10 things in tech you need to know today

Happy Friday, readers. Insider has found documents showing that police departments use fake social media accounts during investigations, and BMW just unveiled a color-changing car.

Shall we?


If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider’s app – click here for iOS and here for Android.




Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images


1. Documents show police departments create fake social media accounts using AI-generated images. An Insider investigation found that despite platforms’ rules against doing so, police departments from New York to Ohio have been trained to create fake Facebook and Instagram accounts to assist in investigations.

  • Documents obtained by Insider describe tools law-enforcement officials can use to create accounts, like a fake name generator, a username generator, and a This Person Does Not Exist tool, which creates images of human faces using AI.
  • In videos posted to social media, the course’s instructor, an active-duty police officer in Maryland, has said that even though it’s against Facebook and Instagram’s terms of service to create fake accounts, police can — and should — do it anyway.
  • He has also said the social-media investigative tools can be used for other purposes, including to manipulate women.

Read our full investigation here.


In other news:



Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images


2. France has fined Google $170 million. French authorities hit Google with the record-breaking fine for making it too difficult for users to opt out of cookies. Facebook was fined for the same offense — and both companies now have three months to comply or risk fines of $113,000 a day.

3. OpenSea is “like eBay at the beginning of the modern Internet.” Tech investor Semil Shah has declared OpenSea, a startup for buying and selling NFTs that’s now worth $13 billion, the breakout tech startup of 2021. He explains what all the hype is about.

4. Experts weigh in on what’s next for Elizabeth Holmes. After the Theranos founder’s conviction on four fraud-related charges, we asked legal experts their opinions on the possibility of prison time, appeal, and retrial for Holmes. Here’s what they told us. 

5. Instacart is vetting a startup that uses robots to deliver groceries in 10 minutes. The startup, Tortoise, builds “floating” warehouses on wheels that store up to 100 food and beverage items — and it’s pitching the robots to Instacart as a rapid-delivery solution. Its CEO described how the tech can give companies a leg-up in the delivery space.

6. Mind-controlled earbuds? Autonomous tractors? This year’s CES saw it all. The Wall Street Journal chronicled all the best inventions to emerge at this year’s tech show, from the practical to the downright crazy. Check out their list.

7. A woman says she co-created the $800 million fintech Petal — and her lawsuit is inching toward trial. Entrepreneur Cassandra Shih says she helped build Petal, a firm backed by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. She has receipts, including an email in which a cofounder called her “this chick I banged a few months ago who came up with the idea.” More on the dispute over Petal.

8. Nike sued Lululemon for patent infringement. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Nike claims Lululemon’s Mirror Home Gym infringes on six patents — but a Lululemon representative called the patents “overly broad and invalid.” What we know about the lawsuit.

9. To the fans who sell “Girl Boss” shirts, Elizabeth Holmes is still a “femme fatale” icon. Despite being found guilty on four counts of fraud earlier this week, the Theranos founder still has a gaggle of fans — called “Holmies” — showing her support. See what the Holmies are saying.

10. BMW just unveiled its first color-changing car. Using e-ink technology — the same tech used to power Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle — allows the car to change colors with the push of a button. Watch videos of the color-changing car.


This week’s people moves in tech:

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.

Read More