Technology

RUSSIA: Pre-Installed Russian Software Mandated For All Electronics Sold In Country, Per Law Signed By Putin

Reuters reports: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed legislation requiring all smartphones, computers and smart TV sets sold in the country to come pre-installed with Russian software. The law, which will come into force on July 1 next year, has been met with resistance by some electronics retailers, who say the legislation was adopted without consulting them. The country’s …

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One-Third Of Online Product Reviews Are Paid Or Fake

The New York Times reports: In the world of e-commerce, the online review is king, the internet’s answer to walking into a store and trying out a product for yourself. An increase of just one star in a rating on Amazon correlates with a 26 percent increase in sales, according to a recent analysis by the e-commerce consulting firm Pattern. …

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Twitter Seeks To Save Accounts Of Deceased Users

Axios reports: Twitter said Wednesday it was putting on hold a plan to delete inactive accounts amid concerns that accounts from deceased users would be swept up in the purge. Why it matters: While it’s great to see Twitter clearing out the accounts of living people who aren’t using them, Twitter also represents an important record of those no longer …

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Twitter Rolls Out Anti-Troll “Hide Replies” Function

TechCrunch reports: Twitter’s radical “Hide Replies” feature, one of the biggest changes to how Twitter works since the invention of the Retweet, is now available to Twitter’s global user base. The company says the feature will roll out to all Twitter users across platforms by today, with only one slight tweak since earlier tests. Designed to balance the conversation on …

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Ford Gambles Big With All-Electric Mustang [VIDEO]

Yahoo Finance reports: Ford took its time. But for its first electric vehicle, the 116-year old automaker did something a little controversial. The Mustang Mach-E is an all-new, fully-electric crossover that Ford says is part of the “Mustang family.” That means it has some styling cues from the famous pony car, but that’s about it. It’s not a coupe, convertible, …

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Apple To Remove All Vaping Apps From Its App Store

Axios reports: Amid growing health concerns over e-cigarettes, Apple will remove all 181 vaping-related apps from its mobile App Store this morning, Axios has learned. Why it matters: The move comes after at least 42 people have died from vaping-related lung illness, per the CDC. Most of those people had been using cartridges containing THC, though some exclusively used nicotine …

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Google To Offer Personal Checking Accounts In 2020

Reuters reports: Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it will offer personal checking accounts next year through its Google Pay app in partnership with Citigroup Inc and a small credit union at Stanford University. The project, named Cache, comes as rivals Facebook and Apple are expanding their own efforts in consumer finance, a broad area that ranges from digital payment …

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Instagram To Test Hiding “Likes” Counter On Posts

NPR reports: Like seriously, if you post something to the ‘gram and not one of your followers hits “like” is it even worth sharing? Beginning next week, some U.S. users of Instagram will be able to test this theory as the social media platform will begin hiding the “likes” counter that appears underneath a posted photo or video. “Right now …

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More US Teenagers Now Use TikTok Than Facebook

Axios reports: More young teenagers use TikTok than Facebook, according to a new report from Morning Consult. Instagram and Snapchat still beat TikTok by wide margins, but the viral Chinese karaoke app has quickly become popular amongst Generation Z. Why it matters: TikTok is following a familiar trajectory, beginning with beating out Facebook as a more popular app for young …

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How Sites Use “Fingerprinting” To Track Your Actions

The Washington Post reports: There’s a tactic spreading across the Web named after treatment usually reserved for criminals: fingerprinting. At least a third of the 500 sites Americans visit most often use hidden code to run an identity check on your computer or phone. Websites from CNN and Best Buy to porn site Xvideos and WebMD are dusting your digital …

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Reuters: Spies Hacked WhatsApp To Snoop On US Allies

Reuters reports: Senior government officials in multiple U.S.-allied countries were targeted earlier this year with hacking software that used Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp to take over users’ phones, according to people familiar with the messaging company’s investigation. Sources familiar with WhatsApp’s internal investigation into the breach said a “significant” portion of the known victims are high-profile government and military officials spread …

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FB To Pay Small Fine In Cambridge Analytica Scandal

CNN reports: The fight between Facebook and the UK government’s data regulator over Cambridge Analytica has come to an end. Facebook has agreed to pay the £500,000 ($645,000) penalty imposed by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, which found the company failed to safeguard user data gathered by political data firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook will not admit to any liability under …

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Pentagon Scorns Amazon, $10B Job Goes To Microsoft

The New York Times reports: The Department of Defense on Friday awarded a $10 billion technology contract to Microsoft over Amazon in a contest that was closely watched after President Trump ramped up his criticism of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and said he might intervene. The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, known as JEDI, had set off …

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Senate Seeks Security Probe Of Chinese-Owned TikTok

The Washington Post reports: Two senior members of Congress, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), asked U.S. intelligence officials late Wednesday to determine whether the Chinese-owned social-networking app TikTok poses “national security risks.” In a letter to Joseph Maguire, the director of national intelligence, the lawmakers questioned TikTok’s data-collection practices and whether the app …

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LIVE VIDEO: Mark Zuckerberg Testifies Before House

Wired reports: Facebook and Congress have a lot to talk about. In the past week, the company has careened through controversies over misinformation, squabbles over election ads, and an oddly statesmanlike speech in DC that sought to put a fresh spin on the Facebook origin story. But, unless grandstanding on other Facebook issues gets in the way, Wednesday’s hearing featuring …

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Vatican Launches $110 “Click To Pray E-Rosary”

Via press release from the Vatican: The Click To Pray eRosary is an interactive, smart and app-driven wearable device that serves as a tool for learning how to pray the rosary for peace in the world. It can be worn as a bracelet and is activated by making the sign of the cross. It is synchronized with a free app …

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California Launches Earthquake Early Warning System

NPR reports: Scientists cannot yet predict when the next deadly earthquake will strike, but emergency response authorities in California plan to unveil the first statewide quake warning system Thursday, which marks the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The warnings will be issued in two ways: a cellphone app called MyShake and the more traditional wireless notification system …

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Feds Sue Tinder Parent For Catfishing Free Accounts

CNBC reports: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday sued Match Group, the online dating service company that owns Tinder, OKCupid and other dating sites, alleging that it used fake love interest advertisements to trick consumers into buying paid subscriptions. Shares of Match Group dropped as much as 7% on the news, before recovering to be down around 3%. Match …

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Amazon To Enable Political Donations Via Alexa

From Amazon’s corporate blog: Customers rely on Alexa to answer all sorts of questions throughout the day —from sports scores and state capitals to nutrition facts and the latest current events. During the midterm elections last fall, customers asked Alexa a multitude of questions, including “Alexa, when are the polls open?”, “Alexa, who is winning in New York?” and more. …

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Hackers Target Internet-Connected Gas Pumps

ZNet reports: Cyber criminals are increasingly turning their attention to hacking Internet of Things devices as connected products proliferate – and there’s one smart device in particular that is catching hackers’ attention. This new target was uncovered by by researchers at Trend Micro, which carried out an examination of dark web marketplaces in five different languages – Russian, Portuguese, English, …

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