Microsoft threatens to restrict data from rival AI search tools — Bloomberg News

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft executive, speaks during an event introducing a new AI-powered Microsoft Bing and Edge at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington on February 7, 2023. (AFP file)
Short Url
Updated 27 March 2023

Microsoft threatens to restrict data from rival AI search tools — Bloomberg News

  • The company has told at least two customers that using its Bing search index to feed their AI chat tools violates the terms of their contract

Microsoft Corp. has threatened to cut off access to its Internet-search data, which it licenses to rival search engines, if they do not stop using it as the basis for their own artificial intelligence chat products, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.
The company has told at least two customers that using its Bing search index — a map of the Internet that can be scanned in real time — to feed their AI chat tools violates the terms of their contract, the news agency said, citing people familiar with the dispute.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft may also terminate licenses providing access to its search index, Bloomberg added.
“We’ve been in touch with partners who are out of compliance as we continue to consistently enforce our terms across the board,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters, adding that the company will continue to work with them directly and give information needed to find a path forward.
The maker of the Windows operating system had said in February it was revamping its Bing search engine and Edge Web browser with artificial intelligence, signaling its ambition to retake the lead in consumer technology markets where it has fallen behind.
The upgraded Bing search engine was rolled out to users late last month. 

 

 


Inaugural Saudi Festival of Creativity to be held in Riyadh

Updated 01 June 2023

Inaugural Saudi Festival of Creativity to be held in Riyadh

  • Event to be hosted by Motivate Media Group, TRACCS

DUBAI: UAE-based Motivate Media Group, and communications consultancy TRACCS — which started in and is headquartered in Saudi Arabia — have announced the launch of the inaugural Athar — Saudi Festival of Creativity, in Riyadh in November.

The festival aims to bring together the creative and marketing industries in Saudi Arabia to recognize and celebrate them.

Mohamed Al-Ayed, vice chairman of Athar Festival and CEO of TRACCS, said that the event would “enable and empower a new generation of creative-first Saudi marketers and inspire the sustainable development of the country.” 

The festival — which is being held over four days — will include a variety of training courses, roundtables, C-suite sessions, young talent competitions, and an awards ceremony.

It will also boast exclusive programs for women and executive marketers.

The awards will be presented to agencies, networks, and brands, and will be verified by Cannes Lions and Dubai Lynx.

Ian Fairservice, chairman of Athar Festival and managing partner and group editor-in-chief of Motivate Media Group, said: “The festival will be a dynamic and vibrant meeting place in Saudi Arabia where culture, creativity, talent, and technology will collide.

“It is a celebration of the power of creativity in an environment that inspires cultural exchange, collaborative innovation, tangible learning, and training and development.”
 


Russia fines WhatsApp for first time for not deleting banned content

Updated 01 June 2023

Russia fines WhatsApp for first time for not deleting banned content

  • WhatsApp has previously been fined for its alleged refusal to comply with Russian data law and store Russian users’ data on servers in the country

MOSCOW: A Russian court on Thursday fined messenger service WhatsApp $37,080 (3 million rubles) for not deleting banned content, its first fine in Russia for that offense.
Although WhatsApp’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc. was last year banned in Russia as an “extremist” organization, the messenger app — which is widely popular in Russia — has not previously faced penalties for failing to remove prohibited information.
Other Meta services, Facebook and Instagram — now banned in Russia — have been fined over content, as have the likes of Twitter and Alphabet’s Google.
WhatsApp, however, has previously been fined for its alleged refusal to comply with Russian data law and store Russian users’ data on servers in the country.
The RIA news agency reported that Thursday’s fine was due to WhatsApp’s refusal to remove information about the drug Lyrica, whose sale and manufacture are prohibited in Russia.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside US business hours.
Moscow has for years clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in disputes that escalated after Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.


Iran starts trial of female journalist who covered Amini’s death

Updated 30 May 2023

Iran starts trial of female journalist who covered Amini’s death

  • Hamedi, along with another female journalist, Elaheh Mohammadi, who went on trial on Monday, face several charges including "colluding with hostile powers"
  • Iran's intelligence ministry in October accused Mohammadi and Hamedi, both imprisoned for over eight months, of being CIA foreign agents

DUBAI: A Revolutionary Court in Iran on Tuesday began the trial of a female journalist behind closed doors on charges linked to her coverage of a Kurdish-Iranian woman whose death in custody last year sparked months of unrest, her husband said on Twitter.
Mahsa Amini’s death while held by the morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code unleashed a wave of mass anti-government protests for months, posing one of the boldest challenges to the country’s clerical leaders in decades.
A photo taken by Niloofar Hamedi for the pro-reform Sharq daily showing Amini’s parents hugging each other in a Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma was the first sign to the world that all was not well with 22-year-old Amini.
Tuesday’s trial session “ended in less than two hours while her lawyers did not get a chance to defend her and her family members were not allowed to attend the court,” Hamedi’s husband, Mohammad Hossein Ajorlou, said on Twitter.
“She denied all the charges against her and emphasized that she had performed her duty as a journalist based on the law.”
Hamedi, along with another female journalist, Elaheh Mohammadi, who went on trial on Monday, face several charges including “colluding with hostile powers” for their coverage of Amini’s death.
Iran’s intelligence ministry in October accused Mohammadi and Hamedi, both imprisoned for over eight months, of being CIA foreign agents.
Iran’s clerical rulers have blamed the protests on an array of enemies, including the United States, aimed at destabilising the Islamic Republic.


