<![CDATA[NBC Boston - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcboston.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC Boston http://www.nbcboston.comen-usFri, 24 Mar 2017 03:58:12 -0400Fri, 24 Mar 2017 03:58:12 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[At Facial Recognition Hearing, Congress Attacks FBI]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:20:25 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/202*120/170321-face-recognition-nsf_c73b4424b103834c97bd0af277c04c4d.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

Democrats and Republicans alike hammered the FBI on Wednesday for its use of facial recognition software to identify potential suspects, saying the technology fosters racial bias, leads to arrests of innocent people and trashes Americans' privacy.

More than 400 million pictures of Americans' faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, according to the federal Government Accountability Office, NBC News reported.

Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, experts estimate.

"I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check," Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation.



Photo Credit: National Science Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Costco Wholesale Expands Test of Home Grocery Delivery ]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:52:31 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477000903.jpg

Costco is ramping up its home grocery delivery efforts by teaming up with another third-party service, CNBC reported.

Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, said Tuesday it was adding Costco to its delivery service in the Tampa metro area. The service is available to consumers using the Shipt app.

Costco already has home grocery delivery service available in the San Francisco market through Instacart, another third-party delivery service.

Costco didn't respond to requests for comment.

In Tuesday's release, Shipt said it plans to offer its services to 50 markets and over 30 million households by the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Red iPhone 7s Will Soon Hit Apple Stores]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:10:24 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iPhone_7_and_iPhone_7_Plus_Product_Red_Hero_Lockup_2_Up_On_White_PR-PRINT.jpg

The palette of colors that iPhones come in is increasing this week, as Apple releases a red special edition of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The new edition will be available to order on Friday in the United States and around the world, and it gets its color to mark the 10th anniversary between Apple and the AIDS-fighting organization (RED), the tech company announced Tuesday. The phones will start shipping by the end of March.

(RED) raises money through the sale of branded proudcts for a group called the Global Fund, which invests funds in local programs to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics around the world. (RED) funding goes to HIV programs in Africa, the organization says.

"Apple is the world's largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than $130 million as part of its partnership with (RED),” (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan said in a statement.

iPhones already come in rose gold, gold, silver, black and jet black.

Apple also announced Tuesday that it's dropping the price on its 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display.



Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Uber President Jeff Jones Resigns, Cites Differences in "Beliefs"]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:17:50 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-500350466.jpg

Uber President Jeff Jones has resigned just six months after joining its ranks.

"We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best," Uber spokeswoman Sophie Schmidt said in a statement to NBC News confirming Jones' departure.

The No. 2 executive at the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company cited differences in "beliefs and approach to leadership," technology news site ReCode reported.

“After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber," CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in an internal email to company employees. "It is unfortunate that this was announced through the press but I thought it was important to send all of you an email before providing comment publicly."

Kalanick praised Jones' contributions to Uber, including the company's "first brand reputation study, which will help set our course in the coming months and year."

Sources with Uber told NBC News the departure is effective immediately.

Jones is the latest in a string of high-level executives to leave the company. Earlier this month, Uber asked engineering executive Amit Singhai to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment during his tenure at Google, NBC News reported. 

Ed Baker, Uber's VP of product and growth, also quit Uber this month, according to Recode. 

In a statement to Recode, Jones offered a harsh review of the company.

“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride-sharing business."

Jones was Target's chief marketing officer before joining Uber in August 2016. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Target
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Loads of Love': Apple Engineer Converts Van Into Mobile Laundromat for Homeless]]> Sat, 18 Mar 2017 00:41:03 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/loads+of+love+4.jpg

Ron Powers, a mechanical engineer at Apple, turned a used van into a mobile laundromat and made it available for free to the homeless of Santa Cruz, California. He said he spent many years focused on studying his faith and now spends his nights and weekends living it. "I wanted to restore dignity to people. I wanted to improve health," Powers said of his "Loads of Love" program. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Showcase at SXSW]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:53:07 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SXSWTech0316_MP4-148975049933200001.jpg Tech companies are taking the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.]]> <![CDATA[Driving on the Roads of the Future Will Be a Real Trip]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:02:41 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-458366538-driving-generic.jpg

In the near future, autonomous cars will be able to communicate movements with each other over short distances and interact with traffic lights, NBC News reported.

