Connect with us


Elon Musk Found Not Liable in 2018 Tweets Regarding Tesla’s Share Price




Elon Musk's integrity was at stake at the trial as well part of a fortune that has established him as one of the world’s richest people.

By Associated Press | Updated: 4 February 2023

A jury on Friday decided Elon Musk didn’t defraud investors with his 2018 tweets about electric automaker Tesla in a proposed deal that quickly unravelled and raised questions about whether the billionaire had misled investors.

The nine-member jury reached its verdict after less that two hours of deliberation following a three-week trial. It represents a major vindication for Musk, who spent about eight hours on the witness stand defending his motives for the August 2018 tweets at the centre of the trial.

Musk, 51, wasn’t on hand for the brief reading of the verdict but he made a surprise appearance earlier Friday for closing arguments that drew starkly different portraits of him.

Not long after the verdict came down, Musk took to Twitter — the bully pulpit he now owns — to celebrate.

“Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed!” Musk tweeted.

Musk’s decision to break away from his other responsibilities to sit in on the closing arguments even though he didn’t have to be there may have had an impact on the jurors, said Michael Freedman, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice working for a law firm that has represented celebrities and business executives.

“It shows he has a presence,” Freedman said.

Nicholas Porritt, an attorney who represented aggrieved Tesla investors, said he was disappointed after urging the jurors in his closing arguments to rebuke Musk for reckless behaviour that threatened to create “anarchy.”

“I don’t think this is the kind of conduct we expect from a large public company,” a downcast Porritt said after discussing the verdict with a few jurors who gathered to talk to him. “People can draw their own conclusion on whether they think it’s OK or not.”

During their discussion with Porritt, the jurors told them they found Musk’s testimony that he believed he had lined up the money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund without a written commitment to be credible. They also expressed doubt about whether Musk’s tweeting was the sole reason for the swings in Tesla’s stock price during a 10-day period in August 2018 covered in the case.

The trial pitted Tesla investors represented in a class-action lawsuit against Musk, who is CEO of both the electric automaker and the Twitter service he bought for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore) a few months ago.

Shortly before boarding his private jet on August 7, 2018, Musk tweeted that he had the financing to take Tesla private, even though it turned out he hadn’t gotten an iron-clad commitment for a deal that would have cost $20 billion to $70 billion (roughly Rs. 5,77,441 crore) to pull off. A few hours later, Musk sent another tweet indicating that the deal was imminent.

Musk’s integrity was at stake at the trial as well part of a fortune that has established him as one of the world’s richest people. He could have been saddled with a bill for billions of dollars in damages had the jury found him liable for the 2018 tweets that had already been deemed falsehoods by the judge presiding over the trial.

That determination, made last year by US District Judge Edward Chen, left the jury to decide whether Musk had been reckless with his tweeting and acted in a way that hurt Tesla shareholders.

“It may have not been that difficult for the jury,” Freedman said, “because it sort of became like an up-or-down vote.”

Earlier Friday, Musk sat stoically in court during the trial’s closing arguments while he was both vilified as a rich and reckless narcissist and hailed as a visionary looking out for the “little guy.”

Over the course of a one-hour presentation, Porritt had implored the jurors to rebuke Musk for his “loose relationship with the truth.”

“Our society is based on rules,” Porritt said. “We need rules to save us from anarchy. Rules should apply to Elon Musk like everyone else.”

Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney, conceded the 2018 tweets were “technically inaccurate.” But he told the jurors, “Just because it’s a bad tweet doesn’t make it a fraud.”

During roughly eight hours on the stand earlier in the trial, Musk insisted he believed he had lined up the funds from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to take Tesla private after eight years as a publicly held company. He defended his initial August 2018 tweet as well-intentioned and aimed at ensuring all Tesla investors knew the automaker might be on its way to ending its run as a publicly held company.

“I had no ill motive,” Musk testified. “My intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.”

Spiro echoed that theme in his closing argument.

“He was trying to include the retail shareholder, the mom and pop, the little guy, and not seize more power for himself,” Spiro said.

Porritt, meanwhile, scoffed at the notion that Musk could have concluded he had a firm commitment after a 45-minute meeting at a Tesla factory on July 31, 2018, with Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund, given there was no written documentation.

