Google and Uber Race to Dominate the Future of Search: Maps

Open the Uber app in downtown San Francisco, and you’ll discover you can do a lot more than hail a ride. You rent a bike, thanks to Uber’s recent acquisition of Jump Bikes. You can rent a car, courtesy of a partnership Uber has struck with the startup Getaround. In a test version of the app, which I saw when I reported on Uber last January, a train schedule popped up if you hailed a ride to Caltrain.

These small tweaks are part of Uber’s plan to transform from a ride-sharing service into a global logistics platform. If this strategy works, one day you’ll open to the Uber app’s city grid every time you want to figure out how to get yourself—or anything else—from one point to another. In other words, you’ll use Uber like you use Google Maps’ app: to find out what’s around you and how to reach it.

Uber isn’t alone in its quest to turbo-charge maps: On your phone, the map app is the new search box. Uber, like a lot of companies, anticipates that mapping will become the way that people merge their digital and physical lives: a real-time search function for the world immediately around you. But that means maps are about to become a lot more sophisticated. “The level of detail and precision…are core to what we do,” says head of product Manik Gupta, who spent more than seven years working on Google Maps before he defected to Uber.

Search has always been partially about location: if Google knows you are in Indiana, you’ll get more meaningful results when you type “today’s weather” into your laptop. Traditionally, though, the physical and digital worlds have been divided. You use search when you need information, and a map when you need to get someplace.

But now, a number of companies are producing maps that decode the three-dimensional world. Have a toothache? Plug “dentist” into Google Maps. Want to know where exactly the Puerto Rican Day Parade ends? Pull up Snap Maps. Need to get to the airport quickly? Open Uber or Lyft. “Maps are a really powerful canvas for search,” says Eric Gunderson, founder of Mapbox, a company that offers developer tools for companies to create maps. “It’s a canvas for context, for understanding where people are. It’s a canvas for understanding data.”

As maps emerge as the front door to many of our digital experiences, businesses are vying to be the first app you open—the same way that Microsoft and Yahoo once fought Google to own search. “Everybody’s always fighting to become the entry point for everything you do,” says Luc Vincent, who helped pioneer Street View at Google and now runs Lyft’s mapping and marketplace division. Now that entry point seems primed to become a map.

Even Google, which has long dominated maps, is anticipating the shift. In addition to its Google Maps app, Google powers many of the mapping interfaces other businesses are building. In May, Google rebranded this mapping business as Google Maps Platform. The revamp, the first since it launched the tools 13 years ago, lumps its 18 developer tools into just three categories, making them easier to understand, and introduced a clearer pricing structure. Google also began rolling out specialized sets of mapping features for specific industries like gaming and ride-sharing, where it began testing its ride-sharing offering with Lyft, in which it is an investor, last fall.

While Google’s mapping tools offer the most comprehensive options for companies that want to add maps to their apps, several other companies offer geolocation tools for developers. The Dutch company Tom Tom counts automakers as its customers and often powers their navigation systems. There’s Here, the name for the Nokia mapping assets, was bought by a group of German automakers in 2015. But the most frequent alternative to Google Maps is Mapbox. Its customers include Snap, Instacart, Foursquare, and The Weather Channel, among many others. Mapbox’s tools cost considerably less than ones from Google Map Platform. Mapbox lacks some of Google’s features, like Google Street View, but other startups, like the Sweden-based startup Mapillary, are attempting to crowd-source alternatives to Streetview. So companies looking for an alternative to relying on Google can often piece together the mapping features they need.

Uber draws data from many of these services to piece together its own maps. From the start, it has licensed geolocation services from Google, as well as Tom Tom, Open Street Map and others. In recent years, the company has invested heavily in developing its own mapping technology. Since 2015, when Uber first bought deCarter and then bought part of Bing’s mapping assets from Microsoft, the company has been acquiring small map-related startups. Insider Uber, engineers are using digital imagery from the real world to improve the much vaunted ETA, or estimated time until arrival. They are using machine learning to offer destination predictions to riders, and improve navigation for drivers. In many cities across the world, Uber is deploying a fleet of cars with distinctive cameras to collect its own imagery in an effort to improve pick-ups and drop-offs.

But for Uber to become the de facto transportation and logistics app, it must be the most accurate: An error as minor as locating a passenger on the wrong side of a street might break a sale by adding extra wait time. These challenges will only grow. To deliver a meal to your 7th floor apartment, or direct you to the best (and closest) optometrist, Uber not only has to get better at figuring out where you are it must improve its ability to signal to a user how to best navigate the terrain. To navigate you through the world of the future—where autonomous cars and augmented reality introduce digital tools into the physical grid—exactingly perfect maps will be critical.

The companies best positioned to position us will rise to the top of this new world order, and no one wants to be left behind.

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Startup Working on Contentious Pentagon AI Project Was Hacked

Last summer, a sign appeared on the door to a stuffy, windowless room at the office of Manhattan artificial-intelligence startup Clarifai. “Chamber of secrets,” it read, according to three people who saw it.

The notice was a joking reference to how the small team working inside was not permitted to discuss its work with others at Clarifai. Former and current employees say the group was working on a controversial Pentagon project using machine-learning algorithms to interpret drone-surveillance imagery—and that Clarifai’s secrets were less safe than they should have been.

A lawsuit filed by former employee Amy Liu this month alleges that Clarifai’s computer systems were compromised by one or more people in Russia, potentially exposing technology used by the US military to an adversary. The lawsuit says Clarifai learned of the breach last November, but that Clarifai’s CEO and other executives did not promptly report it to the Pentagon.

In her complaint, Liu, a former Air Force captain who worked in military intelligence, says she was unfairly terminated from her position as director of marketing for arguing that the company needed to disclose the incident. Another former employee told WIRED that his concerns over executives’ handling of the hack prompted him to leave the company.

Clarifai was working on a piece of Project Maven, former and current employees say, a Pentagon effort to infuse the US military with AI. Project Maven has triggered dissent inside Google, which took on a similar drone-analysis contract. More than 4,500 Google employees signed a letter protesting the project, saying they don’t want Google’s technology to potentially help kill people. The outcry prompted the company to issue ethical guidelines governing use of its AI technology, and promise not to renew its Project Maven contract when it expires next year.

Clarifai declined to comment on whether it had worked on Maven. A spokesperson said the security incident involved an “untargeted bot” that had infected a research server and did not access any data or code. The spokesperson said customers were notified of the incident, but declined to say when or whether that included the Pentagon.

Clarifai was founded in 2013 by Matthew Zeiler, a PhD who studied machine learning alongside professors who later became top AI researchers at Google and Facebook. The startup offers companies image recognition for tasks such as identifying celebrities and food.

Liu says she understands why the US military needs to expand its use of AI technology. She also says that the lack of transparency and poor security she witnessed at Clarifai made it an unsuitable place to help with that. “If now Google’s out of the running, and all they have left is companies like Clarifai, that’s sad and scary,” Liu says.

