Tech Drama

  • Twitter explains how it handles world leaders amid pressure to rein in Trump
    by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco on October 15, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Blogpost sheds new light on how tweets will be treated but is unlikely to satisfy those calling for Trump’s censorshipTwitter on Tuesday published additional information about how it plans to act if a world leader tweets something that violates its rules. The update follows the announcement in June of a policy whereby the company would choose not to delete tweets by major political figures that violated the company’s rules if the company decided it was in the public interest.Since the election of Donald Trump, Twitter has been in the unenviable position of having the ability to censor the president of the United States on the very platform where he is the most unguarded. It has largely resisted the intense pressure to do so, even when it seemed that Trump’s tweets might have fallen afoul of Twitter’s rules if they had been sent by anyone else. Continue reading…

  • UK vulnerable to malicious meddling in election, warns study
    by Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor on October 15, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Urgent action needed to prevent ‘abuse and deception’ of democratic process, say expertsBritain needs to take concerted action to reduce the risk of malicious actors in the UK and abroad from contaminating the results of a looming general election, according to a new study that warns of the risks of public “abuse and deception”.A group of experts say government, political parties and social media companies all need to take immediate action, at a time when there is rising concern within Whitehall about the integrity of the democratic process. Continue reading…

  • Alexa, do you recall the ID card debate? | Brief letters
    by Letters on October 15, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    ‘Welfare robots’ | Privacy | Rugby | Norfolk Park in Sheffield | Sport and winningEd Pilkington’s reference to a “21st-century Dickensian dystopia” (The worldwide tech revolution digitising welfare systems and punishing the most vulnerable, 15 October) is spot-on. How prescient was Dickens’s depiction of the nightmare Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit. It’s hard to believe that common sense is so completely absent among those tasked with running the country and evolving systems, but sadly it’s all too clear.Dr Brigid PurcellNorwich• The alarming levels of actual and potential incursions into our privacy detailed in your article (Is it time to turn Alexa off for good?, G2, 9 October) prompted me to remember with something akin to nostalgia the days when there was feverish debate on the merits or otherwise of issuing identity cards in the UK.Bill WhiteLeeds Continue reading…

  • Google launches cheaper Pixel 4 to undercut Apple’s iPhone
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on October 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Smartphone comes with radar tech and is joined by revamped Nest Mini, Pixelbook Go and other devicesGoogle has launched its latest iPhone-competitor, the Pixel 4 and 4 XL, with new radar technology, dual-camera and a lower price.Google’s consumer hardware division unveiled a series of new devices in New York, led by the Pixel 4 smartphone and including an updated Nest Mini smart speaker and Nest Wifi system, among other products. Continue reading…

  • Fortnite Chapter 2 is live with new map, weapons and more
    by Keith Stuart on October 15, 2019 at 11:03 am

    It’s back on! Out of the black hole, a whole new world begins, bringing fresh characters, weapons and maybe a redesigned progress systemIt begins. In familiar Fortnite fashion, the first news of the game’s future arrived throughout Monday night, not via official channels, but via the army of celebrity YouTubers and specialist leak accounts spread across social media. Rumours suggested the game may launch at any point in the next few hours.Then we got the cinematic trailer for what will be known as Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 1, showing four new characters arriving at dawn on a brand new island, featuring a beach area and gloop-spewing power plant. At the close of the trailer, the battle bus arrives, filled with familiar superstars from the game’s previous seasons, including our own personal favourite, Cuddle Team Leader. Continue reading…

  • South Korean startups gather momentum
    by Josh Taylor on October 15, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Technological advantages in South Korea have helped make it fertile ground for startupsIn a country where the biggest companies are still king, Seoul’s burgeoning startup sector is finding its feet.Out in the west of the South Korean capital, a nine-storey building dressed in bright colours with a giant red bull outside is home to more than 100 startups. From one-person operations running out of a locker and a laptop on the ground floor, to fully-fledged offices on the upper levels, Seoul’s startup hub has supported 1,282 operations in various stages of growth in the past two years. Continue reading…

  • Without encryption we will lose all privacy. This is our new battleground | Edward Snowden
    by Edward Snowden on October 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

