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Recode Daily: Did Chinese spies infiltrate Apple and Amazon with tiny chips?

Plus, GM’s Cruise self-driving unit partners with Honda on an autonomous vehicle; these coders are programming themselves — and whole departments — out of a job; the greatest pumpkin.

Apple iPhone XS and XS Max at an Apple store Spencer Platt / Getty

Chinese spies used tiny chips, embedded into servers in the supply chain, to infiltrate top U.S. companies including Apple and Amazon, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story citing former government officials and “senior insiders” at Apple. “One government official says China’s goal was long-term access to high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks. No consumer data is known to have been stolen.” But both companies denied the report in lengthy statements. Hmm. [Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley / Bloomberg Businessweek]

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Cruise Automation, the self-driving unit of General Motors, is teaming up with Honda, one of the world’s largest automakers. The auto giants will collaborate on a purpose-built autonomous vehicle that can serve a “wide variety” of use cases and can be manufactured at high volumes for global deployment. It’s another big win for GM’s Cruise, which is one of the leaders emerging in the nascent self-driving platform wars. Honda will devote $2 billion to the effort over 12 years, which, together with a $750 million equity investment in Cruise, brings the total commitment to $2.75 billion. Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt teased some possibilities of what a new vehicle built by GM and Honda might look like in a Medium post. [Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge]

Lobbyists representing AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Charter filed suit seeking to block California’s new law to mandate net neutrality rules. The lawsuit called California’s law a “classic example of unconstitutional state regulation” and urged the court to block it before it is set to take effect on Jan. 1. The Trump administration also immediately sued California to block the new law. But legal experts say that the effort to remove states from the consumer protection equation rests on shaky legal ground, and may only buy the telecom sector time rather than rolling back the law completely. [David Shepardson / Reuters]

Nintendo plans to release a new version of its popular portable Switch console next year, potentially including an improved display. [Takashi Mochizuki / WSJ]

YouTube’s entertainment for children is weirder — and more globalized — than adults could have expected. For instance, while “Sesame Street” has more than five billion views on YouTube, a homegrown South Indian channel called ChuChu TV has more than 19 billion, placing it among the top 25 most-watched YouTube channels in the world. ChuChu is the largest of a new constellation of children’s-media brands on YouTube that is spread out across the world, including Little Baby Bum in London, Animaccord in Moscow and Billion Surprise Toys in Dubai. And the content is an exuberant, cheap, multicultural, data-driven grab for toddlers’ attention. [Alexis Madrigal / The Atlantic]

Meet the coders who are programming themselves out of a job. Programmers, of course, have for decades been writing code that automates their work, but most don’t take it to the extreme of fully or nearly fully automating their job. The Atlantic chatted, via direct message on Reddit and email, with around a dozen self-automators; one coder said he once inadvertently automated an entire department into redundancy; another went to great lengths to conceal the contours of his fully automated $50,000 per year job from his boss. [Brian Merchant / The Atlantic]

Should you tip your Uber or Lyft driver? And if so, how much? Uber added tipping to its app just over a year ago, and other rideshare services have allowed riders to tip their drivers for longer than that. But do drivers expect you to tip? Do they rely on them? Here’s some quick, common-sense advice from ride-hail drivers, passengers and etiquette pros. [Kristin Wong / The New York Times]

Top stories from Recode

Elites like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos think they’re being philanthropic. But they could do so much more. “Winners Take All” author Anand Giridharadas says elites only help on their own terms — and never in any way that would endanger their own extreme wealth.
[Kara Swisher]

This is cool

Read Mark Judge’s out-of-print “Wasted” memoir for free, courtesy of the Internet Archive.

The greatest pumpkin.

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