Tech Drama

  • Facebook blames ‘technical error’ for Xi Jinping offensive name translation gaffe
    by Reuters on January 19, 2020 at 2:30 am

    Problem arises in translation of leader’s name from BurmeseTech giant ‘sincerely apologises for offence this has caused’ Facebook has blamed a technical error for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name appearing as “Mr Shithole” in posts on its platform when translated into English from Burmese, apologising for any offence caused and saying the problem had been fixed. Related: ‘Hong Kong is at a crossroads’: inside prison with the student who took on Beijing Continue reading…

  • Johnson will defy US and allow use of Huawei, says top security adviser
    by Michael Savage on January 18, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    Chinese firm poised to help build UK’s 5G phone network despite warnings about spyingBoris Johnson is likely to approve the use of Huawei technology in the UK’s new 5G network against the pleas of the US government, a former national security adviser has said.Sir Mark Lyall Grant, who was Theresa May’s national security adviser, said that the security services had repeatedly concluded over several years that they were able to mitigate any potential threats posed by the Chinese technology. Continue reading…

  • Hypocrisy is at the heart of Facebook’s refusal to ban false political advertising | John Naughton
    by John Naughton on January 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Executive Andrew Bosworth’s handwringing about the company’s stance should not blind us to the fact that doing nothing is extremely lucrative for itOn 20 December last, Andrew Bosworth, a long-time Facebook executive and buddy of the company’s supreme leader, Mark Zuckerberg, published a longish memo on the company’s internal network. The New York Times somehow obtained a copy and reported it on 7 January, which led Mr Bosworth then to publish it to the world on a Facebook page. In one of those strange coincidences that mark a columnist’s life, I happened to be reading his memo at the same time that I was delving into the vast trove of internal emails released by the Boeing Company in connection with congressional and other inquiries into the 737 Max disaster. Both sources turn out to have one interesting thing in common – the insight they provide into the internal culture of two gigantic, dysfunctional companies.Trump got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser. Period Continue reading…

  • Daniel Susskind: ‘Automation of jobs is one of the greatest questions of our time’
    by Ian Tucker on January 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    The Oxford economist talks about his new book on the challenges of a society with no traditional employmentDaniel Susskind is an economist and fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He has held policy roles in the Blair and Cameron governments. His new book, A World Without Work, explores how society should respond to the increasing automation of employment.This isn’t an unexplored topic, so why did you write this book? My view is that this is one of the greatest questions of our time. And in spite of everything that has been written, I didn’t feel like we had done the question justice. I don’t think we’re taking seriously this idea that there might not be enough well-paid work for everyone to do because of technological advances that are taking place. Continue reading…

  • Elon Musk set to cash in at Tesla as deliveries and shares soar
    by Edward Helmore on January 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    The boss of the electric carmaker has a $50bn pay package ready to roll if the firm hits a $100bn valuationOne of the options on a fully loaded Tesla is “ludicrous mode”, a setting offering a 0-60mph acceleration time of 2.8 seconds for drivers who find its “insane mode” too sedate.To some investors, that’s similar to chief executive Elon Musk’s bonus package: if the electric carmaker’s share price goes above $554.80 – which would value the firm at $100bn, and which it came very close to last week – the mercurial entrepreneur could reap the first $350m instalment of a potential $50bn share-based pay package. Continue reading…

  • $1tn is just the start: why tech giants could double their market valuations
    by Rupert Neate on January 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    As Alphabet becomes the latest firm to achieve a 13-figure market cap, analysts still forecast years of growth aheadAlphabet, the tech giant formerly known as Google, on Thursday night became the fourth company in history to reach a trillion-dollar (£776bn) valuation. In less than 24 hours, some analysts were predicting that the company, founded in a messy Silicon Valley garage 21 years ago, could double in value again to become a $2tn firm “in the near future”.The consensus among Wall Street bankers is nothing can stop the runaway share price rises of Alphabet or the other so-called “Faang” tech companies. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google have seen their combined market value increase by $1.3tn over the past year – that’s the equivalent of adding half the value of all the companies in the FTSE 100, or the entire GDP of Mexico. Continue reading…

