10 things in tech you need to know today

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

1. A US couple said their Alexa device recorded a private conversation and sent it to a person in their contacts. Amazon said the Echo speaker had misinterpreted background noises as commands to wake up and send a message, and said the case was extremely rare.

2. The self-driving Uber car that killed a pedestrian was not designed to automatically brake in an emergency, according to new report from the National Transportation Safety Board. The report states that Uber’s reasoning for not automatically braking while under computer control is “to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behaviour.”

3. Essential – the startup founded by Android creator Andy Rubin – plans to sell itself, according to a new Bloomberg report. The company, which has raised $US300 million to date, has canceled the release of its next smartphone.

4. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gathered with other Silicon Valley bosses such as IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in Paris on Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron has grand plans to turn his country into a leading tech hub.

5. Europe’s strict privacy regulation, the GDPR, kicks in today but Mark Zuckerberg said most people still opt in to some of Facebook’s most invasive features. He said people chose to let Facebook track their use on apps and websites off Facebook to inform targeted ads.

6. The bitter, multi-year feud between Samsung and Apple on the issue of patents may be coming to end. A jury on Thursday ordered Samsung to pay Apple $US539 million for allegedly copying patented smartphone and tablet features.

7. Rest in peace, StumbleUpon. The website, which let users find random websites with one click, is shutting down, its founder Garrett Camp announced on Thursday.

8. Facebook and Twitter will ad labels to political ads so it’s easier to see who is paying for them. US political ads on Facebook and Instagram will need a “paid for” disclosure, while Twitter will introduce TV-style disclaimers on political ads.

9. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said a move he made in October to grab power from ex-CEO Travis Kalanick meant the board was no longer divided. Last year, the board reduced Kalanick’s power after he was ousted as chief executive.

10. The smart-speaker wars are heating up. For the first time, Google outsold Amazon in smart-speaker sales for last quarter, according to new data from the analytics firm Canalys.

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