Technology

Why it matters: From the Valley to D.C., Big Tech players like Facebook, Google and Amazon are under more scrutiny than ever as new technology develops and privacy and antitrust concerns grow in lockstep with companies’ ambitions.

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32 mins ago - Technology

Apple expands partnership with HBCUs

Photo: Apple

Apple is announcing today an expansion of its work with historically Black colleges, with 10 new schools serving as learn-to-code hubs for students, teachers and the broader community.

Why it matters: The move is part of a broader $100 million racial equity and justice initiative that Apple announced earlier this year.

1 hour ago - World

The U.S.-China trade war quietly escalates

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Alex Wong/Getty Images and Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Lost amid headlines about the coronavirus pandemic and the seemingly unstoppable stock market rally, has been the monthslong escalation of tensions in the U.S.-China trade war —  and it's likely here to stay.

Why it matters: The tariffs continue to impress a sizable tax on U.S. companies and consumers, adding additional costs and red tape for small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and households trying to stay afloat amid the pandemic.

Facebook to label posts about voting from presidential candidates

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook announced Thursday that it will add labels to all posts from presidential candidates and federally-elected officials that mention voting or ballots, regardless of whether they contain misinformation.

Why it matters: It's the tech giant's response to scrutiny that it doesn't do enough to tackle voter suppression on its platform. Earlier this year, Facebook — unlike Twitter — did not take action against posts from President Trump that included false information about mail-in voting.

Michelle Obama's podcast will debut on Spotify on July 29

Photo: Spotify

Spotify announced Thursday that "The Michelle Obama Podcast," the first podcast as part of its partnership with the Obamas' production company Higher Ground, will debut on July 29 for both free and paid subscribers.

Why it matters: It's the latest big media project from the former first lady. Her stated goal, alongside former President Obama, is to use media platforms like podcasts, film and social media to help Americans achieve a greater understanding of the world and to inspire young people.

4 hours ago - Technology

Twitter's big hack bares broad dangers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Twitter's major security incident Wednesday — in which hackers took over the accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and other notable figures to push a cryptocurrency scam — stunned the worlds of politics and tech.

Why it matters: As bad as Wednesday's rampage was — and it was bad — the real fallout came as business leaders, politicians and everyday users realized that their chosen network for real-time information is even more vulnerable to being hijacked than they thought.

5 hours ago - Technology

EU court strikes down landmark transatlantic data privacy pact

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Europe's highest court blew up the agreement that allows most data transfers between the EU and the U.S. Thursday, creating uncertainty for the tech firms that rely on the pact and likely sending officials scrambling to come up with a replacement.

Why it matters: Major global tech companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft send troves of user data across the Atlantic daily. This decision severely complicates the future of that and sends the message that Europe doesn't accept how its citizens' data is handled stateside.

Updated 13 hours ago - Technology

Bitcoin scam hacks Twitter accounts of Obama, Biden, Bill Gates and others

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A number of prominent Twitter accounts, including those of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, appear to have been compromised Wednesday, posting messages tied to a cryptocurrency scam.

The latest: Twitter temporarily disabled all verified accounts from tweeting for several accounts. At about 8:45 pm ET, Twitter said in a statement: "Most accounts should be able to Tweet again. As we continue working on a fix, this functionality may come and go. We're working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible."

16 hours ago - Technology

The automated unemployment line

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) has helped Rhode Island survive an unprecedented torrent of unemployment claims.

Why it matters: While tech companies were well-positioned to pivot to digital-first business in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, state governments faced paralysis. With the pandemic continuing and lockdowns potentially returning, states will need to innovate to keep their systems running.

16 hours ago - Science

The dire lessons of the first nuclear bomb test

The mushroom cloud of the Trinity atomic bomb test, 10 seconds after detonation. Photo: © Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The Trinity nuclear test 75 years ago represented our first reckoning with a technology that could potentially destroy us.

Why it matters: Nuclear weapons are still with us, even as we grapple with potentially dangerous and unpredictable new technologies like gene editing and artificial intelligence. How we handle the challenges they present will help decide what kind of future we have — and whether we have a future at all.

21 hours ago - Technology

Apple adds audio to Apple News, along with in-house daily podcast

Photo: Apple

Apple is adding new audio features to both its free Apple News and subscription Apple News+ services, including a short daily podcast, produced and narrated by its own editorial staff.

Why it matters: Apple is doubling down on its commitment to human and editorial curation of news content, something its rival tech partners have mostly been slower to do.

21 hours ago - Health

Austin mayor: Having to cancel SXSW festival was "horrible"

Photo: Axios screenshot

Canceling the South by Southwest festival was "horrible," but necessary, as the coronavirus began to spread through the United States, Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

The big picture: The popular film, music and technology event attracts more than 400,000 attendees annually to the city's downtown. It was scheduled to take place March 13–22 before it was moved to an online format. The cancellation cost Austin $350 million in revenue, Adler said.

22 hours ago - Technology

Apple scores win in tax battle with EU

Photo illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apple won a major court case against the European Union Wednesday, shielding the tech giant from having to pay €13 billion ($14.8 billion) in back taxes to Ireland.

Why it matters: This is a major blow to European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who wants U.S.-based companies to pay what she sees as their fair share of taxes in Europe. Vestager has also tried to reel in American tech companies in matters of competition and privacy.

24 hours ago - Technology

Google to invest $4.5 billion in India's Jio

Photo: Indranil Aditya/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investing $4.5 billion in India's Jio Platforms, with plans to team up on an entry-level smartphone, the tech giant announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Jio has become tech's favorite bet on India as perhaps the world's greatest digital growth market. Google is following the likes of Intel, Qualcomm and Facebook in investing in Jio, which houses India's largest wireless carrier and a range of other tech and telecom assets.

24 hours ago - Technology

Mozilla to offer paid VPN for Windows and Android

Mozilla announced Wednesday it's offering a virtual private network service for Windows and Android.

Why it matters: The move comes as the Firefox maker looks to expand its business, drawing on its reputation for security and privacy.

Cloud gaming is finally having its moment

Reproduced from ABI Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

Revenue from cloud gaming is expected to explode in the next four years, according to a new report from ABI Research, commissioned by InterDigital Lab, a mobile technology research and development company.

Why it matters: Higher broadband speeds and penetration from 5G connectivity will make cloud computing gaming more accessible to the masses.

The CIA's new license to cyberattack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2018 President Trump granted the Central Intelligence Agency expansive legal authorities to carry out covert actions in cyberspace, providing the agency with powers it has sought since the George W. Bush administration, former U.S. officials directly familiar with the matter told Yahoo News.

Why it matters: The CIA has conducted disruptive covert cyber operations against Iran and Russia since the signing of this presidential finding, said former officials.

Jul 15, 2020 - Technology

Tech hits the brakes on office reopenings

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech was the first industry to send its workers home when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., and it has been among the most cautious in bringing workers back. Even still, many companies are realizing that their reopening plans from as recently as a few weeks ago are now too optimistic.

Why it matters: Crafting reopening plans gave tech firms a chance to bolster their leadership and model the beginnings of a path back to normalcy for other office workers. Their decision to pause those plans is the latest sign that normalcy is likely to remain elusive in the U.S.

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