  • BT and Vodafone to lobby PM to allow use of Huawei equipment
    by Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor and Mark Sweney on January 17, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    CEOs Philip Jansen and Nick Read say they have seen no evidence that warrants ban BT and Vodafone are set to lobby Boris Johnson to allow Huawei technology to be used in the UK’s 5G phone network.BT’s chief executive, Philip Jansen, and Nick Read, his counterpart at Vodafone, are drafting a letter to the prime minister arguing they have not seen evidence that Huawei equipment poses a security risk that warrants a total ban. Huawei has always denied allegations its kit could be used by the Chinese government to spy on users. Continue reading…

  • EU eyes temporary ban on facial recognition in public places
    by Daniel Boffey in Brussels on January 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Draft white paper suggest prohibition lasting three to five years is being consideredThe EU could temporarily ban the use of facial recognition technology in public places such as train stations, sport stadiums and shopping centres over fears about creeping surveillance of European citizens.A prohibition lasting between three and five years is seen as a way for Brussels to manage the risks said to be posed by the breakneck speed at which the software is being adopted. Continue reading…

  • The case for … cities that aren’t dystopian surveillance states | Cory Doctorow
    by Cory Doctorow on January 17, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Imagine your smartphone knew everything about the city – but the city didn’t know anything about you. Wouldn’t that be truly ‘smart’?Guardian Cities is concluding with ‘The case for …”, a series of opinion pieces exploring options for radical urban change. Read our editor’s farewell here“Smart city” is one of those science fiction phrases seemingly designed to make you uneasy, like “neuromarketing” or “pre-crime”. It’s impossible to be alive in this decade and not find something unsettling in the idea of our cities becoming “smart”.It’s not hard to see why: “smart” has become code for “terrible”. A “smart speaker” is a speaker that eavesdrops on you and leaks all your conversations to distant subcontractors for giant tech companies. “Smart watches” spy on your movements and sell them to data-brokers for ad-targeting. “Smart TVs” watch you as you watch them and sell your viewing habits to brokers. Continue reading…

  • Wattam review – wacky world where, from acorns, golden poos grow
    by Emily Gera on January 17, 2020 at 7:00 am

    PC, PS4 (version tested); Funomena/Epic Games The creator of Katamari Damacy, Keita Takahashi, unleashes a beguiling new game where strange creatures must cooperate to solve puzzles – though life in utopia proves repetitiveOver a decade has passed since developer Keita Takahashi’s first major work in surrealist game design. Katamari Damacy – a glorious fever dream of the PlayStation 2 era which was recently named one of the Guardian’s 50 best video games of the 21st century – helped cement Takahashi as a connoisseur of the delightfully wacky.Now, six games and two console generations later, the game designer has released the latest in his absurdist oeuvre. Wattam is the first project Takahashi has created with Robin Hunicke’s studio Funomena. Like the Katamari series, Wattam features a similarly eccentric universe and cast of characters. But unlike its predecessors, Wattam’s eccentricities fail to help it overcome extremely repetitive gameplay. Continue reading…

  • Israeli spyware firm fails to get hacking case dismissed
    by Oliver Holmes and Stephanie Kirchgaessner on January 16, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Judge orders NSO Group to fight case brought by Saudi activist and pay his legal costsAn Israeli judge has rejected an attempt by the spyware firm NSO Group to dismiss a case brought against it by a prominent Saudi activist who alleged that the company’s cyberweapons were used to hack his phone.The decision could add pressure on the company, which faces multiple accusations that it sold surveillance technology, named Pegasus, to authoritarian regimes and other governments that have allegedly used it to target political activists and journalists. Continue reading…

