Anthony Levandowski Faces New Claims of Stealing Trade Secrets

The engineer at the heart of the upcoming Waymo vs. Uber trial is facing dramatic new allegations of commercial wrongdoing, this time from a former nanny.

Erika Wong, who says she cared for Anthony Levandowski’s two children from December 2016 to June 2017, filed a suit in California this month accusing him of transgressing a long listing of the jobs laws. The objection alleges the failure to pay wages, labor and health code violations, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other things.

Yet in this unusual 81 -page complaint, Wong also theorizes about a large swath of Levandowski’s personal and business dealings. She reports a great variety of details, including dozens of overheard names, the license-plate numbers of cars she observed at a Levandowski property, and an extensive listing of the BDSM gear she claims he kept in his bedroom.

Though the lawsuit contains some obvious inaccuracies–such as stating that Levandowski is a resident of Oakland County, California, which does not exist–Wong’s asserts raise new the issue of Levandowski’s business conduct. In her grievance, Wong alleges that Levandowski was paying a Tesla engineer for updates on its electric truck program, selling microchips abroad, and creating new startups employing stolen trade secrets. Her objection also describes Levandowski reacting to the arrival of the Waymo lawsuit against Uber, strategizing with then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and discussing fleeing to Canada to escape prosecution.

Levandowski’s outside dealings while employed at Google and Uber have been central topics in Waymo’s trade secrets suit. Waymo says that Levandowski took 14,000 technical files related to laser-ranging lidar and other self-driving technologies with him when he left Google to work at Uber. He is not a party to the original Waymo complaint against Uber, however, and no criminal charges have yet been filed against him. Levandowski has consistently exerted his Fifth Amendment rights and not responded to allegations in that suit.

A statement on the Wong lawsuit from Levandowski’s spokesperson is unequivocal: “On January 5, a frivolous lawsuit was filed against Anthony Levandowski in US District Court. The accusations in the lawsuit are a work of fiction. Levandowski is confident that the lawsuit will be dismissed by the courts.” Little is known about Wong, who did not immediately respond to a request for an interview. She says in the complaint that a medical background earned her a higher-than-average salary for a nanny; that she had taken statute classes; and that she had produced a short movie on Sebastian Thrun, who led the early development of Google’s self-driving car.

The heroes who saved the Internet in 2015

2015 changed the Internet.

The Federal Communications Commission passed strong net neutrality rules, Congress passed the first major surveillance reform in a generation, the use of encrypted communications has expanded, and activists have harnessed the power of social media and data tools to shift the most significant debates in America today in new directions.

All of that didn’t just happen by accident. Scores of unsung heroes tirelessly fought to make the Internetand, thus, our lives on itbetter, freer, and more impactful.

It’s time we highlight the women and men who helped make that happen.

This year, we’ve expanded our definition of Internet freedom heroes to not simply include those who have fought for the issues that have traditionally fallen under that umbrella, like net neutrality or privacythough there’s plenty of that, toobut also those who have used the freedom that the Internet provides to great effect.

From activists fighting for privacy and citizen journalists fighting against the Islamic State to attorneys, academics, lawmakers, and more, here are the people who helped make the Internet a better place for all of us in 2015.

Ill never forget the day that voted, Gigi Sohn recalled ofFeb. 26, the historic day when, thanks largely to Chairman Tom Wheelers political leadership and Sohns behind-the-scenes work, the Federal Communication Commission voted strong net neutrality rules into law. There was supposed to be a pretty bad storm here in D.C. I came all wrapped up, wearing boots. The joy in the building was remarkable, she told the Daily Dot. And with good measurethe pressure to create real net neutrality rules was by orders of magnitude thelargest public outcry the FCC had ever seen.

At the time, Sohn had been with the commission for 14 months. In reality, this was the culmination of some 15 years of work. Back in 1999, when she was a project specialist at the Ford Foundation funding NGOs that fought for Internet freedom, the notion that Internet providers shouldnt be able to charge different rates for different types of traffic was called open access. Academic and futuristTim Wuwouldnt coin the term we now call it net neutralityuntil 2003.

From there, Sohn moved to become the head of Public Knowledge, a public interest group concerned with Internet freedom, which often meant fighting for net neutralityand criticizing the FCC.

While activists feared Wheeler was too compromised a political figure to really fight for public interesthe had served as a telecommunications lobbyist and was named to his post after working as a fundraiser for PresidentBarack Obamahis decision to hire Sohn was a clear sign of his priorities.

Only a few weeks after Sohn started, a court overturned a previous FCC attempt to enshrine net neutrality. It was a blow to the Commissionbut now the commission had her on its side.

I dont think the chairman hired me because he thought the rules would be overturned and because hed have to put new ones into law, she said. He hired me because he knew how important it was have somebody who had the respect of the public interest community and also the industry. He wanted somebody who was an expert substantively, but his main job was going to be communicating with the outside worldwho was from the field, so to speak.

Obviously, there have been some serious bumps along the way, Sohn said. So to see it manifest itself in 2015 in this way, and to be working for the guy who did it, has obviously just been remarkable. Kevin Collier

Sen. Rand Paul has single-handedly elevated civil liberties to the presidential debate stage.

The Republican primary is full of candidates who talk tough on national security and warn that Americans will have to give up more of their privacy in order for the government to fight terrorism. Paul, the Senates libertarian privacy hawk, has rejected that argument, adapting his Senate crusade against government overreach into a potent campaign-trail narrative.

Paulprotested the renewal of the USA Patriot Act, a sweeping post-9/11 surveillance law, for more than 10 straight hours on the Senate floor. Heinveighed against what he called a surveillance state run amokin the floor debate over theUSA Freedom Act, a major reform bill that ended a National Security Agencys bulk phone-records collection program but did not go far enough for Pauls liking. And hetangled with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over surveillanceand the Fourth Amendment during the heavily watched first Republican debate, in an exchange that became the nights most-tweeted-about moment.

The 2013Edward Snowdenrevelations about the far-reaching U.S. surveillance state turned a once-obscure technology policy issue into a dinner-table debate. But the Snowden leaks lost their potency as Americans began to perceive a greater terrorist threat from ISIS. In a year bookended by twinterroristattacksin Parisin addition toa December shooting in San Bernardino, Californiathe pendulumswung away from privacyand back toward security. But Paul, whopraised Snowdenfor doing a service to his country, isnt giving up.

Whether or not he wins the Republican nomination in 2016, Pauls privacy-minded criticism of surveillance policy in 2015 will have helped raise that issues profile to the summit of American politics. Every near-term victory for surveillance-reform activists will owe something to him. Eric Geller

Matt Blaze has been on the front lines of the most important questions in computer security for over two decades.

Earlier this year, Blaze warned Congress that the state of computer security is an emerging national crisis. In the midst of an intensifying debate over the future of encryption, he argued that the Federal Bureau of Investigations insistence on backdoors in encrypted technology would weaken our infrastructure and ultimately benefit criminals and rival nation states rather than Americans.

This month, Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) promised new legislation that would pierce through encryption. The impending bill makes Blaze an even more important figure when it comes to the future of the Internet.

