Airbnb cuts half of San Francisco listings as new laws kick in
Jan19

Airbnb cuts half of San Francisco listings as new laws kick in

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. San Francisco’s strict short-term home rental laws just kicked in on Wednesday, and are already having a big effect on SF-based Airbnb. Listing plunged from over 10,000 to around 5,500, dropping around 4,760 listings, the site told the San Francisco Chronicle. Wednesday midnight was the deadline for hosts to register homes with the city for a $250 fee, or face fines as high as $1,000 a day. In 2014, the city passed laws limiting home rentals by absent tenants to 90 days per year, though owners can rent them year-round if they live there. However, San Francisco decided to crack down further in 2015, forcing all Airbnb hosts to register with the city via an onerous process. That prompted nearly a $1 million in fines and a lawsuit from Airbnb, but both parties eventually settled on a system whereby Airbnb could register hosts itself. We just wanted to have commonsense regulations whereby San Francisco’s acute housing crisis isn’t exacerbated. The board is unanimous in its desire to have real home-sharing that does not take units off the market that would otherwise go to people who live and work here. Of the rentals left on the market, 2,650 are for commercial B&Bs, hotels or long-term (30 days or longer) listings. That leaves around 3,000 typical Airbnb listings, compared to, say, 65,000 in Paris. The latter city recently enacted its own rules requiring registration and limiting rentals to 120 days a year, but only 11,000 hosts were signed up a month ago. Airbnb is beloved by tourists and travelers, but hotels consider them as unlicensed competition and city councils and housing advocates say that they take thousands of rentals off the market and distort market prices. “We just wanted to have commonsense regulations whereby San Francisco’s acute housing crisis isn’t exacerbated,” county supervisor Aaron Peskin told the SF Chronicle. “The board is unanimous in its desire to have real home-sharing that does not take units off the market that would otherwise go to people who live and work here.” Airbnb, for its part seems satisfied that it now has ground rules to follow, at least. “We look forward to building our business in San Francisco with a strong foundation of dedicated hosts, clear rules and a streamlined registration process that supports compliance,” said spokesperson Mattie Zazueta in a statement. Via: CNET Source: San Francisco Chronicle Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Intel's new cameras add human-like 3D vision to any machine
Jan18

Intel's new cameras add human-like 3D vision to any machine

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Intel has released two ready-to-use RealSense depth cameras, the D415 and the D435, that can add 3D capabilities to any device or machine. They both come in a USB-powered form factor and are capable of processing depth in real time, thanks to the chipmaker’s new RealSense vision processor D4. The models work indoors and outdoors in any lighting environment, so they can be used for almost any machine that needs a depth camera. Those include drones meant to soar the skies and robots with AR/VR features. Intel says the cameras’ target audiences aren’t just developers and manufacturers, but also makers and educators, since they’re easy to use and will work as soon as you plug them in. Also, it comes with Intel’s RealSense SDK 2.0, which is now a cross-platform, open source SDK. Intel RealSense VP Sagi Ben Moshe said in a statement: “Many of today’s machines and devices use 2D image recognition-based computer vision, but with Intel RealSense’s best-in-class depth technology, we are redefining future technologies to ‘see’ like a human, so devices and machines can truly enrich people’s lives. With its compact, ready-to-use form, the Intel RealSense D400 Depth Camera series not only makes it easy for developers to build 3D depth sensing into any design, but they are also ready to be embedded into high-volume products.” The D415 and the D435 are now available for pre-order for $149 and $145, respectively. D415 has a narrow field of view and a rolling shutter that scans its environment from one side to the other to take an image. It works best when dealing with small objects and anything that needs precise measurements. D435, on the other hand, has a wider field of view and has a global shutter that takes images all at once. That makes it ideal for capturing depth perception of objects in motion and for covering big areas, since it minimizes blind spots. Source: Intel Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Second ‘Tomb Raider’ trailer adds welcome backstory to all the action
Jan18

Second ‘Tomb Raider’ trailer adds welcome backstory to all the action

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Our first look at the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot was tonally all over the place, mixing the earlier Angelina Jolie films’ goofy action with the more serious emotional heft of the critically-acclaimed newer Tomb Raider video games. Thankfully, the second trailer leans far more of the former, giving us some propelling motivation and backstory that raises the stakes (an evil organization is planning some evil! The unhinged villain has a grudge against her family!) so we can, y’know, care about the film. If you played the 2013 Tomb Raider game (itself a reboot of the series) and follow-up Rise of the Tomb Raider, you’ll recognize their influence in the new trailer. Not just the extensive bow-and-arrow action, either: While Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft as a Jane Bond-meets-Indiana Jones globetrotting adventurer, Alicia Vikander embodies a much greener but determined heroine. Also a very durable one, as she endures nature’s beatdown and emerges a bold yet grimy survivor, which mirrors the new games’ overarching theme. (Destiny’s Child’s Survivor playing in the background is far from subtle.) Tomb Raider is directed by Norwegian Roar Uthaug and written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and also stars Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained) and Dominic West (The Wire, 300). The film arrives in theaters on March 16th. Via: Polygon Source: Tomb Raider Trailer #2 (YouTube) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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'Battlefield 1' DLC adds aerial-only battles and more next month
Jan18

