Roundup: Insurer Anthem offers layers of identity theft protection; US allows imports of privately produced products from Cub...
Insurer Anthem offers free ID theft protection
Anthem Inc. is offering several levels of free identity theft protection to current and former customers dating back more than a decade as it continues to investigate how hackers broke into a database storing information for about 80 million people. The Indianapolis company said Friday that for two years it will provide credit monitoring, identity theft repair assistance if someone experiences fraud, and identity protection designed specifically for children. The services are available to all current and former customers since 2004. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer said last week that hackers evaded several security layers to reach its database sometime after Dec. 10 and before Jan. 27, when a computer system administrator discovered outsiders were using his credentials to log into the system.
U.S. to allow some privately produced imports from Cuba
The Obama administration is announcing that it will allow Cuba's small private business sector to sell goods to the United States in a potentially important loosening of the half-century trade embargo on the communist island. A list published Friday by the State Department said Americans will be allowed to import anything produced by Cuban entrepreneurs with the exception of food and agricultural products, alcohol, minerals, chemicals, textiles, machinery, vehicles, arms and ammunition. The imports would have to be produced by a Cuban operating in one of the dozens of categories of private business allowed by the Cuban government. Most of the categories are for services such as car maintenance or watch repair, not potentially exportable goods. In short, no one should expect Cuban goods to start flowing to America in large quantities anytime soon, said Pedro Freyre, head of international practice at Florida-based law firm Akerman LLP.
Apple hiring auto experts for secret research project
Apple Inc. is hiring automotive technology and design experts to staff up a top-secret research lab, with the possible intention of building a car, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing several people familiar with the iPhone maker. It's unclear whether the world's largest smartphone maker is simply looking for talent to shore up CarPlay, the in-car entertainment and software service that CEO Tim Cook has identified as pivotal to the company's longer-term future. The background and seniority of the executives it is recruiting suggest that Apple may be trying to build a car, the newspaper said, citing sources. Apple recently hired the head of Mercedes-Benz's Silicon Valley research and development unit, Johann Jungwirth, according to a LinkedIn profile.
Google, Mattel aim to bring View-Master into 21st century
Mattel and Google are trying to bring the 75-year-old View-Master into the 21st century — with some help from smartphones and virtual reality technology. The original View-Masters gave people a chance to click through colorful photos by inserting reels into the viewing devices. Targeted at families, the updated View-Master has users insert a smartphone into a headset. A smartphone app will enable the gadget to immerse children in a slew of virtual worlds, from far-off cities to outer space. The View-Masters will be priced about $30. Mattel and Google revealed the virtual reality viewer Friday at Mattel's New York City office.
— Staff and wire reports