Uber Hack Jeopardized the Personal Information of 57 Million Users
(SAN FRANCISCO) — Uber is coming clean about its cover-up of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service’s customers and drivers.
The revelation Tuesday marks the latest stain on Uber’s reputation.
The San Francisco company ousted Travis Kalanick as CEO in June after an internal investigation concluded he had built a culture that allowed female workers to be sexually harassed and encouraged employees to push legal limits.
Uber’s current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, criticized the company’s handling of the data theft in a blog post that said there’s no evidence the stolen information has been misused.
The heist took the names, email addresses and phone numbers of 57 million riders. The thieves also nabbed the driver’s license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers.
How Black Friday Sales Madness Came to the U.K.
Before 2010, Black Friday didn’t exist in Britain. Now, the yearly retail sales bonanza is almost as ubiquitous in the U.K. as it is in the United States, and its tremendous growth shows little sign of slowing down in 2017.
In fact, this Friday Brits are expected to spend £1.8m ($2.39m) per minute on Black Friday, an eight percent increase on last year. That’s a faster rate of growth than in the U.S. — in a country that doesn’t even celebrate Thanksgiving. How did it happen?
Naturally it was American companies that brought Black Friday across the Atlantic. Amazon was one of the first, beginning to offer discounts in 2010. Amazon’s “global footprint” was key to turning Black Friday into a reality outside the U.S., Paul Murphy, analytics director at the consumer insight firm Kantar, tells TIME. “This is being driven much more by those people than the high street retailers.”
But the high street had no choice but to keep up, and that’s what they did – at least initially. Electronics retailer Currys PC World began to offer discounts in 2012, followed by the supermarkets Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s in 2013 and 2014. “Retailers are under continual pressure to keep their prices competitive,” says Murphy. “You have to play on such a key weekend.”
It was in 2013 that Black Friday truly entered the British consciousness. As prices in some stores were slashed by as much as eighty percent, hysteria broke out. Videos emerged from a London Asda of throngs of people clambering over each other, shouting and swearing, all to reach heavily discounted widescreen televisions during a U.S.-style “doorbuster” event.
Fights broke out, with police called to dozens of stores, the Telegraph reported at the time. A church leader lamented that the “ugly side of human nature” had been revealed. Shoppers compared the situation in supermarkets across the country to a “war zone.” (Americans, of course, are familiar with these kinds of frenzied scenes — in 2008, a Walmart worker was trampled to death by a crowd of shoppers).
In the wake of these events – but also because of the acute logistical strain caused by a massive influx of sales in a short period of time – some British shops scaled back. Asda didn’t run a Black Friday sale in 2015 or 2016, opting instead to run a number of smaller sales throughout the month of November. Amazon is now hosting 10 days of sales rather than packing everything into a single day.
Now, according to Kantar, 68% of people are choosing to do their Black Friday shopping online in the U.K., compared to just 26% in store – perhaps to be expected, given it is an ordinary working day for Brits.
So it’s unlikely fights will be breaking out in malls across the U.K. this year. Nevertheless, British consumers, burdened by inflation and a weak pound, are warming to the idea of sales occurring before rather than after Christmas. The holiday comes at a critical time of year, many people’s last payday before they do their Christmas shopping.
But whilst it might be good for consumers, pressure to engage with Black Friday might actually be hurting businesses in the long run. “Just winning at the weekend isn’t how retailing works,” says Murphy. “You need to win every day.”
Thousands of Amazon Workers in Europe Go on Strike for Black Friday
Thousands of Amazon workers in six distribution centers throughout Germany, and one in Italy, have gone on strike during Black Friday in protest for better wages.
Around 500 workers are taking part in the one-day strike in Amazon’s main distribution hub in Italy. They have also decided to not do any overtime until Dec. 31, which is peak season for the online retailer.
Italian unions said in a statement, seen by Reuters, that workers were striking following a failure to negotiate bonuses with the company.
Amazon’s spokesperson at its Piacenza-area center told Italy’s Sky TG24 TV on Friday the facility was keeping “our commitment to serve our clients” despite the strike.
In Germany, some 2,500 workers have gone on strike in half a dozen Amazon facilities over better wages. The strike is expected to end on Saturday.
Ver.di union spokesman Thomas Voss told Associated Press that Amazon employees receive lower wages than other mail-order or retail jobs. Amazon in Germany defended its position saying it was a “responsible” boss. “The strikes will not affect us keeping our word to our customers, as the overwhelming majority of our workers are continuing their normal work,” Amazon told AP.
