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Trump speaks with Boris Johnson about security as Britain nears Huawei decision

Technology | The Guardian

Trump discusses concerns over Chinese telecoms giant’s role in Britain’s future 5G network

Donald Trump discussed the security of telecommunications networks with Boris Johnson, the White House said, as Britain closes in on a decision on Huawei’s role in the country’s future 5G network.

“The two leaders discussed important regional and bilateral issues, including working together to ensure the security of our telecommunications networks,” the White House said in a statement on Friday about the phone call.

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January 24th 2020, 10:22 pm

YouTube moderators must sign contract acknowledging job could cause PTSD – report

Technology | The Guardian

Moderators required to sign form before accepting a job with subcontractor Accenture, according to report from the Verge

Content moderators for YouTube have received legal warnings the job may negatively affect their mental health and cause post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new report from the Verge found.

Social media sites are increasingly informing employees of the negative effects of moderation jobs following several reports on harrowing working conditions, including long hours viewing violent and sexually exploitative content with little mental health support. Before accepting a job with Accenture, a subcontractor that works with several social media companies and manages some YouTube moderators at a Texas facility, employees had to sign a form titled “Acknowledgement”, the Verge reported.

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January 24th 2020, 5:19 pm

There’s nothing wrong with my no-email policy | Letter

Technology | The Guardian

Julian Lewis MP responds to criticism over his refusal to use email for constituency correspondence, and says letters, phone calls and surgery appointments are ‘perfectly adequate’

There is nothing “mysterious” about the fact that I do not use email for constituency correspondence: it is openly stated on the homepage of my – very extensive – website, and has been remarked upon in the press from time to time previously. Nor am I in the least “uncontactable”, as Bridget Craig (Letters, 23 January) knows perfectly well, having corresponded with me by letter without difficulty.

Letters, phone calls, and, where appropriate, surgery appointments are perfectly adequate for people who genuinely need my help, as the many letters of thanks quoted on my website fully confirm. Only mass, manipulative campaigners and obsessive individuals find this a problem – and so they should!

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January 24th 2020, 12:44 pm

Sonos apologises over plan affecting older smart speakers

Technology | The Guardian

Boss says firm is working to ensure older and newer products can be used together

The wireless speaker company Sonos has apologised for announcing a plan that would force customers to throw away older speakers or be blocked from receiving software updates for new hardware, after a wave of criticism from its loyal users.

“We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward,” the Sonos chief executive, Patrick Spence, wrote in an open letter.

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January 24th 2020, 11:30 am

What is facial recognition - and how do police use it?

Technology | The Guardian

The controversial technology is developing rapidly and its use spreading more widely

This is a catch-all term for any technology that involves cataloguing and recognising human faces, typically by recording the unique ratios between an individual’s facial features, such as eyes, nose and mouth. The technology can bee applied to everything from emotion tracking to animation, but the most controversial involve using facial features as biometric identifiers, that is, to identify individuals based on just a photo or video of their face.

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January 24th 2020, 10:00 am

Met police to begin using live facial recognition cameras

Technology | The Guardian

Civil liberties groups condemn move as ‘a breathtaking assault on our rights’

The Metropolitan police will start using live facial recognition, Britain’s biggest force has announced.

The decision to deploy the controversial technology, which has been dogged by privacy concerns and questions over its lawfulness, was immediately condemned by civil liberties groups, who described the move as “a breathtaking assault on our rights”.

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January 24th 2020, 8:41 am

Apple's dedication to 'a diversity of dongles' is polluting the planet | Julia Carrie Wong

Technology | The Guardian

About 50m metric tons of e-waste are generated annually. But Apple says efforts to regulate mobile devices to reduce waste stifle ‘innovation’

Do all cables matter?

I found myself asking this deeply cursed question as I read a report commissioned by Apple on the European Commission’s plan to require mobile device makers to adopt a standard charger. The report runs 92-pages, features a cover photo of the three types of charging ports (USB-C, Micro-USB, and Lightning) nestled lovingly together like mama, papa and baby bear, and is titled United in Diversity.

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January 24th 2020, 7:10 am

Fossil Gen 5 review: Google’s Wear OS smartwatch at its best

Technology | The Guardian

A day’s battery, solid performance and watch-first design makes Wear OS a much more attractive option

The Fossil Gen 5 is easily the best Wear OS smartwatch you can buy at the moment, and as long as you don’t expect it to be an Apple Watch-beater, it gets the job done and looks the part.

Smartwatches that run Google’s Wear OS software have come in many different designs from various different manufacturers, and work with both Android and the iPhone. But they have long been plagued by sluggishness, poor battery life and a software experience that is behind the competition.

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January 24th 2020, 2:23 am

EU tech regulator backs UK plans for digital tax, despite Trump threats

Technology | The Guardian

Margrethe Vestager says EU will also tax tech firms who ‘create value but do not pay taxes’

The European Union’s leading tech regulator has thrown her weight behind the British government’s plans to press ahead with a digital tax despite threats from Donald Trump.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner recently promoted to take charge of Europe’s digital policy as well, said she was a a “strong supporter” of national digital taxes in order to advance the chances of an international agreement. She said the EU will revive plans for a digital tax within a year if international efforts to find a solution fail.

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January 23rd 2020, 2:28 pm

Sonos to deny software updates to owners of older equipment

Technology | The Guardian

Speakers and networks will miss out on security fixes and eventually stop working

Speaker company Sonos will cut off its most loyal customers from future software updates entirely unless they replace their old equipment for newer models, it has announced.

The policy is unusual even within the novelty-obsessed technology industry, for the scope of the impact: customers who have a range of Sonos products, including the Connect, Bridge and first-generation Play:5 speakers, will not only never be able to update those devices but will also be blocked from updating any newer device that is connected to them.

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January 23rd 2020, 10:37 am

Government hints Huawei will be given role in UK's 5G network

Technology | The Guardian

No 10 source says it would not be viable to exclude Chinese firm despite US warnings

The government has hinted strongly that it will allow the Chinese firm Huawei at least some role in the UK’s 5G mobile network, despite warnings from the US that doing so could compromise security.

A Downing Street source said that while no decision had yet been made, it was not viable for the US to seek to exclude Huawei from the UK given the lack of alternative suppliers for the British market.

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January 23rd 2020, 7:50 am

Automation isn't wiping out jobs. It's that our engine of growth is winding down | Aaron Benanav

Technology | The Guardian

Automation is a red herring. The wider environment of slowing growth explains low labor demand largely by itself

An army of robots now scrub floors, grow microgreens and flip burgers. Due to advances in artificial intelligence, computers will supposedly take over much more of the service sector in the coming decade, including jobs in law, finance and medicine that require years of education and training.

Related: Republicans have turned the impeachment trial into a dangerous sham | Andrew Gawthorpe

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January 23rd 2020, 6:35 am

Which is the best PC for someone who has Parkinson’s?

