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France fines Google $57 million over data transparency

The fine stems from digital advocacy group complaints that followed shortly after GDPR took effect in May 2018. CNIL argued the size of the fine was valid as this was not only a basic violation of GDPR's "essential principles," but an ongoing violation rather than a one-time fault.

In response, a Google spokeperson told The Local that the firm was "deeply committed" to transparency and control, and was "studying the decision" to determine what it would do next. However, it doesn't exactly have many options. If it can't convince regulators that its existing consent systems are reasonable, it will likely have to make significant reforms.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/france-fines-google-over-gdpr/

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WhatsApp limits forwarding worldwide to fight hoaxes and rumors

The chat platform hasn't said whether or not its India move has proven effective. The reduced limit would slow the spread of rumors, but it wouldn't necessarily stop them -- people could still spread fake or doctored media. It's a step, though, and it represents a growing acknowledgment at Facebook that its services can play a role in fostering misinformation.

As it stands, WhatsApp has to walk a fine line between accountability and privacy. Its end-to-end encryption remains a key selling point, especially in countries where government surveillance is widespread. WhatsApp isn't about to weaken that security to inspect the content of messages, so it's limited in what it can do to address the messages themselves.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/whatsapp-limits-forwarding-worldwide/

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez guest-stars in a ‘Donkey Kong 64’ Twitch stream

H.Bomberguy (real name Harry Brewis) said he started his stream to "spite" comedy writer Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd), who wrote a since-deleted forum message urging people to oppose a £500,000 ($643,000) grant given to Mermaids from the UK's National Lottery. "I chose to support this charity, because as a person living in Britain, I find the media discussion surrounding this issue in my country, especially in its tabloids to be woefully misinformed," added Brewis.

Ocasio-Cortez's cameo on the stream came about as part of her own response to Sorkin -- who, in an appearance on CNN on Sunday, criticized young Democrats for being distracted by Republican talking points like "transgender bathrooms." After subtweeting Sorkin in a Twitter thread, the Democrat went on to promote the Mermaids fundraiser in a subsequent tweet.

She then took it a step further by joining Discord to chat with Brewis about her love for the N64 -- ""probably the best system out of all of them " -- thanks to games like Super Mario 64 and Pokémon Snap.

She also touched upon the discrimination faced by the trans community: "It makes these issues much more acute in their crises than they usually are on average for other people," she said. "So it's important that we do talk about these issues in the economic frame, but not let go of the fact that that discrimination is a core reason for the economic hardship."

After 57 hours of streaming, Hbomberguy completed the game and raised over $340,000 for Mermaids. Other notable appearances during the broadcast included American activist Chelsea Manning and DOOM co-creator John Romero.

Due to multiple violations of our comment rules and guidelines, the comments to this article are now closed.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-twitch-stream/

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Machinima’s YouTube gaming channel has effectively disappeared

The last several years have been pretty eventful for Machinima. It was acquired in 2016 by Warner Digital Networks, which was in turn bought by ATT in the summer of 2018. The channel was subsequently shuttled over to ATT's Fullscreen, a service operated by Otter Media.

"We are focused on creating new content with the Machinima team, which will be distributed on new channels to be announced in the coming months," Otter Media told Kotaku. "In the meantime the Machinima network of creator channels continues to showcase the talents of the network. As part of this focus on new content, we have pivoted from distributing content on a handful of legacy operated channels."

Though Machinima's multi-channel network model has become increasingly irrelevant to YouTubers, the sudden cutoff was still rude for many creators. Jeremy Azevedo called it a "massive kick in the dick to everyone [who] ever contributed to those brands."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/machinima-youtube-channel-set-to-private/

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Next Dodge Challenger to be electrified, says FCA boss

People still dig the old-school-cool of cars like the Challenger, as sales actually went up while Mustang and Camaro sales took a hit in 2018. That said, new FCA boss Mike Manley said things will be changing in an electric way for the next generation, in a report by The Detroit News. "The reality is those platforms and that technology we used does need to move on. They can't exist as you get into the middle-2020s. New technology is going to drive a load of weight out, so we can think of the powertrains in a different way. And we can use electrification to really supplement those vehicles."

News of electrified muscle cars is nothing new at this point. Ford says it's going to reveal a Mustang Hybrid in 2020. And with Al Oppenheiser (former chief engineer for the Camaro) moving to GM's electric division, you better believe Chevrolet is working on an electrified version of the Camaro. This, however, is the first solid evidence we have that FCA and Dodge are making such a move.

What Manley said next is something we all know to be true, but a bit heartbreaking nonetheless. "I think that electrification will certainly be part of the formula that says what is American muscle in the future. What it isn't going to be is a V8, supercharged, 700-horsepower engine," Manley says.

Even if it's a bit silly, we all love the Hellcat for its 707 horsepower V8. Clearly, plenty of other people do, too, because Dodge keeps cranking out more insane versions of the car with the Redeye and Demon. As for how much electrification Dodge's muscle car will receive, Manley wouldn't go into detail. Though he does say that electrification "can't be the dominant part." This should provide some solace to all those worried the gasoline engine could disappear from the American muscle car. Just as Dodge is reluctant to stray from the original intent of the muscle car, it's not hard to imagine the Challenger/Charger being the last to go full-electric. Gas engines supplemented by 48-volt systems or plug-in hybrids will most likely be the end result when we first see electrified Challengers.

