Airbnb Victory In NYC: Environmental Control Board Reverses $2,400 Fine On Renting Out A Room In An Apartment


A big regulatory victory for Airbnb today: the company has managed to win an appeal in New York City over a fine against a host called Nigel Warren, whose landlord was fined $2,400 in June after Warren rented out a room in his apartment. If the fine had stuck, it would have set a business-threatening precedent for Airbnb in the city.

“This decision was a victory for the sharing economy and the countless New Yorkers who make the Airbnb community vibrant and strong. As I said last summer, the sharing economy is here to stay, and so are we,” David Hantman, Airbnb Global Public Policy Director said today in a statement.

The key, as Hantman points out, is that “as long as a permanent occupant is present during a stay, the stay does not violate New York’s short term rental laws.” How that will be enforced is another question…

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Who’s policing the Houston police?

Anderson Cooper 360

In the Houston Police Department, getting fired doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get your job back.

In June 2011, Indira Paz was sleeping in her bed next to her 4-year-old daughter. The next thing she knew, a strange man was on top of her, tying her hands with plastic ties as her daughter screamed beside her. Paz was raped in her home by an intruder who left behind a condom wrapper, crumpled tissue, and the ties he used to bound her.

Paz called the police hoping that they could help. The man who raped her just left her home with cash, electronics, jewelry and Paz’s car. When the police arrived Paz says she wasn’t treated like someone who had been the victim of a heinous crime. Paz alleges that Officer Alan Sweatt, who was one of the first officers at the scene, didn’t collect any evidence at the crime scene…

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Former Microsoftie And Googler Lucovsky Leaves VMware For New Project, No Word On Chairs Thrown


VMware VP of Engineering Mark Lucovsky is leaving the virtualization giant for a ‘new chapter’ he’s referring to as ‘#nine’ on Twitter. Lucovsky has been with VMware for around four years and before that held positions at Google and Microsoft.

VMware told GigaOm that “during his more than four years at VMware, Mark Lucovsky  has been an important contributor to the company’s developer efforts as a Vice President of Engineering, including his work to help establish VMware’s Cloud Foundry which is now part of Pivotal. We thank Mark for his contributions and wish him well.”

At Google, Lucovsky served as an engineering director working on its API strategies. Since he went there from Microsoft, where he worked on Windows NT, a lot of people read into his hiring as a harbinger of a ‘Google OS’. Lucovsky spent 16 years at Microsoft working on a variety of projects including…

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7 stories to read this weekend


It has been three weeks since I sent one of these emails — I was traveling and frankly was preoccupied with personal matters to spend a lot of time searching and reading. Nevertheless, I am back and here are some fantastic pieces for you to read this weekend.

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CrunchWeek: Microsoft’s New Surface 2, BlackBerry’s $4.7B Buyout, Big Changes In Fundraising


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Happy Saturday! It’s time once again for a new episode of CrunchWeek, the show that brings a few of us writers together to chat it up about some of the most interesting stories from the past week in tech news.

This time around, Leena Rao, Alex “Warhorse” Wilhelm (I didn’t know that was his nickname until I saw it on his TechCrunch author page, but I dig it) and I spouted off our opinions on the new Surface tablets from Microsoft — and if they can make up for the lackluster Surface 1 sales, BlackBerry’s plan to go private in a deal valuing the company at less than $5 billion, and how the SEC lifting the ban on general solicitation already seems to be impacting the startup investment scene.

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NSA Uses Facebook And GPS Data To Identify Suspects In Networks Of Americans


FILE PHOTO  NSA Compiles Massive Database Of Private Phone Calls

The National Security Agency has slowly been mapping it’s own massive network of suspects with associations to US citizens. The New York Times obtained documents that reveals how the NSA is utilizing social data to map intelligence connections.

From the report: “Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.”

Since data leaker Edward Snowden originally revealed the NSA dragnet phone record and Internet surveillance program, it has been known that the government looks at citizens that are 3 network “hops” away from a suspect (a friend of a friend of a friend). It’s never been revealed what types of data the NSA used to prioritize which targets were most…

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Where is wearable tech headed?


Imagine a small adhesive strip that can collect intimate biological data and tell your smartphone that you need to apply sunscreen or hydrate. How about a sensor for service dogs that enables them to transmit “verbal” commands to their handlers? Around the world, researchers are working behind the scenes and around the clock on jaw-dropping applications for wearable technology, driving innovation into areas that were considered science fiction just a few years ago.

We no longer just use technology. The fact that tech is now all around us, on us, and even in us has given birth to a new buzz phrase, the internet of things. The very diversity of internet of things applications is staggering, ranging from smart consumer products to devices that monitor health and behavior—human or animal. Dairymaster already markets a number of smart products to farmers including a cloud-based MooMonitor necklace that determines a cow’s readiness…

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