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Sacking of Uber Eats driver, allegedly for a late food delivery, compared to modern slavery

Technology | The Guardian

Union for transport workers launches appeal against a Fair Work Commission decision that upheld the sacking of the Adelaide-based driver

The case of an Uber Eats driver who was allegedly sacked for delivering food 10 minutes late has been likened to modern-day slavery by the Transport Workers Union.

The union on Monday launched a bid to appeal a previous Fair Work Commission decision that upheld the sacking of Adelaide-based driver Amita Gupta.

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November 17th 2019, 11:48 pm

Jeremy Corbyn's broadband plan: how it differs from Australia's NBN, the 'blunder down under'

Technology | The Guardian

The British proposal’s critics point to Australia’s national broadband network as demonstrating why governments should not get involved in broadband

UK Labour’s proposed full-fibre broadband policy is drawing a lot of comparisons to Australia’s national broadband network, but the differences are important and will decide whether the policy is viable.

Last week, Labour announced a policy to give full-fibre broadband across 29m homes in the UK by 2030 at a cost of £20bn.

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November 17th 2019, 11:29 pm

Fast broadband is essential today for the many, not just the few | Letters

Technology | The Guardian

Hugh Chignell compares it with radio, Eunice Hinds says it will improve the lives of millions, and David Robson ridicules the criticism of Labour’s plan as ‘communist’

When Jeremy Corbyn argues that free broadband is “an essential utility” (Business backlash over Labour broadband plan, 16 November) he harks back to the early years of radio, almost a hundred years ago. John Reith, the first director general of the BBC, would surely have agreed with Corbyn.

The early pioneers of the BBC realised that radio could reach into every home and would provide a universal service for the public good. Radio would be entertaining, enriching and educational, and would inform every citizen in an energised democracy.

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November 17th 2019, 1:54 pm

Does the UK need full-fibre broadband? Just ask the lucky few who have it

Technology | The Guardian

Only 1 in a dozen homes can get ‘the gold standard of broadband’ but those that do see it as a necessity

Labour’s plan to offer free full fibre broadband to every home and business is an eye-catching offer to potential voters. But while the scheme has been labelled “fantasy economics” by critics, people who already enjoy ultra-fast broadband view it as invaluable.

Like the roll-out of 5G for mobile phones, full-fibre broadband is the much-hyped next big thing for internet connectivity to homes and businesses. Full-fibre will mean speeds of more than one gigabit per second, letting users download an HD movie in under 50 seconds.

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November 17th 2019, 10:18 am

Technology will never replace human judgment. Look at football... | Kenan Malik

Technology | The Guardian

Technical advances are a boon, but VAR proves they rely on the people using them

Even if you can’t tell your offside from your elbow (in the face), you’ve probably heard of VAR. The video assistant referee has been introduced into top-level football to cut out errors by referees. At every Premier League game, a VAR referee watches TV feeds of the game to check potentially contentious decisions.

Moaning at referees has long been the staple of football fans. “That was never a penalty!” “Ref, do you need glasses? It was offside by a mile.”

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November 17th 2019, 4:41 am

Firefox’s fight for the future of the web

Technology | The Guardian

With Google’s Chrome dominating the market, not-for-profit rival Mozilla is staking a comeback on its dedication to privacy

Why do you choose the browser you use? Maybe you think it loads pages more quickly. Maybe it’s made by the same firm as your device and you think it’s more compatible in some way. You prefer the graphics, perhaps, or it just happened to be pre-installed on your machine. Maybe you’re not even aware that there’s a choice.

In reality, two-thirds of us have been funnelled into using Google’s Chrome, but browser choice also hides a contest about the openness of the web and how data is collected about users. One organisation that has always put such issues to the forefront is Mozilla.

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November 17th 2019, 4:30 am

Porn, public transport and other dubious justifications for using facial recognition software

Technology | The Guardian

Governments in Australia have come up with some creative reasons to sell the public on the use of facial recognition technology

It started with passports. Then it was your phone. Now governments in Australia want you to use facial verification to access government services, take public transport and even for your private viewing.

Last month the joint standing committee on intelligence and security told the government it needed to rethink its plans for a national facial verification database built off people’s passport and driver’s licence photos. It said there weren’t strong enough safeguards for citizens’ privacy and security built into the legislation.

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November 16th 2019, 2:18 pm

‘We want to find gems’: the black venture capitalists invested in change

Technology | The Guardian

Impact X, set up to support businesses run by or for minorities and women, is on its way to raising £100m

Bola Adegbulu’s idea came to him by accident – literally. Narrowly avoiding a car crash inspired the Londoner’s idea for smart navigation software that could predict the safest route for drivers and prevent some of the 1.3 million deaths due to road accidents globally each year. With more than 90% of those fatalities taking place in developing nations, including Adegbulu’s native Nigeria, the concept hit home.

The 30-year-old spent two years working on the pilot for his company, Predina, with co-founder Meha Nelson, before clinching funding from Impact X Capital Partners: a new black-owned-and-run venture capital firm in London aiming to reverse the lack of funding for startups led by, or serving, women and people of colour.

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November 16th 2019, 12:16 pm

Can the planet really afford the exorbitant power demands of machine learning? | John Naughton

Technology | The Guardian

The environmental impact of such technological advances can be huge

There is, alas, no such thing as a free lunch. This simple and obvious truth is invariably forgotten whenever irrational exuberance teams up with digital technology in the latest quest to “change the world”. A case in point was the bitcoin frenzy, where one could apparently become insanely rich by “mining” for the elusive coins. All you needed was to get a computer to solve a complicated mathematical puzzle and – lo! – you could earn one bitcoin, which at the height of the frenzy was worth $19,783.06. All you had to do was buy a mining kit (or three) from Amazon, plug it in and become part of the crypto future.

The only problem was that mining became progressively more difficult the closer we got to the maximum number of bitcoins set by the scheme and so more and more computing power was required. Which meant that increasing amounts of electrical power were needed to drive the kit. Exactly how much is difficult to calculate, but one estimate published in July by the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge suggested that the global bitcoin network was then consuming more than seven gigwatts of electricity. Over a year, that’s equal to around 64 terawatt-hours (TWh), which is 8 TWh more than Switzerland uses annually. So each of those magical virtual coins turns out to have a heavy environmental footprint.

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November 16th 2019, 11:16 am

Up to speed: the Welsh village that installed its own fast broadband

Technology | The Guardian

Fed up with slow internet, Michaelston-y-Fedw residents took matters into their own hands

Before his village got a fast internet connection, Ben Longman’s life was a lot more complicated – and his business was a lot harder. Ordering stock for the pub where he is landlord, a process that should take a few minutes, was instead the work of more than half an hour. It was a struggle to reply to emails on time, or even to get a playlist to run properly.

Related: Corbyn launches plan to give free broadband to everyone in Britain

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November 15th 2019, 2:04 pm

Twitter's political ad ban to limit micro-targeting, putting pressure on Facebook

Technology | The Guardian

Ban will come with restrictions on ‘cause-based’ ads, as Facebook faces backlash over policies

Twitter’s rules for political advertising will include new restrictions on micro-targeting, a move that will increase pressure on Facebook, the company announced Friday.

The policy rollout follows Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s surprise announcement on 30 October that the company would ban all political advertising due to a belief that “political message reach should be earned, not bought”. The new rules will go into effect on 22 November.

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November 15th 2019, 2:04 pm

Instagram tests hiding how many people like a post. That has influencers worried

Technology | The Guardian

As the experiment expands to US accounts, some influencers are worried they will lose followers or income

Instagram has begun to hide the number of users who have “liked” a photo for some accounts in the US in an ongoing effort to create a less stressful experience.

