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Aarti Shahani

Aarti Shahani is a Tech Reporter on NPR's Business Desk, where she covers breaking news, and does investigative and enterprise reporting.

Since joining NPR's tech beat in May 2014, Shahani has reported from five countries and covered the world's biggest tech events, including the International Consumer Electronics Show.

In her first year, Shahani has shed light on hidden stories, such as the role of cyberstalking in domestic abuse, and the underground world of hackers. Shahani's reports have taken her to unlikely places – including a secretive Hollywood film set using drone cameras.

Before coming to NPR as a Kroc Fellow in 2011-2012, Shahani started a non-profit in her native New York City to help immigrant families facing deportation after September 11th. She notes she first met NPR as a source, pitching NPR a story about a detainee who'd died because of deliberate medical neglect. Of her unusual path to journalism, she notes, "Basically, I spent my 20s with prisoners. I'm spending my 30s with billionaires in Silicon Valley. And I've learned: People are just people."

Her reporting has been honored with a regional award from the Society of Professional Journalists for "Finding Hidden Genius"; a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for "On Immigration, High Tech and Ag Don't Meet, Literally"; and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award for "Post Mortem: Death Investigation in America" with ProPublica, NPR, and Frontline.

Shahani received a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, with generous support from the University and the Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET, with Facebook statement

An 18-year-old woman in Ohio is being charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and a variant of distributing child pornography.

What led to this extraordinary list of alleged crimes? Live-streaming the alleged rape of her 17-year-old friend.

Prosecutors say Marina Lonina broadcast the incident on the Twitter-owned app Periscope. Lonina claims through her lawyer that she live-streamed the alleged rape because she was trying to get the man to stop.

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Mark Zuckerberg has laid out a 10-year master plan for Facebook. It's bold. It's savvy. And it glosses over a key detail: the dark side of making the world more connected.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's seeing a surge in phone scams. More than 5,000 victims have been duped out of $26.5 million since late 2013. It's hard to know what exactly con artists are thinking when they target their victims. But now, we know what they are saying.

Before we get started, keep this in mind: The IRS says it doesn't call about outstanding taxes without first mailing you a bill.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The FBI says it has gotten into the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters in California, so prosecutors have dropped their case trying to compel Apple to do it. But the controversy is far from over. Local prosecutors across the country have iPhones that they would like to unlock, and they want to know if the FBI will use its master key to help.

"Renting is the new buying." That became a kind of mantra after the housing crisis. Many Americans stopped believing that owning a home was a way to build wealth. As late as 2013, one report found, homeowners could see themselves becoming renters. And there were far fewer first-time homebuyers.

That's still the case today; last year, only 32 percent of all homebuyers were first-timers. But there are signs that young people are warming once again to the idea of owning their own home.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the news that the federal judge has granted the government's request for a delay in the case, giving the FBI time to test a new method of cracking the iPhone without Apple's help.

In the standoff between Apple and the FBI, each side is recruiting powerful allies and waging a war of words. As the story unfolds, we'll fact-check the boldest claims, starting with this one by FBI Director James Comey.

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For many years, cellphone operators around the world have complained about Facebook and Google: The American tech giants use the operators' cables and towers to hand out free phone calls and messaging services to people in their countries, eating into profits and grabbing customers' data.

Recently, one operator, Telenor, decided: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And in the process, it hunted down the kind of link between people's digital and physical personas that not even Google has.

After A Terrorist Attack, A Fingerprint Drive

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The software equivalent of cancer - that is how Apple CEO Tim Cook is describing code the government wants Apple to write so the FBI can unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

You might think of Barcelona as an enchanted, historic European city. This week, it's home to a massive tech gathering: the Mobile World Congress. Tens of thousands of people from every corner of the earth are there — many showcasing the novel ways they're connecting citizen-consumers to the Internet. I took a tour of Innovation City and here are a few of my most memorable stops.

A Well-Connected Bike

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DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg turned up this week in Barcelona. He was attending the World Mobile Congress - the annual meeting of phone and Internet companies. And NPR's Aarti Shahani reports on what he's been up to.

Here's a little secret: It's possible to go online and buy a knockoff — a generic version of the drug Adderall, a fake "North Face" jacket or "Gucci" handbag. Now, we're not telling you to do it. But a big reason you can, it turns out, is that major banks in China are willing to handle the money.

Guerilla Marketing

Say you want Beats by Dre headphones. You don't want to pay Beats by Dre prices. Type in the brand name in a search engine and add words like "cheap," "super-sale."

In India, Facebook has a program to give people free Internet access — just to use Facebook and a handful of other services. Earlier this week, regulators in that country ruled that the program is discriminatory to other websites and is illegal. A Facebook board member took to Twitter to criticize the ruling. And in so doing, he sparked a global controversy.

It got ugly.

You've heard it before. Change your password. Change. Your. Password. But now, Americans are getting that message from the top. Password security is in such a sorry state, our commander in chief is weighing in with a call to action.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Intel has a new report out today. It's not about semiconductors. It's about diversity: how Intel is doing when it comes to women and underrepresented minorities on its staff. The results are mixed — some strong and some, frankly, failures. Still the sheer amount of information is exceptional, and a direct challenge to other Silicon Valley giants who've chosen to hide their data.

Be Engineers About Diversity

Let's start with some numbers.

Business travelers increasingly are relying on Uber and other ride-hailing services, often more than car rentals or taxis, according to new data.

Say you land at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. You've got a work meeting 20 minutes away. You might head to the rental desk to pick up a car. Or, you might call an Uber instead.

"More transactions coming through our system are in Uber than there were in all the rental car transactions," says Bob Neveu, CEO of Certify, a company that businesses use to book travel and track receipts.

Hundreds of thousands of people drive for Uber in the U.S. The ride-hailing company has had high-profile fights in courts and city halls over the status of these drivers: Are they employees or contractors? Can they unionize?

A fight that's gotten far less attention — one that may affect drivers far more — is the competition between Uber and its main rival, Lyft.

Competition for drivers is so great that, about a year ago, Uber sent covert operatives into Lyft cars — to recruit.

Isabella Dure-Biondi was one of these covert operatives.

Top law enforcement and intelligence officials were in Silicon Valley on Friday to meet top brass at tech companies. The topic: counterterrorism. The government wants the biggest Internet brands to weed out ISIS recruitment online, and even help run advertising campaigns against ISIS.

The meeting came as the Obama administration announced the creation of a task force of federal agencies to counter violent extremism.

If you hail a ride using the on-demand app Lyft, that car could one day be self-driving.

On Monday, Lyft announced a new partnership with General Motors, which is pumping half a billion dollars into the software startup and joining the board. One of the things they're doing is planning to build an autonomous fleet.

They haven't released a specific timeline on when, though in the future, when you call the on-demand car service, the vehicle likely won't have a human driver.

Editor's Note: This post accompanies a story that you can hear on the NPR One app by following this link.

The words you use betray who you are.

Linguists and psychologists have long been studying this phenomenon. A few decades ago they had a hunch that the number of active verbs in your sentences or which adjectives you use (lovely, sweet, angry) reflect personality traits.

Uber has grown into a global phenomenon with a flexible labor system in which drivers are treated as independent contractors. Increasingly, that system is under attack.

Just this week Seattle passed a historic law to allow Uber drivers, and other drivers on contract, to unionize. And it turns out, according to legal experts, the local law has teeth.

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