Tech News 2Night 127 (Transcript)


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Tech News 2Night 127

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Tonight! China says the iPhone is a threat to their national security, Amazon wasn't kidding- they want start testing drones for package delivery, and should the FTC investigate Facebook's mood study?

Tech News 2Night is Next!

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This is Tech News 2Night Episode #127, for FRIDAY July 11, 2014

This episode of Tech News 2Night is brought to you by Personal Capital. With Personal Capital, you’ll finally have all your financial life in one place and get a clear view of everything you own. BEST OF ALL IT’S FREE. To sign up go to personalcapital.com/tn2.

I'm Mike Elgan, Let's get right to the Tech Feed!

China’s state-owned CCTV called the Apple iPhone a threat to national security. The iPhone’s "Frequent Locations" feature could be used to collect data about the movements of the Chinese public, and thereby constitute a leak of state secrets, according to an academic interviewed by the program named Ma Ding, who is the head of the online security institute at People’s Public Security University of China. Last month, a blog post on the People’s Daily newspaper accused Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook of conspiring with the US government to spy on China. Analysts are assuming the report is part of a wider effort to criticize American technology companies after US accusations of Chinese military hacking and also as a response to the the Edward Snowden revelations on NSA spying.

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Testing drones for commercial use is banned in the United States. But today Amazon asked permission to test the use of package delivery drones. In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, Amazon said their so-called “Amazon Prime Air” service would deliver packages of 5 pounds or less in 30 minutes or less. The drones could travel more than 50 miles an hour. The tests would be limited to “a confined area over isolated Amazon private property” and nowhere near airports, homes or military installations. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon currently has at least six jobs openings for people to work on Prime Air. Amazon said in the letter that: "One day, seeing Amazon Prime Air will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today."

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The FCC has decided to spend two billion dollars over the next two years to improve the quality of WiFi networks at schools and libraries. In a 3-2 vote along party lines -- the democrats on the commission voting yes and the Republicans voting no -- the comission approved the plan, which will phase out funding for voice service, web hosting and -- wait for it -- paging services, and use that money to improve WiFi. The FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, wanted to spend $5 billion on the project, but Republican commissioners and some in congress pushed back on spending that much money.

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After two months of rumors, Yahoo finally bought the video broadcasting startup RayV. The company specializes in delivering very high-quality video streams to very large numbers of people. RayV’s software includes content management, digital rights management and a content distribution network. The acquisition could boost Yahoo’s ability to compete with YouTube. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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coming up, the Pentagon invents a 'smart-bullet' that can change direction

and next I'll talk with Reed Albergotti from the Wall Street Journal about fallout from the Facebook mood study.

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[Segment #2]

"Reed Albergotti, Tech Reporter with The Wall Street Journal

Q: You wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal last week on Facebook’s so called mood study, where they tweaked a small number of users’ news feeds to see if mood was contagious. Now, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia is asking the FTC to investigate whether those experiments violated Facebook’s own terms of service. Do you think the investigation is a good idea? And what do you think they’ll ultimately conclude?

Q: As a response to Facebook’s mood study, a Dutch non-profit called Just B.V called on Facebook users to stop using the service for 99 days to see if they’re happier without it. Can you tell us about this campaign and whether you think it will have any impact?

Q: Facebook yesterday started letting developers sell virtual game goods directly from ads placed on the desktop version of Facebook. Normally these virtual items are purchased from within games. Is this double dipping on Facebook’s part? First they get paid for the ad, then they get paid 30 percent of the purchase price?

[Kicker!]

The Pentagon’s research and development group, called DARPA, has successfully tested a smart bullet that can change direction in mid-flight to hit its target. The bullet technology is part of DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance, or EXACTO. The smart bullet should not be confused with a smart rifle, such as the Linux-based TrackingPoint rifle, which calculates all the particulars needed to launch a dumb bullet in the right direction. EXACTO 50-caliber smart bullets can adjust their direction mid-flight to compensate for gusts of wind or movement by the target.

[good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night.

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Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Mike Elgan, thanks for watching.