To combat distracted driving, cars with dedicated short-range communications technology can transmit their location, direction and speed to other vehicles.

As more companies get on board with developments like this, roads have the potential to get much safer, but buying a car equipped with such technology will do drivers little good at the moment, as it isn't widespread yet. 

"The technology is already stable, but we have a kind of 'chicken-and-egg' problem," Raj Rajkumar, a connected and autonomous vehicle researcher with Carnegie Mellon University, told NBC News. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Is There Such a Thing as an Internet Kill Switch?]]> Sat, 11 Mar 2017 04:34:35 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Is there a switch you can flick to kill the internet? According to a panel of experts at this year's SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, that universal "kill switch" does not exist — yet.

"When people figure out how to push the right buttons…it just makes us better at realizing that taking the steps to get more resilient are necessary," Christian Dawson, co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition said during a Friday panel.

The idea doesn't seem that far-fetched, especially following two recent incidents that knocked parts of the internet offline: one, a simple typo by Amazon Web Services; the other, a botnet attack on internet company Dyn.

As NBC News reports, a Brookings Institution report released in October found that in the previous year, internet 81 disruptions in 19 countries came at a cost of $2.4 billion total to the economies of those nations.



Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Feel Stressed? Stop Checking Your Phone, Study Says]]> Fri, 10 Mar 2017 20:23:11 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SmartphoneStress0309a_MP4-148918974502400001.jpg

A recent study finds mobile users who check their phones frequently feel more stressed. According to the American Psychological Association, we are a nation of "constant checkers" and it's taking a toll. Some experts consider this a behavioral addiction.

 
]]>
<![CDATA[Optimus Prime Rib: Robots Start Delivering Food in DC]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 11:40:32 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/030717+food+delivery+robot.jpg

It's now possible in D.C. to have a robot deliver a hot meal to your door.

Robots from the delivery company Starship Technologies are rolling along Washington streets as part of a pilot program, a company spokesman said.

News4 spotted one of the robots — which look a little like a black-and-white version of the Pixar character Wall-E — cruising along M Street NW in Georgetown about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"This is the world's first delivery robot," Starship Technologies spokesman Henry Harris-Burland said.

The robots that move as fast as 4 mph were created to deliver takeout food, groceries and packages.

"Anything you can order online, it can deliver," Harris Burland said.

The robots are equipped with sensors designed to prevent them from running into things. They each have a red flag and flashing lights. The only sound they make is the mechanical whirring of their wheels.

Starship Technology is working with Postmates, which lets users have food delivered from restaurants including Ted's Bulletin, &pizza and Fig & Olive.

A limited number of customers in D.C. will receive a text message telling them a robot will deliver their meal. The user will be able to track the route of the robot. Then, a second text message will include a link to click that unlocks the top of the robot so the user can take the food.

The Starship Technologies spokesman recommended that people who want to have a robot serve them sign up for Postmates. They will be notified if robot service becomes available in their area.

"We are very, very early stage," Harris-Burland said.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[New Tech Could Change Food Nutrition Labels ]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:54:08 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_labels0307_1500x845.jpg

New smart glasses developed by researchers at Colorado State University could change how food labels are printed on boxes and cans in your local grocery store. The FDA is looking to roll out this new tech by 2018.

]]>
<![CDATA[Comey: 'No Such Thing as Absolute Privacy in America']]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:21:46 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/COMEY_BOSTON.jpg

FBI Director James Comey spoke at a cybersecurity conference at Boston College Wednesday, addressing current encryption software, the idea of privacy in the modern age and how the FBI can improve its fight against cyberthreats.