In response to questions about its approach to developing AI technology, a spokesperson referred WIRED to a statement of Clarifai’s core values on its website. They describe the company as “driven by our mission to accelerate the progress of humanity with continually improving AI.”

Liu says she was drawn into Clarifai’s military work when she helped draft Clarifai’s pitch for the Maven contract in June 2017. The paper argued that technology Clarifai had developed for commercial clients could be adapted to do things like detecting and counting cars and people in drone imagery. Liu says Clarifai won a six-month, $7 million contract last summer. Like Google, Clarifai worked on Maven as a subcontractor to ECS Federal, an IT contractor headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia.

The Maven contract was a big win for Clarifai. An internal document from late 2017 shows that most of the startup’s deal prospects were less than $100,000. But Liu and others familiar with the project say executives obscured the fact Clarifai had become involved in military work, describing the project generically as a government contract that could save lives. Two people who worked on the project say they were not initially informed that the surveillance technology they were building was for the military.

The current and former employees said roughly 10 people worked on Clarifai’s Maven contract in the windowless room later tagged as the chamber of secrets. For some, the project’s purpose fully emerged only when, more than a month in, government workers who appeared to be military staff visited Clarifai’s offices to discuss the system being developed. Clarifai’s spokesperson says the company makes sure employees understand the projects they work on.

In early November, Clarifai was informed by internet service provider Cogent that one of its servers appeared to be attacking Indiana University, according to an initial incident report seen by WIRED. The report says that all the company’s code and the credentials to its Amazon Web Services account that stored customer data could have been compromised—and that the malware appeared to have originated from a computer in Russia. The Clarifai spokesperson said that the company’s investigation found that none of the company’s data or code was compromised.

In chat logs from November 7 reviewed by WIRED, Zeiler, the CEO, says the malware had been attempting to contact computers “all over the world.” They included some belonging to the US government. “Oh fun,” Zeiler wrote. “One is DOD Network information center.”

Liu says she heard from other employees the next day that the company had been attacked. Soon after, her complaint says, Clarifai’s general counsel, Caroline McCaffery, summoned her via Slack message to meet in a broom closet.

There, Liu says, McCaffery detailed what executives had learned about the hack and asked for help in planning internal messaging about the incident. Liu says she raised concerns that the Pentagon, and perhaps other Clarifai customers, should be informed, but that McCaffery claimed it wasn’t necessary until the internal investigation was complete.

Later that day, McCaffery announced at a company meeting that no one should write down anything about the hack, former and current employees say. In her lawsuit, Liu says she added a point to the agenda for her next scheduled meeting with her manager about reporting the hack to the government. Liu was terminated a few days later.

One former and one current Clarifai employee say the company still hadn’t disclosed the breach to the Pentagon several weeks later. A company spokesperson said customers were notified of the incident, but declined to say when. Liu’s complaint says that the Pentagon learned of the incident through other means, but she and her lawyer declined to elaborate.

Liu says she was told she was fired because her work did not align with that of Clarifai’s sales team. Her lawsuit claims the real reason was because she had urged Clarifai to inform the Pentagon of the breach. Her complaint was filed with the Department of Defense Inspector General, alleging that Clarifai broke Pentagon rules by not reporting the breach within 72 hours, and broke military law prohibiting reprisals against contractor employees trying to disclose information about breaches of department regulations. Clarifai’s spokesperson confirmed that Liu was let go in November but denied the company did anything improper.

Early this year, Clarifai’s Maven contract was extended by two months, because the Pentagon liked the company’s technology, people familiar with the work say. By that time, several employees involved had left or asked to be transferred off the project. Clarifai, which has offices in Manhattan and San Francisco, is still trying to expand its government and defense work, in part by hiring new staff closer to the Pentagon. The startup’s website lists five open engineering positions in Washington, DC.

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The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is a Done Deal. Now What?

HBO, CNN, Warner Brothers, DC Comics, and the rest of the Time Warner empire will soon be owned by AT&T, thanks to a decision by a federal judge Tuesday to approve the telecommunications giant’s $85 billion purchase of the media conglomerate.

The Department of Justice filed suit to stop the merger last November, arguing that the merger would lead to higher television prices and fewer choices for consumers. US District Judge Richard J. Leon rejected that argument, allowing the deal to proceed without conditions.

“We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative,” AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement.

The deal will unite the nation’s second-largest mobile phone provider, third-largest home broadband provider, and second-largest pay-TV provider with a deep well of content, including Turner Broadcasting, which owns rights to basketball’s March Madness, plus NBA and major-league baseball playoffs. Opponents of the deal said it will further consolidate the nation’s telecommunications and media landscape, leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

The deal raises questions whether AT&T might reserve some of Time Warner’s content for its own services. When Comcast acquired NBC Universal in 2011, the company was subjected to a number of conditions as part of an agreement with the DOJ and the Federal Communications Commission, including a requirement that Comcast license NBC content to rivals, agree to arbitration in the event of licensing fee disagreements, and follow the principles of net neutrality.

AT&T argued that acquiring Time Warner will help it compete with streaming video companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, all of which have invested in original programming that they don’t have to license to competitors.

The decision will likely be seen as good news for other pending and potential mergers, including T-Mobile’s plan to acquire Sprint, bids by Disney and Comcast for 21st Century Fox, and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s purchase of the Tribune Company. However, each of those cases involves companies that compete directly in so-called horizontal mergers. AT&T-Time Warner was considered a vertical merger, because the companies are in different parts of the media food chain, so the ruling may not be a reliable indicator for those deals.

Instead of imposing conditions on the AT&T-Time Warner merger, the DOJ instead tried to block the deal after AT&T reportedly rejected the idea of selling or spinning off Turner Broadcasting. The FCC declined to review the deal. Leon could have imposed conditions as part of his decision, but did not.

AT&T has long argued that the merger will be good for consumers because it will enable the company to create new video offerings. But if the Comcast/NBC merger is any indication, the deal could be a wash at best for consumers.

“This is a disappointing result, and we expect the government will appeal,” said John Bergmayer, senior counsel at the advocacy group Public Knowledge. He said the merger will lead to higher bills and fewer choice of programming, and encourage other mergers among media and telecom companies.

The deal, announced in October 2016, was controversial from the beginning. Then-candidate Donald Trump spoke out against the proposal, saying it would lead to “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” It was hard not to see a political motivation in the opposition, however, given the president’s well known criticism of CNN.

AT&T argued that the government’s opposition was politically motivated. That claim was given weight by the DOJ’s antitrust chief Makan Delrahim’s apparent flip-flop on the deal: Before he was nominated to the DOJ, Delrahim told the Business News Network that he saw no problem with the AT&T-Time Warner merger. Leon rejected AT&T’s efforts to argue during the trial that it was being targeted for political reasons.

At trial, the DOJ focused its case primarily on the idea that AT&T, which owns the satellite and streaming TV service DirecTV, could charge rivals more to access content from HBO or CNN, and withhold those channels, leading to “blackouts” for consumers if rivals refused to pay the higher prices. The DOJ argued that AT&T could, in theory, offset any lost revenue from withholding content by selling DirecTV service to customers in affected regions. AT&T argued that the department’s economic models were flawed. Leon ruled that the DOJ had failed to prove that the combined company would have more leverage in negotiations, and that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that AT&T would have the incentive to stop licensing Time Warner to its rivals.

