Now California’s DMV can allow fully driverless car testing

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Automakers can now start testing fully driverless cars on California's roads. According to the state DMV's new regulations that became effective on April 2nd, it can now issue three types of autonomous vehicle testing permits. The first kind is the o…
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Facebook will no longer allow third-party data for targeting ads

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Facebook announced today that it’s disabling a form of advertising targeting called Partner Categories, which allowed prominent third-party data aggregators like Experian and Acxiom to provide clients with offline data like purchasing activity to inform ad targeting. The move comes amid the fallout from the ongoing Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, and it follows similar moves from the social network to curtail abusive ad practices. Those include a momentary pause on third-party app approval announced today and new limitations imposed on the volume and type of data third-party apps are given through APIs like Facebook Login announced last week.

As pointed out by Recode, Partner Categories is not what allowed Cambridge Analytica…

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We can’t allow privacy to be an afterthought with eye tracking

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No one can afford to think about this later.

The cool thing about the virtual reality conversations at GDC this year is how focused everyone seems to be on improving what we have now. Developers are having great conversations about what they have done wrong so far, and sharing best practices to ensure everyone’s next project has a better chance of survival. While these conversations are happening in the convention center, hardware people are off in different rooms showing people what features the next piece of hardware will have behind closed doors.

The big thing coming to VR headsets within the next year is eye tracking, and on a high level everyone should be very excited. Eye tracking is going to allow instant authentication into your collection of apps and services, but also improve every experience you have in VR right now. Your eyes will appear more realistic and human in social VR apps, puzzles will become faster and more dynamic, the world of interactive experiences is truly about to open up and some fun things are going to come out.

But it’s also important to remember this is being accomplished by giving some company somewhere unlimited and potentially very detailed access to your eyeballs. It doesn’t get much more personal than that, and it is important for every link in the chain responsible for delivering your eyes to those sensors to be involved in keeping this personal information safe.

It’s not hard to make eye tracking in this context sound deeply creepy, and quickly turn users off to this kind of feature.

We think about eye tracking in a couple of different ways right now. Some phone manufacturers are starting to use the front-facing camera and an infrared sensor to scan your irises as a way to unlock your phone. Apple’s Face ID tech can be used for dynamic eye tracking for some trippy visual effects in coordination with ARKit. Windows 10 supports eye tracking to navigate parts of the OS, while some game designers use it for more natural navigation in games. This tech has been slowly crawling to the foreground for a while now, but we could potentially see eye tracking as a standard in the next generation of VR headsets.

Qualcomm’s most recent VR Developer Kit (VRDK) includes a partnership with Tobii, the biggest name in VR-based eye tracking in the world today. Tobii is supplying the know-how, but Qualcomm is building these reference units for developers to build on while manufacturers work with Qualcomm to include this tech in headsets aimed at release next year. Which part of this chain takes responsibility for your safety? Qualcomm makes the reference design and encourages its partners to use this tech, but isn’t the manufacturer of record for the actual consumer product. The manufacturer is probably going to install a largely pre-made version of some other company’s operating system and rely on third-party SDKs to enable access to this hardware. Developers will take this information and build lots of exciting things, but it’s not immediately clear how this data is collected, handled, or stored.

In sitting down with Qualcomm this week, it was clear no one was really prepared to answer this question. Qualcomm doesn’t technically make the consumer product, but it is clearly highlighting eye tracking as a great potential feature. And with good reason, eye tracking can allow developers to collect “heat maps” to show where users are looking and interacting. That makes fine-tuning an experience much easier, making it possible to quickly make an experience much easier or much more complicated. It’s not hard to make eye tracking in this context sound deeply creepy, and quickly turn users off to this kind of feature. On the other hand, if privacy settings for this kind of feature is a simple on/off setting, it can quickly deprive users of a much more immersive experience.

With developers unable to access these features yet to see how much data they have access to, and manufacturers not yet announcing commercial products with these features onboard, the only company willing to discuss privacy in VR eye tracking is Tobii. While embedding sensors into the face area of a VR headset is fairly new, Tobii has seen tremendous success with its eye tracking camera for Windows 10. By default, this eye tracking tech does not allow the developer to access any images of the actual eye. Instead, the sensors convert your eye position into a set of coordinates, and the developers can use the coordinates for the appropriate positional data.

If you want access to more than the coordinates, you have to sign a very different agreement with Tobii. As Tobii’s Business Unit President Oscar Werner explained to us:

User privacy is very important to us. All of our standard license agreements with developers say that they cannot store or transfer eye tracking data, which is required for analytical use. If a developer wants to store or transfer eye tracking data they have to sign a special license with us. These special license agreements demand that the application clearly inform users that information is being used for analytical use, explain how it is being used, and require that users consent to such use.

Users will have the ability to agree to the use of data above and beyond simple coordinates being shared with developers before any information is offered, which is great. What this doesn’t address is eye authentication, something Qualcomm is boasting as a potential feature for partners to take advantage of. For that, SOMEONE IMPORTANT made it clear the eye image captured by Tobii goes into processing to generate the signal and the coordinate, and then is immediately destroyed. “The eye images are never transferred to developers or stored in persistent memory on the device. Developers only get the signal with gaze coordinates (where you look).”