]]>
<![CDATA[What Changes to H-1B Visa Rules Mean for Tech]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 17:53:01 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/646440506-Trump-Joint-Session-Congress-Address.jpg

U.S. immigration authorities suspended a program last Friday that expedited visas for skilled workers — a darling class of workers in the tech community.

Despite stoking tension in tech companies, it's a relatively routine decision that's happened under past administrations. But it is missing one key piece of information — a timeline— and that could affect businesses, CNBC reported.

"Premium processing" of H-1B visas, which allowed skilled workers to pay extra to request faster approval to work in the U.S., will no longer be available starting April 3, immigration authorities announced.

That basically means all applicants will have to wait the standard period to see if they have won the "lottery," without the option to pay an extra $1,225 filing fee for guaranteed answer after 15 days. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Rolls Out its Fake News Tool]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 23:31:26 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-85595143-facebook-generic.jpg

In an effort to combat fake or biased news stories, Facebook is introducing a "disputed news" flag to stories disproved by third party groups, NBC News reported.

Once a story is marked, a group of researchers at Facebook sift through the stories and determine which ones should be sent to fact-checking organizations, including Snopes, Politifact and Factcheck.org. Stories determined to be fake will remain on Facebook, but will be flagged as disputed, and will include a link with an explanation.

The tag was originally announced in December, but it's gaining traction in the United States as Facebook continues to roll it out. The tag is part of new tools that allow users to tag any items they consider "disputed."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dan Kitwood]]>
<![CDATA[Bitcoin Value Surpasses Gold for First Time]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 13:34:39 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bitcoins.jpg

Bitcoin hit a major milestone on Thursday, surpassing the price of an ounce of gold for the first time in the digital currency's history, NBC News reported.

Some investors are now saying this development solidifies the Bitcoin currency as "digital gold." The price of one Bitcoin was $1,271 by Thursday evening, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index. An ounce of gold was priced at $1,235, according to Oklahoma-based precious metals retailer APMEX.

Bitcoin, created in 2009 by software developer Satoshi Nakamoto, is a type of digital currency that computers "mine." Unlike dollars or euros, the currency is not printed. The price of one Bitcoin was just $421.60 this time last year, which means the value has more than tripled in the last 12 months. 

According to the International Business Times, more than 100,000 merchants around the world accept Bitcoins as a form of payment, including Microsoft, Dell and Expedia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Catholic High School Scores $24M With Snap Investment ]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:00:00 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-647104932.jpg

A Bay Area high school that counts itself among Snap Inc.'s first investors won big on Thursday after a booming initial public offering and first-day trading.

The company behind the popular messaging app Snapchat made its trading debut Thursday after a better-than-expected stock offering. Snap had priced its initial public offering of 200 million shares at $17 each on Wednesday. 

Soon after Thursday's opening bell rang at the New York Stock Exchange, the stock began trading at more than $24 a share – nearly 50 percent higher than its IPO price, CNBC reported. It closed at $24.48, valuing the Los Angeles company at $34 billion.

Saint Francis High School, a private Roman Catholic school in Mountain View, disclosed Thursday that it invested $15,000 of the institution’s endowment fund in Snap’s seed round of financing in 2012. 

"We knew teenagers were using it and this would be something big for social media," said former principal Kevin Makley.

That money translated into more than two million shares for Saint Francis. Of that, the school has sold 1.4 million at $17 a piece, earning nearly $24 million, officials said. 

Saint Francis is holding on to roughly 600,000 shares, knowing that they may end up being even more lucrative. 

"I am absolutely celebrating. This is a tremendous day!" Makley said.

Five years ago, Natalie Eggers, then a student at Saint Francis, alerted her father, a venture capitalist, about the burgeoning social messaging app. She said all her friends were obsessed with it. 

Popular with the young people, Snapchat is best known for disappearing messages and quirky face-filters for jazzing up selfies.

