Stories by Scott Rosenberg

Senators turn up encryption heat on Apple, Facebook

Photo of Sen. Lindsey Graham in an elevator with smartphone in one hand, and other hand's finger raised
Sen. Lindsey Graham. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

The long-running fight over encryption looked set to enter a hot new phase Tuesday as representatives of Apple and Facebook took a grilling from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Facebook sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr saying it won't accede to government pressure to add "back doors" to its products.

Why it matters: Encryption is increasingly baked into tech devices and communications platforms. That enhances personal privacy — but law enforcement authorities have long maintained that it also harms their ability to apprehend criminals, terrorists and child abusers.

At Google, twilight of the founders

Photo of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 2002 leaving an elevator at Google's office
Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 2002. Photo by Richard Koci Hernandez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Yesterday's announcement that Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were leaving their executive posts at Google's parent company Alphabet was a surprise only in timing. 

What's happening: Page had stepped back from Google itself in 2015. From their perches at Alphabet — Page as CEO, Brin as president — the two founders oversaw the company's "other bets" on advanced technologies like self-driving cars and drones. Googlers have said that they became less and less a presence inside the company. 

Fired Google workers plan federal complaint

 Illustration of four angry employees in silhouette facing the Google search homepage
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four employees fired by Google right before Thanksgiving plan to file an unfair labor practices complaint this week with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that the company fired them for engaging in protected labor organizing.

Why it matters: The prospect of engineers challenging an iconic Silicon Valley firm under well-established labor laws could mark a sea change for the largely non-unionized tech industry.