TechSummit Rewind #052

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

U.S. Justice Department orders Apple to help unlock iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter


The U.S. Justice Department has ordered Apple to help the government unlock the iPhone used by one of the shooters responsible for the Dec. 2 San Bernardino, Calif. terrorist attacks after the Cupertino, Calif.-based company didn’t volunteer to.

The Justice Department sought the order for “gaining crucial evidence” about the shooting rampage that killed 14 people and injured another 22.

The order asks Apple to disable the feature that wipes the phone’s data after 10 incorrect tries at entering a password, so the government can crack the password with “brute force” – attempting tens of millions of combinations.

According to Johns Hopkins University cryptography expert Matthew Green, the FBI could crack a six-digit numeric code in about 22 hours.

“But once there’s numbers and letters, that’s when things get interesting. It might take 10 years to crack a strong password on the phone, which means they might be stuck till 2026.”

-Matthew Green, Johns Hopkins University cryptography expert

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter early Tuesday morning responding to the order.

“Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government.”

-Tim Cook, Apple CEO

American Airlines suing Gogo over crappy WiFi

American Airlines

American Airlines is suing Gogo after finding “materially” improved service from ViaSat, the rival used by United, JetBlue, and Virgin America.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, the airline claims that Gogo isn’t living up to the terms in their contract that call for Gogo to submit a new proposal to American that matches or exceeds a competitor’s offering. According to American, the Fort Worth, TX-based airline has the right to terminate its agreement with the company.

“Gogo’s contracts are notoriously difficult to break, but we think the filing likely indicates that American is positioning itself ahead of its first contract expansion in 2018. A successful termination by American may enable other airlines that use Gogo to follow suit.”

-Andrew DeGasperi, Macquarie securities analyst

Instagram adds two-factor authentication

new Instagram web interface

Instagram is beginning to roll out two-factor authentication.

The tool allows Instagram users to verify a phone number. Then, if anyone tries to login with your email and password, you’ll be texted an authentication code that must be entered to gain access to your account.

Google’s think tank transforming into Jigsaw tech lab


According to Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Google Ideas is being transformed into the Jigsaw tech incubator.

The New York-based team will focus on using technology to “tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges,” and will be headed by former US State Department Policy Planning Staff member Jared Cohen. He will also remain an advisor to Schmidt.

“Why Jigsaw? For one thing, the new name acknowledges that the world is a complex puzzle of physical and digital challenges. For another, it reflects our belief that collaborative problem-solving yields the best solutions. As a technology incubator, Jigsaw will be investing in and building technology to expand access to information for the world’s most vulnerable populations and to defend against the world’s most challenging security threats.”

-Eric Schmidt, Alphabet executive chairman

According to an Alphabet spokesperson, Jigsaw will be part of Alphabet, but not a separate unit like Nest, Fiber, or Calico.

1Password launches family plan to let five people share passwords


1Password is launching a new family plan to allow family members to have separate 1Password accounts, along with a series of shared passwords synced between them. The app can also store and share credit card numbers, notes, and other small pieces of personal info.

The subscription will be available for $5/month for a family of five, with additional people being added for $1/month.

Parents will be able to restore child access to their account if they lose their 1Password password, prevent kids from editing passwords, and handles password syncing on its own without using an outside service like Dropbox.

Yahoo pulls plug on Yahoo Labs research lab

The Yahoo logo is shown at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale

Yahoo is scaling back its Yahoo Labs research lab through a reorganization plan that puts most researchers into product groups rather than the standalone unit.

According to the Sunnyvale, CA-based company, Yahoo’s researchers will integrate with product teams while Labs leaders Ron Brachman and Ricardo Baeza-Yates will leave the company. There will also be a small independent research team that works autonomously and closely with the product teams. The combined efforts will be called Yahoo Research and be led by Yahoo research VP Yoelle Maarek.

Giphy closes $55M Series C funding round


GIF search engine Giphy has closed $55 million of Series C funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from General Catalyst Partners, RRE, Betaworks, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, CAA, and other existing Giphy investors.

Apple Pay going live in China on Feb. 18

Apple Pay

Apple Pay will be available in China for Industrial and Commercial Bank of China customers on Feb. 18, according to bank representatives.

Google shutters Play for Education

Google Play for Education

According to TechCrunch, Google will stop selling Play for Education licenses on March 14.

“We’re committed to providing schools with the best-in-class tools for the classroom, including Chromebooks, and a strong and growing ecosystem of educational apps.”

-A Google spokesperson

Teachers and administrators can still use Google’s and its partners’ other device management services to push Play Store educational apps to tablets.


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