The DOJ’s attempt at blocking the deal broke with decades of precedent in vertical mergers involving companies that don’t compete directly. Had Leon upheld the DOJ’s decision, it could have signalled that other big mergers would face similar trouble.

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The Crazy Hacks One Woman Used to Make Money on Mechanical Turk

When her husband lost his factory job in 2010, Kristy Milland ran through her options.

Until that point, she’d been working at home, earning extra money through odd jobs like selling collectables on eBay. She hadn’t waited on tables, had no experience in fast food, and had not learned any skills that might be particularly useful in a factory. She’d once applied for a job at McDonald’s, but nobody had called her for an interview.

Jobs were more difficult to find in her hometown of Toronto since the beginning of the Great Recession. But there was one place where Milland knew she could get work immediately.

Adapted from Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler.

St. Martin’s Press

Launched in 2005, Mechanical Turk is an online “crowdsourcing” marketplace run by Amazon. Its clients post work tasks on a dashboard that a “crowd” of independent workers can choose to complete, often for cents apiece.

Amazon had not launched the Mechanical Turk platform with a promise to create work, in the way that Uber would later brag about adding “20,000 new driver jobs” to the economy every month. Rather, it had built the website as a way to integrate human intelligence with code—as a service for programmers. As TechCrunch’s founder put it shortly after the product launched: “[It] is brilliant because it will help application developers overcome certain types of problems (resulting in the possibility for new kinds of applications) and somewhat scary because I can’t get the Matrix-we-are-all-plugged-into-a-machine vision out of my head.” He called the workers who would be plugged into this Matrix “Volunteers.”

Some common tasks on Mechanical Turk included labeling photos that are used to “train” artificial intelligence, filling in spreadsheets with contract information, or writing product descriptions for websites. An entrepreneur once pitched me an app that—through his proprietary system—would provide accurate calorie estimates for meals based only on a photo. Sure enough, shortly later, I found a posting on Mechanical Turk for the company that asked workers to label the food. The technology was humans. But it looked like magic.

About the Author

Sarah Kessler is an editor at Quartz. Previously she was a senior writer at Fast Company, and her reporting has been cited by New York magazine, The Washington Post, and NPR.

Some of Milland’s more remunerative work came from employers who posted hundreds or thousands of tasks at a time that could be completed in rapid succession. Milland would install small software programs that allowed her to complete, say, a simple categorization task by hitting a key on her keyboard (“y” for yellow or “b” for bird) rather than clicking a mouse. Categorizing an item every five seconds for an hour, at $0.03 per image would pay $21.60 per hour. She also took on more complicated tasks. Writing descriptions for product sites, for instance, could pay $1.50 per paragraph. So if she did one every five minutes, she would make $18 an hour. It was a matter of doing the work quickly and sticking with it for a long time.

Turker Nation, a forum where Milland was a moderator, had a place where Turkers alerted each other about these “good work” opportunities, which paid well and could be completed in large batches. To make sure that she didn’t miss any of them, Milland set up an automated system that, when a new “good work” task was posted, would check to see how much it paid and whether she met its qualifications. If she was eligible for a task that paid $0.05, her computer would alert her with a “ping” noise. If she were eligible for a task that paid between $0.05 and $0.25, her computer would sound an alarm that sounded like a laundry machine finishing. If she were eligible for a task that paid more than $0.25, a siren would sound.

No matter where Milland was in her house, if she heard the alarm go off, she would run to her computer. There were thousands of other Mechanical Turk workers competing with each other to grab the high-paying work, which was assigned to whoever could claim it first. Milland would sleep in her office so that she could listen for the alarm to go off at night without waking her husband. When she spotted good tasks, often through her alarm system, she used an automated tool to keep her queue full with the maximum 25 tasks that could be assigned to her at one time, and then worked furiously to finish them and grab more before they were snatched by other people.

She created alerts with different sounds: Tasks paying 5 cents prompted a “ping.” From 5 to 25 cents, a laundry-machine alarm. If a task paid more than 25 cents, a siren would sound.

One of tasks she didn’t like to miss was answering questions from a Q&A service in which people, in the days before mobile internet browsers, could text a number with a burning inquiry such as “Where is the nearest Italian restaurant?” These were posted every 15 minutes, and there were a few different aspects that made them good tasks. The first was that people often asked the same questions, and Milland had compiled a spreadsheet of answers that made these common questions quick to answer. She could get through a batch of several hundred in about five minutes. The second was that to incentivize good work, each month Amazon paid a bonus of a few hundred dollars to the worker whose answers received the highest number of “thumbs up” votes from users. Each question might only pay pennies, but this bonus was significant. It meant that Milland never wanted to miss a batch. Her routine was to listen for the alarm, complete the batch in five minutes, take 10 minutes off, and then get back to work when the next batch of questions dropped.

Another task that she prioritized was one that asked customers to take photos of products in order to find the same product on Amazon. It was how the company encouraged customers to comparison shop, but not everyone used this feature of Amazon’s app as intended. When they sent pictures of genitals, Milland sent back a link to a book called I’m Calling the Police. It was worth dealing with rude inquiries like these because she had found a way to earn extra money when Amazon’s users sent photos of actual products: She sent them her affiliate marketing links and earned a percentage of purchases they made after clicking on them.

Milland also started proactively asking requesters if they needed help designing their requests, contacting them through the Mechanical Turk site. Sometimes she collected consulting fees for teaching them how to improve their results.

The paradigm on both the employer and worker side of Mechanical Turk was less of a relationship between two colleagues than it was two people trying to beat a system. In one common example, companies posted the same work three different times on Mechanical Turk in order to check the accuracy of responses. If one worker submitted a different answer than the other two who completed the task, the company assumed that worker had given a bad answer and rejected her work (which meant she wouldn’t be paid). To beat this system on the worker side, all a Mechanical Turk worker needed were two accounts to agree with each other. Some Turkers built automated bots to submit arbitrary (but matching) work results. The bots collected payment because they agreed, while the person who had earnestly done the work didn’t get paid. All Turkers could do when someone rigged a task this way was to tell each other to avoid it.

She opened a task to find a slide show of still shots taken from ISIS videos. People kneeling next to an explosive wire, preparing to die.

Milland didn’t feel like she could leave her apartment, or even her computer, lest she miss out on an opportunity to work on good tasks. Unlike an employee at a fast-food restaurant or a cleaning company, she didn’t get paid for downtime, and she could earn more money by working smarter and faster. The psychology was that of a game that required her to be constantly on alert. In a way, that psychology kept her going: She’d set a goal for $100 per day, and, cent by cent, she often met it.

