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Zoom admits some calls were routed through China by mistake

Hours after security researchers at Citizen Lab reported that some Zoom calls were routed through China, the video conferencing platform has offered an apology and a partial explanation. To recap, Zoom has faced a barrage of headlines this week over its security policies and privacy practices, as hundreds of millions forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic still need to communicate with each other. The latest findings landed earlier today when Citizen Lab researchers said tha...
Tags: Security, Europe, New York, China, Tech, Encryption, Cryptography, Beijing, Data Protection, North America, Video Conferencing, Zoom, Citizen Lab, Eric Yuan, Bill Marczak, Coronavirus


Before suing NSO Group, Facebook allegedly sought their software to better spy on users

Facebook’s WhatsApp is in the midst of a lawsuit against Israeli mobile surveillance outfit NSO Group. But before complaining about the company’s methods, Facebook seems to have wanted to use them for its own purposes, according to testimony from NSO founder Shalev Hulio. Last year brought news of an exploit that could be used to install one of NSO’s spyware packages, Pegasus, on devices using WhatsApp. The latter sued the former over it, saying that over a hundred human rights activists, jou...
Tags: Apple, Security, Social, Facebook, Apps, Privacy, Tech, Whatsapp, Pegasus, Vpn, Jeff Bezos, NSO, Onavo, Facebook A Facebook, NSO Group, Shalev Hulio


Google research makes for an effortless robotic dog trot

As capable as robots are, the original animals after which they tend to be designed are always much, much better. That’s partly because it’s difficult to learn how to walk like a dog directly from a dog — but this research from Google’s AI labs make it considerably easier. The goal of this research, a collaboration with UC Berkeley, was to find a way to efficiently and automatically transfer “agile behaviors” like a light-footed trot or spin from their source (a good dog) to a quadrupedal robot....
Tags: Google, Science, Tech, Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Robotics, Berkeley, UC Berkeley, Georgia Institute of Technology, Biomimetic, Google AI, Biomimesis


ZmURL customizes Zoom link previews with images & event sites

Sick of sharing those generic Zoom video call invites that all look the same? Wish your Zoom link preview’s headline and image actually described your meeting? Want to protect your Zoom calls from trolls by making attendees RSVP to get your link? ZmURL.com has you covered. Launching today, ZmURL is a free tool that lets you customize your Zoom video call invite URL with a title, explanation, and image that will show up when you share the link on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere. zmurl also let...
Tags: Google, Social, Startups, TC, Mobile, Apps, New York, Media, San Francisco, Events, Tech, Fbi, Beijing, New York Times, Facetime, Video Chat


Zelos is like a cross-game battle pass, rewarding you for completing challenges in games you already play

People seem to love the concept of the battle pass. Largely popularized by Fortnite, battle passes reward players for playing well, and playing often. The better you do, the more XP you earn; the more XP you earn, the more stuff (new looks for your character, or victory dances to fire off at the end of a gunfight) you unlock. Willing to cough up a few bucks for an optional “premium” battle pass? That’ll open up a whole new set of rewards. The model has made its way into countless games over the ...
Tags: TC, La, Tech, Tong, Zelos, PUBG, Jeffrey Tong, YC W20, Rocket League Zelos, EXP EXP, Derek Chiang, Dfinity Tong


As tech layoffs surge, some support emerges for those without a job

The massive surge of COVID-19-related layoffs has put tech in a unique position. While the startup world is facing layoffs itself, it is also trying to help get people back to work. Back at the end of 2019, the SoftBank-backed belt-tightening period led to a flurry of crowdsourced spreadsheets with employee names from companies like Oyo, WeWork, Zume and more. The spreadsheets popped up as a bet on the network effect, with the ultimate goal of hoping the sheets land in the hands of a recruiter l...
Tags: TC, Layoffs, Colorado, Boston, Softbank, Linkedin, Tech, Chicago, Reddit, Rover, Seattle, Hiring, Anderson, Madrona Venture Group, Textio, Murphy


‘Artemis Fowl’ is skipping theaters for Disney+

With movie theaters largely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney is pushing back its slate of upcoming films. And at least one movie won’t be making it into theaters at all, with “Artemis Fowl” heading straight to streaming instead. The company announced today that that the film will debut exclusively on Disney+, and that the release date will be revealed soon. All of the Hollywood studios are scrambling to adapt to the theatrical closures. NBCUniversal broke the theatrical window by rele...
Tags: TC, Hollywood, Media, Entertainment, Disney, Tech, Netflix, Kenneth Branagh, Pixar, Paramount, Emma, The Walt Disney Company, Eoin Colfer, Ricky Strauss, Kenneth Branagh Artemis Fowl, Kumail Nanjiani Issa Rae


