Guardian - Technology

Latest Technology news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
  1. California base faces claims of unreported injuries as it struggles to roll out Model 3

    Tesla is facing an investigation by Californian safety regulators into reports of serious injuries at its factory in Fremont, California, where it is struggling to scale up production of its Model 3 mass-market electric car.

    The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Wednesday it had begun an inspection on Tuesday, a day after the news website Reveal alleged that Tesla failed to disclose legally mandated reports on serious worker injuries, making its safety record appear better than it was.

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  2. Jim doesn’t want his emails scanned for targeted ads, but while there are ways to avoid it, surveillance-based advertising is rife

    What’s the best free email service provider that does not scan or use the data in your emails for advertising? Jim

    Free email services are usually paid for by showing you advertisements. Some email services scan your emails in order to show you personalised or targeted ads. You could argue that that’s a benefit, because you’ll see ads in which you might have some interest. You could also argue that your emails are private, so it’s an invasion of privacy. Either way, it’s different from scanning your emails to stop viruses and phishing attempts, which nobody wants to stop.

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  3. Company moves responsibility for users from Ireland to the US where privacy laws are less strict

    Facebook has moved more than 1.5 billion users out of reach of European privacy law, despite a promise from Mark Zuckerberg to apply the “spirit” of the legislation globally.

    In a tweak to its terms and conditions, Facebook is shifting the responsibility for all users outside the US, Canada and the EU from its international HQ in Ireland to its main offices in California. It means that those users will now be on a site governed by US law rather than Irish law.

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  4. Five-year $40m deal will give UK Prime subscribers access to grand slam event

    Amazon has struck a $40m (£30m) deal for the exclusive UK TV rights to the US Open tennis tournament, as the US firm looks to add to its 100 million Prime subscribers.

    Amazon, which is in talks with the Premier League to potentially stream matches from 2019 to 2022, has struck a five-year deal starting with this summer’s tournament at Flushing Meadows in New York.

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  5. Machines programmed by engineers in Singapore complete job in just over 20 minutes

    Those who fear the rise of the machines, look away now. In a laboratory in Singapore two robots have mastered a task that roundly defeats humans every weekend: they have successfully assembled an Ikea chair.

    Engineers at Nanyang Technological University used a 3D camera and two industrial robot arms fitted with grippers and force sensors to take on the challenge of building an £18 “Stefan” chair from the furniture company.

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  6. Sindri Thor Stefansson escaped through window before reportedly boarding same flight to Sweden as prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir

    The suspected mastermind behind the theft of 600 computers used to mine bitcoin in Iceland has escaped from prison and fled to Sweden on an aeroplane reportedly carrying the Icelandic prime minister.

    Sindri Thor Stefansson escaped through a window of the low-security Sogn prison in rural southern Iceland before boarding a flight to Sweden at the international airport in Keflavik located 59 miles from the prison on Tuesday. Police said he travelled under a passport in someone else’s name, but was identified via surveillance video.

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  7. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation is forcing big changes at tech’s biggest firms – even if the US isn’t likely to follow suit

    Despite the political theatre of Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional interrogations last week, Facebook’s business model isn’t at any real risk from regulators in the US. In Europe, however, the looming General Data Protection Regulation will give people better privacy protections and force companies including Facebook to make sweeping changes to the way they collect data and consent from users – with huge fines for those who don’t comply.

    “It’s changing the balance of power from the giant digital marketing companies to focus on the needs of individuals and democratic society,” said Jeffrey Chester, founder of the Center for Digital Democracy. “That’s an incredible breakthrough.”

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  8. Scientists have demonstrated two robots using human-like dexterity to construct an Ikea chair. Components of the chair were randomly scattered in front of the robots, who were able to identify the correct parts and detect force to understand when, for example, pins were fully inserted into their holes, all while managing to move without obstructing one another

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  9. Signatories including Microsoft, Arm and Trend Micro agree not to take part in cyber-attacks

    More than 30 global technology firms have signed up to a “digital Geneva convention”, committing never to partake in cyber-attacks against individuals or businesses.

    The signatories to the “cybersecurity tech accord”, which include Facebook, Microsoft, Arm and Trend Micro, are largely from the US and western Europe, and do not include companies from the countries seen as most responsible for the recent escalation of digital hostilities, such as Russia, North Korea and Iran.