In the early 90s, the National Security Agency developed the Clipper chip, a piece of hardware designed to provide a backdoor to encrypted computers, phones, and every other device a person might own. Only the government was supposed to be able to access the Clipper chips secret key.

In 1994, it was Blaze who published a paper exposing several of the Clipper chips profound insecurities that made it easy for any hacker to use it. More attacks followed, and the program was eventually abandoned, serving as the classic example of why experts like Blaze regard backdoorsintentional weaknesses in encryption technologiesas immensely dangerous.

What happened to the Clipper chip is a crucial piece of history to be remembered at a moment when the United Statesand the entire worldis considering the future of encryption.

Blaze, an associate professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, is stepping up to the plate in a big way, taking a vocal stand in the public square against proposals to add government backdoors to encryption technology.

There is overwhelming consensus in the technical community that even ostensibly ‘secure’ backdoors put the systems into which they are incorporated at increased risk of outside attack and compromise, Blaze wrote in the Washington Post. At best, a backdoor greatly increases the attack surface of the system and creates rich new opportunities for unauthorized exploitation of hidden (and inevitable) software bugs, to say nothing of the human-scale processes that manage the access.

As we step up to a crossroads on the future of computer security, there are few more experienced and important voices guiding the way forward than Matt Blaze. Patrick Howell ONeill

Armed with little more than an Internet connection, a few dozen well-placed colleagues, and a desire to tell the truth, Mohammed Saleh may beISIS‘s worst nightmare.

Speaking to the Daily Dot from a location outside of his native Syria, Saleha pseudonym he uses for safetysaid that, in the months after theIslamic Stateinvaded Raqqa, Syria, in early 2014 and declared it the capital of its growing caliphate, the city was effectively cut off from the world at large. The only link between Raqqa and the rest of that planet was its own social media channels, which the group used as a recruiting tool to attract people around the world to its cause.

Owing largely to ISIS’s brutality, Syria is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists found that over 100 Syrian journalists have left the country, and many intentional media organizations have elected not to send reporters there, especially to ISIS-controlled areas. This gap has left an open space for ISIS to fill with propaganda.

EnterRaqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

For the citizen journalists and anti-violence activists behind RBSS, that situation was profoundly dangerous. There were arrests, beheadings, and crucifixionsa lot of things were happening in the city and we noticed that nobody was reporting about it, Saleh said. We made a Facebook page and a Twitter account. We started posting about ISIS was doing to the city. We were posting photos, videos about daily life. Documenting their crimes day-by-day.

Their social media effort was the only on-the-ground news source in Raqqa and soon sprouted its own dedicated website. The group, which publishes in both English and Arabic, has written stories aboutspikes in food and energy prices, how the international bombing campaign against oil production facilities in the area islargely ineffective at dislodging ISIS, and how ISIS isshutting down Internet cafesas way to limit citizens’ access to information. In a nation that’s devolved into chaos, the site is one of the few consistent sources of information about what’s happening on the ground.

This journalism is important for both international observers looking for insight into the conflict and the citizens of Raqqa, who sneak access to the site to learn about what’s happening in their own city.

Since its inception, RBSS has been targeted by ISIS. They’ve been accused of blasphemy and had bounties put on their heads. Numerous members of the group, their friends, and family members have been shot or beheaded by ISIS for their work, including three people living in neighboringTurkey.

The group had over a dozen reporters secretly collecting information in Raqqa and covertly sending what they found to writers and editors outside the country, who assemble and post it online. This division of labor is one way RBSS works to keep its members safe from discovery.

The citizen-journalists who work from inside Raqqa are risking their lives every day to report and send information to their colleagues outside the country, Reporters Without Borders told the Daily Dot. Yet they gave themselves the mission to report the life and monitor violations in Raqqa under ISIS’s control to raise awareness and inform the world about the reality of the ground.

Despite the risk, Saleh remains resolute. We will not stop. We will continue to expose them, to post everything bad about them, all the crimes they are committing against the civilians, he insists. Maybe we’re fighting in words and they’re fighting in bullets, but we think that every word from us is equal to one bullet from them. Aaron Sankin

As a leading technology policy expert, Colin Crowell has championed the use of social media as a tool for human-rights workers, journalists, and whistleblowers to bring live content to the world.

As vice president of Global Public Policy at Twitter, hes been a vocal opponent of the U.S. intelligence communitys collect it all mantra, throwing the full weight of one of the worlds most powerful communication platforms behind reforms that, as he once put it, protect the right of free expression and reflect global norms with respect to individual privacy and security.

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Recognized in April by the Constitution Project for his leadership on First Amendment and privacy issues, Crowell urged U.S. lawmakers to ensure government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are transparent, subject to effective oversight, and that rules are narrowly-tailored to meet the legitimate needs of the government in protecting its citizens.

As head of Twitter for Good, the companys social responsibility program, Crowells leadership has been integral in shaping Twitters philanthropic initiatives around the world. His team has worked tirelessly to educate young people about online safety; tackle bullying, extremism, and hate speech; and offer tools to better humanitarian aid during emergencies and devastating natural disasters.

And just today, New Year’s Eve 2015, Crowell announced that Twitter would reinstate Politwoops, a Sunlight Foundation project that keeps politicians accountable by republishing their deleted tweets.

Once referred to by the Washington Post as one of the most influential tech policy operatives you’ve never heard of, Crowell was a senior advisor to the chairman of the FCC before joining Twitter in September 2011. Described by former colleagues as ardent defender of U.S. consumers, Crowells hand in molding the nations communications laws cannot not be overstated. Dell Cameron

Estelle Mass stood before the European Parliament to explain the future of human rights.

Just weeks earlier, 130 people died in terrorist attacks in the heart of Paris. France adopted a spate of new surveillance laws over the past year. The latest burst of violence provoked a state of emergency and talk of taking new steps to enact restrictive laws in the name of stronger security.

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Mass, a 26-year-old Frenchwoman from Normandy who works as a policy analyst with the civil liberties advocacy organization Access, argued that Europes legislators should resist the urge the pass countless sweeping security laws that openly curtail the rights of European citizens and, in many cases, demonstrably would not have stopped the attacks in Paris.

We have learnt the hard way that fast-tracked, short-sighted legislation harms users rights, undermines legal certainty, and weakens the basis of our societies, Mass said. Consider the government reactions to previous attacksincluding those in Mumbai in 2008 and New York in 2001. … Years later, we are still trying to roll back many of those hastily made decisions.

Well before the current fight over surveillance, Mass had already made a deep and lasting mark on Internet freedom in Europe.

She began her time at Access working on, and then helping to lead, the effort to pass groundbreaking legislation protecting net neutrality in the European Union. It worked. Shes now pushing for strong protections when the law is implemented. Shes also fought legal and political battles against dragnet data retention across Europe as the continent adopts more aggressive surveillance laws.

With the deep impact felt by recent terror attacks, her December 2015 testimony to the European Parliament may be her most powerful moment yet.

