Daily Tech Headlines – May 24, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – May 24, 2018
Number 509
Broadcast Date MAY 24, 2018
Episode Length 5:09
Hosts Sarah Lane

US Justice Department opens criminal probe into bitcoin price manipulation, Echo speaker records woman’s conversation and sends it to a contact, Elon Musk wants to create journalist rating system.

Headlines

Sources tell Bloomberg The US Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into price manipulation of Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Techniques like spoofing and flooding the market with fake orders to trick other traders into buying or selling are reportedly both being reviewed and federal prosecutors are working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a financial regulator that oversees derivatives tied to Bitcoin. Previously the Securities and Exchange Commission opened dozens of investigations into initial coin offerings that were suspected to be scams.
The New York Times reports that Apple has been developing prototypes of its own car for 4 years, but has dramatically scaled back the project, instead partnering with Volkswagen to supply a fleet of its T6 California vans with the latest Apple tech, including new “computers, sensors and a large electric car battery.” Sources say Apple previously tried to ink a deal with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and McLaren to build an Apple car, but no deals were made.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report today that Uber disabled an emergency braking system in a self-driving vehicle that struck and killed a woman in Arizona in March and failed to properly identify the pedestrian.The report said the modified 2017 Volvo XC90 radar systems observed the pedestrian six seconds before impact but “the self-driving system software classified the pedestrian as an unknown object, as a vehicle, and then as a bicycle.” Uber said Wednesday it would shut down its Arizona self-driving testing program and focus on limited testing in Pittsburgh and California.
Uber's first quarter earnings reported $2.6 billion in revenue, up from $2.4 billion in the last quarter of 2017. Uber turned a profit: of $2.5 billion, thanks to business mergers in Russia with Yandex, and Southeast Asia with Grab. Excluding those gains, the company lost about $480 million, down from $1.1 billion in losses in the previous quarter.
Vevo announced is shutting down its mobile apps for Android, iOS ,and Windows Mobile, and it's consumer website to focus on its YouTube presence. Vevo has a distribution deal with YouTube, and Google also owns a minority stake in the company. This new strategy move follows departures from Vevo's CEO, CTO and head of product. The company will give users of its service a playlist tool to import their Vevo playlists to YouTube, and will still operate select smart TV apps for now.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a bit of a tweetstorm Wednesday, complaining that the public no longer respects "big media companies" because they "lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie." Musk tweeted "Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda." Pravda, which means truth in Russian, was the name of the official paper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Consumer Reports recently decided not to recommend the Tesla Model 3 midsize sedan, after it found the vehicle had the longest stopping distance of any contemporary car it has tested.
Airbnb launched a new beta feature called Travel Stories, a way for guests to create video sequences of their Airbnb experiences to share on the Airbnb iOS app. Airbnb has made efforts to be more than just a service for booking a hotel alternative on vacation - for example the company launched experiences — events you might enjoy in your own city — and concierge services to help create trip itineraries.
A Portland, Oregon, woman, tells a Fox News affiliate that her Amazon Echo recorded an audio clip of her conversation and sent it to a person on her contact list. A spokesperson for Amazon says “Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.” An engineer looking into the incident speculated that the Echo speaker “guessed” the command to send a message via Alexa Voice Messaging without asking for verbal confirmation. Normally, Alexa and Google Assistant — which has similar messaging capabilities — both alert users when they’re about to send an audio message.
Finally, StumbleUpon, which launched way back in 2001, is closing down. Cofounder Garrett Camp said in a blog post Thursday that StumbleUpon accounts can be ported over on his other products Mix.com, “over the next couple of months.” It was acquired by eBay for around $75 million in 2007, but bought back by Camp and a slew of investors — in 2009. Camp reacquired a majority share in StumbleUpon in 2015. Camp is also a cofounder of Uber and serves on its board.

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Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – May 23, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – May 24, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – May 25, 2018"