  • I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?
    by Jack Schofield on January 16, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Support for Windows 7 has ended, leaving Marcy wondering how they can protect themselves I do a lot of work on a Windows 7 desktop PC that is about five years old. I’m a widow and can’t afford to run out and get a new PC at this time, or pay for Windows 10. If I do stay with Windows 7, what should I worry about, and how can I protect myself? I have been running Kaspersky Total Security for several years, which has worked well so far. MarcyMicrosoft Windows 7 – launched in 2009 – came to the end of its supported life on Tuesday. Despite Microsoft’s repeated warnings to Windows 7 users, there may still be a couple of hundred million users, many of them in businesses. What should people do next? Continue reading…

  • Google Nest Mini review: better bass and recycled plastic
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on January 16, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Upgrade keeps what is good and improves sound for Google’s smallest, cheapest smart speakerThe second generation of Google’s smallest smart speaker gets a new name, more eco-friendly, a little smarter and more bass.The £49 Nest Mini replaces the Google Home Mini as part of a revamped and renamed line of Google smart home products under the Nest brand, pushing its predecessor to a clearance price of only £19. Continue reading…

  • Microsoft rolls out Windows 10 security fix after NSA warning
    by Kari Paul and agencies on January 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    US agency revealed flaw that could be exploited by hackers to create malicious software Microsoft is rolling out a security fix to Windows 10 after the US National Security Agency (NSA) warned the popular operating system contained a highly dangerous flaw that could be used by hackers. Reporting the vulnerability represents a departure for the NSA from its past strategy of keeping security flaws under wraps to exploit for its own intelligence needs.The NSA revealed during a press conference on Tuesday that the “serious vulnerability” could be used to create malicious software that appeared to be legitimate. The flaw “makes trust vulnerable”, the NSA director of cybersecurity, Anne Neuberger, said in a briefing call to media on Tuesday. Continue reading…

  • Sonos Move review: brilliant sound now portable
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on January 14, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Wireless smart speaker with 10-hour battery, room-filling sound, wifi and Bluetooth is not your ordinary portable speakerSonos has finally made a portable wifi and Bluetooth speaker that sounds great – but it’s not quite what most will have imagined.For years Sonos has made some of the very best wifi speakers, recently adding optional voice assistants from Google and Amazon. But they have never been truly wireless, needing to be plugged in and on your home wifi network. Continue reading…

  • Google parent company Alphabet expected to reach $1tn value soon
    by Dominic Rushe on January 13, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Alphabet may join Apple, Microsoft and Amazon when it reports latest earnings, another sign of the unstoppable rise of techAnother tech behemoth is poised to join the club of Silicon Valley giants valued at more than $1tn. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reached a value of $993bn on Monday, with analysts expecting it to cross the $1tn mark soon.Alphabet would join a select club of tech companies to pass $1tn in value. Apple became the first tech company to pass the benchmark in August 2018 and has since risen to be valued at $1.37tn. Continue reading…

  • Hatsune Miku review – hologram star fires up crowdsourced power pop
    by Aimee Cliff on January 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    O2 Academy, Brixton, LondonThe virtual Vocaloid singer gives online devotees a non-stop real-world rave and a chance to light their glowsticksOn Saturday night, a singer with a 13-year career played only her second London headline show. Naturally, the venue was packed out with rapt, merchandise-clad fans eager to see her live. But “live”, in this instance, is a loose concept – because Hatsune Miku is a hologram, or virtual idol.Miku’s name comes from a blend of the Japanese words for “first”, “sound” and “future” and the turquoise-haired avatar was created by Japanese software company Crypton, as the face of Yamaha’s Vocaloid software, in 2007. Independently produced freeware can be downloaded by anyone and used to create a song in Miku’s piercingly sweet vocal. In terms of her tracks, she’s the world’s first crowdsourced pop star. Her setlist pulled from the more than 100,000 songs that have been made in Miku’s name, and that have amassed an international fandom that has propelled her to performing on the Late Show with David Letterman, a Lady Gaga tour, and this year, even at Coachella. Continue reading…