UAE-based creatives launch Cannes Lions prediction platform ‘The Loudest Roar’

Updated 29 May 2023

UAE-based creatives launch Cannes Lions prediction platform ‘The Loudest Roar’

  • “The Loudest Roar” is an independent project that is not affiliated with Cannes Lions

DUBAI: A team of UAE-based creatives has launched “The Loudest Roar,” an interactive prediction platform for the advertising industry’s premier awards program, Cannes Lions, which takes place next month.

Founded by Chirag Khushalani, Tobbi Vu, Teena Mathew, and Jack Rogers, “The Loudest Roar” aims to become the “fantasy league” for awards festivals, according to a company statement.

Khushalani said: “If the world can have a say on who can win the Superbowl or Premier League, why can’t they cast an eye on the Cannes Lions too?

“It’s a space where everyone has a say on what’s great, and can feel inspired to create more great work.”

The free, gamified platform is open to all. Participants compete for leaderboard positions and prizes, including cash rewards of up to $500 in Amazon gift cards and a portfolio revamp by Pimp My Portfolio. Each player will receive a personalized juror badge that can be shared on social media.

Industry experts and former Cannes Lions jury members such as Rob Schwartz, Tracey Follows and Akhilesh Bagri will also be present on the platform, sharing their advice on judging and creating award-winning work.  

Voting will begin when Cannes Lions releases its shortlists on June 2, and end a few hours before the winners are announced. Participants can view the shortlisted case studies and vote for Grand Prix winners in six categories: Titanium, Innovation, Film, Entertainment Lions for Gaming, Creative Effectiveness, and Creative Business Transformation. 

After the Cannes Lions awards are announced, “The Loudest Roar” will announce the winners chosen by the participants, as well as invite this year’s jury members to share insights into the work that won the Grand Prix trophies.

The company plans to roll out the concept across other award festivals and add interactive features like a simulated jury room.

It also plans to introduce private leagues for agencies and universities to gather insights into how their employees and students think, and how they can improve their entries to be more successful on the awards circuit.

“The Loudest Roar” is an independent project that is not affiliated with Cannes Lions.


Websites linked to Iran’s presidency hacked with images of exile group’s leaders

Updated 29 May 2023

Websites linked to Iran’s presidency hacked with images of exile group’s leaders

  • Iran has been targeted by a series of embarrassing hacks amid the rising tensions over its rapidly advancing nuclear program

DUBAI: A series of websites linked to Iran’s presidency bore the images of two leaders of an exiled opposition group Monday, with others showing the pictures of Islamic Republic’s supreme leader and president crossed out.
An Internet account describing itself as a group of hackers claimed responsibility for allegedly taking down websites. The account GhyamSarnegouni, whose name in Farsi means “Rise to Overthrow,” previously claimed hacking websites associated with Iran’s Foreign Ministry earlier this month.
Iranian state media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the apparent hack. However, Associated Press journalists accessing the sites found them defaced with images of Massoud Rajavi, the long-missing leader of the Iranian exile group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, and his wife Maryam, who is now the public face of the group.
One site bore the slogan: “Death to Khamenei Raisi- Hail to Rajavi.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi both were targeted similarly in the previously claimed hacked in May.
Iran has been targeted by a series of embarrassing hacks amid the rising tensions over its rapidly advancing nuclear program. That’s included the signal of Iranian state television being targeted, gasoline pumps that provide subsidized fuel being targeted in a cyberattack and government surveillance camera imagery being released, including from a notorious prison.
The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, known by the acronym MEK, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The MEK had angrily condemned a prisoner swap Belgium conducted with Iran on Friday to free an aid worker that saw an Iranian diplomat convicted of being behind a bomb plot targeting the group released.
The MEK began as a Marxist group opposing the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It claimed and was suspected in a series of attacks against US officials in Iran in the 1970s, something the group now denies.
It supported the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but soon had a falling out with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and turned against the cleric. It carried out a series of assassinations and bombings targeting the young Islamic Republic.
The MEK later fled into Iraq and backed dictator Saddam Hussein during his bloody eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s. That saw many oppose the group in Iran. Although largely based in Albania, the group claims to operate a network inside Iran.