Tech News Today (MP3)

Tech News Today (MP3)

United States

Tech News Today explores the most important stories of the day in conversation with the world's leading journalists live each weekday at 7:00pm Eastern, 4:00pm Pacific, 00:00 UTC. Give us your news and views at 260-TNT-SHOW or tnt@twit.tv, or watch recorded shows on our website at http://twit.tv/tnt.

Episodes

TNT 1688: Hold The Phone!  

Meitu, the Chinese selfie app that asks for an insane amount of permissions, issued a statement to CNET saying that China requires them to implement alternative tracking methods for user identification purposes. Meitu developers insist that they are not selling that data to anyone.

Samsung appears to be ready to share its Note 7 findings during a press conference this Sunday evening, but a report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that the cause is related to "irregularly sized" batteries as well as manufacturing inconsistencies.

A report out of Norway says that Tidal has over-reported its numbers repeatedly, including in a March 2016 press release, when TIDAL claimed to have 3 million subscribers, not including trial members. Internally, it reported having around 1.2 million subscribers, yet only made payments to labels for 850,000 subscribers.

Qualcomm is having a bad week. Apple filed a $1 billion lawsuit claiming that Qualcomm has charge royalties "for technologies they have nothing to do with." And earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission also filed a suit against Qualcomm over exclusionary tactics in how it licenses its patents.

Amazon is doubling down on the Dash, its push-button system for quick one-tap purchasing of products from the e-commerce site by showing virtual versions of those buttons on the Amazon homepage. The buttons will be customized based on user's buying activity.

Hosts: Jason Howell and Sam Machkovech

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TNT 1687: Drive Fast, Break Wallets  

Google is coming under fire for surfacing its own products at the top of search results that are related to hardware the company actually sells. The Wall Street Journal worked with SEMrush to analyse 25,000 total searches on 25 terms like laptops and speakers. 91 percent of the time, Google's own products were offered up at the top in place of competitors' products.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed its six month inquiry into the May 7th crash of a Tesla that killed the driver, Joshua Brown, while the car was in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. NHTSA says Tesla was not at fault.

Uber is settling a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission and will pay $20 million dollars as a result. The complaint said that Uber misled its drivers about the amount of money that drivers were able to earn in 20 cities, including New York City and San Francisco.

Netflix announced Q4 earnings and they are crushing it. Subscriber growth appears unstoppable with the addition of 7.05 million new customers in this quarter alone. While Business Insider points out that the company is currently experiencing a free cash flow deficit, that's because they're creating and producing so much of their own original content like Stranger Things - which is cheaper, but only in the long run.

Twitter released its 2016 diversity report showing the company's largest gains since the report began in 2014. Women represented 37 percent of the workforce, up from 34 percent in 2015, and African Americans jumped from 2 to 3 percent in that time. Twitter also set its goals for 2017 which include increasing the hiring of underrepresented minorities in non-technical positions.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Kerry Davis

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TNT 1686: The Truth is Out There  

The Information says Google's cheap Android One phones could come to the US by the end of this year. Sources did not know for sure who would make the phone, but suggest LG could be a partner.

A South Korean court reached a decision to dismiss the arrest warrant it held for Jay Y. Lee, head of Samsung, on bribery charges. After being held overnight at a detention center, Lee was set free with the judge saying an arrest was unnecessary at this point.

The CIA has released 13 million pages of declassified documents online, going back decades. Now you too can search the database for information on Aliens, state-funded mind-control, pre-cognition, and telepathy, just to name a few.

Slack is rolling out a new feature that brings Message threads to chat windows, which allows for extended comments to be attached to individual topics within the thread. Those threads can be collapsed and expanded as needed.

A class-action lawsuit in LA alleges that Apple has the ability to block iPhone users from texting while driving, but they don't use it...and that is causing accidents and deaths on the road. A California man who brought the lawsuit is seeking to halt all iPhone sales until they lock out iPhones to prevent texting and driving.

Matt Weinberger from Business Insider talks about Google buying Twitter's Fabric

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Matt Weinberger

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TNT 1685: Samsung's Gift Horse  

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is part of a courtroom battle between Oculus and ZeniMax Media, a videogame publisher that accused Oculus of the theft of critical technology that made its way into the finalized Oculus Rift headset. Zuckerberg is confident that Oculus products were not based in any way on ZeniMax's technology.

According to a note to developers spotted by The Guardian, prices for apps in the Apple store are going up in the UK, India, and Turkey. The price hikes will affect apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Google and LG are gearing up for a big wearable announcement event on February 9, according to VentureBeat sources. Android Wear 2.0 is expected along with a duo of new smartwatches created in a partnership with LG and Google.

