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Home Depot's exposure: It's been several years since a major breach at Home Depot, but there were still reportedly soft spots at the retailer to exploit. Engadget reports a web address under the HomeDepot.com domain was unprotected and stored photos of home improvement projects and 13 Excel spreadsheets with customer data. The tech news website reports the Home Depot related site has names, phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses for about 8,000 people, and that data was left unencrypted for an unknown period of time. Home Depot has since removed the files, which did not contain credit card, bank account or Social Security information, so the big box retailer was not breaking the law, Engadget reports. But the tech news site reports it is possible to use the information that was on the unprotected site as part of a phishing scheme or other attack.
Tencent backs Europe-bound Airwallex: While Tencent's substantial size makes it an attractive partner for payment companies outside of its native China, the company is also making its own direct investments to enhance its international profile. Tencent has led a $13 million Series A round investment in Airwallex, an Australian payments company, to fuel Airwallex's expansion into Asia Pacific and Europe. Sequoia China, Mastercard and other investors also participated in the funding round. TechCrunch reports the two-year-old Airwallex is a B-to-B play designed to power business payments at scale, using partnerships with local trading companies to remove third parties for international transactions. The Melbourne-based Airwallex offers an API that embeds in the business' existing payment systems and assesses a transaction fee based on API usage. While primarily focused on business transactions, Tencent is also preparing to embed Airwallex's technology into its WeChat Pay app to improve payments for Chinese travelers. Airwallex also plans to obtain licenses for an eventual move into the U.S.
Monzo has room to collaborate: Fresh off of luring new investment that's seen as a counter to the Brexit technology bears, digital payment startup Monzo plans to earmark a specific space in its East London office for external collaboration. Finextra reports the startup envisions the space will host hackathons with a focus on financial technology, education technology or community inclusion. Mondo, which recently received regulatory approval in the U.K. to add more traditional banking services on top of payments, also anticipates developers will pitch ideas through the center, which it will call The Drawing Board. It already runs a virtual version of its developer space on its website, which includes information on its product roadmap and invitations to submit product ideas.
Trump Administration starts net neutrality rollback: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he intends to rescind net neutrality rules created by the FCC's Open Internet Order in 2015 under the Obama Administration, which had the effect of stopping companies that control access to the web from charging different rates for different types of access. Startups in payments and other industries mostly support net neutrality, and larger Silicon Valley companies such as PayPal have also voiced support in the past, arguing net neutrality makes the internet easier and less expensive to use for a broader range of developers. TechCrunch reports Pai voiced his plans at an event sponsored by the libertarian group Freedomworks. At the event, Pai referred to the 2015 order "an aberration," and suggested net neutrality rules, which are based on the Communications Act of 1934, are regulations from the Depression meant to regulate "Ma Bell." Pai did say he would open his proposal to roll back net neutrality to public comment.
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