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Judge shuts off WhatsApp in Brazil, new drone flyover of Apple ‘spaceship’ campus

If you thought the battle between Apple and the FBI over encryption and privacy was a big deal, a recent incident in Brazil may help put it in perspective. A judge in the South American country issued a court order to shut off chat-app WhatsApp, the hugely popular messaging service, for 72 hours so they could mine user data for a criminal investigation involving organized crime and drug trafficking.

WhatsApp said the forced outage affected more than 100 million users. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has a user base of over one billion people worldwide, and is more popular outside the U.S. than most people realize. The same judge had a Facebook executive arrested in March over his refusal to cooperate with the investigation. He’s since been freed. So, isolated case? Not really. This is the second time WhatsApp has been shut off by Brazilian courts.

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The emerging Apple “spaceship” campus is probably the hottest test site for drone pilots these days, and thanks to Matthew Roberts, we’re getting a fresh look at how the monster construction project is coming along. Roberts deftly piloted his DJI Phantom 3 around the sprawling site and it looks like workers are about to complete the circle of the main building.

Also coming along nicely: a huge auditorium, which will eventually be underground, a multi-level parking garage already covered in solar panels, a 100,000 square-foot fitness center, and numerous tunnels and passageways. But the main impression we got is just how huge the whole project is.

Apple says that when it’s all completed late this year or early next, over 14,000 employees will wander the massive, glass-sided hallways and tree-filled grounds. So far, so good, but where’s the Hyperloop station?

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We’ve tested a few electric bicycles and scooters here at DT and what can we say – they’re a blast to ride. Only problem? They tend to be pretty expensive and fairly complex. But check out the Geo Orbital wheel, a fully self-contained electric bike solution for well under $1,000. You just pop off your boring old front wheel and slap on the Geo Orbital, plus a handlebar controller, and you’re electric biking.

The battery, motor and wheel are all self-contained, and of course, the sci-fi look is completely unique. The 500-watt motor spins the rim, which is a fitted with a solid-type flat-proof tire. Top speed is 20 miles an hour and range is 20-50 miles depending on how much of a lead thumb you have. And since it just pops onto the bike you already have, you don’t have to kit up a whole new ride.

Geo Orbital was looking to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter; so far they’re well over $200,000 after just one day. Early bird units for $650 are going fast, so hit this link below right quick if you want one.