As many French, I felt helpless in front of these attacks and acknowledge the need for reforms. Changing our way of life in response to these attacks would make us live in fear, not freedom. We must respond by being more vigorous in defense of our values and principles. Today, more than ever, we need leadership to address our security challenges. The answer must be one that upholds human rights. If not reformed, the surveillance measures already adopted in the EU will continue to interfere with users right to privacy and freedom of expression.

Our safety is not the only thing that needs fierce protecting, Mass argues. We must also fiercely protect our most cherished values and human rights. Patrick Howell ONeill

A few years ago, revenge porn wasnt even something that happened. Now, the scourge of nonconsensual pornography is so common in the U.S. that its victims often feel terrorized by the Internet.

But as emerges a villain, so rises an opposing superhero. Or, in this case, three superheroes.

Holly Jacobs, Mary Anne Franks, and Carrie Goldberg make up the core team at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), a nonprofit that has become one of the nations most powerful forces behind a new wave of Web-focused legislation in the mere two years since it was launched in August 2013.

CCRI isnt just leading the fight against perpetrators of an emerging crimewhich typically consists of an ex-partner posting intimate nude or sexualized photos of a woman online without her consentthey are also helping to write and update the laws that are used to prosecute them. Over the past couple of years, 26 U.S. states passed laws criminalizing nonconsensual pornography. Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami and CCRIs legislative powerhouse, helped create eight such laws in 2015 alone, along with the first federal revenge porn bill.

While Franks travels the country crafting legislation and consulting with leading tech companies to help them update policies regarding revenge porn (something Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Google all did this year), her CCRI colleagues are fighting on the ground. Founder Holly Jacobs fields daily correspondence with revenge porn victims who reach out for help via CCRIs End Revenge Porn Web campaign and hotline, writes op-eds, and speaks with the media about the personal impact of revenge porn. Attorney Carrie Goldberg handles an impressive caseload as one of the only lawyers in the country expertly versed in the emerging legal field where digital privacy law intersects with harassment and abuse.

When I first started coming in contact with other victims of nonconsensual pornography, Jacobs told the Daily Dot, it felt as if I had been suffering and wandering alone in a dark and terrifying space for three years and had finally stumbled upon others living in the same nightmare. We had a lot of Me too! exchanges with one another regarding the details of our experiences, the emotions we felt, and the reactions wed encountered from family and friends.

Much of the success on the legislative front is due to Franks relentless work, and in 2016 she plans to increase her work with state legislators while also helping to ensure the passage of the federal bill.

In all of my work, I continue to challenge elitist and sexist interpretations of free speech and privacy, Franks told the Daily Dot, that ignore the silencing and surveillance effects of online harassment on women and minorities.

Goldbergs superpower allows her to paralyze trolls and conjure protective force fields around trauma victims, she told the Daily Dot. She also wins casesand as CCRIs only practicing attorney, she brings a down and dirty litigation perspective to the board. In 2015, Goldberg worked with victims (of revenge porn, sexual assault and harassment, and related issues as pertaining to online abuse) in 21 criminal cases in addition to her usual roster of family court cases. There were big wins: for a teen victim going up against a major tech company, for three Title IX cases against high schools, in a murder trial that involved what Goldberg called a rape tape.

Many of my clients are indeed victims of revenge porn and/or sextortion, Goldberg said, But my average case tends to be more involved than just removing naked pictures from Facebook or a revenge porn site. Mary Emily OHara

In 2004, Nick Merrill ran smack into one of the most powerful surveillance tools in the United States governments arsenal.

Merrill, who was then president of Calyx Internet Access in New York, received a National Security Letter (NSL) demanding private customer records along with Merrills unequivocal silence about his receipt of the letter. He wasnt able to tell even his family or lawyers about it.

Since 9/11 and the passage of theUSA Patriot Actremoved virtually all oversight of the FBIs use of the letters, the National Security Letter has become a popular and dominating tool used over 300,000 times, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Vast information is demanded, silence is required, and challenges are nearly nonexistent. Its easy to see why law enforcement likes the letters.

And then came Merrill.

Merrill defied the order of silence and asked the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for help. As a result, he became the first person to challenge NSLs in court. Just this month, his legal efforts resulted in a federal judgeordering the public releaseof exactly what the FBI was demanding from Merrills company as part of the National Security Letter he received.

The answer was big. The FBI wanted the targets complete Web browsing history, records of all online purchases, and the IP addresses of every person his customers ever corresponded with.

There was no warrant or court oversight over the powerful letter. Instead, all it takes is an agents signature promising that the information will help an unspecified investigation.

Internet users do not give up their privacy rights when they log on, and the FBI should not have the power to secretly demand that ISPs turn over constitutionally protected information about their users without a court order, Merillsaidin a statement. I hope my successful challenge to the FBI’s NSL gag power will empower others who may have received NSLs to speak out.

Merills long legal war meant years of forced silence. But with a key battle won, he took the time to speak out vocally on why a lack of oversight and balances has resulted in vastly expanding FBI surveillance power.

The FBI has interpreted its NSL authority to encompass the websites we read, the Web searches we conduct, the people we contact, and the places we go, Merrillsaid. This kind of data reveals the most intimate details of our lives, including our political activities, religious affiliations, private relationships, and even our private thoughts and beliefs. Patrick Howell ONeill

Alison Macrina was working as a librarian at the Watertown library in Massachusetts when the revelations of Edward Snowden shocked the world. I was like, Oh my god, this problem is bigger than anyone could have imagined, Macrina told the Daily Dot. And maybe theres something that we in libraries can do about this.

With the help of the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union, Macrina started teaching a computer privacy class for her patrons. Thats when the idea for the Library Freedom Project was born. I very quickly realized that I needed to scale up what I was doing. The computer privacy classes were super popular at my library, Macrina said. I figured it was something I could teach to other librarians

This January, Macrina scored $244,700 in grant funding from the Knight Foundation. Since then, shes visited libraries around the world and has taken on a major government agency looking to stifle Library Freedom Projects work.

In addition to teaching classes that empower librarians to inform their patrons about security and privacy in the digital age, Macrina teamed up with theTor Projectand long-time Tor volunteer Nima Fatemi to start putting Tor exit nodes and Tor software in libraries. The Tor network encrypts users traffic and routes it through layers of nodes around the world. Exit nodes, the computer where Tor traffic exists into the open Internet, are considered one of the most importantand potentially dangerousparts of the network.

So Nima and I were like Yeah, Tor nodes in libraries, this is really a great choice, because libraries are democratic institutions in their communities and sometimes the best examples of them, Macrina said. Libraries have spent decades fighting for privacy and speech and intellectual freedoms. So the symbolic nature of it is really there. And the practical side is that libraries are also educational centers.

The Library Freedom Project started the pilot program for their Tor relay project in Kilton Public Library in New Hampshire, and was quickly met with opposition. Not from the board of directors, who unanimously approved the project, or the libraries patrons, but from the Department of Homeland Security and the local police.

The library, understandably, was really shaken by this, Macrina said. This was never something that was in our threat model when we got started.

