Employees Jump at Genetic Testing. Is That a Good Thing?

Employees Jump at Genetic Testing. Is That a Good Thing?

Levi Strauss & Company introduced a novel benefit for employees at its San Francisco headquarters last fall: free genetic screening to assess their hereditary risks for certain cancers and high cholesterol.
Chip Bergh, Levi’s chief executive, said he had hoped that the tests would spur employees to take preventive health steps and in that way reduce the company’s health care costs. But even Mr. Bergh was surprised by the turnout. Of the 1,100 eligible Levi’s employees, more than half took the genetic tests. Now, he wants to extend the benefit to employees in other cities.
“It really is a differentiator,” Mr. Bergh said.
West Coast companies vying for talent offer an unusual array of benefits like college loan repayment, egg freezing, surrogacy assistance and, for new mothers away on business trips, overnight breast milk shipping. Some companies have added genetic screening as well, and employees are lining up for the tests.

Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists Prepare for an I.P.O. Wave

Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists Prepare for an I.P.O. Wave SAN FRANCISCO — Jason Pressman spent Thursday morning cheering from the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange as shares of the software firm Zuora, which he backed in 2008, began trading.
By the market’s close, Zuora’s stock had soared 43 percent, making his venture capital firm’s $17 million investment in the company worth roughly $150 million.
“Not bad at all,” Mr. Pressman said by phone on Thursday night, before heading to a celebratory dinner with about 60 people at a pricey Italian restaurant in Chelsea. Mr. Pressman, a venture capitalist at Shasta Ventures, said he had been up much of the night before but still expected to raise a few glasses. “I’m running a little bit on adrenaline.”
Mr. Pressman and many other Silicon Valley venture capitalists expect the windfalls to continue. Many of these investors, who back tiny start-ups with the hope that they will someday go public or be sold for nine- or 10-figure sums, have..

‘I Am Gay, Not a Pervert’: Furor Erupts in China as Sina Weibo Bans Gay Content

‘I Am Gay, Not a Pervert’: Furor Erupts in China as Sina Weibo Bans Gay Content BEIJING — With hashtags like #Iamgaynotapervert and images of hearts and rainbows, tens of thousands of Chinese residents took to social media over the weekend to protest efforts to censor gay-themed images, videos and cartoons.
The uproar was in response to a vow on Friday by Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media sites, to delete posts relating to gay culture, part of a three-month “cleanup” effort.
Sina Weibo, a Twitterlike site, said in its announcement that it was trying to limit the spread of sexually suggestive and violent content and that it would target cartoons, pictures, texts, short videos and romantic fiction. The site said its aim was to promote a “clear and harmonious” environment and to comply with stricter cybersecurity laws put in place by President Xi Jinping.
But many users were incensed, saying the campaign was another sign of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual ..

Facebook Takes the Punches While Rest of Silicon Valley Ducks

Facebook Takes the Punches While Rest of Silicon Valley Ducks Photo Last year lawyers for Facebook, Twitter and Google appeared in Congress to answer questions about foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election. But in the recent scandal over personal data, only Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ended up testifying. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times SAN FRANCISCO — Two pages of notes sitting in a binder in front of Mark Zuckerberg during his congressional testimony this week hinted at a message the Facebook chief executive rarely got a chance to deliver: We’re not the only ones.
Mr. Zuckerberg was prepared to say that his company accounts for just a slice of the $650 billion advertising market and that it has plenty of competitors. Google, for example, has an online advertising business more than twice the size of Facebook’s. And Google also collects vast amounts of information about the people who use its online services.
But as Facebook has taken it on the chin over the way it..

