8 Episode results for "BOB mcmillen"
Microsoft Warns of a Monster Computer Bug
"A I blockchain smart cities, the digital transformation happening now makes the seemingly impossible doable at Deloitte, we help clients, harnesses, powerful technologies to improve business and the world Deloitte dot com slash look. Again. This is tech news briefing, im Tanya, Bustos reporting from the newsroom in New York. And in a week of monster bugs Microsoft warns of monster bugs. We learn that a computer bug. It is now patched could be used by a cyber weapon similar to the wannacry warm which if you'll recall spread across the globe two years ago all the details after these technicians. Facebook will bar people who post or share terrorist propaganda from broadcasting? Live video on its service that is the official announcement this week. This, of course comes months after the streaming feature was used to broadcast the assault in March on mosques in New Zealand. The new policy is part of a package of commitments from governments and tech companies alike, dubbed the Christ Church, call aimed at stemming the tide of extremist content on the internet. One of China's tech superstars is back in the game while ten cents latest results aren't particularly inspiring revenue for the first three months grew sixteen percent. It's operating profit increased twenty percent. That's above estimates. The journal says this is thanks to a one point six billion dollar one off allegation gain from its investments rather than from core gaming ten cent which has a market value quivalent to more than four hundred fifty billion dollars got battered last year as Chinese regulators froze game approvals for nine months and the journal notes that ten cent the world's largest game publisher made nearly half of its twenty eighteen revenue and likely most of its profit from the industry. And the next frontier in the privacy debate, your airplane, flight airlines will soon have extensive new ways to track. Passengers raising new concerns about the balance between convenience and data security. Imagine this though, red and green lights that show passengers where to find overhead bin space sensors that tip off flight attendants at who seatbelt, isn't fastened, and airlines that track, how much you sleep what you watch and what you eat. That's the goal of technology manufacturers who are fine tuning such convenience to passengers along with information about flyers habits to airlines, it'll start rolling out in about two years. You can read more about how the airplane cabin is about to get smart from the journals, Scott McCartney who has the details at WSJ dot com. Coming up among several high profile computer security issues to emerge this week Microsoft warns of a monster bug. Blockchain smart cities, the digital transformation happening now makes the seemingly impossible doable at Deloitte, we help clients harnessed these powerful technologies to improve business and the world Deloitte dot com slash look. Again. No lack of computer bugs this week. And apparently Microsoft is next in line with a new warning. The Wall Street Journal's Charlie Turner has more. A warning for Microsoft. If your computer has an older version of the windows operating system, you should know that your machine could be affected by a monster. Computer bug. Microsoft says the bug has been patched, but it could wind up being exploited by militias software or malware. The bug is one of several high profile computer security issues to emerge this week. Let's get more from Bob mcmillen of the Wall Street Journal. Who's in San Francisco, Bob, you write that this is similar to the wannacry worm, which spread globally two years ago. Well, okay. So the bug behind it is similar to the bug behind the wannacry, worm. So there's a problem within Microsoft's operating system that if you're on a like a local network, you know, network in your office, or something like that. You the there's a service that connects computer. On that network. And that has a bug in it now that, that would allow somebody who wrote some software that was militias like say, the wannacry warm to write software that would explode this new bug and go from computer to computer within your local area network within your within your office, and what we found out with one cry is that even though in theory, these kinds of worms should be stopped at the firewall, you know, and not leave office. They did that during the wannacry outbreak. And so people are concerned that, if this bug were exploited by somebody who wrote say, ransomware that travelled around, it could it could affect a lot of computers. Wannacry affected at least two hundred thousand computers and then it was stopped the creators of it put like a kill switch in it. Basically a way of stopping the worm from spreading, and somebody activated that which stopped it, it could have been much worse. What versions of windows does this? Effect. You know as I was talking just now I realize, it's the version that my parents have windows, seven, and I need to give them a call right after this interview, so windows, seven is getting long in the tooth. That's probably the main the main supported version of windows, that people are going to have an need to worry about windows, the newer versions windows, eight and windows ten or not affected by this. But if you have windows seven or older, so even if you're for some reason, still running windows, X P, then you're at risk now. This is interesting because windows, XP is what they call it unsupported operating system. They don't Microsoft doesn't release bugs fixes for windows, XP anymore. But in this case, they're doing it just because they think the bug that is that is that serious shouldn't people upgrade to the new versions, or the newest version of windows as soon as possible. Hey, come on, if you're running x p really hang your head down, and go over to best fi-, it's time time to upgrade is due to say, I don't want us like my parents, because they running windows heaven. If they're running windows, seven, they should be slagged. Okay fair enough. Is it even certain that? The patch will work. Oh, yeah. Microsoft is really good at making patches. They test them. They I think I think if you put it in, you're not gonna you're not gonna be have the security problem involved here. Now, the flip side of this is in large corporations. There's sometimes unexpected things that happen when you add a patch. So all the corporate IT folks are going to be wanting to cast this, and they're going to be some tension. Like if, if you are on a network, that's running windows, seven, and you need your corporate IT people to update the software, they're going to they're going to want to test to make sure it doesn't break everything else on the network, and they're going to be under pressure to do that. Because the bad guys, they now can see what was patched do what's called reverse engineering that, that, that bug. And it's really is usually a matter of hours days, if not hours before they developed like. Exploit code software that can be used to attack vulnerable systems. So there's kind of a race going on right now. Any reported instances of someone trying to take advantage of the bug at this point. Now, yet talk about some of the other bugs that have occurred recently. Oh, yeah. It's been a been a bug week right there. Was this, this great? Very well named bug affecting Intel processors called zombie load. They're actually a series of what they call side channel attacks on Intel chips. Now, you may remember a year ago. There were two bugs specter and meltdown. And they were they sort of an opened up a new field of attack on the Intel processors, basically until us this technology called hyper threading that allows a lot of very fast execution to curb on the processor, but it can also cause some security problems, and the, the specter and meltdown bugs exploited this. And now this news, ambi- load bugs and the other bugs that they found exploit the sort of very fast execution that's going on Intel's chip, and they can be used in certain circumstances to re data that's in the memory of the chips, so that's bad. Because the data in the memory could be like your password, or it could be an encryption key or could be any. Any anything you can imagine really that you wouldn't want somebody else to read those bugs, though, the Intel chip bugs, are most really hard to exploit, and they're not likely to be a appear in like a, you know, they're not going to appear in a global worm that takes out, you know, shipping companies or FedEx or things like that. But they're of concern to people who are worried about being spied on, now, the other bug, that's that is sort of a kind of a job dropper was the what's app bug. And so Facebook says that there, there was a way of breaking into the what's app, apple on your on your phone involving just, just phoning somebody. So if you if an and the technical details of this have not been released, but basically, if you made a call to what's app, called a somebody in structured, the data in that call a certain way, you can actually hack into the person's phone. There are a couple of examples. Of this having happened. And, and so this, this was kind of a worrying bug. Because first of all, it was just the kind of thing, people don't think about when you use WhatsApp, one of the great benefits of it is, it's end to end encrypted. So it's really hard for people to spy on the messages that you're sending or listening on the phone calls, and this subverted the, the, the security of that. So it was very concerning. And then, also it was just interesting that it was triggered by a phone call. I mean you don't hear about that are triggered that way very often so that's been patched. But if you have what's app on your phone? You should go and make sure you download the the new version of it. Because if you if you hadn't if you have an updated before this week. Then you have a vulnerable version on your phone. Wall Street Journal reporter, Bob mcmillen joining us from San Francisco. Thanks, bob. My pleasure. Thanks again to the Wall Street. Journal's Charlie Turner that ends this edition of tech news briefing from the newsroom in New York. I'm Tanya boost does. Thanks for listening.
Apple Sets Fix for FaceTime Bug This Week
"The. This is tech news briefing im Tanya boost does reporting from the newsroom in New York. And apple has an apology for you about that FaceTime bug. It also says a software fix is coming this week where does that leave us and our feelings of security? Let's find out after these Ted's. Scooter startup lime is raising four hundred million dollars at a two billion dollar valuation. In the latest funding round. The deal would value lime at two billion dollars. If all shares authorized in the round are issued the filing confirms in earlier Wall Street Journal report that line which is legally known as neutron holdings was raising at around valuation of between two billion and three billion dollars. Vice media is cutting ten percent of its workforce. Adding to mounting concerns about the future of new media companies that at one time seemed to hold the keys to the online publishing business. The move is part of a global restructuring that will impact two hundred fifty jobs, the companies weekly show on HBO called vice smoke high profile brand flagship will also be ending though. The daily new show will continue Facebook removed hundreds of accounts groups and pages linked to an online syndicate that has been accused of spreading fake news and hate speech in Indonesia. This comes less than three months before presidential election, the world's third largest democracy. It's head of cyber security policy said in a statement that the company had removed more than fifteen hundred Facebook accounts groups and pages as well as two hundred eight Instagram accounts, Facebook and Twitter said late last week that they had also removed hundreds of fake accounts from Iran and Venezuela spreading misinformation the journals Ben auto has more at wsJcom. Coming up Apple's apology and fix for that awkward group. Facetime chat thing. So whilst week before apple disabled the function late Monday users of group FaceTime were able to listen in on others through their smartphones. Apple has an apology for you. Let us get more from San Francisco joining us in the podcast booth over there is Bob mcmillen. Hey, bob. So last week we were all feeling a little insecure perhaps about ever using FaceTime. Again this week. We should be feeling a little bit better because I understand apple has a fix. What can we expect this week delays delays apple said last week that they were going to ship a patch for this bug on by week's end, and they failed to do that. So we're feeling like the problem is mitigated because although they're working on a patch for the issue that hasn't been released. They kinda turned off the whole group FaceTime feature that was the source of the issue within hours of finding out about it. So you're not really at risk of of the the bug being exploited. But apple is taking longer than expected to fix it. Now, what that means to me is that maybe this bug is a little more complicated than I than it first appeared, but a lot of the security people I spoke with on Friday said that they were glad that. Appa was taking its time. They didn't wanna rushed out patch. Maybe lead to other problems, you know, afterwards. So we can rest a little bit easier. But can apple though because this which was quite a high profile setback? And we actually talked about how you know. It's not people are still going to buy phones. But it opens up the whole conversation about security, and it makes it even more awkward for apples and Steve came out with this crusade to protect privacy. And yet here we are. Yeah. This is their big marketing message that they have the most private and secure phone out. There. Also apple has struggled to deliver features that really get people as excited as they used to. And it's concerning that even as that's happening that the very basics the building secure products that have been properly quality assured are also not happening, right? Like, so this this bug was something that if. You saw exploited. You say to yourself. How did they miss this? Right. Like a fourteen year old literally discovered play for night. It's interesting too. Because this is actually rare we should note. Apple does not usually apologize. They're not necessarily one of those companies that are quick to do that. And so I understand that this teenager and his mother was were indeed thanked for their efforts. Where are they standing right about? Now is I mean, do they get free iphone at least? Yeah. They thanked them in the message I've been talking. So the mom's name is Michelle Thompson, and I've been kind of texting with her to hear if if apple has reached out directly to them to to say, thank you and the last I heard of this that had not happened. But they did send out a statement to all the media thanking them personally for making their effort to to notify apple of the issue the week before it became public. Now. This was an effort that was largely in vain apple by by all rights didn't actually get the message that they had found this bug. But. They tried also making this awkward is the fact that apple has criticized other tech companies for collecting users personal data just what was it just last week because what had happened was it had punished Facebook and Google I understand for violating its developer policies. Can you actually get into a little bit of that last week? There were reports that Facebook and then shortly after that report Google as well had misused digital certificates that apple issues to companies in order to create house apps now, this is sort of a complicated problem. But basically if you if you want to run an app on the iphone apple has a bunch of tests. They put on it. They make sure that it's private and that it's up to their standards. But if you just wanna run, you know, some some if you're down Jones and you want to run your own corporate app. They give you a little bit more leeway. And they'll give you a a way of just running those those apps in a less, scrutinized fashion. So what? The problem was was that Facebook was creating these created an app to test the Facebook website and it distributed using using its it's private internal key. Those only supposed to use for corporate apps and this violated Apple's all Google did the same thing as well. So last week apple pulled these in-house digital certificates, which basically broke all of the house apps for both apple I'm sorry for both Facebook and Google and so their their security team was was kind of scrambling to understand what was going on with these apps, and then they revoked certificates, and it was just kind of like a big messy week probably gonna have you back soon. I would imagine. Yeah. It's not gonna stop is a never ending Bob mcmillen. Thanks. My pleasure being here that is it for the tech news briefing im Tanya boost does reporting from the newsroom in New York. Thanks for listening.