Technology | The Guardian

Richard wants a laptop for its flatter keys, but desktop PCs can have any keyboard type

I plan to get a new computer for home use, no games. I would rather have a desktop/tower, if it was possible to get a more sensitive keyboard, but I have Parkinson’s and find that the keys are way too hard to use because they require a deeper push than laptop keyboards. Your earlier suggestion of getting an external monitor for a laptop sounds like a winner. How is the connection made? Richard

The short answer is that you should buy a desktop PC. With a laptop, you are more or less stuck with the keyboard fitted by the manufacturer, and the quality varies from average to mediocre. With a desktop PC, you can take your pick from dozens of USB and Bluetooth keyboards. These range from keyboards with flat, island-style isolated keys to full mechanical keyboards aimed at professionals and gamers.

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January 23rd 2020, 4:05 am

'Click I agree': UN rapporteur says prince tried to intimidate Bezos with text

Technology | The Guardian

Information suggests alleged targeting of Bezos was part of a wider campaign to pick off individuals close to Khashoggi

The message, it seems, could not have been clearer.

On 8 November 2018, just one month after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, received an unsolicited text from Mohammed bin Salman’s WhatsApp account.

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January 22nd 2020, 6:11 pm

Elon Musk on road to $50bn payout as Tesla's value passes $100bn

Technology | The Guardian

Under pay scheme, founder must build electric carmaker into $650bn company by 2028

The Tesla founder, Elon Musk, has taken the first step to becoming $50bn (£38bn) richer, after the value of the electric car company surged past $100bn.

Musk, already a multibillionaire with a net worth estimated at about $30bn, secured approval in 2018 for a pay deal that would dwarf existing records for renumeration if it was paid out in full.

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January 22nd 2020, 3:23 pm

Jeff Bezos’s phone ‘hacked by Saudi crown prince’, but why? – video explainer

Technology | The Guardian

The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone ‘hacked’ in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian. Investigations reporter Stephanie Kirchgaessner analyses the background of the case and possible reasons why the Washington Post owner was targeted

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January 22nd 2020, 2:07 pm

How the UN unearthed a possible Saudi Arabian link to Jeff Bezos hack

Technology | The Guardian

Analysis by cybersecurity firm suggested Amazon founder was target of advanced malware

The UN’s demand for law enforcement authorities to conduct a proper investigation into the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone came after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI.

The firm carried out a forensic analysis of Bezos’ phone last year and concluded with “medium to high confidence” that it had been compromised because of actions attributable to a WhatsApp account used by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

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January 22nd 2020, 1:18 pm

Jeff Bezos: UN calls for investigation into alleged Saudi hack

Technology | The Guardian

Special rapporteurs ‘gravely concerned’ about possible involvement of crown prince in surveillance of Amazon boss

UN experts are demanding an immediate investigation by the US and others into evidence indicating Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of the Washington Post, was hacked with spyware deployed in a WhatsApp message sent from the account of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The special rapporteurs – Agnès Callamard and David Kaye – said in a joint statement they were “gravely concerned” by information they had reviewed about the “possible involvement of the crown prince in surveillance of Mr Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, the Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia”.

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January 22nd 2020, 10:33 am

Tell us about the websites your children visit

Technology | The Guardian

We want to hear from parents and young adults about the non-mainstream sites they and their children access

With new rules for technology companies to protect children online announced by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, we want to hear about the non-mainstream sites children and young people access.

From autumn 2021, companies will have to consider 15 principles in order to avoid breaking the law and facing fines up to £17m or 4% of global turnover.

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January 22nd 2020, 7:01 am

Bezos hack: UN to address alleged Saudi hacking of Amazon boss's phone

Technology | The Guardian

Special rapporteurs to announce further information on Guardian revelations

UN investigators are poised to release a statement about the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone after the Guardian revealed details of a forensic analysis that has implicated a WhatsApp account purportedly owned by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

The astonishing disclosure prompted a Democratic lawmaker in the US to urgently demand more information about the malware that was allegedly used to infiltrate Bezos’s phone in the 2018 hack of the Amazon founder.

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January 22nd 2020, 5:13 am

Cybercrime laws need urgent reform to protect UK, says report

Technology | The Guardian

Lawyers say ineffectiveness of act exposes UK to harm by ‘cybercriminals and hostile nations’

Britain’s cyber-defences are being endangered by the outdated Computer Misuse Act, which prevents investigators from dealing effectively with online threats while over-punishing immature defendants, according to a legal report.

Thirty years after hacking became a criminal offence, a study by the Criminal Law Reform Now Network (CLRNN) calls for urgent revision of the legislation governing illegal access to computers, denial of service attacks and other digital crimes.

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January 21st 2020, 7:33 pm

Watchdog cracks down on tech firms that fail to protect children

Technology | The Guardian

Sites must assess content for sexual abuse and suicide risk or face fines of up to £17m

Technology companies will be required to assess their sites for sexual abuse risks, prevent self-harm and pro-suicide content, and block children from broadcasting their location, after the publication of new rules for “age-appropriate design” in the sector.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which was tasked with creating regulations to protect children online, will enforce the new rules from autumn 2021, after one-year transition period. After which companies that break the law can face sanctions comparable to those under GDPR, including fines of up to £17m or 4% of global turnover.

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January 21st 2020, 7:33 pm

Huawei CFO's extradition would let US criminalize behavior in Canada, say lawyers

Technology | The Guardian

Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers argued in hearing US accusations would be considered crime in Canada, where she was arrested in 2018

Lawyers for a Chinese telecoms executive arrested in Vancouver have argued that her extradition to the US would allow a foreign state to criminalize behavior in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei and eldest daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, is wanted by US authorities for alleged fraud related to sanctions against Iran.

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January 21st 2020, 5:16 pm

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos's phone 'hacked by Saudi crown prince'

Technology | The Guardian

Exclusive: investigation suggests Washington Post owner was targeted five months before murder of Jamal Khashoggi

The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian.

The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis.

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January 21st 2020, 4:18 pm

Bank of England to consider adopting cryptocurrency

Technology | The Guardian

BoE joins group of central banks examining pitfalls of relying on electronic money

The Bank of England will examine how Britain could adopt a bitcoin-style digital currency as part of a global group of central banks that have joined together to examine the possible pitfalls of relying on electronic money.

Bank officials will meet with the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Sveriges Riksbank, the Bank of Canada, the Swiss National Bank and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS to pool research and experiences of the potential for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

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January 21st 2020, 2:29 pm

Trump’s greatest ally in the coming election? Facebook | John Harris

Technology | The Guardian

The internet giant has exempted politics from regulations on falsehood. Good news for a candidacy built on lies

If you want to know why the worst president in US history currently stands a very good chance of winning again, consider a few facts. Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is already in full flow, brimming with cash, drenching social media with targeted ads, and reaping oceans of data on voters.

The impeachment drama is, predictably enough, the perfect opportunity to put out material that plays to the idea of Trump as a noble maverick, struggling against the liberal conspiracy implied by his online questionnaires: “Do you agree that President Trump has done nothing wrong? Do you believe the Democrats will try and make up LIES to impeach the president?”

