Amazon Brings Palm Reader Payments to Retail Stores

Elva Mankin

Move over Bill Gates, it’s time for Jeff Bezos to get a little more time in the spotlight of conspiracy theorists. On Tuesday, Amazon announced the rollout of its new Amazon One devices that use a customer’s palm for identification and payment at physical retail stores. The devices are already available for use in Seattle locations for Amazon Go stores, and the company wants to expand it to any retailer willing to partner with the enemy.

According to an announcement by Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon’s physical retail business, the Amazon One device creates even less payment friction in the company’s cashier-less retail stores. Instead of being identified by an account on their mobile phones, customers can simply walk into the store, scan their palm, shop for products, and the purchases will be automatically charged to a credit card.

Illustration for article titled Amazon Sees Palm Readers in Your Retail Shopping Future

Is this a precursor to the fabled mark of the

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Trump to Shut off TikTok, WeChat to New U.S. Users on Sunday | Top News

Elva Mankin

By David Shepardson, Echo Wang and Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration will ban WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok from U.S. app stores starting Sunday night, a move that will block Americans from downloading the Chinese-owned platforms over concerns they pose a national security threat.

The bans, announced on Friday, affect only new downloads and updates and are less sweeping than expected, particularly for TikTok, giving its parent group ByteDance some breathing space to clinch an agreement over the fate of its U.S. operations.

WeChat, an all-in-one messaging, social media and electronic payment app, faces more severe restrictions from Sunday. Existing TikTok users, on the other hand, will see little change until Nov. 12 when a ban on some technical transactions will kick in, which TikTok said would amount to an effective ban. For a Q&A on the real impact, click

“We disagree with the decision from the

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T-Mobile offers first responders up to 25% off Samsung 5G phones

Elva Mankin


First responder agencies can get discounts on Samsung phones through T-Mobile.

Angela Lang/CNET

State and local agencies that offer first responders free unlimited talk, text and data through T-Mobile’s Connecting Heroes program can get up to 25% off Samsung 5G phones for a limited time, the carrier said Friday. That includes phones like the recently released Galaxy Note 20 5G, as well as the Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy A71 5G and Galaxy A51 5G. The $250 Galaxy A21 with 4G LTE is also an option. 

“While pushing the bounds of 5G mobile technology, Samsung and T-Mobile both recognize the importance of first responders staying connected at the most critical times,” Taher Behbehani, head of Samsung Electronics America’s mobile B2B division, said in a statement.

State and local fire, police and emergency medical service

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Report: Oracle’s proposed TikTok deal includes search for backdoors

Elva Mankin

  • TikTok and Oracle are having to convince the Trump administration their proposed deal will keep data secure.
  • A source told Axios one condition of the deal is that Oracle will have to audit TikTok’s source code to make sure there aren’t any security backdoors.
  • TikTok’s source code and particularly its recommendation algorithm have become a sore point in negotiations after China imposed strict new technology export laws at the end of last month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Oracle’s TikTok deal might mean the US tech giant gets to turn the video apps source code inside-out.

A source close to TikTok and Oracle told Axios the companies’ deal — which currently under review by the US government — includes the stipulation that Oracle will examine TikTok’s source code to make sure there aren’t any backdoors. Backdoors are technical vulnerabilities deliberately left in software so that hackers can break

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New study tracks COVID-19’s effects on small tech firms

Elva Mankin

New study tracks COVID-19's effects on small tech firms

A new study by the UO’s Lauren Lanahan seeks to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small high-tech firms and track the challenges and opportunities they face as the crisis continues to unfold.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced substantial disruptions to the U.S. and global economies, and in turn the innovative ecosystem,” said Lanahan, an assistant professor of management. “We seek to characterize changes in the landscape of high-tech small firms that result from the ongoing pandemic and related policy responses, as well as to examine the direct impacts of these institutional policy decisions on the structure and health of the innovation ecosystem and its ability to supply and support public initiatives.”

