10 things in tech you need to know today
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Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
- President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over "threats against information and communications technology and services" in the US. The executive order, signed Wednesday, is expected to precede a ban on US firms doing business with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
- Huawei slammed Trump's 'unreasonable' ban, saying that the move will only harm US interests in its own 5G rollout. The firm said the ban infringes on Huawei's rights and could lead to serious legal battles down the road.
- The White House created an online tool for Facebook and Twitter users to report examples of political bias and censorship. The form, called the "Tech Bias Story Sharing Tool," asks for links and citizenship status before asking for an email address to be added to the Trump campaign marketing list.
- WeWork is setting up its own $2.9 billion investment fund so it can buy stakes in buildings where it plans to be a major tenant. WeWork CEO Adam Neumann discussed the fund in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, during which he repeatedly called the journalist by the wrong name.
- Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and other tech companies joined governments in pledging to fight terrorist content in the wake of the Christchurch shooting, but the US refused to join the agreement over free speech worries. The Christchurch Call provides a framework for steps governments and companies separately, and together, agreed to take to ensure that terrorist content can be halted instantly.
- Amazon has started building its $1.5 billion airport as part of its plan to take greater control of the package shipping process. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos took the controls of a front loader to begin the work in a surprise appearance on Tuesday.
- Lilium, a German flying taxi startup, successfully completed a maiden voyage for its five-seater prototype aircraft in a major step towards offering $70 Uber-style rides. Chief commercial officer Remo Gerber said the firm hoped to offer rides to passengers by 2025.
- Apple's next version of the iPhone XR might come in new lavender and seafoam green color options, potentially replacing the current blue and coral choices. The new color choices appear to be soft pastel shades, representing a departure from the current iPhone XR's bright and bold look.
- Tesla is losing its senior director of global communications Dave Arnold amid a brutal week for the electric automaker. His departure comes as ongoing production challenges and difficulty shipping the Tesla Model 3 to international markets weigh heavily on the company's share price.
- After an internal email meant to resurface Google's data sharing policies sparked concerns from employees last week, an update was sent via the company's daily newsletter on Tuesday to clarify the tech giant's position. The update - which was formatted as a Q&A with Google's Chief Legal Officer, Kent Walker - reiterated the reason for data access controls and tried putting to rest fears that collaboration across teams would be harmed.
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