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Updated 2018-09-25 01:17
Google's prototype Chinese search engine links searches to phone numbers
The feature on the secret prototype, Dragonfly, would put Chinese citizens at increased risk of government repressionGoogle’s secret prototype search engine for China reportedly links users’ mobile phone numbers to what search terms they’ve used.This feature would allow the Chinese government to simply associate searches with individuals, thereby putting Chinese citizens at increased risk of government repression if they search for topics that their government deems politically sensitive, according to the Intercept. Continue reading...
Amazon investigates claims staff are leaking data for bribes
Employees are offering confidential information to sellers, according to reportAmazon is investigating claims that employees have taken bribes for leaking confidential sales information, particularly in China, as it battles to stamp out fake reviews and other seller scams.Employees are offering internal data, via intermediaries, to independent merchants selling their products on the site to help them increase their sales in return for payments, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sellers, brokers and people familiar with internal investigations. Continue reading...
Yuval Noah Harari: the myth of freedom
Governments and corporations will soon know you better than you know yourself. Belief in the idea of ‘free will’ has become dangerousShould scholars serve the truth, even at the cost of social harmony? Should you expose a fiction even if that fiction sustains the social order? In writing my latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, I had to struggle with this dilemma with regard to liberalism.On the one hand, I believe that the liberal story is flawed, that it does not tell the truth about humanity, and that in order to survive and flourish in the 21st century we need to go beyond it. On the other hand, at present the liberal story is still fundamental to the functioning of the global order. What’s more, liberalism is now attacked by religious and nationalist fanatics who believe in nostalgic fantasies that are far more dangerous and harmful. Continue reading...
Destiny's creators made the game less addictive – and players rebelled
What’s the difference between a game that’s compulsive and one that’s merely fun? After an attempt to cut game time, Destiny 2: Forsaken lets players decideOnline sci-fi shooter Destiny, released in 2014, had a strange effect on some of its players. Unlike World of Warcraft, or most other games that people play every day, it didn’t have hundreds of hours’ worth of different planets to visit, enemies to defeat or characters to get to know. You could play through the entirety of Destiny’s story in 10 hours; beyond that, it offered only a small selection of daily “strike” missions and an arena to challenge other players in shootouts. Yet people played for hours every day. A significant portion of players spent a thousand hours or more with the game over two or three years, as recorded by the ironically titled WastedOnDestiny.com.Aside from the draw of spending time with friends, this compulsive factor stemmed from Destiny’s loot system. Sure, you’d be playing the exact same missions, strikes and raids, in the same places, shooting the same enemies. But every time you did, there was a small chance you’d get lucky and score a covetable weapon or piece of armour. Continue reading...
Apple shows off three new iPhones and smartwatch to detect heart problems
Tech giant unveils new gadgets at California bash, including biggest iPhone yet and Apple Watch with range of health features
Apple launches iPhone XS, XS Max and XR – as it happened
iPhone XS has much-improved camera and bigger battery – and price tag – while Apple Watch Series 4 focuses on heart-rate and health
VidCon Australia, where YouTube celebrities and fans bank on their luck
The Melbourne iteration of the world’s biggest online video conference unites ‘creators’ with their ‘community’ for a flurry of pep talks, panels and star-studded performances“I was such a good salesperson, and now I just sell myself!”
Donut County review – a dastardly raccoon plot to take over a town
iPhone, PC, Mac, PS4; Ben Esposito/Annapurna Interactive
Dyson to expand Wiltshire facility to boost electric-car tests
Tech company invests £200m in Hullavington site to double vehicle-testing capacitySir James Dyson, the billionaire inventor and Brexit backer, has unveiled expansion plans to accommodate more than 2,000 workers at his Wiltshire research facility, more than doubling capacity for electric-vehicle testing.Coming despite severe warnings over lost jobs and investment from no-deal Brexit, his technology company is spending about £200m to expand the testing facility on a former second world war airfield at Hullavington, near Malmesbury in the west of England. Continue reading...
