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Updated 2017-03-30 02:31
Chatterbox: Wednesday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Wednesday. Continue reading...
Uber diversity report paints overwhelmingly white, male picture
Company pledged to measure diversity after a wave of scrutiny, but numbers reveal its tech leadership team is entirely white and Asian, and 88.7% menUber released its first diversity report on Tuesday, fulfilling a pledge made last month amid a storm of allegations about workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination.The numbers reveal a workforce that is overwhelmingly made up of white or Asian men. Just 15.4% of the tech staff are women, while blacks and Latinos account for 1% and 2.1% of tech staff, respectively. Continue reading...
Chatterbox: Tuesday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Tuesday. Continue reading...
Uber execs including Travis Kalanick 'went to escort/karaoke bar'
Workplace sexism row continues at taxi-hailing company with HR complaint from female manager
WhatsApp must be accessible to authorities, says Amber Rudd
Critics say home secretary’s demand for access to encrypted messaging to thwart attacks is unrealistic and disproportionateAmber Rudd has called for the police and intelligence agencies to be given access to WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging services to thwart future terror attacks, prompting opposition politicians and civil liberties groups to say her demand was unrealistic and disproportionate.The home secretary said it was “completely unacceptable” that the government could not read messages protected by end-to-end encryption and said she had summoned leaders of technology companies to a meeting on Thursday 30 March to discuss what to do. Continue reading...
Snapchat 'will be bigger than Twitter, Yahoo and AOL with advertisers'
Messaging app forecast to attract revenues of $3bn a year by 2019 by attracting hard-to-reach youth marketSnapchat could become more popular with advertisers than Twitter, Yahoo and AOL within three years, with the messaging app company forecast to bring in revenues of more than $3bn (£2.4bn) a year before the end of 2019.That bullish forecast is based on advertisers targeting the youth audience that the disappearing photo app has seemingly cornered. More than half (51%) of video users on Snapchat are under 24, compared with 23% for Facebook and 17% for Google’s YouTube, according to Ampere Analysis. Continue reading...
Uber suspends fleet of self-driving cars following Arizona crash
Company removes all self-driving cars from road in three states pending further investigation into Volvo SUV collisionUber has suspended its fleet of self-driving cars while it investigates a crash in Arizona involving one of its vehicles.
Fiat Tipo car review: ‘Did I want to sit in it, or did I want to race?’
It harks back to that 80s principle that being a bit uncomfortable might do some family members a bit of goodAh, the Fiat Tipo: they call it a multijet lounge, which gave me distinctly mixed messages. Did it want to jet, or did it want to lounge? Did I want to sit in it, or did I want to race? The cabin is spacious but beset with tiny inconveniences. The gear housing was a bit lax, so when you put it in neutral, it would transpire you’d left it in second. You could never catch it in the act, so you never knew whether it was your fault, and had to fall back on “But this has never happened to me in any other car”, like a bad relationship.The frame design is strange, with big wedges of plastic at the back; if you parked on a curve, the road was effectively all blind spot. There was a lot of red styling going on in the binnacles, which made me feel a little alarmed, as if I was being told something important in a dream. The cabin did not make me feel special: the screen was diddy and hard to read; the bits where you keep things were not where my hand wanted them to be. Continue reading...
Grindr’s ‘gaymoji’ play to stereotypes of promiscuity | Letters
Grindr’s “gaymoji” (Pass notes, G2, 22 March) serve as an unfortunate reminder of the widespread conflation of being gay and being promiscuous – one that causes thousands of gay people, particularly men, across the world to believe that their homosexuality forces them to constantly have sex with strangers. Grindr is free to create all the sexual emojis it wishes, but it is colluding in a societal deception that prevents gay people from forming real relationships; that makes thousands of teenage boys weep with fear and sadness because they believe they have no choice but to follow this form of living that masquerades as “gay culture”. As a 17-year-old gay boy, I hope to join those demonstrating that this is emphatically not the case, and I hope that others of whatever orientation can realise the same.
The 10 most influential smartphone apps
From Maps to Instagram, Uber to Snapchat – the top 10 app developments which have been copied, adopted or simply absorbed into everything else
Millions of UK workers at risk of being replaced by robots, study says
Workers in wholesale and retail sectors at highest risk from breakthroughs in robotics and artificial intelligence, PwC report findsMore than 10 million UK workers are at high risk of being replaced by robots within 15 years as the automation of routine tasks gathers pace in a new machine age.A report by the consultancy firm PwC found that 30% of jobs in Britain were potentially under threat from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI). In some sectors half the jobs could go. Continue reading...
