Tech Drama

  • Instagram censors Melbourne artist’s anti-Beijing post but ignores trolls
    by Ben Doherty and Yang Tian on August 20, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Badiucao accuses the social media firm of violating the free speech of people who speak up against China’s bullyingA Melbourne artist who posted anti-Chinese government work has had it pulled offline by Instagram, while death threats against him have remained uncensored.The censorship of Badiucao – and later restoration – by Instagram came as Twitter and Facebook suspended more than 200,000 accounts deemed to be part of a “co-ordinated state-backed operation” of misinformation from the People’s Republic of China. Continue reading…

  • Facebook launches ‘clear history’ tool – but it won’t delete anything
    by Alex Hern on August 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Feature ‘disconnects’ data from a user’s account and shows extent of tracking apparatusFacebook has launched its “clear history” feature more than a year after it was first promised by Mark Zuckerberg as part of damage control efforts after the Cambridge Analytica revelations.The new feature, part of a wider set of tools covering “off-Facebook activity”, will not delete anything from Facebook’s servers, instead simply “disconnecting” data from an individual user’s account. Continue reading…

  • Why emoji use could lead to more sex
    by Guardian Staff on August 20, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    A study claims that adding emojis to communications allowed people to reach a deeper level of intimacy with one anotherName: Sexy emojis.Appearance: Irresistible. Continue reading…

  • Apple accidentally reopens security flaw in latest iOS version
    by Alex Hern on August 20, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    Vulnerability could be exploited to gain control of iPhone, users are warnedApple users are being warned to exercise particular caution over their cybersecurity for the next few days, after the company mistakenly reopened a security flaw in the latest version of iOS.In iOS 12.4, released last month, Apple fixed a number of security bugs, as well as enabling support for the Apple Card in the US. But in doing so, the company accidentally reversed a security fix it had previously patched in iOS 12.3 at the end of April. Continue reading…

  • Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled
    by Miles Brignall on August 20, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Use of plastic envelopes branded a ‘major step backwards’ in fight against pollutionAmazon has been criticised by environmental groups and customers after introducing a range of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in the UK.While supermarkets and other retailers have been reducing their use of single use plastics, the world’s biggest online retailer has started sending small items in plastic envelopes, seemingly to allow more parcels to be loaded on to each delivery truck. Continue reading…

  • From Cyberpunk 2077 to The Outer Worlds: are role-playing games getting too predictable?
    by Alex Hern on August 20, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Two forthcoming games are generating a lot of buzz – but they also suggest the genre is in need of a shakeupIt might be set in space rather than on an Earth ravaged by nuclear war, but there is a strong argument that The Outer Worlds, a forthcoming first-person role-playing game (RPG) by storied developers Obsidian, is spiritually a Fallout game. Not only is it directed by Fallout creators Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, it shares a lot of DNA with Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas – a spin-off with a reputation as the best in the series. New Vegas earned particular praise for its dialogue, and a world-building background that makes it feel like more than a thin justification for firing mini-nukes at super-mutants.New Vegas was Obsidian’s first and last game set in the Fallout universe, but The Outer Worlds places similar importance on freedom of choice in dialogue and gameplay. In this world, where mega corporations are starting to take over alien planets, you can act like a hero, an opportunistic mercenary, or a total idiot. The writing is sharp, snappy and funny, the world exciting and vibrant, and there’s a classic New Vegas interplay between factions of characters, any of whom the player can help or hinder. Continue reading…

  • Twitter and Facebook crack down on accounts linked to Chinese campaign against Hong Kong
    by Kari Paul in San Francisco on August 20, 2019 at 3:03 am

    Company also suspends thousands of accounts as it reports ‘state-backed information operation’Twitter has removed nearly 1,000 accounts and suspended thousands of others tied to a campaign by the Chinese government against protesters in Hong Kong, the company announced on Monday.Twitter disclosed a “significant state-backed information operation” originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) targeting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. It removed 936 accounts and suspended approximately 200,000 accounts its investigation found were illegitimate. Continue reading…

  • 5G battle hots up as EE lodges complaint over Three UK advert
    by Mark Sweney on August 19, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Advertising Standards Authority to investigate whether claims breach codeThe first hostilities have broken out among telecoms rivals over who offers the best 5G to customers, with EE seeking an advertising ban against claims by Three UK that it offers the only “real” next-generation service.BT-owned EE is understood to have lodged a complaint with the advertising watchdog over an ad campaign by Three UK implying that 5G services offered by rivals are inferior. Continue reading…

