Twitter’s stock plunges as user growth stalls

Several years ago, Twitter seemed like it would be the social media darling of the decade. Founders had dreams of being the first Internet company to reach one billion users, making it “the pulse of the planet.”

That’s not going to happen, and investors are cluing in. Twitter had 328 million average monthly active users, or MAU, in the three months ending in June, which is unchanged from the previous quarter. The company’s shares were down more than 10 percent this morning on the news.

The poor showing comes despite Twitter’s role in the daily news cycle being more prominent than ever, since the platform often serves as President Donald Trump’s favored medium of expression.

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Stealthy Google Play apps recorded calls and stole e-mails and texts

Google has expelled 20 Android apps from its Play marketplace after finding they contained code for monitoring and extracting users’ e-mail, text messages, locations, voice calls, and other sensitive data.

The apps, which made their way onto about 100 phones, exploited known vulnerabilities to “root” devices running older versions of Android. Root status allowed the apps to bypass security protections built into the mobile operating system. As a result, the apps were capable of surreptitiously accessing sensitive data stored, sent, or received by at least a dozen other apps, including Gmail, Hangouts, LinkedIn, and Messenger. The now-ejected apps also collected messages sent and received by Whatsapp, Telegram, and Viber, which all encrypt data in an attempt to make it harder for attackers to intercept messages while in transit.

The apps also contained functions allowing for:

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Judge: Waymo may be in “a world of trouble” if it can’t prove actual harm by Uber

SAN FRANCISCO—At a court hearing on Wednesday, US District Judge William Alsup questioned whether Waymo can really show the harm from Uber’s alleged trade secret theft.

Waymo has been ordered to submit a detailed description of how it has been harmed within a month. The case is rapidly moving ahead towards an October trial date. If the trial actually takes place, it will elevate what has already become the highest-profile lawsuit related to the rapidly accelerating self-driving car industry.

Google’s division sued Uber back in February, alleging that one of its own former engineers, Anthony Levandowski, stole 14,000 proprietary files and took them to his new startup, Otto (which was quickly acquired by Uber). However, Uber says it never received them and so it couldn’t have and didn’t implement them into its own products, services, or prototypes.

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Using a blockchain doesn’t exempt you from securities regulations

The DAO, a blockchain-based organization created last year, was supposed to demonstrate the potential of Bitcoin competitor Ethereum. Investors pumped $150 million of virtual currency into the project. But then in June 2016, hackers found a bug in the DAO’s code that allowed them to steal $50 million from the organization, creating a crisis for the Ethereum community.

A Tuesday ruling from the Securities and Exchange Commission makes clear that security flaws were not the problem with the DAO. The agency says the DAO’s creators broke the law by offering shares to the public without complying with applicable securities laws. Though luckily for the DAO’s creators, the SEC isn’t going to prosecute them.

“There’s nothing surprising here,” says Patrick Murck, a legal expert at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center. “It’s very common-sensical.”

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Lawsuit seeks Ajit Pai’s net neutrality talks with Internet providers

The Federal Communications Commission was sued today by a group that says the commission failed to comply with a public records request for communications about net neutrality between FCC officials and Internet service providers.

On April 26, a nonprofit called American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request asking the FCC for all records related to communications on net neutrality between Internet service providers and Chairman Ajit Pai or Pai’s staff. The group asked for “correspondence, e-mails, telephone call logs, calendar entries, meeting agendas,” and any other records of such communications.

The group also asked for similar records related to FCC communications with members of Congress, congressional staff, and members of the media. But American Oversight’s lawsuit against the FCC says the commission hasn’t complied with the requests.

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Verizon accused of violating net neutrality rules by throttling video

The Federal Communications Commission should investigate whether Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality rules by throttling video applications on its mobile network, advocacy group Free Press says.

Free Press is asking people to sign a petition that will be delivered to the FCC.

“Late last week Verizon Wireless customers started to notice something suspicious: Videos from Netflix and YouTube were slow,” the call for signatures says. “Verizon Wireless couldn’t explain why. When reporters asked the wireless giant to comment, the company first said it was just a temporary network test with no impact on user experience. But Verizon later admitted that, temporary test or not, it was indeed ‘optimizing’ video streams.”

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Judge orders Apple to pay $506M to university for patent infringement

A judge has ordered Apple to pay $506 million to the research arm of the University of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, sued Apple in 2014, accusing its A7, A8, and A8X chips of infringing US Patent No. 5,781,752, which claims a type of “table based data speculation circuit.” The following year after a trial, a Wisconsin jury found (PDF) that Apple had infringed the ‘752 patent and that it should pay $234 million in damages.

Yesterday’s order (PDF), signed by US District Judge William Conley, more than doubles that amount. Conley awarded WARF $1.61 per unit for many of the iPad and iPhone devices that use the accused chips, up until the entry of judgment in October 2015. He also tacked on $2.74 per unit as a royalty payment covering the period from the date of judgment through December 26, 2016, which is when the ‘752 patent expired.

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Travelers’ electronics at US airports to get enhanced screening, TSA says

Aviation security officials will begin enhanced screening measures of passengers’ electronics at US airports, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday.

Travelers must remove electronics larger than a mobile phone from their carry-on bags and “place them in a bin with nothing on top or below, similar to how laptops have been screened for years. This simple step helps TSA officers obtain a clearer X-ray image,” the TSA announced amid growing fears that electronic devices can pose as homemade bombs.

“Whether you’re flying to, from, or within the United States, TSA is committed to raising the baseline for aviation security by strengthening the overall security of our commercial aviation network to keep flying as a safe option for everyone,” TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia said. “It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe. By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats.”

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