Techmeme
September 29, 2021, 9:00 AM

Top News

Matthew Gault / VICE:
Internal docs detail Amazon's Astro, including its use of facial recognition and “Sentry” mode; sources who worked on Astro say it is a “privacy nightmare”  —  Leaked meetings show the robot will heavily rely on facial recognition and user behavior, but sources who worked on Astro say the robot is flawed.
Dan Seifert / The Verge:
Amazon debuts Astro, a $1K short robot with an Echo Show-like 10" display on top, meant to roam around the home; invite-only program is open for applications  —  In the fall of 1962, TV-watching audiences were invited to meet the Jetsons, a space-dwelling, flying-car-driving family from the future and their dog, Astro.
Dean Takahashi / VentureBeat:
Netflix acquires its first game studio, Night School Studio, which was founded by Sean Krankel and Adam Hines in 2014 and is best known for the game Oxenfree  —  Netflix has acquired its first game studio with the acquisition of Oxenfree creator Night School Studio.  The purchase price wasn't disclosed.
Andrew Cunningham / Ars Technica:
Apple says the “jelly scroll” issue on the 6th-gen iPad mini is normal for LCD screens; the issue isn't noticeable on other latest iPad models with LCD screens  —  Apple says the issue is caused by normal LCD screen behavior.  —  Update, 9/28/2021: In response to our inquiry …
Wall Street Journal:
Internal docs: Facebook was “exploring playdates as a growth lever”, including engaging tweens as they hung out together  —  It has investigated how to engage young users in response to competition from Snapchat, TikTok; ‘Exploring playdates as a growth lever’
Reuters:
Russia arrests Ilya Sachkov, the CEO of cybersecurity company Group-IB, on suspicion of treason and will hold him in custody for two months  —  Russia has arrested Ilya Sachkov, the chief executive of top Russian cybersecurity company Group IB, on suspicion of state treason and will hold …
Natasha Mascarenhas / TechCrunch:
AngelList launches AngelList Stack, a set of tools to help founders start and run their companies, including end-to-end incorporation and banking services  —  AngelList Stack is a new suite of workflow products for founders  —  AngelList this week launched AngelList Stack …
Krebs on Security:
Researcher discloses AirTag Lost Mode vulnerability that enables a phishing attack, and says Apple spent three months investigating and refused basic questions  —  The new $30 Airtag tracking device from Apple has a feature that allows anyone who finds one of these tiny location beacons …
Tom Warren / The Verge:
Microsoft opens the Windows app store to third-party app stores; Amazon and Epic Games will add the first storefront apps in the coming months  —  Amazon and Epic Games Store will be the first to integrate into the Microsoft Store  —  Microsoft is opening up its own app store in Windows even further today …
Turner Wright / Cointelegraph:
CFTC fines Kraken $1.25M for illegally offering margined crypto products from June 2020 to July 2021 and not registering as a futures commission merchant  —  “Margined, leveraged or financed digital asset trading offered to retail U.S. customers must occur on properly registered …
Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge:
Amazon opens an invite-only program for its previously-announced $250 home surveillance drone, the Always Home Cam  —  Ring's $250 Always Home Cam is real and ready to fly into your living room  —  First announced at last year's Amazon hardware event, the Ring Always Home Cam is now ready for take-off.
Jennifer Surane / Bloomberg:
Affirm plans to debut a debit card and allow its customers to buy and sell crypto directly from Affirm savings accounts  —  - Customers will be able to buy, sell crypto including Bitcoin  — 'We won't let you do crazy things,' Affirm's Levchin says  —  Affirm Holdings Inc. is planning …
Reuters:
Sens. Blackburn and Blumenthal say a Facebook whistleblower will testify at an October 5 Senate hearing on child safety  —  Two U.S. senators said on Tuesday a Facebook Inc (FB.O) whistleblower will testify at a Senate hearing next week about what one of them called the social media company's “toxic effects” on young users.
Gene Park / Washington Post:
Tim Sweeney and Epic execs discuss Epic's metaverse plans, contrasting it with Facebook's “manicured” feed and emphasizing the role of creators  —  Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and other executives detail their plan for the metaverse and how it differs from Facebook's vision
Benjamin Mullin / Wall Street Journal:
CNN restricts access to its Facebook Pages in Australia after a ruling that makes news organizations legally liable for comments on their Facebook posts  —  Company said it wants to avoid liability for user comments following Australian court ruling  —  CNN said it has restricted access …
Christine Hall / TechCrunch:
Totango, which offers subscription tools to track and improve customer engagement, raises $100M Series D led by Great Hill Partners  —  Totango, a company that helps SaaS companies track customer engagement to find and fix user flow errors and friction, announced Wednesday that it has raised $100 million …
More: Globes Online and CTech
Issie Lapowsky / Protocol:
Facebook asks Oversight Board for guidance on what content should get a second review via its cross-check program, which reportedly shields VIPs from its rules  —  Facebook is calling on its Oversight Board to issue policy recommendations about its cross-check system, a controversial program …
Miles Kruppa / Financial Times:
Filings: General Catalyst is aiming to raise up to $300M for a fund to buy sales contracts from tech startups, one of the first and largest funds to do so  —  One of Silicon Valley's largest venture capitalists gets into financial engineering  —  General Catalyst, one of the largest US venture capital firms …

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