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Norwegian Companies Plan Omny, a New Software Security Venture, to Fight Cyberattacks Risk

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By Reuters | Updated: 25 May 2022

Norwegian firms Telenor, Aker ASA and Cognite say a new software security company they plan to launch this year will help companies protect their industrial assets from an increased cyber attack risk since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“More and more (industrial) objects (are) being connected, and then you can add Russia-Ukraine on top of that,” said Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke, adding that a trend that accelerated during COVID, is “now going faster and faster”.

Industrial facilities, control systems, oil pipelines, supply chains, power grids and healthcare are key targets, Brekke and the CEOs of Aker ASA and Cognite told the Reuters Global Markets Forum in Davos this week.

“Cyber security is increasingly a concern for any company out there,” said Asa Tamsons, senior vice president and head of business area technologies and new businesses at Ericsson, as more operations use the cloud, digital tools are employed and connectivity within businesses increases.

John Lervik, co-founder and chief strategy and development officer of Cognite, said the new company Omny would help public and private companies monitor industrial assets so they perform optimally, while securing them from cyber attacks.

Omny will launch first in Norway in the autumn of 2022 and then be expanded into the Nordics next year, Lervik said.

Aker ASA CEO Oyvind Eriksen said the aim was to eventually take Omny global, and its founders will look for international partners to scale it up.

Omny forecasts that the operational technology security market will grow from 94 billion Norwegian crowns (roughly Rs. 75,600 crore) to nearly 470 billion Norwegian crowns (roughly Rs. 3,77,900 crore)in 2030, with the software part of the market estimated at 20 percent to 30 percent.

Carl Carande, global head of advisory at KPMG, told Reuters on Tuesday that the way to mitigate cyber threats is for big tech, governments and industries to work together,

“This continued push for coordination, collaboration and innovation, that’s the key,” Carande said in Davos. “Bad actors can just be right once and cause havoc. Everyone else has to be right all the time”.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Recent disruptions at Apple facilities in India

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By Reuters | Updated: 25 September 2023

NEW DELHI, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Apple (AAPL.O) supplier Pegatron on Monday temporarily halted iPhone assembly at its Chennai facility in India’s Tamil Nadu state after a fire at the factory.

Apple has been eyeing a large manufacturing base in India since it began iPhone assembly in the country in 2017.

Apple products in India are currently manufactured through contracts with firms including Foxconn (2317.TW), Wistron Corp (3231.TW) and Pegatron Corp (4938.TW). It has a total of 14 suppliers with facilities in India.

Here’s a look at other incidents when operations were disrupted at Apple facilities in India:

February 2023: Foxlink, which manufactures iPhone chargers, suspended production at its assembly facility in Chittoor in the state of Andhra Pradesh after a fire caused part of the building to collapse.

December 2021: Operations at a plant belonging Foxconn in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai city were halted for more than three weeks after 250 workers fell sick, sparking protests. Apple later found facilities did not meet required standards.

December 2020: Workers at a Wistron plant in Karnataka state’s Narsapura destroyed property during protests over non-payment of wages, causing millions of dollars in losses and forcing the Taiwanese contract manufacturer to shut the plant for three months.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Indonesia may issue regulations on social media e-commerce this week

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Indonesia may issue regulations on social media e-commerce this week
By Reuters | Updated: 25 September 2023

JAKARTA, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Indonesia may issue on Tuesday a regulation on the use of social media to sell goods in the country, President Joko Widodo said, a move intended to quell threats to offline markets in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Ministers have repeatedly said that e-commerce sellers using predatory pricing on social media platforms are threatening offline markets in Indonesia, with some officials specifically citing the video platform TikTok as an example.

“We just…decided on the use of social media for e-commerce. Tomorrow it will perhaps come out,” Widodo, who is commonly known as Jokowi, said in a streamed video address on Monday.

“What the people are expecting is that the advancement of technology can create new economic potential, not kill existing economies.”

Jokowi did not mention any specific companies or offer further details on the regulation, which is being formulated by the trade ministry.

Current trade regulations do not specifically cover direct transactions on social media.

Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga said earlier this month that “social media and social commerce cannot be combined,” vowing to ban the mix of the two and citing TikTok’s “live” features which allow people to sell goods.

A TikTok Indonesia spokesperson declined to comment. TikTok is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance.

The company said that its app had 325 million Southeast Asian users that were active every month, of whom 125 million were in Indonesia. The company has said that there were 2 million small businesses on TikTok Shop in Indonesia.

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OpenAI CEO says possible to get regulation wrong, but should not fear it

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OpenAI CEO says possible to get regulation wrong, but should not fear it.
By Reuters | Updated: 25 September 2023

TAIPEI, Sept 25 (Reuters) – The CEO of ChatGPT maker OpenAI said on Monday that it was possible to get regulation wrong but it is important and should not be feared, amid global concerns about rapid advances in artificial intelligence, or AI.

Many countries are planning AI regulation, and Britain is hosting a global AI safety summit in November, focusing on understanding the risks posed by the frontier technology and how national and international frameworks could be supported.

Sam Altman, CEO and the public face of the startup OpenAI, backed by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), said during a visit to Taipei that although he was not that worried about government over-regulation, it could happen.

“I also worry about under-regulation. People in our industry bash regulation a lot. We’ve been calling for regulation, but only of the most powerful systems,” he said.

