California Wants to Limit Storage of Smart Speaker Recordings

first_img California lawmakers introduced a bill that would limit how manufacturers of smart speakers and digital assistants collect recordings.The Anti-Eavesdropping Act, which cleared its first committee this week, prohibits saving, storing, or sharing of audio recordings without explicit consent from the user.“Recent revelations about how certain companies have staff that listen in to private conversations via connected smart speakers further shows why this bill is necessary to protect privacy in the home,” Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), the bill’s author, said in a statement published by The Mercury News.Bloomberg last month shocked no one with the news that thousands of Amazon employees around the world listen in on Echo owners’ conversations (allegedly to improve the technology).More troubling is the fact that workers can also access location information of Alexa users and look up their home or office address.The California bill—introduced in February by Cunningham—defines “smart speaker devices” as a wireless speaker and voice command device with an integrated virtual assistant “that offers interactive actions and hands-free activation.”Should the legislation pass, it would severely handicap services like Amazon’s Alexa, Siri from Apple, and Google Assistant (among a handful of others).“We’re monitoring this developing legislation,” a Google spokeswoman told Geek in an emailed statement. “That said, we believe that the combination of strong and balanced regulations, with products that are designed with privacy in mind, will help provide individuals with confidence that they’re in control of their personal information.”As Digital Trends pointed out, California is not the first state to try to limit digital eavesdropping: Illinois previously attempted to pass a similar law, which Google and Amazon lobbied against.More on Geek.com:Stop Ignoring Your Smart Speaker’s Privacy FunctionsUK Gov’t Uses Alexa, Google Assistant to Dispense InfoAmazon Accidentally Sent 1,700 Alexa Recordings to a Random Person9 Times Your Smart Speaker Got WeirdEditor’s note: This article was updated on May 7 with comment from Google. Easily Assign Tasks With Google AssistantGoogle Defends Letting Humans Listen to Virtual Assistant Queries Stay on targetlast_img read more

‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Kharacter Guide: Kitana

first_imgWho Are They?Kitana is the good and fair Princess of Edenia. Or rather she was until the fantasy realm was violently conquered by the villainous forces of Outworld. She then spent much of her life as the unwittingly “adopted” desert assassin daughter of the brutal emperor Shao Kahn, where her DNA was even stolen to create a monster clone “sister” Mileena. But Outworld’s struggle against Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat gives Kitana an opportunity for revenge against her “father.”Kombat KhronologyKitana was one of the major new characters in Mortal Kombat 2, giving the game more female representation beyond just Sonya Blade. And since then she’s remained one of the game’s most prominent female characters, the mold other fantasy women characters diverge from. She’s also become a bit of a love interest for Liu Kang in later games, with Mortal Kombat 11 especially playing up their bond both in the past and in the present as evil zombies.Koolest KustomizationsKitana’s face gets one of the better upgrades thanks to Mortal Kombat 11 now rendering the characters more like real people. So I go with her human form versus her rotting corpse form. As for moves, Kitana’s main gimmick is slicing foes with razor sharp fan blades. So I go for death by a thousand cuts with moves that increase how many fans I can throw out at once or summon around myself for a protective barrier.How Gross Is The Fatality?Kitana’s regal grace doesn’t make her fatality any less gruesome. She just doesn’t get her own hands dirty. Instead, she cut you open and uses her fans to summon a tornado that pulls your entrails out like a gory force of nature. Takes my breath (and everything else) away. Mortal Kombat 11 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. For more, read our spine-ripping impressions of the game as a whole, learn more about Mortal Kombat’s history with the government, and check out our character guide for the much less violent fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.View as: One Page Slides1/271. Read Our Full Mortal Kombat 11 ReviewRead Johnny Cage’s Guide2. Read Sub-Zero’s Guide3. Read Erron Black’s Guide4. Read Scorpion’s Guide5. Read Liu Kang’s Guide6. Read Raiden Guide7. Read Kitana’s Guide8. Read Kung Lao’s Guide9. Read Cetrion’s Guide10. Read Jade’s Guide11. Read Kotal Kahn’s Guide12. Read Skarlet’s Guide13. Read Noob Saibot’s Guide14. Read Geras’ Guide15. Read Baraka’s Guide16. Read Jax’s Guide17. Read Jacqui Briggs’ Guide18. Read Frost’s Guide19. Read D’Vorah’s Guide20. Read Kabal’s Guide21. Read Kano’s Guide22. Read Cassie Cage’s Guide23. Read Shao Kahn’s Guide24. Read Kollector’s Guide25. Read Sonya Blade’s Guide26. Read Shang Tsung’s Guide27. Read Nightwolf’s Guide Stay on target There have been eleven main Mortal Kombat games. Can you believe it? The 90s were that long ago. Since then the fighting game has become a gory institution as colorful ninjas and sorcerers and special forces agents collide to rip each others’ guts out in wacky martial arts tournaments.But in the past decade Mortal Kombat has gone from just a recognizable violent fighting game to a really good recognizable violent fighting game. And the recently released Mortal Kombat 11 brings the reboot trilogy home with a story mode stretching across all of history and new ways for customizing characters to your liking, with different skills and gear to make the accessible mechanics even more varied and deep.Expensive cutscenes and ancillary (arguably exploitative) side content aren’t worth anything though if your fighting game doesn’t have a solid roster. Fortunately, Mortal Kombat 11 gives you a diverse cast of kombatants on which to unleash your bloodlust. And we’re taking a look at every single one of them. Today’s fighter: Kitana. Joker and The Terminator Cross Over Into ‘Mortal Kombat 11’‘Mortal Kombat 11’ Kharacter Guide: Nightwolf last_img read more

