Trump signs an executive order to detain families together at the border indefinitely

President Trump has signed an executive order to reverse a practice recently enacted by his own administration that resulted in the separation of children from their families at the border. The language of the executive order, titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation,” points blame at Congress, echoing Trump’s previous statements demanding that this issue be resolved through legislation although it was not implemented through legislation. The meat of the order:
“Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws. Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time. When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a)
Continue reading "Trump signs an executive order to detain families together at the border indefinitely"

Bag Week 2018: Chrome’s MXD Pace Tote is the perfect little hybrid backpack

I admit I was a little reluctant to try this pack out, but in the end it was my favorite of the Chrome bags I tested for TechCrunch Bag Week 2018, perhaps not coincidentally, one of the least Chrome-like. If you’re familiar with Chrome’s bike messenger bag roots, the Pace feels like an abrupt departure, but it’s one you might fall in love with. Wearing the Pace just feels…. fun? I don’t really know another way to describe it. For one, you can wear it as a tote bag or as a backpack and that is surprisingly liberating. Plenty of bags, including Chrome’s oversized, industrial-strength packs, feel a bit like readying for a battle when you put them on. With a big pack on, you are no longer a person just shopping for groceries or going to the bookstore, you’re a person with a very serious backpack who is also
Continue reading "Bag Week 2018: Chrome’s MXD Pace Tote is the perfect little hybrid backpack"

Bag Week 2018: Chrome’s BLCKCHRM Bravo 2.0 backpack is a burly, stylish beast

If you needed to pick a bag to have your back in a street fight, you should probably choose Chrome’s Bravo 2.0. I tested a version of this pack from the company’s higher-end BLCKCHRM line. The BLCKCHRM version of the Bravo 2.0 replaces the normal pack’s 1050 denier nylon exterior with a slightly rubbery, Navy-grade material called Hypalon, a full-grain leather back panel and a sleek all-black look. The result is as visually impressive as it is brawny.

Taylor Hatmaker/TechCrunch

To test the Bravo 2.0, I took it on a trip to Los Angeles that required me to fill every available cubic inch of my luggage with necessary gear. For the Bravo 2.0, that meant clothing that didn’t fit in my checked bag, a 13″ MacBook, a Sony RX-100, some medium-size notebooks, two lenses for my Sony A7S II and all of the other weird odds
Continue reading "Bag Week 2018: Chrome’s BLCKCHRM Bravo 2.0 backpack is a burly, stylish beast"

Review: Chrome’s Vega Transit Brief makes your work commute a little less uncool

You’re either a Chrome bag person or you’re not. And if you’re not a Chrome bag person, it might be time to give the newly Portland-based bag maker another look. I’ve been a fan of Chrome Industries bags for a long time, but over the years I’ve only owned two: the discontinued Mini Buran, a 15L, extra-small messenger by Chrome standards, and the Niko camera pack. I still use the latter periodically but I traded the messenger away early on because, in spite of being Chrome’s smallest pack and the only one that didn’t look cartoonishly big on my 5′ 4″ frame, I could never get the weight quite right. There are two reasons for that: 1) Chrome bags are huge and designed for huge hulking men and 2) I’m just not a messenger bag person.

Taylor Hatmaker/TechCrunch

Chrome’s lineup of industrial-strength messenger bags has typically appealed to hardcore
Continue reading "Review: Chrome’s Vega Transit Brief makes your work commute a little less uncool"

Facebook’s longtime head of policy and comms steps down

A prominent figure that helped shape Facebook public perception over the course of the last decade is on the way out. In a Facebook post today, Elliot Schrage, vice president of communications and public policy, announced his departure. Schrage joined the company in 2008 after leaving his position in the same role at Google. He had come under fire over the last year at Facebook for his influence in shaping Facebook’s highly criticized public reaction to a series of scandals that began with the platform’s policies during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In response to questions about Facebook’s potential unwitting role in influencing the outcome of the election, Mark Zuckerberg famously dismissed such concerns as a “pretty crazy idea.”