    The US, UK and Australia are taking on Facebook in a bid to undermine the only method that protects our personal information• Edward Snowden is a US surveillance whistleblowerIn every country of the world, the security of computers keeps the lights on, the shelves stocked, the dams closed, and transportation running. For more than half a decade, the vulnerability of our computers and computer networks has been ranked the number one risk in the US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment – that’s higher than terrorism, higher than war. Your bank balance, the local hospital’s equipment, and the 2020 US presidential election, among many, many other things, all depend on computer safety.And yet, in the midst of the greatest computer security crisis in history, the US government, along with the governments of the UK and Australia, is attempting to undermine the only method that currently exists for reliably protecting the world’s information: encryption. Should they succeed in their quest to undermine encryption, our public infrastructure and private lives will be rendered permanently unsafe. Continue reading…

  • Yawning Face: finally, an emoji that embodies life in 2019
    by Guardian Staff on October 14, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Tired? Bored? Supremely unconcerned? Thanks to the latest rollout of digital icons, soon we’ll all be able to express our lack of enthusiasm in tiny circular formName: Yawning Face emoji.Age: Unveiled 224 days ago, as part of Emoji 12.0. Continue reading…

  • Libra: will Facebook’s new currency be stopped in its tracks?
    by Barry Eichengreen on October 14, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and eBay have withdrawn as sponsors – and it may face regulatory problemsPlans for Facebook’s proposed “stablecoin”, Libra, appear to be unravelling with the withdrawal of PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay and Mercado Pago as potential sponsors. This is hardly surprising, given growing awareness of Libra’s potential adverse consequences. If it offers anonymity to its users, Libra will become a platform for tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist finance. If, on the other hand, its privacy protections are lax, Libra will give Facebook access to users’ most intimate financial details.Then there are the dangers Libra poses to economic and financial stability. Although Facebook’s stablecoin will be backed by a portfolio of “low-volatility assets”, anyone who lived through the 2008 global financial crisis will know that low volatility is more a state of mind than an intrinsic attribute of an asset. If the prices of the bonds in the reserve portfolio fall in response to an unexpected rise in interest rates, for example, those bonds may then be inadequate to redeem all the Libra in circulation. At this point, the reserve will be subject to the equivalent of a bank run. And because Libra operates like a currency board, there will be no lender of last resort. Continue reading…

  • Fortnite has reached The End – changing video game storytelling for good
    by Keith Stuart on October 14, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Season 10 of Fortnite climaxed in apocalyptic fashion – sucking gamers into a black hole. Whatever the future brings, it has transformed video-game storytellingOn Sunday evening, more than 6 million people gathered online via streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube to watch the end of the world. Not our world, thankfully, but the world of Fortnite, which was sucked into a black hole, taking the whole game and all player characters with it. If you try to load Fortnite today, you’ll be presented with a blank screen. When developer Epic Games called the finale of Fortnite Season 10 “The End”, it wasn’t kidding.OK, before confused parents start celebrating, let’s be clear: Fortnite will be back, it’s just that Epic has closed out the first chapter of the game, which has amassed 250 million players since the launch of its Battle Royale mode in September 2017. And amid all the hype, hysteria and controversy that has surrounded the gigantically successful title over the past two years, one aspect has been overlooked outside its fanbase: this has been one of the most innovative story experiments of the decade. Continue reading…

  • Computer says no: the people trapped in universal credit’s ‘black hole’
    by Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent on October 14, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Vulnerable claimants already reporting problems, even before further DWP digital transformationDigital dystopia: how algorithms punish the poorWhen the universal credit computer says no, fragile lives can quickly crumble.Lucy Morris, a 32-year-old mother of one in Rochdale, was scraping by on her beauty therapist’s wage topped up with UC when she failed to check a box on the benefit’s online form and lost a £400 payment. It was enough to torpedo her finances and before long the heating was off, vegetables were dropped from meals and the house grew filthy because she could not afford cleaning products. Continue reading…

  • Digital dystopia: how algorithms punish the poor
    by Ed Pilkington in New York on October 14, 2019 at 9:00 am

    In an exclusive global series, the Guardian lays bare the tech revolution transforming the welfare system worldwide – while penalising the most vulnerable All around the world, from small-town Illinois in the US to Rochdale in England, from Perth, Australia, to Dumka in northern India, a revolution is under way in how governments treat the poor.You can’t see it happening, and may have heard nothing about it. It’s being planned by engineers and coders behind closed doors, in secure government locations far from public view. Continue reading…

  • If you avoid phone calls, you’re missing out. Here’s why | Melanie Tait
    by Melanie Tait on October 14, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Culturally, we’re moving away from phone conversations – but they’re often the best part of my dayI’ve taken to switching my phone’s ringer on between 8.30pm and 10.30pm on a week night. It feels like a dangerous act, for someone who used to be part of the “no phone calls allowed” brigade.There are lots of things to panic about with a phone call, chief among them being: what if we run out of things to say, and there’s, God forbid, silence? Continue reading…

