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19 Women Sue Lyft as Sexual Assault Allegations Mount

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Nineteen women sued Lyft this week, joining a growing list of people who say the popular ride-hailing service failed to prevent drivers from sexually assaulting them, then ignored the complaints.

The lawsuit is the latest to accuse Lyft of failing to enact basic safety measures that would have prevented the alleged assaults. After the women reported the attacks, Lyft did not follow up on their complaints or played down the seriousness of what happened, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday in the Superior Court of San Francisco.

“It’s not just the fact that these sexual assaults happened. It’s about the cover-up,” said Michael Bomberger, a San Diego-based lawyer who filed the suit. He filed another lawsuit in September, when 14 women came forward to say they had been sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers.

Mr. Bomberger said many of the women he represents had gone to the police only to learn that Lyft, a San Francisco-based company that competes with Uber for drivers and passengers, had refused to provide information that would have helped investigators.

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Deadly Coronavirus Outbreak Poses a Test to China’s Leadership

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The delay in reporting the spread of the disease was attributed to technological challenges, but also bureaucratic ones.

Some hospitals lacked testing kits, according to remarks on Monday by Dr. Zhong Nanshan, a prominent scientist who is leading a government-appointed panel of experts helping control the outbreak. The process was also slowed down, he said, because local hospitals were required to submit cases to the central health commission in Beijing for review before going public.

For weeks, the authorities in Wuhan seemed to play down the threat posed by the virus. The health department said that it had been found only in people who visited a local market that sold live fish, birds and other animals, and that workers had disinfected and shut down the site.

Questions have emerged on Chinese social media about whether the Chinese government has been forthcoming. Many articles and posts, including some using the hashtag #WuhanSARS, were censored.

After his stepmother died of viral pneumonia last week, Kyle Hui, 32, an architect from Shanghai, turned to Weibo, a Twitterlike site, to report her case. Mr. Hui’s stepmother was never formally tested for the virus, and he was concerned that the Wuhan government was underreporting cases of the illness. But his post soon disappeared from the internet.

“People accuse me of spreading rumors, but I’m just trying to tell my stepmother’s story,” he said in an interview at a cafe in Wuhan.

It was not until Monday that the government changed course, after news outlets in Hong Kong reported over the weekend that there were several potential cases of the illness in Shanghai and Shenzhen, a southern city. The central government dispatched Dr. Zhong, a renowned expert with a reputation for bluntness, to Wuhan.

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Bambuser Seeks $10.5M For Shopping Technology

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Bambuser, the Swedish startup specializing in the live-streaming of shopping, wants to raise 100 million crowns ($10.5 million USD) to expand its service as it comes west, according to Reuters. The move comes via a rights issue to fund the expansion, and would have the effect of doubling share prices, though it would be from a low level.

The company launched a service last September that enables brands to offer live shopping on their own websites. Live shopping involves paid brand representatives talking on camera during a live broadcast, allowing viewers to interact with them and purchase the product being featured. Like similar live-streamers who film themselves playing video games in real time, the service has proved wildly popular.

In China, the trend is booming. For China’s Singles’ Day last November, about half of merchants on retail site Tmall used live-stream shopping, selling almost 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion USD) worth in goods, according to parent company Alibaba Group.

Bambuser said its new service will aim to be profitable within the next two years.

In a statement, the company said the rights issue would allow for the expansion of its operation within the sphere of live-video shopping. Bambuser noted that current shareholders had already agreed to sign up for a total of 52 million crowns.

Thus far, Bambuser has announced collaborations with some Nordic beauty and apparel companies for live-stream shopping. It had the distinction Monki, a brand of number-two worldwide fashion retailer H&M, making a broadcast via the service last year.

Recently, the company announced that it will be partnering with Italian online luxury fashion retailer LUISAVIAROMA. Following the announcement of the partnership last week, Bambuser shares rocketed to a double-digit gain within the same day.

On Monday (Jan. 20), Bambuser also announced that it was working with experts from China for strategic advice, which could signal its intent to move into the Chinese market that loves the services the company offers.

Facebook and Amazon have announced live-stream shopping features on their respective apps, and Snapchat is getting in on the game with a shopping function as well.

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Report: Bezos phone uploaded GBs of personal data after getting Saudi prince’s WhatsApp message

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It’s like a plot from a bad thriller: a forensic analysis paid for by Jeff Bezos found that his cell phone coughed up massive amounts of personal information within hours of receiving a WhatsApp-attached video file sent by the future king of Saudi Arabia, the Guardian, and the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The text—the analysis is reported to say—comes on May 1, 2018. That’s when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent Bezos a text over WhatsApp weeks after the two had exchanged numbers. Their relationship started out cordially but became strained as The Washington Post reported that the Saudi government was behind the gruesome killing and subsequent dismemberment of veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He used to contribute a regular column in the Bezos-owned Washington Post criticizing Prince Mohammed’s autocratic leadership. The FT report is here, and the report from the Guardian is here.

Massive and unauthorized exfiltration

Within hours of Bezos’ receipt of the video, the analysis found, “a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’s phone began, continuing and escalating for months,” the FT reported. That amount of data surreptitiously exfiltrated from the device “was in the dozens of gigabytes, compared to the few hundred kilobytes daily afterage in the months before the video file was sent.

The extraordinary conclusion—which depending on the publications was reached with either “medium to high confidence” or found to be “highly probable”—comes nine months after a security consultant hired by the Amazon founder and owner of The Washington Post, said the government of Saudi Arabia gained access to the private contents of Jeff Bezos’ phone. The consultant, Gavin De Becker, made no explicit allegation at the time that Bezos’ phone had been hacked.

A Saudi official denied the country’s government was behind a hack on Bezos’ phone. “Saudi Arabia does not conduct illicit activities of this nature, nor does it condone them,” the official told the FT. “We request the presentation of any supposed evidence and the disclosure of any company that examined any forensic evidence so that we can show it is demonstrably false.

The analysis was led by Anthony J. Ferrante, a security expert at the business advisory firm FTI Consulting. It doesn’t claim to have conclusive evidence, and its findings have yet to be independently confirmed by the FT, Guardian, or any other known news publication.

Representatives for Bezos and FTI consulting declined to comment.

Allegations that Saudi Arabia obtained access to data on Bezos’s phone came a few months after the National Enquirer tabloid reported that Bezos’s was having an extramarital affair with broadcaster Lauren Sanchez. The publication published texts and pictures from the phone that appeared to show the two had an ongoing relationship.

Nude photos

A few weeks later, Bezos published emails he received from officials at National Inquirer’s parent company. The company allegedly threatened to publish nude photos from Bezos’ phone unless he ended an investigation into the security breaching involving his phone and backed away from public allegations the breach was motivated by political leanings by the National Inquirer. National Inquirer has maintained the phone data came from Sanchez’s brother and was not the result of a hack.

In May, WhatsApp owner Facebook said it fixed a critical vulnerability in the messenger app that had been under active exploit. According to an FT report published the same day the exploit was developed by Israeli developer NSO Group and worked by sending a WhatsApp call to targets. By exploiting a buffer overflow vulnerability in the WhatsApp VoIP stack, the calls could remotely install surveillance malware on both iPhones and Android devices. Targets need not have answered the call to be infected.

It’s not clear if the WhatsApp exploit was the same one allegedly used against Bezos. Based on the limited descriptions of the vulnerabilities, they appear to be different, other than they both gave remote attackers full control over devices running vulnerable devices.

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