via Facebook/Elliot Schrage

In a Facebook post, Schrage elaborates:
After more than a decade at Facebook, I’ve decided it’s time to start a new chapter in my
Continue reading "Facebook’s longtime head of policy and comms steps down"

Apple confirms that it will seal up law enforcement’s favorite iPhone cracking method

A new version of iOS will block a controversial loophole that law enforcement agencies have leveraged in order to crack into locked iPhones. In an upcoming version of iOS (likely iOS 12), Apple will include a feature known as USB Restricted Mode which limits access to a locked iPhone through its USB port. The feature previously appeared in the iOS 11.3 beta, making its way into the iOS 12 beta and now the company has confirmed that the security patch will make it into a final iOS release. With USB Restricted Mode, an iPhone’s Lightning port will lock one hour after the phone is locked. In that mode, which will be the default, only charging will be possible through the port after the initial one hour period has expired. “We’re constantly strengthening the security protections in every Apple product to help customers defend against hackers, identity thieves and intrusions
Continue reading "Apple confirms that it will seal up law enforcement’s favorite iPhone cracking method"

Democrats introduce an election security bill that proposes paper trails and mandatory audits

As primaries ramp up in states across the U.S., concerns about election cybersecurity are mounting too. This week, a group of Democratic senators introduced a bill to mitigate some of the well-established risks that the nation’s uneven mix of voting machines and election systems poses. The new bill, known as the Protecting American Votes and Elections Act, proposes two significant measures. First, because not all digital voting systems produce a paper trail, it would require all state and local elections to ensure that their equipment produces voter-verified paper ballots that can be cross-referenced. Second, for all federal elections regardless of outcome, state and local governments would be required to conduct audits comparing digital ballots to a random selection of paper ballots. The latter policy would cover the 22 states that currently don’t require audits following elections. “Leaving the fate of America’s democracy up to hackable election machines
Continue reading "Democrats introduce an election security bill that proposes paper trails and mandatory audits"

Instagram adds shopping tags directly into Stories

Instagram’s shoppable tags are about to pop up in Stories. The company first started testing the feature back in 2016 with a limited set of 20 partners. Since then it’s been a hit, expanding broadly to regular brand posts in the feed. Starting today, hitting a little shopping bag sticker in a Story will lead you to more details on the cute and/or dope thing that caught your eye and how to score it. It’s a simple addition, but given the success of Stories it’s a potent one for brands that drive sales on the platform. “With 300M using Instagram Stories everyday, people are increasingly finding new products from brands they love,” Instagram said in a press release. “In a recent survey, Instagrammers said they often watch stories to stay in the-know with brands they’re interested in, get an insider view of products they like, and find out about new
Continue reading "Instagram adds shopping tags directly into Stories"

Here are 454 pages of Facebook’s written follow-up answers to Congress

Facebook finished its homework. In a pair of newly uploaded letters, the two Senate committees that grilled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in April have published the social media giant’s written answers to their considerable body of questions. Zuckerberg faced criticism for not answering many of the more intricate or controversial questions from members of Congress in the moment, but by playing it safe the company bought two months’ worth of time to craft its answers in perfect legalese. If you’re interested in combing through the 454 pages worth of explanations on everything from accusations of conservative censorship to Cambridge Analytica, you can dig into the documents, embedded below. Facebook’s answers to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee: Facebook’s answers to questions from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation:

Twitter’s emoji for Trump’s North Korea nuclear summit is very weird

As U.S. President Trump preps for a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Twitter doesn’t want you to forget to tweet about it under the right hashtag. In a choice that seems to make light of a lot of really quite serious things at once, Twitter is promoting its new #TrumpKimSummit emoji for Tuesday’s summit in Singapore.

