Techmeme
February 19, 2020, 2:40 PM
 

February 19, 2020

2:35 PM  •
Casey Newton / The Verge:  Facebook's decisions around influencers' ads made for politicians, like exempting them from its Ads Library, seem inconsistent with the aim of earlier policies
2:20 PM  •
Mishaal Rahman / XDA Developers:  Android 11 boosts privacy with temporary app permissions, like iOS' “Allow Once” option, and requiring apps use Scoped Storage API, despite developer backlash
1:55 PM  •
Alex Clayton / Meritech Capital:  Financial analysis of 12 high-growth SaaS companies that went public in 2019, including Cloudflare and Slack, shows median annual revenue of $242M, up ~48% YoY
1:40 PM  •
Juli Clover / MacRumors:  Apple sends a cease and desist letter to the author of “App Store Confidential”, published in Germany by an ex-Apple employee, claiming it reveals trade secrets
1:25 PM  •
Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge:  Uber introduces a new On-Trip Reporting feature, letting riders discreetly report non-emergency safety issues in real time, available now in the US and Canada
1:20 PM  •
Abner Li / 9to5Google:  Google officially launches Android 11 Developer Preview, arriving earlier than expected, with new display types, improved messaging, biometrics, and more
1:00 PM  •
Katie Paul / Reuters:  IRS lawsuit against Facebook, alleging the company owes $9B+ in taxes after shifting profits to Ireland, begins in San Francisco
12:50 PM  •
Joseph Cox / VICE:  Yodlee, America's largest financial data broker, says the data that it sells is anonymous, but a leaked Yodlee doc shows millions of people could be unmasked
12:40 PM  •
Cecilia D'Anastasio / Wired:  Study: the seven most-watched YouTube Gaming channels in January streamed recorded, autoplaying videos promoting cheats that linked to credential-stealing sites
12:25 PM  •
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:  TikTok announces new Family Safety Mode parental controls to limit kids' usage with screen time management, DM limits, and more, coming first to the UK
12:15 PM  •
Cameron Wilson / BuzzFeed:  Facebook has 17M users in Australia but just seven fact checkers, from AFP and Australian Associated Press, who completed 220 fact checks since April 2019
12:10 PM  •
Brian Krebs / Krebs on Security:  Overview of recent security woes at Citrix, from slowly patching VPN flaws to hackers infiltrating its networks after brute forcing employees' passwords
12:05 PM  •
Dan Primack / Axios:  Inside Founders Fund's deal process, where smaller investments only need limited partner approval, as it has raised its seventh fund and a $1.5B growth fund
11:50 AM  •
Chris O'Brien / VentureBeat:  SentinelOne, which provides autonomous, real-time, AI-based endpoint security protection, raises $200M Series E led by Insight Partners at a $1B+ valuation
11:45 AM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  Swiggy, India's largest food delivery startup, raises $113M Series I led by Prosus Ventures, source says at a $3.6B valuation; Swiggy has raised ~$1.57B to date
11:40 AM  •
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:  Colorado-based Outrider, which operates a SaaS platform for fully- and semi-autonomous truck fleets, emerges from stealth with $53M in seed and Series A
11:25 AM  •
Abner Li / 9to5Google:  Google begins rolling out two Google Docs features: autocorrect, enabled by default, and Smart Compose, for paying customers
11:15 AM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  Indian education platform Unacademy raises $110M Series E from General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital India, Facebook, and others
11:10 AM  •
Tom Warren / The Verge:  Microsoft launches a unified Office app for iOS and Android, combining Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into a single app; standalone versions will remain available
11:05 AM  •
Nick Turner / Bloomberg:  Groupon says it will shutter Groupon Goods, its e-commerce platform for physical products, after reporting worse-than-expected results; stock drops over 40%
10:45 AM  •
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:  Online learning marketplace Udemy, which offers over 150,000 courses, raises $50M from Japanese publisher Benesse Holdings at a $2B post-money valuation
10:20 AM  •
Billy Steele / Engadget:  As Photoshop turns 30, Adobe begins rolling out new desktop and mobile features, including bringing the Object Selection tool to iPad
10:05 AM  •
Natasha Lomas / TechCrunch:  EU issues proposals to drive digitization across industries and sectors, including rules for high risk AI systems and a regulatory framework for data governance
9:50 AM  •
Duncan Riley / SiliconANGLE:  ForgePoint Capital raises $450M for its second cybersecurity investment fund, taking its funds under management to $750M
9:15 AM  •
Dave Gershgorn / OneZero :  Profile of Japan-based NEC, which has been a longtime provider of facial recognition services globally and garners less scrutiny than new entrants in the space
8:45 AM  •
Paul Sawers / VentureBeat:  Whatfix, which helps companies onboard users and improve employee training, raises $32M Series C led by Sequoia Capital India
8:20 AM  •
Richard Cooke / Wired:  A tribute to Wikipedia, which is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web
7:50 AM  •
Michael del Castillo / Forbes:  Coinbase becomes a Visa Principal Member, allowing it to issue bitcoin debit cards for other crypto companies and traditional firms
6:30 AM  •
Taiga Uranaka / Bloomberg:  Sources: Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is investing $700M in ride hailing giant Grab, intends to market its financial services to Grab's users
6:10 AM  •
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:  Aisera, which uses AI to help with customer service and internal operations, raises $20M Series B led by Norwest Venture Partners
5:40 AM  •
George P. Slefo / Ad Age:  Consumer insights provider Hitwise is shutting down after 24 years, following allegations that it purchased sensitive user data from Avast's Jumpshot
2:10 AM  •
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:  Huntress, a SaaS cybersecurity provider, raises $18M Series A led by ForgePoint Capital as it expands into additional market segments and geographies