Stalemate for Logan Paul and KSI in hyped YouTube boxing match
Rematch already arranged after fight between vlogging stars declared a draw after six roundsThe boxing match between YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul was set to be, at least according to the hype, “the biggest event in internet history”. But in the end, it may have all been the prequel to another event, as the main fight ended in a draw in front of 20,000 people at the Manchester Arena.
Nokia 8110 4G review: a nostalgia trip too far
The original was made famous by The Matrix, and some might want to drop this reboot out of the nearest window tooThe new Nokia 8110 4G is the latest nostalgia trip from HMD Global, but is it more than just a remake of that “banana phone” from the Matrix?HMD had a hit on its hands with the new Nokia 3310 from last year, which was a surprisingly charming dumbphone that cost slightly more than other basic Nokias because of the name. Continue reading...
Why US elections remain 'dangerously vulnerable' to cyber-attacks
Officials have been slow to update machines and secure data – and the political climate could hurt voter confidenceSixteen months ago, Marilyn Marks was just another political junkie watching a high-profile congressional election on her laptop when she saw something she found abnormal and alarming.The date was 18 April 2017, and the election was in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, where the Democrats were hoping to pull off an upset victory against a crowded Republican field in the wake of Tom Price’s (short-lived) elevation to the Trump cabinet as health and human services secretary. Continue reading...
Why YouTubers are feeling the burn
From fashionistas to popular scientists, YouTube’s top video stars are crumbling under the relentless pressure of producing new content for the siteWhen Lucy Moon sat down with her therapist to discuss why she was feeling so low, she was on top of the world. A burgeoning career as a YouTuber was in mid-bloom: her subscriber count – an important metric on the site, and a sign of a creator’s popularity – was booming, and offers of work and brand tie-ins were rolling in. But all was not well. She wasn’t happy. The workload was rising; the pressure to be perfect in front of the camera was crushing. And the therapist was shocked.“She was like: ‘I cannot believe you think this is normal, to be running this kind of operation for the first time with no career support,’” says Moon, a 23-year-old beauty-and-lifestyle YouTuber with more than 319,000 subscribers. “I meet so many YouTubers who say that.” Continue reading...
Hacked satellite systems could launch microwave-like attacks, expert warns
At Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, researcher says theoretical threat to ships, planes and military is ‘no longer theoretical’The satellite communications that ships, planes and the military use to connect to the internet are vulnerable to hackers that, in the worst-case scenario, could carry out “cyber-physical attacks”, turning satellite antennas into weapons that operate, essentially, like microwave ovens.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defends failure to ban Alex Jones
Jack Dorsey refuses to follow Apple, Facebook and YouTube in banning Jones, saying he will be guided by principles rather than pressureTwitter founder Jack Dorsey has defended his company’s decision to continue publishing the controversial tweets of the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, saying Jones’s content “hasn’t violated our rules”.Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have all banned Jones’ from their platforms, saying he promoted hate speech and violence, but Twitter had allowed Jones to continue posting on the platform. Dorsey said the company was committed to promoting “a healthy conversational environment” – which included Jones.
Fortnite is coming to Android phones – but not through Google Play
Epic Games bypasses the app store to offer its hugely successful online shooting game via its websiteOnline shooting game Fortnite: Battle Royale will be available on Android phones this month, but it will not be available on the Google Play store, the official app store for Android devices. Instead, developer Epic Games will make the game available for download via a dedicated installer on its website, avoiding the 30% revenue share that Google would get to host the title on its Play store.
Have smartphones killed the art of conversation?
So we’ve gone off voice calls yet spend hours glued to our phones. But it’s simply that the rules of conversation have been redrawn in the age of WhatsApp, Snapchat and emojisNews of the un-newsy kind this week, fresh from an Ofcom study designed to confirm a belief in our worst selves: we are a nation addicted to smartphones but are repelled by the idea of making or taking voice calls.Is this the death of conversation? Not quite, but it’s certainly more than a blip in the cultural history of communication: in 2017, for the first time, the number of voice calls – remember, those things you did with your actual voice on your actual phone – fell in the UK. Meanwhile, internet addiction keeps growing, presumably because we haven’t quite worked out what to do with all those hours we’re saving on talking. Continue reading...
