law

Amazon ordered to hand over Echo recordings in double murder

Amazon ordered to hand over Echo recordings in double murder

Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Google Home speakers, and Apple HomePod are becoming more and more common in houses. But more than just homes for smart assistants, these devices might very well become silent witnesses to crimes. That seems to be the reasoning leading to a ruling in North Hampshire where a judge has ordered Amazon to provide any and all recording made by an Amazon Echo in the home of one of two victims in a double murder case.

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New DMCA exceptions allow jailbreaking smart speakers, phone repairs

New DMCA exceptions allow jailbreaking smart speakers, phone repairs

The right to repair movement is still facing an uphill battle in Congress but they may have gained a reprieve, at least for the next three years. The US Copyright Office has just passed a ruling that modifies exceptions to the contentious section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in favor of third-party repairs. In a nutshell, it will be legal next week to jailbreak Amazon Echoes and Google Homes and, to some degree, repair smartphones on your own.

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Apple Robbery Ring busted, in part

Apple Robbery Ring busted, in part

California police announced the arrest and charges of a ring of Apple product thieves from across the state. The announcement came from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who noted that they'd arrested 17 individuals who were then charged for their roles in a robbery scheme that seemed to target Apple retail stores over the period of several months.

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Opinion: France’s total ban on smartphones in schools is too extreme

Opinion: France’s total ban on smartphones in schools is too extreme

A few days ago, French lawmakers passed legislation that was written to protect children from growing up like zombies enslaved to their smartphones and tablets. Such mobile devices will be banned in schools for children up to 15 years of age, both inside and outside classes. While it’s definitely easy to see this as a victory against the smartphone addiction that is plaguing society, it could actually end up doing more harm than good when these kids become ill-prepared to face the realities of modern life.

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TRIWA x Humanium Metal Hu39 watch Review

TRIWA x Humanium Metal Hu39 watch Review

The Hu39 is a watch made by TRIWA with the melted metals of illegal firearms: Humanium Metal. It's a rare opportunity to behold a piece of hardware in which the materials are more meaningful in their delivery than the product which they create. Here the medium is the message, and the message is that firearms are more valuable (and far less dangerous) to humanity melted-down than they are active. Plus the watch looks real nice, too.

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EU slaps Google with $5 billion fine, says Android violated antitrust laws

EU slaps Google with $5 billion fine, says Android violated antitrust laws

Google has drawn the ire of the European Union once more, earning itself a massive €4,342,865,000 fine ($5.05 billion) for what the EU views as antitrust violations. Today's fines center around Google Search and Android - more specifically, how Google has used Android as a "vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine" as internet traffic shifts from desktop to mobile. Google now has 90 days to bring its illegal conduct to an end, otherwise it faces additional fines that will add up quickly.

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Amazon’s AI is powering scary police facial-recognition systems

Amazon’s AI is powering scary police facial-recognition systems

Amazon has quietly been pushing its Rekognition AI system to police departments, using the deep learning technology to power real-time facial recognition. The company has already deployed Rekognition-powered services in a number of US states, it's reported, automating the identification of "people of interest" from multiple cameras spread across cities.

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California to make solar mandatory for new homes starting 2020

California to make solar mandatory for new homes starting 2020

Solar power has been around for years, even decades, but it has never caught on in the consumer market for two reasons. One is affordability, the other is a lack of a bigger push. California might be providing the latter if the state's Energy Commission gets what it wants in Wednesday's vote. If it does, all new houses and small condos and apartments applying for a permit starting 2020 will be required to have solar panels.

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Police tried to unlock phone with dead man’s finger at funeral home

Police tried to unlock phone with dead man’s finger at  funeral home

How far will law enforcers go to unlock a smartphone? Given how critical these mobile devices have become these days, it seems they're willing to go through sometimes morbid lengths to access what could be, but not yet confirmed, evidence inside. And, yes, that includes trying to unlock phones using the deceased's own fingers. That is what two detectives in Largo, Florida attempted to do when the walked into a funeral home to unlock the phone that belonged to the deceased. But while the detectives didn't do anything illegal, they are being called out for being unethical or, at the very least, insensitive.

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T-Mobile gets $40 million fine for fake ring tones, connections

T-Mobile gets $40 million fine for fake ring tones, connections

Just because you hear the other line ringing doesn't necessarily mean the other line is actually ringing. Especially if the caller is on T-Mobile. It seems that the Un-carrier has been "faking it" when it comes to connecting calls in rural areas, using fake ring tones and connections to make it seem like they were connecting and just failing. That lie is now going to cost T-Mobile $40 million in fines and a whole lot more in criticisms.

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GrayKey: The best iPhone unlocker is now in the hands of police

GrayKey: The best iPhone unlocker is now in the hands of police

It would appear that there's a new best way to break into a locked iPhone as of this February. Back in February of this year, the startup known as Grayshift sent out an announcement of a new sort of device they'd whipped up. They had a device that apparently unlocked an iPhone - any iPhone - so that said iPhone could be rummaged through and utilized by law enforcement. Or, say, less-than-reputable persons. Of course, they'd never say they were all about such things at Grayshift.

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YouTube hit with FTC complaint over child privacy violations

YouTube hit with FTC complaint over child privacy violations

In no small thanks to Facebook's blunder, tech companies, especially the big ones, have come under increased scrutiny over their handling of user data. Considering how it makes much of its revenue from advertising, Google and its businesses are a prime target for such investigations. A coalition of more than 20 consumer advocacy groups have lodged a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission against YouTube, alleging that the video streaming giant knowingly and willfully collects and profits from tracking kids, all without the consent of their parents or legal guardians.

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