February 18, 2020

11:25 PM  •
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:  Facebook is internally testing a tabbed version of News Feed for mobile that includes the Most Relevant, Most Recent, and Already Seen feeds
11:10 PM  •
Doris Yu / Tech in Asia:  Indonesia-based Eureka, which provides consumer intelligence to mobile carriers and enterprises by using AI and mobile data analytics, raises $20M Series B
10:35 PM  •
Steve O'Hear / TechCrunch:  Atomico announces its fifth fund has closed at $820M, bringing their total assets to $2.7B; Atomico will mostly fund European startups at Series A
10:15 PM  •
Hugh Son / CNBC:  LendingClub is acquiring Boston-based online bank Radius Bancorp in a deal valued at $185M, making it the first US fintech company to acquire a bank
9:40 PM  •
Kurt Wagner / Bloomberg:  Twitter acquires Chroma Labs, which makes tools for video and photo creation, will split team across product, design, and engineering, shut down Chroma Stories
9:00 PM  •
Johana Bhuiyan / Los Angeles Times:  Sources: Uber shuts down its customer support office in LA, laying off ~80 employees and outsourcing their jobs to a support office in Manila
8:30 PM  •
Corbin Davenport / Android Police:  Mozilla releases its VPN service Firefox Private Network on Android in a closed beta for $4.99/month
8:15 PM  •
Annie Musgrove / Tech.eu:  London-based Concirrus, which builds an AI-based predictive analytics platform to help insurance providers rate customers, raises $20M Series B led by AlbionVC
7:15 PM  •
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:  UltraSense Systems, maker of ultrasound technology to sense movement and gestures through a range of materials like metal, glass, and wood, raises $20M Series B
6:05 PM  •
Steven Overly / Politico:  Judge rules that Huawei does not have grounds to sue the US government over a law banning federal agencies and their contractors from buying Huawei products
5:50 PM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  India opens cases against hundreds of VPN users in Kashmir; those found guilty of promoting “unlawful activities and secessionist ideology” face up to 7 years
4:55 PM  •
Jon Brodkin / Ars Technica:  ISPs seek an injunction against a Maine law requiring opt-in consent before sharing customer info like browsing histories, saying it violates free-speech rights
4:10 PM  •
Nikhilesh De / CoinDesk:  BitGo acquires Harbor, issuer of tokens backed by real world assets, and will now hold broker-dealer, transfer agent, and qualified custodian licenses
3:20 PM  •
Andy Greenberg / Wired:  Eclypsium report shows that many PC peripherals, like USB hubs and webcams, have a major security flaw: their firmware can be updated with “unsigned” code
2:40 PM  •
Nilesh Christopher / VICE:  An Indian election candidate created multiple deepfakes of his own video with him speaking different languages to access voters, reaching ~15M WhatsApp users
2:25 PM  •
Meagan Simpson / BetaKit:  Vancouver-based Semios, which develops a real-time crop data and pest management platform that connects to IoT sensors, raises ~$75M in private equity funding
2:15 PM  •
Alfred Ng / CNET:  ElectionGuard, the open-source voting machine software Microsoft announced in May 2019, gets its first real-world test today in a local vote in Fulton, WI
1:55 PM  •
Eileen Yu / ZDNet:  Facebook's “deeply concerned” the Singaporean gov't is using its “fake news” law to ban access to a FB page, saying it goes against earlier pledge to not censor
1:25 PM  •
Nicholas Quah / Hot Pod News:  Patreon has launched Patreon Capital, which provides creators with cash advances they pay back with slight interest using income earned on the platform
1:03 PM  •
Josh Horwitz / Reuters:  China has partnered with Alibaba and Tencent to expand a QR code-like system for tracking individual citizens' health, with a nationwide rollout planned
12:40 PM  •
Aarian Marshall / Wired:  A look at how Uber drivers' strategies have changed in California after AB5, which has allowed drivers to see estimated ride payouts and destinations
11:50 AM  •
Robert Hof / SiliconANGLE:  Dell announces it is selling its RSA cybersecurity firm to a consortium led by private equity firm Symphony Technology Group for $2.075B
11:30 AM  •
Saeed Azhar / Reuters:  Sources: SoftBank has invested $2.5B of its own cash into investments since October, as it seeks to re-establish credibility ahead of a planned Vision Fund 2
11:07 AM  •
Lauren Kaori Gurley / VICE:  Kickstarter employees vote 46-37 to unionize with the Office and Professional Employees International Union
11:00 AM  •
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:  Elon Musk says all advanced AI development should be regulated, including at Tesla, and that OpenAI, which he cofounded, “should be more open”
9:55 AM  •
Jon Fingas / Engadget:  Ring makes two-factor authentication mandatory and pauses use of most third-party analytics services as it devises ways to limit data sharing with third parties
9:40 AM  •
Karen Hao / MIT Technology Review:  Interviews with current and former employees reveal how OpenAI has become more secretive as it tries to juggle its ideals with the need to finance its research
9:00 AM  •
Sam Byford / The Verge:  TrendForce analysis of coronavirus on tech industry: smartphone production will decline 12% YoY this quarter, but next-gen game consoles should be unaffected
8:45 AM  •
Dr. Ian Cutress / AnandTech:  Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon X60 5G modem built on a 5nm process, offering up to 7.5 Gbps download and 3 Gbps upload speeds
8:20 AM  •
Steve Streza:  iOS users not subscribed to Apple's services are constantly forced to look at ads for those services, either in first-party apps or through push notifications
7:45 AM  •
Bloomberg:  Sources: iPhone SE 2 is on track to launch in March despite coronavirus crisis, and updated iPad Pro models with a new camera system are expected in H1 2020
6:25 AM  •
Andreessen Horowitz:  AI-centric businesses face scaling challenges and lower gross margins due to high compute usage and ongoing human support compared to traditional software firms
2:30 AM  •
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:  Report: 2019's total web traffic to top 100 sites was up 8% from 2018, driven by mobile; the top 10 sites saw 167.5B monthly visits in 2019, up 10.7% YoY

