Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
- Insiders have described how Robinhood, the buzzy $6 billion trading app, pushed regulatory boundaries to launch new financial products against the advice of its own lawyers and executives. Insiders told Business Insider that the firm ignored rules that would keep customers’ money safe.
- Android creator Andy Rubin was allegedly involved in running a “sex ring” with at least one woman, and is accused of cheating his ex-wife out of millions of dollars in their prenuptial agreement, according to a civil complaint unsealed on Tuesday in connection with another case. The details regarding Rubin’s alleged extramarital affairs shed new light on last year’s New York Times report which claimed the Android creator had been involved in “ownership relationships” with multiple women during his marriage.
- Jigsaw, the Alphabet arm focused on cybersecurity and geopolitical issues, has a toxic internal work culture of its own, according to a Motherboard report on Tuesday. Insiders described a chronic failure to address HR issues and to retain talent, especially women.
- Chinese officials are forcing tourists visiting the Xinjiang region to install a malware app on their phones at its border, according to a joint report from Motherboard, Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Guardian, The New York Times, and NDR. The malware reportedly seizes all the text messages on a phone and scans for a variety of files linked to Islam, including extremist content, academic research, and music.
- Steve MacManus, vice president of interior and exterior engineering at Tesla, has departed the company. MacManus was not the only executive to leave Tesla among its routine end-of-quarter rush. Senior production executive, Peter Hochholdinger, also left Tesla last week for competitor Lucid Motors.
- Superhuman, the $30/month email app, is being accused of enabling ‘spying’ on anyone who reads users’ messages. On Sunday, Mike Davidson, founder of Newswire and former lead designer at Twitter, published a blog post taking Superhuman to task for using “tracking pixels” that let users see when, where, and how often recipients open their messages – often without the recipient’s knowledge or permission.
- The major website and internet-service hosting platform Cloudflare experienced an outage Tuesday, causing disruptions for a number of popular sites and services that are hosted on the platform. According to Down Detector and reports on Twitter, websites and services experiencing disruptions around the time of the Cloudflare outage included Discord, Flightradar, Sirius XM, Network Solutions, Shopify, Zendesk, Coinbase, Canva, SoundCloud, and many others.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the most powerful internet privacy watchdog groups, has written an op-ed in the New York Times to warn people about using chat app Slack. Specifically, the EFF takes issue with the fact that Slack is set to retain all messages forever by default, and says it wants Slack to give individual users more control over their data.
- An association of US retail giants, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, have backed calls for an antitrust investigation into Amazon and Google. The Retail Industry Leaders Association wrote to the Federal Trade Commission with the demand, emphasising the dominance they have over consumer data.
- Democrats on the US House Financial Services Committee have asked Facebook to put its cryptocurrency plans on hold. On Tuesday, Reps. Maxine Waters, Carolyn Maloney, Lacy Clay, Al Green, and Stephen Lynch wrote to the $556 billion social network’s top executives to ask it to impose a moratorium on Libra until regulators and Congress have had time to explore concerns, including the risk of hacking, data security, and global financial security.
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