Dropbox Accidentally Installed New File Manager App On Users’ Systems

Dropbox said it accidentally exposed a new desktop app experience to some users for a short period of time. While the issue has since been resolved, many users were caught off guard after being silently "upgraded" to this radically different version of Dropbox. Ars Technica reports: This new version of Dropbox wants to be... a file manager? Instead of the minimal sync app, the Dropbox icon now opens a big, multi-panel, blue and white window showing all your Dropbox files. It kind of looks like Slack, if Slack was a file manager. You can now "star" folders as important so they show up in the left panel (again, like a Slack chat room). The middle panel shows your Dropbox files, and the right panel shows a file preview with options for comments and sharing. You can search for files, sort by name or date, and do all the usual file operations like cut, copy, and paste. It's a file manager. A big part of the appeal of Dropbox is (was?) that it's a dead-simple product: it's a folder, in the cloud! Put your stuff in the folder, and it seamlessly gets backed up and synced to all your other computers. Part of using Dropbox means installing the sync app to your computer, and to keep everything fresh and up to date, Dropbox has the ability to silently update this app from time to time. Using this mechanism to silently install a bigger, more bloated, completely different version of the Dropbox app onto people's computers seems... wrong, especially with no notice whatsoever. Updates are one thing, but many users (your author included) feel like there was a lack of consent here. Here's the statement Dropbox issued earlier today: "We recently announced a new desktop app experience that is now currently available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short period of time. The issue has been resolved, though there might be a short lag for some users to see resolution. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused." Developer Marco Arment responded to the statement, tweeting: "'That immensely unpopular change we forced onto all of you yesterday? We only meant to force it on *some* of you. The rest of you weren't supposed to get it forced upon you until later.' Doesn't really fix the problem, does it?"

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Data Broker LocationSmart Will Fight Class Action Lawsuit Over Selling AT&T Data

A broker that helped sell AT&T customers' real-time location data says it will fight a class action lawsuit against it. From a report: The broker, called LocationSmart, was involved in a number of data selling and cybersecurity incidents, including selling location data that ended up in the hands of bounty hunters. "LocationSmart will fight this lawsuit because the allegations of wrongdoing are meritless and rest on recycled falsehoods," a LocationSmart spokesperson said in an emailed statement. LocationSmart did not point to any specific part of the lawsuit to support these claims. On Tuesday, activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and law firm Pierce Bainbridge filed a class action lawsuit against LocationSmart, another data broker called Zumigo, and telecom giant AT&T. The lawsuit's plaintiffs are three California residents who say they did not consent to AT&T selling their real-time location data through the data brokers. The lawsuit alleges all three companies violated the California Constitutional Right to Privacy, and seeks monetary damages as well as an injunction against AT&T to ensure the deletion of any sold data.

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Amazon’s Most Ambitious Research Project Is a Convenience Store

Amazon has set up 14 Amazon Go stores in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. They do not have any cash registers so once customers have scanned a screen from a special app on their phone at the entrance, they just grab their items and walk out the door, while Amazon magically charges their credit card. By all accounts, the company intends to open more of these stores in the months and years ahead. Bloomberg Businessweek reports today the kind of investment Amazon has made into these stores -- it is the ecommerce firm's most ambitious research project to date -- but despite that, how these stores are just like 7-Eleven stores, but with more complexity and cost. From the report: From a technological perspective, the Go stores are a marvel -- a succinct demonstration of Amazon's capacity to devote vast resources toward applying the state of the art in artificial intelligence to an everyday problem. They also illustrate the company's tendency to pursue technology for technology's sake (see: the Fire Phone), resulting in a store that offers all the selection of a 7-Eleven, but with more complexity and cost. Scores of cameras pointed at all angles hang from the ceilings to track shoppers as they wander the aisles, while precise scales embedded in the shelves tabulate products down to the gram to figure out which ones have been picked up. Behind the scenes, sophisticated image recognition algorithms decide who took what -- with Amazon workers in offices available to review footage to ensure shoppers are accurately charged. Each store also has a local staff on hand to help people download the Go app, restock shelves, and, in locations with a liquor section, check IDs. Will all this work be worth it? Some Go stores seem almost deserted except for the lunchtime rush. Employees familiar with Amazon's internal projections say the outlets in Chicago, in particular, are falling short of expectations, and the company has had to resort to raffles and giveaways of tote bags and other branded goodies. Yet, as the turbulent history of the project suggests, the Go store isn't so much the culmination of the company's efforts but something closer to an ongoing experiment. And the potential prize -- a big piece of the $12 trillion grocery industry -- is one that Amazon, with its limitless resources and appetite for risk, may be in the best position to claim.

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