Recent arrests raise fears spymasters are tapping the vast reach of social media giants The arrest earlier this month of two former Twitter employees, now charged with spying for Saudi Arabia, cast rare light on Silicon Valley as a dark nexus of power and information. The US Justice Department accuses the pair of using their access to the interior plumbing of a major social network, widely used in the repressive petro-kingdom, to steal information on dissidents at home and abroad. If proven, the case would supply firm evidence of something industry figures have long suggested: that US tech giants have been extensively infiltrated by multiple foreign intelligence agencies. Take Peter Thiel,... … [Read more...] about Is Silicon Valley full of Chinese and Russian spies?
A renowned sommelier who spent years serving Silicon Valley elite is now living on the streets in Oakland after succumbing to drug addiction. Mark-Steven Holys, 61, shared his story with New York Times this week, offering unique insight into Northern California's growing homelessness crisis. Speaking from his tent in a rat-infested Oakland homeless encampment, Holys reminisced on the days he spent hunting for the perfect bottle of wine to pair with opulent dishes ordered by the likes of Apple founder Steve Jobs, champion quarterback Joe Montana and former secretary of state George Shultz. Holys worked in the sommelier scene for decades, rising through the ranks of the wine world over the 80s and 90s. His life began to unravel when he got addicted to crack cocaine. He funded the habit through stealing and spent eight years behind bars as a result. 'I was the type of guy who would break into your car and steal the change in your ashtray,' … [Read more...] about REVEALED: How top sommelier who served Silicon Valley elites such as Steve Jobs at renowned Bay Area restaurants for decades became homeless after succumbing to crack cocaine addiction
Why do you choose the browser you use? Maybe you think it loads pages more quickly. Maybe it’s made by the same firm as your device and you think it’s more compatible in some way. You prefer the graphics, perhaps, or it just happened to be pre-installed on your machine. Maybe you’re not even aware that there’s a choice. In reality, two-thirds of us have been funnelled into using Google’s Chrome, but browser choice also hides a contest about the openness of the web and how data is collected about users. One organisation that has always put such issues to the forefront is Mozilla. The not-for-profit foundation, which has as its aim the promotion of “openness, innovation and participation on the internet”, is best known for the Firefox browser, which it started developing in 2003. But the foundation was set up to shepherd the Mozilla organisation, which was formed in 1998 to oversee the development of a suite of web tools developed from another … [Read more...] about Firefox’s fight for the future of the web
The mother of a boy who lost his toes and most of his fingers while fighting sepsis at the age of 18 months is trying to raise funds for life-changing surgery in Poland that could see him walk again. Jakub Kolek, who is now four, from Edinburgh, was rushed to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in the Scottish capital after his mother Karina Kolek, 30, found him unconscious in his cot in October 2016. Upon reaching the hospital Karina and Jakub's father Pawel, 37, who are both originally from Poland, were told by doctors that their son had contracted generalised sepsis and was in a critical condition. Jakub's legs and hands developed necrotic lesions which doctors desperately tried to clear before being forced to perform amputations on all of his toes and most of his fingers in order to keep him alive. Jakub Kolek (pictured with mother Karina), four, from Edinburgh, was just 18-months-old when he was diagnosed with … [Read more...] about Mother says she dreams of seeing her son, four, walk after he lost ALL of his toes to sepsis – but life-changing surgery will cost £60,000
The so-called 'PayPal mafia' represent the best, worst, and most controversial aspects of Silicon Valley When David Sacks left PayPal, shortly after eBay paid $1.5bn (£1.2bn) for the company in 2002, the first thing he did was finance a movie. The result, 2005’s Thank You For Smoking, became a sleeper hit, and returned its $10m budget many times over. The dotcom bubble had burst, and Sacks could have put his tech days behind him. But as one big screen mobster famously said, just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in. Sacks went on to found Yammer, a social network for offices. It was later bought by Microsoft for $1.2bn. This Cosa Nostra does not go around breaking windows, but in... … [Read more...] about The PayPal mafia: How a group of ‘misfits’ became the kingpins of tech