February 17, 2020

9:25 PM  •
Bloomberg:  Sources: Indonesia's ride-hailing service Gojek purchased a 4.3% stake in local taxi operator PT Blue Bird, for $30M
8:20 PM  •
Amelia Lucas / CNBC:  Sources: US Commerce Department is proposing restrictions requiring foreign companies to obtain licenses in order to make chips for Huawei using US equipment
8:00 PM  •
Chris Welch / The Verge:  Tests of Samsung Galaxy Z Flip's “Ultra Thin Glass” display show durability is on par with plastic screens; Samsung to offer one-time $119 screen replacement
7:05 PM  •
Corbin Davenport / Android Police:  Microsoft's Office app for Android is now generally available, after releasing a public preview in November, but lacks support for tablets and Chromebooks
6:20 PM  •
Benjamin Parkin / Financial Times:  Research: Chinese VCs' investments into Indian startups broke records in 2019, hitting ~$1.4B in Q4 and spanning 54 funding rounds over 2019, vs. three in 2013
5:23 PM  •
Brian Krebs / Krebs on Security:  An extortion scam is allegedly threatening website operators with junk ad clicks that trigger Google's fraud detection to limit or ban a site's AdSense account
4:21 PM  •
Apple:  Apple does not expect to meet revenue guidance for March quarter due to constrained iPhone supply and low demand due to store closures amid coronavirus crisis
3:55 PM  •
Ron Miller / TechCrunch:  PullRequest, an on-demand code review startup that's raised ~$12M to date, is buying early-stage startup Moonlight, an online dev hiring platform with ~3K users
3:30 PM  •
JP Mangalindan / Protocol:  A look at the recent shifts in HR across the tech industry and the rising role of Chief People Officer, expected to be more strategic than traditional HR heads
2:55 PM  •
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:  Redbox launches ad-supported Free Live TV, which offers a curated set of movies and TV shows organized into channels, from brands like TMZ, USA Today, NowThis
2:25 PM  •
Financial Times:  After meeting Zuckerberg on Facebook's proposal for harmful content regulation, commissioner overseeing EU data strategy calls it “not enough” and “too slow”
1:47 PM  •
Jay Peters / The Verge:  Jeff Bezos says he is launching the Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change and committing $10B “to start”, with first grants slated to be issued this summer
1:25 PM  •
Kyle Wiggers / VentureBeat:  Strategy Analytics: global smart speaker shipments hit 146.9M in 2019, up 70% YoY; Amazon led with 38.5M, down from 49.5M in 2018, followed by Google with 29.8M
11:25 AM  •
Susan Fowler / TIME:  In a book excerpt, Susan Fowler discusses the nightmare she went through after her Uber essay: being followed, people digging through her past, anxiety, more
11:10 AM  •
Scott Pelley / CBS News:  A review of Trump's “insane” public allegations about CrowdStrike, hacking, and “the server”, referenced in his phone call that sparked impeachment proceedings
10:45 AM  •
Adam Satariano / New York Times:  As the EU debates new rules for its digital economy, including AI regulations, Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, and others head to Brussels to meet key lawmakers
10:25 AM  •
Katie Notopoulos / BuzzFeed News:  Facebook allowing sponsored content for political campaigns on Instagram with little oversight muddies the waters, as #sponsored labels are often hard to spot