Microsoft Patches Severe Windows Flaw Detected by NSA
"This briefing is sponsored by Deloitte business process with less process. See what's possible when data and automation come together to help reinvent workflows visit Deloitte dot com slash. US slash only see possible. This is your tech news briefing Thursday January sixteenth. I'm Terry Yokum from the newsroom. Of The Wall Street Journal in New York Public Safety and data privacy the debate has been raging in the US for years and this week it's been brought back into the spotlight for a number of reasons on Tuesday. Microsoft released a patch in its Windows operating system and weirdly enough it. It was the national security agency that found the flaw reporter. Bob mcmillen joins us to explain. That's up in a minute but first. Let's check some outlines it. If you listen to tech news briefing yesterday you might remember that despite an easing up of the trade war the tech war between the US and China is not going anywhere with the telecom giant wall way at the center of the conflict. Many national security officials are concerned that the technology behind the beijing-backed way could could be used for surveillance people and they're especially concerned because wall way is a leader in telecom equipment for five G. wireless networks. The trump administration has been trying to keep Wa out of the the US and even put pressure on other countries and now Congress is also getting into the fight. A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation to subsidize that is US firms that could counter China's five G. advances. It's got a great name. It's called the Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act and it would put seven one hundred fifty million dollars toward developing five g technology and set aside five hundred million dollars for US companies that implement secure equipment around the world a federal court in New York her closing arguments on Wednesday in the T. mobile sprint antitrust. Case the case was filed by coalition of state attorneys who sued after the DOJ the OJ approved a merger on the two carriers twenty nineteen after some concessions from the companies T. mobile and sprint. Have Long argued that teaming up would allow them to compete more effectively. Flee against the likes of verizon. At a decision is expected in the coming weeks. But in the meantime the market is looking bearish on the outcome. Shares of sprint are trading more more than forty percent discount to the value of the original all-stock deal and you may see more technological advances in physical stores in the future at the national national retail. Federation's Twenty Twenty Vision Conference this week. Companies showed off new applications attack in brick and mortar stores. We're talking about replacing cashiers with facial recognition technology using AI to help manage inventory and even putting robots in the aisles. As consumers do more of their shopping online companies are hoping they can lure people back in by implementing technology that enhances the in-store experience. Get this briefing is sponsored by Deloitte on podcasts. You hear a lot about what's possible but one thing is certain. No business or city achieves their possible alone that's why deloitte collaborates with a vast ecosystem of alliances lances in everything from systems hardware to cloud platforms data migration to analytics a VR collaboration. It's one key he way to turn possible into actual learn more at Deloitte dot com slash. US slash only see possible. The conflict between public safety and data privacy has been raging this week on a number of levels on Susan. Dey came out related to Microsoft. It released a patch to fix a software vulnerability in its Windows operating system that would allow hackers to breach or surveilled targeted computer networks. The interesting thing here is that it was the national security agency that detected the flaw reporter. Bog McMillan is with us on the line. From from San Francisco to explain. Bob Thanks for joining us. Hey It's a pleasure to be here. So what was this Microsoft Flaw. And how did the NSA actually discover right. So the flaw was a bug that affects windows ten the most popular operating system that Microsoft offers. It's if you're up to date on windows you're going to be hit with it. It it it has to do with the CRYPTOGRAPHIC technology that Microsoft uses to make sure that the software running on the computer is what it says it is so. It's not a malicious program. Created by Russian hacker. That says. Hey I'm Microsoft word. Please run me so Microsoft. Has these checks that it uses to to prevent unauthorized software. Air From from running on the computer and related to that so having this loophole would potentially have allowed hackers to install malware on systems undetected as all right. Well it hasn't been exploited right now so we don't know exactly what the real consequences of real malware would look like on it. But yeah that's the concern is that somebody would leverage. This ought to run software. They weren't supposed to run on your computer. You wouldn't know about it. It would do bad things to it. I mean it's serious enough that the federal government is warning first of all Microsoft about it but they also warned their own users about this. Is this problem. said it's really serious. You gotta take this one seriously. Everybody in the security industry is saying you're running windows ten make sure you get those patches. That were released on Tuesday and install them. How common is it for the NSA or other government agencies to be hacking into systems finding flaws and then letting the companies now well the NSA has never notified that we know of a Microsoft of a flaw of this nature before we know that they find bugs like this a few years ago A number a number of them were disclosed and Microsoft got angry with the NSA basically they said you guys have found all these bugs in our products. And you haven't told us about them. You're supposed to be doing that. So this is kind of touchy area because the NSA is in the business of information collection and the way you collect information off of computers nowadays is by finding bugs eggs in exploiting them so they're considered to be some of the greatest you know security bug finders in the world there. They mission mandates that they use them but then part of their mission in is also to help defend the the federal networks and to make sure that other people can't break into our computer systems and the best way eighty do that would be by telling Microsoft about the software flaws and having Microsoft patch them in getting those patches out to everybody so it's kind of a balancing act they have to do and it was interesting interesting to me was this was the first time. NSA had publicly came forward and said here's a bug. We found it. We told Microsoft about it. You all need to patch and it happened like the same week that the Department of Justice was saying we want you know you wanna way into the iphone. It was like these two conflicting messages coming from the federal government. Yeah I mean it's kind of ironic as an on the one hand they're telling attack company. You've got a flaw that you haven't found on the on the other hand they're saying to another tech company. Your security courtesy is so tight we can't get in even if we want to. Yeah it's like it's almost like the NSA is bragging we we have so many ways of getting into your computers. Here's here's one we just found. I don't think they're really doing that. But but it is. There is a contrast because obviously if the federal government knew of flow of this nature that affected apple devices they would be able to get the data off of the the these phones in Pensacola shooting which are sort of what the Department of Justice's fighting apple over this week. There two phones there that they want to get access to. They're not able to get the data off the phones. How do they do it? They're asking apple to do it for them exactly so I guess the big question is. Why is the government doing this? Maybe maybe it's self explanatory right. Are they worried about threats from foreign governments. Y Are they kind of the lead hackers in the in the business right now. Well the government really legitimately is interested in not having critical infrastructure. Here in the United States be hacked. They very much see it as their mission to WHO PROTECT US networks federal networks in particular part of the NSA's mission and they they have for years had a process called devoted abilities equities process whereby the government finds these bugs and then they transfer them to the private sector so the private sector can then improve the security purity of its products and this process has been very mysterious. You know it's all classified this kind of stuff and we we really have never had a very good insight into how much information mation Israeli transferring. A lot of critics would say that the government has been you know sits on these bugs when it finds them for too long and the the process isn't isn't isn't really working. They're supposed to tell us about. How much is being transferred? And we just there's just no public knowledge of the sort of nitty gritty details. Like how many bugs it's the NSA and the government finding and how many are they transferring over to to whom and how often does this happen so does NSA bug the fact that the NSA came forward said we found it. We gave it to Microsoft soft patch. It that's that's something new and it really feels. We've just we talked about this a little bit already but it really feels like we're kind of at a crossroads here on the one hand. The the companies are happy and excited when they find something that they can fix easily on the other hand. They don't want to work with them when they're asking for their help right when the government's governments asking for Apple for example to open up the IPHONE. Where are we going to be at this in terms of cybersecurity? Where do you see this going this? This cooperation collaboration or conflict between governments and companies over cyber security will. I would come to modify what you're you're just a little bit. It's not that apple and the tech companies don't cooperate with law enforcement's not that they're refusing to cooperate. But what's happening is they are setting up systems where they their hands are tied where they can't cooperate whether there is there the data is so secure that even the maker of the device or the operator of the online service can access it so this solves the problem for the tech industry in that provides very high levels of assurance. If you're if you're using the products you can you can feel like you're using them without them. Being spied on and at the same time creates a problem for them which is that the federal government has for years years. Gone to apple and said Hey we WANNA get data off a phones and in the early days APP would be able to do that. And as they made their iphone more and more secure they eventually they reached a point where they said no we not that we don't want to so that we can't we don't have a way of getting the data off the phone and so the government says well come on. You could do do something you could do. A software update that like you know unlocked the phone just for the government and apple says this is a back door. This is something that if we if we created it then and somebody else might figure out how to figure out a way to make it work and it's introducing a security problem into our devices so there's this kind of of a chicken and egg fight that's going on where apple says it will undermine security to to add the the method of getting the data and the government says is will. Why can't we get the data? We always get the data chicken and the egg bog McMillan. Thanks so much for joining us my pleasure and that was your tech news briefing. I'm Qatar Yokum for the Wall Street Journal in New York things for listening.