We'll finally have our self-flying cars by the end of this year, at least according to attention seekers at AirBus. At a tech conference in Munich an executive at the European aircraft maker says they will test a single-seat flying taxi prototype in Oregon by the end of 2017.

Today is the final day for the 6-second Vine video service. Users can snag all of their Vines from the site for posterity. The Vine app will turn into Vine Camera allowing users to continue shooting 6-second masterpieces for upload to any service they choose including Twitter.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Elise Hu

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TNT 1684: MLK Tech Day, Yay!  

Microsoft says the Windows 10 anniversary update protects you from exploits even before they get patched. Thanks to exploit mitigation controls, Microsoft's security researchers say systems running Windows 10 anniversary update are more secure against future attacks.

In other Windows news, Joshua Burge from Emojipedia says the newest Windows 10 Insiders build adds emoji for interracial couples, making it the first major platform to do so.

Google is using machine learning to make it easier to store high res images using less data, but only if you use Google +. A new technology called RAISR, which stands for Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution can reduce data costs up to 75 percent per image.

Jay Y. Lee, the acting head of Samsung, could face formal corruption charges. South Korean officials accuse Lee of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury. Lee is the son of Lee Kun-hee, who is the official head of Samsung and is currently incapacitated. Court will convene Wednesday.

Jimmy Iovine confirms rumors that Apple plans to get into the original TV content arena. Iovene says the new content does not have to be music or about music. They're going to do whatever hits pop culture smack on the nose.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is back in flight. Over the weekend the company launched a Falcon 9 into space to release ten Iridium communication satellites into earth's orbit. This is the first SpaceX flight since the rocket exploded on the launchpad last September.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Owen JJ Stone

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TNT 1683: Tales from the Encrypt  

We start with the story that is captivating Nintendo fans: The Switch. That's the name of the much-anticipated 6.2 inch multi-touch screen portable gaming system from Nintendo. The Verge says with true portability, combined with the ability to stream high-res to your television, the Switch already gets right what that Wii U got wrong. It'll cost $300 and be available on March 3.

Consumer Reports says they will now give Apple's new MacBooks their coveted Recommended rating. Back in December the magazine said they could not recommend the laptops due to inconsistent battery life. Apple fixed the bug on January 9th.

Facebook-owned Messaging tool WhatsApp is under the privacy microscope again, this time for what The Guardian is calling a backdoor that allows snooping, even on encrypted messages. Sources call the flaw a threat to privacy and a potential tool for government agency spying. However, security experts say the Guardian report is hyperbolic and this backdoor is really a design decision by Facebook.

Microsoft just acquired a Toronto-based AI startup called Maluuba. In a blog post on their site, the creators of Maluuba say their focus is artificial general intelligence, or creating literate machines that could think. Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence head executive Harry Shum says Microsoft will share their plans for Maluuba in the coming months, but it will most likely include some kind of AI for the enterprise.

Harrison Weber from VentureBeat on the rise and fall of ATAP's Project Ara module phone.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Georgia Dow

Guest: Harrison Weber

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TNT 1682: I Bot it At Amazon  

Jeff Bezos says Amazon will hire one hundred thousand full-time workers, with jobs at all skill levels from engineering to factory building. A spokesperson for the company says the openings will be for employment across the US, and not just in Seattle or Silicon Valley. Amazon plans to fill the positions over the next 18 months, giving us a hint at the speed at which they plan to open physical stores, more warehouses, and build out their cloud computing business.

According to the Wall Street Journal's sources, Apple representatives have been looking to buy original content from Hollywood creators. The content might then be available to people who pay the $10/month Apple music subscription fee.

If you pre-ordered the throw-and-go Lily Robotics personal drone, I've got some bad news for you. It's been delayed. Forever. After $34 million dollars in pre-orders, Lily is shutting down, saying they don't have the funds to produce it.

The European Parliament released a draft report proposing a kill switch for robots to limit the amount of damage they do when they turn on us. The proposal on robot governance includes general principals about what to do when or if robots become self-aware, including liability issues and a classification system for the registration of advanced robots.

Pandora is laying off 7 percent of employees, according to a letter to shareholders by CEO Tim Westegren. He also said they'd exceeded growth, due in large part to lucrative advertising deals. Pandora still plans to release its $10/month streaming service later this quarter.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Scott Johnson

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TNT 1681: Take the Tech News  

Alphabet continues to pare down its many moonshot efforts by shuttering Project Titan, its solar powered drone program. And according to Bloomberg, Alphabet is also in the process of trying to sell its Skybox Imaging Satellite business, which it renamed Terra Bella last year.