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January 21st 2020, 3:38 am

16in MacBook Pro review: bigger battery, new keyboard, new Apple

Technology | The Guardian

Apple shows it’s listening to pro users by producing a thicker, heavier and better machine

Apple’s new 16in MacBook Pro is bigger and heavier, but that’s a very good thing, with the largest battery you can have in a laptop and a new keyboard that looks to kick the troubles of the past few years to the kerb.

It’s a bit of a U-turn from Apple and demonstrates that the Californian tech firm is finally listening to its hardcore audience: the professionals.

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January 21st 2020, 2:18 am

Australian man tested for coronavirus after returning from China with respiratory illness

Technology | The Guardian

Queensland health authorities confirm man is in quarantine at home in Brisbane and they are awaiting tests after he presented with flu-like symptoms

The first case of China’s new deadly coronavirus may have reached Australia, with Queensland health authorities confirming that a man is being monitored for the condition.

The man recently returned from Wuhan, China with a respiratory illness, and has been quarantined at home in Brisbane while authorities await the results of testing that will identify if he has the condition.

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January 20th 2020, 11:47 pm

US case against Huawei's Meng Wanzhou is 'fiction', say lawyers

Technology | The Guardian

Extradition hearing begins in Canada as defence team rejects allegations that executive tried to get around Iran sanctions

The accusations of sanctions busting against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou have been dismissed by her lawyers as “fiction” at the start of a legal hearing in Canada in which she is fighting extradition to the United States.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the technology conglomerate, and eldest daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, is wanted by US authorities for alleged fraud in trying to circumvent Washington’s sanctions against Iran.

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January 20th 2020, 11:06 pm

Jabra Elite 75t review: small and long lasting AirPod beaters

Technology | The Guardian

Comfortable fit, good controls, thumping bass, rock-solid connection and tiny case make Jabra’s new earbuds a solid option

The Jabra Elite 75t wireless earbuds are the follow-ups to some of the best Bluetooth earbuds of 2018, but now smaller, lighter and longer-lasting.

A lot has changed in the world of true wireless earbuds since 2018. Competition is fierce with many good options, but few still manage the perfect combination of comfort, connectivity, case and sound.

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January 20th 2020, 2:05 am

Johnson will defy US and allow use of Huawei, says top security adviser

Technology | The Guardian

Chinese firm poised to help build UK’s 5G phone network despite warnings about spying

Boris Johnson is likely to approve the use of Huawei technology in the UK’s new 5G network against the pleas of the US government, a former national security adviser has said.

Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who was Theresa May’s national security adviser, said that the security services had repeatedly concluded over several years that they were able to mitigate any potential threats posed by the Chinese technology.

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January 18th 2020, 5:50 pm

Facebook apologises for Xi Jinping offensive name translation gaffe

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook said on Saturday it was working to find out how Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name appeared as “Mr Shithole” in posts on its platform when translated into English from Burmese, apologising for any offence caused and saying the problem had been fixed.

Related: 'Hong Kong is at a crossroads': inside prison with the student who took on Beijing

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January 18th 2020, 1:48 pm

Daniel Susskind: ‘Automation of jobs is one of the greatest questions of our time’

Technology | The Guardian

The Oxford economist talks about his new book on the challenges of a society with no traditional employment

Daniel Susskind is an economist and fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He has held policy roles in the Blair and Cameron governments. His new book, A World Without Work, explores how society should respond to the increasing automation of employment.

This isn’t an unexplored topic, so why did you write this book?
My view is that this is one of the greatest questions of our time. And in spite of everything that has been written, I didn’t feel like we had done the question justice. I don’t think we’re taking seriously this idea that there might not be enough well-paid work for everyone to do because of technological advances that are taking place.

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January 18th 2020, 11:17 am

Hypocrisy is at the heart of Facebook’s refusal to ban false political advertising | John Naughton

Technology | The Guardian

Executive Andrew Bosworth’s handwringing about the company’s stance should not blind us to the fact that doing nothing is extremely lucrative for it

On 20 December last, Andrew Bosworth, a long-time Facebook executive and buddy of the company’s supreme leader, Mark Zuckerberg, published a longish memo on the company’s internal network. The New York Times somehow obtained a copy and reported it on 7 January, which led Mr Bosworth then to publish it to the world on a Facebook page. In one of those strange coincidences that mark a columnist’s life, I happened to be reading his memo at the same time that I was delving into the vast trove of internal emails released by the Boeing Company in connection with congressional and other inquiries into the 737 Max disaster. Both sources turn out to have one interesting thing in common – the insight they provide into the internal culture of two gigantic, dysfunctional companies.

Trump got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period

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January 18th 2020, 11:17 am

Elon Musk set to cash in at Tesla as deliveries and shares soar

Technology | The Guardian

The boss of the electric carmaker has a $50bn pay package ready to roll if the firm hits a $100bn valuation

One of the options on a fully loaded Tesla is “ludicrous mode”, a setting offering a 0-60mph acceleration time of 2.8 seconds for drivers who find its “insane mode” too sedate.

To some investors, that’s similar to chief executive Elon Musk’s bonus package: if the electric carmaker’s share price goes above $554.80 – which would value the firm at $100bn, and which it came very close to last week – the mercurial entrepreneur could reap the first $350m instalment of a potential $50bn share-based pay package.

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January 18th 2020, 11:17 am

$1tn is just the start: why tech giants could double their market valuations

Technology | The Guardian

As Alphabet becomes the latest firm to achieve a 13-figure market cap, analysts still forecast years of growth ahead

Alphabet, the tech giant formerly known as Google, on Thursday night became the fourth company in history to reach a trillion-dollar (£776bn) valuation. In less than 24 hours, some analysts were predicting that the company, founded in a messy Silicon Valley garage 21 years ago, could double in value again to become a $2tn firm “in the near future”.

The consensus among Wall Street bankers is nothing can stop the runaway share price rises of Alphabet or the other so-called “Faang” tech companies. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have seen their combined market value increase by $1.3tn over the past year – that’s the equivalent of adding half the value of all the companies in the FTSE 100, or the entire GDP of Mexico.

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January 18th 2020, 11:17 am

UK officials frustrated at US for not coming up with Huawei 'plan B'

Technology | The Guardian

Whitehall sources complain that despite lobbying, US has not proposed viable alternative

The UK is frustrated that the US has not been able to come up with a “plan B” alternative solution that would allow Britain not to use Huawei technology in future 5G phone networks.

Whitehall sources complain that despite intense lobbying by Donald Trump’s administration against the Chinese company, Washington has not been able to propose viable alternative technology at a similar price.

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January 17th 2020, 8:27 am

EU eyes temporary ban on facial recognition in public places

Technology | The Guardian

Draft white paper suggest prohibition lasting three to five years is being considered

The EU could temporarily ban the use of facial recognition technology in public places such as train stations, sport stadiums and shopping centres over fears about creeping surveillance of European citizens.

A prohibition lasting between three and five years is seen as a way for Brussels to manage the risks said to be posed by the breakneck speed at which the software is being adopted.