Accidents at Amazon: workers left to suffer after warehouse injuries
Guardian investigation reveals numerous cases of Amazon workers being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income after workplace accidentsVickie Shannon Allen, 49, started working at Amazon as a counter in a fulfillment warehouse at Haslet, Texas, in May 2017. At first, like many employees, Allen was excited by the idea of working for one of the fastest growing corporations in the world. That feeling dissipated quickly after a few months.Related: Amazon posts record $2.5bn profit fueled by ad and cloud businesses Continue reading...
Trump calls Washington Post ‘expensive lobbyist', reigniting war with Bezos
President tweeted that the newspaper had ‘gone crazy’ against him and claimed it lobbies on behalf of the Bezos-owned AmazonDonald Trump has renewed his attacks on the world’s richest man and his arch nemesis, Jeff Bezos, railing against the Bezos-owned Washington Post and Amazon, the original source of the entrepreneur’s $150bn fortune.Related: Why does Trump hate Jeff Bezos: is it about power or money? Continue reading...
Tesla shares drop after embarrassing memo leaks
Shares dropped almost 5% after the automaker was reported to have asked US suppliers for refunds, unnerving some investorsTesla took another financial hit on Monday, with shares in the company dropping almost 5% after the electric automaker was reported to have asked some US suppliers to return payments to the money-losing company.The disclosure was contained in a memo sent last week by a global supply manager and obtained by the Wall Street Journal. In it, the manager described the payments as essential to Tesla’s operation. Continue reading...
Facebook's plan to kill dangerous fake news is ambitious – and perhaps impossible
New policy to tackle content that could fuel violence may be well-meaning, but the complexity of the task is mind-bogglingFacebook has been grappling with its role in spreading false news and disinformation for a few years, but a spate of mob violence in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar have spurred the social network into a knee-jerk policy change.Until now, Facebook has dealt with disinformation by making it less prominent in people’s news feeds. This week, the company announced it would start to delete inaccurate or misleading information created or shared “with the purpose of contributing to or exacerbating violence or physical harm”. Continue reading...
Elon Musk calls British diver in Thai cave rescue 'pedo' in baseless attack
Accusation directed on Twitter at Vern Unsworth, who called Tesla CEO’s offer of ‘mini-sub’ to help rescuers a ‘PR stunt’
Defunct Jawbone fitness trackers kept selling after app closure, says Which
When Jawbone liquidated its assets, its wristbands became useless without companion appFitness trackers made by the defunct wearables company Jawbone were still on sale at Amazon, Selfridges and Groupon more than a month after they were rendered useless by the closure of a companion app, according to research by the consumer magazine Which.The Jawbone UP2, first released in 2015, is a wrist-worn fitness tracker. It connects to iOS and Android phones through Bluetooth, and uploads its data to a companion app, also branded UP. But in 2017, after a run of bad financial results, the company liquidated its assets, and earlier this year it disabled the app entirely. Continue reading...
Samsung phones sent photos to random contacts, users say
Firm is investigating reports that default messaging app sent pictures without consentSamsung is investigating reports that its default text messaging app on the Galaxy S8 and S9 smartphones is sending photos to random contacts without permission.
Hoverboards: why they haven't got off to a McFlying start
The gadgets inspired by Back to the Future Part II’s floating skateboards have failed to deliverWe could start by saying “they” didn’t promise us hoverboards. People want hoverboards because they saw one in the disappointing sequel Back to the Future Part II . But that doesn’t mean people haven’t tried to make them. Like other colourful retrofuturist fantasies, hoverboards were a lustmotif that spoke to a whole generation in the way that flying cars and jetpacks did to baby boomers.Problem No 1: how would this thing hover? We have four choices: some type of thrust, a cushion of air, maglev or magic. Continue reading...
