Verizon Buys Yahoo, Snowden releases iPhone Case, Audi takes on Tesla

Verizon Buys Yahoo, Snowden releases iPhone Case, Audi takes on Tesla

Verizon Buys Yahoo, Snowden releases iPhone Case, Audi takes on Tesla

  1. Edward Snowden Designs iPhone Case to Monitor Radio Signals

Three years after Edward Snowden asked reporters in a Hong Kong hotel room to place their smartphones in a mini fridge to prevent their devices from transmitting, he and one other hardware hacker are releasing a compact solution to prevent radio surveillance on iPhones.

Andrew “Bunnie” Huang and Edward Snowden have designed an “introspection engine” which sits on the outside of the phone like an external battery case and wires into the iPhone through the SIM-card slot. These wires read the electrical signals used by GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth and the cellular modem, and warn you if the radios transmit when they’re meant to be off.

This functionality is especially important for those who have government-funded adversaries in foreign countries, such as journalists. In Snowden’s case, it also helps to expose the government’s potential use of hidden smartphone surveillance. “You need to be able to increase the costs of getting caught, “ Snowden told Wired. “All we have to do is get one or two or three big cases where we catch someone red-handed, and suddenly the targeting policies at these intelligence agencies will start to change.”

  1. Audi to take on Tesla with Electric Vehicle Production

The German automaker Audi is making a push for electric vehicles to take on US automaker Tesla. The company which sold 1.8 million cars last year plans to have electric cars account for a quarter of its sales within the next decade. With an estimated 450,000 electric vehicles per year, this could place Audi in competition with Tesla, which predicts it can sell 500,000 electric cars by 2020 if not sooner.

In the past, Audi has been bearish on producing battery-powered vehicles, but is now committing to invest a third of its R&D budget into electric cars, digital services, and autonomous driving, according to Audi sources.

  1. Google’s Deep Mind Artificial Intelligence Reduces Energy Costs by 40%

Artificial Intelligence is saving Google 40% in a major breakthrough on reduced cooling costs in their data centers. The measured improvement will help data centers around the world reduce emissions and will help the companies that run on Google’s cloud improve their energy efficiency, as well. Utilizing DeepMind’s technology to consume less energy is the beginning of new ground for Artificial Intelligence. By using algorithms, Deepmind learns from raw experience or data to improve on a variety of tasks, with origins in gaming. DeepMind is a British Artificial Intelligence company acquired for $500 Million by Google in 2014.

  1. Tesla’s Master Plan

This week, Elon Musk of Tesla announced the second master plan for his automotive and energy storage company best known for the Model S. His first master plan was announced 10 years ago and outlined the 4 step plan his company has successfully achieved: create an expensive, low volume car to fund a medium volume car to then fund an affordable, high volume car. The 4th step was to provide solar power to the vehicles.

The company has accomplished this with the recent release of the $35,000 Model S and his investment in Solar City. His plan for the next decade includes this 4-step plan:

“Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it”

In the company blog, Musk emphasizes integrating energy generation and storage, expanding beyond personal autos to terrestrial transportation including buses and pickup trucks, autonomous vehicles, car sharing rather than ownership.

  1. Verizon reportedly buying Yahoo

Yahoo, the Internet darling of the late 90s, is reportedly being bought by Verizon in a deal said to be near $5 billion. If the deal is verified, then Tim Armstrong, CEO of Verizon-owned AOL, is expected to take over Yahoo from Mayer, who has led the company since 2012.

As of late, Mayer has received criticism from investors for Yahoo’s overall sales decline from ad sales. Over the course of her tenure, she has invested heavily in improving Yahoo’s mobile products, including an acquisition with Tumblr and 48 additional acquisitions listed here.


Beth Kindig
Beth Kindig writes the "This Week in Tech News" column covering the most essential headlines of the week in abbreviated form. Her readers are busy professionals and casual tech enthusiasts who want to effortlessly stay on top of the latest news. Follow her on Twitter @Beth_Kindig


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