Nintendo to open its first official store located in Japan


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Fourteen years after unveiling its first location in New York, Nintendo is finally opening an official store in Japan, too. Nintendo Tokyo will be located in Shibuya Parco, the new flagship of the Parco department store chain. Nintendo Tokyo is scheduled to open at the same time as the shopping center in fall.

In an announcement, Nintendo said “we are preparing to make this store, which will be a new base for communicating Nintendo information in Japan, an enjoyable place for a wide range of consumers.” In addition to games, consoles, accessories like amiibo, and branded merchandise, Nintendo Tokyo will also host gaming kiosks and events (if the New York store, in Rockefeller Center, is anything to go by, these might include tournaments, demos, and launches).

Nintendo recently posted strong third-quarter revenue growth, but also cut its Switch forecast for the year. Sales may pick up again, however,

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Facebook removes hundreds of accounts linked to fake news group in Indonesia


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Facebook said today it has removed hundreds of Facebook and Instagram counts with links to an organization that peddled fake news.

The world’s fourth largest country with a population of over 260 million, Indonesia is in election year alongside Southeast Asia neighbors Thailand and the Philippines. Facebook said this week it has set up an ‘election integrity’ team in Singapore, its APAC HQ, as it tries to prevent its social network being misused in the lead-up to voting as happened in the U.S.

This Indonesia bust is the first move announced since that task force was put in place, and it sees 207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts, 546 Facebook Groups, and 208 Instagram accounts removed for “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

“About 170,000 people followed at least one of these Facebook Pages, and more than 65,000 followed at least one of these Instagram accounts,” Facebook said of the reach

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Indian state government leaks thousands of Aadhaar numbers


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A lapse in security has led to the leaking of over a hundred thousand Aadhaar numbers, TechCrunch can reveal.

One of the web systems used to record attendance of government workers for the Indian state of Jharkhand was left exposed and without a password as far back as 2014, allowing anyone access to names, job titles, and partial phone numbers on 166,000 workers as of the time of writing.

But the photo on each record page used the file name as that worker’s Aadhaar number, a confidential 12-digit number assigned to each Indian citizen as part of the country’s national identity and biometric database.

The data leak isn’t a direct breach of the central database run by Aadhaar’s regulator, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), but represents another lapse in responsibility from the authority charged with protecting its data.

Aadhaar numbers aren’t strictly secret but are treated similarly

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We dismantle Facebook’s memo defending its “Research”


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Facebook published an internal memo today trying to minimize the morale damage of TechCrunch’s investigation that revealed it’d been paying people to suck in all their phone data. Attained by Business Insider’s Rob Price, the memo from Facebook’s VP of production engineering and security Pedro Canahuati gives us more detail about exactly what data Facebook was trying to collect from teens and adults in the US and India. But it also tries to claim the program wasn’t secret, wasn’t spying, and that Facebook doesn’t see it as a violation of Apple’s policy against using its Enterprise Certificate system to distribute apps to non-employees — despite Apple punishing it for the violation.

For reference, Facebook was recruiting users age 13-35 to install a Research app, VPN, and give it root network access so it could analyze all their traffic. It’s pretty sketchy to be buying people’s privacy, and despite being

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Go-Jek makes first close of Series F round at $9.5B valuation


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Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company that is challenging Grab in Southeast Asia, has announced the first close of its Series F round, as TechCrunch reported last week. The company isn’t revealing numbers. Sources told us last week that it has closed around $920 million, but we understand that today that the round is at over $1 billion. Go-Jek is planning to raise $2 billion for the round, as reported last year.

Go-Jek said that the first close is led by existing backers Google, JD.com, and Tencent, with participation from Mitsubishi Corporation and Provident Capital. It didn’t provide a valuation but sources told us that week that it is around $9.5 billion.

Starting out with motorbike taxis in 2015, Go-Jek has since expanded to taxis, private car and more. The company said it plans to spend the money deepening its business in Indonesia, its home market, and growing its presence

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Mixtape Podcast: Oracle’s alleged $400M issue with underrepresented groups


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Screen time for kids, corporations allegedly not paying people from underrepresented groups and IBM offers some hope for the future of facial recognition technology: These are the topics that Megan Rose Dickey and I dive into on this week’s episode of Mixtape.

According to research by psychologists from the University of Calgary, spending too much time in front of screens can stung the development of toddlers. The study found that kids 2-5 years old who engage in more screen time received worse scores in developmental screening tests.” We talk a bit about this then wax nostalgically about “screen time” of yore.