'Battlefield 1' DLC adds aerial-only battles and more next month

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. DICE and EA have shared much more of what Battlefield 1‘s new “Apocalypse” DLC entails, and it’s good news if you prefer to be a fighter ace than fight in the trenches. The expansion arrives in February, and its highlight is a new Air Assault mode where dogfights and airships rule. Appropriately, there are two air-only maps (London Calling and Razor’s Edge). Think of it as you would the Starfighter Assault mode in Battlefront II — it’s about scratching the itch for players who jump into vehicles at every given opportunity. The add-on also brings a counter to those aircraft in conventional modes (the AA Rocket Gun) and a slew of new maps built around more of World War I’s larger battles, such as Passchendaele, the Somme and Caporetto. Six more guns and two new aircraft also promise to add some variety. You’ll need a Premium Pass to see what “Apocalypse” entails. That’s a bit of a pain when some of Battlefield 1‘s extras have been available for free, but this definitely isn’t a small addition. If you play regularly but thought things were getting stale, this could keep it fresh for a while longer. Source: Battlefield Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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FCC admits mobile internet is a poor broadband replacement
Jan18

FCC admits mobile internet is a poor broadband replacement

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. As dictated by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC released its annual draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report on Wednesday. In it, the commission made a surprising concession: that no, mobile data and wired broadband are not in fact suitable replacements for one another. This admission comes only a few months after FCC chair, Ajit Pai, filed a “Notice of Inquiry” ahead of proposing that mobile be counted as a form of broadband. Doing so, opponents warned at the time, would disproportionately harm poor and rural communities. In the 2018 report, Pai’s office concedes that “Mobile services are not full substitutes for fixed services — there are salient differences between the two technologies.” Beyond the obvious difference that only one of the technologies is, you know, mobile the report points out that “there are clear variations in consumer preferences and demands for fixed and mobile services.” In this context, what constitutes broadband is benchmarked by the 25/3 rule — that is, speeds have to hit 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. As a result of that admission, the draft report urges that the commission evaluate the progress in deploying both mobile internet and fixed broadband services. However, in the very next breath the report states that it “takes a holistic view of the market and examines whether we are both making progress in deploying fixed broadband service and making progress in deploying mobile broadband service.” Which sounds a whole lot like the FCC is still trying to treat mobile and broadband as one and the same, at least in how it measures deployment rates. The rest of the report laid out the FCC’s efforts to promote broadband deployment as required by the law, with no small amount of self-congratulation about voting to overturn Net Neutrality protections, before declaring that the commission “is now meeting its statutory mandate to encourage the deployment of broadband on a reasonable and timely basis.” Pai even managed to sneak in some spurious claims about deployment slowing under the neutrality rules. “The draft report indicates that the pace of both fixed and mobile broadband deployment declined dramatically in the two years following the prior Commission’s Title II Order,” he wrote in his Chairman’s statement. Mignon L. Clyburn, the same FCC Commissioner who was having none of Pai’s shenanigans during the initial net neutrality debates, offered a dissenting opinion: By the FCC’s own admission, over 24 million Americans are still without high-speed broadband access where they live. For years telecom companies and government officials have promised Americans that “soon” they will...

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Facebook taps Jada Pinkett Smith for new talk show series
Jan18

Facebook taps Jada Pinkett Smith for new talk show series

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Facebook has been pushing into original television for a little while now. It launched the Watch section as a platform for TV shows last year, and has since teamed up with the creators of True Blood for a new drama called Sacred Lies. Now the company is apparently set to bring Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris to a new talkshow that will deal with social and other timely issues. According to Deadline, the intergenerational family talk show will be executive produced by Ellen Rakieten, Miguel Melendez and Pinkett Smith herself. It appears to be a follow up to 2012 YouTube channel called Red Table Talks, which brought the three women together to talk about “love, life, fame and family.” Source: Deadline Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Snap announces more layoffs amid content struggles
Jan18

Snap announces more layoffs amid content struggles

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Snap has just laid off 22 employees, a sign that the company is continuing to struggle with slow user growth. The staff cuts affected teams across the company, but the content team was particularly hard hit. According to The Information, Snap’s content team has now consolidated operations in its Venice Beach, CA location, when it was previously headquartered in both Venice as well as New York City. While Snap has been heavily investing in original content and Snapchat shows, there’s a high level uncertainty around how successful they actually are. NBC Universal claims its Stay Tuned show has over 29 million viewers The Rundown from the E! Entertainment Network makes over a $1 million in revenue from the app, but it’s difficult to verify these numbers, as Snapchat doesn’t disclose metrics and monthly active users. CNN, for example, has killed its Snapchat show because “there wasn’t a clear enough path to make money.” Snap has been struggling in other areas too. It’s had to reshuffle its hardware plans as Spectacles wasn’t the success the company thought it would be, and it’s also planning a big app redesign to attract more users. The redesign is said to emphasize user-based content over branded ones, and will split your friends’ messages and stories into different sections. According to a memo leaked to Cheddar, CEO Evan Spiegel said: “The journey is long, the work is hard, but we have and we will consistently, systematically, out-innovate our competitors with substantially few resources and in far less time.” Source: Cheddar Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Facebook and YouTube are removing 'Tide Pod Challenge' videos
Jan18

