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Month: March 2019

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Saudis hacked Amazon chief Jeff Bezos’s phone, says company’s security adviser



Chief executive allegedly targeted because he owns Washington Post, where Jamal Khashoggi was columnist

The security chief for Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, says the Saudi government had access to Bezos’s phone and gained private information from it.

Gavin de Becker, Bezos’s longtime security consultant, said he had concluded his investigation into the publication in January of leaked text messages between Bezos and Lauren Sánchez, a former television anchor whom the US National Enquirer tabloid newspaper said Bezos was dating.

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Mark Zuckerberg calls for stronger regulation of internet



Facebook founder speaks out amid fears over election advertising and rise of far right

The Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, has set out how he believes the social network and the internet should be regulated.

The firm’s founder and chief executive said there was a need for governments and regulators to have “a more active role”. Zuckerberg said he believed new regulation was needed in four areas – harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

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‘The Leggings problem’: can we just never hear about them again?



The spandex-based controversy has been broiling in the west for years; and it’s not just men policing women’s bodies, women are doing it to themselves

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After two years off-grid, I’m embracing daily letters, good sleep and my DIY hot tub | Mark Boyle



This is what I’ve learned from living without email, electricity, or a phone…

It was almost midnight when I checked my email for the last time and turned off my phone for what I hoped would be for ever. I had spent the summer of 2016 hand-building a straw bale home on a half-wild smallholding in County Galway, Ireland, and the following morning I intended to begin a new life without modern technology. There would be no running water, no clock, no fossil fuels, no electricity or any of the things it powers; no internet, phone, washing machine, lightbulbs or radio. I had no idea if unplugging myself from the industrial world would mean I’d lose all touch with reality, or finally discover it.

I’m reluctant to write much about the big-picture reasons why I decided to reject tech. We know them too well already, and it’s not for want of information that we continue down the road we’re on. But, over time, I found my reasons slowly changed. Now they’ve less to do with saving the world, and much more to do with savouring the world. The world needs savouring.

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Stampede of the unicorns: will a new breed of tech giants burst the bubble?



Lyft, which went public on Friday, will soon be joined by Uber, Airbnb and other companies valued over $1bn – and they may be just the animal to burst a bubble

Five years ago Aileen Lee, founder of Silicon Valley investor Cowboy Ventures, coined the term “unicorn” for a private company valued at more than $1bn. Back then unicorns were almost as rare as their mythical namesakes – just 39 existed, according to Lee. Now there are 334 around the world, worth more than $1tn. And this week some of the very biggest beasts started stampeding towards the public markets.

Related: Lyft share price soars 20% in minutes on taxi app’s stock market debut

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Facebook finally responds to New Zealand on Christchurch attack



After two weeks of criticism, Sheryl Sandberg published a letter saying the company is exploring live stream video restrictions

Two weeks after a terrorist used Facebook to broadcast live video while he massacred 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, the company has broken its silence in the country by publishing a letter from Sheryl Sandberg in the New Zealand Herald.

Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said the company is “exploring” placing restrictions on who can live stream video on Facebook, but did not announce any actual policy changes.

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Google revealed as unlikely go-between to help Trump-Cuba relations



Tech firm has acted as US-Havana intermediary as memo says Cubans trust Google more than Trump administration

Google has worked as an intermediary between the Trump administration and the Cuban government as it has sought a deal to improve internet access on the island, according to private remarks by Google’s manager in Havana.

Related: Apple Arcade v Google Stadia: which is the future for video games?

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Lyft shares soar 20% in minutes on taxi app’s stock market debut



  • Ride-hailing company beats rival Uber in race to go public
  • More than 30m shares to go on sale for estimated $72 each

The ride-hailing company Lyft made its stock market debut on Friday soaring over 20% in the first few minutes of trading as investors snapped up the first in a series of hotly anticipated tech sales.

Lyft is the first of a raft of tech “unicorns” – private companies valued at over $1bn – set to make their initial public offerings this year, the share sale valued Lyft at $30bn, close to 10 times the value of rental giant Avis Budget.

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‘Bias deep inside the code’: the problem with AI ‘ethics’ in Silicon Valley



As algorithms play a growing role in criminal justice, education and more, tech advisory boards and academic programs mirror real-world inequality

When Stanford announced a new artificial intelligence institute, the university said the “designers of AI must be broadly representative of humanity” and unveiled 120 faculty and tech leaders partnering on the initiative.

Some were quick to notice that not a single member of this “representative” group appeared to be black. The backlash was swift, sparking discussion on the severe lack of diversity across the AI field. But the problems surrounding representation extend far beyond exclusion and prejudice in academia.

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