  • By air or sea, your untouched mobile can automatically rack up a £1,000-plus bill
    by Anna Tims on January 12, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Even if travellers’ phones are in baggage and not used, they can link to a satellite network on premium ratesGay Haines had stowed her mobile phone in her hand baggage before her flight to Barbados and forgot to set it to flight mode. The mistake cost her dear. On arrival, she discovered that she had racked up charges of £1,095, twice the price of the transatlantic fare. “I had not used it to make or receive calls and when I opened it after landing there was no mention of any charges,” she says.Haines is one of dozens of air and sea passengers who have received shock bills after their phones connected automatically to a satellite roaming network. While EU rules cap roaming fees outside Europe at €50, the legislation does not apply to satellite networks on planes and boats, which charge premium rates for data, wanted or not, unless customers actively switch off data roaming. Continue reading…

  • The five: ransomware attacks
    by Jonathan Chan on January 12, 2020 at 5:45 am

    Software that demands money with menaces has hit the big time. Here are some of its most lucrative formsCyber-attacks that threaten to publish a victim’s data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid have grown internationally since 2012. Continue reading…

  • Why do we gender AI? Voice tech firms move to be more inclusive
    by Kieran Yates on January 11, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Gender-neutral voice assistants and accent recognition among projects in the pipelineTechnology that can understand regional accents and gender-neutral voice assistants are among the developments expected in the voice technology field in 2020.Products such as Alexa and Siri have faced mounting criticism that the technology behind them disproportionately misunderstands women, ethnic minorities and those with accents not represented in datasets that have historically favoured white and Chinese male voices. Continue reading…

  • Putting controls on your kids’ gaming is a key part of being a parent | Keith Stuart
    by Keith Stuart on January 10, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    A new campaign that encourages parents to engage with games is long overdue. It’s time for parents to overcome technophobiaFor three years, I’ve spoken at schools about video games and social media. The small groups of parents who have attended often tell me similar stories: their sons and daughters are “addicted” to Fortnite, to Pokemon, to Minecraft, and they feel powerless about what they can do. When I tell them about parental controls – built-in tools on all games machines that let you limit access to games – many are bewildered or agitated, even though such controls have been a feature of console design for a decade.Video game trade body Ukie has launched a campaign to encourage more parents and carers to use parental controls, teaming up with ex-footballer Rio Ferdinand. The organisation wants to raise awareness that everything from screen time to in-game purchases can be monitored and controlled. Last year, an NSPCC study found that only 19% of parents with children aged five to 15 use family controls on internet-connected devices. Continue reading…

  • CES 2020: instant drink chillers to 10-second toothbrushes – seven standout gadgets
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on January 10, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Also unveiled in Las Vegas: Hyundai’s flying Uber, Segway’s S-Pod and cooking machinesIn pictures: CES 2020: the latest gadgets on show in Las VegasFrom flying taxis to robotic pets, the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show has displayed more concepts and prototypes than ever before. Of all the hundreds of thousands of products on show for tech enthusiasts in Las Vegas, here are some of the highlights from the latest CES extravaganza. Continue reading…

  • How do I find a smartphone with the specifications I really want?
    by Jack Schofield on January 9, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Product search tools help you find a phone, PC or camera if you know the specs you wantMy Samsung S8 has given up the ghost, and the prohibitive cost of repair means I’m in the market for a new mobile phone. I’ve come up with a wishlist of specifications. Are there any phones due in the coming months that offer all of these? I don’t believe anything currently on the market does. DeclanThere are four obvious problems with having a list of specifications for the device you want to buy, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop, digital camera or whatever. The first and biggest problem is that it can easily eliminate most of the products on the market or, in your case, all of them. In fact, it’s a problem I share: nobody offers a laptop that meets my most-desired specification, though a few come close. Continue reading…

  • A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind review – should we be delighted or terrified?
    by Dorian Lynskey on January 9, 2020 at 7:30 am

