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Faced With Possibly Paying For News, Google Removes Links To California News Sites For Some Users

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SACRAMENTO, CA – Google began eliminating California news websites from certain people’s search results on Friday, a test that serves as a warning if the state Legislature passes legislation mandating the search engine to compensate media businesses for linking to their content.

Google disclosed the change in a blog post on Friday, describing it as a “short-term test for a small percentage of users… to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.” The firm also announced that it would suspend further investments in the California news industry, including a cooperation project with news organizations and a product licensing program.

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Faced With Possibly Paying For News, Google Removes Links To California News Sites For Some Users

“By assisting consumers in finding news content, we enable publishers of all sizes to build their audiences at no expense. “(This bill) would disrupt that model,” wrote Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s vice president for global news partnerships, in a blog post.

The California Legislature is debating legislation obliging tech behemoths such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft to pay media firms a share of advertising revenue for linking to their material. A panel of three judges will determine the amount the corporations must pay through an arbitration process.

The law tries to halt the rapid loss of journalism employment as traditional media organizations struggle to profit in the digital age. According to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, more than 2,500 newspapers have closed in the United States since 2005. According to the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, more than 100 news organizations have closed in California over the last decade.

“This is a bill about basic fairness — it’s about ensuring that platforms pay for the content they repurpose,” Wicks said. “We are committed to continuing negotiations with Google and all other stakeholders to secure a brighter future for California journalists and ensure that the lights of democracy stay on.”

Despite significant resistance and lobbying attempts from major technology corporations, the state Assembly enacted the bill last year with bipartisan backing. It would need to be passed by the California Senate later this year to become law.

Supporters claimed that the measure would help level the playing field between news publishers and giant digital platforms and provide a “lifeline” to local news organizations that rely largely on Google’s search engine to spread their material in the digital age. While Google’s search engine has become the center of a digital advertising empire worth more than $200 billion annually, news publishers’ advertising revenues have fallen dramatically in recent decades.

Opponents, including Google, Meta, and several independent newsrooms, refer to the measure as a “link tax” that will disproportionately benefit out-of-state newspaper chains and hedge funds while further decimating local news organizations. Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news, also told state lawmakers in a December hearing that the tech giant has made significant contributions to local journalism, citing financial grants and training to nearly 1,000 local publications in 2023, among other initiatives.

google

Faced With Possibly Paying For News, Google Removes Links To California News Sites For Some Users

Gingras described Google’s search engine as “the largest newsstand on Earth,” connecting people to news websites more than 24 billion times every month. Google’s search engine controls an estimated 90% of the market.

“This traffic, in turn, helps publishers make money by showing ads or attracting new subscribers,” he added, adding that each Google link click is projected to cost a news website 5 cents to 7 cents.

Google’s decision to temporarily delete links to news websites is not a novel strategy for digital behemoths when opposing unpopular legislation. When Canada and Australia established similar rules to foster journalism, Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, retaliated by censoring Canadian publishers’ content on its Canadian websites. Last year, the business issued identical threats to members of the United States Congress and California lawmakers. Google has threatened to do the same in Canada. However, in November, Google agreed to pay the news business 100 million Canadian dollars ($74 million US dollars).

News publishers would suffer and may lay off more journalists if Google fully removed content from its search results, but analysts say Google would also suffer financially without news content.

“Google would be damaging itself enormously if it decided to stop using newspaper content,” Brandon Kressin, an antitrust attorney representing News Media Alliance and other news publishers, told senators during a December session. “They would be cutting off their nose to spite their own face.”

The political debate over Google’s main search engine, which has the potential to restrict access to diverse news sources, is taking place against the backdrop of judicial proceedings that could result in verdicts that undermine the company’s online empire.

google

Faced With Possibly Paying For News, Google Removes Links To California News Sites For Some Users

After presenting evidence to support its allegations that Google has used its power to stifle competition and innovation during the largest antitrust trial in a quarter century, the US Justice Department’s lawyers will present their closing arguments next month to a federal judge who is expected to rule on the case later this year.

Following another antitrust trial that concluded in December, a federal jury determined that Google had turned its app store for smartphones running Android software into an illegal monopoly that limited consumer choices while enriching the company through unfairly high in-app purchase commissions. A hearing on the modifications Google requires due to the ruling is also scheduled for next month.

California has enhanced local journalism through various efforts, including a $25 million multiyear state-funded program in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism that places 40 early-career journalists in local newsrooms each year. This year, lawmakers are also debating a plan to boost tax credits for local news organizations.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

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Sony | Pixa Bay Image

TOKYO — Sony, a Japanese electronics and entertainment company, says it will focus on innovation in movies, animation, and video games rather than traditional gadgetry.