The Government's Quest to Crack Into iPhones
"Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us on Monday. US Attorney General. William Bar held a press conference to share the results of an investigation into a Saudi gunman's attack in Florida last month Mohammed Sayyed Al Sham. Ronnie on a entered a building on grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station and killed three. US sailors and severely wounded eight. Other Americans bar called the attack inactive terror but he also did something else the attorney general point a finger at the company he said stood in the way a of the FBI investigation apple. We have asked apple for their help. In unlocking the shooter's phones so far apple has not given any substantive assistance this shooters to iphones potentially some of the most valuable evidence the F. B. I. has remain locked we call on apple and other technology companies to help us find a solution so that we can better protect the lives of the American people and prevent future tax but there was something curious about bars announcement. The Attorney General was saying the government couldn't get into this terrace iphone but law on forcement has been able to get into iphones for years today on the show the standoff between the US government and Apple. Paul and why. The IPHONE is at the center of debates over privacy and national security. Welcome to the Journal. Our show Joe about money and power. I'm Ryan Knutson and I'm Caitlyn. Balk is Thursday January sixteenth. MM-HMM BOB mcmillen covers cybersecurity. He says the skirmish between Barin apple is the latest in a struggle between tech and law enforcement. That first exploded into view seven years ago. If you wanted to pinpoint date that this all really took off. It would be the summer of twenty thirteen. Gene when Edward snowden started leaking classified documents from the Archives The Washington Post is reporting noting that the National Security Agency and the FBI are mining the servers of nine leading US Internet companies the federal government tracking. Our phone calls not to mention the information we've given to companies like facebook Google and Apple. Everyone kind of knew that these intelligence is agencies were in the business of collecting data largely from computers. What snowden showed was that the scope of the collection was much greater than people thought the techniques leaks were more sophisticated than people knew and that I think really kind of woke everyone up everyone including apple? Aw before this known. Revelations apples relationship with law enforcement had been relatively smooth in the olden days law enforcement if they were doing investigation they already knew that these phones were very important investigative tools. They would often simply send them to apple. An apple would be able to provide the data that was on the phone. During this period investigators could get a warrant send a phone to Cupertino an apple would be able to send back the motherload emails. Contact lists call records records photos video but slowly apple had been tightening. Its security so beginning. Around the the apple four timeframe mm-hmm they started adding these very strong security measures to the phones and the one that the law enforcement people really care about. Is this technology that not not only encrypt the data on your phone but also protects it with a pass code and post note in apple double down those security features it encrypted and more of its users data and it changed its passcode from a four digit number to a more secure six digit number so they basically locked it down and they did a number number of very clever technically sophisticated things and they were very much. The leader on mobile phone security at this time apple made insurance customers knew about it by touting the security moves in its marketing like when it released its IOS eight operating system apple posted a note to its website assuring during customers that with new encryption passcode security. Not even apple could extract data from a locked eight phone. They built the iphone with such a intense level of security that in this one circumstance. If you have your hands on a phone and you don't have the pass code and you WanNa read what's on it. Nobody nobody can do that. Apple couldn't do that themselves so they basically went from a situation where they could take phone. Download the data Senate to law enforcement to a situation where they take phone. Look at it. Go out it's a modern iphone. We can't do it. We can't do anything with this. Customers might have liked the extra security thirty enraged law enforcement and in two thousand fifteen. Something happened to bring this standoff between apple and law enforcement to a head welcome back everybody. We have breaking news coming to out of California San Bernardino where we have the sheriff's Office confirming that they've had an active shooter where they have to San Bernardino attack. In December December of two thousand fifteen was a terror attack by husband and wife team who opened fire on a county Christmas party. Two suspects have been identified Vita twenty-eight-year-old Saieed for Ruch and twenty-seven-year-old. Tush fien Melik authorities. Say they do not have a motive at this point and are not ruling out terrorism and again after the attack was over law enforcement. Had this phone they had An Apple iphone Five C and they couldn't get into it because it was is locked down and they wanted to know with our other leads that they should be link. There'd be another attack for example that was being planned but try as they might the FBI could not crack it and this was when the government very publicly put in name to the thing they wanted from apple the thing that would solve the frustration. They'd been having for years now. Federal investigators wanted a back door. They wanted apple to write software to crack. Its own phones so that that investigators could get a warrant and just walk through that door. So what was the government's philosophical argument for a back door. Well it was just I. It remains that there should be a way for us to get data. The idea that we can't get data off of this widely used digital device. That's crucial to investigations. This is simply unacceptable. So it's kind of like. Hey we can get a warrant and searched your house. So why can't we get a warrant and search your phone. Yeah or they'll say like for the longest time we've had a way of wire tapping telephones. People are okay with that because you know. There's a precedent for getting a Legitimate Authority to do that and not everybody's phone gets taft. And you know why. Can't we have something like that for the iphone. What kind of leads needs? Can you get out of a fun. Well the most obvious thing is seeing what people have been saying to the suspect. You can see text messages. You can see who they know their list of contacts. You can find a browser history. You can see evidence of where they've been there sort of ways of tracking where where where people actually been taking the phone you know this is basically the the home of your digital life nowadays so if you WanNa profile someone the the phone is really the best place to start to try to build that profile for the San Bernardino shooters. The Justice Department tried to force apple to create a back door by taking the company to court and Apple went to the mattresses to fight it. Apple was not having it. They decided to put all chips in on this issue and to me. That's it was a very interesting acting decision. What they want is they want us to develop a new operating system that takes out the security precautions? Tim Cook appeared on national television and made the argument that the privacy of their users was paramount to this company and the only way it could truly be maintained was by building systems without these back doors. Cook argued that if apple created a back door sure the good guys could get in the good the bad guy. One of the bad guys knew that that existed target that is this is Obama's justice department had gone gone after apple very publicly but if it expected a groundswell of support it was mistaken. Customers stuck with apple no one proposed a law mandating. The back door apple really was able to. I think control the narrative around this just by really pushing this idea that they were taking users observers and their privacy seriously and his the federal government with just years earlier has been largely criticized for widespread surveillance programs. You no saying Oh we need more surveillance you know they were. It was sort of set up for them to smash this one in and And they did. So what happened with the San Bernardino phones was the FBI able to get in at the end of the day. The sembene a phone is an iphone five C and the FBI FBI paid a third party to gain access to it. So yeah they got into it. Cost them a million dollars but they got into it. This was the situation for law enforcement trying to get into an iphone in two thousand sixteen. It was a black box apple. Wouldn't hack it for you and if you wanted in you'd have to pay a million dollars to an anonymous attacker but since then that has radically changed. What changes that business businessmen? The profit imperative changed at after the break. The rise of the iphone crackers. My name is Dr Alexandra socks. I'm a psychiatrist. And the host of the Gimblett Podcast Motherhood sessions which is back for a second season each episode. I sit down with women who've come in with a question or a problem and we work on it together her. When was the last time you tax? I think it was like two years ago. I just I feel like the sexual part of me is just doesn't exist anymore. You can listen to the new the season of motherhood sessions for free on spotify or wherever you get your podcast. Welcome welcome back. The cracking of the San Bernardino phone in two thousand sixteen proved that federal law enforcement wanted into iphones and and that they were willing to pay for it to the tune of one million dollars and with that kind of price tag. Some people sensed an opportunity entrepreneurs stepped in in and in two thousand sixteen a company called Grey shift was founded grey shift employed at least one former apple security expert and and their mission was to hack the IPHONE. It took gray shift a few years to figure this out but by the spring of two thousand eighteen. The company was ready to Demo. So it's new product. It was a small black box about the size of a jewelry box. They called it. The Grey Kitty. Yes so I was down in Myrtle beach at a forensics conference. And as far as I know this was the first public demonstration of the great heap. Gray shift had picked it audience. Wisely as Louis Bob says the conference room was filled with law enforcement. Detectives cops all the law enforcement. Investigators who for years have been just like totally frustrated by apple's inability to give them data this company shows up and they say we have away in the gray gray shift executive pulls out an iphone and this kind of black box device. That has a white cable plugs into the IPHONE. He hits a button in and it begins the extraction. Normally if you tap too many wrong passwords into an iphone if freezes it could make you wait five or fifteen minutes before for you can try another password. Some iphone users set up their phones to erase all of their data after ten wrong tries but the gray key turns off that protection action mechanism. So that the little box can try entering thousands of passwords in a row. The exact way that it's able to do this they don't tell you but if if I were doing it I would start with a certain number of known popular pass keys like one two three four five six six five four three two one or something like that. You can take days or months to get the correct password depending on how the phone set up the phone and the demo has six digit password and within thirty minutes it had unlocked the phone and then once the phone was unlock. It's just took seconds really to start downloading all of the data that was available on the phone. You could just feel the relief in the air as it cracked into this phone. The sense of amazement in the audience that there was finally you know. Promise promise for them to to be able to get data off of these devices to be able to move their investigations forward after years of not being able to do it in the past two years grave shift has sold old products to the US Bureau of prisons the Drug Enforcement Administration the IRS and the FBI the FBI has spent over a million Leeann dollars on grave shift products and a million dollars can buy a lot of tech. And how much is one of these devices. Will starting price fifteen thousand dollars. It's pretty cheap. It's cheap enough that a county investigative office can afford it and could i. I buy one like can individuals by these boxes. No that's part of what was brilliant about their business model was they only sell to. US law enforcement and it was something that they were taking very seriously the security of this device I remember there was an armed guard next to it at all time to make sure that you know wouldn't get taken and this is at a conference like filled with cops right so gracious only sells to US law enforcement but not all of its competitors operate this way way another company that popped up to crack. Apple's iphones isn't Israeli company called NSA group facebook recently sued NSO Group for selling a hacking service that facebook says was used to illegally spy on fourteen hundred. What's APP users in response to that lawsuit? NSO Group said it sells its software to governments on the condition that they use it only to target spies criminals and terrorists but according to a research group called citizen lab over one hundred activists and journalists were targeted last year by a hacks using NSO group technology. Thanks to all these new products in companies investigators finally had away into iphones and ushered in. What some experts? Call the Golden Age of IPHONE investigations. I I spoke with an investigator Gwinnett. County Georgia who put out the call in early twentieth eighteen when he obtained one of these great he devices devices and he said. Listen if you have an investigation that stymied because you can't get onto an iphone bring my office and we'll see what we can do. By the end of the year he had dumped data from three hundred phones. How aware do you think? Apple's consumers are of this vulnerability. Nobody no other. They're completely unaware unaware of this. Like no no consumers have no idea that that this is all going on. And what about Apple. What did they think about these companies cracking into their products? It's a love hate relationship. It's more hate than than love admit. Love is probably not even the right word. It's a it's a hate tolerate relationship. Let's say so apple hates having security flaws in its devices right. They've bet the company on Security and privacy and when there's a bug found found especially when they can't patch that's an embarrassment to them so these companies are basically making their living on finding stuff. That apple is is ashamed of but it keeps law enforcement off their back. It sure does you know. And they have to be cognizant of that right like there's a way for law enforcement to get in if they really me too but it's not so easy that they're just doing widespread surveillance. It's not so easy that they're abusing it. There is a way in which this is a better situation for apple than it was a few years ago in a statement this week. Apple pointed out that law enforcement today has unprecedented access. To Data uh-huh quote Americans. Do not have to choose between weakening encryption and solving investigations. Apples navigated this fine line. Ever since San Bernardino law enforcement can get into iphones but apple is an on the hook to compromise users data. That uneasy truce is what Attorney General Bill Bar. You're upset on Monday so going back to the AG. In the Pensacola shooting. If they're all these IPHONE cracking services out there why does the FBI need apples help. That is a really good question. I'm not sure if you look at Apple. It seems pretty clear that in in many cases law enforcement is able to get data off of these phones. They're able to get much more data than they were a few years ago but there are going to be cases where they're stymied. Some users have passwords longer than six digits and the longer the passcode. The harder it is to guess for every additional digit. There are ten times more permutations. It's that could be the case with the Pensacola shooters phones from the FBI's perspective. They tried to get on these phones. They were unable to to get the pass code which to be fair. If it's a really complicated Pasco can take a long time to get so. They said they've given it a month and they've brought in outside contractors and they're not able to get it they were able to get it with the five c two years ago but in this case with an iphone five and iphone seven. They say they can't do do it. And far is saying that this isn't good enough. He kind of is going back to the argument from San Bernardino and saying we want in. That's right right now. There's a percentage of phones that they're not able to get data on but there's also a large percentage that they can get data on. So is that acceptable. Twenty sixteen after San Bernardino. The debate was whether the government should get a back door now. The government has a back door in most cases but not on every phone and not thanks to Apple. The question now is whether that Jerry rigged. Compromise is really a solution. Like that's really what the debate I think should be is the status quo that we have right now. Is this good enough to meet the needs of law enforcement. And does it protect the privacy of users and you know it often plays out in these very high stake realms such as terrorist investigations. What's the right call to make when lives are on the line in technology? -nology is an impediment to an investigation after bars comment on Monday. Apple released a statement the company. Nobody said it was devastated by the terror attack and rejected the FBI's characterization that it had not been helpful quote our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely thorough and our ongoing apple also repeated. Its position that it would not build a back door quote. There is no such thing as a back door just for the good guys officials. Say the Pensacola. Gunman's phones have still not been cracked That's all for today. Thursday January Sixteenth Journal is a CO production of Gimblett and the Wall Street Journal. If you like the show follow us on spotify or wherever you get get your podcast. We come out every weekday afternoon. Thanks see you tomorrow.