The shift had influencers, artists, celebrities and everyday users up in arms – Nicki Minaj even said she’d stop posting on the platform – with many worrying the transition will lose them followers and ultimately income.

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November 15th 2019, 6:29 am

Free broadband essential to make UK competitive, says John McDonnell

Technology | The Guardian

Shadow chancellor says Labour policy to nationalise Openreach needed as private sector has not delivered

Labour’s plan to provide free broadband to everyone in Britain is essential to allow Britain to compete in the global economy, John McDonnell said on Friday, defending the proposals against claims that they were the beginning of a general programme of nationalisation.

The shadow chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the plan to take over BT’s Openreach is “very much following the model of what has happened elsewhere”.

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November 15th 2019, 4:44 am

Outcry after Facebook sponsors gala featuring Brett Kavanaugh

Technology | The Guardian

Company is listed as a ‘gold circle’ sponsor for rightwing group Federalist Society dinner where justice will be keynote speaker

Facebook is facing criticism for sponsoring the annual gala dinner of the Federalist Society, the powerful rightwing legal group behind the nomination of conservative supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The world’s largest social media company is listed as a “gold circle” sponsor of the 2019 National Lawyers Convention in Washington DC, and is featured in the guidebook app for the event, where Kavanaugh will be the keynote speaker on Thursday evening.

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November 14th 2019, 5:03 pm

Will Google get away with grabbing 50m Americans' health records?

Technology | The Guardian

Google’s reputation has remained relatively unscathed despite behaviors similar to Facebook’s. This could be the tipping point

Few things are certain in the American healthcare system – except for the paperwork. The tedious ritual of signing forms authorizing new providers to access our medical history is the result of a rarity for Americans: thanks to the first amendment, we have few rights and little expectation of privacy, except when it comes to our medical records. Even doctors who have our best interests at heart must get permission to access our data under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Hipaa).

So it was truly shocking to learn this week that a business partnership between Google and Ascension, a major hospital chain and health insurer, has resulted in the transfer of 50 million Americans’ most intimate medical records to the Silicon Valley company, without the knowledge or consent of those 50 million patients. Even more alarming, the records are not de-identified, and a whistleblower disclosed to the Guardian serious concerns about the program, including that individual staffers have downloaded patient records.

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November 14th 2019, 6:57 am

Mercedes-Benz to axe more than 1,000 jobs in cost-cutting drive

Technology | The Guardian

Move blamed on heavy cost of investing in electric vehicles just as traditional car sales slow

Mercedes-Benz plans to save €1.65bn (£1.4bn) by cutting more than 1,000 jobs in the latest sign German carmakers are struggling to make big investments in electric car technology.

Carmakers around the world are spending billions on developing battery-powered electric vehicles but at the same time sales of internal combustion engines are slowing in the face of economic weakness and scandals over emissions.

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November 14th 2019, 5:57 am

Virgin V6 TV review: jack of all trades, master of none

Technology | The Guardian

App-centric box is like a smart TV combined with a video recorder, with access to almost everything

Virgin Media is Sky’s long-time rival in the pay-TV space, delivering TV coverage through its own cable network to its latest V6 box. Positioned as the king of the aggregators where you can get everyone’s channels for cheaper, does Virgin deliver?

First things first, Virgin TV only works if you happen to live in a cable area, which immediately makes its availability smaller than Sky, BT or the others. Virgin currently covers over 50% of UK households with a target to reach 53% by the end of 2020.

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November 14th 2019, 3:09 am

Do I really need fibre broadband?

Technology | The Guardian

Angela is a light internet user and is wondering if she could make do with an older, slower ADSL service

I signed up for fibre broadband a couple of years ago but am now wondering whether it is worth the cost. The only devices I use in my home are a six-year-old Toshiba Satellite L870 laptop and a Samsung tablet. I use them for email, web browsing and watching BBC iPlayer, but not much else. The laptop runs Windows 10 and works well enough so I don’t have any immediate plans to replace it.

If I revert to ordinary broadband, will I notice a reduction in performance in either device? Angela

You should notice a difference, because your “fibre” connection is probably about five times faster than you will get from ADSL2. However, for your purposes, the difference may not matter.

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November 14th 2019, 2:25 am

Majority of anti-vaxx ads on Facebook are funded by just two organizations

Technology | The Guardian

Study finds Robert F Kennedy Jr’s World Mercury Project and Larry Cook’s Stop Mandatory Vaccinations bought 54% of ads

The majority of Facebook ads spreading misinformation about vaccines are funded by two organizations run by well-known anti-vaccination activists, a new study in the journal Vaccine has found.

The World Mercury Project chaired by Robert F Kennedy Jr, and Stop Mandatory Vaccinations, a project of campaigner Larry Cook, bought 54% of the anti-vaccine ads shown on the platform during the study period.

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November 14th 2019, 2:25 am

Hologram-like device animates objects using ultrasound waves

Technology | The Guardian

Unlike Star Wars projection, 3D technology whips polystyrene bead round at high speed

It may not rival the technology found in a galaxy far, far away, but everyone has to start somewhere. Researchers in Southampton have built a device that displays 3D animated objects that can talk and interact with onlookers.

A demonstration of the display showed a butterfly flapping its wings, a countdown spelled out by numbers hanging in the air, and a rotating, multicoloured planet Earth. Beyond interactive digital signs and animations, scientists want to use it to visualise and even feel data.

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November 13th 2019, 1:12 pm

German firm told to wind up cryptocoin business after pyramid scheme allegations

Technology | The Guardian

Karatbars used former football stars Lothar Matthäus, Roberto Carlos and Patrick Kluivert to promote products

A German cryptocurrency company that used former football stars Lothar Matthäus, Roberto Carlos and Patrick Kluivert to promote its products has been ordered to wind up its blockchain-based business by Germany’s financial watchdog, following allegations it was luring customers into a pyramid scheme.

Karatbars, founded by Stuttgart-born former vacuum cleaner salesman Harald Seiz in 2011, has promised to revolutionise the world’s financial system through its internet-based currency.

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November 13th 2019, 11:53 am

Google to offer checking accounts in partnership with Citigroup

Technology | The Guardian

News of product, Cache, comes day after whistleblower revealed alarm over secret transfer of personal medical data to company

Google is to offer personal checking accounts to consumers in a partnership with Citigroup bank as the search giant pushes deeper in its quest to harvest the personal data of consumers.

The project, code-named Cache, is expected to launch next year.

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November 13th 2019, 9:39 am

Black Facebook staff describe workplace racism in anonymous letter

Technology | The Guardian

A group of Facebook workers say they are treated as if they ‘do not belong’ at the company

One year after a former Facebook manager accused the company of having “a black people problem” – failing its black employees by allowing the proliferation of a hostile workplace culture — an anonymous group of tech workers at the social media giant have penned a letter in which they argue that the problem has only metastasized.

“Racism, discrimination, bias, and aggression do not come from the big moments,” they write. “It’s in the small actions that mount up over time and build into a culture where we are only meant to be seen as quotas, but never heard, never acknowledged, never recognized, and never accepted.”

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November 13th 2019, 6:19 am

Tesla cites Brexit as Germany chosen over UK for European plant

Technology | The Guardian

US electric carmaker will build battery factory in Berlin, says boss Elon Musk

Tesla’s boss Elon Musk has said Brexit uncertainty played a role in the firm’s decision to build its first European factory in Germany rather than the UK.

