Categories
Journalism

We Won a Loeb Award for our Facebook Files Series

🏆 I have some very cool news to share: Our WSJ Facebook Files team, led by the great Jeff Horwitz, won this year’s Loeb Award for beat reporting.

Here’s the full list of winners.

I’m so proud of our team.

Loeb Facebook Files team tweet

Jeff and I both studied business and economics journalism at Columbia, so this tweet was especially fun to see:

Columbia Journalism Loeb Tweet

That means in addition to the Loeb, our team has taken home a Polk Award, a SABEW, and an award from the Deadline Club.

I’m lucky to work with such phenomenal colleagues.

Onward!

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN295: Gleeful Gracie the Golden

Sent as a newsletter September 25. Not on my list? Enter your email here.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: The mood here in Hong Kong following news that hotel quarantine, part of the city’s Covid control measures, is being phased out. Read on…

My WSJ latest:

🇮🇳 My latest, an exclusive out Thursday, Sept. 22: Proton CEO Is Shutting Down India VPN Servers to Protest Cybersecurity Rules.

The lede:

The Swiss company behind well-known virtual-private-network service Proton VPN is pulling its servers from India, the latest provider to do so in response to new government rules that companies and rights groups say threaten users’ privacy.

“It’s going to have a chilling effect,” Proton Chief Executive Andy Yen told me. “I find it really sad that the world’s largest democracy is taking this path.”

File under: New Delhi continues to get tough with foreign tech firms.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🇭🇰 The Hong Kong government said Friday it’s ending hotel quarantining for travelers, starting Monday. Pre-flight Covid PCR tests will no longer be required. For three days after arrival, however, those arriving in HK will have to avoid bars and restaurants. The mood here among those eager to hit the road: See photo above.

2) 🇮🇷 Iran is seeing its biggest anti-government protests in years. They kicked off when a 22-year-old woman died in the custody of morality police.

3) 💰 Headline of the week, in the FT, based on income distribution data: “Britain and the US are poor societies with some very rich people.”

4) 🪐 The new images of Neptune and its rings from the James Webb Space Telescope are breathtaking.

5) 🎨 Psychiatrists in Brussels can now prescribe museum visits for people suffering from anxiety, stress or depression.

6) 🙅‍♂️ Oh, dear: “NyQuil chicken” may be the next Tide Pod challenge.

7) 🌃 Is New York still the city that never sleeps?

8) 📱 Wait, gifs are uncool now?

9) 🧁 A real thing, apparently: Dairy Queen is giving away pillows that smell like cinnamon and pumpkin.

10) 📺 A Good Movie to Watch is a directory of “Highly rated yet little-known movies and shows.”

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“Gracie the golden retriever enjoys her first snowfall”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Speak little, do much." – Benjamin Franklin

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
India Tech

Proton CEO Is Shutting Down India VPN Servers to Protest Cybersecurity Rules

That’s the headline on my newest story, an exclusive out Thursday. It begins:

The Swiss company behind well-known virtual-private-network service Proton VPN is pulling its servers from India, the latest provider to do so in response to new government rules that companies and rights groups say threaten users’ privacy.

India’s agency overseeing computer security will effective Sunday require VPN operators in the country to collect information such as customers’ names, email addresses and the IP addresses they use to connect to the internet. The companies must maintain the data for at least five years and furnish it to authorities when asked.

India’s move will undermine internet freedom and endanger activists and whistleblowers, who often use VPNs to protect their identities from the government, Proton AG Chief Executive Andy Yen said in an interview Thursday. Virtual private networks let internet users shield their location and identities online by encrypting and routing their traffic through “tunnels” between their services and customers’ computers.

“It’s going to have a chilling effect. I find it really sad that the world’s largest democracy is taking this path,” Mr. Yen said. “On paper India is supposedly taking a different path from China and Russia,” where similar rules are in place, he said.

Click through to read the rest.

A related story from a few weeks back is here.