Facebook Hit by Unusual Outage
"Abbots John wells, vice president for diagnostics, research and development discusses how the company's innovations are changing health technology around the world, we close holes in people's hearts. We eliminate finger sticks for people with diabetes, we identify viruses that could threaten the next pandemic. I've got a front row seat into the innovation. That's going on. In is a very exciting time to be here. See how Abbott innovations reimagining what's possible at WWW dot health. Tech dot added. This is tech news briefing im Tanya boost reporting from the newsroom in New York. A wide spread outage that affected millions of Facebook Instagram and what's app users Wednesday stretched well into Thursday morning in one of the longest disruptions of Facebook service in years figuring out what that's all about after these tech headlines. Softbank is among the group in talks to invest one billion dollars in Uber's self driving car unit helping the ride hailing firm make it's pitch to investors ahead of an eagerly anticipated IPO under terms being discussed soft bank's vision fund and other investors, including at least one unnamed automaker would take a minority stake in the unit at evaluation of between five billion and ten billion dollars. The journal says for Uber. The arrangement would provide much needed cash for an ambitious and costly venture it would lighten its future funding obligations all the while enabling it to maintain control of the unit. Scientists call for a moratorium on block, gene, edited babies, the international group of researchers including some inventors of the popular editing tool. Crisper seek worldwide action on editing genes in human sperm, eggs and embryos ones. That would be implanted to make babies some researchers don't sign. Sign on a sign of discord about how to best balance encouraging research into the text potential while deterring irresponsible use discovered in twenty twelve crisper allows scientists to cut at it at insert new DNA read more about it at wsJcom. And we learned that companies with tech expertise on their board see higher revenue growth that is according to a new MIT study the analysis showed that out of one thousand two hundred and thirty-three publicly traded companies ones with revenue over one billion dollars about twenty four percent had board members that were classified as tech experts because on to show that technology executives have skills that could positively influence the financial health of a company, especially if they snag spots on company boards coming up getting to the bottom of that, Facebook, Instagram, what's up user outage thing after this. Abbott's cordless, Mary, the company's top engineer discusses how the company's culture leads to innovations that change health technology around the world, the products that we make a life changing we continue to focus on driving and doing what is good for the patients and customers that we serve if you desire to explore to help make a difference. You can do that at this company. See how Abbott innovations are reimagining what's possible at WWW dot health. Tech dot Abbott. Computer systems at three of the world's largest technology companies went off line temporarily this week thanks to an unusual and apparently coincidental series of glitches at Facebook, Google and apple Facebook grappled with the most significant issues blaming one of its longest ever outages on a server configuration error, the company communicated little about the outage except to say it was not related to a distributed denial of service attack. Let's get more joining us via Skype from San Francisco. The Wall Street Journal's Bob mcmillen. Hey, Bob Tanya. So we ranked what was it twenty two hours of an outage by Thursday morning. You know, the masses flooded to the likes of Twitter to communicate mainly Twitter. I guess even Facebook its primary communication about the outage took place on Twitter. Are we in the clear, what do we know? It's lasted a day, which is really the most disruptive outage. They've had ever had just in. In the past. But nothing of this affected this many users. I mean at this point Facebook has about a billion and a half active daily users, and they're all at some point or another feeling this. I mean, I'm able to use Facebook right now. But other people are reporting that they can't get their Facebook did confirm that there was not a what's called the denial of service attack on their network that sometimes can affect people's ability to connect with Facebook apps, and that's something that happens when some hackers decide they're going to train a bunch of computers or devices at the face, but network network in overwhelm it with traffic. So they're saying that's not happening. That's not sites off in the past when internet companies occasionally do experience these outages. What are the reasons why does this happen one? It does. Well, this is not supposed to happen, right? Facebook has spent billions of dollars building its own data centers purchasing its own. Network infrastructure designing things from from from the servers to the networking equipment to the data centers. So that this will never happen. So that's the first thing is it's very unusual. Windass does happen when we but everybody makes mistake and we have seen outages from internet giants in the past. It's usually one of three things that power can go out and that can just knock everything off kilter. So if you lose power to a data center or something like that. And that can just just overwhelm the rest of the network, and that problem, you can it's very common to see a networking error of some sort. So they might introduce new software or configure, their their routers, in such a way that it just make a mistake. It's what they call fat fingered air where they just type something wrong, and they and they start routing traffic to the wrong place. And suddenly it just cascades in goes out of control. A third thing would be. If they have some kind of provisioning software the software that that these companies have written themselves that makes new servers come online and helps them if an app is getting used a lot at helps prevent it from being overwhelmed, and that's offer can sometimes have bugs in it. And that can could also be the problem now, I guess the fourth question would be is there something the fair is happening. Was there some kind of hacking or something like that? And they seem to be with their comment on the not being Diaz seem to be indicating that that it's not nefarious. It usually is a networking problem of some sort. And we often will see a firmware update where they Adnew snooze software to the to the networking hardware. They run and there's a bug in it or just somebody missed configure something and it just cascade fall at Knox one rudder out. And then another rudder goes out and soon the whole the whole thing is all messed up, and they're they're trying to get it up up and running again, and it's like a big complicated. Machine that takes a lot of a lot of reconfiguration to get going again, one thing I thought about was what the fallout looks like when you look at a, you know, enormous advertising machine that Facebook is a day out of business means what could Facebook before Stu, you know, pay refunds to advertisers. I mean, what does it mean? In terms of the bottom line here that seems like a possibility there is is also just at at inventory that's not moving because people aren't able to get to the site. So who knows today maybe the most productive day outside of Facebook in a few years, but the yeah, they it's it it. It's going to hit their bottom line at some level. What's what's very unclear right now is how much what percentage of their whole daily traffic is being affected right now. Many many people are. Reporting issues getting into Facebook. But like I said, I can get there right now there is some, you know, it's still somewhat there's some level of activity. So we don't have a good read onto whether this was devastating one. Basically they're gonna lose one full day of of revenue for the quarter. Or if it's going to be more like thirty three percent of the day or something like that. You know? So there's there's a range of of of possible outcomes. In terms of how bad this could really be for Facebook. In the meantime, it seems like just one more thing to pile on a Facebook's plate these days. So nothing but bad luck. That's the story bub. Thank you. As always we appreciate it. All right. My pleasure China. That's it for the tech news briefing from the newsroom in New York. I'm Tanya boost does thanks for listening.
"There's a cat and mouse game playing out around. What's perhaps your most important and personal device your cell phone? The tech companies. Keep coming up with ways to make your phone more secure. And they do that. Others like governments and hackers have been trying to figure out ways to get around it and this spring someone figured out a new way to hack into a phone by exploiting what's supposed to be one of the most secure your messaging platforms out there. What's up and all it took was a single call today on the show how fourteen hundred people got their phones attacked and how one company may have been behind it? Welcome to the Journal. Our show about money business and power. I'm I'm Kate Linebaugh in. I'm Ryan Knutson. It's Friday November eighth last year. I was at this conference for forensic investigators people who are trying to get information off of Computer devices in pursuit of law law enforcement investigations. Bob mcmillen covers cyber security. And they were telling me about how until around twenty fourteen twenty thirteen and if there was an investigation going on there is suspected criminal activity and people were communicating had away. In the best known way wiretaps they would get a court order and go go to the phone. Company in the phone. Company would allow them to listen in on phone conversations between suspected criminals. But these forensic investigators told Bob that wiretaps were becoming much less effective because fewer people were using traditional phone calls and text messages to communicate instead. People were using new technology made made by tech companies that enabled encrypted communications tech companies were making encrypted messaging apps so they market themselves to consumers as being privacy. I I am one of the companies leading the way on encrypted messages was what's up what's up built a very strong Indian encrypted messaging product that if a law enforcement agency goes to facebook and says we want to get access to data from a phone. That's communicating via WHATSAPP because facebook owns. What's APP? Yeah that's right what's up would say. Listen we can give you a very limited amount of what they call Meta data data about the data. That's going on there but we can't tell you what the text messages where we can tap into to voice conversations that are happening. That's just not possible with this. Encryption technology and the people who care about privacy and security they know this they know that that's sort of the go to software that you WANNA use if you don't want anyone to be able to listen in but in May what's up users found out that something they hoped would never happen happened. What's APP said? There was an opening in their software. That had been leading getting hackers in often when you see attacks in the computer well. There's like there's often like you have to click on something or there's some action that the user has takes there's like one final line of protection right if you get a message from somebody you don't know and it says Click on this right now. Like most people know not to do that. But this attack didn't didn't work that way. It was better than that the way the Hackworth was all they had to do was get your phone number you using for what's up and call you using. What's you would see a strange number on your phone whether you answered it or not? You're hacked from the point. You were called from your phones perspective. It was like. Hey there's a call coming in that means you should pop up an alert that means there should be a little ringing sound. That means and you should get ready for You know the Mike Tour in for a voice conversation. Oh and by the way you should also install the secret spy software. That's how it worked you in all that orchestration of what would happen in your phone when it started. They found a bug a mistake that allowed them to get a foothold in your phone which Stan allowed them to install software. That wasn't supposed to be installed on your phone. And what could software that that's spyware. That just got installed. What could it actually do? What could I give? You've the hacker access to it was game over. It could see the contents of your chats. Could screen shot browsing pages pages that you went to. It could see who you're calling this software could also turn on your camera and microphone and record audio collect location data in even survive a factory reset of your phone. It wasn't clear who'd hacked into the phones. But when what's APP discover discover the vulnerability. It rushed to figure out how the hack worked and how to fix it and as they started pulling at the technical string on this they realized that a lot of people had been targeted. Do you know how many people had been targeted. WHATSAPP says that fourteen hundred people in total have been targeted and and they made the decision to start notifying everybody the way what's at works is what's at might not know much more than the number of the person that they're dealing with? They just sent messages passages via whatsapp to all the targets. Saying like. Hey you know there's been an security incident. This is what we know. The integrity of your device has been compromised and they did this for fourteen hundred people. That's right yeah. There are a lot of possible motivations for this hack. It could have been rogue actors who wanted to Steal People's information it could have been law enforcement officers like those people. Bob had talked to WHO wanted to look into criminal activity or it could have been autocratic governments who wanted to spy on political dissidents either way it basically burned all of these Intel operations right if you let all all these people know that. They're the targets of surveillance and that there's software on their phone. That spying on what they do. They're going to get new phones right and so suddenly. Whoever's doing the surveillance valence is going to have to start all over again to try and find out who they're talking to and what they're saying in what they're browsing on the Internet you talk to one of those people all right right after they found out? Yeah that's right. I talked to a Moroccan national. A man in epsom Havana's who is a an administrator college there now he. He had been journalist in Morocco and he was surprised to get the message. He wasn't involved in journalism anymore and and he didn't really think he was of interest to anyone. We had a conversation. The a what's up and one of the first things he said was. I hope you're comfortable with this call being recorded needed because I still using the same phone and it's been compromised. And what did you say. I said. Let's go you know I'll just good to yeah. No that's the that's the case but I'm on deadline and I've got a story man. I just hope I don't get scooped by like a national agency. How did this man feel about what happened to him? Well he was a little cynical and had done some journalism. That governor Bronco didn't like and he'd been the target of surveillance before and so he said he just assumed that this was always the case with his phone It was interesting to get the confirmation but he basically if he had something really really secret to talk about. He wouldn't be doing that via telephone or text message. You just entrust stuff. According to the Human Rights Research Search Group citizen lab more than one hundred of the targets were like this man a journalist or a political dissident and they were from all over the world the U. K.. India South Africa Belgium France. Uganda and more which suggested that some governments might have been involved. WHATSAPP decided to respond to the hack? But how the company responded was unusual instead of going after the people orchestrating the attacks it decided it was going to go after the creator of the software that made the attacks possible. That's after the break. The the one disaster after another senator Elizabeth. Warren has faced tough crowds but it was a room full of Sunday school kids. That almost broke her. I had no control over what what was going on the cut each other's hair cut each other's clothes. The boys climbed out the window. Join US on Elizabeth Warren Sun Porch to hear about the day she proposed to her husband or collection collection of haunted dolls and the Republican senator. Who says she's the toughest teacher he ever had? was into the cut on Tuesdays on spotify. Or wherever you get your podcasts. Welcome back what's up up. Says it knows who made the software used in the attacks a company called the NSO group which is an Israeli spyware company. The group has about five hundred employees. They operate anti-israel. Some of these people are former Israeli intelligence agents they make surveillance software that they sell to government and law enforcement agencies. And if you talk to the group they say that this software is very useful for surveillance operations for especially for countries that maybe can't stand up the intense amount of research that would be required to find the kind of bugged logged. We're talking about here. They also have investigations that they need to do and so they they wanna be able to get past. This end end encryption as well and so oh group is providing a way for them to do that now. Nso Group says that the vast majority of the use cases aces of their software to combat terrorism and to catch child pornography creators and to get the bad people last week. What's up and its the parent company? facebook made a big move against the NSO group. They filed a civil lawsuit against the company. which is something that hadn't been done before usually usually companies that get hacked? Just tell law enforcement what happened and leave it to them to investigate if you step back government here. The United States Department of Justice has actually he pursued a number of cases against private contractors who they allege have been helping out with nation states spying department justice calls us a a name and shame campaign. The idea is that they will make these people pay through exposure they at least will harm the public reputation of these companies and make it more difficult difficult for them to do business with legitimate companies. It seems very much like what's happened. FACEBOOK are trying to same tactic but in a civil court they're taking it upon themselves to do the same type of thing to name shame and so But and this was just the company that made this tool that made this spyware. They weren't necessarily the ones that were doing doing the actual hacking. That's a great point and it's so group has said that over the years they come back to this idea like we build these tools in our customers who are using them. But if you look at the what's APP complaint. They actually describe a much more active level of involvement from an S. O.. Oh grew they described them as running the infrastructure and basically knowing who's being targeted by this so from