The billionaire entrepreneur revealed that the firm’s European battery plant would be built on the outskirts of Berlin.

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November 13th 2019, 5:06 am

Fairbnb.coop launches, offering help for social projects

Technology | The Guardian

Fears about overtourism have prompted the new holiday rental website to ban properties owned by businesses and donate 50% of commission to community projects

Ethical holiday rental website Fairbnb.coop has launched its reservations system offering travellers a chance to book in at city apartments that support community projects. The site aims to be a marketplace for “authentic, fair and conscious tourism” and promises to donate 50% of its commission to social projects selected by local residents.

“In Amsterdam the money will go to a community gardening project in the north and an urban agriculture project for migrant women in the south-east – both poorer parts of the city,” said Fairbnb.coop’s Spanish founder, Sito Veracruz.

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November 13th 2019, 4:30 am

Cases challenging mobile phone detection cameras could clog NSW courts, MPs warn

Technology | The Guardian

Legislation that reverses onus of proof described as ‘a dangerous precedent’

New South Wales courts could be flooded with tens of thousands of cases every year if the NSW government moves ahead with plans to roll out cameras that use artificial intelligence to detect drivers using their mobile phones, a parliamentary committee has warned.

The state parliament is considering legislation that would allow mobile phone detection cameras to be placed around NSW to capture drivers using their mobile phones while behind the wheel. The government estimates that there were at least 158 casualties on NSW roads between 2012 and 2018 involving mobile phones.

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November 13th 2019, 4:30 am

Facebook confirms bug grants access to iPhone users' cameras

Technology | The Guardian

A ‘worrying’ system bug has been allowing app to access cameras as users scroll through their feed

A system bug has been allowing Facebook to access iPhone cameras as users scroll through their feed, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Twitter user Joshua Maddux tweeted a screen recording this weekend that showed his iPhone camera would open as he scrolled through his social media feed. Other users had also noticed the glitch earlier in the month, one calling it “a little worrying”.

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November 12th 2019, 5:11 pm

Far right 'use Russian-style propaganda to spread misinformation'

Technology | The Guardian

Speakers at event in Oxford say ‘junk news’ tools pioneered by Russians now originating in UK

Misinformation techniques first deployed by Russian agents are now more commonly used in Britain by the far right, as well as by politicians to convince their own voters, an audience in Oxford was told.

At an event hosted by Oxford University’s Internet Institute, which has been studying the effects of “computational propaganda” in elections around the world, speakers said the evidence of foreign interference in Britain’s election was slim, but that strategies first deployed by foreign actors were still going strong. The event was held under the Chatham House rule, meaning speakers can be quoted but not named.

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November 12th 2019, 12:03 pm

Microtargeting, bots and hacking: will digital meddling really swing this election? | Alex Hern

Technology | The Guardian

After the 2016 US election, some fear online interference could create political chaos in the UK. The truth is more complex

We’re now well into the “phoney war” period of the election – where on the surface all seems calm. Parliament has been prorogued, there have been a few early jabs, and a consensus is already beginning to emerge about how everything will play out online.

Related: Ex-Johnson aide behind banned Facebook ad worked on fake grassroots campaign

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November 12th 2019, 11:51 am

Google's secret cache of medical data includes names and full details of millions – whistleblower

Technology | The Guardian

Whistleblower speaks to Guardian about growing alarm over secret transfer of medical history data, which can be accessed by Google staff

A whistleblower who works in Project Nightingale, the secret transfer of the personal medical data of up to 50 million Americans from one of the largest healthcare providers in the US to Google, has expressed anger to the Guardian that patients are being kept in the dark about the massive deal.

The anonymous whistleblower has posted a video on the social media platform Daily Motion that contains a document dump of hundreds of images of confidential files relating to Project Nightingale. The secret scheme, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second largest healthcare provider in the US. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification.

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November 12th 2019, 10:51 am

Echo Dot with Clock: Amazon's cheap Alexa alarm clock replacement

Technology | The Guardian

Adding a screen for the time transforms the Echo Dot into the best bedroom smart speaker

Amazon has a new twist on its popular cut-price Echo Dot smart speaker, now setting its sights squarely on your beleaguered bedside alarm clock with a new LED display embedded in the side.

The Echo Dot with Clock is one of those true Ronseal products - it says what it does on the tin. It is literally the same as the excellent third-generation Echo Dot, but is only available in white and has a white LED display showing the time peaking through the fabric side.

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November 12th 2019, 2:12 am

History as a giant data set: how analysing the past could help save the future

Technology | The Guardian

Calculating the patterns and cycles of the past could lead us to an objective version of history. Could it also help us prevent a looming crisis? By Laura Spinney

In its first issue of 2010, the scientific journal Nature looked forward to a dazzling decade of progress. By 2020, experimental devices connected to the internet would deduce our search queries by directly monitoring our brain signals. Crops would exist that doubled their biomass in three hours. Humanity would be well on the way to ending its dependency on fossil fuels.

A few weeks later, a letter in the same journal cast a shadow over this bright future. It warned that all these advances could be derailed by mounting political instability, which was due to peak in the US and western Europe around 2020. Human societies go through predictable periods of growth, the letter explained, during which the population increases and prosperity rises. Then come equally predictable periods of decline. These “secular cycles” last two or three centuries and culminate in widespread unrest – from worker uprisings to revolution.

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November 12th 2019, 1:22 am

Google's healthcare partnership sparks fears for privacy of millions

Technology | The Guardian

Company reportedly gets access to health records across 21 US states via alliance with Ascension, a leading provider

Google’s announcement of a partnership with a major healthcare provider raises fresh privacy concerns as the tech company expands its footprint into the healthcare industry.

Monday’s announcement comes after the Wall Street Journal revealed Google had won access to health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states through the partnership with Ascension – the second-largest healthcare system in the US.

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November 11th 2019, 9:09 pm

Online politics needs to be cleaned up – but not just by Facebook and Twitter | Lisa-Maria Neudert a

Technology | The Guardian

Social media platforms do have a role to play, but real change requires political parties to take responsibility

• Lisa-Maria Neudert and Phil Howard are on the Oxford Technology and Elections Commission

Social media platforms wanting to help curb political disinformation on their sites are offering new ways to avoid it online. Twitter has discontinued all political ads and Facebook has new tools for content moderation. This is a good start, even if not all platforms are showing initiative, and not all such attempts are fruitful.

However, electioneering and political campaigning don’t start with technology firms. They start with the political parties and their affinity groups. To keep our elections free and fair, and to be confident in their outcomes, parties need to disclose what ads they’re buying, on which platforms, and at what price. Now is the chance for campaigns to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and accountability.

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November 11th 2019, 2:05 pm

Uber chief tries to backpedal after calling Khashoggi murder 'a mistake'

Technology | The Guardian

Dara Khosrowshahi scrambles after saying Saudi Arabia’s murder of dissident was a ‘mistake’ similar to self-driving car accident

Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive of Uber, has attempted to limit the damage after calling the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a mistake” similar to a fatal accident that occurred during tests of his company’s self-driving car.

Related: The Killing in the Consulate by Jonathan Rugman review – a dark fable of unaccountable power

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November 11th 2019, 10:48 am

A step too far? How fitness trackers can take over our lives

Technology | The Guardian

Apps and wearable devices are touted as a way to transform health. But are we too obsessed by the ‘quantified self’?

Martin Lewis owns his obsessiveness about counting steps with something approaching pride.

“I’ve never done less than 10,000 steps in any day for the last three years,” he says. “But to be honest, if I do just 10,000 steps, I’m never happy. My average is nearer 25,000. It’s an obsession.”