Making the transition to an electrified vehicle could finally be the push Dodge needs to move away from the ancient platform it currently uses — a platform developed in the mid-2000s based on parts from the Mercedes W210 platform developed in the 1990s. Considerable updates and refreshes have been made since, but it's still one of the oldest underpinnings in a vehicle sold in the U.S. today.

We'll surely hear more of this over the coming years, but consider it very forward thinking right now. Mid-2020s is a long ways from 2019, so consider your 700-plus horsepower, supercharged, fear-inducing V8 safe for the time being.

Related video:

This article originally appeared on Autoblog, the complete authority for news, reviews and car-buying research.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/dodge-challenger-electric/

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Russia says Facebook and Twitter are violating data laws

Facebook hadn't commented as of this writing, while Twitter declined to comment.

Just what will happen to the companies isn't clear. While Roskomnadzor's Vadim Ampelonsky warned that both social sites might face fines to hold them "administratively liable," he didn't specify what that could entail, or if there would be more serious actions. Watchdog chief Aleksandr Zharov had floated the possibility of blocking Facebook if it didn't comply by the end of 2018, although nothing has materialized on that front as of yet.

The sites might have to tread lightly if they want to stay. Both Facebook and Twitter have purged Russia-linked accounts related to disinformation and election meddling campaigns. On top of that, Russia is known to move quickly when it wants to silence a platform it doesn't like -- just ask Telegram, which was kicked off local app stores and carriers in a matter of days.

Whether or not they want to stay is another matter. It's no secret that Russia wants locally stored data to widen its surveillance and target dissidents, and that would put it at odds with social media giants that have been trying to improve their reputations for privacy. They may decide that losing Russian users is worthwhile in the long run.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/russia-claims-facebook-twitter-violate-data-laws/

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Samsung updates older Gear watches with handy fitness tools

You'll also see some updates that should help you relax and save time. Theater and Sleep modes help you shut off distractions, and you'll have "easier and faster" controls in the Quick Panel. You can switch music sources on the watch instead of using a phone, too. Text messaging is easier with both drafts and quicker replies, while even the settings section has received a tune-up with better discovery for features.

The software refresh was only available in the US as of this writing, although it's expected to reach other countries in the days ahead. While these upgrades won't make you forget that you have a slightly older watch, they will keep it relevant.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/22/samsung-gear-s3-sport-fitness-update/

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Toyota and Panasonic may team up to make EV batteries

Toyota would hold a controlling 51 percent stake, while Panasonic would transition five of its car battery production plants in China and Japan to the new company. This wouldn't affect Panasonic's existing arrangements with Tesla, the tipsters said. If the report is accurate, Toyota and Pansonic would unveil their deal "as soon as this week."

Each side has strong incentives to team up. Toyota has been comparatively slow to get started in EVs, and only recently started ramping up its plans. This could help it catch up in style by ensuring that it has access to affordable, mass-produced batteries. For Panasonic, meanwhile, this is mostly about cornering the market. Between this and the Tesla pact, it could become a dominant force in the EV world.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/22/toyota-and-panasonic-ev-battery-partnership/

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German climate proposals could put an end to no-limit Autobahns

The proposals would also scrap tax breaks for diesels, raise fuel taxes by 2023 and set quotas for electric and hybrid car sales.

The committee is only due to report is findings in March ahead of a later climate change law. The draft writers also emphasize that "not every instrument and every measure" will make the cut. However, this gives an idea of what you can expect, and it makes sense in light of mounting pressure to take action. The European Union has aggressive emissions targets, and Germany has had trouble keeping up. Limits on the fastest sections of the Autobahn network might not be very exciting, but they could be worthwhile if they put Germany back on track and help the planet.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/german-climate-proposals-may-limit-autobahns/

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Drone giant DJI will take a huge loss due to employee fraud

The corruption probe is one of the largest ever in the recent history of Chinese tech, according to Bloomberg. "DJI condemns any form of corruption strongly and has set up a high-level anti-corruption task force to investigate further and strengthen anti-corruption measures," the company said. According to the government-run China Securities Journal, over 40 individuals at the company have been investigated.

Since a crackdown by President Xi Jinping, Chinese companies have been forced to deal harshly with corruption lest they face serious consequences. DJI is a particularly high-profile company, as has 14,000 employees and owns three-quarters of the drone market, thanks to consumer models like the recent Mavic 2 and a burgeoning commercial business.

"We are taking steps to strengthen internal controls and have established new channels for employees to submit confidential and anonymous reports relating to any violations of the company's workplace conduct policies," it said in a statement. "We continue to investigate the situation and are cooperating fully with law enforcement's investigation."

Update 1/21/2019 6:41 AM ET: DJI has given the following statement to Engadget:

DJI holds our employees to strict ethical standards and takes any violation of our code of conduct very seriously. During a recent investigation, DJI itself found some employees inflated the cost of parts and materials for certain products for personal financial gain, which DJI estimates could have cost the company up to RMB 1 billion. However, DJI did not incur a full year loss in 2018.

DJI took swift action to address this issue, dismissed a number of employees who violated company policies, and contacted law enforcement officials. We continue to investigate the situation and are cooperating fully with law enforcement's investigation.

These actions do not represent DJI, our culture, or our 14,000 employees, who work hard every day to serve customers and develop cutting-edge technologies. We are taking steps to strengthen internal controls and have established new channels for employees to submit confidential and anonymous reports relating to any violations of the company's workplace conduct policies.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/21/dji-loss-employee-fraud/

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