The Kilton Public Library temporarily took down the Tor relay node after their meeting with the local police. At the next library board meeting, over 50 patrons came in support of the project, holding signs like DHS is not the boss of my library!, according to Macrina. The relay was reinstated, to the cheers of its supporters.

In the coming year, the Library Freedom Project plans to expand its quest to revolutionize the library in the digital age and further inform librarians around the world about digital privacy and security. William Turton

At the beginning of 2015, the fate of net neutrality in the United States stood in a precarious balance. It seemed that any day the Internet would be governed by a new set of rules meant to benefit the countrys wealthiest and most powerful media and telecommunications companies, leaving the cards stacked against small businesses and fledgling startups.

Among those speaking out against this new form of high-tech discrimination, few were more vocal than the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), an organization that saw the death of net neutrality as particularly threatening to communities of colorAmericans historically under- or misrepresented in the mainstream.

NHMC

At a hearing on Capitol Hill in January, Jessica Gonzalez, NHMC executive vice president and general counsel, urged the U.S. House of Representatives to step aside and let the Federal Communications Commission establish rules to preserve the Internet as an all-inclusive and democratizing force.

At the same time, lawmakers were determined to pursue their own deceptively-titled net neutrality legislation that, as Jessica testified, could have irrevocably stripped our countrys expert communications agency of authority to protect consumers on the communications platform of the 21st century and pour cement on the still vast digital divide.

Needless to say, the defense of net neutrality put up by Jessica and NHMC was integral to ensuring affordable and open Internet access for generations to come.

In June, Gonzalez was on the Hill again, this time testifying before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the importance of Lifeline, a subsidy that helps to provide low-income Americans with landline and cellphone service. The program is part of a larger effort to close whats known as the digital divide, a gap into which millions of Americans without consistent phone or Internet access fall.

I know firsthand how life-changing it can be, said Gonzalez, crediting Lifeline with helping her find a job, and ultimately earn a law degree, after being laid off from a teaching job in 2004. It is past time that the federal government took serious steps to address the affordability of broadband for low-income families, she testified. Tomorrow is too late. We must act boldly, and we must act now.

Gonzalez originally hails from Los Angeles where NHMC, now the countrys leading media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, was founded in 1986. She currently lives there with her husband and their two children. In September, she was recognized by Slate as one of the Women Who Won Net Neutrality. Dell Cameron

In August 2014, following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, at the hands of a police officer, DeRay Mckesson and Johnetta Elzie rose to prominence as activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. This year, they made it count.

The duo used social media to engage and connect people while they protested the death of Brown on the frontlines of the Ferguson unrest. But protesting was only the beginning. Over the past year and a half, they have not only fought for freedom of information on the Internetthey used its power for change.

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The dynamic duo harnessed the power of online information to organize, mobilize, and to create solutions to the issues surrounding one of the most pressing debates in America today: police violence.

Weve seen in the movement as a proof of the power of an open Internet to allow for issues that would otherwise be invisible to be rendered visible, Mckesson told the Daily Dot.

Weve been able to spread information, he added, to amplify messages and to connect with each other in ways that changed both the national conversation about race, policing and identity, and that are starting to lead to changes.

Their work eventually coalesced in the form ofWe The Protesters, one of the most significant activist groups in the BLM movement.

I didnt even call myself an organizer, Elzie told the Daily Dot in September. I didnt even know that was a thing, never really cared about it.

Elzie used the reach of social media to crowdfunded money for supplies for protesters and documented with Mckesson what was happening in Ferguson as it unraveled.

I can only imagine if the Internet was prohibited in any way in August of 2014 or since then, Elzie told the Daily Dot in a recent phone interview. Social media is definitely the driving force in making a bigger difference in this moment versus other moments in black history when black folks have resisted. It was so easy before to pretend that these crimes of injustice arent happening.

Their activism didnt stop on Ferguson streets in 2014. Mckesson and Elzie, along with Samuel Sinyangwe, created Mapping Police Violence, a grassroots platform addressing the failures of government agencies by reporting comprehensible data on police killings by city and race.

Used with permission

The grassroots effort led to the release of a report on police killings in 2015, which found at least 1,152 people killed by the police, a disproportionate number of them black.

Mapping Police Violence is only one platform created by We The Protesters. They launched Campaign Zero in August, another grassroots effort. The platform highlights presidential candidates policies on police violence and focuses on a 10-part solutions plan from activists and research organizations.

Next, We The Protesters had a meeting with Muckrock, an organization that helps people file Freedom of Information Actrequests. Armed with that knowledge, Elzie and Mckesson began compiling adatabase of police union contracts, highlightinghow these contracts can fail to hold police accountable.

It was this idea that no one had ever had before, Elzie said. They were just so excited, and we were excited to work together.

The result is thePolice Union Contract Project, created to check the police. According to Elzie, the platform definitely drew an huge reaction from supportersand the police.

The police or whoever handles the union contracts or giving them out, they were instantly on alert like, Theres this group of people pulling contract after contract after contract, Elzie said. But they couldnt keep that from us. Deron Dalton

When the Electronic Frontier Foundation first launched its annual Who Has Your Back? report back in 2011, the goal was relatively straightforward: Show Internet users how well high-profile companies protect their data from the government. If a social networking site wanted to prove how strongly it fought to keep your data safe from the prying eyes of government snoops, the Who Has Your Back? report was the way to do it.

Erich Valo Photography

We have to trust these providers with our data and so the question that we had is: Are they actually deserving of that trust? Nate Cardozo, an EFF staff attorney who compiles the report, told the Daily Dot. Are they doing everything they can and should in order to protect our data when the government comes knocking?

In the reports first year, the EFF only evaluated companies on four criteria and the results weren’t particularly encouraging.

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Over the next four years, the report has filled with gold stars as much of the tech industry has developed an increasing commitment to fighting for users’ rights.

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Cardozo notes that, every year, an increasing number of companies, such as California-based ISP Sonic.net, are working with the EFF to actively change their policies as a way to maintain high scores.

The report is actively pushing companies to do better.

When cloud-storage service Dropbox took heat for appointing to its board of directors former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had spoken positively about government surveillance efforts, the company suffered a backlash from people who feared the move meant a greater willingness to acquiesce to all government data demands. Dropbox was able to push back against those criticisms by pointing to the perfect score it received on the report as evidence of how seriously the company took its responsibility to guard user datamaking it more attractive to both users and potential employees.

A lot of these companies view each other as competitors, Cardozo said. This is a functioning market, and the companies have come to realize that the market demands they respect privacy. The market demands that they treat users and user data with respect. The market now has a metric. Aaron Sankin

It often feels like theres a sound barrier between Washington, D.C., and the corners of the Internet inhabited by privacy experts. Over and over, you hear the same calls from people like FBI Director James Comey or Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)the U.S. must mandate, by law, that any American company that offers encrypted communications has to have backdoor that lets the government peer inside the protected digital walls.

But Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), one of four members of Congress with a degree in computer science, knows what cryptographers have said since the beginning. It is simply not possible to design an encryption system for only the so-called good guys have a backdoor access key, Lieu told the Daily Dot. Once you weaken that encryption system with a backdoor access key, then not just the good guys, who have it, but potentially any hacker or terrorist can figure it out as well.

