Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – January 2nd
Twitter under data-protection investigation after alleged breach – 12/30
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) will investigate Twitter after a hacker claims they accessed the personal data of over 400 million accounts. The hacker named “Ryushi” is asking $200,000 to delete the data that includes personal details like emails and phone numbers of politicians and celebrities. The hacker published a small sample of data online.
In a statement, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said it “will examine Twitter’s compliance with data-protection law in relation to that security issue.”
Neither Twitter nor Elon Musk responded to requests for comments about the alleged breach.
Hudson Rock, a cyber-crime intelligence company, raised the alarm about the sale. According to Alon Gal (Hudson Rock Chief technology officer), the amount of data has not been confirmed. However, some clues indicate the validity of the claims. Gal stated: “The hacker aims to sell the database through an escrow service that is offered on a cyber-crime forum. Typically this is only done for real offerings.”
DPC is also investigating a previous breach that impacted over 5 million accounts.
Meanwhile, California Property Trust (the owner of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters) is suing the company for not paying the rent. On December 16th, California Property Trust notified Twitter it would default on the lease if it did not pay $136,250 in rent. In a filing with the San Francisco County Superior Court, the company claims Twitter failed to comply.
Apple and Tesla stock drop over production concerns – 12/28
Tesla and Apple stock dropped over concerns about potential delays in their production hubs in China. Tesla stock dropped 73% (when compared to the record high in November 2021). Meanwhile, Apple stock hit its lowest point since June 2021.
Both companies faced production delays earlier due to government Covid 19 restrictions and mandatory lockdowns. In November, the Foxconn plant in Zhangzhou that produces iPhones experienced workers’ protests. Apple’s revenue was down 11% compared to November 2021.
The Chinese government announced it would lift Covid 19 restrictions for travelers on January 8th. The country also eased Covid 19 restrictions for the general population that were in place since the pandemic started. But because of this, China is battling a spike in Covid cases, and big companies are expected to experience labor shortages.
Experts believe it will take until late February for the production to go back to normal. Simon Baptist (Chief economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit) said: “Factories are going to experience labor shortages for at least 4-6 weeks as the wave passes through their production regions, and of course most migrant workers will go back to their home villages for the Lunar New Year at the end of January.”
Google settles Washington DC location-tracking lawsuit for $9.5 million – 12/30
Google agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Washington DC Attorney General Karl Rancine filed in January last year for $9.5 million. It claims Google is invading the privacy of its users and is being dishonest about how it uses their data.
It stated: “Google leads consumers to believe that consumers are in control of whether Google collects and retains information about their location and how that information is used… In reality, consumers who use Google products cannot prevent Google from collecting, storing and profiting from their location.” In a statement, Rancine said about the settlement: “Given the vast level of tracking and surveillance that technology companies can embed into their widely used products, it is only fair that consumers be informed of how important user data, including information about their every move, is gathered, tracked, and utilized by these companies.”
As a part of the lawsuit, Google agreed to change some of its practices. The company has to notify users who have location settings how to disable the settings and delete the data. Likewise, users can limit how long Google keeps their data. Google also has to let users with new Google accounts know which location-related settings are on by default and how they can opt-out.
Furthermore, the company will not be able to share user data with third-party advertisers without consent from users. Also, Google has to create a website that details its data location practices.
Japanese FTX users to start withdrawing funds in February – 12/30
FTX Japan (the company’s Japanese subsidiary) announced in a blog post on Thursday the country’s FTX users will be able to start withdrawing their funds in February.
The company will enable withdrawals via the crypto exchange Liquid Japan (which they purchased in February of last year). FTX users will have to open up an account with Liquid Japan in January. Then they will be able to transfer the funds from FTX and start withdrawing funds in February. FTX Japan released a statement: “We deeply apologize for causing great concern and inconvenience to our customers due to the long-term suspension of the service.”
On Thursday, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas announced it seized over $3.5 billion of FTX funds. The agency is waiting for approval from the Supreme Court to start returning the funds to creditors and customers.