The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Thursday, March 16

Facebook accused of stealing data center plan... States object to Radio Shack sale of personal data... EU to probe e-commerce companies

Rendering of Facebook's "rapid deployment data center" in Lulea, Sweden

Rendering of Facebook's "rapid deployment data center" in Lulea, Sweden

Facebook lawsuit says it stole data center design

Facebook is being sued by a British engineering company that claims the social network stole its technique for building data centers and is encouraging others to do the same through the Open Compute Project. BladeRoom Group says it contacted Facebook in 2011 about using its method for constructing data centers in a modular fashion from pre-fabricated parts. It claims Facebook stole its ideas and used them to build part of a data center in Sweden, and is also sharing them via its OCP initiative.

States rally against Radio Shack plan to sell customer data

Attorneys general and consumer protection agencies in about half of U.S. states are coming out strongly against Radio Shack's plans to sell off customer data, including 13 million e-mail addresses, as an asset in its bankruptcy. The move would violate the privacy policy in place when the information was collected. Texas, backed by Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, objected to the plan in bankruptcy court, while New York's AG threatened action and consumer watchdogs in 21 other states said they supported Texas.

EU investigates e-commerce companies

Amazon is now in the cross-hairs of antitrust officials in Europe: the Wall Street Journal reports that the European Commission is opening an investigation into whether it and other e-commerce companies are illegally restricting cross-border trade. The probe was announced Thursday by competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, and the WSJ says it came after lobbying from France and Germany.

Facebook Messenger is now open for business

Facebook is throwing open its Messenger app to third-party developers, letting them add new functions that will make it much more than a tool for communicating with friends. It will allow businesses to use Messenger as a way to connect with customers, and will also allow third-party apps to integrate with it.

... But WhatsApp gives developers the cold shoulder

Third-party developers are not really welcome on WhatsApp, the mobile messaging and calling app, as add-on applications could introduce unwanted content to the app and slow down interactions, WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton said Wednesday at Facebook's F8 conference in San Francisco. Acton was responding to a query from developers as to when WhatsApp application programming interfaces would be available to them.

Microsoft prepares Windows 10 for panoply of sensors

Windows 10 will be in position for the Internet of Things, with an interface to support a wide range of sensors, Microsoft said at the WinHec conference in Shenzhen last week. Devices running the OS will be able to leverage a unified sensor interface and universal driver that will support environmental, biometric, proximity, health and motion sensors.

Foxconn wants in on the hot security market

Foxconn, better known as the maker of hardware like the iPhone, is now eyeing the information security services market. On Thursday it said it would set up a joint venture in May with Korea's SK C&C, an IT services provider, to develop information security systems for the Chinese market.

PayPal to pay $7.7 million settlement for ignoring US rules on money transfers

PayPal has agreed to a $7.7 million settlement for ignoring U.S. sanctions and allowing money transfers to accounts linked to Iran, Cuba, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control detailed a damning string of instances in which the company accepted and processed 486 transactions totaling approximately $43,934 over a five-year period that it should have stopped.

Watch now

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the F8 developer conference with news about Facebook Messenger and the company's virtual reality plans.

One last thing

Fast Company has an excerpt from the new biography, Becoming Steve Jobs.

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IDG News Service staff

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