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January 17th 2020, 7:38 am

Google owner Alphabet becomes trillion-dollar company

Technology | The Guardian

Tech giant is the fourth US firm to achieve the valuation – after Microsoft, Apple and Amazon

Google’s owner Alphabet has become a trillion-dollar company for the first time, making it only the fourth US firm to reach the bumper valuation.

Alphabet’s value, based on the price of its Wall Street-listed shares, passed $1tn in the final minutes of trading on Thursday night, with shares closing at a record high of $1,450.16 each.

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January 17th 2020, 5:25 am

Israeli spyware firm fails to get hacking case dismissed

Technology | The Guardian

Judge orders NSO Group to fight case brought by Saudi activist and pay his legal costs

An Israeli judge has rejected an attempt by the spyware firm NSO Group to dismiss a case brought against it by a prominent Saudi activist who alleged that the company’s cyberweapons were used to hack his phone.

The decision could add pressure on the company, which faces multiple accusations that it sold surveillance technology, named Pegasus, to authoritarian regimes and other governments that have allegedly used it to target political activists and journalists.

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January 17th 2020, 4:21 am

Was anyone ever so young? What 10 years of my Instagram data revealed

Technology | The Guardian

A new California law forced Instagram to hand over my data. It included thousands of messages and photos, but not everything

In the 10 days leading up to Christmas this year, I searched on Instagram for three of my exes, an acquaintance I met on a trip to Cuba four years ago, an account dedicated to astrology memes, a past roommate, my own dog’s account (@lucythetherapypup), my best friend’s sweater-wearing poodle, a famous Pomeranian who lives in New York, a bird named Parfait I recently met at a San Francisco market, 10 contestants of the reality TV show Love Island, and the hashtag #wienerdog. I know all of this because Instagram told me.

That’s because this month, I submitted a data request under California’s new privacy law to see just how much information the company has on me. What I got was a wide-ranging look at how my life has changed in the last 10 years since I first logged on to Instagram, and a window into what the company is willing to share about what it knows about me.

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January 17th 2020, 1:21 am

Microsoft pledges to be 'carbon negative' by 2030

Technology | The Guardian

Company seeks to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits within a decade

Microsoft announced it aims to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits by 2030 and hopes to have removed enough carbon to account for all the direct emissions the company has ever made by 2050.

The computer giant made the announcement on Thursday, and its promise is the latest in a flurry of climate goals set out by private companies since Donald Trump decided to pull the United States out the Paris climate agreement in 2017.

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January 16th 2020, 2:59 pm

Laying down the Strava gardening gauntlet | Brief letters

Technology | The Guardian

Flybe | Strava | English usage | Getting old | Marmalade | Beards

“Ministers ‘must do whatever it takes’ to save Flybe” (14 January); “Record heat in world’s oceans is ‘dire’ warning on climate crisis” (14 January); “The way to tackle the climate emergency is to stop emitting greenhouse gases. That means a rapid end to fossil fuel burning” (Report, 14 January). So don’t save Flybe. But do look at the price gap between air and rail travel from Exeter to Glasgow, etc.
Penelope Putz
Exeter

• In her article on Strava (Journal, 14 January) Rose George says the fitness app does not include gardening as an accepted physical activity. However, I use it regularly to see how far I walk while cutting the grass. My personal best (minimum distance) is 1.12 miles. I’d be happy for other Strava users to come and see if they can better it!
Dr Andrew Marr
Datchworth, Hertfordshire

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January 16th 2020, 12:42 pm

EU trade commissioner 'will call Trump's bluff' over Huawei security

Technology | The Guardian

Phil Hogan convinced US president will not withdraw intelligence cooperation with UK and EU

The EU trade commissioner has said he will call Donald Trump’s “bluff” on threats to withdraw the US’s cooperation with the UK and the rest of the bloc on intelligence and security over Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant.

Phil Hogan has also risked the wrath of the US president by declaring that the EU is not, in principle, opposed to giving the Chinese tech group access to 5G plans.

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January 16th 2020, 11:57 am

Amazon plans $1bn investment in India despite trader backlash

Technology | The Guardian

Jeff Bezos pledges funds to help digitise small businesses as anti-Amazon protests spread

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has pledged to invest $1 billion in small businesses in India, despite a growing backlash against the online retailer by the country’s powerful local traders.

During a three-day visit to India, where Amazon has its sights set on dominating the burgeoning e-commerce market, Bezos laid out his ambitious plans for Amazon’s investment in India over the next five years, including helping to digitise millions of small businesses.

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January 16th 2020, 9:24 am

YouTube ads of 100 top brands fund climate misinformation – study

Technology | The Guardian

Avaaz says firms are unaware commercials being played alongside misleading videos

Some of the biggest companies in the world are funding climate misinformation by advertising on YouTube, according to a study from activist group Avaaz.

The group found that more than 100 brands had adverts running on YouTube videos on the site that were actively promoting climate misinformation. The brands, including Samsung, L’Oreal and Decathlon, were unaware that their adverts were being played before and during the videos.

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January 16th 2020, 8:36 am

I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?

Technology | The Guardian

Support for Windows 7 has ended, leaving Marcy wondering how they can protect themselves

I do a lot of work on a Windows 7 desktop PC that is about five years old. I’m a widow and can’t afford to run out and get a new PC at this time, or pay for Windows 10. If I do stay with Windows 7, what should I worry about, and how can I protect myself? I have been running Kaspersky Total Security for several years, which has worked well so far. Marcy

Microsoft Windows 7 – launched in 2009 – came to the end of its supported life on Tuesday. Despite Microsoft’s repeated warnings to Windows 7 users, there may still be a couple of hundred million users, many of them in businesses. What should people do next?

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January 16th 2020, 4:54 am

Google Nest Mini review: better bass and recycled plastic

Technology | The Guardian

Upgrade keeps what is good and improves sound for Google’s smallest, cheapest smart speaker

The second generation of Google’s smallest smart speaker gets a new name, more eco-friendly, a little smarter and more bass.

The £49 Nest Mini replaces the Google Home Mini as part of a revamped and renamed line of Google smart home products under the Nest brand, pushing its predecessor to a clearance price of only £19.

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January 16th 2020, 2:19 am

Twitter drops Grindr from ad network over 'data breaches'

Technology | The Guardian

Dating app accused of flouting GDPR law by passing personal data to ad firms but report says problem is endemic

Twitter has suspended Grindr from its ad platform after a study claimed the dating app was passing significant amounts of private information to advertisers without explicit consent from users.

The study, carried out by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), found that the online advertising industry was “systematically breaking the law”, transmitting personal data and tracking users in ways that are banned under the GDPR, the EU’s data law.

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January 15th 2020, 12:27 pm

Mobile gaming collects biggest revenue share of app stores spending

Technology | The Guardian

In 2019, sector was larger than entire gaming industry combined, report finds

The vast majority of money spent on mobile app stores went to games, according to a report, as did the majority of time spent on phones, and the majority of advertising revenue.