  • Beats PowerBeats Pro review: Apple’s fitness AirPods rock
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on August 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Bluetooth earbuds have long battery life, rock-solid connectivity and stay firmly planted on your earThe PowerBeats Pro are Apple-owned Beats’ first true wireless Bluetooth earbuds that cut the cable and seek to be the ultimate running and gym earphones.As with Apple’s original AirPods, which looked like a set of the firm’s standard EarPods with the cables cut off, the £220 PowerBeats Pro are basically the firm’s popular PowerBeats 3 neckband Bluetooth earbuds without the cables joining the pair. Continue reading…

  • Domestic abuse meets big tech: Chips with Everything podcast
    by Presented by Jordan Erica Webber and produced by Danielle Stephens on August 19, 2019 at 5:00 am

    This week, Jordan Erica Webber talks to Anna, whose ex-partner surveilled her every move by using ‘stalkerware’ apps. Jordan also talks to MIT Technology Review journalist Charlotte Jee about what tech companies like Apple and Google could be doing to stop the proliferation of these apps Continue reading…

  • Manchester City warned against using facial recognition on fans
    by Maya Wolfe-Robinson on August 18, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Campaigners say scanning faces as alternative to tickets would be intrusiveManchester City have been cautioned against the introduction of facial recognition technology, which a civil rights group says would risk “normalising a mass surveillance tool”.The reigning Premier League champions are considering introducing technology allowing fans to get into the Etihad Stadium more quickly by showing their faces instead of tickets, according to the Sunday Times. Continue reading…

  • Behind the Screen review – inside the social media sweatshops
    by John Naughton on August 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Sarah T Roberts’s vital new study demonstrates how online content moderation is a global industry that operates on the back of human exploitation“All human life is there” used to be the proudest boast of the (mercifully) defunct News of the World. Like everything else in that organ, it wasn’t true: the NoW specialised in randy vicars, chorus girls, Tory spankers, pools winners, C-list celebrities and other minority sports. But there is a medium to which the slogan definitely applies – it’s called the internet.The best metaphor for the net is to think of it as a mirror held up to human nature. All human life really is there. There’s no ideology, fetish, behaviour, obsession, perversion, eccentricity or fad that doesn’t find expression somewhere online. And while much of what we see reflected back to us is uplifting, banal, intriguing, harmless or fascinating, some of it is truly awful, for the simple reason that human nature is not only infinitely diverse but also sometimes unspeakably cruel. Continue reading…

  • AI can read your emotions. Should it?
    by Tim Lewis on August 17, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Advertisers, tech giants and border forces are using face tracking software to monitor our moods – whether we like it or notIt is early July, almost 30C outside, but Mihkel Jäätma is thinking about Christmas. In a co-working space in Soho, the 39-year-old founder and CEO of Realeyes, an “emotion AI” startup which uses eye-tracking and facial expression to analyse mood, scrolls through a list of 20 festive ads from 2018. He settles on The Boy and the Piano, the offering from John Lewis that tells the life story of Elton John backwards, from megastardom to the gift of a piano from his parents as a child, accompanied by his timeless heartstring-puller Your Song. The ad was well received, but Jäätma is clearly unconvinced.He hits play, and the ad starts, but this time two lines – one grey (negative reactions), the other red (positive) – are traced across the action. These follow the second-by-second responses of a 200-person sample audience who watched the ad and allowed Realeyes to record them through the camera of their computer or smartphone. Realeyes then used its AI technology to analyse each individual’s facial expression and body language. The company did this with all of Jäätma’s list of 20 Christmas ads from 2018, watching 4,000 people, before rating each commercial for attention, emotion, sentiment and finally giving it a mark out of 10. Continue reading…

