Category Archives: Technology

silicon valley & technology news

US Warns of WTO Action Over ‘Discriminatory’ New Digital Taxes

The U.S. is weighing a complaint at the World Trade Organization against “discriminatory” new taxes on digital giants such as a Facebook and Google which are being planned by France and other EU nations, a top US trade official said Tuesday.

“We think the whole theoretical basis of digital service taxes is ill-conceived and the effect is highly discriminatory against US-based multinationals,” Chip Harter, a Treasury official and US delegate for global tax talks, said in Paris.

Speaking ahead of two days of talks at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Harter added that “various parts of our government are studying whether that discriminatory impact would give us rights under trade agreements and WTO treaties.”

The OECD is spearheading talks aimed at forging a new global agreement on taxing technology and digital giants who often declare their income in low-tax nations, depriving other countries of billions in revenue.

But that overhaul is expected until next year at the earliest, prompting France, Britain, Spain, Austria and Italy to move ahead with their own versions of a so-called “digital services tax” as soon as this year.

Last week France unveiled draft legislation that would set a 3.0-percent levy on digital advertising, the sale of personal data and other revenue for tech groups with more than 750 million euros ($844 million) in worldwide revenue.

It would be applied retroactively from January 1, 2019, while the measures in the UK and other European countries might not come into effect until next year.

“We do understand there’s political pressure around the world to tax various international businesses more heavily, and we actually agreed that that is appropriate,” Harter told journalists.

“But we think it should be done on a broader basis than just selecting a particular industry,” he said.

 

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

US Warns Germany a Huawei Deal Could Hurt Intelligence Sharing

The United States on Monday warned Germany about future “information sharing” if it uses “untrusted vendors” in its 5G telecom infrastructure amid debate over whether Chinese IT giant Huawei is an espionage risk.

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell sent a letter to German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Friday warning that in such a case the US could scale down intelligence and other information exchanges.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson told AFP on Monday it would not comment on diplomatic communications, but added that its position on 5G network security was well known.

“To the extent there are untrusted vendors in the networks of an ally, that could raise future questions about the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive communications within that country, as well as between that country and its allies,” the spokesperson said.

“This could in the future jeopardize nimble cooperation and some sharing of information. We are engaging intensively with our allies on how to secure our telecommunications networks to ensure continued interoperability.”

German minister Altmaier confirmed he had received the letter, but told AFP he could not comment on its contents, adding: “We will respond quickly”.

Germany, like other EU countries, has relied heavily on US intelligence on terror and other threats provided by the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy services.

The US and several other Western nations, fearful of the security risks posed by the company closely tied to the Chinese government, have shut Huawei out of tenders for the development of the newest 5G infrastructure.

The Chinese telecoms behemoth has strenuously denied the espionage allegations.

Germany, anxious to not get sucked into the maelstrom of an ongoing U.S.-China spat over a multitude of issues including trade, has taken a cautious stance on the issue.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it was necessary to talk to Beijing “to make sure that the company does not simply give up all data that is used to the Chinese state, but that there are safeguards”.

Some measures in the works include adding a non-spying clause, a requirement to publish code sources used in the infrastructures as well as allowing independent laboratories to carry out tests on the components used.

Huawei has quietly become a leading supplier of the backbone equipment for mobile networks, particularly in developing markets thanks to cheaper prices.

Germany, although it is Europe’s leading economy, has seen its mobile infrastructure lag behind, with most Germans having access only to 3G.

The 5G network is meant to be 100 times more rapid than 4G, and is viewed as the next major step in the digital revolution that makes data transfers almost instantaneous.

 

 

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

US Warns Germany a Huawei Deal Could Hurt Intelligence Sharing

The United States on Monday warned Germany about future “information sharing” if it uses “untrusted vendors” in its 5G telecom infrastructure amid debate over whether Chinese IT giant Huawei is an espionage risk.

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell sent a letter to German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Friday warning that in such a case the US could scale down intelligence and other information exchanges.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson told AFP on Monday it would not comment on diplomatic communications, but added that its position on 5G network security was well known.

“To the extent there are untrusted vendors in the networks of an ally, that could raise future questions about the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive communications within that country, as well as between that country and its allies,” the spokesperson said.

“This could in the future jeopardize nimble cooperation and some sharing of information. We are engaging intensively with our allies on how to secure our telecommunications networks to ensure continued interoperability.”

German minister Altmaier confirmed he had received the letter, but told AFP he could not comment on its contents, adding: “We will respond quickly”.

Germany, like other EU countries, has relied heavily on US intelligence on terror and other threats provided by the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy services.