    It has long been argued that workers will be replaced by machines, but now the threat is real. How will we bring about a revolution in both work and leisure?Oscar Wilde dreamed of a world without work. In The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891) he imagined a society liberated from drudgery by the machine: “while Humanity will be amusing itself, or enjoying cultivated leisure … or making beautiful things, or reading beautiful things, or simply contemplating the world with admiration and delight, machinery will be doing all the necessary and unpleasant work.” This aesthete’s Eden prompted one of his most famous observations: “Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at.”In Wilde’s day the future of work was the first question that every aspiring utopian, from Edward Bellamy to HG Wells, needed to answer. Everything else, from gender relations to crime prevention, flowed from that. But proponents of the more attainable goal of drastically shorter working hours have also included Benjamin Franklin, Bertrand Russell, AT&T president Walter Gifford and John Maynard Keynes. When the great economist coined the phrase “technological unemployment” (“unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour”) in Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren (1931), he focused on the potential benefits a century hence. Continue reading…

  • Amazon Fire TV Cube review: great smart TV box, irritating smart speaker
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on January 9, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Top-end smart TV box can’t quite live up to the promise of the voice-controlled TV commanderThe Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s attempt to combine a smart TV streaming box with an Alexa-powered smart speaker, producing a small black box that doubles as an Echo device.The Cube doesn’t look like anything else. The combination of shiny and matt black plastic makes it stand out at first, but the 86mm-wide and 77mm-tall cube is small enough not to be distracting sitting next to your TV. Continue reading…

  • Transport Fever 2 review – simple pleasures offer copious fuel for fun
    by Rick Lane on January 9, 2020 at 7:00 am

    PC; Urban Games/Good Shepard EntertainmentThere’s much joy to be had building freight networks and watching cities grow … but what about the real-world pitfalls?As Britain returns to a daily commute beset with fare hikes and failing rail companies, there is significant appeal to a game in which you make the trains run on time. In the same way The Sims allows thirtysomething millennials to experience the fantasy of home ownership, so Transport Fever 2 lets you enjoy the thrill of plonking a bullet-train between Brighton and London Victoria.The concept of the transport sim is nothing new. Video games have been offering virtual train sets since Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon, letting players enjoy locomotive logistics without requiring a shed to store all those model networks. But Transport Fever 2 goes way beyond laying railroads. Everything from planes to pontoons can be deployed to carry commuters and cargo to your chosen destinations. Continue reading…

  • Sex, snoring and endless loo paper: the gadget show catering for your every need
    by Guardian Staff on January 8, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    From the Kama Sutra bed that helps you try out new positions to a robot that brings you toilet roll, this year’s consumer electronics exhibition in Las Vegas is full of bizarre inventionsName: Kama Sutra bed.Age: Well the Kama Sutra itself, the Sanskrit text on sexuality, is about 2,400 years old. This bed is more recent. In fact, it is yet to come on to the market. Continue reading…

  • Travelex hack: staff write paper invoices as websites remain down
    by Mark Sweney on January 8, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Currency firm still offline as hackers demand $3m to stop release of customers’ dataTravelex staff have had to write out paper invoices for customers as the foreign currency firm continues to be without computer systems after hackers took control, demanding a $3m ransom.Travelex was forced to take down its global websites on 1 January after criminals attacked on its computer system on New Year’s Eve using Sodinokibi ransomware. Continue reading…

  • ‘Guys ask for more money’: why female-led startups underperform
    by Harriet Swain on January 8, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Male culture and a lack of role models are stopping female academics from launching companies based on their researchThe first time Olivia Champion pitched a business idea based on her academic research was so disheartening she nearly gave up. The 10-strong panel she faced were all men, bar a few women responsible for administration and taking minutes. Their first question was: “Why are you here?”“It took the wind out of my sails immediately,” she says. “I thought, ‘Blimey. This is going badly.’” Continue reading…

