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Tech News Today for February 23, 2017

Tech News for Thursday February 23, 2017

Yesterday President Trump repealed guidelines around transgender bathroom use. This, in itself, is not tech news, but the fact that tech companies have come out against the decision is today's biggest tech news. Today both Apple, Google, and IBM have all criticized the President's decision that they feel is discriminatory. Apple told ReCode, "We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals.” Trump overruled previous rules that allowed transgender students to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity. This is the second time major tech players have spoken out against Trump's policies. In related news, Google.org is committing $11.5 million to racial justice. Read more at recode.net.

Here’s a friendly reminder that encryption is secure, only until its not anymore. SHA-1, a cryptographic hash function, was first introduced ten years ago by the NSA, and Google has been pushing for years for it to be deprecated. All it took was two years to develop a technique using Nine quintillion, two-hundred, and twenty-three quadrillion, three hundred, and seventy-two trillion, thirty-six billion, eight hundred and fifty-four million, seven-hundred and seventy-five thousand, eight-hundred and eight SHA-1 computations and 6,500 CPU years for Google to produce the first collision… Meaning two different PDF documents in this case were shown to produce the same hash signature. Read more at arstechnica.com.

Last year police in Bentonville, Arkansas acquired a warrant to access the information contained within an Amazon Echo in a 2015 murder case. Today Amazon is balking at the warrant, claiming that it violates the first amendement. The company says that what the device might have heard as well as the responses that the device gave its owners are both considered protected speech and Amazon has filed a motion to suppress the warrant. Police asked Amazon to hand over audio from the home assistance during a 48-hour period as well as subscriber and account information. Read more at arstechnica.com.

Qualcomm is updating its VR headset reference design from last years model to cater to its latest premium chip, the Snapdragon 835, and the new design includes a partnership with Leap Motion for hand tracking. The headset includes cameras on the inside and outside of the headset to allow for inside out tracking, as well as eye tracking control. The reference design is intended for manufacturers who miht be interested in creating their own VR products based on the design. Read more at techcrunch.com.

Writing in VentureBeat, Evan Blass, AKA EvLeaks, offers a few photos of the new, sportier Huawei Watch 2 that the company plans to show off at Mobile World Congress next week. This revelation comes after yesterday's leak of the P10 and P10 Plus flagship handsets that Huawei plans to show off at the conference in Barcelona. The watch runs Android Wear 2.0 and includes a slot for a nanoSIM card and it comes in black, orange, and speckled gray. Read more at venturebeat.com.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Leah Fessler of Quartz to talk about how digital assistants respond to sexual harassment. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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