The Pain-Us-All Edition Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tim Cook Says Trump’s Executive Orders Are ‘Not A Policy We Support’, by Andrew Liptak, The Verge

In the memo, Cook noted that there were employees that were affected by the executive orders, and that the company’s human resources, legal, and security teams were in touch to support them. He also noted that the company had reached out to the White House to protest the orders.

Cook noted that he had heard from many employees who were concerned about the executive orders, and that he shared those concerns. The memo comes just after Cook met with officials in Washington DC. He is also part of President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum.

Netflix CEO: “Trump’s Actions … Are So Un-American It Pains Us All”, by Daniel Politi, Slate

One of the strongest statements against the measure came from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who wrote on Facebook that the actions “are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all.” Hastings went on to call it a “sad week” and said it was “time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”

Apple, Microsoft And Uber Help Staff Stranded By Trump Ban, by Jon Fingas, Engadget

On top of the practical considerations, tech companies are also voicing a concerted moral opposition to the immigration ban.

Tech Leaders Finally Find Their Voice, Opposing Trump’s Muslim Ban: "So un-American, It Pains Us All.", by Kara Swisher, Recode

After weeks of deafening silence and quiet acquiescence, top tech leaders began to react strongly, spurred by a capricious immigration ban on some Muslim countries ordered by President Donald Trump on Friday.

Reactions varied — with many largely focusing on the impact of the executive order on employees across the globe.

Thank goodness for Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who finally voiced on Facebook what many in Silicon Valley have thought.


Fighting Food Waste With An App… And A Measuring Spoon, by Rebecca Smithers, The Guardian

“We were definitely wasting some food before we got involved in the project but the problem was that we just didn’t know how much,” she says. After Max chucks a banana on the floor, she weighs it on scales which are connected, via her iPad, to an app called Winnow.

The screen tells her that if she throws the banana – which weighs 118g – away, she will have wasted the equivalent of 15p. “I was wasting more than I thought and it certainly adds up,” she says as Max squeals for his banana back. “Not only do we know the value of what we are wasting – and why – but we are also taking steps to reduce it in the first place by planning meals, shopping more carefully, and using our freezer better.”


Face Recognition Is Government’s New Weapon—And Your Privacy Dystopia, by Joshua Kopstein, Vocativ

If you’re an American adult, that represents the odds that your photo has been enrolled to a law enforcement face recognition database, allowing you to be identified and tracked as you walk down the street, attend a protest, or visit a rehab center.

This isn’t speculation: It’s the result of a year-long investigation into police use of face recognition technology, published last October by researchers at Georgetown University. In at least 26 states, the report found, merely having a state-issued driver’s license or photo ID allows police to remotely search for and identify your face from photos taken on the street or posted to social media – without a warrant or any court’s supervision. Sixteen states also make their residents’ ID photos available to the FBI, whose own face recognition databases now contain more than 411 million face images. And unlike with more traditional biometrics like fingerprints and DNA, the vast majority of the faces belong to innocent Americans, not criminal suspects.

The U.S. Without Net Neutrality: How An Internet Nightmare Unfolds, by Kevin Collier, Vocativ

For years, internet freedom activists have campaigned to keep anything resembling that situation from ever happening, by championing for the abstract concept of net neutrality, an idea that has always been hard to explain and usually even harder to get people fired up about.

But under President Trump, the public may finally get a firsthand look at what net neutrality means in practice — because if the Trump administration is able to successfully abolish it, the internet is going to get a lot more expensive and harder to use.