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Facebook-executive swatting sends significant police response to his home

Enlarge (credit: Tony Webster / Flickr ) A Facebook executive was the target of a swatting hoax that resulted in armed police briefly detaining him and searching his home as they investigated a false report of an active shooting and hostage situation involving pipe bombs, Palo Alto, California, Police Department officials said. The incident started a little after 9pm on Tuesday when someone using an untraceable number identified himself as a Facebook executive and reported he had shot his wife and taken his children hostage, department officials reported in a statement . The male caller went on to say he had deployed pipe bombs and planned to harm police if they came to the residence. The call resulted in a “significant police response” that included trained crisis negotiators. They used a public address system to contact the people inside the home. Two residents came outside as police searched the residence. Police ultimately determined that no shots had been fired, no pipe bombs had been deployed, and no children were in the house. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A look at a comprehensive Chinese e-commerce law, which was passed in August to address the sale of counterfeit and copycat merchandise, that is now…

Zen Soo / South China Morning Post : A look at a comprehensive Chinese e-commerce law, which was passed in August to address the sale of counterfeit and copycat merchandise, that is now in effect   —  - E-commerce platform operators are jointly liable with merchants for selling counterfeit and copycat merchandise on their websites

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Researchers used a series of auctions to find that, on average, it would take more than $1,000 to entice a Facebook user to deactivate their account…

Jennifer Ouellette / Ars Technica : Researchers used a series of auctions to find that, on average, it would take more than $1,000 to entice a Facebook user to deactivate their account for a year   —  Some users required more than $1,000 to deactivate their account for one year. … A series of auctions revealed …

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How Alexa has used machine learning to get smarter over the last year, with a 25% error rate reduction, carrying over context from one query to the…

Brian Barrett / Wired : How Alexa has used machine learning to get smarter over the last year, with a 25% error rate reduction, carrying over context from one query to the next, more   —  IT'S FAIR TO say that when Amazon introduced the first Echo speaker in the fall of 2014, most people weren't quite sure what to make of it.

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I’ll be drone for Christmas: London airport closed for day by drone harassment

Enlarge / LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: A Police helicopter flies over Gatwick Airport as they search for the Drone operator causing closure of the airport on December 20, 2018. (credit: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images ) In what appears to be the first intentional use of drones to disrupt civil aviation, continued sightings of two remotely piloted aircraft flying over and around the airfield at London's Gatwick Airport starting the evening of December 19 have forced the airport to remain closed to flights for over a day. In a letter posted to Gatwick's website, Gatwick Airport's CEO called the continued drone activity "a highly targeted activity which has been designed to close the airport and bring maximum disruption in the run up to Christmas." He also said the airport is cooperating with law enforcement to end the "criminal activity." As of 7:00pm London time on Thursday, Gatwick's runway was still unavailable for takeoffs and landings "because of continued drone sightings," the airport announced, and some airlines have cancelled all flights until further notice. "We apologize to all of our passengers who are impacted today, but the safety of our passengers and all staff is our priority," an airport spokesperson said. Drone sightings have been a safety concern around London's airports for some time. In 2016, a British Airways flight landing at London's Heathrow Airport apparently struck a drone while on approach for landing . Earlier that year, the United Kingdom's Airprox air safety board issued an incident report on a near-miss in which a quadcopter drone passed within 20 feet of a landing Airbus A319 at Heathrow. And just a month ago, a drone came within 32 feet of a commuter aircraft landing at Edinburgh Airport. In the US, there have been hundreds of such incidents reported in recent years. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Twitter says global government demands for data about users or takedowns of posts increased by 80% in the first half of 2018, with ~87% from Turkey…

Zack Whittaker / TechCrunch : Twitter says global government demands for data about users or takedowns of posts increased by 80% in the first half of 2018, with ~87% from Turkey and Russia   —  Twitter says the number of government demands for data on its users has shot up in the past year.

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A visual look at the biggest tech trends of 2018: sentiment toward Amazon’s HQ2 search, the plateau of social media use, Facebook’s trust betrayals,…

Rani Molla / Recode : A visual look at the biggest tech trends of 2018: sentiment toward Amazon's HQ2 search, the plateau of social media use, Facebook's trust betrayals, more   —  Here's a visual look back at the year.  —  There's been a lot to keep track of this year.  We've endured disasters both natural and manmade …

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Amsterdam-based e-scooter startup Dott, founded by former Ofo exec Maxim Romain, raises €20M led by EQT Ventures and Naspers (Kate…

Kate Clark / TechCrunch : Amsterdam-based e-scooter startup Dott, founded by former Ofo exec Maxim Romain, raises €20M led by EQT Ventures and Naspers   —  The funding extravaganza may be approaching its end for scooter “unicorns” Lime and Bird, but smaller startups in the micro-mobility space have continued …

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Mass email hoax causes closures across the US and Canada

Enlarge / Police tape. (credit: Tony Webster / Flickr ) A tsunami of emailed bomb threats is prompting closures at hospitals, schools, public transit agencies, and business across the US and Canada. Word of the emails surfaced Thursday morning in tweets such as this one: So I actually just got a bomb threat in my work email today ordering me to send the person $20,000 via bitcoin or they will blow up my place of work.... 2018 is wild pic.twitter.com/sn0vVLwe6v — Ryan William Grant (@TheeRyanGrant) December 13, 2018 And this one: Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Sources: Medium CEO Ev Williams had preliminary talks about buying New York Media, parent of New York Magazine; source said talks are “unlikely to…

Bloomberg : Sources: Medium CEO Ev Williams had preliminary talks about buying New York Media, parent of New York Magazine; source said talks are “unlikely to progress”   —  - The Twitter co-founder says he wants to invest in media in '19  — Magazine publisher has been exploring its options this year

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Sources: Facebook is in talks with pay TV channels, including HBO, Showtime, and Starz, about selling their streaming TV services on its platform…

Peter Kafka / Recode : Sources: Facebook is in talks with pay TV channels, including HBO, Showtime, and Starz, about selling their streaming TV services on its platform   —  The world's biggest social network wants to get into the pay TV business — by taking a page from Amazon.  —  Facebook is readying …

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