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere Sets New Guinness World Record

first_img ‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… Stay on target Game of Thrones is in its last season, however, the show is climbing the ranks when it comes to global demand: On the day of the series’ Season 8 premiere, the global demand exceeded the global premiere demand of every other TV show, for any season across all platforms and markets under measurement.Parrot Analytics, a firm that focuses on global audience demand measurement, collaborated with Guinness World Records to chart Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere’s demand and officially declared it as the most in-demand TV premiere, Deadline reported.Who will take the Iron Throne? Millions couldn’t wait to find out as @GameOfThrones comes to the final season https://t.co/ytVqQso5mY— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) May 3, 2019The firm’s methodology claims to leverage real-time, platform-agnostic, and global TV demand measurements. Parrot Analytics and Guinness World Records analyzed global demand for all series openers from April 2015 to April 14, 2019, the date of the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere, to calculate the ranking.“Game of Thrones amassed a per capita global audience demand of 25.46 on 14th of April 2019, its Season 8 premiere day. Compared to its per capita global demand of 24.74 on the day of its Season 7 premiere, the latest and final season has premiered 2.9 percent higher globally,” Samuel Stadler, VP of marketing at Parrot Analytics, told Deadline in a press statement. “Premiere day demand has been particularly strong in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.”Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1, which highlighted Winterfell preparing for a battle with the Night King’s Army, generated millions of viewers, said a Guinness World Records press release. HBO confirmed that 17.4 million people streamed the episode on their subscription TV services, and their HBO GO and HBO NOW streaming apps, within 24 hours of the Season 8 premiere.“It comes as no surprise. Game of Thrones has its fans tightly clenched in its dragon-like grip, and excitement for this final series has seen phenomenal engagement across every platform,” Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief at Guinness World Records, said in the press release. “It has broken records since it first aired – for its viewership figures, Emmy wins, and even its status as the most pirated TV show! It looks like it’s going to continue breaking records right up to the final, undoubtedly devastating episode.”More on Geek.com:First Look: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Photos‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Preview: One Last War to WinEmilia Clarke: Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Fight Will Be Bigger Than Winterfelllast_img read more

Watch: Italy’s Mount Etna Volcano Erupts, Spews Lava Into Night Sky

first_img Italy’s Mount Etna launched streams of lava into the night sky in the early hours Friday.The volcano, located on the east coast of Sicily, began erupting at 3 a.m. local time following an increase in seismic activity over the last week.The eruptions sent rivers of smoking red lava streaming down its southeastern slope. The smoke did not affect nearby Catania airport and flight continued as normal, according to reports.Boris Behncke, from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), posted a series of photos on Twitter of lava taken from nearby towns. He said the eruption on Thursday night is considered a “subterminal eruption,” meaning it is occurring close to the summit craters, generally at an elevation of around 2900-3000 meters (9,514-9,842 feet).Scenes of #Etna‘s new, sub-terminal eruption, during the night of 30-31 May 2019, seen from Santa Venerina, Fiumefreddo and (last photo) Tremestieri Etneo. “Sub-terminal” means the eruption is occurring close to the summit craters, generally at around 2900-3000 m elevation pic.twitter.com/6uBXJTShkV— Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) May 31, 2019According to the INGV, the nascent eruption began on the night of May 29. Starting off by producing a thick column of ash rising from the New Southeast Crater, it gave way on May 30 to a far more lava-heavy display in the area, featuring two fissures blenching out lava.The northern lava flow extended toward the northern wall of the Valle del Bove and subsequently turned eastward, reaching a maximum distance of about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) on the morning of May 31, at an estimated altitude of about 6,075 feet (2,050 meters).New eruption near the summit of #Etna: two eruptive fissures have opened early on 30 May 2019 on the northeastern and south-southeastern sides of the New Southeast Crater, producing modest Strombolian activity and little lava flows. View from Tremestieri Etneo pic.twitter.com/Htl90nUYbL— Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) May 30, 2019Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at two-and-a-half times the next largest, Mount Vesuvius.Fissures in the 10,912 feet-tall peak can flare into action several times a year, although the last major eruption was in 1992.More on Geek.com:Watch: Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Explodes in One of Largest Eruptions in YearsWatch Bali Volcano Spew Ash 18,000 Feet Into the Air in Incredible Timelapse Video35 Incredible Images of Earth’s Mountains and Volcanoes From Space Man Critically Injured After Falling Down Volcano on HoneymoonAstronauts Capture Incredible Photo of Volcanic Eruption From Space Stay on targetlast_img read more