What It Costs

Making $100 a day on Mechanical Turk was possible, but not always pleasant. There were times when Milland stumbled into emotionally taxing work that in a regular workplace would have come with preparation and consent. On one such occasion, she opened a task to find a slide show of still shots taken from ISIS videos. People kneeling next to an explosive wire, preparing to die. A wicker basket full of human heads. It came with instructions similar to any other photo tagging job. Another slideshow contained photos of animal abuse so graphic that years later Milland had trouble taking her dogs to the vet without crying.

The only indication that something exceptionally graphic could be found inside a task was often an “adult only” qualification. Employers used this designation on any jobs that involved user-generated content that they couldn’t control. Such jobs could pay well, and they most often didn’t contain anything disturbing. Milland considered them worth taking. And so she accepted that psychological stress would be part of the job.

So, too, would physical stress. She’d ignored the small, hard bump that had developed on her wrist until it started to grow. It got a little bigger every day, until eventually it was the size of a marble and interfering with the way she held her mouse. When she finally went to the doctor, she learned that it was a ganglion cyst. He recommended surgery, but that would mean post-surgery prescriptions not covered by Canada’s state health insurance. Another traditional treatment for “Bible bumps,” as they are sometimes called, is to hit them with a heavy book. And so one day, when she couldn’t stand it anymore, Milland gave the bump a good bashing.

Eventually the pain went away. Then a new pain appeared, up her wrist, toward her elbow. A neurologist told her that it was carpal tunnel and a repetitive strain injury. The ideal response would have been rest. But there is no workers’ compensation in the gig economy. There is no paid sick leave in the gig economy. And among US workers who rely on sites like Mechanical Turk for their entire income, almost 40 percent don’t have health insurance. Milland lived in Canada, with universal healthcare, but she couldn’t afford the break. She wore a wrist brace and an elbow brace and kept on clicking.

Mechanical Turk was the only option when Milland’s family needed money quickly. It allowed her husband to go back to high school to get his diploma. And it allowed her to earn an income from home without a college degree or a thick resume. She made it work.

But when, two years after she’d been working on Mechanical Turk, Milland’s husband finally landed a job, as a forklift driver at a printer company, she told him she never wanted to depend on Mechanical Turk again.

Shortly later, she applied for university.

Adapted from Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler. Copyright © 2018 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

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The Hustlers Fueling Cryptocurrency’s Marketing Machine

It took only a few months for Sally, an executive assistant living in British Columbia, to become Crypto Sally, a Lambo-touting altcoin influencer who makes a living on YouTube videos. She got interested in cryptocurrencies last summer as the buzz around initial coin offerings, or ICOs, surged. She bought some ether—at the top of the market, she admits—and spent her free time researching how to trade lesser-known cryptocurrencies called altcoins, eventually making enough money to quit her job.

For someone with no tech or finance background, it was a lot to figure out on her own, so Sally (who asked that her last name not be disclosed) created a 34-page beginner’s guide to crypto investing and shared it online. “My goal was just to get some basic info out to people that I wish I would have had when I started,” she says. In January, she created a Twitter account to promote her guide, and in March she posted her first YouTube interview with the CEO of a blockchain company. Her following quickly grew to nearly 18,000 subscribers on YouTube and 14,000 followers on Twitter.

That’s small potatoes compared to, say, beauty or gaming influencers boasting tens of millions of followers. But in the burgeoning world of crypto, it’s enough to make her a star. “I’m like a nobody in traditional marketing terms, but because this space is so new and it’s so crazy right now, there aren’t a lot of crypto influencers yet, and especially female ones,” she says. As her influence grew, requests flooded in—often 10 a week—from up-and-coming coin companies offering to pay her to promote their ICOs or post a “review” of their coins.

When we speak, Sally is fighting off a cold she picked up at Consensus, the 8,500-person conference in New York City, her first crypto event. She also attended an awards banquet that honored crypto influencers as “most impersonated,” “best coin analysis” and “best crypto musician.” It feels weird to be considered a crypto influencer, she says, “because it’s just something I started doing for fun.” She believes cryptocurrencies have staying power, but she isn’t as sure about the market for influencers like herself. “I don’t plan on this being a lifetime career. It could end a month from now, I don’t really know,” she says. For now, she has signed a contract with an agency to produce one to three videos per week featuring the firm’s clients.

Opportunities for new influencers like Crypto Sally are growing as the easy money for crypto projects evaporates. The ICO market—where hyped-up projects raise millions of dollars overnight through fund-raising campaigns—is now crowded with thousands of similar-sounding projects competing for attention and investment. Scams and pump-and-dump schemes have turned off many potential investors. A Wall Street Journal investigation found that nearly 20 percent of 1,450 projects were obvious frauds. Increased scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission has cast a gloom over US-based “utility token” projects that don’t register their tokens as securities. Meanwhile, a sustained drop in the prices of major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether has left crypto investors with less capital to risk on new tokens. Making matters worse, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Bing have banned crypto-related ads. Projects have to get more creative about spreading the word.

They’re turning to influencers. And growth hackers. And PR agencies. And Telegram managers. And bounty hunters. It’s getting expensive. Beneath the crypto industry’s deafening hype and bubbly scams, an economy of promoters is thriving.

The great innovation of ICOs was removing the most frustrating, arcane aspects of startup fund-raising. But now, between the multiple layers of promoters, the scammers and spammers, and the regulators, an ICO looks more complex, expensive, time-consuming, and risky than traditional ways of raising money. Startups are asking themselves, “If I could just raise $5 million from a VC by having a couple of meetings, why go through the whole process of having the ICO?” says Shaun Newsum, CEO of crypto analytics firm ICO Watchdog.

All Roads Lead to Telegram

Much of the industry’s action happens on a messaging app called Telegram. (Smaller crypto communities exist on messaging apps Slack and Discord.) There are Telegram groups for discovering new projects, networking, debating, thought-leading, and promoting. There are groups with the express purpose of planning illegal pump-and-dump schemes. There are rumors of exclusive channels for high-roller crypto investors (known as “whales”) that charge companies fees as high as $500,000 just to post a link to a new project.

Each project needs a Telegram group to recruit users and investors, keep them interested, and answer their many questions. (“When Lambo?” is a popular shorthand for “When will this token make me rich enough to buy a Lamborghini?”) Since many token sales happen before any technology is built, the Telegram groups also serve as a rare data point for a project’s popularity. “That becomes the heartbeat of the activity of the company,” says Michael Jones, CEO of tech investment firm Science Inc. And like any arbitrary measure of success, it can be gamed.

The easiest way to attract users to a Telegram group is by giving away free money—or rather, “pre-money” in the form of tokens—as “bounties” for a not-yet-launched crypto project. In April, SpringRole, a blockchain company focused on professional verification and recruiting, gave 100 of its Spring tokens for every friend a user invited to join its Telegram group. The group jumped from 1,500 members to 60,000 in a month. The goal, says CEO Kartik Mandaville, is to get them to use SpringRole’s professional profile service when it launches.

Blockchain company SpringRole hired AmaZix, an agency that helps companies manage Telegram groups, to handle the influx of questions about its crytpocurrency.