  • Dating sim meets survival horror: the game that exposes pick-up artists
    by Laura Hudson on August 16, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    A dating sim with a difference, artist Angela Washko’s The Game: The Game exposes the manipulative horror of extreme seduction by getting the player to experience it from the woman’s point of viewIt’s Friday night, and it’s been a long day. You’re a young woman walking into a bar, looking for your friends, when a man you don’t know walks up to you, grabs you, and pulls you close. “SPIN,” he says intensely, turning you in a circle. It’s a command, not a request. When you try to pull away, he feigns sadness for a moment, furrowing his brow, and then declares his love for you, a look of pain in his eyes. “Don’t embarrass me,” the man growls, and tries to pull you towards the door, toward a cab, towards his apartment, even as you resist.Welcome to The Game: The Game, where a dating sim is transformed into survival horror by filtering “romance” through the lens of “pick-up artists”, a lucrative but emotionally deformed community where poorly adjusted and manipulative men teach others how to extract sex from women at all costs. In a traditional dating sim, you’d be presented with a variety of romantic interests, and encouraged to choose the one you like the most. In The Game, as in pick-up artistry at large, it’s not about what you want; instead, you’re presented with several men willing to do a wide range of things to get you into bed, each of them based on a real-life leader in the seduction community, and tailored to his specific approach. Continue reading…

  • Sega Genesis at 30: the console that made the modern games industry
    by Keith Stuart on August 16, 2019 at 10:00 am

    In 1989, the machine the rest of the world called the Mega Drive was launched in the US with a new name and a bold new idea: that gaming could be coolThe US launch of the Sega Genesis, on 14 August 1989, probably didn’t seem like a huge deal outside the video game industry. The machine was launched in Japan the year before under a different name – the Mega Drive – and with a couple of decent arcade conversions, Space Harrier II and Super Thunder Blade, but not much in the way of fanfare. Nintendo utterly dominated the games business at that time, with a 95% share of the console sector and most of the biggest Japanese developers locked into exclusive deals to make games for its NES and forthcoming SNES consoles. The Mega Drive did OK in Japan but it was small fry – a cult machine.But David Rosen, who co-founded Sega after serving with the US air force in Japan during the Korean war, was determined to make a real event of the console’s launch in his native country. The first games machine with a 16-bit processor, and boasting beautiful, colourful visuals, excellent sound and enough power to handle accurate arcade conversions, it had all the credentials of a hit. All he had to do was get US gamers to recognise it. So he rebranded it Genesis – a name he thought was cool and symbolised Sega’s rebirth – and then he started building. Continue reading…

  • Honor 20 Pro review: it’s all about the camera
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on August 16, 2019 at 6:00 am

    The best camera in the mid-range market, backed by good performance and long battery lifeThe Honor 20 Pro is the new flagship phone for Huawei’s cheaper offshoot, offering some of what made the Chinese firm the camera master but at £550 it is a little overpriced.The Honor 20 Pro is essentially the same phone as the £400 Honor 20 with a better camera on the back, a slightly larger battery and more storage. It was meant to be released alongside its cheaper sibling, but Donald Trump’s Huawei blockade caused it to be delayed. Continue reading…

  • Metal Wolf Chaos XD review – unreconstructed mad mech trash
    by Keza MacDonald on August 15, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One; FromSoftware/Devolver DigitalIn this slightly upgraded 2004 game, you rampage as a robot President – discharging your bazookas, missile launchers and railguns in the name of freedomIn 2004, when Metal Wolf Chaos was first released on the original Xbox, it didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it out of Japan. Any sane publisher would have taken one look at this mad B-movie robot game, in which the 47th President of the United States (Michael) dons a mech suit and blows up most of the continent to quash an insurrection led by his former vice-president (Richard), and correctly assessed that it was at best a nonsense curiosity.Now, though, its developer FromSoftware is famous thanks to Dark Souls and we have cheap digital downloads, so this mostly dreadful and yet somehow fascinating relic of a long-dead era of video games has made an unexpected reappearance. Given the merest visual upgrade, it is otherwise an unreconstructed mad robot romp from the mid-oos, with appalling voice acting and overblown, poorly translated cutscenes that truly must be seen to be appreciated in all their awfulness. Lines such as “The fight will continue … as long as the America in my heart is still alive!” are so common that after a while I forgot even to cringe at them. Continue reading…

  • What’s the best laptop for a student for under £500?
    by Jack Schofield on August 15, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Ruqayyah needs a laptop costing up to £500 for her teacher training course. What are her best options?I’m due to start my teacher training in September. Which laptop should I buy on a £500 budget? RuqayyahThis question comes up every year. Obviously, the answers change as technology moves on. What doesn’t change much, if at all, is the general advice. You can get most of it from last year’s answer, though a brief summary might be useful. Continue reading…