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  10. Users will be asked to review information about targeted advertising but some say opting out is deliberately difficult

    Facebook has started to seek explicit consent from users for targeted advertising, storage of sensitive information, and – for the first time in the EU – application of facial recognition technology as the European general data protection regulation (GDPR) is due to come into force in just over a month.

    The company is only required to seek the new permissions in the European Union, but it plans to roll them out to all Facebook users, no matter where they live. The move follows Mark Zuckerberg’s stated goal to apply the spirit of GDPR worldwide.

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  11. Corey Peintook his half-baked startup idea to America’s hottest billionaire factory – and found a wasteland of techie hustlers and con men

    The most desirable career of the 21st century, with numerous advantages over other fast-growing occupations such as hospice carer and rickshaw driver, is being a billionaire. Prior to the incorporation of US Steel in 1901, the world didn’t have a single billion-dollar company, much less a billion-dollar individual. Today, more people than ever are becoming billionaires – 2,000 and counting have made the great leap upward, according to the “global wealth team” at Forbes. And the US’s hottest billionaire factory is located in the most hyped yet least understood swath of suburban sprawl in the world: Silicon Valley.

    Despite what you may have heard, hard work in your chosen trade is absolutely the stupidest way to join the billionaires club. In Silicon Valley, the world’s most brilliant MBAs and IT professionals discovered a shortcut to fabulous riches. Ambitious Ivy Leaguers who once flocked to Wall Street are now packing up and heading west. The Valley’s startup founders, investors, equity-holding executives and fee-taking middlemen have thrived above all. Inspired by their success, my idea was to move to Silicon Valley, pitch a startup and become obscenely rich. I left home with some homemade business cards showing my new email address, futurebillionaire@aol.com, and a bunch of half-baked ideas.

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  12. Arunima wonders if one external hard drive will keep cherished pictures safely available for decades, but it’s not that simple

    I read your article from June 2016 on What’s the best way to organise and store my digital photos? Is it not sufficient to save my pictures on one external hard drive? Must I save them on two? Also, for how many years will an external hard drive keep the pictures safe?

    I have an Apple iMac and until now all my pictures were stored in Photos. Yesterday, I transferred them to an external hard drive and emptied Photos. Is this not enough to ensure the safety and availability of my pics for ever? Arunima

    Nothing lasts for ever, and digital images can disappear in seconds. People lose their most important photos every day when hard drives fail, when smartphones and laptops are stolen, when online services shut down, and when natural disasters strike. Fires, floods and earthquakes can also destroy digital records.

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  13. Thomas wants to avoid Windows 10’s update problems on small laptops with only 32GB of storage. He’s asking about installing Windows 7 instead, but there are better options

    Is it possible to install Windows 7 on an Asus notebook with 32GB of storage? I don’t need the complexities of Windows 10 and its updating problems. I just need a light machine for travelling that gives me access to email and a word processor. Thomas

    As a rule of thumb, you should never try to install an old operating system on new hardware, unless it has been tested to run it. Microsoft released Windows 7 in 2009, almost nine years ago. The hardware in Windows machines has changed since then, and you may not be able to find the drivers needed to make your Asus work with Windows 7.

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  14. Robert is often required to email sensitive data. Is there a secure way of doing so in view of the new data protection laws?

    As a freelance media professional, I am often asked by my various employers to send copies of my passport, completed visa forms and other sensitive data in the form of email attachments. I have recently questioned this and have not really got a satisfactory response. I have tried uploading these documents to my Google Drive account and giving them a link, though I don’t really know whether this method is any safer. However, I am at a loss to see how companies should acquire such sensitive data in light of the new GDPR rules coming into force in May. Robert

    The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on May 25, will govern the storage and processing of data rather than its collection. It also includes some very important consumer rights. The most important are the right to be informed, the right of access, the right to correct errors, the right to erase data, the right to restrict processing, and the right take it elsewhere (data portability). How useful these will be in practice remains to be seen.

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  15. Secunia’s recommended Personal Software Inspector is being discontinued and Laurence is looking for a replacement

    Now that Flexera has announced end-of-life on Secunia Personal Software Inspector, do you have any recommendations for a replacement? Laurence

    In 1999, David Lee Smith – who was later jailed – named his PC virus after a stripper called Melissa, and it swept the world, forcing some large companies to shut down their email gateways. That and some later malware successes forced Microsoft to spend two years rewriting Windows XP, and Windows XP Service Pack 2 was finally completed in 2004.

