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Facebook and Google hit with $7.8 billion in lawsuits on day one of GDPR

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

On the first day of GDPR enforcement, Facebook and Google have been hit with a raft of lawsuits accusing the companies of coercing users into sharing personal data. The lawsuits, which seek to fine Facebook 3.9 billion and Google 3.7 billion euro, were filed by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, a longtime critic of the companies’ data collection practices.

GDPR requires clear consent and justification for any personal data collected from users, and these guidelines have pushed companies across the internet to revise their privacy policies and collection practices. But there is still widespread uncertainty over how European regulators will treat the requirements, and many companies are still unprepared for enforcement.

Both Google…

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Vergecast: Elon Musk, dongle conspiracy, and Zuckerberg visits the EU

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

Are you driving somewhere for the holiday weekend? Here at The Verge, we’d like to encourage you to use a car that’s wholly, or at least primarily, powered by dirty fossil fuels. On this week’s episode of The Vergecast, Nilay, Natt, Casey, and Paul discuss how we’re financially beholden to Big Car and what to do about it now that Elon Musk has called us out on our bias.

We also got a chance to discuss Nilay’s bonkers theory about Apple’s dongle suppression campaign, Mark Zuckerberg’s wacky trip to the EU, and we spoke with unearned confidence about Dieter’s hands-on with the RED Hydrogen One phone. Paul’s weekly report on robots that do backflips is, of course, also something that happened.

01:50 – Elon Musk

27:54 – RED Hydrogen One…

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Facebook has an official Pepe the Frog policy

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

Facebook’s internal policies on Pepe the Frog — now considered an anti-Semitic hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League — offer a little leeway for what is allowed on its platform. Documents obtained by Motherboard show that the platform doesn’t outright ban Pepe images, but rather, it only deletes them if shown “in the context of hate, endorsed by hate groups to convey hateful messages.”

While Pepe began his life as a cute, relatable meme, bad actors have since co-opted the character for their own hateful ideals. Pepe’s creator, Matt Furie, has officially killed the character and even gone as far as sending takedown notices to alt-right sites and suing conspiracy theorist site Infowars for MAGA posters it sold featuring the character.

F…

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Mobility startups: Apply to exhibit for free as a TC Top Pick at Disrupt SF ‘18

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

Mobility is one of the most rapidly advancing technologies going, and we’re searching for the rising stars of early-stage mobility startups to apply as a TC Top Pick for Disrupt San Francisco 2018 on September 5-7 at Moscone Center West. It’s a competitive application process, but if TechCrunch editors designate your company as a Top Pick, you get to exhibit for free in Startup Alley — the show floor and heartbeat of every Disrupt event. Besides, who doesn’t love free?

Mobile tech is on the cusp of a revolution, and we’re interested in startups focused on everything it entails — autonomous vehicles, sensors, drones, security — or something else altogether. Flying cars, anyone? Exhibiting in Startup Alley will expose your startup to more than 10,000 attendees, including potential investors, customers, partners and more than 400 media outlets.

Here’s how the TC Top Pick process works. First things first: apply now. Our expert team of editors will review each application and choose only..

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Tesla settles class action suit over Autopilot claims for $5M

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

Tesla has paid out $5 million to settle a class action lawsuit against it alleging that the Autopilot feature in the company’s cars was “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.” Owners who paid $5,000 for Autopilot will be reimbursed to the tune of a couple hundred bucks, Reuters reported.

Although Tesla claimed that the semi-autonomous driving software would improve safety and reduce the possibility of collisions, it was in practice erratic and unreliable. “Contrary to what Tesla represented to them, buyers of affected vehicles have become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous if engaged.”

A series of crashes that took place while Autopilot was active didn’t help dissuade anyone of that, though Tesla has maintained that the feature has improved safety overall. It also continued to update the system, bringing it closer to its original promise, but those improvements have taken a great deal more time than users were told to expect. Ultimate..

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Gravy’s new mobile game show is ‘Price is Right’ mixed with QVC

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

Following the success of the live mobile game show HQ Trivia, a team of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if another game show concept can work, too. Their new game show-inspired app, Gravy, is meant to be a riff on the “Price is Right” combined with a QVC-style shopping experience. That is, the “contestants” compete for discounts of 30 to 70 percent off the products advertised, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. In addition, through a side game, users can guess when the product – whose quantities are unknown – will sell out and at what price. Those who guess closest win a cash prize.

The startup was created by Mark McGuire, Brian Wiegand, and Craig Andler – the founding team behind Jellyfish.com, an older social shopping network that was acquired by Microsoft back in 2007, to help create Bing Shopping. They’ve also paired up on other projects, including NameProtect (before Jellyfish), printable coupons resource Hopster, social network Nextt, and ..

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Snips announces an ICO and its own voice assistant device

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

French startup Snips has been working on voice assistant technology that respects your privacy. And the company is going to use its own voice assistant for a set of consumer devices. As part of this consumer push, the company is also announcing an initial coin offering.

Yes, it sounds a bit like Snips is playing a game of buzzword bingo. Anyone can currently download the open source Snips SDK and play with it with a Raspberry Pi, a microphone and a speaker. It’s private by design, you can even make it work without any internet connection. Companies can partner with Snips to embed a voice assistant in their own devices too.

But Snips is adding a B2C element to its business. This time, the company is going to compete directly with Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. You’ll be able to buy the Snips AIR Base and Snips AIR Satellites.

The base will be a good old smart speaker, while satellites will be tiny portable speakers that you can put in all your rooms. The company plans to launc..

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HTC adds some bells and whistles to the Vive Focus ahead of Western rollout

May 25, 2018 Alex 0

As HTC gears up for a stateside launch of their Vive Focus standalone headset, the company announced a number of changes that they’re bringing to the device currently available in China.

The company has long fancied itself the “premium” brand of VR, but at its annual developer conference it was tasked with showing off features that showed that the company had more to offer than middle-of-the-road products with premium prices.

Some of the most notable announcements were that the device would be gaining phone integration with HTC devices, beginning with the company’s new U12 Plus smartphone, which will basically allow users to check out text messages and notifications without removing the headset. The feature seems to be a junior version of functionality available on the company’s PC-based Vive headset which can deliver similar notifications but can do so from any Android or iOS device while also allowing users to send messages out as well on certain devices.

In addition to the phone ..