Will online privacy make a comeback in 2020?

Last year was a landmark for online privacy in many ways, with something of a consensus emerging that consumers deserve protection from the companies that sell their attention and behavior for profit. The debate now is largely around how to regulate platforms, not whether it needs to happen. The consensus among key legislators acknowledges that privacy is not just of benefit to individuals but can be likened to public health; a level of protection afforded to each of us helps inoculate democratic societies from manipulation by vested and vicious interests. The fact that human rights are being systematically abused at population-scale because of the pervasive profiling of Internet users — a surveillance business that’s dominated in the West by tech …

People Destroy Guys Sexist Lists On How To Be A Man vs. How To Be A Woman

Do you ever read something that makes you wonder what year it is? That’s what Twitter is saying about these bizarre how-to lists for men and women, written by someone who seems to think that women are the housewives from 1950s kitchen appliance ads and men are snarling Western film heroes (not much consolation, but at least he thinks both of them should participate in parenting, I guess?). “How to be an incel: post this kind of s**t,” comments a page that collects and blasts misogynist rants from all over the internet. At least the comments the post has gotten, and the scathing replies to the list on Twitter, show that people who think like this are a disturbing minority. …

Daily Crunch: Former Twitter employees charged with spying

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Saudi Arabia reportedly recruited Twitter employees to steal personal data of activists Saudi Arabian officials allegedly paid at least two Twitter employees to access personal information on users the government there was interested in, according to recently unsealed court documents. Those users were warned of the attempt in 2015, but the full picture is only now emerging. According to the federal complaint, Twitter employees Ahmad Abouammo and Ali Alzabarah were both approached by the Saudi government, which promised “a designer watch and tens of thousands of …

Afore Capital raises second pre-seed venture capital fund

As expectations from seed investors intensify, a new stage of investment has established itself earlier in the venture-backed company life cycle. Known as “pre-seed” investing, one of the first legitimate outfits to double down on the stage has refueled, closing its second fund on $77 million. Afore Capital’s sophomore fund is likely the largest pool of venture capital yet to focus exclusively on pre-seed companies, or pre-product businesses seeking their first bout of institutional capital. In many cases, a pre-seed startup may even be “pre-idea,” yet to fully incorporate. While some funds are happy to invest that early, Afore seeks slightly more mature companies. Afore invests between $500,000 and $1 million in nascent startups. As it kicks off its second …