Facebook and YouTube are removing 'Tide Pod Challenge' videos

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. In the year 2018, nobody expected human society would need an intervention to stop people from eating (drinking?) laundry detergent. And yet, actual thinking people are recording themselves consuming Tide Pods, which inspires others to follow suit on camera, begetting an endless cycle of Darwinian consequences. According to CNN, YouTube and Facebook have committed to taking down this content, proving so many critics of the internet right. Normally, it’s only small infants who mistake the detergent-filled pods for candy or whatever and chow down on the brightly-colored cleaning bombs. But thanks to the #TidePodChallenge, a colossal flow of idiots have willingly ingested these toxic unedibles because someone on the internet passively dared everyone to do it. Now it’s a public health issue that might become an actual crisis, because apparently an unaddressed opioid epidemic isn’t catastrophic enough. It’s gotten so bad that in the first 15 days of 2018, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received as many calls about intentional consumption of laundry pods as it did in the entirety of 2016, according to CNN. Tide had to hastily shoot and upload a video where The Gronk of the New England Patriots tells the world not to eat the pods. What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else. Eating a Tide POD is a BAD IDEA, and we asked our friend @robgronkowski to help explain. pic.twitter.com/0JnFdhnsWZ — Tide (@tide) January 12, 2018 Facebook will remove #TidePodChallenge content from its site and Instagram. In addition to taking down the videos, Google will give anyone who posts footage of anyone eating Tide Pods a strike on their channels for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines, which were already there, and content uploaders should’ve known better. (News reports mentioning the Tide Pod Challenge are fine, however.) “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies,” a YouTube spokesperson told Engadget. Source: CNN Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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NASA tests small nuclear reactor that could power a habitat on Mars
Jan18

NASA tests small nuclear reactor that could power a habitat on Mars

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Everyone from Elon Musk to Donald Trump wants to send a manned mission to Mars in the not too distant future, but there are quite a few problems that need to be solved before we can achieve that goal. A major one is the issue of energy. Long-term stays on Mars, or anywhere else for that matter, will require lots of energy, as will the trip back to Earth. However, loading a rocket up with all of the necessary fuel won’t work — we would need too much. So a way to create fuel on the go is a must and researchers at NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Department of Energy announced today that they’ve conducted successful tests of a system that can do just that. Kilopower is a small nuclear reactor that can generate a reliable power supply. Versions range from 1 kilowatt — enough to power a basic toaster — to ten kilowatts and Kilopower project researchers said in a Space.com article that around four or five of the latter would be needed to power a habitat on Mars. “Kilopower’s compact size and robustness allows us to deliver multiple units on a single lander to the surface that provides tens of kilowatts of power,” Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said during a press conference today. Testing of the Kilopower system has gone smoothly so far and in March, the team plans to conduct a full-power test. To hear more about how Kilopower works, check out the video below. Via: Reuters Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Oculus Start aims to lessen the burden on aspiring VR developers
Jan18

Oculus Start aims to lessen the burden on aspiring VR developers

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Virtual reality is still a relatively new format, and as such there’s a huge need for compelling content to drive adoption. As such, Oculus today is announcing its new developer-focused program called Start. Oculus Start a free program that’s meant to make it easier and more cost-efficient to get VR apps built and distributed to customers. For starters, the company is highlight three different facets of Start: access, support and savings. Perhaps the most important aspects of the program is “access,” which providers registered developers development kits for “new and existing hardware,” as well as early beta access to new tools and services. Specifically, developers can request a Rift or Oculus Go when they apply, and they’ll be able to pick the wireless Santa Cruz kit when it is ready to go. Oculus did a survey of its developers and found that 50 percent are self-funded, so any access to hardware development kits for those will certainly be appreciated. It sounds like members of the Oculus Start program will also gain access to the company’s industry events like Oculus Connect, as well. Oculus is also offering developers more support — they’ll get five support instances from the company every year, and Oculus says it’ll also let members meet with VR staffers one-on-one at various local events. Finally, the “savings” part of the program gives registered members a free one-year Unity Plus license or a royalty-free Unreal license, whichever platform they prefer. Developers will have to meet a few guidelines to get into the program. They’ll need to have published something that shows a commitment and intent to build for the platform, be it a full app or something like a quick demo on Steam. Aside from that, companies can only have two developers from the same team applying, and they can’t have raised more than $10,000 in funding or crowdsourcing — it’s truly for new players to the scene. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Lebanese hackers stole a ton of data then left it on an open server
Jan18