Facebook reveals it gave 61 companies access to widely blocked user data
Company tells Congress it provided Nike, Spotify, a dating app and other services with special rights to informationFacebook gave 61 businesses including Nike, Spotify, UPS and dating app Hinge special rights to access user data after blocking such access more broadly.In written responses to the US Congress on its operations, the social network revealed it granted numerous extensions to access a user’s public profile as well as some data from their friends. Continue reading...
How the EU can make the internet play fair with musicians | Letters
This week’s vote on the proposed EU copyright directive is not about censorship but support for creators and usersAfter three years of debate, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to come before the European parliament is going to the vote on Thursday (Brussels vote may force YouTube to pay billions extra in fees, 2 July).It is about copyright, and specifically about the rights of creators versus those of the internet giants, and whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace. If we cave to the pressure of these giants, the future of our creative industry is at serious risk. Continue reading...
Tesla finally hits weekly production target for Model 3 cars
Firm builds 5,000 in a week but critics are sceptical over whether feat can be replicatedTesla has finally hit its weekly target production rate of 5,000 of its “mass-market” Model 3 electric car thanks to a big tent.Related: Tesla factory to be investigated over safety concerns Continue reading...
Hack, spy, swing an election: Orwell game sums up life in a tech dystopia
The terrifying extent of online government surveillance is laid bare in the Orwell game series. How complicit will you be when put in control?In March this year, it was revealed that the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had obtained data collected from tens of thousands of Facebook accounts to build a system that could create individual profiles and sway voters with personalised political advertisements. It proved to be another worrying example of the way online information is used by a system we have no knowledge of; a reminder of people’s complete lack of awareness of how their personal information is used and manipulated by powerful institutions.Orwell, an ongoing video game series, makes obvious what is hidden: that mass surveillance and data harvesting can be used in sinister ways that go further than just advertising profiles, to regulate and govern our behaviour in ways we don’t realise. It asks players to question systems of surveillance while giving an insight into our complicity within these structures. Continue reading...
Lexus RX 450hL preview: ‘A luxury seven-seat SUV for the lucky few’ | Martin Love
For families who like to travel in style, few cars will be closer to the top of your wishlistLexus RX 450hL
Why are all my weather apps different?
Forecasting is more accurate than ever, but mobile apps can still disagree wildly. What causes the difference – and which one is best?It was a tale of two storms. The first consisted of the rain and thunder forecast for Bournemouth by the BBC weather app on the Saturday spring bank holiday. The second came when the first failed to materialise and a tourism manager in the town complained that visitors who stayed away could have come after all and enjoyed sunshine and blue skies.This opportunity to rage at inaccurate forecasting, bash the BBC and highlight the grievances of small businesses did not go to waste. For the Sun, it was a “blunderstorm”. The Mail gave voice to furious social media users whose weekend had been ruined by “crap forecasting” and “total incompetence”. The Spectator even managed to use the row to take pot shots at climate-change predictions. Continue reading...
New Dark Age by James Bridle review – technology and the end of the future
The consequences of the technological revolution may be even more frightening than we thoughtI suspect your enjoyment – or otherwise – of James Bridle’s New Dark Age will depend very much on whether you’re a glass half-empty, or a glass exactly-filled-to-the-halfway-mark-by-microprocessor-controlled-automatic-pumping-systems sort of a person. I like to think that while I may have misgivings about much of what the current technological revolution is visiting on us, I yet manage to resist that dread ascription “luddite”. It’s one Bridle also wishes to avoid; but such is the pessimism about the machines that informs his argument, that his calls for a new “partnership” between them and us seem like special pleading. As futile, in fact, as a weaver believing that by smashing a Jacquard loom he’ll stop the industrial revolution in its tracks.If we’re in ignorance of what our robots are doing, how can we know if we’re being harmed? Continue reading...
A parent’s story: ‘Our son stole from us, courtesy of PayPal’
The payments service raised no alarm bells when a 17-year-old ‘betrayed’ his parents by using his father’s bank cardThis is a cautionary tale that will be of particular interest to the parents of teenagers who, having grown up in a digital age, are over-confident in their use of technology and underestimate the potential dangers of the internet.My son David is 17, and technology has always been part of his life. As a consequence, nothing fazes him about computers or the internet. He spends most of his time on his computer, primarily for gaming (though he has allegedly studied for his final year school exams, too). He is also (if I’m being honest) a bit immature for his years. And he has just demonstrated extraordinary naivety, courtesy of PayPal. Continue reading...