  • From Worms to Tomb Raider: classic UK video games celebrated in new stamps
    by Keith Stuart on January 7, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Royal Mail’s set of 12 postage stamps traces Britain’s role at the forefront of the games industry through the 1980s and 90sA new set of postage stamps will celebrate the history of the British video game industry, from groundbreaking space sim Elite to blockbusting action adventure Tomb Raider.Each of the 12 stamps in the collection features an image from a memorable and influential game, tracing the history of the industry from the 1980s. Also featured are classic titles such as Dizzy, Populous, Lemmings and Sensible Soccer. Continue reading…

  • Why Irish data centre boom is complicating climate efforts
    by Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent on January 6, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Surge in processing industry will increase Ireland’s already too high carbon emissionsInside Digital Realty’s Dublin data centre, racks of shiny black servers throb and whirr as unseen fans cool machines that steadily process unending data.It operates 24 hours a day from the business park, sited on a former orchard, and the data joins a digital torrent in an underground fibre ring network that sweeps around the Irish capital and connects to undersea cables – the physical backbones of the digital world. Continue reading…

  • Vampires, gangsters and Keanu Reeves: our games picks for 2020
    by Keith Stuart and Keza MacDonald on January 2, 2020 at 10:00 am

    A remake of a beloved classic, long-awaited sequels, alien shooting and Minecraft adventure lead our preview of this year’s most anticipated releasesWith its painterly, storybook aesthetic and promise of a wide-open hero’s adventure, this mythological Ubisoft adventure will intrigue anyone who’s patiently waiting for a sequel to Zelda: Breath of the Wild. From the developers of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, it sends the player out to face creatures drawn from the gnarliest Greek legends and rescue the gods. Release date: February (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Project Scarlett, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch) Continue reading…

  • Mariah Carey’s Twitter account hacked on New Year’s Eve
    by André Wheeler in San Francisco on January 1, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Racist slurs and bizarre jokes were briefly tweeted to the singer’s 21.4 million followers in an apparent trolling effort Mariah Carey’s Twitter account appeared to have been hacked late Tuesday afternoon, sharing numerous racist slurs and comments with the singer’s 21.4 million followers on the platform.It’s unclear who’s behind the hack, and the pop star did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Continue reading…

  • We’ve spent the decade letting our tech define us. It’s out of control
    by Douglas Rushkoff on December 29, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Technology has grown from some devices and platforms we use to an entire environment in which we functionWe may come to remember this decade as the one when human beings finally realized we are up against something. We’re just not quite sure what it is.More of us have come to understand that our digital technologies are not always bringing out our best natures. People woke up to the fact that our digital platforms are being coded by people who don’t have our best interests at heart. This is the decade when, finally, the “tech backlash” began. Continue reading…

  • Too big to fail? Tech’s decade of scale and impunity
    by Julia Carrie Wong in Oakland on December 26, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Big tech behaves as though power absolves them of responsibility. Have we learned nothing since the financial crash?Towards the end of the last decade, two American social networks – Facebook and MySpace – were locked in a battle to conquer the rest of the world. The two companies took “radically different” approaches to their global expansions, TechCrunch reported at the time. MySpace spent time and money building local infrastructure for each new market – hiring a team on the ground, translating the site and performing outreach to local musicians and artists. Facebook simply enlisted volunteers to crowdsource the site’s translation into new languages, starting with Spanish, then German, French and more. Continue reading…

  • What we learned from over a decade of tech activism | Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya and JS Tan
    by Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya and JS Tan on December 23, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Our database of collective actions challenges the mainstream media narrative. Here are our eight key insightsIn the past year, tech worker mobilization has reached unprecedented levels. Kickstarter employees sought union recognition from their company. Amazon workers led a cross tech-industry walkout to support the global climate strike. Googlers grappled with unionization, fought against increasing corporate hostility, and challenged their company’s unethical partnerships. Even Chinese tech workers have joined in, with the viral 996.icu campaign that demanded more reasonable working hours.We documented all the collective actions in the tech industry in a publicly accessible online database and analyzed the results. What we learned challenges many mainstream media narratives about the tech workers’ movement. Here are our eight most important insights. Continue reading…