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November 11th 2019, 5:38 am

How do you like your beef… old-style cow or 3D-printed?

Technology | The Guardian

Manufacturers claim their products taste like the real thing, have huge ecological benefits and could soon be in our homes

After the success of the Greggs vegan sausage roll and the juicy-yet-meatless Impossible Burger, the next new food sensation is coming to a plate near you: 3D-printed steaks and chicken thighs.

Printed meat could be on European restaurant menus from next year as Israeli and Spanish firms serve up realistic beef and chicken produced from plant protein. And, within a few years, the printers are likely to be available to buy so that consumers can produce their own at home.

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November 10th 2019, 1:44 am

Yes, hyena robots are scary. But they're also a cunning marketing ploy

Technology | The Guardian

There’s something unsettling about a private firm making powerful autonomous machines – but what’s scarier is who’s building them, and why

Earlier this year, videos of a robot being kicked, hit with a chair, and shot at by its human owners spread online. Created by an LA-based production company, Corridor Digital, the videos were a parody of those released by Boston Dynamics, a company that has been making robots since 1992.

Related: Steve McQueen's school sensation, R2-D2 and a hi-tech Leonardo – the week in art

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November 10th 2019, 1:14 am

The five: exercises to help avoid an early death

Technology | The Guardian

Easy-to-access activities that help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease

Last week, research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that running can reduce the risk of early death regardless of how long or at what speed you run. The research focused on 14 previous studies based on six different groups of participants, totalling more than 230,000 people over a period of between 5.5 and 35 years. The authors reported that any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running at all.

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November 10th 2019, 1:14 am

Apple Card issuer investigated after claims of sexist credit checks

Technology | The Guardian

Goldman Sachs faces official inquiry as IT figures including Steve Wozniak say they got 10 times or more the credit limit received by their wives

The algorithm used to set credit limits for the new Apple Card will be the subject of an official investigation, following tweets from a tech entrepreneur blasting the company for gender discrimination.

New York’s Department of Financial Services has initiated the probe into the credit card practices of Goldman Sachs, which provides the Apple Card. In a series of Twitter posts starting on Thursday, David Heinemeier Hansson railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got, Bloomberg reported on Saturday.

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November 9th 2019, 10:10 pm

Voters ‘used as lab rats’ in political Facebook adverts, warn analysts

Technology | The Guardian

Parties are all involved in a targeted experiment that campaigners warn lacks transparency and could harm democracy

The three main political parties in England and Wales are using Facebook audiences “as lab rats in a giant experiment”, according to the first detailed analysis of online advertising during a UK election.

Campaign group Who Targets Me?, which was established to monitor online political ads, has been examining how parties used Facebook before the election was called and in the first week of the campaign. It has found all three parties trialling subtly different messages, images and even colours as they seek to learn what resonates with voters.

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November 9th 2019, 3:48 pm

AI project to preserve people's voices in effort to tackle speech loss

Technology | The Guardian

Clinic hopes to help those at risk of losing ability to speak maintain sense of identity

A pioneering centre aimed at preserving and re-creating people’s voices using artificial intelligence has opened in the US, with researchers hoping it will change the lives of people who face losing their ability to speak.

Researchers say the venture – a joint effort between Northeastern University in Boston and the company VocaliD – could play an important role in maintaining a sense of identity among those with conditions ranging from throat cancer to motor neurone disease, by offering them the chance to sound like themselves even after self-generated speech has become impossible.

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November 9th 2019, 3:36 am

Instagram’s murky ‘shadow bans’ just serve to censor marginalised communities | Chanté Joseph

Technology | The Guardian

Images of queer and plus-sized bodies are not ‘sexually suggestive’ content. So why is Instagram blocking them?

Vulnerable and marginalised communities on Instagram have been calling for a wider conversation to address what they say is the platform’s censoring of queer and plus-sized bodies.

Related: Instagram tightens rules on diet and cosmetic surgery posts

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November 8th 2019, 11:30 am

Bloodhound LSR car hits 500mph in bid for land-speed record

Technology | The Guardian

Jet-propelled British vehicle tested in South Africa before attempt to beat 763mph in 2020

Under the blistering Kalahari sun, a British-made machine that looks like a mash-up between a grand prix car, a fighter plane and a spaceship has broken the 500mph mark as it bids to break the land-speed record.

There have been a few frights and hitches – including a fire scare – but the hope is that within the next few days Bloodhound LSR, which has been taking shape in a college workshop on the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, will whizz through the desert at about 600mph.

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November 8th 2019, 9:17 am

Not for cis straight men: the dating app that launched a thousand queer love stories

Technology | The Guardian

The new app Lex was born out of Personals, a photo-free Instagram service that emulated traditional newspaper ads

Caché Owens and Cynthia Velásquez reached the same conclusion within days of meeting: they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

The pair first started talking on Instagram in January, through a popular account that offered a contemporary version of traditional newspaper personal ads. Owens, a 29-year-old artist and professor, had never had much luck on dating apps, but the Personals page was different. It did not use photos, but instead featured a long list of bios of queer and trans people looking for internet friends, lovers or partners across the globe.

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November 8th 2019, 6:59 am

The rise of microchipping: are we ready for technology to get under the skin?

Technology | The Guardian

As implants grow more common, experts fear surveillance and exploitation of workers. Advocates say the concerns are irrational

On 1 August 2017, workers at Three Square Market, a Wisconsin-based company specializing in vending machines, lined up in the office cafeteria to be implanted with microchips. One after the other, they held out a hand to a local tattoo artist who pushed a rice-grain sized implant into the flesh between the thumb and forefinger. The 41 employees who opted into the procedure received complimentary t-shirts that read “I Got Chipped”.

This wholesale implant event, organized by company management, dovetailed with Three Square Market’s longer-term vision of a cashless payment system for their vending machines – workplace snacks purchased with a flick of the wrist. And the televised “chipping party” proved to be a savvy marketing tactic, the story picked up by media outlets from Moscow to Sydney.

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November 8th 2019, 5:11 am

How big tech is dragging us towards the next financial crash

Technology | The Guardian

Like the big banks, big tech uses its lobbying muscle to avoid regulation, and thinks it should play by different rules. And like the banks, it could be about to wreak financial havoc on us all. By Rana Foroohar

‘In every major economic downturn in US history, the ‘villains’ have been the ‘heroes’ during the preceding boom,” said the late, great management guru Peter Drucker. I cannot help but wonder if that might be the case over the next few years, as the United States (and possibly the world) heads toward its next big slowdown. Downturns historically come about once every decade, and it has been more than that since the 2008 financial crisis. Back then, banks were the “too-big-to-fail” institutions responsible for our falling stock portfolios, home prices and salaries. Technology companies, by contrast, have led the market upswing over the past decade. But this time around, it is the big tech firms that could play the spoiler role.

You wouldn’t think it could be so when you look at the biggest and richest tech firms today. Take Apple. Warren Buffett says he wished he owned even more Apple stock. (His Berkshire Hathaway has a 5% stake in the company.) Goldman Sachs is launching a new credit card with the tech titan, which became the world’s first $1tn market-cap company in 2018. But hidden within these bullish headlines are a number of disturbing economic trends, of which Apple is already an exemplar. Study this one company and you begin to understand how big tech companies – the new too-big-to-fail institutions – could indeed sow the seeds of the next crisis.