Verizon has confirmed that it will kick grandfathered unlimited users off its networks, if they are data hogs. If you use 200 gigabytes a month, you'll be required to switch to a capped plan or Verizon will show you the door.

Samsung says that more than 96 percent of its Galaxy Note 7 devices have been returned thanks to its recall after a number of exploding battery incidents. Thanks to the high number of returns, the Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its requirement that airlines issue pre-boarding messages warning against bringing the device onto flights.

Instagram is adding full-screen ads to your stories, but you can skip them. Copying Snapchat's stories has been a successful move for Instagram. Since launching Stories five months ago, Instagram has gone from 100 million daily users to 150 million daily users.

Pre-orders for Nintendo's new console, The Switch, will begin on Friday morning at 9AM eastern, snagging gamers a place in line to get the system when it officially launches sometime in March.

Matt McFarland from CNN discusses how taxi and truck drivers in upstate New York are pushing for severe restrictions to keep self driving cars out for up to 50 years.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Matt McFarland

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TNT 1680: The Review From My Wife  

Apple says they've fixed a bug that caused wild fluctuations in battery performance during the Consumer Reports testing of the new Macbook Pro. Consumer Reports is reportedly considering retesting the device.

John MacFarlane, CEO and co-founder of Sonos, has resigned from his role with the company after 15 years at the top. Patrick Spense, currently the Sonos President, will take over in the lead role. Macfarlane says he didn't want Spense to always feel like a founder was looking over his shoulder.

Greenpeace released its renewable energy report and says that Google, Apple, and Facebook get good marks in renewable energy efforts, but Amazon lags behind. HBO, Netflix, and Hulu all received Fs for the amount of energy they use from all your binge watching.

LG has had a bad year. Its flagship LG G5 didn't move the needle throughout 2016, and part of the reason could have been its bold but ultimately unsuccessful trial of modular functionality with LG Friends. 2017 will be different. LG announced the G6 which will have a larger 5.7" QHD display with an unprecedented 18:9 aspect ratio. LG says consumers want larger displays, so this is one way that LG is attempting to right the wrongs of its last flagship device.

Tesla Motors has poached another Apple employee. Chris Lattner, creator of the Swift programming language, is joining the electric car company as VP of autopilot software.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Molly McHugh

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TNT 1679: Ctrl-Alt-Aba  

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will resign from Yahoo's board of Directors along with cofounder David Filo and four other board members when and if the sale to Verizon goes through. Also, as Verizon will be purchasing Yahoo's core business, the remaining investment company that won't be going to Verizon will be renamed "Altaba."

Leading up to the opening of the North American Auto Show in Detroit, John Krafcik from Google's Waymo showed off an entirely new sensor suite for its self-driving minivans that are set to hit the streets for test drives this month.

This week Volkswagon showed off the VW ID Buzz concept to bring its microbus into the 21st century with a fully electric version that includes full self-driving capabilities. The bus can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, with a range of 270 miles.

Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan says thieves stole two prototypes of the project Valerie three-screen laptop from CES. Razer will offer 25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.

Sources say that Facebook will soon begin testing mid-roll video ads. Facebook will sell the ads and then share the revenue with publishers, giving them 55 percent of the take.

Stephen Hacket from 512pixels discusses the ten year anniversary of the announcement of the original iPhone.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Stephen Hackett

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TNT 1678: Cook's Books Cause Second Looks  

Network World says the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on D-Link, a company that makes routers, smart plugs, security cameras, and baby monitors, claiming unfair practices. The suit claims that D-Link engaged in unfair or deceptive acts, and that they failed to take reasonable steps to secure their products, making them vulnerable to hackers.

Samsung's 2016 calendar year seemed to be defined by many as the year of exploding Note 7s. It turns out, even in light of all that negative attention, Samsung is projecting record profits in its Q4 2016 earnings thanks to its strong positions in the OLED and chip industries.

Sources tell TechCrunch that Chinese drone-maker DJI now owns a majority stake in high-end Swedish camera company Hasselblad, which means your future quadcopter could come with a pretty fancy camera.

This has been the CES that Amazon built, sort of. Alexa is EVERYWHERE, including coming soon to Ford vehicles by way of its SYNC 3 technology. Ford drivers will soon be able to use Alexa to control their media, check the weather, and control smart home devices while driving.