  • US Navy bans TikTok from mobile devices saying it’s a cybersecurity threat
    by Reuters on December 21, 2019 at 6:17 am

    Users who don’t remove the Beijing-based app will be blocked from Navy Marine Corp intranetThe United States Navy has banned the social media app TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, saying the popular short video app represented a cybersecurity threat. Related: US ‘investigating TikTok as potential national security risk’ Continue reading…

  • Leaked NHS dossier inquiry focuses on personal Gmail accounts
    by Dan Sabbagh Defence and security editor on December 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Report was used by Labour to claim health service would be ‘on the table’ in US trade talksBritain’s security agencies are investigating whether hackers from a hostile state successfully targeted a personal Gmail account to access an explosive cache of correspondence that was seized on by Labour during the election campaign.The leak inquiry into how the 451-page dossier got into the public domain is focused on the Department for International Trade. Jeremy Corbyn said during the campaign that the documents proved the NHS was “on the table” in future US trade talks. Continue reading…

  • Israeli spyware allegedly used to target Pakistani officials’ phones
    by Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington on December 19, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    NSO Group malware may have been used to access WhatsApp messages for ‘state-on-state’ espionageThe mobile phones of at least two dozen Pakistani government officials were allegedly targeted earlier this year with technology owned by the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, the Guardian has learned.Scores of Pakistani senior defence and intelligence officials were among those who could have been compromised, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Continue reading…

  • India’s internet curbs are part of growing global trend
    by Michael Safi on December 19, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    As internet use has surged, especially in developing world, so have attempts to switch off flow of informationOn Thursday, internet shutdowns came to the capital city of the world’s largest democracy.The suspension of data services, phone calls and texting to curb protests in parts of Delhi was an inauspicious milestone for a tactic that is becoming an increasingly common tool for authoritarian governments – but practised most often by India. Continue reading…

  • 170m passwords stolen in Zynga hack, monitor says
    by Alex Hern on December 19, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Words With Friends company admitted hack in September but size only now revealedMore than 170m usernames and passwords were stolen from the company behind Words With Friends in a hack this year, according to a breach monitoring site.Zynga, a social game developer that made its name with Farmville a decade ago and acquired Words With Friends a year later, admitted to the hack in September, telling users that cyber-attacks were “one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today”. Continue reading…

  • The C64 review – a captivatingly precise replica of the joys of 80s gaming
    by Will Freeman on December 19, 2019 at 11:01 am

    The Commodore 64 thrilled a generation of gamers in the 80s. Now it’s back (again), warts and all First released in 1982 – hot on the heels of its rival, Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum – the Commodore 64 became one of the most popular home computers of the 1980s. It was far from user-friendly by today’s standards – even demanding some code be entered just to load games – but it inspired a generation of future programmers and designers, many of whom went on to be influential game makers. At the peak of its popularity, factories were building 400,000 units a month to meet demand.In 2018, it made a comeback, reborn as a “microconsole” preloaded with games. A charming, half-scale replica, the C64 Mini could be plugged into a modern TV, providing access to 64 games. Unfortunately, it lacked two things so important to the Commodore 64 experience: a working keyboard and a decent joystick. Continue reading…

  • Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, OnePlus, Samsung and Huawei compared and ranked
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on December 17, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Our updated list of the top iOS and Android mobile phones – at the best prices right nowNeed a new smartphone but don’t know which one is the very best? Here’s a guide comparing the current top-end smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and others to help you pick the best handset for you.There has never been a better time to buy a new flagship smartphone with many quality handsets available at a wider range of prices than ever before. Whether your priority is two-day battery life, fantastic camera performance or a spectacular screen, there’s plenty to choose from. Continue reading…

  • Ring Alarm review: Amazon’s smart security upgrade
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on December 12, 2019 at 7:00 am

