Are they any use? With Europe’s black-box coronavirus apps it’s hard to tell

DUBLIN/BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s experiment in using technology to fight coronavirus has achieved some early successes: millions of people have downloaded smartphone tracker apps and hundreds have uploaded the results of positive COVID-19 tests.

FILE PHOTO: The COVID Tracker Ireland app used for contact tracing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is displayed on a mobile phone, as it is held up for an illustration photograph in Galway, Ireland, July 30, 2020. Picture taken July 30, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/Illustration/File Photo

Yet most European countries so far lack solid evidence that their apps – which identify close contacts via Bluetooth connections with nearby users – are actually alerting people who may have caught the disease before they can infect others.

The reason? Design choices made by governments and their app developers to protect people’s privacy.

In many of the 11 European territories using architecture designed by Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O)

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U.S. coronavirus fraud losses near $100 million as COVID scams double

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100 million since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of COVID-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. C REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

A report from the group, based on government data, highlighted the vast scope of a fast-growing criminal cottage industry – from phony stimulus-check offers to shopping scams and fake cures – preying on Americans already distressed by the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania – the most populous of the 50 U.S. states – to be the five most targeted by coronavirus scams in the country.

Together they accounted

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Big Tech surges as reports impress in coronavirus downturn

(Reuters) – Shares of Apple , Amazon and Facebook surged in extended trading on Thursday, with Alphabet also climbing, as quarterly reports from the Big Tech quartet added fuel to Wall Street’s four-month rally.

FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are seen in a combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS/File Photos/File Photo

With the four companies reporting on the same day for the first time ever, Apple, Amazon and Facebook each jumped 5% or more. Alphabet traded up about 0.5%.

Together, the four account for nearly a fifth of the S&P 500’s stock market value. Index funds tracking the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.8% and 1.6%, respectively, suggesting traders expect Wall Street to open sharply higher on Friday.

Deemed “stay-at-home” winners as millions of Americans were ordered indoors to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, shares of the largest U.S. technology companies have hit record highs

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Spotify revenue misses as coronavirus deters advertisers

STOCKHOLM/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N) missed quarterly revenue expectations on Wednesday and forecast a soft current quarter, due mainly to a decline in ads as the COVID-19 pandemic kept advertisers at bay.

FILE PHOTO: A trader is reflected in a computer screen displaying the Spotify brand before the company begins selling as a direct listing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Shares of the Swedish company, up about 80% since the start of this year, fell 3% to $253 before the U.S. market open.

The results overshadowed a rebound in demand for music streaming as more users signed up for its services and paid subscribers reached 138 million, ahead of Wall Street estimates of 136.4 million.

Spotify, which leads the market for music streaming ahead of rivals such as Apple Inc (

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