In 2019, more than $86bn (£66bn) was spent on mobile gaming, making the sector larger than the entire rest of the games industry combined. That revenue represented 72% of all App Store spend, according to data from the analytics firm AppAnnie, in its State of Mobile 2020 report.

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January 15th 2020, 9:37 am

Microsoft rolls out Windows 10 security fix after NSA warning

Technology | The Guardian

US agency revealed flaw that could be exploited by hackers to create malicious software

Microsoft is rolling out a security fix to Windows 10 after the US National Security Agency (NSA) warned the popular operating system contained a highly dangerous flaw that could be used by hackers.

The NSA revealed during a press conference on Tuesday that the “serious vulnerability” could be used to create malicious software that appeared to be legitimate.

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January 14th 2020, 2:56 pm

Huawei in the UK: will Boris Johnson block the Chinese company?

Technology | The Guardian

The US has been trying to convince allies not to involve Huawei in their 5G upgrades

The Chinese company has two major businesses in the UK. One, a consumer-focused hardware arm, makes and sells smartphones, laptops and tablets. It has been struggling since US sanctions soured its relationship with Google, preventing it from offering customers access to apps hosted on the Play Store.

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January 14th 2020, 12:25 pm

UK rebuffs US presentation on Huawei security risks

Technology | The Guardian

A source said the threat outlined by US officials had already been ‘factored into our planning’

Britain believes the information dramatically presented by a delegation from Donald Trump’s administration about the risks of using Huawei technology in 5G networks contains nothing its intelligence agencies had not foreseen.

The rebuff implies that British intelligence will not alter its assessment that the Chinese company’s technology presents no manageable security risk to British citizens as a final decision by the UK on whether to use Huawei looms.

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January 14th 2020, 10:39 am

Huawei critics must come up with an alternative, says Boris Johnson – video

Technology | The Guardian

In his first interview of the new year with BBC Breakfast, Boris Johnson stressed that he would not put UK security at risk in upgrading the country's 5G network. 

Johnson is expected to make his final decision on whether to allow the Chinese technology firm Huawei to operate “non-core” parts of the UK telecoms system within weeks, and said critics of the firm must come up with an 'alternative' provider.

The US has repeatedly warned the UK that allowing Huawei to operate its 5G network could put transatlantic intelligence sharing at risk. 


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January 14th 2020, 6:51 am

Johnson: Huawei critics 'must tell us what's the alternative'

Technology | The Guardian

PM stresses he will not put UK security at risk in upgrading UK’s 5G network

Boris Johnson has insisted that he would not risk Britain’s security when upgrading the nation’s 5G communications network – but said critics of Chinese technology firm Huawei must come up with an “alternative” provider.

The prime minister is due to make a final decision on whether to allow the tech firm to operate “non-core” parts of the UK telecoms system within weeks.

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January 14th 2020, 5:05 am

Sonos Move review: brilliant sound now portable

Technology | The Guardian

Wireless smart speaker with 10-hour battery, room-filling sound, wifi and Bluetooth is not your ordinary portable speaker

Sonos has finally made a portable wifi and Bluetooth speaker that sounds great – but it’s not quite what most will have imagined.

For years Sonos has made some of the very best wifi speakers, recently adding optional voice assistants from Google and Amazon. But they have never been truly wireless, needing to be plugged in and on your home wifi network.

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January 14th 2020, 2:30 am

Why the controversy over Huawei technology in UK networks?

Technology | The Guardian

US officials fear the move would put transatlantic intelligence sharing at risk

As the UK government prepares to decide whether or not to allow Huawei to be involved in setting up a key portion of the nation’s infrastructure, US officials have issued a stark warning that allowing the Chinese firm a role would put transatlantic intelligence sharing at risk.

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January 13th 2020, 7:26 pm

Using Huawei in UK 5G networks would be 'madness', US says

Technology | The Guardian

British ministers told allowing Chinese firm access would put intelligence sharing at risk

Senior US officials told British ministers on Monday that using Huawei technology in UK 5G networks would put transatlantic intelligence sharing at risk, warning that allowing the Chinese firm access would be “nothing short of madness”.

The extraordinary American ultimatum came as a special delegation led by Donald Trump’s deputy national security advisor, Matt Pottinger, presented an incendiary dossier which they said featured new evidence of the security risks of relying on Huawei technology in future phone networks.

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January 13th 2020, 4:21 pm

Google parent company Alphabet expected to reach $1tn value soon

Technology | The Guardian

Alphabet may join Apple, Microsoft and Amazon when it reports latest earnings, another sign of the unstoppable rise of tech

Another tech behemoth is poised to join the club of Silicon Valley giants valued at more than $1tn. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reached a value of $991bn by midday Monday, with analysts expecting it to cross the $1tn mark soon.

Alphabet would join a select club of tech companies to pass $1tn in value. Apple became the first tech company to pass the benchmark in August 2018 and has since risen to be valued at $1.37tn.

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January 13th 2020, 2:33 pm

What are deepfakes – and how can you spot them?

Technology | The Guardian

AI-generated fake videos are becoming more common (and convincing). Here’s why we should be worried

Have you seen Barack Obama call Donald Trump a “complete dipshit”, or Mark Zuckerberg brag about having “total control of billions of people’s stolen data”, or witnessed Jon Snow’s moving apology for the dismal ending to Game of Thrones? Answer yes and you’ve seen a deepfake. The 21st century’s answer to Photoshopping, deepfakes use a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning to make images of fake events, hence the name deepfake. Want to put new words in a politician’s mouth, star in your favourite movie, or dance like a pro? Then it’s time to make a deepfake.

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January 13th 2020, 5:44 am

Huawei technology poses no threat to UK security – ex-MI5 head

Technology | The Guardian

Andrew Parker insists Chinese manufacturer’s 5G input is safe, contrary to claims of US lobbyists

The head of MI5 has said he is confident that US intelligence sharing with the UK will not be jeopardised if Britain uses Huawei technology in future 5G mobile phone networks. A final decision on its inclusion is due shortly.

Andrew Parker said he had “no reason today to think that” the longstanding intelligence partnership would be affected – despite intensifying US lobbying against using the Chinese company in a critical piece of national infrastructure.

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January 12th 2020, 6:33 pm

Anger over use of facial recognition at south Wales football derby

Technology | The Guardian

Protest held before Cardiff v Swansea as fans say technology is taking away their rights

Football supporters and civil rights activists have expressed anger and concern over the use of facial recognition technology for a derby match in south Wales.

Two surveillance vans kitted out with the controversial technology were seen patrolling around Cardiff City’s stadium before the club’s game against Swansea City on Sunday.

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January 12th 2020, 9:58 am

By air or sea, your untouched mobile can automatically rack up a £1,000-plus bill

Technology | The Guardian

Even if travellers’ phones are in baggage and not used, they can link to a satellite network on premium rates

Gay Haines had stowed her mobile phone in her hand baggage before her flight to Barbados and forgot to set it to flight mode. The mistake cost her dear. On arrival, she discovered that she had racked up charges of £1,095, twice the price of the transatlantic fare. “I had not used it to make or receive calls and when I opened it after landing there was no mention of any charges,” she says.