Freeserve, Wanadoo and Orange email addresses are no more. Where next?
EE has told Duncan and other readers it’s closing email addresses that some have been using for almost 20 years. Where should they go now?Many of us have been using Orange/Freeserve/Wanadoo email accounts since they were introduced about 20 years ago. Now BT/EE plans to shut them down at the end of May 2017.Many businesses were built on the back of these addresses, and large investments made using their contact information in brochures, product literature, business cards, letterheads etc. Having started to work out a migration plan, I realise I shall have to invest a substantial amount of time and money to move to a new email address. I also need a new account that allows me to download, archive and work offline with a suitable email client.Dixons launched Freeserve in 1998, and it was subsumed into France Télécom’s Wanadoo in 2000. Then France Télécom bought Orange UK, and changed its branding to Orange SA. In 2010, Orange UK merged with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile UK to become EE (Everything Everywhere). Finally, BT bought EE for £12.5bn, completing the deal in January 2016.
Man jailed until he unlocks encrypted hard drives in child abuse images case
Former Philadelphia police officer Francis Rawls, who has been in jail for 17 months, has refused to obey a court order to unlock the devicesA former Philadelphia police officer who has spent 17 months in jail will remain there indefinitely unless he agrees to unlock two encrypted hard drives. The suspect, Francis Rawls, has so far refused to comply with the court order, citing the fifth amendment, which protects him from self-incrimination.The case has become a battleground for civil liberties campaigners, who believe that citizens should have the right to protect their critical information and to be protected from self-incrimination. However, the suspected nature of the encrypted content makes for a challenging ethical quandary: those hard drives are believed to contain images depicting child sexual abuse. In order to stand up for the rights of citizens across the US, organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) must defend a suspected pedophile. Continue reading...
Chatterbox: Thursday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Thursday! Continue reading...
To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell review – solving the problem of death
A captivating exploration of transhumanism features cryonics, cyborgs, immortality and the hubris of Silicon ValleyMax More runs Alcor, an American company which, in exchange for $200,000, will store your corpse in liquid nitrogen until the science exists to revive you. Tim Cannon is a computer programmer who implanted a device the size of a pack of cards into his arm, without the aid of anaesthetics. Zoltan Istvan recently ran for US president and publicised his campaign by driving across the country in a huge vehicle modified to look like a coffin.These are among the unusual individuals Mark O’Connell interviews in his travelogue-style exploration of transhumanism, the movement that campaigns for the direct incorporation of technology into our bodies and minds, and strives to remove ageing as a cause of death. “What are my chances, would you say, of living to a thousand?” the author asks Aubrey de Grey, an established figure in this strange world: “I would say perhaps a little better than fifty-fifty,” is the serious reply. “It’s very much dependent on the level of funding.” Continue reading...
Mass Effect: Andromeda review - this galaxy has promise
Problems are inevitable in a game of such epic proportions but there is a lot here that will make you want to keep playing
Chatterbox: Wednesday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Wednesday. Continue reading...
'I can’t trust YouTube any more': creators speak out in Google advertising row
Inconsistencies behind the company’s ability to police advertising on controversial content are coming to light
Chatterbox: Tuesday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Tuesday. Continue reading...
YouTube is like the wild west – why won't Google pay to clean it up?
The tech giant has apologised for ads appearing next to extremist videos – but it needs to take action, not just rely on usersThe first rule of making an apology is simple: be clear about what you are apologising for. Matt Brittin, head of Google’s operations in Europe, failed the test. Was Google taking responsibility for allowing the company’s YouTube site to be polluted with extremist videos produced by terror preachers and racists? Or was he merely apologising to advertisers for the fact that some of their messages appeared alongside such offensive material?Brittin blurred the lines during his remarks on Monday but one suspects the advertisers were uppermost in his mind for three reasons. First, a boycott has been growing by the day and Google will be desperate to avoid more corporate defections. Second, most of his points were about tightening the definition of sites deemed suitable for adverts. Third, Brittin refused several times to say whether Google would take the initiative and try to root out altogether offensive content on YouTube. Continue reading...
