Beamery closes $28M Series B to stoke support for its ‘talent CRM’

Beamery, a London-based startup that offers self-styled “talent CRM”– aka ‘candidate relationship management’ — and recruitment marketing software targeted at fast-growing companies, has closed a $28M Series B funding round, led by EQT Ventures. Also participating in the round are M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and existing investors Index Ventures, Edenred Capital Partners and Angelpad Fund. Beamery last raised a $5M Series A, in April 2017, led by Index. Its pitch centers on the notion of helping businesses win a ‘talent war’ by taking a more strategic and pro-active approach to future hires vs just maintaining a spreadsheet of potential candidates. Its platform aims to help the target enterprises build and manage a talent pool of people they might want to hire in future to get out ahead of the competition in HR terms, including providing tools for customized marketing aimed at nurture relations with possible future hires. Customer numbers for
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Europe takes another step towards copyright pre-filters for user generated content

In a key vote this morning the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee has backed the two most controversial elements of a digital copyright reform package — which critics warn could have a chilling effect on Internet norms like memes and also damage freedom of expression online. In the draft copyright directive, Article 11; “Protection of press publications concerning online uses” — which targets news aggregator business models by setting out a neighboring right for snippets of journalistic content that requires a license from the publisher to use this type of content (aka ‘the link tax’, as critics dub it) — was adopted by a 13:12 majority of the legal committee. While, Article 13; “Use of protected content by online content sharing service providers”, which makes platforms directly liable for copyright infringements by their users — thereby pushing them towards creating filters that monitor all content uploads with all the associated
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Blockchain browser Brave starts opt-in testing of on-device ad targeting

Brave, an ad-blocking web browser with a blockchain-based twist, has started trials of ads that reward viewers for watching them — the next step in its ambitious push towards a consent-based, pro-privacy overhaul of online advertising. Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the underlying micropayments mechanism it’s using to fuel the model. The startup was founded in 2015 by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, and had a hugely successful initial coin offering last year. In a blog post announcing the opt-in trial yesterday, Brave says it’s started “voluntary testing” of the ad model before it scales up to additional user trials. These first tests involve around 250 “pre-packaged ads” being shown to trial volunteers via a dedicated version of the Brave browser that’s both loaded with the ads and capable of tracking users’ browsing behavior. The startup signed up Dow Jones Media Group as a partner for the
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Pew: Social media still growing in emerging markets but stalled elsewhere

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s (so far) five-year project to expand access to the Internet in emerging markets makes plenty of business sense when you look at the latest report by the Pew Research Center — which shows social media use has plateaued across developed markets but continues to rise in the developing world. In 2015-16, roughly four-in-ten adults across the emerging nations surveyed by Pew said they used social networking sites, and as of 2017, a majority (53%) use social media. Whereas, over the same period, social media use has generally been flat in many of the advanced economies surveyed. Internet use and smartphone ownership have also stayed level in developed markets over the same period vs rising in emerging economies. Pew polled more than 40,000 respondents in 37 countries over a roughly three month period in February to May last year for this piece of research. The results show
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Apple slapped with $6.6M fine in Australia over bricked devices

Apple has been fined AUS$9M (~$6.6M) by a court in Australia following a legal challenge by a consumer rights group related to the company’s response after iOS updates bricked devices that had been repaired by third parties. The Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) invested a series of complaints relating to an error (‘error 53’) which disabled some iPhones and iPads after owners downloaded an update to Apple’s iOS operating system. The ACCC says Apple admitted that, between February 2015 and February 2016 — via the Apple US’ website, Apple Australia’s staff in-store and customer service phone calls — it had informed at least 275 Australian customers affected by error 53 that they were no longer eligible for a remedy if their device had been repaired by a third party.