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November 8th 2019, 5:11 am

Homes connected to NBN via fibre-to-node only getting 80% of speed they paid for

Technology | The Guardian

Competition watchdog says fibre-to-node gives advertised download speed less often than other technologies

Fibre-to-the-node broadband connections do not deliver advertised speeds as often as other NBN technologies, data from the Australian competition watchdog has revealed.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest broadband measurement report, released on Thursday, showed people who are connected to the national broadband network via fibre-to-the-node – which uses more existing copper wiring than any other technology – experienced a nine-point lower percentage of advertised speed compared with people on fibre-to-the-curb, fibre-to-the-premises and the cable network connections.

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November 7th 2019, 7:51 pm

Facebook: we would let Tories run 'doctored' Starmer video as ad

Technology | The Guardian

Social network says policy of allowing misinformation opens up political debate

Facebook would allow the Conservative party to promote its “doctored” video of Keir Starmer as a paid-for advert during the election campaign, the social network has confirmed.

The company has also announced a policy aimed at cracking down on pages that conceal their ownership in order to mislead users.

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November 7th 2019, 2:14 pm

Google and Facebook 'considering ban on micro-targeted political ads'

Technology | The Guardian

Reports say firms may act over concerns that practice risks damaging democratic norms

Google and Facebook are both considering new rules banning the micro-targeting of political ads, according to reports.

Critics of political advertising online have long worried that the ability to display specific messages to small sections of the electorate runs the risk of damaging democratic norms, by allowing candidates to present different platforms to different demographics.

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November 7th 2019, 11:25 am

Uber reported losses that would make WeWork blush – and that's the good news

Technology | The Guardian

Ride-hailing companies are stepping up their fight against new worker protections. They want drivers to help

It feels a bit Alice in Silicon Valleyland, but the good news for Uber this week was that it lost $1.2bn in the third quarter of 2019. While burning that kind of cash in 90 days would make even WeWork’s Adam Neumann blush, it is an improvement over the previous quarter’s jaw-dropping deficit of $5.24bn.

Uber’s latest financial results came just two days before its post-IPO lockup period expired on Wednesday, allowing early investors and employees to cash out and touching off a stock sell-off that saw the share price reach a new all-time low. Hundreds of Uber drivers across California marked the occasion with protests targeting some of the handful of people who have unambiguously benefited from the Uber economy. Drivers visited the home of the early investor and former board member Bill Gurley in Atherton and the $72.5m mansion of the co-founder Garret Camp in Beverly Hills.

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November 7th 2019, 7:09 am

Sky Q 2019 review: premium TV at a premium price

Technology | The Guardian

The best pay-TV experience comes at significant cost, but at least you get what you pay for

Three years on from launch, Sky’s Q pay-TV service has changed quite a lot, and so has the competition, both from old and new players. So is the satellite broadcaster’s box still the one to beat?

When Q launched in 2016 it dragged Sky’s pay-TV platform kicking and screaming into the TV-anywhere age first ushered in by services such as Netflix.

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November 7th 2019, 2:59 am

Which reasonably priced smartphone could replace my old Nokia Lumia?

Technology | The Guardian

Jim doesn’t need a high-end mobile, but would like something he can rely on at a decent price

My Nokia Lumia 820 smartphone is approaching obsolescence after six years’ use. Apart from that, I used a second-hand iPhone for a week before it failed, but I have never used an Android phone. I am clearly not someone who places a premium on having the latest phone, but I would like something I can rely on. I don’t use phones for music on the go – I still use iPods – and I very rarely watch videos on them: I use my laptop for that. I have a sim-only contract and the idea of spending £700 or so on a phone doesn’t really apply to my wants, needs or financial reality. Jim

Every Windows smartphone user should be thinking about this topic, because Microsoft will stop supporting the platform roughly a month from today, on 10 December 2019. Obviously, this won’t be as traumatic for as many people as the end of Windows 7 support on 14 January 2020, but it does mark the end of an era. And the end of an error.

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November 7th 2019, 2:59 am

Facebook urges Australians to report fake ads as it launches tool to target scammers

Technology | The Guardian

Fake celebrity endorsements are used to promote free product trials that are nearly impossible to cancel

Australians are now able to report fake ads they see on Facebook after scammers used unauthorised images of celebrities including Karl Stefanovic, Nicole Kidman and Eddie McGuire.

The fake Australian celebrity endorsements were used to promote free product trials that were nearly impossible to cancel, or investment schemes.

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November 7th 2019, 2:59 am

Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia

Technology | The Guardian

Twitter workers reportedly obtained personal account information of critics of the government in Saudi Arabia

Two former Twitter employees have been charged with spying after they reportedly obtained personal account information for critics of the government of Saudi Arabia.

A complaint unsealed on Wednesday in US district court in San Francisco detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi officials to recruit employees at the social media giant to look up the private data of thousands of Twitter accounts.

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November 6th 2019, 6:05 pm

Being smart about phones for 11-year-olds | Letters

Technology | The Guardian

Sarah Douglas recommends taking a break away from it all, and Chris Gibson suggests using non-smart mobiles

I too am one of those incompetent and weak-willed parents alluded to in your report (The majority of 11-year-olds own smartphones. And experts are worried, 1 November), and appropriately slated in the comments. In my defence, I work in the NHS and thanks to many ill people I get home late, tired and basically incapable of parenting.

The solution I have discovered is Pembrokeshire. One week here and my teenagers have walked along beaches, visited ruins, played board games and even eaten salad. A visit now and again will, hopefully, redeem them – and me – a little.
Dr Sarah Douglas
Holmfirth, West Yorkshire

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November 6th 2019, 1:03 pm

Twitter political ad ban could silence climate activists, warns Warren

Technology | The Guardian

US presidential hopeful says fossil fuel firms will be free to promote themselves while critics are barred

Twitter’s plan to ban all political advertising risked muzzling climate activists while giving polluters free rein to promote themselves, the US presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said.

“Twitter’s new ad policy will allow fossil fuel companies to buy ads defending themselves and spreading misleading info but won’t allow organisations fighting the climate crisis to buy ads holding those companies accountable,” she tweeted, linking to an environmental newsletter.

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November 6th 2019, 10:14 am

Google Nest Hub Max review: bigger, better and smarter display

Technology | The Guardian

Camera with local AI for face recognition allows proactive display of personalised information

Google’s latest smart display is larger and can recognise your face for proactively showing you personalised information making it just that little bit smarter than competitors.

The £219 Nest Hub Max is Google’s second own-brand smart display and is essentially a super-sized version of the excellent original Home Hub (now renamed Nest Hub). But where the Nest Hub is a veritable bargain at £119 or frequently much less, the Nest Hub Max is a different proposition at a little under twice the price.

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November 6th 2019, 2:16 am

Fitbit users fear privacy invasion after $2.1bn Google acquisition

Technology | The Guardian

Fitbit says data of its 28 million users will not be sold or used for Google ads

Google’s recent acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1bn has left many users worried the tech giant may soon have access to their most intimate health information – from the number of steps they take each day to their breathing patterns, sleep quality or menstrual cycles.

Fitbit, founded in San Francisco in 2007, tracks the health data of 28 million users. In a blogpost following the acquisition on Friday, Fitbit claimed user data would not be sold or used for Google advertising. “Consumer trust is paramount to Fitbit. Strong privacy and security guidelines have been part of Fitbit’s DNA since day one, and this will not change,” the company said in a statement.

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November 6th 2019, 1:16 am

Ex-Johnson aide behind banned Facebook ad worked on fake grassroots campaign

Technology | The Guardian

Alex Crowley worked on ‘Mainstream Network’ campaign pushing for no-deal Brexit

The former Boris Johnson aide who was behind a Facebook ad that broke the social network’s funding disclosure rules previously worked on a fake grassroots campaign pushing for a no-deal Brexit, the Guardian can reveal.