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Lieu has stressed this more than any sitting member of the House, and made headlines when he furiously told Comey during a hearing to just follow the damn Constitution. Because for him, its not just a technical issueits a moral one.

I believe in the Constitution of the United States, and the Fourth Amendment is pretty clear, Lieu said. It basically says that government shall not engage in unreasonable searches and seizures unless the government has a specific warrant for you. Lieu stresses that he found it a clear violation of Americans civil liberties when Edward Snowden revealed the NSA was accessing Americans phone records in bulk without a warrant.

Privacy is one of the defining issues of the 21st century, he added. With the amount of technology thats in our daily lives now, its going to continue to be an important issue, and I think we need to make sure that the Fourth Amendment is respected whether people are using pen and paper or using computers. Kevin Collier

Since the 2013 revelations of Edward Snowden, an increasing number of everyday people feel the prying eyes of government surveillance as a constant threat to their privacy. Thats where Open Whisper Systems comes in.

Encryption is a mathematical algorithm that scrambles the content of your messages, making it so the intended recipient is the only person who has the key that can unscramble the message. Just five years ago, encrypted messaging was a mess. One of the only real options was an encryption protocol called Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP. And it was just that. Pretty good, but not great. It was cumbersome, difficult for technically disinclined people to use, and knowing the identity of the person you were messaging wasnt always clear.

Open Whisper Systems has changed the game, making state-of-the-art encryption accessible to everyone and dead-easy to use. In a time where lawmakers are falling over themselves to regulate encryption roll back privacy protections, Open Whisper Systems have launched a new era of privacy online.

Open Whisper Systems was founded by Moxie Marlinspike, the former head of product security at Twitter and an encryption expert. The most popular messaging app in the world, WhatsApp, recently implemented the encryption developed by Marlinspike and Open Whisper Systems. (Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $22 billion dollars and the app isnt open source, so it wouldnt be privacy advocates first choice when it comes to communicating securely.)

Open Whisper Systems has received glowing endorsements from the academic computer security world and the world’s foremost privacy advocates. After reading the code, I literally discovered a line of drool running down my face, Matthew Green, cryptography professor at John Hopkins University told the Daily Dot. Its really nice. Last year, they received some of the highest praise from Snowden himself when he declared that people should use anything by Open Whisper Systems.

The companys flagship product, Signal, is a free instant messaging and calling app with zero learning curve. Download it, and you can start sending encrypted messages or hold an encrypted phone call with anyone else that also has the app. It really is as easy as it sounds.

Signal is open source, which means a community of experts can review the code and the encryption underneath, ensuring there havent been any backdoors secretly placed by nation states or malicious actors. Theyre funded entirely by grants and arent looking for investment from venture capital firm, because doing so may compromise on the security and privacy of their users. The team recently released a beta version of the Signal desktop app, expanding the ways people can send encrypted messages. William Turton

Correction: Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion.

Illustration by Max Fleishman

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Self-driving cars will need drivers in California

 (AP)

Like most new drivers, the first wave of self-driving cars wont be able to hit the road by themselves in California.

State regulators have unveiled a draft of proposed rules governing autonomous cars that will require them to have a steering wheel and a licensed human driver sitting behind it at all times, in case things go awry.

Manufacturers will need to prove the safety of their vehicles through years of regular reporting before the restrictions are removed.

The draft sets out the framework for how the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles wants to move from the current small-scale testing of prototypes on roads and highways to giving consumers access to the fast-evolving technology. The DMV can change the rules over the coming months before they are finalized, and the industry is likely to contest them as overly burdensome.

Though no manufacturer has said it thinks the cars are ready just yet, at least a dozen are developing the technology, and the most aggressive suggest a model could be ready within a few years. Silicon Valley giant Google has pushed hardest, already building a prototype without a wheel or pedals but rigging the hardware back into the cars pending the long-anticipated regulations.

California is the largest auto market in the U.S., and its rules will be a landmark in the development of self-driving technology. States including Texas, Nevada and Michigan have courted testing on their roads but not weighed in on consumer use of the cars in detail as California did Wednesday.

Under the draft rules, even if Google thinks its car is ready for sale, that wouldn’t be immediately possible. Initially, manufacturers would receive a permit for three years, during which time consumers could lease the cars but manufacturers would be required to keep tabs on how safely they are driving and report that performance to the state.

Before granting that initial permit, both the manufacturer and an independent certifier would need to sign off that the car has passed safety testing. Any person who wants to lease or use one of the cars would need special training provided by the manufacturer, and then receive a special certification on their driver’s license.

“Given the potential risks associated with deployment of such a new technology, DMV believes that manufacturers need to obtain more experience in testing driverless vehicles on public roads prior to making this technology available to the general public,” the agency said in a written summary of the regulations.

DMV regulation writers struggled with how they would know the technology is safe before letting it go beyond prototype testing, which requires a specially trained driver behind the wheel. The agency was supposed to propose regulations at the start of 2015, but that process has dragged on over issues including how a person could take over when the car cannot drive itself safely, how to prevent hackers from seizing control of what amount to computers on wheels, and the privacy of data that the cars collect about their users.

California has grappled for several years with how to regulate the technology. The DMV has said it wants the regulations to protect public safety, but not be too onerous so that signature companies such as Google will be stifled in developing a technology with huge life-saving potential.

After all, cars that can safely drive themselves under all conditions wouldn’t rely on drivers who may be drowsy, distracted, buzzed or unable to drive because of their age or a disability. Boosters say the technology could prevent many of the more than 32,000 deaths on U.S. roads each year.

The cars use a suite of sensors including radar, lasers and cameras and onboard computers to drive. Many also rely on maps that detail everything from curb heights to the exact placement of lane stripes.

Eleven companies have permission to test on California’s public roads, with Ford the latest addition. There have been scattered collisions, nearly all involving Google cars. Those collisions have been minor and the tech giants says each has been caused by other drivers, not its technology.

The road to Wednesday’s regulations began several years ago, when Google approached a California legislator about getting formal approval for testing that the company already was doing on California freeways. The DMV published a first round of regulations, which formally allowed the testing of the cars on public roads, more than a year ago.

Wednesday’s draft rules come several weeks after the U.S. Department of Transportation signaled that it was reviewing its own guidance on self-driving cars with an eye toward getting them into broad public circulation. That guidance published in 2013 and not an official policy has said a person should be behind the wheel.

Google wants to move from current testing on the streets around its Silicon Valley headquarters to broader adoption.

In September, the safety chief at Google’s self-driving car project, Ron Medford, said the technology is “close to working pretty damn well.”

Google believes the safest path is to take people out of the equation by having control limited to stop and go buttons, with the leader of Google’s project saying that humans are “the bug” in the driving task.

A Google spokesman said Wednesday the company was reviewing the draft rules and had no immediate comment.

Meanwhile, a consumer group applauded the draft rules as appropriately cautious.

The DMV “did exactly what they should do, which is put the public safety first and then take steps that promote the technology in a safe way,” said John Simpson, privacy project director at Consumer Watchdog and frequent Google critic.

