US president suggests Google plans election subversion

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Following a meeting with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, US president Donald Trump has posted a series of tweets implying that the tech giant may “illegally subvert the 2020 election” (The Verge). Trump said that topics raised in his meeting with Pichai “all sounded good” until he later watched a TV interview with former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee, who claims that Google deliberately skewed search results to affect public opinion.

Cernekee reportedly ired colleagues by proposing an internal fundraising event for white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, but Google says he was ultimately fired for downloading confidential corporate information to his personal devices.

Around 23 million CafePress customer records were stolen by hackers, including email addresses, postal addresses, names, phone numbers and passwords encrypted with the relatively weak SHA-1 hashing algorithm (The Register). The company originally claimed that it was simply changing its password policy. It’s not currently clear how the data was stolen.

Facebook has taken legal action against two Android app developers that it says developed software that registered fake advertising clicks, defrauding Facebook of ad revenue (TechCrunch). “The malware created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users’ phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads,” writes Facebook director of platform enforcement and litigation Jessica Romero. Hong Kong based LionMobi and Singaporean JebiMobi’s apps were still on the Play Store at the time of writing.

In May 2018 McDonald’s in the UK started phasing out its plastic straws in favour of paper ones, in response to a petition signed by nearly 500,000 people asking the company to stop using plastic straws (WIRED). Soon customers started complaining that the paper straws disintegrated in drinks so McDonald’s came back with a thicker paper straw. But on August 5, McDonald’s stated that these new straws – unlike their paper predecessors – weren’t to be recycled. So what went wrong?

Scientists have identified the biggest parrot that ever lived from a pair of fossilised leg bones dated to between 16 million to 19 million years ago (Gizmodo). Found in New Zealand, Heracles inexpectatus is estimated to have weighed around 15kg and stood some 90cm tall.

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