Tech Roundup: EU ePrivacy Directive, Oculus Rift Trial & More

[More of the the latest in Science & Technology.]
  • European Commission submits proposals for a revised ePrivacy directive to regulate digital privacy; mandates that email, instant messaging and Voice Over IP (VOIP) services be subjected to rules of confidentiality and complete data protection.
  • Russia extends whistleblower Edward Snowden's stay for a few more years.
  • China cracks down on virtual private networks that allow Chinese residents to access websites blocked by the Great Firewall; Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says all VPN services require prior government approval. 
  • Snapchat, Evernote (for iOS) and LinkedIn (for desktop web) get major visual redesigns.
  • U.S. telecom provider Sprint buys 33% stake in TIDAL music streaming service.
  • Google rolls out major update for Google Voice with support for group conversations and multimedia messaging (Google, are you even listening?); confirms plans to incorporate RCS.
  • Mozilla, free software community that develops Firefox web browser, unveils a new minimalist logo.
  • Google acquires Twitter's app developer/analytics platform Fabric. (What next, acquire Twitter?)
  • Former Googler Hugo Barra leaves Chinese handset maker Xiaomi after almost four years for a new Silicon Valley adventure. (Which is Andy Rubin's Essential?)
  • Microsoft to bring ebook store to Windows 10; plans to further reduce collection of telemetry data but stops short of saying what data it collects.
  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) officially charges chipmaker Qualcomm for charging high royalties for licensing its patents to rival semiconductor companies; Apple joins suit, alleging the company charges billions in patent royalties "for technologies it has nothing to do with."
  • India emerges the top country for Android app downloads in 2016.
  • Ride-hailing startup Uber agrees to pay FTC US$ 20 million to settle claims that it exaggerated the amount of money prospective drivers would make across cities nationwide.
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opens an investigation into Yahoo!'s two massive data breaches (one in 2014 that compromised data of at least 500 million users, and a second dating back to August 2013 that exposed private information of more than 1 billion Yahoo! users) and whether they should have been reported sooner to investors.
  • Apple and Amazon end decade-long exclusivity agreement that made Audible the only seller of audiobooks on iTunes; comes after German regulatory authority Federal Cartel Office opened an antitrust probe back in 2015.
  • Facebook-owned Oculus v. ZeniMax Media trial begins in Dallas, Texas, with the latter alleging Oculus Rift VR headset to be built out of technology stolen from ZeniMax employees.