Though the result of more than a year of deliberation, the draft regulations must undergo months of review before they are set. The DMV intends to hold informal workshops for public input in January and February, and hopes after making any changes to publish final regulations later in 2016.

Brian Soublet, the DMV attorney who helped draft the rules, said the agency would tackle regulations for cars with no driver inside in the future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Obama thrills Silicon Valley with pledge to invest$ 4 billion in self-driving cars

Venture capitalists and Silicon Valley firms have been pouring money into autonomous vehicles for years, but there’s a new investor getting in on the action: the United States government.

The Obama administration on Thursday called for$ 4 billion of spending on self-driving cars.

The investment, which would be budgeted over a 10 -year period, will be used to “accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects, ” according to a statement by Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration( NHTSA ).

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, in a speech at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, promised a series of initiatives aimed at solving the considerable technological and legal challenges that could otherwise slacken the rollout and adoption of self-driving vehicles.

Now in its final year, the Obama administration is advising a longterm opinion toward federal involvement in the development of autonomous vehicles. Foxx indicated the process could take several decades while emphasizing the potential benefits of a future with roads occupied by self-driving cars.

“Automated vehicles promise to move people and goods more efficiently than we are moving them today, ” Foxx continued. “And, when automation is combined with other technologies like electric motors and innovations coming out of the sharing economy, we will be able to reduce congestion and pollution even further.”

Bryant Walker Smith, chair of theEmerging Technology Law Committeeof theTransportation Research Boardof the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, compared this stage of investment in autonomous vehicles to the invention of the airplane.

“We’re all lucky that Orville and Wilbur Wright had a beach where they could fly their aircrafts. The relevant proposals is about determining that beach for the 21 st Century, ” he said. “In words of funding, it could rival European efforts.”

Smith cautioned, however, that the White House’s pledge is simply a proposal with no detailsnot a definitive investment. The nearly$ 4 billion in suggested spending will appear in the administration’s 2017 budget.

In the near word, Foxx said there are plans to have the NHTSA work with automakers and state governments to develop model laws and regulations for states to adopt. This will take place over the next six months, he said, with hopes of creating a route to a consistent national policy.

Some early steps are already in place. The U.S. Department of Transportation( DOT) has launched initiatives to learn more about the future of transportation, including connected vehicle test beds across the country and the Smart City Challenge. Likewise, the NHTSA has funded a project to develop best practices among the states with respect to automated driving.

Still, Smith called the six-month goal for policy framework “remarkably ambitious, ” and he suggested it is “both inspired and imperiled” by the impending end of the administration.

“Policy is about much more than passing a law, ” Smith said. “I’m pleased that the U.S. DOT is going to facilitate a more thoughtful approach to the regulatory topics. Some countries have been essentially praying the U.S. DOT to do this for years. But states will still play an important role in calibrating their laws, preparing their roads, and taking other measures to encourage automated driving.”

In Silicon Valley, tech companies have welcomed the pledge, which is an expansion on Obama’s statement during the State of the Union to invest in a “2 1st century transportation system.”

“Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to save lives, ” spokesperson forGoogletold the Daily Dot, “so we welcome the secretary’s commitment to removing barriers that may prevent them from sharing the roads when they’re ready.”

Areportin December indicated Google is planning to partner with Ford to manufactureself-driving vehiclesthat would be used to develop a ridesharing service.

The statement from the search giant echoed Foxx’s on the health risks security benefits of autonomous vehicle technology, which the secretary suggested could have saved “more than 25,000 lives … in 2015 alone.”

There is some question as to just how much safer self-driving cars will be; a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that self-driving vehicles have a higher crash rate per million miles traveled than conventional vehicles. However, most of those accidents were were caused by human drivers slamming into the computer-controlled automobiles, suggesting people still have not adjusted yet to sharing the roads with autonomous cars.

Lyftand General Motors recentlyannounceda plan to bring autonomous vehicles to the roads of Austin, Tx. for users of the ridesharing platform.

A spokesperson ridesharing service Lyft told the Daily Dot that the company is “optimistic about the Obama administration’s plan to support the introduction of autonomous cars.”

“Safety is the top priority for Lyft and GM’s on-demand autonomous network, which will introduce self-driving autoes to the U.S ., ” the spokesman said. “We look forward to continuing to work with federal, nation, and localgovernments to shape the future of mobility.”

While ridesharing is clearly a focus of the future of transportation for many firms, consumer-focused companies are also optimistic about the government’s participation in the future of autonomous technology.

“A consistent, coordinated, and transparentregulatoryframeworkis the best way toallowtechnologyto moveforward, ” aTeslaspokesperson told the Daily Dot. “Our conversations with the Department of Transportation and California DMV have been quite positive. Theybothclearly acknowledge the safety potential ofautonomous transport and want tosupportit ina style that encourages its appropriate growth and introduction into the market.”

H/ T The Hill | Photo via Open Grid Scheduler/ Flickr( Public Domain )

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General Motors expends $500 m in ride-hailing company Lyft

The Uber rival and the automaker plan to open a network of US hubs where Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles, giving non-car-owners a way to earn money

General Motors and ride-hailing company Lyft are forming an unprecedented partnership that could help them beat their rivals to the self-driving future.

Lyft said Monday that GM invested $500m in the company as part of a $1bn round of fund-raising.

GM gets a seat on Lyfts board and access to the three-year-old companys software, which matches riders with drivers and automates payments. It also becomes a preferred vehicle provider, with the chance to get many more people behind the wheel of a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac.

San Francisco-based Lyft gets the expertise of a 108-year-old automaker with decades of experience in making connected and autonomous vehicles. Detroit-based GM also has an enviable global reach; it sells almost 10m cars each year in more than 100 countries. Lyft operates in 190 US cities, and it recently formed partnerships with ride-sharing services in China and India.

Together, the companies plan to open a network of US hubs where Lyft drivers can rent GM vehicles. That could expand Lyfts business by giving people who dont own cars a way to drive and earn money through Lyft. It will also give GM a leg up on competitors like Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co, who are developing their own ride-sharing services.

In the longer term, GM and Lyft will work together to develop a fleet of autonomous vehicles that city dwellers can summon using Lyfts mobile app. Partnering with GM could give Lyft a boost over its arch-rival, Uber Technologies Inc, which is working on its own driverless cars.

Lyft co-Founder and president John Zimmer and GM president Dan Ammann say the two companies began serious discussions about three months ago. Both see big changes coming in the traditional model of car ownership, and they had similar ideas about how to address it. It felt very natural very quickly, Zimmer said.

Ammann said the resulting partnership is unlike any other in the auto and tech industries.

Do we want to deploy the resources and people to do everything ourselves, or get there faster by working in partnership? Ammann said. We see a really compelling, complimentary set of capabilities.

Following its latest round of fundraising, which also included a $100m investment from Saudi Arabias Kingdom Holding Co, privately-held Lyft set its value at $5.5bn. The company expects revenue of around $1bn this year. By comparison, GM is valued at $53bn and earned $153bn in revenue in 2014.