  • Tech firms still seeking venture capital in UK despite high-profile flops
    by Josephine Moulds on October 13, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Marriage market for entrepreneurs and investors could be sign of a flourishing sector – or suggest bubble about to burstIn a wood-panelled auditorium in central London, a procession of entrepreneurs are explaining to more than 100 investors how they will change the world. They just need a few million pounds first.One promises to solve hair loss with a gadget in a cap; another will make fabric out of CO2: all come armed with PhDs, slick presentations and rictus grins. Continue reading…

  • ‘Stop the email ping-pong’: nine ways to avoid digital distraction
    by Nir Eyal on October 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Constantly checking your phone? Sidetracked by apps? Use these tips to change bad tech habits to goodYou’ve read his advice, now meet the manChange how you check the time Continue reading…

  • Nir Eyal on how to beat tech addiction: ‘We need a new skill set’
    by Arwa Mahdawi on October 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

    The behavioural scientist has advised tech companies on how to get people hooked – now he’s telling us how to break the habit• Follow Eyal’s guide to avoiding digital distraction I am 10 minutes late for my interview with behavioural scientist Nir Eyal, and run into the Manhattan cafe where we’re meeting, a dishevelled and apologetic mess. Being late is never ideal, but it’s particularly embarrassing because I’m meeting Eyal to discuss his new book, Indistractable: How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life, a guide to staying focused in an age of constant distraction. The hope is that he will teach me, a chronic procrastinator, how to stop wasting my life scrolling through my phone, and finally write that novel. Or, at the very least, be on time for appointments.Dressed in Tech Dad chic – a crisp button-down shirt and jeans – Eyal already has coffee and looks busy when I burst in. He dropped his daughter off at science camp this morning, he explains, which is why he picked this spot; he hopes it wasn’t inconvenient. And I shouldn’t worry about being late: “Maybe you can use it in your article, as your introduction.” Obviously, I will have time to think of a better introduction, but I thank him anyway. Continue reading…

  • Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers
    by Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington on October 11, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Firm’s public calls for climate action contrast with backing for conservative thinktanksThe obscure law that explains why Google backs climate deniersGoogle has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis.Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections. Continue reading…

  • Facebook’s decision to promote Trump’s lies shows how it’s programmed to protect the powerful | Julia Carrie Wong
    by Julia Carrie Wong on October 11, 2019 at 5:00 am

    At a time when companies are forced to pick sides, Zuckerberg’s refusal is a choice in itselfIt can be hard to remember from this side of a successful foreign intervention in a US presidential election, but in April 2016, Mark Zuckerberg was widely praised when he spoke out – however obliquely – against Donald Trump’s then longshot presidential candidacy.“I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward against this idea of a connected world,” the Facebook chief executive said in a speech. “I hear fearful voices talking about building walls … It takes courage to choose hope over fear.” Continue reading…

  • In its insatiable pursuit of power, Silicon Valley is fuelling the climate crisis | Rebecca Solnit
    by Rebecca Solnit on October 10, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Big tech isn’t interested in a better world, just a more profitable one. To beat it, we need to break its stranglehold on usThe climate crimes of big tech are legion. This summer the Amazon burned. Why? In part because of the policies of the new anti-environmental, anti-human-rights president, Jair Bolsonaro. Related: The great break-up of big tech is finally beginning | Matt Stoller Continue reading…

  • Should I fix my six-year-old laptop or replace it?
    by Jack Schofield on October 10, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Pablo asks if it’s worth patching up an old ThinkPad T510 or best to buy a new Windows 10 laptopI have a Lenovo ThinkPad T510 purchased about six years ago. I’m perfectly happy with it, except the keyboard needs replacing and batteries seem to lose their ability to charge within a couple of years. The keyboard and battery could be replaced for less than $100. Other than those factors, is there any reason to replace the machine? If I buy a Windows 10 machine, could I or should I continue to run Windows 7 on it? PabloThere is no universal answer to your first question. The time to sell, repurpose or recycle an old PC depends on a large number of factors. Some are technical, such as the specification, the build quality, and whether it will actually run Windows 10. Some are personal, such as what you use it for, how much money you can spare, and whether your time has any value. Continue reading…

