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Data Sheet—Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A few weeks ago, a disturbing article by Kashmir Hill at digital media site Fusion prompted me to remove my phone number from my Facebook account. The article describes the way Facebook may be using your phone’s address book to recommend new friends to other users.

Like many well-meaning tech product features, this seems innocent enough—until you encounter examples where it’s not. In this case, Facebook was recommending a psychiatrist’s patients add one another as friends, possibly because they all had the psychiatrist’s phone number as a contact, even though none of them were even friends with her on Facebook.

Since I’ve removed my phone number, every single time I open the Facebook app on my smartphone, I get a message asking me to add it back for security purposes. (In fine print—to find friends and get alerts too!) I can’t permanently opt out. I will continue to get this prompt until Facebook badgers me enough that I give up and add it back. It’s a grim reminder that with all the amazing, wonderful, free web products we can’t live without, we’re choosing convenience over privacy, every single day.

Yesterday Facebook announced that its Messenger app (remember, the thing the company made 1 billion of us begrudgingly download?) now accepts payments. It seems innocent enough. Lots of people have already given Facebook Messenger their debit card information to send and receive money with their contacts. Why wouldn’t they want to conveniently pay for things like flights and button-up shirts through a seamless, easy-to-use app?

Still, I was reminded of badgering prompts to add my phone number back. Once Facebook has our payment information and purchase history, hold onto your hats. The privacy landmines seem obvious and plentiful. I want to believe the company will be responsible with this information. But there are already so many other examples where it’s not.

Erin Griffith is a senior writer at Fortune. Email her. Share this essay.


Keep an eye on Canadian software firm OpenText. The company, which has traditionally sold document management technology, will pay $1.62 billion to buy what used to be EMC’s software division (formerly Documentum) from Dell Technologies. OpenText has been on an acquisition spree this year (five so far), and last spring it bought several software products from HP Inc. (Globe and Mail)

Microsoft beats out rivals for HP software deal. The printer company will use the software giant’s Dynamics application for management of customer relationships as part of a six-year contract. Terms weren’t disclosed, but 6,500 HP sales representatives and 20,000 support personnel will be getting the software, which displaces similar products from Salesforce and Oracle. (Fortune)

Former AT&T chief Robert Allen dies at age 81. Allen took over as CEO from his mentor James Olson in May 1986, and led the carrier in the years following the antitrust settlement that saw AT&T shed its local phone companies. He is credited with reviving the company’s cellular phone business. (Wall Street Journal)

Mining giant goes digital with Cisco’s help. Barrick, the world’s biggest gold producer, is investing at least $100 million in technologies that will help it gather more data across its operations—everything from weather to underground seismic conditions to which equipment might need maintenance. Miners will even have access to spot prices. (Bloomberg)

Verizon buys yet another Internet of things startup. Its latest acquisition is Sensity, which makes light-pole-mounted sensors that can be used for traffic monitoring or public safety applications. It paid more than $2.4 billion over the summer for two fleet-tracking software companies, Fleetmatics and Telogis. (Fortune)

Another day, another billion-dollar microchip merger. Japan’s Renesas, which barely survived a 2011 earthquake, is offering $3.2 billion for Intersil. Renesas specializes in microcontrollers embedded into electronics devices such as televisions or cars, while Intersil sells chips for managing power supplies. (New York Times)


HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler talks up $1 billion acquisition. Personal computer and printing giant HP started the week with a bang, offering to buy Samsung’s printer business for $1.05 billion. Weisler’s hope is that the deal will help HP better compete in the copy machine market and help offset declining sales of printers. In an interview with Fortune, Weisler explained his rationale for the acquisition. Here’s an edited version of the talk.


How to Tell Your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Isn’t the Exploding Kind,
by David Meyer

Startup GitLab Gets $20 Million to Simplify Corporate Software Development, by Heather Clancy

What You Can Expect From Twitter’s New Live-Stream Deal With Cheddar, by Chauncey L. Alcorn

Verizon and AT&T Are Testing the Limits of Mobile Net Neutrality,
by Aaron Pressman

The Chevy Bolt EV Range Is Blowing Away Expectations—and Even Tesla’s Model 3, by Kirsten Korosec

LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman Says He’ll Donate $5 Million to See Trump’s Tax Returns, by Ian Mount


Meet Susan Lyne, media-mogul-turned-venture-capitalist. Lyne green-lighted television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and The Bachelor before her ouster from ABC Entertainment. She once hid a pregnancy for five months for fear of being fired. Now, Lyne is funding female entrepreneurs with BBG Ventures, inspired by the #BuiltByGirls movement. And she’s the latest guest on the Fortune Unfiltered podcast.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.

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