It’s going to be a little while before we see eye tracking in VR headsets, and that’s exactly why we need to have this conversation right now. A slip up which exposes retinal scans from a batch of users isn’t something that should be allowed to happen in the first place. Every company involved in the process should be asked what specifically it is doing to keep this user data safe. And until we like the answer, we should keep asking.

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[Update: Odd-even is live] Google Maps v9.73 beta prepares to allow reviews to be saved as drafts, odd-even road rules for Jakarta, and more (APK Teardown)

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

A new version of Google Maps began rolling out late last night. The immediately visible changes are semi-cosmetic, including some slightly more informative details, but there aren’t any obviously huge additions to see here. As we turn to a teardown, there are signs that reviewers will soon be able to start writing, then save their work as a draft.

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[Update: Odd-even is live] Google Maps v9.73 beta prepares to allow reviews to be saved as drafts, odd-even road rules for Jakarta, and more (APK Teardown) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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We can’t allow big tech companies thwart the ‘right to remember’

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The European Union recently adopted laws embodying a proposed “right to be forgotten,” to protect individuals from eternal memorialization of unfortunate past indiscretions. However, I feel it’s time to propose a complementary “right to remember,” to ensure that history cannot be erased or rewritten at the whim of those who control the systems we use to communicate, plan, and lead our lives. Recent court cases have shown that the largest, most powerful companies controlling the internet are willing to take extreme positions regarding their right to control data after it’s been made public. They abuse ambiguous, out-of-date US legislation such…

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Berkeley Could Become the First US City to Allow Investments on the Blockchain

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Berkeley, California has a long history of getting ahead on social movements. The city’s latest idea would capitalize — literally — on the wild popularity of blockchain technology by using it to raise funds for public projects. The plan would essential allow people to make city investments on the blockchain.

According to MIT Technology Review, the idea comes from Berkeley city council member Ben Bartlett, who wants to create an “initial community offering” that would allow investors to purchase municipal bonds secured by a blockchain-based, smart-contract system.

Municipal bonds work much like other bonds — in practical terms, you loan the bond issuer a chunk of money in the form of a bond, and the issuer then pays you interest until the bond matures and you get back the money you loaned. In this case, your loan would go towards projects like building schools or updating city infrastructure.

Bartlett wants to change the current system for issuing municipal bonds, which is already a $ 3.8 trillion market, Bloomberg reports. Yet these bonds have become so expensive to issue (thanks to an array of banking middlemen) that they’re useless for anything but the largest of city projects.

Bloomberg reports that the opportunity to make investments on the blockchain would be better for investors, who would get their stake in municipal bonds without markups from middlemen. It would also be better for cities, which wouldn’t need lawyers, advisers, and standardized documents usually needed to mediate the bond’s sale — all of that would be replaced by digital smart contracts.

The city isn’t quite ready to implement this system yet, as it must figure out if voters would have to approve the money needed to get it started, and decide what projects would be financed through it. But Bartlett already has put forward some ideas that will likely resonate with voters: he has suggested that the funds could go towards affordable housing, which is in short supply thanks to rising costs in the San Francisco area.

“We thought we’d get creative and figure out a way to finance our needs to take care of our people,” Bartlett told Bloomberg.

If this program is a success in Berkeley, it could entice other cities, states, and, ultimately, countries into investigating ways to integrate the blockchain into financial and government structures. The is technology could bring a new level of security and transparency to multiple facets of our society.

Disclaimer: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

The post Berkeley Could Become the First US City to Allow Investments on the Blockchain appeared first on Futurism.

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Android P may allow your phone to work as a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse

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Samsung’s latest DeX dock allows the Galaxy S9 to be used as a trackpad, a feature that Huawei already supported in its own PC mode and Microsoft in its Continuum before that. Android P may bring official support for this and even add the option of using the phone as a keyboard. A patch for this was committed back in December 2016, but has been disabled. Using a phone as a trackpad is pretty okay, though the typing experience won’t be great. Still, simplifying the controls to something like joystick sounds nice – e.g. an extra controller for your console. Alternatively, it could be…

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Google Maps v9.73 beta prepares to allow reviews to be saved as drafts, odd-even road rules for Jakarta, and more [APK Teardown]

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

A new version of Google Maps began rolling out late last night. The immediately visible changes are semi-cosmetic, including some slightly more informative details, but there aren’t any obviously huge additions to see here. As we turn to a teardown, there are signs that reviewers will soon be able to start writing, then saved their work as a draft. Also, if you’re going to be driving in Jakarta, Indonesia, Google maps is going to make it easier to deal with odd-even driving restrictions.

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Google Maps v9.73 beta prepares to allow reviews to be saved as drafts, odd-even road rules for Jakarta, and more [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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uTorrent Vulnerability Allow Attackers To Inject Malware, Fetch Download History, Here’s How To Fix The Problem

New uTorrent vulnerability 2018 allow attackers to inject malware in PCs and fetch their download history. Here’s how you can fix the problem.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Facebook will allow select companies and organizations to post in ‘Community Help’ during a crisis

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Facebook rolled out a special Community Help section last year ago to do some good during a crisis. It’s intended as a way for users to offer assistance to each other including food, shelter, and so on. Now, Facebook is going to let certain businesses and organizations post in Community Help to do the same.

According to Facebook, the first wave of organizations are getting access to the crisis management features now.

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Facebook will allow select companies and organizations to post in ‘Community Help’ during a crisis was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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