In his 90 minute presentation, Spiro emphasised Musk’s track record helping to start and run a list of companies that include digital payment pioneer PayPal and rocket ship maker SpaceX, in addition to Tesla. The automaker based in Austin, Texas, is now worth nearly $600 billion (roughly Rs. 49,49,499 crore), despite a steep decline in its stock price last year amid concerns that Musk’s purchase of Twitter would distract him from Tesla.

Recalling Musk’s roots as a South African immigrant who came to Silicon Valley to create revolutionary tech companies, Spiro described his client “as the kind of person who believes the impossible is possible.”

Social Networking

Meta Used Public Instagram, Facebook Posts to Train Its New AI Assistant




Meta also said it did not use private chats on its messaging services as training data for the AI model.
By Reuters | Updated: 29 September 2023

Meta Platforms used public Facebook and Instagram posts to train parts of its new Meta AI virtual assistant, but excluded private posts shared only with family and friends in an effort to respect consumers’ privacy, the company’s top policy executive told Reuters in an interview.

Meta also did not use private chats on its messaging services as training data for the model and took steps to filter private details from public datasets used for training, said Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, speaking on the sidelines of the company’s annual Connect conference this week.

“We’ve tried to exclude datasets that have a heavy preponderance of personal information,” Clegg said, adding that the “vast majority” of the data used by Meta for training was publicly available.

He cited LinkedIn as an example of a website whose content Meta deliberately chose not to use because of privacy concerns.

Clegg’s comments come as tech companies including Meta, OpenAI and Alphabet’s Google have been criticized for using information scraped from the internet without permission to train their AI models, which ingest massive amounts of data in order to summarize information and generate imagery.

The companies are weighing how to handle the private or copyrighted materials vacuumed up in that process that their AI systems may reproduce, while facing lawsuits from authors accusing them of infringing copyrights.

Meta AI was the most significant product among the company’s first consumer-facing AI tools unveiled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday at Meta’s annual products conference, Connect. This year’s event was dominated by talk of artificial intelligence, unlike past conferences which focused on augmented and virtual reality.

Meta made the assistant using a custom model based on the powerful Llama 2 large language model that the company released for public commercial use in July, as well as a new model called Emu that generates images in response to text prompts, it said.

The product will be able to generate text, audio and imagery and will have access to real-time information via a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

The public Facebook and Instagram posts that were used to train Meta AI included both text and photos, Clegg said.

Those posts were used to train Emu for the image generation elements of the product, while the chat functions were based on Llama 2 with some publicly available and annotated datasets added, a Meta spokesperson told Reuters.

Interactions with Meta AI may also be used to improve the features going forward, the spokesperson said.

Clegg said Meta imposed safety restrictions on what content the Meta AI tool could generate, like a ban on the creation of photo-realistic images of public figures.

On copyrighted materials, Clegg said he was expecting a “fair amount of litigation” over the matter of “whether creative content is covered or not by existing fair use doctrine,” which permits the limited use of protected works for purposes such as commentary, research and parody.

“We think it is, but I strongly suspect that’s going to play out in litigation,” Clegg said.

Some companies with image-generation tools facilitate the reproduction of iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, while others have paid for the materials or deliberately avoided including them in training data.

OpenAI, for instance, signed a six-year deal with content provider Shutterstock this summer to use the company’s image, video and music libraries for training.

Asked whether Meta had taken any such steps to avoid the reproduction of copyrighted imagery, a Meta spokesperson pointed to new terms of service barring users from generating content that violates privacy and intellectual property rights.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Continue Reading


Volkswagen’s Trinity model to be built in Zwickau -Handelsblatt




Volkswagen's Trinity model to be built in Zwickau -Handelsblatt
By Reuters | Updated: 29 September 2023

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) plans to build its Trinity electric vehicles (EV) at its factory in Zwickau, the German daily Handelsblatt reported on Friday, citing several company sources.

The decision on the location for the prestige EV will be discussed at the Volkswagen supervisory board meeting on Friday, Handelsblatt reported.

A spokesperson for the German carmaker declined to comment on the report.