  • PlayStation 5 v Xbox Scarlett: the next console war begins in 2020
    by Keith Stuart on October 9, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Sony’s PS5 will have haptic feedback, while Microsoft’s competing console will have four times the power of Xbox One. Here’s how the two high-end machines compareThe next console war has a start date – or at least a start period. Sony has announced that its next console, PlayStation 5 (PS5), will be launched next autumn/winter, putting it in direct competition with Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox Scarlett, also due in time for the 2020 Christmas holiday period.In a post on the PlayStation site, Sony revealed that PS5 will have a new controller that replaces the current joypad’s rumble feature with more sensitive and contextual haptic feedback. Continue reading…

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max review: salvaged by epic battery life
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on October 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

    A great camera, screen and performance can’t save horrendous ergonomics, but at least it’ll last two days on batteryThe biggest, most expensive new smartphone from Apple is the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and you’ll need a small fortune to buy it.The new 6.5in iPhone 11 Pro Max costs from £1,149 and is in effect its smaller 5.8in iPhone 11 Pro sibling put in a photocopier with a 12% magnification applied. Continue reading…

  • ‘It’s a new golden age’: Radio 3 launches video game music show
    by Keith Stuart on October 9, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Presenter Jessica Curry says she wants to prove it’s not all about soundtracking battle scenes – there are plenty of beautiful, relaxing sounds, tooRadio 3 is launching a new weekly programme dedicated to video game soundtracks. Running from Saturday 26 October, the hour-long show will be presented by composer Jessica Curry, who won a Bafta for her work with UK studio The Chinese Room and created and presented Classic FM’s video game music programme, High Score.“[BBC presenter and journalist] Tom Service and his producer Brian Jackson came to interview me for Radio 3 at Chinese Room a couple of years ago, and we all really hit it off,” said Curry. “Tom’s an avid gamer and there was a definite feeling of excitement about the gaming scene and the music that’s being composed for games. Continue reading…

  • ‘Alexa, are you invading my privacy?’ – the dark side of our voice assistants
    by Dorian Lynskey on October 9, 2019 at 5:00 am

    There are more than 100m Alexa-enabled devices in our homes. But are they fun time-savers or the beginning of an Orwellian nightmareOne day in 2017, Alexa went rogue. When Martin Josephson, who lives in London, came home from work, he heard his Amazon Echo Dot voice assistant spitting out fragmentary commands, seemingly based on his previous interactions with the device. It appeared to be regurgitating requests to book train tickets for journeys he had already taken and to record TV shows that he had already watched. Josephson had not said the wake word – “Alexa” – to activate it and nothing he said would stop it. It was, he says, “Kafkaesque”.This was especially interesting because Josephson (not his real name) was a former Amazon employee. Three years earlier, he had volunteered to sit in a room reciting a string of apparently meaningless phrases into a microphone for an undisclosed purpose. Only when Amazon released the Echo in the US in 2014 did he realise what he had been working on. He bought a Dot, the Echo’s cheaper, smaller model, after it launched in 2016, and found it useful enough until the day it went haywire. When the Dot’s outburst subsided, he unplugged it and deposited it in the bin. “I felt a bit foolish,” he says. “Having worked at Amazon, and having seen how they used people’s data, I knew I couldn’t trust them.” Continue reading…

  • ‘No regrets’: Hong Kong Hearthstone gamer banned over pro-democracy support
    by Agencies on October 8, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai was expelled from Hearthstone eventOrganizers announce one-year suspension and pull prize moneyChinese holding company Tencent owns stake in maker BlizzardA leading professional gamer from Hong Kong who was expelled from an international esports tournament after showing support for the city’s protest movement has said he has no regrets.Chung Ng Wai, who represents the Asia-Pacific region under the name Blitzchung, had just won a crucial match at the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament hosted in Taipei when he exclaimed in Mandarin “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” during a live-streamed interview. Continue reading…

  • What does Peter Dutton’s US trip mean for encryption and privacy? | Paul Karp
    by Paul Karp on October 8, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Australia and the US are negotiating a deal to speed up information sharing about criminal suspectsAustralia and the US have begun negotiating a deal to speed up information sharing about criminal suspects between law enforcement agencies and tech giants such as Google and Facebook.But questions remain about the practical effects of such a deal, given the drive towards encryption of information that keeps data at arm’s length from the tech companies themselves. Continue reading…

  • Amazon launches Kindle e-reader aimed at children
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on October 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    New 6in Kindle Kids Edition comes with 1,000 books, word-building tools and parental controlsAmazon has launched a new version of its popular Kindle e-reader aimed at children, which comes bundled with more than 1,000 age-appropriate books.The new £99 Kindle Kids Edition is a special variant of Amazon’s latest, cheapest frontlit 6in Kindle with software designed to encourage reading through gamification and word building. Continue reading…