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN294: Parched Pooches

Sent as a newsletter September 5. Not on my list? Sign up here.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: In skyscraper-laden like Hong Kong, it’s always tempting to look up. But looking down can be equally interesting.

My WSJ latest:

📲 My colleague Yang Jie and I had a story out Thursday, following the iPhone 14 announcement (more on that below), providing some perspectives from Asia.

The headline: Apple’s New iPhones Create Buzz in China, but Local Rivals Loom. It begins:

Apple Inc.’s latest iPhones drew favorable interest in China after it decided not to raise some prices, but the company faces challenges in one of its most important markets from local rivals.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🇬🇧 Queen Elizabeth II died at age 96. She “defined the monarchy for generations of Britons,” our WSJ obit read, with her death “plunging the U.K. into mourning and giving the country its first new head of state in 70 years, her son, King Charles III."

🎧 For more perspective on her life – and the state of the monarchy – I recommend this episode of The Journal podcast, with our UK correspondent, Max Colchester.

2) 🇺🇦 Shot: Ukraine is making rapid advances by retaking territory in the east of the country, inflicting on Russia its worst setback since it gave up its attack on Kyiv.

3) 👉 Chaser: “We must expect that a Ukrainian victory,” in the war, “and certainly a victory in Ukraine’s understanding of the term, also brings about the end of Putin’s regime,” Anne Applebaum writes in The Atlantic.

4) 💻 Andrew Rice and Olivia Nuzzi, in New York magazine: “The Sordid Saga of Hunter Biden’s Laptop.”

5) 🍎 Apple introduced its new iPhone 14 lineup, which includes new Pro models and a larger Plus model. It also announced a new high-end version of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Ultra, and updated its AirPods Pro headphones.

6) 🎾 Big tennis news: Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz won the U.S. Open at age 19, becoming the youngest man to win a grand slam since Rafael Nadal in 2005. Alcaraz will become the world’s youngest ATP number one.

7) 🌡 Thousands of people in Colorado who signed up for an energy saving program were unable to adjust their smart thermostats when temperatures soared, due to what a utlitiy company called a “system emergency.”

8) ♟️ Accusations of cheating are roiling the chess world.

9) ⌨️ In The New Yorker, David Owen examines mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.

10) 🌽 Seven-year-old Tariq, of the viral “Corn Kid” video and song, has been named South Dakota’s official Corn-bassador.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“It’s 400 degrees in LA. Please enjoy this video of my dog trying to drink out of a garden hose

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams in “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.”

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN293: Goldens on Guard

AI art

Sent as a newsletter September 5. Not on my list? Sign up here.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: “Theatre d’Opera Spatial," by Jason Allen, via Discord. (See item eight below.)

My WSJ latest:

💻 My latest story, out Thursday: Global VPN Providers Pull India Servers Over New Cybersecurity Rules.

It begins:

Major global providers of virtual private networks, which let internet users shield their identities online, are shutting down their servers in India to protest new government rules they say threaten their customers’ privacy.

The Indian agency overseeing computer security will soon require VPN operators in India to collect information such as customer’s names, email addresses and the IP addresses they use to connect to the internet. Providers must maintain the data for at least five years and furnish the information to authorities when asked.

Among those shutting down their India servers: NordVPN, Private Internet Access, IPVanish, TunnelBear, ExpressVPN and Surfshark.

It’s the latest example of New Delhi getting tough with foreign tech firms.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🇷🇺 Mikhail Gorbachev, who brought about “perestroika” and “glasnost” as the final leader of the Soviet Union, died at age 91. (Here’s the back story on his much-shared 1997 Pizza Hut commercial.)

2) 🐦 Twitter is testing a feature that would let paying users edit tweets up to thirty minutes after they’re published.

3) 🇨🇳 My colleagues Josh Chin and Liza Lin have a WSJ essay out that’s adapted from their new book, “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.”

4) 🇭🇰 More than two years into the pandemic, Hong Kong is still requiring people arriving in the city to quarantine in hotels. But that mandate may be lifted in November, Bloomberg reports.

