In This Issue


Softbank’s Vision Fund’s unicorns have fallen into a coronavirus valley

Softbank and Masayoshi Son's massive Vision Fund gave an earnings presentation today that revealed things aren't going so well for the startup sugar daddy. Despite ploughing US$75b of mostly Saudi money into 88 technology companies like Alibaba, ARM, WeWork, Slack, Mapbox, ByteDance (aka TikTok), Uber, Grab, Doordash, DiDi, Ola and others, the fund is only worth US$69.6b. The companies also spent US$18b more than they earned, with the major money suckage coming from WeWork and Uber. They're blaming COVID-19, with Masayoshi Son using this cartoon unicorn slide to explain that his tech unicorns have fallen "into the valley of the coronavirus", but believes "some of them will fly over the valley", forgetting that unicorns don't have wings and don't fly.

Apple accuses the FBI & DoJ of once again trying to weaken encryption

The FBI and DOJ are back on their bullshit, this time accusing Apple of hindering a terrorism investigation after getting into the iPhone of the Pensacola Naval Air Station shooter. Back when this happened in December 2019, Apple handed over "all data in their possession", but the US Attorney General said Apple provided "no substantive assistance". Months later the FBI managed to get in the phone and discovered the shooter was radicalised years before entering the USA and was constantly chatting to his terrorist mates that were egging him on. The FBI and DOJ reckon if they were able to get access to the data on this phone back when the shooting occured, they could have had more success in nabbing the shooter's conspirators. Apple responded that these "false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures".

Beer tracking app Untappd could be exposing locations of military personnel

A few of you enjoy using Untappd as a way to log what beers you drink (I know this because I see your tweets every time you crack open a tinnie you goddamn drunks) and it's a pretty harmless bit of fun for most people. But for those in the military or law enforcement, it could expose what you're up to and where you live. Security researchers at Bellingcat were able to combine data from Untappd and other social media crumbs to demonstrate how a sophisticated actor (not hard to imagine the types of entities interested in US military activity) the movements of US military personnel. Just another example of how innocent use of an app can lead to outcomes you absolutely did not expect.

Not News

Not happy with a Google search result? Abuse the DMCA to get it removed!

An article in the Wall Street Journal (non-paywall link) has detailed how people are expunging content from Google's search results by filing bogus DMCA complaints. Let's say there's an article about me I don't want appearing when someone searches my name, but Google won't do anything about it. I can make a copy of that content on my own website and set the publication date to be earlier than the original content. I then make a request to Google to remove the original content using the USA's Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Because it's mostly automated (only 100 people work on 1 million+ DMCA requests a day) the content is removed or at the very least, demoted in search results. I don't know how reliable it is for major news outlets, but for ordinary blogs I can imagine it to be quite effective.


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