Lebanese hackers stole a ton of data then left it on an open server

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and mobile security company Lookout released a report today detailing a major hacking campaign — dubbed Dark Caracal — that’s believed to have originated from Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security (GDGS), one of the country’s intelligence agencies. The companies found information gathered from thousands of victims from over 20 countries through espionage efforts extending back to 2012. Targets included military personnel, journalists, activists, financial institutions and manufacturing companies and some of the stolen data included documents, call records, texts, contact information and photos. Michael Flossman, a Lookout security researcher, told the Associated Press, “It was everything. Literally everything.” The hackers used malicious apps that resembled legitimate communication platforms like Signal and WhatsApp to steal the trove of data, loading up the fake versions with malware that allowed them to tap into users’ conversations. “One of the interesting things about this ongoing attack is that it doesn’t require a sophisticated or expensive exploit,” EFF Staff Technologist Cooper Quintin said in a statement. “Instead, all Dark Caracal needed was application permissions that users themselves granted when they downloaded the apps, not realizing that they contained malware.” However, the hackers’ storage of the stolen info also wasn’t terribly sophisticated, as it was all left exposed online on an unprotected server. “It’s almost like thieves robbed the bank and forgot to lock the door where they stashed the money,” Mike Murray, Lookout’s head of intelligence, told the AP. The EFF and Lookout were able to link the data to a WiFi network coinciding with the location of Lebanon’s GDGS. “Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the GDGS is associated with or directly supporting the actors behind Dark Caracal,” noted the report. EFF Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin said that pinpointing the campaign to such a precise location was remarkable, telling the AP, “We were able to take advantage of extraordinarily poor operational security.” Via: Associated Press Source: Lookout Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Microsoft AI can draw objects based on detailed text descriptions
Jan18

Microsoft AI can draw objects based on detailed text descriptions

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Google may have taught an AI how to doodle, but drawing something more complex is tough for a computer. Imagine asking a computer to draw a “yellow bird with black wings and a short beak;” it sounds a little tricky. Researchers at Microsoft, though, have been developing an AI-based technology to do just that. It generates images from text descriptions with a surprising amount of accuracy, according to the most recent paper posted by the team. The system doesn’t find an existing image based on your input, but creates real drawing. “If you go to Bing and you search for a bird, you get a bird picture. But here, the pictures are created by the computer, pixel by pixel, from scratch,” said principal researcher Xiaodong He in a statement. “These birds may not exist in the real world — they are just an aspect of our computer’s imagination of birds.” While the current form of this drawing technology isn’t perfect, it’s not hard to imagine a future where it could function as a sketch assistant for painters and interior designers or a tool to refine photos based on voice input. Farther out, researcher He imagines animated movies generated from a written script. The team began its research into computer vision and natural language processing with the CaptionBot, an AI system that automatically writes captions for photos, then created a system to answer questions people ask about images called SeeingAI, which can be extra helpful if you’re blind. The current technology consists of two parts: one that generates images known as a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) and one that judges the quality of the images generated, known as a discriminator. The drawing bot was trained on pairs of images and captions, which teach the AI to learn what words go with which images. The team also created a mathematical representation of human attention, which is what we all use when we draw pictures from complex descriptions: a red wing, a sharp beak, a yellow wing. “Attention is a human concept; we use math to make attention computational,” said He. Via: TechCrunch Source: Microsoft Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Oculus Story Studio alum return with a new cinematic VR company
Jan18

Oculus Story Studio alum return with a new cinematic VR company

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Last year, Oculus shut down its award-winning Story Studio, which was dedicated to creating bold new cinematic VR experiences. Rather than drifting apart, though, members of the team stuck together, and today they’re announcing their new outfit, Fable Studio. It’ll be making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival tomorrow with a VR adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls. The studio has four additional projects in the works, but even more importantly, it’s hoping to do something new with cinematic VR: Break even. Fable Studio plans to charge people $1 for every 10 minutes of its content. The company sees it as being a bit more fairly priced than existing VR experiences, which can range from $3 to $15 for relatively short experiences. (Call it the early adopter tax.) There are also a slew of free VR content on the market, but that’s not sustainable in the long term. Edward Saatchi, Fable’s co-creator and a former co-founder of Oculus Story Studios, tells us that the company is aiming to legitimize VR experiences by making them something worth paying for. Wolves in the Walls, which has been in the works for over two years by director Pete Billington (also a Fable co-founder), will unfold over three chapters. You play as an imaginary friend to a young girl named Lucy, a VR character who you can interact with realistically. She’ll remember things you’ve done in the past, and she can get annoyed if you interrupt her during the film. Saatchi sees her as an example of where interactive VR (and AR) is really headed: Creating truly believably characters. Fable Studio’s other upcoming projects include Derailed, which involves two people moving through a story together; the interactive illustrated documentary 10; Magic River Boat Ride, an animated VR experience; and Origin, which will experiment with episodic storytelling. They also embody another key philosophy for the studio: They’re all made in VR using tools like Quill, which was created during the development of Dear Angelica. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Xfinity Mobile now works with your unlocked iPhone
Jan18