Haines is one of dozens of air and sea passengers who have received shock bills after their phones connected automatically to a satellite roaming network. While EU rules cap roaming fees outside Europe at €50, the legislation does not apply to satellite networks on planes and boats, which charge premium rates for data, wanted or not, unless customers actively switch off data roaming.

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January 12th 2020, 2:23 am

The five: ransomware attacks

Technology | The Guardian

Software that demands money with menaces has hit the big time. Here are some of its most lucrative forms

Cyber-attacks that threaten to publish a victim’s data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid have grown internationally since 2012.

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January 12th 2020, 1:07 am

We’re approaching the limits of computer power – we need new programmers now | John Naughton

Technology | The Guardian

Ever-faster processors led to bloated software, but physical limits may force a return to the concise code of the past

Way back in the 1960s, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, observed that the number of transistors that could be fitted on a silicon chip was doubling every two years. Since the transistor count is related to processing power, that meant that computing power was effectively doubling every two years. Thus was born Moore’s law, which for most people working in the computer industry – or at any rate those younger than 40 – has provided the kind of bedrock certainty that Newton’s laws of motion did for mechanical engineers.

There is, however, one difference. Moore’s law is just a statement of an empirical correlation observed over a particular period in history and we are reaching the limits of its application. In 2010, Moore himself predicted that the laws of physics would call a halt to the exponential increases. “In terms of size of transistor,” he said, “you can see that we’re approaching the size of atoms, which is a fundamental barrier, but it’ll be two or three generations before we get that far – but that’s as far out as we’ve ever been able to see. We have another 10 to 20 years before we reach a fundamental limit.”

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January 11th 2020, 11:15 am

If you thought Zuckerberg would ever rein in rightwing demagogues, think again

Technology | The Guardian

Mark Zuckerberg’s new year’s resolutions show Facebook has no plans to change its ways. At least the lip service is over

In Silicon Valley, the first week of January is reliably bookmarked by two news stories: the latest absurd and amusing products at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of his new year resolutions, which he annoyingly persists in calling “personal challenges”.

Zuckerberg’s resolutions have evolved in tandem with Facebook itself, from the domestic and human-sized (go running, eat less meat) to the global and unwieldy (“fixing” Facebook). So it seems worth noting that 2020 is apparently the year that Zuckerberg is officially giving up.

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January 11th 2020, 4:54 am

Why do we gender AI? Voice tech firms move to be more inclusive

Technology | The Guardian

Gender-neutral voice assistants and accent recognition among projects in the pipeline

Technology that can understand regional accents and gender-neutral voice assistants are among the developments expected in the voice technology field in 2020.

Products such as Alexa and Siri have faced mounting criticism that the technology behind them disproportionately misunderstands women, ethnic minorities and those with accents not represented in datasets that have historically favoured white and Chinese male voices.

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January 11th 2020, 3:20 am

Has Instagram changed after its ban on self-harm images?

Technology | The Guardian

A year on from banning self-harm images, we’d like to hear your thoughts on how the photo-sharing platform has improved the situation for people

Last year Instagram announced that it would ban all graphic self-harm images as part of a series of changes made in response to the death of the British teenager Molly Russell.

The photo-sharing platform made the decision after being met with a tide of public anger over the suicide of a 14-year-old girl, whose Instagram account contained distressing material about depression and suicide.

A year on, we want to hear your views on how the platform has improved the situation for people. Are images of self-harm still visible via private accounts? Are certain hashtags used to unearth such images? Has the ban helped? What other areas need to be addressed? How do you feel about the support that is offered via the platform?

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January 10th 2020, 11:07 am

CES 2020: from instant drink chillers to 10-second toothbrushes - 7 standout gadgets

Technology | The Guardian

Also unveiled in Las Vegas: Hyundai’s flying Uber, Segway’s S-Pod and cooking machines

From flying taxis to robotic pets, the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show has displayed more concepts and prototypes than ever before. Of all the hundreds of thousands of products on show for tech enthusiasts in Las Vegas, here are some of the highlights from the latest CES extravaganza.

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January 10th 2020, 9:06 am

Skype audio graded by workers in China with 'no security measures'

Technology | The Guardian

Exclusive: former Microsoft contractor says he was emailed login after minimal vetting

A Microsoft programme to transcribe and vet audio from Skype and Cortana, its voice assistant, ran for years with “no security measures”, according to a former contractor who says he reviewed thousands of potentially sensitive recordings on his personal laptop from his home in Beijing over the two years he worked for the company.

The recordings, both deliberate and accidentally invoked activations of the voice assistant, as well as some Skype phone calls, were simply accessed by Microsoft workers through a web app running in Google’s Chrome browser, on their personal laptops, over the Chinese internet, according to the contractor.

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January 10th 2020, 7:03 am

Mariah Carey's Twitter account hacked on New Year's Eve

Technology | The Guardian

Racist slurs and bizarre jokes were briefly tweeted to the singer’s 21.4 million followers in an apparent trolling effort

Mariah Carey’s Twitter account appeared to have been hacked late Tuesday afternoon, sharing numerous racist slurs and comments with the singer’s 21.4 million followers on the platform.

It’s unclear who’s behind the hack, and the pop star did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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January 10th 2020, 4:46 am

CES 2020: the latest gadgets on show in Las Vegas – in pictures

Technology | The Guardian

The Consumer Electronics Show opened this week in Las Vegas with more than 4,400 companies exhibiting, including 1,200 startups. CES 2020 features the latest transformative technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence, vehicle technology and digital health. The four-day show is a place for companies to unveil their products and services for the coming year

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January 10th 2020, 3:47 am

Zuckerberg drops personal challenges in favor of big-picture plans for the decade

Technology | The Guardian

After decade of setting individual goals, Facebook CEO weighs in on ‘next computing platform’ and ‘new forms of governance’

It had almost become a tradition. For the past decade, Facebook employees and tech journalists closely monitored Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook profile at the start of January for signs of the CEO’s annual personal challenge. Zuckerberg’s goals have ranged from traditional new year’s resolutions like running, learning a new language or eating more vegetables to broader efforts veering on the political that fueled speculation he might one day run for office.

This year, however, Zuckerberg took the long view, revealing a number of tech-related goals for the next decade.

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January 9th 2020, 4:48 pm

Facebook refuses to restrict untruthful political ads and micro-targeting

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook has decided not to limit how political ads can be targeted to specific groups of people, as its main digital-ad rival Google did in November to fight misinformation.

Neither will it ban political ads outright, as Twitter did last October. And it still will not factcheck them, as it’s faced pressure to do.

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January 9th 2020, 10:00 am

Twitter to introduce ability to stop people replying to tweets

Technology | The Guardian

Measure is aimed at preventing antisocial behaviour and improving quality of discussion

Twitter users will be able to prevent others from replying to their tweets, the company has announced, in a move it hopes will prevent antisocial behaviour on the platform while improving the quality of conversation for all.