Amazon to Showcase Small Businesses in UK Pop-Up Shops

first_imgStay on target Amazon is opening 10 brick-and-mortar shops across the UK in an effort to promote small businesses.The tech titan partnered with Enterprise Nation, Direct Line for Business, and Square to launch a new program aimed at boosting small-brand growth, in-store and online.A year-long pilot will enable more than 100 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell directly on the high street via Clicks and Mortar pop-ups.The first location opened today on St. Mary’s Gate in central Manchester, with more coming soon to the Midlands, Yorkshire, and across South East England, as well as Scotland and Wales.Each store will stock a range of brands—everything from homeware, health, and beauty products to food, drink, and electronics. That includes foldable Swifty Scooters for adults, leather Torro Cases for electronic devices, and Altr for Men skincare products.“The up-and-coming brands have all built successful online businesses and now want to explore physical retail for the first time,” according to a company press release.Amazon is not usually associated with small biz owners. In fact, it’s often treated as a big bad—a giant carelessly stomping on anything in its path.But the firm has been working with independent sellers for nearly 20 years, boasting tens of thousands of UK-based small businesses trading their goods on Amazon’s global sites.“Small businesses are one of our most important customer groups, and we’re thrilled to work with Enterprise Nation to design a comprehensive package to help entrepreneurs across the UK grow their businesses, both in-store and online,” Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager for Amazon, said in a statement.With that in mind, the company announced a new £1 million ($1.3 million) fund to train 150-plus workers through a mix of in-work, online, and classroom coaching.The so-called “apprenticeships” last 15 to 18 months, and are open exclusively to any brand-owning SME registered in England that currently sells on Amazon and has a turnover of less than £1 million.“From giving up-and-coming online British brands the chance to experience physical retail, to funding the training of full-time apprenticeships and helping to increase SME exports,” Gurr said, “Amazon is committed to supporting the growth of small businesses—helping them boost the economy and create jobs across the UK.”More on Geek.com:Amazon’s Automatic Packing Machines Could Replace 1,300 JobsAmazon Key Now Delivers to Ford, Lincoln VehiclesDrunk Shoppers Blow $48B Annually—Mostly on Amazon Amazon Employees Join Sept. 20 Global Climate WalkoutGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls last_img read more

Watch: Deputy Saves Sleeping Couple From Rattlesnake

first_imgStay on target Watch: 13-Foot ‘Queen of the Pythons’ Lays Massive Clutch of…200-Pound Python Named ‘Ginormica’ Could Reach World-Record Size A couple sleeping on the ground escaped what could have been a very dangerous situation when a quick-thinking Tennessee deputy got them out of the path of a rattlesnake.Maury County Sheriff Rowland said the deputy was responding to a suspicious persons call when he found a couple sleeping next to a rattlesnake. The deputy noticed the snake immediately.center_img The deputy “started to approach, he sees that it is a rather large rattlesnake. And of course, he stays very calm and as he approaches the folks, the snake is kind of slithering away,” Rowland said.Before the situation escalated, the deputy was able to direct the couple to safety.In a video shared Friday on the Maury County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page, the deputy can be heard waking the couple and then giving careful instructions. “Don’t move… Roll toward me,” the deputy instructed the couple.The man stood up didn’t exactly “roll,” though. He stood up and bolted.Fortunately, the rattlesnake didn’t strike.“So many life lessons to be learned in this video,” the Maury County Sheriff’s Department said on the Facebook post.“They didn’t follow it just exactly right, but fortunately it worked out,” said Rowland.Rattlesnakes are common in Tennessee. Of Tennessee’s 32 snakes, only four are venomous. The Timber Rattlesnake is is the largest, and the most dangerous, of the four venomous snakes in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Timber rattlesnakes, which occur across the state, kill prey by a venomous bite, in which the venom is injected by fangs located in the snake mouth.More on Geek.com:Rare, Venomous Snake Hitches a Ride on Kayak Paddle in MichiganSnake Pops Out of Toilet, Bites Florida Man (On the Arm)Anaconda Gets Pregnant Without a Male, Has ‘Virgin Birth’ at Aquariumlast_img read more

