The fight to read your news subscriptions on your phone, explained: Ever click a link on Facebook or Twitter’s app to read a news story from a paywalled publication you subscribe to — but then get asked to log in even though you recently did? One reason is that the apps where you find those stories (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others) require you to stay in their apps, which don’t communicate with news publications’ websites — hence why you have to log in again and again. But it’s even more complicated. Recode’s Rani Molla writes that “privacy concerns, advertising, and the fragmented ways in which we read news also contribute to why it’s so annoying to read paywalled stories on your phone.”
- What can you do to get around a clunky and siloed mobile login experience? A password manager can help.
[Rani Molla / Recode]
How big is the “Everything Store”? To show just how aggressively Amazon has expanded since it first started selling books in 1995, BuzzFeed News rounded up every business and subsidiary Amazon owns — but the list was so sprawling that it’s not completely comprehensive. BuzzFeed’s round-up includes products, brands, and services whose relationship with Amazon is well-known, including Amazon Alexa, Amazon Web Services, and Whole Foods, as well as dozens that are lesser-known, including IMDb, Zappos, and Shopbop.
- BuzzFeed found that Amazon has more than 80 private-label brands, including a dozen women’s clothing brands.
- Amazon has either been given or applied for 800 trademarks, Quartz had previously reported.
Amazon’s size and influence have caught the attention of regulators and lawmakers. In June, reports indicated that the FTC is preparing an antitrust probe into the company. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made breaking up Big Tech a part of her 2020 presidential campaign.
[Leticia Miranda / BuzzFeed News]
The new screen-free parenting coach economy: In an effort to turn back the clock on their kids’ excessive screen-time, parents are turning to coaches to help them parent like it’s 1999. A small economy has sprung up around the demand. These coaches teach parents how to offer alternatives to screens, including spending time outside, throwing a ball, and “just try[ing] to remember what you did as a kid.” Parents around the country are also signing “No-Phone Pledges,” which amount to public statements that they will not give their kids smartphones until eighth grade, or in some cases, later into their teens.
- Tech ethics advocate and Time Well Spent co-creator Tristan Harris told Kara Swisher in a recent Recode Decode interview that tech is “downgrading” humanity.
- If you’re feeling like you’ve lost control over how you let tech into your life, here’s the “digital detox” guide you need.
[Nellie Bowles / The New York Times]
Innovation in satellite imagery is outpacing the ability to regulate the technology. The MIT Technology review writes that “commercial satellite imagery is currently in a sweet spot: powerful enough to see a car, but not enough to tell the make and model.” But as satellite imagery continues to improve in quality, investors, businesses, and law enforcement are bound to want to exploit it. Privacy advocates warn that innovation in satellite imagery is outpacing the US government’s (and the rest of the world’s) ability to regulate the technology. The US’s privacy laws are unclear when it comes to satellites and whether using them for surveillance violates a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Another field of rapidly developing surveillance technology is facial recognition, which is also posing privacy concerns as the technology’s development and rollout outpaces the law.
[Christopher Beam / MIT Technology Review]
Top Stories from Recode
Journalist Carole Cadwalladr on Facebook, Brexit, and “techno-fascism.” Carole Cadwalladr, a reporter for the Guardian and Observer, talks with Kara Swisher about her investigations into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the links between tech and political disinformation campaigns. Listen on the latest Recode Decode podcast.
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