The Trinity electric car, which is to be based on the new SSP platform, was supposed to be launched in 2026.

However, shortly after taking office, Chief Executive Oliver Blume pushed the project back by two years in order to relieve pressure on the struggling software subsidiary Cariad.

Volkswagen had initially planned to build a new factory for the model, but due to delays in developing the brand, the German carmaker was also considering converting its Wolfsburg factory.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Continue Reading


Australia Inc roiled by string of cyber attacks since late 2022




By Reuters | Updated: 29 September 2023

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Australian firms have suffered many cyber attacks since September 2022, putting the spotlight on the country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry that experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, endangering sensitive information of people.

Here is a list of companies that have been hit by data breaches:

Australia’s second-largest mobile operator and a unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) was the first to report a data breach in September that affected up to 10 million customers, about 40% of the nation’s population. The exposed data included home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers.

Sept 29 (Reuters) – Australian firms have suffered many cyber attacks since September 2022, putting the spotlight on the country’s understaffed cybersecurity industry that experts say seems ill-equipped to tackle such hacks, endangering sensitive information of people.

Here is a list of companies that have been hit by data breaches:

Australia’s second-largest mobile operator and a unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI) was the first to report a data breach in September that affected up to 10 million customers, about 40% of the nation’s population. The exposed data included home addresses, drivers’ licences and passport numbers.

Australia’s biggest grocer Woolworths Group Ltd (WOW.AX) said in October its majority-owned online retailer MyDeal identified that a “compromised user credential” was used to access its systems, exposing email addresses, phone numbers and delivery addresses of about 2.2 million customers.

Australia’s Assistant Minister For Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said on Oct. 31 that hackers targeted a communications platform used by the country’s military personnel and defence staff with a ransomware attack but that no data was compromised.

IT services consulting firm Dailog, another unit of Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI), faced a cyber attack that potentially affected 1,000 current and former employees and fewer than 20 client, the company said on Oct. 10.

Medlab, a unit of Australian Clinical Labs Ltd (ACL.AX), one of the country’s largest pathology providers, suffered a breach in the same month that exposed data of about 223,000 patients.

Health insurer Medibank Private (MPL.AX), which covers about one-sixth of Australians, said in November that personal and significant amounts of health claims data of around 9.7 million of its current and former customers were compromised, forcing it to flag a hit to earnings and withdraw forecast for a key metric.

On June 20, Medibank confirmed that a file containing names and contact details of staff members had been compromised after its building manager faced a cybersecurity breach.

Australia’s largest telecoms operator Telstra (TLS.AX) in early October suffered what it called a small data breach, which exposed data of about 30,000 current and former employees dating back to 2017.

On Dec. 11, Telstra said 132,000 customers were affected by an internal error which led to the disclosure of certain customer details.

Skin and hair care products maker BWX Limited said in November a malicious code was “unlawfully” entered onto one of its websites that may have compromised credit card numbers and expiry dates of about 2,500 customers.

Australia’s No.2 internet service provider TPG Telecom (TPG.AX) said in December it had been notified of unauthorised access to a hosted exchange service that hosts email accounts of up to 15,000 business customers.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX) said on March 8 its Indonesian unit, PT Bank Commonwealth (PTBC), had been hit by a cyber incident involving unauthorised access of a web-based software application used for project management.

Days later, Australian intellectual property services provider IPH Ltd (IPH.AX) said it had detected unauthorised access to a portion of its IT environment, compromising information including administrative documents and some client documents.

Australian digital payments and lending firm Latitude Group Holdings Ltd (LFS.AX) said on March 16 a hacker had stolen personal information held by two service providers, compromising about 103,000 identification documents and 225,000 customer records.

On April 11, the firm said it will not pay a ransom to the hackers as it saw no assurance that the payment would result in the return or destruction of the stolen data, and it did not want to reward criminal behaviour.

Australia’s TechnologyOne Ltd (TNE.AX) said on May 10 it had detected an unauthorised third-party access to its back-office systems, becoming the latest target in a series of cyber attacks that has bogged companies in the country since last year.

New Zealand-based Smartpay Holdings (SPY.NZ) disclosed a ransomware attack confirming the theft of information from customers in Australia and New Zealand, making it the latest victim in a slew of cyberattacks in the region.

