Google invests $1 billion to ease housing shortage near California headquarters






(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google announced on Tuesday it would set aside $750 million in land and $250 million in financing to spur developers in the San Francisco Bay Area to build at least 20,000 homes and rehabilitate other housing over the next decade.

Google, which told Reuters it has 45,000 employees in the region, has been the target of local activists who for several years have said the company’s growth and high salaries have contributed to rising rents and housing shortages. They have called on Google and other Silicon Valley tech companies to invest in affordable housing and rethink expansions.

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Facebook's cryptocurrency ambitions face privacy concerns, political backlash






SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Facebook Inc announced ambitious plans on Tuesday to launch a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, part of an effort to expand into digital payments that immediately raised privacy concerns.

The social networking giant has linked with 28 partners including Mastercard, PayPal and Uber to form Libra Association, a Geneva-based entity governing the new digital coin, according to marketing materials and interviews with executives. No banks are yet part of the group.

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U.S. lawmaker calls for Facebook to pause cryptocurrency project






WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. House lawmaker on Tuesday called on Facebook Inc to halt development on its new cryptocurrency and for company executives to testify before Congress, adding to global concerns about what the digital currency could mean for data privacy and security.

Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said Facebook should halt development of the product, dubbed Libra, until Congress and regulators can review the issue, and called on company executives to testify before Congress.

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Senior U.S. lawmaker says Facebook should halt cryptocurrency project pending review






WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said Tuesday that Facebook Inc should halt development of its announced cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators conduct a review.

In a statement, Waters also said Facebook executives should testify before Congress about the product, dubbed Libra, saying the company has “repeatedly shown a disregard for the protection and careful use of this data.”

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U.S. agency to vote on auctioning key unused parts of 2.5 GHz band for 5G






WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote in July on whether to auction a key band of largely unused 2.5 GHz spectrum to help advance next-generation 5G wireless networks and scrap requirements that it be used for education, the agency said on Tuesday.

The FCC in May 2018 voted to consider releasing additional key 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum reserved in the 1960s for what is now known as the Educational Broadband Service.

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U.N. surveillance expert urges global moratorium on sale of spyware






GENEVA (Reuters) - The world should impose a moratorium on the sale and use of surveillance software until there are rules in place to stop governments using it to spy on opponents and critics, a U.N. expert recommended.

David Kaye, the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression, submitted his recommendations in a report published on Tuesday to the U.N. Human Rights Council, which will open a three-week session next week.

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Nvidia boosts self-driving AI business with Volvo trucks deal






STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s AB Volvo is joining forces with Nvidia Corp to develop artificial intelligence used in self-driving trucks, in a boost for the U.S. chipmaker that was dropped by Tesla Inc last year.

The agreement announced on Tuesday by Nvidia and Volvo, the world’s second-biggest truckmaker after Daimler AG, is a long-term partnership spanning several years. Work will begin immediately in Santa Clara, California, and Gothenburg, Sweden. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Germany to support three battery cell alliances: economy minister






BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will award to three consortiums 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) in funding it earmarked last year to support domestic battery cell production, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Reuters, part of a bid to cut carmakers’ reliance on Asian supply.

Securing a regional supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs) would help Germany achieve European Union goals to lower carbon emissions and cut fossil fuel consumption.

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