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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg proposes four ways to regulate the internet

Zuckerberg also pushed for regulations that set "common standards" for verifying people behind political ads. He hoped for a "globally harmonized framework" for data privacy akin to the European Union's GDPR to improve overall data protection without leading to a "fractured" internet. To top things off, the exec hoped for a guarantee of data portability between services, pointing to the Data Transfer Project as an example. It should be clear who's safeguarding info as it moves between services, he added.

It's a significant statement from a CEO who just outlined a shift toward privacy, but this could just as easily be a counter to existing calls to regulate Facebook. This helps the company reframe the discussion by indicating what it's willing to accept. Facebook can be reluctant to cooperate with officials at times, and Zuckerberg's piece won't necessarily change that.

There's also the matter of effectiveness. Facebook can indicate what it wants, but getting even a handful of countries to cooperate would be difficult. The proposals are also relatively vague. They could serve as a basic starting point, but there's a real chance that governments could disagree on the finer details.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-proposes-regulations/

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What we played in March

Most importantly, though, the feeling of actually controlling Spider-Man is fantastic. Fighting bad guys and swinging through NYC is both easy to learn and hard to master, but the rewards for doing so are vast. After a few hours, I felt like I had complete control over Spidey, swinging between skyscrapers with equal parts abandon and precision. Of course, as the game goes on you get more powerful and capable, with a host of gadgets, fight moves and improved skills for traversing the city. The enemy difficulty scales up alongside your progression, so while I felt much more confident handling large swarms of baddies, they could still turn the tables on me pretty fast if I wasn't careful.

NYC itself is beautifully rendered and loaded with tons of real-life landmarks (as well as plenty of visual Easter eggs for Marvel fans). I wish that you could interact more with some of those locations, but it's all fairly surface level -- you can't really explore the interior of any buildings outside of those that a mission specifically points you to. But as a backdrop and constant companion in your adventures, the NYC cityscape (along with shifting weather and lighting conditions) is a beauty to behold.

Probably the highest compliment that I can give Spider-Man is that I completed every mission the game threw at me, and now I'm extremely ready to start the DLC. I don't "100 percent" games very often, but the world that developer Insomniac Games built is so much fun to swing through that even once I completed the main story, I was happy to keep exploring, helping citizens and enjoying the wonderfully-rendered vision of NYC. Now that I've finished the game, it's time to take everything I learned and give New Game Plus and the Ultimate difficulty mode a shot.

Just Cause 3

Daniel Cooper
Senior Editor

First, the caveats: I'm not a gamer, and so anyone who wants to get sniffy about my discovery of a title from 2015 can shut up. The bulk of my time is taken up with a house, a job and two lovely children, and the amount of time I spend gaming is close to zero. The PS4 I picked up for my TV more than a year ago has been used a handful of times, mostly to suffer through FIFA 19.

A dearth of free time means that I like my games to be fun, rather than tests of endurance or my ability to remember a sequence of button presses. Back when I was still rocking an Xbox 360, the last single-player game I was really immersed in was Far Cry 3. I loved playing that game, an open-world FPS in which you liberate towns, until it turned on me.

Sadly, the game has an infamous mission -- Doppelganger -- that forces you to endure all of the most obdurate cliches of stealth games. Like crawling, on hands-and-knees, behind a guard as they wander about on their patrol and timing your moves to perfection. It's the sort of challenge that I despise, especially since it's so inflexible, so I ragequit the game and never played again.

Thankfully, providence (and the bargain bin at my local retailer) delivered what can only be described as Far Cry without its ADD meds: Just Cause 3. The premise is alarmingly similar, as your character travels around a tropical location, liberating settlements from an evil militia. Except that, in Just Cause, the player is essentially a superhero, zooming around in defiance of the laws of physics.

Equipped with a grapple, wingsuit and parachute, you can bounce across the terrain without ever driving a car. In fact, creativity is rewarded as you get bonus points for the more chaotic and artful destruction you can create. And, judging from what I've seen on YouTube, it's entirely possible to beat a level non-violently, provoking the enemy into destroying its own bases.

The game offers moments that are simply too fun to play that you can't help but giggle as you escape near-certain doom. Like when I was standing on a guard tower that an RPG blew up, with me and the guard sliding down the floor as it fell 90 degrees. Rather than plummet to my doom, however, I pushed off and used the momentum to rappel onto a nearby helicopter. James Bond, eat your heart out.

Just Cause 3 has its problems, like the fact that on my vanilla PS4 the game often slows to a crawl. If you blow up something spectacularly enough, the resulting chaos is too much for the console's silicon. That, however, means you're likely to get gunned down in a hail of bullets before you're able to rappel away to safety. And, when you do die, the interminable loading times punish you for having the temerity to die in the first place.

There's also the fact that the gameplay can get pretty repetitive once you've learned your metier in the early stages. Liberating towns and villages basically entails leaping between rooftops and yanking down the "chaos items" with your grapple. Military bases, meanwhile, are a little more run-and-gun, but if you have an RPG, defeating one is relatively easy.