  • iPhone 11 Pro review: the best small phone available
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on October 7, 2019 at 6:00 am

    A cracking camera, great screen and 32-hour battery life – but at an eye-watering priceApple’s iPhone has gone “pro” for its 11th iteration, with dramatically improved cameras and longer battery life, which make the smaller iPhone 11 Pro the king of more manageable phones.Costing from £1,049 the iPhone 11 Pro is one of a rare breed: a premium flagship smartphone that doesn’t have a ginormous screen and is therefore small by today’s standards. Continue reading…

  • Untitled Goose Game review – never before have I felt so appalled by my virtual acts
    by Simon Parkin on October 6, 2019 at 7:00 am

    (House House; Panic Inc; Switch, PC, Mac)You’re a lone goose on a mission to torment the unsuspecting residents of an English village in this finely observed game of stealth and slapstickThe goose, a water bird with smooth white feathers, a long neck and compressed orange bill, is not an apex predator. Yet most of us have a memory, perhaps from childhood, probably involving a plastic bag of stale bread, when we were harangued by one of these quarrelsome birds who had seemingly woken up on the wrong side of the pond. We are used to playing as morally complex individuals in video games; even the heroes typically leave a genocidal trail of dead behind them. Never before, however, have I felt so appalled by my virtual acts as in Untitled Goose Game, which casts its player as a lone goose on a singular mission to victimise the residents of an English village via a thousand mundane, misery-making ways.There’s the elderly man playing a game of darts in the pub garden. Nosing your beak from the leaves of a nearby bush, you’ll notice how every now and again he’ll perch on a nearby stool to rest his legs. It would be a shame if someone were to yank the seat away just as he sat down, wouldn’t it? Then there’s the gardener tending his vegetable patch close to an idle sprinkler. What would happen if someone squeaked on the tap just as he was leaning in to get a better look at his carrots? In Untitled Goose Game you must often think like Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton: surveying each new scene for its slapstick potential as you seek to fulfil the handful of back-of-a-postcard objectives set by the game’s authors. Then again, sometimes being a quintessentially horrible goose requires nothing more than honking loudly and flapping one’s wings at a passerby (then grabbing the terrified child’s glasses after they fall to the ground). Honk! Continue reading…

  • Iranian hackers targeted a US presidential campaign, Microsoft says
    by Reuters on October 4, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Group called ‘Phosphorus’ made more than 2,700 attempts to identify consumer email accounts and attacked 241 of thoseA hacking group that appears to be linked to the Iranian government has carried out a campaign against a US presidential campaign, Microsoft Corp said on Friday.Microsoft saw “significant” cyber activity by the group that also targeted current and former US government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran, the company said in a blogpost. Continue reading…

  • Death Stranding: will Hideo Kojima’s mystery project redefine gaming?
    by Dan Dawkins on October 4, 2019 at 11:35 am

    It’s the most eagerly awaited game of the year – and it stars everyone from Guillermo del Toro to the Bionic Woman. We tell the inside story of the dystopian thrillerImagine a world where babies are stored in life-support jars, humans are stalked by oily ghosts, and the American president is played by Lindsay Wagner, the helter-skelter-haired star of 1970s cult TV show The Bionic Woman. This is the dystopian milieu of Death Stranding, which will hit shops soon, just in time for the hectic Christmas period. In this epic video game, by far the most controversial of 2019, players must traverse a future America to reconnect its “chiral network” (a posh internet), while dodging mysterious BTs (beached things). For reasons unknown, the living and dead coexist, with the protagonist able to connect to the “other side” via a “jar baby” in an artificial womb. One recent demo focused on such gimmicks as urinating to create mushrooms.Wagner is not the only star to feature. Acclaimed video game director Hideo Kojima and his team have also created incredible likenesses of The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, who takes on the lead role of delivery man, as well as Mads Mikkelsen and director Guillermo del Toro. Most agreed to perform because they’re fans of Kojima’s work, especially his multimillion-selling Metal Gear Solid series. Wagner took more persuading, though. Continue reading…

  • Collision course: why are cars killing more and more pedestrians?
    by Peter C Baker on October 3, 2019 at 5:00 am

