Jul 10, 2019

Why privacy still comes second for tech firms

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Big Tech giants battle for smart speaker dominance

Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod. Photo: John Brecher for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Eager for a place in the home, tech giants are beefing up their smart speaker products, hoping to find just the right combination of screens, speakers and features that will stick with consumers.

Why it matters: There's a lot of potential in the smart speaker market, especially for the big companies like Google and Facebook whose traditional advertising streams face slowed growth projections. But balancing privacy concerns with enough functionality to attract users is proving to be tricky.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019

Apple pushes update to remove Zoom's Web server

Photo: Nicolò Campo/LightRocket/Getty Images

In a rare move, Apple silently updated the Mac operating system Wednesday to remove a controversial hidden Web server installed by the Zoom Web conferencing app.

The bottom line: The moves undo the damage, but as we reported yesterday, the bigger question is: when will tech companies stop prioritizing features over privacy in the first place?

Go deeperArrowJul 11, 2019

The FTC writes Facebook's new rulebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 Developer Conference in April. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While Facebook's privacy settlement with the Federal Trade Commission includes a record $5 billion fine, its most important provisions lie in new restrictions it places on the company's practices.

Why it matters: The settlement's effectiveness will lie in whether these terms end up protecting consumers — yet policymakers on both sides of the aisle are already saying they don't go far enough.

Go deeperArrowJul 25, 2019