Technological World for January 8: Cars at CES 2020, 20 iPhone apps for the new year, California's privacy law, BuzzFeed jumps on fake news

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This week, a bunch of apps to load on your iPhone to start the year, why you’ve been getting all the notices about updated privacy changes, and the amazing work being done by journalist Jane Lytvynenko to identify and call out disinformation on social media. But first, a look at the early announcements coming out of CES 2020.

Concept cars take centre stage at CES 2020

Usually the Consumer Electronics Show is an excuse to talk about TVs, but some of the coolest things on display in the early days of this year’s event are the cars.

Nobody knew that Sony was working on an electric vehicle until the company drove the Vision-S prototype onto the stage at its media event on Monday.

It’s designed with driver assists, a cabin that will respond to what the passengers are doing, and an operating system that can be updated on the fly.

Then there’s the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, designed in partnership with James Cameron and inspired by Avatar.

The car looks like one of the creatures from Cameron’s Pandora. It has no steering wheel or dashboard and the wheels are designed to move forwards, sideways, or diagonally. It’s an experiment not just of propulsion but of the interface we have with vehicles.

Toyota, meanwhile, is set to begin construction on the Woven City in Japan, a community that will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and will be a place the company can test its products and technologies.

20 apps for 2020

Just in time for the new year, the App Store – where consumers spent $1.42 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day – has curated a list of twenty apps that they think people should try this year.

  1. 1 Second Everyday: With this app you capture one second of video every day. At the end of the year it pulls things together as a 365 second video (366 this year because it’s a Leap Year) of memories. Available free on the App Store.
  2. 30 Day Fitness Challenge: Create a personalized, month-long plan for any fitness goal. Available free on the App Store.
  3. Yousician: Helps you learn to play just about any instrument. Available free on the App Store.
  4. Photo Scanner Plus: Digitize your photo prints easily with this app, which can convert multiple photos in a single screen shot. Available free on the App Store.
  5. Day One Journal: An easy to use daily diary. Available free on the App Store.
  6. Nike Training Club: Nike gives you access to professional trainers, personal plans, and short workouts you can easily do at home. Available free on the App Store.
  7. Calm: Breathing exercises and guided meditations to soothe you. Available free on the App Store.
  8. Relax Melodies (made in Canada): Custom soundscapes, soothing bedtime stories and gentle exercises. Available free on the App Store.
  9. LinkedIn Learning: Short video tutorials about nearly everything. Available free on the App Store.
  10. Plenty of Fish (made in Canada): Help to find that special someone. Available free on the App Store.
  11. Ulyss: Help in planning that holiday you need. Available free on the App Store.
  12. 1Password (made in Canada): The best password app you can get. Available free on the App Store.
  13. Minimalist: A simple to-do list app that helps you prioritize tasks and set reminders. Available free on the App Store.
  14. Duolingo: Learn a new language. Available free on the App Store.
  15. Seven – 7 Minute Workout: Seven minutes at a time can get you to your fitness goal. Available free on the App Store.
  16. Buddy – Easy Budgeting: Take control of your finances. Available free on the App Store.
  17. Tayasui Sketches: Sketching on the go. Available free on the App Store.
  18. Mealime (made in Canada): Recipes, step-by-step instructions, and an integrated shopping list. Available free on the App Store.
  19. Strava: Track and exceed your personal bests. Available free on the App Store.
  20. Transit (made in Canada): Get around by bus, train, bike, or ride-share with this one app. Available free on the App Store.

California’s new consumer privacy law is why you’re getting so many emails right now

Two years ago it was the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that resulted in your inbox filling up.

If you’ve been wondering why it seems to be happening again, you can blame California.

The California Consumer Privacy Act was enacted in 2018 but took effect on January 1.

And even though you may not (probably don’t) live in California, all companies and organizations that “buys, receives, or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices” in the state are expected to comply.

The rights granted to California residents are also, therefore, granted to all of us. These include:

  • The right to know what information is being collected
  • The right to delete personal information
  • The right to opt-out of the sale of that information
  • The right to non-discrimination when exercising a privacy right

Facebook apparently doesn’t think it is affected, according to the Wall Street Journal, claiming that user data that is collected and shared isn’t “sold”.

I smell a court battle.

BuzzFeed journalist specializes in disinformation

Signal boosting the work of Jane Lytvynenko, who is an expert at detecting and dispelling fake news.

Yesterday, as Iran targeted U.S. troops based in Iraq with missiles, Lytvynenko started tracking Twitter accounts that were spreading false or misleading information, including images of missile launches from years ago that were being passed off as current.


In her thread, she calls out mainstream media sources that were using old images without clarifying context, as well as a host of accounts, many anonymous, that were sharing videos that were not of the attack.

And then some in the U.S. started getting text messages informing them they’d been drafted by the military. The messages are fake.

Lytvynenko and colleague Craig Silverman created an article tracking the disinformation being spread.

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