The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, January 28

France aims at net companies with draft law ... Internet of Things threatens privacy ... Apple Watch to ship in April... and more

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, at an event at the company's headquarters on March 7, 2013

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, at an event at the company's headquarters on March 7, 2013

France steps up pressure on Facebook, Google, to censor terror content

The heightened fear of homegrown jihadis in Europe continues to find a target in tech: the French government is preparing a draft law that makes Internet companies "accomplices" to hate speech if extremist messages are hosted on their services, Bloomberg reports. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve plans a U.S. trip to ask for help from Twitter, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Look for Facebook to report progress in mobile

Earnings season continues with Facebook reporting fourth quarter results on Wednesday; it's likely to report continued success in its mobile advertising business. During a call with analysts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might also give an update on the success of ads in Instagram, which Facebook began rolling out last year. Marketwatch reviews what needs to happen for the investor-pleasing stock to stay on its growth trajectory.

U.S. consumer agency tells Internet of Things businesses to watch out for privacy

The Internet of Things is potentially the next big front in the war on privacy, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is on it. It's released a report advising cybersecurity best practices in a field that to date some think has been a little sloppy in this regard.

Your spring fashion tip from Tim Cook: the Apple Watch in April

Finally, some real information about when we'll see the much-talked-about new wearable from Apple available in stores: While discussing the company's earnings on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Watch will be out in April. Apple results were strong, thanks to both iPhones and Macs: it booked $74.6 billion in revenue last quarter, up from $57.6 billion a year earlier. The company's $18 billion in profit was also thanks to huge success in China, where it's become the number one smartphone vendor and seen revenue rise 70 percent year-on-year.

Microsoft shutting down Surface 2 production lines

Satisfied that its newer Surface Pro 3 has picked up the torch for tablet computing, Windows style, Microsoft will stop making the Surface 2, it confirmed to the Verge. The Surface line brought in over $1 billion in revenue last quarter, with the new model outselling the old three to one.

Androids will greet guests at this Japanese hotel

There won't be that awkward moment when foreign guests wonder how much they are expected to tip the staff at this Japanese hotel: The Henn-na Hotel near Nagasaki will feature three uniformed reception androids, four service and porter robots, an industrial robot arm serving as a cloak room attendant and several cleaning robots.

Marriott Hotels get a final "No" on Wi-Fi blocking

Meanwhile, guests at the Marriott chain will be spared that frustrating moment when their personal Wi-Fi hotspot fails to function, blocked by a hotel that wants to force them onto its own, expensive Internet service. After being fined for the practice last year, the hotelier had nonetheless petitioned regulators for clarity on whether the practice might be legal. This FCC advisory makes it clear that the answer is a firm "No!" -- and that "willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal."

Watch now

If too many earnings reports have numbed you to numbers, review the highlights of Apple's stunning last quarter on video.

One last thing

Cubans may not have access to the Internet in the tightly restricted country, but that hasn't dampened young people's urge to connect electronically. AP explores a hidden computer network built on Wi-Fi and Ethernet that spans Havana and links 9,000 computers in a walled-off world where friends chat and play games.

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IDG News Service staff

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