Alex Crowley, who left No 10 in September, oversaw the previous “Mainstream Network” Facebook campaign alongside employees of the lobbying firm run by Sir Lynton Crosby, the Australian political strategist who helped run the last four Conservative general election campaigns.

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November 5th 2019, 7:39 am

Teens are making historical events go viral on TikTok – what does a history teacher think?

Technology | The Guardian

‘I’d use them in class,’ says Izzy Jones, a London-based vice-principal, while marveling at their range and ingenuity

There is a long-held stereotype that teenagers spend a lot of time online, uninterested in real life events.

People who say that clearly haven’t seen them on TikTok, where they are engaging in the unexpected: teaching history lessons.

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November 5th 2019, 3:14 am

Drone registration made compulsory as UK scheme launches

Technology | The Guardian

Users must sit online test and pay annual fee of £9 to join register or face £1,000 fine

Drone users in the UK must now sit an online test and pay a £9 annual fee or face a £1,000 fine after the launch of a mandatory national registration scheme on Tuesday.

Owners are obliged to identify and label all drones by 30 November, and operators must pass a test about legal and safe usage before they can fly them.

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November 4th 2019, 8:59 pm

Facebook rebrands as FACEBOOK: can capital letters save a toxic brand?

Technology | The Guardian

The company’s new logo is designed to bring a ‘sense of optimism’ to the brand that brought us the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Forget Facebook: meet FACEBOOK.

Amid antitrust investigations, Capitol Hill hearings, and a generally poor reputation, the company announced on Monday it is reinventing itself with a rebrand. In the coming weeks, a new multicolored, all-caps logo will begin appearing across its services. Instagram and Whatsapp, owned by the company, will proudly tell users that they are services “from FACEBOOK”.

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November 4th 2019, 8:59 pm

Microsoft Japan tested a four-day work week. Productivity jumped by 40%

Technology | The Guardian

The experiment for the month of August led to more efficient meetings and happier workers who took less time off

Microsoft tested out a four-day work week in its Japan offices and found as a result employees were not only happier – but significantly more productive.

For the month of August, Microsoft Japan experimented with a new project called Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019, giving its entire 2,300 person workforce five Fridays off in a row without decreasing pay.

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November 4th 2019, 5:28 pm

LA suspends Uber’s electric vehicles permit after company refuses to share data

Technology | The Guardian

The corporation rents scooters and bicycles via Jump and has until Friday to appeal or their permit will be revoked

Los Angeles has suspended Uber’s permit to rent electric scooters and bicycles because the corporation refused to follow the city’s rules on data sharing.

The temporary suspension could result in the city confiscating scooters and bikes of Uber’s subsidiary Jump. It marks the latest conflict between local governments and the rideshare company, which has repeatedly flouted traditional transportation regulations.

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November 4th 2019, 4:58 pm

Google workers call on company to adopt aggressive climate plan

Technology | The Guardian

Letter signed by more than 1,000 employees calls for zero emissions by 2030 in latest wave of industry climate activism

More than 1,000 Google workers have signed a public letter calling on their employer to commit to an aggressive “company-wide climate plan” that includes canceling contracts with the fossil fuel industry and halting its donations to climate change deniers.

The letter, which is addressed to Google’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, also calls for zero emissions by 2030 and “zero collaboration with entities enabling the incarceration, surveillance, displacement or oppression of refugees or frontline communities”.

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November 4th 2019, 3:27 pm

Facebook and Google urged to ban political ads before UK election

Technology | The Guardian

Letter calls for suspension until after vote due to lack of time to reform online advertising rules

The UK does not have time to solve the problems of online political advertising before the general election, meaning it should be voluntarily suspended by Facebook and Google until after the vote, campaigners, academics and non-profits have said.

In a letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, the chief executives of Facebook and Google, as well as Nick Clegg and Kent Walker, the heads of policy of the respective companies, the campaigners write that “with the announcement of the election coming in only six weeks, there is no time for regulations to catch up” with the reality of online advertising.

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November 4th 2019, 10:07 am

Hillary Clinton: Zuckerberg should pay price for damage to democracy

Technology | The Guardian

Former presidential candidate criticises Facebook’s decision to let politicians lie in adverts

Mark Zuckerberg “should pay a price” for what he is doing to democracy, Hillary Clinton has said, as she expressed doubts about whether free and fair elections were even possible in the wake of Facebook’s decision to not factcheck political advertising.

Speaking in New York at a screening of The Great Hack, a Netflix documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate cited the threat to upcoming elections in both the US and UK as she made the damning remarks about Facebook’s decision to allow politicians to lie in adverts posted to its platform.

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November 4th 2019, 8:18 am

A tale of two platforms: Chips with Everything podcast

Technology | The Guardian

Kari Paul and Alex Hern join Jordan Erica Webber to discuss how the big social media platforms are tackling the sticky issue of political adverts. Dr Kate Dommett also talks about how UK political parties could use or misuse social media as they launch their general election campaigns.

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November 4th 2019, 1:12 am

How key Republicans inside Facebook are shifting its politics to the right

Technology | The Guardian

Company has been accused of pro-Republican bias, in both policy and personnel, amid fears it could be broken up if a Democrat wins in 2020

Facebook has been accused of pro-Republican bias, in both policy and personnel, amid fears at the company that it could be broken up if a Democrat wins the White House next year.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg faced fierce criticism this week, first for including Breitbart – once described by former chairman Steve Bannon as a “platform for the ‘alt-right’” – in its list of trusted sources for Facebook News, then for refusing to ban or factcheck political advertising.

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November 3rd 2019, 2:25 am

Alexa, did he do it? Smart device could be witness in suspicious Florida death

Technology | The Guardian

Calling the witness – Alexa. Police in Florida are investigating whether they have stumbled on a silent witness to a possible murder and are trying to get the truth from “her”.

Sylvia Galva Crespo, 32, was killed by a spear to the chest at home in Hallandale Beach, Florida, north of Miami, in July, which her husband, Adam Crespo, 43, has portrayed as a mysterious accident.

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November 2nd 2019, 5:18 am

KSI v Logan Paul: boxing promoters look to cash in on YouTubers' rematch

Technology | The Guardian

Amateur boxers may dismiss the bout as ‘a joke’, but the web stars’ clash is big on marketable spectacle

On 9 November, two boxers will face each other in the ring in a highly anticipated bout, broadcast live on pay-per-view TV and expected to generate millions of pounds.

Nothing unusual about that, except the pugilists are not Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, or any of the sport’s big names, but two YouTube stars without a professional bout between them, fighting to settle a beef.

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November 2nd 2019, 5:07 am

UK government postpones Huawei 5G decision

Technology | The Guardian

Culture secretary confirms deferment of decision that could have repercussions on US-UK relations

A decision on whether Huawei should be allowed into the UK’s 5G network infrastructure has been postponed to the next government, deferring a possible row between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

The outgoing culture secretary, Nicky Morgan, confirmed the decision – part of the Telecoms Supply Chain Review – would now be made after the general election on 12 December.

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November 1st 2019, 3:13 pm

US 'investigating TikTok as potential national security risk'

Technology | The Guardian

Social media app is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance but says it does not operate in China

TikTok is reportedly being investigated as a potential national security risk by the US government, as the company’s 2018 acquisition of American social media app Musical.ly comes under retroactive scrutiny.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has the ability to scrutinise acquisitions and investments by foreign companies, never formally approved the buyout, since TikTok, which is owned by Chinese startup ByteDance, did not explicitly request clearance.

