Recode Daily: Law enforcement agencies are increasingly tapping into Google’s massive location history database
Plus: Amazon is in talks to launch an ad-free music service, Reed Hastings is leaving Facebook’s board, and Microsoft reveals some Outlook accounts were compromised
Law enforcement agencies are using Google’s location history feature to track down crime suspects. An investigation by The New York Times revealed that law enforcement agencies are increasingly issuing “geofence” warrants to tap into Google’s massive “Sensorvault” database of their users’ locations. The increasingly frequent warrants will ask for information about all the devices Google tracks in a specific area and a time period. According to one Google employee cited in the article, the company received as many as 180 requests in one week for information. As The New York Times writes, “Technology companies have for years responded to court orders for specific users’ information,” but “[t]he new warrants go further, suggesting possible suspects and witnesses in the absence of other clues.”
[Jennifer Valentino DeVries / The New York Times]
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Amazon is reportedly considering offering a free music streaming service as soon as next week. According to reporting from Billboard, the company is planning on introducing an ad-supported music service, in direct competition with Spotify and Apple Music. Amazon is reportedly offering to pay record labels out of pocket to license music, flexing the company’s power “as a distributor that can afford to discount music as a loss-leader to support its core retail business.” Currently, Amazon has a paid ad-free music service for $9.99 a month — it doesn’t disclose how many subscribers it has for that service. Spotify meanwhile has about 96 million paying subscribers and Apple has 56 million paid subscribers.
[Hannah Karp / Billboard]
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will not be re-nominated to Facebook’s board of directors. On Friday, Facebook announced it will not be re-nominating Hastings for re-election at the company’s next annual stockholders meetings. Another board member, Erskine Bowles, the president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, will also be departing. Instead, Facebook will nominate Peggy Alford, PayPal senior vice president of core markets. Alford will be the first black woman on Facebook’s board. According to Andrew Ross Sorkin, Hastings departure has been “talked about for some time” because of potential “conflict as Facebook moves more into video services.” Hastings has served on Facebook’s board since 2011.
[Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC]
Microsoft disclosed that hackers had access to some users’ outlook accounts for months. According to the company, hackers compromised a support agent’s credentials, allowing them unauthorized access to web mail servers. The company has not yet disclosed how many accounts have been affected. Hackers were able to view accounts email addresses, folder names, and email subject lines of a “limited number of accounts” between January 1 and March 28, 2019. “We addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators’ access,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. Microsoft faced another recent security breach when, weeks ago, a former security researcher pled guilty to hacking into Microsoft and Nintendo servers.
[Tom Warren / The Verge]
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