The pandemic is already reshaping tech’s misinformation crisis

Since 2016, social media companies have faced an endless barrage of bad press and public criticism for failing to anticipate how their platforms could be used for dark purposes at the scale of populations—undermining democracies around the world, say, or and even fueling genocide. As COVID-19 plunges the world into chaos and social isolation, those same companies may face a respite from focused criticism, particularly with the industry leveraging its extraordinary resources to pitch in with CO...
Tags: Social, TC, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Youtube, Tech, Iran, Policy, The Guardian, On YouTube, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Tech Transparency Project, Liberty Mutual Quibi Trump, Facebook In Facebook


Want to survive the downturn? Better build a platform

When you look at the most successful companies in the world, they are almost never just one simple service. Instead, they offer a platform with a range of services and an ability to connect to it to allow external partners and developers to extend the base functionality that the company provides. Aspiring to be a platform and actually succeeding at building one are not the same. While every startup probably sees themselves as becoming a platform play eventually, the fact is it’s hard to build on...
Tags: Google, Amazon, Cloud, Facebook, Enterprise, Microsoft, Tech, SaaS, Salesforce, Oracle, Platforms, Scale Venture Partners, Boxworks, MIT Sloan Review, Michael A Cusumano David B Yoffie, Annabelle Gawer


Pandemic puts the brakes on micromobility

As of this writing, nearly a million people globally have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 50,322 have died. Healthcare systems are overwhelmed, consumers and profiteers are hoarding supplies and some service workers have launched strikes while many others have been let go. In the world of micromobility, we’ve seen Bird lay off hundreds of employees and Lime is reportedly gearing up for layoffs of its own. Ride Report creates software that enables cities to better work with micromobi...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Tech, Bird, Spin, Lime, Henderson, William Henderson, Micromobility, Extra Crunch, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Zoom will enable waiting rooms by default to stop Zoombombing

Zoom is making some drastic changes to prevent rampant abuse as trolls attack publicly-shared video calls. Starting April 5th, it will require passwords to enter calls via Meeting ID, since these may be guessed or reused. Meanwhile, it will change virtual waiting rooms to be on by default so hosts have to manually admit attendees. The changes could prevent “Zoombombing”, a term I coined two weeks ago to describe malicious actors entering Zoom calls and disrupting them by screensharing offensive ...
Tags: TC, Tech, Zoombombing


Stocks drop as unemployment spikes

Stocks fell in regular trading Friday, as all major American indices fell in the wake of a broadly negative jobs report. With more than 700,000 jobs lost in the March data, unemployment in the United States rose from 3.5% to 4.4%. The markets have been bracing for widespread job losses due to the continued fallout from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus that has prompted local, county and state officials throughout the U.S. and Europe to issue stay-at-home orders. Those directives have ...
Tags: Europe, Vladimir Putin, Tech, Tesla, Delta Airlines, United States, SaaS, Earnings, Stocks, Airlines, Bill, Nasdaq, United Airlines, Bessemer, American Airlines, U S Department of Transportation


How Homage is tackling Southeast Asia’s growing eldercare need

The world’s population is aging, but the needs of elderly people are still being underserved. A United Nations report found that older people make up more than one-fifth of the population in 17 countries, and by 2100, a majority of the world’s population, or 61%, will be aged 60 and above. One of the most urgent needs for families is caregiving, with demand outstripping the pool of qualified providers. This means many people in their thirties and forties are now part of the “sandwich generation,...
Tags: Health, Startups, TC, Asia, Southeast Asia, Singapore, Aging, Tech, Malaysia, Healthcare, United Nations, Caregiving, Seniors, Homage, Tee, Gillian Tee


GM and Honda are co-developing two new electric vehicles due to arrive in 2024

GM and Honda will jointly develop two new electric vehicles slated for 2024, the latest move by the two automakers to deepen their existing partnership. Under the plan, the automakers will focus on their respective areas of expertise. Honda will design the exterior and interiors of the new electric vehicles; GM will contribute its new electric vehicle architecture and Ultium batteries. This new architecture, which GM unveiled last month to showcase its own EV plans, is capable of 19 different ba...
Tags: Energy, TC, Electric Vehicle, Tech, Cruise, Automotive, United States, Gm, Fuel Cell, Honda, North America, Driver, Onstar, General-motors, Fuel Cells, Isuzu


Google rolls back SameSite cookie changes to keep essential online services from breaking

Google today announced that it will temporarily roll back the changes it recently made to how its Chrome browser handles cookies in order to ensure that sites that perform essential services like banking, online grocery, government services and healthcare won’t become inaccessible to Chrome users during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The new SameSite rules, which the company started rolling out to a growing number of Chrome users in recent months, are meant to make it harder for sites to acce...
Tags: Chrome, Google-chrome, Google, TC, Privacy, Tech, Web Browsers, Browsers, Cookies, World Wide Web, Justin Schuh, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Insight closes $9.5B fund to help support portfolio companies through the pandemic crunch