“It’s a very simple growth hack,” Mandaville says. Plus, giving away tokens is cheaper than acquiring users on Facebook, which he says would have cost SpringRole around $10 a person. “This is the first time in this world where you can acquire users without actually paying anything. You are paying them in tokens, which right now have no value,” Mandaville says. Of course, SpringRole hopes that will change if it can sell tokens to the public and its Spring currency trades on exchanges.

Programs like SpringRole’s have spawned a new form of wealth creation: bounty hunting. A crypto bounty hunter might start their day by visiting a website or Telegram group dedicated to curating token giveaways, like ICOdrops, Bounty0x,, or the altcoin bounties section of Bitcointalk, a popular message board. They can scan a buffet of projects offering tokens in exchange for completing small digital tasks, decide which look most promising, and begin clicking.

Joining a Telegram group earns you tokens. Voting in online quizzes earns you tokens. Translating the project’s website into Vietnamese or Turkish or Russian earns you tokens. Posting on social media about a project earns you tokens. Creating videos about the project earns you tokens. All of these must be reported into a spreadsheet and tallied. Some projects are dispensing with bounty tasks, opting to give away coins in promotional events called “airdrops.” If those tokens ever are released and traded on exchanges, they could be traded for other cryptocurrencies and fiat currency.

“ICOs are a like a growth hacker’s dream,” says Newsum of ICO Watchdog. “If you know how to drive affiliate referrals, you can do well.”

A bounty hunter calling himself “Crypto Shaolin” told WIRED he spends an average of 15 to 20 hours a week completing bounties through Bounty0x, earning more than $50,000 so far this year. His wife has done some bounty hunting as well; he estimates she’s earned around $25,000. Crypto Shaolin looks for bounties with the “best time/payout ratio” for the least amount of work, he says. He also assesses which projects are likely to succeed, giving their tokens real value. (WIRED could not confirm Crypto Shaolin’s identity.)

Jonas Karlberg, CEO of AmaZix, a Denmark-based firm that manages Telegram communities, says bounty programs can work for projects because videos and social media posts “give the products a voice” and help outsiders better understand them. “Everyone cannot sit down and read a 60-page, highly technical white paper,” he says. But he warns that low-stakes bounties, like mindless social media shares, create little value for the project. “These bounty hunters are only doing this to get their hands on some quick reward,” he says.

US companies are treading carefully after the SEC started taking a closer look at unregulated token sales late last year. As a result, many crypto projects do not allow US residents to participate in bounty programs or require all participants to go through “Know Your Customer” compliance by verifying their identities. Still, it’s common for fraudsters to use multiple accounts to accumulate tokens. SpringRole rejected 65,000 fake Telegram accounts—more than it allowed into its group—because of suspicious-looking activities like duplicate IP addresses or temporary domain names.

Customer Support in Crypto-Land

Once a project amasses a following on Telegram, the crowd control begins. Any active Telegram group contends with spammers promoting other projects, bots adding fake users to the group, and impersonators trying to trick people into buying fake tokens. (Mandaville says he’s found seven fake SpringRole Telegram groups and 10 different accounts using his name and photo.) Oh, and competitors will be eager to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the project. “It’s like fighting a live Twitter stream of 50,000 people either supporting or dissuading people about your product,” Science’s Jones says.

Beyond that, the real, human supporters have questions, in many languages, across many time zones. When will they get their tokens? When will the project launch? When can they convert their tokens into cash? “These people are asking questions every second, so it’s a nightmare to manage,” Mandaville says.

Telegram moderators must filter out spam, prevent the spread of “FUD” (fear, uncertainty and doubt), and answer questions about the logistics of the token sale.


Answering those questions falls to hired community managers, who play a crucial role, acting as spokespeople, tech experts, legal experts, marketers, spam filters, and rule enforcers. Agencies like AmaZix have emerged to serve the crypto world’s particular needs. The firm dispatched 25 community managers in 12 time zones to manage SpringRole’s Telegram group.

In one year in business, AmaZix has grown to 95 clients and a staff of 150. It has expanded into bounty programs and influencer marketing, including a freelance contract with Crypto Sally. The firm’s services are in such high demand that it charges potential clients $7,900 just to assess whether a project is viable. The assessment and fee are designed to shield the firm and the broader crypto community from scams, says Karlberg. AmaZix turns away roughly 80 percent of projects that pay for the assessment.

But fraud always finds a way in crypto-land. AmaZix has dropped clients who added fake users and bot accounts to their groups. It also fired an employee who was working for the company under four separate identities. (“He was actually a good moderator,” Karlberg notes.)


The WIRED Guide to Bitcoin

Crypto service providers of all kinds are overwhelmed with requests. Last fall, crypto-focused public relations firm Melrose PR was getting 100 cold requests a week from ICO projects looking for marketing services, surprising for a service-oriented business like PR that typically must seek clients, according to cofounder Kelley Weaver. To weed out scams, the firm created elaborate forms for potential clients. Ultimately it stopped considering those, too. “It’s more scammy than it is legit at some point, unfortunately,” Weaver says. Beyond that, the crowded market means it’s more difficult than a year ago to cut through the noise and generate coverage for ICOs, she says. Lately Melrose PR has focused more on blockchain infrastructure projects instead of ICOs and encouraged clients to tell their own stories on Medium and Steemit (the crypto world’s version of Medium), rather than pitch press.

But why bother wooing the media when you can pay influencers for coverage, preferably in a currency that doesn’t exist yet? SpringRole’s Mandaville notes that there are numerous reviews for SpringRole on Steemit, which were free, thanks to the company’s bounty program. (Some reviews include the disclaimer that they were created as part of a bounty program, others don’t appear to do so.) He marvels at YouTube influencers charging as much as $15,000 to $25,000 for token reviews; some companies are allocating $150,000 for YouTube marketing alone.

Skirting Ad Bans

Announced advertising bans by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Bing haven’t stopped crypto players from trying to buy ads. Crypto companies found work-arounds, in some cases using the word “c-currency” or replacing the “o” in bitcoin with a zero.

Etherisc, an insurance-focused blockchain project that’s launching a token sale later this month, evaded Facebook’s ban by using generic, high-minded tech terms that don’t bring to mind get-rich-quick schemes, like “ICO” or “token sale.” The company spent €1,132 on Facebook ads promoting its “decentralized protocol” on Facebook in late May. A Facebook spokesperson says the ads violated its policy and were approved in error.

Even so, the results were not what Etherisc expected. The company wound up with more than 56,000 “likes,” primarily from Nepal, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, according to an image of the company’s advertising dashboard viewed by WIRED. Etherisc founder Stephen Karpischek said he suspects the likes came from bots or click farms that direct their fake accounts to follow legit organizations in order make the accounts look real. He doesn’t want Etherisc to be associated with buying fake followers, so he’s considering deleting the page and starting over.

Google’s ban, announced in March, has not yet gone into effect, a company spokesperson said. (It was set to take effect in June.) Until it does, crypto companies will take advantage of the lag. Searches for terms like “buy ico,” “token sale” and “invest crypto” turn up numerous ads for cryptocurrency projects, white papers, and ICOs.