But when you're about to launch head-first into an action set piece and Henry Jackman's score kicks in, you can't help but grin.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/gaming-irl-apex-legends/

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After Math: It’s big ball chunky time


Sling TV adds MLB Network just in time for Opening Day

Cord-cutters can finally come in from the cold thanks to Sling TV. The cableless programming provider announced on Thursday that it will carry a pair of dedicated MLB channels for the 2019 season. You may not get to watch your local clubs at will on them, but that's what YouTube TV and a VPN are for.


Spotify is testing a cheaper Premium subscription for two people

Reward your Player 2 buy giving them their own access to your Spotify account. The company announced this week that, in order to combat rampant password sharing, it is exploring a new premium tier which would give a pair of people shared access to a single account.


Lyft hopes free banking and cheap repairs will lure drivers away from Uber

Lyft isn't wasting any time, now that it's beaten rival Uber to IPO, attempting to convince drivers to switch teams. Lyft is offering a host of perks like no-fee banking, cash back on purchases and half-off vehicle repair. In New York, they're even paying drivers minimum wage (but only because the courts made them).


FTC shuts down four major robocall operations

The Federal Trade Commission was not messing around this week, putting its boot on the necks of four robocall companies that had repeatedly gamed the system. Just those four companies were responsible for billions of scam calls a month and are now responsible for millions in fines.


Twitch is letting streamers broadcast together in the same window

Games are nearly always better with a friend and we're about to find out if the same holds true for Twitch streams. The company tested out a new feature this week which allows a pair of streamers to broadcast in splitscreen.


GameStop gets into esports with 'Performance Center' in Texas

Before you ask, yes GameStop is still somehow in business, and yes it's also pivoting to eSports. The company held a grand opening for its 11,000 square foot headquarters cum battle arena in Frisco, Texas. The GameStop Performance Center will actually share space with the Dallas Cowboys' eSports operations.


Sony has sold 4.2 million PlayStation VR headsets

And if you can't make it out to the yard, you can always jack into it instead. With a PSVR (of which many have sold), the MLB TV app and At Bat VR, you can keep up with your team without ever leaving the couch or even seeing your roommates.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/after-math-its-big-ball-chunky-time/

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Investigators say Saudi Arabia accessed Jeff Bezos’ phone

The Saudi government reportedly relied extensively on covert phone surveillance as part of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the New York Times and de Becker's expert consultants. And when the Post (owned by Bezos) started covering Khasoggi's murder in earnest starting October 2018, the Saudis started attacking Bezos and de Becker with organized social media attacks and threatened boycotts.

There's also a "close relationship" between Saudi regent Mohammad bin Salman and AMI chairman David Pecker, according to de Becker. The chairman brought bin Salman's intermediary Kacy Grine to a private meeting with President Trump, while the company also created a magazine to sell bin Salman to the US with Grine's help. The implication, as you might guess, is that Saudi Arabia intended to retaliate against Bezos and the Post using the Enquirer as a willing conduit.

AMI has insisted that it "acted lawfully" in reporting on Bezos, while the Saudis have denied both involvement in the Bezos incident and bin Salman's involvement in Khashoggi's murder. Not that this will necessarily help them much. De Becker has submitted the results to federal officials investigating AMI's actions, and it's up to them to decide whether or not Saudi Arabia and AMI were compromising Bezos' phone.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/jeff-bezos-investigation-accuses-saudi-arabia/

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AT&T is the first 5G carrier in the US to reach gigabit speeds

On launch, ATT's 5G service could only make use of a lone 100MHz carrier for your connection, limiting speeds that were frequently not much better (or potentially worse) than LTE. The new approach aggregated four of those carriers, giving it that much more headroom even in real-world conditions. It should get faster still later in the year, when ATT combines LTE and 5G in a single connection.

The problem, as with virtually any 5G carrier (including Engadget parent company Verizon), is being in a position to take advantage of that speed. ATT's 5G is only available in certain areas in a handful of cities, and you need an invitation to buy the Netgear hotspot. Even then, the router's WiFi isn't fast enough to guarantee peak speeds. You'll have to wait for 5G smartphones and WiFi 6-equipped hotspots before the technology can live up to is potential. This clearly illustrates 5G's performance -- it's just going to be a long while before can expect to achieve that performance outside of ideal conditions.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/att-5g-hits-gigabit-speed/

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Why Garfield phones have littered French beaches for 35 years

Creator Jim Davis made no bones that he created Garfield with merchandising in mind, saying the strip was "a conscious effort to come up with a good, marketable character." The phones were one of many, many items commercialized during the fat cat's heyday, and are still considered a collector's item. The gimmick is that a sleeping Garfield "wakes up" by opening his eyes when you pick up the phone.

As such, they had lots of small parts, including the plastic shell, eyes, cords and electronic parts. It has been such a problem over the years that it became a symbol of washed-up junk for the group, Ar Vilantsou, that eventually discovered the source. "The problem of plastic pollution in the ocean is not comical at all," association president Claire Simonin-Le Meur told France 3.