But neither company can afford to rest. Ubers value could soon surpass GMs, and newcomers like Apple and Google are also eager to disrupt the traditional auto industry.

We see the world of mobility changing more in the next five years than it has in the last 50, Ammann said.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Robots Will Steal Our Jobs, But They’ll Give Us New Ones

At the Dusseldorf airport, robotic valet parking is now reality. You step out of your auto. You press a button on a touch screen. And then a machine lifts your car off the ground, moving all three tons of it into a kind of aerial parking bay. Built by a German company called Serva Transport, the system saves you period. It saves garage space, thanks to those carefully arranged parking spots. And it’s a sign of so many things to come.

But the one thing it doesn’t do, says J.P. Gownder, an analyst with the Boston-based tech research firm Forrester, issteal jobs. In fact, it creates them. Before installing the robotic system, the airport already employed automatic ticket machines, so the system didn’t replace human cashiers. And now, humans are needed to maintain and repair all those robotic forklifts.” These are not white-collar tasks ,” Gownder tells WIRED.” This is the evolution of the repair person. It’s harder to fix a robot than it is to fix a vending machine .”

Gownder uses the Dusseldorf parking garage as a style of showing that the coming revolution in robotics and artificial intelligence may not squeeze the human workforce as much as some pundits have dreaded. In a widely cited analyse from 2013, Oxford professors Carl Frey and Michael Osbourne say that machines could replace about 47 percent of our tasks over the next 20 years, but in a new report released today, Gownder takes a more conservative opinion. Describing on government employment data and myriad interviews with industries, academics, and, yes, pundits, Gownder predicts that new automation will cause a net loss of only 9.1 million U.S. tasks by 2025. The horizon of his survey is much closer, but his numbers are well under the roughly 70 million jobs that Frey and Osbourne believe to be in danger of vaporization.

” While these technologies are both real and important, and some jobs will disappear because of them, the future of jobs overall isnt nearly as gloomy as many prognosticators believe ,” Gownder writes in the report.” In reality, automation will spur the growth of many new jobs–including some entirely new job categories .”

AI Versus Humanity

Yes, the revolution is coming. Gownder points to a robot at the ALoft hotel in San Francisco delivers towels and toothpaste and other stuff. At Vanguard Plastics in Connecticut, a machine called Baxter is fabricating goods in ways machines never could in the past. The likes of Google and Amazon are pushing even further into this area with everything from warehouse dronings to self-driving cars.

Perhaps more importantly, the giants of the` net are rapidly advancing the art of artificial intelligence, teaching online services to recognize images, understand natural language, and even carry on conversations–the kinds of artificial intelligence that will empower robots to tackle ever-more complex tasks.Using the AI that Google and Facebook use to identify photos on the’ net, researchers have already built machines that can, says, teach themselves to screw on a bottle cap.

” Today’s technology is different than what we’ve seen in the past ,” says Martin Ford, the author of the recent volume Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future .” The technology is taking on cognitive chores. We know have machines and algorithms that they are able, at least in a limited sense, suppose .”

‘The future of jobs overall isnt nearly as gloomy as many prognosticators believe.’J.P. Gownder, Forrester

As this tech evolves, concern is certainly warranted , not only because of howthese technologies will affect the workforce but because, some argue, smarter robots could wind up becoming more harmful robots. After ensure the most recent artificial intelligence in action, Elon Musk, the founder of electric car company Tesla and the space exploration outfit SpaceX, worries that such AI may turn on humans in more direct styles, so much so that he has donated millions to attempts that seek ways of maintaining AI” beneficial to humanity .” But Gownder rightly points out that such technology is still in the early stages of development–and that it still requires much assistance from humans.

‘Job Transformation, Not Job Replacement’

Humans must build these machines and program them and repair them. But they must also train them. This is true of” deep learning” AI, and it’s true of robots like Baxter. Baxter must be programmed to perform certain tasks, and that involves physically moving his legs back and forth.

IBM is touting the arrival of Watson, a broad collect of online tools that use artificial intelligence to assist diagnose cancer , among other things, and so many others are exploring similar run. But whatever the message from IBM, such tools operate alongside humans , not in lieu of them.” Watson is like a robotic colleague ,” says Gownder.” It’s chore transformation , not task replacing .”

‘It’s task transformation , not chore replacement.’

Andrew Moore, the dean of the school of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who previously worked in AI and robotics at Google, concurs. He says that he has find no evidence that this technology is stealing jobs–and that, as hour goes on, it will likely create an enormous number of jobs.

” Technology does change the mix of jobs. You’re going to see physicians taking more of the role that involves the personal interaction with both patients and less of the role of trying to keep huge amounts of evidence in there head. The nurse may become more prestigious than the doctor ,” Moore says.” But if you look around, there are also new various kinds of creatives roles being produced across the market. There are so many undertakings that didn’t exist just a few years ago .”

This is the larger message of Gownder’s report. Robotics and AI will change the way we work, but it won’t inevitably take awayour work. Today’s warnings over the rise of AI, he says, are reminiscent of that handwringing over so many other technological advances in the past–and after all these centuries, the workforce is still there.

It should be said, however, that Gownder’s study merely looks so far down the road. And as Ford says, even Gownder’s rather conservative estimation — 9.1 million jobs lost–is still instead significant. Robotics and AI will continue to progress–at an unprecedented rate–and though Gownder believes the doomsayers have overblown the threat of widespread automation, he too watches reason for concern–and for continued to debate.” The rate of change matters ,” Gownder says.” We must keep our eyes open .”

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Detroit Is Stomping Silicon Valley in the Self-Driving Car Race

Tesla sits in themiddle. It’s strong on “vision”( that’s Elon Musk for you) and go-to-market strategy( it’s already offering semi-autonomous autoes ). But Navigant knocks Teslaon staying power( it’s a young player in a brutal industry ), marketings, marketing, and distribution( Tesla can’t operate in every state ), and technology( because Musk won’t use the expensive lidar tech experts say is necessary for full independence ).

Now, this report comes with a whopper of a caveat: These are early days in a race that will unfold over years, if not decades. Every company listed could shore up its weaknesses with smart partnerships or acquisitions, and jump to the front of the pack. Ford ranked sixth in the 2015 version of this study; Uber wasn’t on it at all.” These[ outcomes] are by no means final ,” Abuelsamid says.

Rankingmay one day change, but they serve as a reminder that it takes more than clever tech to change the world–and that muscle still matters.

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7 huge business storylines for this quarter’s earnings season

It’s that time of the year again: earnings season. It’s a finance nerd’s dream, but for the rest of the world, it’s important because some of the biggest technology companies in the world spill their intestines to the public. We get to see who’s win, who’s losing, what’s going wrong and how much Twitter’s monthly active user counting dropped.

In short, this is where the big moves happen. Wall Street watches these events with intense scrutiny because it helps them figure out where those companies are going. Will Apple hit$ 1 trillion? Does Blue Apron survive? Each quarter, we get a few data points that help us tune our crystal ball algorithm and figure out where things are going.

