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New EU copyright filtering law threatens the internet as we knew it

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

On June 20th, a committee of the European Parliament will vote on whether to proceed on a copyright proposal that some say will destroy the internet as we know it. That may sound fairly hyperbolic, but over 70 experts — including World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales — have criticized the proposal, saying it will turn the internet into “a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”

The controversial provision in question is Article 13, which requires internet platforms to filter uploads for copyright infringement. If it seems as though Article 13 has sprung up out of nowhere, blindsiding people, it’s because it quite literally has. “It wasn’t going to be in the final draft but it was…

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PayPal is shelling out $400 million in cash for this 18-year-old company that helps gig workers get paid

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

PayPal announced today that it’s paying $400 million in cash for Hyperwallet, an 18-year-old, Bay Area-based company that helps people and small businesses receive payments for products and services that they sell, including through the vacation rental platform HomeAway and Rodan & Fields, the multi-level marketing company that specializes in skincare products and employs an army of consultants to sell toners and the like.

Hyperwallet interlinks cash networks, card schemes, and mobile money services with domestic ACH networks around the world to enable what it characterizes as “disruptively priced” and, as crucially, compliant mass payments.

It isn’t clear as of this writing how much money Hyperwallet had raised over the years, though the WSJ notes that Primus Capital, the private equity firm, is a major shareholder.

According to Crunchbase, the company has also received funding from the financial services company Raymond James.

Hyperwallet was founded by Lisa Shields, an MIT-train..

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Bag Week 2018: Chrome’s Vega Transit Brief makes your work vibe less uncool

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

You’re either a Chrome bag person or you’re not. And if you’re not a Chrome bag person, it might be time to give the newly Portland-based bag maker another look.

I’ve been a fan of Chrome Industries bags for a long time, but over the years I’ve only owned two: the discontinued Mini Buran, a 15L, extra-small messenger by Chrome standards, and the Niko camera pack. I still use the latter periodically but I traded the messenger away early on because, in spite of being Chrome’s smallest pack and the only one that didn’t look cartoonishly big on my 5′ 4″ frame, I could never get the weight quite right. There are two reasons for that: 1) Chrome bags are huge and designed for huge hulking men and 2) I’m just not a messenger bag person.

Taylor Hatmaker/TechCrunch

Chrome’s lineup of industrial-strength messenger bags has typically appealed to hardcore bike types and dudes big enough to hoist its famously burly packs, but the company is branching out with a few new offerings that should excit..

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Tech leaders condemn policy leading to family separations at the border

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

By now you’ve seen the photos and videos and probably heard the audio tape. The media coming out of the U.S./Mexico border over the past week has been truly heart-wrenching and horrifying, including, most shockingly, images of young children being housed in what amounts to human cages.

Many prominent politicians across the world (and in the G.O.P.) have called out the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border. A number of prominent executives from top tech companies have also begun to use their soapbox to address — and largely admonish — the policies that have led to this humanitarian crisis.

Here’s what those individuals are saying.

Microsoft

Microsoft was among the first tech giants to issue a statement about the situation. The official company line was both an admonishment of current administration policy and somewhat defensive after speculation arose that the company’s cloud computing platform Azure may have somehow been involved.

Here’s the full st..

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Football matches land on your table thanks to augmented reality

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

It’s World Cup season, so that means that even articles about machine learning have to have a football angle. Today’s concession to the beautiful game is a system that takes 2D videos of matches and recreates them in 3D so you can watch them on your coffee table (assuming you have some kind of augmented reality setup, which you almost certainly don’t). It’s not as good as being there, but it might be better than watching it on TV.

The “Soccer On Your Tabletop” system takes as its input a video of a match and watches it carefully, tracking each player and their movements individually. The images of the players are then mapped onto 3D models “extracted from soccer video games,” and placed on a 3D representation of the field. Basically they cross FIFA 18 with real life and produce a sort of miniature hybrid.

Considering the source data — two-dimensional, low-resolution, and in motion — it’s a pretty serious accomplishment to reliably reconstruct a realistic and reasonably accurate 3D po..

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VW Group and Ford Motor in early talks to develop commercial vehicles together

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

German automaker Volkswagen AG and Big Three U.S. automaker Ford Motor are considering teaming up on a range of projects, including jointly developing commercial vehicles, that would help them better compete in a global market that’s demanding better tech and more efficient, lower emission vehicles.

The two companies announced Tuesday they had signed an agreement to explore a strategic alliance. Any alliance between VW and Ford will not involve the companies taking ownership stakes, Ford said in an announcement Tuesday. News of this possible alliance followed Ford’s announcement to build an electric and autonomous vehicle campus in one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods.

The two automakers contend this potential strategic alliance will making them more competitive and better serve customers globally. Executives from VW and Ford are focused on an alliance to develop commercial vehicles, not necessarily cars and trucks built for consumers.

Thomas Sedran, who heads up VW Group’s strateg..

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GitHub and Medium take down database of ICE employee LinkedIn accounts

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

GitHub and Medium have scrubbed a database of ICE employees off their platforms, soon after a New York-based artist posted the scraped LinkedIn information.

Sam Lavigne, who has previously worked on projects like a white collar predictive policing program, wrote in a Medium post today that, “As ICE continues to ramp up its inhumane surveillance and detention efforts, I believe it’s important to document what’s happening, and by whom, in any way we can.”

In an attempt to do that, Lavigne wrote a program that scraped LinkedIn for profiles that listed ICE as an employer. The program returned information on nearly 1,600 people, and Lavigne posted the resulting data publicly on GitHub. The database included information like job title,…

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Keepsafe launches a privacy-focused mobile browser

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

Keepsafe, the company behind the private photo app of the same name, is expanding its product lineup today with the release of a mobile web browser.

Co-founder and CEO Zouhair Belkoura argued that all of Keepsafe’s products (which also include a VPN app and a private phone number generator) are united not just by a focus on privacy, but by a determination to make those features simple and easy-to-understand — in contrast to what Belkoura described as “how security is designed in techland,” with lots of jargon and complicated settings.

Plus, when it comes to your online activity, Belkoura said there are different levels of privacy. There’s the question of the government and large tech companies accessing our personal data, which he argued people care about intellectually, but “they don’t really care about it emotionally.”

Then there’s “the nosy neighbor problem,” which Belkoura suggested is something people feel more strongly about: “A billion people are using Gmail and it’s scanning..

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Silicon Valley-style coding boot camp seeks to reset Japan Inc

June 19, 2018 Alex 0

TOKYO (Reuters) – Barely six months after inaugurating a tiny software-coding boot camp in a basement in Tokyo, Silicon Valley transplant Kani Munidasa stood before some of Japan's top business leaders in February with a warning: software was threatening their future.