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Bits: The Week in Tech: A Peek at the Year Ahead

Each week, technology reporters and columnists from The New York Times review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here.Hello! I’m Nellie Bowles, the Silicon Valley and tech culture reporter at The Times, now with the privilege of bringing you the last tech newsletter of 2018.Readers of this letter know all too well what happened in tech news this year. We had some good times (crypto!), but mostly the headlines from Silicon Valley were dire revelations about corporate power, violations of consumer trust and platform-led disinformation.Instagram,…

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State of the Art: ‘Overtourism’ Worries Europe. How Much Did Technology Help Get Us There?

Every summer, the most popular European destinations get stuffed to the gills with tourists, who outnumber locals by many multiples, turning hot spots into sweaty, selfie-stick-clogged, “Disneyfied” towns. They offer a taste of a growing global threat: Across the world, thanks in part to rising affluence, travel is becoming a more widely shared pastime. International trips were up 6 percent in the first half of the year, surpassing experts’ forecasts, according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.This growth might once have been considered unambiguously good news. But the world’s most popular destinations cannot expand to accommodate an infinite flood of visitors. Advocates of curbing tourism say…

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New York City Looks to Crack Down on Airbnb Amid Housing Crisis

“After taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the hotel industry, we’re not surprised the City Council refused to meet with their own constituents who rely on home sharing to pay the bills and then voted to protect the profits of big hotels,” Liz DeBold Fusco, a spokeswoman for Airbnb, said in a statement, adding that the bill would violate the privacy of the sites’ users and subject them to “unchecked, aggressive harassment.”The question of what would be best for “ordinary New Yorkers” was at the heart of the debate.A report from the School of Urban Planning at McGill University, commissioned by the hotel…

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Tech Fix: Booking With Airbnb? Here’s Your Survival Guide

Airbnb has some other recommendations: Do a safety check after you enter the house and make sure there is a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher. If something seems odd, contact the host and then, if necessary, call Airbnb’s customer service line.Nick Shapiro, who oversees Airbnb’s trust and risk management, said the company takes additional safety measures like performing background checks on American hosts and guests, and all reservations are scored for risk.“We work hard to ensure that our guests have a positive and safe experience when traveling with us,” he said.To play it extra safe, always have a backup plan. Jot down some attractive hotels near…

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