How Google Influences the Conversation in Washington

A few days after last year’s midterm election, a Google policy manager and lobbyist sent an email to a congressional staffer with a link to a blog post on the right-wing news site Red State, written under the name The Real DC. In the post, the author accuses Google’s competitor Yelp of prodding President Trump to tweet a “professionally designed” video about Google’s alleged bias, which The Real DC calls “fake news” because it “bears many similarities” to content produced by Yelp. In the email, a copy of which was viewed by WIRED, Ed An, the Google lobbyist, said he does not typically share articles from Red State but thought the staffer would find this one interesting. Neither Red State, …

Dont break up big tech regulate data access, says EU antitrust chief

Breaking up tech giants should be a measure of last resort, the European Union’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has suggested. “To break up a company, to break up private property would be very far reaching and you would need to have a very strong case that it would produce better results for consumers in the marketplace than what you could do with more mainstream tools,” she warned this weekend, speaking in a SXSW interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher. “We’re dealing with private property. Businesses that are built and invested in and become successful because of their innovation.” Vestager has built a reputation for being feared by tech giants, thanks to a number of major (and often expensive) interventions since she …

Transportation Weekly: Waymo unleashes laser bear, Bird spreads its wings, Lyft tightens its belt

Welcome back to Transportation Weekly; I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch . This is the fifth edition of our newsletter and we love the reader feedback. Keep it coming. Never heard of TechCrunch’s Transportation Weekly? Catch up here, here and here. As I’ve written before, consider this a soft launch. Follow me on Twitter @kirstenkorosec to ensure you see it each week. (An email subscription is coming.) This week, we explore the world of light detection and ranging sensors known as LiDAR, young drivers, trouble in Barcelona, autonomous trucks in California, and China among other things. This week, we’re going to put on our analysis hats as we explore the world of LiDAR, a sensor that measures distance …

Facebook will shut down its spyware VPN app Onavo

Facebook will end its unpaid market research programs and proactively take its Onavo VPN app off the Google Play store in the wake of backlash following TechCrunch’s investigation about Onavo code being used in a Facebook Research app the sucked up data about teens. The Onavo Protect app will eventually shut down, and will immediately cease pulling in data from users for market research, though it will continue operating as a Virtual Private Network in the short-term to allow users to find a replacement. Facebook has also ceased to recruit new users for the Facebook Research app that still runs on Android but was forced off of iOS by Apple after we reported that it violated Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program …

What business leaders can learn from Jeff Bezos leaked texts

Joel Wallenstrom The ‘below the belt selfie’ media circus surrounding Jeff Bezos has made encrypted communications top of mind among nervous executive handlers. Their assumption is that a product with serious cryptography like Wickr – where I work – or Signal could have helped help Mr. Bezos and Amazon avoid this drama. I worry that moments like these will drag serious cryptography down to the level of the National Enquirer. I’m concerned that this media cycle may lead people to view privacy and cryptography as a safety net for billionaires rather than a transformative solution for data minimization and privacy. We cannot let this media cycle pass without recognizing that when corporate executives take a laissez-faire approach to digital privacy, …