the what's APP facebook perspective it goes from. You're not only providing the weapons you're holding the weapon you're loading the weapon. You're cleaning the weapon in holding the barrel of it and pointing it in in a certain direction and so they make it sound like they're much more active in this than would have people believe the NSO group has disputed these allegations and says it only sells it software where two governments as a tool to monitor criminals and terrorists not critics. But this isn't the first time that people have pointed to. NSO software are in legitimate attacks in two thousand sixteen and associate software was used to survey a human rights researcher in the United Arab Emirates and other lawsuits lawsuit against the company claimed that. Ns Oh software has also been found on the phones of journalists and dissidents in Mexico in Saudi Arabia so the lawsuit isn't a first for the NSO group. But it is I for what's up. Do we know why what's up sued. Nso Group and and what could have been some of what's motivations. The most obvious motivation would be to flip the narrative. The story was. There's this is terrible. Terrible flaw in WHATSAPP. Now the story is there's this company called an S. O.. Group that was doing terrible things by exploiting a flaw in. What's right so they do a little bit of Jujitsu on the messaging? It also puts pressure on this company to be more accountable about how its products are used. There's no question about that you you know to have your name. In The Wall Street Journal. As accompanies his technology has been used to you spine human rights activists and journalists. Nobody wants that. The NSO group has said that it software was quote not designed or licensed for use against human rights activists journalists and that quote every contract act with our customers requires them to fully comply with all National Security and privacy laws and regulations but the fact that the NSO group even exists in the first place not to mention its alleged involvement in this particular hack illustrates how the arms race between governments and tech companies as is intensifying because as tech companies. Keep making phones and messages harder to get into and as governments. Keep trying to hack into to those harder to get into phones third parties like the NSO group see a business opportunity. Not Everybody can afford to stand up a tailored access operations group right like a private top tier hacking group cost you millions and millions of dollars to develop their only a a handful of countries that have that capability so these private actors have popped up to kind of meet the need for the less affluent companies like NSO are going to continue to you build products and sell to people. What's unclear is the kinds of restrictions they'll put on their use or whether they'll put restrictions on their use? I mean there will always be. He's somebody who will sell to governments that really want to spy on activists and journalists market is is too lucrative to go away and so while this lawsuit could be new tactic to deter companies from developing this type of software. It doesn't mean that hacking will go away and my other take away from this. Is that everybody's known as Hackl that my friend is true. It's as simple as that. Yeah it's as simple as that everybody's everybody's any no matter what device you have it Hackel They haven't built a hacker proof device. That's all for today. Friday November eighth flew The Journal is a CO production of Gimblett and the Wall Street Journal and a quick disclosure newscorp. The owner of the Wall Street Journal final has a commercial agreement to supply news through facebook which owns what's up the Journal is hosted by me. Kate Linebaugh Emmy Ryan Kanoute Sin were produced by Anti anti-monopoly Ricky Novitsky Sarah Platt. Will Ruben. Our senior producer is God. Cari any rose. Strasser is our supervising producer Griffin. Tanner is our engineer. Our executive the producer as Gerard Cole Mixing This Week by Sam Bear and Peter Leonard Special. Thanks to Anthony Galloway. Our theme music is by Haley. Shaw additional music. This week comes from blew out sessions and from
To Track Covid-19, U.S. Governments Weigh Surveillance Tools
"For those fortunate enough to help the person who has always been there hero. Find The care guides you need to help at AARP dot org slash caregiving brought to you by AARP and the Ad Council. This is your tech news briefing for Thursday march nineteenth. I'm Terry Oh come. From The Wall Street Journal working from home we reported on how countries in Asia were using surveillance technology to keep TABS ON CORONA VIRUS PATIENTS. And keep them from spreading the virus now tech companies and the government are taking their own steps here in the US to use tack to control the spread of the virus. But they're getting some pushback from privacy. Advocates are reporter. Bob mcmillen will join us to explain after these headlines. What time to debut a new product apple brought out a new keyboard on Wednesday for its upgraded macbook air a return to the traditional scissor mechanism. It's a sign that the company is abandoning. The Butterfly Keyboard introduced in two thousand fifteen which required extended repair programs. Company also unveiled a new IPAD PRO on Wednesday and a new iphone model is expected later this spring but as we know. It's not a good time to be releasing new products earlier. This Week Apple announced that its physical stores would remain closed until further notice because of the corona virus. And it's not clear what demand will look like in the days and months to come right now though. There is a lot of demand for laptops the other day. We spoke about Google's challenges to try to get laptops for more than a thousand employees who are now working from home while big surprise. They're not the only ones crossed the. Us The demand for laptops has skyrocketed. Unfortunately for computer makers the surge comes after. They've been struggling with disruptions in their supply chains because of the outbreak in China which is home to many manufacturing centers and speaking of working from home. We are as are many of you all week. We've been asking you to call in and gives your best tips questions and suggestions for how to make the best of it here with her. Daily tip is our senior personal tackle to Anniston Joanna. Welcome back good to be here again in the same chair all right. So what's Today's tip so my tip of the day is actually a couple of tips. But they're all related to slack which has completely taken over my life and probably in the matter of every I would say every five minutes. I'm like averaging I would say five hundred notifications and people trying to get my attention. So these tips are about taking back control of Your Life from slack and the first one is to set those notifications in a smart way and the one thing. I really do like about slack. I like a lot of things about slack but one of the things I liked the best about slack is you can set notifications specifically for each channel or chat. And the way you can do that is walk through this together on a desktop. The desktop APP. You can do this on the phone to but in the DESKTOP APP. You go to the chat. You're in you. Select a little gear icon in the upper right corner says conversation settings. Then you're GONNA TO CLICK DOWN TO NOTIFICATION PREFERENCES. And then you can customize how you want to be notified about activity in that channel and you can also do this for overall settings to right. Yeah you can go in and just say you know what I never want to hear notifications from this APP. Chances are that's not the best idea right. Now if this is what you're relying on communications with most of your vital em- employees or or your boss but you can't do that if if you like and you can. Also when other Nice thing is you can actually use them for periods of time. I want to mention my top slack. Tip which is actually to star the most important conversations or chats that you have. This is a game changer. Because if you're sidebar. Looks anything like mine. There are like hundreds of contacts and people you've messaged with before if you hit the little star icon and the top of chat or channel will put those to the top of the list and it will make it so much easier to find those awesome. That sounds great. I'm going to definitely use those because I have been having trouble. You know what I'm having trouble with keeping track of all the different G. Chat Slack Google hangouts Blah Blah. There's a lot of different stuff going on there. Yeah you got. That tip is just tell everyone to consolidate to one thing. That's probably tip so for the past few days. We've had this voice mail box open and we've been getting calls from our listeners and from readers. We got a call from the Sky Robert from Connecticut. Tell me about him. Yes so his company when one hundred percent remote and they've come up with lots of ways to stay engaged to keep office vibe going while working remotely. Our team has been playing virtual J. by contributing to our shared office playlist on spotify. Not only the smile on your face but it keeps people guessing who had signed to the playlist. His spotify playlist was pretty great. I must say he shared it with us so that was awesome. Yeah I'm not really sure I'd want to share my spotify playlist publicly right now. I say two words Bonnie Rait. I just put that out there fair enough. And that's when all Roberts team is still coming up with new ways to hang out without spreading germs also. He's a face to face interaction going after hours. Even though we can't share a drink together the local bar after five. We're hosting virtual happy hours on Google. Keep those personal connections alive and well. We've seen some teams from pose after hours. Netflix watch parties on facebook live. And we've seen other sign up for head to head competitions on a variety of gaming networks after hours. I'm not sure that we're going to start any gaming networks at the Wall Street Journal but If other listeners WANNA share their stories How can they reach our work from home hotline? You can email them to me. Joanna Dot Stern Wsj.com or leave a message on our new work from home. Tech hotline number is three one four six three five zero. Three eight eight okay. We're GONNA take a quick break but when we come back our reporter Bob mcmillen will take a look at how the government is using surveillance technology to track the corona virus we seen breakthrough medicines getting to patients in record time at Emerson when issues become inspiration. Creating a better world isn't just a result. It's a responsibility emerson. Consider it solved. We've spoken on this podcast before. About some of the technology that countries in Asia used to control the spread of the corona virus disinfecting drones people detecting drones fever detecting goggles and even qr codes that tell authorities whether you're sick and where you are now as the virus spreads across the US government agencies here are also enacting or considering enacting similar measures that would draw on a range of tracking and surveillance technologies. That are already out there. And the measures could test the limits of our personal privacy. Our reporter Bob Macmillan is here to break it all down for us Bob. Thank you so much for joining us. Pleasure to be here so bob. We saw the Chinese governments and other governments in Asia using surveillance technology to track the corona virus and to track people who potentially were sick with a corona virus. What's happening here in the US right now right now. There are some smaller companies that have stepped forward to offer services to help track this spread of the virus that are sort of envisioning themselves as partners with the CDC to give insights into who has the WHO has the disease how it spreading the best known of the smaller companies. Doing this company called Pollen tear. Which has contract with the CDC has kind of helped them model the spread of disease in the past but their other more startup sized companies. That are that are coming forward. I think the big question here is there. A couple of companies that have sort of the mother lows of data that would be helpful in these cases but also rate simultaneously. Raise privacy questions so these would be the telco companies facebook and Google and we don't know exactly how far the government is asking these companies. Go and how far they are going in providing information about the spread of disease as you said in China the Telco companies were were helpful when the government was trying to sort of model out who was exposed to the disease and how it had been spreading the location data that these companies have is very valuable for that. You can sort of see where people have been and you can do things like get a sense of who might need to be quarantined or get a sense of how the disease is spreading from that. So that's like the mother lode and that that is kind of unknown. What's happening there now? We do know that. These smaller companies are offering similar services based on on other data that they acquire one big source of the data. That's being proposed is data from mobile APPS. So when you use a mobile APP you might give it access to your location. That information is often sold to aggregate irs who sort of collect location data often in an anonymous form but that data then can be used by could be used by the CDC to sort of model how people are moving and how many people are moving one. You know one APP. I've I've heard that's being developed is something that would allow a government agencies to to see how crowded individual locations might be so so the trader. Joe's in my neighborhood filled with people on Tuesday at noon. Or is it self distancing measures where we're telling you to Gagen engage in? Are they working? I think it sounds like there are a couple of Different way as we saw that that you're talking about their one is anonymous data Basically just to be able to track the spread of the virus we also saw you mentioned facebook We know that on Sunday there was a task force at the White House with some of these big tech companies. What do we see as the possibility right now within laws for them to collaborate with the government in a similar way to The way that social media was kind of used to track people in In China well right now. I mean the. Us law prevents facebook from sharing private data. Like if you post if you made a post saying hey I've just contracted corona virus. You know they would not be able to share that in a widespread way with the government. The question is whether there are sort of emergency powers being invoked and what the implications that will be and I think the most likely place for those emergency powers to to be. Invoked is is with respect to location data because we we sort of a precedent for that happening in in in criminal investigations where they have an emergency situation and they need location data so the legal people. We've spoken with say that that would not be sort of an unreasonable of the government to go to the telcos for example and say we need a bunch of location data to help track the spread of this virus but even the location data could be very different right. You could be In the case that you were talking about like a criminal investigation is usually about finding an individual We also imagine kind of a surveillance. That was much more broad For example like you were talking about to figure out how many people were in a certain area at a certain time and whether or not there's going to be a new outbreak in that area as a result of kind of a person coming in so it feels like there's those are two very different Types of surveillance one is one is the latter one is very widespread. I think that's what has people concerned that. In time of crisis we may witness a sort of a handover of a widespread surveillance capability that we've not seen before in the United States. So you know. That's the million dollar question here. We do know that like I said like as our story reports. There are a lot of smaller companies that are trying to use surveillance. Type technology trying to access public data to share information about how the disease might be spreading. And you mentioned you know. There are some concerns. Use Spoken to privacy advocates. What are they saying about this? They're saying that they want more transparency. They WanNa know what's going on the The CDC has not been transparent in telling US exactly. What's happening happening with this? We know that for example health and Human Services has contracts with data aggregated and. We're not sure WH- we reach out to them. Try to get them to talk about what they were doing with with with this and we didn't get an answer on that so there's right now to be fair. These agencies are dealing with a big public health crisis. But there is this. There's the sense that there are a lot of people with data about us that are coming forward to the government and saying hey we can help you track this pandemic and it just doesn't know what's happening this week The government came out saying that they're going to expand their telehealth. services for Medicare Medicaid patients And allow people to be talking to their doctors on facetime and skype about their conditions. Is Anybody talking about the use of that data? I mean those are obviously protected conversations by Hippo Law But it does kind of occur to me that they're now those private conversations that are usually one on one in a room without a camera are now taking place online with the camera And and could be a source of of aggregating as well. No I haven't I haven't heard about that. I can tell you about one case that people are concerned about in this and this is something we've seen in the past people will go on social media. You can imagine twitter. Twitter is very public platform and people will make statements on social media and they'll provide information during a time of crisis that they may not actually want to be in the public forever in these public data sets at these aggregated are grabbing. So you know you might put out a medical information you might say something about your your medical condition or you might say that you have the virus or you might put your phone number or even your address you need help getting food delivered or something like that and then a year later you that you want to take that back and the problem is that if you know if the state is being collected and is being aggregated by third parties. It's virtually impossible to do that. So one of the concerns that people have is that there may be data. That's being put out right now. In time of crisis dat the people who are who are putting it out actually wouldn't want to live in perpetuity in a database somewhere that they don't even know about dead point. That's a very good point as people are over sharing. And maybe over sharing information Online something to think about for sure. All Right Bob mcmillen. Thank you so much for joining us my pleasure before we go. Don't forget to share your work from home tech tips and headaches with us. Our senior personal tech columnist. Joanna stern will be sharing her favorite tips and finding solutions for some of your questions right here with us every day you can leave us a voice message at the number in the description or you can email Joanna dot stern at wsj.com with your questions and that was your tech news briefing. I'm Terry Ogm from the Wall Street Journal. Thanks for listening.
