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Articles written by Matt Obrien

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Teen video app Musical.ly agrees to FTC fine

The operator of a video-sharing app popular with teenagers agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle federal allegations it illegally collected personal information from children . The Federal Trade Commission said the Wednesday penalty against...

 

Chinese tech firms lay lower at CES 2019 amid trade tensions

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The CES 2019 gadget show, which kicks off Sunday, will showcase the expanding influence and sway of China's rapidly growing technology sector. But some of its firms are stepping back from the spotlight amid rising U.S....

 

Apple to build new Austin hub, expand in other tech hotbeds

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tec...

 

Google takes on alleged Iranian influence campaign

Google announced Thursday it had disabled dozens of YouTube channels and other accounts linked to a state-run Iranian broadcaster for a political influence campaign. The security firm FireEye, which alerted tech companies to some of the suspicious...

 

After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook has taken the lion's share of scrutiny from Congress and the media about data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it's far from alone. YouTube,...

 

Is Facebook regulation 'inevitable'? Not so fast

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers that regulation of his company is "inevitable," but still came to Capitol Hill prepared to defend against proposals he thought went too far. He rarely had to. After about 10 hours of hearings on Tuesday...

 

Facebook sends privacy alerts to affected users

Facebook has begun alerting some users that their data was swept up in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. Anthony Bagnetto was one of many people who woke up Tuesday morning to a notification on his Facebook feed informing him that "one of"...

 

Child advocates ask FTC to investigate YouTube

Read carefully through the fine print of YouTube's terms of service and you might notice that you've affirmed you are old enough to watch it. "If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the service," the terms say. "There are lots of...

 

Child experts: Just say 'no' to Facebook's kids app

BOSTON (AP) — Child development experts and advocates are urging Facebook to pull the plug on its new messaging app aimed at kids. A group letter sent Tuesday to CEO Mark Zuckerberg argues that younger children — the app is intended for those...

 

AI can read! Tech firms race to smarten up thinking machines

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Seven years ago, a computer beat two human quizmasters on a "Jeopardy" challenge. Ever since, the tech industry has been training its machines to make them even better at amassing knowledge and answering questions. And it's...

 

Russian networks pushing conservative meme, researchers say

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations are pushing a conservative meme related to the investigation of Russian election interference, researchers say. The purported Russian activity involves the hashtag...

 

AP Explains: Who's affected by computer chip security flaw

Technology companies are scrambling to fix serious security flaws affecting computer processors built by Intel and other chipmakers and found in many of the world's personal computers and smartphones. The two hardware bugs discovered can be...

 

Disney-Fox deal may create a new nerdy nirvana

MENLO PARK, California (AP) — The coming union of the Disney and Fox media empires is set to create a new nirvana for fanboys and -girls, one that reunites superheroes and sci-fi characters long separated by an energy barrier of corporate...

 

Microsoft updates Bing search to highlight reputable results

BOSTON (AP) — Microsoft on Wednesday rolled out new features on its Bing search engine powered by artificial intelligence, including one that summarizes the two opposing sides of contentious questions, and another that measures how many reputable...

 

Men plead guilty to creating 'botnet' used to crash the web

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three men pleaded guilty to creating a "botnet" known as Mirai that was used to paralyze chunks of the internet in 2016. Paras Jha, Josiah White and Dalton Norman admitted to one count of conspiracy in plea agreements...

 

Have you been 'pwned' in a data breach? Troy Hunt can tell

Troy Hunt has collected a trove of 4.8 billion stolen identity records pulled from the darkest corners of the internet — but he isn't a hacker. Instead, he uses that repository to help ordinary people navigate the growing scourge of the corporate...

 

Federal "extreme vetting" plan castigated by tech experts

Leading researchers castigated a federal plan that would use artificial intelligence methods to scrutinize immigrants and visa applicants, saying it is unworkable as written and likely to be "inaccurate and biased" if deployed. The experts, a group...

 

AP Explains: Why smartphones are giving the police fits

BOSTON (AP) — The phone used by the gunman who fatally shot 26 people inside a small Texas church has become the latest flashpoint in the privacy wars. Federal investigators complain that they can't get into Devin Patrick Kelley's phone thanks to...

 

Being Bing: Microsoft's overlooked AI tool

Microsoft's Bing search engine has long been a punch line in the tech industry, an also-ran that never came close to challenging Google's dominant position. But Microsoft could still have the last laugh, since its service has helped lay the...

 

Wooing Amazon with sun, fun ... and giant buttons

BOSTON (AP) — Mayors from Toledo to Tulsa are so eager to woo Amazon's much-vaunted second headquarters that they're brandishing bourbon, selling the sun, whispering sweet nothings to the company and even pushing its buttons. Literally. The...

 

Could cyberattacks knock out lights in the US? Not so easily

Hackers likely linked to the North Korean government targeted a U.S. electricity company late last month, according to a security firm that says it detected and stopped the attacks. John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis for FireEye, said...

 

Big Tech has big plans to help reconnect Puerto Rico

Facebook and Google once aimed to connect the world. Now they would be happy just to reconnect part of it. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to send a "connectivity team" to help restore communications in ravaged Pu...

 

Yahoo: 3 billion accounts breached in 2013. Yes, 3 billion

BOSTON (AP) — Yahoo has tripled down on what was already the largest data breach in history, saying it affected all 3 billion accounts on its service, not the 1 billion it revealed late last year. The company announced Tuesday that it has sent...

 

Confusion hits consumer market over US ban of Kaspersky

NEW YORK (AP) — Worries rippled through the consumer market for antivirus software after the U.S. government banned federal agencies from using Kaspersky Lab software on Wednesday. Best Buy and Office Depot said they will no longer sell software...

 

Self-driving boats: The next tech transportation race

BOSTON (AP) — Self-driving cars may not hit the road in earnest for many years - but autonomous boats could be just around the pier. Spurred in part by the car industry's race to build driverless vehicles, marine innovators are building automated...

 

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