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Hacking Donald Trump and 8 more of the biggest stories in tech

15-year-old Luke Bannister, winner of the first-ever World Drone Prix, held last week in Dubai. (Photo courtesy David Stock)

What Happened?

It was a big week. You might have missed something.

Keeping Secrets
The battle over encryption continues, with matters taking a decidedly nasty tone this week. In an interview with Time magazine, Tim Cook labelled the government’s allegations “a crock” and “simplistic”, explaining “what they want me to invent puts millions of people at risk.”

On Monday, The Guardian reported that Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and WhatsApp all plan to expand user encryption, opening up multiple fronts in the Justice Department’s standoff with Apple. Even Mr. Robot got into the mix.

Legendary VC Fred Wilson has taken the path less traveled, writing in a blog post on Monday, “I do not think that because we now have the technology to lock things down… that we should just abandon the framework that has worked in our society for hundreds of years.” Wilson does not have many allies in tech– Re/code offers up a fascinating blow-by-blow on just how Apple convinced the industry to side with them.

And if you still need a refresher, John Oliver offers a typically excellent explanation of the issues.

And Yet They Can’t Figure Out How to Make Images Shareable…
Another massively popular social platform has decided they know best when it comes to what you want to see. Instagram has begun testing an algorithmic-based personalized feed for users. Don’t worry – there’s already a Change.org petition to keep Instagram chronological.

The New Party Police
Next month, Airbnb will begin rolling out a new feature, allowing neighbors to complain about loud or obnoxious renters directly to the app. While the gesture is certainly thoughtful, it’s also a very convenient means of funneling complaints away from the authorities.

Oh Tech, Will You Never Learn?
Consider the following, from an eerily familiar Bloomberg dispatch on the SXSWi party scene: “At a party hosted by Founders Fund, a venture capital firm started by billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, two rubber unicorn masks were passed around. The night before, as the crowds thinned, a woman dressed as a fairy rode a white horse with a unicorn horn past the Hilton hotel.” Despite all the haikus-on-demand and open bars, the entire festival was a big flop, per The Verge, at least.

Don’t Pass Go
Not everyone was impressed with Google AI’s victory over Go master Lee Sedol (aside from Lee himself, naturally). Facebook’s head of AI research was publically critical of the victories. Ken Jennings, who was bested by IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy!, offered some conciliatory words for Lee, writing, “To my surprise, losing to an evil quiz show–playing computer turned out to be a canny career move.”

No Idea…
The gaming site Twitch is consecutively streaming all 201 episodes of Julia Child’s legendary cooking show The French Chef.

This Should End Well
Anonymous, the hacktivist group and presumable authors of Primary Colors, has announced #OpTrump for April 1, planning to shut down Donald Trump’s websites and expose “what he doesn’t want the public to know.”

This, Too, Should End Well
A swarm of six micro-robots, weighing a total of 3.5 ounces, is capable of moving a two-ton car.

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