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Lessons from Ashley Madison: The FTC's recent settlement with the extramarital dating site Ashley Madison shows that protecting users' privacy goes beyond guarding the personal and financial data a website stores. Dating sites like Ashley Madison and Tinder are known to attracting "bots," which post fake dating profiles that seek to extract financial details by deceiving their targets through flattery, Ars Technica reports. Even if a bot was designed for non-criminal uses, the FTC's stance is clear: Websites cannot host bots that lie to humans, the article says.

Holiday shopping overload: Amazon's latest holiday stunt is a one-day sale with a twist: It's not selling physical items. Presumably banking on the success of its Kindle, Fire and Echo devices, Amazon's Dec. 30 sale focuses solely on digital goods, showcasing the reach of its e-commerce empire, The Verge reports. It's not the first time Amazon has focused its sales on technology; earlier this year, its Prime Day summer shopping event tested the selling ability of Amazon's voice-controlled Echo hardware. And, according to Amazon, it sells more on Prime Day than it does on Black Friday.

Bloomberg News

Pushing back on the hack: Government agencies, financial institutions and retailers have long been the targets of international hackers, and the U.S. government is pushing back. In response to what the White House describes as "significant malicious cyber-enabled activities" during the U.S. election, the U.S. has sanctioned six Russian people and five Russian entities, as well as ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave U.S. soil, CNN reports. The hacking incidents took place over the course of a year, including the exposure of emails relating to the Democratic Party and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the article says.

From the Web (powered by Wiser)

Paytm wants 5 million digital merchants
Business Insider • B.I. Intelligence
This story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Payments Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here. Paytm, a leader in India's mobile-wallet market, plans to have 5 million merchants make and accept digital payments in 2017 by adding new features...

The market for unwanted gift vouchers
The Economist • The Data Team
CHRISTMAS shopping is hard. You never really know what others want. If Homo economicus had his way, Christmas presents, to the extent that they would exist, would only come in the form of cash—thus allowing recipients to buy exactly what they desire.

Mobile payments help Sweden's move to a cashless society
All the signs seem to point to Sweden becoming an entirely cash-free country. However, the phasing out of a payment method that has been in use for centuries will not be simple, and it's possible that the country will never become truly...

More from PaymentsSource

Faster ACH payments strain bank anti-fraud systems
The time banks have to investigate red-flagged credit payments has shrunk from several days to a few hours and fraudsters have already taken notice.

Mobile wallet adoption depends on understanding four basic needs
Consumers want to feel mobile wallets are secure and widely accessible before substantial adoption is possible.

To diversify the cross-border market, tuition is fertile ground
The University of Illinois is getting an education in how complex tuition payment processing can be, especially when the students enrolled from outside of the U.S. It also serves as an example of the clients that are in big demand for cross-border payment companies seeking larger volumes.

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe is editor in chief at PaymentsSource and a contributing editor at American Banker.