The event-specific symbol features what appears to be a high-five between a hand representing the U.S. president and one representing the North Korean dictator known for executing his political enemies and exiling large swaths of his nation to prison camps, where they face starvation and torture. Presumably they are high-fiving over the successful

Continue reading "Twitter’s emoji for Trump’s North Korea nuclear summit is very weird"

Palmer Luckey’s defense company Anduril is already leading to arrests at the southern border

Palmer Luckey’s defense project just crawled out of stealth mode. Between a flattering new Wired piece and its first few official tweets, the secretive year-old company known as Anduril is stepping into the light. Anduril, based out of Orange County, was founded quietly in June 2017 by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, three former Palantir employees (Matt Grimm, Anduril COO; Trae Stephens, Chairman; Brian Schimpf, CEO) and an early Oculus hardware lead Joe Chen.

While defense contractors typically operate under levels of secrecy uncharacteristic for the tech industry, a degree of exposure is useful for attracting additional investors and painting the project in an attractive light as it pursues government contracts. In late 2017, TechCrunch reported that the company was working on AR and VR for “battlefield awareness,” among other defense applications. As

Continue reading "Palmer Luckey’s defense company Anduril is already leading to arrests at the southern border"

The damage from Atlanta’s huge cyberattack is even worse than the city first thought

More than two months after a cyberattack hobbled many of its critical municipal systems, the city of Atlanta is still sorting through the wreckage of what is likely the worst cyberattack targeting a U.S. city to date. On March 22, Atlanta’s connected systems city-wide were hit with a ransomware message locking their respective files and demanding an approximately $50,000 payment in bitcoin (the price has fluctuated since). The ransomware is believed to be from the group known as SamSam, which has been operating and executing similar attacks since at least 2015. In the days following the March 22 incident, Atlanta residents were unable to do simple city system-dependent tasks like paying parking tickets or utility bills. City employees didn’t get the all-clear to turn on their computers until five days later and many city systems still have not recovered. On Wednesday during a budget meeting, Daphne
Continue reading "The damage from Atlanta’s huge cyberattack is even worse than the city first thought"

Synack is the latest cybersecurity company to offer state elections its services for free

The cybersecurity firm Synack will offer its penetration testing services to states for free in an effort to secure election systems for the 2018 midterms. Synack, founded by two former NSA analysts, is best known for its bug bounty program that allows its carefully curated stable of researchers to probe a client’s systems for vulnerabilities. The researchers then disclose those soft spots through Synack’s platform. The company’s offerings are already tuned to the needs of sensitive government clients, and Synack has worked with IRS and the Department of Defense through its “Hack the Pentagon” bug bounty program. States wary of bug bounties should have some peace of mind knowing that Synack emphasizes the intense vetting and low acceptance rate of its research team. From now until November 6, Synack will offer free penetration testing for voter registration sites and voter databases through its “Secure the Election” initiative. The offer’s
Continue reading "Synack is the latest cybersecurity company to offer state elections its services for free"

Facebook shared data with Chinese telecom Huawei, raising US government security concerns

Concerns around Facebook’s recently revealed data sharing relationship with some device makers just took a turn for the worse. The practice, first revealed over the weekend, is now confirmed to have included relationships with Chinese companies Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL, according to The New York Times. Given that the U.S. government has longstanding national security concerns over Huawei, Facebook’s newly revealed data deal with the Chinese company has raised some eyebrows in Congress. “Concerns about Huawei aren’t new – they were widely publicized beginning in 2012, when the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a well-read report on the close relationships between the Chinese Communist Party and equipment makers like Huawei,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner said of the revelation. Warner serves as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “The news that Facebook provided privileged access to Facebook’s API to Chinese device
Continue reading "Facebook shared data with Chinese telecom Huawei, raising US government security concerns"

Ticketfly’s website is offline after a hacker got into its homepage and database

Following what it calls a “cyber incident,” the event ticket distributor Ticketfly took its homepage offline on Thursday morning. The company left this message on its website, which remains nonfunctional hours later:
Following a series of recent issues with Ticketfly properties, we’ve determined that Ticketfly has been the target of a cyber incident. Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken all Ticketfly systems temporarily offline as we continue to look into the issue. We are working to bring our systems back online as soon as possible. Please check back later. For information on specific events please check the social media accounts of the presenting venues/promoters to learn more about availability/status of upcoming shows. In many cases, shows are still happening and tickets may be available at the door.
Before Ticketfly regained control of its site, a hacker calling themselves IsHaKdZ hijacked it to display apparent database files along
Continue reading "Ticketfly’s website is offline after a hacker got into its homepage and database"