5) ✍️ Politico has a profile of Jelani Cobb, the new dean of the Columbia Journalism School.

6) 🌏 RandomStreetView.com: click a button to be transported to a new part of the world.

7) 📱 Where do memes come from? More and more, from TikTok.

8) 🤖 A man won first place in a digital art competition for a work he made using an AI generator, sparking controversy online.

9) 🍝 Pasta-sauce related mishap of the week: “Memphis, TN police say a tractor-trailer spilled Alfredo sauce all over I–55.”

10) 🦦 This week’s moment of zen: petting an otter’s hands.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“Found my dog crying at the back door.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
India Tech

Global VPN Providers Pull India Servers Over New Cybersecurity Rules

That’s the headline on my newest story, out Thursday. It begins:

Major global providers of virtual private networks, which let internet users shield their identities online, are shutting down their servers in India to protest new government rules they say threaten their customers’ privacy.

The Indian agency overseeing computer security will soon require VPN operators in India to collect information such as customer’s names, email addresses and the IP addresses they use to connect to the internet. Providers must maintain the data for at least five years and furnish the information to authorities when asked.

India’s Computer Emergency Response Team has said the new rules, which will be implemented from Sept. 25, are needed to tackle cybercrime and defend the “sovereignty or integrity of India” and the security of the state.

But the withdrawing VPN companies and internet-rights groups say by collecting such data, the companies will imperil their users’ privacy and curtail online speech. Digital groups say the government’s rules amount to overreach and are more typical of those imposed in China or Russia than in democracies.

Among the VPN services that have shut down their local servers in India:

  • NordVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • IPVanish
  • TunnelBear
  • ExpressVPN
  • Surfshark

Click through to read the rest.

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN292: Brilliant Border Collies

Sent as a newsletter Aug. 29, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up here.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: a Corgi named Lego I encountered here in Hong Kong recently. Yes, Lego was wearing angel wings and a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap.

My WSJ latest:

🍎 A story with my colleague Rajesh Roy on Tuesday: Apple to Cut New iPhone 14 Production Lag Between India and China

It begins:

NEW DELHI–Apple Inc. is preparing to manufacture its new iPhone in India months earlier than it did previous models, a sign the company is boosting production outside its traditional base of China, where Covid-related shutdowns and geopolitical tensions have raised risks for foreign businesses.

🇺🇸 🇨🇳 🇹🇼 And one yesterday: U.S. Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait for First Time Since Nancy Pelosi’s Visit

The lede:

HONG KONG–Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait, U.S. and Taiwan defense officials said Sunday, the first such activity publicized since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier in August.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🐦 Twitter’s former security chief alleged in a whistleblower complaint that executives have misled the company’s board of directors on a wide range of issues. Here’s a redacted, PDF version of the complaint.

2) 📱 Don’t buy a new iPhone right now! Apple announced a Sept. 7 event at which they’re expected to unveil the new iPhone 14, which would come out not long afterward. Among the anticipated upgrades: an enhanced camera system.

3) 💰 President Biden is canceling student debt of as much as $20,000 for some borrowers.

4) 🏢 Shot: After more than two years of remote working, bosses really want their employees back in the office

5) 🤣 …And chaser: Some workers are obliging…but going in on Fridays, when no one else is there.

6) 📷 Tim Page, a prominent Vietnam War photographer who was a model for Dennis Hopper’s character in “Apocalypse Now," died at age 78, Seth Mydans writes in a vivid obituary.

7) 🍄 Psilocybin combined with therapy curbed drinking among people with alcohol abuse disorder, a new study found.

8) 🎨 DALL-E 2 shows how AI Art is making rapid strides.

9) 🌭 Snackfood-related quote of the week: “After the overwhelming fan excitement for our beloved Cold Dog, it was a no-brainer to make this hot dog-inspired frozen pop a reality.”

10) 🗣 “Still the greatest clip the BBC has ever aired”: “Neanderthal voice.”