#17: Samsung Fold, Pinterest Scold, Oscar Gold
"Get exclusive insider access to Milan style and design with WSJ magazine and into Garay make private visits to galleries top restaurants and shops lake coamo and much more book this once in a lifetime trip at Indy. Gory dot com slash WSJ magazine or call six four six seven eight zero eight three eight three from Wall Street Journal. This instant message. I'm David Pierce. This week on the show. We're going to look at what Pinterest did to combat misinformation on its platform, and what other companies are and aren't doing to do the same. Also, I don't know if you knew this, but it's Oscar week. So we're going to talk to a couple of people about how Hollywood is changing. And why this year's Academy Awards have been such a crazy mess, but I the second biggest phone launched of the year happened this week Simpson. Launched five new phones with confusingly similar names each with like forty thousand cameras and eight foot screens, I don't know if I have those specs rape. But we'll get back to that. And there were headphones and wearables and foldable phones and all kinds of stuff. So is this the dawn of a new era in phones here to actually know the specs and tell me more join stern in New York and Christopher mims presumably back in his attic in Baltimore. No. I'm only coming you from ethical locations. So I am hanging with the oracle Delphi getting high on the fumes it actually does sound like that. Do you do? A little I can tell you about the future. But I can only speak in then Cohen sorry. That's beautiful. We'll we can just sit here silently while you do that for a while that could be fine Joanna here. Silently you have to tell us about phones a meeting earlier this week. And there was a long conversation about that. There's no sound in space. But there is just no sound. It's the sound of no sound. And I said we should just do it podcast with no sound I should be. And then we should label it call. There's no seven space. You should do a podcast. That's just very quiet, white noise. That's just like rustling call it office. Sounds or what it sounds like in space in K. I don't know what your offices sound like mine is like insanely loud full of people yelling into phones all the time that doesn't sound. Yeah. By the way, this wasn't a tangent. We're talking about the galaxy phones get it. This is this is just choice. No. Entire by gas rewind start again, Joanna you saw all well not all of some of the galaxy phones like a week ago. Right. So you've had a week to think about this. And you wrote a piece run us through the Samsung stuff there. There's like a billion phones with eight billion cameras, and that's about all, I know. Yeah. Santa's on kind of took us by surprise this week. But also didn't at all so people that are in the phone industry. Men falling this really closely. There's been lots of rumors about the galaxy S ten for the last number of weeks and months, and we basically knew everything about these phones. Right. And I can run down some of the exciting features. And I think they are exciting the built in fingerprint sensor to the screen worked really fast tried it out on to higher end models of the phones they have multiple cameras on the phones. Now, the galaxy S ten and the ten plus have three cameras. There's a five G model that is not yet available and the price is not yet available, but that's gonna have four cameras on the back. So they've done a lot of cool things with these S ten phones, but they're like incremental updates as I wrote in the peace like these are great phones to upgrade from your already. Great phone, but it doesn't like push the bar in the way that a lot of the early Samsung galaxy s phones did Samsung was one of the first to come out with a bigger screens. They were one of the first to come out with the much higher end Oleg screens, and better cameras, etc. I was excited about them. I was like, okay. These you know, maybe I wasn't as excited. I was just like these are good, Android phones. That's fine. And then Samsung has the event yesterday. David you were there, and maybe you want to take now over what happened. But then they announced this like really crazy. Awesome phone, or at least something that looks crazy. Awesome for the future. And then I feel like nobody cared about these S ten funds. Yes. It reminded me of I guess it was a year and a half ago. Now when apple introduced the iphone ten and the iphone eight and eight plus and their their whole basic idea was the iphone ten is like this cool sort of futuristic science project that. You're not going to buy yet. But here these other cool phones that you might like and everybody was like screw that. Like, tell me about this exciting new thing that doesn't look like every phone you've been making for a decade. So Samsung had this event, and as soon as the thing started there was this monstrous three pain sort of folding stage that was just one huge screen. It was very cool. It just came out. And before anything happened just like boom introduced a foldable phone which had been rumored for a long time and lots of companies have been sort of saying, they're working on it. And this was just Samsung being like, we did it was called the galaxy fold which I don't think is a good name. But that's okay. Are you talking about what the galaxy ten RG fifty eight? At least it says what it does. Right. I guess that's true. Just call it the galaxy just be like screw all of this. This is I'm I'm pro I think the only iphone name should just be iphone, and it should be good car model. You gotta remember though that the people who are buying Samsung devices in the US are like walking into a variety and just saying to the clerk, okay? Hey, I need a phone anyway. And they're like fold frill, they know their autos, are you guys into this foldable phone thing? I'm extremely pro foldable funds. And I was ready to hate it. Joanna what are you into it? That's what I'm saying. Like, I was like they says tens they're cool. And then like, then this big thing comes on. You're like, oh, yeah. Those S ten suck. These are all MRs awesome, shoot. This. Like, you know, what the photo phone like I can't wait to play with it. And we'll we'll review it at some point. And like, I think we I don't want to go into the review thinking this. But like we kind of no it's not going to be great right now. Right. Like any first generation product like that, especially is not going to be the mass market thing. And Samsung's not pitching that either. Right. It's like two thousand dollars at the I mean two thousand dollars without the five G. It's only available to carriers. They haven't said the battery life, but I think it's like two minutes. You know, there's all this stuff that's going to hold back this from being this mainstream phone, but yet like it's what we should be excited about. It reminds me of them reaching way back. Do you? Remember, the twenty fifth anniversary MacIntosh cost ten thousand dollars. Yes. I mean picture. I'm just glad that they're producing luxury objects again the. People can use to signal. Hey, I paid two thousand dollars for this phone. I think apple missed the boat on goods, and that is why they can't sell their high high-priced phones anymore. If you want to sell a high price phones, you better put like fins on it or something like there needs to be a way for people to look at it. And know that person be fifteen hundred dollars for that phone, but one of the things that you also realize that they also released released the S ten five g going to be one of the first five g phones. Four cameras one includes adept center for advanced a our stuff two cameras on the front. It's like loaded up with is this the one that has up to a terabyte or they all have up to tear by who does. Anyway, you know, that you know, that you know, that phones going gonna start fifteen hundred dollars your twelve hundred or somewhere in that ballpark dollars for the one terabyte Carmen. About who? What do you do the terabyte of storage on your phone, right? That's just sixteen hundred dollar phone that doesn't include the fact that you can go up to the five G S ten and get again, four cameras five G bigger battery everything that you ever wanted in a phone that doesn't fold and that's probably also gonna start around fourteen hundred dollars or sixteen hundred dollars. So like, yeah. Look at all of these options, and even the foldable phones like that's actually pretty affordable because it folds, and that's only two thousand dollars. Yeah. I kind of love Sam. Downright cheap. Seriously. What's the what is the use case? Just imagine imagine a world where it's five years from now on all phones fold. How are we going to use these things it's just gonna be folding? It's cool. Nobody is. No. I actually it's about question. I I think it's bigger than that. I think you think about the there's a certain subset of things that you do on your phone that involved your thumb, and for all of those things that smaller screen is going to make more sense. It's going to be easier to type it's going to be easier to scroll it's going to be easier to move stuff around. If that's going to be it's like, that's the the tool part of your phone is going to be closed screen, and then you're going to open it up, and that's going to be the thing you used to watch videos or mess around on Instagram or whatever, and it becomes like there is a consumption and creation device and they're both in one thing. Now, it's like no way that I think ultimately commuter device. Saw on you have you have it closed, and you're using it during the day. Like like, you everything you just said David like, you're responding quickly to emails texts you make phone calls on it. Because guess what the foldable phone makes phone calls. And then you get on the train to go home or you have a little bit more time to do some work, and you open up your screen, and you watch Netflix while you also look at Email and also do your to do list. I don't know because it can do three apps at the same time or you just use alone say I think it's just as valid for people who are mostly using their phones for like GPS. And you know, they're getting texts on the way home, and you shouldn't be looking at it. But maybe you are mostly you're trying to say off your device. But you are using it to navigate I would love a big ole screen that I can just click right into my air vent. Like, I do now with my phone. I love when I get into an Uber and you see like the Samsung galaxy tabs running their Google, maps and stuff. It's it's the most hilarious system. I this is what Tesla's have the biggest screen, it's legitimate. You don't have to squint and possibly get into an accident. But so okay. So really quick before we move on Joanna. I'm curious like the S tens to me felt like if your phone is broken you'll probably by this just because it's the new one. But there was nothing to sort of make you like run not walked to the store and get a new one was that your sense to is there anything about this sort of everyday phones that blew your mind. I think the fingerprint sensors really cool, and like was a little bit jealous of that. And you know, being on my iphone facial recognition or face ID works. Great for me. I love it. But there are those times where I'm just like I'd still would like a fingerprint sensor, I think that to me was like the coolest thing, I'm not sold on all these cameras. I'm looking for you to test them and be like, this is Dahmer smart on that we need. All these cameras on our phones. But yeah, people were upgrade on CNBC this morning talking about these phones in the one of the hosts asked you to do think this is enough for someone to switch from the iphone? And I basically just wanted to be like hell, no nothing is. I mean, there's nothing is. Nobody's I think the number was like ninety four percent of people plan to stick with their same operating system. And it's like you're not even wondering about other phones like not now. One of the big ongoing questions in the tech industry. Right now is what what role do these companies have in actually policing the content on their platforms, and what about not just the content, but the algorithms that recommend those things to people to read or like or watch or whatever. So the fact that you can click on a video on YouTube that is by itself pretty normal. And then three recommendations later, you're deep in a conspiracy theory rabbit hole. It feels like a problem, but how do you fix that problem? So lots of companies have been asking this question. But this week Pinterest actually has a solution. It's like a pretty dramatic one. It had been hosting all of this anti vaccine content. And so just shut down all searches for any kind of vaccine stuff on the platform, and it seems to have worked so Bob mcmillen on our team reported on what that has done to Pinterest and discovered a lot about what companies can do and are willing to do to avoid having this controversial or misleading content on their platforms. So I'm gonna go get Bob. To explain he's just outside a beer can I figure by that? You you have not heard of the twentieth anniversary MacIntosh which came out twenty two years ago because I do, but I didn't know that like it was like, that's what that thing. It's. This crazy thing. I just didn't molest of Seinfeld. I didn't know that. That's what this was called. Yeah. And it has the like CD drive right in the middle. And it has that beautiful old school. I wish they'd bring it back the the rainbow stripe logo, which I just, you know, breaks my heart every time. I look if these dull white logos. That are sort. I didn't know I don't think I knew that it came with the Bose speaker. I bet that Bose speakers still really good too took up a hipster imagine you're saying this is the foldable phone of the past is no the twentieth anniversary MAC, Bob. Thank you for being here. My pleasure must tell us. How did you come into this Pinterest story where where what was the sort of Genesis of reporting this? Well, we have been reporting on misinformation on these platforms Daniela, the other my other reporter on this. And I would Br thinking broadly, okay, what are the other areas where misinformation could be harmful and everybody's kind of with a hoax science on. On the social media platforms. And we just started digging and digging. I'll you know, there was this video that I saw in December. Now that I think about it that was that'd been viewed by two hundred million people and individual it was on Facebook. It it explained that if you put piece of coal in peanut butter. You could get a diamond if you, but if you put your China taped it up and soaked it in milk overnight. It would make the China whole it was all this total nonsense. And so that was really like that video when I saw that that had been seen two hundred million times. I thought what other you know, scientific misinformation out there, and Danielle, and I just started looking and we quickly, you know, people have been talking about the vaccine thing, but we sort of zeroed in on medical health, and it turned out that Pinterest had actually been thinking about this even. Prior to this amazing video that I saw on Facebook and had been making some changes that were pretty controversial within sort of the alternate of science community. I guess you'd call them. Yeah. So what what was Pinterest problem like as as as you understand it, and as they were working on it like, what was the thing. They were trying to solve. Well, it was it was it. They wanted to. They didn't want to cause harm to the users. And they had been looking they'd been working with story full this organization that helps you understand, you know, the the variety of of content, and they had identified that there were people on their platform that we're