Bits: Kevin’s Week in Tech: Another Facebook-Free Edition

Kevin’s Week in Tech: Another Facebook-Free Edition Photo Steve Huffman, the chief executive of Reddit, clarified the online forum’s policies by saying, “To be perfectly clear, while racism itself isn’t against the rules, it’s not welcome here.” Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times Each week, Kevin Roose, technology columnist at The New York Times, discusses developments in the tech industry, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.
Well, friends, we did it again. We got through another week of wall-to-wall news about Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s two-day marathon of congressional testimony is over, and if you had better things to do than spend 10 hours watching a group of lawmakers ask an internet billionaire how computers work, you can catch up on our coverage here. (Or here, here, here, here, here, here, here or here. We’ve been busy.)
But as always, there is more to tech news than Facebook. So here are a few other stories that ..

Russian Court Bans Telegram App After 18-Minute Hearing

Russian Court Bans Telegram App After 18-Minute Hearing Photo The messaging app Telegram has 200,000 monthly active users around the world. Credit Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images MOSCOW — A Moscow court cleared the way on Friday for the government to ban Telegram, the messaging app, over its failure to give Russian security services the ability to read users’ encrypted messages.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications and technology watchdog, had asked the court for the authority to block the app, and for the ban to take immediate effect. It took the court all of 18 minutes to grant the request, after scheduling the hearing just one day before. Telegram had ordered its lawyers to skip the hearing in protest of the hurried process.
The ruling came a month after Telegram lost a lawsuit it brought against the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., Russia’s powerful and secretive security agency, which had demanded access to messages. The Kremlin pushed through a sweep..

The Personal Data of 346,000 People, Hung on a Museum Wall

The Personal Data of 346,000 People, Hung on a Museum Wall Photo Last week, the authorities in Wuhan, China, ordered Deng Yufeng’s exhibition of personal data shut down after two days and began investigating him on suspicion of amassing the information illegally. Credit Deng Yufeng BEIJING — Deng Yufeng wanted to create art that prods people to question their lack of data privacy. What better way, he reasoned, than to buy the personal information of more than 300,000 Chinese people off the internet and display it in a public exhibition?
The police did not appreciate the irony.
Last week, the authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan shut down Mr. Deng’s exhibition in a local museum after two days and told him that he was being investigated on suspicion of amassing the information through illegal means.
Mr. Deng’s project coincides with a growing debate about the lack of data privacy in China, where people are starting to push back against tech companies and their use of information. Onl..

Is Trump Serious About Trade War? China’s Leaders Hunt for Answers

Is Trump Serious About Trade War? China’s Leaders Hunt for Answers
BEIJING — In an elegantly furnished back room at a conference in eastern China in December, a member of the Chinese leadership asked American tech executives attending the event for help.
The official, Wang Huning, a Communist Party strategist who has spent much of his career sizing up the United States as a geopolitical rival, wanted to know whether President Trump was serious about a trade war with China — and whether they could serve as a channel of communication to the White House.
He has not been alone.
For the past few months, some of the most powerful men in China — allies of President Xi Jinping with longstanding ties and deep experience with the United States — have been casting about for a better understanding of Mr. Trump and how to respond to his combative trade agenda, according to several people they have consulted.
Vice President Wang Qishan has met in recent weeks with a series of American business lead..

Peter Grünberg, 78, Winner of an ‘iPod Nobel,’ Is Dead

Peter Grünberg, 78, Winner of an ‘iPod Nobel,’ Is Dead Photo Peter Grünberg in his laboratory at a research institute in Jüelich, Germany, in 2007. His prize-winning discovery enabled the era of big data to dawn. Credit Volker Hartmann/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Peter Grünberg, a Nobel-Prize-winning physicist who discovered how to store vast amounts of data by manipulating the magnetic and electrical fields of thin layers of atoms, making possible devices like the iPad and the smartphone, has died at 78.
His death was announced by the Juelich Research Center in Juelich, Germany, where he was a longtime researcher. The center did not provide any other details.
Dr. Grünberg shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007 with Albert Fert of the Université Paris-Sud in Orsay. They had independently made the same discovery — of an effect known as giant magnetoresistance, in which tiny changes in a magnetic field can result in huge changes in electrical resistance.
The effect is at the h..