According to a regulatory filing, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple execs are taking pay cuts due to the company's lousy year. This is the first time the company has missed sales goals since he took over the company as well as the first miss in the past fifteen years.

Lindsey Turrentine and Father Robert Ballecer discuss home automation and voice controlled devices at CES Sam Machkovech talks Nintendo Switch, Nvidia, and other announcements from CES.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Sam Machkovech

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TNT 1677: Culture of Secrecy  

Apple's growth in iPhone sales may be slowing, but its app store revenue is doing gangbusters. The company says they paid developers $20 billion dollars throughout the year and even broke records on New Year's Day.

Quartz reports that the US department of Labor is suing Google over disclosure of compensation data and documents. Google could be barred from all federal contracts for not divulging confidential employment information from thousands of employees.

Google announced that it is opening up its Assistant AI to Android TV and beyond.

Nvidia unveiled its new Shield TV streaming box with 4K streaming capability and Google Assistant in the box that's facilitated by a remote with a built in microphone. Nvidia also showed off the Nvidia Spot, a hybrid microphone speaker that can extend access to Assistant throughout the home.

Corning showed off a concept car made partially of Gorilla glass. Corning glass is thinner, lighter, and more scratch resistant than the glass that car-makers usually use. The Corning glass dashboard and center console contains fiber optic controls, but it's also flexible which means it's easier to produce.

The resolution wars continue as Dell showed off its new Ultrasharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Monitor at CES, a 31.5" monitor at 7680x4320 resolution with 280 pixels per inch. Expect the monitor to hit store shelves later this year for $4,999.

Kurt Wagner from Recode discussed how Facebook's employee culture embraces secrecy of internal projects, effectively keeping leaks from hitting the media.Fr. Robert Ballecer shows off a few of his favorite gadgets from the Pepcom show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guest: Kurt Wagner

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TNT 1676: Pedaling a Pegasus  

As the Republican-led Congress begins a new session this week, Politico reports that the GOP has adopted new rules banning and imposing hefty fines for livestreaming or otherwise broadcasting protests on the House floor.

Apple removed the New York Times app from its app store late last month at the request of the Chinese government, which cited that the chinese and english language versions of the app violated local regulations. Those regulations were not explicitly defined in the request.

The Wall Street Journal says consumers spent $967.6 million in mobile games for iOS and Android over the holidays. This figure is up more than 50 percent since last year. Nearly 90% of all gross app revenue came from games.

Tesla announced that it missed its target for 2016 vehicle deliveries by about 4,000 vehicles, seeing a slowdown in production during the last quarter thanks to changes to the Autopilot software. But today, Tesla also started producing batteries at its Gigafactory in Nevada, which is under construction and currently only around 30 percent complete.

Medium, The publishing platform started by the founder of Twitter and Blogger, announced layoffs today. In a post on his struggling platform, Ev Williams said they will let go a third of their employees, close their offices in New York and DC, part ways with transitional executives, and refocus on a "less proven" way to pay writers.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

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TNT 1675: Walking the Earth like Kane  

The consumer electronics show is gearing up to begin official on Thursday, but product announcements are already rolling in. Including a number of smart assistants for the home, similar to Amazon's Echo. Lenovo and Mattel, yes the toy maker, proved that the category is about to take off showing off their own smart assistants at this year's show.

Mark Zuckerberg's yearly challenge to himself for 2017 is something more than simply creating a home AI system. Like a politician, Mark plans to visit all 50 states throughout the year to talk with people about how they live their lives, and how those lives have been affected by technology.

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance in Japan is about to put IBM's Watson Explorer AI to work as an insurance claim worker, replacing 34 human employees in the process. The move is expected to increase productivity by 30%, saving the company around $1.1 million per year.

A new report by TrendForce says that mobile payments are about to encounter significant growth in 2017. $585 billion was spent using mobile payment services last year, and the report shows that the market should see a jump of around 25% throughout 2017.

Hosts: Jason Howell and Ron Richards

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TNT 1674: Tread the VR  

Research by Security Research Labs shows how easy it is to abuse flight reservation systems, with three systems making up 90 percent of all reservations worldwide and utilizing 70's and 80's era technology to do it. As a result, weakened authentication makes it easy for anyone to capture personal and booking information using relatively simple methods.

Tesla is rolling out the first big update to its Enhanced Autopilot system, but only to the first 1000 cars in its fleet for starters. The enhancements include Traffic Aware Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warnings, and Low Speed Autosteer. Elon Musk says Autopilot 2.0 will reach feature parity to 1.0 in the first half of 2017.