Image credit: 70023venus2009 via Flickr under license CC BY-ND 2.0

The court judged Apple’s action to have breached the
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Prisma co-founders raise $1M to build a social app called Capture

Two of the co-founders of the art filter app Prisma have left to build a new social app. Prisma, as you may recall, had a viral moment back in 2016 when selfie takers went crazy for the fine art spin the app’s AI put on photos — in just a few seconds of processing. Downloads leapt, art selfies flooded Instagram, and similar arty effects soon found their way into all sorts of rival apps and platforms. Then, after dipping a toe into social waters with the launch of a feed of its own, the company shifted focus to b2b developer tools — and we understand it’s since become profitable. But two of Prisma’s co-founders, Aleksey Moiseyenkov and Aram Hardy, got itchy feet when they had an idea for another app business. And they’ve both now left to set up a new startup, called Capture Technologies. The plan is to launch
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YouTube rolls its music subscription services into 12 more markets

YouTube has rolled out its music streaming service to a bunch more international markets, adding 12 new countries today, and also launching the premium music video version of the service across the full 17 markets. In February CEO YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki discussed the company’s ambitious expansion plans for the service, saying it was intending to expand to as many as 100 countries. The first markets for YouTube Music were the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. The additional markets being added today are: Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. YouTube launched the streamlining revamp of its subscription service offerings in May, routing a streaming music service, called YouTube Music, in pay monthly and ad-supported flavors (the latter with pared back features), to replace Google Play Music; and also announcing YouTube Premium (formerly called YouTube Red) —
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Kaspersky pulls plug on Europol joint venture after EU parliament vote to ban its software

Fresh political woes for Russian security firm Kaspersky, which has reacted angrily to a vote in the European Union Parliament last week to ban its software — on the grounds that it has been “confirmed as malicious“. Kaspersky denies this characterization of its software, saying it’s “untrue”. It has also retaliated by pulling the plug on an existing collaboration with Europol, at least temporarily. In a statement, a company spokesperson said: 
Today, the European Parliament voted on a report in which Polish representative, MEP Fotyga included an amendment referencing Kaspersky Lab which is based on untrue statements. Although this report has no legislative power it demonstrates a distinct lack of respect for the company which has been a firm friend of Europe in the fight against cybercrime. It is for that reason that Kaspersky Lab has taken the difficult decision to temporarily halt our numerous collaborative European cybercrime-fighting
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F-Secure to buy MWR InfoSecurity for ~$106M+ to offer better threat hunting

The ongoing shift of emphasis in the cyber security industry from defensive, reactive actions towards pro-active detection and response has fueled veteran Finnish security company F-Secure’s acquisition of MWR InfoSecurity, announced today. F-Secure is paying £80 million (€91,6M) in cash to purchase all outstanding shares in MWR InfoSecurity, funding the transaction with its own cash reserves and a five-year bank loan. In addition, the terms include an earn-out of a maximum of £25M (€28,6M) in cash to be paid after 18 months of the completion subject to the achievement of agreed business targets for the period from 1 July, 2018, until 31 December, 2019. F-Secure says the acquisition will enable it to offer its customers access to the more offensive skillsets needed to combat targeted attacks — specialist capabilities that most companies are not likely to have in-house. It points to detection and response solutions (EDR) and managed detection and response services (MDR)
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UK report warns DeepMind Health could gain ‘excessive monopoly power’

DeepMind’s foray into digital health services continues to raise concerns. The latest worries are voiced by a panel of external reviewers appointed by the Google-owned AI company to report on its operations after its initial data-sharing arrangements with the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) ran into a major public controversy in 2016. The DeepMind Health Independent Reviewers’ 2018 report flags a series of risks and concerns, as they see it, including the potential for DeepMind Health to be able to “exert excessive monopoly power” as a result of the data access and streaming infrastructure that’s bundled with provision of the Streams app — and which, contractually, positions DeepMind as the access-controlling intermediary between the structured health data and any other third parties that might, in the future, want to offer their own digital assistance solutions to the Trust. While the underlying FHIR (aka, fast healthcare interoperability resource) deployed
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Union wins right to challenge Deliveroo on human rights grounds

