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Facebook faces German WhatsApp data ban

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Facebook has been ordered by a German privacy regulator to stop collecting and storing the data of German users of its messaging app WhatsApp.

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said that the social network had not obtained effective approval from WhatsApp’s 35 million German users.

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19bn (£14.6bn) in 2014 as a way to reach out to a younger audience.

It is to appeal against the order.

“We will work with the Hamburg DPA in an effort to address their questions and resolve any concerns,” it said in a statement.

The data watchdog said that Facebook and WhatsApp were independent companies and should process their users’ data as such.

“After the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook two years ago, both parties have publicly assured [users] that data will not be shared between them,” said commissioner Johannes Caspar in a statement.

WhatsApp caused controversy in August when it announced that it was changing its privacy policy to allow its data to be shared with its parent company.

It said that better co-ordination with Facebook would help it to fight spam as well as allowing Facebook to offer “better friends suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them”.

It will share phone numbers and the details of the last time that users signed on to WhatsApp.

EU and US regulators reacted with caution, saying that the update needed to be investigated. The UK’s Information Commissioner is also looking into the changes.

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Amazon to investigate illegal overtime linking hundreds of teenagers in Chinese factory

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Reports has it had that, Amazon is investigating allegations linking hundreds of teenagers working illegal hours at a Chinese factory producing its Alexa devices.

A new report by China Labor Watch claims more than 1,500 “interns” were manufacturing the smart assistants at a factory run by supplier Foxconn.

The teenagers, aged between 16 and 18, were reportedly pressured into work 60 hours a week and night shifts.

Foxconn has blamed local managers and vowed to improve monitoring of staff.

The company, which makes products for a number of technology giants, has allegedly fired two senior staff members at the site in Hengyang, Bloomberg reports.

It is the latest in a string of controversies surrounding working conditions at the manufacturer, which is headquartered in Taiwan.

In 2017, it emerged some students were working illegal overtime at another Foxconn facility making Apple iPhone Xs.

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BMW and Tencent to team-up in developing self-driving cars

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(Reuters) – German automaker BMW (BMWG.DE) and Chinese online gaming giant Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) are teaming up to launch a computing center in China that will help develop self-driving cars in the world’s biggest auto market, the companies said on Friday.

The computing center, which will start operations by the end of the year, will provide cars with data-crunching capabilities to help them drive semi-autonomously and, eventually, autonomously.

The two companies did not disclose the investment in the center. Sources familiar with the deal said the center will be built in the eastern city of Tianjin.

The establishment of the center “will support BMW’s autonomous driving development and innovation in China,” Jochen Goller, head of BMW’s China operations, said in a statement.

“BMW can, therefore, develop autonomous driving solutions that fit better with the specific driving conditions in China.”

BMW said the new computing center will leverage Tencent’s cloud computing and big data, and provide the automaker with infrastructure needed to develop the autonomous cars.

The Munich-headquartered automaker says it will likely introduce semi-autonomous, or L3 classification, cars in China in 2021 which would need massive computing power to analyze real-time flow of digital information on road and traffic conditions.

Driverless cars need sophisticated data-crunching capabilities as they rely on so-called artificial-intelligence, or neuro-network technology, to help them “learn” from experience and could eventually drive themselves without human intervention.

BMW’s planned Chinese computing center follows the opening earlier this year of a similar computing center in Munich.

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