  • ‘We can’t reach the women who need us’: the LGBT YouTubers suing the tech giant for discrimination
    by Jenny Kleeman on August 14, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    The platform made stars of Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers. But now the duo, along with other gay content creators, say they are losing their voice and their living because of the unfair way an algorithm works‘It happened again today,” Bria Kam tells me, throwing her arms up in frustration. I am speaking to Kam and her wife, Chrissy Chambers, over FaceTime from their home in Vancouver, Washington. They are sitting in their workout gear, on the familiar grey couch where they record the YouTube videos that have turned them into stars. But there are no signature dazzling smiles today.This morning, the couple uploaded a video called Ten Ways to Know You’re in Love (Do You Want a Baby?), a benign collection of comedy sketches (including one in which Chambers falls asleep while Kam is talking, and another in which Chambers is going through her rock collection) followed by an interview with a lesbian couple who had conceived a child with donor sperm. Continue reading…

  • Power Stone: the Dreamcast brawler that foresaw Fortnite and Overwatch
    by Keith Stuart on August 14, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Capcom’s joyful, rule-breaking gameplay laid the groundwork for today’s multiplayer fighting games. Its producer and designer tell us how they did itFrom the very beginning, developers saw the Dreamcast console as a place to experiment. Sega set the tone with innovative outliers such as Shenmue, Jet Set Radio and Seaman, but other game publishers soon caught the wave. There was Acclaim with the odd extreme sports title Trickstyle, developed by the Burnout team; there was Interplay with futuristic shooter MDK2, created by Bioware five years before Mass Effect; and there was Capcom with its joyful, rule-breaking brawler Power Stone.Set in a boisterous, steampunk-infused universe of pirate ships, taverns and temples, Power Stone was a two-player 3D beat-em-up, in which environmental awareness was as important as punching. There were 10 characters to choose from, most drawn from weird Victorian and Edwardian adventure fiction tropes: pilot explorer Edward Falcon; dancer (and ninja) Ayame; tank-like miner Gunrock; Galuda, a Native American bounty hunter. These were super colourful, diverse, problematic, overblown misfits, loaded with backstory – and this was years before Overwatch discovered the value of offering players a roster of funny, interesting weirdos rather than musclebound martial arts assassins. Continue reading…

  • Sony WF-1000XM3 review: updated noise-cancelling earbuds sound great
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on August 14, 2019 at 6:00 am

    True wireless buds are Sony’s best yet, but where is the volume control?Sony’s latest true wireless WF-1000XM3 earbuds offer both noise cancelling and top-end sound quality while undercutting premium rivals on price.The replacement for the WF-1000X, which were some of the first noise cancelling true wireless earbuds available, the new “M3” portion of the model number denotes the company’s third generation of active noise cancelling technology and the QN1e chip, which is rivalled only by Bose. Continue reading…

  • Teen claims to tweet from her smart fridge – but did she really?
    by Kari Paul in San Francisco on August 13, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    A Twitter user’s claim to have tweeted from a kitchen appliance went viral but experts have cast doubtA resourceful teenager appeared to have taken the rise of increasingly powerful smart home devices to its logical conclusion – tweeting from her family’s smart fridge after her mother confiscated her phone. An Ariana Grande fan known only as “Dorothy” tweeted last week to say she was barred by her mother from using her phone but said she managed to find a number of innovative ways to reach her thousands of followers – a handheld Nintendo device, a Wii U gaming console and, finally, her family’s LG Smart Refrigerator. Continue reading…

  • Deepfake danger: what a viral clip of Bill Hader morphing into Tom Cruise tells us
    by Elle Hunt on August 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Are deepfakes a threat to democracy? The creator of a series of viral clips says he is raising awareness of their subversive potentialYou’ve heard of deepfakes – doctored videos fabricating apparently real footage of people – and their potential to disrupt democracy. But this might be the clip that makes you believe it.A YouTube clip of Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader in conversation with David Letterman on his late night show in 2008 has gone viral for showing Hader doing an impression of Tom Cruise – as his face subtly shifts into Cruise’s. Continue reading…

