December 18, 2019, 10:30 PM

Top News

Todd Haselton / CNBC:
Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance announce a partnership to create a universal smart home standard, called the “Project Connected Home over IP”  —  - Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance announced a new partnership.  — It's called Project Connected Home over IP …
New York Times:
An examination of poorly secured police and private databases reveals how China is ramping up its ability to spy on its citizens to new and disturbing levels  —  The authorities can scan your phones, track your face and find out when you leave your home.  One of the world's biggest spying networks …
Lauren Feiner / CNBC:
Lawmakers balk after Facebook explains how it collects and monetizes location data of users who have denied location services in their smartphone OS for its app  —  - In response to a letter from Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., Facebook explained why it tracks users' locations …
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
Spotify is prototyping Tastebuds, a social feature that allows users to interact with and discover music by searching the people they follow  —  Spotify is prototyping a new way to see what friends have been listening to, called “Tastebuds.”  Despite how discovering music is inherently social …
Megan Graham / CNBC:
Facebook says it will ban any branded content, including influencers' posts, promoting tobacco products, vaping, or weapons on Facebook and Instagram  —  - For the first time, Facebook and Instagram are putting restrictions around the types of items that brands can promote using “branded content.”
First Round:
State of startups survey: 33%+ of founders worry about the end of a tech bubble, 65% say 2020 fundraising will be hard, and diversity and mental health are key  —  Welcome to the fifth edition of State of Startups.  What started as an experiment in 2015 has since become a treasured tradition here at First Round.
Faiz Siddiqui / Washington Post:
US government says Uber will pay $4.4M to victims of alleged gender discrimination and strengthen sexual harassment defenses, following an EEOC investigation  —  An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation found “reasonable cause to believe that Uber permitted a culture …
New York Times:
The defining moments of tech in the 2010s, including the Arab Spring and unveiling of the iPad, as recalled by Zuckerberg, Snowden, Phil Schiller, and others  —  An oral history of the 2010s  —  When the decade began, tech meant promise — cars that could drive themselves, social networks that could take down dictators.
Current and ex-employees of SoftBank's Vision Fund describe an environment of sycophancy towards Son, harassment, rivalries, and a culture of recklessness  —  Masayoshi Son's venture capital firm is famous for making outsize bets on tech startups.  It has also been described as an environment of sycophancy and harassment.
Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC:
Facebook acquires Spanish cloud gaming startup PlayGiga, reportedly for ~€70M  —  - Facebook has acquired PlayGiga, a Madrid-based company that specializes in cloud gaming.  — Over the past few years, Facebook has been expanding its efforts in gaming.
More:, Variety, and Seeking AlphaTweets: @shiraovideThanks:@sal19
Timothy B. Lee / Ars Technica:
Author details how he created a deepfake video over two weeks at a cost of $552 using Faceswap, with an explanation of the tech and some of its limitations  —  I learned a lot from creating my own deepfake video.  —  Deepfake technology uses deep neural networks to convincingly replace one face with another in a video.
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed News:
A meditation on digital life during the 2010s, which has become fractured, alienating, and contentious, falling short of the lofty ideals articulated in the 90s  —  In April 1997, Wired magazine published a feature with the grand and regrettable title “Birth of a Digital Nation.”

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