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  16. Facebook founder was lost for words as representatives asked questions about user tracking

    As Mark Zuckerberg left Congress on Tuesday after testifying to the Senate, he may have felt relieved. The four-hour Q&A session had been largely dominated by mundane questions of fact about how Facebook works, requests for apologies and updates he had already given and was happy to repeat, and shameless begs for the social network’s cash pile to be used to expand broadband access in senators’ home states.

    Less than 24 hours later, however, a very different pattern of questioning in front of 54 members of the House of Representatives suggested a much more worrying outcome for Facebook – that this could be the week its crisis moves from being about mistakes in the past to inherent problems in the present. Perhaps, the representatives implied, Facebook doesn’t just have a problem. What if it is the problem?

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  17. Court focusing on two men whose criminal backgrounds are the subject of articles online

    At the heart of the first high court ruling on the “right to be forgotten” principle in England and Wales is a battle between the right to privacy and the right to know.

    The cases focus on two businessmen, convicted of offences more than a decade ago, whose criminal backgrounds are the subject of articles online.

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  18. When it came to data collection, the CEO cleverly deflected lawmakers’ scrutiny. Here are the claims that don’t stand up

    Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg remained calm and composed as he sat through more than 10 hours of questioning by members of Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. His strategy appeared to be to show remorse and deference, highlight the changes Facebook had already made and pledge to do more to protect user privacy and prevent foreign interference in elections.

    Related:Five things we learned from Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook hearing

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  19. The CEO’s privacy is as vulnerable as ours, and the social network faces a regulation battle

    His data was sold to a malicious third party as well, he confirmed, in an answer to a question from the Democratic representative Anna Eshoo.

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  20. A global conflict is taking place on the internet – and your router may be more attractive to a foreign operative than you think

    Another day, another hacking attack – or, in Monday’s case, another few million hacking attacks. Russia has been blamed by the US and the UK for a global hacking campaign that involves breaking into millions of computers and other devices, including wifi routers.

    Tens or hundreds of thousands of the devices they have targeted are reportedly in the UK – so why is Vladimir Putin apparently so keen to break into your internet connection?

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  21. The perfect @ identity is a must-have accessory for big companies and brand-conscious celebrities – at any cost

    Everything has a price, even the top Twitter handles, and if somebody does not want to sell then they may be forced to relinquish their account.

    “We have a marketplace which allows the sale of Twitter handles,” says Philly, a subversive marketer who founded ForumKorner, an online gaming forum. “Unlike some websites, however, we do not allow the sales of stolen accounts that some people phish, or hack, to obtain before reselling them.”

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  22. A theory denying the existence of the country is gaining ground. But the suggestion that countries and cities are mere figments of our imagination is a meme that dates back to the birth of the web

    Australia doesn’t exist. The signs were there the whole time: in what country is the only thing more poisonous than the snakes the spiders? How did we ever believe that kangaroos were a thing?

    This discovery, believed by some to be a joke or a conspiracy theory, has been circulating on social media in recent weeks after being formulated on Reddit in early 2017. Except it turns out not to be the only theory of its kind: through the years, online sleuths have found that all sorts of places don’t exist.

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  23. What do we really know about the influence of the ‘voter button’?

    On the morning of 28 October last year, the day of Iceland’s parliamentary elections, Heiðdís Lilja Magnúsdóttir, a lawyer living in a small town in the north of the country, opened Facebook on her laptop. At the top of her newsfeed, where friends’ recent posts would usually appear, was a box highlighted in light blue. On the left of the box was a button, similar in style to the familiar thumb of the “like” button, but here it was a hand putting a ballot in a slot. “Today is Election Day!” was the accompanying exclamation, in English. And underneath: “Find out where to vote, and share that you voted.” Under that was smaller print saying that 61 people had already voted. Heiðdís took a screenshot and posted it on her own Facebook profile feed, asking: “I’m a little curious! Did everyone get this message in their newsfeed this morning?”