  • ‘They came in with guns’: Fortnite world champion Bugha ‘swatted’ during livestream
    by Guardian sport on August 12, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    16-year-old Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf won $3m in JulyPolice surrounded home on Saturday after hoax callBarely two weeks after winning $3m at the Fortnite World Cup, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf was “swatted” in the middle of a livestreaming session.The 16-year-old was broadcasting to his legion of fans on streaming platform Twitch as he played Fortnite with friends when the incident occurred. Swatting involves a hoax call to the police in the hope of armed officers descending on someone’s home. The practice has led to the death of at least one person in recent years: in 2017 Andrew Finch was shot and killed by armed police responding to a fake hostage report at his home. A Los Angeles man was later sentenced to 20 years in prison for the hoax call. Continue reading…

  • ‘Bug bounty’: Apple to pay hackers more than $1m to find security flaws
    by Alex Hern in Las Vegas on August 12, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Expanded program, announced at Black Hat conference, comes as governments and tech firms compete for informationApple will pay ethical hackers more than $1m if they responsibly disclose dangerous security vulnerabilities to the firm, the company announced at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.The new “bug bounty”, up from a previous maximum of $200,000, could even out-bid what a security researcher could earn if they decided to skip disclosure altogether and sell the bug to a nation state or an “offensive security company”, according to data shared by Maor Shwartz, a vulnerability broker at the same conference. Continue reading…

  • The Warehouse by Rob Hart review – tussles with a tech titan
    by Alexander Larman on August 12, 2019 at 8:00 am

    A satirical tale of a near future dominated by a single power-hungry firm is gripping and cerebralWhen Amazon was founded 25 years ago, its aims seemed benevolent – to be the largest bookshop on Earth, but also one that offered touch-of-a-button convenience to shoppers. How things change. Now, with its remit having long since expanded to include virtually every service and item one could wish for, the once-likable company has become a monolithic conglomerate, shutting down its competition mercilessly.It is surely Amazon that gave Rob Hart the idea for the all-powerful, omniscient company Cloud in his hugely engaging novel, even if one character dismisses it as operating on “a much smaller scale… their interests were too earthbound”. Continue reading…

  • Ikea Symfonisk speaker review: Sonos on the cheap
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on August 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

    At £99, Ikea’s wifi speaker provides a cheaper way to experience Sonos and sounds good tooThere’s a new, cheaper way to buy a Sonos wifi speaker and it’s from Ikea.The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker is the second of two new products born of a partnership between the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea and the American premium multiroom audio specialists Sonos. Continue reading…

  • Has Tinder lost its spark?
    by Emily Reynolds on August 11, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Dating apps are a huge success – but people are looking elsewhere for the perfect matchOn paper, it’s a great time to be on a dating app. In the seven years since Tinder’s entrance on to the dating scene in 2012, it has gone from fringe novelty to romantic ubiquity; within two years of launching, it was seeing 1bn swipes a day. Other apps have similarly impressive stats: in 2018, Bumble’s global brand director revealed it had more than 26 million users and a confirmed 20,000 marriages.It’s a far cry from the considerably less optimistic response Tinder received when it launched. Many hailed it as the end of romance itself. In a now infamous Vanity Fair article, Nancy Jo Sales even went so far as to suggest it would usher in the “dating apocalypse”. Continue reading…

  • The Twittering Machine by Richard Seymour review – our descent into a digital dystopia
    by Peter Conrad on August 11, 2019 at 6:00 am

    A stark polemic argues that social media may have unleashed an age of nihilism from which there is little hope of escapeBack in the blissed-out 1960s, Marshall McLuhan evangelised for the new electronic media by instructing us to “serve these objects, these extensions of ourselves, as gods or minor religions”. It was a prophetic glimpse of a future that has now arrived. People today are the slaves of their fetishised, deified smartphones; the religion is no longer minor, and, like the discredited cults it replaced, it doses the faithful with opium.Technology, as Richard Seymour says, always boasts of possessing superhuman powers, which is why it arouses our wary paranoia. In earlier times, industrial engines seemed like monstrous Molochs that gobbled up workers; nowadays we are unsure whether the magical gadget we hold in our hand is “a benevolent genie or a tormenting demon”. The twittering machine, as Seymour calls it, has no innate morality, but it preys on our weaknesses to monopolise our attention and modify our behaviour. We are left jangled, needy, constantly alert for the chirp that announces some new and unnecessary missive, ever ready to resume our chore of clicking the “like” button, surrendering to the advertisers who gather up the personal data we so guilelessly provide. Continue reading…

