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.


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?


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.


Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Emerging Tech

Watch China’s moon mission touch down on the planet’s far side

Video has been shared of a lander's-eye view of China's Chang'e 4 mission touching down in the Von Kármán Crater on the far side of the moon. The craft captured footage of the descent with a camera which was attached to the probe.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook’s privacy breach, grocery robots, and more

On episode 41 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Caleb Denison broke down the news stories of the day. On the docket: Facebook's privacy scandal, grocery delivery robots, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Bad passwords, a new iPad Mini, and dating with blockchain

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, we discussed online security with the worst passwords of the year, and Adryenn Ashley, CEO of blockchain dating app Loly, and chef Sara Woods joined the show.
Digital Trends Live

We talked to Limbitless about giving gaming-themed prosthetic arms to kids

The nonprofit organization Limbitless creates free bionic arms for children to use like they would a traditional arm. Digital Trends talked to Limbitless about its arms and partnerships with game franchises.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Deepak Chopra, record Alexa sales, and data security

"Technology is part of human evolution," Deepak Chopra posited on this episode of DT Live. We also discussed an Alexa outage in Europe, and chatted with Giri Sreenivas of Helm about online security, and with Dominique Courbin from…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: ‘Bandersnatch,’ Brianna Perry, and Origin PC unboxing

On episode 44 of Digital Trends Live, we unboxed three Origin gaming desktops, and welcomed Brianna Perry to the show to talk about her debut album Fortune Cookie, and what it was like meeting musicians like Flo Rida and DJ Khalid as a kid.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Netflix news, visions of CES, and more

On episode 45 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Drew Prindle looked at the most exciting news stories from the world of tech, including the runaway success of Netflix's Bird Box, what to look forward to at CES, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live – CES 2019 – Day 1

On today's episode: While we are for sure going to run down all the hottest and most innovative tech announcements of CES 2019, we're also hosting some amazing guests and panels. From the Impossible Burger and the future of food, to full…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live – CES 2019 – Day 2

On today's episode: While we are for sure going to run down all the hottest and most innovative tech announcements of CES 2019, we're also hosting some amazing guests and panels. From the latest VTOL taxi from Bell Helicopters and the…