The US and several other Western nations, fearful of the security risks posed by the company closely tied to the Chinese government, have shut Huawei out of tenders for the development of the newest 5G infrastructure.

The Chinese telecoms behemoth has strenuously denied the espionage allegations.

Germany, anxious to not get sucked into the maelstrom of an ongoing U.S.-China spat over a multitude of issues including trade, has taken a cautious stance on the issue.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said it was necessary to talk to Beijing “to make sure that the company does not simply give up all data that is used to the Chinese state, but that there are safeguards”.

Some measures in the works include adding a non-spying clause, a requirement to publish code sources used in the infrastructures as well as allowing independent laboratories to carry out tests on the components used.

Huawei has quietly become a leading supplier of the backbone equipment for mobile networks, particularly in developing markets thanks to cheaper prices.

Germany, although it is Europe’s leading economy, has seen its mobile infrastructure lag behind, with most Germans having access only to 3G.

The 5G network is meant to be 100 times more rapid than 4G, and is viewed as the next major step in the digital revolution that makes data transfers almost instantaneous.

 

 

 

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Apple: ‘It’s Show Time’ March 25, TV Service Announcement Expected

Apple on Monday invited media to a March 25 event at the Steve Jobs Theater on its campus in Cupertino, California, where it is expected to launch a television and video service.

Sources previously told Reuters that the company is targeting April for the launch of a streaming television service that will likely include subscription TV service.

Apple often launches products and services in the weeks following an event.

In its invitation, Apple did not specify the focus of the event and gave a single-line description: “It’s show time.”

Apple has long hinted at a planned video service, spending $2 billion in Hollywood to produce its own content and signing major stars such as Oprah Winfrey. Sources familiar with the matter earlier told Reuters that the service may resell subscriptions from CBS, Viacom and Lions Gate Entertainment’s Starz among others, as well as Apple’s own original content.

The TV service is expected to launch globally, an ambitious move to rival services from Netflix Inc and Amazon.com’s Prime Video. Apple’s App Store, where the service is likely to be distributed, is currently available in more than 100 countries.

The potential sales from a television service have become a focus of investors after Apple in January reported the first-ever dip in iPhone sales during the key holiday shopping period and said it would lower iPhone prices in some markets to account for foreign exchange rates.

Apple is also in discussions with HBO, part of AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, to become part of the service and it could yet make it in time for the launch, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While there is a chance Apple will update its iPads or Apple TV devices later this month, the event is likely to be Apple’s first major media event in which hardware is not the primary focus, said Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies.

That is a big shift for Apple, which earlier this year moved to make its Apple Music services work on smart speakers from rivals such as Amazon and partnered with Samsung Electronics to let Samsung television owners watch video purchased from Apple on Samsung sets.

“I don’t look at that as saying Apple has given up on the (Apple smart speaker) HomePod or the Apple TV – those will be the products where Apple Music or an Apple movie experience work the best,” Bajarin said. “But Apple is smart to not limit the places people can consume their services.”

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Governments Seek UN Scrutiny of Technologies to Cool the Climate

As climate change accelerates, the United Nations Environment Assembly will this week consider whether to start assessing, and setting rules on, technologies that could pull carbon out of the atmosphere or block some of the sun’s warmth to cool the Earth.

Delegates at the week-long meeting in Nairobi will debate a proposal from Switzerland, backed by 10 other countries, to begin examining geoengineering technologies, which backers say could help fend off the worst impacts of runaway climate change.

If adopted, the proposal could lead to the highest-level examination yet of the controversial technologies, which have gained prominence as efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions fall short.

“We need to have an understanding on the implications of using such technologies, and how they would be governed in the future,” Siim Kiisler, Estonia’s environment minister and president of the Nairobi meeting, told journalists on Monday.

“Just ignoring the issue does not help. We have to talk about it,” he said.

Franz Xaver Perrez, Switzerland’s environmental ambassador and head of its delegation in Nairobi, said his nation had concerns that sun-dimming technology, in particular, could have “a tremendous negative impact.”

Nonetheless, “we should not be guided by concerns, but have a better understanding of the situation first”, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, noting that “we might need multilateral control of these technologies.”

Opponents say the technologies present huge potential risks to people and nature, and could undermine efforts to cut emissions, not least because many are backed by fossil-fuel interests.

“These technologies provide a perfect excuse for delaying action or weakening our current emissions reduction targets,” warned Carroll Muffett, president of the Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law, in a telephone interview.

Rapidly slashing emissions – by switching to greener power, preserving forests and similar measures – remains the cheapest and safest way to fend off worsening droughts, floods, storms and other impacts of global warming, he said.