  • The five: chimeras created by science
    by Desiree Schneider on August 11, 2019 at 5:59 am

    A chimera is an organism with genetic material from two or more sources. Experiments in the field may save lives but are ethically controversialLast week, researchers led by Spanish scientist Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte announced they had created the first human-monkey chimera embryos in China. The purpose of the experiment is to investigate ways of using animals to grow human organs for transplants. The organs could be genetically matched by taking the recipient’s cells and reprogramming them into stem cells. Continue reading…

  • YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki: ‘Where’s the line of free speech – are you removing voices that should be heard?’
    by Emine Saner on August 10, 2019 at 11:00 am

    As the crisis-hit video site struggles to stem the flow of extreme content, the CEO talks about her role as the internet’s gatekeeperIn YouTube’s fashionable central London “space”, where good-looking young people mill around and help themselves to the well-stocked free kitchen, there is a noticeboard that asks staff and visitors: What could we do better? On one of the sticky notes, someone has written “Nothing!!” It would be reassuring for the executives who run the video site if that were true, although not many would agree that it is. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s CEO, who is in town for a three-week tour of Europe, is one of the most impressive and powerful women in tech – and also one of the most beleaguered.We meet in one of the studios, where YouTubers with more than 10,000 subscribers can make videos, and sit on sofas in a set with a faux brick-wall backdrop, which gives a slightly unnerving sense of fake cosiness. Wojcicki (pronounced “Wo-jisky”) seems friendly but businesslike; chatty, but is careful about what she says. There is a lot to talk about: sexism in tech, the power of social media, being a working parent of five – and especially the crises that have engulfed the company she runs, particularly this year. Continue reading…

  • Amazon Kindle Oasis 2019 review: the most paper-like reader yet
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on August 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Luxury model has colour-changing frontlight that gets warmer as the sun setsAmazon’s most expensive, luxury e-reader, the Kindle Oasis, has taken a leaf out of the modern smartphone’s book for 2019 with a colour adjustable light that gets warmer as the sun sets.It’s a small thing that makes quite a difference to the reading experience, which is just as well as the rest of the £230 Oasis is basically the same as it was two years ago. Continue reading…

  • Chinese cyberhackers ‘blurring line between state power and crime’
    by Josh Taylor on August 8, 2019 at 3:33 am

    Cybersecurity firm FireEye says ‘aggressive’ APT41 group working for Beijing is also hacking video games to make money A group of state-sponsored hackers in China ran activities for personal gain at the same time as undertaking spying operations for the Chinese government in 14 different countries, the cybersecurity firm FireEye has said.In a report released on Thursday, the company said the hacking group APT41 was different to other China-based groups tracked by security firms in that it used non-public malware typically reserved for espionage to make money through attacks on video game companies. Continue reading…

  • Ikea Symfonisk review: table lamp is also a great-sounding Sonos wifi speaker
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on August 7, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Brilliant Sonos sound paired with attractive Ikea lamp makes for a surprisingly great wifi speakerWhat if your simple Ikea lamp was actually a Sonos wifi speaker that could play music from any number of music sources and link up with others around your house? That’s exactly what the Ikea Symfonisk table lamp is.The new musical lamp, priced at £150, is one of a pair of new products in an interesting partnership between the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea and multi-room audio specialists Sonos. Continue reading…

  • It’s time for tighter regulation of how Facebook and Google use our data | Peter Lewis
    by Peter Lewis on August 7, 2019 at 2:18 am

    Big tech’s power has reached a tipping point. Governments must set some ground rulesIn his trademark disingenuous response to the latest wave of massacres, Donald Trump has identified the internet as both the cause and, more insidiously, the solution to the spread of rightwing domestic terrorism.Ignoring his own hate-filled social media feeds and fervent embrace of gun denial-ism, the US president has set his sites on the “dark recesses” of the internet, where hatred foments through “gruesome and grisly” video games that celebrate violence. Continue reading…

  • Quantum supremacy is coming. It won’t change the world
    by Sabine Hossenfelder on August 2, 2019 at 6:00 am