It’s a prosperous moment for crypto hustlers. Skyler Sigman, a recent high school graduate, launched a podcast, The Crypto Sky, three months ago, thinking it might help him get a job. But it’s grown quickly enough—5,000 downloads and counting—that he believes he can earn a living on sponsorships. Sigman notes that crypto influencers “have been getting heat” on Twitter for partnering with projects, but he doesn’t see a problem. “People should be paid for hard work and rewarded, especially when these people have followings,” he says.

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You Can’t Take This Photo: Shooting Western Landscapes Like They’ve Never Been Seenâ??at Night

In 2010, photographer Adam Katseff, a lifelong East Coaster, moved to California to begin an MFA at Stanford. Inspired by the great 19th-century landscape photographer Carleton Watkins, he began exploring the American West with his boxy 8 x 10 camera, trying to capture large-format images of iconic locations like Yosemite National Park. After a while, though, Katseff grew bored of simply following in Watkins’ shoes.

“It felt a little like trophy hunting,” he says. “I was going out, making a really sharp, well-composed, well-executed photograph, but ultimately it felt decorative. It didn’t capture the emotions I was experiencing being in those places.”

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How do you make some of the most-photographed landscapes in the world look new again? The answer hit Katseff during a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he encountered one of painter Ad Reinhardt’s signature all-black canvases. “I was staring at this square, matte-black painting for a long time, and I started to notice subtle variations in paint color,” Katseff remembers. “I realized that I could use darkness as a veil to obscure what photography does so beautifully, which is record details.”

The photographer thought back his first visit to Yosemite. He had arrived at night, and could barely discern the surrounding landscape. “My mind started playing tricks on me,” he says. “I started imagining this place that I had never really seen myself, but knew from photographs. So my mind was sort of creating this visual experience, triggered by darkness.”

Katseff decided to attempt to capture that sensation in photographic form. Through trial and error, he discovered that the best nighttime images could only be taken in a narrow window of time after the sun sets but before the last rays of dark-blue light fade from the horizon. The window is so small that Katseff can usually take just two shots a day, with exposure times ranging from two minutes to a half-hour.

When he began developing these twilight images, he discovered a strange phenomenon: rivers would come out looking stark white, while the valleys themselves would be in almost total darkness. At first he thought there was a problem with his developing process, but he soon realized that light reflecting off the river’s wavelets was creating the effect. When the wind was in a different direction, the waves reflected less light and the river would appear pitch black.

The above photograph, of the Snake River winding through Hell’s Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border, is the result of years of experimentation with weather and light conditions, exposure lengths, and developing techniques. For gallery shows, Katseff prints the images large—44 by 55 inches or 60 by 75 inches—so viewers can see all the detail. “The photographs make the viewer’s mind do some work,” he explains, “and I want to reward that.”

When he teaches photography courses, Katseff sometimes shows students his large-format camera, which weighs about eight pounds. “My students are like, ‘That’s huge!’” he says. “I always tell them, it’s better than having to rely on mule teams, a portable darkroom, and 20- by 24-inch glass plates like Carleton Watkins. In comparison to that, this is point-and-shoot.”

The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Are Dead, but the Fight Isn’t

Federal net neutrality protections are officially dead.

Today the Federal Communications Commission’s rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing content, or giving special treatment to certain content, were wiped off the books, following an FCC vote last December. But don’t expect to see huge changes right away.

First, there are still some rules constraining broadband providers. Several states, including New York and Washington, have passed regulations that ban or discourage internet providers from favoring certain content based on payments from content providers. Comcast, the nation’s largest broadband provider, is temporarily forbidden from violating net neutrality under the terms of the government’s approval of its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal; that restriction expires in September. Charter, the second-largest home broadband provider, is required to uphold net neutrality until 2023 under the terms of its acquisition of Time Warner Cable in 2016.

Meanwhile, most major internet providers have promised not to block, throttle, or discriminate against legal content. But net neutrality activists don’t want to take the companies at their word. They’re fighting to block the FCC’s December decision in both Congress and the courts while also working to pass new state laws.

Congress Considers Restoring Rules

The most immediate battle to save net neutrality is legislation that would effectively force the FCC to bring back the rules the FCC approved in 2015. Under the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, Congress, with the approval of the president, can not only reject regulations issued by a federal agency but effectively bar that agency from taking similar action again.

Legislation overturning the FCC’s December decision passed the Senate in May with three Republicans and all Democrats and independents voting in favor. The next step would be a vote in the House, where it needs more than 20 Republicans to support it before the end of the year.

US Representative Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania), who introduced the legislation in the House, filed a petition last month that would force a vote if a majority of House members sign it. That’s a tall order; to date, 170 members have signed. But it might be doable, given the bipartisan support for net neutrality. A recent Morning Consult poll found that 60 percent of registered voters, including 63 percent of Republicans, support the idea of net neutrality. An earlier poll by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, which attempted to explain both sides of the issue to respondents, found that 83 percent favored keeping the FCC’s net neutrality rules, including 75 percent of Republicans.

Former FCC lawyer Gigi Sohn points out that last year when Republicans used the CRA to kill Obama-era internet privacy rules, 15 House Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats to save the protections. Sohn argues that more Republicans could have been persuaded to vote against the legislation if there had been more time. And activists have won against long odds before. For example, in 2012 public pressure persuaded Congress to kill an intellectual property bill known as SOPA/PIPA.

Even if the measure passes the House, it will need to be signed by the president, who hasn’t been supportive of net neutrality in the past. But Free Press policy director Matt Wood points out that the administration is unpredictable and has embraced more populist policies at times, such as its opposition to AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner.

The CRA isn’t the only attempt in Congress to address net neutrality. Last year, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), a long-time critic of net neutrality, proposed a bill that would ban internet service providers from blocking content, while allowing “fast lanes.” It would also ban states from passing their own net neutrality laws and limit the FCC’s authority over broadband. Last month, during the Senate’s debate over the CRA, Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) said he would reintroduce a similar bill he first introduced in 2015 that bans paid prioritization, but likewise limits the FCC’s role in overseeing broadband. Neither bill covers broadband providers’ use of data caps or the obscure but important behind-the-scenes deals they make with each other. Net neutrality advocates have generally seen both bills as inadequate or even harmful. “At the end of the day this bill is a cynical attempt to distract GOP lawmakers who are considering voting for the CRA to restore MUCH stronger, REAL #NetNeutrality protections,” the group Fight for the Future tweeted last month about Thune’s proposal.

States Take Action

Some state governments, meanwhile, aren’t waiting for Congress. Washington became the first state to pass net neutrality protections in March. Last month, the California state senate passed a net neutrality bill that would actually offer stronger protections than the Obama-era FCC rules. The bill is now awaiting a vote by the California Assembly before moving on to Governor Jerry Brown. New York state lawmakers are considering a similar bill. If both bills pass, that would give 17 percent of the country stricter protections than they enjoyed under the Obama-era rules.