Barry Eggers, a partner of Lightspeed Venture, listened to his daughter and his firm became one of Snap’s first investors with $485,000 in early 2012, the New York Times reported. Lightspeed invested a total of $8.1 million in Snapchat over the years. 

Eggers also persuaded SF Growth Fund, Saint Francis' student-run endowment fund that helps pay for scholarships and subsidized tuition, to get in on Snap, he wrote in a post published on the company's website. 

Makley recalled Eggers' non-traditional investment idea.

"When we started this fund so many years ago, this is what we dreamed about. Now the dream is true!" Makley exclaimed.

Meanwhile, Saint Francis released a statement, part of which read: "Snap’s IPO represents an incredible opportunity to help the school, its students and their greater community for years to come."

The school is still working out exactly how the money will be spent, but officials say the financial aid program is their top priority.

"It’s good news for the school," said parent John Dugan, a "tremendous opportunity."

NBCUniversal, the parent company of this site, invested $500 million in Snap during its IPO as part of a strategic investment and partnership, CNBC reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[A New Generation of Extreme Couponers]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 19:40:06 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIWCoupon.JPG

A trip to the grocery store with this mother and daughter extreme couponing team can make your head spin.

Kathy Spencer is the brains behind the “How to Shop For Free” website, which provides people with weekly lists of store sales and coupon match-ups.

“I like the old school couponing. I like the feel of the physical coupon in my hands,” said Kathy.

On the other hand, her daughter Crystal Josephson is part of a new generation of couponers who master store and rebate apps to score huge discounts.

“I like the apps because it's clean,” said Crystal. “I don’t have to carry anything with me. I just have to go with my phone, have them scan any barcodes on my phone, and that’s it.”

Both methods will save you money. On a recent trip to Whole Foods, Kathy and Crystal worked as a team using both coupons and the Whole Foods app. They paid $1.25 for $30 worth of juice and tea. After uploading their receipt through rebate apps, they actually made money on the transaction.

The mother-daughter duo calls it a game, and here’s how to play. Whether you clip weekly coupons, print them from online sites, or get them through store apps, they say to start small and pick only one store to focus on at first.

“Learn their policy and see if they have an app,” said Kathy. “Go on my website. We have printable lists for every single thing that’s on sale with a match up.”

Crystal said to get the app for whatever store you want the most because that will save you money on things you would buy anyway. She also said to get one rebate app to start.

“Once you feel comfortable you can slowly add in more apps once things start making more sense to you.”

With rebate apps like Ibotta or Checkout 51, you scan the product and your store receipt on your phone. Once your savings add up you can cash out with a Paypal credit or a gift card.

“Some people when they’re starting out feel a little overwhelmed because they see people saving 70, 80 or 90 percent,” Crystal said. “They’ll say, ‘I only saved 50 percent today,’ and that’s still a really good deal if you’re saving 50 percent on your groceries!”

Bottom line, you can get deep discounts from both methods of couponing. It all just depends on how much time you are willing to put into it.

]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Announces Cable-Free TV Subscription Service]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:25:56 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_142450164879.jpg

YouTube is giving viewers a way to tune in live to their favorite shows, without a cable or satellite subscription, CNBC.com reported.

The company announced a live and on-demand streaming TV service called "YouTubeTV" on Tuesday. The subscription, which will cost $35 a month for a family plan of up to six accounts, is expected to launch in the next few months in the U.S. Currently there are no plans for international service.

Subscribers will have access to up to 40 networks, as well as YouTube creator content like original content from subscription service YouTube Red. Channels include all broadcast channels and cable channels like USA, FX, Freeform, ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports. Users can add Showtime and soccer programming for an additional fee.



Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP]]>
<![CDATA[How to Prepare for Losing Your Smartphone]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 01:01:43 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Tiendas+y+ofertas+black+friday15.jpg

Losing your phone can be stressful, but it does not have to be that way. It is as easy as taking some proactive steps and enabling some features.