U.S. Visa Applicants Now Required to Provide Social Media Details

first_img The U.S. State Department now requires most visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers.As reported by the Associated Press, this change is a “vast” expansion of President Trump’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.It will affect some 15 million foreigners applying for entry to the US each year.“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications,” according to a government statement published by the AP.“Every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the State Department continued. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening process to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”Previously, so-called “social media identifiers” were sought only from a handful of people IDed as a potential threat—folks who traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations, for instance.Now, virtually all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas must provide their personal details, allowing the U.S. government to snoop into their past in the name of justice.Collecting additional information “will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity,” the AP reported.First proposed in March 2018, the new rules are estimated to impact millions of applicants, including those who want to come to the US for business or education.Fresh forms list a number of social media platforms and require candidates to provide any account names they’ve had on them over the last five years; applicants can also volunteer information about social networks not listed.Visa hopefuls are also being asked for five years of telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.Only those applying for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempt from these conditions, the AP said.The American Civil Liberties Union in January sued the federal government to gain information on its social media surveillance—specifically Trump’s controversial “extreme vetting” immigration policy.More on Geek.com:Sri Lanka Temporarily Blocks Social Media Following Terror AttacksUK Proposes Stricter Child Safety Rules for Social MediaStudy: Social Media Sites Can Predict Behavior Even If You Don’t Use Them Stay on target 11-Year-Old Gets ‘Scammed’ Into Paying $4K for TikTok InfluencerFacebook Reportedly Considers Hiding ‘Like’ Counts last_img read more

Growing ‘Alien’ Exoplanets Circle Distant Star in New Astronomy Image

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System Stay on target Astronomers have captured an image of two “alien” exoplanets circling PDS 70, a young star that is located about 370 light-years from Earth, according to a new study.PDS 70 is the only second multi-planet system to be photographed following a four-planet system that was orbiting the star HR 8799, Space.com reported. Unlike HR 8799, PDS 70’s planets are not fully developed yet and still growing by carving out a wide gap within a planet-forming disk that surrounds the sun-like star, said a NASA press release. The study, which was recently published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests that forming planets can be responsible for some of the disk gaps astronomers have spotted in PDS 70 and other young star systems.“With facilities like ALMA, Hubble [Space Telescope], or large ground-based optical telescopes with adaptive optics, we see disks with rings and gaps all over,” Julien Girard of the Space Telescope Science Institute said in the press release. “The open question has been, are there planets there? In this case, the answer is yes.”According to the study, PDS 70 is roughly 6 million years old and it’s slightly smaller than our sun. The young star is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas with a big gap extending from approximately 1.9 to 3.8 billion miles.Exoplanets PDS 70 b and c. (Photo Credit: ESO / S. Haffert-Leiden Observatory)PDS 70 b, the innermost planet that was first spotted in 2018, is placed within the disk gap about two billion miles from its star and it could weigh from 4 to 17 times as much as Jupiter. PDS 70 c, a newly discovered planet, is near the outer edge of the disk gap roughly 3.3 billion miles from the star and it’s not as massive as PDS 70 b. The inner planet (PDS 70 b) circles the star twice in the time it takes the outer planet (PDS 70 c) to orbit around one time.PDS 70 c was detected from the ground with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESA’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT)’s MUSE spectrograph. Astronomers on the team were very surprised to find the second planet while using a new observing mode developed to study galaxies and star clusters.Our team is excited to present the first evidence for a circumplanetary disc (CPD)! CPDs are discs of gas and dust believed to surround giant planets (e.g. Jupiter) when they are born, and be the birthplace of their moons. Our results suggest newborn planet PDS 70 b has a CPD! pic.twitter.com/8ph2RdQrhx— Valentin Christiaens (@Valentin__C) June 4, 2019“This new observing mode was developed to study galaxies and star clusters at higher spatial resolution,” said Sebastiaan Haffert of Leiden Observatory. “But this new mode also makes it suitable for exoplanet imaging, which was not the original science driver for the MUSE instrument.”NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope might be able to study this “planet nursery” and other planet systems with a similar observation technique in the future. This would allow scientists to measure the density of gas and the temperature within the disk, which would improve their understanding of the formation of gas giant planets.More on Geek.com:NASA’s Planet Hunter Finds First Earth-Sized ExoplanetAstronomers Observe ‘Super-Jupiter’ Exoplanet for First TimeKepler’s First Exoplanet Candidate Confirmed, 10 Years Laterlast_img read more

