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Supreme Court dismisses warrant case against Microsoft after CLOUD Act renders it moot

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

A long-running legal battle between the U.S. government and Microsoft has been dismissed by the Supreme Court (PDF) after the crux of the conflict was mooted by recent legislation. The company will now be forced to provide data stored on servers in Ireland that it had previously said should be obtained through that country’s authorities.

The case dates to 2013 and has become a sort of landmark on the frontier between global politics and tech. American law enforcement sought data on a user of Microsoft services in relation to a drug trafficking case; Microsoft said that the data in question was located exclusively in a datacenter in Ireland, and as such they must work out access with Irish authorities.

The U.S., of course, took issue with that since Microsoft is an American company, and the argument has gone back and forth for years. So far Microsoft has maintained a slight edge, to the delight of privacy advocates everywhere, who dislike the idea that global tech services should be s..

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Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse and Michael Arrington to talk cryptocurrency at Disrupt SF

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Arrington XRP Capital founder (and TechCrunch founder) Michael Arrington will be joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September to talk money.

Garlinghouse has had a long and storied career in the tech industry, serving as a Senior Vice President at Yahoo!, President of Consumer Applications at AOL, and CEO of the file collaboration service Hightail. But in 2016, Garlinghouse was promoted from COO to CEO at payment services company Ripple.

Ripple’s goal is to try to make it as easy as possible to transfer money between two stores of value. Right now, that process is incredibly tedious, with no unifying structure to send money overseas or to underbanked communities. The notion of a unifying ledger is not a new one, but it’s one that’s transformed Ripple into a full-fledged company.

But Ripple also created the world’s third-largest digital token, XRP. The token has a current total market cap around $30 billion, and the company is working to expand th..

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Buick unveils an all-electric SUV concept and it’s exactly what GM needs

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

General Motors is spinning up its electrification plans and today announced the stunning, poorly-named Buick Enspire concept at Auto China 2018. As a concepts go, this one looks great and rather feasible.

GM says its powered by Buick’s eMotion powertrain that can produce a maximum output of 410 kW (roughly 550 hp). This should make it good for a 4 second sprint to 60 mph. Range is clocked at 370 miles and the battery can be recharged to 80 percent within 40 minutes. It supports both fast and wireless charging.

The 2018 Buick Enspire all-electric concept SUV

Inside is an augmented reality windshield, OLED display and wood center console. And since this is just a concept and nothing is real, the Enspire features a 5G connection.

GM made a big promise in 2017 to release 20 electric vehicles within the next five years. The company is going all-in on electric vehicles and something like this Buick would fit nicely in the world of crossovers and mild SUVs. I think it looks better than th..

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Watch IndieBio’s Demo Day today

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

Today, April 17th at 2:00 PT, TechCrunch is bringing you IndieBio‘s Demo Day.

IndieBio is a four-month accelerator focusing on biotech companies. Early-stage companies are given mentorship, 24/7 access to biosafety level 1 and 2 labs on-site, insights from industry experts and $250,000 in funding.

The 2018 batch of 14 companies range from innovations in non-opioid pain management medication to synthetic wood generation and even using AI to limit antibiotic resistance.

Watch them demo here:

Antibiotic Adjuvant: Delivering AI-powered decision support software designed to monitor and reduce antibiotic resistance.

BeeFlow: Developing smart and strong bees for crop pollination. With their technologies, farmers can increase crop yields up to 90 percent, target specific crops for pollination and substantially reduce bee population decline.

Dahlia Biosciences: Leading the next generation of multiplexed in situ single-cell RNA analysis tools for research and diagnostic applications.


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New York’s attorney general is investigating bitcoin exchanges

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into bitcoin exchanges today, his office announced. He’s looking into thirteen major exchanges, including Coinbase, Gemini Trust, and Bitfinex, requesting information on their operations and what measures they have in place to protect consumers.

“Too often, consumers don’t have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms,” Schneiderman said in a statement. His office sent detailed questionnaires to the thirteen exchanges, asking them to disclose who owns and controls them, and how their basic operation and transaction fees work. The questionnaire also asks for specific details on how exchanges might suspend…

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Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech companies pledge to never help governments launch cyberattacks

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

Thirty-four major technology companies — including Facebook, Microsoft, HP, ARM, Cisco, and Oracle — have signed a new Cybersecurity Tech Accord. The pledge spans helping to protect against cyberattacks as well as to not helping governments — including the United States — “launch cyberattacks against innocent citizens and enterprises,” as first reported by The New York Times.

According to the NYT, the driving impetus for the coalition has been Microsoft president Brad Smith, whose goal is, ultimately, to develop a “digital Geneva Convention” to set the rules for acceptable digital warfare. As listed in the accord, there are four areas that the signed companies are promising to improve upon: helping to protect customers from future…

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Two Facebook and Google geniuses are combining search and AI to transform HR

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

Two former product wizards from Facebook and Google are combining Silicon Valley’s buzziest buzz words –search, artificial intelligence, and big data — into a new technology service aimed at solving nothing less than the problem of how to provide professional meaning in the modern world.

Founded by chief executive Ashutosh Garg, a former search and personalization expert at Google and IBM research, and chief technology officer Varun Kacholia, who led the ranking team at Google and YouTube search and the News Feed team at Facebook, boasts an executive team that has a combined eighty patents and over 6,000 citations for their research.

The two men have come together (in perhaps the most Silicon Valley fashion) to bring the analytical rigor that their former employers are famous for to the question of how best to help employees find fulfillment in the workforce.

“Employment is the backbone of society and it is a hard problem,” to match the right person with the right role,..

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Amazon is developing a TV show based on William Gibson’s ‘The Peripheral’

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

Amazon is developing a series based on William Gibson’s science fiction novel The Peripheral.

Variety reports that the series is being considered for a straight-to-series order, with Scott B. Smith writing and executive producing, and Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (creators of the HBO remake of Westworld) also signed on as executive producers.

Amazon seems to have shifted much of its original TV strategy away from critically-acclaimed-but-niche shows and toward titles that have the potential to become bigger hits. Most famously, it’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a Lord of the Rings prequel series, but it’s also developing adaptations of science fiction classics Ringworld and Snow Crash.

The Peripheral takes place in two different futures, which are mysteriously connected through a virtual reality game. One is relatively close to our present, and while the other is several decades further along, after society has collapsed.

Gibson’s early novels and short stories helped..

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Amazon launches a “lite” Android web browser app in India

April 17, 2018 Alex 0

Amazon has quietly launched an Android web browser app for emerging markets, where access to mobile data and high-speed connectivity is more limited. The browser has the rather generic name of: “Internet: fast, lite and private” on Google Play, and promises to be “lighter than the competition.”

The app first appeared on the Play Store in March, and has fewer than 1,000 downloads, according to data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

It’s only available to users in India for the time being, and is supported on devices running Android 5.0 or higher.

Like most “lite” apps, the new browser is a small download – it’s under 2 MB in size.

The browser’s Google Play description also notes that it’s “private,” as it doesn’t ask for extra permissions or collect private data like other browsers do. This seems to indicate that it’s meant to be something of a competitor to other private mobile browsers, like Firefox, which blocks website trackers.

The browser additionally supports Pr..