Feb 13, 2019

Save the date and save a bundle on Disrupt SF 2019

Mark your calendars startup fans, because Disrupt is returning to the beautiful City by the Bay to host TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt SF 2019, October 2-4 at the Moscone North Convention Center. It may only be February, but it’s never too early to save the date — or save a bundle. Planning pays off and, in this case, it pays in the form of cold, hard cash.

Simply register your interest by signing up for our mailing list and you’ll save an extra $500 on your Disrupt SF 2019 passes when the official registration opens next month. How sweet is that?

Last year’s Disrupt SF — TechCrunch’s largest ever — was epic by any measure, and we’re hard at work to make this year even better. Be on the lookout for more details in the coming weeks and months, but here’s a taste of what you can expect.

Startup Battlefield, the world-renowned startup competition, returns — and so does $100,000 in prize money for one extraordinary early-stage startup. Last year, Forethought took home $100K. Will your startup be the next? Keep your eyes on the site for your chance to apply and compete for the cash, the coveted Disrupt Cup and a ton of media and investor attention.

The Startup Alley exhibit hall — the heart and soul of Disrupt — will feature hundreds of early-stage startups demonstrating innovative tech and talent. Exhibiting startups cross a wide range of technologies, with a special focus on these tracks: Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Biotech/Healthtech, Fintech, Gaming, Investor Topics, Justice/Diversity, Mobility, Privacy/Security, E-commerce/Retail and Robotics.

You’ll also find the hand-selected TC Top Picks camped out in the Alley. Do you have what it takes to be a TC Top Pick? Watch the site for your chance to apply. Here’s another reason to stay tuned; we’re planning to give away free Startup Alley exhibitor packages through our Top Picks program.

The Hack is back. That’s right, the TechCrunch on-site Hackathon returns to run simultaneously alongside Disrupt SF 2019. Hundreds of developers, engineers, students, marketers and makers form teams and spend the first two days of Disrupt coding and hacking their way to a new software product. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best overall hack, and there will be plenty of other sponsored hack contests, cash prizes, swag — and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

There’s your taste of Disrupt SF 2019. Be sure to save the date — October 2-4 at Moscone North — and sign up for our mailing list. That one simple act will trim $500 off the price of your exhibit pass when registration opens. It’s the easiest bundle you’ll ever save.



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Feb 11, 2019

New Google Docs toolkit can automate tasks

Are you tired of having to wade through Google Docs files, or make countless changes to templates every time you want to use them? Google might soon bring relief. It's officially launching a Google Docs programming interface that lets developers auto...

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Feb 8, 2019

Big Data Approach Shown to be Effective for Evaluating Autism Treatments

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who developed a blood test to help diagnose autism spectrum disorder have now successfully applied their distinctive big data-based approach to evaluating possible treatments. The findings, recently published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, have the potential to accelerate the development of successful medical interventions.


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Nov 9, 2018

Georgia’s secretary of state Brian Kemp doxes thousands of absentee voters

Georgia’s secretary of state and candidate for state governor in the midterm election, Brian Kemp, has taken the unusual, if not unprecedented step of posting the personal details of 291,164 absentee voters online for anyone to download.

Kemp’s office posted an Excel file on its website within hours of the results of the general election, exposing the names and addresses of state residents who mailed in an absentee ballot — including their reason why, such as if a person is “disabled” or “elderly.”

People on Twitter quickly noticed, expressing anger.

The file, according to the web page, allows Georgia residents to “check the status of your mail-in absentee ballot.” Millions of Americans across the country mail in their completed ballots ahead of election day, particularly if getting to a polling place is difficult — such as if a person is disabled, elderly or traveling.

When reached, Georgia secretary of state’s press secretary Candice Broce told TechCrunch that all of the data “is clearly designated as public information under state law,” and denied that the data was “confidential or sensitive.”

“State law requires the public availability of voter lists, including names and address of registered voters,” she said in an email.

That might be technically true. Voter and electoral roll data is public and available, usually for a fee, though rules vary state by state. Names and addresses of voters can be requested from each state’s electoral commission or secretary of state’s office. Political analytics firms often taken this data and supplement it with their own polling data to try to determine potential swing voters.

State laws put heavy restrictions on what can be done with voter data; rules that may not apply to the general public who can now just readily download hundreds of thousands of voter records.

It’s little surprise that the way Kemp’s office approached confirming absentee ballots was met with anger.

“While the data may already be public, it is not publicly available in aggregate like this,” said security expert Jake Williams, founder of Rendition Infosec, who lives in Georgia. Williams took issue with the reasons that the state gave for each absentee ballot, saying it “could be used by criminals to target currently unoccupied properties.”

“Releasing this data in aggregate could be seen as suppressing future absentee voters in Georgia who do not want their information released in this manner,” he said.

Not long after TechCrunch’s inquiry, the link to the downloadable file had been removed from the website.

Republican candidate for governor Kemp — at the time of writing — received 50.3 percent of the vote on Tuesday, ahead of Democratic rival Stacey Abrams, who currently serves as the minority leader in the state’s House of Representatives.

Kemp, who as secretary of state effectively runs the state’s elections despite running in one, has been accused of voter suppression in recent weeks, including accusing the Democrats of hacking his office’s election systems, citing no evidence. It’s not the first time he’s pulled the hacking card — Kemp tried a similar move two years ago.

Kemp was also responsible for purging the voter records of more than 50,000 minority voters ahead of this week’s elections.

Abrams has refused to concede in the race for governor, amid hopes of a runoff.



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