Chatterbox: Monday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterHello! We run Chatterbox everyday so that readers can come and talk about video games. Continue reading...
LGBT community anger over Youtube restrictions which make their videos invisible
#YouTubeIsOverParty trends on Twitter after users say videos referencing same-sex relationships are being filtered outYouTube has responded to accusations of discrimination from high-profile members of its LGBT community, who have reported their videos being hidden by the platform.#YouTubeIsOverParty was trending on Twitter on Sunday after several users flagged that their videos referencing same-sex relationships or attraction had been filtered out under its restricted mode. Continue reading...
Mercedes GLC 250 d 4Matic AMG car review – ‘The cabin is like aspacecraft’
It wasn’t unusual to emerge from the vehicle to find a small crowd waiting, hoping for Lewis Hamilton’s autographWhen I was a kid, someone told me you should never give a cat an egg, because afterwards egg was all it wanted, and other food all fell into the same grey, “not-egg” category. It’s not exactly that, to drive a Mercedes, but you never come away unscathed: there’s always a new dimension to your character, whether it’s status anxiety, spoiltness or a hitherto undreamed of yen for luxury.The one with the ridiculous name (GLC 250 d 4Matic AMG line, as if made up by a password generator) certainly has flights of fancy from which you will never want to return. They have nailed the parking camera, with a bird’s-eye and a side view. This, for people who hate having to turn their neck, is a huge deal. And it does make for awesomely elegant, single-swoop manoeuvres, so that it wasn’t unusual to emerge from the vehicle to find a small crowd waiting, hoping for Lewis Hamilton’s autograph. The cabin is like a spacecraft: solid, slightly futuristic, full of dinky trims of light in doors and footwells, and with more USBs and cupholders than even the most device-intense, thirstiest family could hope for. The instrument cluster is classy and legible, the pedals have sports styling, brushed aluminium with rubber studs, and there’s a leisurely spaciousness about both front and back rows. Continue reading...
Mass Effect: Andromeda – what's changed in the universe?
Andromeda is the first in the galaxy-chasing series for five years, and brings fans new stories and characters. But will it live up to expectations?Mass Effect: Andromeda is the first new Mass Effect game in five years and the first on the current generation of consoles. Set in the same universe as the original trilogy but in a different galaxy and 600 years later, Andromeda tells a new story with new characters in a new setting. This was BioWare’s opportunity to change the formula, no doubt with substantial anxiety over how fans would react. Here are some of the key ways Andromeda has changed the Mass Effect universe, based on the first few hours of the game.Mild spoilers for the opening two missions lie ahead. Continue reading...
Spotify to restrict some music to paying subscribers only
50m users who currently listen for free will not be able to access the latest releases from some top flight artists
Google's self-driving car avoids hitting woman chasing a bird – video
A video produced by Waymo, Google’s self-driving car operation, shows how one of its cars avoids a woman in a wheelchair entered the middle of the road in front of the car and moving in circles, chasing what appears to be a duck or a turkey Continue reading...
Twitter users volunteer to be Russia's latest weapon in the information wars
People who signed up for Russian Embassy news and information were asked to permit automatic retweets to share positive news
Noise-cancelling headphones: the secret survival tool for modern life
Headphones that block out sound were first invented for airplane pilots on long flights and have for some become a vital part of daily lifeThere’s one thing other than my wallet and my travel card I wouldn’t be without in a big city, and it’s my headphones. But I don’t actually listen to music that much: I just activate the noise-cancelling feature, and leave it at that.No sound plays into my ears – instead a quiet fills my head, as if the sounds of the world have been turned down. Until I got noise-cancelling headphones, I had no idea how loud the city always was, and just how hungry I’d been for silence. Continue reading...
US charges two Russian spies and two hackers in Yahoo data breach
Four indicted in conjunction with the hack of a billion Yahoo accounts, amid intense political controversy over Russian interference in the US electionThe US has announced charges against two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers over a massive Yahoo data breach that affected at least 1 billion user accounts.The indictment, unveiled by the justice department on Wednesday, said that the hack targeted the email accounts of Russian journalists and opposition politicians; former government officials in neighboring countries; and several US government figures, including “cyber security, diplomatic, military and White House personnel”. Continue reading...