New York is also among the several states that have taken a more indirect approach to ensuring net neutrality. In January, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order that banned state agencies from doing business with internet providers that don’t agree to uphold net neutrality. The governors of Montana, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Vermont have signed similar orders, and Oregon passed a similar state law.

Broadband providers claim that these state-level rules would burden them with a “patchwork” of rules. The telecommunications industry group US Telecom has vowed to challenge state rules in court. That could come to a head soon, because the FCC order taking effect to revoke the Obama-era rules also bans states from passing their own laws. Legal experts are unsure whether that ban will hold up in court. Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is chair of law firm Perkins Coie’s communications practice, told WIRED earlier this year that while it’s not clear if state level protections such as those in Washington will withstand legal challenge, the executive orders are on more solid footing because states have broad authority to choose how they spend their budgets. “I wonder if anyone will even fight it,” Martin says.

Court Battles

Perhaps the biggest cloud of uncertainty is whether the FCC could legally repeal the Obama-era rules. A law called the Administrative Procedure Act bans federal agencies from making “arbitrary or capricious” decisions. Net neutrality advocates have sued the FCC in federal court, arguing that voting to revoke them less than three years after they were passed in early 2015 is capricious.

The lawsuit was initially filed by several state attorneys general, and was joined by advocacy groups, industry groups, and by companies including Etsy and Kickstarter. But a timeline for the case has yet to be approved, says Wood of Free Press, one of the organizations involved in the suit. It will take months for the two sides to file briefs and responses. It’s possible that a court will reach a decision by early 2019, but it could easily be at least a year from now before a decision is reached, Wood says.

While Congress can block the FCC from trying to revoke net neutrality laws again, the outcome of the court case will be less final. If the FCC loses the case, the agency would be free to try again to dismantle net neutrality. And if the FCC wins, it could actually make it easier for Democrats to restore net neutrality rules the next time the party controls the White House.

That means regardless of what happens in court, the fight is far from over.

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How Tech Shaped San Francisco’s Unresolved Mayor’s Race

The last time there was a real contest for the mayor’s seat in San Francisco, residential rents were falling, the city had 15 million square feet of vacant office space, the empty headquarters of was being converted into loft apartments, Apple debuted the iTunes store, the CIA’s venture capital arm invested in a 3-D mapping startup that would become Google Earth, the CEO of Airbnb was enrolled in art school, and the Winklevoss twins had just hired a Harvard sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg to noodle around with their code.

In the past 15 years, the second coming of the tech boom has remade San Francisco, and last week’s mayoral election—an unexpected race after Mayor Ed Lee’s death in December—was marbled through with anxieties over the industry’s ascent. For decades, City Hall has been run by moderates pushing pro-business interests, who cleared a path for tech’s insatiable growth. But in the midst of all that wealth creation, San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents were marginalized; its middle class vanished. This was supposed to be the election where progressives pushed back, setting the agenda around issues of inequality, such as housing, homelessness, and affordability.

The race came down to three left-of-center Democrats, all current or former members of the city’s Board of Supervisors, all supporting propositions that would increase a tax on commercial rents, and all claiming to want to increase affordable housing: London Breed, Mark Leno, and Jane Kim, from moderate left to progressive left.

Despite the ideological overlap, the campaign turned divisive, distorted by attack ads, misleading Facebook posts funded by dark money, and unexpected alliances. Tech played a central narrative in some of the most bitter rifts.

Breed, who grew up in public housing, is a lifelong renter and would be the first black female mayor of San Francisco, a city whose African American population has atrophied to less than 6 percent. Yet she was denounced as a tool of the tech establishment because of her ties to the city’s top tech donor. Meanwhile, critics of Kim, the loudest voice for the argument that tech should pay its fair share, lambasted her role in the 2012 tax breaks that lured Twitter to a then-troubled part of town; those breaks have since become symbols of the city’s embrace of tech. Then, less than a month before election day, Leno and Kim teamed up, urging their supporters to “Stand up to the billionaires” through San Francisco’s complex ranked-choice voting system by naming the pair their top two choices, in either order.

Almost a week after the election, there’s still not a clear read on how voters viewed tech’s influence. Leno briefly held the lead in the complex vote count, but as of Sunday, Breed was ahead by 1,580 votes; the counting is expected to drag on for weeks.

The mayor’s powers are limited, but it’s a decision worth watching, especially in San Francisco, an incubator not just for invasive species of ride-hailing apps, short-term rental platforms, for-profit philanthropy, and electric scooter-shares, but also for public sentiment towards the tech industry, starting with the humans at the epicenter of its seismic waves. As tech executives testify around the globe, swearing they can still make the world a better place, San Francisco is the quickest test to tell if they really want to be good neighbors.

The political shift, however symbolic, is already underway. “Policies like the Twitter tax break would never pass today. The reverse is now being considered: How to tax and regulate tech,” says John Whitehurst, a veteran political consultant who worked on campaigns against ballot measures to tax commercial real estate.1

Perhaps in anticipation of that reversal, tech donors turned tight-lipped—switching tactics from six years ago, when the CEOs of Twitter and Airbnb went on camera promising that tech could make San Francisco run smoother. Angel investor Ron Conway, known as Mayor Lee’s longtime benefactor, threw his support behind Breed but tried to avoid the spotlight, telling The New York Times that he was staying out of the mayor’s race to focus on other contests. Privately, however, Conway encouraged colleagues to funnel money for independent expenditures through a PAC called Progress San Francisco. They obliged. Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, former Facebook executive and venture capital investor Matt Cohler, and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom each donated $10,000 or more. To be sure, Kim had a couple of big tech executive donors as well, the CEOs of Zendesk and Automattic, the maker of WordPress. But she had nowhere near the same level of coordinated support as Breed, who also received support from Twitter cofounder Evan Williams, who donated $100,000 to another PAC supporting Breed.

Brian Singerman, a partner at Founders Fund, the venture capital firm cofounded by Peter Thiel, said he donated to Progress San Francisco because Breed’s housing proposals were the most comprehensive and realistic. “Housing is critical—it won’t solve all our problems, but it will make the others much easier to address,” Singerman said. “My support for her had nothing to do with the tech industry and everything to do with what’s best for San Francisco.”

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said the messages from PACs supporting Breed “seemed to be more about buying influence than debating issues, as reflected in the highly personal and sometimes misogynistic attacks some made against Jane. It was schoolyard bullying and it looks like at least half of the city rejected it,” he told WIRED.

Jason McDaniel, a political scientist at San Francisco State University, says that the negative characterization of Conway and his ilk was a tactic for galvanizing opposition, not a sign of anti-tech sentiment from voters. Conway “has been created into a populist villain, in the sense of the Koch brothers here in San Francisco, by a faction here that’s used to creating villains and running against the tech community,” McDaniel says. Conway declined to comment.

‘None of these people are actually posing huge threats to [tech]. It’s just that for the first time we’re going to have a mayor that supports sensible regulation.’