    For drivers, roads are safer than ever – but for people on foot, they are getting deadlier. Car companies and Silicon Valley claim that they have the solution. But is that too good to be true? By Peter C BakerIn 2010, the small community of specialists who pay attention to US road safety statistics picked up the first signs of a troubling trend: more and more pedestrians were being killed on American roads. That year, 4,302 American pedestrians died, an increase of almost 5% from 2009. The tally has increased almost every year since, with particularly sharp spikes in 2015 and 2016. Last year, 41% more US pedestrians were killed than in 2008. During this same period, overall non-pedestrian road fatalities moved in the opposite direction, decreasing by more than 7%. For drivers, roads are as safe as they have ever been; for people on foot, roads keep getting deadlier.Through the 90s and 00s, the pedestrian death count had declined almost every year. No one would have confused the US for a walkers’ paradise – at least part of the reason fewer pedestrians died in this period was that people were driving more and walking less, which meant that there were fewer opportunities to be struck. But at least the death toll was shrinking. The fact that, globally, pedestrian fatalities were much more common in poorer countries made it possible to view pedestrian death as part of an unfortunate, but temporary, stage of development: growing pains on the road to modernity, destined to decrease eventually as a matter of course. The US road death statistics of the last decade have blasted a hole in that theory. (A similar trend has been observed with regards to the country’s cyclists: a recent analysis found that cyclist fatalities decreased through the 80s, 90s and 00s, but since 2010 have increased 25%, with 777 cyclists killed in 2017.) Continue reading…

  • ANU says blaming China for massive data breach is speculative and ‘harmful’
    by Paul Karp on October 2, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Despite an extensive incident report, Australian National University is unable to say who is behind the cyber-attackMedia reports blaming China for a massive data breach at the Australian National University revealed in June 2019 are speculative and “harmful” because the university has been unable to establish the motivation and attribution for the attack, its chief has said.The ANU vice-chancellor, Brian Schmidt, made the comments to Guardian Australia on Wednesday, ahead of the release of an extensive incident report. Continue reading…

  • iPhone 11 review: an iPhone XR with a better camera
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on October 1, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Apple’s lower cost model has latest chips and longer battery life but is identical on outside to predecessorThe iPhone 11 is Apple’s latest lower cost smartphone for 2019 that’s clearly aimed at a broader market, offering most of what its top phones do but for £320 less.Costing from £729, the iPhone 11 is also £20 cheaper than last year’s iPhone XR was on launch – the phone it has now replaced. Continue reading…

  • Uber – a Silicon Valley drama: Chips with Everything podcast
    by Presented by Jordan Erica Webber. Produced by Danielle Stephens and Geoff Jein on September 30, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Jordan Erica Webber chats to New York Times reporter Mike Isaac about Super Pumped, his new book on the rise and fall of Travis Kalanick Continue reading…

  • How the Herald Sun turned on its own after the George Pell scoop | Weekly Beast
    by Amanda Meade on September 27, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Lucie Morris-Marr, Andrew Bolt and a splash turned sour. Plus, the predictable parade of hate for Greta ThunbergLucie Morris-Marr, the first journalist to reveal that Victoria police were investigating George Pell over allegations of child abuse, has detailed in her new book what she endured at the Herald Sun after breaking the story on the tabloid’s front page.In Fallen: the inside story of the secret trial and conviction of Cardinal George Pell, Morris-Marr says elation over her scoop quickly turned sour, and she ended up suffering from severe stress after attacks from Pell and her colleague Andrew Bolt. Continue reading…

  • Amazon launches Alexa smart ring, smart glasses and earbuds
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on September 26, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Echo Frames, Loop and Buds launched along with series of updates to previous productsAmazon wants its Alexa voice assistant to leave the home and be with you everywhere you go, and is turning to wearable technology to achieve this.Unveiled at an event in Seattle on Wednesday, Amazon’s new Echo Frames smart glasses, Echo Loop ring and Echo Buds aim to put Alexa on your face, your hand or in your ears. Continue reading…

  • Best true wireless earbuds 2019: AirPods, Samsung, Jabra, Beats and Anker compared and ranked
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on September 26, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Our updated list of great bluetooth truly wireless earbuds – at the best prices right now It wasn’t long ago that true wireless earbuds, those that don’t need any wires even between the earphones, weren’t very good. Solid connectivity was a challenge, dropouts were infuriatingly common and battery life was woeful.But they all offered that taste of freedom from wires that is like a ratchet – once you’ve experienced tangle-free listening, you’ll never go back. Continue reading…

  • Pink-eyed terminators and limbless chickens: Boris Johnson’s UN speech in quotes
    by Graham Russell on September 25, 2019 at 4:16 am