Experimental Spotify Stations App Launches in US

first_imgStay on target Spotify’s experimental listening app Stations is now available in the US.Introduced in Australia earlier this year, the Pandora knock-off is free to download for iOS and Android.“With the world’s music at your fingertips, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge,” according to an app-store description. “Stations gets you to music instantly—no searching or typing needed.”Like the long-running Internet radio service it apes, Spotify Stations relies on user feedback—in the form of a thumbs up or thumbs down—to create personalized playlists.Easily tune your stations by adding or removing artists.Since moving to the UK and losing access to my curated Pandora channels, I’ve learned to lean on Spotify’s pre-generated playlists and artist radio stations for effortless listening.But there is only so far “similar to Elton John” can take you.Spotify’s stand-alone radio app is now available in the US (via Spotify Stations)Open Stations for instantaneous tunes—occasionally disrupted by advertisements for free users; premium subscribers can enjoy an ad-free experience, while skipping an unlimited number of tracks, Billboard revealed.The platform, which requires a Spotify account, also incorporates popular features like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Favorites.“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of experiments to create better listening experiences for our users,” a company spokesperson told Geek in an email.“Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important [lesson],” the statement continued. “Spotify Stations is one of those tests.”Another experiment, reported this week by The Verge, involves the creation of podcast playlists (another Pandora dupe): Citing a source close to the company, the tech blog tipped curated episode suggestions around specific genres.Five playlists themed around comedy, true crime, “geek culture,” “walking (motivational),” and mindfulness are rolling out to a handful of users in North America, South America, the UK, and Spotify HQ Sweden.“It’s unclear how the curators are choosing the episodes,” The Verge said, wondering if they’re working from network deals or picking personal recommendations.“This test aims to make it easier for users to discover new podcasts while giving creators another mechanism to connect with new fans,” according to Spotify. “We have no further information to share at this time.”More on Geek.com:This Device Lets You Play Your Spotify Music Without a PhoneSpotify Is Testing a New Feature That Will Let You Block Music ArtistsBuild Spotify Playlists With Friends in MessengerEditor’s note: This article was updated at 7:05 a.m. ET with comment from Spotify. Spotify’s Rise to Power Dramatized in TV Mini-SeriesDisney Soundtracks Now Live in Special Spotify Hub last_img read more

‘Dark Phoenix’ Ranked as the Worst ‘X-Men’ Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

first_imgStay on target Dark Phoenix, the latest X-Men film about mutant Jean Grey, is debuting in theaters on June 7. However, days before Dark Phoenix’s premiere, some critics are not happy with the movie’s plot and it has received the worst Rotten Tomatoes score out of all the X-Men franchise films so far.On Tuesday, Rotten Tomatoes’ website showed a disappointing 21 percent “Tomatometer” rating for Dark Phoenix. Even though audience score ratings are not available yet, critics sounded off on the movie, stating that “we’ve all seen this before,” and “there’s way too much darkness, and not enough quicksilver wit.” Despite having a strong talented cast, including Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, and Jessica Chastain, Dark Phoenix’s storyline did not delight some critics.So far, 66 critics’ reviews have been reported on Dark Phoenix, and most of them tear the film apart. Compared to other X-Men movies, such as X-Men: Apocalypse (47 percent “Tomatometer” score) and X-Men: The Last Stand (58 percent “Tomatometer” score), Dark Phoenix has the worst ranking by far in the franchise, ComicBook.com noted.The movie, which tells the story of Jean Grey, a mutant who is hit by an unexplainable cosmic force that gives her uncontrollable powers, could be the end of the X-Men family. While Grey struggles to handle these changes, her X-Men squad has to work together to protect her and themselves from further harm.Some critics might not be raving about Dark Phoenix, however, fans have not ranked the movie yet. It will be interesting to see what they think about Jean Grey’s tale and how she could alter the fate of her fellow X-Men superheroes.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>More on Geek.com:Final ‘Dark Phoenix’ Trailer Kills Fox’s X-Men Universe11 ‘X-Men’ Storylines That Would Make Great MoviesThe Most Marvelous X-Men Toys Watch These Movies Before ‘Dark Phoenix’11 ‘X-Men’ Storylines That Would Make Great Movies last_img read more