    If quantum computers are to help solve humanity’s problems, they will have to improve drasticallyThe unveiling of the marvel had the media gushing. It was Valentine’s Day 1946, and the New York Times broke the story. The front page spoke of “an amazing machine” and “one of the war’s top secrets”. By crunching numbers at unprecedented speed, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, with its 18,000 vacuum tubes, was poised to “revolutionise modern engineering”. Eniac would usher in a new epoch of industrial design, some said.More than 70 years on, another overblown announcement is near. Several companies, notably Google, IBM and the California-based Rigetti, are racing to build a machine that achieves what is grandly termed “quantum supremacy”. The feat will mark the moment when a quantum computer, for the first time, outperforms the best conventional computers. Google, the frontrunner, could claim the record this year. Continue reading…

  • Pinterest shares soar after tech unicorn sees ‘blowout quarter’
    by Kari Paul in San Francisco on August 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Second-ever quarterly earnings report marks tentative success for social networkPinterest shares soared after its second-ever quarterly earnings report exceeded expectations on Thursday, representing tentative success for another Silicon Valley “unicorn”.Pinterest joined a number of other tech “unicorns” – private companies valued at over $1bn – to list on the US stock markets when it filed to go public in March 2019. Its better-than-projected revenue and user growth caused shares to jump as much as 17% after markets closed for the day. Continue reading…

  • How would you fix the internet if you could? Tell us
    by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco on July 31, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    The internet is full of annoyances designed to make you click here, watch this and keep scrolling for more. How could it be better?Auto-play video ads. Aggressive pop-ups. Invisible ad trackers.The internet of 2019 is full of annoyances and dark patterns, designed to make us click this button, ignore that disclaimer, and just keep scrolling, all under the watchful eye of surveillance tools that the vast majority of us don’t realize are recording our every mouse click. Continue reading…

  • Young, Ivy League and data-driven: why venture capitalists love Pete Buttigieg
    by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco on July 30, 2019 at 5:00 am

    VC support for Mayor Pete seems to top that of other Democratic candidates with strong ties to the industryHe’s young, he’s white, he went to Harvard, and he loves to talk about data.If Pete Buttigieg had a product and a pitch deck, Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists would most likely be lining up to get in on his startup’s seed round. But with the 37-year-old Buttigieg intent on seeking a position in the – gasp – public sector, tech industry VCs instead appear interested in investing in the small-town mayor’s upstart presidential campaign. Continue reading…

  • Los Angeles police: personal data of thousands of officers stolen in breach
    by Kari Paul in San Francisco on July 30, 2019 at 1:08 am

    More than 17,000 applicants also affected in breach of city’s personnel departmentThe personal information of 2,500 Los Angeles police department officers and 17,500 people who had applied to join the force were exposed in a data breach, the department announced on Monday.The department was informed of a potential breach of records held by the city’s personnel department on 25 July, and it notified affected officers over the weekend. Continue reading…

  • Capital One: hacker stole data of over 100m Americans
    by Associated Press on July 30, 2019 at 12:17 am

    FBI has arrested individual who obtained names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates of people in US and CanadaA hacker gained access to personal information from more than 100 million Capitol One credit applications, the bank said on Monday as federal authorities arrested a suspect.The data breach has affected around 100 million people in the US and 6 million in Canada. Continue reading…

  • The price of being a ransomware hero: Chips with Everything podcast
    by Presented by Jordan Erica Webber and produced by Danielle Stephens on July 29, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Jordan Erica Webber chats to Fabian Wosar, a renowned anti-ransomware expert, who has worked on thousands of cases during his career. The victims that Fabian helps love him. The ransomware hackers he thwarts – not so much. He talks about the sacrifices he has made for the job he loves Continue reading…

  • The subtle art of being out of office
    by Jonathan Bouquet on July 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Laden with irrelevant detail, the boastful ‘OOO’ email is the latest vehicle for one-upmanship. Why not keep it simple?So, you’re off on your hols, then? Remembered to leave an out-of-office message on your email? Ah, yes. “John Stephens will be out of the office from 1st August for two weeks. If you need an urgent response to a query, please contact … ”I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing wrong with that – straightforward and informative. But – how can I put this, John? – isn’t it just a little bit prosaic? Don’t you itch to generate a frisson of envy among your colleagues while you’re not hewing at the coalface? Boost your image? What might be called induced OOO envy? If so, you’re going to have to do a damn sight better than the above. Because telling the truth on an OOO is so passé these days. No, what’s required is something altogether more ambitious, more global. Continue reading…

