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07.29.16 | 1:25 pm

Government requests for data on Amazon customers have more than doubled

The U.S. government made 1,803 different requests of Amazon for data on its customers for the first six months of 2016 ending in June, according to the retail giant.  That's more than double the 851 requests it received during the same period last year. And the number of search warrants it received rose more than 8 times compared to the earlier period, reports ZDNet. 

In total, Amazon received from January to June 2016:

• 221 search warrants, fully complying with 41% of them. 

• 1,460 subpoenas, fully complying with almost 42% of them.

• 112 other court orders, fully complying with over 55% of them.

• 120 requests from non-U.S. governments, fully complying with 15 of them.

10.25.16 | an hour ago

Lyft’s founder says that transportation will be like Spotify

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, Lyft cofounder and president John Zimmer said that the company is on pace to do 17 million rides in October, a record. Interviewer Rolfe Winkler pointed out that the fact Lyft is subsidizing growth with copious discount offers is probably helping. Zimmer said that's true—and that the whole idea is to grow market share vs. Uber as quickly as possible, in order to get ready for the era when car ownership gives way to subscribing to a ride-on-demand service.

Zimmer added that in major U.S. cities, Lyft's network of drivers is now broad enough that it can get a car to a passenger in three minutes or less, a crucial stat he compares to the wireless industry's need to provide at least three bars of coverage.

10.25.16 | 2 hours ago

Facebook accused of censoring Palestinian activists after meeting with Israeli officials

An activist collective called Palestinian Information Centre (PIC) is accusing Facebook of suspending or disabling the accounts of a number of its administrators, the Independent reported today. The affected pages, some of which the group claims were permanently suspended, had a combined 2 million followers. PIC claims the suspensions came after Facebook met with Israeli officials about curbing posts that incite violence. Facebook told the Independent that it was looking into PIC's claims. Read more here

10.25.16 | 2 hours ago

Hey, Amazon’s Fire Phone was a success

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, emphasized Amazon's willingness to gamble by saying that it's always looking for its next great failure. The Journal's Jason Anders asked him to name one such failure, and he brought up one that most people think of as a doozy: the Fire Phone.

But then Jassy said that creating the phone was not only a worthwhile experiment but a good experience overall, because Amazon focuses more on inputs—things it can control—than the output of financial success, which is never a given. And with the Fire Phone, he said, the company built the device it set out to build.   

 "The people who worked on that did a terrific job," he added. "And they've been rewarded in the company."

10.25.16 | 3 hours ago

President Obama gets more “Mean Tweet” abuse from Jimmy Kimmel

…including one from the biggest political troll of our time. 

See the video over on Co.Create

10.25.16 | 3 hours ago

Apple Pay launch in Japan stumbles at the start line

Apple Pay's Japan debut has train riders in the region flummoxed. On Tuesday, Apple rolled out its support for a tap-to-pay technology called FeliCa, which is allowing train riders in Japan to buy tickets with their phone. However, riders reported having difficulty connecting to the railway's contactless payment system, according to Bloomberg. Service appears to be restored now, the report says.

Connecting mobile payments to transportation is one of Apple's big initiatives for getting consumers to adopt the mobile payment method. By making Apple Pay available for recurring purchases like rail tickets and gas, it will be able to convert more people away from plastic cards. 

10.25.16 | 4 hours ago

Cops are allowed to use camera drones in Sweden, but you can’t

In a move that spells trouble for Sweden's drone industry, the country's highest court has ruled that drones with cameras affixed to them violate anti-surveillance laws. The laws don't apply to cameras affixed to ground-based vehicles like bikes or cars because they can only capture photography within the user's line of sight, Ars Technica U.K. reports. The ruling doesn't apply to law enforcement agencies or drone pilots who receive a special permit.

[Photo: Flickr user Ville Hyvönen]

10.25.16 | 8:32 am

MasterCard gets into chatbots and wearables

MasterCard is expanding into messaging and wearables today. At the Money2020 conference, the company announced it will be launching customizable bots for merchants and banks that will allow consumers to manage their money and shop inside Facebook Messenger. 