    PM uses his General Assembly speech on the challenges of technology to paint a dystopian view before returning to political crisis at homeFollow the day’s politics news – liveHours after the UK supreme court delivered perhaps the most humiliating and significant of Boris Johnson’s defeats, the British prime minister delivered his inaugural speech to the UN General Assembly.Johnson’s theme was the opportunities and challenges of technology and he ranged across a variety of subjects, from mattresses that can monitor your nightmares to a diet of “terrifying limbless chickens”. Here is a selection of his quotes: Continue reading…

  • Libratone Track Air+ review: the noise-cancelling AirPods Apple won’t give you
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on September 20, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Great fit and sound, long battery, attractive design and pocketable case make for an excellent set of budsLibratone has given us the better fitting AirPods that Apple wouldn’t, with great sound and noise cancelling.The Danish audio firm’s Track Air+ are a set of true wireless earbuds, priced at £179, that follow the familiar design of earbud with stalk but no cable. Continue reading…

  • I tried the Light Phone for a week – could I survive on just texts and calls?
    by Dominic Rushe on September 20, 2019 at 5:01 am

    If you spend hours a day staring at your phone screen for social media, games and reading, a new no-frills device could help nudge you back to the real worldFor years, I have had a screensaver on my iPhone that says READ A BOOK INSTEAD. It hasn’t worked.I used my phone for an average of 4 hours and 2 minutes a day last week, picking it up 103 times a day. That’s about once every 10 minutes while I am awake. And for what? Pokémon Go (yes, I am addicted), social networking and reading – in that order. And when I’m not on my phone, I am on my laptop. Continue reading…

  • The wearable LEX chair lets you sit where you want – but will it catch on?
    by Stuart Heritage on September 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    A pair of aluminium legs that you strap to your bum could be the solution for people who find there are not enough chairs in the world. As long as they don’t mind looking ridiculousOn Wednesday night, the Tech Insider Twitter account made a simple statement: “This wearable chair could change how we work and travel.” The text was accompanied by a short video advertising the LEX bionic chair, a pair of £200 foldable aluminium legs that you strap to your bum and lean against whenever your legs get a bit tired. In the video, a man uses the LEX while sitting at a desk, waiting for a bus, and taking photos. It really does it all.This wearable chair could change how we work and travel pic.twitter.com/KO8QoUcrut Continue reading…

  • Let’s follow California’s lead and regulate companies like Uber | Veena Dubal
    by Veena Dubal on September 19, 2019 at 10:00 am

    The ‘gig economy’ is terrible for workers. We must tackle the problem head-onThis week, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom – a darling of tech capitalists – signed Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) into law. The bill codifies the “ABC test” to determine the applicability of California employment laws and makes it harder for companies to get away with misclassifying workers as independent contractors. If properly enforced, AB5 will have enormous impacts for vulnerable workers in the trucking, janitorial and construction industries.But across the world, the law has been most hailed as a regulatory check on the so-called “gig economy”. Indeed, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (a federation of 665 trade unions representing 18 million workers in 147 countries) has called on this California bill to be the inspiration for regulations governing gig work internationally. Continue reading…

  • Fairphone 3 review: the most ethical and repairable phone you can buy
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on September 18, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Dutch firm asks £200 above the norm for a smartphone that might help change the industryWhat if you could buy a phone that will last five years, can be easily repaired and is made as ethically as possible? That’s the aim of the latest Fairphone 3 – and on many counts it succeeds.Ethically creating a phone is a lot harder than it may sound, but you have to start somewhere. Amsterdam-based Fairphone turned from an awareness campaign about conflict minerals into a phone company in 2013, and aims to source as many materials as possible in both human and environmentally kind ways. Continue reading…

  • To decarbonize we must decomputerize: why we need a Luddite revolution
    by Ben Tarnoff on September 18, 2019 at 5:30 am

    Big tech claims AI and digitization will bring a better future. But putting computers everywhere is bad for people and the planetOur built environment is becoming one big computer. “Smartness” is coming to saturate our stores, workplaces, homes, cities. As we go about our daily lives, data is made, stored, analyzed and used to make algorithmic inferences about us that in turn structure our experience of the world. Computation encircles us as a layer, dense and interconnected. If our parents and our grandparents lived with computers, we live inside them.A growing chorus of activists, journalists and scholars are calling attention to the dangers of digital enclosure. Employers are using algorithmic tools to surveil and control workers. Cops are using algorithmic tools to surveil and control communities of color. And there is no shortage of dystopian possibilities on the horizon: landlords evicting tenants with “smart locks”, health insurers charging higher premiums because your Fitbit says you don’t exercise enough. Continue reading…

  • Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review: less business, more modern design
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on September 16, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Same Bose magic now sleeker, with better controls, calling and adaptable noise cancellingBose’s new top-of-the range 700 noise-cancelling headphones attempt to be the new gold standard, with a new design, new technology and a shift in focus.Launched to sit atop the long-standing kings of noise-cancelling cans, the £300 QuietComfort 35 II, the new £350 Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 look to shift Bose’s rather staid image toward something more modern and fashionable. Continue reading…

  • Netflix co-founder: ‘Blockbuster laughed at us … Now there’s one left’
    by Sam Levin on September 14, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Marc Randolph launched the streaming service that would revolutionize TV and film, upend Hollywood and draw more than 150 million subscribersIt was a fluke that the Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph changed the history of television. It almost didn’t happen.In 1997, the Santa Cruz businessman was spending his carpool rides to work brainstorming internet startup ideas with a colleague. They discussed personalised surfboards, customised dog food, shampoo by mail. One commute, the chat turned to “videotapes”. Continue reading…

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: bigger and now with a magic wand
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on September 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

    New S-Pen Air gestures, enormous screen, triple camera, longer battery hope to convince Samsung super fans to upgradeThe king of Samsung smartphones has finally arrived, but is the Galaxy Note 10+ and its S-Pen stylus really still the super phone for super fans of the South Korean brand?For a long time the Galaxy Note line was used to push the boundaries of what could be done with a smartphone, siring the big-screen “phablet” category in the process. I’m sad to report that’s no longer the case. The £999 Note 10+ might technically be the biggest screen on a Samsung flagship phone, but it’s really only by a smidgen. Continue reading…

  • Think your iPhone is safe from hackers? That’s what they want you to think…
    by John Naughton on September 8, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Forget Apple’s much-vaunted iOS safeguards – attackers have been quietly breaking and entering for yearsWhenever there’s something that some people value, there will be a marketplace for it. A few years ago, I spent a fascinating hour with a detective exploring the online marketplaces that exist in the so-called “dark web” (shorthand for the parts of the web you can only get to with a Tor browser and some useful addresses). The marketplaces we were interested in were ones in which stolen credit card details and other confidential data are traded.What struck me most was the apparent normality of it all. It’s basically eBay for crooks. There are sellers offering goods (ranges of stolen card details, Facebook, Gmail and other logins etc) and punters interested in purchasing same. Different categories of these stolen goods are more or less expensive. (The most expensive logins, as I remember it, were for PayPal). But the funniest thing of all was that some of the marketplaces operated a “reputation” system, just like eBay’s. Some vendors had 90%-plus ratings for reliability etc. Some purchasers likewise. Others were less highly regarded. So, one reflected, there really is honour among thieves. Continue reading…

  • Jack Dorsey: Twitter CEO’s account briefly hacked
    by Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco on August 31, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Tweets sent from account included racial slurs, profanity and a reference to ‘a bomb at Twitter HQ’ and were quickly deletedThe Twitter account of Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive officer, was hacked and briefly hijacked on Friday.At 12.44pm Pacific time, the account @jack began publishing a series of tweets from the hackers. The rapid stream of tweets included racial slurs, profanity, praise for Adolf Hitler and a reference to “a bomb at Twitter HQ”. The hackers appear to refer to themselves as the “Chuckling Squad”. Continue reading…

  • Google says hackers have put ‘monitoring implants’ in iPhones for years
    by Alex Hern on August 30, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Visiting hacked sites was enough for server to gather users’ images and contactsAn unprecedented iPhone hacking operation, which attacked “thousands of users a week” until it was disrupted in January, has been revealed by researchers at Google’s external security team.The operation, which lasted two and a half years, used a small collection of hacked websites to deliver malware on to the iPhones of visitors. Users were compromised simply by visiting the sites: no interaction was necessary, and some of the methods used by the hackers affected even fully up-to-date phones. Continue reading…

  • Bitcoin worth £900,000 seized from hacker to compensate victims
    by Mattha Busby on August 23, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Judge told Grant West he would face four more years in jail if he refused to complyA judge has ordered the confiscation of bitcoin worth more than £900,000 from a jailed hacker in the first case of its kind for the Metropolitan police.Grant West, 27 – previously described as a “one-man cybercrime wave” – had about £1m-worth of the cryptocurrency seized from a number of accounts after his arrest in September 2017, but the value of bitcoin has since fluctuated radically, complicating attempts to compensate victims. Continue reading…

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