Techlife News #489

Read the most relevant news of the week about the world of technology and its influence on our lives. New products, Apps, acquisitions in the industry, highlights about the digital world and everything about your favorite iGadgets and upgrades. Everything you need to keep well informed. A new concept of light, intelligent, innovative reading at your fingertips. A global view of Tech LifeStyle and its influence on our lives.

United States
Ivan Castilho de Almeida
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52 Issues

in this issue

1 min
department says detectives used facial recognition program

Virginia Beach police admitted last week that some of their detectives used a controversial facial recognition program during criminal investigations, according to a report. In February 2020 and again in September, the Police Department had told The Virginian-Pilot that it had never used Clearview AI. It also denied using any other facial recognition technology recently, though the department briefly experimented with an in-house system at the Oceanfront in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the newspaper reported. But records obtained by The Pilot through the state’s open records law revealed 10 detectives signed up for Clearview accounts, starting in November 2019 . On Tuesday, the department said top brass ordered all officers to stop using the facial recognition program in November, meaning some detectives could have used it for up to a…

3 min
security camera hack exposes hospitals, workplaces, schools

Hackers aiming to call attention to the dangers of mass surveillance say they were able to peer into hospitals, schools, factories, jails and corporate offices after they broke into the systems of a security-camera startup. That California startup, Verkada, said Wednesday it is investigating the scope of the breach, first reported by Bloomberg News, and has notified law enforcement and its customers. Swiss hacker Tillie Kottmann, a member of the group that calls itself APT-69420 Arson Cats, described it in an online chat with the press as a small collective of “primarily queer hackers, not backed by any nations or capital but instead backed by the desire for fun, being gay and a better world.” They were able to gain access to a Verkada “super” administrator account using valid credentials found online, Kottmann…

4 min
a homebound year has meant rethinking our rooms, belongings

In normal times, new trends in home design and home decorating bubble up simply because it’s time for something different. A few years of bold color and homeowners start painting things gray. After enough minimalism, a hunger for plaids and florals comes roaring back. But this time last year, a cultural experiment began that changed our relationships with houses and condos and apartments around the world. Suddenly, constantly, we were inside them. So much of public life – work, school, exercise, shopping, dining and (virtually) socializing – began happening entirely within the walls of home, at least for those able to do so. Architects and interior designers say that after 12 months of varying degrees of lockdown, people are discovering what does and doesn’t work in their homes, and becoming more confident about acting…

2 min
homebound children drive surge in lego sales

Sales of Lego sets surged last year as more children stayed home during global pandemic lockdowns - and parents bought the colorful plastic brick toys to keep them entertained through days of isolation. The privately-held Danish company said its net profit rose 19% to 9.9 billion kroner ($1.6 billion) as sales jumped 21% and it grew its presence in its 12 largest markets. Lego, which on top of its sets also earns money from video game apps, seems to be one of the businesses - like online retailers and technology companies - that were well placed to earn money from the massive disruptions in society worldwide during the pandemic. Chief Executive Niels B. Christiansen told that the “super strong results” were thanks to strategic investments made years ago to move more sales online. “This…

3 min
california could get $150b from federal virus relief bill

The massive COVID-19 relief bill Congress approved Wednesday will pump more than $150 billion into California’s economy, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said Wednesday, including a $26 billion windfall for the state’s already burgeoning budget surplus. Nearly half of the money will go to Californians directly in the form of $1,400 checks and expanded unemployment benefits. Another $15.9 billion will go to public and private schools while $3.6 billion will boost the state’s vaccination, testing and contact tracing efforts. There’s also money for public transit agencies, airports and child care. About $16 billion will go to local governments and will be split between cities and counties. And $26 billion will go directly to state government for services impacted by the pandemic. Toni Atkins, Democratic president pro tempore of the California Senate, called it the state’s…

2 min
coupang, the amazon of south korea, debuts on nyse

The biggest IPO in years is rolling out Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange where Coupang, the South Korean equivalent of Amazon in the U.S., or Alibaba in China, will begin trading under the ticker “CPNG.” It’s actually the largest initial public offering from an Asian company since Alibaba went public about seven years ago. And it’s the biggest in the U.S. since Uber raised more than $8 billion in 2019. Coupang has raised about $4.6 billion, outsizing last month’s $2 billion capital raise by the dating app Bumble. Coupang priced 130 million shares at $35 each, valuing the company at about $60 billion, according to regulatory filings. That big price tag reflects the recognition of how vastly the pandemic has accelerated the shift to online shopping. Amazon’s fourth-quarter revenue shattered records, blowing past…