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Tech News Today for November 2, 2016

Tech News for Wednesday November 2, 2016

LastPass just gave you another reason to protect your accounts with a password manager, because it's free. The LastPass payment structure has always been a bit confusing and their purchase by the company LogMeIn hasn't changed that. In the consumer version you could use the browser extension for free, but if you wanted to use LastPass on a phone or a tablet, you had to pay an annual subscription fee. Now that $12 fee is gone for generating complicated passwords and storing them across all of your devices. If you want to pay for LastPass Premium, you'll get family sharing for up to five users, 1GB of encrypted file storage, YubiKey and other two-factor login integrations, desktop fingerprint identification, and LastPass for applications. The update is available right now and the company says they'll give refunds if you've recently paid for LastPass Premium just to get multi-device access and don't need those other features. Read more at thurrott.com.

Last week we told you that Facebook was allowing advertisers to exclude people from what they called "ethinc affinity" groups. 73 civil rights organizations expressed concerns about this in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook says "We expressly prohibit discrimination, and take prompt enforcement action when we determine that ads violate our policies." However, they don't go so far as to say they'll stop allowing advertisers to use these tools. However, they have objected to, and have blocked, the UK's Admiral insurance from using driver's Facebook posts to determine their car insurance rates. Admiral had planned to use their own insurer’s algorithm analyses of social media usage to identify safe drivers. Facebook says they will block this, though. Read more at slate.com.

Microsoft launched a new workplace collaboration tool called Microsoft Teams. With web-based IRC-like text chat, storage of historic chats, and integrations with third-party services the service looks a lot like Slack. Instead of cowering in Microsoft's shadow today, Slack's founder Stuart Butterfield took out a full page ad in The New York times with an open letter condescendingly explaining to Microsoft that it wouldn't be enough for them simply to clone Slack's features. Read more at theverge.com.

The American Civil Liberties Union took on a federal court in California today to insist that taking a picture of your ballot and posting it on social media is part of your first amendment rights. Back in September, California's governor Jerry Brown signed a law legalizing ballot selfies, but the law won't go into affect until 2017. So today's case was about what voters are allowed to do in next week's election. The illegality of ballot selfies comes from the voter privacy and the rights we have to ensure that our vote is private if we want to be. So, for example, no one can force you to prove how you voted. But in a world where very few things are private anymore, people want the right to show off their vote. Read more at cnet.com.

There's been a pretty steady chorus of complaints about the new laptops that Apple unveiled last week. Among the many complaints, photographers have been up in arms about the removal of the SD slot. In an interview with The Independent, Phil Schiller defended the decision calling the slot cumbersome and obsolete and wireless transfer will work just fine. When asked if MacOS would ever be combined with iOS, Schiller insisted that Apple was steadfast in the belief that the two OSes are fundamentally different. He also says there have been more online orders for the new MacBook Pro than ever before and encouraged all the passionate dialog around the product. Read more at independent.co.uk.

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