Xfinity Mobile now works with your unlocked iPhone

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Until now, Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service has meant buying one of its locked devices. But what if you already have a phone and want to switch? You now have that choice… if you’re firmly in Apple’s camp. Xfinity Mobile has enabled an in-store Bring Your Own Device option, but only for “select” unlocked iPhone models. Other manufacturers’ phones will have to wait until later in 2018. You can receive a gift card if you trade in a phone that doesn’t qualify, although that means settling for a locked handset (and likely getting less than your handset is worth). There probably won’t be a surge of people signing up — historically, Americans have tended to buy locked phones on contract. However, this could certainly help if Xfinity Mobile’s bundled discounts and by-the-gig rates make sense for you. It could also help fuel the service’s reported success by making it easier for people to switch from rival networks. Xfinity is unlikely to topple the wireless giants since it’s intended mainly for the Comcast faithful, but this certainly won’t hurt. Source: Comcast Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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'Science Fair' shows the challenges teens face in Intel's competition
Jan18

'Science Fair' shows the challenges teens face in Intel's competition

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Intel’s science fairs are pressure cookers: imagine pitting some of the world’s brightest students against each other while they’re already grappling with teenage anxiety. And now, there’s a documentary that illustrates just how rough it can be. Muck Media has released the first trailer for Science Fair, a doc that follows nine high schoolers as they strive for glory at Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair. The students aren’t just worrying about their technical accomplishments, although those are notable by themselves (such as calculator that generates Shakespearean insults) — they also have to deal with their confidence, socio-economic hardships, rivalries and raging hormones. The feature comes from Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster, veteran documentary producers who’ve worked together on projects like The Naked Truth: Death by Fentanyl. The documentary premieres at the Sundance Film Festival, which starts today (January 18th). There’s no word on a release date or distribution, although that likely hinges on its critical reception. If it’s enough of a hit and becomes widely available, it could easily be worth watching. Most people have little experience with science fairs beyond the one in their school gym. This might provide greater appreciation of what the competitors go through, and might inspire teens who hadn’t considered entering before. Source: Deadline Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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First human CRISPR study in the US could begin soon
Jan18

First human CRISPR study in the US could begin soon

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. In mid-2016, A federal panel had greenlit the University of Pennsylvania to pursue the first trials using CRISPR gene-editing in the US. It seems the institution has quietly gotten the ball rolling and could theoretically start the study at any time: A posting was found on a directory of trials describing a yet-to-be-scheduled UPenn survey using CRISPR techniques to treat cancer patients. The study will collect up to 18 patients with multiple myeloma, melanoma and/or two types of sarcoma. Penn scientists will use CRISPR to delete two particular genes in patients’ T cells: The first, PD-1, can be manipulated by cancer cells to impede the immune system, while the second is an alarm-sounding receptor that will be removed and replaced with one engineered to alert the body to specific tumors. The Penn scientists won’t be injecting CRISPR directly into patients’ bloodstreams; Instead, they’ll use a method called ex vivo gene therapy, extracting blood and editing it with CRISPR before re-inserting it into subjects. This may bypass certain immune reactions that reject the former method. Last week, scientists published a study that found between 65 and 79 percent of human subjects produced antibodies fighting proteins made by two variants of the CRISPR Cas9 technique. Penn scientists haven’t announced a start date for their record-setting CRISPR study: “We are in the final steps of preparing for the trial, but cannot provide a specific projected start date,” a Penn Medicine spokesperson told MIT Technology Review. Via: MIT Technology Review Source: ClinicalTrials.gov Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Senate votes to extend NSA’s warrantless surveillance program
Jan18

Senate votes to extend NSA’s warrantless surveillance program

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Last week, the US House of Representatives voted to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law that lets the National Security Agency monitor communications of non-US citizens living outside of the US. Today, the Senate has also voted in favor of renewing the law for another six years. Section 702 is contentious, largely because it’s so wide-reaching and doesn’t require government agencies to get a warrant before conducting surveillance or searching through already collected communications. Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU have spoken out about the law and many have called for more oversight as well as protections for US citizens whose communications might fall under the law’s scope. Last year, groups of senators, both Republican and Democrat, attempted to introduce reforms to Section 702 and Senator Rand Paul said at the time, “The American people deserve better from their own government than to have their internet activity swept up in warrantless, unlimited searches that ignore the Fourth Amendment.” The bill renewing Section 702 will now head to the president who is expected to sign it into law by the end of the week. Via: Reuters Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Korg finally has a mixer to link up those tiny Volca synths
Jan18

Korg finally has a mixer to link up those tiny Volca synths

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Korg has been producing a ton of little synths in its Volca series over the last several years. Announced back in 2013, the initial Volca Beat, Bass and Keys started a run that eventually included an OK Go sample box, an ’80s-style FM synth and an oscillator-driven drum sequencer, the Volca Kick. Now the company wants you to be able to chain a few of these tiny devices together for live performance with a new four channel mixer, the Volca Mix, announced at NAMM this year. According to FactMag, the Mix will run $170 and will release later this month. The Volca Mix has two mono inputs and one stereo input, each a handy 1/8-inch size so you’ll need fewer adaptors. That gives you three spots to connect Volca units via their individual headphone jacks. Each channel gets its own vertical fader, lo/hi cut filter and mute button to help you create the perfect analog mix on the fly. The Mix has RCA stereo outputs to connect to your sound system as well as a master LED meter to show you how loud your signal is getting and a headphone output so you can monitor the sound on stage. Volca Mix has its own little speakers onboard, making this a great little portable package. Further, there’s an analog sync signal to make sure all your Volca units play nicely together, and an effects channel that lets you connect any sort of device to change the sound (like one of Korg’s own Kaoss pads). Finally, there’s a whole DC power system that turns the Mix into a three-device charging station, which is essential when you can only find one plug on the stage. Source: Korg Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Nintendo Labo: Overpriced or innovative?
Jan18

Nintendo Labo: Overpriced or innovative?

