TechSummit Rewind 166

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Google adds fact-checks to search, news results

google fact check

Google is now presenting richer information from fact-checking sites like PolitiFact and Snopes when they show up in search and news results in an attempt to combat fake news.

These sites will be able to display richer information on Google, including directly noting whether a claim has been judged as true, false, or somewhere in between.

However, it won’t improve the search rank for fact-checking sites or bring their information to the top of the page in Google’s “featured snippets” box.

Any organization can offer richer reports if they add extra code to their website, however Google won’t necessarily show all of this information.

“Only publishers that are algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information will qualify for inclusion.”

-Google, in a blog post

Uber denies Waymo theft claims because it never used custom LiDAR

Uber admitted in court filings today that it still uses commercially-available LiDAR systems in its self-driving vehicles because its in-house technology isn’t road ready. This comes in the midst of the company’s lawsuit with Google’s Waymo.

Uber also claims that tens of thousands of documents that are accused of being stolen by one of its engineering leads from Google were never uploaded to an Uber-owned computer and therefore weren’t used in the development of its LiDAR systems.

“Waymo’s injunction motion is a misfire: there is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber’s servers and Waymo’s assertion that our multi-lens LiDAR is the same as their single-lens LiDAR is clearly false. If Waymo genuinely thought that Uber was using its secrets, it would not have waited more than five months to seek an injunction. Waymo doesn’t meet the high bar for an injunction, which would stifle our independent innovation – probably Waymo’s goal in the first place.”

-Angela Padilla, Uber associate general counsel

US Homeland Security drops attempt to unmask anti-Trump Twitter account

Twitter HQ

The US Department of Homeland Security has withdrawn its order to unmask the harshly critical @Alt_USCIS Twitter account run by an anonymous Homeland Security staffer after being sued in federal court.

Twitter has withdrawn its lawsuit, after learning of the action in a meeting with the Department of Justice on Friday.

Otonomo raises $25M to help automakers make money from connected cars


Israeli startup otonomo has raised a $25M Series B round for its auto marketplace that connects car makers and drivers with service providers from strategic investors led by automotive supplier Delphi.

The round also included participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, StageOne Ventures, and Maniv Mobility, and will be used to help otonomo accelerate the pace of its global expansion plans.

Twitch takes PayPal, others to court over spambot

Twitch is taking PayPal, Whois, and Shaw Communications to court in an attempt to stop a spammer that’s decimated roughly 1,000 channels with disturbing chat messages.

A petition was filed in British Columbia, Canada’s Supreme Court to place the companies on notice

Twitch asks each of the companies on notice to provide information on the spammer or customer associated with the traced IP address and claims that each company is involved by allowing the spambot to “don the cloak of anonymity.”

The Amazon-owned streaming platform asserts in the petition that the spambot is violating its terms of service, so it’s justified to seek out their private information. It also quotes violations the spambot makes in the other companies’ terms of service and calls the companies a last resort to find any information.

According to the petition, the companies have 21 days to file a response.

TaskRabbit explores sale options


TaskRabbit is exploring a sale after receiving inbound interest from a strategic buyer, according to company CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot.

“It’s opportunistic.”

-Stacy Brown-Philpot, TaskRabbit CEO

Italy issues nationwide Uber ban


In a court ruling issued today, all of Uber’s services were banned in Italy after a Rome judge ruled in favor of the country’s major taxi associations that the ride-hailing service was unfair competition.

Uber is also banned from advertising nationwide.

“We’re shocked. We will appeal this ruling that is based on a 25-year-old law. Now the government can’t waste more time and needs to decide whether it wants to remain anchored to the past, protecting privileged profits, or whether it wants to allow Italians to benefit from new technologies.”

-Uber’s lawyers, in a statement to Corriere della Sera

“This is the forth ruling by an Italian judge that ascertains Uber’s unfair competition, the latest battle in a legal war that began in 2015 to stop the most striking form of unfair competition ever registered on the Italian local public transportation market.”

-Italy’s top taxi associations’ lawyers, in a statement to Corriere della Sera

Uber plans to appeal. It has 10 days to do so or shut down in Italy. If it does neither, the company faces up to $10,600 in fines for each day it continues to operate.


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