But research is moving ahead fast on two groups of alternative technologies to curb climate change, as emissions continue to rise.

One set aims to suck heat-trapping carbon out of the atmosphere and store it underground, or use it in other ways.

The other focuses on cooling the planet by blocking some of the sun’s energy, through measures such as high-altitude planes that spray reflective sulphur particles into the stratosphere.

‘Light’ use

In a paper published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists modeling the use of solar geoengineering technology said limited deployment – to halve expected warming over the next century, rather than stop it entirely – could dramatically lessen risks from stronger tropical cyclones, for instance.

Earlier modeling of solar geoengineering to avert all projected warming flagged the possibility of changes in water availability, sparking fears the technology could shift monsoons, and create “winners” and “losers.”

Opponents of the technology have suggested it could even be “weaponized,” with a water-short country deploying the technology to improve its rainfall at the expense of neighbors.

But the new modeling suggests no region would see dramatic shifts with lighter use of the technology, although the scientists noted the results were based on an “idealized” study.

Lead author Peter Irvine, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University, said solar management would need to work hand-in-hand with reducing emissions, and could not “replace mitigation.”

David Keith, the leader of a team focused on solar geoengineering research at Harvard and a co-author of the study, said the modeling suggested “geoengineering could enable surprisingly uniform benefits” if used with mitigation efforts.

Option to ban

A high-profile report released by climate scientists last October, exploring how to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, the most ambitious goal set by governments in the 2015 Paris Agreement, specifically did not consider the use of solar geoengineering.

It said the technology was untested, had “substantial” risks, and would not address the problem of oceans becoming more acidic as they absorb growing amounts of carbon dioxide.

Muffett said bodies such as the U.N. Environment Assembly, if they did begin exploring geoengineering technologies, should leave open the possibility of banning them entirely, as progress on their development could boost pressure to deploy them.

The assembly also should make sure any panel assessing the technologies included representatives of poorer countries and indigenous groups, while excluding those who held patents on the technologies or stood to profit from them, he said.

This week’s meeting is not the first effort to explore and potentially regulate the emerging technologies.

Member nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010 set a non-binding moratorium on the use of geoengineering technologies, though agreed to permit research on them.

And an ocean pollution convention has banned the dumping of iron into the sea to boost uptake of carbon dioxide by algae, while also allowing research on the topic.

Janos Pasztor, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative, which hopes to spur effective governance of the emerging technologies, described the U.N. Environment Assembly’s focus on them as a positive step.

“What is needed is governments to engage and start a serious conversation about these issues,” he said.

If approved, the Swiss-backed proposal being presented in Nairobi this week would require U.N. Environment to analyze the technologies and report by August 2020 on how they could be governed and used at scale, among other things.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Boeing Likely to Face New Questions After Another 737 Crash

Investigators rushed to the scene of a devastating plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, an accident that could renew safety questions about the newest version of Boeing’s popular 737 airliner.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from the capital of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it.

In those circumstances, the accident is eerily similar to an October crash in which a 737 Max 8 flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 people on the plane.

Safety experts took note of the similarities but cautioned against quickly drawing too many parallels between the two crashes.

Alan Diehl, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said the similarities included both crews encountering a problem shortly after takeoff, and reports of large variations in vertical speed during ascent, “clearly suggesting a potential controllability problem” with the Ethiopian jetliner.

But there are many possible explanations, Diehl said, including engine problems, pilot error, weight load, sabotage or bird strikes. He said Ethiopian has a good reputation, but investigators will look into the plane’s maintenance, especially since that may have been an issue in the Lion Air investigation.

By contrast, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO “stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Lion Air crash yet,” said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.

“I do hope though that people will wait for the first results of the investigation instead of jumping to conclusions based on the very little facts that we know so far,” he said.

Boeing representatives did not immediately respond for comment. The company tweeted that it was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew” on the Ethiopian Airlines Max airplane.

The Chicago-based company said it would send a technical to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.

A spokesman for the NTSB said the U.S. agency was sending a team of four to assist Ethiopian authorities. Boeing and the U.S. investigative agency are also involved in the Lion Air probe.

Indonesian investigators have not stated a cause for the Lion Air crash, but they are examining whether faulty readings from a sensor might have triggered an automatic nose-down command to the plane, which the Lion Air pilots fought unsuccessfully to overcome. The automated system kicks in if sensors indicate that a plane is about to lose lift, or go into an aerodynamic stall. Gaining speed by diving can prevent a stall.