Lanahan’s project, “Examining the Innovative Ecosystem During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is funded by a one-year $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and was prioritized through the NSF’s Rapid Response Research funding mechanism. The program allows

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Uniswap Token Goes Live, Now Available On Coinbase Pro

Elva Mankin


  • Uniswap released UNI, its governance token, Thursday
  • All historical Uniswap users received at least 400 tokens
  • Those who provided liquidity received more tokens

Uniswap, a decentralized Ethereum trading platform, launched its governance token UNI on Thursday and announced that all its users could now claim 400 UNI (a process known as “airdrop”) while those who provided liquidy could claim more.

The surprise airdrop has put UNI in wild price volatility in the last 24 hours. This frenzy has continued as more exchanges, including Coindesk Pro, started to list the governance token.

With a total supply of 1 billion tokens, UNI has a market cap of $3.53 million based on current circulating supply, according to data aggregator CoinGecko. The price of UNI has been on a roller-coaster ride between $2.5 and $5 in the last 36 hours. 

Uniswap has raised $11 million through venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Square

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Amazon sinks cash into EV startup Rivian as part of Climate Pledge

Elva Mankin

Amazon delivery vans, courtesy of Rivian, coming soon.


This past June, Amazon announced a $2 billion investment as its first step on the road toward becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2040. On Thursday, the online retail giant and technology company revealed the first group of companies that will benefit from the Climate Pledge Fund. Chief among them is electric vehicle startup Rivian.

Amazon didn’t disclose how much Rivian receives in the round of investment, but it said the Climate Pledge Fund “participated in Rivian’s latest investment round in July.” To be clear, this not a separate investment, but a clarification noting the most recent Amazon investment actually came from the Climate Pledge Fund. The monies will further develop and integrate Rivian’s “connected electric platform with Amazon’s last mile delivery network,” Amazon said.

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Comcast shut off Internet to hundreds, saying they were illegally connected

Elva Mankin

A Comcast/NBC logo.

Comcast says that a broadband reseller illegally sold Comcast Internet service in residential buildings in the Denver area and has terminated the connections to those buildings.

As reported by Denver7 this week, the shutoff affected hundreds of people who live in buildings serviced by AlphaWiFi, “which installs and services Internet in approximately 90 apartment buildings across Denver.” The shutoff came as a surprise to residents, including Kaley Warren, who has been working at home during the pandemic.

“It is my entire lifeline,” said Warren, who said that without warning last Friday, her Internet service disappeared. “I felt lost. It was truly the first time during the pandemic that I… had the feeling of ‘What am I supposed to do?'”

When contacted by Ars, a Comcast spokesperson said that “AlphaWiFi is under a standard commercial agreement which expressly prohibits the resale of Comcast services.” Comcast did not answer questions about how

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WeChat decision by U.S. Commerce expected by Sept. 20

Elva Mankin

In a court filing Wednesday, the Trump administration underscored the complexity of cutting ties with WeChat, a ubiquitous app in China that is also used by many Chinese speakers in the United States, some of whom filed a lawsuit trying to block the government from taking action against the app.

A Trump administration filing in that case said the Commerce Department is still reviewing “a range of transactions” related to WeChat for possible prohibition. The government does not plan to impose criminal or civil penalties on individuals for downloading or using the app for personal or business activities, but users may find the app “impaired” by other steps Commerce takes, said the filing in federal court in San Francisco.

Other steps could potentially include requiring Apple and Google to remove WeChat from their app stores, trade lawyers not involved in the case said.

Tencent declined to comment for this story.

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What to expect at Apple’s September 15 ‘Time Flies’ event

Elva Mankin

Apple’s annual special event is only days away on September 15. Here’s what you can expect to be announced during the presentation, alongside the “Apple Watch Series 6″

Apple confirmed it would be holding its usual special event on September 15, continuing its annual tradition for one more year. While it will be a “virtual” presentation instead of one with a live audience, the show will still include a number of new product launches.

Apple Watch Series 6

For a start, there have been suggestions of a new plastic version alongside the existing metal and ceramic roster of casing materials. In theory, this would make for a new entry-level model that could be aimed at first-time buyers wanting an inexpensive timepiece.

Plastic could join the existing list of Apple Watch casing materials in 2020.

Plastic could join the existing list of Apple Watch casing materials in 2020.

A secondary market for a plastic Apple Watch could be children, with a

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