Europe

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The UK’s Home Secretary has yet again cranked up the pressure on messaging giants over use of end-to-end encryption to secure communications sent via popular services like WhatsApp — implying she would prefer tech companies voluntarily re-engineer their security systems so that decrypted data can be handed over to terror-fighting intelligence agencies on demand. Writing
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Helpling, the Rocket Internet-founded company that lets you book a range of home services online, has raised further funding. This time around, the undisclosed backing — which I understand to be “several million” Euros — comes from Unilever Ventures, the venture arm of Unilever, in what can undoubtedly be described as a strategic investment. In
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Fintech startup Klarna grew thanks to its e-commerce payment service, but now the startup is diversifying a bit. The Swedish company is launching Wavy, a free peer-to-peer payment app and service. After Cookies imploded, Klarna approached the team behind the German app so that they could join another fintech company. It turns out that this
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Large hotel chains are feeling the heat from Airbnb and other startups building digital marketplaces for travelers with a more flexible range of places to stay, and more flexible prices to match. And that is leading some of them to make acquisitions. RCI, a division of Wyndham Worldwide, has acquired Love Home Swap, a startup out
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SimplyCook, the recipe kit with a flavoursome difference, has raised £2 million in further funding. Investors in the round are Maxfield Capital, Episode 1 Ventures, 500 Startups, and a handful of unnamed U.K. angels. Unlike other recipe or meal kits, such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Gousto and Marley Spoon, U.K.-based SimplyCook doesn’t send you all
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In what looks like a potentially useful use of drone technology, Russian scientists at the Moscow Technology Institute have stuck a defibrillator on a drone so it can be remote piloted to a person in need of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. So much like an air ambulance, but — presumably — a lot cheaper. The project is a
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Northern Ireland based B-Secur has closed a £3.5m (~$4.5M) late stage seed investment for its biometric authentication technology that utilizes an individual’s unique heartbeat pattern, known as an electrocardiogram (ECG), to — in its words — “quickly and securely authenticate identity”. The investment is coming from a syndicate of UK and Ireland-based investors, including Accelerated Digital Ventures
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U.S. social media giants have been warned by Europe’s consumer rights commissioner that she’s  running out of patience with their failure to comply with the region’s consumer protection standards. “I am becoming very impatient,” said commissioner Věra Jourová, speaking at a press briefing today in Brussels. “In our opinion there are in the terms and conditions
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The Budapest Transport Authority (BKK, in Hungarian) recently launched an online payment system with the help of a T-Systems Hungary, Deutsche Telekom’s consulting arm. The system, which took three months to build, was supposed to be installed in time for the FINA world championships in Budapest. The software, not unexpectedly for such a project, was
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Poland has worked diligently over the past decade to become an entrepreneurial powerhouse. Once home to businesses focused primarily on app design and outsourcing, social, societal, and economic pressures forced the country’s brightest to start building for themselves. And they did. I’ve covered Polish startups for almost a decade, first on TechCrunch and then on
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The UK government has announced a plan to require drone owners to register their devices. It says the incoming rules are aimed at ensuring safer use of the technology. Under the planned regulations, owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams will, in future, be required to register their devices — with the stated aim
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End-to-end encrypted messaging platform Wire is targeting Slack’s territory with a new messaging for teams product, called Teams. It announced a beta launch yesterday, and is offering teams a 30-day free trial — with pricing starting at €5 per user per month thereafter, or custom pricing for enterprise installations offering extras such as self-hosted servers and an integration API.
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The UK’s upper house of parliament is asking for contributions to an enquiry into the socioeconomic and ethical impacts of artificial intelligence technology. Among the questions the House of Lords committee will consider as part of the enquiry are: Is the current level of excitement surrounding artificial intelligence warranted? How can the general public best