Its CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, described the company’s plan Thursday, saying Sony was assisting creative workers in delivering what he called “kando,” a moving experience.

Yoshida would not comment on claims that Tokyo-based Sony and Apollo Global Management are interested in acquiring Paramount Global.

Sony

Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Yoshida stated that the business now focuses on the creative process rather than valuing prior items such as the Walkman portable music player and Trinitron color televisions. He stated that “synergies” are no longer defined by entertainment and electronics but by intellectual property encompassing animation, music, gaming, and films.

In an online briefing, he stated, “We will continue to support people’s creativity through our technology.”

Sony is adapting to harsher circumstances, as competitors produce cheaper but competitive gadgets. According to critics, pursuing careers in film, music, and other forms of entertainment can be financially difficult.

Beginning with the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018, Sony has invested over 1.5 trillion yen ($10 billion) in the last six years to boost its content creation.

Sony

Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

In 2021, it bought Crunchyroll, which has over 13 million paid customers and distributes Japanese cartoons worldwide. Another was Yoasobi, a Japanese music duet that uses Vocaloid technology, or singing voice synthesizer software, and has gained a global following.

Sony’s real-time computer technology, which records “this moment,” as Yoshida called it, is employed in sports cameras because it can catch fast-moving subjects without distortion

According to Yoshida, it is also utilized for news coverage and editing, 3D video and computer graphics, including successful movies like “Godzilla Minus One” and games based on human athlete movements

Sony

Sony | AP News Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Sony recently recorded a quarterly profit of 189 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 141 billion yen the year before. The PlayStation gaming machine manufacturer’s quarterly revenue increased 14% to 3.48 trillion yen ($22 billion).

However, for the fiscal year ending March 31, Sony’s profit fell 3% to 970 billion yen ($6.2 billion) due to poor performance in its financial services sector, which will be largely split off next year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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Harvard | Harvard.com Image

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

Harvard

Harvard | The Forward Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

Harvard

Harvard | Harvard Crimson Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

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Mastercard | AP news Image

NEW YORK  — Mastercard said Wednesday that it hopes to detect that your credit or debit card number has been compromised long before it falls into the hands of a cybercriminal.

Mastercard’s most recent software upgrade incorporates artificial intelligence into its fraud-prediction system, which it hopes will allow banks to replace stolen cards before criminals use them.

“Generative AI is going to allow us to figure out where you possibly got your credentials compromised, how we can identify how it happened, and how we can very quickly remedy that situation not only for you, but also for other customers who don’t know they are compromised yet,” said Johan Gerber, executive vice president of security and cyber innovation at Mastercard, in an interview.

mastrcard

Mastercard | Investopedia Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard, based in Purchase, New York, says that with this new update, it can use other patterns or contextual information, such as geography, time, and addresses, and combine it with incomplete but compromised credit card numbers that appear in databases, allowing it to reach cardholders sooner and replace the bad card.

The patterns can now be applied in reverse, potentially employing batches of faulty cards to identify potentially hacked businesses or payment processors. According to Gerber, pattern identification goes beyond what humans can perform with database queries or other typical approaches.

Billions of stolen credit and debit card numbers are floating on the dark web, ready for purchase by any thief. Most were stolen from merchants in data breaches over the years, but a substantial number were stolen from unwary customers who used their credit or debit cards at the incorrect gas station, ATM, or online shop.

These compromised cards may go undiscovered for weeks, months, or even years. Only when the payment networks themselves dig into the dark web to look for stolen numbers, a merchant discovers a breach, or a criminal uses a card do the payment networks, and banks realize a batch of cards may be compromised.

mastercard

Mastercard | Youtube Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

“We can now actually proactively reach out to the banks to make sure that we service that consumer and get them a new card in her or his hands so they can go about their lives with as little disruption as possible,” Gerber stated.

The payment networks are primarily attempting to transition away from “static” credit card or debit card numbers — card numbers and expiration dates that are used consistently across all businesses — and toward unique numbers for specific transactions. However, that transformation could take years, especially in the United States, where payment technology uptake is typically slow.

While chip cards are currently used in more than 90% of all in-person transactions worldwide, EMVCo, the technological body behind the chip in credit and debit cards, estimates that the proportion in the United States is closer to 70%.

Mastercard

Mastercard | Mastercard Image

Using AI, Mastercard Expects To Find Compromised Cards Quicker, Before They Get Used By Criminals

Mastercard’s announcement comes as its main competitor, Visa Inc., looks for ways to force users to discard their 16-digit credit and debit card numbers. Visa revealed big changes to how credit and debit cards will work in the United States last week, implying that Americans will carry fewer physical cards in their wallets and that the 16-digit credit or debit card number inscribed on each card will become less relevant.

SOURCE – (AP)

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