The Lion Air plane’s flight data recorder showed problems with an airspeed indicator on four flights, although the airline initially said the problem was fixed.

Days after the Oct. 29 accident, Boeing sent a notice to airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down. The notice reminded pilots of the procedure for handling such a situation, which is to disable the system causing the automatic nose-down movements.

Pilots at some airlines, however, including American and Southwest, protested that they were not fully informed about a new system that could automatically point the plane’s nose down based on sensor readings. Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in December that the Max is a safe plane, and that Boeing did not withhold operating details from airlines and pilots.

Diehl, the former NTSB investigator, said the Ethiopian Airlines pilots should have been aware of that issue from press coverage of the Lion Air crash.

The 737 is the best-selling airliner in history, and the Max is the newest version of it, with more fuel-efficient engines. The Max is a central part of Boeing’s strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.

Boeing has delivered about 350 737 Max planes and has orders for more than 5,000. It is already in use by many airlines including American, United and Southwest.

The Lion Air incident does not seem to have harmed Boeing’s ability to sell the Max. Boeing’s stock fell nearly 7 percent on the day of the Lion Air crash. Since then it has soared 26 percent higher, compared with a 4 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

Boeing Likely to Face New Questions After Another 737 Crash

Investigators rushed to the scene of a devastating plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, an accident that could renew safety questions about the newest version of Boeing’s popular 737 airliner.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after taking off from the capital of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

The plane was new. The weather was clear. Yet something was wrong, and the pilots tried to return to the airport. They never made it.

In those circumstances, the accident is eerily similar to an October crash in which a 737 Max 8 flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 people on the plane.

Safety experts took note of the similarities but cautioned against quickly drawing too many parallels between the two crashes.

Alan Diehl, a former National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said the similarities included both crews encountering a problem shortly after takeoff, and reports of large variations in vertical speed during ascent, “clearly suggesting a potential controllability problem” with the Ethiopian jetliner.

But there are many possible explanations, Diehl said, including engine problems, pilot error, weight load, sabotage or bird strikes. He said Ethiopian has a good reputation, but investigators will look into the plane’s maintenance, especially since that may have been an issue in the Lion Air investigation.

By contrast, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO “stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Lion Air crash yet,” said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide.

“I do hope though that people will wait for the first results of the investigation instead of jumping to conclusions based on the very little facts that we know so far,” he said.

Boeing representatives did not immediately respond for comment. The company tweeted that it was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew” on the Ethiopian Airlines Max airplane.

The Chicago-based company said it would send a technical to the crash site to help Ethiopian and U.S. investigators.

A spokesman for the NTSB said the U.S. agency was sending a team of four to assist Ethiopian authorities. Boeing and the U.S. investigative agency are also involved in the Lion Air probe.

Indonesian investigators have not stated a cause for the Lion Air crash, but they are examining whether faulty readings from a sensor might have triggered an automatic nose-down command to the plane, which the Lion Air pilots fought unsuccessfully to overcome. The automated system kicks in if sensors indicate that a plane is about to lose lift, or go into an aerodynamic stall. Gaining speed by diving can prevent a stall.

The Lion Air plane’s flight data recorder showed problems with an airspeed indicator on four flights, although the airline initially said the problem was fixed.

Days after the Oct. 29 accident, Boeing sent a notice to airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down. The notice reminded pilots of the procedure for handling such a situation, which is to disable the system causing the automatic nose-down movements.

Pilots at some airlines, however, including American and Southwest, protested that they were not fully informed about a new system that could automatically point the plane’s nose down based on sensor readings. Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in December that the Max is a safe plane, and that Boeing did not withhold operating details from airlines and pilots.

Diehl, the former NTSB investigator, said the Ethiopian Airlines pilots should have been aware of that issue from press coverage of the Lion Air crash.

The 737 is the best-selling airliner in history, and the Max is the newest version of it, with more fuel-efficient engines. The Max is a central part of Boeing’s strategy to compete with European rival Airbus.

Boeing has delivered about 350 737 Max planes and has orders for more than 5,000. It is already in use by many airlines including American, United and Southwest.

The Lion Air incident does not seem to have harmed Boeing’s ability to sell the Max. Boeing’s stock fell nearly 7 percent on the day of the Lion Air crash. Since then it has soared 26 percent higher, compared with a 4 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!

AP Explains: What Facebook’s ‘Privacy Vision’ Really Means

Mark Zuckerberg’s abrupt Wednesday declaration of a new “privacy vision” for social networking was for many people a sort of Rorschach test.

