10 things in tech you need to know today, February 4

Microsoft's Face API
Microsoft’s Face API.
Microsoft

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

  1. Microsoft President Brad Smith told Business Insider that it would be cruel to stop government agencies using facial recognition software. It follows activists writing to Microsoft, Amazon, and Google last month demanding they stop selling facial recognition software to the public sector.
  2. A growing number of analysts believe Google may finally be ready to break out the financial results for YouTube. Google has never disclosed the size of the business, but growing pressure from regulators and investors could change things.
  3. A mining tycoon has a $1 billion plan to release China’s chokehold on the global electric car race. Brian Menell says China controls most of the supply for rare earth metals, lithium, and other important technology metals. He has founded TechMet to help challenge that dominance.
  4. Netflix says viewership plunged by 32% compared to an average Sunday because of the Super Bowl. Netflix debuted a commercial for “Our Planet,” an upcoming wildlife show, during the Super Bowl.
  5. ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ is now the fastest-selling Nintendo game of all time. The fighting game has shipped more than 12 million copies in less than two months.
  6. Crowdstrike’s partnership with Dell is shaking up the cybersecurity landscape ahead of a planned IPO. Dell announced a new partnership with the cybersecurity startup CrowdStrike, shortly after Dell’s existing security partner Cylance announced plans to be acquired by Blackberry.
  7. Employee confidence in Google CEO Sundar Pichai is reportedly at a six-year low. Following the Google walkout, 74% of Google employees gave a positive response when asked if they are confident that Pichai and his management team can “effectively lead in the future.”
  8. The FBI investigation into stolen Apple secrets reveals just how seriously the company takes ‘enormously damaging’ leaks. An Apple employee turned a suspect into security after he saw the suspect taking a photo in his own workspace.
  9. Two leading fact-checking agencies have stopped their work with Facebook. The Associated Press and Snopes pulled the plug on their relationship with Facebook, dealing a blow to its efforts to fight fake news.
  10. Amazon’s minimum-wage hike barely made a dent in its operating costs, and it may explain why some workers say they’re actually earning less. Amazon’s operating expenses grew at a similar or slower rate than they did in the rest of the year.

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