Break Up Big Tech? Some Say Not So Fast

For years, the US government stood by as big tech companies like Facebook and Google growth hacked and gobbled up competitors on their way to dominance, with barely a mention of “anticompetitive” concerns. But that lax attitude is changing. Word continued to leak this week about possible antitrust investigations by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, who reportedly divvied up companies like a couple might divide household chores. (The DOJ calls dibs on Google and Apple, while the FTC gets Facebook and Amazon.) House Democrats, meanwhile, are launching an antitrust probe of their own over competition in the tech industry more broadly. It’s too soon to tell whether any of this activity will lead to meaningful regulation, or …

US Companies Help Censor the Internet in China, Too

It is unclear how many people died when Chinese troops cleared pro-democracy protests from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 30 years ago this week. Local authorities said it was 241. A cursory search of the web or social media will show that human rights organizations estimate a death toll many times higher—unless you’re in China. Chinese tech companies such as search engine Baidu and social media platform Tencent block Tiananmen-related posts and pages to comply with the country’s authoritarian internet rules. Some US companies do their bit, too. Apple and Microsoft censor information in China as a condition of accessing the country’s lucrative but circumscribed population of more than 800 million netizens. For Microsoft, that means keeping content the government deems sensitive …

Another Mac Bug Lets Hackers Invisibly Click Security Prompts

Two hours into his keynote at Apple’s Worldwide Developer's Conference last June, senior vice president Craig Federighi revealed a new privacy feature in MacOS Mojave that forces applications to ask the user if they want to "allow" or "deny" any request to access sensitive components and data, including the camera or microphone, messages, and browsing history. The audience dutifully applauded. But when ex-NSA security researcher Patrick Wardle watched that keynote at his home in Maui a few months later, he had a more dubious reaction. Over the previous year, he had uncovered a way for malware to invisibly click through those prompts, rendering them almost worthless as a security safeguard—not once, but twice. After Wardle had revealed the bugs that …

Some reassuring data for those worried unicorns are wrecking the Bay Area

Joanna Glasner With the exception of Intel, all of these companies have a double-digit percentage of employees at headquarters, so it’s not as if they’re leaving town. However, if you’re a new hire at Silicon Valley’s most valuable companies, it appears chances are greater that you’ll be based outside of headquarters. Tesla, meanwhile, is somewhat of a unique case. The company is based in Palo Alto, but doesn’t crack the city’s list of top 10 employers. In nearby Fremont, Calif., however, Tesla is the largest city employer, with roughly 10,000 reportedly working at its auto plant there.(Tesla has about 49,000 employees globally.) Unicorns flock to San Fran, workers less so High-valuation private and recently public tech companies can also be pretty …

JCPenney explains why it dropped Apple Pay

JCPenney quietly ditched Apple Pay this month. The decision was announced in response to a customer complaint on Twitter, but without any context or further explanation at the time. JCPenney had first rolled out Apple Pay into testing in 2015, then expanded to all its U.S. stores the following year, and later to its mobile app. The retailer now claims the move was necessitated by the April 13, 2019 deadline in the U.S. for supporting EMV contactless chip functionality. As of this date, all terminals at U.S. merchants locations that accept contactless payments must actively support EMV contactless chip functionality, and the legacy MSD (magnetic stripe data) contactless technology must be retired. JCPenney was not ready to comply, it seems, …

What to Expect From Monday’s Big Apple Event

If Apple has “one more thing” to add at the end of its event Monday, it might just be something you’ll read or watch in the near future—not the hardware you’ll watch it on. The March 25 event will be focused on media, with an assemblage of top magazine publishers and entertainment executives gathered to support, at least outwardly, Apple’s latest efforts around content aggregation and distribution. This is all part of its “services” business, and it’s an increasingly important part of the company's future. The maker of premium hardware knows that it can only sell so many gadgets, and getting people hooked into its software platforms and apps is a critical part of ensuring they still buy Apple. The …

Dozens of companies leaked sensitive data thanks to misconfigured Box accounts

Security researchers have found dozens of companies inadvertently leaking sensitive corporate and customer data because staff are sharing public links to files in their Box enterprise storage accounts that can easily be discovered. The discoveries were made by Adversis, a cybersecurity firm, which found major tech companies and corporate giants had left data inadvertently exposed. Although data stored in Box enterprise accounts is private by default, users can share files and folders with anyone, making data publicly accessible with a single link. But Adversis said these secret links can be discovered by others. Using a script to scan for and enumerate Box accounts with lists of company names and wildcard searches, Adversis found more than 90 companies with publicly accessible …

Apple could release a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a 31-inch 6K display

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is quite reliable when it comes to Apple’s road map. And he shared a ton of information over the weekend in a new report obtained by 9to5mac. In 2019, you can expect a bigger MacBook Pro, a new display and upgrades to iPhones, iPads and AirPods. Let’s start with the Mac. According to Kuo, Apple has been working on a MacBook Pro with an all-new design. It’s unclear if those future models will retain the same keyboard, as many users have been complaining about the reliability of the butterfly keyboard. But Kuo learned there will be a bigger model, with a 16 to 16.5-inch display. Let’s hope that Apple is going to trim down the bezels …

Apple partners with Oakland nonprofit Dream Corps on Swift coding initiative

Apple this morning announced a new partnership designed to train more people to code using its own programming language, Swift. The company says it’s now working with the Oakland-based nonprofit organization Dream Corps on the initiative, which will see Apple providing technology along with curriculum guidance, professional support and advocacy to individuals in middle and high schools, college and beyond. The nonprofit currently operates its own learn-to-code program called #YesWeCode, which has graduated 100 people to date and placed around 60 percent in tech jobs. Its long-term goal is to help 100,000 young people from underrepresented backgrounds to be able to train for jobs in tech. “I see Dream Corps as a Peace Corps for the American Dream,” said CEO Vien …