9:45 AM  •
Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:  Several US agencies jointly share details on a North Korean hacking campaign, as US-provided attribution for nation state-led cyber attacks becomes more common
8:35 AM  •
FinSMEs:  UrbanFootprint, which provides cloud-based urban planning software to cities and companies, raises $11.5M Series A
8:05 AM  •
Steve Dent / Engadget:  UK's Met Office says it will spend £1.2B for the world's most powerful climate supercomputer, to be capable of forecasting for an area just 1,000 meters across
7:35 AM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  Google says it is ending its Google Station program in India and other countries, where it provided free Wi-Fi in railway stations, as mobile data prices drop
6:50 AM  •
Annie Musgrove / Tech.eu:  London-based Unmind, a workplace mental health platform that companies can provide as an employee benefit, raises $10M Series A
4:00 AM  •
Avanish Tiwary / KrASIA:  How tech companies are partnering with millions of mom-and-pop “kirana” stores in India for services like last mile delivery, digital transactions, and more

February 16, 2020

11:40 PM  •
FinSMEs:  Upland Software, a cloud-based enterprise work management platform, acquired mobile app personalization and analytics provider Localytics for ~$68M in cash
10:20 PM  •
Michelle Cheng / Quartz:  Judge rules that DoorDash must arbitrate 5,000+ workers' labor disputes, which may cost the company millions, denying its attempt to move to a class action suit
7:20 PM  •
Liam Tung / ZDNet:  Google's Project Zero explains how the practice of altering the Android kernel by phone vendors like Samsung lessens security by adding attack surface
6:10 PM  •
Jonathan Shieber / TechCrunch:  Innovaccer, which pulls data from health records datasets, insurance firms, and pharmacies, to provide a single source of info on patients, raises $70M Series C
5:15 PM  •
Chris Stokel-Walker / WIRED UK:  Former BBC execs and sources detail Project Kangaroo, BBC's 2007 attempt to create a Netflix-like service which was blocked by UK's Competition Commission
3:55 PM  •
Annie Musgrove / Tech.eu:  Oxford VR, a spinout from Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry that wants to use VR simulations to treat mental health problems, raises £10M Series A
2:10 PM  •
Danny Nelson / CoinDesk:  Profile of Chainalysis, a crypto analytics startup helping government agencies like FBI, IRS, DEA, and ICE in tracking illicit cryptocurrency transactions
10:05 AM  •
Monica M. Ruiz / Wired:  Estonia, which created a volunteer Cyber Defence Unit after cyberattacks in 2007, offers key lessons to the US in attracting tech talent and educating citizens
6:00 AM  •
Jeff Stone / CyberScoop:  Court filing sheds light on how US was able to attribute the Equifax hack to China and the techniques alleged state sponsored hackers used
1:55 AM  •
Khari Johnson / VentureBeat:  How AI is being used to detect and fight ransomware attacks, and how criminals could use AI to plot more efficient ransomware attacks
12:40 AM  •
Manish Singh / TechCrunch:  India-based social commerce startup Simsim, which supports local languages like Hindi and Tamil, raises $16M across seed, Series A, and Series B in seven months