We then turn to a filing against Oracle by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that states the enterprise company allegedly withheld upwards of $400 million to employees from underrepresented minority groups. The company initially declined to comment, but then thought better of

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s artist-collaboration platform HitRecord raises $6.4M


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In the early 2000s, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was frustrated with the roles he was being offered. Instead of starring in critically acclaimed indies, he was typecast as “the funny kid on TV” due to roles like Tommy from “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

So like anyone who matured alongside the internet, he created a website where he could ideate, produce and share his work. More than 10 years later, he wants to turn that pet project, called HitRecord, into a full-fledged technology company.

Onstage at Upfront Venture’s annual summit outside of Los Angeles, Gordon-Levitt announced a $6.4 million Series A funding to do just that. Javelin Venture Partners has led the round, with participation from Crosslink Capital, Advancit Capital, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and MasterClass co-founder David Rogier.

Gordon-Levitt, known for starring in “Inception,” “Snowden” and, my personal favorite, “10 Things I Hate About

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Nintendo is launching a new Dr. Mario game for smartphones later this year


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Nintendo has announced a new entry its mobile game lineup slated for early summer of 2019: Dr. Mario World. The app will be a free-to-download puzzle game, co-developed and jointly operated with Japanese messaging app LINE and developer NHN Entertainment. There isn’t much information about the game yet, except that it will be available for both iOS and Android and, while free, will contain in-app purchases. It’s set to be released in 60 countries around the world.

Nintendo first made its foray into mobile entertainment in 2016 with Super Mario Run, a unique take on the classic platformer that infused elements of the endless runner genre. Since then, there have been some hits and some misses as the company has tried bucking traditional…

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Nintendo is making Dr. Mario for iOS and Android


This post is by Greg Kumparak from TechCrunch


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Nintendo held off on building smartphone games for years, but now they just can’t stop. They started with a little stumble with the short-lived Miitomo, but then found an audience with Super Mario Run. Then came Fire Emblem Heroes. Then Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost.

Next up? Dr. Mario.

Nintendo announced this afternoon that it’s working on a title called Dr. Mario World, built in collaboration with Line (as in the company that makes the Line chat app; they also make Disney’s mobile Tsum Tsum games) and NHN.

For anyone out there who might be too young to remember Super Mario’s stint as an M.D., Dr.

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Ninja stars in NFL Super Bowl ad alongside Peyton Manning and Michael Strahan


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Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was gaming’s biggest name in 2018, and he’s continuing that in 2019 by starring in a Super Bowl ad alongside some of the biggest athletes.

Blevins, who is widely considered one of the biggest Fortnite players in the world, tweeted out the ad today, confirming it will play before Maroon 5’s halftime show. It stars former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Michael Strahan, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The entire commercial is about Blevins, with Manning calling him a “video game master.”

“So happy to share with you guys one of the many amazing things we’v e been working on and why I’ve been traveling so much,” Blevins tweeted.

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Apple reactivates Facebook’s employee apps after punishment for Research spying


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After TechCrunch caught Facebook violating Apple’s employee-only app distribution policy to pay people for all their phone data, Apple invalidated the social network’s Enterprise Certificate as punishment. That deactivated not only this Facebook Research app VPN, but also all of Facebook’s internal iOS apps for workplace collaboration, beta testing and even getting the company lunch or bus schedule. That threw Facebook’s offices into chaos yesterday morning. Now after nearly two work days, Apple has ended Facebook’s time-out and restored its Enterprise Certification. That means employees can once again access all their office tools, pre-launch test versions of Facebook and Instagram… and the lunch menu.

A Facebook spokesperson issued this statement to TechCrunch: “We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored. We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.

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A popular genealogy website just helped solve a serial killer cold case in Oregon


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On Thursday, detectives in Portland, Ore. announced that a long-cold local murder case finally came to a resolution, 40 years after the fact.

In 1979, 20-year-old Anna Marie Hlavka was found dead in the Portland apartment she shared with her fiance and sister. According to police, she was strangled to death and sexually assaulted. Police followed a number of leads and kept tabs on the case for decades without a breakthrough.

Last May, detectives with Portland’s Cold Case Homicide Detail dug back into the case using the methodology made famous when investigators last year tracked down the man believed to be the Golden State Killer.

Around that time, detectives working the Hlavka case reached out to a company called Parabon NanoLabs to determine if their case could be solved the same way, by cross-referencing the suspect’s DNA with public DNA profiles uploaded to GEDmatch, a popular free ancestry and genealogy

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Amazon’s barely-transparent transparency report somehow gets more opaque


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Amazon posted its bi-annual report Thursday detailing the number of government data demands it receives.

The numbers themselves are unremarkable, neither spiking nor falling in the second-half of last year compared to the first-half. The number of subpoenas, search warrants and other court orders totaled 1,736 for the duration, down slightly on the previous report. Amazon still doesn’t break out demands for Echo data, but does with its Amazon Web Services content — a total of 175 requests down from 253 requests.

But noticeably absent compared to earlier reports was how many requests the company received to remove data from its service.

