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Data Sheet—Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy Monday, Data Sheet reader, and welcome to a new workweek. With the exception of the epic victory for women’s soccer and the drama unfolding in Greece, it was a slow news weekend. Some tech developments to get your mind back in the right place. Uber is backing down in France, at least until the country’s court system has its say. Plus, Intel is reorganizing after the resignation of No. 2 Renee James. One other thing: watch for coverage of Fortune’s annual Brainstorm Tech conference, starting next Monday in Aspen, Colorado. Among confirmed keynote interviews: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Softbank President Nikesh Arora. Have a productive day!


MasterCard’s latest weapon against fraudulent online purchases: biometrics. It is the latest financial services company to test fingerprints and facial recognition as a second level of authentication against unlawful purchases. “The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it,” MasterCard executive Ajay Bhalla told CNN Money.


Uber puts on the brakes in France, hits accelerator in India. The ride-sharing company will suspend the low-cost UberPop service, the subject of fierce protests, until after a high court ruling that should come down within the next three months. Litigation against two high-ranking local executives is also pending. Meanwhile, the company has pledged $50 million over the next five years t0 the Indian city of Hyderabad.

The bigger problem with Instagram’s fraud problem. Brands spend millions to share visual content there. Despite the social network’s recent purge of fake accounts, there’s still a significant problem with fraudulent and spammy activity.

In case you missed it: Intel President Renee James wants a CEO job. She’s leaving next January, which prompted a big reorganization at the chipmaker just before the holiday weekend.

Plus, Yelp may not be for sale after all, reports Bloomberg.


Dick Costolo is right about what Twitter has done for free speech

The departing Twitter CEO says the service has changed the way we communicate, largely for the better, and he’s right. Some perspective from Fortune’s Mathew Ingram.

Twitter is far from perfect in many ways, both as a social product and as a business. It has repeatedly vacillated about what it wants to be, switched product chiefs the way some people change their socks, bulldozed its third-party developer community (and then tried to kiss up to them when it needed them), and introduced too many features that appeal to advertisers but not to its long-time users.

But despite all of that, the service is still an incredible tool for distributing information in real-time, and for empowering free speech by virtually anyone with a PC or mobile phone, anywhere in the world. Dick Costolo, whose last day as CEO of Twitter was July 1, made this point in a piece he wrote that was published in The Guardian, arguing that while the company started as a social tool for Silicon Valley geeks to stay in touch with one another, it eventually grew to the point where it “started to represent the democratic ideal of access for all.”

That might sound like a departing chief executive trying to gild his reputation as he exits a company. And there may be a touch of that at work in the Guardian piece—as well as the interview Costolo gave the newspaper after a speech in Spain, where he touched on some of the same themes. But whether he’s trying to shape his legacy (as Bloomberg Business argues) or not, there is more than a little truth to what the former Twitter CEO has to say about the role the service has played.

Read Mathew Ingram’s complete essay.


One practical corporate application for virtual reality: marketing. Fitness company Zumba created a demonstration “experience” that it will use at clubs and trade shows to interest consumers in its program. Because dancing is believing.

Here’s one place where Hewlett-Packard’s cloud strategy is paying off. The company was the first-quarter sales leader when it comes to the servers, storage devices and network gear needed to run theses services.

All smartphones sold in California now come with a “kill switch” that renders them useless when lost or stolen, after a new states law took effect July 1.

France to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange: You were mistaken, you’re not welcome here.

Tesla logged a record-breaking second quarter, delivering more Model S sedans than anticipated.


Former NASA tech chief takes startups under his wing by Barb Darrow

This eSports company just got acquired for $87 million by John Gaudiosi

Unusual jobs CEOs had before they became successful by Erik Sherman

Want a promotion? Cheer up and be on time. by Anne Fisher

This agency is partnering with Google to alert drivers of railroad crossing risks by David Z. Morris


This Swiss pilot could use more than a nap. He just flew his solar-powered plane from Japan to Hawaii, breaking all sorts of records.


Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 – 15; Aspen, Colorado)

Esri Business Summit: Mapping the value of data. (July 18 – 21; San Diego)

LinuxCon North America: All about open source. (Aug. 17 – 19; Seattle)

SuccessConnect: Simplify the way the world works. (Aug. 10 – 12; Las Vegas)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)

Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 – 18; San Francisco)

.conf2015: Splunk’s “get your data on” gathering. (Sept. 21 – 24; Las Vegas)

Cassandra Summit: Largest gathering of Cassandra database developers. (Sept. 22 – 24; San Francisco)

BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 – 30; San Francisco)

Workday Rising: Meet and share. (Sept. 28 – Oct. 1; Las Vegas)

HP Engage: Big data, big engagement. (Oct. 4 – 6; San Diego)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 – 8; Orlando, Florida)

I Love APIs 2015: Apigee’s annual conference. (Oct. 12 – 14; San Jose, California)

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: World’s largest gather of women technologists. (Oct. 14 – 16; Houston)

Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 – 29; San Francisco)

TBM Conference 2015: Manage IT like a business. (Oct. 26 – 29; Chicago)

QuickBooks Connect: SMBs, entrepreneurs, accountants and developers. (Nov. 2 – 4; San Jose, California)