Indian state cuts internet after lynchings over online rumours
Mobs beat three people to death in three separate incidents in state of TripuraAuthorities in north-eastern India have cut internet access after mobs beat three people to death in lynchings sparked by rumours spread on smartphones, officials have said.They were the latest in a string of more than 25 similar killings in recent months across India, according to press reports, which have been carried out iafter false information was spread on the messaging service WhatsApp. Continue reading...
Halo video game franchise to become live-action TV series
Premium cable network Showtime announced the series, which will hope to avoid the fate of previous flawed adaptation attemptsBlockbusting video game Halo is to be adapted into a 10-part live-action series, which will aim to succeed where a doomed film project and a poorly received web series failed.In an announcement, David Nevins, the president and CEO of premium cable network Showtime, creators of the show, said that it would focus on “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant”. Continue reading...
Can video games be addictive? Chips with Everything podcast
In June 2018, the World Health Organization released its latest version of the ICD-11. Among the new mental health disorders? Gaming disorderSubscribe and review: Acast, Apple, Spotify, SoundCloud, AudioBoom, Mixcloud. Join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter or email us at chipspodcast@theguardian.com.The World Health Organization has been working on an update for its diagnostic manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In June 2018 it released its latest version of the ICD-11 for implementation. Continue reading...
Tau review – Gary Oldman is an evil Alexa in another Netflix sci-fi disaster
The recent Oscar winner lends his voice to a moronic thriller about a woman trapped by artificial intelligence, which sits alongside other genre missteps on the streaming platformIt’s a long and noble Hollywood tradition: an actor scores the coveted Academy Award at long last, and then promptly squanders that industry cachet on the most mortifying work of their entire career. Mere days after picking up a statuette for Boyhood, Patricia Arquette was off solving computer-crimes on CSI: Cyber. Eddie Redmayne took home the gold for The Theory of Everything, and celebrated by bellowing his way through an utterly incomprehensible turn in Jupiter Ascending. A decade and a half out from his win for The Pianist, and Adrien Brody is still doing this.Related: Science friction: can Netflix figure out its blockbuster problem? Continue reading...
Lite fantastic: why slimmed-down phone apps are the fast way forward
Over-complicated, storage-filling apps can slow us down. Instragram Lite is the latest brand to shed unwanted features and help us work betterInstagram has become the latest app to get the so-called lite treatment – a stripped-back, cut-down reaction to the increasingly over-complicated, bloat-filled apps we’re being asked to swallow on a daily basis from the big app developers.
Facebook patents system that can use your phone's mic to monitor TV habits
System would allow Facebook to identify what adults and children are watching based on ambient noise
Can my employer read emails in my Gmail account?
Martin works for a large company that uses G Suite where the tech team can accesses employees’ emails. Can he prevent this?I work for a large company and use the Gmail set up for my account. As a senior manager, I have many confidential conversations internally and externally via email.I have found out that one of the tech guys accesses employee’s emails when requested to carry out checks by the CEO. Do they have the right to do this? I think it creates a feeling of mistrust and insecurity. Can I lock my account so only I can access it? MartinHistorically, the assumption has always been that companies own and can access mail used for company business. When I was a manager, I dictated letters to a secretary who typed them and filed copies. I never reached a level where these filing cabinets were locked and inaccessible, but they contained nothing of personal interest. Continue reading...
