10 things in tech you need to know today, August 15

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Adam Neumann
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann.
Getty

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

  1. WeWork filed to go public on Wednesday, revealing spiraling losses and billions of dollars in lease commitments. The firm lost $1.8 billion in 2018, and $690 million in the first half of 2019.
  2. WeWork is going public with a weird corporate structure that would give tax benefits to early insiders but not to those who buy in later. WeWork confirmed in its S-1 filing that it has adopted something similar to the so-called “Up-C” structure, where investors can only buy into a holding company which in turns holds a stake in WeWork’s core business.
  3. Over 500 Googlers are urging their company not to bid on a cloud-computing contract with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in what’s the latest in a series of employee protests at the Silicon Valley tech giant. The CBP contract— which seeks to “acquire services from a Cloud Services Provider” — has sparked controversy amongst Google’s rank-and-file due to the agency’s recent handling of migrants at the US southern border.
  4. Huawei technicians reportedly helped the Ugandan and Zambian governments spy on their political opponents, leading to their arrest. In Kampala, Uganda, Huawei employees reportedly helped Uganda’s cyber-surveillance unit break into the WhatsApp group belonging to Bobi Wine, a political opponent to the current Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni.
  5. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi held an all-hands meeting on Tuesday, and the big topic under discussion was cost cutting. Khosrowshahi told employees on Tuesday that he was looking at ways to trim expenses, and said he was eliminating Uber’s tradition of “anniversary balloons” to save around $250,000.
  6. Capital One data breach suspect Paige A. Thompson, of Seattle, may have stolen data from “more than 30 companies, educational institutions, and other entities,” according to prosecutors. Thompson was charged with count of computer fraud and abuse (though prosecutors say more counts could be filed), after an FBI investigation alleged she stole data impacting roughly 100 million Capital One customers in the US and around 6 million in Canada.
  7. SoftBank has invested $110 million in a startup trying to solve a big problem in renewable energy with a giant brick-lifting crane. The firm has backed Energy Vault, which says it has come up with a solution to long-term energy storage.
  8. Congress is demanding that 8chan owner Jim Watkins testify over his site’s involvement in recent mass shootings. On Wednesday, 8chan owner Jim Watkins was sent a subpoena to appear before the House Committee on September 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
  9. Amazon is making a big push to help third-party sellers donate their unsold products instead of trashing them. The firm is launching a new program that allows third-party sellers to donate their excess and returned goods.
  10. Tech CEO Scott Borgerson who, according to the Daily Mail has been dating and housing Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, denied in a conversation with Business Insider that his “former friend” Maxwell is staying at his home. When contacted by Business Insider, Borgerson said he’s been out of the country traveling for the past week, during which no one has been living at his home.
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