February 15, 2020

9:35 PM  •
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:  Pakistan approves new restrictions for social media companies, requiring local offices, removal of content deemed unlawful, providing decrypted content, more
6:30 PM  •
Lizette Chapman / Bloomberg:  Sources: Palantir is changing employee compensation, moving from cash bonuses toward restricted stock units by next year, to cut costs and prepare for an IPO
3:25 PM  •
Hunter Walk:  Tech leaders should stop glib comments on media and acting like underdogs, and tech media should stop “Red Teaming” tech, overusing anonymity, and passing blame
2:40 PM  •
Cyrus Farivar / NBC News:  Interviews with 40 police departments in eight states that partnered with Ring for at least three months show there is little evidence that Ring reduces crime
12:40 PM  •
Reuters:  At the Munich Security Conference, Zuckerberg says harmful content should be regulated with a system somewhere between existing frameworks for telcos and media
10:20 AM  •
Mike Godwin / Slate:  EFF's first staff lawyer reflects on how the debate around online speech has evolved and where he thinks the early internet activists got things right and wrong
8:10 AM  •
Nick Keppler / VICE:  Increasingly automated job screening systems are forcing job seekers to adopt time-consuming tasks to be noticed, like writing application-specific resumes
5:05 AM  •
Jon Fingas / Engadget:  Google says it saw a 98% drop in the number of Play Store apps accessing SMS/call log data in 2019 since cracking down on apps abusing permissions in Oct. 2018
2:00 AM  •
Lauren Kaori Gurley / VICE:  Target's Shipt delivery app workers describe a culture of retaliation and fear, say its algorithm pushes them to buy gifts for customers to boost their ratings
1:20 AM  •
Greg Bensinger / Washington Post:  Workers on Google's outsourced maps team say they alter maps based not just on history and local laws but also on whims of diplomats and Google executives
12:15 AM  •
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:  Samsung announces partnership with Netflix with bonus content associated with Netflix shows on Galaxy smartphones and deeper device integration

February 14, 2020

11:45 PM  •
Stephen Gandel / CBS News:  After a study showed that Ring shares data with Facebook, Google, and others without users' consent, Ring says it will soon allow more control over data sharing
10:25 PM  •
Kurt Wagner / Bloomberg:  Nonprofits say Facebook's donation tools let them reach big audiences with minimal effort, but give them “virtually useless” data on actual donors
9:40 PM  •
Manoj Kumar / Reuters:  In a presentation, online retailers in India ask the government to scale back a proposal for 1% tax on each sale made by third-party sellers on their platforms
8:55 PM  •
Bloomberg:  Amazon is cutting ties with small delivery firms in the US because they don't meet its delivery standards, putting at least 1,300 drivers out of work
8:40 PM  •
Jennifer Elias / CNBC:  Google says it is restructuring its Cloud business, including eliminating some roles; source says fewer than 50 employees are affected
8:10 PM  •
Matt Drange / Protocol:  Gun sales continue on Facebook and Instagram after 2016 ban as sellers keep finding workarounds that evade Facebook's algorithm
7:35 PM  •
Wall Street Journal:  Sources: DOD dropped its opposition to the Trump administration's efforts to make it harder for US companies to supply Huawei from overseas facilities
6:45 PM  •
Annie Musgrove / Tech.eu:  MatHem, an online grocer which claims to have served over half of Swedish households, raises €47.5M from Kinnevik and others, bringing its valuation to €266M+
6:10 PM  •
Chase DiFeliciantonio / San Francisco Chronicle:  Facebook canceled its Global Marketing Summit, scheduled for March 9-12 at San Francisco's Moscone Center, due to coronavirus concerns
6:00 PM  •
Stephanie Findlay / Financial Times:  India's Supreme Court orders Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel to clear dues of around $13B to the government by March 17, which could bankrupt Vodafone Idea
5:30 PM  •
Kerry Flynn / CNN:  HQ Trivia, the company behind the once popular live mobile trivia game, is shutting down
4:50 PM  •
Jeff Kauflin / Forbes:  HK-based Amber, which offers crypto trading services like arbitrage, market making, and lending to institutional investors, raises $28M at a $100M valuation
3:18 PM  •
Mark Sullivan / Fast Company:  Source: Apple is not happy with the QTM 525 mm-wave antenna module Qualcomm is offering for this year's 5G iPhones and is trying to design its own antenna

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