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November 1st 2019, 12:40 pm

Google snaps up Fitbit for $2.1bn

Technology | The Guardian

Takeover allows web giant to take on Apple in fast-growing smartwatch and wearables business

Google has snapped up the Fitbit fitness tracker business in a $2.1bn (£1.6bn) deal that will enable the search giant to go toe-to-toe with Apple in the fast-growing smartwatch and wearables business.

Google is paying cash for the San Francisco-based Fitbit, which was set up in 2007.

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November 1st 2019, 10:38 am

WhatsApp 'hack' is serious rights violation, say alleged victims

Technology | The Guardian

Activists speak out after being warned of alleged cyberattack to infiltrate mobile phones

More than a dozen pro-democracy activists, journalists and academics have spoken out after WhatsApp privately warned them they had been the alleged victims of cyberattacks designed to secretly infiltrate their mobile phones.

The individuals received alerts saying they were among more than 100 human rights campaigners whose phones were believed to have been hacked using malware sold by the NSO Group, an Israeli cyberweapons firm.

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November 1st 2019, 10:21 am

Facebook's 'free speech' claims don't work when democracy is crumbling

Technology | The Guardian

What do Zuckerberg’s bromides about American values mean to Facebook users in Kashmir or the Philippines?

When Facebook wrote to Joe Biden’s campaign informing them that the company would not back down from its decision to exempt politicians from its ban on advertising false statements, it was not Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg who signed the letter, but a not particularly well-known staffer named Katie Harbath.

As Facebook’s director of public policy for global elections, Harbath has been a prominent voice in defending the controversial policy. “If people have a problem with Facebook’s policy, they have a problem with the way political speech is protected in this country,” she wrote in an op-ed in USA Today this week. “Fundamentally we believe that, in a democracy, it’s better to let voters make their own decisions, not companies like Facebook.”

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November 1st 2019, 6:36 am

Undercover reporter reveals life in a Polish troll farm

Technology | The Guardian

Katarzyna Pruszkiewicz spent six months running fake social media accounts at self-described ‘ePR firm’ in Wrocław

It is as common an occurrence on Polish Twitter as you are likely to get: a pair of conservative activists pouring scorn on the country’s divided liberal opposition.

“I burst out laughing!” writes Girl from Żoliborz, a self-described “traditionalist” commenting on a newspaper story about a former campaign adviser to Barack Obama and Emmanuel Macron coming to Warsaw to address a group of liberal activists.

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November 1st 2019, 5:49 am

Apple hopes its new streaming service will make a splash

Technology | The Guardian

AppleTV+ starts with smaller budget than Netflix or Amazon but aims for prestige market

Apple gatecrashes the fast-growing global streaming business on Friday with the launch of Apple TV+, offering a free service on all new Apple devices for the first year.

The Silicon Valley giant has pulled out all the stops to promote the service, which launches in 100 countries on Friday, with the stars of its flagship new series The Morning Show, Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon, spearheading the publicity push on both sides of the Atlantic.

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November 1st 2019, 2:17 am

Facebook under fire after ads for anti-HIV drug PrEP deemed 'political'

Technology | The Guardian

Instagram requires ads by LGBTQ-focused health center to go through verification process

Facebook is facing backlash after it classified advertisements for an HIV prevention drug as “political advertising”.

Apicha, a New York health center that caters to LGBTQ patients, said last week the tech giant initially blocked ads it tried to run on Instagram that aimed to raise awareness of PrEP, an FDA-approved anti-HIV medication sold under the brand name Truvada.

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October 31st 2019, 7:56 pm

Twitter's canny political ad ban turns Facebook's scale against it

Technology | The Guardian

Jack Dorsey has cut off a tiny revenue stream while heaping pressure on his main rival

Twitter’s announcement that it will ban all political advertising has prompted a wave of calls for Facebook to do the same. This is despite the fact that Twitter’s political advertising operation had just 21 advertisers across the entirety of the EU during the parliamentary elections this year, according to the site’s transparency report.

The Twitter co-founder and chief executive, Jack Dorsey, turned a weakness into a strength, cutting off a minuscule revenue stream in order to heap pressure on his main competitor. In the hours since Twitter’s announcement, support has come from voices as diverse as the US-based campaign group Muslim Advocates, the Open Knowledge Foundation thinktank and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

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October 31st 2019, 9:33 am

Which is the best streaming service for supporting artists?

Technology | The Guardian

Robert still listens to MP3s but wants wants to know which music service pays artists best

I’m a big music fan and enjoy listening to music through my PC and phone, but I feel stuck in the last century as I still listen to my MP3 collection. I refuse to get Spotify, as it’s such a bad deal for the artists. Are there any alternatives that treat the artist well? Robert

Your problem is that you don’t really have a problem. I’m in almost exactly the same position, only slightly worse, because I still use an MP3 player to listen to albums in MP3 format. The main difference is that I’m almost completely happy about not using any music streaming services. They are not obligatory. If you don’t need them, don’t use them. Spend the money on downloads or CDs instead.

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October 31st 2019, 5:18 am

Google Pixel 4 review: a good phone ruined by poor battery life

Technology | The Guardian

Brilliant camera, slick features and small size mean nothing when the phone won’t even last a day

Google is one of only a handful of smartphone manufacturers still making flagship phones that aren’t ginormous beasts, with the new Pixel 4 the cheapest in a while that significantly undercuts the competition.

Priced at £669, the Pixel 4 is £70 cheaper than last year’s Pixel 3 and £60 cheaper than Apple’s iPhone 11. It’s also cheaper than its bigger sibling the £829 Pixel 4 XL. The concern is: which corners have been cut and do they matter?

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October 31st 2019, 3:15 am

Political controversies overshadow Facebook's strong financial report

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook’s myriad political controversies overshadowed a strong financial quarter on Wednesday as the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, delivered an impassioned defense of his company on a conference call with investors.

The company reported strong revenue and profit growth for the third quarter of 2019, beating analyst expectations and prompting the share price to jump as much as 4% in after-hours trading. Revenues grew 29% year-over-year to $17.7bn, and profits grew 19% to $6.1bn.

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October 30th 2019, 7:40 pm

Apple reports $64bn in revenue, citing strong wearables and services sales

Technology | The Guardian

The favorable report drove the tech giant’s stocks up 2.5% on Wednesday, as the company expands its focus beyond the iPhone

Apple reported record-high quarter four earnings on Wednesday, citing a strong performances in wearables and other services as the company continues to expand its focus beyond flagship products like the iPhone.

The tech giant reported a revenue of $64bn, beating a $63bn estimate from analysts.

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October 30th 2019, 7:24 pm

Twitter to ban all political advertising, raising pressure on Facebook

Technology | The Guardian

Social network’s move comes as Facebook faces controversy over ads that promote misinformation

Twitter will ban all political advertising, the company’s CEO has announced, in a move that will increase pressure on Facebook over its controversial stance to allow politicians to advertise false statements.

The new policy, announced via Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account on Wednesday, will come into effect on 22 November and will apply globally to all electioneering ads, as well as ads related to political issues. The timing means the ban will be in place in time for the UK snap election.

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October 30th 2019, 5:10 pm

AI becomes grandmaster in 'fiendishly complex' StarCraft II

Technology | The Guardian

DeepMind’s AlphaStar masters game dubbed ‘next grand challenge for AI’ in just 44 days

‘The challenge was to play like a human’: AI takes on the gamers

An artificial intelligence (AI) system has reached the highest rank of StarCraft II, the fiendishly complex and wildly popular computer game, in a landmark achievement for the field.