Apple Has a Different Kind of Deal for Black Friday
Apple has revealed its own take on Black Friday: it’s holding a one-day “shopping event” where instead of slashing prices on goods, it will give shoppers gift cards worth up to $150 with their purchases.
The promotion applies to select Apple products, including certain models in the Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone and Mac series. Many of the products on the list are older models.
The value of the gift card corresponds to the price of the item purchased. Buying an Apple Watch series 1 for $249 will net you a gift card worth $25, while the $999 Macbook Air comes with a $150 sweetener.
If you’re hoping to get a deal on an iPhone X, this isn’t the sale for you. Only older iPhone models — the SE, 6s, and 7 — are covered by the promotion. The 7 and 6s come with $50 gift cards, while the cheaper SE comes with a $25 version.
The most expensive product in the promotion is the 8-core Mac Pro, which comes with a price tag of $3,999. That qualifies for a $150 gift card, which represents 3.75% of its total value.
Does Hong Kong’s Octopus card have too many tentacles?
IN 1997, two months after Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty, it acquired a cutting-edge payment technology. People could rush through turnstiles with a wave of their colourful Octopus cards—stored-value cards pre-loaded with cash. Its latest advance, however, is risibly low-tech. On October 30th Octopus launched an extensible pole with a plastic hand to help drivers pay at toll booths. Critics of Hong Kong’s cautious approach to fintech snorted in derision. Meanwhile, a government official was quoted as blaming Octopus for stifling the city’s shift to cashlessness. Both criticisms are unfair. Hong Kongers enthusiastically embrace electronic payments and do well from the fierce competition between different platforms.
The Octopus card, designed for journeys on Hong Kong’s trains, buses, trams and ferries, soon stretched its tentacles into shops. In 2016 the company generated revenues of HK$956m ($122m) for its owners (mostly…Continue reading
The last media mogul stuns his industry with talk of selling
THE only media mogul still bestriding his industry in old-fashioned style is used to being a predator rather than prey, a builder of empires, not a dismantler of them. So Rupert Murdoch’s reported willingness to sell off much of 21st Century Fox, whether to a rival such as Disney or to a distribution firm like Comcast or Verizon, has come as a shock to many. It should not.
If Fox does follow through with selling the assets—its film and TV studio, its stake in Sky, a European satellite broadcaster, and many of its cable networks—it may well be remembered as one of his cleverest moves. Mr Murdoch would have correctly judged a shifting media and regulatory landscape and sold high (perhaps for $50bn or more; see chart). He would retain lucrative assets in news and sports broadcasting, notably Fox News Channel, which could serve as the base for a new fief of a different sort. Mr Murdoch would also retain plenty of political sway through his newspaper businesses, housed at separately…Continue reading
How tech giants are ruled by control freaks
THIS month Schumpeter visited the Barnes Foundation, a gallery in Philadelphia full of paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh. Albert Barnes, born in 1872, is notable for two things. He made a fortune from an antiseptic that cured gonorrhoea. And he stipulated exactly how his art collection should be posthumously displayed. The result is hundreds of paintings jammed together nonsensically, often in poky rooms, and the creepy feeling of a tycoon controlling you from the grave.
Barnes’s string-pulling comes to mind when considering today’s prominent tycoons, who often hail from technology, e-commerce and media. At the moment they seem omnipotent. But many founders are gradually cashing in shares in their companies. The consequences will vary by firm, with some tycoons gradually ceding control, and others clinging on to it.
A flurry of selling activity has been in evidence of late. On September 13th Jack Ma and Joe Tsai, co-founders of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce…Continue reading
Sustainable investment joins the mainstream
IN 2008, when she was in her mid-20s and sitting on a $500m inheritance, Liesel Pritzker Simmons asked her bankers about “impact investing”. They fobbed her off. “They didn’t understand what I meant and offered to screen out tobacco,” recalls the Hyatt Hotels descendant, philanthropist and former child film star. So she fired her bankers and advisers and set up her own family office, Blue Haven Initiative. It seeks investments that both offer market-rate returns and have a positive impact on society and the environment. “Financially it’s sensible risk mitigation,” she says. “Our philanthropy becomes far more efficient if we don’t need to undo damage done in our investment management.”
Such ideas are gaining ground, particularly among the young. Fans of “socially responsible investment” (SRI) hope that millennials, the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, will drag these concepts into the investment mainstream. SRI is a broad-brush term, that can be used to…Continue reading