10 things in tech you need to know today

SnowdenREUTERS/Mark BlinchFormer U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden appears live via video during a student organised world affairs conference at the Upper Canada College private high school in Toronto, February 2, 2015.

Good morning! Here are the 10 things in tech you need to know to start your week.

1. Alibaba is getting ready to launch the Netflix of China. The Asian online retail giant is preparing to launch its own video streaming service.

2. Facebook is eating the $US140 billion hardware market. Its Open Compute Project started as a controversial idea within the company — but four years later, it has turned the data-centre computer industry on its head.

3. Developers aren’t sure what the “killer feature” of iOS 9 is. We polled developers about Apple’s upcoming update to its mobile OS, and the verdict is that it’s not a radical departure from what we’re already used to.

4. Uber is using GPS tracking to punish drivers in China who get too close to taxi protests in the country. The established industry is protesting Uber and the company wants its drivers to steer clear of them. The company threatens to track its drivers with GPS and cancel contracts with those who refuse to obey, the Wall Street Journal reports.

5. Google has hired superstar architect Thomas Heatherwick to build its new $US1 billion London HQ. Heatherwick is already being Google’s new headquarters in California, and Google is now asking him to look at London.

6. France is trying to force Google to implement the “right to be forgotten” worldwide. The contentious right allows European users to appeal to have search results taken down, but only applies to European versions of Google. The French privacy watchdog thinks it should be extended across the globe.

7. UK government sources say that Russia and China have been able to decrypt a trove of documents leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. However, the claims have been disputed, and at least one key detail from the report is demonstrably false.

8. South Korea’s Lee dynasty, the family that controls Samsung, is about to have its biggest test yet. Lee Jae-yong faces the difficult task of reorganising one of the world’s largest and most complex companies.

9. The hacking of the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in the US could provide a treasure trove for foreign spies. The massive hack has likely exposed large amounts of compromising information about government employees. US officials suspect China was behind the attack.

10. Europe has produced 13 unicorns — tech startups worth at least $US1 billion — so far this year. The figure is higher than ever before, and comes via a study by investment bank GP Bullhound.

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