Shell Plc (SHEL.L) said on Sept 15 that it has identified a cybersecurity incident involving some employees who worked with its unit BG Group in Australia before the merger, becoming the latest victim of the MOVEit hack.

Australian software supplier Energy One (EOL.AX) said on Sept. 29 it has not uncovered any evidence of malicious activity on its customer systems after the company identified a cyber incident in August. The company’s investigations found no evidence of compromise of personal information of its current and former employees, it said, adding that Energy One continues to securely trade.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Continue Reading


OpenAI, Jony Ive in talks to raise $1 billion from SoftBank for AI device venture, Financial Times reports




By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

Sept 28 (Reuters) – ChatGPT maker OpenAI is in advanced talks with former Apple designer Jony Ive and SoftBank’s (9984.T) Masayoshi Son to build the “iPhone of artificial intelligence”, fuelled by more than $1 billion in funding from the Japanese conglomerate, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s chief, has tapped Ive’s company LoveFrom to develop the ChatGPT creator’s first consumer device, the report said.

Discussions are said to be “serious” but no deal has been agreed on, and it could be several months before a venture is formally announced, the report said, adding that Son, Altman and Ive have discussed creating a company that would draw on talent and technology from their three groups.

SoftBank declined to comment on the FT report. OpenAI did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Ive and LoveFrom could not be reached for comment.

Tech website The Information first reported on Tuesday that Ive and Altman have been discussing building a new AI hardware device and that Softbank’s Son has also been involved in some aspects of the conversation.

Ive was a close creative collaborator with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He spent more than two decades at the tech giant and led the design of the candy-colored iMacs that helped Apple re-emerge from near death in the 1990s as well as the design of the iPhone.

SoftBank has been looking for deals in AI, including a potential investment in OpenAI, after the blockbuster listing of its Arm unit, the FT reported earlier this month, adding that Son was looking to invest tens of billions of dollars in the technology.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Continue Reading


Binance Crypto Exchange to Sell Its Russia Business to CommEX for Undisclosed Amount




Binance said it will have no ongoing revenue split from the sale, nor will it maintain an option to buy back shares in the business.
By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance said on Wednesday it will sell its Russia business to newly-launched exchange CommEX, becoming the latest company to pull out of Moscow since the country began its war against Ukraine.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, did not disclose financial details of the deal. The company said it will have no ongoing revenue split from the sale, nor will it maintain an option to buy back shares in the business.

“As we look toward the future, we recognise that operating in Russia is not compatible with Binance’s compliance strategy,” Chief Compliance Officer Noah Perlman said, without referring to the war in Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”

Binance also said that all the assets of its existing Russian users were safe and that there will be an orderly process for the migration of users. The divestment process will take up to one year, it added.

CommEX is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange backed by crypto venture capitalists, according to its website. The company only launched its exchange on Tuesday. It did not respond to a request for comment on the Binance deal.

Many Western companies, including the likes of Renault, Shell, McDonald’s and others, have agreed to sell their Russian assets or hand them over to local managers to take action to comply with sanctions over the war in Ukraine and deal with threats from the Kremlin that foreign-owned assets may be seized.

Last month, Mastercard announced that the company and Binance exchange would end their four crypto card programmes in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Bahrain as of September 22. The Binance cards allow users to make payments in traditional currencies, funded by their cryptocurrency holdings on the exchange.

Binance is also facing legal and regulatory challenges. US regulators sued the crypto exchange and its CEO Changpeng Zhao in June for allegedly operating a “web of deception.” Binance has said it would defend itself “vigorously.”

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Continue Reading


Leonardo’s air booking system resumes after cyberattack, Rostec says




By Reuters | Updated: 28 September 2023

MOSCOW, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Russian state conglomerate Rostec said on Thursday it had restored normal operations at its Leonardo air booking system following what it called a “massive cyberattack from abroad”.

“The cyberattack has been successfully repelled,” Rostec said in a statement.

It described the incident as a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack”, in which the attacker floods a server with internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services and sites.

Rostec gave no further information. The company controls much of Russia’s weapons industry.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

Continue Reading