks like Xiaomi is raising more funds, with the Chinese smartphone giant reportedly raising over $1 billion in a fresh round of funding that could be finalized on Monday.
The latest injection of cash is reportedly led by All-Stars Investment, which is run by a former analyst of Morgan Stanley, Richard Ji. The Wall Street Journal has its usual unnamed sources who claim "Other participants in the round include Russian investment firm DST Global and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC, which are both already shareholders of Xiaomi."
Most thought that Facebook was a bit crazy when it purchased image sharing service Instagram for $1 billion, but now the company is worth upwards of $35 billion according to a new valuation estimate.
Citigroup has performed the valuation, with the previous valuation pegging Instagram at being worth a still-impressive $19 billion. The increased value is coming off of the news that Instagram now features over 300 million active monthly users, and is growing much faster than most have anticipated.
The $35 billion valuation is still quite speculative, withi Citigroup's own analysts weary of it, as it depends on multiple factors, but they're still optimistic that the service is undermonetized. Citigroup believes that Instagram could provide Facebook with around $2 billion in annual revenue eventually.
BlackBerry's revenue dropped 34 percent during its fiscal third quarter, posting a net loss of $148 million, ending Q3 with $3.1 billion in cash. It may seem like a major financial loss, but the Canadian smartphone maker lost $4.4 billion during Q3 last year, and was a slightly smaller loss than reported during Q2.
The company expects it to take a "couple of quarters" before sales begin to increase, as BlackBerry still struggles to compete against the Apple iPhone - and smartphones from Samsung and other manufacturers using Google Android.
Here is what Chen said during the financial call: "Things are happening. I'm encouraged that they are happening, but I wouldn't say that all things are well. I mean we still need a lot of work and a lot of attention and working well together and that's what I'm spending most of my time on."