Since 2008, around 12,000 shipping containers have been lost due to capsizing and other accidents at sea, according to the World Shipping Council. Extrapolating back to 1985, that makes a lot of plastic crap that has been accidentally dumped into the ocean.

The group has suspected for a long time that the source of the phones was a container that had washed or been blown overboard. After searching fruitlessly for decades to find the source, the beach-cleaning members of Ar Vilantsou finally caught a break. A local farmer remembered seeing the beached phones in the early '80s. "At the time, I was between 19 and 20 years old," he told France Info. "There was a big storm. With my brother, we saw phones everywhere on the beach. We're people of the coast, so we decided to go find them."

They discovered the phones in a sea cave, only visible at times of very low tides. Unfortunately, it's buried beneath rocks and, due to the difficult access, will likely remain that way forever. "Behind this nice figure of Garfield, there is a plastic pollution which does not deteriorate in the ocean and that will continue to plague us for years", said Simonin-Le Meur.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/garfield-phones-ocean-plastic-the-big-picture/

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Apple recruits Tesla’s head of electric powertrains

Electrek noted that Schwekutsch has extensive experience leading the development of electric drivetrains, and not just at Tesla. He played key roles in the second-generation Roadster and the Semi, but he also contributed to the BMW i8, the Porsche 918 Spyder and Fiat 500e, among other EVs and hybrids. He's likely to continue on that path at Apple, then.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Apple is back to producing its fabled car. Apple is believed to be partnering with VW on autonomous shuttles that would ferry employees between its offices. The hire may be focused on bringing that and any other shuttle work to fruition. Schwekutsch would be an unusually high-profile hire for a narrowly focused effort, though, and the timing of his hire (he both left Tesla and joined Apple in March) suggests that he might have been poached. Whatever he's doing, Apple believes he's important.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/31/apple-hires-tesla-powertrain-lead/

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Facebook says it accidentally deleted some of Mark Zuckerberg’s posts

It's not clear exactly what posts vanished beyond the 2007-2008 time frame, but they include a post about the acquisition of Instagram in 2012 as well as news of company chef Josef Desimone's death in 2013.

The company stressed that it believed people should have access to previous company news through its blog and the Newsroom. It went so far as to add a public "notes" tab to its Facebook page after BI noted that old blog posts were hard to find. However, Zuckerberg's Facebook posts still represented an important part of the company's history -- their absence makes it harder to understand his thinking behind key decisions. It's also not a good look at a time when critics have pointed out Zuckerberg's reluctance to go on the record.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/30/facebook-accidentally-deleted-zuckerberg-posts/

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Junked Teslas still held unencrypted video recordings

One of the researchers who uses the pseudonym GreenTheOnly told CNBC that he managed to extract all sorts of data from salvaged Model X, Model S and Model 3 cars in the past. To take a closer look at what Tesla computers can reveal, he teamed up with another white hat hacker named Theo and purchased a totaled Model 3 late last year for research purposes.

The result? They found unencrypted information from at least 17 different devices, including the number of times they were paired to the vehicle, as well as 11 phonebooks' worth of contact information. The researchers also found calendar entries with descriptions of planned appointments, along with the e-mail addresses of those invited. In addition, they unearthed the 73 last locations (and navigation information) the car went to and even successfully extracted the video of the crash itself.

The fact that the automaker doesn't automatically delete such information could be a double-edged sword. Yes, it could be helpful for investigators, but someone with the technical knowledge can hack into a salvaged or a reconditioned Tesla's computer and extract data. They don't even have to worry about having to break any kind of encryption.

A Tesla spokesperson told CNBC:

"Tesla already offers options that customers can use to protect personal data stored on their car, including a factory reset option for deleting personal data and restoring customized settings to factory defaults, and a Valet Mode for hiding personal data (among other functions) when giving their keys to a valet. That said, we are always committed to finding and improving upon the right balance between technical vehicle needs and the privacy of our customers."

Those options, however, might not be enough. A former employee from at least one automotive auction company that Tesla uses to recondition used cars admitted that they don't factory reset the vehicles they sell. And as the researchers proved, it's possible to extract information from cars that go to the junkyard after a crash. If owners try to modify their cars' software on their own, they risk getting software updates much later than everyone else. Apparently, the company flags owners as hackers if they modify or even analyze their vehicle's system.

The Chief Security Officer at BugCrowd, which manages Tesla's bug bounty program, explained to the publication that the company can't just wipe cars automatically. There "could be a forensic need to contain and retain the data," he said. "But I would think that what they will want to work on is a way to have all that stored data encrypted, as it would be on your cell phone," he added.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/30/tesla-unencrypted-video-recordings/

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Google users can sign into Firefox and Edge with a security key

Until now, you've had to use Chrome to sign into your Google account with a security key. You won't have to be quite so choosy going forward, though. Google has transitioned to using the new Web Authentication standard for hardware-based sign-ins, making your key useful in Firefox, Edge and other browsers that rely on the format. That could be particularly helpful if you want to check your Gmail on an unfamiliar PC and would rather not install Chrome or punch in a password.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/30/google-enables-security-key-sign-in-firefox-and-edge/

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