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GM driverless car unit recalls vehicles after accident

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General Motor's Cruise self-driving car is designed to operate on its own with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls
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General Motor’s autonomous vehicle unit Cruise recalled 80 cars and updated their software after one failed to properly predict the trajectory of an oncoming vehicle.

The company, which is the first to have deployed driverless taxis in San Francisco in June, sent a notice this week to the US agency in charge of road safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In filings which came to public attention Thursday, Cruise explains that on June 3 one of its cars was hit from the rear by another vehicle after breaking sharply while making an unprotected left turn.

The self-driving vehicle decided “a hard brake was necessary to avoid a severe front-end collision with an oncoming vehicle,” the document said.

Two people were slightly injured, according to a report submitted to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Police determined that the other vehicle was primarily responsible for the incident as it was not in the correct lane and was traveling over the speed limit.

The NHTSA, however, did not fully exonerate Cruise from liability, stating that the software could, “in certain circumstances when making an unprotected left, cause the ADS (automated driving system) to incorrectly predict another vehicle’s path or be insufficiently reactive.”

Cruise has modified the software and says were the vehicle to be in the same situation again, it would act differently to avoid error.

Carmakers, led by Tesla, have been working for several years on development of autonomous driving and driving assistance systems, but progress has been slower than initially hoped.

Waymo, a Cruise rival and subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has offered a ride-hailing program in Phoenix, Arizona for several years.

Cruise is the first company to be granted permission to transport passengers for a fee in a larger city.

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Apple wins 728-mn-euro cut to France antitrust fine

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Apple plans to appeal the ruling to quash the entire 1.1-billion-euro fine
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A French court on Thursday slashed more than 700 million euros from a record 1.1-billion-euro fine imposed on US tech giant Apple in 2020, sources close to the case told AFP.

France’s competition authority levied the fine — its biggest ever — after concluding that the firm squeezed independent sellers of Apple products as it tried to push buyers towards its own stores and preferred retailers.

But the Paris appeal court revised the decision and knocked 728 million from the fine, meaning Apple still faces having to pay 370 million euros.

Apple says the fine is unfair and told AFP the whole complaint should be quashed. 

“We consider that the decision should have been annulled in its entirety and plan to appeal to the French supreme court,” the firm told AFP in a statement. 

“The decision concerns practices that go back more than 10 years and that even the French competition authority has recognised as no longer being in force.”

The initial case was made up of three linked complaints — one was dismissed by the appeals court and two were upheld.

Sources close to the case, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed the amounts and the details of the decision.

The Paris appeals court told AFP the ruling would be made public on Friday.

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Former Uber security chief convicted in hack cover-up: reports

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The prosecution of a former head of security at Uber for his handling of a massive hack has others in the industry worried about being held personally accountable for decisions made on the job.
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A jury on Wednesday found Uber’s former security chief guilty of federal crimes for covering up a massive hack that compromised personal information of users and drivers, according to US media reports.

Joseph Sullivan was found guilty of obstructing the work of the Federal Trade Commission and of failing to let authorities know about a crime when he hid a 2016 hack instead of reporting it, according to news outlets.

Sullivan could be sentenced to prison time.

Sullivan sought to pay off the hackers by funneling money through a “bug bounty” program that rewards developers for revealing security vulnerabilities without doing any harm, according to the criminal complaint.

Uber paid the hackers $100,000 in bitcoin cryptocurrency in December 2016, and Sullivan wanted them to sign non-disclosure agreements promising to keep mum about the affair, prosecutors said.

Sullivan was Uber chief security officer from April 2015 to November 2017.

The criminal complaint maintains that Sullivan deceived Uber’s new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, appointed in mid-2017 to replace Travis Kalanick, about the breach.

“Silicon Valley is not the Wild West,” US Attorney David Anderson for the Northern District of California said in a statement when the charges were filed.

“We will not tolerate corporate cover-ups. We will not tolerate illegal hush money payments.”

Two members of the Uber information security team who “led the response” that included not alerting users about the data breach were let go from the San Francisco-based company, according to Khosrowshahi.

The Uber chief said he had learned that outsiders broke into a cloud-based server used by the company for data and downloaded a significant amount of information.

Stolen files included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers for millions of riders, and the names and driver license information of some 600,000 drivers, according to Uber.

Co-founder and ousted chief Kalanick was advised of the breach shortly after it was discovered, but it was not made public until Khosrowshahi learned of the incident, according to an AFP source.

Uber did not respond to a request for comment on the verdict.

Casey Ellis, founder and CTO at Bugcrowd, a San Francisco-based leader in crowd-sourced cybersecurity, said, “It’s a significant precedent that has already sent shockwaves through the CISO (chief information security officer) community.”

“It highlights the personal liability involved in being a CISO in a dynamic policy, legal, and attacker environment.”

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Musk says Twitter has refused to suspend litigation on buyout

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Elon Musk asked a Delaware judge to halt Twitter's lawsuit against him over their troubled takeover negotiations
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Elon Musk asked a US judge Thursday to suspend Twitter’s lawsuit over their troubled takeover negotiations after the embattled social media company balked at the Tesla’s chief’s demand to freeze the litigation.

Musk’s request comes two days after he revived his takeover plan. The unpredictable billionaire’s July withdrawal from the $44-billion transaction prompted Twitter to sue Musk over breach of contract in a Delaware court. 

A trial is scheduled to start on October 17.

“There is no need for an expedited trial to order Defendants to do what they are already doing and this action is now moot,” said a filing prepared by Musk attorneys that alluded to his latest offer.

“Yet, Twitter will not take yes for an answer. Astonishingly they have insisted on proceeding with this litigation, recklessly putting the deal at risk and gambling with their stockholders interests.”

Musk on Tuesday sent a letter to Twitter reviving the $54.20-per-share offer under the condition that the Delaware court halt action in the lawsuit against him.

Twitter said Tuesday it expects to close the buyout deal at the $54.20 price in a statement that did not address Musk’s demands over freezing the litigation.

On Wednesday, Delaware Judge Kathaleen McCormick said she still planned to go ahead with the trial, noting that neither party had asked for a suspension.

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