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

The difference between a border collie and a husky

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.” – Plato

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN291: Buoyant Boxers

Sent as an email newsletter Aug. 22, 2022. Want to join my email list? Sign up here.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

I had two stories out last week.

💬 The first, on Tuesday: Hong Kong’s Crackdown on Dissent Hits Facebook Pages. It began:

HONG KONG—-A national-security crackdown in Hong Kong has extended to Facebook pages on which many workers and residents traded gossip.

Several prominent Facebook pages that were used to share anonymous comments about government and educational institutions in Hong Kong have shut down in recent days, following the arrest last week of two men by national-security police on suspicion of sedition. The men were administrators of a social-media group and suspected of publishing posts that “promote feelings of ill-will,” police said.

💻 And the second, an exclusive with a colleague on Friday: Roblox Poaches Seasoned Meta Executive as It Chases Growth in Asia

It began:

HONG KONG—-Roblox Corp. has poached a Meta Platforms Inc. executive for the newly created role of Asia-Pacific head of public policy, as the videogame company chases growth in the region.

Steve Park, the longtime government relations head for South Korea and Japan at Facebook’s parent company, will join Roblox next week, a spokeswoman for the San Mateo, Calif.-based company said.

Mr. Park has been at Meta for more than eight years and in a previous position worked on the company’s Oculus virtual-reality business, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🗞 A Washington Post longread: “Road to war: U.S. struggled to convince allies, and Zelensky, of risk of invasion.”

2) ⚽ A very cool sporting milestone yesterday: 21-year-old New Jersey native Brenden Aaronson became the first American to score for an American manager in the Premier League, helping underdog Leeds beat perennial power Chelsea. Watch the goal here. It was all about dogged running, a defining Aaronson quality.

3) 📺 For the first time ever, more people in the U.S. watched streaming services than broadcast TV or cable in the same month (July).

4) 👂 Some hearing aids will now be available for purchase over the counter in the U.S.

5) 😲 “Max Headroom” is being rebooted as a dramatic series.

6) 🏝️ A massive piece of environmental artwork by Michael Heizer, in the Nevada desert, is about to open after a half century. It’s remarkable.

7) ☕ Starbucks is leaving Russia. The eerily similar Stars Coffee is now popping up around the country.

8) 💇‍♂️ Three words: USA Mullet Championship. (Via Chris D.)

9) 📸 Wonderful: portraits of American sightseers at national parks in the 1970s, by Roger Minick. (Via Benjamin L.)

10) 🎧 An excellent episode of “Cool Tools,” one of my favorite podcasts: Larry Keely, Innovation Scientist.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“my dog was supposed to run over to me and sit”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Above all, do not lie to yourself.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Journalism

Our Facebook Files Series is a Loeb Awards Finalist

I’m proud to say that our Facebook Files series has been named a finalist for a 2022 Loeb Award in the beat reporting category.

You can read more about this year’s finalists here.

The winners will be announced on September 29 at an event in New York.

You may recall that in May we won a Deadline Club award.

And we took home a Polk Award and one from SABEW earlier this year.

This is the second straight year, as it happens, that my colleague Jeff Horwitz and I have been Loeb finalists.

Last year my he and I, along with our colleague Rajesh Roy, were international finalists for our coverage of hate speech and Facebook in India.

Onward!

Categories
Tech

Roblox Poaches Seasoned Meta Executive as It Chases Growth in Asia

That’s the headline on my newest story, an exclusive with my colleague Sarah Needleman, out Friday. It begins:

HONG KONG—Roblox Corp. has poached a Meta Platforms Inc. executive for the newly created role of Asia-Pacific head of public policy, as the videogame company chases growth in the region.

Steve Park, the longtime government relations head for South Korea and Japan at Facebook’s parent company, will join Roblox next week, a spokeswoman for the San Mateo, Calif.-based company said.

Mr. Park has been at Meta for more than eight years and in a previous position worked on the company’s Oculus virtual-reality business, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Mr. Park declined to comment on his appointment, referring queries to the Roblox spokeswoman.

Click through to read the rest.