We’re now several weeks into what has become a very big dip for the global economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, but amidst that, we are seeing are some notable pockets of investment activity emerging that will help shape how the future startup landscape will look. Today, one of the biggest venture capital firms in the world announced the closing of a huge fund, money that it will use in large part to help its portfolio businesses weather the storm. Insight, the firm that has backed the likes...
Tags: TC, Funding, Tech, Venture Capital, Shopify, Parekh, Deven Parekh, Jeff Horing, Insight Partners, Horing, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Insight closes $9.5B fund to help support portfolio companies through the pandemic

We’re now several weeks into what has become a very big dip for the global economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, but amidst that, we are seeing are some notable pockets of investment activity emerging that will help shape how the future startup landscape will look. Today, one of the biggest venture capital firms in the world announced the closing of a huge fund, money that it will use in large part to help its portfolio businesses weather the storm. Insight, the firm that has backed the likes...
Tags: TC, Funding, Tech, Venture Capital, Shopify, Parekh, Deven Parekh, Jeff Horing, Insight Partners, Horing, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Germany’s Xpension pension platform raises €25M in a Series C growth round

The German pension and insurance industry was a laggard in the world of online a few years ago, but in recent times it has quickly caught up. There’s further evidence of this trend with the news that Xpension (trading as xbAV), an online platform for pensions and life insurance, has raised €25 million in its Series C financing round. This will take its total funding to date to more than €50 million. The financing round was led by HPE Growth, a growth capital fund. Existing investors Cinco Cap...
Tags: Startups, TC, Europe, Germany, Tech, Tradex, HPE Growth Capital, Hinrichs, Recent Funding, Armada Investment, Xpension, Cinco Capital, Lars Hinrichs, Daniel S Aegerter, Martin Bockelmann, Tim van Delden


Sleep apnea retrofit designed by doctors and engineers could help address ventilator shortage

The FDA has been working to adapt its policies and restrictions to respond to the growing need for unconventional solutions like shortages of medical equipment needed for treating COVID-19 patients. A group of doctors, engineers and medical researchers from UC Berkeley, UCSF and working hospitals has devised a creative solution to the ventilator shortage they’re hoping will meet FDA standards for emergency use authorization (EUA), working with readily available hardware and a stockpile of medica...
Tags: Health, TC, Hardware, Medicine, Tech, Fda, Biotech, Uc-berkeley, Bay Area, EUA, CPAP, Sleep Apnea, Snoring, Coronavirus, COVID-19, UC Berkeley UCSF


Join prolific enterprise/SaaS seed investor Jonathan Lehr April 6 at 2pm EDT for a live conference call

It’s a tough fundraising environment out there, but one of the few glimmers of hope lies in the enterprise and SaaS markets. Critical customer problems + recurring revenues is probably where you want to be right now to weather the storm that’s hitting the startup world these days. That’s why we are excited to bring prolific enterprise seed investor Jonathan Lehr onto TechCrunch for a live conference call this coming Monday, April 6 at 2pm EDT. For Extra Crunch members, the Zoom dial-in informati...
Tags: TC, New York, New York City, Tech, Tamr, Alex Wilhelm, Jon, Lehr, X.ai, Cockroach Labs, Jonathan Lehr, Socure, Backtrace, Work-Bench, Extra Crunch, NY Enterprise Technology Meetup


Bustle Digital Group shuts down The Outline as part of broader layoffs

Bustle Digital Group, owner of a portfolio of digital media properties including Bustle itself, says it laid off two dozen staffers today. That includes eliminating the entire staff of The Outline, a culture site that it acquired a year ago. In a statement, a BDG spokesperson said the company will continue to host The Outline’s archives, and that founder Josh Topolsky will be “exploring alternative path’s forward” for its future. “The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has forced us to make some t...
Tags: Startups, TC, Layoffs, Media, Tech, Bustle, Engadget, Bryan Goldberg, Leah Finnegan, Topolsky, Bustle Digital Group, Josh Topolsky, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID, Elite Daily Mic Nylon


Bustle Digital Group lays off staff of The Outline as part of broader cuts

Bustle Digital Group, owner of a portfolio of digital media properties including Bustle itself, says it laid off two dozen staffers today. That includes eliminating the entire staff of The Outline, a culture site that it acquired a year ago. In a statement, a BDG spokesperson said the company will continue to host The Outline’s archives, and that founder Josh Topolsky will be “exploring alternative paths forward” for its future. “The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has forced us to make some to...
Tags: Startups, TC, Layoffs, Media, Tech, Bustle, Engadget, Bryan Goldberg, Leah Finnegan, Topolsky, Bustle Digital Group, Josh Topolsky, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID, Elite Daily Mic Nylon


