Aug 14, 2018

Big Tech can't shake its sneaky reputation

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Big Tech is constantly reassuring the public and policymakers that its technology isn't being used to spy on its users.

Why it matters: Trust issues around technology companies persist in America. According to Pew Research Center, relatively few Americans trust major technology companies to consistently do what is right. And more than half (51%) think they should be regulated more than they are currently.

The irony: Most of these companies don't even need to spy on their users, since they are so sophisticated at tracking users' information with their permission.

Yes, but: Many Google smartphone apps store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they will prevent them from doing so, per AP's Ryan Nakashima.

  • Google's spokesperson tells Axios' Mike Allen, "We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”
  • Apple penned a letter to Congress last week stating that iPhones don't listen to users without their permission and that it doesn't allow third-party apps to do so either. The letter came in response to a request to Apple and Alphabet CEOs for more information about the companies' data privacy policies.
  • Facebook has been battling for years the conspiracy theory that it listens to users' conversation to better target ads. In March, The Wall Street Journal detailed all of the ways the company uses data to target ads in a way that's so effective, it's probably easier than listening to user conversations.
  • Amazon faced questions over whether its home assistant Echo secretly listens to conversations of users after a woman reported in May that her device had recorded a conversation then shared it with one of her husband’s employees in Seattle. Amazon told NYT that the woman's device heard a word that triggered it to take action on their conversation.

Go deeper: Media’s New Business Model: Surveillance Capitalism.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 664,695 — Total deaths: 30,847 — Total recoveries: 140,156.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 124,464 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by late Saturday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states. The CDC later announced domestic travel restrictions for the states.

Why it matters: Trump said hours earlier he was considering quarantine measures to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN such a measure would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health