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin

Of the dozen activists, donors, and consultants who spoke to WIRED, Whitehurst was one of the few who believe that a Leno victory—with a “progressive” majority among the supervisors—could put the brakes on tech’s reign. “City Hall will not be pro-business—instead you could see local privacy regulations, even further clamping down of Airbnb, more taxes on companies, increased gross receipts tax, repeal of the Twitter tax break,” he says. “Tech isn’t scared because they haven’t experienced it yet.”

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who supported both Kim and Leno, voiced a more common prediction: “None of these people are actually posing huge threats to [tech]. It’s just that for the first time we’re going to have a mayor that supports sensible regulation,” he says. “It’s not like we had a radical revolt, it’s just that the stranglehold of big tech on San Francisco has been diminished.”

Still, tech’s shadow across the city’s landscape is impossible to shake off. The mayor’s race centered around a vigorous battle over housing in the city, where buying a home is inconceivable for many and longtime residents are being squeezed out. Since this is San Francisco, of course the factions don’t break across clean lines.

Many of Breed’s supporters consider themselves YIMBYs, short for Yes In My Backyard, contrasting themselves against residents who oppose new developments. Laura Clark, executive director of YIMBY Action, a nonprofit that endorsed Breed, says more ordinary workers at tech companies, including sales, marketing, and customer-service employees, are also hurt by the housing crunch. “They’re largely renters who are extremely bitter about the fact that they moved here for what looked like an amazing job and are spending 50 percent of their income on rent and feel like they are displacing residents,” she says. “The level of alienation is palpable, the guilt, to some degree the self-loathing.”

However, Shanti Singh, a former employee of an ad-tech company who now works as communications and development coordinator for Tenants Together, says there’s a troubling parallel between the YIMBY movement and other civic remedies prescribed by the tech industry that tend to ignore real-world complications.

“The richest and loudest people in tech, who tend to be white male venture capitalists, they are fundamentally aligned with keeping the status quo. They back the same candidates, they fund the same PACs,” Singh says. She believes they steered support toward additional housing, but without talking to advocates who’ve been working on the issue for years, or considering the potential effects on the people these developments will displace.

While advocates were willing to wade into tech’s gray areas, the campaigns stuck closer to the shore. Even now, when Kim’s chances of winning the election are slim, her spokesperson wouldn’t say whether she was “standing up” to tech billionaires or some other kind of fat cat. “Jane was referring to the billionaires who thought they could buy City Hall,” the spokesperson said. Leno’s camp did not respond to the question.

McDaniel, the professor, says that may be a dog whistle. “In San Francisco, if you say billionaire, the image is tech billionaires, it’s not William Randolph Hearst. It’s almost like the first name is Tech and the last name is Billionaire.”

1 CORRECTION, June 11, 1:05PM: Political consultant John Whitehurst worked on campaigns against two ballot measures to tax commercial real estate. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said he worked in favor of one of the measures.

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How to Migrate from GitHub to GitLab

As you may very well know, Gitlab is among the best alternatives to Github, the first that comes to mind, from the available options. Gitlab is a scalable and efficient Git-based fully featured platform for software development: it supports a complete DevOps lifecycle.

Read Also: How to Install and Configure GitLab on CentOS 7

Do you have projects on Github and want to migrate to Gitlab? In this article, we will explain how to migrate from Github to Gitlab and also we will explain how to import your open source project from Github to Gitlab in a few easy steps, using the GitHub integration feature.

Attention: The instructions below work for users on, for a self-hosted Gitlab instance, you have to manually enable the GitHub integration feature to use this method.


Before going any further, ensure that:

  • Both your Github and Gitlab accounts are created using the same public email account or.
  • You logged into the GitLab account using the GitHub icon, meaning you use the same email address for both accounts.

The above requirements also apply to all other users who are attached to your Github project, that you want to map to Gitlab.

Migrating From Github to Gitlab

1. First go to Gitlab Sign In page and then sign in with the Github icon, or Register with the same email address you used for registering with Github.

GitLab Sign In

GitLab Sign In

2. After successfully signing in, go to the top navigation bar, click on + and choose New project and enter path of your New Project as shown.

GitLab Create New Project

GitLab Create New Project

3. Next, click on the Import project tab and then choose GitHub from the available options as shown in the screenshot.

Select GitHub Repository Source

Select GitHub Repository Source

4. You will be redirected to the repository importation page, click on List your GitHub repositories.

List GitHub Repositories

List GitHub Repositories

5. Then, you should be redirected to an external application authorization page on to authorize the GitLab, as shown in this screenshot. Click Authorize gitlabhq.

Authorize Github to Gitlab Repository

Authorize Github to Gitlab Repository

6. You will be redirected back to Gitlab’s import page where you should see a list of all your GitHub repositories. Click on Import from the status column, for each repository you want to import from Github to Gitlab.

Import Github Repositories to Gitlab

Import Github Repositories to Gitlab

7. Once your repository is imported, its status will change to Done as shown in this screenshot.

Github Repositories Imported to Gitlab

Github Repositories Imported to Gitlab

8. Now from your Gitlab Projects list, the repository you just imported should be there.

Migrated GitHub Proects to GitLab

Migrated GitHub Proects to GitLab

For more information, go to the GitLab Docs page.

That’s all! In this article, we have explained how to migrate from Github to Gitlab. If you have any questions, or thoughts to share, reach us via the feedback form below.

Space Photos of the Week: Jupiter’s Lightning Is Striking

Meet Saturn’s moon Tethys. It’s just one of Saturn’s 53 moons! The large mark on its surface is called the Odysseus crater, which was formed when some rocky object collided with the moon, which is made mostly of water ice and only a little bit of rock. Take a look around the crater, and you’ll see marks everywhere! Most of the pockmarks are thought to be as old as the solar system, some 4.5 billion years old. Whatever happened to Tethys over the course of its history, it wasn’t pretty.

Star Wars might have given you some idea of what main belt asteroids look like, but how about a real one up close? This is Lutetia, an asteroid that resides in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It’s only 62 miles in diameter—but that’s large by asteroid standards. If you were driving on the freeway, you could get from one side to the next in under an hour.

Is this close enough for you? This stunning close-up of Jupiter was taken by the Juno spacecraft on May 23. The planet’s powerful jet stream is seen here in white. It snakes across the belly of Jupiter in the opposite direction of the other wind streams above and below it. Juno was only 3,500 miles above the cloud tops when it took this photo, before speeding back out on its elliptical orbit.

This photo might look like the surface of the moon, but it’s actually the surface of the largest body in the asteroid belt: a dwarf planet named Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft captured this image of the planet’s Urvara crater in all its gray, dusty glory. Scientists are studying the crater because it has so many different features and textures. That bright spot toward the middle? That is likely ice that has been revealed through geological activity.

How many galaxies would you guess were in this image? If you guessed hundreds, congratulations! This galactic block party is 7.5 billion light years from earth, so it’s a bit far for our travels. The brightest galaxy in the image is SDSS J1156+1911, seen toward the lower middle frame. It’s only 600 million times more massive than our Sun, which for a galaxy is pretty small. But it’s still large enough to warp the space in front of it, bending the light of the green smear of a galaxy that appears right below.