Devra Gelman lost her iPhone three times. She said she took the obvious step, but it did not work for her.

“I tried to use find my iPhone app but it was nowhere to be found,” said Gelman.

Even though the Find my iPhone app did not help Devra, Hotspot Shield Security Expert Robert Siciliano still advises taking the extra time to set it up properly and to make sure it works.

“Have it setup on your spouse’s phone or on your computer so you can remotely access it. If you put your phone on lost mode it will send the last location of the device before the battery kicks out,” Siciliano explained.

There are steps you can take to prepare for the inevitable and to make things easier if someone finds your phone.

Before your iPhone is lost, take the time to make a simple tweak to the wallpaper. Siciliano recommends taking a photo of your contact information and use that as your home screen.

If you cannot do it on your own or do not like how it looks, an inexpensive app called ICE, which stands for "in case of emergency", does the work for you. It makes it easy for anyone who finds your phone find you just by looking at your locked home screen.

Another way to get your iPhone back is through the Apple Health app so be sure to enter your contact information. If someone taps it on your home screen, even if it’s locked, they can get your phone back to you.

Also, be sure to have your contact information up to date on your phone. It helps Siri help the person who finds your phone. All a person has to do is ask “who does this phone belong to” and your contact information reveals.

The process is a little different for Android phones. Android automatically lets you leave a message on your lock screen with your contact information on it by going into settings, security, and then tying into the screen lock message.

Android phones include apps that are similar to Apple’s Find my iPhone app.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX to Send 2 Citizens to Moon in 2018: Elon Musk]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 07:52:49 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/elonmusk3.jpg

SpaceX said Monday it will fly two people to the moon next year, a feat not attempted since NASA's Apollo heyday close to half a century ago.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk — the company's founder and chief executive officer — announced the surprising news barely a week after launching his first rocket from NASA's legendary moon pad.

Two people who know one another approached the company about sending them on a weeklong flight just beyond the moon, according to Musk. He won't identify the pair or the price tag. They've already paid a "significant" deposit and are "very serious" about it, he noted.

"Fly me to the moon ... Ok," Musk said in a light-hearted tweet following the news conference.

Musk said SpaceX is on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in mid-2018. This moon mission would follow about six months later, by the end of the year under the current schedule, using a Dragon crew capsule and a Falcon heavy rocket launched from NASA's former moon pad in Florida.

If all goes as planned, it could happen close to the 50th anniversary of NASA's first manned flight to the moon, on Apollo 8.

The SpaceX moonshot is designed to be autonomous — unless something goes wrong, Musk said.

"I think they are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here," Musk told reporters in the telephone conference, a day after teasing via Twitter that an announcement of some sort was forthcoming.

"They're certainly not naive, and we'll do everything we can to minimize that risk, but it's not zero. But they're coming into this with their eyes open," said Musk, adding that the pair will receive "extensive" training before the flight.

Musk said he does not have permission to release the passengers' names, and he was hesitant to even say if they were men, women or even pilots. He would only admit, "It's nobody from Hollywood."

The paying passengers would make a long loop around the moon, skimming the lunar surface and then going well beyond, perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles distance altogether. It's about 240,000 miles to the moon alone, one way.

The mission would not involve a lunar landing.

"This should be a really exciting mission that hopefully gets the world really excited about sending people into deep space again," Musk said.

NASA will have first dibs on a similar mission if it so chooses, he said. The space agency learned of his plan at the same time as reporters.

In a statement, NASA commended SpaceX "for reaching higher." In all, 24 astronauts flew to the moon and 12 walked its surface from 1969 to 1972.

The California-based SpaceX already has a long list of firsts, with its sights ultimately set on Mars. It became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and safely return it to Earth in 2010, and the first commercial enterprise to fly to the space station in 2012 on a supply mission.