It’s also important because these events help define larger trends in the industry. If advertisers aren’t biting on Snap, it may be that they are just cooling off to alternative platforms in general. That could have ramifications for Pinterest and other different plays.

So, on that note, here are a few big story lines we’re tracking heading into the next couple of weeks.

( Editor’s note: We’re not going to bother addressing Twitter because it’s Twitter .)

Apple: Was the iPhone 8 a reach?

We got a surprise during Apple’s last earnings report where the business signaled a better upcoming third quarter than its original forecast. Reading( semi) deeply into the tea leaves, that indicated a few things: First, the next iPhone was going to arrive on schedule; second, it meant that the next iPhone should have had a pretty good debut.

( Note: Q4 listed below is the midpoint of the forecast from Apple .)

Bounty hunters are legally hacking Apple and the Pentagon- for big money

A growing roster of white hat hackers earn thousands receiving chinks in the digital armor of the US government and companies such as Apple and Google

Nathaniel Wakelam became a bounty hunter when he was 18.

Now 21, it is his full day chore. This month so far he has earned $21,150, in installments: he counted them out over the phone 400, plus 400, plus 300, plus 100, plus 1,000, plus 3,000, plus 4,000

Wakelams month-to-month earning varies considerably, but in an average year, he said, he can comfortably clear $250,000, running from his home in Melbourne or on his Macbook in coffee shops or nearby bars.

He saves a lot of what he earns, and spends philanthropically; he runs a charity which connects young hackers with mentors. Last year, he bankrolled a trip-up for six people to a conference in New Zealand, employing his earnings from only 48 hours of work. If you are able to get money doing something like that and it comes easily, I think youve got an obligation to help people around you, he said.

Wakelam is one of a new generation of so-called white hat hackers. Unlike black hat hackers who hack for criminal, nefarious, or destructive intents white-hat hackers make their living hunting for chinks in the digital armor of big companies in order to report them and collect an often generous reward.

There is no shortage of money to be made. This month, Apple joined the ranks of Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe, Tesla, Yahoo, and Google when it became the latest big tech firm to instigate a bug bounty program, offering awards of up to $200,000 to bounty hunters who discover security vulnerabilities.

Its not just private companies that are using bounty hunters to shore up their info security. The US Department of Defense( DoD) launched a pilot program in March called Hack the Pentagon. The first exploit was determined, Rice said, within 15 minutes of the programs launch. All in all, 58 participating hackers find 134 vulnerabilities in simply three weeks, and the DoD paid out more than $ 70,000 in bounties.

One of the recipients was David Dworken. He grew up in north Virginia, outside Washington DC, graduated from high school in June, and was invited to the Pentagon by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter after the Hack the Pentagon program: Dworken received six vulnerabilities on the first day of the pilot, working mainly in free periods or after school.

Dworkens first hack was of his schools website, when he was 16. Within two years he was collecting bounties: around $10,000 so far from Uber, and 1.3 m air miles from United Airlines. Some of the winnings hes put aside, he said, and some hes spent on upgrading his computer.

The
The US defense department launched a pilot program in March called Hack the Pentagon. The first glitch was found within 15 minutes. Photo: AFP/ Getty Images

Facebook was an early adopter of the idea of glitch bounties. Their program, launched in 2011, received more than 13,000 submissions in 2015 alone, according to a February blogpost, and has given out more than $4.3 m to more than 800 bounty hunters in 127 countries since its inception, virtually$ 1m of which was in 2015 alone. In May, Facebook paid a $10,000 reward to a 10 -year-old Finnish schoolboy who found a vulnerability in Instagrams code.

The total sizing of the marketplace for glitch bounties is unknown, in part because the programs are a mishmash of private programs, some of which dont release data. Facebook, like many companies, also sometimes use a third party in their case, a company called Bugcrowd to connect bounty pays to hunters. These third-party companies act as brokers.

Bugcrowd operates 286 programs, paying out more than$ 2m on more than 50,000 submissions since 2013; another, Exodus Intelligence, recently announced a $500,000 bounty for Apple hackers and Zerodium, a broker which specializes in so-called zero-day exploits, paid out$ 1m in 2015 for a working attack on Apples operating system. HackerOne, another big player who helped coordinate the Hack the Pentagon event, currently hosts more than 550 programs; a spokesperson said the company had tens of thousands of would-be bounty hunters signed up.

Hackers have a natural curiosity, said Alex Rice, a former head of product security at Facebook and co-founder and CTO of HackerOne. He said that, despite Hollywood depictions, all but a small minority in the information security community take a very negative opinion on criminal behaviour. We dont ask every locksmith how they feel about burglars.

You think of hacking as being this very exclusive skill set, he said, but the reality is that data software security is in a sorry nation, and if you ask most engineers how would you transgress it, if properly incentivized most of them will be able to figure out how to do it.

Of the programs posted on HackerOne, Rice said, a vulnerability was found within the first 24 hours in 77% of cases. Not one single site or piece of software has ever survived longer than a week under the scrutiny of his bounty hunters.

Finding a vulnerability or hacker feelings arousing, because you are the first person in the world to discover it. It feels good to know that you are somewhere no one else has been, said Francisco Correa, a 30 -year-old bounty hunter who also works with HackerOne.

Correa, who has a beachfront apartment in Chile which hes fitted out with fiberoptic internet, began working four years ago with Googles bug bounty program, and was promptly detecting vulnerabilities for Adobe and Microsoft as well. I was never a normal kid in school, he said. I get kicked out of six different schools. I was never one of those people who are ok following orders.

For Wakelam, the appeal lies in the problem-solving it always has been.

I genuinely enjoy breaking into big networks, he said. Its something that I can spend 24 hours on. In fact, he added, he had been doing just that for the 24 hours preceding his conversation with the Guardian for a profit of $3,000.

I can do it on my own period, he said. I dont have a boss. I can go to sleep at six in the morning and do what I want to do, as long as Im delivering glitches on a time Im happy with.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Swift creator Chris Lattner joins Google Brain after Tesla Autopilot stint

Chris Lattner, one of the key creators behind the Apple programming language Swift, is on the move again. After a short six-month stay at Tesla, which he joined last year from Apple to act as VP of Autopilot Software, Lattner announced on Twitter today that his next stop is Google Brain.

Lattner, who worked for more than a decade on low-level software and systems at Apple, indicates that there is June that he wasnt going to be staying on at Tesla after procuring that it wasnt a good fit. Lattner then joked that his resume was easy to find online, and noted his top qualification: Seven years of Swift experience, which is the longest anyone not on his immediate squad at Apple is fair to assert without outright lying.

Swift isnt Lattners only major contribution to the world of programming: Prior to his helping hand with Apples latest coding language, he created the Land compiler and LLVM. In other terms, youd be hard-pressed to find a modern developer whose run hasnt been touched at a fundamental level by something Lattner has created in the past.

Google Brain is the search giants team focused on deep learning and artificial intelligence. It focused on helping to use AI across a range of products, tackling both research and product integration, paired with squads across Alphabet, including at DeepMind. Its ultimate stated motive is to advance the field with open source projects, academic collaboration and publication.

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