The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Wednesday, March 18

Facebook jumps into P2P payments...GOP tackles FCC chairman over net neutrality...Microsoft says Hello to biometrics... and more tech news

Facebook's Messenger app across devices, as pictured on July 28, 2014.

Facebook's Messenger app across devices, as pictured on July 28, 2014.

Facebook jumps into P2P payments via Messenger app

Users of Facebook's Messenger app will soon be able to do more than just text and send images to friends -- they'll also be able to send money. With its vast army of users, Facebook is likely to become a major player in the peer-to-peer payment market by letting users link their debit cards and send each other payments within the app. However, the company said nothing about rolling the feature out beyond U.S. borders.

Republicans rake FCC chairman over the coals

The Republican backlash against new net neutrality regulations was in full force on Tuesday, as lawmakers accused the U.S. Federal Communications Commission of being a puppet for President Barack Obama, but they failed to produce solid evidence for the scenario. For his part, the Commission's chairman Tom Wheeler said, "There were no secret instructions from the White House."

Microsoft says Hello to biometric authentication, bye to passwords

Microsoft is out to kill passwords by providing an option to log in to its upcoming Windows 10 OS, applications and Web services via fingerprint, face or iris detection. The company says the new feature, called Hello, is more secure than the traditional log-in because there's no need to store passwords on a device. Users can opt in or out of biometric authentication, and information about a fingerprint, iris or face will be stored locally and not shared with others.

... And in China, shares some Windows 10 phone plans, says Xiaomi is testing

At an event in Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday, Microsoft said that Windows 10 will launch around mid-year in 190 countries in 111 languages. It also said Xiaomi will help it test the OS by having a select group of Xiaomi customers download the technical preview to their phones, and offer feedback. That's led some to speculate that it may be looking at the Chinese star smartphone player, which has become a low-cost Android powerhouse, to offer a phone with the Microsoft OS.

For $10,000, this computer will learn how to drive your car

Nvidia has come up with a $10,000 computer, the Drive PX, that it says will allow cars to learn the right and wrong reactions to different situations, essentially figuring out what to do from experience. The computer, based on two Tegra X1 processors, is aimed at automakers' R&D shops and if it works as promoted, could help advance the arrival of commercial self-driving cars.

Premera Blue Cross says data breach may affect 11 million customers

Health insurer Premera Blue Cross said on Tuesday as many as 11 million customers stretching back to 2002 may have been affected by a data breach discovered in late January. It marks the second major health care industry breach following the hit on Anthem disclosed in early February. But unlike the Anthem breach, bank account information and clinical information may also have been stolen.

Chinese firm sues Qualcomm for $100 billion in trademark case

Qualcomm's lawyers in China can't catch a break. They recently settled an antitrust case in the country for nearly a billion dollars, but now a local firm wants 100 times that much in a trademark dispute. Genitop claims the chipmaker infringed its local trademark on a phrase that means "high communication" in its marketing materials in China. Besides asking for 100 million yuan in compensation, Genitop figures it's due a $100 billion penalty by calculating three years of Qualcomm's revenue in China.

Jury rules for Apple in patent lawsuit

Apple successfully defended itself against charges that it had infringed on a handful of wireless patents once held by Nokia. A Texas jury didn't go for the allegations from Core Wireless that Apple used its technology without permission on iPads and iPhones. The plaintiff, which filed suit in 2012, wanted a portion of the revenue Apple generated from those devices -- about $100 million, according to Apple Insider.

Twitter adds tool to report tweets to the police

Twitter has added a tool to help users report abusive content to law enforcement as it ramps up its efforts to combat harassment. It's augmented the existing process for flagging abusive content or tweets by giving users the option of receiving an emailed summary of the incident with the information needed for a police report.

Watch now

Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about the future of self-driving cars at Nvidia's GTC 2015 conference Tuesday.

One last thing

Dr. Leslie Saxon, director of the Center for Body Computing at the University of Southern California, talks to Popular Science about the future of biometric data.

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IDG News Service staff

IDG News Service staff

IDG News Service
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