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Tech Week: 'Leaky' Angry Birds And Digital Invades Cinemas

Classified documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA was garnering private user information by piggybacking on "leaky" apps such as Angry Birds that collect data.
Gary He
Classified documents provided by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA was garnering private user information by piggybacking on "leaky" apps such as Angry Birds that collect data.

After a week of earnings reports and inflammatory comments from a Silicon Valley mogul, we have finally made it through January. If you missed the entire month of All Tech conversations (doubtful!), you can check out our previous weeks in review here, here and here. And if you want to be part of them, scroll down and add your thoughts to our comment section.


Hardware for the digital world: This week on air, we explored the next wave of digital entertainment. Laura Sydell looked at how small independent cinemas without digital projectors are struggling to transition. Elise Hu took us into a Taiwanese news animation studio, which produces about 50 3-D news reenactments a day. The blog covered some fun innovations: a phone that transmits smells instead of sounds and a boarding pass that's much more useful and pleasant to look at than the ones airlines use now.

Tech and business:New York might soon be the first state to write regulations for Bitcoin, and WNYC's Ilya Marritz points out that the efforts are boosted by Facebook's former foes. In Arizona, Peter O'Dowd reports that an Intel factory, once touted by President Obama as an example of bringing manufacturing jobs to America, still hasn't opened its doors. On the federal level, Elise reports that two lawmakers are crafting a bill that would, theoretically, help the government manage its technology projects more efficiently (and less like HealthCare.gov).

The Big Conversation

No more Holocaust comparisons, OK? In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins compared class tensions in the Bay Area to Kristallnacht, a destructive Nazi rampage that sent 30,000 Jews to concentration camps. He later apologized for using that word but said he stood by the sentiment that the richest 1 percent are under attack, which the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as many other news organizations, vehemently disagreed with. This is the latest in a slew of events about San Francisco's wealth disparity.

Because the NSA is never too far from our hearts:The Obama administration reached an agreement with tech companies allowing them to disclose some vague information about the number of user data requests they get from the government, including the NSA. It was an improvement over the current information blackout, but many privacy advocates still aren't too pleased. The NSA was also reported to be using "leaky" smartphone apps, like Google Maps and Angry Birds, to collect user information, and U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper obliquely referred to journalists as leaker Edward Snowden's "accomplices."

Rumor has itthat Microsoft is inching closer to choosing Satya Nadella as its next CEO and considering replacing Bill Gates as chairman. Nadella currently runs the company's cloud services, among other things. Bloomberg reports that if Gates leaves as chairman, the company might choose someone outside the company to replace him. All Tech will be covering those updates as they come in.


Businessweek : Facebook Turns 10: The Mark Zuckerberg Interview

A few days shy of Facebook's 10th birthday, the site's prodigal co-founder shares some insight into his life. Fun fact: He plans to write a thank-you note every day this year.

The Wall Street Journal : SocialRadar Balances Privacy With New Social Geolocation App

SocialRadar integrates your data from various social networks, which could be cool in a non-NSA password-hacking world. But the story's first sentence gives us the heebie-jeebies: "A guy walks into a bar and knows the name of the attractive woman across the room before he even says 'hello.' "

Fast Company : U.S. Law Forces Coursera To Ban Students In Syria, Iran, Cuba, and Sudan

Turns out the U.S. restricts online courses in its sanctions against these countries. One Coursera professor criticized the government for "bone-headedness, short-sightedness, and sheer chauvinism."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.