Twitter accounts tweet swastikas and pro-Erdoğan support in massive hack
Accounts that use third-party analytics service Twitter Counter compromised to tweet in support of Turkey’s prime ministerThousands of Twitter accounts, including high profile ones belonging to users such as Forbes, Amnesty International, the BBC’s North American service, and tennis star Boris Becker were compromised on Wednesday morning, resulting in them tweeting propaganda related to Turkey’s escalating diplomatic conflict with Germany and the Netherlands.All the compromised accounts were attacked through their use of a popular third-party analytics service, Twitter Counter. Continue reading...
Chatterbox: Wednesday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Wednesday. Continue reading...
Chatterbox: Thursday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Thursday. Continue reading...
How technology gets us hooked – podcast
From a young age, humans love to press buttons that light up and make a noise. The thrill of positive feedback lies at the heart of addiction to gambling, games and social media• Read the text version Continue reading...
Acting Federal Trade Commission head: internet of things should self-regulate
Maureen Ohlhausen, the commission’s sole Republican and its acting chair under Trump, defended using big data to alter pricing from consumer to consumerThe acting head of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under Donald Trump said that the agency is “not primarily a regulator” in a conversation with the Guardian on Monday.Maureen Ohlhausen, the commission’s sole Republican and its acting chair under Trump, said the FTC was primarily a law enforcement agency and called for wait-and-see approach to enforcement during a discussion at a conference of cybersecurity professionals on Monday at the Nasdaq. She also defended the use of big data to offer consumers different prices for the same good and said she wanted manufacturers of internet-connected household devices to decide best practices among themselves. The event was held by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and Nasdaq. Continue reading...
The motorcycle taxis taking on Uganda’s deadly roads – in pictures
In Kampala, motorcycle taxis are notoriously dangerous. SafeBoda aims to change this. The company, which has just launched an Uber-style app to connect drivers with riders, provides helmets and teaches employees to handle dangerous roads and give first aid Continue reading...
No space is safe when even our TVs are spies | Stewart Lee
‘I’m in a Guildford hotel room, afraid, at 5.45pm. There’s a smart television mounted on the wall behind me’I only got a “smart” television set 18 months ago, so I have already avoided years of covert surveillance by the CIA, the FBI, MI5, CI5 and NWA. No one is safe from Samsung’s all-seeing Eye of Sauron. Apparently, a deeply embedded program currently enables the intelligence agencies to note and monitor anyone who is watching ITV’s The Nightly Show, in the belief that they must be a weird loner-misfit, inexplicably fascinated by human suffering, a ticking social time bomb just waiting to explode.I am a late adopter of new technology. If I had played the ape at the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, I would have thrown the bone up in the air, and then Stanley Kubrick would have cut, not to a similarly shaped satellite swooping through the cosmos in the far future, but to me, some years later, still throwing the bone up in the air, and obstinately refusing banana-based inducements to upgrade to a more aerodynamic bone. Continue reading...
Windows 10 users complain about intrusive new OneDrive adverts
Microsoft tries to sell cloud service OneDrive subscriptions with new ad within Windows 10’s File Explorer, to the annoyance of customersUsers are complaining about Microsoft inserting adverts for its OneDrive cloud service directly into Windows 10’s File Explorer.
Silicon Valley shrugs off Julian Assange's help – and questions his motives
WikiLeaks founder pledged to help patch bugs outlined in CIA leaks, but many in the tech world say leaks aren’t that troubling and worry instead about Russia tiesWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s pledge to help Silicon Valley technology companies patch the bugs outlined in leaked CIA files has been met with skepticism from the security community.Assange said he would contact technology companies to privately supply technical details of the hacking techniques and security vulnerabilities that were redacted from the cache of classified documents released to the public. Continue reading...
WikiLeaks says it will help Silicon Valley defend against CIA hacking
Julian Assange makes an offering to the tech community as the CIA and the press question his motivations
Robo Recall review: Oculus Rift finally gets its killer game
Packed with death bots and funny one-liners, this adrenaline-fueled, Oculus Touch-controlled arcade shooter for the age of VR is so much funEver since its Kickstarter campaign, launch and then Touch-based update, the Oculus Rift has been searching for that killer game exclusive, but now it’s found it. Robo Recall is finally an Oculus game that is worth playing.
Laws allowing release of veterans' private data to be scrutinised following Centrelink case
Bill would allow Department of Veterans’ Affairs to disclose personal information to counter ‘misinformation’Proposed laws allowing the government to release veterans’ personal information to publicly correct “misinformation” will undergo an independent privacy assessment.The government’s bill, which passed the lower house with bipartisan support last week, would allow the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to disclose personal information in limited circumstances, including to counter “misinformation in the community” or “mistakes of fact”. Continue reading...