very passionately sharing information about wellness. And that some of that information was dangerous. That's what they felt. And so in September, they changed their terms of service. They us they had they had long been thinking about self harm. So if you do a search for suicide on Pinterest nothing will show up, but except for some some advice on how to get help. So they've been thinking about these kind of things even for the for the year before this. But in September, they said, okay, we're gonna look at at fake cancer cures. And we're going to look at anti vaccine information. And if we see it on the platform, we're going to remove it. Well, the problem they had was there was just so much of it that they couldn't remove it all for so at that time they had to start thinking about other ways of addressing it. And you know, the the the business what what what we reported in. Our story was that they just stopped making searches for vaccination for cancer cure for breast cancer cure for a bunch of terms. They just stopped producing results for them. Now, Pinterest says this is just a stopgap we want to we want to do a better job than just like not giving you any information. But that's what they're doing right now. Right. So, and that's what that gap is. What's so interesting to me? It seems like it makes sense that that is the only thing that anyone can figure out how to do because like to your point the the middle ground is so difficult where it's like, okay. We know we have this problem that content on our site. We've no idea how to stop people from posting it or figure out what's what and like the line between. Okay, and wrong is not obvious. And I don't know. And I feel like, you know, you've talked about this with YouTube and others to or it's like what is the option other than just sort of pretending it doesn't exist and removing all from search results. Well, so you said an interesting thing there, you said the middle ground is difficult. I think the real word is expensive. Right. So all of these tech companies are facing this question of what they need to moderate, and when they should moderate long ago, they they felt that they were neutral platforms, and they didn't have any business stepping in and moderating, and they have a bunch of legal protection that says so right? That's right. Yeah. That's right. That's right. But their users and the public have decided that that's not acceptable that they actually need to take a role. And so with Jihadist recruitment. You know, the the platforms really stepped in and started preventing, you know, YouTube and Facebook from being recruitment tools for Jehovah. So that was like the beginning of it. Then the election interference clearly that everybody felt that what was going on. There was unacceptable. So they're stepping in on that and health is kind of the new frontier. So when we were reporting this story one thing that was really interesting to me was Google has long thought about this with respect to their search platform. So if you do a Google search for vaccination information right now, he'll actually get pretty good results. You get a range of results. And I think that my sense is that Google is not trying to only give you, you know, like trying to exclude completely exclude the anti vaccine world from its results there, you can get there. If you if you want to, but the preponderance of what you get is scientifically legitimate, and they have other they have these things called cards, which you probably know if you Google they sort of are these short things that show up at the very. Of your search results that kind of quickly explain to you the topic you want to try to actually sort of answer your. Yeah. There's sort of like, and then you can kind of burrow into them in and click to get a little bit more information, so Google search does a very good job, curing. This kind of information YouTube is the wild west, right? There's none of that. Now that now Google is now saying YouTube is going to start doing these kind of things, but it's expensive to do this in it takes it takes a human hand to curate this kind of stuff I've been thinking about the this great story over the last day, or so, and it kind of just dawned on me, and I'm just interested to hear like in the reporting of this. It seems like Pinterest because of what Pinterest is right, and I just googled pinchers. And then I say discover recipes home, ideas style inspiration and other ideas to try like because of what Pinterest really wants to be or is like can accompany like Pinterest take a move like this. And it's okay, but like Google or YouTube or Facebook or Twitter, which really is like, you know, information sources at this point right play. Where a platform where people and other types of sources all congregate. Like does Pinterest have that ability. Because of what it is. Right. Oh, totally totally. I mean, if you think about think about it, like if Google stopped returning searches for vaccine, you know, that would actually that would be a maybe a bigger public health problem, then Pinterest. You know, actually having all this anti-vat stuff. They can't do that. Right, but Google degree. But like, you just sort of trying to spout off like the the social layers of the other services, right? Like where this misinformation typically finds more of a life, which is Lynn even like totally like Pinterest has always been fairly straightforward about. Like, we are a happy place for happy right to do happy things. And then you go to the other side, and it's like Twitter which has versions of this problem is like we are about free speech and YouTube has always said like we we host everything they gets. It's a wonder if you know after a decade of saying one thing it makes it a lot harder to do anything that appears the other way. Way right on Twitter with this did make into our story. But Twitter's response, we we we we asked what Twitter was doing to deal with this information of this nature on their platform. And their response was free speech is the answer. I mean boil down to that like the more we allow people to talk about things the more that this stuff will just get figured out. So they haven't read all the research about their own platform that shows how these things turn into feedback. Loops where people's confirmation bias, essentially radicalize is them, and and and drives a lot of this. I don't think there's an easy answer for Twitter on this. You know, what I mean like they that was their comment. It was what about? Across this whole concept. You know, Renate Terresa who is a researcher on these topics calls it freedom of speech versus freedom of reach. So you can say whatever you want on Twitter, Facebook or whatever, but it's up to them to decide whether the algorithm will amplify that message. Yeah. And one one aspect of that. I I think that's that's true. I think that's what what's happening. But when aspect of that, especially when you look at vaccinations, people that are passionate about vaccinations tend to be passionate about the great what they perceived to be is is the scandal of the global cover up of the dangers of vaccinations. Like, I have kids and they've been vaccinated, and I didn't get really passionate about the fact that they got vaccinated and were prevented from getting measles. So there's this aced symmetry between passionate. That's also feeding into this phenomenon. And that's what Renee talks about. If you you know, we did interview for the story, and she felt like she actually got into a a lot of her research through studying the the the anti vaccine. Movement. And she felt she feels that there is just so much passion on the side of the anthrax. Is you get this small vocal minority that gets to kind of almost mob the algorithms on some of these platforms and that contributes to the feedback. Loops that you're describing you're saying, yeah, I mean, I it does feel like with the YouTube example, in particular that there's some anger about the fact that this content exists at all, but the much bigger problem, at least for YouTube is the fact that if you just press play on not that video, you know, three recommendations later, you're in that video, and that somehow this system has been gamed to give you that stuff. Even when you weren't asking for it. And you didn't go looking for it like if you want to search for antitax videos on YouTube. I think you you could make a case that that stuff is going to exist, and they might as well return search results on it. But to just put that in front of your face feels like a different sort of problem. Well, in another problem, I think is that YouTube has long been optimized for make for for engagement for making you watch stuff. And so again it. Back to my experience. Like, I am not that interested in watching a video about the, you know, successful long history of vaccination show grams in the United States like that is a little dry. I mean, I I get it. But if there's some sensationalistic topic around Beck's, I mean, some of the some of the stuff that you hear about in these in these anti videos is is really sensationalistic. And that's like give me the popcorn, you know. Sit back and watch much more entertaining break, which makes more people watch it, which makes you recommend it more, which makes more people watch. And it just like the message business model. Right. And that's I think that's part of why YouTube has a diff- has had a different approach this than Google search Google search you want to get to the information. That's accurate as quickly as you. Can you don't wanna just sit there like mindlessly some sort of searching terms all day? It's a little it's a little bit of a different of a financial incentive. Yeah. I mean, I think the way that people have put it most memorably for me is when joke about Facebook. We have outsource our political discourse to a platform that is optimized for making ads go viral. So that medium determines in some sense. What the message is all about the money, that's sort of terrifying. Way to think about social media that all these platforms are just with that are engineered for adds to viral. So in Pinterest case, you mentioned that they think of it as a as a stopgap like, what's what's your sense of what they'd like to do like, what's the better solution here? Well, I think they want to follow the Google search model a lot more. They want to consult with recognized, you know, experts on the topic the WHO CDC incorporate, you know, what the guidance is there, and then return search results that can deliver stuff that won't mislead their users. They also need to get better at identifying bad content on their platform, and and not suggesting that two people and one of their big problems is that it's possible to share content that's hosted on Facebook and YouTube on Pinterest. So. What they've done with a lot of the antibac- stuff as they they'll just block domains if something's coming from a domain that's known to be associated with crank cures or anti vaccination material. They'll just block it. But you can't block you to you can't block you to began block Facebook interesting. So how many times in your reporting? Did you hear the term AI as a solution? That's gonna we had to ask them about that. It's part of what they do. They do their ways of kind of understanding what it, you know, there are sort of an interesting place because they're visually driven. So there are ways of understanding what the meaning of of images is. But it's not as advanced as with text. So it's kinda hard for them. They didn't do you think Pinterest might be ahead in that space. Even though I really have to say like hadn't thought about Pinterest. Like, this is the first time your article was the first time I thought about printers since my wedding. Well. I think sorry great. This is this podcast. And I'm going to be better get that. Right. So this is the great challenge that I think I think all of the tech companies are facing they built these business models on automated content being generated by their users. And and just systems like basically milking the money out of it. A I sort of represents an alternative to having tens of thousands of humans, go through the content and make judgments about it. So it's kind of an ex dential leap they have. It's almost like own shot. They have to make in order to be able to police their platforms. So Facebook really wants to do it. Google wants to do it. They have a lot of money Pinterest. You know, doesn't they're just they're just not as big they don't have the the AI research arm that you see at a at a Facebook or Google. So they clearly think that that's going to be part of what the solution. But I'm not sure if they really know how they're going to get where they need to be fair enough. But thank you for being here. I appreciate it. He's gotten like twelve phone calls while we've been sitting here this exciting time for Pinterest who knew. Yeah. Okay. Coming up in just a second. We're going to talk to Franklin Leonard, the creator of the blacklist and the journals own Ben Fritz all about how Hollywood is changing. But before we do I have an Oscar is related tip for you. So there's like a million stories every year about how to watch the Oscars for free without cable. But I don't know what you guys do joint and Christopher, but my answer is just every year. I sign up for some new service for a week or two weeks and watch it and the answer this year. I think is everybody should sign up for YouTube TV because it has the local channels most places it's super easy to cancel. It's super easy to sign up and it works on lots of different devices. And it is easy to sign up for and easy to cancel. Yes. And I feel like too many of them are not easy to cancel. So you wind up accidentally paying for like three months, just because you don't want to make the phone call to cancel but YouTube TV is like two clicks to cancel. So if you don't wanna use it just watch the Oscars and get rid of it. Why not just by cable because I'm not a billionaire China. I'm going to be in a hotel room. So I'm going to be watching. I guess I could get you to t- YouTube TV, and we're watching my laptop or I could just watch on the hotel TV. I like that you could just watch like that would probably be cheaper for a lot of people than paying for a month of cable like go to go to a hotel. Yeah. Get it for the night and watch the Oscars there come to my hotel room everyone. You heard it here on the podcast, and I should say even for most people who don't normally watch the Oscars, including me, this seems like a good one to keep tabs on. It's the whole run-up to this has been an insane mess and the Oscars has done everything wrong. And it's going to be a weird host Louis awards crazy rate because Kevin Hart is not hosting anymore. Yeah. And then they never found a host. So there just is no host. It's going to be a very strange Oscars in which case, it's going to be very fun. And so speaking of which coming up in just a second a brief story on how Hollywood is changing and the Email newsletter. That's helping change it for the better. Welcome back since it's Oscars week. Let's talk about the movies one of the enduring mysteries of show business, which anyone who's ever tried to break into Hollywood can tell you is how things actually get made who picks projects what do they want? How do they figure out what other people want where they write about what people want? What even is a good movie turns out the first step? If you have to pick one is just to find great scripts. I used to work for Anthony Minichiello, and he always used to say like you can make a good movie from good screenplay. You cannot make a good movie from a bad screenplay so start with a good plan, that's Franklin Leonard. And Anthony Minghella who he mentioned was a director