The UK High Court has granted a union permission to challenge Deliveroo’s opposition to collective bargaining for its couriers on human rights grounds. The IWGB union argues that couriers for the restaurant food delivery company should be classed as workers — who would then have basic employment rights such as the minimum wage, holiday pay and collective bargaining rights. Rights that gig economy business models are typically structured to avoid being saddled with. Last year the union challenged Deliveroo’s employment classification of couriers. But a tribunal, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), ruled the couriers could not be considered workers — finding they were independent contractors on the grounds that they had a genuine right to find a substitute to do their job for them. Today the High Court partially lifted a legal block by granting permission for the union to seek a judicial review of the CAC ruling on human rights
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Here are the experts who will help shape Europe’s AI policy

The European Commission has announced the names of 52 experts from across industry, business and civil society who it has appointed to a new High Level Group on AI which will feed its strategy and policymaking around artificial intelligence. In April the EU’s executive body outlined its approach to AI technology, setting out measures intended to increase public and private investment; prepare for socio-economic changes; and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework. The High Level Group is a key part of the Commission’s AI strategy as the experts will feed its policymaking here by making detailed recommendations on ethical, legal and societal issues. The EC put out a call for experts for this “broad multi-stakeholder forum” back in March. The group announced today is comprised of 30 men and 22 women, and includes industry representatives from AXA, Bayer, Bosch, BMW, Element AI, Google, IBM, Nokia Bell Labs, Orange, Santander, SAP, Sigfox, STMicroelectronics,
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Audit of NHS Trust’s app project with DeepMind raises more questions than it answers

A third party audit of a controversial patient data-sharing arrangement between a London NHS Trust and Google DeepMind appears to have skirted over the core issues that generated the controversy in the first place. The audit (full report here) — conducted by law firm Linklaters — of the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust’s acute kidney injury detection app system, Streams, which was co-developed with Google-DeepMind (using an existing NHS algorithm for early detection of the condition), does not examine the problematic 2015 information-sharing agreement inked between the pair which allowed data to start flowing. “This Report contains an assessment of the data protection and confidentiality issues associated with the data protection arrangements between the Royal Free and DeepMind . It is limited to the current use of Streams, and any further development, functional testing or clinical testing, that is either planned or in progress. It is not a historical review,” writes Linklaters,
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Adblock Plus wants to use blockchain to call out fake news

eyeo, the company behind the popular browser-based ad block product Adblock Plus, is no stranger to controversy. Which is just as well given its new “passion project”: A browser add-on that labels news content as ‘trusted’ or, well, Breitbart. The beta browser extension, which is called Trusted News (initially it’s just available for Chrome), is intended to help Internet users spot sources of fake news when they’re exposed to content online. And thus to help people avoid falling for scams or down into political sinkholes — at least without being aware of their inherent bias. The system, which is currently only available for English language content, “democratically scores the integrity and trustworthiness of online news sources”, as eyeo puts it. After being added to Chrome, the browser extension displays a small green check mark against its icon if a news source is deemed to be trustworthy. Or you might see an orange colored ‘B’ — denoting ‘bias’ —
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Deliveroo fattens its market presence by opening to restaurants that do deliveries

Restaurant food delivery startup Deliveroo is taking the next logical step to expand its business by opening up to restaurants that have their own delivery fleets — thereby also expanding the food choices it can offer its couch-loving users. Next month the company will launch the new service, called Marketplace+, in seven of its markets — onboarding restaurants that do their own food deliveries to its platform, and offering them the ability to tap into Deliveroo’s network of riders to extend their delivery services and support faster delivery times if they choose (it says restaurants will be able to “choose for themselves how best to offer delivery” but the impact on, for example, existing delivery fleet staff employed by larger food chains remains to be seen). Commenting on the launch in a statement, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder Will Shu said: “Today we are unveiling the next big step in
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Dixons Carphone discloses data breach affecting 5.9M payment cards, 105k of which were compromised