“Models that are like 10,000 times the power of GPT4, models that are like as smart as human civilization, whatever, those probably deserve some regulation,” added Altman, speaking at an AI event hosted by the charitable foundation of Terry Gou, the founder of major Apple (AAPL.O) supplier Foxconn (2317.TW).

Altman said that in the tech industry there is a “reflexive anti-regulation thing”.

“Regulation has been not a pure good, but it’s been good in a lot of ways. I don’t want to have to make an opinion about every time I step on an airplane how safe it’s going to be, but I trust that they’re pretty safe and I think regulation has been a positive good there,” he said.

“It is possible to get regulation wrong, but I don’t think we sit around and fear it. In fact we think some version of it is important.”

Gou, currently running as an independent candidate to be Taiwan’s next president, sat in the audience, but did not speak at the forum.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Meesho Eyes Threefold Growth in Festive Season Orders, Will Use Meesho Mall to Attract Consumers

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The company launched in-app brand store Meesho Mall last year to enable brands to sell directly to consumers.

By Press Trust of India | Updated: 21 September 2023

SoftBank-backed Meesho aims for three-fold growth in orders in the upcoming festive season as it will leverage Meesho Mall for the first time to attract consumers to buy directly from brands and authorised channel partners. The company launched an in-app brand store Meesho Mall last year to enable brands to sell directly to consumers.

Since its launch last year, Meesho Mall has been growing by about 30 percent month-on-month and has processed approximately 1 crore orders in the past six months, Meesho Chief Financial Officer Dhiresh Bansal said.

“We believe that Malls will be a significant lever for monetisation in the future. We are also expecting 3x order growth during the festive season. Staying true to its vision, Meesho Mall aims to double down on accessibility, affordability, selection, and experience for its diverse stakeholders,” Bansal said in a statement.

The company had recorded a 68 percent jump in sales on a year-on-year basis during its five-day festive season sale last year with around 3.34 crore orders.

Currently, Meesho Mall has partnered with over 400 national and regional brands, including renowned names such as Bajaj, Biotique, boAt, Decathlon, Bewakoof, Himalaya, Mamaearth, Milton, Paragon, Philips, Plum, Sirona and WOW Skin Science, among others.

The company said that the mall is witnessing over 25 lakh unique transacting users every month.

“Meesho Mall will be an enabler for several emerging and established brands looking to tap a larger audience across the country,” the statement said.

According to market research firm Redseer Strategy Consultants, Meesho was the second largest contributor in terms of order volume during last year’s festive season sales.

A recent report by the firm projects online sales during the upcoming festive season to grow by 18-20 percent and touch Rs 90,000 crore this year.

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Amazon Drops Planned 2 Percent Merchant Fee as FTC Lawsuit Looms: Details

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Amazon was planning to impose a new 2 percent fee on every sale by third-party sellers that ship their products themselves.
By Reuters | Updated: 21 September 2023

Amazon.com is scrapping a plan to charge merchants who do not use its shipping services an additional fee, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday, signaling that the e-commerce giant was taking a cautious approach to operations amid mounting antitrust scrutiny.

Effective October 1, Amazon was planning to impose a new 2 percent fee on every sale by third-party sellers that ship their products themselves, according to media reports in August. The company said the fee was intended to shield itself from higher costs.

“After careful consideration, we’ve made the decision not to implement this program fee to ensure seller sentiment related to the fee does not impact program participation,” an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters.

The reversal in Amazon’s plans comes when the company is facing a potential lawsuit from the US Federal Trade Commission. Bloomberg first reported the news on Wednesday.

The fee would have applied to thousands of merchants who ship orders through Seller Fulfilled Prime – Amazon’s program that guarantees swift product delivery, even though the company does not handle the shipping itself, according to the report.

The FTC is expected to file a lawsuit against Amazon later this month after the company did not offer concessions to settle antitrust claims, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The FTC began probing the company during the Trump administration when it also launched investigations into other tech majors. Amazon has been criticized for allegedly favoring its own products over those from outside sellers on its platform.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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OpenAI Unveils Its Latest Text-to-Image AI Tool Dall-E 3 That Uses ChatGPT for Prompts: Details

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OpenAI said the latest version of the tool will have more safeguards such as limiting its ability to generate violent, adult, or hateful content.
By Reuters | Updated: 21 September 2023

OpenAI on Wednesday unveiled Dall-E 3, the latest version of its text-to-image tool that uses its wildly popular AI chatbot ChatGPT to help fill in prompts. Dall-E 3 will be available to ChatGPT Plus and Enterprise customers in October via the API, the company said. Users can type in a request for an image and tweak the prompt through conversations with ChatGPT.

“DALL-E 3 can translate nuanced requests into extremely detailed and accurate images,” the company said in a statement. OpenAI said the latest version of the tool will have more safeguards such as limiting its ability to generate violent, adult, or hateful content. The tool also has mitigations to decline requests that ask for images of a public figure by name, or those that ask for images in the style of a living artist.

OpenAI said creators could opt out of using some or all of their work used to train future text-to-image tools.

OpenAI’s race to create accurate text-to-image AI tools has several competitors, including Alibaba’s Tongyi Wanxiang, Midjourney and Stability AI, who continue to refine their image-generating models.

However, there are several concerns around AI-generated images. A Washington DC court in August ruled that a work of art created by AI without any human input could not be copyrighted under U.S. law.

OpenAI also faces several lawsuits. A trade group for US authors recently sued the artificial intelligence leader on behalf of writers including John Grisham and “Game of Thrones” novelist George R.R. Martin accusing the company of unlawfully training its chatbot ChatGPT on their work.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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