But the new features could undercut the social network’s ambition to prevent the spread of misinformation. It is unclear how Twitter intends to reconcile the two goals.

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January 9th 2020, 8:11 am

How do I find a smartphone with the specifications I really want?

Technology | The Guardian

Product search tools help you find a phone, PC or camera if you know the specs you want

My Samsung S8 has given up the ghost, and the prohibitive cost of repair means I’m in the market for a new mobile phone. I’ve come up with a wishlist of specifications. Are there any phones due in the coming months that offer all of these? I don’t believe anything currently on the market does. Declan

There are four obvious problems with having a list of specifications for the device you want to buy, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, digital camera or whatever. The first and biggest problem is that it can easily eliminate most of the products on the market or, in your case, all of them. In fact, it’s a problem I share: nobody offers a laptop that meets my most-desired specification, though a few come close.

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January 9th 2020, 3:06 am

Amazon Fire TV Cube review: great smart TV box, irritating smart speaker

Technology | The Guardian

Top-end smart TV box can’t quite live up to the promise of the voice-controlled TV commander

The Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s attempt to combine a smart TV streaming box with an Alexa-powered smart speaker, producing a small black box that doubles as an Echo device.

The Cube doesn’t look like anything else. The combination of shiny and matt black plastic makes it stand out at first, but the 86mm-wide and 77mm-tall cube is small enough not to be distracting sitting next to your TV.

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January 9th 2020, 2:20 am

Facial recognition at South Wales derby 'a step too far', says police chief

Technology | The Guardian

North Wales police and crime commissioner criticises plans for Cardiff and Swansea clash

One of the most senior policing figures in Wales has warned that the use of facial recognition technology at the country’s biggest football derby this weekend could create miscarriages of justice.

Arfon Jones, a veteran Welsh police officer and the North Wales police and crime commissioner, has expressed grave concern about the deployment of the surveillance technology at Sunday’s clash between Cardiff City and Swansea City.

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January 8th 2020, 2:11 pm

Sex, snoring and endless loo paper: the gadget show catering for your every need

Technology | The Guardian

From the Kamasutra bed that helps you try out new positions to a robot that brings you toilet roll, this year’s consumer electronics exhibition in Las Vegas is full of bizarre inventions

Name: Kamasutra bed.

Age: Well the Kamasutra itself, the Sanskrit text on sexuality, is about 2,400 years old. This bed is more recent. In fact, it is yet to come on to the market.

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January 8th 2020, 11:26 am

Travelex hack: staff write paper invoices as websites remain down

Technology | The Guardian

Currency firm still offline as hackers demand $3m to stop release of customers’ data

Travelex staff have had to write out paper invoices for customers as the foreign currency giant continues to be without computer systems after hackers took control, demanding a $3m ransom.

Travelex was forced to take down all of its global websites on 1 January after criminals launched an attack on its computer system on New Year’s Eve using the Sodinokibi ransomware. The cyber-attack has also shutdown the online currency exchange services offered by Virgin Money, Tesco Bank, First Direct and Sainsbury’s Bank, which are powered by Travelex.

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January 8th 2020, 9:24 am

'Guys ask for more money': why female-led startups underperform

Technology | The Guardian

Male culture and lack of role models are stopping female academics from launching companies based on their research

The first time Olivia Champion pitched a business idea based on her academic research was so disheartening she nearly gave up. The 10-strong panel she faced were all men, bar a few women responsible for administration and taking minutes. Their first question was: “Why are you here?”

“It took the wind out of my sails immediately,” she says. “I thought, ‘Blimey. This is going badly.’”

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January 8th 2020, 3:44 am

'Extreme privilege': Ivanka Trump faces backlash over keynote speech at CES

Technology | The Guardian

Decision to have president’s daughter deliver keynote invited scathing criticism, especially from women in the tech industry

Ivanka Trump faced a backlash for her lack of tech qualifications from industry figures ahead of her speech at a big annual technology industry show in Las Vegas.

Trump was set to deliver the keynote speech on Tuesday afternoon at CES on “The path to the future of work”, addressing technology’s role in creating and enabling the workforce of the future.

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January 7th 2020, 5:54 pm

Uber reveals plans for flying taxi to bypass road traffic congestion

Technology | The Guardian

Aerial ridesharing would allow for a pilot and three passengers at speeds of up to 180mph

Uber has unveiled plans for a flying taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The ride sharing company on Tuesday showed off a full-size mock-up of the electric plane concept vehicle created with South Korean carmaker Hyundai, as it seeks to fly above traffic rather than add to it.

Uber wants to offer aerial ridesharing, allowing a pilot and three passengers to take city trips of up to 60 miles at a speed of up to 180mph. Resembling a winged helicopter and featuring four propellers, Uber and Hyundai joined forces to design a personal air vehicle, or PAV, which can take off and land vertically.

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January 7th 2020, 2:08 pm

Travelex 'being held to ransom' by hackers said to be demanding $3m

Technology | The Guardian

Cyber-attack forced currency exchange firm to take down all its global websites

The foreign currency specialist Travelex is reportedly being held to ransom by hackers who launched a cyber-attack a week ago that forced the firm to take down all its global websites.

It is understood criminals are demanding cash – speculated to be about $3m (£2.3m) – to give the firm access to its computer systems after they attacked the sites with the Sodinokibi ransomware on 31 December.

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January 7th 2020, 10:47 am

Facebook bans 'deepfake' videos in run-up to US election

Technology | The Guardian

Critics say policy does not cover ‘shallow fakes’ – videos made using conventional editing tools

Facebook has announced a new policy banning AI-manipulated “deepfake” videos that are likely to mislead viewers into thinking someone “said words that they did not actually say,” as the social network prepares for the 2020 US election.

But the new policy explicitly covers only misinformation produced using AI, meaning that “shallow fakes” – videos made using conventional editing tools – though frequently just as misleading, are still allowed on the platform.

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January 7th 2020, 5:13 am

Why Irish data centre boom is complicating climate efforts

Technology | The Guardian

Surge in processing industry will increase Ireland’s already too high carbon emissions

Inside Digital Realty’s Dublin data centre, racks of shiny black servers throb and whirr as unseen fans cool machines that steadily process unending data.

It operates 24 hours a day from the business park, sited on a former orchard, and the data joins a digital torrent in an underground fibre ring network that sweeps around the Irish capital and connects to undersea cables – the physical backbones of the digital world.

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January 6th 2020, 12:35 pm

The Citizen crime app hasn’t made me safer – just more scared | Emma Brockes

Technology | The Guardian

It claims to help New Yorkers ‘stay safe and informed’. But its constant updates play on our worst rubbernecking instincts

On the second day of the new year, I awoke to the news that a man had been assaulted on 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, and there had been a fist fight on the east side of Central Park. The previous day, the morning update featured an overnight fight at a Burger King in Hell’s Kitchen, possibly involving an ice pick, and an assault involving a knife 10 blocks south of my apartment. In both cases the news, which was reported to some 4,000 people in the vicinity with the Citizen app on their phones, was prefaced with demands from the app to turn on push notifications and the entreaty, “Keep your loved ones safe with urgent crime and safety alerts near them in New York.”