Facebook to face MPs over failure to remove problem images
Scrutiny follows BBC investigation that found site took down only 18 out of 100 posts reported for sexualised pictures of childrenFacebook will be questioned by a powerful group of MPs over its failure to remove sexualised images of children following a BBC investigation that found posts reported under its own guidelines were not being taken down.The BBC investigation revealed that of the 100 images and posts it flagged using Facebook’s tools, just 18 were deemed by moderators to breach Facebook’s guidelines, which explicitly bar sexualised images of children. Continue reading...
Smartphones, PCs and TVs: the everyday devices targeted by the CIA
Documents published by WikiLeaks reveal extent of intelligence agency’s capability for targeting the publicThe trove of information on alleged CIA hacking tools released by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organisation, which reveals that the agency maintains the capability to hack consumer devices, will raise many questions for users and technology companies alike.Everyday consumer devices including smartphones running iOS and Android operating systems, Windows and Mac computers, and even smart TVs made by manufacturers such as Samsung have all been targeted by the CIA. Continue reading...
Chatterbox: Tuesday
The place to talk about games and other things that matterIt’s Tuesday. Continue reading...
Boris Johnson to tell Russia to 'keep nose' out of European elections
British foreign secretary says Moscow must ‘show they can be trusted again’ amid fears it is meddling with democratic processesBoris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, will tell Russia to “keep its nose” out of western democratic processes when he visits Moscow in the coming weeks.
Greyball: how Uber used secret software to dodge the law
Ride-hailing company hit by revelations it used custom-built tool to deceive law enforcement, while latest departure of senior staffer deepens troublesUber’s annus horribilis continued apace Friday, as it was hit with revelations of a secret program to evade law enforcement, the resignation of another top executive and more allegations of workplace discrimination.The New York Times reported that for years Uber used a tool called Greyball to systematically deceive law enforcement officials in cities where its service violated regulations. Officials attempting to hail an Uber during a sting operation were “greyballed” – they might see icons of cars within the app navigating nearby, but no one would come pick them up. The program helped Uber drivers avoid being ticketed. Continue reading...
How US school turned $15,000 into $24m with Snapchat flotation
Parent cut Saint Francis high school in on venture capital deal five years ago after noticing his children using messaging appThe parents of pupils at a Silicon Valley school were sent an unusual letter this week – telling them the school had made at least $24m (£19.6m) in profit from a $15,000 punt on messaging app Snapchat.“I am happy to share some momentous news with you,” Simon Chiu, head of Saint Francis high school, said in the letter. “The school’s investment in Snap has matured and given us a significant boost.” Continue reading...
Most disapprove of mobile phone use while driving, but plenty still do it
New penalties for using a handheld phone behind the wheel come into force in the UK this week. How do we compare with the rest of Europe when it comes to breaking the law?As of this week, people caught using their mobile phones while driving in England, Scotland and Wales will face tougher penalties, including twice as many penalty points and increased fines.Related: Tougher penalties begin for drivers using mobile phones Continue reading...
Tinder bans man for life for sending woman racist message
Dating app publishes open letter condemning user for racially abusing a woman he met on the platformTinder has very publicly banned a man for life after he racially abused an Asian woman.Screenshots of text messages the man sent to a woman he met on the dating app circulated this week, drawing widespread condemnation. They show him lose his temper after the woman stops responding, using a racist term of abuse and saying: “Next time don’t give our your number dumb cunt.”
Click to agree with what? No one reads terms of service, studies confirm
Apparently losing rights to data and legal recourse is not enough of a reason to inspect online contracts. So how can websites get users to read the fine print?The words on the screen, in small type, were as innocent and familiar as a house key. “By clicking Join,” they read, “you agree to abide by our terms of service.” Hundreds of college students tapped the big green “Join” button to become members of NameDrop, a new social network. But according to paragraph 2.3.1 of the terms of service, they’d agreed to give NameDrop their future first-born children.Only a quarter of the 543 students even bothered to look at the fine print. But “look” is not “read”: on average, these more careful joiners spent around a minute with the thousands of words that make up NameDrop’s privacy and service agreements. And then they all agreed to them. Continue reading...
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