and screenwriter who made The English Patient the talented, Mr. Ripley and bunch of other amazing things you've probably heard it anyway, Franklin Leonard is a former studio executive who in two thousand five just couldn't find enough good scripts to read so he emailed dozens of people in Hollywood with the same request. Send me a list of the screenplays. You liked most? But aren't currently making the ones that just missed the cut in exchange. Franklin told them, I'll put everyone's list together and. Send it to everyone. And thus was born the blacklist which became an annual drop of the best under the radar screen plays out there, and it was really a fundamentally selfish endeavor. I was just trying to find some good screen placed read, I was reading a ton of scripts most of them were mediocre to bad, and I didn't want to spend my entire life reading bad scripts. My mom was calling me every week. Asking me, if my l sat scores were still valid, and if I still had, you know, thoughts of going to Yale Law School, and I did, but I didn't really wanna go. So the initial thing was selfish. And then as we began to sort of do the list every year and evaluate make the website. I realized just how just how how deeply the access issues ran because I would ask senior people in the industry. You know, if I'm a great writer. How do I get my work to someone who can do something with it? And the answer was well, you can enter the academy screenwriting competition which did Nicholl fellowship which has been around for thirty years and doesn't excellent job. But it's once a year, and there's seven thousand entrance or you. No, you just pick up and move to LA and network until someone pays attention to you and our blackhead from west central Georgia. I know what the consequences of those access us. Our I was lucky enough to go to Harvard and then end up, you know, through friends of friends in the industry, but you know, if you're a single if you're a single mother on the south ladder, Chicago, or you're a single you're suburban dad and Winston Salem, North Carolina and your kids come home from school, and you're like pack up the minivan moving to LA, you're a terrible parent. And that doesn't mean you're not a good writer. And so you know, what I wanted to create given those realities was if you have the goods if you if you are a good writer, you should have the shot at having a career to be fair. It's not like nobody likes these scripts before they hit the blacklist they were there because lots of people like them. But suddenly there was this validation that these scripts were good because other people like them. So these movies started getting made, and they started winning awards a lot of awards. They ask her goes to Graham. Slumdog billion Christian Poulsen, Michael aren't for little miss sunshine. Arm Sirkin the social network Diablo, Cody. Judy speak. We in Kane and meal Sherman and go on when producer argot. Even this year bohemian rhapsody, which was a blacklist script all the way back in two thousand seven is nominated for best picture and a bunch of other Oscars bird box, which was a huge hit. But isn't gonna win any Oscars was on the list a few years ago unfilmable, you would think that this means the blacklists has done its job. Great screenplays get made. Now, even when they're not marvel movies are starring VIN diesel. Plus, we're in the middle of peak TV where lots of companies and studios in tech platforms are suddenly dropping billions on original content. So the internet's of meritocracy the best stuff wins Herrera. Everything's great. Right. Franklin told me he doesn't quite see it that way. But there's a series of assumptions about what can work in the marketplace. You know, people said Juno couldn't work people said Slumdog, millionaire couldn't work people said king speech couldn't work and a lot of that conventional wisdom in the industries all convention, and no wisdom, and that happens in ways that are you know, amusing, right like Juno. Okay. I guess we're not gonna make this comedy about a girl who tried to decide whether to have an abortion. But there. Really pernicious ways in which that conventional wisdom works. You can't sell black movies abroad never seen any statistical justification for that conclusion. But it is accepted as law in the industry at the end of the day. People want to see good movies, and to feel something when they go to the theater there watching it at home rest kind of doesn't matter, and if you can deliver that, and I think that we can by focusing on identifying great writing we should make money, and we should make a lot of good stuff. And maybe we can change the way people see the world because of the power of the internet to show. Good things Franklin and the blacklist are actually getting into financing and producing movies now they've seen how much money these otherwise unmade scripts can generate Franklin said he's done the back of the napkin math and found that it would be a pretty good investment strategy to just make films based on list. Scripts the system Franklin told me is never going to be perfect. There's no objective measure of a good screenplay or a way to draw a straight line from a great screenplay to eight great and profitable film. This whole thing is just too messy and human. I think that at at best we can try to capture the human a large number of human responses to a piece of material and that should give us a competitive advantage. Vis-a-vis any individual who's trying to make decisions or any computers. He's trying to make a decision about what if he's material is I do think that like look we can have all the signal in the world from a screenplay that it's amazing. But there are a million decisions that come from between a screenplay and movie being on your screen that can turn that screen play into not a good movie after Franklin, and I finished talking. I kept thinking about that idea that you couldn't build a perfect system for figuring out what works because it kind of feels like that's what Hollywood has become isn't that why we keep getting sequels and reboots and spinoffs and just endless endless marvel movies isn't the current movie industry. Just an example of what happens when studios get a lot of data about what other people like and make all the decisions based on it. That's what I has been Fritz. The Wall Street Journal's LA bureau chief and the author of a book called the big picture the fight for the future of. Movies. He had some ideas if you think about theatrical movies. That's I think you're correct. For for one individual piece of content is what I would say if you are spending a couple hundred million dollars to make one movie than yes. The most money you can make a happy hit film that grosses a billion dollars at the box office, and then sells millions of DVD's were digital downloads. And then gets licensed to a lot of money for a lot of money to each be o or so time or Netflix, or whatever that's where the most money is for an individual piece of content for sure the reason those the primary types of films, we see as for any other type of film, a movie that's not gonna gross grow billion dollars the economics of streaming get more and more attractive and the risks of flopping at the box office or getting higher and higher. The paradoxical thing is the higher. The risk gets the box office the safer. It is to make these big movies because people are actually most likely go to the theater to see the big fast and furious transforms type event-filled because a you can't get that on TV still and be that's gonna move you this really enjoyable on a big screen and integrate with other people around. So that's something. Netflix can't replicate. There are very few. Netflix can't do but the excitement of seeing the latest marvel sequel or horrified. Which is why horse looks like a quiet place that Netflix can't seem quite replicate. Everything else they can do. And that's why you don't see the ethnically released films really competing as much as you soon. Barely at all in fact in all these others honors of they used to like dramas thrillers romantic comedies cetera. Kind of seems like the potential end result of this is that the theater just becomes a place for superhero movies, basically. And then we end up with something else for like, it seems significant that Roma which is a real best picture nominee is primarily Netflix experience for most people absolutely romantic a chance of winning, and it's a beautiful film. It's arguably the best year in always equivalent of any theatrically released film. But it wasn't the accurately released in any meaningful way and ninety five percent of more people saw it on Netflix. And why is why is that up for NAS car? Why don't we consider that a made for TV movie? It's very debatable. Certainly the lines are blurring for people who want to hold the line, and defend theatrical moving I think, this is a real inflection points real moment. Be concerned. Okay. So I am I am I crazy in hearing all of that. And think. Taking that for me as a person who likes movies, but mostly it doesn't feel the need to go to the theater that this is universally a good thing that that ultimately it's going to be in. There are more places to make these non superhero movies, and I'm going to have more opportunity to see them without blowing my Friday night and a hundred dollars to go see a movie. Yes, okay. I think just it is almost it is almost entirely good news. If if the theatrical movingly experience is not something that's important to you. Except for the people who are used to making a whole lot of money from the theatrical movie experience. It's bad news to them. It's bad news for people who do value, the movie going experience and our risks. I mean, I think there are risks is more and more as as movie production becomes like a way to fuel online video subscriptions as opposed to a business in and of itself. You know, it used to be the studios their main business was making movies. So they have a bad year or few bad years. And they would okay we we got a or movies late. We gotta do this better because we're a movie company, we gotta keep making movies. But if something goes really wrong, we're in a recession or one of these tech companies. It's like Netflix or Amazon or AT and T which now. Owns Warner Brothers face start hitting roadblocks they need to cut spending or they need to to reach their business. They might say why don't we make all these movies, maybe maids paternity to cut back and focus on our core business Amazon. Why are we making films where apple why remaking Helms where maybe Netflix should just focus on TV, maybe AT and T should really cut back in this entertainment crap in focus on our on our cell phones, digital data, and then all of a sudden, you could see a lot fewer films. I mean, that's the danger. These companies really in the movie business way that traditionally universal and FOX in Warner Brothers have been so to me that's a that's a concern. Because I think movies are really special thing is certainly worry about being made by companies that are essentially in the movie business. Okay. So I want to talk about the Oscars is is the long-term chained here going to have to be the Oscars sort of rethinking even the parameters. Like, it's I it doesn't seem that crazy to me that eventually the Oscars is going to have to remove the rule that says a movie has to be in theaters to be considered for an Oscar like is the author is gonna come towards the future. Or is it just gonna? Kind of disappear or neither. I guess. Yeah. I don't I don't agree with that. Because if they're going to get rid of the rule have to play playing theaters, and they might as well just merged with the Emmys. I mean, what's the point of having a different different? You could just I mean, you could just you could just have one big a worship that's for all the visual content. You know released on any platform in the last year, and frankly about award show might be really popular that might be am I speak more to to you know, to the way people today consume their contents. Just give it back to MTV make it the Vienna's. It can't seriously. I mean, if the academy Motion Picture Arts and sciences really cares about theatrical moving I think that is a very valid position to take. And I think they need to make a choice. They can do what you said. And just said we're about movies, which we define as stories that are told in under three hours on any platform in with that aren't episodic. And then I can be that or and I think this is the direction that. That they would prefer to go when I think they really need to do it to say or about the movie owing we're going to tighten the rules about playing in theaters. And I think if they were to do that what they really need to do then is make real efforts to encourage the movie going, you know, they need to advertise about the benefits of seeing films and theatre so young people out they need to have, you know, they need to work with the feeder chains offer. You know, let's say student discounts as he all the nominated best pictures or bring them into schools, or they need to do whatever they can do to attract people, especially young people into theaters. That's fair. Okay. So before I let you go here. Is there anything else on your mind for the Oscars? Like, what are you going to be watching most closely for this weekend, where we haven't talked much about is just the show in what kind of a mess. The show is such as in such a mess. They can't they don't have a host there. They try to make these changes the short in the show and put some of the awards where they would give out during commercial break in an edited version of the acceptance speech live, everybody got outrage, and they pulled back from that. It's sort of to me that sort of it's a small Mike may microcosm of all the problems Hollywood has Hollywood. So is so bad and. Racing change and figuring out how to adjust the change. And they you know, they've obviously been slow to see what Netflix has been doing to them. And they've been they've been slow to deal with things like windows are made the movie the movie theater experience better. Which is why you know, why all the streaming services are eating their lunch and the same thing with the Oscars like in clearly need to make the Oscars better show. You know, they need some move faster. Frankly, like all these acceptance speeches in categories that are sort of below the line in most people don't care about like sound effects editing. They need to find ways shorten number, which I think showing them during the commercial break giving them during the commercial break in cutting down the speeches in edited form was a pretty reasonable idea and the same you can say the same thing like for the short films. Nobody has seen like why are we giving these out in primetime television. It's it makes for very boring TV, and the fact that the Oscars cannot find a way to change the show and make it more entertaining because the because people in Hollywood complain and they easily give in kind of like a bad parent whose kid starts whining. You know is a very bad sign for the entertain for the film business in general's ability to to handle change fair, and they never found a host, right? Is it going to be you might as well be tough? It is. And that's our show. Everybody thinks to Franklin then Bob Christopher Angelina for being here. Thanks to tiny loose, our producer. And thank you for listening. We have new codes as always on Fridays. So make sure you subscribe instant message on whatever podcast app news. If you're looking for one there's this cool app code breaker of been trying. It's really social and a meet way to find new sup. Listen to as always if you have feedback ideas, Email us at personal tech at wsJcom. We'll talk to you soon.