Related: 'We will not let up': activists protest NYPD subway crackdown

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January 6th 2020, 12:35 pm

'We can't trust Google': former executive says company has lost its way

Technology | The Guardian

Ross LaJeunesse, former head of international relations, says he was forced out after reporting discriminatory practices

A former Google executive claims he was pushed out of the company over his advocacy of human rights, alleging in a public blogpost that the company is increasingly putting profits over people.

Ross LaJeunesse, the former head of international relations at Google and now a Democratic candidate for US Senate in Maine, said he was forced to leave the company after reporting discriminatory practices, and that his work to combat censorship was at odds with Google’s desires to expand into a growing market in China.

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January 3rd 2020, 2:57 pm

Rise of #MeTooBots: scientists develop AI to detect harassment in emails

Technology | The Guardian

City firms experimenting with tech that flags harassment but critics question effectiveness

Artificial intelligence programmers are developing bots that can identify digital bullying and sexual harassment.

Known as “#MeTooBots” after the high-profile movement that arose after allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the bots can monitor and flag communications between colleagues and are being introduced by companies around the world.

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January 3rd 2020, 2:17 am

Technology in 2050: will it save humanity – or destroy us?

Technology | The Guardian

Amid the calamitous effects of climate change, artificial intelligence could make the difference between a livable future or a dystopian one

Futurism is a mug’s game: if you’re right, it seems banal; if you’re wrong, you look like the founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, when he declared in 1943 that there is room in the world “for maybe five computers”.

David Adams knew these risks when he wrote about the future of technology in the Guardian in 2004 – even citing the very same prediction as an example of how they can go awry. And from our vantage point in 2020, Adams certainly did a better job than Watson. When he looked ahead to today, he avoided many of the pitfalls of technology prediction: no promises about flying cars nor sci-fi tech such as teleportation or faster-than-light travel.

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January 3rd 2020, 1:17 am

Travelex forced to take down website after cyber-attack

Technology | The Guardian

Currency specialist says no customer data appears to have been compromised by virus

The foreign currency specialist Travelex has been forced to take its websites offline following a cyber-attack.

The group said it immediately took down its online systems to protect data and prevent the software virus spreading after discovering the attack on New Year’s Eve.

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January 2nd 2020, 3:23 pm

Amazon threatened to fire employees for speaking out on climate, workers say

Technology | The Guardian

Revealed: emails show group of employees who called for stronger climate action by the company were told they risked dismissal

Amazon has threatened to fire employees for speaking publicly about the company’s role in the climate crisis, tech workers at the retail giant have revealed.

Related: Trump campaign credits impeachment for helping to fundraise $46m – live

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January 2nd 2020, 1:07 pm

Google says it will no longer use 'Double Irish, Dutch sandwich' tax loophole

Technology | The Guardian

Technique allowed the tech giant to delay paying US taxes on international earnings for years, and pay a lower tax rate overseas

International tax authorities were welcoming in the New Year after Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced it will no longer use a notorious tax loophole known as the “Double Irish, Dutch sandwich”.

The technique allowed the tech giant to delay paying US taxes on international earnings for years, and pay a lower tax rate overseas. It is thought to have allowed American companies to cut their tax bills by hundreds of billions of dollars, but is finally being closed by authorities.

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January 1st 2020, 11:17 am

Tesla was on Autopilot in California crash which killed two, authorities say

Technology | The Guardian

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a crash involving a speeding Tesla that killed two people in a Los Angeles suburb, the agency said on Tuesday.

Related: Video appears to show Tesla driver asleep at the wheel

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January 1st 2020, 8:59 am

'What an insult': CES names Ivanka Trump as keynote speaker

Technology | The Guardian

Consumer-electronics trade show’s invitation of Donald Trump’s daughter draws outrage after years of overlooking women in tech

Leading consumer-electronics trade show CES is facing criticism after picking Ivanka Trump to serve as its keynote speaker next month in Las Vegas, after years of being accused of overlooking the role of women in technology.

The selection of Donald Trump’s daughter and top adviser exposes the vast electronics expo to charges that when, finally, it invites a female keynote speaker, it invites one with limited experience in technology.

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December 31st 2019, 9:29 am

Get yourself cybersecure for 2020

Technology | The Guardian

With ever more tech in our lives, our data is vulnerable. Here are our six top tips to keep it safe in the new year

Technology is changing our lives for the better; yet it’s also exposing us to organised crime, online scammers and hackers – and whole industries built around monetising our personal data. But you don’t have to be resigned to cyber-victimhood. Give yourself, and your devices, a security update for 2020 and start fighting back.

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December 31st 2019, 4:09 am

Huawei says 'survival is our first priority' in 2020 as western boycott bites

Technology | The Guardian

Chairman Eric Xu warns that hit from US sanctions means telecoms firm must ‘go all out’ to maintain sales

The embattled Chinese telecommunications company Huawei says “survival” is its first priority after announcing sales were hit hard by a boycott from western countries.

Eric Xu, the company’s chairman, said estimated sales revenue would reach 850bn yuan for 2019 (US$121bn) - up roughly 18% from the previous year, but much lower than initially expected.

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December 30th 2019, 9:31 pm

Facebook removes false HIV-prevention ads after LGBTQ+ outcry

Technology | The Guardian

The ads, which were on Facebook for months before the company acted, contained false claims about side effects of anti-HIV drugs

Facebook has quietly removed false and misleading ads about HIV-prevention medications after months of pressure from LGBTQ+ and health organizations.

Fifty organizations including Glaad and PrEP4All started a public campaign in December, arguing that the social media platform was putting “real people’s lives in imminent danger” by refusing to remove targeted ads containing medically incorrect claims about the side effects of HIV-prevention medications such as Truvada.

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December 30th 2019, 5:27 pm

Tesla delivers first China-made cars from $5bn Shanghai factory

Technology | The Guardian

First 15 Model 3 electric cars go to employees and US firm will ramp up production in 2020

Tesla has delivered the first vehicles it has made in China, marking a major milestone in the electric carmaker’s global expansion efforts.

The first 15 Model 3 cars to roll off the line at the US carmaker’s Shanghai factory went to customers who were Tesla employees and were handed over in a ceremony at the plant on Monday.

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December 30th 2019, 7:51 am

Lack of guidance leaves public services in limbo on AI, says watchdog

Technology | The Guardian

CCTV commissioner says he gets many queries about facial recognition and other tools

Police forces, hospitals and councils struggle to understand how to use artificial intelligence because of a lack of clear ethical guidance from the government, according to the country’s only surveillance regulator.

The surveillance camera commissioner, Tony Porter, said he received requests for guidance all the time from public bodies which do not know where the limits lie when it comes to the use of facial, biometric and lip-reading technology.

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December 29th 2019, 1:40 pm
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