'I don't like the stress of dying': the game for people who don't want to fight
#SelfCare packs a ‘tend and befriend’ strategy to appeal to players who find combat titles a turn-off. Its designers, Brie Code and Eve Thomas, make the case for staying in bed all dayEve Thomas, an artist and magazine editor from Montreal, would not call herself a gamer. She played video games on a Mac as a child and enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii, but most modern video games don’t appeal. “I don’t like the stress of dying,” she says. “And every single advert for most games presumed me to be a guy. They would presume a certain gaze. They didn’t feel like they were speaking to me.”About three years ago, Thomas got in contact with game programmer Brie Code at Ubisoft, one of the world’s biggest games publishers, hoping to profile her for a magazine. Code had been spending a lot of time thinking about why it was that the video games she loved were failing to appeal to her friends and, increasingly, to her. “I was getting bored with video games,” she says. “I thought it was a problem with me, that I was just growing up and less interested in them. But it wasn’t just me. Everyone at work was pretending they were into all the latest things coming out but later, at the bar, they would admit they barely played games any more.” Continue reading...
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit review –poignant pipe dreams
PS4, Xbox One, PC; Dontnod/Square Enix
Google Home and Chromecast outage hits millions of users worldwide
Users frustrated by length of the outage and lack of updates from Google about glitchGoogle devices and apps have experienced serious outages that lasted for more than 12 hours and affected millions of users.Related: What is Google doing with AI? Chips with Everything podcast Continue reading...
Elon Musk drawn into farting unicorn dispute with potter
Tom Edwards was thrilled to hear the CEO was a fan of his work, until he saw Tesla using a copy without permission
The Guardian view on the defence budget: be realistic | Editorial
The military has suffered from austerity and the world is a dangerous place, but that doesn’t mean the case for higher defence spending needs no interrogationIt is easier to assert that Britain needs a modern military capability than it is to say what that means. The existence of dangers – from terrorism and cyberwarfare to nuclear proliferation and a pattern of Russian provocations – is beyond question. But to identify a threat is not the same as knowing how to handle it and, since the imagination can always conjure a worst-case scenario, the shopping list of desirable hardware can be long and very expensive.But resources are finite; compromise is inevitable. Military chiefs always want bigger budgets, and ministers, keen to show voters that they take no chances with national security, are reluctant to contradict the khaki lobby. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, has gone a step further, noisily demanding cash from the prime minister and the chancellor. Continue reading...
Sonos Beam review: a great, compact, jack-of-all-trades upgrade for your TV
The new, cheaper, more compact Sonos soundbar has full-range, room-filling sound, wifi and smart speaker functionality with built-in AlexaThe Beam is the new, more compact and cheaper soundbar from multi-room audio specialists Sonos, which promises to be a great one-box upgrade for your TV sound, with Alexa and smart speaker functionality built in.
Facebook scraps plans to build drone to deliver internet access
Facebook will not build its own aircraft due to aerospace companies’ competitionFacebook is scrapping its plans to build a high-altitude solar-powered drone that would have delivered internet access to the developing world.The drone, named Aquila by the company, was initially created by British aerospace engineer Andrew Cox, whose company Ascenta was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $20m (£15m). It was folded into Facebook’s Internet.org project, which had a stated goal of “connecting the whole world”, and was intended to be used to fly at a higher altitude than commercial planes, relaying laser-based internet signals down to base-stations on the ground. Continue reading...
Huawei wouldn't give Australian users' data to China, says chairman
John Lord says doing so would be ‘completely illegal’ and the telco would not flout Australian lawsHuawei would refuse to hand over data on Australian users to China because complying with such an order would be “completely illegal”, its Australian chairman has claimed.John Lord made the comment at the National Press Club on Wednesday, an outing in which he struggled to explain the requirements of Chinese law and to account for security assessments that have contributed to a hardening attitude to Huawei taking part in the build of the 5G network in Australia. Continue reading...
Being human: how realistic do we want robots to be?
With Google’s AI assistant able to make phone calls and androids populating households in games and films, the line between machine and man is getting scarily blurred
Uber wins 15-month probationary licence to work in London
Ride-hailing service impresses judge with sweeping changes to its practicesUber will be able to continue operating in London, after a court decided the ride-hailing firm should be awarded a new 15-month probationary licence, after being told of sweeping changes to its practices.The ride-hailing firm’s future in one of its biggest global markets had been in jeopardy after Transport for London ruled last September that it was not “fit and proper” to hold a private hire vehicles operator licence. Continue reading...
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