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Weird Nintendo is often the best Nintendo, or so it is said. After all, two of its biggest successes (the Wii and the Switch) are far from ordinary consoles. Now, with a year of huge Switch sales behind it, Nintendo is getting even weirder with Labo — cardboard accessories that kids can built themselves and use to immerse themselves in a game’s world. So far, Nintendo has shown off a mini piano, fishing rod, robot fighting suit, remote-controlled robot walkers … and what amounts to a cardboard house with your Switch screen built right into the middle. All of these are controlled in some way by the Switch Joy-Cons. It’s incredibly unusual and rather inexpensive (the initial sets start at $70), but it’s also the kind of thing that only Nintendo would dream up. Of course, the company’s imagination sometimes takes it to places that don’t work as well (Wii U, Virtual Boy, the list goes on). Many of Engadget’s editors had immediate reactions to Nintendo’s Labo, ranging from disgust to extreme excitement — here are some of the things we’ve been thinking in the day since Labo was made official. Daniel Cooper Senior Editor As far as genius business decisions go, getting otherwise-sensible adults to spend $80 on a sheet of cardboard (not to mention $10 for a tiny sheet of stickers!) is something else. But I can’t begrudge Nintendo, the home of wacky ideas that somehow work, for giving this one a punt, because if anyone can pull it off, it’s them. Although, after watching the announcement video, it’s not yet clear how shoving a Joy-Con… sorry, Toy-Con, into a cardboard house is a good gameplay mechanic. I wonder if Nintendo hasn’t also put some measure of thought into this as a very basic STEM toy, because it’ll demonstrate to kids how to put stuff together. Who knows? After learning how to assemble a toy fishing rod or robot fighting suit out of cardboard and rubber bands, they might get inspired to do more. I have a feeling that putting the stuff together might provide more entertainment than the mini-games themselves. Ever since Google started using cardboard as a construction material, it seems like semipermanent gadgets are having a renaissance. The idea that the toys will degrade over time will make some wary about investing, but if you can cram 50 hours of fun out of them before they crumple, it’ll be worth it. My own kid is a couple of years too young for Labo but I might get one anyway — for research purposes,...

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'Counter-Strike' tournaments will now stream exclusively on Facebook
Jan18

'Counter-Strike' tournaments will now stream exclusively on Facebook

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Pro League has got a new home. Starting February 13th, the beginning of its seventh season, it’ll be streamed exclusively on Facebook, along with the ESL One Dota 2 and CS:GO tournament series. ESL, the company behind the tournaments, says that full English and Portuguese coverage will include a “much more advanced” viewing experience than fans are used to, moving beyond stories, clips and select streams, thanks largely to the success of Facebook Watch. ESL has previously had streaming deals with Own3d, Twitch and YouTube, and says its past broadcast successes have given it confidence to explore new platforms for streaming, even if that means losing out in the short term. Speaking to Polygon, ESL’s senior vice president of media rights and distribution, Nik Adams said, “We may lose 10 or 15 percent of our audience, but then we grow because we reach a new audience.” However, ESL isn’t putting all of its eggs in one basket, as the new deal doesn’t appear to include other ESL tournaments, such as the Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Pro League. Via: Polygon Source: ESL Gaming Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Apple will fix the 'chaiOS' text message bug next week
Jan18

Apple will fix the 'chaiOS' text message bug next week

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Yesterday, we wrote about the chaiOS bug, which is a specific link that can cause iMessage on iOS and Macs to crash. Today, Apple let us know that a fix is on the way. The chaiOS bug will be patched in a software update next week. chaiOS was first uncovered by Abraham Masri, who tweeted about the bug. He noted that the cause of the bug was linked to Effective Power, which was first uncovered in 2015. It worked similarly, in that texting someone a link was enough to cause their iPhone to crash continuously. chaiOS won’t cause any permanent damage to your phone, but it’s certainly an annoying little bug that needs to be squashed, so it’s good that Apple is working on a fix. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Facebook adds its first African American board member
Jan18

Facebook adds its first African American board member

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Today, Facebook announced that the Chairman and CEO of American Express, Kenneth I. Chenault, has joined the company’s Board of Directors. It will be effective starting February 5th. It’s notable because Chenault will be the board’s first African American member. In addition, adding the CEO of American Express to the board is valuable for Facebook as they are trying to step into the payments space. Chenault has been the CEO and Chairman of AmEx since 2001, and has been with the company since 1981. He’s on multiple boards, including IBM, Procter & Gamble and the Smithsonian’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This appointment fulfills a promise that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, made back in October, according to The Wall Street Journal. In a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, Sandberg told the Congressional Black Caucus that the company was making strides to improve diversity across the company, including at the highest levels, and made a commitment to add an African American board member. Source: Facebook Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Facebook Messenger is freezing on some iPhones
Jan18