Just a week ago, SpaceX made its latest delivery from Kennedy Space Center's legendary Launch Complex 39A, where the Apollo astronauts flew to the moon and shuttle crews rocketed into orbit. That will be where the private moon mission will originate as well. 

The crew Dragon capsule — an upgraded version of the cargo Dragon — has yet to fly in space. Neither has a Falcon Heavy rocket, which is essentially a Falcon 9 rocket with two strap-on boosters, according to Musk. A Falcon Heavy test flight is planned this summer, while an empty crew capsule is set to launch to the space station late this year. He said there will be ample time to test both the spacecraft and the rocket, before the moon mission.

NASA last week announced it was studying the possibility of adding crew to the test flight of its megarocket, at the request of the Trump administration. Such a flight to the lunar neighborhood wouldn't happen before 2019 at best — if, indeed, that option is even implemented.

Musk said anything that advances the space exploration cause is good, no matter who goes first.

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will celebrate his homecoming this week from a one-year space mission, was quick to tweet: "It's been almost a year. Send me!"

Musk said he expects to have more moon-mission customers as time goes by.

At the same time, SpaceX is also working on a so-called Red Dragon, meant to fly to Mars around 2020 with experiments, but no people — and actually land. His ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Users Report Account Outages, Technical Errors]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:25:44 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Some Facebook users are getting logged out of their accounts Friday afternoon due to a technical issue, according to reports being sent on Down Detector. The reports started just after 1 p.m. EST.

Users are getting a message saying "Someone May Have Logged Into Your Account," according to the reports being sent to the site. Facebook prompts them to verify their identities and change their passwords to unlock their accounts.

Users of the popular social media site are also receiving another error message which says "Sorry, this feature isn't available right now. An error occurred while processing this request. Please try again later," with an option to "join Facebook" or "log in to continue."

The error did not appear to affect all accounts.

A Facebook spokesperson reached out to offer the following comment: 

"Earlier today an error in one of our systems designed to help prevent suspicious account access sent a small set of people to our account recovery flow unnecessarily. We have fixed the issue and are in the process of clearing the affected accounts from this recovery flow. We apologize for any inconvenience."

It appears that users getting locked out of their accounts are not victims of a security breach but victims of a technical difficulty.

Users don't need to take any immediate action, but they can change their passwords to unlock their accounts. If no action is taken, the technical issues should be resolved by Facebook soon.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[TV Snooping: What Your Tube Knows]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:49:59 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TechTalker0224_MP4-148793967321000001.jpg

Similar to internet ads that follow you while you are shopping, smart TVs can snoop on what shows you watch, what you search for, or even your daily television patterns.

]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Gates Thinks It May Be Time to Tax Robots]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:05:44 -0400 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Bill_Gates.jpg

Bill Gates sees an upside to the robots taking jobs from humans: taxes.

Harnessing technology helped make Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, the richest man in the world. Recently, he told the publication Quartz that technology can be harnessed to help maintain the social safety net for the communities that lose jobs to automation.

"Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things," Gates said in the interview. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level."

Automation is a hot topic these days, with American jobs a major focus of Donald Trump's presidency. He is pursuing policy that will incentivize companies creating manufacturing jobs in places like the Rust Belt and punish companies that move such jobs overseas.

But some analysts believe that many of the manufacturing jobs that stay in the U.S. will simply be automated. Roughly half the world's jobs could be automated with technology that already exists, accounting for $15 trillion in wages, according to a recent analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute.

In his farewell address, President Barack Obama warned of economic dislocation that comes "from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete."

Gates argues that taxing robots that take the place of American workers would help communities accept that kind of change, since they would benefit from the work the robots do.

"It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm. That means they won’t shape it for the positive things it can do," Gates told Quartz.

Gates isn't the only major player in the tech world thinking about how to help society adapt to the technology that's so quickly changing the way people interact.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg released a manifesto last week aiming to explain how his company will try to create a "social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us."



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>