News & Analysis

  1. asshole

    Spotify vs Uber: A case study on why it’s sometimes better not to be an asshole

    Call it the “Uber approach.” Or more to the point, the “asshole approach.” It goes something like this: A company has an idea that completely changes an industry, in many ways for the better. But whenever disruption takes place, there’s a risk that the good practices of the old guard — in the case of taxis, that means insurance requirements, background checks, and safety inspections — get thrown out with the bad — like onerous restrictions on taxi medallions and outdated technology. Protecting the interests of incumbents, even…
  2.  
  3. gawker_hq_final

    Kevin Montgomery, last remaining Valleywag writer, has left the site

    Kevin Montgomery has left Gawker’s tech gossip site, Valleywag, he confirmed to me earlier this afternoon. SF-based Montgomery was the last remaining writer at the site, following the departure of Nitasha Tiku, who left to join the Verge, and Sam Biddle, who has been reassigned to other duties at Gawker. Confirmation of Montgomery’s departure comes days after Gawker founder Nick Denton confirmed that Biddle had cost Gawker at least a million dollars in advertising revenue through tweets responding to Gamergate trolls.…
  4. mobile-keystroke-tracking

    How the app industry’s reliance on mobile ad networks makes us all less secure

    Antivirus software company Avast has published a blog post warning consumers about mobile advertising networks that trick people into downloading malware which then steals a few dollars each month. This is accomplished via text messages giving 25 cents to the malware’s creator a few times each week, and while that isn’t much for most people, it can add up if the payments remain unnoticed. It’s actually pretty easy to avoid the malware: even though it disguises itself as…
  5. loans

    LendingClub’s IPO is a hit, but P2P lending still has to prove itself

    Peer-to-peer businesses are seeing something of a rebirth. After early Internet startups like eBay and Napster built their business models on peer-to-peer technology, the social media sites that drove the second wave of the web stole their thunder. But in recent years P2P has returned in a way that promises to remake commerce: Bitcoin. Crowdfunding. The sharing economy. Even Bittorrent, one of the first broadly popular if not financially lucrative P2P companies, is looking for a comeback by creating a P2P browser that…
  6.  
  7. uber

    Uber Executive Who Wanted To Investigate Journalists Went To War With His Landlord Too

    ‘The judge threw out Michael’s case, chastising it as “borderline frivolous.” But the squabble didn’t end. In a series of emails provided by Danforth to BuzzFeed News, Michael called Danforth a “racist asshole” and “slumlord.” Michael even threatened to call in support from “my friend the Chief of Police of SF.”’ – Buzzfeed
  8. tor

    Tor is not a “Fundamental Law of the Universe”

    Editor’s note: This is a guest post by David Golumbia,  author of The Cultural Logic of Computation. Golumbia is Assistant Professor in the Department of English and the MATX PhD program at Virginia Commonwealth University. It originally appeared on Uncomputing.org. In what I consider a very welcome act of journalistic open-mindedness, Pando Daily recently published a piece by Quinn Norton that responded both to Yasha Levine’s excellent and necessary piece on the US Government’s funding of the Tor Project, and perhaps even more so his even more…
  9. facebook-empathy

    Facebook hired an “empathy team” to humanize its workers. I have a better solution.

    Facebook is finally starting to realize the 1.2 billion people who use its service to vent about their work, communicate with their families, or share pictures with their friends are human beings. Business Insider reports that Facebook has stopped referring to the people who use its service as “users” when it’s having internal discussions. The company has also hired an “empathy team” to help workers “understand what it’s actually like to be a user, or a business paying for advertising.”…
  10.  
  11. pando-breaking-news-small

    In wake of Uber rape, Delhi police to deploy night vision drones to protect women

    “In a first of its kind project in the country, mini drones fitted with night vision cameras will be used to patrol the streets of the national capital by the Delhi Police in order to make the city safer for women. As the rape of a 27-year-old finance company executive by an Uber cab driver brought the spotlight back on women security in the city, the force has decided to patrol dark stretches and crime prone areas…” ~DNA India
  12. Tim Cook

    Tim Cook’s more forgiving Apple welcomes PayPal into its online store

    Remember when Apple left PayPal standing out in the cold by omitting the popular payment platform from its list of preferred providers upon the launch of Apple Pay? Remember when PayPal hit Apple below the proverbial belt following its iCloud celebrity nude photo scandal, publishing an ad that read, “We the people want our money safer than our selfies?” Well it seems like even the most broken bridges can be mended, because the two Silicon Valley giants are…
  13. uber

    Baidu reportedly plans $600M Uber investment

    Baidu, the Internet search company often referred to as “China’s Google,” is said to be planning a $600 million investment in Uber. The company confirmed to Bloomberg that it’s announcing an investment in “a U.S. startup that is now a household name” next week. [Source: Bloomberg]
  14.  
  15. elsewhere

    Expired security mechanism bricks payment terminals

    An expired security mechanism “bricked” thousands of payment terminals across numerous retailers last week. The problem is that a cryptographic certificate issued in 2004 was set to expire 10 years later as a precaution; that 10-year mark happened to be last week. [Source: Brian Krebs]
  16. bitcoin-goin-down

    Ridecoin combines Uber and bitcoin in the ultimate troll against government oversight

    Over the course of its five-year existence, Uber has courted controversy and pushed the regulatory envelope at nearly every opportunity. From insurance to safety to privacy, Uber’s Travis Kalanick has acted like a rebel with a $40 billion cause, and many local governments are still playing catch up. They say it’s better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Uber has time for neither. (To be fair, its competitor Lyft has experienced its own set of…
  17. wifi-security

    Sophos reveals that many UK retailers haven’t implemented basic security protocols

    A study commissioned by the Sophos security firm shows many retailers in the United Kingdom don’t train their staff to recognize credit card fraud and have not worked to protect consumer data even though they believe “the risk of credit card fraud will increase in the lead up to Christmas.” The study, which surveyed 250 information technology “decision makers” at various retailers, reports that 72 percent of respondents “have not implemented fundamental security required to safeguard both business and customer data” even though 14…
  18.  
  19. pando-breaking-news-small

    Google to shutter Russian engineering office

    Google plans to close an engineering office it had in Russia, perhaps because of the country’s increasing efforts to crackdown on Internet freedoms, the Information reports. The affected engineers will be offered positions in the company’s other offices around the world. [Source: The Information]
  20. hackers_feature

    Sony’s hack gets worse with FBI warnings, threats against employees, and flaunting of the hypocritical CFAA

    The hack which led to the exposure of financial information, email correspondence, and employee records from Sony Pictures Entertainment continues to hound the company. And if the warnings from both researchers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are to be believed, it isn’t over yet. Researchers suggest this hack is meant to intimidate other companies that have been attacked by the same malware. Extortion is a “big concern because it would mean the point of [Sony’s] public ‘execution’ was to…
  21. Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 7.40.33 PM

    Twitter suspends journalist’s account after he publishes public document

    A troubling story out of Berkeley tonight. Local journalist Darwin BondGraham has had his Twitter account suspended after tweeting a document obtained under California’s Public Records Act. The Tweet showed an email exchange between an employee and customer of law enforcement contractor, PredPol, which seems to show problems with the company’s software. Graham Tweeted a screenshot earlier yesterday. Shortly afterwards, the employee, identified as Claire Lovell responded on Twitter, asking BondGraham “Can you please not publish my personal information publically.” The request…
  22.  

The Week in Review