    In Reykjavik, 120 miles south, Elfa Ýr Gylfadóttir glanced at her phone and saw Heiðdís’s post. Elfa is director of the Icelandic Media Commission, and Heiðdís’s boss. The Media Commission regulates, for example, age ratings for movies and video games, and is a part of Iceland’s Ministry of Education. Elfa wondered why she hadn’t received the same voting message. She asked her husband to check his feed, and there was the button. Elfa was alarmed. Why wasn’t it being shown to everyone? Might it have something to do with different users’ political attitudes? Was everything right and proper with this election?

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  24. There have been nearly 300,000 GoFundMe campaigns in the US related to homelessness over the last three years. Some see it as a sign of a broken social system and dwindling options for those in need

    Dave Schulman’s long decline toward homelessness began 18 years ago, when, as a reserve police officer in southern California, he fell from a wall and seriously injured his neck during a response to a robbery call. In the years that followed, he lost his ability to work, his wife left him and the bank foreclosed on his Costa Mesa house. Depressed and in constant pain, he has recently been on the verge of losing the trailer that he now calls home, because his truck broke and he could no longer move it from place to place.

    But Schulman’s luck changed in January, when a former police colleague recognized that he was on the edge of losing everything and organized a GoFundMe fundraising campaign

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  25. Gorgeous screen and excellent camera are highlights of this top-end phone, but battery life could be improved

    Having ushered in a new super-slim bezel design at the beginning of 2017 with the S8, has Samsung’s new dual-aperture, dual camera enough to entice people to upgrade?

    It’s fair to say the Galaxy S9+ looks practically identical to its predecessor. It’s got the same curved glass design, metal sides and lump-less camera on the back, and while it is 1.4mm shorter, 0.4mm wider and 0.4mm thicker than the S8+, you’ll need a ruler to notice.

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  26. OnePlus has done it again, producing a smartphone with almost its rivals’ high-end features, including 36-hour battery life, at an affordable price

    The OnePlus 5T propels the Chinese company into the brave new era of full-screen smartphones, with a new 6in minimal bezel display squeezed into the body of a 5.5in device.

    The 5T is OnePlus’s fourth phone in two years. Unlike the OnePlus 3 to 3T upgrade in 2016, the internal components for the 5T have mostly stayed the same as those of the OnePlus 5, with the screen and camera the biggest differences.

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  27. The company’s most important smartphone in years does not disappoint, with Face ID and an all-screen design that spells the end of the home button

    The iPhone X is Apple’s most important – and most expensive – new smartphone in four years, bringing with it a significant change to the design, dumping the home button to usher in a full-screen experience. Thankfully, Apple nailed it.

    After four years of the company recycling the design of the iPhone 6, the iPhone X is a breath of fresh air. The beautiful OLED screen takes up pretty much the whole front of the device. It’s one of the best displays I’ve ever seen on a smartphone, and while it’s not quite as bezel free at the sides as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices, it’s a giant leap forward for Apple.

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  28. Latest in series of powerhouse devices is best yet, with dual cameras, latest Android, fast performance and excellent stamina between charges

    Huawei’s Mate smartphones have made a bit of a name for themselves as powerhouse devices that come with long battery life and a big screen. With a 50-hour battery life and premium design, the Mate 10 Pro (find here) is no exception.

    Huawei has tried to tread the fine line between being good value for money and offering a top-notch experience, but the Mate 10 is the Chinese firm’s first real winner.

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  29. The firm’s latest Alexa-powered addition to its Echo range adds a clock and touchscreen interface to the mix

    Amazon’s new Echo Spot is one of the most novel takes on a smart speaker yet, and while it is certainly more than just a smart clock, that’s what it’s best at – an attractive voice-assisted smart desk or bedside-table accessory.

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  30. The company’s first foray into smart tech adds Amazon’s Alexa to a great wireless speaker to create a formidable combo

    Having practically invented the multi-room wireless speaker category in 2005, Sonos has lagged behind in the race to become smart. Now the Sonos One is here, packing Alexa in the top and premium audio in the bottom.

    The Sonos One is very deliberately designed to look, feel and sound like the company’s successful Play: 1 – a compact wireless speaker launched in 2013 at about £150 that was arguably the best for the money for years. Side-by-side they look identical apart from the top of the speaker, which is flat on the One, perforated by holes for the microphones that enable the voice assistant to hear you.

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