  • Briton who helped stop 2017 WannaCry virus spared jail over malware charges
    by PA Media on July 26, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Marcus Hutchins pleaded guilty to two malware charges25-year-old ‘incredibly thankful’ to be sentenced to time servedThe British computer expert who helped shut down the WannaCry cyberattack on the NHS said he is “incredibly thankful” after being spared jail in the US for creating malware.Marcus Hutchins was hailed as a hero in May 2017 when he found a “kill switch” that slowed the effects of the WannaCry virus affecting more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries. Continue reading…

  • Which is the best tablet for an artist?
    by Jack Schofield on July 25, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Hugh wants to buy his wife a new tablet to replace her old Samsung Galaxy 10.1. What are the options?My wife is an artist. She has been using a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 since 2014. This allows her to draw and paint using a stylus supplied with the pad. She loves using it, but it’s past its best and the battery won’t hold a charge for very long. I am thinking of buying her a replacement. What should I go for? HughIf you’re an artist who uses computers, you’ve never had it so good, as former prime minister Harold Macmillan almost said. Touch-sensitive screens are becoming ubiquitous, so there are dozens of usable devices at a wide range of price points. However, they are not all the same, and people can be confused by the differences. Continue reading…

  • Amazon Echo Show 5 review: smaller, cheaper Alexa display
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on July 24, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Camera shutter, tap gesture, better speakers and 5.5in screen make for an appealing smart alarm clockAmazon’s latest Echo Show 5 Alexa smart display is smaller, cheaper and has improved privacy, but is a £79.99 5.5in screen with a camera ready to replace your alarm clock in the bedroom?The Show 5 isn’t the first Alexa smart display aimed at being your bedside clock. The Echo Spot, with its pleasingly round screen and ball-like shape, was released in 2018 and is still available for £120. Continue reading…

  • US justice department targets big tech firms in antitrust review
    by Kari Paul and agencies on July 23, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Officials to look into whether Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are unlawfully limiting competitionThe US justice department is opening a broad antitrust review into major technology firms, as criticism over the companies’ growing reach and power heats up.The investigation will focus on growing complaints that the companies are unlawfully stifling competition. Continue reading…

  • Lancaster University students’ data stolen in cyber-attack
    by Press Association on July 23, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Records and ID documents accessed and fake invoices sent in ‘malicious’ hackStudent data has been stolen in a “sophisticated and malicious” cyber-attack on a university.Records and ID documents of some Lancaster University students were accessed in the phishing attack and fraudulent invoices were sent to undergraduate applicants, a spokesman for the university said. Continue reading…

  • Guns and lies in America: sign up for email updates
    on July 22, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    Get the latest news on our investigation delivered straight to your email inboxGuns and Lies in America is the Guardian’s year-long series on the dramatic decline of gun violence in the Bay Area – one of America’s most rapidly gentrifying areas, and the people who made it happen.Sign up to our newsletter to hear about our investigation’s latest installment. Continue reading…

  • $32m stolen from Tokyo cryptocurrency exchange in latest hack
    by Shane Hickey on July 12, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Bitpoint suspends services after apparent theft of virtual monies including bitcoinA cryptocurrency exchange in Tokyo has halted services after it lost $32m (£25m) in the latest apparent hack on volatile virtual monies.Remixpoint, which runs the Bitpoint Japan exchange, discovered that about ¥3.5bn in various digital currencies had gone missing from under its management. Continue reading…

  • Bose Frames review: smart audio sunglasses are a blast
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on July 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Music without earbuds looks and sounds surprisingly good, making these smart glasses the antithesis of Google GlassThe Bose Frames are the answer to the question: what if your sunglasses were also a set of smart, hidden headphones with no earbuds or no bone-conduction system, just a set of personal speakers?As a wearer of true wireless earbuds, that’s not a question I ever thought I would ask. But the Bose Frames are delightful and leaving your ears free of buds or headphones has a clear and obvious case. Continue reading…

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