In its first-half report, the retail and cloud giant said in among the other demands it gets that it may receive court orders that might demand Amazon “remove user content or accounts.” Amazon used to report the requests “separately” in its report.

Now it’s gone. Yet where

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Nintendo rumored to be working on a smaller, cheaper Switch


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Remember when the rumor mill suggested that Nintendo was already working on a sequel to the Switch? Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa shut that down pretty quickly, saying that no successor was in the works.

Now the rumor mill has shifted gears: Rather than a whole new generation, the whispers suggest Nintendo is tinkering with a cheaper, more portable variation of the original.

The rumor stems from a report by Nikkei (Japan’s predominant financial newspaper), later translated by NintendoEverything. According to their translation, Nintendo “has informed multiple suppliers and game development companies that they intend to release them as early as 2019.”

While the Switch is already kinda-sorta portable, it’s also kinda-sorta not. In its handheld mode, it comes in at around 9.4 x 4 inches — the majority of which is made up of a big, oh-so-scratchable and fully exposed screen. Taking it on the road without some

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The fallout from Facebook’s controversial research app


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Apple yanked enterprise certificates from Facebook and Google, shutting down internal iOS apps

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Apple restores Facebook’s ability to run internal iOS apps


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Facebook said today that Apple has restored its enterprise certificate, the software permission that allows the social network to load internal mobile apps onto the devices of employees, beta testers, and research participants.

The move comes roughly one day after Apple blocked Facebook from using the program after a TechCrunch investigation revealed it had re-skinned its Onavo VPN app, pulled from the App Store last summer, as the “Facebook Research” app. Facebook was paying teenagers and adults $20 a month to use the app, which was not distributed through proper iOS channels and was instead sideloaded using Facebook’s enterprise certificate, to siphon sensitive smartphone data.

Facebook pulled the app in response to the backlash on…

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Kleiner Perkins officially reboots with a $600 million early-stage fund


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The venture firm Kleiner Perkins has enjoyed many iterations over its 47-year-old history. Today, in some ways, it kicks off its newest. According to a new SEC filing, the firm has just closed its eighteenth early-stage fund with $600 million in capital commitments. It’s the first fund that Kleiner has announced since June 2016.

Investors are betting on a very different team than last time around. Specifically, they look to be placing much of their faith in Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman. Hamid, who today runs Kleiner with longtime general partner Ted Schlein, was recruited into Kleiner in August 2017, after being courted by the firm for more than a year. It was hoped all along that Hamid — who’d previously cofounded Social Capital with Chamath Palihapitiya and gotten to know Kleiner during early discussions about potentially merging the two firms — would lead the next generation of investors

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Will tech companies change the way we manage our health?


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As of September 2018, the top 10 tech companies in the U.S. had spent a total of $4.7 billion on healthcare acquisitions since 2012. The number of healthcare deals undertaken by those companies has consistently risen year-on-year. It all points to an increasing interest from technology companies in U.S. healthcare, which raises many questions as to what their intentions are, and what the ramifications will be for the health industry. 

It also begs the question as to why healthcare has become the latest target of U.S. tech giants. On the surface, they don’t seem like natural bedfellows. One is agile

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Nintendo reportedly planning to release a smaller, cheaper Switch


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A report from Japanese business daily Nikkei claims Nintendo is developing a smaller, cheaper version of its Switch console. The rumored Switch will focus on portability, and it will cut some features to bring the price down, but it’s not yet known what those features might be.

The Nikkei report, translated by Nintendo Everything, states that Nintendo has begun working with multiple suppliers and game development companies, informing them that the console could be released as early as 2019. The report also hints at Nintendo’s plan to launch a new service aimed at “game enthusiasts willing to pay more,” sometime in 2019. That could potentially be a more robust classic games subscription, similar to the Virtual Console of the Wii and Wii…

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Over-the-air update strands NIO electric car on a highway in China


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<img alt="&lt;em&gt;NIO’s ES8 SUV outside the New York Stock Exchange on the day the company went public in the US.&lt;/em&gt;" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/UOi6NmKlHktLscv3-uVUXurfUdk=/0x0:2040x1360/1310x873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62976517/jbareham_180912_2945_0036.0.jpg" />

One of EV startup NIO’s cars got stuck on a highway in China on Wednesday after the driver triggered an over-the-air software update, according to Bloomberg and the South China Morning Post. The driver, who was testing the car, and a NIO representative were wading through Beijing’s notorious traffic when the update was triggered. They wound up inside for “more than an hour” after the process began, SCMP says.

The NIO representative who was stuck in the car said on Chinese social media site Weibo that “[p]olice officers came, one group after another, yet we could not even wind the window down,” according to SCMP.

NIO apologized on Weibo, according to Bloomberg. The company said in a post it will “optimize” the confirmation process for…

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