    DIY wireless home security system is a great alarm that’s smart enough without trying to do too muchAmazon’s new Ring Alarm smartens up the traditional home security system without radically changing how it works, combining the best of both worlds into a DIY-friendly wireless alarm arrangement that just works.It’s been a 16-month wait in the UK since the Ring Alarm line of products launched in the US in July 2018, but it has been worth it. Continue reading…

  • Amazon Fire HD 10 review: still a top budget tablet
    by Samuel Gibbs Consumer technology editor on December 10, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Faster processor, updated software and good screen make Amazon’s 10in hard to beat for £150Amazon’s cheap-but-good-enough media tablet gets a much-needed speed boost and updated software for 2019, doing just enough to make the Fire HD 10 still the budget tablet to buy for bigger-screen video watching.Now in their ninth-generation, Amazon’s Fire tablets follow a tried and trusted formula: undercut the competition on price with a good enough screen, good enough performance and Amazon’s version of Android, Fire OS, wrapped in a robust plastic body. Continue reading…

  • Apple says it cares about the climate. So why does it cost the earth to repair my Macbook? | Arwa Mahdawi
    by Arwa Mahdawi on December 4, 2019 at 7:00 am

    The company’s CEO waxes lyrical about the urgent threat to our environment, but it makes fixing its products prohibitively expensiveMy beloved MacBook Air was only two years old when it died. It had seemed perfectly healthy the night before, but when I tried to turn it on in the morning there was no response.Panicked, I rushed to the nearest Apple store. A “Genius” told me gently to give up hope: there had been an electrical failure; it was a goner. Apple could repair it, the Genius said, but it would cost at least $600 (£460) and take weeks; in the end, it would be cheaper just to buy a new one. So, with a lot of grumbling, that is what I did. Continue reading…

  • Tech giants watch our every move online. Does that violate our human rights?
    by Julia Carrie Wong on November 23, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Facebook claims its data collection is inherent to the way the internet works. The internet didn’t have to be this wayIt’s a quintessential experience of the digital age: you’re scrolling through Facebook, or reading an article online, and suddenly get served with an advertisement so narrowly targeted to a passing interest, secret desire, or undisclosed medical condition that you find yourself looking over your shoulder, shuddering, and asking yourself: “How did they know?”While most of us have learned to shrug off our unease at these creepy encounters, a new report by Amnesty International made the bold case this week that we need to stop accepting the status quo and start seeing it for what it really is: a violation of our human rights “on an unprecedented scale” perpetrated by two American companies, Facebook and Google. Continue reading…

  • I gave up everything I enjoy: my day of dopamine fasting, the latest Silicon Valley craze | Brigid Delaney
    by Brigid Delaney on November 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    I find myself with nothing to look forward to EVERWe are saturated with stimulation and easy pleasure. Anything from food to homewares to porn to entertainment we can get immediately via our phones. But is the easy life messing with our brain chemicals? Are we releasing too much dopamine?The latest Silicon Valley trend is dopamine fasting – having a break from anything pleasurable in order to “reset” your brain chemistry. Continue reading…

  • These new rules were meant to protect our privacy. They don’t work | Stephanie Hare
    by Stephanie Hare on November 10, 2019 at 8:30 am

    The data protection laws introduced last year are failing us – and our childrenWho owns your data? This is one of the toughest questions facing governments, companies and regulators today and no one has answered it to anyone’s satisfaction. Not what we were promised last year, when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as the GDPR, came into effect.The GDPR was billed as the gold standard of data protection, offering the strongest data rights in the world. It has forced companies everywhere to modify their operating models, often at great cost. It inspired the state of California to pass a similar law and where California leads, the rest of the US often follows; there have been calls for a federal version of the GDPR. Continue reading…

  • Google snaps up Fitbit for $2.1bn
    by Kalyeena Makortoff on November 1, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Takeover allows web giant to take on Apple in fast-growing smartwatch and wearables businessGoogle has snapped up the Fitbit activity 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. Continue reading…

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