WhatsApp Bug-Update Now!; Walmart Next Day Delivery; SF Looks to Ban Facial Recognition; Google Assistant Tests ‘Light Bar’

You need to update WhatsApp if you use it right now. Zdnet.com reports that there’s a hole that lets bad guys remotely inject Israeli spyware on iPhones and Androids just by calling the target phone! It exploits a memory flaw in WhatsApp’s VOIP to allow the spyware to control the phone. You don’t even have to answer for it to be implanted, and the calls usually vanish from call logs. The spyware is made by NSO group, which has sold it to governments with iffy human rights records. The malware can record conversations, steal private messages, exfiltrate photos, turn on the mic and cam, and collect location data. The latest update for Android or iPhone should plug the hole.

On the heels of Amazon gearing up to make Prime one day delivery the rule nationwide, Walmart has countered with next day delivery of up to 200,000 items on its website. According to CNBC.com, the rollout will start in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Southern California, and Walmart expects it to reach 75% of the US by the end of the year. The Walmart next day delivery is supposed to be free for orders over $35.

The San Francisco Supervisors are voting today on barring the police and other city agencies from using facial recognition on residents. If it passes, it would be the first such ban in the nation. Cnet.com says it also requires the police to disclose what surveillance tech they use, like license plate readers and Stingray, the cell site simulators that can track the movement of your phone. Other cities are also looking at banning facial recognition. Oakland and Berkeley in the Bay Area of California are, as is Somerville, Mass. One major reason: the tech isn’t close to foolproof yet…some systems are only 85% accurate.

Google is giving some users early access to a total redesign of Google Assistant. 9to5google.com reports that it’s a big change from the white overlay in use now. The new one is transparent, but darkens the bottom third of the display and puts up “Hi, I’m listening,” to let you know Assistant is active. Under the message are buttons for the keyboard and for the Updates page. There’s also a lighter at the bottom, a call back to the old Chromebook Pixel. Once you give it a command, it goes to the full screen Assistant mode and displays what you’ve asked for. No word on when, of if, this redesign will become widely available.


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