The company is also more firmly committing itself to baking payments into wearables and smart devices through a partnership with FitPay. Last year, MasterCard announced a program to put payment credentials into a swath of wearable devices. The partnership with FitPay will help enable MasterCard to bring these payment-enabled devices to market. 

10.25.16 | 8:15 am

Morning intel: Trump’s nightly news show launches, Twitter reportedly cutting 300 jobs

• The FBI agents investigating the death of Eric Garner has been swapped out by the Department of Justice in favor of agents from outside New York, which could help move the case along. 

Twitter is reportedly cutting 8% of its workforce—about 300 people. An official announcement could come prior to Twitter's earnings call, which was moved up to Thursday morning

• Donald Trump's campaign debuted a nightly news show on Facebook yesterday. The show will air every night at 6:30 p.m. ET until Election Day. 

At the WSJ conference, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he has no problem with the AT&T-Time Warner merger as long as HBO doesn't get preferential treatment. 

• Coming up today: Apple's Q3 earnings. Here's what we're expecting to find out. We're also watching out for Chipotle earnings and an appearance by the AT&T and Time Warner CEOs at the WSJ.D Live conference this afternoon. 

10.25.16 | 7:37 am

Why did Twitter move up its earnings release? 

Instead of posting its Q3 earnings results at the usual time—after market close—Twitter will be releasing earnings on Thursday morning at 7 a.m. ET, before the market opens. The results will be followed by the usual conference call, but this time at 8 a.m. ET. 

Twitter claims the change was made "in response to analyst requests, to avoid overlapping with several other earnings announcements in the Internet sector scheduled for Thursday afternoon." In all fairness, this is true: Amazon and Alphabet are both releasing earnings the same day, and MarketWatch says at least 10 analysts follow all three companies. 

Still, with reports swirling about job cuts and Twitter losing potential bidders, we have to wonder if the company plans to drop big news during the call. 

10.25.16 | 6:40 am

Report: Twitter to cut 8% of workforce

According to Bloomberg, Twitter is making another round of layoffs, with plans to let go of 300 people—the same percentage cut last year once Jack Dorsey was reinstated as CEO.

This news comes after Salesforce, Disney, and Google declined to bid on Twitter and as the company prepares to release Q3 earnings on Thursday. Bloomberg reports that the job cuts could be made official prior to earnings.

[Photo: Esten Hurtle (@esten) for Twitter, Inc.]

10.25.16 | 6:00 am

Uber’s self-driving truck startup delivers its first shipment of beer 

Autonomous trucking company Otto drove more than 100 miles between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins to make its first-ever autonomous shipment. The cargo was beer. Anheuser-Busch collaborated on the pilot trip.

Otto, acquired by Uber in August, represents the ride-hailing giant's first real foray into self-driving tech. Though the company is already developing its own autonomous vehicles, trucking will likely be the first real use case for driverless technology, because it's so much easier to automate driving on highways than city streets. The National Highway Patrol Association made way for self-driving technology in September with a fresh slate of criteria for how self-driving technology will be assessed before it hits roadways. For the Colorado trek, Otto and Anheuser-Busch worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation. "They have been intimately involved in the planning and the testing that led to the pilot," said Otto founder Lior Ron. The state patrol also helped test the technology beforehand, verifying the safety of the trucks and accompanying the truck on its route. There's no word on when Uber Freight will finally arrive, but this is a big first step.

10.24.16 | 11:18 pm

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella gets back to BASICs

Microsoft is on a roll at the moment, with its stock price having hit an all-time high last week—finally topping a record set way back in the last century. Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, CEO Satya Nadella says that as he shapes the company's efforts, he spends a lot of time thinking about what made the company successful starting with its first product in 1975

It was a BASIC interpreter for Altair. We were a tools company. We were a company built for the hackers of the world, the makers of the world, the builders of the world. I've always felt we're best when we express that identity for changing times.