Looked at one way, the manifesto read as an apology of sorts for Facebook’s history of privacy transgressions, and it suggested that the social network would de-emphasize its huge public social network in favor of private messaging between individuals and among small groups.

Looked at another way, it turned Facebook into a kind of privacy champion by embracing encrypted messaging that’s shielded from prying eyes — including those of Facebook itself.

Yet another reading suggested the whole thing was a public relations exercise designed to lull its users while Facebook entrenches its competitive position in messaging and uses it to develop new sources of user data to feed its voracious advertising machine.

As with many things Facebook, the truth lies somewhere in between. Facebook so far isn’t elaborating much on Zuckerberg’s manifesto. Here’s a guide to what we know at the moment about its plans.

What’s happening to Facebook?

In one sense, nothing. Its existing social network, with its news feeds and pages and 2.3 billion global users and $22 billion in 2018 profit, won’t change and will likely continue to grow. Although user growth has been stagnant in North America, Facebook’s global user base expanded 9 percent in the last quarter of 2018.

But Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook’s future growth will depend more on private messaging such as what it offers with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct services. The Facebook CEO said private messaging between individuals and small groups is “by far” the fastest growing part of online communications.

Naturally, Facebook wants to be there in a big way.

What’s changing in messaging?

Its first step will be to make its three messaging services communicate better with each other. That would let you message a friend on WhatsApp from Facebook Messenger, which isn’t currently possible. It would also link your messaging accounts to your Facebook ID, so people can find you more easily.

Zuckerberg also promised to greatly increase the security of these messages. It will implement so-called end-to-end encryption for messaging, which would scramble them so that no one but the sender and recipients could read them. That would bar access by governments and Facebook. WhatsApp is already encrypted this way, but Messenger and Instagram Direct are not.

The first change users might notice is their address book, said Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. While your Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp contacts might be quite different now, if the services combine to some degree, your contact lists will, too.

“As these services merge, we might end up basically having these huge combined address books from three messaging services,” he said.

​When will this happen?

You’re not likely to see any of these changes soon. In his blog post, Zuckerberg said the plan will be rolled out “over the next few years. … A lot of this work is in the early stages.”

And it’s subject to change. EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson points out that previous Facebook visions of the future haven’t quite panned out. A few years ago, for instance, Zuckerberg predicted that video and augmented and virtual reality would be a much bigger part of Facebook than what materialized.

But it shows that Facebook is trying to adapt as people shift toward services like Instagram and WhatsApp over Facebook, which today has 15 million fewer U.S. users than in 2017, according to Edison Research. In his post, Zuckerberg said he expects Messenger and WhatsApp will eventually become the main ways people communicate on Facebook’s network.

“There’s not a sense that things will fundamentally change overnight, or even probably this year,” Williamson said, “But it signals Facebook is thinking more seriously about embracing the way people communicate today.”

What will it mean for privacy?

Encrypted messaging is in many ways a big plus for privacy. But the way Facebook collects information about you on its main service site isn’t changing, said Jen King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society

“This is limited to a very specific part of the platform and it doesn’t really address all the ways Facebook is still collecting data about you,” she said. So users should still be alert about privacy settings and careful about what they choose to share on Facebook.

Facebook is likely to collect data about your messaging — so-called metadata that, according to security experts, will let it know whom you communicate with, when and how often you text them, where you are when you do it and for how long. That can tell Facebook a lot about you even if it can’t read the contents of your messages.

​What about vanishing posts?

Though the timeline is hazy, Zuckerberg did outline other changes users will eventually see. He said the company is looking at ways to make messages less permanent, a la Snapchat or Instagram “Stories,” which disappear after 24 hours.

“Messages could be deleted after a month or a year by default,” Zuckerberg wrote. “This would reduce the risk of your messages resurfacing and embarrassing you later.” Zuckerberg said users will have the ability to change the time frame or turn off auto-deletion. “And we could also provide an option for you to set individual messages to expire after a few seconds or minutes if you wanted.”

What about payment procedures?

Facebook will likely also expand the way users can use its platform to pay for things, said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy for Consumer Reports. Zuckerberg didn’t mention any new payment plans specifically but did bring up payments four times in his post.

Currently, Facebook lets its users pay friends or businesses digitally by linking a credit card or PayPal account, and that method is not likely to change soon. But as Facebook looks to emulate Chinese behemoth WeChat, it could let you reserve a table through Facebook instead of going through an outside app, or order an Uber.

“Ideally, Facebook will try to get a cut of all transactions,” Brookman said. A digital currency of Facebook’s own is also rumored to be in the works.

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” Facebook said in a statement. “This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.”

$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!