Facebook Messenger is freezing on some iPhones

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Just a few days after Facebook announced that its 2018 goal was to make Messenger less clunky, now there’s an iPhone bug that makes the app almost unusable for some people. The app apparently freezes up after typing a few words. TechCrunch reports that closing and reopening the app didn’t fix the issue. I was unable to replicate the bug within my own Messenger app on iOS. We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on whether the bug will be patched soon. It appears the company is aware of the issue, though. According to Facebook’s report earlier this week, the service has 1.3 billion monthly active users. If even a fraction if iPhone users are affected by this bug, that’s not an insignificant portion of its user base. Let’s hope the problem is fixed soon. Source: TechCrunch Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Twitch's new tools help streamers hype pre-recorded videos
Jan18

Twitch's new tools help streamers hype pre-recorded videos

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Twitch has introduced a set of tools called Video Producer to help streamers “maximize excitement and engagement” around their pre-recorded uploads. Sometime today, broadcasters will be able to use those tools to create shareable landing pages and countdown videos (trailers!) to drum up interest for their latest upload’s premiere. The tools will also give them a way to easily schedule re-runs, where viewers can still chat with each other like they can on lives instead of being stuck with watching conversations from the initial showing. While Twitch is still mostly known for its gaming livestreams, the platform launched the ability to broadcast pre-recorded videos back in 2016 as part of its efforts to become a more viable YouTube competitor. Twitch has added these tools for creators who regularly take advantage of the capability to upload content, those who prefer making edited videos with production values instead of doing live broadcasts. It had to, if it wants to entice more creators to join and help grow its offerings. Speaking of growing its repertoire, the company has also forged a partnership with the Disney Digital Network. Jacksepticeye, LuzuGames, Markiplier and Strawburry17, four of the network’s biggest contentmakers, will create exclusive video-on-demand shows for Twitch, which will debut starting today. Source: Twitch Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Essential is working to fix its sluggish touchscreens
Jan18

Essential is working to fix its sluggish touchscreens

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The Essential Phone launched last August, but five months later, there are still some issues with the phone that remain unfixed. One of those is the lagging touch latency. If you have a PH-1, though, know that Essential hasn’t forgotten about the problem and it’s not just brushing it aside. As 9to5Google reports, during a recent Reddit AMA, Essential engineers said that they have dedicated resources specifically aimed at improving touch latency. “There are trade offs we are testing internally and our goal is to provide something in the 8.1 release we just need to make sure by fixing the jitter issue that we are not creating another problem,” they said. “Sorry this is taking so long, we just want to get it right given how vocal our audience is.” So the good news is there’s a fix on the way. The bad news is you’ll have to wait a little while for it. Essential’s Oreo software is still in beta, so the Android 8.1 release is going to take that much longer. Via: 9to5Google Source: Reddit Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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NASA: 2017 was Earth’s second-warmest year since 1880
Jan18

NASA: 2017 was Earth’s second-warmest year since 1880

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. After careful analysis, NASA has declared that 2017 was the second-warmest year since the end of the 19th century. In a separate study using different analytical methods, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ranked last year as the third-warmest in their records. But both agree that the globe has experience its five hottest years since 2010. “Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we’ve seen over the last 40 years,” NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) director Gavin Schmidt said in a statement. As we noted last year, 2016 was — and remains — the hottest year on record. But the first third of it experienced an El Niño effect flowing in from 2015, which messed with weather patterns and caused global average temperature to fluctuate. But if you removed those effects (a La Niña pattern emerged late last year), 2017 would have been the warmest we’ve ever seen. Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century, NASA said, though weather dynamics mean not all regions around the globe were equally warmed. The increased amount of carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions released into the atmosphere are mostly to blame, and the effects have been obvious. Arctic regions have been warmed the most, which has caused a loss of sea ice. NASA uploaded its 2017 data set here, if you’re curious. The agency tracks global temps using a network of 6,300 weather stations, nautical observations from ships and buoys, and measurements from Antarctic research facilities. The institution compares current deviations from a baseline of temps recorded from 1951 to 1980. NOAA uses a different analytical method and temperature record, and its 2017 reports can be found here. Source: NASA, NOAA Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Instagram DMs now show when you were last active
Jan18

Instagram DMs now show when you were last active

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Less than 24 hours since we learned of Instagram’s new text fonts for Stories, the Facebook-owned app has added another feature. But this one may not be to everyone’s liking. Taking inspiration from its parent company’s Messenger service (instead of Snapchat, for once), Instagram is rolling out an activity status in direct messages. With it, your pals on iOS and Android will be able to peep the last time you were online and using the app. The feature, which indicates when a person was active underneath their username, appeared with the latest version of Instagram, according to The Next Web. Instagram now can see who is active 💀 pic.twitter.com/OgyRBN1JZP — Den (@dxnlls) January 18, 2018 For those turned off by it, you’ll be glad to hear you can disable the feature via the settings menu. Alas that also means you won’t be able to pry on the activity status of others either. Source: The Next Web Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Peugeot embraces electric cars in bid to return to US market
Jan18