Bitcoin apparently had a new years resolution: To reach higher than $1000, and it did that thanks to a good year that saw it climb 125 percent in 2016. It reached $1,022 on the Bitstamp exchange, which is the highest it's been since the Mt. Gox hack in late 2013 saw its value plunge from its all time high of $1163 to less than $400.

At the top of many people's New Years resolutions list is likely to strike a better work/life balance. In France, employment law is helping all of its workers do just that by affording workers the right to disconnect from technology during off-hours. Employers with 50 or more workers are now required to work with employees to negotiate ways that they can switch off when not at work.

Russell Holly from VRheads discusses how virtual reality can be used to help gamers get in shape.

Hosts: Jason Howell and Ron Richards

Guest: Russell Holly

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TNT 1673: AI in 2016  

Alex Kantrowitz from Buzzfeed, Selena Larson from CNN, and Dave Gershgorn from Quartz join Megan Morrone and Jason Howell to talk about the biggest Artificial Intelligence stories from throughout the year.

Artificial Intelligence had a major coming out party throughout 2016. It became a household name in many ways, and moved from this thing we saw coming, to something that seems to be consuming all aspects of technology.

The White House said that AI would spur economic growth, but at the cost of millions of jobs, and those changes could be right around the corner.

In some ways, institutional bias can be introduced into the production of AI systems, influencing the products we use that rely on those systems.

AI is beginning to make its way into the medical field, with Baidu launching a chatbot called Melody that helps doctors treat their patients through text conversations.

The next generation of computer hacking could involve tricking AI into thinking it is seeing something that it's not.

Hosts: Megan Morrone and Jason Howell

Guests: Alex Kantrowitz, Selena Larson, and Dave Gershgorn

Download or subscribe to this show at https://twit.tv/shows/tech-news-today.

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TNT 1672: Social Media in 2016  

Kurt Wagner from Recode joins Jason Howell and Megan Morrone to discuss the year's biggest social media stories. Snapchat had its biggest year, but encountered many speed bumps along the way. Facebook had success with live video, but continuously stumbled as it dealt with the impact and influence of fake news. Instagram emulated some of the successes of Snapchat, and effectively revitalized its service in new ways. Twitter struggled to increase its user count, and tried unsuccessfully to find a buyer.

Hosts: Megan Morrone, Jason Howell, and Kurt Wagner

Download or subscribe to this show at https://twit.tv/shows/tech-news-today.

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TNT 1671: Gaming in 2016  

Sam Machkovech from Ars Technica joins Megan Morrone and Jason Howell to pick apart the biggest gaming news from 2016. Virtual Reality legitimized itself with the release of the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and Playstation VR. 4k and HDR came to consoles by way of the Xbox One S and the Playstation 4 Pro. Pokemon Go burst onto the scene, but quickly trailed off. Super Mario Run for iOS might be a big transitional point for Nintendo. Finally, a look at the biggest games from 2016, as well as the most anticipated releases expected for 2017.

Hosts: Megan Morrone, Jason Howell, and Sam Machkovech

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TNT 1670: Auto Tech in 2016  

Tim Stevens from CNET Roadshow joins Megan Morrone and Jason Howell to talk about all of the biggest stories from 2016 in the auto technology space. General Motors invested heavily in Lyft to secure its own spot in the race to ride hailing. Tesla unveiled the consumer-friendly Model 3, and people were willing to wait years to get one. Comma.ai unveiled its self driving car kits, only to pull them when NHTSA asked for safety information. Android Auto aimed to make phone technology in the car a bit safer. Uber began to test its self-driving fleet in Pittsburg, Ohio. Chevrolet showcased its Bolt, though it met a number of delays on the way to market.

Hosts: Megan Morrone, Jason Howell, and Tim Stevens

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TNT 1669: Security and Privacy in 2016  

Megan Morrone, Jason Howell, and Iain Thomson from The Register take a look at some of the biggest security and privacy stories from 2016. The Internet of Things has proven to be a powerful vector for widespread Internet attacks. The DNC is hacked by purported Russian Government hackers and sets a precedent for election hacktivism. Yahoo and Adult Friend Finder hacks put many millions of user details at risk. NSA spy tools are put up for auction by the Shadow Brokers. The UK passes the Investigatory Powers Bill, broadening its surveillance powers in unprecedented ways. A terror attack in San Bernardino sparks a months long debate around backdoors and encryption, and Apple refuses to play ball. Messaging services double down on encrypted communication for its users.

Hosts: Megan Morrone, Jason Howell, and Iain Thomson

Download or subscribe to this show at https://twit.tv/shows/tech-news-today.

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