The Switchboard: Los Angeles is abandoning its iPads-for-schoolchildren contract

August 26

(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Published every weekday, the Switchboard is your morning helping of hand-picked stories from the Switch team.

Why Amazon is paying nearly $1 billion to acquire Twitch. "Twitch, the streaming site where users can watch other people play video games in real-time, is being acquired by Amazon.com for approximately $970 million in cash," The Switch's Hayley Tsukayama writes. "The purchase signifies the growing power of video game culture — which has spawned everything from tournaments to celebrity players--as well as Amazon's increasing ambitions in the media world."

L.A. Unified halts contract for iPads. "L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy suspended future use of a contract with Apple on Monday that was to provide iPads to all students in the nation's second-largest school system amid mounting scrutiny of the $1-billion-plus effort," according to the L.A. Times. "The suspension comes days after disclosures that the superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the curriculum on the devices."

The surveillance engine: How the NSA built its own secret Google. The Intercept reports: "The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a 'Google-like' search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept."

The Chinese are reportedly working on submarine that would ‘fly’ in an ‘air bubble.’ "The reported plans for the super-fast Chinese submarine draw on research that reaches back to the Cold War on 'supercavitation,' a technology that creates a friction-less air 'bubble' around a vessel that allows it to 'fly' underwater, facilitating incredible speeds," writes the Post's own Terrence McCoy.

Calif. governor signs smartphone 'kill switch' bill into law. "California on Monday became the first state to require that antitheft security features come enabled by default for every smartphone sold in the state," CNET reports. "A smartphone kill switch enables an owner to lock down a phone if it is stolen, rendering it inoperable."

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Hayley Tsukayama · August 25