The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Friday, March 6

Bill to rein in data brokers restarts... Government funds China companies in global push...TurboTax users victimized... and more tech news

Digital privacy in the White House

Digital privacy in the White House

Bill targeting data brokers rises from the dead

Their last try failed to pass in 2014, but four U.S. senators have brought back legislation to rein in the data broker business. The law would allow consumers to see and correct personal information held by data brokers, and let them put a halt to having their information shared or sold for marketing purposes. The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act, introduced Thursday, is needed because data brokers are a "shadow industry of surreptitious data collection that has amassed covert dossiers on hundreds of millions of Americans," Sen. Edward Markey said.

Government aims to propel China's companies into global market

China wants to see its native Internet firms gain a bigger foothold in the international market, and is preparing to pour more state funding into the emerging tech sector. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday that China is establishing an "Internet Plus" plan to promote its mobile Internet, cloud computing, and e-commerce sectors, as part of a push to support the country's emerging industries, backed by a 40 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion) fund with more money to come.

Is TurboTax to blame for online tax scams?

The FBI is investigating what's behind fraudulent tax returns being filed at an unprecedented level this year, and the Washington Post turned the spotlight on Intuit's popular TurboTax online filing system. In particular, questions are being raised about whether the level of security the company has provided its users is adequate.

Google may disrupt U.S. insurance business with new service

On Thursday Google opened up a new site that companies in the U.S. insurance industry have been expecting and brokers have been worrying about. The Google Compare car insurance shopping site, which is starting in California, pulls together competing insurance quotes; Google gets a cut from the insurer when someone buys a policy.

ISIS backers operate thousands of Twitter handles

Social networks have become key propaganda and recruitment tools for all kinds of movements, not least the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS: A new study finds it operated at least 46,000 Twitter accounts at the end of last year. That estimate is conservative, and the actual number could be as high as 70,000. The report said that much ISIS activity on Twitter can be attributed to a group of 500 to 2,000 hyperactive accounts.

Amazon piggybacks on Alibaba in China has established a Chinese e-commerce presence on one of rival Alibaba's sites, Tmall, in a bid to expand its reach. The U.S. retailer has its own site in China but has less than one percent share of the online retail market, compared to the three quarters share that Alibaba scoops up via its Tmall and Taobao Marketplace.

Suit claims VMware is violating GPL

VMware has run afoul of open-source watchdogs, with the Software Freedom Conservancy funding a lawsuit against it in Germany. A Linux kernel developer is suing the company for allegedly violating the terms of the open-source General Public License (GPL). Its ESXi product line is said to combine both proprietary and open-source code but the company did not release it publicly as the terms of the open-source license dictate.

Watch now

World Tech Update was at Mobile World Congress where Samsung debuted its new flagship S6 smartphones, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich detailed the company's mobile strategy and new designs cater to new clients.

One last thing

With great Kickstarter support comes great responsibility. Here's the inside account of how a startup blew through $500,000 in crowdfunding with little to show for it.

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IDG News Service staff

IDG News Service
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