Emergent BioSolutions gets $14.5M in federal funding to expedite COVID-19 plasma therapy development

Last week, we spoke to the Head of Emergent BioSolutions’ Therapeutics Business Unit Dr. Laura Saward about her company’s work developing plasma-based potential treatments for COVID-19. Now, the company announced that it has received $14.5 million in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to speed the development of one of its treatment candidates. Emergent BioSolutions has been ...
Tags: Health, TC, Medicine, Anatomy, Funding, Tech, Biotech, Plasma, Head, BARDA, U S Department of Health and Human Services HHS, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID, Laura Saward, Emergent BioSolutions


Daily Crunch: Google publishes coronavirus mobility reports

Google uses its ad-tracking data to provide a glimpse at how the world is responding to coronavirus, the CDC changes its tune on face masks and Apple accidentally reveals that AirTags are coming. Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 3, 2020. 1. Google is now publishing coronavirus mobility reports, feeding off users’ location history Google is giving the world a clearer look of exactly how much it knows about people everywhere — using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to repackage its pe...
Tags: Apple, Google, TC, Spacex, UK, Cdc, White House, Tech, Star Trek, Trump, Matt, Matt Burns, Picard, Daily Crunch, Coronavirus, COVID-19


OctoML raises $15M to make optimizing ML models easier

OctoML, a startup founded by the team behind the Apache TVM machine learning compiler stack project, today announced it has raised a $15 million Series A round led by Amplify, with participation from Madrone Ventures, which led its $3.9 million seed round. The core idea behind OctoML and TVM is to use machine learning to optimize machine learning models so they can more efficiently run on different types of hardware. “There’s been quite a bit of progress in creating machine learning models,” ...
Tags: Google, Startups, TC, Cloud, Facebook, Learning, Microsoft, Developer, Cloud Computing, Tech, Intel, Computer, Artificial Intelligence, Nvidia, Machine Learning, Aws


The pendulum will swing away from founder-friendly venture raises

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. This morning brought fresh economic bad news for the US economy, with over 700,000 jobs lost in the latest report, despite the window of time measured not including some of March’s worst days, and the data itself not counting as many individuals as it might have; the unemployment rate still rose nearly a full point to 4.4%. The barometer generally expected to rise far higher in ...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, US, Tech, Venture Capital, PitchBook


Valispace raises $2.4M to become the ‘Github for hardware’, joins fight against COVID-19

Hardware engineering is mostly document-based. A typical satellite might be described in several hundred thousand PDF documents, spreadsheets, simulation files and more; all potentially inconsistent between each other. This can lead to costly mistakes. NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because one engineering team used metric units while another used English units, for instance. Germany-HQ’d Valispace, which also has offices in Portugal, dubs itself as “Github for hardware”. In other words, ...
Tags: Energy, TC, Europe, Germany, Berlin, US, Articles, Tech, Ceo, Nasa, United States, Engineering, Paris, Portugal, Satellite, European Space Agency


In the wake of COVID-19, UK puts up £20M in grants to develop resilience tech for critical industries

Most of the world — despite the canaries in the coal mine — was unprepared to cope with the coronavirus outbreak that’s now besieging us. Now, work is starting to get underway both to help manage what is going on now and better prepare us in the future. In the latest development, the UK government today announced that it will issue £20 million ($24.5 million) in grants of up to £50,000 each to startups and other businesses that are developing tools to improve resilience for critical industries —...
Tags: Food, TC, Cloud, Ecommerce, Europe, UK, Enterprise, Education, Entertainment, Government, Collaborative Consumption, Funding, Tech, Policy, Automotive, Biotech


Keeping the score on Zoom

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. How are you holding up? Are you keeping up? And most importantly, are you hydrating yourself? There’s so much news lately that we’re all falling a bit behind, but, hey, that’s what Equity is for. So, Natasha, Danny, and Alex got together to go over a number of the biggest stories in the worlds of private companies. A warning before we get into the list, however. ...
Tags: Apple, TC, Tech, Alex, Don, ARCH Venture Partners, Oyo, Modsy, Luckin Coffee, Natasha Danny


Apple brings its hardware microphone disconnect feature to iPads

Apple has brought its hardware microphone disconnect security feature to its latest iPads. The microphone disconnect security feature aims to make it far more difficult for hackers to use malware or a malicious app to eavesdrop on a device’s surroundings. The feature was first introduced to Macs by way of Apple’s T2 security chip last year. The security chip ensured that the microphone was physically disconnected from the device when the user shuts their MacBook lid. The idea goes that physic...
Tags: Apple, Security, Ipad, Hardware, China, Tech, Ipads, Tablet Computers, Xinjiang, iOS devices, Operating Systems, T2