European electronics and telecoms retailer Dixons Carphone has revealed a hack of its systems in which the intruder/s attempted to compromise 5.9 million payment cards. In a statement put out today it says a review of its systems and data unearthed the data breach. It also confirms it has informed the UK’s data watchdog the ICO, financial conduct regulator the FCA, and the police. According to the company, the vast majority of the cards (5.8M) were protected by chip-and-PIN technology — and it says the data accessed in respect of these cards contains “neither pin codes, card verification values (CVV) nor any authentication data enabling cardholder identification or a purchase to be made”. However around 105,000 of the accessed cards were non-EU issued, and lacked chip-and-PIN, and it says those cards have been compromised. “As a precaution we immediately notified the relevant card companies via our payment provider
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Kry bags $66M to launch its video-call-a-doctor service in more European markets

Swedish telehealth startup Kry has closed a $66 million Series B funding round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors Accel, Creandum, and Project A. It raised a $22.8M Series A round just over a year ago, bringing its total raised since being founded back in 2014 to around $92M. The new funding will be put towards market expansion, with the UK and French markets its initial targets. It also says it wants to deepen its penetration in existing markets: Sweden, Norway and Spain, and to expand its medical offering to be able to offer more services via the remote consultations. A spokesperson for Kry also tells us it’s exploring different business models. While the initial Kry offering requires patients to pay per video consultation this may not offer the best approach to scale the business in a market like the UK where healthcare is free at the point of use, as a result
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UK watchdog issues $330k fine for Yahoo’s 2014 data breach

Another fallout from the massive Yahoo data breach that dates back to 2014: The UK’s data watchdog has just issued a £250,000 (~$334k) penalty for violations of the Data Protection Act 1998. Yahoo, which has since been acquired by Verizon and merged with AOL to form a joint entity called Oath (which is also the parent of TechCrunch), is arguably getting off pretty lightly here for a breach that impacted a whopping ~500M users. Certainly given how large data protection fines can now scale under the European Union’s new privacy framework, GDPR, which also requires that most breaches be disclosed within 72 hours of discovery (rather than, ooooh, two years or so later in the Yahoo case… ). The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) focused its investigation on the more than 515,000 affected UK accounts which the London-based Yahoo UK Services Ltd had responsibility for as a data
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Pressure mounts on EU-US Privacy Shield after Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal

Yet more pressure on the precariously placed EU-US Privacy Shield: The European Union parliament’s civil liberties committee has called for the data transfer arrangement to be suspended by September 1 unless the US comes into full compliance. Though the committee has no power to suspend the arrangement itself. But has amped up the political pressure on the EU’s executive body, the European Commission . In a vote late yesterday the Libe committee agreed the mechanism as it is currently being applied does not provide adequate protection for EU citizens’ personal information — emphasizing the need for better monitoring in light of the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, after the company admitted in April that data on as many as 87 million users had been improperly passed to third parties in 2014 (including 2.7M EU citizens) . Facebook is one of the now 3,000+ organizations that have signed up to Privacy
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Spanish soccer app caught using microphone and GPS to snoop

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why an app is requesting microphone access when there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why it should need to snoop on the sounds from your surroundings, hold that thought — and take a closer look at the T&Cs. Because it might turn out that spying is exactly what the app makers have in mind. To wit: La Liga, an app for fans of Spanish soccer which has been discovered using microphone access combined with the precise GPS location of Android users to listen in on people’s surroundings during match times — in a bid to catch bars that might not have a license to broadcast the match being watched.  As surveillance capitalism goes, it’s a fiendishly creative repurposing of your users as, well, unwitting volunteer spies and snitches. It’s also of course terrible human behavior. Behavior that has now garnered La
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