Walmart’s new personal shopping service Jetblack launches in New York

Walmart’s tech incubator is out with its first experiment. The incubator, known as Store No. 8, just launched Jetblack, a concierge-style service for requesting stuff and getting it really quick. During its pilot period, the project was known as Code Eight. To shop with Jetblack, first you need an invite. Right now the service is limited to some customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn who are part of an eight month pilot program restricted to buildings with a doorman, though that will soon expand and a waitlist is available now. The service is $50 a month — considerably less than some adjacent competitors while considerably more than Amazon Prime — and promises same-day delivery. While concierge services like Hello Alfred position themselves as high-end options for people wishing to live more serene lives, Jetblack is focusing on “time-strapped urban parents” seeking “more efficient ways to shop for themselves and their families.
Continue reading "Walmart’s new personal shopping service Jetblack launches in New York"

The queer dating app Her expands with curated community spaces

After carving out a niche as the first dating app by and for queer women, Her is broadening its mission. Today, the app formerly known as Dattch is launching a Communities feature — kind of like a set of mini queer subreddits — to let people connect around interests and identity as a group. “We spent the past three years bringing people together in one on one conversations and introductions — communities is about taking it beyond the one on one,” Her founder Robyn Exton told TechCrunch. “We started paying attention to the number of queer spaces that are closing,” Exton said, noting that women’s centers, lesbian bars, queer bookshops and other queer IRL spaces are closing in record numbers in recent years. “We actually think they’re needed more than ever.” Her’s new Communities feature aims to create a digital version of those collective queer spaces, letting users connect with
Continue reading "The queer dating app Her expands with curated community spaces"

Hello Alfred raises $40M to bring hotel-style hospitality to more households

New York-based chore wizard Hello Alfred is about expand its mission to make life easier, one to-do list at a time. The company commands a small army of thoroughly trained home helpers who take care of domestic tasks like sorting mail, taking out the trash and picking up groceries. Those helpers pop by on a weekly basis, and subscribers pay a monthly subscription fee to free their lives of little things that tend to add up to more than the sum of their parts. Now, with a new $40 million Series B round, Hello Alfred is set to scale. The round was led by investors including real estate developers Divco West and Invesco. Spark Capital and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) also participated in the $40 million round after previously investing in the company. The company won our Startup Battlefield at Disrupt in 2014, back when it was just “
Continue reading "Hello Alfred raises $40M to bring hotel-style hospitality to more households"

Trump’s visa restrictions aimed at Chinese STEM students to start in June

In a policy change set for next month, the Trump administration is moving to shorten visas for Chinese students in fields like tech and engineering. While most visas are issued for the longest possible length of time under law, the new policy will allow U.S. officials to put a one year cap on visas for Chinese graduate students who are “studying in fields like robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing,” according to the Associated Press. A State Department official told The Hill that “Although the large majority of visas issued to Chinese nationals are issued for the maximum validity, consular officers may limit the validity of visas on a case-by-case basis” under the new rules. Beyond the student limits, U.S. consulates and embassies reportedly received instructions that any Chinese citizen applying for a visa will need to secure additional special permission form the U.S. if they work in
Continue reading "Trump’s visa restrictions aimed at Chinese STEM students to start in June"

Pokémon Quest hits the Nintendo Switch with two more Pokémon titles on the way

Much like the unique and forking joy of catching an eevee you plan to evolve, Poké trainers have some exciting branching paths ahead of them. In a dedicated press event in Tokyo, the Pokémon Company, Nintendo and Niantic announced three new Pokémon games with another on the way in late 2019. The first game, a casual “free to start” RPG called Pokémon Quest, is already available for download on the Nintendo Switch.

Pokémon quest revisits the well loved core cast of ‘mons from the Kanto region (think Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow era) but with a cubist twist. The game will

Continue reading "Pokémon Quest hits the Nintendo Switch with two more Pokémon titles on the way"