Related: 'The challenge was to play like a human': AI takes on the gamers

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October 30th 2019, 2:24 pm

'The challenge was to play like a human': AI takes on the gamers

Technology | The Guardian

Google’s DeepMind beat 99.8% of humans at StarCraft II, but bigger challenge was not giving itself away

AI becomes grandmaster in ‘fiendishly complex’ StarCraft II

When DeepMind, Google’s AI research outfit, set out to demonstrate its latest breakthrough, it had to confront an added twist: how do you set your robot free to play games on the internet without anyone realising they’re competing against it?

Related: AI becomes grandmaster in 'fiendishly complex' StarCraft II

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October 30th 2019, 2:24 pm

Facebook removes Africa accounts linked to Russian troll factory

Technology | The Guardian

Fake networks in eight nations are connected to man allegedly behind disinformation empire

Facebook has taken down accounts linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin – the businessman allegedly behind Russia’s notorious troll factory – which were actively seeking to influence the domestic politics of a range of African countries.

The company said on Wednesday it had suspended three networks of “inauthentic” Russian accounts. The Facebook pages targeted eight countries across the continent: Madagascar, the Central African Republic (CAR), Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya.

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October 30th 2019, 2:24 pm

‘Extraordinary’: TfL criticised over Uber licence extension

Technology | The Guardian

Firm had to promise to verify drivers’ identities, in deal attacked by London cabbies

Transport for London made Uber promise to verify drivers’ identities and ensure their documents are genuine in exchange for a temporary licence to operate, in a deal that drew an incredulous response from the trade body for black-cab drivers.

The ride-hailing firm was granted a two-month extension to its licence in September after TfL refused to issue it with a full permit to operate in the capital amid concerns over the company’s attitude towards the safety of passengers.

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October 30th 2019, 1:24 pm

Apple lets users opt out of having Siri conversations recorded

Technology | The Guardian

Software finally updated three months after practice revealed in Guardian report

Apple customers can now opt out of having their conversations with Siri listened to by human “graders” and delete any clips that have already been uploaded, three months after the Guardian revealed the practice based on a whistleblower report.

In the latest software updates for Apple’s products, including iOS 13.2 and macOS 10.15.1, users have the option to disable the grading feature while still using Siri as normal.

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October 30th 2019, 12:54 pm

Facebook to keep fact-checking Pac boss who tried to skirt rules

Technology | The Guardian

Adriel Hampton registered as candidate for California governor in attempt to avoid checks

Facebook will continue to fact-check adverts posted by a California gubernatorial candidate despite a policy exempting political candidates from its rules on misinformation in advertising.

The company said that because Adriel Hampton, the head of the Really Online Lefty League political action committee (Pac), “has made clear he registered as a candidate to get around our policies … his content, including ads, will continue to be eligible for third-party fact-checking.”

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October 30th 2019, 9:50 am

Facebook agrees to pay fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Technology | The Guardian

Company withdraws appeal against £500,000 penalty imposed by UK data watchdog

Facebook has agreed to pay a £500,000 fine, the highest possible, to the Information Commissioner’s Office over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, ending more than a year of litigation between the regulator and social network.

The ICO announced its intention to fine Facebook in July 2018. Unusually, the office went public with its intention before giving Facebook a chance to respond, and ultimately issued the official penalty notice three months later, in October. Facebook appealed against the fine, and in June 2019 the tribunal issued an interim decision “holding that procedural fairness and allegations of bias on the part of the ICO should be considered as part of the appeal, and that the ICO should be required to disclose materials relating to its decision-making process”.

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October 30th 2019, 6:48 am

WhatsApp sues Israeli firm, accusing it of hacking activists' phones

Technology | The Guardian

NSO Group’s spyware allegedly used in cyber-attacks on lawyers and journalists

WhatsApp has launched an unprecedented lawsuit against a cyber weapons firm which it has accused of being behind secret attacks on more than 100 human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and academics in just two weeks earlier this year.

The social media giant is suing the NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance company, saying it is responsible for a series of highly sophisticated cyber-attacks which it claims violated American law in an “unmistakeable pattern of abuse”.

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October 29th 2019, 5:20 pm

Apple's new emoji offerings expand to include non-binary people

Technology | The Guardian

Some in the LGBTQ community say it reinforces a fixed idea of what gender-neutral people should look like

Apple has expanded its emoji offerings on Monday to include non-binary versions of nearly every human emoji, including non-binary couple pairings.

The 328 new emoji designs came with the release of the company’s latest software update iOS 13.2. The non-binary emojis even extend to fantastical creatures such as merpeople, fae, and vampires.

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October 29th 2019, 4:20 pm

California man stands for governor to test Facebook rules on lying

Technology | The Guardian

Adriel Hampton plans to run false commercials in protest at policy of letting politicians lie

A California man has registered as a candidate for state governor purely to run false commercials on Facebook, as a protest against the social network’s policy to allow political misinformation in paid advertising.

Adriel Hampton, a San Francisco resident, has already hit the headlines for his protests against Facebook’s misinformation policy, after a political action committee (Pac) he set up ran an advert falsely claiming that the Republican senator Lindsey Graham supported the Green New Deal.

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October 29th 2019, 12:19 pm

Elon Musk to go to trial in December over 'pedo guy' tweet

Technology | The Guardian

Los Angeles district judge ruled jury will decide whether Tesla chief’s statements about British diver amount to defamation

Elon Musk will go to trial in December, after a judge denied his request to throw out a defamation lawsuit filed by a British man the billionaire called “pedo guy”.

Los Angeles district judge Stephen Wilson said a jury would now decide whether Musk’s statements about Vernon Unsworth, a British diver who helped rescue a team of young football players from an underwater cave in Thailand in 2018, amount to defamation.

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October 29th 2019, 11:49 am

Labour calls for halt to Google's acquisition of Fitbit

Technology | The Guardian

Tom Watson urges Competition Authority to investigate ‘data grab’ by tech company

Labour has written to the competition regulator calling for Google’s reported acquisition of Fitbit to be halted, at least until a wider inquiry into anticompetitive practices in the tech sector is completed.

According to Reuters, Google made an offer to purchase the fitness tracking company on Monday for an undisclosed price.

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October 29th 2019, 11:49 am

YouTube stars raise over $6m to plant trees around the world

Technology | The Guardian

More than 600 creators and social media influencers join campaign to plant 20m trees

A group of YouTube stars have raised more than $6m (£4.7m) to plant trees around the world by rallying their huge numbers of subscribers.

The American YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, known as MrBeast, was challenged on Reddit in May to plant 20m trees to celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, where he posts videos of extravagant stunts.

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October 29th 2019, 7:30 am

Google Pixel 4 XL review: not quite ready for primetime

Technology | The Guardian

Face Unlock, radar and on-device voice skills show Google’s magic, but some bits need fixing

Google’s latest Pixel 4 XL smartphone is its bravest yet, throwing out the conventions of old, integrating cutting-edge technology and attempting to round it all out with a special mix of software direct from the Android-maker.

By now you probably know the drill. The Pixel 4 XL is a metal and glass sandwich like practically every other phone. Unlike most though the aluminium sides have a black textured coating, which aids grip, while the back feels almost like super-smooth skin or silk rather than glass. It also has bold, contrasting colours, if you choose the white or orange variant, that make it stand out well against the competition.

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October 29th 2019, 3:43 am
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