10 things in tech you need to know today


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Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

  1. Tesla dropped its lawsuit against Alameda County over its coronavirus shutdown. CEO Elon Musk has railed against government-issued guidance during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  2. Apple and Google have started rolling out their COVID-19 contact tracing tech in a publicly available software update. The software will use Bluetooth to detect other smartphones in close proximity and alert the user – assuming they have a relevant health app installed – if they come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  3. Utah reportedly spent nearly $3 million on a contact tracing app that less than 2% of the state's population has downloaded. The app's developers also haven't yet delivered on many of the features they promised, according to BuzzFeed News.
  4. Deutsche Bank analysts said Facebook's big push into online shopping could generate a $30 billion jump in annual revenue. On Tuesday, Facebook announced Facebook Shops — a way for businesses to create online storefronts.
  5. More than 50 civil liberties groups are urging Congress to block the FBI from viewing Americans' web-browsing history without a warrant. The Senate last week passed a reauthorization of the Patriot Act that included language from Mitch McConnell granting the FBI authority to see web-browsing records without a warrant.
  6. Google has struck a deal with the Department of Defense to fight cybercrime. The deal will see Google's cloud division provide tools to the DoD's Defense Innovation Unit.
  7. Cybersecurity experts found seven security flaws in the UK's contact-tracing app. The researchers recommend that the app switch from using a centralized approach, which pools user data in a central server, to a decentralized approach.
  8. An Apple whistleblower publicly slammed the company, claiming it violated 'fundamental rights' after Siri recorded users' intimate moments without consent. Thomas le Bonniec revealed to The Guardian last year that while working for Apple he overheard Siri users' private moments, including medical discussions, drug deals, and people having sex.
  9. Multiple people on Twitter said Tuesday night they had tried to call Citibank's customer support line, but were only met with the automated prompt: "Hello world. Weasels have eaten our phone system." Although some speculated Citibank's phones had been hacked, this prompt was actually in place of an error message indicating something was wrong with the bank's phone system.
  10. A survey of thousands of San Francisco Bay Area techies found that two out of three would consider leaving if they could permanently work remotely. Respondents also overwhelmingly said they don't expect to be going back into offices every day after the end of the pandemic.

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