Peugeot embraces electric cars in bid to return to US market

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Carmaker Peugeot has announced a raft of ambitious plans that will see it re-enter the US market and offer an all-electric fleet by 2025. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, Peugeot chief executive Carlos Tavares said the company plans to use its recent acquisition of GM’s European Opel and Vauxhall operations as a springboard for global expansion — namely into the US, which it left over 20 years ago due to competition from Japan. The company also plans to follow in the footsteps of Mercedes by giving its entire fleet an electrification option (which could mean 100% electric or hybrid). Other carmakers are making similar moves — Toyota plans to offer 10 EV models by the early 2020s while GM is aiming for 20 — in part due to legislation worldwide banning fossil fuel vehicles. France, UK, and Germany already have measures in place, while some states in the US are exploring the option. Tavares also hinted at plans for autonomous vehicles, adding that by 2030, 80 percent of Peugeot’s fleet will be able to pilot itself under limited conditions, and 10 percent will be capable of autonomous driving. The company blames its departure from the US market — in addition to Japanese competition — on shifting customer tastes, so it makes sense that its re-entry bid comes with a focus on future-proofing. EVs and autonomous technology come with a price tag, but if Peugeot can deliver them affordably, it could become a serious contender in the US vehicle industry. Source: Reuters Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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YouTuber wins damages in landmark UK revenge porn case
Jan18

YouTuber wins damages in landmark UK revenge porn case

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. YouTuber Chrissy Chambers has won damages in a landmark legal case against a former partner who posted revenge porn online. The vlogger was dating a British male — who remains anonymous as part of the settlement terms — in 2009 when several sex videos were filmed without her knowledge. They were then posted to RedTube and several other porn sites in 2011, after the pair had broken up and Chambers had come out as gay with singer-songwriter Bria Kam. The timing of the uploads meant that new laws criminalizing revenge porn weren’t applicable. As a result, Chambers had to win her case on quite different legal grounds. The YouTuber had hoped to mount a criminal case against her former boyfriend, but this was ultimately rejected by the UK Crown Prosecution Service. Chambers then filed a civil case against her ex for damages and copyright — a first for England and Wales — in March 2016. Thirteen months later, the British man called Chambers’ team to announce that he wanted to settle. Chambers won an unknown sum in damages (it’s thought to be substantial, and can’t be disclosed due to the terms of the deal), the copyright of the videos, an apology, and the right to inspect his devices. The settlement was completed last month and made public in open court this week. The copyright ownership means Chambers can legally force websites to take down the uploads. Of course, on the internet it’s always possible to make copies and stay ahead of the law — now, however, Chambers can curb the spread and slowly regain control of her online identity. Her case also sets a precedent for others who are in a similar situation — victims of revenge porn, but stuck in a legal quagmire because UK laws criminalizing the practice aren’t applicable to historic offences. “To every victim of this horrific kind of attack, I am here to say you can fight back and you can win,” Chambers said. “You will heal and you will move on, and you will not have to take those steps alone.” Earlier this month, Facebook reached an out-of-court settlement in a revenge porn case. The circumstances were a little different, however; the victim sued the alleged perpetrator and the social network over a naked picture that was shared repeatedly on a “shame” Facebook page between late 2014 and early 2016. Facebook has been named as a co-defendant on many revenge porn cases, but this was the first time it’s settled. The girl’s lawyers had argued that while Facebook took down the image...

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China uses facial recognition to monitor ethnic minorities
Jan18

China uses facial recognition to monitor ethnic minorities

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. China is adding facial recognition to its overarching surveillance systems in Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region in the country’s far west that critics claim is under abusive security controls. The geo-fencing tools alert authorities when targets venture beyond a designated 300-meter safe zone, according to an anonymous source who spoke to Bloomberg. Managed by a state-run defense contractor, the so-called “alert project” matches faces from surveillance camera footage to a watchlist of suspects. The pilot forms part of the company’s efforts to thwart terrorist attacks by collecting the biometric data of millions of citizens (aged between 12 to 65), which is then linked to China’s household registration ID cards. Beijing insists the strict security measures are necessary to tackle numerous incidents of violence and unrest, which it links to Islamic extremists. But activists, including Human Rights Watch, have condemned the policies as a “violation of international human rights norms.” China has also been called out for restricting the religious freedoms of the region’s 10 million ethnic Uyghurs, most of who are muslims, and for imposing travel restrictions on those belonging to the ethnic minority. China boasts the world’s largest monitoring system, with roughly 170 million CCTV cameras across the country, with plans to install 400 million new ones over the next three years. It now plans to add facial recognition to the mix with the help of AI firms in a bid to understand the mound of video evidence, and track suspects and even predict crimes (Minority Report style). Source: Bloomberg Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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