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Briefs

BlackBerry to sell Canada properties

BlackBerry is selling most of its real estate holdings in Canada as the struggling smartphone company continues to look for ways to improve its business.

BlackBerry Ltd. did not disclose the buyer or purchase price, but said Friday that it will sell more than 3 million square feet of space and vacant lands.

It will also lease back part of the space.

“The successful sale of property in Canada will help us move toward our goal of continued operational efficiency,” CEO and Executive Chair John Chen said in a statement.

The company had announced in January that it planned to sell the majority of its Canadian real estate holdings.

Gmail now encrypts every email for security

Google announced last week that it is now using HTTPS encrypted connections whenever users log in to Gmail, no matter the security of the Internet connection, because the company will be keeping emails encrypted as they move around Google’s servers and from one data center to another.

User data drives many of Google’s most successful and lucrative services. But in the wake of revelations about NSA snooping, the company has been eager to reassure customers that it prizes privacy.

Last year, it was reported that Google was fast-tracking encryption improvements on its servers.

This week’s Gmail announcement notes, “your messages are safe not only when they move between you and Gmail’s servers, but also as they move between Google’s data centers – something we made a top priority after last summer’s revelations.”

European car sales grow for 6th month

European car sales grew for a sixth consecutive month in February but remained at a low level as the market recovered slowly from the financial crisis.

The European carmaker’s association said last week that sales of new passenger cars in the EU grew 8 percent last month to 861,058 units.

While the result is further evidence that the European market is coming out of its longest contraction ever, analysts warn price discounting remains strong.

Carlos Da Silva of IHS Automotive notes that the positive cycle compares with “dreadful” lows recorded in six years of contraction and “the overall situation remains more tense that it might appear.” February’s sales were at the second-lowest level ever for the month.

Among major markets, only France saw sales contract, by 1.4 percent.

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